I almost had a perfect hunch yesterday. A few minutes before I walked out of the house for the Sunday mass, a 10-minute walk to be precise, I actually diddle-daddled going to church. I just felt lazy thinking watching Kap’s Amazing Stories (amazing stories and videos on animals and nature) would have been a better antibiotic for my langour. I dragged my feet anyway to the Shrine – the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians. I arrived as the second epistle was read. Then the Gospel. I had a strong feeling the focus was going to be a defense on the existence of the institutional Church to be justified by this line: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” It was worse than I imagined.
The disgusting pre-Vatican parish priest instead did a horrible hermeneutic on this verse: “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” And the gist of his homily? Stomach this if you can. The key to Heaven is handed on to the Pope via Peter. Any Catholic who obeys the Pope is assured of entrance to Heaven. Vice versa, disobedience will cost one this salvific entrance. Obedience to an infallible Pope who could never make mistake in matters of faith and morals, the priest further prattled, is the criterion of a Catholic’s moral decision. I almost walked out but the good thing is I was already sitting by the road gutter outside. Needless but the sense of loss for moments of sound theology or a hermeneutic on solitude (“who do YOU say that I am?”) stung me. We’re talking about 8 masses on Sunday in this Shrine with overflowing churchgoers of an average of 500. Nearby is the Congregation’s school of theology.
And the Church wonders why more and more people are rooting for the Reproductive Health Bill with this kind of thought control and backward ecclesiology.