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What would happen if every Filipino Catholic decides to live out their belief faithfully?That seems to be the nightmare that haunts Mr. Gerrick Bercero as expressed in his article. He claims it would result in what would be the equivalent of an Islamic state under Shariah law. He avoids making any reference to that of course because I believe he is afraid of what the repercussions might be. So what he does is make a “Catholic” analogy or, shall we say caricature, instead because the Catholic Church is an easy target and because Catholics are taught that violence is wrong. Instead of fighting back, I would rather point out how misguided and delusional this rant of his is.

The irony of this article is that Mr. Bercero fails to realize that he is living in a society that is largely attributable to the influence of the Judeo-Christian culture. Even the ideas of the enlightenment, the concept of equality and brotherhood were taken from Christianity but stripped of its reference to God. His imagined ideal world, devoid of Christianity, has been realized in the regimes of Stalin, Mao, PolPot and Hitler. On the other extreme, his imagined “Truly Catholic Philippines” is an adaptation of Islamic extremism which he merely and unoriginally tries to shoehorn into a Christian context.

Here is his article in full with my comments in red.

“It is quite clear that in an allegedly secular nation, politicians here in the Philippines are largely guided by their religion, which is more often than not Roman Catholicism. This is evident from the chapels in public institutions such as Philippine Science High School to the President’s “advisers” that invariably include at least one man of the cloth. And, there is truly no cause for complaint, if Roman Catholicism is, in fact, the one true religion… Every prayer before Congress and every “year of our Lord” in Presidential Proclamations are not mere statements of opinion or rhetorical flourishes, these are reiterations of accepted facts. Or, rather, “facts.”

He confuses being secular with having a secular ideology or secularism. No Mr. Bercero, this country is not afraid to show her religiosity because her people are humble enough to know that things do not answer the deeper questions of purpose and meaning. 

The claims of the religious, whether moral or theological, are factual claims. For the former, moral claims are facts about conscious experience. For the latter, theological claims are facts about how the universe in general operates. Both are claims about how material stuff (particles and such) interact with the world. Avoiding the unimpressive arguments for the existence of the specific Catholic flavor of Yahweh, let us, like millions of Filipinos, simply take this on faith. How would the much-desired fully-realized Catholic Nation of the Philippines look?”

Unimpressive? Mr. Bercerro, arrogantly, with the wave of hand, dismisses the amount of linguistic, historical and archeological evidence that support the existence Christ and His establishment of a Church. He goes against 2000 years of historical record that demonstrates the way early Christians have lived and the reasons for their belief. Here we see the underlying “thesis” of this article! Read-on…

“For a start, all faith-based holidays not in the Roman Catholic calendar will be erased. This is because the truth of Catholicism necessarily negates the contradictory truth claims of all other religions, from similar Paganism to largely foreign Hinduism.

This shouldn’t worry kids who pray for school cancellations since there’s still pretty much a saint for anything and any day. Secular holidays such as Labor Day may continue to exist, but in the form of feasts for one of the myriad saints “venerated” by Catholics. It may perhaps be replaced by a day for Saint Joseph the Carpenter, a model laborer and cuckold, or for Saint Matthew the Tax Collector, to remind us of the price of civilization.”

There is no “Roman Catholic calendar.” There is the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar for reasons of seasonal accuracy after all, the Church had been in existence for almost 1500 years before this calendar was introduced . Even at the very start, the calendar, attributed to Pope Gregory VIII… a Catholic and a pope oversaw the accuracy of the time and seasons, made no effort to make it strictly for Catholic use and there is no reason why the Church would start now… that my friends is what we call a straw-man fallacy. Imagine that a Catholic and a Pope at that demanding accuracy of times and seasons… how scientific of him and a Pope at that!

“A Catholic Nation of the Philippines would be different from the Vatican in that it would be a real state—with a permanent population, a defined territory, a functioning government, and a real capacity for diplomatic relations with other states. These are the criteria for statehood set out by international law, which the Vatican arguably does not meet.”

I don’t know what planet Mr. Bercero is living in but this is an outright lie. A search of whether the Vatican is a state or not will clearly show that it satisfies the 8 criteria of what makes an independent country or state. See here. The only ones questioning this are the people who want the Holy See to have no say in U.N. policy matters. Mr. Bercero forgets that the Vatican has been in existence waaaaay before the criteria for international laws as to what constitutes a state even came into existence. The diffrence between any other country’s government and the Vatican’s is that the Vatican is run by a Ecclesiatical government. See this too: CIA World Fact Book So Mr. Bercero, sorry you score zero on this! 

“Assuming that the Catholic Nation of the Philippines will continue with its sham democracy label (as it does now), there will be an entirely new branch of government to buttress the executive, legislative, and judicial branches—the ecclesiastical. This branch will oversee all actions of the government to make sure that they are in line with the will of God.

The head of this branch will be the person who is most keen to discern that will, most likely a Cardinal (someone who God “communicates” with, on matters such as who deserves to be pope). This branch will also supplement (maybe event supplant) departments such as Education, Science and Technology, Health, Treasury, and Public Works and Highways, through prayer. It will hire battalions of “prayer warriors” in lieu of civil servants, since prayer would be enough anyway.”

This is the first of many delusional rants. As far as I know, the Philippines, corrupt and politically immature as it is, has the trappings of a democracy. The problem with Mr. Bercero is that he thinks that the ideal democracy must be free from any influence of religion or that religion adulterates democracy. This is strange considering that Catholicism and canon law contributed heavily to what we know as modern representative democracy, that no one may rule over another without their permission. 

“Perhaps surprisingly, religious freedom will have a place in a Catholic nation. Albeit, this will be limited to the private sphere. The Church no longer has any teachings advocating hate against other religions. They have already apologized for their indefensible establishment of the Crusades and the Inquisition. The humanism of the Enlightenment has seen to it that even our historically cruel religious institutions will find the torture and sadism of their past unthinkable.”

This fellow has no idea what the crusades and the inquisition were all about. The crusades were a defensive was against Muslim aggression, it was a just war. The inquisition was a movement against false conversions and those propagating errors in Catholic teaching. The BBC production “Myth of the Spanish Inquisition” itself places the number of people executed in the 400 year span of the Inquisition to be less than 5000. The product of Mr. Bercero’s “enlightenment” is the “Reign of Terror” which itself killed 40,000 people in one year! Now that’s the product of “mother” enlightenment herself. Her baby, Atheistic-Marxism victimized up to 130Million people in the 20th century alone. Imagine this fellow harking about the “cruel religious institutions” and the “torture and sadism” and calls it “unthinkable” when he conveniently overlooks what his “enlightenment” has produced!

“However, religious tests will be required of all members of government to ensure that the nation maintains its course following the will of God. While citizens may be free to believe anything in private, to hold beliefs contrary to Catholicism, when Catholicism is true, is like believing that circles have corners. It’s just absurd. Given the fact of Catholicism, religious freedom would exist as the freedom to be ignorant or insane.”

… hahaha believe in like what, Transubstantiation? What Mr. Bercero actually means by “religious freedom” is the freedom for a person to make up his own morals. He caricatures the Church opposition to moral acts like abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage as an affront to “freedom of belief” or freedom all together. This  is a juvenile argument because it assumes that morals are the sole monopoly of Catholicism. As I have stated above, morals are a part of human nature and faith reinforces what the heart and mind, i.e. the conscience, already knows. 

“Needless to say, most changes in our legal system will revolve around sex, the favorite whipping boy of Catholicism. Of course, all kinds of pharmaceutical birth control will be outlawed. And, given their definition of human personhood as beginning at some vague point called “when the sperm meets the egg”, all miscarriages will need to be investigated whether foul play was involved. All terminated pregnancies, whether intentional or not, will require death certificates for the unborn. Reflecting the Church’s “pro-life” stance, in vitro fertilization (IVF) will be illegal, and those who participate in it will be accessories to murder (since IVF involves fertilizing multiple eggs and discarding some embryos). Sex outside marriage will be expressly forbidden and periodical hymen checks for the unmarried will help enforce this law. Unwed women who no longer have hymens as a result of strenuous activity (such as horseback riding) or due to congenital or medical reasons will require permits to walk around with their ungodly genitals.”

Straw-man arguments again! I think that if you look at Catholic teaching, you would see that whatever she has to say about sexual matters are related to two things: Family and Life. Mr. Bercero seems to be projecting his own fixation to the Church. The FFT website is replete with sexual issues from supporting homosexual behavior to supporting pornography. All the honest person has to do in order to find out what the Church teaxhes about sex is to look at the Catechism and a cursory look will show that it is but a small part of Catholic Church teaching. 

“Homosexuality, as a “disordered sexual inclination”, will obviously be regulated. LGBT persons will be sent to ineffective psychiatric care. While they may remain homosexual in orientation, they cannot engage in “homosexual activity,” which will be illegal. Anti-sodomy laws will be passed and those suspected of homosexual activity will be prosecuted.”

In the remote chance that this becomes true, I will make sure to ask for a dispensation for you Mr. Bercero!

“Like here in our universe, child rapists who happen to be priests will continue to enjoy impunity from the Catholic Church. The worst punishment, if any, they will ever receive would be removal from Holy Orders.”

… Sure yeah, same o same o. 

“Jails and prisons will continue to exist, and the Philippines might even serve as the Vatican’s prison system (like Italy). Convicts will be forced to undergo religious counseling in order to save their souls (which will include the Sacrament of Penance for baptized Catholics).”

Any Catholic knows that a forced confession and a forced conversion is no conversion at all but I would like to see confession and mass be made available in every prison.

“But what exactly would a Catholic legal system protect us from? While earthly laws might be used to protect citizens from physical or material harm, Catholic laws will be constructed to protect citizens from hellfire. Dying or temporal suffering is trifling when compared to eternal torture. It would only be rational to true believers of hell to frame all laws in this context. If an act will lead to the eternal damnation of a citizen, it will be forbidden. Since Catholicism is true and all religions are false, the Catholic government’s control over you will not end in death. It will merely be continued by the true celestial dictator in the afterlife.”

… more delusional rant

“To accept the rule of Catholicism means that we must surrender our so-called liberties in this life for salvation in the next. The only true freedom is the freedom to choose God’s will over that of our own.”

…”liberties” a.k.a. pornography, sodomy, divorce, adultery etc… 

“This is what gets the monastics through their ascetic lifestyles. This justifies the personal sacrifices of those in religious orders, not to mention the torture and execution of heretics in the past. What is a hundred years in agony and discomfort if it means eternity in bliss? What is the point of establishing peace on Earth if it lasts only in a world that is destined to boil in five billion years from a dying expanding star? The true point of life here is to prove ourselves for the next.”

…more of the same delusional rant

“What I’ve painted here is fictional, though I assert that it is not very far from how our world would look if we take Catholicism to its logical conclusions.”

…the logical conclusions being that this is largely the product of a delusional mind.

“Because of the cherry-picking of cafeteria Catholics who largely comprise the country, we can be thankful that this vision is rather unlikely. The Roman Catholic Church is far from the monolithic bloc of devotees the CBCP likes to present.”

if by “monolithic bloc” he means those who live out truly Catholic lives then Bercereo for once is right. The faithful do not comprise this “monolithic bloc”, never did and never will. I do not know where he gets it that the CBCP or the Church ever claimed this “monolithic bloc” to exist, perhaps in his nightmares.

“We do not live in this disgusting world because most people who identify as Catholics are unconvinced of the orthodox conservative Catholic lifestyle choice of the minority, which is so vastly disconnected from the reality of temporal suffering and tangible well-being.”

He says that there is a lack of orthodoxy that is why we are (still) this way and not under his delusional (“disgusting”) theocracy, he implies to mean that he likes the present set-up, but could be better if the Catholic Church were not meddling or if “cafeteria” Catholics did away with authentic Catholic teaching. Really, he likes our present state of corruption and moral depravity? If Bercero had his way, he would legalize, among other things, abortion and infanticide, after all, Catholic teaching is against those too. Heck it would be like living in the Stalin-era Soviet Union.

“However, it is only fair to point out that if indeed Catholicism is the right religion, this vision would not be so bad, since it would deter people from acts that would lead to eternal damnation. But it is irredeemably repulsive if heaven does not.”

I know this is sarcasm but is this a wish-fulfilment statement… that there is a heaven that will make all these bad things go away, hmmm?

“This would mean that the sacrifices conservative Catholics force upon pregnant victims of rape and victims of child indoctrination are wasted on nothing. This would mean that we would have to actually build a lasting society here on Earth and stop worrying about what God thinks about our private thoughts.”

Another straw-man… forcing Catholic teaching against victims of rape? Does he mean the Church’s opposition to abortion? Mr. Bercero, tell me, how does killing an unborn human-being punish the rapist? 

“We have but one life to live. If the conservative Catholics are right, the best way to spend this life is in strict conformity with the will of God. If they are wrong, as tens of thousands of incompatible religions necessarily assert, then the best way to waste your life would be to listen to them and avoid enjoying this life.”

Having faith and living in accordance with moral norms equals no enjoyment, that’s the materialist/utilitarian worldview. What would constitute this “enjoyment” then, divorce, adultery, unbridled sex, pornography, abortion, contraception? Doesn’t he see that for every kind of “enjoyable” act, there is always a victim who is miserable? This is the kind of world Mr. Bercero envisions, a world of utilitarian hedonism. A world where anyone is free to do as he pleases as long as he doesn’t “hurt” anyone or, at least, anyone useful to himself. The only problem with the kind of world he wants is that there is always someone who will get hurt at the expense of someone who is “enjoying this life.”