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Team Patay, Team Buhay

By ABRAHAM V. LLERA
March 8, 2013

IT’S simply amazing how one tarp turned this country upside down.

On the one hand, there is Fr. Felix Pasquin, the rector of St. Sebastian Cathedral who had the tarp set up, and, on the other hand, the horde of cafeteria Catholics, among them an outspoken priest of a supposedly Catholic university who believe the Bacolod archdiocese has overstepped its bounds by campaigning for certain candidates.

Even Inquirer columnist Randy David weighed in with his own take via his “When Religion Turns Political” article in the Inquirer of March 2, 2013.

So the question is asked: “Is Fr. Pasquin’s tarp political or religious?

All it’d take, in my opinion, is a cursory study of Church teaching to see that in putting up that tarp, Fr. Pasquin, Bishop Vicente M. Navarra and the archdiocese’s 90 priests are simply obeying the Founder’s order.

Clueless cafeteria Catholics, including Mr. Randy David, may have never heard about it before, but it is the Church, not the State, that’s responsible for guiding men to their ultimate destination: heaven.

For instance, here’s Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical “Immortale Dei”: “It is to the Church and not to the State that belongs the right to guide men to celestial things; it is to the Church that God has given the command to take cognizance of and to decide everything that relates to religion, to teach all nations, to extend, as far as possible, the frontiers of the Christian name; in a word, to administer freely and as she sees fit, the Christian interests of the souls confided to her care.”

Pope Leo XIII continues: “Thus everything that in human affairs is sacred for any cause whatsoever, everything that refers to the salvation of souls and the worship of God, either by its intrinsic nature or on account of its end, all this evidently belongs to the au­thority of the Church. As to things embraced in the civil and political order, it is but just that they should be subject to civil authority, because Jesus Christ has commanded us to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

The State can levy taxes, impose tariff on imported goods, order men of a certain age to military duty, forge alliances with other countries, set the bidding guidelines for public works, among others, but the State may not do anything that steps on the rights of the Church and the laws of God.

That much is clear. Bible says “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5, 29.). And, instead of disagreeing, the Philippine Constitution actually guarantees this right. Art. II Sec 6 says “The Separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.” Nothing could be clearer than that, and only those who fail to look up what, really, is meant by “Separation of Church and State” will claim otherwise.

The moment the State passed that infernal bill, it effectively encroached upon a matter that’s not its own to encroach upon. By practically legislating intrinsic evil contraception into the lives of the people, the State effectively overstepped its bounds, leaving the Church with no choice but to insist on her right.

By reminding the faithful of their divinely-generated responsibility to keep God’s laws, Fr. Pasquin did not overstep his bounds, it is Comelec that overstepped its own bounds.

Mr. Randy David cited Pope Benedict XVI as having insisted on a strict delineation of responsibilities, interpreting the Pope’s statements as prohibiting Fr. Pasquin from putting up that tarp. But Mr David merely read into the Pope’s statements what he (Mr. David) wants to hear the Pope say. In fact, such is not what the Pope had in mind at all.

And what made me say that? Well, in response to a query sent to him by the U.S. bishops on how Catholic voters should act in the face of candidates supporting abortion and euthanasia, the Pope replied: “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

By posting the tarp, Fr. Pasquin was merely doing his job: reminding the faithful that they would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil if they vote for certain candidates because they voted for the RH Bill. And Fr. Pasquin was simply doing his job as shepherd by including a list of candidates voting for whom will keep the faithful from committing formal cooperation in evil.