Cardinal Tagle—a true leader of the Catholic flock Print
Friday, 29 June 2018 14:10

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

 

Cursing and bedeviling President Duterte for saying that one’s God is stupid is understandable. Many would not agree with what he said. He expressed a very contentious and controversial personal belief. To the religious and faithful, such statement is highly blasphemous and should be condemned every time it is uttered. But if one understands and respects another’s faith and belief, one won’t really mind such statement and the one making it need not explain further why he said that. No explanation is needed for one who understands it and no further explanations are enough for one who refuses understand it. Religion, faith, and belief in God, are matters of strong personal conviction. Despite such statement made, President Duterte has said that he believes in God, his own God. Period.

But many critics—the Catholic priests, bishops and especially Bro. Eddie Villanueva have gone too far and beyond human understanding. They cursed the President and demanded that he makes a public apology and ask for forgiveness. As ‘voices of God” they felt offended and they accordingly regard such statement as a mockery, an assault to their faith and millions of Filipinos against the God they worship and adore.

Such demand is illogical that defies human understanding. What would they do if President Duterte would not apologize and ask forgiveness? For as what Press Secretary Harry Roque said, the God he knew would not demand a public apology. Moreover, if indeed the President really offended God, would it be not proper for him to pray and apologize directly to God alone and not to the public and Bro. Villanueva? im  HHimGod G

Recall that when the ISIS-Maute rebels invaded Marawi City, they entered the Catholic and Christian churches, burned and tore them down, destroyed and stepped upon the images and idols placed on the walls of t he churches. The acts they committed are highly blasphemous when compared to President Duterte’s statement. But I haven’t seen any priest, bishop, or pastor who came out publicly denouncing and cursing what these un-Islamic ISIS-Maute rebels did. Why were they tongue-tied? Where they afraid? I thought they are zealous defenders of the Christian faith?

Amid this distractive presidential remark, I admire and deeply respect Cardinal Luis Tagle. He didn’t curse, criticize, nor demanded President Duterte to make a public apology and asked for forgiveness. Instead, he advised and reminded the faithful to “be at peace and don’t let things disturb your inner peace.” He said that questions about God and the Bible, such as the story of creation that was the subject of the President’s recent tirades, are always raised and will continue to be raised. He reminded the faithful that the Second Vatican Council that modernized the Church called for respect toward non-Catholics and even those who don’t believe in God. He said that “religions are not to be used for conflicts but for mutual understanding and peace.”

Cardinal Tagle’s prudence, calmness and understanding really elicited my deep respect and admiration for him as the leader of the millions of Catholics in this country. Remember when he was also criticized lately by the jailed Senator Lilia de Lima for being quiet and silent on the many human rights abuses of the Duterte administration. He remained silent and was prudent in not giving any comments to the attacks made against him by the Senator. I can only surmise that he deems Lima’s tirades are not worth answering.

In the case of Bro. Eddie Villanueva, founder of the Jesus is Lord Movement, who demanded and threatened the President of the coming rallies and demonstrations, I am constrained to ask: what kind of religion does he leads when it cannot understand and respect the belief of another? When its faith depends on what someone says?

I am confused and bewildered by the actuations and behavior of this Johnny-come-lately who formed his religious movement only recently. This millionaire evangelist mixed faith in God and politics as manifested when he ran for president of the country during the last presidential election. Thank God he didn’t win.

Instead of cursing and bedeviling the President, we must continue to pray that he’ll change his wrongful ways, thoughts, feelings and opinions as he leads the country in his fight against crime, drugs, and graft and corruption.