“For many, de Lima’s Church-sponsored political coronation indicates the politicized Padre Damasos of today are building up de Lima as the leader of the political opposition”
Last Friday, a “thanksgiving mass” was held by some friars of the Catholic Church and friends of ex-Senator Leila de Lima at the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City.
Many Filipinos consider that place as the political altar of the Church and its stooges in the disgraced Liberal Party.
It was called a “thanksgiving mass” because De Lima, detained for nearly seven years, was recently allowed to post bail in her pending anti-narcotics criminal case. For the record, the Supreme Court upheld her long incarceration.
The “thanksgiving mass” had all the trappings of a moro-moro (a Spanish colonial era stage play format influenced by the Catholic church, and where the inevitable defeat of non-Catholics is inevitable), and a nineteenth century zarzuela (an ostentatious display of needless pageantry in a stage show with a very thin plot).
From the start, the “thanksgiving mass” was expected to be a showcase of anti-Rodrigo Duterte and anti-Bongbong Marcos protestations.
True to expectations, De Lima delivered a speech of that sort, punctuated with instances inviting pity for herself.
That’s the moro-moro part.
Not surprisingly, several individuals identified with De Lima and her false crusade attended the mass.
They cheered and applauded de Lima during and after her speech, supposedly a no-no inside a church, according to the Vatican. Many photographs and videos were taken, amidst the beso-beso and the hugging.
Several politicized well-wishers displayed placards calling de Lima a victim of political persecution, without mentioning that, as stated earlier, her detention was upheld by the Supreme Court.
That’s the zarzuela part.
The climax of the de Lima political canonization spectacle staged at the EDSA Shrine’s political altar was the scene where De Lima was kneeling a few feet from the mensa (table top of the altar) with her back to the pews, with her eyes closed and head bowed supposedly in deep prayer, and with her hands clutched in the process.
Seven friars in a semi-circle and facing the pews surrounded the kneeling de Lima.
They stretched their hands toward her head and apparently prayed for her.
Like De Lima, some of the friars had their eyes closed while chanting something.
The partisan nature of the ceremony could not be ignored.
A least two of the friars present are rabid, biased critics of ex-President Duterte and President Marcos.
De Lima and the friars were aware the scene will surely generate a lot of free political publicity, considering the presence of the media and the numerous mobile phones recording the activity for dissemination online.
The politicized speech delivered by de Lima, the applause, placards and fanfare that went with it, and the extra-ordinarily special attention the friars gave to de Lima are not supposed to take place inside a church.
Why Padre Damaso allowed a religious ceremony to descend to the level of a partisan political rally needs to be explained.
In sum, the event was a political coronation ceremony of de Lima, trying to pass itself off as a “thanksgiving mass.”
Nobody was surprised because Catholic masses in the past decades have become partisan political rallies masquerading as solemn religious ceremonies.
Many analysts share my opinion that de Lima was exhilirated by the pompous attention given to her, and that she enjoyed every minute of it.
For me and for many, de Lima’s Church-sponsored political coronation indicates the politicized Padre Damasos of today are building up de Lima as the leader of the political opposition.
Padre Damaso badly yearns for the return of the times when the Church wielded immense political influence in Malacañang, particularly during the lackluster administrations of Presidents Corazon Aquino and Noynoy Aquino.
After the embarrassing defeat of Leni Robredo, the Church-supported candidate for president in May 2022, Padre Damaso has apparently decided to place his tax-exempt chips behind de Lima, for now at least, in the casino of Philippine elections.
That will be quite a gamble, indeed, for Padre Damaso because as I will point out in another essay, de Lima is a political opportunist and a phony idealist, and one who is absolutely unfit to lead the remnants of the political opposition, much less hold public office.
Instead of meddling in politics, the Church should rid its ranks of pedophiles and sexual predators.