October 4, 2023

(Editors’ note: The Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on April 8, 2012).

Holy Week is a period for reflection, a time to review one’s dark past, and to look deep into the inner crevices of the soul, to check if you are truly deserving of God’s love and reward.
I would suppose that for this purpose, half of the Catholic faithful went to confession over the past few days, although I surmised they confessed only venial sins, like failing to attend Sunday masses due to circumstances beyond their control, which is the euphemism for plain laziness, eating meat on a Friday of abstinence, or losing one’s temper at an errant son or daughter.
Oh, the more daring would go as far to say that they drink and gamble a bit too much, and maybe having cast a lustful eye at a neighbor’s pretty wife.

No military man or politician would confess to keeping a mistress on the side, since the father confessor would surely tell them to leave their 2’s or 3’s before they can be forgiven by the Almighty.
Neither would a high government official confess to filching funds from public coffers, knowing only too well that he would be told to return the money, and that only such a remorseful act would be pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

None of the drug and jueteng lords, illegal loggers, robbers, and thieves would dare confess their nefarious activities, afraid that they might be advised to first turn themselves in to authorities before they can be granted absolution.

Because Catholics have been told as early as their first communion that the God they worshipped is a benevolent and forgiving one, who would surely welcome all to paradise who beg for forgiveness while breathing their last, the faithful took that as a license not to worry about sinful actions, rather than an admonition to avoid wrongdoing.
I know of at least one governor who had a reputation for putting his enemies to death at the height of his power, whose last act, when it was his turn to die, was to reach out for the Sto. Niño as he lay mortally wounded.
The question is, why would God lump you with other disciples, who, during their years of existence on Earth, lived exemplary lives? Rather unfair, don’t you think?
Maybe that was the reason why Constantine “invented” Purgatory, which seems arguably logical.

Believe it or not, a hundred times I considered leaving my Catholic upbringing and becoming a Protestant, or even joining the Iglesia ni Cristo. Only the holy image of the Pope has kept me from doing so, even as I close my eyes to priests who lecture about goodness, and yet are actually scheming businessmen out to make money and more money.
They are worse than other men of the cloak who womanize, gamble, and drink. I tell you, there are more hypocrites in hell than sinners. Sinners know they are sinners, and beg forgiveness. Hypocrites have no idea they are such big sinners, and confidently expect to go to heaven. Ha!
On the other hand, there is likely nothing wrong with my set. It is me, the viewer, who probably needs some fine tuning.

Oh yes, thank you God, for bringing back the tourists to our fair city. For a while there, I thought we were no longer the Summer Capital of the Philippines.
Come back soon folks, there is still a good two months of summer left.
Happy Easter!