Human Face

9 bishops falling all over themselves at ‘royal wedding’

/ 01:40 AM January 08, 2015

During hard times when the “A” and “B” words (austerity and belt-tightening) are on people’s lips, I do a Mary-Quite-Contrary and find myself saying, “But those who have money to spare should spend, spend, spend and spread their money around. Quietly. Not in a lavish way. Let the rich splurge here and not abroad. Don’t keep your money to yourself. You with a little extra cash can have your roof fixed, garden trimmed, gate repainted, party catered. Just so the jobless and the cash-strapped can earn some extra money.” My economics of sharing.

So I am not against spreading money around. But open display of one’s affluence is another story.


The wedding of show biz couple Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera last Dec. 30 was perhaps the grandest wedding hereabouts not seen in a long time. Fawning reporters of GMA 7, the couple’s home network, unabashedly called it “a royal wedding,” and the bride and groom “the royal couple.”

From start to finish, it was supergrand any way you look at it—from the media’s months-long prewedding updates going crescendo to the coverage of the wedding day itself. The cost of the grandiose production, as reported, was staggering and jaw-dropping. The bridal gown alone was reported to have had a whopping seven-digit price tag. A footnote: The groom wore a brand-new, fresh-from-the-box Rolex watch, a gift from the bride, shown for us to see.


And, oh, the hundreds of thousands of flowers that were used at the cathedral and at the wedding reception venue, the Mall of Asia arena. The music, the food, the media coverage, etc., etc.—all documented for the hundreds of thousands of fans’ viewing pleasure. Indeed, a way to spread the money and the glitter around.

Thanks or no thanks to the media, the public, by now, has had a surfeit of information on the so-called “DongYan wedding.” Facebook has a lot of informative posts, the better for fans to know the whats, whos, wheres, whys and hows. But Facebook users and other netizens have also made a lot of negative posts—from President Aquino’s presence to what some call “obscene” and “lavish” display of wealth.

Lest I be accused of being pharisaical or making a value judgment, let me use “supergrand” instead, which sounds more neutral but just as descriptive.

Some self-styled social analysts say that the so-called masa did not mind seeing what they saw because they were entertained even for only a brief moment and made to forget their daily vicissitudes. Wasn’t that the essence of what Imelda Marcos used to justify all that glamour and glitter, that the hoi polloi loved to see her as the embodiment of “the true, the good and the beautiful”? It is the intellectuals, the middle- and upper-middle-income groups that eschew such display and are scandalized, or so it is averred.

A lawyer went to the extent of saying that the couple could be faulted under Article 25, Chapter 2 of the Philippine Civil Code: “Thoughtless extravagance in expenses for pleasure or display during a period of acute public want or emergency may be stopped by order of the courts at the instance of any government or private charitable institutions.” Another speculated on what’s next for the groom, say, on the political front. Did the grand wedding boost or diminish his chances?

Some above-it-all types blithely waved it all away and said that it’s the couple’s money (or the TV network’s, too?) and they can spend it the way they want. Some sounded scandalized, while still others bluntly said that all that expense could have housed or fed hundreds of thousands of needy people.

But to the last comment, I say: What if the couple would say that they have, in fact, given to charity the amount equivalent to what they had spent for their wedding? What of it? Would that lessen the grandness that delivered the blinding shock?


Speaking of shock, if I was shocked—and indeed, I was shocked—it was because of the sight of nine bishops and seven priests wearing gilded raiment who officiated at the “royal wedding.” I examined one “royal wedding” photo and there were indeed nine miters sticking out in the air. Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the Cubao diocese was the main celebrant, while Bishop Teodoro Bacani delivered the homily. There they were, falling all over themselves. That’s the idiomatic equivalent of nagkakandarapa.

How it all came to that—that nine bishops and almost just as many priests would be needed to pronounce two people husband and wife—I do not know. Pray tell, Fr. Aris Sison, rector of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of the Cubao diocese, are there no liturgical limits?

Yesterday I was tempted to call Father Sison, a sensible priest as I know him (the media coordinator during Pope John Paul II’s 1995 visit), and whose salutary posts on Facebook I like. I had seen photos of him with the couple when wedding preparations were underway, and I thought he was the one, the only one, who would officiate at the wedding. How edifying, I thought then.

I did read about him quoted as saying that the running comment among his confreres was that the wedding rites, if officiated by so many bishops, would surpass the ordination rites for priests. A kind way of saying it.

Thank heavens that the Manila archbishop, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, was on that same day officiating at a very simple and quiet wedding somewhere else. Otherwise, he, too, might have been invited to grace the occasion and would have had to find the gravest of excuses not to accept.

How have we come to this? Yes, after Pope Francis issued grave reminders to clerics on how to comport themselves and live edifying lifestyles?

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TAGS: “DongYan wedding”, Dingdong Dantes, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Marian Rivera, Pope Francis
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