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Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Atrocious Response

I am referring to how the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) "rationalized" how embattled priest Monsignor Cristobal Garcia could possibly be "forgiven", with regards to his involvement is a sex abuse case.

This should be good enough?
(Courtesy of

Garcia has been in the news as of late, thanks to a National Geographic article (in their October 2012 issue) by Bryan Christy. In it, the writer tries to trace the ivory trade route, and stumbled upon our country as a port from where ivory is then brought to other destinations. Christy is led to Cebu, where Garcia is stationed, and the priest, a collector of religious figurines, some of which are made of ivory, regales the writer on how to effectively smuggle ivory.

(See )

Now comes the news that the Catholic hierarchy has stripped Garcia of his official functions and responsibilities, and the CBCP says it has nothing to do with the NatGeo story. 

Apparently, this removal of duties stems from the fact that the Vatican is still in the midst of an ongoing investigation in Garcia's involvement in a sex abuse case. After that story broke, Garcia flew back to the Philippines. He also claimed that it was he who was "seduced and raped", and not the other way around. This is validation for Brooks Egerton, who initially reported about Garcia's case, back in 2005.


In the CBCP press conference, it was inevitable that this issue would be brought up; Monsignor Acilles Dakay, Cebu Archdiocese media liaison officer, gave this response:

"What happened in the States could be a crime. If it was also a sin on his part, it was forgiven. He had repented."


I will leave it up to you how you would view this response. The title of my post puts it clearly what I think of this: heaping atrocious indignation on top of this unimaginable atrocity. (Dakay's response is clearly an admission that it happened, otherwise, what is there to be "repented" for?) Nowhere in the article does it indicate that the priest will be turned over to civil authorities.

We've heard it all before: it's an internal matter. We'll handle it ourselves. No need to concern yourselves with this. We know how best to deal with one of our erring members. In the vernacular, kami na bahala, wag na kayo makialam. (We'll take care of it, don't interfere.)

How utterly convenient. How throughly unacceptable.

It smacks of an arrogance I am all-too-familiar with, as this country has more than its fair share of religious zealots, the kind who exact some nefarious glee in judging others, but when the moral spotlight is turned on them, steadfastly cling to a single dialogue: I will not be judged by men, only by my God.

There's a word for people like that. And yes, it will "offend religious sensibilities".

The truth has certainly been getting a bad rap these days.

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