why am i writing this?

i’m not exactly a model Catholic so i guess i can’t be accused of speaking in behalf of the Holy Roman Catholic Church even if  i am one. i say that i’m not a ‘model’ Catholic because i don’t exactly agree with everything that comes from the Vatican. am i, then, a liberal? would it qualify for my excommunication? i don’t know. i may be relying too much on my own knowledge and ‘enlightenment’… maybe i just got too used to thinking about things that way, not reading up on stuff before making decisions. just thinking about it by myself.

what actually triggered this is a friend’s blog about why the Philippine government, taking care of a predominantly Catholic nation, should not force Catholics to observe non-Catholic holidays. this would seem fair as he further explains that if the country (or any country) is predominantly Muslim, all Muslim holy days should be observed as national holidays since most of the population would ‘participate’ — people wouldn’t come to work and it would greatly affect businesses, services and schools. Meanwhile, minor religions in the country could observe their holy days but still work (with additional compensation). so it’s basically a numbers game. but is it just about numbers?

my initial reaction, on a technical level, would be a resounding yes. businesses are being halted. schooldays are slashed. productivity is greatly affected if we observe each and every holy day as a holiday. and it would be right to ‘keep the engine running’ while most of the people are not affected by any holy day of a minor religion. this is simply economically sound to observe.

but on a more emotional human level, i must disagree. yes… in comes the irrationality of things. the declaration of 7 Sept and 21 Sept as non-working, national holidays are part of our government’s sensitivities to its citizens. i don’t know. i feel that it would just be equally justified that we observe holy days of other religions. moreover when a Church leader passes. i somehow think it is related(?) to a question during my tacloban workshop. how do you put a value on human life? another point, how do you put a value on biodiversity? our instructor, Dr. Kloosterman immediately said, “you can’t!” and i definitely agree. and that’s why (i think) 7 Sept was a holiday.

would it be that incorrect if we mourn and be sensitive about our brother in a nation but not in faith? would the death of 100 Catholic soldiers be a larger tragedy than the death of 10 Muslim soldiers? by sheer number, perhaps. but the grief and loss would be the same. lives were lost, period. considering one to be greater than the other would be a great error and sin, in my opinion. if this pride about our faith is above our compassion and ability to relate to other people’s loss, then that faith leads people into hate, not love.

it’s one of those things that make me despise religion. we condemn and judge people too much by their faith. religions divide people instead of uniting them. and that’s what saddens me the most. yes, perhaps people more learned in theology or religious doctrine would clarify things but as of the moment, this is what i think. this is what i feel.

my friend also mentioned how sad Mama Mary was (or could be) perhaps because of not being able to celebrate her birthday. could the school administration not select a different day, say Saturday, as a make-up day for the holiday? is it the fault of the government, then, if the institution itself disregards the holy day and turns it into a work day? shouldn’t they have more initiative in keeping 8 September a holiday considering they are a Catholic institution? why blame the government?

well, you could still argue that the moves are politically motivated. i will not discount that thought. 2010 election is coming and politicians want to gather as many votes as they can. by supporting and sympathizing with those who are ‘block voters’, they assure themselves a good 3 million votes. and every vote definitely counts. i cannot prove or disprove their sincerity.

but speaking for myself, as a Filipino who wishes for a united country and human being who knows that life cannot be quantified in any unit of measure, i could not agree with my friend’s propositions.

image from here.

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1 Comment

  1. Well-said. My first impression though about GMA’s declaration of these special holidays is that it’s politically motivated. Here in UAE, they don’t declare December 25 as a special holiday. But some companies allow their employees to file for 2-day special leave for Holy Week and Christmas, respectively. It’s a matter of respecting one’s faith.

    When I mentioned to an Emirati that GMA declared September 21 as a holiday, she was happy to know that some countries are sensitive enough to celebrate with the Muslims.

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