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Tag Archives: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

For whom the bells toll: unity against government corruption

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A few days before last Friday, I saw this announcement on my Facebook timeline:

I haven’t been joining protest marches since my forgetful days as a young student activist. Truth to tell, I no longer believe in the power of mass protests, especially in our times when the powers-that-be are at their strongest. Anyway, I had half a mind attending the nationwide pealing of all church bells although our parish church is just a safe walking distance from our apartment. I thought of maybe just listen to the pealing of the bells from our balcony and utter a short prayer to help combat government abuse of the pork barrel.

Friday arrived and it was dark and drizzling, all the more reason to completely cancel my plans of witnessing the pealing of the bells. But for some inexplicable reason, something stirred me from my laziness to attend. So I took up my camera and told Yeyette that I had to cover the event, maybe take a short video of it then go home immediately.

Upon arrival at the church, the drizzle became all the more incessant. I looked up towards the bell tower, but saw nobody up there. I looked around for any sort of activity pertaining to the ringing of bells against government corruption.

Nada.

I went inside the church and saw only carpenters and stone masons (our church is currently under renovation). Perhaps there are people already in the campanario? I decided to have a look and see, introduce myself as a local blogger and one of Mayor Baby‘s writers (more on this in a future blogpost), and ask permission if I could record what they were about to do.

I’ve climbed up our bell tower numerous times already. It wasn’t easy this time because of a lot of construction materials being hoarded in there at the moment. Upon reaching the top of the bell tower, I was dismayed to find out that nobody was there. And it was less than five minutes till 1:00 PM.

Probably nobody in the parish office heard about this call for holy solidarity against a secular evil that is currently besetting the country. Or perhaps they already knew but they didn’t care at all? Really, I dunno.

I looked down towards the parish office. It was closed, and nobody seemed to come out towards the bell tower to ring its old Sunico bell. I harkened in the cold air, straining hard to listen if other nearby parishes were already ringing their respective bells — nothing but vehicular traffic noise. There was no more time to go down to the parish office and inquire. Using my initiative, I had no other recourse but to ring the bell myself.

It was my first time to ring a church bell, so pardon me if I was tolling it lightly. Besides, I was a bit nervous that the people overseeing the parish office might come out and climb angrily towards me. But then I already thought of a justifiable excuse that what I was doing was all over the news, and that they should update themselves once in a while. Surprisingly still, nobody went up to check. It’s either I was really tolling it lightly and they didn’t hear it, or maybe they did but they never cared at all.

I just tolled it for a few minutes, especially since it wasn’t safe for one’s ears to ring a church bell at a very close distance (stupid me, I should have pulled the rope connected to the bell which is right below the campanario).

Did the tolling of church bells against the pork barrel made any difference? Since I myself have already believed in the ineffectiveness of street protests against government iniquities, what difference does the harmless pealing of bells make? Not much. But I think the Church in this country needed to have a voice to speak out against the pork barrel scam. Just last August, news broke out that retired Monsignor Josefino S. Ramírez was renting a posh property owned by controversial Janet Lim de Nápoles for a whopping ₱280,000 a month, making everyone think where does he get all that cash. And even before that, there were already reports that some priests were in the payroll of Nápoles via her dubious company.

The CBCP commented on the issue, even releasing a strongly worded statement last September 5 against pork barrel misuse. But everybody, most particularly the very meek anti-Catholic kiddos in social media, were too busy condemning the priests in particular and (quite laughably) the Church in general. They were, indeed, having a field day.

The tolling of the bells, at least to my mind, was supposed to be another Church statement against thievery in the government. Last Friday’s church protest was more palpable. And if I may add: just in case those priests connected to Nápoles did err, it was just them, not the Church as a whole.

I just hope that if ever there will be another call for unity like this, there would really be a show of unity. Not to mention coordination. I’m trying hard to remember the last time that all the church bells in the entire archipelago were tolled; I couldn’t remember any event.

*******

On another note, ringing those bells myself made it all the more enjoyable as I already have a personal connection to the San Pedro Apóstol Church because that is where I was wed during last month’s Friday the 13th…

Oh shucks… the WEDDING!!! I haven’t even written anything about it yet here on this blog!

OK, up next: OUR FILIPINIANA WEDDING! Stay tuned, folks! :D

More help needed for Japan’s tsunami victims

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Twenty days have passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Tōhoku, Japan. And each passing day, the death toll still rises. But for the hundreds of thousands of survivors who are left homeless and economically crippled, their current situation makes those who died from this deadly double-calamity appear to be more fortunate.

The humanitarian response that Japan has been receiving from all parts of the world has been awesome and heartwarming. Sadly, it is not enough. Millions of dollars are still needed to help rehabilitate the areas and people affected by the tsunami (since Japan is always earthquake-ready, the earthquake seemed to have had little adverse effect; it was the tsunami which did Japan in). It is estimated that the cost of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of our Asian neighbor could reach more than $300 billion, making it the world’s most expensive natural disaster on record.

Twenty days may have passed, but that doesn’t mean that everything’s OK already in Japan. Thousands are still homeless; many of them are still in evacuation centers with little food, clothing, medicine, and other personal effects. Our Japanese brothers still need our help. We, the lucky ones here in the Philippines who are inside air-conditioned houses with comfortable amenities and internet connection, should all do our share. Believe me, even a twenty-peso donation is already a lot of help.

Please click on the names of the below organizations to know more information on how to send donations to our unfortunate Japanese brothers.

All Hands Volunteers

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Catholic Relief Services

Convoy of Hope

Philippine Red Cross

7 Eleven

This crisis ain’t over till it’s over. Let us all unite to help Japan’s sun rise again. After all, we all live in the same house called planet Earth.

Celdrán’s antics are no longer repulsive

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Garbage collectors have been accustomed to the smell of garbage. The smell of filth. That is why they are hardly repulsed anymore whenever they are confronted by a pile of rotting fish and meat mixed with soiled diapers.

Strangely, I find Carlos Celdrán’s latest caper less repulsive, too. Aside from getting used to hearing garbage news on TV, I find his recent tarpaulin controversy more comical than ever before, but still pitiful, nonetheless. This time, however, I have to side with Celdrán against allegations that he’s a “papansín” (loosely translated as a person who perpetually seeks attention from the people around him). This is in relation to what he did two Fridays ago (18 March) against a helpless anti-RH bill tarpaulin.

Check out this video from everybody’s favorite “rational hero”:

As seen from the footage, the self-proclaimed “fat bastard” (Celdrán fans, before you strike, please be advised that this is how he described himself when he commented on a blogpost of mine last year; so there’s no need to be furious, OK? blame your idol, not me) tore down the said tarp —bearing the words “Choose Life, Reject the RH/RP Bill”—, and then ran away with it like a cellphone snatcher.

Right after that, there was complete silence. He did not mention anything at all about that roguery of his in both his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Immediately after stealing the tarp, he bragged in his Facebook account that he opened up an HSBC account in Binondo as well as scrutinized the Department of Tourism’s “Tara Ná” logo.

There was no mention at all about the now controversial tarp that he stole.

So does this latest caper of his make him a “papansín“? Definitely not. Cayá ñga siyá tumátacbo sa vídeo, eh. Dahil ayáw niyáng magpahuli sa guinawá niyáng pagnanacaw. Ayáw niyáng mapansín. Eh caso nahuli.

Now, whatever happened to that no-nonsense, trash-talking, church-profaning Carlos “Fat Bastard” Celdrán that fans loved about him the most? Shouldn’t they be disappointed with their idol, instead? He did not even inform them immediately right after he stole that darned tarp (Celdrán usually updates his “respectful” and “highly intelligent” fans on his daily activities and plans, even the most mundane ones). With all that running of his instead of another no-holds-barred attack against the clergy, it can be surmised, in a way, that Celdrán has gone “soft”.

And why is that?

It should be remembered that Celdrán still has a court case hanging over his head for his unprofessional conduct inside the Manila Cathedral last year. Thus, it is but logical for his lawyer to advise him not to do anything silly anymore especially since they are negotiating for an out-of-court settlement via a pathetic apology that I do not believe is sincere (he proudly proclaims himself a “Cafeteria Catholic” and is affiliated with the anti-Catholic group Filipino Freethinkers).

Unfortunately for Celdrán, focusing too much on his “street heroics” made him forget a Bayani Fernando legacy: the closed-circuit television cameras mounted all over the metropolis. And when reporters contacted him about his CCTV video, it was too late to deny, of course. Aside from the CCTV, there were witnesses. So right after being interviewed by reporters, he posted this on his Facebook fanpage:

Seriously. They have me on CCTV and got witnesses to ‘confirm’ it was me. Dang. I did it 3 p.m. Who says I was trying to hide it?

I do. Because in the video, you were running so fast as if a hungry pack of wolves mistook you for Grimace. And you almost ran down on a motorbike, Carlos (and not the other way around; perhaps that motorcycle dude has nine lives). And just by observing your Facebook statuses and tweets (thank you for following me, by the way; I am so honored, really), it is very obvious that you would never have mentioned anything at all about that tarp you stole if you weren’t caught on CCTV. But you were. So there. Tsk.

If there was no malice intended, especially since Celdrán thought that what he did was something heroic, he shouldn’t have run. He should have just taken that tarp off then walked away with it with his head held up high. But by running away like a thief in the night, he proved to his enemies the kind of coward that he is.

And he added that he is “coming clean”. Really. But why right after being caught on CCTV? He is saying that now only when he learned that we was caught on camera.

I am aghast that his shock-value fans did not even ask him why he was running away with his tail between his legs. Yet they still shower him with praises with his “coming clean” alibi.

Anyway, If I were stupid, I would have believed him, too.

With that pending case of his in jeopardy again, he can be considered as a lawyer’s nightmare. So how to remedy it?

By pulling off another stunt, of course. And again, at the expense of the Catholic Church’s tolerance on forgiveness. So with a barrage of mediamen, Celdrán marched to the church he profaned a year ago, to attend Mass and go to confession for the first time in years.

To my knowledge, he is the only celebrity in the world who publicized in advance his Sacrament of Penance.

There’s your hero.

Let me reiterate: the Church is not involving itself in politics. To halt the creation of life —a very natural process— is not a political but a spiritual issue, something that is already metaphysical even. The Church is entrusted to protect the sanctity of life; the government has breached it. By proposing the RH Bill, the government has tread upon holy grounds, a terra incognita not understood by secularized minds in the government. In effect, the government has declared war against the Church. It was they, not the Church, who made the first volley of shots. CBCP or no CBCP, the Church was merely on the defensive end.

It is the government, not the Catholic Church, who is guilty of violating the separation of Church and State.

We do not need an RH bill. Celdrán, for instance, has been distributing condoms to squatter families in Intramuros for years yet he did not go to jail on orders from an “evil friar”. And just visit your nearest health center; it is almost rare not to spot posters promoting “family reproductive health”. Condoms, pills, ligation in hospitals, heck, they’re everywhere. Frenzy condoms even sponsor rock concerts. You see such products in newspapers and magazines. Even on TV. And that RH Bill has not even been passed yet.

RH Bill proponents claim that this bill is also meant to educate the people about reproductive issues. Come on. I still remember clearly that I first learned about pills, IUDs, condoms, and the like when I was in the sixth grade — and in a Catholic school!

We do not need the RH bill to fight poverty. This overpopulation myth and all that hot garbage are not the cause of our economic woes. As a historian, Celdrán should know better.

Think. Don’t merely grandstand.

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