The Philippine Daily Inquirer claims that the highly respected Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle admonished the Roma Catholic faithful from judging the Black Nazarene devotees because "their fervor is real."
I do not even begin to doubt the intense zeal of the Nazarene devotees. I admire them
for that. I wish everyone who believed in a cause had that avidity.
What saddens me is the lack of material basis of the fervor. Having been seemingly abandoned by opportunities and desperate for redemption from hunger, the
devotees pin their ultimate hopes on the powers of faith in a 500-year old wood
from Spain. What is more saddening is when a formidable institution like The
Church encourages this false consciousness.
The countries colonized by Spain and Portugal using The Cross and apparently
questionable doctrines ended up very poor, very wretched in the aftermath of
colonization. Think of the Philippines and South America. If some countries in
South America are moving forward, it is because they are embracing realism
brought about by liberation theology. They know that it is not enough to pray.
They know that if they have to resist, they will.
No, the poor are not blessed. Let us stop making them believe they are.