(In which I rant uncharacteristically about the Church)
Like anywhere else in the world, McDonald's in the Philippines serves really bad food-- their burgers are dry and usually bland, and the only thing I order from them is their fries. They usually come up with good commercials, though. The video I posted above is their latest TV commercial-- actually, the premise is not really exclusive to the Philippines, as I also found this Indian version on YouTube. At the start of the commercial, the girl asks the boy "Am I your girlfriend already?" To which he replies, more or less "No way! I'm not yet ready for that. And girlfriends are quite demanding; they like this, they like that, I don't know what they like." The girl answers "But all I want are McDonald's fries..." After which they head to the fast food to buy it. Anyway, the commercial was removed by McDonald's a few days ago because the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines somehow deemed it an attack on the traditional values of the country.
People say all the time that the institutional power of the Church in the Philippines is waning, and I didn't really believe that until now. To focus so much attention on this commercial, I think, was just abso-f-----g-lutely ridiculous and inane on the CBCP's part. There is nothing malicious at all about that commercial! It's two kids buying cheap french fries for crying out loud. Heck, if the CBCP intends to go on a commercial purge, they should also have McDonald's destroy every last trace of this commercial, which, if you ask me (though I won't really answer that), equates fast food with the age-old practice of Simbang Gabi. Instead of worrying about pop culture-- it has always been perverted in some sense, and will always be-- how about fussing over the Liturgy for once? Too many parishes in Metro Manila have priests who still have no idea it's Lent and still keep giving the cheesiest, most barf-inducing homilies day in and day out. Liturgical music is almost universally horrid, attendance at Sunday Masses are dwindling, children are being taught idiocy in Catholic schools, and to top it all off, the Church is losing members to the many sects that now crowd our religious landscape. Wake up, Excellencies; to say that, because the Church in this country has always been respected in the past, does NOT mean it will continue to be deferred to in the future. The youth of today are beyond your control and are not so obliged anymore to keep the Faith out of a sense of tradition. Secularism IS creeping in but to continue using old tactics against a demographic that have taken the postmodern to heart is, I think, a losing battle.
Whether the CBCP likes it or not, cafeteria Catholics will end up ruling the country one day. I am not really so surprised anymore though, since I believe that has always been the case. Heck, even in the 1700s Church and State in the Philippines always clashed, and more violently at that: a governor general once had the Archbishop of Manila imprisoned after an incredible stand off in his private chapel (where he held the Blessed Sacrament close to his heart, but, when fatigue had finally taken its course, dropped it on the ground), and on the flip side, a friar-instigated mob even assassinated the governor general Fernando Bustamante y Bustillo and his son. Nowadays though the primary weapon of the secularists is discourse; and if the leaders of the Church don't realize that soon enough, it will lose a lot more of the respect and the prestige it holds to.