Friday, August 2, 2013

Trust me . . .

Tragic as the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has been, it is shocking to discover that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, while archbishop of Milwaukee, moved $57 million off the archdiocesan books into a cemetery trust fund six years ago in order to protect the money from damage suits by victims of abuse by priests.” [Cardinal Dolan and the Sexual Abuse Scandal, The Editorial Board, The New York Times, 4th Jul 2013] Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has denied shielding the funds as an “old and discredited” allegation and “malarkey.” But newly released court documents make it clear that he sought and received fast approval from the Vatican to transfer the money just as the Wisconsin Supreme Court was about to open the door to damage suits by victims raped and abused as children by Roman Catholic clergy.”

I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability,” Cardinal Dolan wrote rather cynically in his 2007 letter to the Vatican. The letter was released by the Milwaukee Archdiocese as part of a bankruptcy court fight with lawyers in 575 cases of damage claims. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011. The law bars a debtor from transferring funds in a way that protects one class of creditors over another . . . The release of about 6,000 pages of documents provided a grim backstage look at the scandal, graphically detailing the patterns of serial abuse by dozens of priests who were systematically rotated to new assignments as church officials kept criminal behavior secret from civil authority.”

Former Senator Edgardo Angara said Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company Inc. were not authorized to pass on their income tax payments to consumers, citing a previous Supreme Court ruling on the same issue against the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).” [MWSS may admit it erred on tax charges, says Angara,, 4th Jul 2013] “This is not new because Meralco used to pass on their income tax to the consumers and they lost the case in the Supreme Court . . . (The Supreme Court said) don’t pass it on to your consumers), that is your own responsibility,” he said. “(If you follow the principle of the) Meralco case, they are not authorized to pass on their own income tax burden to the consumers,” Angara pointed out.”

And while Senator Enrile says contracts must be respected, his personal view re income tax payments is similar to that of Senator Angara. This blog has consistently raised the hierarchical system and structure of the church and PHL. And in both instances “trust me” can only be taken with a grain of salt? "When the church does not emerge from itself to evangalize, it becomes self-referential and therefore becomes sick." [Francis Shakes Up Church Establishment, ABC News, 6th Jul 2013] “He warned of "self-referentiality" and "theological narcissism.” He also criticized a mundane church that lives within itself, of itself and for itself.” In the case of PHL, while we’ve been left behind by the 21st century highly competitive globalized world, we have no choice but to applaud the pillars of our industry even when they have grown unaccustomed to the open and competitive global market? That is the bigger issue than MWSS and the concessionaires!

It is not only industry that must be troubled but Juan de la Cruz as well. Because the challenge of “inclusive growth” will remain our albatross if we continue to operate in our “comfort zone”: If we, therefore, want to have inclusive growth, we should not only encourage the establishment of enterprises but prepare and train Filipinos to be true entrepreneurs. . . entrepreneurs who are deliberate and purposive in their strategizing; entrepreneurs who are innovative and have the capacity for creative destruction; entrepreneurs who are whole-brained and have mastery of the self.” [Entrepreneurship: A roadmap to inclusive growth, Prof. Antonio M. Del Carmen, PhD, Business Mirror, 14th Jun 2013]

As Kennedy had warned the American people, “our problems are man-made.” And in our case, we don’t want to be hiding behind the skirts of the church and the call of nationalism – i.e., have they narrowed our comfort zone and our ability to “think outside the box”? Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God which are God’s? Did not 9/11 narrow the comfort zone of the Americans – i.e., their response has undermined their professed commitment to advancing freedom and democracy? And hence the embarrassment that Snowden has brought upon the US? "Because democracy depends not only on elections, but also strong and accountable institutions . . ." [President Barack Obama, US Dept. of State website]

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