‘Law of the jungle’ in a Catholic event

Peter Cariño

Peter Cariño

I am usually awed by the multitude of devotees who flock to the Feast of the Black Nazarene during January 9 every year.

But that feeling of awe is accompanied by disgust over “fanatics” who play by the “law of the jungle” to touch the Black Nazarene image or ride on its carriage, making the holy affair also look like a reality sports event for television.

On Thursday last week, those who played by the “law of the jungle” or “survival of the fittest” even disrupted a Mass being heard at the Quirino Grandstand early in the morning. They tore down the steel barricades just to position themselves for the start of the procession. They later pushed aside 40-foot container vans that were blocking the McArthur Bridge, which was found to be structurally weak by authorities to support a large procession.

I do not question the Black Nazarene Feast, and I even think that more people should participate in it if only to show faith in Jesus Christ Our Savior.

But those who play by the law of the jungle are slowly ruining the sacredness of the annual feast, and there is a danger that the event will be reserved only for the strongest men and women.

The “fittest” among the unruly joining the annual procession also act according to the saying “each man [or woman]to himself,” which is not Christian behavior. I wonder if there is a chapter or verse in the Bible where men are taught to abandon their wives and children in the face of adversity.

If this type of unruly behavior from a significantly large percentage of devotees is allowed to continue in the next few years, I foresee the procession degenerating into mob, and lives may even be lost.

The fanatics who are slowly ruining the sacredness of the Black Nazarene Feast are a shameful lot when compared to genuine activists.

When I took part in the rallies and protest actions during the pre- and post-Marcos era, the most able-bodied men always looked after the young women who joined the marches. And whenever a dispersal happened, the men and the boys made sure that the girls would escape first unharmed.

I even recall an able-bodied seminarian who joined rallies during the Marcos regime who “sacrificed” himself a few times by allowing himself to get caught by the police, while the girls and neophyte men escaped safely.

While a procession is different from a protest rally, I hope you get the point. Anyway, did the latest Black Nazarene procession look like a solemn event?

Since the Black Nazarene Feast is a Catholic event, it should be a venue to showcase the best behavior of Christian men, especially the able-bodied and the youth.

This column may sound offbeat for the sports section, but the message here is also: the Black Nazarene Feast should not look like a sports reality show where “survival of the fittest” is becoming the norm.

Christian men are supposed to be strong and ready for battle, but they should also be (more importantly) concerned and ready to help the weak, old, aging and the opposite sex.

I hope the Catholic hierarchy would take steps to make the annual Black Nazarene Feast a real procession, where the image is paraded through a route without mad men and women going on a rampage to touch it, or try to ride on its carriage.

For all we know, some of those fanatics trying to do that simply want bragging rights. Well, bragging rights can be gained from a sporting event where the rules should also be followed, and not from annual religious feasts where the law of jungle should not prevail.

* * *

There are talks that Marcos Maidana and Adrien Broner will figure in a rematch, and if that happens Floyd Mayweather Jr. will likely take on Amir Khan.

Broner cannot afford to lose to Maidana the second time around, because that would be a big dent on his once-promising career.

As for Khan, Danny Garcia made him look like a second-rate boxer who does not have any business facing Mayweather.

Anyway, getting into the ring with Mayweather can make any fighter, including the wannabes, instant millionaires. Khan is lucky!


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  1. Rolando Nolasco on

    It’s really disgusting to see devotees of the Black Nazarene or any image of the Lord Jesus including acting like wild animals just to get close to it to touch it or swipe a cloth. The irreverence manifested by disturbing the Holy Eucharist just to get ready for the procession is a manifestation of total lack of respect to the celebration. What many rude devotees exhibited is fanaticism and idolatry like one sect who claim to be Catholics but rush to the front when handkerchiefs printed with Psalm is thrown at them at the end of the celebration. As many claimed that these articles have healing powers is just plain nuts overlooking the fact that faith in God have brought them to experience these miracles. If many who claimed to be devotees why do they flock to Quiapo Church only on the feast of the Black Nazarene. Should it not be a daily ritual if indeed they want to pray to God? That is same token to people to flogged themselves during Good Friday and not repent and atone for their sins every time it is committed? There must be a sense of order, peace and utmost respect for one another if it is indeed our lives are a true offering to God we adore.

  2. joebert banderas on

    the teachings of catholics is to worship idols, that is the result of worshipping idols instead of worshipping God which is a spirit not like idols.

  3. eliseo m. blancaflor on

    Here is another view of the Black Nazarene procession. I think that what I saw was the plight of our countrymen demonstrated in that procession. The unruly and passionate behavior demonstrate a desperate SEARCH for a Savior of life’s problems today. The devotees have regarded the Nazarene as the savior in the face of government inability in this time of need.