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Proud Catholic Inquirer?

/ 12:39 AM October 31, 2011

I still recall a lot of basic journalism rules from my days as a writer and editor of my high school paper. One of them is that the paper’s editorial is supposed to reflect the views of the entire staff or, at the very least, of the editorial team. A consensus is made as to what topic to feature in the piece, as well as what the paper’s stand is on the chosen issue.

While most of the Inquirer editorials reflect—or, at least, appear to reflect—these rules, I found its Oct. 28 piece on San Pedro Calungsod a bit troubling. It talks about the impending canonization of Calungsod, to whom a doctor prayed in hopes of reviving a woman who had been clinically dead for two hours.

It then goes on to mention Christianity in the Visayas and folk Catholicism, and even dismisses secularists’ notion that Catholic feasts are a “waste of time and resources” with a few handy quotes from two National Artists for Literature. The piece then ends with the following:

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“The examples of Calungsod and Lorenzo Ruiz should indicate that the ‘hometown’ has grown to embrace as well the globe. Both of them earned the palm of martyrdom abroad—the latter in Japan, the former in what’s now Guam. They may as well have been the first Filipino OFWs! And although they died with clerics (Calungsod with the Jesuit Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores, and Lorenzo with several Dominican friars), they were laymen, an indication of how Christianity had really taken root among the Filipinos.

Their martyrdom having sown and watered the seed of Christianity elsewhere, they’re veritable ambassadors and embodiments of the catholicity of the Catholic faith. They’re the Philippine Church’s gifts to universal humanity. They make us proud to be Filipinos and Christians.”

Given the above rule as to what an editorial should be, is it true that every person working for the Inquirer (or editorial team) is a proud Catholic? Is it true that all of them took part in the decision that this issue—which affects fewer people than you think, given that not all Filipinos are serious believers, much less Catholic ones—was significant enough to be the main opinion piece, when there are quite a few other issues (OWS, MILF, GMA, etc.) to be tackled?

I kind of understand why the editorial last Oct. 17 was on the newly appointed Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle. Our country’s government, unfortunately, tends to be swayed by the opinions of the local Catholic Church’s leaders, so making mention of the new head honcho can be justified.

As Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes admitted, “He could wield more influence to spread the opposition against the [RH bill] legislation.” This piece gives “unrepentantly secular” individuals like myself reason to be alert. (And by the way, your use of “unrepentantly” in the piece’s first sentence smacked of prejudice.)

But an editorial on some guy from Guam who magically healed a dead woman from the future by way of a doctor who closed his eyes and mumbled for help, which is a story that is not based on a shred of evidence and is only sincerely believed by some people?

—MARGUERITE ALCAZAREN DE LEON

We suggest that De Leon read the editorial more closely for its main message.—Ed.

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TAGS: Christianity in the Visayas, folk Catholicism, Inquirer editorials, Roman Catholic, San Pedro Calungsod
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