Dr Rizal got shot for espousing it. Plaridel died of pthsis in Hong Kong in the struggle for this, but it seems that we are now seeing the disestablishing of the Philippine Catholic Church. Por Dios por Santo, my Masonic abuelos (their padres were involved in Republic Filipina) would have never imagined it would be so soon! (They expected it after 1000 years!)
An Established Church is one that has state patronage. Perhaps the most famous Established Church is that of England. The Church of England is the State Church. The Queen is its Supreme Governor. But in 21st century Cool Britannia, the idea of an Established Church is at best barmy. Those who defend the idea are tolerated as daft. This Church is having its decennial Lambeth Conference and the whole church is split on Gay bishops and women bishops! Rowan of Canterbury is an apt icon for the barmy bit!
The Philippines legally had an Established Church. But the 1898 Treaty of Paris did away with that for a cool 20 million dollars. The framers of the Malolos charter voted to do away with that too. But that was legalese. The Established Church remained de facto established until today. Why would the President of the Republic give the Church a say in the spending of VAT money? She should be honest and just let the bishops sit in the Senate as Senators Spiritual!
But the problem of having an established church is this. In the Middle Ages, it regualrly sent non-conformists to the stake. Much laeter it became corrupt and in the case of the Church of England, it has become an anachronism. The Philippine Church has consorted with corruption despite Vatican II and with the birth control bill brouhaha in Congress, it is fast becoming an anachronism.
So we have the bishops threaten denial of the sacraments. But the politicians who sponsored the bill are unfazed. Good on them. This threat by the bishops is to put it mildly, barmy.
It would do the Church a lot of good if it is disestablished. Jesus Christ never aspired for political power (even if He was entitled to it!). Christ never had nice words to say about political clerics. Remember "whitewashed tombs"?
The Church once disestablished can concentrate on the most important charism it has, charity.
But the reason why the bishops are hysterical is because they don't want to give up power associated by being Established!
The Established Church is the last remnant of colonial oppression. The Independientes have always maintained that even if the Philippine Catholic Church are headed by Filipinos, it is not free. Despite Vatican entreaties, the Independent Church refused to rejoin Rome. Frankie Sionil-Jose aptly says that fellow Filipinos can colonially oppress us.
The disestablished Catholic Church will not be a bit player in the nation. It has contributed to the nation's identity. In fact it would be good since people are likely to seriously listen to it.
Now what would the ecclesiatical landscape look like when the Church is disestablished? My fearless predictions. Under the next pope, Petrus Romanus, a new diocese will be erected in northern Quezon City (thus cutting out the politically meddlesome Diocese of Cubao). This diocese will be called the Diocese of Diliman and Loyola Heights with its cathedra in that UFO of a church in Diliman or that Camp Big Falcon like monstrosity in the Loyola Heights campus.
The first bishop will be of course the Running Priest, after being exiled in China ala Teilhard de Chardin, he would be more meditative now. As Running Bishop he will lead the most liberal Catholic diocese in the country, notwithstanding the sneaky attempts of the Work to establish study centers in the Loyola Heights campus.
Petrus Romanus, a bleeding heart liberal he is, names the Bishop of Diliman and Loyola as his first Cardinal. So we have the Running Cardinal. And living up to his appellation, he runs for Pope in the conclave and gets elected as the Running Pope SUCCEEDING PETRUS ROMANUS!
Oh My God!
Madre de Dios!