Friday, October 24, 2014

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE


It is hard not to perceive and thereby understand the serious and lasting socio-ethical liabilities if not downright evils that a joint Church-and-State regime could bring about to the confusion and lamentation of the people concerned – such as the People of the Philippines. The Church obeying what the State requires and imposes and the State in submission to what the Church wants and decides – such a phenomenon would not only be detestable to think about but actually disgusting when brought to reality.

The Church may not be subservient to state just as the State may neither be submissive to the Church. Among the more evident reasons behind this elementary truth are the following: The Church is universal in relevance and coverage while the State is existent and operative but for a given nation. The officials of the Church are appointed by her competent hierarchy while key public officials in a State are elected by the people. The Church has ultimately a spiritual well as well as supernatural rationale while the State is primarily envisioned for the temporal socio-economic welfare of the people.

So it is that the Separation of Church and State is but an elementary dictate of prudence, a fundamental mandate of reasons. Having them joined is not only a big contradiction in terms but also a signal guarantee of confusion among the people concerned. However, let it be clearly and emphatically said that both the Church and the State may not be otherwise than for the common good and public welfare of the same people they are both committed to serve in line with their respective institutional and constitutional finality.

This, wherefore reads the Constitution of the Philippines: “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.” (Article II, Section 6). It may not be otherwise whereas such would instead simply guarantee contradiction and pursuant confusion among the people concerned.

Thus, therefore provides the Code of Canon Law: “Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.” (Canon 285 par. 3 CIC). Neither may it be otherwise whereas clerics – deacons, priests, bishops – have other priorities.

Thus finally should the people themselves see to it that both the above-cited constitutional provision and canonical legislation are seriously and continuously observed. This is certain: Just as politicians would make lousy clerics, so is it too that clerics would make lousy politicians. All of them though should combine their effort to promote the well-being of the people with both secular and spiritual requirements, with both “here and now” as well as “hereafter and beyond” needs.