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Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church

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"Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church is the first of its kind in the country. Journalist Aries C. Rufo shows a Church that is cloaked in secrecy. It keeps the wrongdoing of its bishops and priests - in sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement - within its confines and lets them get away, unpunished. Accountability, after all, "Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church is the first of its kind in the country. Journalist Aries C. Rufo shows a Church that is cloaked in secrecy. It keeps the wrongdoing of its bishops and priests - in sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement - within its confines and lets them get away, unpunished. Accountability, after all, is not a strong suit of the Church. Rufo also delves into how the Church influences policy, as nowhere among Catholic countries in the world is the Church deeply involved in the shaping of policy than in the Philippines. Overall, reforms are taking place, but these are highly dependent on the Church leaders, the bishops who try to change mindsets and systems."


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"Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church is the first of its kind in the country. Journalist Aries C. Rufo shows a Church that is cloaked in secrecy. It keeps the wrongdoing of its bishops and priests - in sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement - within its confines and lets them get away, unpunished. Accountability, after all, "Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church is the first of its kind in the country. Journalist Aries C. Rufo shows a Church that is cloaked in secrecy. It keeps the wrongdoing of its bishops and priests - in sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement - within its confines and lets them get away, unpunished. Accountability, after all, is not a strong suit of the Church. Rufo also delves into how the Church influences policy, as nowhere among Catholic countries in the world is the Church deeply involved in the shaping of policy than in the Philippines. Overall, reforms are taking place, but these are highly dependent on the Church leaders, the bishops who try to change mindsets and systems."

30 review for Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church

  1. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    This book is shocking. Well, at least for me who do not normally follow the local news especially on things that do not really interest me. One of these things is the local church. I am not a religious person but being a Catholic I do the minimum: hear the mass every Sunday and when the inspiration comes to me, pray the rosary. Frankly, I still view the Catholic church as nothing but a business institution and to continue to exist, it has to make profits. It is a political organization too This book is shocking. Well, at least for me who do not normally follow the local news especially on things that do not really interest me. One of these things is the local church. I am not a religious person but being a Catholic I do the minimum: hear the mass every Sunday and when the inspiration comes to me, pray the rosary. Frankly, I still view the Catholic church as nothing but a business institution and to continue to exist, it has to make profits. It is a political organization too because there is a hierarchical organization that runs it. That organization is headed by a pope who holds office in Rome and in the local level by a cardinal, an archbishop and bishops. All these men in cloth, the princes of church have taken the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These are their lifelong commitments to God and to people when they were ordained as priests. However, sadly, this book shows that those promises are easily said than done. This book exposes the rotten apples in the basket of an institution I have been looking up to as a kid attending my Sunday catechism class. We all heard about priests having girlfriends or boyfriends or committing acts of lasciviousness, right? That's common already. I used to see or at least hear about them while I was growing up in the province. So what does this book expose? What makes this book immensely interesting? Here, the people involved in the stories that are referenced (with reliable sources cited and footnotes everywhere) here are the princes of the church: the bishops, archbishops and cardinals. Their sins - not only sins of commission but also omission. I have long dropped the romantic notion about church and its priests. I am already too old for that. However, the sins committed by the bishops here are for me unpardonable. Hey, some of them are of my own generation but I have never even tried the fancy things that they've done: having a lover (aside from my wife or in their case, their priestly vow) and having kids by that lover [Antipolo Bishop Crisostomo Yalung], molesting young men at the age of 60 [Malolos Bishop Cirilo Almario], plundering the first-ever savings bank in the country, Monte de Piedad [Monsignor Domingo Cirilos, Jr.], pocketing church donations for Radio Veritas [Bishop Teodoro Buhain] and causing a nun to resign in shame due to a misplaced pectoral cross [Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros] who is actually a distant relative of mine. Tsk tsk. There is also lengthy chapters here about the church meddling in the political affairs of the country. Well, Jaime Cardinal Sin, may he rest in peace, was instrumental to the ascension to power by ex-President Cory Aquino in 1986 and due to political debt was subservient to the wishes of the cardinal. Now that the son of the lady-in-yellow is in power, we thought that it would be the same. However, even if the church lobbied heavily against the RH Bill, the law was passed and only time will tell if the decision was right or wrong. For the meantime, I think the Filipinos are tired and angry about the constant intrusion of the church to the affairs of the state. These men in clothes should serve as spiritual guides and not for example, receive cash and luxury cars and eat in expensive restaurants pretending that those are needed for them to do their roles. They should always remember their three vows: poverty, obedience and chastity. May they rot in hell: these rotten apples in the supposedly holy organization.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela Francisco

    "The truth shall set you free." The fact that a libel case was filed against the author was enough to make me want to read it. And having read it, I can say that the author did not write it in order to tear down the CBCP or the Church in the Philippines. It is a must-read for every Filipino Catholic, so that we will not follow blindly the orders of fallible men leading a political institution that in no way represents the true face of the Catholic Church.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane Briones™

    Interesting read about the scandals harrowing the Philippine Catholic church. --Diane Rufo sheds light on a closeted organization and does it through an excellent journalistic endeavor. Here are interviews of prominent and relevant characters in the politics of the Catholic Church in the Philippine setting. Insomuch as he exposes the scandals that has beset the organization, Rufo also brings you to the roots of such anomalous behavior. His analysis starts at the organizational structure and Interesting read about the scandals harrowing the Philippine Catholic church. --Diane ™ Rufo sheds light on a closeted organization and does it through an excellent journalistic endeavor. Here are interviews of prominent and relevant characters in the politics of the Catholic Church in the Philippine setting. Insomuch as he exposes the scandals that has beset the organization, Rufo also brings you to the roots of such anomalous behavior. His analysis starts at the organizational structure and moves on link by link in the chain of events that led to the church's major scandals. More importantly, this book paints a vivid historical account of how legacies within the church were established as well as the ways with which these were thrown asunder. Rufo could have expounded his interviews to rural priests as I'm sure their stories would be wealthy resources for the scandals he gave light to. This book exists as a challenge, to put it bluntly, for the clergymen to wake up from being full of themselves and face the challenges of the times.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth

    For those with a penchant for titillating controversies, the book is a journalistic mine of the most recent church scandals. But for those looking for a more indepth analysis of the ills of the Church, how scandals in the Church reflect current problems in Philippine society, how the sins of the Philippine Church fare with the sins of the global Catholic Church, now and based on its 2000 year history, etc. the book is relatively shallow. Even the secrets about which the book speaks of are hardly For those with a penchant for titillating controversies, the book is a journalistic mine of the most recent church scandals. But for those looking for a more indepth analysis of the ills of the Church, how scandals in the Church reflect current problems in Philippine society, how the sins of the Philippine Church fare with the sins of the global Catholic Church, now and based on its 2000 year history, etc. the book is relatively shallow. Even the secrets about which the book speaks of are hardly a secret to one who reads newspapers and watch television, except, I guess, those prone to forgetfulness. Perhaps the book will sell because of what it speaks of--who doesn't want to hear of church scandals??--but I doubt if it will have mutiple printings due to intellectual and scholarly relevance.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Igmidio Galingan

    The book is an eye opener. When before Filipinos might see the ills of the Catholic church as an abstraction relegated to history or just something only foreign countries might have, this book will set the record straight that those ills are existing and may even be flourishing here in the Philippines. In abroad the Catholic Church are already facing challenges, here they are still held in high esteem even undeservingly so. Hope this book changes that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Elefante

    Rufo may have been presenting facts about Catholic Church in this book of his but clearly his intention is for him to defame the Catholic priest to the readers and in due course to lost faith in the Roman Catholic region. I have read this with an open mind. Clearly the narration here is one sided, often to depict the religious in a bad light. Sorry, Mr. Rufo, I know not all Catholic priest are holy, but my trust with the Church and my faith is much deeper and cannot be tainted with this work of Rufo may have been presenting facts about Catholic Church in this book of his but clearly his intention is for him to defame the Catholic priest to the readers and in due course to lost faith in the Roman Catholic region. I have read this with an open mind. Clearly the narration here is one sided, often to depict the religious in a bad light. Sorry, Mr. Rufo, I know not all Catholic priest are holy, but my trust with the Church and my faith is much deeper and cannot be tainted with this work of yours.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wanda Madelaine

    Well...that was something. Although honestly speaking, I am not surprised. Priests are human beings. They err. I just don't understand why people would put their faith in them and not God. Still, we have not learned from the past.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Majuchan

    The book contains if not sensitive issues on the Roman Catholic Church, it’s shocking. Considering that I don’t always watch the news to follow the politics and move the Catholics. The information that the book contains made me see the Catholics in new perspective. They might be holy as they trying to look like, but there are dark secrets that they try to hide from the public. Issues on Celibacy and having family; transparency in their funds, the clout of the church in the policy making, and The book contains if not sensitive issues on the Roman Catholic Church, it’s shocking. Considering that I don’t always watch the news to follow the politics and move the Catholics. The information that the book contains made me see the Catholics in new perspective. They might be holy as they trying to look like, but there are dark secrets that they try to hide from the public. Issues on Celibacy and having family; transparency in their funds, the clout of the church in the policy making, and walking their talk. The book is not all negativity on the church, there are parts that highlights its positive impact on nation building and its mission on good governance. The book aims for the betterment of the church and not to merely destroy its credibility. #EyeOpener

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Jan Batugan

    In this investigative book authored by Aries Rufo, readers peek into the secret lives of those who are deemed as divinely impeccable. The revelations are almost dumbfounding yet they are also reconciled by examples of holy men who walk what they talk. At the outset, the book may seem to appear as incriminating the men of cloth, however, it should also be noted that the book is no less than a desperate cry for a reform in a respected institution that has long held a firm grip and control over the In this investigative book authored by Aries Rufo, readers peek into the secret lives of those who are deemed as divinely impeccable. The revelations are almost dumbfounding yet they are also reconciled by examples of holy men who walk what they talk. At the outset, the book may seem to appear as incriminating the men of cloth, however, it should also be noted that the book is no less than a desperate cry for a reform in a respected institution that has long held a firm grip and control over the lives of many Filipinos. Such cry is not an exclusive call to the Catholic Church alone but to all shepherds of faith who may have failed or lapsed in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities towards their respective flocks

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    When Religion fornicates with Politics, the former is corrupted, the latter is degraded. When Religion and Politics sleep together, can we really tell them apart? This book looks at the Philippine Catholic Church through a different lens. What it sees cannot be ignored. Recommend reading for everyone that love their Church. And their Politics.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Audry

    AMATEUR COUPLE'S HOME VIDEO On June 20, 2013, many news organizations issued articles discussing a report released by the World Health Organization titled Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. The results? One in three women has faced intimate partner violence or sexual violence. 40% of women killed worldwide were slain by the partner. And therein lies the wondrous hope that man has often AMATEUR COUPLE'S HOME VIDEO On June 20, 2013, many news organizations issued articles discussing a report released by the World Health Organization titled Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. The results? One in three women has faced intimate partner violence or sexual violence. 40% of women killed worldwide were slain by the partner. And therein lies the wondrous hope that man has often put in woman: he hopes to fulfill himself as a being by carnally possessing a being, but at the same time confirming his sense of freedom through the docility of a free person. No man would consent to be a woman, but every man wants women to exist. Man has no need of the unconditional devotion he claims, nor of the idolatrous love that flatters his vanity; he accepts them only on condition that he need not satisfy the reciprocal demands these attitudes imply. He preaches to woman that she should give—and her gifts bore him to distraction; she is left in embarrassment with her useless offerings, her empty life. On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in her strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself—on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not of mortal danger. In the meantime, love represents in its most touching form the curse that lies heavily upon woman confined in the feminine universe, woman mutilated, insufficient unto herself. The innumerable martyrs to love bear witness against the injustice of a fate that offers a sterile hell as ultimate salvation. There is currently in the US a widespread political machination in many states aiming towards the eradication of legalized abortion, in essence granting living women less rights to their bodies than dead individuals who in life chose not to donate their bodies to science. ...modern woman is everywhere permitted to regard her body as capital for exploitation. The fact is that a true human privilege is based upon the anatomical privilege only in virtue of the total situation. That the child is the supreme aim of woman is a statement having precisely the value of an advertising slogan. ...the distortion begins when the religion of Maternity proclaims that all mothers are saintly. For while maternal devotion may be perfectly genuine, this, in fact, is rarely the case. Maternity is usually a strange mixture of narcissism, altruism, idle day-dreaming, sincerity, bad faith, devotion and cynicism. Also current in the US is the discussion of rape culture and slut shaming in light of the events of the Steubenville High School Rape Case, where media outlets offered biased coverage that sympathized with the rapists and rarely focused on the victim. As a matter of fact, the privileged position of man comes from the integration of his biologically aggressive role with his social function as leader or master; it is on account of this social function that the physiological differences take on all their significance. Because man is ruler in the world, he holds that the violence of his desires is a sign of his sovereignty; a man of great erotic capacity is said to be strong, potent - epithets that imply activity and transcendence. But, on the other hand, woman being only an object, she will be described as warm or frigid, which is to say that she will never manifest other than passive qualities. It is a mistake to seek in fantasies the key to concrete behaviour; for fantasies are created and cherished as fantasies. The little girl who dreams of violation with mingled horror and acquiescence does not really wish to be violated and if such a thing should happen it would be a hateful calamity.

  12. 4 out of 5

    wella

    The anecdotes and articles in this book are not surprising. Rumors about Catholic priests being hypocrites have been around since forever. I just didn't like how the author injected his own personal opinions in a supposedly neutral book. After all, Rufo's a journalist. Reading words like "hypocritical" "sinned" etc. is quite annoying. Leave the comments to the readers.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jun Resurreccion

    A very enlightening view of the roman catholic church in the Philippines. We've all heard rumors of these before but this book went out to verify the facts about these rumors. Did not shake my faith though because that's between me and my God. It just reminded me that priests are human and just like anyone else, they can rise above human frailty or succumb to it...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lea De La Cruz

    I read this book because of my curiosity as to why the author is being accused of libel but got disappointed since it contains issues that I watched on news and read on newspapers before which make it hardly a secret.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rainier Moreno-Lacalle

    heart-wrenching but liberating!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anne Lourdes

    The part about Sister Rita though..

  17. 4 out of 5

    Grethel Ulang

    Every devout catholics should read this as a test of faith to the church.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Art

    An eye-opener mer. Well-researched.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jim MendioLa

    ...so excited to know their secrets

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jojo Ibit

    why i cant read this book

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Mind-blowing!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Larry Cano,

    I have been trying to secure a hardcopy but I guess I have to continue searching

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ramil

    I recommend this to a friend.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Reynaldo Dizon

    AAAA

  25. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hill

    Well researched chest of truths about clerics as humans who fail their vocation and trusting Catholics. A must read for all faithful not to discredit Catholicism but to arm them with enough knowledge for discernment. This book has not made me believe less in the Catholic church which to me is just a facilitator for my faith in Christianity. I however srongly oppose Church meddling with government particularly re RH! Thanks for writing this book Mr Rufo.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Lopez

    My understanding of the Catholic Church has been transformed but the book talks about scandals which is true and cannot be ignored. No human institution in the world is infallible, whether the State or Religion. Rufo in his magnum opus before his untimely death shows the human side of the Catholic Church that although is incomplete in its details provides for future scholarship later on.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Drea

    Finished in between an 8-hour commute from Laguna to QC and back. The wonders of heavy traffic, indeed. (About the book? Pretty much confirmed what I knew, but I still can't believe that they were THAT messy.) Update for this book Sept 2017: available at Fully Booked BGC, P450.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Allan

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...#

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe Padilla

    We need to know the real story

  30. 5 out of 5

    Noeme Norona

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. this book awaken my interests. I wanna read this

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