Leave the ‘selfie’ mindset, go back to God—bishop

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MANILA, Sept. 23, 2013—An excess of ‘selfie’ photos may not just be a symptom of selfishness, but may show a need to go back to God, a prelate said. 

“We are selfish, this is what we need to do away with. [It’s all about] I, me, myself [like] those who keep on taking selfie photos,” Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Jr. said in a homily to some 2,000 people gathered to see the international pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal last Wednesday. 

This kind of mindset is reflected in the social media phenomenon of the ‘selfie’ photo, a self-taken picture made possible by front-facing cameras, according to Bishop Bacani. 

All taking, no giving 

“I joked some people, telling them, ‘You’re all about picture-taking, but never about picture-giving.’ This is the world today, it’s all about taking,” he said. 

In an intended pun, Bacani said this selfishness is evident even in the halls of political power, saying, “If by any chance, you don’t take pictures yourself, you take from the pork barrel instead.” 

According to Bacani, this shows an unnatural self-centeredness in the “smallest to the most powerful” in society — with 90 million selfie photos posted on Instagram alone, this does not seem hard to believe. 

Talking about a topic that seemed to strike a chord with many of the faithful, he said, this phenomenon also reveals a culture that needs God more than ever before. 

“What God wants to say is, ‘Leave your selfishness.’ This is what you need to leave and live in God instead because in God is true peace,” Bacani said during a 9 a.m. mass at the San Fernande De Dilao Parish, Paco in honor of the visit of the Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal image. 

Penance, a return to God 

He explained that this return to God or repentance is part of the message Our Lady gave to three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. 

“The original meaning of penance is to return to God,” Bacani said, dispelling widely-held notions that penance is about extreme physical mortifications like self-inflicted pain. 

Together with prayer, penance forms a formula of sorts for lasting peace, he explained. 

The image of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal is on pilgrimage in the Philippines until December 18, 2013 and is currently in the Diocese of Pasig. 

For more information about the image’s itinerary in the country, visit https://www.facebook.com/IPVS2013Philippines [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz] 

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