Category: carlos celdran

carlos is not charlie

in january 2013, the day after the metropolitan trial court pronounced carlos celdran guilty of offending religious feelings when he posed as rizal brandishing a damaso placard in the manila cathedral, i blogged, in fairness to carlos celdran, reacting to the phrase “there being no mitigating … circumstance.”

“Wherefore, premises considered, accused Carlos Celdran is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of Offending the Religious Feelings under Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, there being no mitigating and aggravating circumstance, he is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of two months and 21 days as minimum to one year, one month and 11 days…”

i argued that there were mitigating circumstances back in those last days of september 2010 that drove celdran to take drastic action on the 30th.

two days before, september 28, the new prez spoke out unequivocally in favor of RH in a town hall meeting with expats in san francisco, earning the royal ire of the church. on the morning of september 30, newspapers and websites screamed the shocker that the CBCP was threatening the president with excommunication for being pro-choice and endorsing artificial contraceptives. that very afternoon celdran dramatized his outrage by staging his rizal-bearing-damaso-placard act in the manila cathedral.

the CBCP denied that excommunication threat the very next day but it’s not clear now whose mistake it was, the bishops’ or the reporters’, and the damage had been done.

mid-december that same year, 2010, to get in the mood i found myself doing the nine dawn masses of simbang gabi with katrina.  i hadn’t been to mass in ages except for the occasional wedding or wake, but suddenly i was curious to hear the christmas story again and how the church is telling it in this day and age.  only to be super scandalized and offended by a pre-mass anti-RH video and, after the gospel reading, a sermon partly dedicated to the evils of RH, even, equating RH with abortion, na contrary daw to isaiah the prophet’s admonition to “observe what is right, and do what is just.”  argh.  i remembered celdran and wished i had a placard screaming IT’S A LIE!  except i’m not one to make a scene, lol.

but carlos celdran is, one to make a scene, and, provoked, he did just that, but not at a mass — the day headlines screamed that bishops were threatening the president with excommuncation, it was a thursday, nothing going on in churches, except that ecumenical ek-ek at the manila cathedral, puwede na rin.

i get naman the view that celdran should not have disrupted whatever was going on (or not) in the confines of the church.  he could have pulled his stunt outside, like maybe at the doorstep, or the gates, staged there a monologue, an update on how the RH bill was faring in congress, or why not a dialogue with pro-RH fans and/or critics, even, an impersonation of, not rizal, but damaso, raised consciousness in the process.  media would surely have covered the show.

and i agree, that jail sentence is too much.  celdran was standing up and speaking out for 7 out of 10 filipinos long in favor of an RH law, butting heads with a most powerful and adamantly anti-RH church, and that was brave, and singular.

but please, let’s stop with the charlie hebdo referencing.  celdran being sentenced to some months in jail for offending religious feelings is not in a category with the charlie hebdo staff being killed, executed, for offensive caricatures of allah’s prophet. ibang sitwasyon at ibang level naman ‘yon.  si celdran nga ay matagal nang humingi ng paumanhin sa simbahan at malamang ay hindi na uulit, samantalang ang charlie hebdo ay tuloy-tuloy lang ang banat sa muslim fundamentalists.  to what end nga ba.

The hashtags that matter

By Katrina Stuart Santiago

The #freecarlosceldran hashtag is a wondrous thing, especially when one considers how, in its recent incarnation, many have used it to speak as well of free speech and human rights.

Read on

in fairness to carlos celdran (updated)

“Wherefore, premises considered, accused Carlos Celdran is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of Offending the Religious Feelings under Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, there being no mitigating and aggravating circumstance, he is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of two months and 21 days as minimum to one year, one month and 11 days…”

in fairness to celdran, there was a mitigating and aggravating circumstance back then that drove him to take drastic action.  two days before, september 28, the new prez spoke out unequivocally in favor of RH in a town hall meeting with expats in san francisco, earning the royal ire of the church.  on the morning of september 30, newspapers and websites screamed the shocker that the CBCP was threatening the president with excommunication for being pro-choice and endorsing artificial contraceptives.  that very afternoon celdran dramatized his outrage by staging his rizal-bearing-damaso-placard act in the manila cathedral.

the CBCP denied that excommunication threat the very next day but it’s not clear now whose mistake it was, the bishops’ or the reporters’, and the damage had been done.

it is worth noting, too, that the guilty ruling was issued as early as december 14 but kept under wraps until yesterday (how did the church swing that?).  the house of reps had just passed the RH bll on second reading the day before, december 13, but the senate was dragging its feet and sotto had yet to deliver his may-I-ask-God-the-Father-to-forgive-us-for-we-do-not-know-what-we-are-doing huling hirit speech.  perhaps the bishops were still hopeful that sotto could get the votes, and they didn’t want the celdran case messing up things.

the rest is history.  the senate voted in favor of RH on december 18. theoretically, nothing to lose na ang church, but apparently they were able to put off the announcement of the ruling again, siguro papasko kay celdran, salamat naman, but what took them so long after the holidays?  it’s practically the end of january.

i suppose cardinal tagle’s january 9 homily should have warned us that the CBCP is truly going all out to battle the RH law.  though i’m not sure that showing an apologetic celdran no mercy is winning the church any points.

simbang gabi RH blues

to get in the christmas mood, for a change, nagsisimbang gabi kami ni katrina.   the first dawn we went to st. francis church along shaw blvd., a three-minute drive from the house.   the big church was full, all seats taken, standing room only for many late-comers.

to our dismay, merong pre-mass video about RH, complete with a hillary clinton clip equating RH with abortion.   the audio was bad, and i was glad.  (i wondered if this was regular sunday fare too.)

worse, during the looooong sermon, mga kalahating oras yata yon, at least five maybe ten minutes were devoted to the evils of RH na, sabi daw mismo ni first lady hillary clinton, is the same thing as abortion,  all in the context of na contrary to isaiah the prophet’s admonition to “observe what is right, and do what is just”.

nagpanting ang tenga ko.   naalaala ko tuloy si carlos celdran.   sayang wala akong placard saying, it’s a lie!   as if.   di ko naman type na umeksena.   thought of walking out instead but it didn’t feel like the right thing to do.   we wanted to finish the mass more than to make a statement.

over breakfast we wondered if we should find another church.   a friend said it might be the same in all parish churches, on order of the bishops.   we decided to give st. francis another chance, maybe it would be another priest, maybe it would be another kind of sermon.

hayy.   no such luck.   same priest.   again, this time in the context of joseph’s genealogy, the long string of “begats” tracing his ancestry to abraham, ipinasok na naman ang RH=abortion.   this time naalala ko my parents, regular churchgoers all their lives.   they would have been so shocked and scandalized to hear such talk in a church, during mass.   my ears shut down, my mind wandered, wondering where to next.

day 3 we tried christ the king in green meadows.   smaller church, sosyal neighborhood, a 10-15 minute drive away.   hallelujah.   no pre-mass RH=abortion video.   no talk of RH=abortion in the sermon which took 10 minutes or so.   on the story of joseph agonizing over what to do when he found out that the virgin mary was pregnant with a child not his, until he was visited in a dream by an angel who told him that the child had been conceived through the holy spirit and to call him jesus.   the sermon likened joseph’s travails to what we all go through in life, both dark times and good times, and the choices we all have to make, na naikonekt rin niya sa poverty and ofws.   good job.

i can only imagine how the st.francis priest used joseph’s story to again push the RH=abortion line lie.   i’m glad i wasn’t there to hear it.   thank god for christ the king!