06 May 2008

Cross-dressing 'saints' - 'an insult to the Blessed Mother'

Today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, has come out strongly against parishes using ‘cross-dressing homosexuals to play female saints in religious festivals’.

'"The procession is religious. [But] what the [parishes] do is organize a parade," Rosales said over Church-run Radio Veritas. “That’s an insult to the Blessed Mother.”
“Instead of pious young women, gay men are paraded, which makes [the procession] ridiculous,” Rosales said in Filipino.'

May is the month for the Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan in the Philippines.

I’ve been in the Philippines since 1971 and am still amazed at the importance people give to ‘beauty’ contests. Back in the early 1970s, during the early years of the Marcos dictatorship, which was violently anti-Catholic despite the veneer of piety of Imelda Marcos, the country squandered resources on hosting the Miss Universe contest. I remember drawing it to the attention of people in Ozamiz Cathedral that a child had died in one of the city’s hospitals simply because it lacked basic resources while the dictatorship was busy diverting the people’s attention and money elsewhere on the Miss Universe nonsense.

In recent years there has been a growth in ‘Miss Gay’ contests. Two or three years ago here in Bacolod City a public high school organized such a ‘contest’, giving the students participating female names. Here in the Philippines the vast majority graduate from high school when they are 16, still minors. The school sent a press release to the local papers about this 'contest'. I wrote one of them and called what was going on ‘psychological castration’. I really saw it as a form of abuse. Two teachers from the school phoned me to thank me.

A few months ago I saw an item in the same paper about a ‘Miss Gay’ contest – involving adults – which would give some of the proceeds to a local Catholic orphanage. When I informed the Sisters they told me that they had no knowledge of this. One of the Sisters contacted the paper and the matter was clarified.

However, on one occasion I visited Sisters in another part of the Philippines who have a home for many children who come from broken or abusive backgrounds. The teenagers are all girls but the smaller children include boys. The young people put on a sketch depicting a story from the gospels but had a girl, with beautiful long hair, playing the part of Jesus. I discovered later that she was given the part precisely because of her hair. I think that one of my companions, another Columban, had a quiet word with the Sisters, though there was nothing untoward whatever adn the children get a wonderful formation in quiet prayer. I used to be amazed at their prayerful silence before Mass.

If I had my way I would get rid of all depictions of Jesus with long hair! I don’t know if there’s any historical basis for them.

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