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There they go shooting-off their mouths again. In light of the recent tragedy brought by typhoon Sendong to CDO and other parts of Mindanao, the Filipino Freethinkers led by Red Tani, wrote a letter of seemingly good intent to the CBCP “humbly asking” them to…

answer the Pope’s prayer and Fr. Pascual’s request by donating to the Sendong victims one billion Pesos.

That’s right, he is “humbly” asking them to donate One Billion Pesos to the victims of Sendong. After this “humble” petition, he writes a malicious series of articles against a newly-installed Archbishop, the CBCP and a dead saint-to-be, Mother Teresa, expressing his reasons as to why he thinks the Church should do this and why they, the Archbishop and Mother Teresa, are hypocrites. So much for humility!

At the height of the tragedy, Caritas Manila and Archbishop Tagle requested for donations and that parishes hold a second collection for the victims of the typhoon. Rather than join the rest of the Philippines in this very tragic moment, Red Tani found time to criticize the CBCP, Archbishop Tagle, research the Church’s resources, write against Blessed Teresa and respond to me in another article about the Church and charity.

His point is, given that the Catholic Church has investments in various institutions, which the post alleges in that article, he asks,

Shouldn’t they be doing more?” ,,,“Anything short of this would cast doubt on Tagle’s statement that the calamity “saddens us and breaks our hearts.” Tagle would also be a hypocrite. How can someone encourage people to have simple Christmas parties or remember “Jesus who became poor” while he has P17 billion he could share?

When one writes this way, and labels the image of the alleged Church’s holdings as “The Billions of Bishop Tagle”, one knows for sure that it is done with malicious intent. Here is why I think that Tani’s work is a mere product of a malicious mind bent on just attacking the Church while only pretending to write out of concern for the victims of the typhoon and for the poor. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of how organizations operate, the Catholic Church not being exempt from this, would know that:

1. The money of the Catholic Church is not the money of Archbishop Tagle or any Bishop for that matter. No Bishop can arbitrarily disburse funds the way he sees fit. It is not his personal kitty and thus, as pointed to above, he has no right to touch it. His assertion is like saying that Manny Pangilinan owns Smart and can do whatever he wants with the money of the company. I do not believe that Tani is so ignorant or stupid as to make this assertion and yet he does so with the Catholic Church.

2. It is under the stewardship of the Bishops to allocate funds to the various programs of the church including anti-poverty programs, schools, adoption centers, hospitals/clinics, education of seminarians, upkeep of facilities etc., therefor, the Church’s charity work is not limited to calamity relief and arbitrarily disbursing them will compromise the Church’s other work for the poor and needy.

3. The alleged shares or moneys may actually be shares in trust or legacy shares which no one can touch directly, much like an endowment, so even if the Church derives some dividends, she has no control over the principal. Many cases of endowment also stipulate where and how moneys derived from it may be used

4. Even if the Church had that amount of money, given the extent to which the Catholic church does it’s work for the poor and the administrative costs of running such an operation,  pouring a huge amount of money into one calamity is very short-sighted and irresponsible, if not reckless, since there will be many more Sendong’s and Ondoy’s that will be coming in the future. Any charitable organization like the PNRC or PCSO knows that funds have to be kept at bay if there is to be effective continuity in the work of charity.

He adds,

Your former president, Oscar Cruz, said in an interview that the 18 billion has been there since the time of the Spanish occupation” and “Cruz also said that you can’t simply do what you please with the money, implying that donations such as what I’m asking for won’t be that easy.

In the first place a little thinking would show the absurdity of having 18 billion pesos sitting there since the Spanish times because then that would mean that the Church owns many of the companies which the alleged shares are under. In fact, 18 billion pesos could have bought the entire Philippines from the Americans knowing that Spain sold us for a dollar a head! There are only two conclusions that can be drawn from Tani’s statement; one, that Bishop Cruz never said it that way and he took it out of context or he prefers to maliciously adulterate Bishop Cruz’s statement. Given his preponderance to lying and fabricating, I am inclined to think the latter of him. Tani doesn’t seem to me to be a simpleton so gathering from what he says about what Bishop Cruz said, at the very least, the conclusion should have been that any shares or moneys held in trust are just that, held in trust and cannot be tapped into by anyone, not even the Archbishop!

It is no secret that Red Tani, together with some of his cohorts, have purposefully advocated trying to get people out of the Catholic faith. Their monologues at the  De La Salle University Freethinkers forum, which I address point by point here, reeks with poorly researched data, false assertions, outright lies and fabrications. So there is no doubt in my mind that the intent of this was just to create malice against the Church.

One has to ask why is it, in spite of the “noise” these kinds of people are creating against the Church and in spite of the amount of damage the Church has wrought on itself from the scandals, the majority of the Catholic faithful have responded to the Church’s call and have given and continue to give generously to the Church. It shows that people can make the distinction between what the Church stands for and the sins of her members. They still know whom to trust; the Priests and Bishops of the Church who have walked the walk and not the malicious self-righteous, critics… the real hypocrites, who still find time to create controversy in these trying times!

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