The Roman Catholic Church has found it the hard way on the RH bill. Mass prayer rallies do not work on the Aquino administration! The politcally astute, potential papabile, and de facto Primate of all the Philippines, Archbishop of Manila, the Most Rev Dr Chito Tagle has said that the only option for the most numerous Church is the negotiating table.
Tomorrow the Iglesia ni Cristo will find it the hard way too if Rappler.com is right. If Catholic liturgies won't work on Noynoy, neither will Grand Evangelical Missions (GEMs) will. For one thing in some political matters, Aquino is beyond evangelizing!
This is a result of the increasing secular nature of Philippine society. Aquino doesn't find any value on debts of gratitude to any religious organization. This means that for the Aquino administration, religion has been largely disestablished. Aquino doesn't care for de facto religious establishment which the INCs doctrine of command votes tries to secure. Aquino's administration seems to believe that there are no benefits to be had for pandering to religious groups that have always have thrown their weight in the past.
The Roman Catholic Church has wisely steered away from calling prayer rallies at Quirino Grandstand like when it did when Protestant President FVR "Tabako" was in power 18 years ago (during a previous incarnation of a family planning bill). The Roman Church has learned its lessons well. Besides prayer rallies like that are so passe now. Even the de facto independent Church of El Shaddai knows that and following the Catholic strategy won't join the INC. However the Roman Church knows that it has 90 million of its flock under its wings in this country. Even in countries where the Roman Church is not the majority (like in the US of A, in Islamic Iran or in Orthodox Russia), it is anything but marginal. Why? The Holy See is the smallest state and sovereign entity but with a presence worldwide. Even it has only observer status in the UN, it has the most number of diplomatic representation (179) of any country in the world, more than that of the USA which has only 176. A papal frown will be noticed by the Aquino administration even if it tries to spin it as it always does. I bet my bottom peso that a Benedictine disapproval will be justified in terms of "daang matuwid"!
But the INC Executive Minister Eduardo "Ediboy"Manalo is no pope with a global influence. Thus he is taking a great risk politically for if he fails to "evangelize" Aquino, then his church will be even more marginalized. This is something that his late father had largely avoided. The INC command vote, which is not as monolithic as recent elections have revealed will not be the potent political force it was. This we will see in the coming days. Politicians will pander to it in words but not in deeds.
Perhaps religious groups should cease "evangelizing" but start "exorcising" the Aquino administration!
Welcome to the secular Philippines!