Dissin’ the Pope

"The latest shabby attempt by anti-Catholics to mislead the faithful"


Certain news items are always quotable no matter how late. That’s because they point us towards potential ground-shakers that can change the way we live and work.

Last week, BDO, the country’s largest unibank, disclosed that they would partner with over 8,000 sari-sari stores and other small businesses to provide cash withdrawal and remittance services. This effectively expands by six times their existing network of 1,400 branches, already the country’s largest.

Called “Cash Agad,” the program will place POS terminals in partner outlets that can disburse up to P10,000 per day to all ATM cardholders, not just BDO’s. Later, these services might also include accepting deposits and bills payments. It’s a nifty way to corner the grassroots market without building a lot of expensive new branches.

From a public policy viewpoint, the new program promotes savings and financial literacy up to the remote reaches of the country, especially while we’re all locked down. I’ve always been proud of my six years of consulting for BDO, and this latest demonstration of “We find ways” reminds me again why.

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Another noteworthy development, also from last week, was the resumption of discussions with China to put together a joint venture that will explore for offshore oil, specifically in the Reed and Recto Bank reserves. Vietnam may later be invited as well, effectively resurrecting the tripartite initiative launched by former President Arroyo before it was scuttled by yellow mudslinging.

Surprisingly, former Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has written approvingly of this development, provided that the terms of the deal conform to our laws. I hope he’s coming around to the view that, yes, it’s possible to do mutually beneficial deals with the Chinese, even in the midst of our maritime issues with them that are—for so long as the US Navy wants to keep prowling around Asian waters—unlikely to ever go away.

This is a long-term fix: energy self-sufficiency amid the price and supply volatility of a commodity like oil. Like any good deal, it looks like a win-win for everyone.

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More recently, the newspapers have gone agog over a filmed interview with Pope Francis where he reportedly endorsed same-sex unions—albeit only civil ones—and even the right of such couples to form their own families.

Much has been said on both sides of the issue by people more learned than I am. So mine is a simple response: Go to the original videotape (courtesy of a Spanish-speaking Capuchin monk I stumbled across on YouTube). You’ll see how—not for the first time—this Pope is being misused by the anti-Catholics.

Just two points are worth pointing out. One, when the Holy Father talked about homosexuals and families, he wasn’t saying they should be allowed to form families. What he really said is that gay people do not deserve to be kicked out of their families because of their predilections. They deserve to continue to be loved. That is Church teaching.

Two, when he talked about “civil unions,” the actual words he used were “convivencia civil.” Google this, and you’ll see that it actually means “civil coexistence.” The Pope wasn’t endorsing civil unions between homosexuals, but invoking legal protection for the coexistence of homosexuals with the rest of society, no less than for any other citizen. That, too, is Church teaching.

Francis is unabashed about his liberal point of view, sometimes veering too close to Latin American leftism. In this case, however, there are no doctrinal earthquakes involved. There is only the usual shabby attempts to mislead the faithful by the abortion-loving, Trump-hating, anti-Catholic Western media.

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Since we’ve been talking about the first Jesuit Pope ever, let me put in a plug for the Philippine Jesuits Prison Services. PJPS has been working for decades with prisoners and their families, especially at the Muntinlupa prison facilities.

Last week, Oct 19-25, marked the celebration of Prisons Awareness Week, with the theme “Restoring hope and healing during this time of pandemic through God’s transforming unconditional love; affirm an option for life and work for a justice that heals.”

If you want to learn more about how to support PJPS, please visit their website:, or contact the Advocacy Program Coordinator at Tel. No. 8659-0513.

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After talking about lockdowns and prisoners, it’s timely to mention that hotels have thankfully been allowed to open up 100 percent. But at the same time, churches have been raised from 10 percent to only 30 percent allowed capacity.

Why on earth would anyone think that a hotel fully packed with people from who knows where, is safer than a church only one-third full? Is it me being obtuse, or is it someone else in high places?

Readers can write me at

Topics: Gary Olivar , BDO , Cash Agad , Associate Justice Antonio Carpio , Pope Francis
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