|Pierre de Charentenay SJ|
(Rome / Manila) Just before the pastoral visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines there appeared in Belgium a book that deals with the Catholics of this island nation. The author is the Jesuit Pierre de Charentenay, who is on the permanent staff of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica in Rome. In the book "Les Philippines, archipelago asiatique et catholique" (The Philippines, Asian and Catholic Archipelago), published by the Jesuit Publisher Lessius éditions in Namur, de Charentenay criticized the Philippine bishops because of their stubborn resistance to new state laws that aim to legalize contraception, abortion, divorce and "gay marriage." Pope Francis hasn't offered a word to defend them.
The South and Southeast Asia visit of the Pope from 12 to 19th January, in terms of global media interest, was reduced to the statement that "good Catholics" should not multiply like "rabbits". One of those tossed in statements that increasingly characterize this pontificate. At this rate, decades later it will be recalled when the pontificate of the Argentine Pope is long past.
The statement was indeed of a general nature, but is easy to apply to the papal destination of the Philippines. The archipelago forms the largest Catholic nation in Asia. And Filipinos are still happy about offspring.
Hardly Related to Country and Folk Elements in Pope's Speeches
Subjecting all speeches of the Pope, both prepared and spontaneous, an analysis, it is found that it hardly find specific references to the country and people. Here, the Philippines next to the young and small East Timor, the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia huge.
The Catholic church in the country became known worldwide for its leadership role in the peaceful popular uprising that the end of the reign of Ferdinand Marcos brought about in 1986. His widow took almost 30 years later, some with millions of other Filipinos at the Papal Mass in Manila. Otherwise, the Catholic island nation remained little attention.Today Filipinos form an army of millions of Catholic immigrant workers in the Islamic monarchies on the Arabian Peninsula.
De Charentenay's Book About the Catholic Philippines
The eminent French Jesuit, Pierre de Charentenay set himself the task to close the gaps in knowledge about the Catholic Philippines. De Charentenay is the current director of the Jesuit College Centre Sèvres de Paris, and from 2004-2012 Editor of the French Jesuit journal Etudes. Since 2013, he has worked as a regular contributor to the Civiltà Cattolica has climbed the "Olympus" of Jesuit magazines. As is well known, each article of the Roman Jesuit journal appears after prior control with explicit permission to print from the Vatican. Chief Editor Father Antonio Spadaro is currently one of the reigning Pope's closest confidants.
The importance of the book by Father de Charentenay draws attention to a barely noticed event. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, also a Jesuit, recommended reading the book in preparation for the papal visit to accredited journalists. "A fortiori, it may be assumed with good reason that Pope Francis will have read the book," said Vatican expert Sandro Magister.
Father de Charentenay has visited the Philippines several times since 1982, and in 2013 lived there for almost a year on the islands. The book reads in one breath. The language is fluid, the details are well-founded, the historical survey is accurate. The Frenchman appears as an attentive observer, but also holds some surprises ready for the reader.
It's astonishing, for example, that generous public forgiveness and allowances are granted in the Philippines by the state and by the community for serious crimes. The largest prison in the country Father de Charentenay describes as a giant village, within which the prisoners can move and organize freely.
Although these typical Filipino forms could appeal to the mildness Pope Francis, who made the forgiveness of "mercy" as the core interest of his pontificate, he did not respond.
Praise for Government and their Divorce, Aberro-, Abortion and Contraception Agenda
Father de Charentenay also devotes a detailed chapter to the lengthy and harsh conflict between the Philippine bishops and the Government on the law about "reproductive health".
The author proves that he is by no means "neutral" on this point. He frankly sides with the "Catholic" President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. and whose government, which has proposed and passed laws rejected by the Catholic bishops. Against the wishes of the Catholic Church, the "Catholic" government continues what the international so-called "Overpopulation" agenda of the Club of Rome has to offer.
Similar positions are taken by de Charentenay in his book and in the Philippines to other controversial issues such as divorce, abortion and "gay marriage". The Jesuit goes so far as to criticize the Philippine bishops for their resistance as backward and outdated. Not only against the pressure of "modernity", but also the expectations of Pope Francis. De Charentenay writes:
"Pope Francis' statement, 'We can not just insist on the issues involved with abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. You can not. These are things that people should not talk about out of context and not constantly' - while the bishops have been very outspoken and public about their opinion. The Conference of the Philippine bishops has still adhered to its opposition on the grounds of principle. "
Pontifical Silence and a Clear Message
Pope Francis did not address the battle of the Philippine bishops during his stay. Above all, he neither defended it against criticism nor did he encouraged them in their struggle. Since the Civiltà Cattolica is valid under the direction of Father Spadaro as the essential voice of the Pope, de Charentenay belongs to the editorial staff and since Vatican spokesman Lombardi recommended the book as a source of information, the Philippine bishops should have understood at the latest after the Pope's visit, that their position is not desired by current Rome. In a figurative sense, the statement of another Pope's confidant, the Honduran, Cardinal Maradiaga to Cardinal Müller seems to apply the Philippine bishops: "You should be a little flexible."
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: UDS / Lessius (screenshot)
image: UDS / Lessius (screenshot)
Trans: Tancred email@example.com