In his recent PhilStar colmumn How Catholic Talibans stormed the CCP, William Esposo lamented “the terrifying emergence of a Catholic Taliban who threatens to destroy the very foundations of our Christian morality.” Indeed, it is happening. On the Visayan Daily Star, Nida Buenafe writes about how parishes in Bacolod are unreservedly demonising artist Mideo Cruz who, as we recall, is at the centre of a Catholic fatwa being incited by the Philippines’ Roman Catholic Church over an exhibit of his work at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines (CCP)…
The exhibit prompted the Church in Bacolod to hold an indignation rally today at 4 p.m., starting with the praying of the rosary inside the San Sebastian Cathedral.
A para-liturgical service will follow at the Bacolod City Public Plaza with the burning of the horns and tail on a Mideo Cruz’s effigy.
In his homily yesterday at the church of Our Lady of Candles in Capitol Heights in Bacolod City, Fr. Danilo Cenal said the symbolic burning of the horns and tail will depict the public indignation over the exhibit.
“Only the horns and tail will be burned. The picture of Mideo Cruz as a person will be left untouched. The sin should be condemned but not the person,” Cenal said.
The Roman Catholic Church, perhaps, as “Father” Cenal lamely tries to demonstrate may deny going as far as attacking Cruz’s very person. But history is rich in accounts of how the Church had stood by and watched as hideous atrocities were committed by its zealous followers in the name of its “God”. Filipino Catholic officials should look to the example of their former top honcho in Europe who in 1998 apologised (albeit using wording that failed to impress many Jews) for “failing to speak out against the Nazi holocaust during World War Two”…
Pope John Paul has said he hopes the apology will help to heal the wounds of past injustices and misunderstandings between Christians and Jews.
But the document makes no criticism of the Pope of the time, Pius XII, who has been accused by the Jews of pro-German tendencies.
The Vatican mentions that Pius XII saved hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives himself or through his representatives.
But the document fails to explain why Pope Pius never took sides during World War Two by speaking out against the holocaust while it was actually taking place.
The slope into extreme religious fundamentalism is an extremely slippery one, particularly for an impoverished country such as the Philippines which is populated by a people desperately scrounging around for symbols of “hope” to latch onto. Religion is renowned for its ability to provide a narrative of “hope” to its adherents through a belief system that promises nothing in life and everything in death. That simple principle which lies at the core of Roman Catholic dogma all but places blanket indemnity over that organisation against any ethical or intellectual accountability over just about any idea it implants in the most vacuous minds among its followers.
If we examine the rhetoric of the most militant Catholic lieutenants in the “laity”, we will find much of the same you-are-either-with-us-or-against-us false dichotomies that characterise that of some of recent history’s most brutal war mongerers and war criminals — Osama Bin Laden, George W Bush, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Benito Mussolini among others.
The three-step process with which these dangerous demagogues hijack common sense in societies that happen to be vulnerable at the time to clever persuasion techniques is quite evidently at work in the Philippines today…
First they define a non-negitiable ideological construct that they pitch as an “absolute truth”…
A part of the homily by Jojo Zerrudo, Diocese of Cubao, was aired on the same morning show, where he asserted that proper respect should be given to the image of Christ.
“…you think an image of Christ is nothing different from the posters of celebrities? Jesus Christ is the son of the Living God, therefore, it is not right to dishonor his face,” said Zerrudo.
Then, they proceed to define a bogeyman — the them in a them-against-us “crusade” that they begin to incite…
“When you say church, tayong lahat [“all of us”], we are a church. Filipinos who are Christians and Catholics must defend their faith,” said [Ang Kapatiran (“The Brotherhood”) party’s Manolo] Dayrit in the same “Unang Hirit” report.
And, third, organise spectacles mounted in full regalia displaying emotionally-charged symbols while demonstrating rituals designed to induce conformity…
As an effort to supposedly seek forgiveness from their Creator for what they deem as “blasphemous” art […] more than 200 members of religious and lay groups participated in a reparation mass held Aug. 14, reported “Unang Hirit” on Aug. 15.
After the mass, the group launched a procession from Roxas Boulevard to CCP featuring relics of the Virgin Mary and the Black Nazarene, significant symbols of the Catholic faith, as reported on “TV Patrol” last Aug. 14.
Clearly, the signs are impossible to ignore. The Philippines has always teetered on the brink not only of economic collapse but catastrophic collapse in its ability to uphold common sensibilities and intelligent regard for the challenges it faces. The Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines is, at best, sitting back and waiting in the same way it did during Hitler’s Holocaust or, at worst, actively facilitating Philippine society’s descent into its own version of the Dark Ages. Both are scary prospects, considering Filipinos’ renowned track record of being such bad copy cats.
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