Aquino to Church: Follow Pope example, forgive Carlos Celdran-A A +A
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday expressed sympathy for Carlos Celdran who was convicted by a local court for "offending religious feelings" and urged the local clergy to forgive the popular tour guide.
Celdran, a staunch advocate of the controversial reproductive health (RH) law, was sentenced to a maximum of one year imprisonment for disrupting a Holy Mass in 2010.
In an interview during the 40th anniversary of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) in Pasig City, Aquino said he hoped that Catholic bishops would forgive Celdran, who shares his position for RH bill.
Aquino said he might not agree with Celdran's methodology of expressing his support for the divisive law but he hoped that the local clergy would follow Pope Benedict XVI's example.
"Siguro kung tutularan 'nung ating kaparian, ating mga religious, 'yung ehemplo mismo ng (Santo) Papa at maraming (Santo) Papa, palagay ko lalabas naman 'yung Christian generosity and charity at baka naman mapatawad naman nila si Ginoong Celdran para naman, 'di ba, pwede na tayong umusad mula doon sa panahon na 'yon (If our priests and members of religious orders follow the example of the Holy Pope, I think Christian generosity and charity will prevail and maybe the Church could forgive Mr. Celdran so that we can move on)," he added.
Celdran's case stemmed from the stunt he staged during an ecumenical mass at Manila Cathedral on September 30, 2010, where he raised a placard with the word "Damaso," a villainous Spanish friar in Dr. Jose Rizal's novel "Noli Me Tangere," before several bishops and other religious leaders.
Celdran, who is out on bail, criticized the court's decision citing freedom of expression. His sentiment was supported by the Human Rights Watch, saying that the decision was a "setback for free speech in the Philippines."
The President refused to comment whether or not the decision would cause a chilling effect on people critical of the Catholic religion's beliefs and practices.
The Chief Executive, meanwhile, believed that the freedom of expression is not absolute and one should be careful on what to say and should act appropriately depending on the situation.
Celdran said he is ready to appeal his case all the way to the Supreme Court. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)