Aquino: Follow Pope’s example, forgive Celdran
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has weighed in on the charge that Church critic Carlos Celdran “offended religious feelings.” And he thinks Celdran deserves forgiveness.
Celdran, an outspoken reproductive health advocate, was convicted of violating Article 133 after he disrupted a service at Manila Cathedral by holding up a sign with the words “Damaso,” alluding to a villainous priest in the novel “Noli Me Tangere.”
Aquino said he might not agree with how Celdran staged his protest but he understands his current predicament.
At the 40th anniversary celebration of the National Economic and Development Authority on Tuesday, January 29, Aquino told reporters he hoped the local clergy would follow the Pope’s example.
Pope Benedict XVI famously pardoned his butler and forgave him in person for stealing personal papers and leaking them in what was deemed as one of the gravest Vatican security breaches in modern times.
“If our priests and members of religious orders follow the example of the Holy Pope, I think Christian generosity and charity will prevail and maybe the Church could forgive Mr. Celdran so that we can move on,” Aquino said in Filipino.
Aquino said he would review the details of the ruling to understand its larger implications.
Celdran and his lawyer said the decision will impact not just his free speech but that of all Filipinos.
The President himself pushed for the approval of the RH law, a move that incurred the ire of the Catholic Church. - Rappler.com