February 2, 2013

Taking a break from beauty posts, allow me to share with you my thoughts on the current court decision founding Carlos Celdran guilty of offending religious feelings after interrupting a celebration of "May They Be One" campaign in 2010. The decision has expectedly caused a ruckus in social media. The hashtag "#freecarlosceldran" and various tweets on turning the other cheek, amusement over legal law on religious feelings and the debate on what is offensive or not were all over my Twitter feed.

Honestly, my first reaction was of frustration and a little bit of anger. And then sadness.

It is quite sad that a lot of reactions show people's acceptance of Carlos Celdran's act as 'normal'. To those who may have missed it, he went in front of the altar wearing a black suit and raised a placard with 'DAMASO' written on it. He was escorted a little after people realized that his act is not part of the ongoing ecumenical service that was being held in the Cathedral. Rappler posted a copy of the court decision here for everyone's reference.

Photo credits to Philstar website

For me, it's not as much as the DAMASO placard or the fact that what he interrupted was not a mass (he has made a specific attempt in Twitter to point out this fact) but about respect. Protests can be made in a separate venue; heck, even rallyists do their protest outside. Why do it inside the church during an ecumenical celebration with many important people present? Surely, he wants to get a strong message across but is it worth trampling on others' feelings and sensibilities? That is a food for thought for everyone, I guess.

What saddens me more is that the more I read people's comments, thoughts and reactions, the more I am left with the impression that all of this stems from people's dislike (to put it mildly) for the Church, especially proclaimed Catholics. It's truly saddening. :( I will not pretend that we have a perfect Church; it is not and its human members will fall time and again. Now I remember this, "remember that the Church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners". I really feel bad how we can just talk badly about our bishops and priests.

At this point, I digress. Let's get back on track.

There has been a lot of talk about the Church forgiving Mr. Celdran for his stunt. Last Wednesday, the CBCP released a report refuting that the Church is behind the case filed against him. I have no doubt that forgiveness is in order and our bishops surely know this. It is not completely surprising at all to know that they have forgiven him back in 2010 and have even prayed for him. According to the CBCP release, the charge was not filed by the Church and there was even express instructions to not pursue the case. How's that for magnanimity?

Photo credits to Dr Diva website
 The question burning in my mind, should forgiveness be equated with taking things astride and forgetting the wrong done? What about justice?

My friend, Richmond, answers this very succinctly in a Facebook status of his. We are thinking in the same line and let me just quote him as I cannot say this any more better,
"People are asking for the Church to forgive Mr. Celdran. We have to qualify this. What is our perception of forgiveness? Are we equating forgiveness with simply taking the entire thing astride, charges and all? I want to believe the Church has forgiven him, but there is also the other facet of charity, and it is called justice. The decision was not rendered by the Church, this we have to be clear. The decision was rendered by the court of law. [emphasis mine] If what we are calling is that the Church forgives him according to the notion of completely brushing it all aside, why raise it now when this matter should have been raised even before the charge was pressed?"
This leaves me realizing that there is so much, so much things to pray for. I hope whatever side you are on in this issue, you will also pray for the persons/groups/issues involved.


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