Cleanliness is next to godliness?

HOTSPOT - Mocha Uson - The Philippine Star

Back in elementary school, our teachers often told us that cleanliness is next to godliness. I grew up holding on to this popular saying, but it is only now that I came to realize that it says more than just being clean, neat, and tidy. Cleanliness is being pure in mind, heart and spirit. Unfortunately, a lot of people use this to hide their own dirty laundry. What appalls me however, is that the Catholic Church itself, the institution the nation supposedly looks up to for spiritual guidance, is doing the same thing – pretending to be clean at the expense of others.

I have a friend who is a practicing Catholic. He makes it a point to attend mass regularly, but on one Sunday, he was appalled by the priest’s sermon. The priest apparently mocked me, Drew Olivar, and President Duterte in his homily. After mass, he approached the priest to tell him that he will pray for the latter and that he too should reflect on what he said. It is because the priest was representing Jesus during mass, and based on the Bible, Jesus never spoke with sarcasm nor mocked sinners.

The priest however, insisted that he did nothing wrong and that he was just speaking the truth – nor was he condemning or being sarcastic. But my friend reminded him of how he painted a picture of me telling the truth and then apologizing to Jesus for the errors I made while delivering the news as if they were lies, and then the audience laughed.

It wouldn’t have been a problem if the priest was just a regular person, but he is representing not just the Catholic Church but the Christian faith. And his words are the words people listen to, the words they imbibe and follow. With his actions, this priest puts to toll not just the faith of the people but their moral fiber as well. But has he forgotten that like all of us, he is human too? Has he forgotten that he is also prone to making mistakes, and his vocation does not excuse him from human frailties.

The Catholic Church is quick to voice out their discomfort toward the President and his decisions, and to some extent, me and Drew. But they turn a blind eye when it comes to the issues that concern them specifically. A case in point are the recent news reports about sexual abuses in the Catholic Church. But rather than take action to directly address these issues, the Church kept on making justifications about these incidents. Where else can you find defense for a priest committing pedophilia by saying that rape is not rape if the child is not penetrated?

For starters, priests, as promoters of the Catholic faith, committed to live a life of celibacy. They promised not to become involved in any kind of sexual activity, consensual or otherwise. So why are they trying to justify their actions as if they have not broken a pact, much worse committed a crime?

It breaks my heart to see that the very institution that we should be looking up to for spiritual enlightenment (as practiced in our Christian tradition and values) is not doing its duty in maintaining a sound moral compass for our nation. They tend to be selective toward the issues that have to be addressed and corrected, and care more about preserving their reputation rather than saving the country from collapse due to a dying social conscience.

I also believe that the Catholic Church forgets that despite our differences in religious beliefs, we Filipinos look up to them as a pillar of moral support. We may be Christians or Muslims or do not practice any kind of faith, but we see the Church as the institution that provides the avenue for us to reflect on our actions and see through right and wrong. It is supposed to be the institution that nurtures our moral fiber, helps heal our spiritual wounds, and leads us to becoming better not only as Filipinos, but as builders of the Filipino nation.

But their so-called cleanliness only caters to their benefit, and to their avid fans.

And to be frank, we don’t need this fake form of cleanliness. We need them to come clean.


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with