Serious allegations against the Catholic Church
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - September 8, 2019 - 12:00am

Today is the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary time, and is celebrated by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Catholic Church as the solemnity of the nativity of Virgin Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus Christ.

Mary, the daughter of St. Anne and St. Joaquim, and the beloved spouse of St. Joseph, is the mother protector of the Church. It therefore pains me, as a lay minister and Knight of Columbus, to write about some serious accusations against the Church.

I was listening to the radio interview of retired judge Harriet Demetriou, who alleged that the late cardinal Sin attempted to intervene and influence her during the trial of the infamous rape and murder case in Laguna, to decide in favor of former mayor Antonio Sanchez. The unkindest cut of all is when she alleged that the cardinal supposedly mentioned to her to migrate to the US with P30 million as supposed bribe to acquit Sanchez. I couldn’t believe what I heard but I couldn’t doubt the credibility of Demetriou.

Such an accusation reminds me of the alleged gifts of luxurious vehicles given supposedly by former president GMA to many bishops mostly from Mindanao. The Church in the Philippines had been subjected to many charges, but the latest issue emanating from an honorable member of the judiciary is very serious. The Church should explain the truth or the falsity of such accusations. It’s very shocking to hear that Bishop Pedro Bantigue, of the Diocese of Lucena, allegedly wrote a letter of intercession for Sanchez and the letter was supposedly delivered by no less than the late cardinal. Is it the business of the Church to interfere in judicial proceedings?

The hurting part of that allegation is when Demetriou supposedly asked Cardinal Sin why he interceded for Sanchez. Is it because of the big cash donations Sanchez used to give the Church? Why was Bishop Bantigue writing a letter to her concerning a pending case, a sensational case at that? Is it the policy of the Church to peddle influence so as to please a generous patron and donor to their coffers? In similar vein, I recall that Cardinal Sin was once asked by a radio and TV reporter whether he would accept donations from gambling lords, and he was reported to have answered yes. Well, these acts and behavior patterns of some respectable Church leaders have caused too much embarrassment and even anguish to many Catholic faithful including this writer.

The president himself has so many issues against the Catholic Church ranging from alleged self-righteousness to sexual abuses. He even lambasted some of them for attacking the government on purely political issues, when the Church itself has too many skeletons in its closets. I recall Dr. Jose Rizal's “Noli Me Tangere” where he exposed the many abuses of both Padre Damaso and Padre Salvi (representing the Church) and Capitan Tiago (representing the State). Today, the social cancer that Rizal exposed is still creating suffering for the Filipino people.

Whatever it is, it is my firm conviction that, given the seriousness of these charges, the Catholic Church hierarchy should come up with a clear and honest response to Demetriou's very serious allegations. Or else, many people would believe them to be true. And that would be another blow to the Church.

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