Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Catholic Ordination of the Filipino



This is actually one of Simon's trips. But I'm going to insert a few respectful words of clarification (that I highly recommend everyone read) before Simon's account.

Before gathering my thoughts about the matter, I had to first check the definition of the word "ordination" since the photographs depict the ordination of a priest. Apparently, ordination means "the process of appointing to a clerical post" or "aligning/bringing into proper or desirable coordination or correlation." To me, the latter definition seemed to be more reflective of the bigoted outlook of the Christian religion, or most any other religion for that matter.

As I looked through the photographs, I must admit that I liked them--that is, I liked the pictures that were taken outside, with the trees and greenery. The rest of the photos held images that I personally despise. Not necessarily of the people themselves, but of what have become of the people.

I do not know whether Filipinos have forgotten or just wish not to accept that their earliest ancestors, for the most part, had no formal religion. In case you did forget, it was actually the Spanish who came over and set the natives straight, or "ordained" the Filipino. As part of the Christianization, the Spanish also murdered Filipinos, executed Filipino heroes like Jose Rizal and probably Lapu-Lapu, raped their women, and took over the country--which I am sure were all very Christian things to do, considering Spain was the expert and bringer of Christianity.

Regardless, the Filipinos did adopt the religion and Catholicism has spread like wildfire throughout the country ever since. Perhaps to the point of fanaticism, the majority of Filipinos have been born to believe in the Christian faith without ever giving it a second thought.

Fortunately for the priests and clergy though, they are a part of a booming and one of the longest if not the longest-surviving "business" in the history of mankind--one that is perhaps more addicting or obsessive than processed foods. As I look at the pictures of the priests and the people they have hooked, I can't help but feel disgusted and disappointed.

I see these smiling priests, in their ornate dresses and fancy churches, preaching to their "customers." With their handy-dandy bible, their snake oil campaign is empowered. Amongst alleys of shanties in the Philippines you will certainly catch sight of a nearby fine, shiny temple rising from even the most impoverished slum areas. And on at least a weekly basis, inside the church you shall find these priests preaching words of comfort and hypocrisy, feeding the masses "blessed" Skyflakes crackers and Sunkist/Hi-C grape juice, and splashing them with special "holy" tap water. But of course, these don't come for free--one is expected to donate to be receiving such "benefits."

So these poor people do donate and do believe, praying for all sorts of things to help their lives. Yet they still remain poor and hungry. And the priests keep on smiling...


And now Simon's account:

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Fr. Aris P. Martin SVD

Month ago, I went to a very fresh and cold air Holy Spirit Seminary, Tagaytay City. It is the ordination of my classmate in elementary Fr. Aris A Martin SVD. I arrived so solemn and everyone is all eyes to the ordaining priests. You can just hear the sound of the birds flying around the chapel.

He was my classmate from kinder to grade 6 and we went on our way to high school, he entered in the seminary and I enrolled in a semi private school. During our days he was a jolly person; he had the potential to be an honor student but he didn't take things seriously. Far from my imagination that he will be a priest one day. Because of the way he was before is exactly opposite to what he is now, really exactly different. Graduated high school as valedictorian and graduated college as magna cum laude at University of Santo Tomas. And after graduation from college he taught philosophy at Holy Spirit Seminary at the same time a seminarian.

When I see him I don’t call him “Father” but our conventional way of calling him “Aris”, and for me the highest form of salutation is by calling your real name. I am so proud and happy for him that he dedicates his entire life serving GOD. The reason I went in his ordain is to bless me on his first day becoming a priest.

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