Freethinker protestors at Philippines Catholic Bishops Conference bear [CITATION NEEDED] sign

Filipino Freethinker protestors who came out to march at the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines bore many placards, including this wonderful, XKCD-inspired, Wikipedia-style [CITATION NEEDED] sign.

CBCP: No threat vs Aquino (Thanks, Armand!)

(Image: Philippine Daily Inquirer)


  1. But in XKCD, it was a political rally where politicians were campaigning to lord over everyone, not organize WILLING people for religious observance.

    1. Um. The intent of almost all religions is to recruit as many people as possible — willingly or not (they often target the most vulnerable people for a reason). It’s apt.

  2. I was in this rally with the Filipino Freethinkers. It was absolutely epic. You see, in the Philippines, the Church is trying to control everything. To them, using a condom or a pill is tantamount to abortion (!). The Philippines is also the last liberal democracy NOT to have divorce in its laws. The power of the church here is ridiculous.

    1. Every experience I have had with the Philippines and it’s people reflects this sentiment. I wholeheartedly agree.

  3. Thailand is proving the condoms save lives and fight poverty.

    I watched this Ted Talk yesterday-
    “At TEDxChange, Thailand’s “Mr. Condom,” Mechai Viravaidya, walks us through the country’s bold plan to raise its standard of living, starting in the 1970s. First step: population control. And that means a lot of frank, funny — and very effective — talk about condoms.”

    It is a tragedy that the Catholic Church has so much power in many poor nations, because preventing population control mires those countries into permanent poverty.

    1. Thanks for that, very interesting. Let me add my personal experience about Thailand, though. I reckon the same thing will happen in the Philippines once the church loses some of its moral power.

      Indeed, as the guy says in the talk everyone in Thailand knows about HIV/AIDS and condoms. However, they’re not as likely to be aware of other STDs, and none of this has changed the fact that some guys refuse to wear condoms, just like how it is everywhere in the world. Besides that though there’s something of a disconnect between education and practice – everyone knows you should wear a condom and whatever else, but that’s it. They don’t think about it too much, leading to mistakes and not being careful during sex (so that the condom isn’t disturbed or fluids otherwise shared).

      As an example (this is mostly speculation don’t take my word for it) for most less-educated Thais I don’t know if they would see any issue with reusing condoms. Despite them being given away all over the place (apparently), if you have to buy them they are quite expensive – more expensive than in the US. In terms of buying power, the price of a condom (about 20 baht) will almost buy you a satisfying meal from a sidewalk restaurant (about 30 baht). If you’re poor, which would you choose, especially if all you remember from the education provided is that you’re supposed to use them each time?

      Not to speak poorly of Thais – their efforts are incredibly good, and if anything it’s much worse in the US, where sex education and showing kids how to practice safe sex is inexplicably still taboo to a large extent.

      1. “Not to speak poorly of Thais – their efforts are incredibly good, and if anything it’s much worse in the US, where sex education and showing kids how to practice safe sex is inexplicably still taboo to a large extent.”

        There’s nothing inexplicable about it. In the US, we have both Catholic and Protestant moral scolds blocking rational sex education policy whenever possible.

  4. if its a democracy, then people have spoken with their votes. Why is it assumed that just because it is democratic, they have to be just like us. I do not know much about their democratic process, but if you admit that they are democratic, and they dont have divorce, one would assume that The MAJORITY doesn’t want it. That is the price of living in a democracy. you dont always get laws that are fair to everyone, but laws that are perceived fair by the majority. Same here in the states. There are many laws that a vocal minority doesn’t want, which make it seem unfair, but when you put it to a vote, the Majority wins out. if you dont like it, fund a benevolent dictator to rule in absolutes.

    1. What democracy do you live in that the legislation reflects what the majority wants? We don’t have a direct democracy, we have a supposedly representative one. Before you start lecturing people on how government works you should do a little reality check. Money and power rule everywhere – even in democracies.

  5. I wish it were simple. There is a strange relationship between the local church, the rich of Philippines, and the Vatican. The rich know that the people fear the church, but the church knows where the money comes from. So, if the church wants to feed the poor then it needs to listen to the rich. At the same time, the local church needs to listen to the Vatican. Many theologians, approved by the local church, have been silenced by the Vatican. The RC church allows the magic and the superstition to become part of the belief system. That simply allows the church to control the people even more.
    As long as those with money and those in the church operate together the ordinary people will remain in slavery. That partnership needs to be broken up. People need to come out of the dark ages and throw out the church. But then, same goes for the Catholics in the US. They are introducing Latin to more and more churches and the people are not saying a thing. So much for enlightened minds. I guess Paul’s words that one should speak so that everyone understands does not hold when it comes to Latin.

    1. They are introducing Latin to more and more churches and the people are not saying a thing. So much for enlightened minds. I guess Paul’s words that one should speak so that everyone understands does not hold when it comes to Latin.

      Excuse me, but what’s the problem with conducting some of the service in Latin? It doesn’t have to be everything. You can only do important prayers and core parts of a few others in Latin, then follow everything up in the local language.

      1. This is the United States and the language is English and the people who built the English speaking churches are English. Their sons had a calling to be trained in “English” and not in Latin so that their parents, neighbors could understand what they said. They found out that after all they did in those perishes that they did not own anything. They found out that the Vatican owned every single church even though it was on the property of the United States and now the Vatican, a foreign State established by Mussolini and only recently recognized by the UN, wants to control its population through another language. We are Americans first and no foreign power has the right to try and control us through another language through the guise of some spirituality. We are past those dark ages.
        In answer to the other poster about Paul, I agree except that there is no translation and Paul was also talking also about anyone coming into the churches. So, any guest coming in would think that it was a foreign place and not welcoming. But, more than that, in the spirit of it, according to Vatican ll, it is against the teaching of Jesus and therefore not right. If it were the original teaching of the church then the Church would be speaking Greek or Aramaic. Perhaps we should be looking at the real reasons why Latin was brought in. I can assure you it had nothing to do with spirituality. Reflect on the history of the church and you will know why. That history haunts us today. Just observe. In the US the church is still victimizing the young through its priests and then it is taking away the churches, which it never paid for, selling them and paying the victims. What a deal? Talk about double victimization? First you victimize the people through sexual abuse and then you sell the churches they built so that you can pay for the sexual abuse of the priests. Note that none of the money came from the Vatican even though a large percent goes to the Vatican every week from each diocese. Nothing has change here or the Philippines or anywhere in the world and comments here show that people are willing to accept the status quo instead of using reason. Too bad

        1. The concept of the Vatican as a sovreign nation was not established by Mussolini. The Pope took over the duties of the civil government after the fall of the Roman empire due to the absence of a working civil government. When Italy was unified most of the territory of the Papal States was taken by violence leaving what is now the state of the city of the Vatican. The Fascist government under Mussolini only formally recognized the Vatican’s right to exist–it didn’t create it.

          When Latin was the common language used in the western Catholic Church there was a translation into the vernacular provided in the form of a missal. Part of the reason for the western Church using a common language was that it would be more welcoming to people of other languages. Years ago the common languages in western Europe, especially in the the British Isles, varied considerably with time and locality. Anyone who was literate was literate in Latin and rarely in the vernacular. The language of the first mass is lost in the mists of time. The earliest written mass is in Greek. The Maronite Catholic Church uses Aramaic for part of the mass because of the tradition that it was the language used by Jesus at the Last Supper.

          The law as to who owns the buildings varies from country to country. In the states of the USA the courts generally agree that each diocese is the corporate owner of the real property. If I remember correctly the state of New Jersey was the last holdout who finally permitted the Catholic Church to own property in the mid 19th-century.

        2. “If someone who speaks 3 languages is trilingual, someone who speaks 2 languages is bilingual, what do you call someone who speaks 1 language? English/American (delete as appropriate)”

          Seriously though, languages are never direct analogues; if you want a vague idea as to what’s being said, read a translation. If you want to know exactly what’s being said, you’ve got to learn and appreciate the source language. A Latin Mass was written to be delivered in Latin; if you don’t understand it, that’s your own problem, not the fault of the Mass itself.

          On a similar note, never trust someone who calls themselves a theologian but doesn’t speak at least Aramaic, Ancient Greek and Latin. It’s just how these things work- are you really going to trust King James to translate everything in the Bible fairly, accurately and without bias?

  6. actually when paul talks about speaking in tungues he says its ok as long as there is someone to translate, so Latin, being translated for you by someone is totally OK biblically.

  7. the church has done nothing but try and oppress people around the world its about time people stood up to them

  8. Don’t most people see Wikipedia editors as pedantic, socially inept petty dictators? Not sure if the protesters have really thought this one through.

    1. No, I think that’s just you.

      also the response from one of the protestors, mentioned at the bottom of the article wins a lot:

      “[…]A slight tension occurred during the 15-minute dialogue while Figura was explaining that the Church was not interfering but “merely issuing guidelines.”

      “Based on what? On your non-sexual experience?” protester Marlon Lacsamana snapped.”

  9. The Elephant in the Room re the Vatican’s stance on contraception is, surely, that said position ensures a steady supply of future Catholics?

  10. I volunteered for a Protestant church-affiliated NGO in the Philippines that was partnered with a local Catholic convent on a community project. The NGO was actively educating families about contraception and family planning. I asked one of the nuns what she and her sisters thought about the situation and she said, “In this case common sense rules over dogma.” Wow, freethinkers and enlightened minds within the Catholic Church!

  11. Like Benj I was at that protest. The CBCP really does resort to intellectually disgusting tactics when it speaks of the Reproductive Health issues, such as telling blatant lies about the laws that people are trying to push through and trying to bully the President into their way of thinking through veiled threats of excommunication.

    @Anon #5

    The Philippine constitution (which is based off the American one) has clauses for the separation between church and state. When the (tax-exempted) catholic church is meddling in government policy using their privileged position as a church, it violates the church/state separation and yet they get away with it because of their political clout.

    A democracy is not just about mob rule. A democracy also protects the minor voices from the majority.

    Part of what sparked this protest is a really interesting bit of political theatrics mixed with freedom of speech issues. Carlos Celdran, a prominent reproductive health advocate dressed up as Jose Rizal, a writer and figure of the Philippine revolution.

    Carlos Celdran then went to an Ecumenical Mass and held a solo protest in the church, accusing the catholic bishops in attendance of being “Damaso”, a corrupt bishop in one of Jose Rizal’s books. Celdran’s protest seems to have struck the nerve of the Catholic Bishops Conference as they are now charging him with an archaic law right out of the times of Jose Rizal. For “offending religious feelings”.

    More background of the story here:

  12. Refusing to pass very important bills such as the Divorce Bill and RH Bill are blatant violation of womens’ rights. In this country a women who gets beaten up can never file for annulment unless she is extremely rich… but if she kills her husband, while caught in the middle of having sex, will not make her liable for any crime… do we have to kill or get killed for our rights?
    It’s time for this country to stop pleasing single men in cassock… that is so backward.

  13. “freethinking” HA! What a joke. Freethinking is anything but free. They have copious amounts of dogmatic BS.

  14. Latin was brought into the church because at the Time it was the language people studied as for it being used in mass, So is Greek. Kyrie, eleison, christe eleison, kyrie eleison. Is greek the word “Amen” dates dates back to acient hebrew texts, Halleluyah and the Latin form Alleluia are transliterations of the Hebrew word הַלְּלוּיָהּ. This is not about Control. it is about unity. The reason the bible came into existence in the form most people know it today, is precisely because the Roman church got together and made a standard translation, Saint Jeromes Latin Vulgate. as for Church ownership, the Vatican does not own any churches in the US. They are owned by the local diocese, which runs them and decides on who to employ. so when there is a lawsuit, it is that diocese that pays it, just as they pay any debt the local churches have.

    on the side of contraception, the church doesn’t find a need for contraception because the church teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong. and when you use Natural family planning methods correctly, it is more effective then most other forms of birth control. do some reaserch on what they are actually teaching before you hate on it. check out this site you will be surprised at what you may learn.

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