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.


Don’t judge Nazarene devotees, their fervor is real, says Tagle


04:53 AM January 10th, 2016

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday urged the
faithful not to be judgmental of devotees joining the frenzy during
the annual “traslacion” or procession of the Black Nazarene, explaining
 that many of them had no one to turn to except the cross-bearing
 Christ, more popularly known as Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno.
“To all those who believe that the devotees were only pushing against
each other, that is not true. Have you ever experienced having no one
or nothing to cling to?” Tagle asked the crowd attending the early
Saturday Mass at the Quirino Grandstand in honor of the transfer of the
 image of the Black Nazarene.
The traslacion commemorates the first procession transferring the
life-size image of Jesus Christ from a church in Intramuros to the Minor
Basilica in Quiapo on Jan. 9, 1767.
Tagle was the homilist at the Mass presided over by Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector and parish priest of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene.
“Should you experience that, go to Him (Nazarene) and you will understand the devotees’ overzealous behavior during the procession. Why they line up for hours just to kiss and touch Christ’s image during the ‘pahalik’ (kiss). They are making these sacrifices because they have no one else to hold on to except Him,” he said.
The cardinal said this year’s traslacion was particularly meaningful as it fell within the Year of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis and the Philippine Church’s observance of the Year of the Eucharist and the Family.
Tagle cited the devotees’ deep sense of gratitude for blessings
received or prayers answered  as another reason for joining the
yearly procession.
“There were those saying that they lacked sleep, they experienced
hunger, some even got injured, but they still they do it every year.
When you ask them why, they will tell you it’s because of their debt
 of gratitude to the revered image of Jesus Christ,” Tagle said.
For his part, Coronel said the hordes of devotees see the revered
 image of Christ as “real, authentic,” that is why they keep coming
 back and are growing in number every year.
“They feel it. More than just a mere image or statue, He is somebody
 in their midst who they turn to and who comes to their aid, especially
during difficult times,” Coronel said.
While devotees may visit and venerate the revered image at Quiapo
Church any time of the year, millions still choose to join the frenzy
during traslacion, defying physical infirmities and natural difficulties,
to fulfill their devotion to the ebony statue of Christ.

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