Pacquiao as 'Bible Ambassador' sends wrong signals
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-02-19
The Roman Catholic Church is confronting big problems. Theirs is a dwindling flock. Despite all those big World Youth Day events that are held every so often, more and more young people see the Roman Catholic Church as irrelevant to their lives.

Newsbreak’s Aries Rufo bared the following in his February 14, 2012 posting: “Among the 86 dioceses in the country, the bishopric of Pampanga boasts a singular honor: it has the highest incidence of priests engaged in extra-curricular (sexual) affairs.”

He added: “Consider this: 5 priests have sought for dispensation - those granted dispensation are freed from their priestly duties and assume the life of an ordinary layman — while 2 have been suspended, which underscores the gravity of the situation.”

Furthermore, Rufo wrote: “A retired archbishop said in an interview that more than a dozen clergymen in Pampanga are known to maintain lovers. A former lawmaker from Pampanga, who has extensive contacts with the Church, however said that of the more than 100 priests there, more than half are having affairs.”

Over at the Vatican, they’re having serious political problems involving no less than the powerful Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone who has been accused of trying to load the dice in favor of another Italian succeeding Pope Benedict XVI. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Deputy Governor of Vatican City, exposed a major scandal earlier when he claimed that he was transferred after reporting a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism in the awarding of juicy contracts.

It’s a complex problem for the Roman Catholic Church, not one that could be dismissed by a simple act of faith. The truth is the Roman Catholic Church came to this pass because many of its adherents see a lack of Christian living — love — and have lost hope in their Bishops. Within the Church, there’s an urgent need for serious introspection and dialogue.

The problem with the Roman Catholic Church leaders is that a dialogue with them isn’t really feasible — not when one must be the Pope and you just have to be a listener to his so-called infallibility. A dialogue is meaningful when two parties agree to see eye to eye, with mutual respect for the other party’s point of view. Old bad habits aren’t easily shaken off. Many Bishops are still donning the medieval mindset of the Inquisitor, the very same who could sentence a genius of science to a life of misery for perceived heresy.

The latest birdbrained idea to be floated by the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines is to make boxing champ Manny Pacquiao a ‘Bible Ambassador’ — for him to promote Bible reading among Catholics. Despite all the documented goodness of the late former president Cory C. Aquino as well as the urgent need of the world of politics for a patron saint and a Catholic role model — the same Roman Catholic Church could not see fit to initiate sainthood proceedings for her. Despite all the reported controversies of Manny Pacquiao — the Roman Catholic Church saw him as fit to be sent all over to promote Bible reading among Catholics.
Bishop Virgilio David extended the offer to Manny Pacquiao last January 30th on behalf of the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines). Bishop David was inspired to make the offer to Pacquiao after seeing how Filipino born US football star Tim Tebow made a big positive impression as an effective promoter of the Word of God. Dubbed as “God’s quarterback” — Tebow is a well-known devout Catholic. Therein lies a big difference. Manny Pacquiao is hounded by several controversies, which include marital problems.

In that lackluster Pacquiao performance against Juan Manuel Marquez, their third fight, media accounts pointed to a husband and wife quarrel between Manny and his wife Jinkee on the eve of the fight as the cause of the Sarangani Congressman’s disappointing showing. Before that, Pacquiao was linked to a movie co-star. Other than media reports of Pacquiao’s so-called ‘extra-curricular’ activities, he is also talked about in gambling circles as heavily involved in the vice that has been known to ruin fortunes and families. My good friend Ronnie Nathanielz was ostracized from the Pacquiao camp because Ronnie wrote the inconvenient truth.

Pacquiao was quick to send signals that suggested that he’d take on the offer of the good Bishop. Pacquiao was quoted as claiming that “he had renewed his faith and given up vices following an ‘encounter with God’ during a dream.”

Per the Manila Times website: “In the dream, Pacquiao said that he found himself in a forest, where a bright light shone, believed to be God, asking the fighter why he was veering away from Him.” Pacquiao added: “I woke up crying. I remember I was crying in my dream and when I touched my pillow, it was wet,” he said.

Wow! That’s a scene that the late Hollywood producer, Cecil B. De Mille, would just love to include in The Ten Commandments, the 1950s movie that catapulted the late Charlton Heston to stardom. Good thing that Manny Pacquiao didn’t make any claims of walking with Jesus Christ on the water of Manila Bay. Good thing that Manny Pacquiao did not bring down with him from Mount Olympus — oh, sorry that was Greek mythology — the updated tablets of The New Ten Commandments?

The Catholic Church barely survived the ‘heresy’ of Bro. Mike Velarde and now they’re plunging into a partnership with someone compared to whom Bro. Mike may just appear to be pious. At least we never heard Bro. Mike make any claim to seeing a bright light and hearing a voice that could only be God’s in the Manny Pacquiao script. The Catholic Church has not yet recovered from the growth of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) from under their very noses. Come to think of it, Bro. Mike’s El Shaddai might just be a declaration away from becoming another INC.

The possibilities are endless. What happens if Bro. Mike and Manny Pacquiao decide to join forces in establishing their own Iglesia ng mga Pacman? Bro. Mike could use a second wind to propel his wings once again while for Manny Pacquiao the combination is a powerful engine for a presidential ambition. Just picture them on the campaign trail together, Bro. Mike would shout “Amen!” while Pacquiao would counter HYMEN.

Who ends up being shafted? The poor gullible Catholics for one are royally shafted and also the leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

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