Saturday, July 16, 2011

The VOWS, Bow

Dear insansapinas,

Some writers/columnists/bloggers are of the opinion that all priests have a vow of poverty. So their brows raised when they heard that some men of cloth have retirement kitties and have solicited personal favors for their birthday. 

They are wrong, very wrong. First there is a differentiation between secular and regular priests. The secular priests do not have religious orders and they do not take vows. The religious priests belong to a particular order and they take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

When I was studying in a Catholic school, we had the religious speakers in our retreats,  One day, a priest was wearing a much shorter garb. If it was not a retreat, we would ask him where the flood was. BITIN ang sutana niya. But he knew were making fun of him at his back. He explained that unlike our parish priests who were also our confessors, they did have a vow of poverty. So they do not own anything. Not even flip-flops. That morning, he was late in getting his supply of what to wear during the day. Someone must have gotten the vestment that he used to wear. 

When I was a kid, I was also disappointed to learn that the church charges for the sacraments. Akala ko libre. And the priests also get their allowances. Then I realize, they can subsist on bread alone, can they? Magkakadiabetes sila sa carbo.

Here in the States, I have worked in a Chuch (not Catholic) and its non-profit organization arm. Since I was handling the FS and supervised the receipts and disbursements, I know that our church ministers are receiving salaries, allowances, housing allowances and their pension funds are invested by our investment managers/consultants.

So do not even think that these ministers and priests know where their money are going to be invested especially if they are given already blanket authority how to manage the funds as to investment in stocks, bonds and or other CDs. The investment managers can not wait for the go-signal of the investors everytime  there are good opportunities that come unexpectedly.

If  the men of cloth of other denominations can provide for the retirement of their ministers, why can't the Catholic Church do that without the people howling? What do they think about the priests, bishops and nuns?They are immortals. They are not gods who will rise to heaven when they retire.  I do not know of a place in the Philippines where retired nuns live and are cared for in their old age. Here in the States, there are nursing homes for these church servants when they are no longer active. The nuns in the Philippines relied mostly on their SSS pensions. The congregation  care for them when they get sick. Some die in the convent.  Yes Virginia,  they are covered also by the church. They do get sick, you know. Priests have to evangelize. They have to have a ride. They do not walk in water. 

I saw the investments of the Catholic religious organizations in top corporations. Say thank you, corporations. They are providing for your capital. If they are withdawn and are distributed to the poor, will the corporations collapse?

In the non-Catholic-non-profit organization where I worked for some of the  donations we received are in the form of stocks. Wealthy owners who died without heir and wealthy people who divided their properties to their favorite charitable organizations or Churches leave their cash, stocks and properties.  So even if we did not invest in a corporation, we become investors via donations. We become property owners too because of properties left to us by the deceased donors. If we do not sell the stocks, they grow with the stock splits and  stock dividends and so are the market values. That's how investment grow, Virginia.

It is a basic finance tenet, not to let cash sleep in the bank. Idle cash bears no income. So after determining the need of cash  even for the operation, excess should be invested in income generating venture. Yes, Maryland, churches also spend money for the MOMPO (grape wine) for the dozen hosts taken by faithfuls some of whom take it for show (na santa sila), power, candles, maintenance and other necessary expenses. 

Pag salbahe ang pari, pati pang mahjong niya nakacharge. hahahah.

What is the bottomline of this article? That priests are humans capable of committing errors. Minsan yong iba, nakasalanan pa rin sa atin. But the recently concluded probe of the bishops did not give them justice. If what they did was illegal, they could have been tried in court and not in the media where the brains are already prejudiced.

The Pajero scandal was just delivering a message. Do not mess up with me. I got also my own vow. 


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