We join Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and all the faithful Catholics of our country in rejoicing that our Manila Cathedral in Intramuros has been repaired, and after two years has become more well-lit and made stronger, more earthquake-proof.
The re-opening ceremonies included Mass celebrated by his Eminence Cardinal Tagle.
“Now we are all home. Welcome home. Welcome home to this house of the archdiocese, the home of our God, the home of our Mother,” he said to the large number of faithful who attended the ceremonies and filled the cathedral to overflowing.
The CBCP News account said “an awe-struck Tagle noted how much more beautiful the Cathedral has become as he surveyed its brightly lit premises.”
“I am empty-headed now. Seeing the beauty of the cathedral just overwhelms me, and seeing how this place of worship has become more beautiful is beyond my expectation and my capacity to express in words,” he said, Raymond Sebastian of CBCP News reported.
Closing the cathedral and reinforcing its structure was one of the first decisions Cardinal Tagle made upon assuming the Archbishop of Manila seat in 2012.
The formal name of the edifice is “The Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica.” It is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, who is the Principal Patroness of the Philippines. The cathedral is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila.
Miracles have been attributed through its 400 years of existence to the efficacy of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception’s intercession whenever the City of Manila faced dangers from marauders and invading forces. It is at the Plaza de Roma in the old walled Hispanic City of Manila, Intramuros.
Called “the mother of Philippine churches” the Manila Cathedral has been damaged and razed many times. Cardinal Tagle recalled in his remarks that what stands now is the eighth cathedral.
In his 30-minute homily, given in English and Tagalog, Archbishop Cardinal Tagle asked the congregation to pray for him. He thanked the donors who contributed to defray the cost of the structural repairs, the new lighting and sound system, and the beautification of the cathedral. He also thanked, among many others, the Apostolic nuncio, his predecessor Archbishop Cardinal Rosales, and the rector of the cathedral since 2002 Monsignor Nestor Cerbo.
He warned the congregation about having false idols and exhorted them to “accord true worship only to God.”
“If you have money as your god, then all you care for is what you have in your pocket. Because of this, you may not even give your employees their rightful due just so you can have more.”
The homily, like a politician’s well received speech, was interrupted by, CBCP News said, “rounds of deafening applause.”
No mention of RH Law
One of the most noticed things about the ceremonies on April 9 was the presence of the highest officials of the land and many celebrities. Foremost of these were, of course, President Benigno S. Cojuangco-Aquino 3rd and his siblings. Media showed photos of Cardinal Tagle and the President together, bonding happily like old comrades. Interaksyon’s report had the title “Manila Cathedral reopens after two-year structural repairs” but had no story about the cathedral and the repairs and only published an album of President Aquino’s and his people’s photos with Cardinal Tagle. This angered some online readers.
Most remarkably missing from the Cardinal’s homily was any mention of the Reproductive Health Law.
Meanwhile, Malacañang’s propaganda machinery has made good use of the photos and the words of camaraderie between the Cardinal and the President.
Leaders of the Pro-Life movement—who oppose the RH law and do not think it was as much a victory of the Catholic Church’s position as it was of Planned Parenthood International and its people in the Philippines that including Filipino officials and congressmen and senators—fear that Cardinal Tagle is sending them a message to stop fighting against abortion, contraception and the Culture of Death being advanced by President Aquino and his Cabinet.
We hope and pray the Pro-Life leaders are wrong to have this fear.