It is now the third week of September, and in the Philippines, this is a time of great fervor and devotion to Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia, the epicenter of which is in Naga City of the Bicol region. I have blogged about the Penafrancia procession before; you may read it here. Our Lady of Penafrancia is one of the most venerated icons of the Blessed Mother, with up to hundreds of thousands, if not a million, attending the grand fluvial procession in her honor.
I was bewildered and somewhat amused by the video above. Although it is in Filipino, i guess the flow of the story is easy enough to follow, but basically what happened is that one of the voyadores (the men who accompany the image of Our Lady in procession), clearly drunk, wanted to wipe the image's robes to venerate it; however, the priests guarding the image, already clearly pressed upon in all corners, tried to get the man off the processional platform. It was at this point that the drunken man punches an elderly monsignor, hitting him right in the head. His fellow priests, their anger aroused by such impiety, then respond by repeatedly punching the drunkard, and eventually getting him off the platform.
Some points: it is a common practice in many parts of the Philippines to perform a panata while drunk; whether it be flagellation or taking part in the procession of Lucban's Santo Entierro and the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, chances are, someone will do so while inebriated. Sadly, this is the reality of Belloc's all-too-cheerful 'Where the Catholic sun doth shine...' To be honest, I have always found that poem a bit naive, if not a little misinformed; and I think too many people see it through an optic very much, well, suburban in context. But Catholics, especially third world Catholics (i.e., the only ones that still bother to believe 'the hard way'), are not prim and proper Anglicans who enjoy their sherries so much. I really can't help but think at times whether those who cite Belloc's poem so frequently would be able to stand seeing Catholicism in all its shockingly revolting humanity.
Second point: it is refreshing to see that some priests can still throw a punch. Sometimes, I think there is no better catechism lesson than a good, solid punch to the jaw. Too many priests today, even in the provinces, seem to be focused solely on giving good PR for the Church-- and while this is never a bad thing, the priest is, foremost, a minister of God tasked to bring souls to eternal beatitude. The drunkard was certainly acting in a most scandalous manner; it is only fitting that he be rebuked.