Friday, April 3, 2015


I cannot for the life of me understand why there are people who “crucify” themselves on Good Friday.  They believe or make others believe they are making the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made to save man from sin.

The benefit that we get from this “imitation of Christ” is hordes of foreign tourists who obviously marvel at how man can be so stupid as to repeat the crucifixion of the Son of God.  

I believe that Christ made the Supreme Sacrifice dying on the Cross between two thieves because that is what his Father willed for him.  The Father cannot have the same will for ordinary mortals.  They cannot atone for their sins, least of all save mankind from the fires of hell by crucifying themselves.

The way to salvation is obeying the Father’s commandments given to Moses long before Christ was born.  That is what my uneducated grandmother told me when I was barely five years old.  

Catholics say they live by the Bible or read it without knowing its message.  There is nothing in the Bible that says there are saints who must be honored with expensive feasts.

In my barrio in Lipa City, people honor the Virgin Mother in May, known as the Flower Month.  They eat delicious dishes of pork on the day of the feast, always a Sunday.

They appoint a May Flower Queen usually a girl in her teens who is enrolled in some college in the city.  Very often the girl is unable to take the exams because her parents have no money to pay the tuition fee.  In fact, they tighten their belts.

Sometimes there is not enough food on the table for a big brood. 

The parents of the May Flower Queen practically hock their souls for the expenses of the queen and the food prepared for the barrio folks. They feed the barrio folks with hundreds of kilos of pork bought with borrowed money.  

There is a procession on Sunday evening.  The queen and her escorts walk the streets of the barrio.  The train of the gowns are tattered   Procession ends in a make-shift chapel.

The young women offer flowers to the Virgin Mary.  The old folks pray the Rosary.  However, everybody’s eyes are focused on the queen enthroned on a wooden  chair.  She transfers her “crown” to the next queen.

I frequently ask my relatives who  really in their hearts and minds pray to the Virgin Mother.  I never get an answer from anybody, a confirmation of my long-held suspicion that they believe honoring the foster Mother of Christ with a sumptuous feast can save their souls from the fires of hell.

I tell them to their faces they are bribing the Virgin Mother.  They shoot back and tell me the May Flower Festival is a time-honored tradition.  They will not give it up even if it sinks them deeper into poverty.

What has all these got to do with the crucifixion of ordinary mortals in Pampanga, Bulacan and a few other places?  Feasts offered in  honor of saints and the crucifixion of “devotees” sounds like heresy to me.

I think I am a Christian.  But I do not believe in feasts honoring saints.  The only saint I revere is the Child Christ. He is the only son of God.

In sum what I am saying here which I have said many times before is the cruel reality that the Spanish occupation of the country for 370 years left us believing in the expensive ways of saving our souls from the kingdom of Satan.

I cannot get my relatives to believe that after Christ was born, He abolished what was  known as sacrificial lamb in honor of God, the Father.

The sad part is expensive feasts are offered mostly by the poor, probably because of ignorance which is fostered by Catholic priests in their sermons.

Some priests say “accept your lot” if you are poor.  That is what God willed for you.  Why should there be a god who wants me to be poor? My poverty is not God’s will.  I brought it upon myself first by having too many children.

I say again, not for the last time, that  deeply Catholic countries, notably Mexico and the Philippines are extremely poor.  

One reason is the belief that controlling birth is a mortal sin because it is abortion.

I share the belief of the Mormons that things or goods that endanger   health is a product of the devil.

Members of the Mormon community, also called Church of the Latter Day Saints, do not smoke.  They do not drink.  But they read the Bible and try to understand the message of God written in it.  Catholics probably read the same Bible but extend or misinterpret the meaning or message.

I have to be shown the chapter in the Bible that says Virgin Mother must be honored with flowers and feasts.  Nowhere in the Bible is found a line or verse that says man can imitate Christ by crucifying himself.

I have American friends (of Irish origin) who are deep Catholics.  But apart from the celebration of the feast of St. Patrick in whose name a cathedral was made in mid-down Manhattan. I do not suspect they have the inclination to honor other saints apart from the Infant Jesus, the only son of God. 

I have repeatedly said the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines does not take notice of the steady diminution of its brethren to other sects. The El Shaddai of Mike Velarde is hardly 50 years old.  But its followers and believers have grown to many millions.

The Iglesia ni Cristo founded by Felix Manalo of San Juan, Rizal, is a big force to reckon with in presidential elections.  They vote as one.  Almost one, anyway.

It should have dawned upon the minds of Catholic leaders there must be a reason why Catholics are changing their ways of worshipping God and his Son.  

They do not seem to mind.  The Catholic religion is getting smaller – percentage-wise.  There was a time  when the country was more than 90 percent Catholic.  Today, there are suspicions the number is below 90 percent.  

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