Reform and systemic change in the Philippines slowed by influence of Roman Catholic Church

The Catholic Church and many organised religions in the Philippines continue to be very powerful, influential, and profitable institutions. And it is in their interests to maintain the status quo and the dismal state of enlightenment of the source of their power -- the average Filipino.

Because many Filipinos continue to be beholden to Church dogma, politicians who, as in most democracies, are elected by popular vote, will continue to pander to and, worse, defer to the influence of the Catholic Church. It is an interlocked matrix of tradition that Filipinos are imprisoned within.

I'm not an expert in world history but if I recall right, enlightenment and a re-surgence of critical discourse that started in ancient Greece (which was lost to the Arabs during the Dark Ages) somehow began to bubble up from the grassroots in Europe sometime in the 15th Century. Still it took centuries before the scientific method triumphed over religious primitivism in European governance.

Again, considering the unprecedented access to knowledge and technology enjoyed by a broad swath of Philippine society, religious mumbo-jumbo continues to lace much of Filipino thinking and conversation. I have no problem with religious faith. But I firmly believe that religious orientation and spirituality are personal things that should be left out of matters of state. Furthermore, I take issue with people who presume to be "blessed" by their god which begs the question (as you also pointed out) of why other people may not be as blessed, such as the thousands that died in the latest "natural" disaster to hit Mindanao. I elaborate on that sentiment of mine in this article.

Indeed, much of the reason behind why change is slow in the Philippines despite the existence of obvious solutions to many of its problems can be traced to the influence of organised religion.

[NB: This article was originally published as a comment on Get Real Post.]


  1. Here in Davao City, halal, a muslim religious practice has been required of all eating places and meat stalls thru a city ordinance. This I think is a blatant disregard and disrespect of the other residents philosophical views. Matters affecting the public or the state must not be affected by any religious influence. Government is supposed to be secular but if given the chance, politicians always attaches religious color to their activities. Theocracy whether christian or Islamic have always been a failure because it relies too much on hearsay that it is coming from that imaginary invisible man somewhere up there who for all eternity refuses to give his address but gets mad when mortals stops looking for him. To be the elected official of all the people, I suggest they read the "Human Rights Declaration" as a source of inspiration. It may not be written or inspired by a supernatural being but it favors no religion, race, creed and sexual orientation.

  2. thelongfallofproseJanuary 6, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I remember reading something like the Spanish kingdom back in 1500s ordering the friars and priests (who were the first Spanish settlers of the Philippines) to teach the Spanish language to Filipinos, but then these so-called Catholics decided not to so they can further enslave them. Enter 2012. Amazing turn of events, no?

  3. probably its a matter of choice? if we say we are changing to progress, are we really progressing or its just a short sighted emotion of desire?

  4. Old men's fart:

    I'd say its time for this nation to be more secular. Then perhaps problems would be properly addressed instead of being given the usual band-aid solutions and wishful thinking propagated by the men and women of the cloth... One needs to look past the veneer of religiosity and the ambiguous nature of their business on earth. Be more attuned to the ills of society and help formulate and implement concrete steps to eliminate if not lessen it. The Philippines might be able to go places if it is not befuddled by the contorted notions of the church leaders (as if those wielded by the politicians aren't enough already)...


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