So the CBCP supposedly apologized for receiving PCSO funds to buy themselves SUVs, all the while mewling that those funds were used to help the poor. At the Senate hearing, this is what they had to say for themselves:
For his part, Bishop Jaucian said the Mitsubishi Strada purchased out of the P1.29-million donation was used to help the poor communities in Abra.
Bishop Salgado, represented by Bishop William Antonio, said he was returning the vehicle which was used for the social missions of Caritas Nueva Segovia.
And finally Archbishop Orlando Quevedo said this about the rules the CBCP had with interacting with the PCSO:
We think we can do our job without encumbrance of the political or any reason whatsoever that has given shame to the whole conference. We shall collaborate with PCSO but I think we shall be forced to change the rules for ourselves…
What the good Archbishop seems to have forgotten is that the CBCP already had a rule for themselves when dealing with funds that come from gambling. In 2005, to address the jueteng scandal, the CBCP issued this statement on gambling, a statement which they so boldly called a moral teaching (emphasis mine):
To inform the public better about the reasons for this CBCP position, we present the following moral teachings and pastoral imperatives:
Therefore, the CBCP has made it a collective policy:
3. To denounce illegal gambling in all its forms and prevent its legalization;
- To combat the expansion of organized and systemic legal gambling;
- To refrain from soliciting or receiving funds from illegal and legal gambling so as not to promote a culture of gambling; and
- To encourage church personnel and church institutions to refrain from doing the same, even when the objective may be that of helping the poor.
This issue should bring into sharp relief the hypocrisy of the CBCP and the bankruptcy of their moral leadership. In the height of that previous scandal, where bishops received money from PAGCOR and jueteng lords to supposedly help the poor, the CBCP found it useful to issue a pastoral statement condemning the receipt of funds from sources of gambling to placate an angry nation.
And then here we are in 2011, with the people angry at the CBCP again for turning their back on one of their “moral teachings” to justify their actions. These bishops solicited and received funds from the PCSO, an arm of the government that runs gambling games. These bishops then cried that these funds and these vehicles are just being used for the poor.
Actions which the CBCP deemed immoral just six years ago suddenly become the paragon of morality and charity, enough that Senators would kowtow to them and offer to let the Bishops keep their apparently now moral vehicles.
When we have a Church whose morality is this loose and flexible, changing their moral teachings to save themselves, do the CBCP really have any credibility when in comes to other moral pronouncements? They put themselves forward as the moral guardians of the country. When the CBCP dogmatically hold that reproductive health is immoral, that divorce is immoral, that people loving each other is immoral, do their words really mean anything?
Or do these moral pronouncements have just as much substance as that of a ghost, an empty spirit haunted by his past?
(Image from Clker)