Religion The Volatilian™ View

When “fake” isn’t genuine

The Volatilian™ had been added to the list of ‘Fake News’ sites by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on the Laity website. We thank them for that because it tells us we’re doing our job. We’re questioning this unaccountable institution and we’ve evidently hit a nerve.
The Volatilian™ had been added to the list of ‘Fake News’ sites by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on the Laity website. We thank them for that because it tells us we’re doing our job. We’re questioning this unaccountable institution and we’ve evidently hit a nerve.

We’re not one normally for following mass fetishes, but today we’re going to make an exception. The latest buzz phrase, used universally to disparage people from reading the news and forming their own opinion as to its weight and veracity, is ‘Fake News’. It’s as if by uttering this phrase, the argument, opinion and analysis of any article automatically disappears. ‘Fake News’ is used as a hazardous waste sign, a health warning – ‘Read This At Your Peril’.

What it actually is though is the last refuge for failed argument; a hiding place for the fickle and the desperate, and a sinister attempt to stifle freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

We were therefore intrigued to see recently that The Volatilian™ had been added to the list of ‘Fake News Sites’ by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on the Laity website. We thank them for that because it tells us we’re doing our job. We’re questioning this unaccountable institution and we’ve evidently hit a nerve.

For the record, the Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity and its spiritual director is Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the Auxiliary Bishop of Manila and next in line to the Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle.

An unapologetic political activist in the mould of the late Cardinal Jaime Sin – a man who could blend politics and religion with the deftness of a cocktail mixologist – Pabillo is a strong believer in the Church’s right to involve itself in the affairs of state. He is a leading critic of the War on Drugs and mining – particularly foreign-mining projects. We don’t know if he approved our inclusion on the list, but if he did and that’s his way of handling inconvenient truths then accountability in the Church requires a Requiem Mass.

And so here we go. The CBCP, in this case through its lay apostolate, is the publisher of Fake News. It doesn’t respond; it dismisses. It reasons not by discourse, it proclaims by autocratic diktat. It genuinely believes it has that right, the power and the authority – possibly the divine right – to summarily banish any critic. In its mind it can never be questioned and so men of supposed learning need do nothing more than cry “Fake News”.

As we know, the CBCP has never been in the business of explaining its position, but now when it reads an article which puts it in a difficult light, instead of responding to it with even a modicum of scholarship, it simply shouts “Fake News” and washes its hands of any further responsibility. That comes as no surprise to us, elements of the hierarchy of the Philippine Roman Catholic Church has been behaving that way since the time of the Spanish friars. They believe they’re answerable to no one. The government is answerable, the people are answerable, but not the Church.

Their ultimate get-out is that God will be their judge – and we’ll say, they’re right, He will be.

But while we’re dealing in the corporeal world, an institution that holds sway over around 80% of a country’s population, one that has the ability and the machinery to determine and direct the course of so many people’s lives, it should always be called to account. It demands that of its congregants; they demand that of it. Its role is as a shepherd, not some Svengali in clerical clothing.

The excesses of Church authority are well documented and sadly, down through time, they’ve brought this institution into disrepute. But while most branches of the universal Church has learnt from those errors, the Philippine Church continues to perpetuate them.

This shepherd presides over some of the worst social degradation and deprivation anywhere. And laying all the blame at the door of successive governments is not them doing their job. It’s avoiding it; making it someone else’s problem. They may work among the poor to some degree but they’ve done little to alleviate the poverty.

This is an extremely wealthy institution; if it was a public-listed entity, by assets it would be the largest corporation on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) where it has a number of investments – in banking stocks and others.

Here’s a snapshot. In 2015, the Archdiocese of Manila, one of the world’s richest diocese – alone – had just shy of US$600 million tied up in investments on the PSE. This was largely accounted for by the 327,904,251 shares in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). This equates to 8.35% of all BPI stock, making it the bank’s fifth-largest shareholder and giving the Church a seat on the bank’s directorial board. The Jaro Archdiocese had 491,385 BPI shares (in 2015 worth PHP46.19 million), while the Archdiocese of Zamboanga had 269,982 BPI shares (in 2015 worth PHP25.38 million).

Other listed companies in which the Church invested included First Philippine Holdings Corporation, a member of the Lopez Group; Philex Petroleum (the oil and gas arm of Philex Mining), Philodrill (oil exploration); Concrete Aggregates Corp (construction); Central Azucarera de Tarlac (sugar processing); San Miguel Corp (food and beverages); Ayala Corp (diversified), Phinma Corp (investments) and ISM Communication Corp (telecoms).

Furthermore, not all shares are in the name of the Church, some are known to have been lodged in the name of bishops. But these are just Church stockholdings we have knowledge of. There are likely others – smaller tranches which companies aren’t required to disclose.

On top of that, outside the government, the Church is the country’s biggest land owner; its real-estate portfolio overshadows that of SM Prime Holdings. It’s also involved in a range of businesses from education to health care. And for all that it pays zero tax and its books cannot be scrutinised. And for our readers’ benefit, none of this is Fake News; unlike the Church’s books, it’s all a matter of public record.

We’re not saying it’s wrong for the Church to invest on the PSE, or to run businesses or to own large amounts of land and property. But when we place all that wealth by the side of the abject poverty and destitution that’s blighted this country for so many generations; when we contrast the lives of well-fed priests and bishops with the wretched existence that millions endure as they struggle to get their daily bread – and often fail to – when we look at where the clergy go at night to get their rest and compare that to the hovels with their open sewers and broken roofs, where the poor lay down their heads, we can’t help but wonder if this was God’s scheme or man’s.

And we question the Church about that.

And we question it about this too. What right under the Philippine Constitution do the bishops have to influence government policy – and worse, campaign against it by invoking its self-proclaimed moral authority over the masses? This is the Church that threatened the previous president of this country, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, with excommunication if he persisted with the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (RPRH Act) – even though under its Canon Law it couldn’t excommunicate him. So this is a Church that’s not above issuing threats.

Now it seeks to sow dissent between the people and the current president, Rodrigo Duterte. It doesn’t like his policies so it paints him as a force of evil. And the pulpits and the preaching are used not for spreading the Good News, but – in his case – for spouting the bad.

The low-key investigation going on within the Church into sex abuse by priests which we highlighted in our 22 February article, When fathers sin, is not Fake News – it’s factual and the CBCP is well aware of that. But it wants it kept from the public eye; the flock must not know about what its priests have been up to; nor must the faithful know that the Church has been hiding all this from them. “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth,” as Buddha said, and now the story’s out.

But to simply say that these are internal matters for the Church to deal with, privately, in its own way is unacceptable. Priests who rape and molest children should not be above the law of the land. They tried that in Ireland and the US and Australia and the Church there paid a very heavy price.

Nor is it Fake News that the clergy uses its homilies to politic – to exert political influence over the flock as we pointed out on 5 February, Dicing with death. Putting out carefully crafted propaganda through its radio station, Radio Veritas Asia, is one thing; using the Mass as a political soap box is quite another. The bishops use of pastoral letters is also questionable – these were never intended as political pamphlets and yet with the CBCP often as not they’re just that. They may contain some scriptural passages but their purpose is regularly purely political. The Church’s opposition to federalism, for example, appears in a recent one.

We understand full well Rome’s position on artificial contraception but even in Rome couples can buy condoms and they’re not told from the pulpit – as CBCP president, Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas did recently – that they should reject “mutual self-degradation” and “shun the ways of selfishness”. Duterte’s dual condom conduits. That was not Fake News, nor is it that the Church is still working to have the RPRH Act rescinded.

Our article of 13 October last year, Clerical error of judgement danger, analysed the cleft stick which we believe the Church is in regarding how to handle the Duterte phenomenon – his overwhelming popularity with an electorate which is also the Church’s congregation. At that time, that was our opinion which we were free to express. It’s a democratic right and it doesn’t require the Church’s blessing. In that article we said this: “Under former president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the bishops operated a quid-pro quo arrangement – political concessions for ecclesiastical support”. Again, that was not Fake News; and again the Church knows it.

The point in all this is we’re not in the Fake News business and we stand by what we write. There are many good men in this Church; many in the CBCP. But there are enough – and powerful ones – who put politics and the censoring of news above all else. Furthermore, we should like to point out, we’re not against the Church – far from it, we want it to carry on for another 2,000 years and another 2,000 after that. What we are against is what all Catholics should oppose and that’s corruption, in whatever form, that threatens and could ultimately destroy this institution. And that’s why bishops and priests must always be held to account. After all, the Church does not belong to the CBCP; it belongs to the people – that’s what makes it the Church.

“All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth”. – Pope John XXIII

123 Comments

  • I can’t agree enough with this article. I still remember how I asked CBCP News how they allowed an alleged drug cuddler and adulterous woman to speak before Jesus. (In the altar of the Church, covered by media.) But CBCP blocked me from commenting and reacting on their posts. And I love this line so much: “It doesn’t respond; it dismisses. It reasons not by discourse, it proclaims by autocratic diktat.” Socrates B. Villegas’ delusion is that he owns the Church. He even wrote to Cardinal Sin disturbing a soul who should be resting right now. And to Soc, you know who really raped EDSA? You will never believe me! But the evidence is on the internet. It’s none other than Jim Paredes.Jim Paredes

  • CBCP( CORRUPT BISHOPS OF CORY AND PANOT) headed by the reincarnated chief pharisee in d times of Jesus Christ Soc Villegas.
    I personally stop contributing the church bec of their hypocrisy. Instead I give alms directly to d needy whenever I can.
    Im a Catholic. I think God can understand.
    Hypocrisy kills Jesus Christ.

  • If one can not defend the president, attack the Church. “Pope Francis has delivered another criticism of some members of his own church, suggesting it was better to be an atheist than one of many Catholics who he said lead a hypocritical double life. In his often impromptu sermons, he has condemned sexual abuse of children by priests as being tantamount to a “satanic mass”, said Catholics in the mafia excommunicate themselves, and told his own cardinals to not act “as if they were princes”. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/23/pope-francis-better-to-be-atheist-than-hypocritical-catholic

  • An erudite discourse slanted to raise unmitigated anger to an institution which is the church. Holy cow, it forgot one basic, tenet which is FREE WILL….counting millions like a banker but not asking where it came from…..

  • … you are right… CBCP has its own world and they’re using people’s money (donations) to dethrone our President Mayor… utterly unchristian!!!
    … they talk about God and Jesus Christ’s teachings but would accept money from corrupt officials and oligarchs… what do people, especially the poor ones, get in return?… nothing but saliva !!!

  • Boodie Cezar

    >This shepherd presides over some of the worst social degradation and deprivation anywhere. And laying all the blame at the door of successive governments is not them doing their job. It’s avoiding it; making it someone else’s problem. They may work among the poor to some degree but they’ve done little to alleviate the poverty.

    This is an extremely wealthy institution; if it was a public-listed entity, by assets it would be the largest corporation on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) where it has a number of investments – in banking stocks and others.

    • Why blame the church for political dynasties which have aggravated poverty, the non-amendment of the bank secrecy law which would have exposed big time corruption, the non-relaxation of the FOI law for the citizenry to check on government, etc?

    • Better seek other religion or sect, if u believe such practices are not god teachings, we live in a democratic country, we have all the freedom to choose what we want and believe in. Religious beliefs, political inclinations and sexual preferences. Magpakatotoo po tayo, at wag maging ipokrito. Kung hindi kna naniniwala s katoliko,,, wag kna ng mgsimba o pumasok ng cmbahan,,,,, dahil mgkakasala klng lalo nat ayaw mo s pari n magmimisa. Cguro mas pinapaniwalaan nu ang mga taong walang pggalang s karapatan ng iba, bastos palamura, mahilig mambastos s kababaihan, walang isang salita at pabagobago ng isip? Cguro mas pabor ang iba s ganitong pngyayari,,,,, nirerespeto ko ang opinyon ng bawat isa….. Respetuhin po natin ang opinyon ng iba…… Peace be u always!

  • The ranks of the other denominations are swelling due to the mass exodus from the Catholic church by people that are sick of the corruption and pedophilia that is rampant in the church in this country. The Vatican needs to have a good hard look at the CBCP in the Philippines before it’s too late.

  • May madreng naka-upo as secretary to the president nung eskwelahang involved sa tragic bus accident. Guess that school is owned wholly or partly by the church also.

  • THE VOLATILIAN HAD SPOKEN THE TRUTH AGAINST THE CBCP. IF THEY CONTINUE TO DEMONIZED DUTERTE THE CBCP WOULD BE THE BIGGEST LOSER. PEOPLE NO LONGER TRUST AND RESPECT THE CHURCH. A GLARING EXAMPLE WAS THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL WHICH THE CHURCH LOSS.

  • I am a catholic and i intend to remain until whenever i can…as catholics, let us remain vigilant of our faith but just like the apostles, let us also be genuine in fighting injustice and corruption…NO TO HYPOCRYTICAL CHURCH as urged by our pope Francis.

  • cbcp kung ayaw nyong maubos ang tao sa simbahan magayos kau ng pangaral sa simbahan .iba na ang tema ng pagsimba ng tao ngaun ibis na makarinig ng mabuting balita ng diyos at ibubuhay natin ang marinig mo ngayun ay puro pamumulitika anu ba talaga ang papel nyo?

  • The Catholic Church is not a religious institution, it is a Corporation, of which agenda is to amass money for power, which is control! This corporation is the Vatican of which they are definitely a part of. It is the Vatican that, in my opinion, is what the VOLATILIAN should research thoroughly on–it is based on so many transparent reports from highly reputable sources–with money laundering convictions by their bank! Read the ITCCS Court reports in Brussels, Reports of the 9th circle Satanic rituals killing babies and eating their flesh and drinking their blood! Ritual supposedly in the Vatican and churches in Europe, US and Canada. it is even claimed that it is a ritual all Popes have gone thru. How the Vatican has controlled the world, economically, politically and militarily! The Vatican is the ILLUMINATI, and together with the CABAL and KHAZARIAN MAFIA–the horrendous and nefarious NWO–with the Vatican in the very tip of the triangle. So much more with validations! Research because I do not think that they come from “fake news.” The religion per se is a tool to psychologically control and brainwashing—the public should be made aware of this! All we can do is share posts!

  • I am a Catholic. But there must be a separation of the Church and the State!…Lets all respect the rule of law!…the Government has the blessings of God and therefore we must respect, help and not destroy it…God bless us all…God bless Federal Phils…Godspeed!

  • CBP people are not doing good where they are now. Interfering government affair is not their sphere of influence. It could be better to swipe their trashy yard now. Its up to God if He will bless hu hu people.

  • Instead of dipping his fingers ,Bishop Soc Villegas, he must be alarmed why so many Catholics transferred to other religions ? Good Bishop Soc Villegas your mission is to be a good shepherd to God’s flock. Be with your parishes and priests. Listen and attack effectively the problems that besieged our Catholic Church. So many people don’t know about our catholic teachings and bored to go to church because mass is dull,
    lukewarm,no catechesis for the faithful to enrich their fate,instead pastoral letters attacking people in power but your other hand is dealing with your favorite politicians.Of course it’s understandable,you cannot even correct or stop the immoral acts of the daughter of your favorite woman president,she herself claimed that you were her spiritual adviser you texted each other up to the wee hour of the morning. She herself wrote that in her column because I was one of those who was under spill of her beauty and intelligence. But her true color showed not only yellow but like chameleon,so are her families. They are far from being righteous, martyrdom and sainthood. I,we ,were fooled in believing that by risking my life on the streets after Ninoy’s assassination. Poor Ninoy,his death was the political gain of the cannibals in politics and power. By the way, I will remain catholic because there are still good priests,one of them is Father Boy Celis in St,Anne Parish,Iloilo City. We have confession 24/ 7,catechesis every Wednesday,film showing every Friday and discussion for further enlightenment about our faith in God. How many priests and bishops doing this,always available to his flocks ?

  • I would agree that there are still lots of Catholic people attending Mass..who truly believes in the Almighty God.. But that doesn’t mean that they/we believe in what these bishops and priests are saying specially when politics is the center of their homily..I vehemently doubt about it..

  • divine right?… sounds like the autocratic European monarchs of the middle ages, from which the Spanish colonial friars were a part of… and no wonder why the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines is behaving as such… come to think of it, they are exempted from paying taxes… and yet they blame government for the plight of the poor and the ignorant… in which part of the poor’s ignorance is because the poor simply cannot afford to send their children to expensive private Catholic schools… maybe they misread the Almighty’s plans…

  • It’s actually Inquirer which CBCP should label as ‘Fake News Site’. Anyway no worries – The Volatilian, as we definitely follow your articles which we believe more credible.

  • Ang dami nio satsat !! Ang pari tao lang din sila na nakakagawa din ng mga kasalanan inteumento lang sila ng diyos at hindi sila diyos tulad nio ang pagsasalita ng hindi maganda na lumalabas sa mga bunganga nio ay isang kasalanan yan sa ngalan ng diyos !!

  • Here’s a snapshot. In 2015, the Archdiocese of Manila, one of the world’s richest diocese – alone – had just shy of US$600 million tied up in investments on the PSE. This was largely accounted for by the 327,904,251 shares in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). This equates to 8.35% of all BPI stock, making it the bank’s fifth-largest shareholder and giving the Church a seat on the bank’s directorial board. The Jaro Archdiocese had 491,385 BPI shares (in 2015 worth PHP46.19 million), while the Archdiocese of Zamboanga had 269,982 BPI shares (in 2015 worth PHP25.38 million).

    Other listed companies in which the Church invested included First Philippine Holdings Corporation, a member of the Lopez Group; Philex Petroleum (the oil and gas arm of Philex Mining), Philodrill (oil exploration); Concrete Aggregates Corp (construction); Central Azucarera de Tarlac (sugar processing); San Miguel Corp (food and beverages); Ayala Corp (diversified), Phinma Corp (investments) and ISM Communication Corp (telecoms). – Volatilian

    • They’re just a bunch of sexual nerds who cannot live the social mainstream and took opportune of donning the cloth and pretend to be the spokespeople of a heavenly power so everybody else would listen and blindly follow them.

  • “to a visitor who described himself as a seeker after Truth the Master said, ” if what you seek is Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else”
    “I know, an overwhelming passion for it”
    “No , an unremmiting readiness to admit you may be wrong”
    ANTHONY DE MELLO, S.J.

    Our bishops has forgotten the virtue of humility, they cannot accept the fact that they may sometimes be deceived, blinded or manipulated. If so, we can forgive them cor trusting people too much, if however, they are aware of the lies yet, they refuse to admit because of pride? then, May God forgive them.
    Pope John Paul II said in his letter of Jan. 1991 and I quote ” the need to take concrete steps towards ensuring full respect for freedom of conscience, both legally and in ordinary human relations, has become even more urgent”

  • This reminds me of the friar times… just like noli me tangere and el fili being banned. What did they say about those books back then? #friarmentality #indiotimes

  • Radix malorum est cupiditas! This whole CBCP theater revolves not about God but about power and money. The RC church must protect their hold of the believers who are becoming restless and discerning and that in end effect could tremendously diminish their source of income. Money is power and the CBCP will fight tooth and nail to defend their heavenly privilege.

  • Volatiluan is a musy read for us filipinos for better enlightenment on what us actually happening in our country….i am pure catholic , and very religious too,,as i raised my 4 children in the ways i must say good morals,virtues and 40 years after i must say i see the fruits of my labor, but lately i find my “church” so disappointing….if not for my deep faith and gratitude to my Creator,i would totally stop hearing mass….when i was a teenager i said priest nd nuns have one track minds…looks like they prove me right.

    • You are right, Ms. Roldan! If only I was not born as a Catholic and was not reared as one and was not passionate in my Catholic upbringing, I would have been gone astray due to these bishops who are par excellence when it comes to double-speak.

  • Its “MONEY” whatelse? That drives this ‘false-prophet” to its greediness and used the ‘pulpits’ as its own booth to spread the words of ‘eviLPs’…my prayers will goes to CBCPs heirarchy who paints their robes “yellows”!May these bishops, who pretend to be sacred will vanished with peace in their hearts!I will stand by my faith until the last breathe I take. But I will be a wise sheep and knows where I am going, than believing the shepherds twisted ways that goes beyond my little understanding!

  • Wow, look who’s talking? The infamous gang of greedy church leaders accusing some people of spreading Fake News when in fact they the Catholic leaders are the ones who are doing it since the beginning of their existence as a religious empire! Shame on you HYPOCRITES!!!!

  • when will your reader know that all churches are sun worshippers…today is Sun’s Day, their worship day.

    no-thing new / knew under the sun.

    • Because that list was posted on CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on the Laity website four months ago and the article ‘When “fake” isn’t genuine’ was about that then. Recently (late last week), the list was again announced by the CBCP and copied by Rappler, thus our second article ‘Beware of false prophets’ was in relation to this recent rehash of said list of fake news.

  • I have stopped going to church for a while but i attended mass again last saturday and sunday in honor of the feast of our moph. This time the priest was very objective unlike the others. We dont go to church because of the priest but because of our faith in god. Sana tuloy tuloy na ito. Sana there will be real separation between the church and the state.

  • Shame on the CBCP! It’s not the church’s hierarchy to identify or qualify what’s fake or not. It’s the right of the public to make their own discernment on the matter. This is democracy & any religion should not meddle with!

  • Socrates Villegas at Tagle mga kampon ni Satanas yan. Sila ang Padre Damaso ngayon. Humina kasi koleksyon nila dahil sa war against drug ni Pres. DU30. Karamihan sa mga donasyon galing sa mga narco politicians kaso natimbog yong Reyna ng Shabu na si Delimaw at naraid ung mga shabu laboratories paktay negosyo. Kaya ganon na lang ang galit nila sa presidente natin. Never ko tatawagin na pari ang dalawang yan. Satanas at Diyablo ang 2 yan.