Is there a hidden agenda behind the Day of Penance?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-08-23
Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales had called for a “Day of Penance” on August 26 for what he described will be “an expression of remorse for the sins committed against God’s majesty.” The Cardinal was referring to what he called the “sinful” art exhibit at the CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines), the “KULO” art work of Mideo Cruz that Cardinal Rosales and his ilk branded as sacrilegious and blasphemous.

Why the Cardinal still opted to continue with this “Day of Penance” despite the very enlightening revelations during the August 16 Senate hearing, must make us wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye. The Senate hearing clearly established important facts and premises, which media failed to communicate due to its insatiable lust for sensationalism, that shed light and perspective to the art work in question.

The most important of these were:

1. The artist was making a commentary on how society had defaced religion by its succumbing to idolatry, consumerism and so forth. This is a crucial point because this removes malicious intent. Those threatening to sue Cruz and the CCP will themselves be vulnerable for a counter suit for unjust vexation and harassment.

2. As Sen. Chiz Escudero had established with his questions to the Church representatives during the hearing — no person today can really say what is the true face of Jesus Christ. CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) president, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, even admitted that all depictions of Christ are artistic interpretations. This being the case, nobody can really say that it was indeed the face of Christ that was offended?

3. As State University Law School Dean Raul Pangalangan pointed out, the artist is protected by freedom of speech, even citing two Supreme Court decisions that supported his assertion.

4. The CCP had already closed the exhibit, citing security reasons, and from all indications it will not be exhibited there again. So what’s the big fuss all about?

To a senior citizen like your Chair Wrecker, this “Day of Penance” reeks of a camouflage for stirring greater Catholic Taliban passion (Taliban is used figuratively for religious extremism and not a case of name calling). The real target could be the RH bill. Unable to get the support of majority of Filipinos, the Catholic Church hierarchy could use the passions that this molehill of a controversy had generated. It’s Machiavellian to say the least but hardly surprising if you’ve read the history of the Roman Catholic Church.
Surveys had established just how popular the RH bill is. Until this art work controversy erupted, the Catholic Church didn’t have a powerful handle by which to persuade and pressure the administration of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) to junk the RH bill. It’s just too tempting for the Catholic Church leaders not to grab the passions displayed by the Catholic Talibans and redirect these to resistance to the RH bill. They’re hoping to mount an effective political theatre.

It’s easy to think that this could have been what was in the mind of Cardinal Rosales — the very same Prince of the Catholic Church who reportedly told ZTE whistleblower Jun Lozada and the nuns accompanying him: “Truth and lie are the same. They’re icing on the cake. What’s important is the cake.” Have you ever read if Jesus Christ said in the Gospel that: “Truth and lie are the same?”

The history of the Roman Catholic Church can easily match the track records of notorious regimes for their hypocrisy, evil policies, cruelty and lack of humanity. In the name of God, Catholic Popes have waged some of the bloodiest wars, some for sheer temporal ends. Pope Gregory XIII conspired to have a Catholic priest arrange the assassination of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The Inquisition, one of the lowest points of Catholic Church history, had empowered dogmatic stupidity to torture, maim and kill. Some of the greatest specimens of the human race became victims of the Inquisition.

In the Philippines, the Catholic Friars were in partnership with the Spanish Conquistadores in subjugating and exploiting our people. To this day, the same Catholic Church seemed fascinated with reliving those days of subjugation as they persist in meddling in State affairs and continuously try to influence State policies like the RH bill. Have you noticed how rich they are and how much lands they own?

Compared to Mideo Cruz, who never intended to deface Christ but highlight the hypocrisy in religious practice, the Catholic Church hierarchy has more reasons to be flagellating itself and be offering penance. By intent Cruz may not have sinned at all in the eyes of a just God. Can we say the same for Catholic Church leaders who encourage Catholic Talibanism?

What we’re seeing today from some of our Catholic Church leaders are the very same attributes of the Pharisees who condemned Jesus Christ to die by crucifixion. The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was inclined to release Christ but the Pharisees manipulated the Jerusalem mob to pressure the Roman Governor to crucify the Nazarene.

Don’t you see this same brand of hypocrisy, manipulation and ruthlessness in some of our Catholic Church leaders these days?

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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