Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/07/05VATICAN500.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05VATICAN500
2005-07-15 16:28
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Vatican

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L VATICAN 000500

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (JLEVIN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 7/15/2015
TAGS: PGOV PINS PREL SOCI RP VT
SUBJECT: VATICAN CONFIRMS IT PRESSURED FILIPINO BISHOPS

REF: A) MANILA 00318; B) MANILA 3202; C) VATICAN 473; D) VATICAN 489

CLASSIFIED BY: Peter Martin, POL, Vatican, State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

——-
Summary
——-

¶1. (C) Holy See Country Director for the Philippines Monsignor
Luis Montemayor confirmed July 14 that the Vatican pressured the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) not to
support protests calling for the resignation of President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo. Montemayor noted that the recently-deceased
Cardinal Jaime Sin had been an obstacle to the Vatican’s
influence over the bishops, but that they were “now hearing our
message.” With this episode, and the Holy See’s recent input on
the involvement of Catholic bishops in protests in East Timor
(ref c), the Vatican appears to be intent on communicating its
preference that clergy focus on the pastoral rather than the
political. End Summary.

———————-
Pastoral not Political
———————-

¶2. (C) Monsignor Luis Montemayor, Holy See Country Director for
the Philippines, confirmed reports (ref b) that via the Holy
See’s Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Antonio Franco, the
Vatican had pressured the CBCP to remain neutral in the
controversy surrounding President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He
told us that although the Vatican’s preferences on the matter
had never been a secret, Franco had for the first time on July 9
explained in no uncertain terms to the CBCP that the Vatican did
not support popular uprisings as a method to remove a
government. “We put a lot of pressure on the bishops” not to
support the protests calling for the president’s resignation, he
said, adding that the Vatican “insisted that the bishops
distinguish between pastoral care and political involvement.”

———————-
Sin had Different View
———————-

¶3. (C) Montemayor, a former Department IVP recipient who has
covered the Philippines since 2001, emphasized that he had
always opposed Catholic clergy’s involvement in popular
uprisings against the government. “In 2001, with the protests
against Estrada, I pressured the bishops to stay neutral,” he
said. “They wouldn’t listen to me.” Montemayor suspects that
the bishops were not getting the message. Montemayor knew
recently deceased Cardinal Jaime Sin very well, and said the
prelate had been “a major obstacle.” “We didn’t see eye to eye
on the issue [of political involvement by the clergy].” “Sin
felt it was his moral responsibility towards the people to
intervene,” Montemayor added, “but we must support democracy and
due process. Otherwise we are opening Pandora’s box.” His
comments tracked closely with ref (b)as he suggested that with
the death of Cardinal Sin, the current bishops are more amenable
to instruction from the Vatican.

——-
Comment
——-

¶4. (C) The Holy See is hesitant to get out in front of its
bishops in opposing local political leaders (recent ref (d)
conversations on Venezuela are a case in point), but the Vatican
is also loath to see clergy take active political roles. In
fact, the principle of avoiding direct political involvement is
enshrined in canon law, even if not always followed. Unlike in
matters of “faith and morals,” the Holy See’s control over local
bishops on political matters is uneven. Montemayor added that
in this case an additional difficulty in communicating the Holy
See’s policy was the papal nuncio. Franco “acts like a father
figure to the bishops, encouraging them even when they go the
wrong way,” Montemayor said. In any case, with this episode and
the Holy See’s recent input on the involvement of Catholic
bishops in protests in East Timor (ref c), the Holy See has
proven to be intent on communicating its preference that clergy
focus on the pastoral rather than the political. End comment.

HARDT

NNNN

2005VATICA00500 – Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

   

 

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