Oh, my God!-A A +A
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I WAS taken aback last Sunday when I received NDB News-Info Alert sent by Arman Toga, my friend from the Negros Daily Bulletin. His item number 3 stated, "DYWB: Church's Team Patay- Team Buhay drive meets its match in Team Tatay- Team Damaso counter drive."
This is no longer fun in the Diocese of Bacolod. This is getting personal and we don't want people to be hit below the belt. We know that the Team Buhay-Team Patay issue that originated in Bacolod last February 22 is already being monitored by Manila media and some dioceses in other regions may follow what was concocted from our place. At first, it was just a volleyball issue on the RH Law wherein the Church indentified the senators and party list representatives who voted in favor or against the bill becoming a law. Many took it seriously as an academic and political matter for discussion. Some considered it as outrageous fun.
We know that many politicians and their supporters reacted to it. The senators involved came forward and explained that their decision was a conscience vote with due respect to the official stand of the Church.
Now, that there is already a counter drive, we are afraid that things will blow up. We do not want to see Christians fighting each other in different fences. And, this will not just be a political issue. This will involve morals. We just don't know what could be included in Team Tatay.
'Tatay' means father. A priest is a spiritual father of his parish. A bishop is a dignitary of the Church and the father of the flock in his diocese. If the description of the father goes beyond moral and spiritual obligation, I don't know anymore its implications. It is too early to place the cart before the horse. We pray that this volleyball will just be within the court of decency and academic freedom.
The Team Damaso may carry a grain of socio-political color. Father Damaso in 'Noli Me Tangere' carries the character of social and religious immorality. He is the real father of Maria Clara and he engineered to destroy the relationship of Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara. He caused the tragic end of the two lovers. Dr. Jose Rizal pictured out Padre Damaso as a 'persona non grata' in Philippine society. Well, the kettle is just starting to boil. I know that both camps are more than ready to face the consequences.
Let us pray that the events will make our faith stronger and will not shake the foundation of our Church. We hope that our priests will stand firm. They are the mini-vicars of Christ. Our priests are called upon to ask God for forgiveness through their liturgy in the Eucharist and for the atonement of sins of the people. The priest alone has the power to incarnate the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine.
Only the priests can grant absolution for sins. He has the power of consecrating the host and has become a mediator between God and man. Those are the qualities and the powers of the priests. We hope we do not scandalize their calling.
I have my reservation on this volleyball because just like many of you I was baptized by a priest, I was married by a priest, and later I will be sent to the cemetery by a priest. In principle, we cannot accept a Damaso performing the sacraments for us. How can Damaso perform the sacraments when he is not under grace? All these are made clear by Pope Innocent III in his decree and this was sanctioned by the Council of Constance and was given follow-up by Pope Martin V in his Bull, 'Inter Cunctas' of 1418.
Our priests, bishops, and cardinals may be human and they have their biological needs and material ambitions but we have to be careful in hitting their capacity as the shepherds of the flock. Politics is one thing and religion is another. For Catholics, like us, it is hard to be caught on the horns of a dilemma.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 14, 2013.