Back to Index

MEXICO: Education and the Philippines

I have frequently wondered why bright people like Voltaire, educated by the Jesuits, often become anti-clerical, and why there is such poverty in Latin America. When I was running Stanford's Latin American Program, I received requests to include the Philippines, since its Catholic heritage came from Spain via Mexico, and it was under the authority of the Viceroy in Mexico. Bienvenido Macario, from the Philippines, came to the US and often passes judgment on the role of the Church there, as in a long commentary, here abridged:

"Linda Nyquist's comment on circumstances of birth reminds us of the "original sin" mentality and the concept of salvation. In the book The World's Great Explorers: Hernando Cortes by R. Conrad Stein, the belief in Spain was that "by donating gold to the church, a man might buy a place in heaven." If the dominant church indiscriminately takes donation from immoral sources, society is easily corrupted. The church sets an example upon which the people form the basis of their moral values. We tend to copy what we see. (Monkey see, monkey do)

The attitude of the young man whose education Linda supported reminded me of your comment about the "miracle" mentality. Take for example the Philippines. If the US or a group of foreign countries comes to its rescue, the majority of the people will go to church and say: "Thank you! Our prayers have been answered!" The credit has a pre-determined destination oblivious to reality and science, which we could call miracle mentality. Linda was right: "That a student might question him was unthinkable". Just go to a Catholic mass and see if ever there was a question and answer portion".

My comment: Yes and no. American mafiosi usually have expensive funerals in Catholic churches. On the other hand, in most churches there is seldom a question and answer period. At the Westminster Abbey ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury said many people were asking "Where was God". He admitted that it was a very difficult question, and his answer was not convincing.

Ronald Hilton - 12/2/01