If there’s anything we’ve learned from this recent Pajero scandal, it’s that bishops are just ordinary people — nothing more, nothing less. There’s no holy force field protecting these religious men from making mistakes and, sometimes, even breaking the law.
But some people think that religious leaders are somehow special. One of them is Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile:
“We will give them the benefit of the doubt…” Enrile said it would be rash to accuse the bishops of wrongdoing, saying they’re not politicians or businessmen.
So if a politician or businessman were accused of accepting bribes, it would not be rash to accuse them?
And it gets worse. Not only does Enrile think bishops are inherently more moral, he believes that thinking otherwise puts society at risk:
“I don’t think that we should be cynical and suspicious about the conduct of religious people. Let us try to be objective about it and preserve our institutions. Otherwise, we will break up as a society.”
Although he asks for objectivity, I think what he wants is the opposite. Objectivity requires that we follow where the investigation leads regardless of who’s being investigated. Enrile’s statements imply that he wants the investigators to be careful about the implications of investigating bishops and potentially finding them guilty.
But it’s this special standing that allows bishops to continue covering up their crimes. If Enrile really wants to “be objective about it,” “preserve our institutions,” ” and keep society together,” the Senate Blue Ribbon committee needs to do its job without bias — even if it means putting some bishops behind bars.