Manila Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales made a statement recently that raised the ire of the gay community. He believes that gay people shouldn't be made to participate in the Santacruzan because "they are insulting the purity of the devotion."
For the benefit of my non-Filipino readers, the Santacruzan is a colorful religious procession held every May in many areas of the Philippines. This said procession is actually a reenactment of the finding of Jesus' cross by Queen Helena (locally named Reyna Elena) and her son, Constantine (locally named Constantino). Apart from the usual rosary-praying and singing, the Santacruzan also features the most beautiful belles of the community, all led by Reyna Elena (said to be the most beautiful -- or the richest -- of the lot) and Constantino who is usually depicted as a child.
Not to incur the ire of our local tourism people and the Roman Catholic Church, but I'm not much of a fan of Santacruzans. You see, more often than not, the Santacruzan turns into a parade of beauties rather than a solemn procession. Call me a killjoy, but if I'd like to see a parade of beauties, I'd rather watch a beauty pageant than a Santacruzan. Besides, there are some parishes who choose their sagalas (these are what the "beauties" are called in the Santacruzan) not much for their beauty but for the generous donations given by their respective families. So technically, people watch these Santacruzans more for the elaborate gowns than the ones wearing them.
Considering that our local parishes allow this mardi gras to propagate in the guise of the Santacruzan, why should gay people be left out of it? The Santacruzan is a spectacle -- not a religious activity. Thus, the gay community will be very much at home in this venue. Plus, they hit two birds with one stone. They get to strut their stuff in front of an admiring crowd, they also get to show their religiosity.
I mean, honestly: let's not be hypocritical about it, Cardinal Rosales. Don't tell me that there is a difference between gays and straight females in outlandish outfits parading in a Santacruzan. The end result of this spectacle is the same. If ever there is a difference, it must be because the gays get more attention than the straights.
At this point, I do agree with gay rights activist Prof. Danton Remoto who says that Cardinal Rosales should focus his attention on the more prevalent moral misdemeanors occurring in society today. He'll have a heyday just from praying for all errant souls in government -- if ever they do have souls.
Gays in the Roman Catholic religion, especially in Santacruzans, are very trivial, and are the least of Cardinal Rosales' problems.
Sigh...I miss His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin...
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