Friday, November 26, 2010

When Randomnity Strikes: Florentino Shirts, Anyone?

Just thought of something....

What if Catholics in the Philippines (and other religious people against the Reproductive Health Bill) counter the perennial statements "Damaso", "Pass the Bill", "Get your Rosaries out of our ovaries!" and others with shirts containing statements like "Florentino", "Kill the Bill/Kill Bill 96", "You were once a fetus, too!", and all other catchy, humored, and spirited stuff?

Friday, November 19, 2010

NU 107 Will Never ****** Die!

This has been the final theme of NU 107. Notice the once red, black, and white logo became gray, white, and black, respectively; representing the end of an era. It gives the creeps to those who see it.

Two weeks ago, NU 107 went off the air...forever; and Pinoy Rock would never be the same again.

Personally, I'm no hardcore rock fan, and I didn't went there; but this news of the Home of NU Rock saying goodbye struck everyone. I first heard of it through Claude 9 of UST Tiger Radio who is the pioneer Radio Production Head of Tomasian Cable Television (TOMCAT, the TV and Radio station of the University of Santo Tomas); and he is actually my friend and mentor at TOMCAT, who was also a staff of NU 107 before he worked at 99.5 RT to this day. He emphasized this during our Sembreak Workshop at the said organization, quoting, "...Next year, the Home of NU Rock would become the Home of NO Rock" [sic].

As I write this post, I am watching some clips from YouTubers who attended the Last Goodbye of the station; and Claude 9 was right: it was devastating to the jocks and fans alike. As I was watching, I felt that I would like to crap bricks. As I am writing, I can't help but creep out to how the participants felt. THEY WERE CRYING, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! There were sobbing inside the booth and out; and the last song they played as NU 107 before the compulsory Lupang Hinirang was also appropriate: E-heads' "Ang Huling El Bimbo". Ending this dramatic scene was the playing of the Philippine National Anthem; some hands were on the chest, others clinched high while singing.

The aftermath was even more devastating: rock fans all over the country are just waiting for the signal of a revolution--a rock revolution, that is. For now, their only beacon is RJ Underground Radio 105.9, the sister-station of RJ 100 and DZRJ Radio Bandido. I tell you: even I still feel this void in my identity, just as everyone  has experienced.

As what was said, just as Rock could never die, "NU 107 will never (censored) die!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sacrilege! Shameful apathy!

(The following entry is the Editorial of the Oct. 29, 2010 issue of "The Varsitarian": The Official Student Publication of the University of Santo Tomas. The entry could also be viewed here.)

Last October 1, Intramuros tourist guide Carlos Celdran staged a shocking, stupid, and shameful stunt all in one when he disrupted Holy Mass at the Manila Cathedral, where Apostolic Nuncio Edward Joseph Adams and Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales were present. Styling himself as the “new” Jose Rizal and dresssed in the national hero’s characteristic European attire, he broke up the solemn Mass and carried around a placard with the inscription “Damaso,” a reference to the friar-character in Rizal’s novels, and shouted at the bishops and clery on the altar, “Stop involving yourselves in politics!” He was referring to the Church’s opposition to the Reproductive Health bill, several versions of which have been refiled in the new Congress, as well as criticism of President Aquino’s statements during his US trip that he’s in favor of “responsible parenthood,” or some form of birth control.
Even if he clearly does not agree with the Church, Celdran could have just let his mind known by a letter to the editor: after all, the Church representatives only made known their stand when they were interviewed by the media. But arrogantly enough and without regard for religious sensibilities, Celdran did the brazen act of desecrating the Church, her priests and liturgy. As a result, he landed in jail for committing a crime against religious worship, a violation of Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code.
But what was more alarming was that many Catholics did not condemn Celdran’s “shameful deed,” as described by the Manila clergy.
Even more terrible was that at the time of Celdran’s detention, about 6,500 people, apparently Catholics, had immediately supported a Facebook fan page calling for his release. Moreover, feminists rallied in front of the building of the Church’s episcopal conference in Intramuros with obscene placards directed at the bishops such as, “Get your rosary out of my ovary.” Even harlots would not use such language!
In what planet are Celdran and his supporters living? Perhaps they should repeat their stunt in a Muslim mosque or an Iglesia ni Cristo service. Let’s see if they would not get lynched.
Celdran’s arrogance was not only an affront to religion; it was an insult to the national hero. Even if Rizal was a Mason, a liberal secularist, and an anti-cleric, he would not have disrupted the Holy Mass and cursed the clergy. In his distasteful, unseemly blog, Celdran styles himself and those opposed to the Church’s stand on population control as “the new Jose Rizal.” What megalomania! Even the diehard Rizalista would not make such a claim. Apparently Celdran and his ilk have been making the fantastic claim inside the Mandaluyong sanatorium.
The apathy of many Catholics to denounce Celdran’s outright assault of the Church is a reality check on the Church both as a hierarchy and as people of God: Catholics are woefully ignorant of the Church’s teachings. The Catholic Church and her leaders have failed to educate Catholics on the teachings of the Church.
This problem may also stem from the failure of schools, particularly Catholic schools, to impress upon the students the position of the Church on issues such as the RH bill, which goes against the Church’s teachings on the basic right to life.
Closer to home, has UST, which prides itself as the Catholic University of the Philippines and a Pontifical University no less, done its job in teaching the Church’s pro-life stand as it confronts issues such as population control?
In the University, a minimum 15 units of theology subjects are mandated. Despite this, a study of former Arts and Letters Dean Armando de Jesus last year revealed that many Thomasians are “religious but not moral”––a finding which implies the tendency of Thomasian students to support the RH bill.
To be sure, this disturbing situation in the academe should force the Institute of Religion, the office in charge of the theology subjects, to start rethinking its curriculum and method of instruction, particularly SCL3 (The Social Teachings of the Church) and SCL9 (Marriage and Family).
All of the subjects are treated in an abstract manner, without reference to pressing issues of the day. For example, the chapter on natural family planning in the Marriage and Family textbook does not really explain why there should be family planning at all, it does not explain the geopolitcal context that has forced couples more and more to limit their family size. The discussion does not reveal the population-control mindset that occasions the discourse on family planning, whether natural or contraceptive.
Moreover, the chapter does not explain really why natural family planning is best. It does not even make reference to the natural law that underpins the Church’s moral teachings.
Theology professors appear to be ignorant of the issues around the RH bill and population control, considering that these issues are pressing to young Thomasians who have impressionable minds. Corollarily, UST doctors and bioethicists have largely evaded the issues. Most UST doctors, who receive perks from drug companies some of which produce contraceptives, don’t even go out of the way and explain to the public the side effects and risks of chemical contraceptives.
The Church, her leaders and teachers should tell Catholics that alleged overpopulation is not the cause of the poverty in the country but corruption, mismanagement and poor public policy. As columnist Atty. Jose Sison, a loyal Thomasian, said, “overpopulation” is the wrong term to use for the congestion of Metro Manila and urban centers, which is a migration and development phenomenon. In any case, he said it is wrong to blame the poor people for their poverty: the corruption and mismanagement of public officials are the culprits.
World-class economists such as Simon Kuznets and Jacqueline Katzun have denied any negative correlation between population and economic growth. Meanwhile, Nobel-winning economists Amartya Sen and Gary Becker have recommended that funds for birth control would be better used in directly addressing poverty.
Moreover, the RH bill is draconian and violative of human rights. The version by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman bill forces employers into providing contraceptives to workers under their collective bargaining agreements. How can UST, a Catholic institution, offer contraceptives to its employees?
Catholics should understand that natural family planning teaches husbands to respect their wives’ body cycles. It teaches trust, discipline and fortifies the family as an institution contrary to the RH bill, which advocates shortcuts, fosters irresponsibility, and weakens the family. Therefore, natural family planning humanizes us while artificial methods, which RH bill espouses, make us look like sex-starved rabbits.
House Bill 5043 carries a provision in which a spouse can get a vasectomy or ligation without the consent of the other spouse, which is tantamount to legalized treachery.
In addition, the bill also wants to muzzle the opposition by providing a provision that punishes those who allegedly spread “disinformation.” In addition, foreigners who speak against the bill may be deported. (What if the Pope visits the country and calls population-control measures anti-life? Can Lagman kick the Supreme Pontiff out of the country?)
Catholics are duty-bound to study the many anti-life and anti-human-right provisions of the RH bill and uphold with conviction the stand of the Church against it and other social-engineering measures of the state. Thomasians and other Catholics should rouse themselves from their apathy. Let the biblical injunction be their guide: “If you are neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why Pray for the Dead?

(Part of the completion of this blogpost is credited to the Oct.31 episode of "KATEKS: Katesismo at Apolohetika"--a 60-minute apologetics program aired at Veritas 846 every Sunday from two to three in the afternoon.)

Most non-Catholics question our sentiment to our departed loved ones--most especially during the First and Second of November. They often rant that the dead cannot make up for their salvation; all Christians admit to that--especially us Catholics--in which we believe that we will lose our free will upon death. But, they ask, why bother praying for them? What is the use of it? 

According to what I heard to Bro. Marco Evangelista, the principal host of KATEKS, we Catholics believe in the power of prayer more than the Protestants and the Evangelicals do. One good example is that of Judas Maccabeus, when he discovered that some of his fallen comrades were found to be wearing amulets and anting-antings of all sorts, which fall under the sin of idolatry. Afterwards, he ordered his men to collect money as a sin offering to their acts, hoping that they may be cleansed from their sins (2 Mac. 12:38-45). The non-Catholic would of course demand more Scriptural references; besides, they do not have that in their Bible. 

One good verse about the power of prayer is what St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians (6:18-20):

"With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must." (NAB)

Verse 19 should be like this in Filipino:

"IPANALANGIN [din] NINYONG ako'y pagkalooban ng wastong pananalita upang buong tapang kong maipahayag ang hiwaga ng Mabuting Balitang ito." (MBB Catholic Version)

See? Even Paul, who is considered to be a great preacher of his time was ASKING PRAYERS from them; so that he may fight the good fight, finish his run, and preserve the faith (cf. 2 Tim. 4:7) which was the mission he accomplished in his martyrdom.

The Apostle James also wrote on how powerful prayer is (5:14-15):

"Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven."

It is stated here that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is based on prayer and the hope for total recovery of the disabled recipient.

By praying for others and ourselves, we are hopeful that what we pray (combined with good intentions, of course) would be answered accordingly by God. So the bottomline of these three verses is that we Catholics hope for the better.

After answering about the power of prayer, they would soon ask: Why those who are living? Common sense! A non-Catholic--preferably an anti-Catholic--with this kind of counter-argument contradicts and debunks his first statement about the that could not do anything in their free will. But to make things Biblical, St. John's letter states that all sins are wrongdoings and that there are sins that are either mortal or venial (1 Jn. 5:16-17). For the case of both, we pray because we want to make our little part in leading the sinner in a state of metanoia, and later on, in a state of sanctifying grace, before it's too late. Again, we Catholics are hopeful that all sinners would turn away from their wickedness in this lifetime. But what if they didn't? what if he only saw death coming, and his last words were "My God, forgive me"? Would he be saved?

All Christians believe that souls would be destined between two places: Heaven or Hell. Those who are Heaven-bound basically followed what Jesus said in Matt. 7:21--which is the hard way up; while those who are Hell-bound should have been following the examples Jesus stated in Matt. 5:22, or those who were practicing those that are listed in Rev. 21:8; and as v.27a says: ...nothing that is impure will enter the city..."--this is the easy way down.

But what about those who die with a limited state of grace? of those who failed to confess their sins and do penance to them? Isn't it unfair that they would be denied of eternal happiness with God just because of that unrepented sin, which under certain circumstances, is but a grain of sand compared to the coastline of the soul?

This is where Purgatory, for us Catholics, comes in. Repeating 1 Jn. 5:17, "...all wrongdoing is sin, BUT THERE IS SIN WHICH DOES NOT LEAD TO DEATH." In a nutshell, Purgatory is a state of temporary imprisonment and purification, which term is Anglicanized from the Latin purgare--to clease, purify, or purge. To politicize, Purgatory is a correctional system that God created out of immense love; wherein souls are held as prisoners until they served their sentence: ["Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny" (Mt. 5:26)], which may last for centuries--or even millenia! It is said to be a foretaste of Hell, though the tortures and torments they receive is worth sanctifying. Literally and spiritually, they--the Church Suffering--are dependent prisoners who only hope in the mercy of God and the prayers of the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. It is a hurting truth that souls should be purged first before they would be permitted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven:

"...NOTHING [that is] IMPURE WILL ENTER THE CITY...." (Rev. 21:27a)


Heads' Up!