Sacred place
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - July 30, 2020 - 12:00am

Sacred places are always places of worship. A place that requires the highest degree of respect for the religious, as it is believed to have profound and significant meaning for all mortals. And so for many years and decades believers remained true to attach reverence to every physical structure that is anchored on faith and devotion.

Though most of them serve as tourist attractions such as France’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the solemn and religious representation can hardly be withdrawn. And even while it serves as a tourist attraction, it was built in 1345 and still functions as a worship ground.

The Buddhist monastery and temple in Taktshang, Bhutan, also known as “The Tiger’s Nest,” has taught until now that once you get to the temple, you can explore the grounds only after removing your shoes.

In Italy, the Sistine Chapel has remained to have strict guidelines on noise levels and photography, you’ll typically look up in absolute silence, without even a camera shutter click to distract you. We have temples, mosques, and churches which still have strong religious presence in our country. While quite a few of them serve as tourist attractions, they still have the respect from Catholic followers and non-believers as well. And so any act of disrespect implies disregard for historical and religious significance.

And in fact, there are many accounts from people who found shelter from the churches so that they would not get harmed. So they have stayed within the religious areas as long as their lives are still in danger. Whistle-blowers, seekers of truth, activists have found refuge in a place believed to be impartial before the eyes of men and God.

Recently, two police officers who seized materials suspected to be used for organizing progressive groups that voice their opposition to the present administration is what made rounds in the social media. The incident occurred inside a church while mass is being offered.  The most respectable action from these supposed gentlemen is they could have waited for at least an hour. I have never attended a regular mass that lasted for hours. If at least they had no regard for the dissenting opinions they should have valued the place of worship, and respect the churchgoers.

For their part, a high-ranking police officer insisted that it was a “call for judgment” on the part of police officers because two people allegedly tried to pull out a poster to interrupt the mass. He said the police officers found it appropriate to confiscate the materials, adding that in a house of God, those people were being disrespectful however made it clear that such group had not violated any law. So what’s the point then? I’ve never seen an outburst of feelings inside the church in my entire life that led to turmoil. And so it was just a misguided reaction at a place of worship on the part of the police.

The particular act of our police officers reminds us all that the church is still a place of grace and hope, where everybody is welcomed, respected, loved and forgiven. We will honor the tradition and keep it this way.

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