My name is Joyce, I’m 32 years old, and I am a Mormon. I was baptized when I was 14 years old and I was converted together with my three siblings and my mother. It has been a long time ago, and though I am not as active as before, my belief and faith are still there.
Looking back at my childhood, I grew up in a family with no strong commitment in any religion. I have never seen my father enter a church neither I have seen him pray. He believes that God is everywhere and it is not necessary to be in a specific religion to praise and give Him thanks. Back in the early 90’s when we were still living in Sta. Ana, Manila, my father introduced me to one of our neighbors named Aling Mercy. She is a devout Catholic and works for the Sta. Ana church. Every now and then, she will tag me along to the church to participate different activities. Every summer, I always take part in Flores de Mayo. This is an event for little children where you have to go to church and play with other kids. Before going, I always pick flowers to offer to Mama Mary. I also attend Sagala during the month of May. This is an event where little girls and boys are dressed in gowns, parading in the whole neighborhood. I also joined the church choir and became one of the homily’s reader of the church. It was good that I was introduced to Catholicism because I was able to learn a lot of things.
Being a cute little child way back many years ago, I can definitely say that our neighbors were fond of me. What normally happens is they always borrow me from my mom to bring me at their church. I have attended a ‘pulong’ in Iglesia ni Cristo, a program in Jehovah’s Witness, and a baptism in a Born Again Christian church. Although it was quite uncomfortable to be present in different religious sects, I am still thankful that I have experienced and learned from the people around me.
Now with the previous visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines, many Catholic devout have come to see him and attended his homily. He is such an inspiration to many people. He visited Tacloban’s typhoon Yolanda’s victims and held a homily in Manila, where millions have attended. It was such an honor to have him in the Philippines. You can definitely feel how the Pope inspired many people in various walks of life.
Then, there comes Marlene Aguilar the sister of famous singer Freddie Aguilar who mocked the Pope and called him devil. She even mocked all the Catholics for welcoming Pope Francis and even questioned their faith in the Lord. Marlene’s Facebook posts about the Pope stirred many netizens in anger, and because of this, she challenged them in a MMA or mixed martial arts at Elorde Gym to prove that her comment regarding the Pope is true.
Challenge accepted said Mystica, or Ruby Rose Malvar Cassidy in real life. She said that Marlene didn’t only disgrace the Pope’s name, but also the whole nation of the Philippines. Instead of doing a mixed martial art one-on-one fight, Mystica challenged Marlene on a $2 billion bet for a street-brawl fight or better known as ‘away kalye na suntukan.’
Whatever the outcome may be, in my opinion this is just making things worse. I think both of the ladies are making themselves funny and this is just plain comedy. Why does Marlene has to comment negatively about the Pope? She claims to be smart and intelligent, but with the comment she gave, did it make her a smarter person? Nah! With Mystica’s acceptance of the challenge, did it make her a braver person for standing out for the Pope? Nah!
Everyone of us is entitled to our own opinion and beliefs. You cannot stand outside and declare yourself kind and good unless others have commented it to you. You cannot claim that you’re smart and intelligent when your words hurt like a knife. Whatever your religion may be, it doesn’t matter in the end. For me, what matters most is how you made your life meaningful through helping others and by serving as an inspiration in many ways. Many people have bigger problems than this, so instead of wasting time and energy, how about make our lives better through helping each other? The world needs people like Marlene and Mystica, but we need them to work together and appreciate each other rather than to go out for a brawl. Just saying.