Archive | February, 2013

Thank You Pope Benedict XVI!

28 Feb


It’s about time I posted something again. I know I should’ve posted about Pope Benedict’s resignation but circumstances couldn’t allow me to. Now that I finally have time, I will be posting some thoughts:

1. The Pope’s resignation is not a sign of weakness nor abandonment but a recognition of the needs of the Church that are entrusted to the care of the Supreme Pontiff.

2. It greatly separates Catholicism from Buddhism’s Dalai Lama. The Pope is not a reincarnation of the Holy Spirit or of Peter but an office held by a man.

3. We are not scandalized by a resignation because it has happened before. We are not left scrambling in the dark because we know what to do because of our deep history.

4. We must not underestimate the value of prayer and monastic life. While the secular world trumpets visible good works as the ONLY means to be useful to society, the Pope teaches us that even in prayer, through the supernatural and divine, we affect the world.

and perhaps, finally, as the Pope of my reversion to Catholicism, I am thankful to him for showing the beauty of our liturgy through history — ad orientem worship and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.


Not You Too?

5 Feb

Jessica Zafra chimed in on the Celdran issue today. And I’d like to chime in on that, too. On some parts, at least.

Call it a publicity stunt, a performance art piece or just plain rude, but Carlos Celdran’s Padre Damaso act has achieved at least three things.

It called attention to the Reproductive Health bill, galvanizing the silent supporters who thought the bill was dead in the water. The Church would never go for it, so we thought Congress wouldn’t. We are happy to be wrong. It would appear that the days of blind obedience to the Church are over. [I look at this in a positive light: those inside the Church and claim to be members of the Catholic Church without knowing what it means to be really Catholic can finally get out!]

The official reaction to Carlos’ act alerted us to the existence of a law punishing citizens for “offending religious feelings” while reminding us that in the Philippines, Church and State may be the same thing.

In pursuing its legal case against Carlos instead of practising what it preaches and forgiving him, the Church has made a martyr out of Carlos. [Wait a minute. the Church pursued the legal case? The media makes it look like the Church is pursuing the case when in fact, it isn’t! Did Jessica Zafra not get updated with the statement from the RCAM?] As the Church has traditionally relied on other parties to create its martyrs – Romans, Visigoths, British monarchs and so on – this sets an interesting precedent: the Church is now making its own martyrs. In doing so it guarantees constant media coverage for Carlos, setting him up as a viable political candidate. If he actually does jail time, his election is assured. After all, if movie actors can get elected for pretending to kill bad guys, why can’t a theatre actor get elected for actually standing up (and yelling) for his beliefs? [sure. But in the wrong place? Not so fast.]

I cannot argue with Zafra’s own point-of-view regarding the portrayals and descriptions of what society was during that period. I can only agree with her and Rizal in these matters: there were corrupt people in the government as well as in the Church and there was power to be held in either side. It would be stupid to deny that. Yet, he maintained good relations with his Jesuit mentors and even dedicated his other work to the 3 Filipino Priest-Martyrs saying,The Church, by refusing to degrade you, has placed in doubt the crime that has been imputed to you.” A good sign in my book.

Celdran is a Catholic, alright. A Bad One!

1 Feb

Rappler interviews Carlos Celdran and he claims to still be Catholic “until it is taken away from me.”

Really? And I mean REALLY?!

Then again, who am I to deny that he received the sacraments of initiation fully? (I wonder if he even knows them at all.)

There are good Catholics, and there are bad Catholics — the dilemma of the Church. But the Church, through her wisdom and gift from God, can always deal with heresy. But at the same time, she is patient and kind and forgiving. She tries to welcome even the bad ones, filled with hope that they see and understand the Church’s position.

What really bothers me and gets my goat with Celdran’s interview is he sensationalizes things, and appeals to fear in his statements. To wit:

The fact that that law exists means that you, the person behind you and everybody else can be thrown in jail for a year, or perhaps more…

All of you are under danger… Anything you say about religion online can also endanger you.

And the interview goes on to point out the ecumenical service. Here, Celdran shows how bad he is at being a Catholic. I shall put my comments in red along with the text as with the Catholic blogs I read: wdtprs and TPC.

 RAPPLER: Even some liberal supporters of the RH bill have thought that this – the manner in which this protest was done – is offensive. What would you say to that?

CELDRAN: There’s a lot of disinformation out there about the offense. Because a lot of disinformation out there is spread by I guess media, who were not doing their research properly, and, or probably, the Catholic Church itself. It was not a mass. [TRUE. but the follow up question is…]

RAPPLER: I understand it was an event thrown by church organizers.

CELDRAN: Organizers, laymen. Whoever wasn’t there, I guess, doesn’t really have the right to say what is offensive and what is not. It has to do with the word “Damaso.” And where can the word “Damaso” be seen as offensive to a particular religion, especially since half of the Church at that day was Protestant. It was an ecumenical meeting between two religions to support the reading of the Bible.

There was no mass. It was laymen reading bible passengers and a few anti-RH passages. They were using this event to spread the anti-RH agenda as well. So it wasn’t a mass at all. No Eucharist [???] was there. There were laymen on the stage along with posters. [Here, Celdran shows his ignorance of the basics of Catholic doctrine. In a church, most specially the Manila Cathedral, has the Eucharist inside the tabernacle. The picture of the ‘Damaso’ incident below shows the red light, the Sactuary Lamp, that is always lit if the Blessed Sacrement is present. Even on Wikipedia, it says that the it “should be kept alight to indicate and honour the presence of Christ.” Yep. HONOUR. PRESENCE.]

But the disinformation going around makes it seem that I went in the middle of a homily and I interrupted. Basically it was kind of like a town hall meeting that I walked in(to). They did hold a mass but the mass was held two hours after I was arrested.

The 'Damaso' incident

The ‘Damaso’ incident

The next part is a doozy:

CELDRAN: If it is an activity of worship, the Manila Cathedral is a public place. [Hmmm. So if Quiapo Mosque has a worship activity, it is also a public place?] They can use that place to also push for the anti-RH agenda. They use that pulpit for politics as well. So, by them also using that, it essentially makes the Manila Cathedral — which doesn’t pay taxes, [ad hominem fallacy] which is open supposedly to the entire public — just as much an open space as Plaza Miranda or anything else. And if we’re going to also be nitpicking things about freedom of speech, for them to say that, then what will stop them from being arrested for talking about other religions or by talking against a movie star?

Freedom of speech is totally absolute. [Wiki says NO, though. Mentions libel and RA 8491. How about censorship? Never knew MTRCB is illegally infringing on Willie Revillame’s Freedom of speech?],  It comes with responsibilities. That responsibility has to [be part of] a self-actualized society that actually knows the difference between what is right and wrong in this world. And there comes the responsibility. It had to come from the self. It can’t come from the State.

Sounds like relativism to me. And would possibly result in anarchy. “self-actualized society that actually knows the difference between what is right and wrong in this world.” Slavery was legal wasn’t it? People thought it was right. American KKK thought it was alright to kill people. Why tell them they’re wrong? I just don’t see how he justifies it with this kind of logic!

And the last bit I’d like to comment on is something similar to what I’ve been seeing a lot lately with people like Catholics for RH and Pro-choice Catholics. People think they are still absolutely good Catholics even if they aren’t.

RAPPLER: Were you raised a Catholic and what are your beliefs now?

CELDRAN: I was raised a Catholic, absolutely. Of course my faith was shaken. Of course my eyes have been opened about the flaws of my mother institution, which has been very disheartening.

As I tell people, if a plane is crashing and I’m in it, of course I’ll pray the Holy Mary, Mother of God. I’ll pray the Hail Mary. It’s part of my fabric, my framework already. What can I do? I pass by a church, I will genuflect and pray the cross. It’s just part of my wiring already. So being Catholic is something that I am until it is taken away from me.

Here, we see that Celdran is indeed a Catholic… but one of them Cafeteria Catholics who cherry-pick what they want to believe out of convenience. This is a whole different creature against those who know what Catholic teaching is and struggle to keep the faith and believe what Holy Mother Church says.

All indicators point to one thing, though: the cafeteria is wide open in the Philippines. And we need all the help we can get to get this cafeteria to close.

It may seem a bit sacrilegious to use the Creed to drive this point but I believe it to be necessary to point out what is wrong with those who claim to be Catholic but really aren’t.

Celdran’s Creed

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God.
Born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.
Begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.
through Him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation came down from heaven.

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord , the Giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
my own understanding of what the Church teaches
and can choose whatever I like to believe in
for my convenience and what society dictates it to be
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
And I await the resurrection of the dead.
And the life of the world to come.