WHILE I CONSIDER myself tech savvy, there are still times when my jaws drop marveling at how technology spreads information like wildfire. This, dear folks, is one of those times.
Last week in my newspaper column, I wrote about Jesus “Lakay Susing” Rafales, a fellow Ilocano who blew his whistle and led a classy walkout at the St. William’s Cathedral in Laoag after a priest read a politically charged pastoral letter during the mass. This happened almost two and a half decades before Carlos Celdran, a famous tour guide, did a theatrical protest at the Manila Cathedral over the issue of reproductive health.
At a rapid pace, the article, which I also posted in this blog, made the rounds in social networking sites Facebook and twitter. Shortly after, Celdran himself read the story, and shared it as well to his tens of thousands of followers in cyberspace.
“I’m reading about a man who came before me named Rafales. Read about him. Cool cat,” Celdran twitted. Then after, he left the following comment:
“Great article. I totally agree. Rafales is a pretty cool guy. Never would DREAM of even comparing myself to him.”
In my piece, I discussed in detail why Celdran’s act pales in comparison to our local hero’s.
Jenn, another blog visitor, commented that Celdran’s placard should have born the name “Salvi,” not “Damaso,” in reference to the characters in Jose Rizal’s Noli. Earlier, historian Ambeth Ocampo, in his column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, argued that “the evil friar is not Damaso but Salvi who lusts after Maria Clara and engineers an accident that would have killed Ibarra.”
To this, Celdran replied, “Personally, I think Damaso is still relevant in this argument, it is Damaso who used excommunicated Don Rafael and verbally abused Ibarra.”
“Salvi is the sleazier guy but Damaso is more relevant when it comes to the present argument at hand because the CBCP threatened “excommunication” and “civil disobedience” against the President for his support for RH.”
“And that’s why I used Damaso as the analogy. Yun lang pow.”
“And seriously, Damaso is the more popular guy. If I put up the placard “Salvi”. Most everyone woulda said “Who dat?”
Del, another blog visitor, may not be as brave to hold a protest placard bearing any friar’s name, but he has this to say: “When pastoral letters are being read in the church, I always want to stand up and go to the podium to tell the reader that it is not the right place to air grievances and protests. And I always sleep during homily when the priest tackles politics (I cannot walk out because my wife is with me, she hates not to finish the mass).”
“Before, when we go to church, we are enlightened. Now, after the mass, we want to go to a protest and curse the subject of the pastoral letter.”
This was seconded by SagadaSun who twitted, “How often do we feel just like Rafales when the Pulpits fill with politics! Note: Rafales’ religious feelings were offended!”
For his part, Guien Garma, a high school student who is very adept in social issues, remarked, “Celdran and Mr. Rafales have one point: the Church sometimes crosses the line and interferes in things they are not supposed to handle. The Manila man may not have immediate following when he protested at church, but he still gets my 1 centavo. Since Laoag’s frank captain immediately convinced the people with his whistle, he gets my 3 centavos.”
Many others pitched in their cents.
“Before Celdran, there was Rafales” was the title of last week’s column. But how could I have forgotten that before Rafales, there was a man greater than all of us who himself made the ultimate protest inside a place of worship? And he did not just bear a placard and verbally castigate the Sadducees. He did not just blow a whistle or stage a walkout.
John 2:15 tells this story, “After making a whip out of cords, Jesus drove all of them out of the temple, including the sheep and the cattle. He scattered the coins of the moneychangers and overthrew their tables.”
Godspeed, Carlos. Rest in peace, Lakay Susing. God loves you.