Walk the talk? LOL!
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - July 12, 2019 - 12:00am

The executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Fr. Edwin Gariguez, was reported in The Philippine STAR yesterday as saying the bishops have committed to divest investments in “dirty energy” such as coal.

Whoa there. What did Fr. Gariguez say? Investments? In coal? Uh-oh. And all along I thought that, by listening to them, our bishops are the cleanest of the clean, the holiest of the holy. But here they are, judging by the couched words of Fr. Gariguez, mired in wealth that only investments in energy can bring while turning a blind eye to environmental concerns.

According to Fr. Gariguez, the commitment to divest investments in coal was made at the recent plenary assembly of the CBCP in Manila. He also said it was in response to a recent call by Pope Francis for the protection of the environment. What he did not say was that if no call had been made, there probably would have been no commitment made.

Now, it is not clear if the investments in coal were by the CBCP itself or by just some bishops. What Fr. Gariguez did say was that at least four bishops made the vow to divest. That he did not name the four bishops with investments in coal is characteristic of the hypocrisy that has sadly saddled the CBCP.

The CBCP is one organization that is very quick to point out and criticize what it perceives are the faults and shortcomings of others. It often meddles in the affairs of state and state governance and often has a say on policies that deal with environment and environmental protection.

Yet here we are now, not dealing with perceived faults and shortcomings but actual and admitted ones as laid out by Fr. Gariguez, even if he stopped short of naming names. But more than withholding the identities of the coal-investing bishops is the fact that, before the pope made his call, the CBCP had actually been tolerating what some of its members were doing.

The CBCP could not feign ignorance of the activities of some bishops. The CBCP is an organization of perhaps only a little more than a hundred bishops. Even just one bishop making a left turn from a herd that is supposed to keep to the right cannot escape notice.

In other words the CBCP knew exactly who these bishops are and what they are doing. But until the pope started making noise about the environment, the CBCP opted to play coy, choosing instead to bring the righteousness game to the most convenient scapegoat in town --the government. But now it is time to walk the talk, says Fr. Gariguez. Sorry, father, but ha ha ha.

FR. EDWIN GARIGUEZ
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