MANDALUYONG City, Jan. 18, 2016 – A priest believes it’s time Church leaders take a firm stand against what he considers “misguided popular religiosity” among some Filipinos, specifically devotions to the Santo Niño (Holy Child), most of which he laments no longer bear the Good News of God-becoming-man.
“This is pastoral leadership sorely missing where it is needed most at this time. I have been saying all these years that the ‘devotion’ to the Santo Niño will go the way of all misguided ‘popular devotions’ that border more on the fanatical and the ridiculous,” notes Fr. Chito Dimaranan, rector of the Don Bosco Technical College (DBTC) Mandaluyong, in a social media post.
He shares some Santo Niño statues he sees have nothing remotely related to the Incarnation: of the “Son of God becoming man and assuming the humility and simplicity of a child.”
“Increasingly, I see differing versions of the Santo Niño de la Suerte, Santo Niño de la Bolsa, Santo Niño holding a teddy bear, Santo Niño garbed in the color of money, or Santo Niño de Palaboy holding a walking stick,” he says.
While Dimaranan affirms his love for the mystery of the Incarnation, with its image of a humble, helpless child, he points out “misguided shallow popular religiosity” needs to be purified of the steadily encroaching showbiz culture and the pagan culture of “suerte” or luck.
The priest, however, clarifies he is not against popular devotions per se, but only against its extreme forms.
According to him, if kept unguided and untaught, such practices are bound to “ridiculous excesses” and “gross exaggerations.”
“Will our Church leaders just ignore this? All it does is add more fuel to the fire of the other misguided criticism that ‘Catholics’ practice idolatry—something that, assuredly, had never been part of Catholic teaching and tradition,” he adds. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)