In the line of ‘prophetic’ duty | Inquirer Opinion
Letters to the Editor

In the line of ‘prophetic’ duty

/ 12:02 AM February 18, 2017

This refers to the article titled “House Speaker calls bishops hypocrites” (News, 2/6/17).   Wikipedia says the word “hypocrisy” comes from the Greek word “hypokrisis,” which means “jealous.” “play-acting,” “acting out,” “coward” or “dissembling.”

The Catholic Church is full of sinners. Indeed, the Church is for sinners. Author Brennan Manning puts it this way: “The Church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.” The Church welcomes every sinner as member and each member finds the Church as a place for the redemption of  his sin.

Truly, a sinner becomes a member of the Church only because he admits that he is a sinner and submits to the Church for the confession of his sins. The Church probably is the only institution that requires one to admit his being a sinner for him to become a member thereof. The admission of being a sinner does not make one a hypocrite. Conversely, a member of the Church who denies that he is a sinner is a hypocrite.

That argument holds true for all the bishops. A bishop who admits that he is a sinner is not necessarily a hypocrite. In the New Testament, the Pharisees claimed they were the most righteous and thus they separated themselves from the mass of sinners. They engaged in “play-acting” by wearing a facade of righteousness to conceal their iniquities. They thought they have reached the height of righteousness and the moral ascendancy to be judgmental of others. The Pharisees were considered hypocrites.


The bishops are not Pharisees. Unlike the Pharisees, the bishops admit that they belong to the normal sinfulness of the masses.  When they speak out against the evils of society, it is not because they are hypocrites; it is just that they assume the prophetic role of witnessing the Gospel in a heroic way.


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TAGS: Catholic Church, hypocrisy

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