The politics of church donations
By Atty. Farah G. Decano
MY father had told us, his children, to use our God-given intelligence in ascertaining the truth. He instructed us never to give up our own judgments in favor of another who is as fallible as anybody, even if he or she were a chief pastor or the archbishop.
When I talk about the church here, I refer to the church in general. Among Roman Catholics, we call our institution, “our mother, the church.” And yes, it is run by humans and, therefore, is not as perfect as we would have wanted it to be. While we are asked to pray for our mother, the church, I have been given the impression to trust the disciplining process of the establishment and not take part in public criticism.
My friend told me to tread carefully as I write this article. I will remain a faithful Roman Catholic because I was raised so by my mother and will continue to be a concerned Methodist Church supporter because of my protestant father. I cannot keep silent whenever I see discrimination exhibited by our church leaders and pastors in favor of the rich. It appalls and outrages me!!!
I cannot imagine how one pastor can seem to be at the beck and call of a wealthy family. He insists on protecting their interest even at the expense of his own flock resulting to injustice to those who came before him. I cannot help but ask – what is he getting personally in exchange for allowing one family to dominate the church?
I cannot fathom why this pastor permits one member of this family to claim that all improvements in the church were donated by his family when this is fake news. I personally heard him say that and I was horrified! I immediately but politely corrected the error he wanted to perpetrate. I knew of other church members who funded the improvements, among them, my father. I found several official receipts of my deceased father’s significant donations which he secretly kept in his office drawer. My father was among the many members who kept to themselves their charity secret. Haven’t we been taught about not going public about our generosity? The pastor should change his ways in accordance with the demands of justice because I am now smelling dissent among his flock members. While we do not claim to be experts of the bible, we ordinary flock members, by natural law, can sense injustice when we see one.
My mother, the church, is not immune to this politics of donation. A decade ago, I asked one wife how her “illuminati” deceased husband was allowed inside the church for his final blessings. She said, she gave large donations. I also asked around why certain persons were given awards too. I was given the same reason. While I could provide rationale for the church’s behaviour- the awards were to inspire generosity among its members – I cannot help but recall though the Pajero bishops during the time of PGMA. I remember this outrageous story about a priest who ordered his congregation DURING mass to stand up when a politico entered the church. What display of sycophancy in favor of the powerful.
In fairness to my church, these incidences may be isolated. I am writing this anyway to wake up some sleepy shepherds. Maybe our high priests should celebrate masses for humble families in impoverished areas more often. Afterall, Jesus loved dining with the poor. Out of concern, I have no wish that my mother the church gets touted as the church of the wealthy.
I expect more from politicians because they were voted upon by the people. Part of their job is to balance interests for public order and peace. I anticipate more propriety from Supreme Court justices because they are mandated to dispense justice regardless of people’s standing in society. Interest management is not their duty. And, I have the highest expectations from those who claim to represent God. They must act and think like Jesus who instituted the church himself. Harmonization of interests of poor, wealthy and the church is never their function.
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