Carlos Celdran recently gained a lot of media attention when he protested against CBCP’s threats to excommunicate Philippine President Noynoy Aquino for supporting the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. The bill promotes information on and access to modern family planning methods which are medically safe and legally permissible.
Prior to the protest Carlos Celdran is known as an excellent tourist guide. He also has a blog called Walk This Way. He loves Manila and promotes it with a passion. His unique way of protesting has brought various reactions from the people as well as the media. Among those who reacted is blogger John Silva, who reacted with an open letter entitled “Excommunicate Me”.
Carlos Celdran was detained for walking in on a mass being held at the Manila Cathedral. He came in dressed as Jose Rizal and holding a sign that says “Damaso” while in the presence Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and several bishops.
The Clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila has now issued an official statement condemning the actions of Carlos Celdran:
Dear Media Friends,
This is the statement of the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila which include 238 priests assigned in its 85 parishes, 2 chapels, 3 shrines, and hospitals and schools. They are represented in this statement through the signatures of the Vicars Forane who are the head priest of vicariates (a vicariate is composed of parishes, shrines, chapels within a geographical location).
Peachy E. Yamsuan
Archdiocesan Office of Communications
Archdiocese of Manila
Statement of the Clergy of Manila
We, the clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila, express our disapproval and condemnation of the protest action done by a Mr. Carlos Celdran at the Manila Cathedral in the midst of the Ecumenical Prayer Service and the Eucharistic Celebration to mark the second anniversary of the May They Be One Program of the Episcopal Commission on Bible Apostolate of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on September 30, 2010.
Mr. Celdran willfully and with premeditation executed his protest inside the Manila Cathedral the church of the Archbishop and the seat of the Archdiocese of the Manila . The church is the Mother Church in the Archdiocese and is the central place for worship of the entire flock of the Archdiocese. This is the church where the past Archbishops of Manila are buried (in its crypt). This is where the Cathedra (seat) and the seal (coat of arms) of the Archbishop of Manila are displayed to symbolize his office, an appointment that comes directly from the Holy See.
We condemn in particular the blatant disrespect he displayed towards His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams and the bishops and priests and representatives of other religions present during the worship service. He disrupted the religious proceedings which included reading from the Sacred Scriptures, and preened in front of the altar with his offensive poster. Unstopped (because no one was prepared for such brazen action) he repeatedly pointed his poster towards the religious leaders and at the sacred altar, and at one time even shouted. When he was being peaceably led out of the Cathedral he shouted invectives.
These actions cannot by any means be considered within the purview of freedom of expression. Instead they were malicious acts directed towards a Faith, a Religion that was represented by its leaders and the faithful gathered. It was desecrating a consecrated place, as every Catholic church or chapel is consecrated by sacred rites. His right to protest in this manner ended after he entered the doors of the Manila Cathedral. May we point out too that he likewise disrespected our National Hero, Jose Rizal, by assuming the hero’s looks to perpetuate his shameful deed.
We demand that the Intramuros Administration make him account for his actions since Mr. Celdran is a tour guide who operates within its confines. We pray for him that he may receive enlightenment and have remorse for what he has done.
REV. FR. LINCOLN N. CARABAÑA REV.
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Holy Family (6 parishes)
MSGR. JESUS-NORRIEL B. BANDOJO
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Espiritu (8 parishes)
REV. FR. SANNY C. DE CLARO
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Nuestra Señora de Guia (6 parishes/shrines)
REV. FR. EDGARDO C. COROZA
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Our Lady of Loreto (9 parishes/shrines)
REV. FR. ALEXANDER O. THOMAS REV. FR. ROLAND AQUINO, SVD
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of San Fernando de Dilao Vicar Forane, Vicariate of San Jose de Trozo (5 parishes) (6 parishes/shrines)
REV. FR. ENRIQUE Y. SANTOS REV. FR. RODERICK L. CASTRO
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Santo Niño Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Our Lady of Guadalupe
(7 parishes) (7 parishes/shrine)
REV. FR. FRANCISCO M. UNGRIA, JR. REV. FR. REYNALDO B. BUNGAY
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Saint John the Baptist Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Saint Joseph the Worker
(7 parishes/shrine/chaplaincy) (5 parishes)
REV. MSGR. EMMANUEL V. SUÑGA REV. MSGR. MARIO D. ENRIQUEZ
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Saints Peter and Paul Vicar Forane, Vicariate of San Felipe Neri
(8 parishes/shrine/chaplaincy) (7 parishes/shrine)
REV. FR. ANTONIO B. NAVARRETE, JR.
Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Santa Clara de Montefalco
October 1, 2010
While I am not entirely confident that Carlos Celdran’s method is the best way to go about protesting, it did gain attention enough to drive home a point. Given the generally favorable reaction of the Filipino populace it seems that indeed he was successful in doing what he sought out to do – to be the voice of the “silent majority”. One could even argue that his sacrifice might be comparable to what Rizal did in his time.
I wonder if Calros Celdran is a Catholic, or considers himself as one? If he is, then here are some questions that I would like to ask:
- Do you think that his methods were out of line?
- Would you agree with the condemnation of the CBCP?
- How much involvement should the church have in the world of politics?
What are you thoughts?