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Schools defying Church teachings may lose Catholic status

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MANILA, August 17, 2012— The Catholic hierarchy may strip a school of its affiliation with the church if they go against its teachings particularly on life issues, a ranking archbishop said.

Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said this is possible if a Catholic school and other institutions violated ethical and religious directives of the church.

“If we are a Catholic school, we should not teach anything contrary to the official teaching of the church,” Palma said.

Amid the debate on a controversial artificial contraception measure, he admitted that there is a clash of beliefs between the church and teachers of some Catholic schools.

However, the Cebu archbishop said they are trying to solve the problem through a dialogue.

“In some places, we first talk to them because some teachers may have some misunderstanding of what they think of freedom of conscience or academic freedom,” said Palma.

“In some of the universities, we say that if you want to teach that idea, do not do it in a Catholic school because we are confusing the students… do it in other universities,” he said.

The CBCP head stressed that the motive why parents send their children to Catholic schools are for reasons of faith formation.

“They are hoping that their children will learn the Catholic teaching and also the Catholic formation,’ he said.

“It will be a contradiction if we will bombard them with ideas which are against the official teachings of the Catholic faith,” added Palma.

Around 160 professors of the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) have openly expressed their support for the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill opposed by the Church.

The professors first released this statement in 2008, and reiterated their stand recently as the House entered into the period of amendments on the RH measure.

They also stated that they are not speaking for the entire Ateneo institution and only expressing their personal position.

The ADMU, however, as a Jesuit and Catholic university, clarified that it still stands with the CBCP and the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus.

Only last month, the Vatican has withdrawn the Catholic identity of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, because some of its policies are “not compatible with the discipline and morals of the church.”

The Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium has also come into question in recent years as the Vatican probed the embryonic stem-cell research conducted at Leuven and its sister institution, Louvain. [RL/CBCPNews]




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45 Responses to Schools defying Church teachings may lose Catholic status

  1. The Catholic Church doesn’t want their followers to think; they just want blind puppets to usher a new Dark Age of scientific ignorance. Oh my what’s new?

    August 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    • Hello there Miko, why such bigotry with the Catholic Church?
      I don’t like to be apologetic here but try to know the history of the Philippines…try to trace the strong contribution of Catholicism in the Philippines in all aspects since its beginning as a country…for centuries now…if we come to recognize this, we would no longer be so arrogant, critical and cynical…because whether we like it or not…we are very part of this historical significance…Be humble my friend…

      August 20, 2012 at 10:44 am

      • Miko, Jj stop name calling. The real issue isnt arrogance. It is cbcp being petty on teachers acting on their consciences by supporting rh bill. What does cbcp intend to do? Is the doctrinic, extremist schools really the model they want for us? I am proud of the ateneo teachers for taking a stand, and also proud of the admu institution for not suppressing debate and open discussion. Take note, admu is pro-rh.

        August 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    • it simply shows that you are extremely ignorant of the catholic faith. i hope your not a catholic. otherwise, you’re a disgrace to our religion. damn you satan!go to hell.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

  2. The Catholic doctrines are hindrances to real education. So thank you for stripping those schools of the ‘Catholic’ status. Because of that, they will now be free. Thank you.

    August 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

  3. Huh? You think people are enrolling their kids for the “Catholic” status of the school? Even WITHOUT that title, parents will still enroll their children there because of the EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION that will be established which is NECESSARY to gain a job, living and a healthy family.

    Go ahead, remove the Catholic status of all schools in this country. I’m sure people wouldn’t mind. After all, education is still better than indoctrination.

    August 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    • to those students who enrolled in ADMU because of its ‘status’ to land a better job, do not be hypocrite. it may matter the school where you graduated in landing a job but remember… your credentials may help you ‘get in’ but your EQ/attitude will help you to ‘stay in’. check your values please.

      Gregar Donaven Valdehueza
      August 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm

  4. Oh dear,oh dear!I am flabbergasted,especially with the line:”not compatible with the discipline and morals of the church.”I am actually confused with the church’s discipline and morals ever since I left Philippines.

    Maria Janisa Bulabos Murcia
    August 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

  5. So as you say, the Vatican is the only one AUTHORIZED to remove a School’s Catholic Status. Thus ff there are School’s who are questionable, then call the Vatican. ITs only common sense that you are not the Vatican, you don’t have control over the Vatican, they have over you. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND GOVERNMENT. Just because you have religious beliefs doesn’t mean you have to force others to follow them, that is why there is such a thing as religious freedom.

    August 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

  6. It makes sense obviously.

    If one calls himself a catholic, then he should abide by the rules of the catholic church. Same with schools run by religious congregations.

    No one is forcing anyone to belong to a group or what.

    If the Ateneo professors do not agree with the catholic church’s teachings then they should leave Ateneo and apply at the U.P. or any other school that is not catholic.

    Charles Arnaud
    August 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    • I would like to believe that before it is a religious institution, the Ateneo is an educational one. If the Ateneo would simply follow what the Church dictates, then calling it a university is foolishness. I’d rather have the Ateneo’s Catholic status revoked than the Ateneo mindlessly following what the Church dictates. I would like to think that the very reason a university exists is to invoke curiosity and raise questions among the young people. The Ateneo is doing a superb job in that department, if you ask me.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    • I STRONGLY AGREE. i just hope these teachers and professors will leave ADMU because obviously they don’t belong in the group. you are worthy to be called ‘teachers’ in that particular institution if your teachings are in line with the values, philosophies, vision, and mission of the school you are affiliated with. so don’t be hypocrite.

      Gregar Donaven Valdehueza
      August 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

  7. The Government should strip off their licenses and PAASCU accreditation to operate as an educational institution if their curriculum and instruction is based on doctrines and dogmas and not science and evidence. Reduce them as Quack schools

    John Piermont
    August 18, 2012 at 7:00 pm

  8. It is about time they cleanse their ranks of those who oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    Romeo K. Escuyos Jr.
    August 18, 2012 at 10:27 pm

  9. With this attitude, I pray that Archbishop Palma be given the honor of being a Cardinal.

    August 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm

  10. Faith required no rules., Love required no rules., Hope required no rules. God never forced his people to follow him. Then why now is the Catholic church who’s primary purpose is to teach God’s word making all these rules?

    Sad thought.

    August 19, 2012 at 12:58 am

    • What?? Have you read the bible? Ten commandments. Love your neighbor. Feed the hungry. He who hears you, hears me. Whatever you bind will be bound, whatever you loose will be loosed. What are you talking about? He made the rules, He established a Church!

      Ricardo Bocnan
      August 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm

  11. Ateneo and La Salle should be stripped of Catholic status including Colegio San Agustin. They are harboring atheists and are teaching things contrary to what that magisterium teaches. DO IT NOW!

    August 19, 2012 at 1:40 am

  12. If one calls himself a TRUE catholic, then he should understand what context the Bible was written and not just simply follow what the Catholic church says since human interpretation of the Bible CANNOT be always right.

    August 19, 2012 at 8:05 am

    • THe Bible’s rightful interpreter IS the Catholic Church’s magisterium. What are you talking about?

      Ricardo Bocnan
      August 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm

  13. There is definitely a revolution brewing in the Philippines. The Catholic hierarchy is letting their egos get the better of them and forget that the RH Bill is a state affair. 80% of Filipinos want it, and will realize soon (if not already) that the Church is not representing Jesus in any way here.

    It is INHUMANE to look around and not be bothered by the starvation of children (full grown fetuses that are borne into a life a poverty).

    I will not be surprised if one by one, we stop going to church and stop making our contributions because the more the Church meddles with this bill, the more apparent they are not working for ‘the least of Jesus brothers’. They are just being power hungry – very unJesuslike!

    Y Aspiras
    August 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

  14. HEY CBCP! 🙂 Look at the MoodThingy. You think you’re doing the right thing? Haha.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

  15. For me, it is more fitting and moral to pass the RH bill. It will help control poverty, and crime.

    If the catholic church would only see the children on the streets, prostitution at a very young age, criminals, etc. The Philippines is over populated. This can be addressed by the RH bill.

    Is the church willing to pay for taxes to help the address these issues of society?

    August 19, 2012 at 9:56 am

    • The Church is without par in helping the poor, even by the government that is supposed to be doing the same thing. Take the recent flooding for example.

      The Filipino Publican
      August 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm

  16. Mr. Arnaud (if this really is your name), the religious alignment of a university is not the only factor (if it is a factor at all) that attracts students and professors into its academic community. For instance, if a student or professor excels in the humanities and it is in this discipline that the university specializes, why should the student or professor waste his or her time in a substandard program elsewhere just because of the school’s religious alignment that, at best, may only be a prevailing cultural accessory to the school’s academic life?

    You cannot expect people to force themselves into schools of opinion if they feel they do not share it, especially not in a highly intellectual community such as the Ateneo. I would also like to remind you that the aforementioned collective of professors have declared that they are not speaking for the university in this stance.

    It is precisely this narrow and exclusive thinking that has gotten, and will get, CBCP (and may I add, people like you) in hot water. Please evaluate your opinions in depth.

    August 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

  17. You misinterpret Charles. It is the university that calls itself Catholic, not the professors. Professors are accepted into the school for their expertise, not their religious alignment. I highly doubt that all the professors of the Ateneo are Catholic, but I can stand by the fact that the professors of the Ateneo are there for their skill.

    And you might be of the delusion that priests compose the entire faculty. You are sorely mistaken if this is the case.

    August 19, 2012 at 10:41 am

    • A university cannot be Catholic while the people there are not. Who consist the university after all? The people there.

      Jayson Durante
      August 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm

  18. “The CBCP head stressed that the motive why parents send their children to Catholic schools are for reasons of faith formation.

    “They are hoping that their children will learn the Catholic teaching and also the Catholic formation,’ he said.”

    This is laughable. CBCP flatly knows this isn’t true. People enroll in universities because they offer excellent education. Their being a Catholic institution is just a consequence and isn’t even considered when choosing a school. Even non-Catholics enroll in Catholic universities. Do you think they came there so that they will “learn the Catholic teaching and also the Catholic formation”?

    Try harder CBCP. You are all getting desperate.

    August 19, 2012 at 11:20 am

  19. In John Paul II’s Ex corde ecclesiae, it is written that a Catholic university should have “ideals, attitudes and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance with the proper nature and autonomy of these activities.” John Paul II did not expect that all teachers will be Roman Catholic, but that the non Catholics at least respect what the Church teaches. The problem lies when Roman Catholics on the faculty openly dissent.

    “Those university teachers and administrators who belong to other Churches, ecclesial communities, or religions, as well as those who profess no religious belief, and also all students, are to recognize and respect the distinctive Catholic identity of the University.”

    However this is where it becomes controversial

    ” In order not to endanger the Catholic identity of the University or Institute of Higher Studies, the number of non-Catholic teachers should not be allowed to constitute a majority within the Institution, which is and must remain Catholic.”

    This of course in many places cannot be achieved without compromising the university’s academic excellence.

    But in the case of the Ateneo pro RH professors, they have to consider that they are expressing their dissent as a group and that the university like Ateneo is good only as how good its professors are. The university actually exists because of its professors. Whatever we make of it, the sentiment of Ateneo (despite what its administration says) is actually in dissent from Church teaching. And I would assume that a majority of those dissenting are Roman Catholics. I would know since I know many of them. I also know non Roman Catholics on the Ateneo’s faculty who support the RH bill but refused to sign in respect for Church teaching on the matter.

    Note that the Blessed Pope did not expect that a professor in a Catholic university will not dissent from Church teaching, only that he/she respects it.

    This is where the controversy lies. If the Ateneo professors expressed their dissent in private, then there would be no problem. If they expressed it individually in public as private individuals then there would be no problem. But a Catholic university has a special identity and this has to be respected.

    Ben Vallejo
    August 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm

  20. Atenean and Carl,

    You both obviously do not get the point of Charles and the Catholic hierarchy.

    You cannot be an institution and say something against the policies and practices of that institution. Whether you are in a corporation or in a religious institution, that cannot happen.

    The professors are not doing this only as part of their so-called academic expertise. They are doing this in clear defiance of the bishops who control and have authority over these universities. The Church has issued an Apostolic Constitution, Ex corde ecclesiae, which lays out the laws on how to govern Catholic institutions of higher learning.

    It is not even an issue of whether they are priests or not, Catholic or not. They have been hired for their expertise AND (take note of this) NOT to antagonize what the Church teaches. We are talking of a religious university, not a secular one. If you want that kind of thing, go and apply for a teaching position, like at UP, where professors can bash any Philippine president they want and still keep the job.

    No one is forcing these professors to stay at the university nor are they being forced to teach Catholic principles. They are simply reminded not to teach anything contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    Simply put, if you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    Try talking that same line with a Communist China university or an Islamic University in Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

    August 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    • I’m sorry but it is in my understanding that bishops has no control over ADMU. The Ateneo is a Jesuit institution. The Society of Jesus is an independent Catholic Order who has its own leadership that answers directly to the Pope.

      August 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm

  21. Rommel, to quote you,

    “No one is forcing these professors to stay at the university nor are they being forced to teach Catholic principles. They are simply reminded not to teach anything contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.” I will only quote this as the rest of your post include repetitions of previous comments and all lead to this basic idea anyway.

    Do you attend the university? What proof do you have that the signatory professors are actually teaching these things to their students? And do you think, if they even dwell on this matter at all during class hours, that students would blindly listen and believe?

    Academic expertise has nothing to do with their stance and nothing but the right to personal opinion qualifies them to say what they believe.

    Do not compare corporations and religious institutions because they are VASTLY different. You join a corporation solely because you believe in what it does, manufacturing whatever product or service, which is the ONLY thing it does. This “religious institution” we are talking of however is a UNIVERSITY, an institution which, though as noted by Atenean to be with religious alignment, serves a much bigger purpose: EDUCATION. (And please don’t even get me started with that ridiculous analogy on Communist Chinese and Islamic universities — I hope I don’t need to explain the subtle yet existent differences to you that weaken your analogies.)

    Their role in education, therefore, must be a driving reason why those professors remain in tenure. And their role in education must also be the reason why the Jesuits are not dismissing them. Frankly to do so would be disastrous to the university, which is a clear recognition of the fact that the Ateneo stands not solely for its Catholic alignment. Any such move would compromise the intellectual vibrance of the school.

    Unless of course this is what we want?

    August 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm

  22. If the Ateneo is stripped of its Catholic status because of professors who have openly expressed their individual opinion (not as an official Ateneo voice) on the RH BILL, then that is unfortunate.

    I have been in teaching in the university for several years now and I myself am not in favor of the RH Bill. I respect my colleagues dissenting opinion inasmuch as they respect ours. The excellence they put in teaching their respective subject areas have formed part of the culture that has traditionally strengthened the faith of many young people. They do not form students to be criminals, terrorists, or even satanists, but genuine men and women for others. Many of these young one step into college as drifters in their faith, and step out with a stronger sense of purpose and relationship with God.

    Perhaps we should ask the question, how do we deal with voices of dissent in our community? Our Lord gives us countless examples in the parable of the two sons, in the parable of the lost sheep, and many more.

    How pleasant it would be if it were easy to agree in a snap. However, that is not reality. It is not easy to identify black from white in a world of multiple shades of grey. I believe my colleagues act in good faith and do follow their conscience in supporting the RH bill. Jesus dined and wined with the sinners, outcasts, and tax collectors. He gives us the example of loving our “enemies”. Helping them understand the RH Bill the way the CBCP does will take time and effort. But isn’t that part of the cross we have to carry as Christians?

    Small Voice
    August 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm

  23. What are the top schools in the world?

    Do they have a ‘Catholic’ status?

    No, I didn’t think so.

    August 20, 2012 at 12:34 am

  24. The Ateneo is first an educational institution before it is a Catholic? That is wrong. Ateneo is supposed to be an instrument of evangelization using the medium of education.The university is supposed to be a community of persons involved in the living of and transmission of Catholic teaching, illuminating even “secular” disciplines with the light of Christ.

    Please read Florentino H. Hornedo’s “Christian Education: Becoming Person-for-Others” to understand more the identity and mission of religious schools. Hornedo was a long-time professor at the Ateneo and a respected one at that.

    Jayson Durante
    August 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

  25. A reminder:

    We don’t bite the hands that feed us.

    We know well that Ateneo is Catholic. Why do we, in voicing our support for the RH Bill, have to identify ourselves as Ateneo professors? And get published bearing the Ateneo name? Teachers influence students. Whether we teach it inside the classroom or not, our positions and actions influence students.Even if we allege that we are merely acting as individuals or as a group and not for the University,but just the same use its name, we are undermining the University. We could have been more prudent.And respectful.

    Jayson Durante
    August 20, 2012 at 11:51 am

  26. what is the rub? if you say that students are enrolled only because of the educational foundation and not necessarily because of the teachings of the Catholic faith or that Catholic doctrines are hindrances to real education why don’t you agree with stripping this school of its affiliation with the Church? it is as simple as this — if the school and its professors do not agree with the Catholic Church’s teachings why don’t these professors leave the school or, why does the school not remove its Catholic status? Nothing less.

    Catherine Sien
    August 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

  27. wow, this is really getting serious and outrageous! why don’t they kick the pope first out of vatican for softening his stand on the use of condom to prevent aids infection? read this article for mmore details – i didn’t realize this ilonggo bishop will be this close-minded. i wonder what happened to him since he became bishop. ayayayay!

    August 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    • In that article, the Vatican is certainly misunderstood. Sometimes, people don’t think and understand well, in this case whoever wrote that article, before they quote somebody.

      Jayson Durante
      August 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm

  28. As an Atenean, I will have to contest that the university has perfectly stated that it does not stand along with around 200 professors who signed the petition in support of the RH bill. The professors have also stated that they do not represent the school in such matter.

    Also as a student of the said university, no one in the academe has ever mentioned their stand in the RH bill issue. They are professionals, and as respected educators, they do not impose any personal opinion on their students nor do they force to make them believe of what they believe in. If you seem to see that most of us are in support of the RH bill, our professors are not in any way involved in our personal decisions. We are simply striving to be open in the current issues our country is facing, and as responsible citizens who know the bounds of democracy, we do not fail to properly voice out our stance.

    Ateneo is indeed a Catholic university, but it also encourages academic freedom. This only means no ideology or belief is barred from anyone in the community. Everyone respects what each of us believes in. We have always been taught to look through several perspectives in whatever issue we tackle– to think outside of the box, and it just so happens a lot of us students lean on to one which is seen to be inappropriate. This does not mean, however, we are weak in faith and we object in the stand of the Church and most of those who are against the Reproductive Health Bill. We know where they are coming from, and we respect that. We are simply assessing the situation the country faces, and we just feel that something like the RH bill is urgently necessary. Besides, I am only one of the 8000 college students in Ateneo. Just because it seems so publicized how so many of us are in support of the RH bill, you still have to know that not all of us are in support of the said bill. And if you think that we are imposing each other of our opposing choices, you must perfectly observe that we do not have or go through squabbles or heated arguments about the issue. Equipped with this academic freedom the institution provides is the utter respect and open-mindedness to other opinions and ideas. (If it is still not lucid to you, I will have to emphasize that my opinion and some of my colleagues do not in any way reflect the teaching of the university. It is simply a personal stand.)

    Ateneo has never lacked its guidance and Catholic formation on its students. Never has there been any deficiency in the institution’s enlightenment to its students to strengthen their faith on the Lord. We have always been taught to see that this knowledge we acquire can only come from God the Supreme Being, and we use this in His glory. Everything we learn is in accordance to Him, and we have always been aware that God will always be the foundation of this blessing we are endeavored with. As our beloved St. Ignatius has put it, “all the things in this world are gifts of God, created for us, to be the means by which we can come to know Him better, love Him more surely, and serve Him more faithfully.”

    I hope that my beloved Ateneo will not be further judged for the stance of many of its staff and students. The Jesuits who have raised us to simply think have also never failed to enlighten us of the Catholic doctrines and moral teachings that would help us to lead and serve as proper and responsible citizens of the Philippines. We are men and women for others who have the deepest faith in the Lord. For we believe that whatever we do, Ateneans we may be or not, is all empowered and offered in God’s glory.

    August 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm

  29. Good for the bishops.

    August 21, 2012 at 7:28 am

  30. FYI: The Philippine hierarchy has jurisdiction over Ateneo de Manila (and all Catholic schools in the country).

    Strip the Ateneo of its Catholic identity? It is under the Jesuits; it is supposed to be Catholic.

    To solve the issue, an investigation must be done. A fair and just investigation will show that the Philippine hierarchy is doing its job, that the Jesuits are sincere and transparent, and that those professors are provided with the proper forum where they could be heard–all these before judgment is rendered.

    Jayson Durante
    August 21, 2012 at 11:12 am

  31. Go ahead, CBCP, strip them of the CATHOLIC status. As if it would make these schools less of an educational institution. It is not supposed to be a place of worship but a place where young people exercise their pursuit of knowledge and research. Respect academic freedom.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:43 am

    • Then the Jesuits will not serve their purpose, if that is what you want.

      Jayson Durante
      August 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

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