Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘catholic

Close encounters with pro- and anti-LGBT Christ believers during Pride

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Outrage Magazine | 6 July 2017

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“They’re here again,” a gay man in his 40s said.

He was referring to the religious protesters during the annual Pride parade in Metro Manila, making their presence felt with their on-your-face way to (supposedly) teach the LGBT community members about everything that’s “wrong” with their way of living.

“I came here because I love God. And if LGBTs face God, they face their sin. And if they face their sin, they will know how much God loves them,” John, a Born Again Christian from Francisville, angrily yelled.

John was on the sidelines, separated from the protesters by some policemen. But whether they’re there to protect the LGBT revelers or the so-called Christian protesters is up for questioning – the latter may be vociferous, but the former have the number (it’s Pride parade, after all).

Another Born Again Christian protester, Angela, added: “We are are here so people will know that they would need to repent because God loves them. We love them. They need to repent so they will come to know Jesus. LGBTs need to repent in order to come to the kingdom of heaven.”

In various English versions of the Bible, homosexuality was mentioned in several books.

For instance, in Leviticus 18:22-23:

22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is detestable act. 23 You must not have sexual intercourse with any animal to become defiled with it, and a woman must not stand before an animal to have sexual intercourse with it; it is perversion.

Romans 1:26-28:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

1 Timothy 1:8-11:

8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebel, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

And for these protesters, the Bible should be interpreted to the letter.

Surprisingly, Christian leaders themselves are against this very approach.

For instance, Pope Benedict XVI, former leader of the Roman Catholic Church, said that “an authentic interpretation of the Bible must always be in harmony with the faith of the Catholic,” as he criticized ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘literalist’ interpretations and urged a “renewed appreciation for the symbolic and spiritual interpretation techniques used by the ancient fathers of the church.”

Meanwhile, Pope Francis, the current leader of the Catholic faith, still one of the strongest religions that exist, encourages people to embrace gays and transexuals. “Each case must be welcomed, accompanied, studied, discerned, and integrated. When a person (who is gay) arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, ‘Go away because you are homosexual,” Pope Francis was quoted as saying.

So much for leadership, though, with the flock not taking heed.

In a poll conducted by Gallup, three out of four Americans actually believe that the Bible is the ACTUAL WORD of God and should be TAKEN LITERALLY. This is even after taking into consideration not only the inconsistencies, but the outdated perspectives in the Bible.

The surprising thing is the nitpicking of chapters and verses from the Bible seemingly to justify personal positions.

Take for instance Sodom and Gomorrah, which has nothing to do with homosexuality.

Even the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has stated that the LGBT community should not be condemned and should be given respect.

And there’s Leviticus 20:13, which states that “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

So anyone who would take the Bible literally must also campaign for the execution of homosexuals.

“We never said we hate LGBTs. We never said LGBTs do not deserve to be happy. They just need to repent and welcome Jesus into their lives again. We never said LGBTs are bad. What they are doing on the other hand… they need to change it,” Angela said.

Her companion John is louder: “They (LGBTs) are hypocrites! How can they know God if what they are doing is wrong?”

But then also at Pride, there are other Christians who are openly asking for apology for all the hate caused by religion/s to LGBT community members.

And so yes, these Born Again Christian protesters are entitled to voice their opinions while quoting Bible verses left and right. And these Christians asking for the LGBT community’s forgiveness are also entitled to air their side.

In the end, it’s safe to say that with the Bible, it’s a matter of interpretation and… morals. But judgment is anchored on the discourse of human rights; and here, alas, who’s on the wrong and on the right side of fence?

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(Established in April 2007, Outrage Magazine remains the only publication exclusive for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and allied community in the Philippines.)

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Viva San Pedro Calungsod!

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VERA Files and Yahoo Philippines | 02 December 2012

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Cebu’s son has come home.

Last Friday, Cebu held a National Thanksgiving Mass, to welcome back the statue San Pedro Calungsod after it was canonized last Oct. 21 by Pope Benedict XVI.

An estimated 1.2 million people filled the 27- hectare reclaimed South Road Properties (SRP) open field where a small temple was built for the occasion, displaying admirable discipline and patience as they braved the noonday sun.

The celebration started with a foot procession followed by a fluvial procession in the early afternoon. Devotees of different nationalities, the wealthy, the powerful  and the masses marched together to bring  the image San Pedro Calungsod to the Templete carrying their own San Pedro Calungsod statues on one hand  and a rosary in the other hand.

Devotees from different cities and provinces travelled to Cebu just to be part of the event; to have a brief look at the exact image that was brought in Vatican to be blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.

“I didn’t have the money to take the airplane to go to Cebu, but I really want to attend this event. San Pedro Calungsod is an icon for the Catholics. He is a testament that we Filipinos, have a very strong faith,” Aling Malou said raising her voice to be heard in the midst of the crowd chanting “Viva San Pedro Calungsod!”

Aling Malou is from Mindanao. “I took the boat from Mindano to go to Cebu, it wasn’t an easy trip. And after this event, I will stay Calunsod2here until dawn and go back to the boat station to catch the first trip going back to Mindanao to save on paying for  a place to spend a night,” she said adding that even if she is tired, “God will give me strength.”

And as the statue of San Pedro Calungsod emerged from the crowd to its stand in the main altar, the crowd turned quiet. It was an astonishing moment for everyone.

Aling Malou together with the other devotees, who were several feet away from the stage, slowly and softly started their chanting again, “Viva San Pedro Calungsod! Viva San Pedro Calungsod! Viva San Pedro Calungsod!”

It was the only thing you will hear you will hear that afternoon. The heat of the sun suddenly didn’t matter. It was very solemn.

Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal presided the celebratory mass, with more 50 bishops and over 700 priests joining the entourage. The high mass lasted for two hours.

“Pedro Calungsod is an example of a young Filipino, who through his faith, became a beacon of what a true devotee should be. And thus, being a martyr, sacrificing his life for his faith,” Cardinal Vidal intoned.

He continued: “This one remarkable gathering can be a principle for everyone. It was 340 years ago when a young Catholic martyr died not for himself but for the welfare of other people. And now the inspirational act the that Pedro Calungsod did is blooming like the flowers of May.”

“San Pedro lives on in all of us. We are compelled by the love of Christ, not only to have a good faith but to practice it. Pedro made many sacrifices before he made his final sacrifice; he left home and country. He didn’t experience the carefree life of being a youth. He spent his youth acquiring the basics of faith,” Cardinal Vidal added.

President Benigno Aquino together with Vice President Jejomar Binay and members of the cabinet, Senate, Congress and the local government were also present at the event.

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“The gathering today embodies the ideal Filipino. Pedro chose the difficult life, of being a Jesuit. And in the face of danger, Pedro did not stop and fulfilled his duty as a missionary. Truly, San Pedro reflects the kindness of the Visayans. An outward offering of oneself to the greater good of many,” the President said.

“We now stand in the image of a young Filipino, who gave up his life for what he believed was right. May his story and what he did be a great inspiration, not only to the Visayans but to the greater Filipino,” he added.

Governor Gwen Garci thanked the organizers and all those who joined celebration: “It was an extraordinary event because never we have seen beautiful blue skies, never have we seen such orderliness and solemnity though the people in the entire celebration. Today will be forever be etched in the minds of the Cebuanos and the Filipinos, as this is a historical event.”

“And this event only justifies Cebu as the cradle of Christianity,” Governor Garci stressed.

Very little is known about Pedro Calungsod.

Published account said he was born in the Visayas and served as a catechist when he was a boy. He went with some Spanish Jesuit missionaries to the Ladrones islands, later known as Marianas to evangelize the Chamorros in 1668. He was killed on April 2, 1672 in Guam, which is part of Marianas by islanders averse to Christianity. He was only 17 years old.

San Pedro Calungsod has come home.

 

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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Viva Pit Senyor!

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VERA Files and Yahoo Philippines | 15 January 2012

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Amid chants of Viva Pit Senyor! (or Long live the Christ child!), about a hundred thousand devotees of the Holy Child joined  Saturday’s  grand foot procession in Cebu City— the eve of the Feast of the Sto. Niño.

In the island province of Cebu in southern Philippines, the most celebrated feast and patron is the Sto. Niño, an icon in the Roman Catholic faith  symbolizing the child Jesus Christ. Devotees pray to him for different petitions, and to give thanks for all the blessings they have received.

Although the Sto. Niño is not the official patron saint of Cebu, the Cebuanos still continue to celebrate the feast of the child patron with much gusto. (Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, declared Our Lady of Guadalupe as the principal patroness of Cebu in 2002.)

The Sto. Niño statue in Cebu is believed to be the oldest religious image in the Philippines, donated by Ferdinand Magellan to Rajah Humabon in 1521. The statue is said to be miraculous because it survived a great fire in 1565.

On the third Saturday of January each year, people gather at the Basilica del Sto. Niño Cebu — the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country, to attend the novena in honor of the child Jesus, and the grand foot procession that follows.

The grand procession is the most awaited by the Cebuanos and Catholic devotees, next to the Sinulog Festival, which pays tribute to the Cebuano’s acceptance of Roman Catholicism and also held to honor the Sto. Niño.

According to the organizing committee, this year’s procession passed a  longer 6.8-kilometer route. The change was intended to give many people the opportunity to feel what it was like for the Sto. Nino procession to pass by their homes.

Devotees paraded along the main streets of Cebu, carrying their own Sto. Niño statues. Those without statues simply swayed their raised hands from left to right while the band played tunes that gave praise to the Holy infant.

Spectators eagerly flashed their cameras as  they lined the sidewalks of Cebu’s main streets, secured by ropes and guarded by volunteers and ROTC students.

The procession started around one in the afternoon and ended at past seven in the evening.

Manang Ella, who has been a Sto. Niño devotee since her husband passed away, said that this yearly procession is the Cebuano’s way of showing the most miraculous patron their appreciation and gratitude for the countless blessings He has given them.

For her, the sacrifice of walking from the Basilica up to the city center and then back to the church, is also her way of making up for the weekends and months she had failed to attend mass.

Manang Ella always brings her old black Sto. Niño to the yearly procession. Even if the gold-plated crown and accessories of the statue are already tarnished, she refuses to buy a new one because she had that statue in her possession for so many years, and it has given her countless blessings.

For many of the Cebuanos, it doesn’t matter how their Sto. Niños look like. Some of them only have the small ones usually seen near the wind shields of taxis and jeepneys.

They are thankful for the blessings they have received because of  their faith and  devotion to the Christ child.

 

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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