Modern-day Damasos: Pro-RH Bill Leftists, Filipino Freefarters and their Mindless Cohorts
Today’s Damasos are these pro-RH bill people who call on the government to make the state the benevolent provider of people’s needs. The kind of theocracy during Rizal’s time gave the state the power to rule people’s lives in the name of God and revelations. However, the kind of creeping fascism or dictatorship that we have today is being supported by the modern-day Damasos who seek to impose their will on others.
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The context of Jose Rizal’s Padre Damaso no longer applies to the Catholic priests of today simply because they no longer enjoy the kind of absolute political and civil powers exercised by “fat friars” over a century ago. Political Catholicism is already a thing of the past due to the concept of separation of church and state we borrowed from the Americans. So the question now is: Who are the modern-day Damasos?
To answer this question, it is important to understand the proper context of Rizal’s magnum opus, Noli Me Tangere, and his characterization of Padre Damaso, one of the main characters of the classic novel.
In his column, Antonio J. Montalvan II, opinion writer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, described Damaso as “the quintessential schemer, a liar who was corrupt and adulterous, abusing his self-imposed, enlarged clerical power to exact vendetta.” His opinion piece titled “Damaso at the end of the day” is apparently a reaction to the theatrical stunt performed by a misguided and mindless Reproductive Health bill supporter named Carlos Celdran. Montalban made a very accurate observation of Caldran who now faces a legal suit filed by the Catholic priests for offending “religious feelings”, saying the pro-population control tour guide “was clever but his interpretation was, sadly, very literal.” “It is as if the world has not post-modernized after more than a hundred years of the “Noli”, he added.
I fully agree with Montalban’s analysis of the context of Rizal’s Damaso, who represents “very much real and existent in the flesh today, but not necessarily among the clerics”. “There are Damasos in media, and there truly are Damasos in government. The Damasos constitute a legion among our politicians. Celdran certainly missed the metaphor of Rizal’s parody,” he said. Anyone who read Rizal’s Noli understands that Damaso is expert at deception. So who among the parties in this RH bill debate use deception to advance their political cause?
The Church should not meddle in government? Damaso was hardly the yardstick for that. He lost his moral ascendancy as a perpetrator of colonial abuses, among which were deception and hypocrisy. As pro-life and anti-death advocate, the Church has the responsibility to safeguard the tenets of the faith, which politicians should not leave at the doorstep of their houses when they go to Congress or Malacañang. The Church as a domain of faith is not limited to territorial boundaries. Faith is a sea without shores. The bedroom is part of the Church. Which the hypocrite Damaso denied, hence his dalliances that brought forth the tragic Maria Clara.
Media was in a frenzy over the Celdran performance. “Strictly Politics” of Pia Hontiveros at ANC joined the “fray of friars”—unfortunate for an intelligently straightforward talk show that had once outwitted an unguarded Erap Estrada into admitting that he indeed had signed the bank transfer for Jose Velarde a foot away from Clarissa Ocampo. That was a feat for the probing Hontiveros. That was history at its best.
Those who call the anti-RH bill Catholic clerics “Damaso” simply don’t know what they’re talking about. The failure of these pro-population control people to understand the context of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and the book’s villainous character, Damaso, reveals their inability to form logical, valid concepts. Rizal’s most famous novel depicts the political climate of his time when Catholic friars held tremendous political power at their disposal while Damaso, a quintessential schemer and a liar, shows how a greedy power-broker or a power-luster, who seeks to impose his political will on others, destroys the moral fabric of a society.
Today’s Damasos are these pro-RH bill people who call on the government to make the state the benevolent provider of people’s needs. The kind of theocracy during Rizal’s time gave the state the power to rule people’s lives in the name of God and revelations. However, the kind of creeping fascism or dictatorship that we have today is being supported by the modern-day Damasos who seek to impose their will on others. According to these real-world Damasos, the government must provide the people, especially the poor, with their needs at the expense of other people, especially the businessmen and health care providers who would be immolated and sacrificed in the name of the common good.
Who use deception, propaganda and outright physical force to advance their own agenda? Take for example this very recent incident wherein the pro-RH bill socialists and Filipino Freefarters attempted to disrupt a peaceful gathering of anti-RH bill Catholics inside the Manila Cathedral. At the end of the day, these pro-RH bill fanatics accused the opposing camp of harassment and intimidation.
However, the facts of the case show that it is the socialists and the Filipino Freefarters who stormed the event even though they’re aware of the fact that they espouse a different point of view. It is these pro-RH bill lunatics who provoked the other party in order to put them in bad light. What they did is indefensible. What they did simply shows the mark of a modern-day Damaso. Yes, these mindless socialists and Freefarters have all the trappings of the fictional Padre Damaso.
- NOTE: I don’t share the Catholic, religious arguments against the RH bill. I offer a secularist view founded on reason, objective law and the nature and rights of man. Check the anti-RH bill blog articles HERE.