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Showing posts from April, 2009

Is secularism a wimp outside a Christian society?

The Pinoy Holy Week is probably one of the best times to observe how secular values interact with the inherent religiosity of the people. While my senior citizen relatives would say that the Filipino has become less "religious", this meaning external manifestations of piety, mainly Tridentine, this isn't really correct. Traditional Catholic rituals seem to fulfill their function and in concert with secularism. So during Pabasa, people eat Jollibee's meat patties between buns.

Last Holy Tuesday, I was with two people with scientific and theological training in a Figaro coffeeshop. One is a Jesuit priest whose PhD I examined and one was a scientist who attended the same university I did. The scientist upon returning to the Philippines and teaching for a year, realized that he had a religious calling and went right into seminary. He graduated with dual degrees in ministry and biblical studies. Both clerics are ordained ministers of the Catholic and Evangelical churches. …

My Lenten book list: Garry Wills' books

Garry Wills, an ex-Jesuit seminarian, masterful political historian of Nixon and Roman Catholicism wrote a series of controversial books in recent years. These are "Papal Sin", the apologetic and still noncorformist "Why am I Catholic?", "What Jesus Meant", "What Paul Meant", "The Rosary" and "What the Gospels Meant" Common to all these books is that they skewer Catholic stereotypes. While I believe that Wills is still largely on the orthodox side of the fence (hey he ain't a Jefferts-Schori Episcopalian!), he does make good Lenten reading.

BTW the books (except the latest tome on the Gospels) are on sale at 50 pesos each at National Bookstore. I believe that they are too "heretical" for Pinoy Catholic tastes that NBS had to put them on sale.

For I believe that Lent means skewering traditional Catholic stereotypes. In "Why am I Catholic?" Wills argues that Papal primacy evolved as the Spirit moved the C…

Noli Me Tangere: A response to DJB

This is my response to Dean Jorge Bocobo's Noli Me Tangere: Jesus Says to Mary Magadalene

Jose Rizal’s title for his novel is an irony. As the writer’s foreword to his work says, there is a social cancer so malignant that mere touch can send the sufferer to spasms. The ancients can’t do anything but to expose the afflicted on the steps of the Temple in hope that someone can extend a blessing.

Thus the afflicted body is not in a glorified state and is corrupted.

In the case of the Resurrected Jesus, the body has been glorified and rescued from corruption (death). Mary of Magdala is cautioned from not touching Christ’s glorified body since she herself hasn’t been glorified yet. This is well within Jewish belief that a defiled body cannot be allowed to touch the holy.

Now before the moral relativists read this to mean that women are defiled, Mary of Magdala represents all of us except in one thing. She has been faithful to her Master to the extent that she kept watch while the male disci…

Temporal, spatial in UP Diliman

Caffeine_Sparks ruminated on the meaning of building a future in the Philippines. Now those who are geographers know that these constructs like “prosperous Philippines” have to be situated in space. So I find Caffeine_Sparks’ essay quite interesting. What is the future? Where is the future located? And how can we build it there?
Now the essayist writes that her many friends and family ”cannot imagine a future in this spatiality”. Now we who teach in the University of the Philippines can relate with that in all spatial scales. Like anyone, it is very hard to find a future in this spatiality of 493 hectares and by extension the whole Philippines (considering that this university is a sort of microcosm of Pinoy society). But the question that nags many is why these bright people continue to teach and receive very pathetic salaries? This was a question of a true blue Atenean who decided to take a PhD in UP after attending Oxford University for a Masters (Since Ateneo did not offer an adva…