Filipino clergy divided for Pope Francis – online poll

Pope Francis visits the Typhoon Yolanda victims in one of the areas in Palo, Leyte, January 17, 2015. Photo by Benhur Arcayan/Malacanang Photo Bureau
Pope Francis visits the Typhoon Yolanda victims in one of the areas in Palo, Leyte, January 17, 2015. Photo by Benhur Arcayan/Malacanang Photo Bureau

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 5Jan2015 ( – About half (50%) of the clergy in the country are seen as not likely to obey Pope Francis’ calling to uphold the poor and fight social injustice.

While, the other half (50%) is seen by people as most likely to obey the Pope’s calling.

The online poll survey was launched by online news group,

The poll question: Pope Francis declaration that the Church must act to raise the concern for the poor and oppose social injustice. Do you believe the local priests in your community will obey the Pope’s calling? …. YES, priests will obey. ……..NO, priests will not obey.

The online poll has been running for two (2) weeks that started January 7, this year, before the Papal visit and was closed Saturday (January 31), ten (10) days after the Pope’s departure.

Online Respondents

Respondents in the online survey are internet-literate, well-informed on current events, those who have plenty of time to browse the web and are connected in social media networks.

However, the online poll did not identify if the respondents are Catholics or not, but it was designed to know the public perception, by Catholics and non-Catholics, on the local priests at the community level.

Cutting-edge divided

Few days before the Papal visit, the “YES (to obey)” votes have enjoyed an average narrow margin of 10% over the “NO (not to obey”) votes. YES: 55%, NO: 45%.

During the Pope visit in Manila and Tacloban, the NO votes had overtaken the YES votes by a thin margin.NO: 53%, YES: 47%.

More than a week after the Papal visit, the final poll result is: YES, to obey 50%  (fifty percent);  NO, not to obey 50% (fifty percent).

Modern-day “Padre Damasos”

Many have been observing that many priests have forgotten their vows on poverty, celibacy, and moral righteousness. The clergy have been observed as wallowing in wealthy life, while some are involved in immorality.

Also seen are many priests and bishops preferring to circulate among the elite, the wealthy and the powerful, thus distancing themselves away from the poor parishioners.

In short, “Padre Damaso”, the corrupt, influential,

immoral, and rich prelate in Jose Rizal’s novel, “Noli Me Tangere” written during the Spanish colonial period, is still around in many parishes and dioceses.

Although, there are still many priests who are idealistic and pro-poor. Most of these are assigned in far-flung parishes where poverty among the rural folks is strongly felt.

Activist, pro-poor Pope

Pope Francis visited the country middle of January as part of his travel of “mercy and compassion”.

The revered leader of more than a billion Catholics worldwide, the Argentine Pope has shocked the world of his pro-poor, anti-capitalist, and activist statements on the prevailing global socio-political-economic systems.

Pope Francis did not spare the prevailing worsening economic situation in the country by telling government officials to adhere closely on the virtues of honesty and truthfulness in public service, to become leaders for the poor, and dispense social justice.

Among the Filipino youth, he cajoled them to become activists and fight for the rights of the poor.

He told big business to use profits to benefit people and society, and never fall into materialism and use money as “god”.

But, Pope Francis has remained silent on the Filipino clergy and its involvements in some controversial issues of public concern. []


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