MARY AS bridge of differing faiths is welcomed by Miflora Gatchalian who commented on “A thousand faces” (Viewpoint, 12/8/12). “Ibongpipit” e-mailed: This approach helps foster “commonality because… ecumenism and dialogue are always” challenging.

From Idaho, Manuel de la Torre underscored the Economist comment: “Catholics would tell you, rather firmly, that Mary is not a goddess…. She is not worshiped, but rather venerated: a human being with a unique role in praying for the human race.… Surely, that is reason enough, for people of any faith, to feel reverence for history’s foremost Jewish mother.”

“This insight is welcome,” he added. “Non-Catholic friends insist we worship Mary. Back off, I keep telling them.”

As a former Catholic I don’t remember the church teaching that the Virgin and the saints are omnipresent or omniscient, writes Dr. Jose Fuliga. “All prayers in the Old and New Testaments are addressed to God, none to the saints…. Why don’t we follow that example?

(Yet) “the plethora of adoration to Mary remains unquestioned by the (Catholic) hierarchy. Do we still wonder why Protestants are appalled at this elevation of Mary into a goddess? Why hasn’t the hierarchy spoken against these excesses?”

Islam holds Mary in high regard, e-mailed Just Another Person. This reverence stemmed from a Syriac Christian milieu. In “The Hidden Origins of Islam,” Luxenberg notes early Muslims “preferred Isaiah’s title ‘Servant’ for Jesus. This makes better sense of the sequel, which  identifies ‘Messiah Jesus, son of Mary’ as ‘messenger of God and his Word’.”

Place the Koran in the context of early debates over Arian, Nestorian, etc. Ohlig claims in his essay to “Hidden Origins” that “most of theological statements in the Koran arose from Syrian traditions of Christianity…. Its debt to Christianity becomes plausible….”

What about the non-Abrahamic religions, wonders Edgar Lorez. “Are they to be ignored?… The proper attitude is to recognize the plurality in religions and no-religions, and to respect all faiths and no-faiths. The unifier is not some common albeit singular aspect like Mary. (It) is recognition of the universality of the divine spark in all religions” and of mankind’s commonality.

“Urgent To Do” list (Viewpoint, 12/3/12) focused on the newly launched book: “Crimes and Unpunishment: The Killing of Filipino Journalists.” Copublished by Unesco and the Asian Institute of Journalism, the book marked “the third anniversary of the single worst attack on the press worldwide.”

In Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, 32 media workers were mowed down by cops and bodyguards, led by political warlords. The victims’ shattered bodies were backhoed into a common, unmarked grave.

“Perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre were policemen of the area utilized by the Ampatuans as their private goons,” Political Jaywalker blogged. “How can government protect witnesses when the very people supposed to look after their safety are the ones who will liquidate them?

“No matter what ‘bright ideas’ these ‘representatongs’ present to the public, nothing will come out of it because they are the very problem that needs to be solved. Until we free our political system from the stranglehold of the very few political dynasties continually violating the Constitution, everything is just a big joke… Indeed, until elected officials subject themselves and abide by the same rules, laws and regulations that apply to us ordinary mortals, we really can’t expect to rid our society of the culture of impunity.”

“Ever wonder why the harshest critics of the most powerful officials—those who work for leading newspapers and broadcast media—have never been victims of violence?” Enrique 119 asked. Why are those in the provinces the only ones who get killed?

“I will not speak about all victims. But I know that several so-called journalists killed were notorious blackmailers. (They) served political ‘protagonists as the latter’s attack dogs….’ This is not to say that big-name journalists, in leading papers and broadcast stations are all lily-white. It’s just powerful people do not resort to violence in coping with media.”

Viewpoint noted that “400 fixers masquerade as mediamen in the Bureau of Customs.” Virgo 888 added, “Let us call the Ampatuans fast. This time around, we will give them medals if ever they eliminate those 400.”

“Caaaaaaaaassshhh!” (Viewpoint, 12/1/12) triggered a torrent of comments. It dealt with US authorities cracking down on those hawking stolen paintings from the Marcos collection.

“It is not easy to clean dirt that has stuck all over the house for years,” Mang Teban wrote. “If the people power revolt in 1986 succeeded to drive away the pest, the demons came back much stronger at the house…. Little by little, the Filipinos are becoming aware of the evil of family dynasties…. The good news is we are getting there.”

“Incredible that a Marcos could become president someday,” Philcruz e-mailed. “Electing Imee as representative of her home district in Ilocos is bad enough. But electing Bongbong in a nationwide election as a senator is utter idiocy. Bongbong has the arrogance of his father—a mind trained to be flippant about their crimes to the nation.

“So by 2022 Bongbong Marcos becomes president? Will Jackie Enrile be his vice president? That’d be Martial Law Part II, all over again.

“By being so blinded of democratic ideals, we created a system that is now being abused by Marcos families and their offspring. Under the dynasty families the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. We are back to square one.”

* * *

Email: juan_mercado77@yahoo.com

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