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My God, your god [has Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao converted from Catholicism to Protestantism?]
Philippine Daily Inquirer ^ | December 11th, 2012 | Michael L. Tan

Posted on 12/12/2012 11:50:58 AM PST by Alex Murphy

THE DIFFERENCE in capitalization was intentional to reflect a different kind of boxing match that’s been running not just after Manny Pacquiao’s last bout but for several decades now, with its intensity picking up recently.

Poor Pacquiao is now being berated by Mommy Dionisia, his mother, and people in the streets, for having abandoned Catholicism in favor of “Protestantism” (quotation marks to be explained in a while), and that his losing to Juan Manuel Marquez was the catastrophic result.

The basis for calling Pacquiao Protestant was his not making a sign of the cross, and not flashing a rosary, as he did in previous boxing matches. Observers also use as “evidence” of his becoming Protestant his frequent citations of biblical passages, in speeches as well as in his congressional website (mannypacquiao.com), including one where he paraphrases Corinthians about being a new man.

Only Pacquiao can answer what his preferred religious affiliation is, but I’m more interested in how these public discussions reflect Filipino religious culture, which boils down to pitting my (true) God versus your (false) god, the “true” God.

In the case of Pacquiao, it has been my (Catholic) God versus your (Protestant) god, but we’ve seen many other variations, Catholics versus Philippine Independent Church (PIC), Catholics versus Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), INC versus Eli Soriano’s Ang Dating Daan. Language says it all, as when Catholics call the PIC Aglipayan, and the INC the Manalo church, as Christians called Muslims “Mohammedanism.” The shift to the founders of these religions is intentional, suggesting an inferior status to the one supreme, holy, Catholic Church.

But more than names and name-calling, it is each group’s claim to a monopoly on truth, usually around the interpretation of the Bible. Quoting and interpreting the Bible seem to be more a hallmark of non-Catholics, which is why Pacquiao becomes a “suspect” Protestant.

Natural, unnatural

Beyond scriptural interpretations though, religions like to claim they are upholding some kind of natural order or natural law, and that violation of that order brings about disaster. We’ve seen that argument repeated several times by Catholic bishops and lay leaders, who interpreted Tropical Storm “Ondoy” and the recent Typhoon “Pablo,” as well as the powerful habagat (western monsoon) a few months ago, as divine punishment for the country’s considering a reproductive health (RH) bill. RH is interpreted as unnatural, therefore bringing natural disasters.

Now that Pacquiao is under fire for violating some kind of natural order (true God versus false god), I am glad to hear Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Francis Luna, executive director of the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media, declaring, “Our God is not a vengeful God but a God of love.” I hope the Catholic leaders can go a step further and counter the proposition of a wrathful God killing dirt-poor villagers in Compostela Village for reproductive health discussions in Manila.

The image of a wrathful God does exist in the Old Testament, from the punishment of Egyptians for enslaving Israelites, to Sodom and Gomorrha, and Pacquiao himself has had his share too of selective scriptural quoting to support his views. He has repeatedly attacked the RH bill and family planning, quoting the Bible as well as coming up with homespun wisdom to the effect that if his parents had practiced family planning, there would be no Pacman.

He also used the Bible in an interview last May with the American newspaper National Conservative Examiner to express his disagreement with same-sex marriage and with homosexuality. He was even quoted as citing a passage in Leviticus which prescribes death for same-sex relations. He later denied using that passage but still drew fire not just from lesbian and gay groups but other Filipinos who saw his statements as gross prejudice and intolerance.

After his anti-RH statements last year, including a speech in Congress, Pacquiao was for some time put up as a kind of poster boy by the conservative Catholic bishops, but he seems to have lost favor since then, perhaps because of this alleged conversion to Protestantism. Yet, whatever that shift might be called, it has, Pacquiao claims, made him a new man, claiming in an interview with ABS-CBN last January that he had given up his vices, including womanizing, drinking and gambling.

In claiming that he lost this latest boxing match because of divine intervention, people are suggesting a new life has no meaning because his new God is, well, a false god, and the true God is punishing him for his religious turncoatism.

There’s more. Pacquiao turned a new leaf shortly after a bout with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2011, when he dreamed he was in a forest and a bright light came out with a voice asking, “Son, why are you going away from me?” (See digitaljournal.com/article/317950 for a full account.) Are we saying then this true God was rewarding him all these years through victories, and then asking him to turn his back on sin, and then, after Pacquiao follows this divine voice, delivering him to defeat in the hands of Marquez?

Anting-anting

The emphasis on the sign of the cross and the rosary as necessary for boxing victory is intriguing too, supposedly markers of one’s Catholicism, yet falling back on pagan animism, where objects are attributed with magical powers, backed by God.

But then again, we see so much of that animism even among the guardians of the Catholic faith, as was shown in that National Geographic exposé of an illegal ivory trade. That issue, which used the ivory trade as a cover story, should still be in the newsstands, together with photographs of elephants slaughtered for their tusks to make religious images. Filipino priests, including a monsignor, were interviewed, revealing a scandalous fetish for ivory. Note that here, there is no inter-faith competition; Protestants are scandalized by what is interpreted as idolatry in the use of Catholic images. Instead, the competition is among Catholics themselves: My ivory image is more powerful than your wooden image.

Let’s face it, local Catholicism has reduced religious objects into anting-anting or amulets. Yet, note that Pacquiao did have his rosary and sign of the cross when he fought Tim Bradley in June this year. . . and lost. (See a blog lifeandfever.com by Dr. Stef dela Cruz for an interesting exchange of views at that time.)

Of course, one could argue the Bradley fight was rigged. Or that maybe Pacquiao had already become a Protestant and so still drew gaba or divine retribution. Or maybe like Job in the Old Testament, he is being tested for his faith.

There will always be some kind of rationalization of the irrational since there’s no way of asking God or the gods if he (or she) takes sides, in times of wrath bringing floods and landslides and rains, or raining blows on boxers.

Meanwhile, the bookmakers are hoping for more Pacquiao fights. There were Filipinos who did bet on Marquez and, I hear, got P250 for every P100 they bet. Did these people read God’s mind, or were they just smart in recognizing that maybe it’s time for Pacquiao to retire and spend more productive and healthy years with his family and loved ones.


TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS:
Poor [Manny Pacquiao] is now being berated by Mommy Dionisia, his mother, and people in the streets, for having abandoned Catholicism in favor of “Protestantism” (quotation marks to be explained in a while), and that his losing to Juan Manuel Marquez was the catastrophic result.

The basis for calling Pacquiao Protestant was his not making a sign of the cross, and not flashing a rosary, as he did in previous boxing matches. Observers also use as “evidence” of his becoming Protestant his frequent citations of biblical passages, in speeches as well as in his congressional website (mannypacquiao.com), including one where he paraphrases Corinthians about being a new man....more than names and name-calling, it is each group’s claim to a monopoly on truth, usually around the interpretation of the Bible. Quoting and interpreting the Bible seem to be more a hallmark of non-Catholics, which is why Pacquiao becomes a “suspect” Protestant....

....After his anti-RH statements last year, including a speech in Congress, Pacquiao was for some time put up as a kind of poster boy by the conservative Catholic bishops, but he seems to have lost favor since then, perhaps because of this alleged conversion to Protestantism. Yet, whatever that shift might be called, it has, Pacquiao claims, made him a new man, claiming in an interview with ABS-CBN last January that he had given up his vices, including womanizing, drinking and gambling. In claiming that he lost this latest boxing match because of divine intervention, people are suggesting a new life has no meaning because his new God is, well, a false god, and the true God is punishing him for his religious turncoatism....

....The emphasis on the sign of the cross and the rosary as necessary for boxing victory is intriguing too, supposedly markers of one’s Catholicism, yet falling back on pagan animism, where objects are attributed with magical powers, backed by God. But then again, we see so much of that animism even among the guardians of the Catholic faith, as was shown in that National Geographic exposé of an illegal ivory trade. That issue, which used the ivory trade as a cover story, should still be in the newsstands, together with photographs of elephants slaughtered for their tusks to make religious images. Filipino priests, including a monsignor, were interviewed, revealing a scandalous fetish for ivory. Note that here, there is no inter-faith competition; Protestants are scandalized by what is interpreted as idolatry in the use of Catholic images. Instead, the competition is among Catholics themselves: My ivory image is more powerful than your wooden image.

1 posted on 12/12/2012 11:51:02 AM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy
The emphasis on the sign of the cross and the rosary as necessary for boxing victory is intriguing too, supposedly markers of one’s Catholicism, yet falling back on pagan animism, where objects are attributed with magical powers, backed by God.

Oh brother...
2 posted on 12/12/2012 12:22:54 PM PST by Carpe Cerevisi
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To: Alex Murphy
When the media are beating the drum for legalizing abortion in the Phillipines and want to slander the Catholic Church, any context and any set of lies will do.
3 posted on 12/12/2012 12:38:21 PM PST by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: Rashputin

It is not slander nor negative to be just a Christian and not catholic. If you disagree with that premise, then what is the difference between catholicism and islam?


4 posted on 12/12/2012 12:50:48 PM PST by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin (Freedom is the freedom to discipline yourself so others don't have to do it for you.)
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To: Alex Murphy
I notice the author calls baby-killing "Reproductive Health," and the point of the article seems to be that anti-science Catholics are opposing every girl and woman's right to a dead you-know-what.

I truly hope this guy is not considered a valuable ally in the never-ending FReepathon of denominational sniping.

5 posted on 12/12/2012 12:58:38 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." 1 Corinthians 10:12)
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To: MeneMeneTekelUpharsin
People who pretend their own propaganda snark is an honest question while ignoring the very clear slanders in an article like this one either are themselves dedicated to slandering Catholics or are incapable of comprehending what they read.

As everyone knows, The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church Jesus Christ Himself founded is the bride of Christ while Iz Lame is the bride of Satan.

The vast majority of those who claim to be Christian rather than Catholic, and a great many who claim to be Catholic as well, are following Eve rather than Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ left a Church, not a book. Deal with it.

6 posted on 12/12/2012 1:12:32 PM PST by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
I truly hope this guy is not considered a valuable ally in the never-ending FReepathon of denominational sniping.

Rodney Beason and Rob Evans, eat your hearts out!

7 posted on 12/12/2012 1:12:32 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all" - Isaiah 7:9)
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To: Alex Murphy

If they really want to know, they should ask him how old the earth is. All True Catholics know the answer to that one is whatever science may say at the moment. (Then they pray to their “angels.”)


8 posted on 12/12/2012 1:49:27 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: Alex Murphy

“...perhaps because of this alleged conversion to Protestantism. “

Welcome Home Manny!


9 posted on 12/12/2012 2:20:30 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Didn’t he catch flack for daring to be critical of homosexual behavior? This tells me no matter if he is Protestant or Catholic he is a strong defender of the Christian faith.


10 posted on 12/12/2012 2:25:28 PM PST by lastchance ("Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis" St. Augustine)
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Zionist Conspirator

That’s funny coming from you. didn’t you say that Christianity is a false religion?


12 posted on 12/12/2012 9:20:12 PM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Alex Murphy
Just as a point of information: Catholics versus Philippine Independent Church (PIC), Catholics versus Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), INC versus Eli Soriano’s Ang Dating Daan

Of those groups, the PIC is essentially a Phillipine branch of Anglicanism. The other two groups are not Protestant and not Christian. Ang Dating Daan rejects the Trinity. INC are Arians who reject the divinity of Christ, among many other errors.

13 posted on 12/13/2012 3:17:55 PM PST by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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