it’s a miserable time for the people of bohol and cebu. apart from the shock and terror of tuesday’s 7.2 earthquake, lives have been lost, homes do not feel safe, life is disrupted. worst of all, even their churches, sacred places of refuge and spiritual renewal, are either in ruins, or damaged and unsafe. a dark time indeed.
in anc’s beyond politics, geologist dr. carlo arcilla tried to look at the bright side: this was stronger than the 7.0 earthquake that hit haiti in 2010, but the death and destruction numbers are much much much lower, which he partly attributed (if i heard him correctly) to the building code.
yes, let’s count our blessings, it could have been much worse. like, if oct 15 had been a schoolday, the kids would have been in school; if it had been a sunday, the churches would have been packed. thank allah for that muslim holy day.
but speaking of the building code, and barraged with tv images of collapsed facades and towers, fallen roofs and walls, of centuries-old churches that were centers of prayer and worship for a predominantly catholic population, i am aghast at how unsafe these structures were pala. and i am scandalized to find that church authorities have done very little, if anything, to render them safe for the daily and weekly ritual gatherings of the faithful. too expensive? too inconvenient? easier to trust in divine protection?
this gross sin of omission i lay squarely at the door of the catholic church. read Catholic Church has billions invested in BPI, Philex, San Miguel. the catholic church, which does not pay taxes, can well afford the expense of retrofitting, conserving, restoring, old churches without the help of government, and without burdening the faithful with impious requests to dig deeper into empty pockets for the salvation of their souls.
this is not just a matter of history or heritage, it’s also a matter of life and death.