Monday, April 30, 2012

A bad case of bad inculturation

It might have been weeks after the Easter Sunday Vigil services, but nothing will be left "un-ranted".



THE “Sugat” is a Filipino tradition done at dawn on Easter Sunday and features the images of the Risen Christ and the Virgin Mary meeting in a procession.

In Compostela, Cebu, parish priest Jonathan Lao introduced some changes. Instead of the Virgin Mary, it’s Mary Magdalene whom Jesus saw for the first time after He rose from the dead.

In his Easter message, Lao said, “Karon kay nagtuo man gyud mo nga ang iyang inahan maoy iyang unang nakita, akong i-usab kana sumala sa Bibliya, sumala sa santos nga kasulatan, ug mao si Maria Magdalena (You used to believe it was His mother whom He first saw. I will change that according to the Bible that was Mary Magdalene).”

Lao has been in the news lately after allegedly telling parishioners not to believe in saints. [He did!  Here is the picture of the altar of the parish.  This priest is wacko!]  Parishioners are still awaiting results of an investigation by the Cebu Archdiocese.

The crowd who attended the event was not as big as those that attended in the previous years.

For years, the parishioners of Compostela had been used to the traditional Sugat, which involved the statues of St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.

“This ritual is popularly known as salubong or sugat because this is done in a procession where the men and women are separated coming from opposite directions but they eventually meet in front of the church,” said Melanie Abelgas, a member of a religious sector.

The men are led by the image of the Resurrected Christ while the women are led by the Virgin Mary covered in a black veil[Because it is the Resurrected Christ that lifts the veil of sorrow from the Blessed Mother.  It is He who triumphed over death.  That is the symbolism of the taking off of the black mourning veil.]

Yesterday, actors playing angels removed the veil from Jesus Christ’s image and not from Mother Mary as the town had been used to seeing[Actors, not images, actors!  How many times have you seen this?  Actually I have been to a lot and everytime this is done in the parish, you can hear inside the church the jeers and sneers of those in attendance.  The thrill of seeing a Resurrected Christ is lost by seeing an actor with a fake beard and fake stigmata wounds....Ugh!  Every single year I have to painfully watch this go on and on and on!]

The changes drew negative reactions from some of the spectators.

Church vendor Geraldine, who has been attending the activity for 20 years, said, “Mas nindot sa una kay mao may naandan nato. Nabag-uhan lang mi ron kay giusab man gud siya (The old Sugat was better. The changes are new to us),” she said.

Another parishioner, Marlouie Vincent Reyes, 16, said Lao should have asked for permission from the Cebu Archdiocese first.

A parishioner said that until now, Lao still continues to tell them in his homilies not to believe in saints, the Virgin Mother and the Holy Rosary[Did he study at MST, or SVST or Euntes?  Ha!  In fact, he is not.  He was educated in Rome.  Hey, wait!  In San't Anselmo during the 80s?  Ha!]

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in an earlier interview, said they are still gathering more information about the issue.


There have been priests in the US who have been removed from their pastoral duties in their parishes for refusing to follow the new translation of the Roman Missal.  OK, fine.  This is the Missal.  Fr. Lao's version of the Salubong or Sugat is his own version and it is not a strictly liturgical in nature.  BUT!  This is proof of a priest who'll do whatever he wants just so he can do whatever he wants.

I am not at all surprised if he did his own version of the Salubong.  That is the trend, brothers and sisters.  Anything old and traditional, CHANGE IT!  Anyone who'll rant about it, do not minds them, TALK TO THE HAND!

I am the parish priest and I can do whatever I want!

That's the kind of Fr. Lao.

Actually this priest has an attitude.  He once shot a student who was stealing mangoes from his tree.  The case was settled amicably.

Why, Fr. Lao?  Is shooting in the Bible?  Settling out of court in the Bible?

Yeah, I know that is a non-sensical question.

But, hey!  He is FR. LAO and he can do whatever he wants!


  1. Okay, I was going to rant about how this priest trumps Tradition and Catholic Teaching until I came to this line: "Actually this priest has an attitude. He once shot a student who was stealing mangoes from his tree." WHAT ON EARTH?! WHY WASN'T THIS MANIAC DEFROCKED? WHY WAS HE ALLOWED BY THE ARCHDIOCESE TO EVEN OWN A GUN AT ALL?! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!

  2. Heretic man. sorry i think he is not a priest anymore..

  3. Heretic man. sorry i think he is not a priest anymore..

  4. How come there seems to be a Southern Philippines trend to becoming low church and evangelical like? The Iglesia Filipina Independiente is split among Luzon faithful adhering to very Catholic traditions, more Roman than many Roman Catholics and the Mindanao dioceses becoming extremely low church removing saint icons, statues and banning processions. The Mindanao Aglipayans have approached Roman Catholic parishes for help. The Episcopalians are alarmed at this low church trend. Is this happening to the Roman Catholic Church too in the south?

  5. To Think that Archdiocese of Cebu is More Orthodox than (Imperial)Manila?!

  6. That the Resurrected Christ appeared FIRST to the Blessed Virgin Mary is strongly affirmed by St. Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises (in the brief section entitled "OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST OUR LORD OF HIS FIRST APPARITION").

    In 1997, Pope John Paul II explicitly declared that it is permissible to believe that the Risen Christ appeared first to His Mother, and that there are strong grounds for believing that He indeed first appeared to her:

    "3. Indeed, it is legitimate to think that the Mother was probably the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not Mary’s absence from the group of women who went to the tomb at dawn (cf. Mk 16:1; Mt 28:1) indicate that she had already met Jesus? This inference would also be confirmed by the fact that the first witnesses of the Resurrection, by Jesus’ will, were the women who had remained faithful at the foot of the Cross and therefore were more steadfast in faith.

    Indeed, the Risen One entrusts to one of them, Mary Magdalene, the message to be passed on to the Apostles (cf. Jn 20:17-18). Perhaps this fact too allows us to think that Jesus showed himself first to his Mother, who had been the most faithful and had kept her faith intact when put to the test.

    Lastly, the unique and special character of the Blessed Virgin’s presence at Calvary and her perfect union with the Son in his suffering on the Cross seem to postulate a very particular sharing on her part in the mystery of the Resurrection.

    A fifth-century author, Sedulius, maintains that in the splendour of his risen life Christ first showed himself to his mother. In fact, she, who at the Annunciation was the way he entered the world, was called to spread the marvellous news of the Resurrection in order to become the herald of his glorious coming. Thus bathed in the glory of the Risen One, she anticipates the Church’s splendour cf. Sedulius, Paschale carmen, 5, 357-364, CSEL 10, 140f)."

    There were also Doctors of the Church who affirmed this tradition:

    1. Unfortunately, Carlos, priests like Fr. Lao read more of what Hans Kung and his ilk write than those of the writings of St. Ignatius, the Church Fathers and even the Pope.

      They are Church!