THE THIRD point of Fr. Joel Tabora is that “the instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded on the principles of Catholic doctrine, the teachers are outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life.” He continues to quote that “Even if is, in fact, Catholic no school is to bear the name Catholic school without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority”. I wrote yesterday that in the Diocese of Bacolod that authority is the bishop. It is the same in all dioceses.
While this “ecclesiastical authority” is categorical and clear, Tabora presents another concept. This refers to “public association of baptized persons of Catholic communion (and therefore ‘ecclesiastical’) juridic person bound by civil law for the manifest purpose of running a Catholic school”.
Even if we agree with this expansive description, the question for Tabora is: who are the “baptized” persons who constituted SJI under civil law or Corporation Code of the Philippines? If there are any other than the Bishop of Bacolod Manuel Yap, the Vicar General Antonio Fortich, Chancellor Donato Lambayan, Fr. John Liu, and one layman, Benjamin Lopue, Sr., then tell us because Tabora could be talking about another school since SJI was incorporated and owned by the Diocese of Bacolod. Those who sit now in the board of trustees, despite repeated requests, have not shown any document to prove that they or their forebears were the “ecclesiastical juridic persons” who constituted SJI under civil law.
Tabora also cited Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon as saying the Bishop “had quarrel neither with the teachers nor the students with of SJI”. He paraphrased the statement of the bishop to present an apparently contradictory position. Tabora said the bishop “was recognizing the school as Catholic in fact, although he was withholding its public recognition because of his public disagreement with the Board of Trustees.”
Fr. Tabora belabored this point concluding that “the bishop is relating with the Catholic school as a public ecclesiastical juridical person, with recognition at least its implicit Catholic facticity.”
While SJI maybe a Catholic school en pectore of the bishop as a good father, the public recognition should be the basis for any official act and officially SJI is not. Would CEAP accept a school for membership if its “Catholic school facticity” is only implicit? If we go by Tabora’s thinking, his world will be in chaos! Can interpretation of law be based on implicit facticity?
Tabora spiced his “implicit facticity” by saying four Bacolod bishops publicly recognized SJI as Catholic. But of course, the four bishops, Manuel Yap, Antonio Fortich, Camilo Gregorio and Vicente Navarra were presidents of SJI until the last of them, Bishop Navarra was unceremoniously and surreptitiously excluded by the pretenders to the Board. They staged a coup by illegally declaring Bishop Navarra as resigned when he did not. Tabora forgot that Bishop Buzon also tacitly recognized SJI and even its board because he thought it was legally constituted until “trustees” showed their hands.
Did Tabora know that the Bishop of Bacolod is the legal president of SJI? If he did, then he was trying to deceive, if not then he jumped into the pool without checking the waters.
Tabora knows (did he?) that Bishop Buzon recognized SJI, not implicitly but factually and publicly until the BoT began to assert a right that does not belong to them. In some way, the present controversy exposed the surreptitiousness of the BoT maneuver and the legally dubious takeover.
Fr. Tabora declared that “no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority”. This kind of authority is not “ecclesiastical juridic person” as distinguished by Fr.Tabora earlier.
Now comes the cliché. Tabora said, “The ecclesiastical juridic person, the school, once recognized by the competent ecclesiastical authority as a Catholic school, acquires the right to be publicly known as a Catholic school.”
True but is this recognition absolute, permanent and indissoluble and allows the school to deviate, rebel or disparage against the ecclesiastical authority? Is this right of recognition so “fortified” as Tabora said by SJI membership in CEAP that it cannot be withdrawn?
Let’s continue on Monday.