Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Flores de Bayot
There is another controversy involving the Church and the gay community that is brewing on the horizon. Barely a month or so from the much-talked about statement of Fr. Dakay of Cebu, the Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales has issued a statement forbidding gays from joining Santacruzan festivities. “It is very disgusting that we see gays as the center of attraction in the Santacruzan, which is supposed to be religious in nature as this is for our love of the Virgin Mary,” He said there would be no problem if gays participated in public activities such as parades, but processions were something intended to be solemn and dignified—not an occasion for showing how truly feminine a man appeared in a female dress. “Sorry but you have to fall in line. The sacred must remain sacred. The procession is religious. (But) what the (parishes) do is organize a parade. That is an insult to the Blessed Mother,” the Cardinal said.
Meanwhile, a bishop defended the good cardinal against accusations that he is anti-homosexual for barring gays from joining the yearly Santacruzan. According to Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, the Cardinal is just expressing his mind and the church's teaching with regards to this, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Already, there is an uproar and protestations going on in the gay community. Jonas Bagas, secretary general of Ladlad, said that “The Church should be liberal about this,” warning that the cardinal’s remarks might further alienate the gay community from the Church. Ladlad chair Danton Remoto does not think that they (gay participants) intend to make a mockery of the procession, but they are there because they are "true devotees" of the Virgin Mary.” He further commented that some low-income gay participants spend a fortune for gowns they will wear "out of the goodness and love in their hearts for the Virgin Mary.”
I think Cardinal Rosales was right on this matter. He has jurisdiction and the moral authority to determine what is right and proper especially concerning religious matters like Santacruzan. Admittedly, the yearly May festivity has lost its true meaning and purpose as the years went by. There is less solemnity and more frivolity going on. Have we lost the sense of the sacred? Looking at how things go during a sagala in this case, I think we lost it. It seems our friends in the gay community too don't care any less. For them, the sagala has become an avenue for ostentatiously displaying their Rajo Laurel's or Inno Sotto's inspired gowns. It's a perfect time for them to show their tationil whitened skin and silicone-implanted fake breasts complete with handsome escort on the side under the bamboo arches adorned with beautiful flowers amidst a cheering and jeering spectators. Sometimes I wonder if we have run out of beautiful maidens in this country. The gay sagala participants admittedly seem more beautiful and alluring than the "real ladies". They can indeed give the ladies a run for their boyfriends.
Finally, I would like to comment on Remoto's statement that the gay participants do this out of their "goodness and love for the Blessed Mother." I don't really think so. Based on my observation, they do that out of their desire to be seen and admired. They want to be applauded and praised for the beautiful gowns, the fake boobs, and tons of make-up that give them at least a semblance of what it's like being a woman. I don't believe these things they do out of their true reverence for the Blessed Mother. Who knows how to be truly devoted to Our Lady? True devotion to Mary consists first and foremost in avoiding sin and imitating her virtues especially the virtue of purity. I suggest that Danton Remoto grab a copy of St. Louis de Montfort's book "True Devotion to Mary" so that he can be more discerning and careful in issuing foolish statements like that.
Can I make a suggestion here? Maybe the gay participants can take up the role of the consort for a change. That would save them a lot of money from buying their glittery gowns and maybe they would look good at it too, who knows?