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Religion and Politics in the Philippines - the Role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Democratization of the Filipino Polity

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Title of the Article:

Religion and Politics in the Philippines:

The Role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Democratization of the Filipino Polity

Author:

Aloysius Lopez Cartagenas

I. What Struck Me?

i. The Roman Catholic Church as an organized and institutionalized religion has had a significant role in and impact on Philippine political life. In recent times it served as the primary locus against the dictatorship of the Marcos regime and facilitated the 1986 People Power revolt that restored democratic structures and processes.

ii. The Church's efforts to help balance and establish boundaries of power in the Filipino polity revolve around the axis of clean, honest and fair elections....Key church leaders do not have the patience to study issues in depth and, like ordinary citizens, lose interest once the winning candidates take office.

iii. ....the more convincing explanation for the country's poverty and underdevelopment lies more with how the elite factions compete for control over people, production, markets and resources and the success with which the winning faction, acting as patrons to government bureaucrats and politicians, uses the apparatus of the state to pass or enforce laws and policies which preserve or promote their class interests.

2. Agree or Disagree?

i. With the first point I consider striking, I agree with it because I guess it's an obvious fact, but I would like to comment on the fact itself. Religion, most of which, if not all, was Roman Catholic, played a big part in the Filipinos' fight for democracy. Without the countless nuns

and other religious personality uttering their respective prayers while holding their rosary, the result of the People Power Revolution could have been different, not to mention the fact that Pres. Corazon Aquino, herself, was a devoted Christian. But now, the religious sect failed to be of great help in maintaining the democracy we all once fought for. It's just too ironic to know that while Roman Catholic built back Democracy, it might just be the same reason for its downfall.

ii. I agree. It's not a secret to Filipinos that church leaders are one of the most influential personalities in terms of choosing a candidate for election. Worth the mention would be the Iglesia Ni Cristo group who are known for voting the candidate desired by their leader. Once their head announces his choice, everyone would be saved from wasting time thinking about what name they should write in their ballots. But after election, not a ruckus will be heard again about the relationship of the INC leader and the candidate he chose, no one would even know if they could still remember each other's name. What the author posits in his contention is that the church, of whatever religion

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