Friday, October 01, 2010

Confronting the Unavoidable

First of all, I am raised Catholic. My family from my mother's side are staunch church-goers. When I was living in my mother's hometown, my grandmother would wake us up at three in the morning to say the rosary with her. On the months of May and October, we would recite the rosary every evening, without fail. I know the Apostle's Creed and other long prayers by heart, and I can explain to you what  every mystery means.

As much as it was ingrained in my person, they're all memorized prayers. When I was younger I resented being woken up at dawn to pray against my will. I have great respect for prayer - if I can't put my whole heart in it, I'd rather not pray. I think it's an insult to God to have your mouth moving, saying those things in a mechanical way but your thoughts somewhere else. I don't get it.

I studied in a sectarian university, and I had taken 12 units of Religion in order to graduate. Again, it was imposed on me. Most of the time I thought it wasn't an education per se, but a heavy dose of guilt trip. I don't disagree with the basic principles, e.g. Jesus sacrificing himself to save us from eternal damnation, doing good, the Ten Commandments.

The Catholic Church had been waving their big stick over the country since the 1500s, and until now we're under their heavy doses of guilt-tripping us into submission. Religion is supposed to help you become a better version of yourself. But the way the Church is acting right now, they're losing fans.

Vatican's stand against birth control is of course echoed into the smallest of parish all over the world, but the Constitution is firm and definite on one thing: Church and State should be separate. CBCP's bullying of the President is childish, equivalent to a three-year old having tantrums because you won't let them whack your laptop. Finally, we have a president who's not afraid to go against what the Church says, and Bishop threatens him with excommunication.

Seriously, what happens when the church you grew up with cuts you off? Roman Catholicism is also known as the convenient religion, because you can show up to church or not and no one would know; unlike some who checks attendance and would even pay you a visit at home if you haven't shown up in a while. Would they block the President from entering a church? Deny him the sacrament? Is that what God would want?

Birth control shouldn't even be an issue - it should be made readily available by the government for those that require it, in a public health point of view. It's so much more than curbing the population, it's preventing the spread of diseases. If it's the Church's point of view that artificial contraception methods are sinful, then so be it. But don't bully the whole nation into getting them to follow their way. Not everybody is Catholic, and not everyone wants to risk having another kid they can't feed or send to school.

What bothers me the most is the uppity, self-righteous attitude CBCP is having. How dare you say that people who use artificial contraception are sinful, when the issues of priests worldwide molesting young children and having families are being ignored by the Pope? Don't cast the first stone, right?

This is not the 1500s. People think for themselves now, they don't follow blindly anymore. You can't spoonfeed your agenda on a country that's one of the most populated in the world, by ratio of land area and population. Have you seen how many children are on the streets and not in school?

To be clear, I am not against God or religion per se. What I don't like is organized religion, and all their agenda and power trips because they're so rich and powerful. Priests take a vow of poverty, yet the Catholic Church is one of the richest groups in the world, with vast properties, rare art collection, and the works. It doesn't jive.

I would still pray and have my personal relationship with God, but I refuse to be led to a path where closed minds are encouraged.

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