Celdran’s Conviction

I am bringing up here a piece written by Mr. Lito Pascual which was published in Sun.Star on Monday, February 4, 2013. Thanks for this article Sir. Bravissimo!

This is a rejoinder to Ms. Melanie T. Lim’s column last Sunday which dealt mainly on the conviction of Carlos Celdran for his “Sacrilegious” acts inside the Manila Cathedral.

Ms. Lim said she was “aghast” on Celdran’s conviction for three reasons:
First, that the law used to convict him existed.

The full text of the law says: “ARTICLE 133. Offending the Religious Feelings. “The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon anyone who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony, shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.

I cannot fathom, in my miniscule mind, why Ms. Lim is against this particular article.

Does she want that anyone could just barge into a peaceful gathering of the faithful (of any faith, for that matter) and shout to those gathered that he is against what the group is espousing?

Mr. Celdran was not just issuing statements, he barged into a Cathedral, a place that we Catholics believe is a Temple Of God, and shouted at the leader of the faithful who were peacefully gathered to worship “their God.”

For us Catholics, a church is not just a mere structure. It is a holy place.
When I was still a child, we were not even allowed by our elders to murmur inside the church because it is the Temple of God. And here come Mr. Celdran shouting to the God’s Prince of the church right inside His temple?

And why did Ms. Lim mention only the title of the particular article “Offending Religious Feelings” and not the whole article itself, which is self-explanatory?”

Second, that such a rediculous decision could be rendered by a judiciary.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, I think the article itself is self-explanatory and the judge saw it that way.

What could have happened if the decision was otherwise? It would be chaos. Every gathering of worshippers would be invaded by believers of another congregation claiming that they have the right to do so–invoking the freedom of expression.

Had Celdran done it to a Muslim Mosque, I doubt if there was someone left whom a case could be filed against.

Third, that anyone should be jailed for speaking their minds.
Again, Mr. Celdran was not just “speaking his mind.” He was invading the rights of the hundreds of people gathered to peacefully worship their God.

This is also their constitutional right. Celdran’s rights end where the rights of those gathered in that cathedral begins. He invaded their privacy and their right to peacefully worship their God, and so, he has to suffer the consequences.

Ms. Lim likewise mentioned a Ms. Carmen Campbell, who stood up in the middle of a homily to protest the priests using the pulpit for politics.
My eldest son was around 11 years old and was in Grade 5 when one day he asked us, his parents, if he could attend the church services of UCCP on Sunday instead of going with us to the Catholic Church. We asked him why and he said he is tired of the priest who is always talking against President Marcos during his homilies instead of talking about the bible. (This was around 1984 or 1985.)

We said yes. A couple of years later he was confirmed/baptized as a member of the congregation, although today he is more inclined towards the Catholic Church. In fact his two sons were both baptized as Catholics even though their mother is also member of another protestant congregation.
What I would just want to say is that what my son did (at a very young age at that) is more civil than what Ms. Campbell did.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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