Wrong track to traditions

12:02 AM April 25, 2017

Adopting today’s popular tunes for ‘Pabasa’ might just be the key to introducing the young to Philippine traditions during the Holy Week, according to the committee on public affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines” (News, 4/11/17).

I nearly fell off my chair in extreme dismay reading this article. There are surely many other ways of introducing the Filipino youth to Philippine traditions, but not necessarily solely through this mode, and at the wrong time and place.


The “Pabasa ng Pasyon” is a Catholic devotion in the Philippines during the Holy Week involving the uninterrupted chanting of the “Pasyon,” a 16th-century epic poem narrating the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What is really wrong with keeping traditions, anyway? On the contrary, aren’t they supposed to be preserved and handed down from generation to generation? The Pabasa is a devotion or prayer; on the other hand, pop music or tunes have always been synonymous to entertainment; there is a whale of a difference between the two.


Ah, now I know why in not a few residential areas, where live not only members of the Roman Catholic faith but also of various other religious sects, the Pabasa is now being done through loud speakers. If I remember correctly, in the good old days this practice used to be forbidden by parish priests. And, indeed, methinks for a very good reason: The observance of the Holy Week needs to be characterized primarily by peace and serenity in the fulfillment of a religious meditation during the Lenten season, not by microphoned use of popular tunes that are tantamount to immodest and vain ostentation and excessive showmanship. Should we really announce to the four winds that we are meditating?

At any rate, the CBCP may have its own valid reason for its apparent obsession to “modernizing” the Pabasa—well, in the same manner, incidentally, that years ago it introduced its own version of the Stations of the Cross over and above that which had been officially adopted by the Vatican in the time of Pope John Paul II. Alas, at the very least, President Duterte need not be totally criticized for recently saying “the Catholic Church is all pageantry and drama.”

RUDY L. CORONEL, [email protected]

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