The Catholic Church: Between the Sublime and the Ridiculous

To my blog, “Under the RH Law (RA 10354) the Catholic Must Choose” there was quite amount of no-holds-barred response. Some were printed, other texted. Some were thoughtful, others emotional. Some expressed agreement, others admonition. For all, I am grateful, even if I am unable to answer each individually. Since all the comments on WordPress are “approved” (unless they are doubled), they are available to everyone.

There are two responses which moved me. One was presumably complimentary by mentioning me in the same breath as Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., the infamous “Guro of Destabilization.” “It’s because of Jesuits like these,” the testimony went, “that I don’t leave the Church.” The other was more moving: “If there were more around like these, I wouldn’t have left the Church.”

Conclusion? The Catholic Church is in trouble – even in Catholic Philippines.

Especially if remaining in the Church hangs –in a fit of gallows humor – on the Guro of Destabilization! Or worse, on a Jesuit like me!

Seriously though, there ought to be great concern. People have been leaving the Catholic Church. People are about to leave the Church. It is time, I think, for Mahar Mangahas to take out his social survey tools to help us understand what is happening.

What I am picking up is exasperation. People are tired of lousy homilies that ramble in inanities that begin and never end, and never end because they should never have begun. People are tired of being preached at, of being treated as if they were younger than adolescents, of being lectured, of being scolded, of being dictated upon. People are tired of obstinate claims to absolute truth, when the thinking world continues to seek truth. People are tired of being told how to think, when they can think for themselves, and how to choose, when they can choose for themselves, and how to have sex when they can have sex for themselves.

People are tired of the reproductive health (RH) discussion, debate, disaster, debacle. All right, they are willing to receive a clear statement of the teaching of the Church on this matter, and they understand that the hierarchy is serious about conveying its message, and that there are lay persons very passionate about making sure that that message gets conveyed. But hey, was it really necessary to devote the whole of Advent to it, including all of Simbang Gabi, and for Christmas fare, was it really so necessary to talk about Reproductive Health and the Virgin Birth through Conception by the Holy Spirit? And when New Year’s came, was it really so necessary to preach on Reproductive Health and Child Circumcision?

People are tired of it. They know: the CBCP was against the RH Bill. The CBCP is against the RH Law. So too their presbyteral preachers, and their lay defenders. They have their reasons based on solid doctrine. Because of the nature and dignity of man (and woman!), each and every conjugal act must not be bereft of its unitive and procreative meanings, except when the procreative aspect can be avoided through natural family planning methods. Artificial contraception is proscribed. Abortion is proscribed. The contraceptive mentality leads to all manner of evil. This is the truth.

People love the truth. But the feeling is: people are being strangled by this truth. Their reaction: stop the world, I want to get off! Stop the holier-than-thou discourse, the theological bullying, the magisterial declarations, not because what you have said may not have been important, but because what you have said, you have said over and over and over again. Now, you are a broken record.

Give me now my chance to consider the arguments, think it over, and let me decide. Entrust me and my decision to my compassionate Father. I would rather entrust myself to him who can send me to hell, than to you with your stringent conditions for heaven!

“All this I have told you that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11). This used to be a joyful Church for a joy-loving people. It has become rather somber, and people are leaving it with no regret. You think we can afford the losses? Italy was once all Catholic. Spain was once all Catholic. My gosh, the Holy Roman Empire was once all Catholic.

Already, clearly, the Philippines is not all Catholic. It never was. Being a responsible Catholic in the Philippines today, whether lay, religious or ordained, is no mean thing. There are confused laypersons, rogue religious and pathetic priests. From within the Church, pastors should be helping Catholics to be Catholics. Yes, also with their teaching on RH! But if this is all they’re putting out, if this is the single tune they sing and demand every person dance to, then the party has lost its joy, and people will walk out.

If people don’t leave the Church, what is the core experience that pastors in the Church want to make sure their people have?

I asked this of a young friend today. I asked him, “If you do not leave the Church today, what is it that you look for?” He said, “A sense of God. An experience of the Holy.”

He meant, the experience of the Holy that you receive upon entry into a Church or a Shrine that is sacred space. The Holy in a special place, where you must remove your shoes in silence.

He meant, the words that comes from a holy man or holy woman who speaks to you about God.

He meant, the sublimity of prayers and rituals that mediate the presence of God.

At the Ateneo de Naga, what they always celebrated in the Church through their motto was: Primum Regnum Dei – first the Kingdom of God. This was what Jesus Christ used to preach, why he was misunderstood, vilified, condemned, crucified, died, then rose. Being in the Church means being a disciple of Jesus, being received as a companion at his side, participating in his ongoing proclamation of the Kingdom, helping him deliver the message about which he said, “All this I have told you that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11).

Why not leave the Church? Because this was the Church into which you were born? And the Church where you have chosen to stay?

Why? Because there are holy people there? The presence of God is felt there? Because there are blessed people there who speak to you credibly of God? Because, “First, the Kingdom of God” is practiced there? Because the Kingdom of God is being established in the partnership between husband and wife making home a happy place for children; it is being established in the professional competence and labors of a father bringing home the bacon for the family; it is being established in the teaching of a mother who handles five college classes a day then comes home to tutor her own children. The Kingdom of God being established in Catholics confronting and balancing the conflicting claims of environmental preservation, private gain, industrial productivity, the rights of Indigenous peoples, nationalism and globalization in search of a viable common good?

Also because there are people, like myself, whom I love in this Church, who with every rosary or every lit candle say, “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am a sinner” (Lk 18:13), and somehow there feel the consolation of a compassionate God. And even the caring of a compassionate community.

It is in the Catholic Church where faith is celebrated in awesome sacraments, so long as these are not spoiled by haughty priests or distasteful distractions. The main Sacrament is Jesus Christ expressing the Father’s Love through the Spirit at the Mass; there is the sacrament of Baptism that initiates us into the mystery of the Church; there is the sacrament of Orders that ordains a young man into the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ consecrated to the service of the Priesthood of the People of God.

Then there is the sublime sacrament of Matrimony whose ministers are two people in love, a man and a woman. In God’s grace, and for the edification of the Christian community, they remove their love from the strictly private sphere and hold it up to the Christian community as a shared sacrament, a grace-bestowing symbol of the love of Jesus for his one spouse, the Church, and the love of the Church for her one spouse, the Lord. It is because of this Sacrament that there is only one spouse, as there is only one Lord and only one Church, and that the marriage, given in grace, is indissoluble. This is the Sacrament that that every conjugal act sets in grace, the meaning from which it ought never be separated, celebrating in its ecstasy and pleasure, the incredible joy of God united to his human Church and the joy of the Church united to her God. “I have come to give life,” Jesus said, “and to give it to the full” (John 10:10). Again, “All this I have told you that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11).

In the Catholic Church, we sinners and pastors bungle up many things. But I believe God is present in our Church in mysterious ways, as he is present mysteriously in other faiths. God is present in our people crawling down long Church aisles for an experience of the Holy, and battling the mob barefoot somehow to be able to touch divinity. He is present in the laborer struggling to make his monthly eight-thousand fit for the needs of his wife and four children. He is even present in the oddball who waives a placard at the preacher to say, “Hey, listen to me!” It is the Church that God gave us, the Church “for all” – for that is what “catholic” means.

I think, if God can love us, so ought we love one another. Only then, might we be a Sacrament of God’s presence in the world. Otherwise, in a rational world, we are a laughingstock.

My unsolicited advice: choose to stay in the Church. But emulate Fr. Bernas’ sense of humor.

About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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119 Responses to The Catholic Church: Between the Sublime and the Ridiculous

  1. Cristina Tabora says:

    Whoohoo! W tip of hat to first man on the moon Niel Armstrong : one MORE giant step for Mankind!

    • tonycsantos says:



      by John L. Allen Jr. | Feb. 17, 2013 NCR Today


      Directing Lenten Retreat for Roman Curia

      Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, a 70-year-old biblical scholar, essayist and intellectual omnivore,

      will preach the Lenten spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia. He was scheduled to lead this week’s retreat long before Benedict announced his decision to renounce the papacy. He is the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture.

      While working on his doctorate at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Ravasi spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Jordan on archeological digs, and later served as prefect of the prestigious Ambrosian Library in Milan. Among those who know Ravasi, his penchant for literary allusion is legendary; rarely can he talk for more than five minutes without citing wildly diverse sources such as St. Augustine, Isaac Newton, Vladimir Nabakov, and the Russian Orthodox liturgy.

      Despite his prodigious learning, Ravasi has a strong popular touch. On Friday night in Rome he delivered some reflections on Albert Camus at the Jesuit Church of Gesù, which struggled to contain an overflow crowd.

      ”Courtyard of the Gentiles” Project

      Unperturbed either by the Vatican’s internal turmoil or by broader tensions in Catholic life, the hyper-erudite Ravasi continues marching to the beat of his own drum, pressing ahead in dialogue with the worlds of art, science, and culture. At a time when relations between the church and secular society are widely perceived to be deteriorating, Ravasi’s “Courtyard of the Gentiles” project, designed to foster ties with non-believers, is perhaps either the most courageous, or the most quixotic, official initiative going.

      Two recent news items offer reminders of the unique spot that Ravasi occupies on the landscape.

      First, the “Courtyard of the Gentiles”, which has already organized high-profile events in Bologna, Paris, Bucharest and Tirana, arrives this week in what might well be considered the beating heart of secularism: Stockholm, Sweden. (According to a 2009 Gallup survey, Sweden ranked as the “last religious” nation on earth, as measured by low rates of attendance at church services coupled with high percentages of the population who profess no religious belief or affiliation.)

      The idea of the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” is to meet non-believers halfway, but in this case one might say Ravasi is going all the way, engaging secular thought and culture in one of its strongholds.

      The Sept. 13-14 program will put Ravasi and other Catholic thinkers into dialogue with a cross-section of Sweden’s leading intellectual lights on these questions: “Can one choose a ‘World without God?’ How far can the human person go in the field of creation? Are there limits, and if so, what are they?”

      One of the venues for the meeting will be the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the body that awards the Nobel Prizes.

      Ravasi introduced the program on Sunday with a lengthy essay in Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops conference. In a typical flourish, most of the piece consisted of Ravasi’s reflections on three contemporary Swedish novelists – whose books, for all the world, it sounded as if he’d actually read.

      Among other nuggets, Ravasi observed that perhaps styling the project as a dialogue with “non-believers” stacks the deck rhetorically in an unhelpful way. He quoted Thomas Hammarberg, a Swede and former European Commissioner for Human Rights, who is not a religious believer, but who objects to terms such as “atheist,” “agnostic” and “non-believer,” on the grounds that “we all, in some way, have a faith.”

      Ravasi also noted that the Stockholm initiative has an obvious ecumenical component, since Sweden is a Lutheran nation, and until 2000 the Lutheran Church of Sweden was the official state church. Ravasi said that Antje Jackelén, the female bishop of Lund, will not only be an enthusiastic participant in the Courtyard project, but she’s also invited Ravasi to be a permanent member of a theological association she founded for the protection of the environment.

      Ravasi ended his essay with a familiar quotation from Nietzsche, which serves as a sort of unofficial motto for the Courtyard initiative: “Only a person of deep faith can afford the luxury of skepticism.”

      Biennial Venice Arts Festival

      Ravasi has also confirmed that the Vatican, in the form of his Pontifical Council for Culture, will have its own pavilion at the 2013 edition of the famed Venice arts festival, known as the “Biennale” because it’s held every two years. The Vatican will use its space to host well-known artists whose work reflects, in some form, on the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

      Although Ravasi has not confirmed who those artists will be, a news item on Monday in the Italian press suggested that names under consideration include Greek painter and sculptor Jannis Kounellis; American video artist Bill Viola; and Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor. None, for the record, is Catholic.

      For Ravasi, staging a pavilion at a major international arts festival is no gimmick. It’s a concrete way of showing that the church has something more than moralizing or disapproval to offer artists – that it wants a dialogue, too, beyond the usual polemics.

      The “Courtyard of the Gentiles” event this week probably won’t make a big media splash, in part because the themes are abstract and not the stuff of sound-bites. Still, both Stockholm and the coming Venice festival are intriguing initiatives, and they consolidate Ravasi’s profile as a figure to watch.

  2. Estela says:

    I am not leaving the church too:-)

  3. David Arenas says:

    Thank you for reminding me about the simple call to love, particularly amid the complexities of life and suffering requiring compassionate understanding and service. Your message is one of wisdom so desperately needed in the Catholic Church today. I remember talking with you at the Ateneo in the eighties, and being impressed by your intelligence, integrity, commitment, and insightfulness. You article now reassures me not only with regards to this issue, but also in terms of how a person of faith is called to handle all controversy with the love that God shares with us and expects us to share with others. Thank you once again.

  4. Gani D. Capaning says:

    The crux of this piece is right on the nerve of how the Philippine catholic church chronically made itself irrelevant to the lives of the faithful. To be trivial and petty, I can’t seem to get over my constant experience of listening to “homilies” tackling how much money is needed to fund the steeple.

    • Meaning you have not been attending Holy Mass? I’d be surprised to find out you still do given your contempt for the continued existence of the Church despite its having become “irrelevant.”

      • Gani D. Capaning says:

        Since I am speaking from my own FILIPINO CATHOLIC experience, do not be reckless as to say that I consider the CHURCH irrelevant. I suppose you had to strike back since you are the theological bully, always ready to lash back at anyone with your magisterial declarations. If that’s how you go on defending the church, you are definitely not helping.

      • Gani D. Capaning says:

        And, by the way, I admire your intense passion to shove the truth down on people’s throats. You are a great pillar of the Crusades.

      • tonycsantos says:

        Bravo, Gani!! As Fr Joel says, let us stay but emulate Fr. Bernas’ sense of humour. We really should distinguish between the gathering of the faithful (the church) and the shortcomings of certain clergy (not all)

  5. Even if the Catholic Church be in trouble, I will not allow my faith to be troubled. So help me God..

  6. Louie M says:

    Fr. Joel, salamat.

  7. Hilda says:

    I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to say that the sanity and rationality of Jesuits is almost the only thing that has been keeping me in the Church this past year. I really hope other priests listen to you, Fr Joel.

    I think Mr Celdran will actually like your ‘He is even present in the oddball who waives a placard at the preacher to say, “Hey, listen to me!”’ line. 🙂

  8. RJ says:

    Thank you. This is an example of why I am so proud of my Ateneo education.

  9. Carol San Juan-Fajardo says:

    I continue to believe and feel a compassionate God, Joel. Thank you for your voice.

  10. jojo zara says:

    The real root of corruption ever since Magellan landed in the Philippines is Religion. What Catholicism has tough us is Idolatry, corruption and Greed not the real fear of God. It is the Friars who land-grabbed acres and acres of land and now it is being owned by their Kins. They kins other prominent Spanish kins intermarriage with one another to keep the loots to themselves Go to the Manila Cathedral and look whose prominent names are there inside the Cathedrals Private VIP Moseluems you will also noticed that intermarriage because they just exchanged their family names with each other. While the heirs of these Greedy Friars are now Billionaires, imagine owning the vast strech the Makati Commercial District to yourself, thats 700,000 peer square meter at present rate. It is very Ironic to notice that their Catholic brothers are paupers outside these Cathedrals, some are sleeping outside the church doors on corrugated cardboard placed on the cold tiles. The rotten corps of these rich Insulares are snugly secured inside the Church.VIP Moseluems. Do we really owe our Christian ism to the Spaniards? I don’t think so, what they brought to us is a fake religion of Idol worshipers being run by men in robes, or shall is say Sheep’s in White Clothing!

    • peaceforum2 says:

      that’s too much of an accusation, too biased. I wish you should be more objective rather than emotional about it. I will not refute that here because it will take too much space, I suggest you read more and widen your horizon rather than be inflamed by anti-Catholic sentiment.

    • Tony says:

      so, ang sabi mo, tanga ang mga ancestors natin? dahil they did not think the way you do? dahil they did accept christianity, or many did, for good or ill, but certainly according their own lights? galing mo, ikaw lang ang bright. sayang, you did not live at that time to enlighten our ancestral brothers and sisters!!! kung sasabihin mo na pinwersa sila, sasabihin mo rin ba na duwag sila? imagine that, a few hundred spaniards lorded it over hundreds of thousands of natives!!! tanga na, duwag pa ang mga ancestors natin, if one adheres to your logic.

  11. jojo zara says:

    erratum : what I mean wolves in sheep’s clothing

  12. Our differences are what makes us unique. God loves us.

  13. Johndo says:

    What a great insight, I have worked for a diocese in the chancery and was very sad to find that the message of Gods love that was preached in the cathedral never made it through the four walls of the chancery.

    One is left wondering what the words of in the rite of ordination to deaconate “receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ whose heralds you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.” really mean to those in the hierarchy of the church.

    On top of this I have heard one pastor reflect on the need for more of the Mass to be in chant; while this is a very noble part of our tradition, what the church needs to do is meet the people where they are now, not hope that they people will come to the church.

  14. Cedric says:

    Thank you fr. Joel!

    From the start, the refusal to listen to those who disagree with the Church’s magisterium and to easily condemn those who acknowledged the RH law in varying degrees is motivated by an excessive mask of self-righteousness.

    I honestly understand, as you clearly explained it above, that people are so bored, annoyed and insulted for endlessly nagging about Church’s doctrine and dogma, without a humble, gentle approach of reaching out to such people. While it is true that the Magisterium is the “teaching church”, we know too well that theologians have been in consensus that such teaching church must also be a “learning church”. In my opinion, the division and dissenssion in the Catholic church relative to the RH bill hopefully enable us to transcend our disagreements and instead, we find our common ground of openess, and dialogue to LEARN from one another as lay and ordained members of the church, to LOVE one another according to God’s design – and I think, this is the true spirit of the Ekklesia.

    We do not have to condemn each other and uselessly destroy each other’s person for the sake of our disagreement. After all, what is there to gain in destroying our own brother and sister in the process. Our greater calling is to embrace understanding and compassion, and to attempt for unity even if is not comfortable, even if it seems akward, even if it is painful.

    After all, when Jesus was incarnated in human flesh and lived as human being like us, he too must have seen things that are worth condemning and rejecting about us, about our humanity, about our habit of sin, and our arrogance and self-righteousness. And yet, Jesus died for all of us, for criminals and non-criminals, for the worthy and the unworthy, for sinners and saints.

    My prayer, then, is that we stop destroying each other and that we sincerely invite ourselves to a humble reflection and prayer of our fundamental Christian calling to examine ourselves, to lessen our self-righteousness and condemnation, and most beautiful of all, to love without condition.

  15. Cedric says:

    My sincere appreciation for your brilliance, wisdom, courage and honesty, Fr. Joel.

    May your fellow priests, particularly at the parish level, take time to read your articles, ponder on both the comforting and the disturbing truth that implicate all of us as Catholics, and motivate them to study and prepare their homilies, to deepen their biblical exegesis, and to deliver their message in effective word and witness.

    Pray for all us, lay people, to strive the same holiness that our Lord is calling us to joyfully share.

  16. fr. lordencio d. honrada says:

    You strike again. It’s a different drum that I heard with this article. I shared this and even required my deacon to read, ponder and become his point of reflection for one week or else he will not eat. (oooops, did I learn something from your article — not leaving someone to think for himself?) at any rate, thanks for the thoughts. How can I hate the Jesuits. How will I leave the Church with people like them. Maraming salamat po . . . Fr. Rector. — Dingh Honrada

  17. RP says:

    Was it also ridiculous, Fr. Joel, what you did to your “boy toys” in the Ateneo de Naga University?

  18. Gerardo M. Gustilo, M.D. says:

    Relevance is not merely tradition but meaningful recognition of who and what God is and not as seen by mortal beings. Since we are all mortals we at times miss the point that God wants us to see. This include the Pharisees who think that they should rule and interpret God’s wishes. That is why they have lost their relevance especially to the youth whose eyes are open and not easily cowed by the threat of eternal damnation which the Pharisees express like the “sword of Damocles”.

  19. dboncan says:

    The reason why people are feeling strangled is because they do not recognize what the truth is any longer and you Father Tabora, like so many in your “compania” would rather just tell people that they only need self-esteem and that they are “okay” where they are rather than encourage them and teach them how to seek the truth. Christ said: “I am the way, the TRUTH and the life…” how, pray, does Christ strangle, how, pray, does His Church strangle? In reality, you are the ones who confuse people with your perpetual feel-good “dialogue” and “reflection” of half truths, and ambiguities. Truth can never strangle because Christ can never strangle. “He was the deceiver from the beginning…” Father Tabora, only lies and the father of lies can!

    • Cedric says:

      To dhoncan:

      On the contrary, people do recognize the truth – clearly on the content of the faith and honestly from their various life context. They feel “strangled” (let me borrow your word) precisely because certain repetitive words from the pulpits seem not responsive, or if i may dare say, detached from the truthful situation of the people.

      If i may suggest to you, kindly focus on the issue, not on the person. Identify the errors that you see in the article and let us discuss and engage on it one-by-one, word-for-word, not resorting to a cheap talk of lousy criticism and shameful fallacies by attacking the person of fr. Joel.

      Of course, that is only my suggestion. But if you insist in your endless tirade against the good father here, we know who is actually becoming desperate in this argument. And by the way, do not sound as if every word you speak against the good father is a divinely vindicated anathema.

      We know better.

      • I am glad that people are reading and giving ideas to Fr. Joel blogs. This is a good academic. exercise. I learn a lot. But we must discuss only on issues, not on peronality. Make this in a high level of discussion.

    • philip says:

      “All past persecutors of the Church are now no more, but the Church still lives on. The same fate awaits modern persecutors; they, too, will pass on, but the Church of Jesus Christ will always remain, for God has pledged His Word to protect Her and be with Her forever, until the end of time.” – St. John Bosco

    • In the Catholic church their is three mysteries that even the Pope doesn’t know! 1. how many female catholic religious order in the world; 2. How much money Salesians brother have; and 3. WHAT THE JESUITS REALLY HAVE IN MIND.

  20. Catholics who feel “strangled” do so simply because they have allowed their love of Christ and his Church to be depleted. In the case of Fr Tabora, it is through missing his norms once too often, and missing out on the sacraments chiefly the sacrament of reconciliation once too often. I challenge Fr Tabora to tell me this isn’t true.

    • tonycsantos says:

      Just stick to the issues please… No need to attack the persons practice.

    • tonycsantos says:

      Here is an excerpt from another article by Fr. Tabora to explain his purpose for these discussions-

      “My conviction is: both as rational human beings and as persons of faith, even of diverse faiths, we can live in harmony with and respect for one another, even if we do not always agree. If we create the space for rational discussion based on a love for truth, or, if you will, the truth in love, we need not take up arms against one another in defense of our truth, nor condemn each other to hell in faux-imitation of the wrath of God.”

      So lets stay RATIONAL and RESPECTFUL and STICK TO ISSUES!!

      • tekamunasandali says:

        observe the proponents of Fr. Joel, di ba kung makapagsalita din sila tungkol sa simbaha eh masasakit..(hindi nakasulat iyong iba dito pero ang tingin nila sa simbahan eh makaluma, mga gomburza ang mga obispo…etc…etc..) we want to see the issue objectively pero bakit they are being subjective to the church? i agree we should not tolerate such attitudes, but i hope you would understand…

    • Sarah says:

      This is exactly why we feel strangled in the Church. YOU PEOPLE ARE SO JUDGMENTAL. Who are you to to say that we have allowed our love of Christ to be depleted? Kung magsalita kayo, akala mo kung sinong santo. Ano ba sabi ni Hesus? Di ba “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”? E bakit ganyan na lang kayo magsalita sa mga hindi nag-aagree sa inyo? What the church needs is compassion, not judgment.

      • tonycsantos says:

        Well said, Sarah!! Direct and to the point!! I tried to direct attention to Fr. Tabora’s guidelines for discussing contentious issues in his other article but apparently with no effect to some (a few actually one have heeded). The discussion should be focused on the issues and not the person.

  21. Thank you, Father, for speaking out so bravely for the rest of us. I am one of those Catholics who are dismayed at the actions of some of my fellow Catholics. Many of the things they said were downright pharisaical. You give me hope that the church may somehow redeem itself.

  22. tekamunasandali says:

    i dont agree with you criticizing the Catholic Church (as an institution). There may be some priest or bishops who sounded as a broken record, but not all (maybe some of those you have heard are within your religious order). First thing first, TRUTH cannot be broken records-i know you agree with me on this, the way it is delivered may be the problem. Again, my first point, not all play the same tune so you cannot drag the name ‘Catholic Church’- I am part of the church also, (so are my peers who are PRO-& ANTI RH). Second, not all preachers are like you or the homilies delivered may not be the same interest as you do…just dont forget to please respect them too. You’re maybe right in telling that some of the parishioners are tired of listening to the same issue, but still respect those who loves to be grounded more to the position of the Catholic Church. Wag na tyong mag-tirahan sa loob ng simbahan, the ‘enemy’ enjoy seeing us argue. Ikaw pa man din, mataas ang position at pinag-aralan, ingat lang sa pananalita kasi madami ang naaapektuhan lalo na kung pinupuna mo ang ‘institution ng simbahan’-alam mo naman na hindi lang obispo, pari ang simbahan, pati kami layko ay ‘simbahan din’… Tama ka rin naman padre ng sinabi mong, medyo makukulit ang ating mga kaparian, walang pinagkaiba sa mga magulang nating makulit magsermon nun tayo ay bata pa…kakainis, paulit ulit.. pwede sigurong sirang plaka sila, pero pwede rin ang gusto nila ay para mapabuti tayo sa mga payo nila. sabi nga dun sa isang clip sa facebook, regarding sa mga lecture, sermon, payo ng isang magulang..’if you don’t mutter under your breath’ i hate you’ at least once in your life, i am not doing my job properly. The other priest are just doing their job and since you seem to ‘hate’ their approach..they must be doing their job properly…

  23. tekamunasandali says:

    ‘people are leaving the catholic church’? more of christian dont want to enter the narrow gate should know better, padre..this subject on RH is indeed difficult especially for the please help us embrace this cross faithfully and joyfully…

  24. tekamunasandali says:

    its true that we need those experiences you mentioned in your last portion of your blog, but it should be balanced with the social expression of our faith…. a light should not be kept under a bushel… on the other hand, the campaign for ANTI- RH should touch the morality of the issue and not for personal purposes..and i think the clergies are just being watchful on the ‘hot’ topic.. rather than ignore or aloof on the issue….

  25. tonycsantos says:

    Is it a coincidence that the majority of those who attack the person of Fr. Joel and not his ideas have all masked their real identity in the choice of user names? Lets just stick to a discussion of the issues please.

    • tekamunasandali says:

      then why are you bother with those who choose to put username? stick to the discussion of the issue yourself

      • tekamunasandali says:


      • tonycsantos says:

        Please read my comment again – it is in English. Lets not attack the person but the ideas. This message has been repeated by other commentators here.

      • tonycsantos says:

        Here is an excerpt from another article by Fr. Tabora to explain his purpose for these discussions-

        “My conviction is: both as rational human beings and as persons of faith, even of diverse faiths, we can live in harmony with and respect for one another, even if we do not always agree. If we create the space for rational discussion based on a love for truth, or, if you will, the truth in love, we need not take up arms against one another in defense of our truth, nor condemn each other to hell in faux-imitation of the wrath of God.”

        So lets stay RATIONAL and RESPECTFUL and STICK TO ISSUES!!

    • John Solomon says:

      Does that mean that some commenters here can’t ask Fr. Joel directly to defend or explain further his side? By merely saying his name on some comments, you always come back with the ‘stick to the discussion’ script. THAT is actually the discussion and you’re the one who’s stopping it by bringing back the same script again and again.

  26. philip says:

    “All past persecutors of the Church are now no more, but the Church still lives on. The same fate awaits modern persecutors; they, too, will pass on, but the Church of Jesus Christ will always remain, for God has pledged His Word to protect Her and be with Her forever, until the end of time.” – St. John Bosco

  27. Finally, someone from within the clergy’s ranks who has the balls to speak out about the exasperation of Catholics and “used-to-be-Catholic” (like me) about the church hierarchy’s theological bullying and pretentious piety. How I wish there are more priests like Fr. Tabora and Fr. Bernas. Oh! I nearly forgot, even the church hierarchy hates Jesuits! Come to think of their history of near extinction if not for the Russian empress. I won’t be surprised if Fr. Tabora takes flack for his bold statement (just like what Fr. Bernas suffered from CBCP).

  28. Lopao18 says:

    My two cents: The choices are now on the table, time for us to pick one… For ourselves without someone breathing down our necks. PRO-RH or ANTI-RH, what rocks your boat, all up to you. In my opinion, all the Church has left to do now is just be the same guiding institution for the people of the State – it can continue to remind us of what’s right and wrong, educate us, if needed but still, there is this principle of Church and State. And as a citizen, I’d like to exercise the healthcare options our Government provides us, and as a Catholic, I’d really like to stay with the faith I have always believed in without the persecution and being labeled as a heretic or incomunicado. I’ve always believed Christianity is an understanding faith – a loving faith. And as we progress in time, I am hoping the Catholic Church can adapt to and evolve to accept such progress in society with the same loving, understanding, and accepting arms.

  29. Gelan Sanchez Talledo says:

    Thank you so much, Fr. Joel, for giving voice to the millions of Filipino Catholics like myself who have been going through the exact struggles you have bravely and truthfully written.

    Totoo po, dahil po sa mga Heswitang tulod mo, patuloy po kaming nananatili sa Simbahan.

    God bless! AMDG!

  30. philip says:

    ”See God in your superiors; so shall you learn to revere their will and follow their commands. Be well assured that obedience is the safest guide and most faithful interpreter of the Divine Will. Pour out your hearts to them as freely as water, mindful that they are charged with the direction of your souls. . . . Above all, do not be your own master, relying on your own prudence, contrary to the caution of the wise man.”
    –Saint Ignatius, Father of the Church

    Dear Fathers Bernas and Taboras, we don’t see any obedience in both of you anymore.

    • tonycsantos says:

      We were given responsibility over our own life and we should make decisions ourselves. Superiors, priest and other wise men may give advice but ultimately you have to have responsibility over your own life. In any case, what has Fr. Tabora’s obedience have to do with the issues per se? Stick to a discussion of the issues and avoid attacking the person or persons involved in an intelligent discussion please.

  31. tonycsantos says:

    Here is an excerpt from another article by Fr. Tabora to explain his purpose for these discussions-

    “My conviction is: both as rational human beings and as persons of faith, even of diverse faiths, we can live in harmony with and respect for one another, even if we do not always agree. If we create the space for rational discussion based on a love for truth, or, if you will, the truth in love, we need not take up arms against one another in defense of our truth, nor condemn each other to hell in faux-imitation of the wrath of God.”


    • tekamunasandali says:

      i agree with you 100 percent to stick to the issue…sometimes the border between the issue and the conviction of the person is so thin. kaya the issue wrote are basically his thoughts, heart & mind expressed. sensya na kung minsan nagiging personal…nasanay siguro sa kapapanood ng mga live trials, kailangan i-scrutinize din ang pagkatao at hindi lang ang sinasabi…at saka, fr. joel ang nagsasalita eh, hindi ang basta ordinariong tao..meron bigat ang mga sinasabi kahit na sinsabi nyang personal stand iyon, he also represents an order, a community, a school, a parish, and a faith..

  32. peaceforum2 says:

    I recognize and agree on the validity of some of the issues mentioned. But when the church is embattled it is important that we Catholics should unite behind our Bishops.

    • tonycsantos says:

      I was wondering which issues you agree are valid and which ones are not. The purpose for this blog is to discuss contentious issues (see Fr. Tabora’s article on that). If you have the inclination and time to enlighten me, I might be able to understand the “BUT we catholics should unite behind our bishops” and how you reconcile in your own mind and conscience suppressing the truth which is, perhaps, contrary to the official position of the CBCP. Cheers!

  33. peaceforum2 says:

    Today I find the Opus Dei as the ones bearing the mission of St. Ignatius de Loyola. How I wish that the SJ today will rediscover their roots. St. Ignatius pledge to defend the Pope and was very effective in the counter-reformation that checked the spread of Protestantism in Europe. I wish that the SJ of today will have that same spirit of unity with the Hierarchy.

  34. I am wondering if this is your own personal opinion only or the whole Jesuit congregation position regarding the RH Bill? For me, your stand on RH Bill as a Jesuit – Catholic priest is an outright example of moral and dogmatic disobedience to the Catholic faith.

    • tonycsantos says:

      I read the article again and I did not find any claims that this is the Society’s official position. So it is most likely Fr. Tabora’s own opinion as he is the author of the article. As to labeling his article as an act of disobedience, a re-read of the article will show that he actually states the official position of the Church – ” The CBCP is against the RH Law. So too their presbyteral preachers, and their lay defenders. They have their reasons based on solid doctrine. Because of the nature and dignity of man (and woman!), each and every conjugal act must not be bereft of its unitive and procreative meanings, except when the procreative aspect can be avoided through natural family planning methods. Artificial contraception is proscribed. Abortion is proscribed. The contraceptive mentality leads to all manner of evil. This is the truth.”

      In his other article regarding the RH bill, he suggests that basically citizens can choose to stick to the teaching of the church on the use only of natural family planning methods according to one’s own belief. OR, for citizens, whether catholic or not, prefer to choose other methods provided these are, per the law, non-abortifacient. The clerics of the Catholic Church should be more active in teaching the Catholics the moral norm it prefers rather than INHIBIT others, with different views, from following the Church teaching.

      Please read his other article on discussing contentious issues – the purpose behind this blog.

      Lets all have a RATIONAL and RESPECTFUL dialogue regardless of disagreements over these issues.

    • tonycsantos says:

      And may I commend you for coming out as yourself in this blog and not under another faceless identity. Cheers!!!

      • As a priest like Fr. Tabora I think in the name of the love of God and country He should kept it to himself what he thinks about his own antrophological and cosmic interpretation about creation and man’s nature.He might have a good reason to support RH Law but if he is really reasonable he should also see what are the negative consequences in the Christian families and society this “culture of death ” as John Paul II called created in the Western world andd in near future to the Philippines. Faith is already a reason and coupled with obbedience to the Vicar of Christ is a testimony of what a true Christian belief is. Reason without obbedience to the Catholc Heirachy is purely an intellectual and mental lack of humility. I believe what the Prof at ADMU in the School of Theology said before he gave his resignation that in this institution a lacuna of character and conscience exists. I ask you as brother in Jesus Christ if possible to observe what St. Augustine said to us Catholics: In things that divides us comprehension and with the things that binds us unity but above all charity must be on top of it all.

      • tonycsantos says:

        Dear Fr. Domino, please read Fr. Tabora’s first paragraph. That is the thesis of his article. He further states also what the catholic teaching in his article.
        1. You mention that Fr. Tabora supports the RH Bill. I find no mention of that support in his article. His thesis is all he is saying.
        2. As to the “culture of death”, I think that is a bit of a stretch. The law is a law for all citizens and is respectful of all the citizens’ values whether these agree with the Roman Catholic Church or not. So do your job better by instructing the faithful in the Church’s teachings with humility and not with haughtiness.
        3. As for St. Augustine, I am afraid i didnt understand the quote.

        Towards more rational and respectful dialogue in this forum, your brother-in-Christ.

      • the quotation in Latin was misattributed to St. Agustine: here it is In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas

      • tonycsantos says:

        Thanks Fr. Domino. The latin text is much clearer.. 🙂

      • Thanks tonycsantos for your correction and I will try to do just that for the love of God but I think as diciples of Christ we must be ” intellectually honest ” not for our own sake but for the love of those little ones and for the Kingdom of God. May God bless us all! Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam!

  35. kapanalig says:

    I love this Church where there is diversity of thinking within but still at the end acknowledge the fact that there is a Magisterium to make us all One.

    If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. -Matthew 18:15-18

  36. roseangeles says:

    There’s a passage in the bible which states: “When the Son of Man returns, will there still be faith in the world?” . I am one of those who at times was bothered by long and sometimes ‘untimely’ homilies. Yes, I completely agree that there are some members of the church (lay people and religious) that sounds like ‘broken record’ who may have contributed to ” church-goers’ ” leaving the Catholic Church and in fact, there are some priests who only says mass (not celebrate the mass). But, why do we go to church?, to listen to an acceptable homily or is it because we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist? People can always think and choose for themselves, this is true since creation, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God ( they think and choose for themselves !). And Adam pointed to the woman saying she made me do it! That is why I used the word “church-goers” , why blame errant members of the church when you decide to change your religion? Indeed. the Catholic Church is in trouble, it has been in trouble since it began. As catholics let us: 1) pray for priests, religious and lay leaders who will be faithful to the Truth and obedient o the Church Magisterium 2) pray for errant church leaders, for many souls are entrusted to them 3) pray for church leaders who will preach with love the true teachings of the Catholic Church. Lastly, I thank the Lord for the holy men and women of the church particularly the contemplative nuns and religious priests and brothers who have been faithful to their charism. In my humble opinion, they have contributed greatly to prevent the destruction of the Catholic Church from within.

    • I agree 100% with you roseangeles…it takes wisdom and other gifts of the Holy Spirit to see things the way you did. Let’s pray for Pope Benedict XVI….He was in good shape today during the Papal Audience inside the Aula Paolo VI and Happy Lenten Season to all!

  37. Proud2bSHSJ2004 says:

    People wonder why many of those who graduate from Jesuit schools give an unusually high degree of loyalty to their alma mater. I think this blog post very much shines a bit of light as to why. Greetings from Cebu, Father. 🙂

  38. Pingback: Philippines news: Mga Katoliko, lumalayo sa Simbahan dahil sa 'theological bullying' —  2 paring Heswita | Pinas news library

  39. Father, honestly, I want to leave the Catholic Church because of clergy’s obnoxious behavior on the RH Bill which I am a strong advocate. But reading this piece of yours, it gave me a good light and rethink my decision not to leave, as there are still some people in the hierarchy who still has good faith. Thank you for this piece, Father. It has lightened my heavy load. 🙂

  40. Pope resigns on Feb 28, 2013, saying no longer has strength to fulfill ministry. Ref.

  41. Dear Brothers,

    I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

    Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

    From the Vatican, 10 February 2013



  42. Thanks for sharing your strong ideas, like strong coffee, welcome anytime. ah. I am not leaving the Catholic church ever. I just want to belong to the Church and not out shopping around for another church. Let the mass homily , bible readings shared by the priest on its equivalent to real life, like Jesus Christ always telling stories, parables to make a point ? Everybody listens to story telling, and do not mind being addressed to a sermon, thinking it”s still part of the story. When the parishioner re-think what the priest’s said, wow, their is a lesson to be learned and welcome the idea and walk the talk. People now have to hear wisdom, virtues,spiritual renewal , Catholic teachings in layman terms. Why not talk about punctuality, purity, integrity, the holy spirit, the holy Trinity in marriage,, “MY JOY MAYBE IN YOU AND YOUR JOY MAY BE COMPLETE (Jn15:11). So people will not hunger only for happiness but also for deep joy in the Lord. My two cents,,,, A C DY, age – feels young and full of ideas sometimes.

  43. Alvin Aprecio says:

    “According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
    Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or pa-tronise me, or show off?’ The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with every one else’s pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive—is competitive by its very nature—while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not. The sexual impulse may drive two men into competition if they both want the same girl. But that is only by accident; they might just as likely have wanted two different girls. But a proud man will take your girl from you, not because he wants her, but just to prove to himself that he is a better man than you. Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go round; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power. Nearly all those evils in the world which people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride.” – CS LEWIS

    This is our problem as human beings and you, Fr. Joel, is PART OF THE PROBLEM and not the SOLUTION.

    • tonycsantos says:

      What does Fr. Tabora’s pride or lack of it have to do with the thesis he writes about? Focus on the issues please and not the person. Read Fr. Tabora’s guideline on discussing contentious issues.

      • philip says:

        The prince of darkness acted as a suavely dressed, courteous young man and went into Padre Pio’s confessional… This is beloved St. Pio’s own account: “One day, while I was hearing confessions, a man came to the confessional where I was. He was tall, handsome, dressed with some refinement and he was kind and polite. He started to confess his sins, which were of every kind: against God, against man and against the morals. All the sins were obnoxious! I was disoriented, in fact for all the sins that he told me, but I responded to him with God’s Word, the example of the Church, and the morals of the Saints. But the enigmatic penitent answered me word for word, justifying his sins, always with extreme ability and politeness. He excused all the sinful actions, making them sound quite normal and natural, even comprehensible on the human level.. He continued this way with the sins that were gruesome against God, Our Lady, the Saints, always using disrespectful round-about argumentation. He kept this up even with with the foulest of sins that could be conjured in the mind of a most sinful man. The answers that he gave me with such skilled subtlety and malice surprised me. I wondered: who is he? What world does he come from? And I tried to look at him in order to read something on his face. At the same time I concentrated on every word he spoke, trying to discover any clue to his identity.. But suddenly; through a vivid, radiant and internal light I clearly recognized who he was. With a sound and imperial tone I told him: “Say long live Jesus, long live Mary!” As soon as I pronounced these sweet and powerful names, Satan instantly disappeared in a trickle of fire, leaving behind him an unbearable stench.”

        YOU, FATHERS TABORA & BERNAS, ALL PRO-RH AND THE PENITENT HAVE THE SAME QUALITIES AS DESCRIBED BY ST. PADRE PIO–“But the enigmatic penitent answered me word for word, justifying his sins, always with extreme ability and politeness. He excused all the sinful actions, making them sound quite normal and natural, even
        comprehensible on the human level.”

  44. Alvin says:

    forgive the typo – “are” and not “is”

  45. Mrs.Nanohana says:

    I don’t think I completely understood what Fr. Tabora was trying to say, but seeing and reading some of the comments here (but not all, because it was too long), the issues or problems, if ever you feel that there’s a problem, are not that easy to discuss. May be I shouldn’t say anything about it, but here are some questions I’ve been wondering towards Catholic church in the Philippines. (And sorry if it’s not related to the article)

    It seems like there’s no registration system in parish aside from baptism. How do you decide which church you belong to, and what parish is your community (as your extended family), and which church you give your monthly stewardship donation?

    Why do you give confirmation to kids who are in catholic schools as if automatically? Isn’t it better if the kids get confirmation when they are active in church or related activities at school, and also ready to make a decision on his/her own to live and stay as catholic?

    And.. I don’t find anything wrong with any priests at all here in the Philippines. But I notice (generally speaking) that many people are into receiving than giving.

    To me Church is not a place we get free services. Yes, you don’t need to pay to pray in church, but it’s our obligation to give monthly donation (or stewardship) aside from Sunday collection, and church is also obliged to show the statement of account.

    Many people I asked said that it’s not advisable to talk about money openly here in the Philippines, and that is the reason some even want to donate secretly. I’d like to respect Filipino culture, but if church is relying on big donation only from mostly rich people, then I’m not sure if people who don’t donate really would love the church as much.

    To me it is very important that one gives (cash, time or free services) than thinking what one can receive from church.

    Lastly my two kids who got baptized by Fr. Tabora are now already 21, and 19 years old. Though none of them went to Ateneo: one went to DLSU and one is in UP. 🙂

    • childlike says:

      if you give, why would you account for it..if you give, don’t ask for any liquidation…

      • Mrs.Nanohana says:

        Thanks, childlike for commenting to my comment!

        I appreciate your comment, and will remember your idea and opinion, too. I’m not totally deciding what is good, or bad, or what should be, or supposed to be. I’m not a Filipino, and most of the time I respect the way it is practiced here, never said anything openly in public. Normally I say my opinions to people I know (priests I know or people who help in church), but then I never force my ideas.

        But then I also can’t change my background, and can’t help comparing (which is normal I think if you go to another country and experience different culture).

        And what I experienced was something like, it was a church that we had election every year to choose the board members, and elected people who do accounting, or president, vice president, etc. Then for example, I used to belong to this high school group that pray rosary every Saturday, and another group during Sunday (Sunday school), and after mass, there was high school bible study group. So each group had its own activities. Like rosary praying group, we also visited the sick members who couldn’t come to church, or we helped the church store that needed someone to fix the price tags, and if they need to order supplies, we went to the big store like st.Paul to buy those. So we needed transportation fee for our activities. Our Sunday school had once a year camping, and we needed funds, too. If there were people who helped us, like lay person or college students who assisted, they too got allowance. So we computed the amount, and submit to the committee. The committee always came out with clear statement, and sometimes we had to give up some activities due to lack of funds. I think all of us always thought about church funds, and cooperated. That funds was treated like our common funds, I guess. And it covered all the activities in parish.

        I think church never force my parents to give, but they are suggested to give 5% of their income. So unlike here in the Philippines, there’s no payment for baptism or wedding, or funeral, because as long as we are church members, we contribute, and we get those things without fee. It’s only people who are not catholic, but want to have wedding in church pay.

        Anyway, so here, I’m used to seeing statement from the parish. And the parish I normally goes used to give a statement every after the mass, too here in the Philippines. So I guess some parishes are changing. It’s just that when there’s a new priest, it stopped. May be, showing the statement may encourage people to contribute, because you can see how poor the parish is, and can imagine how hard to run it only with such limited funds (no wonder it can’t even reach to support the activities like Sunday school for public school kids).

        But then, again, I’m not forcing my idea to the churches here. After all, Filipino churches can decide what is the best for Filipino people by their own. There are enough smart people here in the Philippines and I trust it changes toward something positive.

  46. flaor says:

    Yes, we have to “choose to stay in the Church!” But not as “Wayward children” who make their own excuses or standard of behaving and living apart from what the Moral Guidance of the Church says or what the Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition have taught us from time immemorial. Truth remains the same, because the Truth is Jesus Christ Himself. The Truth about the Gospel of life continues to reecho in the hearts of minds of faithful Catholics throughout centuries. The language or the way it is expressed may be difficult to accept in a given period, but the Truth remains. Remember, we are all morally responsible to continue become obedient Children of God in season and out of season, whether we are comfortable and uncomfortable in the process. So, “Choose to stay in the Church and be worthy of being one.”

  47. flaor says:

    errata: The Truth about the Gospel of life continues to reecho in the hearts and minds of faithful Catholics throughout centuries.

  48. RChem - Nathan Ray Alim says:

    Perhaps “THIS” was what Dr. Jose Rizal had seen on Jesuit education. History revealed that the National Hero himself (impliedly) might have lost his faith weren’t for the Jesuits.

    Kudos to Fr. Joel Tabora. I, for one, is not a Catholic but admires the stern stand of Fr. Joel on social issues and more particularly in interreligious dialogues for as Fr. Joel has conveyed, God makes himself present in other faiths in mysterious ways.

    The Ateneo de Davao has been more progressive, spiritually and socially aware because of you. Thank you so much.

    Strong in faith! AMDG

  49. Explore Islam and learn something about it. You never know what you’ll find. Many did before you and its liberating not to confine ourselves to things that we grew up with. 🙂

  50. childlike says:

    “Strong in faith”, this is the motto that the Ateneo School is bringing but what actually happening is the other way around. Oh, we are Catholics, but we don’t believe in the truth that the Church proclaims. How painful it is for the Church that her Jesuit priests are attacking her. Why justify the wrong? making the evil, good…Is that what you want to promote, the dictatorship of relativism, abandoning the absolute truth for the sake of the majority…

    • Tony says:

      “we are catholics, but we don’t believe in the truth that the church proclaims.” please speak for yourself. what you say certainly does not apply to many ateneans.

  51. bee says:

    “choose to stay in the Church. But emulate Fr. Bernas’ sense of humor.”
    I choose to stay in the Church and emulate Jesus Christ’s Teaching through the Church’s Magisterium. I will never emulate Fr. Bernas’ sense of humor.

  52. flaor says:

    Childlike i like your comment! thanks for striking the heart of the issue here! Its unbecoming of any Catholic, much more of an ordained to attack his/her own Mother Church!

  53. flaor says:

    Bravo BEE! We should not emulate anyone else (fr. bernas, fr. Joel, etc.), but Christ Himself who is THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE!

  54. josephperez says:

    ‎”If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hated.

    My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world as Christ was hated by the world.

    Look for the Church that is accused of being behind the times, as our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils.

    Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God.
    Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth.

    Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusions of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly it is other worldly. since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself.

    But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.”

    Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen 1938

    • Tony says:

      great quote from Sheen, but his is not God, nor Jesus Christ, nor the Council nor the pope, nor the bishop of my diocese, now and today. what he says may be true then, and may be true also today, but that needs thinking , praying and discerning today.

  55. Ethistestanda says:

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  57. jack says:

    But God is not present in the unborn. Thanks for the insight, Tabora.

  58. joel says:


  59. joel says:


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  61. tonycsantos says:


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