Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, responding to a front-page Inquirer article yesterday where a priest claimed that she should be consigned to the fires of hell, said: “Under Vatican 2, there is no hell; but even if there is, there is nobody there.”
Santiago said that in theology, hell is not a geographical place, but is a metaphor for distance from God.
“The priest is saying that he is close to God, and I’m not. I say to the priest, judge not, that you shall not be judged,” she said.
The senator said she was told that the priest had approached certain journalists to make sure that his homily would be reported in the print media.
“It is like St. Paul writing letters to the Corinthians, and begging them to publicize his letters. This priest sounds very much like a publicity hound. And I thought humility in spiritual matters is a virtue,” she said.
Santiago said that under Vatican 2, the Catholic Church no longer clings to the monopoly on truth.
“Under Vatican 2, priests and nuns should be treated like everyone else. They are not special people just because they have joined a religious community. It does not make them any more smarter or holier than you and me,” she said.
Santiago holds, not only a law doctorate, but also a masters in theology from the Maryhill School of Theology, where she got high marks.