Official collective statements of Catholic bishops construct and promote the imaginary of the Philippines as “Catholic nation.” This conflation of the body Catholic and the body politic has served as the church’s platform for defending its interests in education against perceived nationalist threats and for engaging social issues. This article traces the genealogy of this discourse and uncovers its distorted account of the Filipino nation’s emergence and its deductive pastoral logic. Given the inevitable link between “the religious” and “the secular,” the imaginary is challenged today by the call for greater inclusivity and the impact of digital connectivity on community, whether religious or national.

KEYWORDS: Catholic Church • Philippine Bishops • Nationalism • Church–Nation Relations • Imagined Communities

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