The most recent news is the concerned bishops and the CBCP apologized to the nation. The apology, however, is met with the ambivalence of grateful surprise and endless scorn. Both articles of columnists Randy David and Conrado De Quiros and the comments from the reading public show this ambivalence. While it is hard to measure the sincerity of the bishops’ apology the way others are questioning it, what stands certain is trust with the episcopacy has really crumbled after the expose. How long will this trust be restored is going to be the core of the issue.
Gleaning from the readers’ comments, one gets the impression of a growing vilification of our Church leaders. Too often, they border on secular moralizing, more divisive, hateful, belligerent. I guess the hidden moral inconsistency of the Church has been there all along, a part of it a residue of the Spanish era, and a part of it, the result of some spiritual complacency of the “cloaked.” The desert fathers were known for their spiritual vigilance with what they termed as “guarding the heart.” Any Christian can easily fall into some complacent state. Sadly, the episcopacy falls into the temptation exposed only incidentally by their alliance with the morally questionable personality and presidency of Gloria Arroyo.
So what’s next for the Filipino Catholic? I believe the basic way forward is to grieve first. I want to grieve for one more innocence lost. I want to grieve for spiritual opportunities lost out of this spiritual complacency. Our bishops are no less dignified members of the Body of Christ, in need of the forgiving mercy much like any one of us. They should lead us in this grieving. An apology would be a good start. Now, it’s time to turn it into a liturgy – the liturgy of grieving where Christ’s mercy can purify us further and turn us into better instruments of peace rather than of mere divisive hatred.