Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Father Jejemon (Not A Film Review)
The Philippine’s King of Comedy took hundreds of roles in various flicks he made in his very long showbiz career. Gay, cowboy, taxi driver, farmer, soldier,- name it, never in his decades-old career he portrayed a priest in a movie. It's his first time for such a role. In an interview, the 82-year old Dolphy said, "Yon na lang ang role na hindi ko nagagampanan, pari. Naalok sa akin 'yan ng uncle ko na pari na namatay na." In the forthcoming Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) that would run from December 25, 2010 to January 7, 2011, Dolphy’s own movie outfit, the RVQ Productions, will be offering an entry called “Father Jejemon”, directed by Frank Gray Jr. and written by Bibeth Orteza and Rhandy Reyes. It’s a good movie no doubt and a surefire hit not only for children but for the general public as well.
No problem came until the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares received complaints that some scenes in “Fr. Jejemon” were “violative of Catholic sensibilities.”
In particular, some lay groups within the Catholic church were complaining a scene that shows the consecrated host falling on the cleavage of a woman. Another is the consecrated host getting stuck in a woman’s dentures. “OA naman ‘yang mga paring ‘yan. Anong masama kung ipakita na may nahulog na ostiya sa suso, nangyayari naman talaga yan,” says a middle-aged costumer who was watching news on TV inside a noodle house where I am eating. By the way, she’s wearing a crucifix.
Let us go back to the controversial MMFF entry. "Due to the feedback we received regarding the trailer of Father Jejemon, I have ordered a second review of the scene in the movie being questioned. Please note that the MTRCB board is given the autonomy to decide what rating to prescribe,” Poe-Llamazares said.
I have my own reasons to believe that the woman inside the Rizal Street noodle house is indeed a Catholic. Moving on, lay people are expected to speak up on issues that don’t respect the sacredness of the Eucharist, and that's why here I am jotting this. “They (referring to the two movie scenes) are negative, the movie does not give a good reflection on the priesthood,” former CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said in a message yesterday. CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Commission and Mass Media (ECSCMM) executive secretary Fr. Francis Lucas said, “I think religion should be respected and (they should consider) the sensibility of people, things we hold sacred.” The two priests were interviewed by CBCP News yesterday.
To make fun out of religious and holy objects is sacrilege. Sacrilege means the profanation of something or somebody or some place set aside for the worship, glory and service of God. Sacrilege, whether acknowledged or not, is no longer the shocking things as it was for our Catholic ancestors, our grandfathers and grandmothers. It has become part of our daily life, as a matter of fact, in our present social setting - especially how it is employed in modern media – it is almost already normal if not fashionable!
Remember that many Catholics even cheered Carlos Celdran when he disrupted a Holy Mass at the Manila Cathedral just some months back?
Sacrilege in modern times is multi-faceted. Catholic faith and practice, morality and tradition are not only questioned, they are sacrilegiously derided and dismissed as irrelevant, or ridiculed by Catholics themselves. In modern day movies and television shows, we take “in vain” religious objects and sacraments. In the streets and casual talks, we coupled them with left and right blasphemies. How can people like them respect the law (of the land) if they do not respect or they are insensitive towards his/her own, or other people’s religion or faith?
But the rule is very simple : “Sancta sancte tractanda sunt” (Holy things must be treated holily) …