In RH war of words, activist confronts bishops in church


By Pia Faustino – Famed Manila tour guide and reproductive health advocate Carlos Celdran was detained by Manila police on Thursday for disrupting a mass at the Manila Cathedral, where he staged a protest action against the bishops’ opposition to the reproductive health bill.

Dressed as Jose Rizal, Celdran stood in front of the Manila Cathedral altar during a mass with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and several bishops present, holding a sign bearing the words “Damaso” — a reference to the villainous friar from the novel “Noli Me Tangere.”

He screamed, “Stop getting involved in politics” before he was taken away by the police at around 4:30 p.m.

Manila Cathedral rector Msgr. Nestor Cerbo said that Celdran was guilty of “disruption of worship, which is a very sacred thing which should be given utmost respect.”

At around 8:15 p.m. the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines filed charges against Celdran for violation of Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits “offending religious feelings.”

The exact text of the article says that “the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon anyone who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony, shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.”

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