Sat. May 28th, 2022

It could have been an uneventful Valentine’s Day, but when a Padre Damaso makes a moral teaching, I have to do something to expose the fakery.

Writing in the vernacular Manila Bulletin’s Balita reported that retired bishop Teodoro Bacani that the earlier endorsement of El Shaddai for presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos is just a personal endorsement of Mike Velarde because the latter did not consult the whole El Shaddai DWXI Partners Fellowship International Incorporated.

Bacani posted in his Facebook page in Tagalog, “Bro. Mike Velarde is the founder and servant leader of El Shaddai but not the organization which is a lot larger and bigger entity that him.”

The retired bishop claimed that Velarde “did not consult Bishop Jess Mercado of Paranaque, one Sonny de Claro and I who are spiritual advisers of El Shaddai, he added.

After making this announcement, Bacani however strikes a tongue-in-cheek caveat, “Nevertheless, we recognize Bro. Mike’s right to endorse whomever is the candidate of his choice, just as members of El Shaddai are free to vote for whomever they choose as citizens of the country.”

After resorting to legalisms and dabbling in politics internal to El Shaddai, Bacani finally arrived at his real message: “Maling-mali ang endorsement ni Velarde kay BBM” (Velarde’s endorsement of Marcos is very wrong.)

Contradicting his earlier statement about every citizen’s “freedom of choice”, Bacani insisted that if there is anybody that Velarde should have endorsed, it should not have been Marcos Jr.

Then the retired bishop started his slander while moralizing, as he compared presidential candidate Marcos to the son of Adolf Hitler, a know dictator who is responsible for the killing of six million Jews during World War II.

Bacani then started ridiculing the Bongbong Marcos saying that while he says he is passionate about unity, he says he is not repentant for what his father “did” during martial law and for the billions that he “plundered” from the nation.

Clerics on politics

Our memories are however not short. On July 28, 20202, the Philippine News Agency printed a statement from Former Sandiganbayan Justice and Commission on Elections Chairperson Harriet Demetriou on Tuesday calling out religious leaders for engaging in politics and urged them to focus instead on reforming the Catholic Church which has been plagued by scandals

Harriet Demetriou calls on bishops who use their pulpits to engage in politicking.

“Instead of your non-stop politicizing, criticizing and demeaning the System which includes the judicial power of the Philippines, you wait for the decision of the Supreme Court on some issues you rally behind together with some politicians and “prostitute” the dignity of your being ministers of God for self-seeking objectives,” Demetriou said in a Facebook post particularly directed to Manila Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Pabillo, David and Villegas on the pulpit, garbed with all officialdom of the Catholic Church.

Demetriou called on the prelates to refrain from “tarnishing the system” through self-interest and hypocrisy as she questioned their knowledge and understanding of governance policies.

“Do you have the previous experience in judicial, technical and administrative fields on how to run the government of the Philippines? Do you have the competence and the prescribe qualifications on how issues/cases are remedied/resolved in our judicial system? You take the State for granted with the arrogance of your own excitement and assume that the State is not efficient in determining the proper balance and ready to point out its apparent current inadequacies,” she added.

Stressing that they are not politicians but ministers of God, Demetriou said religious leaders should focus on how they run the Catholic Church and redefining and rehabilitating their priests and bishops.

“The Philippine Catholic Church has been smeared by terrible sexual scandals, corruption, and abuses of priests and Bishops as confirmed by Archbishop Oscar Cruz. Bishops and priests impregnating women and engaging in pedophilia and homosexual anomalies inconsistent with the life they have to live is abominably phenomenal,” she added.

Demetriou, a former Pasig City Regional Trial Court judge, convicted former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez and six others in 1995 for the rape-slay of 21-year-old University of the Philippines Los Baños student Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of 19-year-old Allan Gomez in June 1993. She was appointed by former president Joseph Estrada as Comelec’s first female chairperson in 1998.

Inappropriate expression of affection

Earlier in June 9, 2003, the British Broadcasting System, the San Francisco Chronicle and other worldwide media, headlined “Sex Scandal Hits Philippine Church”, as it reported that one of Philippines’ most prominent Roman Catholic clerics is being investigated for sexual misconduct.

Bacani shown on a pulpit, has become the face of sexual scandals by men and women of the cloth in the Philippines.

The bishop issued a statement on Monday saying he was “deeply sorry for the consequences of any inappropriate expression of affection to my secretary”. He then left the Philippines for a holiday in America.

Romualdo Ranada, a spokesman for Bishop Bacani, also said it was important not to “pre-judge the case”. said the Vatican was now looking into the matter, and would decide on a course of action “that would be best for the people and the Church”.

A series of sex abuse scandals have rocked the Catholic Church in several countries in recent years, notably the United States. The Philippines Church made the unprecedented move last year of publicly apologizing for abuses committed by its priests.

About 85% of the Philippines’ 82m people follow the religion, making it Asia’s largest Roman Catholic country.

Duterte exposes ‘Altars of Secrets’

On January 24, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte accused then Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr. of breaking priests vow of chastity as he lashed out anew at the Catholic Church over its criticism of his administration’s war against drugs.

Speaking before families of the 44 Special Action Force troopers slain in the 2015 Mamasapano Massacre, Duterte mentioned the book “Altar of Secrets” to know more about the shocking misdeeds committed by men of cloth.

The book, written by the late journalist Aries Rufo, detailed among others, the romantic affairs of priests.

Duterte mentioned Bacani as one of the erring prelates included in the book.

The president lashed at the prelate: “P***** i** Bacani na ‘yan, dalawa pala ang asawa. Pareho ko. Parang mayor rin ang buang. Tapos kung magsalita itong mga unggoy na ito. T**** i**.” (…This Bacani has two wives, just like me, a mayor. But when they speak, this monkey…)

Duterte said he will resign if it is proven that the allegations of misdemeanor detailed in “Altar of Secrets” were wrong, accusing some members of the bishops conference of womanizing and corruption.

But Duterte said the Catholic Church has no right to demand for his resignation when there is also wrongdoing within its ranks.

Pope Francis: terrible plague

Pope Francis has addressed this issue in many occasions but on January 26, 2019, an article headlined “The Church doesn’t know ‘how to listen’, he acknowledged that the Catholic Church was “wounded by sin” in a message addressed to white-robed priests and seminarians reeling from “terrible plague” of sexual abuse scandals and coverups.

In a mass that he officiated at the centuries-old Cathedral of Santa Maria La Antigua in Panama City where he went for a global gathering of young Catholics, Francis warned of the “weariness of hope that comes from seeing a Church wounded by sin, which has so often failed to hear all those cries.”

It comes as he prepares to meet senior bishops from around the world in Rome next month to deal with widespread clergy sex abuse of children and young people, the Pope said “a subtle weariness” had entered Church communities that “calls into question the energy resources and viability of our mission in this changing and challenging world.”

Those changes, he said, “call into doubt the very viability of religious life in today’s world.”

The Pope’s homily to seminarians about the challenges of the priesthood raised the problem of dwindling vocations around the world

. Around the globe, there were 414,969 Catholic priests at the end of 2016, more than 800 less than in 2014, according to the Vatican with nearly 700 less people joining the priesthood over the same period.

Dwindling vocations will also increase as the Covid-19 pandemic struck hard given the necessity of lockdown of churches to enforce social distancing and prevent superspreaders of the viral infection.

The trouble with the mean and women of the cloth locking horns with governments is that it courts resurrecting issues within the churches which the clergy itself is unable to address.

The listening Pope.

When this happens, mudslinging between two major forces, does not scandalize one but both parties, making both ineffective to change society for the better, amid the problem Pope Francis identified as poverty, drug trafficking, violence and what he called the “plague” of women and children.

Governments are able to offer panacea in the form of elections, but the church will have to deal with more and more empty pews, as are witnessing today because the Catholic Church has miserably failed in showing in the concrete what it can really do for its erstwhile faithful when faced with a real enemy that is unseen but viciously kills – the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bacani’s tantrum, therefore, is suspect.

It only revealed that the Catholic Church is not at all interested on the runoff to the May 2022 elections in constructively discussing the pertinent issues of the day, some of which Pope Francis enunciated, but has engaged in partisan politics of the worst type – zero sum!

Bacani exposed his panic that Velarde’s endorsement was running against the vein of what the Catholic Church hierarchy in the Philippines is actually engaged in – not only openly campaigning for their own anointed candidate but has also become a tool to prevent Bongbong Marcos Jr. from winning the presidency.

The former bishop intended to rebut public perception that El Shaddai was pushing for Marcos Jr. His words were graphic black propaganda mentioning “martial law” and “stolen wealth”. His motives are even worse because the public surveys have clearly rejected these issues by giving this presidential candidate an overwhelming majority never before seen since 1986.

In his panic, Bacani out of desperation, resorted to slander, which is a capital offense among Christian because it violates the Commandment #8 and #5– “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” and because false witness assassinates the character of another, “Thou shall not kill”.

In the time of the Jews, this was punishable by stoning to death. But Jesus Christ amended that practice through his admonition, ““let one who has no sin, cast the first stone.” Pope Francis is correct, “The Church must listen to Christ.”

Catholic churches are allowing in occult rituals, photo shoots and political caucuses disguised as prayer meetings culminating in pray-overs, inside its premises, to promote its “anointed” candidate.

In publicly seeking for atonement, Bishop Bacani minces his words in an attempt to hide his sin as mere impropriety:

“I am deeply sorry for the consequences of any inappropriate expression of affection to my secretary”. Teodoro Bacani, 2003

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