Monday, March 29, 2010

Disrespect for Passion Sunday?

MANILA, March 28, 2010—Church leaders have called on the attention of a television network that aired a summer-themed variety show, where performers wore skimpy swimsuits, on Passion Sunday—an important day in the Catholic Church’s calendar that signals the start of the Holy Week. [I heard that the segment was taped weeks ago but the timing of the airing of the program is...tasteless to say the least.]

According to Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III, media director of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, he has received a text message from a colleague who aired disappointment over ABS-CBN’s “ASAP XV in Boracay” variety show, where actors and talent personnel donned swimsuits and skimpy wardrobes that they described as an inappropriate way to usher in the Holy Week.

Quitorio was referring to Msgr. Gaspar Balerite of the Diocese of Catarman, Northern Samar who said that media—whether used in entertainment or public service—should be sensitive to the Catholic Church’s Holy Week observance. [Well secularism is creeping into Philippine society too and there is no such thing as religious sensitivities especially if is about the Catholic Church.  My proof?  Sales of anything related to tourism spikes up during the Holy Week.  Reason?  Not pilgrimages.  By the way, this attitude is not surprisingly being promoted ]

“Since you’re in the media, kindly bring this to the attention of the media—that they be sensitive to the Holy Week, that they should respect this Catholic observance. Just this noon, Channel 2 showed a beach scene with girls on skimpy bikinis and it is Passion Sunday,” Balerite’s message to Quitorio reads.

Quitorio added that Balerite said that by advertising beach resorts as destination for the Holy Week, ABS-CBN has portrayed the upcoming week of repentance, abstinence and fasting as a time for intended for merry making and leisure.[True!]

“I hope beach resorts should not be advertised [in the way they did] because [this] vacation [is meant] for the Holy Week observance,” the message reads further.

For his part, Quitorio said Balerite’s grievances should also remind other television stations and other media outfits to be sensitive on the contents and messages that they air or publish during Holy Week and other Catholic and non-Catholic observances.

Since most of this media networks are catholic, I think this is also a barometer of how Catholics regard their very own catholic observances and traditions—which pose a bigger challenge to church leaders by the way they educate their own constituents. But catholic or not, media should be very particular with religious sensitivities,” Quitorio said. (Kris Bayos)


Filipinos, Catholic or not are so into the American culture.  For example, if it is summer, you should bask in the sun and get a tan!  My golly, we are Asian for Pete's sake!  Our skins are already tan, why get an extra tan?!  We also heard of the American "June Bride".  Yeah, it is great to have a wedding in June and have in the garden because it is spring!  Nice breeze and the trees and flowers serve as wonderful backdrops for a wedding... but in the Philippines?!  It is typhoon season in June!  But we still have brides dreaming of being a June bride, even if they have to brave the rains.

So, with the younger generation taking the Holy Week as an opportunity to spend more time in the beach than in the church, it says a lot of how the older generation is teaching the younger ones of what to value most in life.


  1. I think this is a problem of catechesis for the Catholic Church rather than the network. Catholics are no longer sensible with their faith. The networks just capitalize on it. These media networks especially the one you mentioned have been dishing out programs that really degrade human dignity to the extent that people have been trampled in a stampede and yet has the network hasn't changed a bit it its morality. It still rakes in so much money and the host has put up his own shopping mall and condo across the street. All of these is built upon the hopes of the poor. It is not a matter of just wearing skimpy clothing , but something more. The Catholic Church should be more forthcoming. It should preach from the pulpit to censure these networks and exhort its members to boycott these. Since these networks are not agents of the State, we won't have a problem about church and state separation! :-)

    The networks have lost their moral anchor and here is where Christian witness should come in.

  2. The real problem is even those in the network are having their own share of Catholic identity crisis.