Timing and circumstance
I do not actually understand this whole crap about the filing of the impeachment complaint being done in his capacity as a private citizen. Bishops have such a thing as a private persona? At what point in the day do they stop being a bishop? I thought that being a man of the cloth is not just something one does but something that defines who one is.
Having said that, let me also state that I view all these hairsplitting on the roles of the church and the state as just plain rhetorical swashbuckling. It makes for good debate and hysterical headlines, but even if a delineation can actually be made, how do you make those who overstep the bounds accountable for their actions? Besides, it has very little practical application on the everyday lives of Filipinos. The government can’t impose on the church, and the political influence of the Catholic Church among its flock has never been among its stronger suits.
I do not take it against the bishop that he filed the impeachment case. But I do find unsettling the timing and the circumstances around the Bishop’s act.
There are those with more overactive imaginations who float the possibility that all these seemingly separate actions are actually all part of a grand plan or conspiracy, but I really doubt it. My personal gut feel is that Bishop Yniquez did it on his own, which validates a fear gnawing at my heart: despite efforts to dispel the suspicions, it does appear that even the bishops are fragmented and have problems coming to a consensus. Worse, it appears that civility has also been lost even among the bishops.
I found it disappointing that Bishop Yniquez upstaged the other recent noteworthy political event involving the clergy– the appearance of the signatures of more bishops in the position paper of OneVoice. Maybe I am just too idealistic, but I imagine that some kind of mutual respect still exists in this world, particularly among those who preach these things. I imagined (wrongly it now seems) that since the other bishops, who numbered more, have already made a joint separate call, it would be incumbent upon other bishops to at least keep their individual (especially divergent) positions at bay out of respect for colleagues. But like I said, I guess even bishops have lost civility.
The other thing that I found unnerving is the timing of the Bishop’s filing of the impeachment complaint. If he was part of the first citizens’ groups that filed the impeachment, it will still catch my interest, but I would not give it special attention. To my mind, the fact that he filed it as part of the carefully orchestrated serial filing automatically begs the assumption that the good bishop is dancing to another tune.