On the problem of crowd estimation for the Aug. 4, 2012 EDSA prayer rally: an interview for CBCP News

Crowd size estimate during the Aug. 4, 2012 EDSA Prayer Rally

Crowd size estimate during the Aug. 4, 2012 EDSA Prayer Rally

My estimate of the crowd size during the Aug. 4 EDSA Prayer Rally was featured in CBCP News.  I was then asked by CBCP News to answer a few follow-up questions.  But since I tend to answer in paragraphs and not in sentences, I think my response would not fit into a regular news column.  So I’ll post my responses here and CBCP News can simply copy parts of it or repost the whole thing:

1.) Why did you feel you needed to come out with this crowd estimate, considering that other groups had come out with their figures?

After coming from the Aug. 4 EDSA rally, I read in Facebook about the estimates published in newspapers which give figures of 7,000 and 10,000 persons for the rally. My hunch is that newspaper writers have a deadline for sending their articles before 3 pm, so that it can be part of tomorrow’s headlines. Thus, the crowd present during the 5 p.m. mass was not counted. So I made my own estimates and came up with 45,000 to 60,000 persons

2) What is your field of expertise and how long have you been with the Manila Observatory?

My expertise is in theoretical physics, particularly in the use of Clifford (geometric) algebra in many branches of physics: mechanics, optics, and electromagnetics. I am an Assistant Professor of Physics at Ateneo de Manila University. I do my research on ionosphere and magnetosphere at Manila Observatory’s Ionosphere Research Building, now known as ICSWSE (International Center for Space Weather Science and Education) Subcenter. I was with MO since 2008 when I was still writing my Ph.D. dissertation. But I do not speak in behalf of the Ateneo Physics Department or of Manila Observatory. I speak only on my own as a theoretical physicist.

3) Are there other methods of crowd estimation? What limitation could these methods have?

Ideally, there should be a camera at the top of Robinson’s Galleria or aboard a plane or a satellite, so that we can get pictures at different times and determine the exact extent of the crowd in time.  Here is a good example of how crowd estimation is done from wired.com:

At President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony, the high-resolution, Earth-orbiting GeoEye-1 satellite took pictures from 423 miles away, and another camera was hanging from a balloon 700 feet off the ground. After examining pictures from both of these sources, researchers put crowd estimates at anywhere from 1 to 2 million.

In the manual method of crowd estimation, you can mark out the areas with similar crowd densities by encircling the areas with a colored pen or by subdividing the areas into a regular grid of square boxes. Areas with similar crowd densities we can refer to as clusters. You can then zoom in to one part of the cluster, count the number of persons per square meter, and multiply this by the area of the cluster. The result is the number of persons per cluster. Then you add all the number of persons in each cluster to get the size of the crowd. The only difficulty is to determine which group of people belongs to in a particular cluster. The more cluster types you use, the more precise your estimate becomes, but it also makes distinguishing one cluster from another more difficult. The fewer clusters you use, the easier it is to distinguish each cluster, but the margin of errors in crowd size estimates would be bigger.

In the computer method of crowd estimation, one way is to get the total area of the black parts and divide it by the average area of each black head in the image. The principle is straightforward and there are computer programs that can do this, depending on the threshold level for the gray scale. But what makes this method difficult is the possibility of counting black shadows and black shirts, too, which would increase the crowd estimate. Furthermore, umbrellas and blondes would make the method useless.  There is also the problem image distortion due to perspective (areas closer to the camera appear larger) and camera lens imaging (straight lines becomes curved due to pincushion and barrel distortion).  And as your camera goes higher and higher to see the whole crowd, image resolution deteriorates, making it difficult for the computer and even for human crowd estimators to distinguish one person in the crowd from another.  To write a computer algorithm for crowd estimation that can handle all these problems is a very difficult challenge.

I am using the manual method. Since I don’t have a picture of an aerial view of the whole crowd, I have to make estimates on the extent of the crowd based on the pictures available, and assume there is only one cluster for the whole crowd for simplicity–an assumption which I think is a valid if you look at the pictures by Anna Cosio in Carlos Palad’s blog, Catholic Position vs the RH Bill. I computed the total estimated area covered by the crowd by dividing the area into strips with the same 17 m width, and added the area of each strip.  The I used some rules of thumb in wired.com. I verified these rules by drawing on the floor a square with one meter on each side. I stood inside the square and found that 4 people can fit there with enough elbow room as I saw in the pictures. So I used 4 persons/sq.m. and came up with 60,000 persons. Even if I assume only 3 persons/sq.m., that is still 45,000 persons. I doubt that the crowd density is only 2 persons/sq.m., but even that gives 30,000 persons, which is still three times the estimate of 10,000 in newspapers.

4. Does the Manila Observatory do crowd estimation regularly? When?

No, Manila Observatory as an institution does not do crowd estimation, because its focus is primarily on geophysics and disaster science–earthquakes, typhoons, pollution, and space weather–and how these disasters can be quantified, predicted, mitigated, and avoided to save more lives. Some of my colleagues at the observatory–three of them also my fellow physics faculty in Ateneo–are working on satellite and ground data to map out climate change, rainfall patterns, and land use. But the techniques in satellite and ground data processing can easily be applied to crowd estimation, provided sufficient data such as aerial and street level photos are available. In Ateneo de Manila University, there are undergraduate students who are writing software for monitoring pedestrians and for counting fish fingerlings. There are also researchers working with cameras on toy planes to map out flooded areas. Many of these researchers are members of the Ateneo Innovation Center under Dr. Greg Tangonan, who is also the Director for the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE). In short, there is expertise in Manila Observatory and Ateneo de Manila University to do crowd estimation. It is only a question whether they are interested to do it for street rallies and whether they have the manpower to do the research.  The harvest is great but the laborers are few.

As a theoretical physicist, I only do crowd estimation using pen and paper, and the Aug. 4 EDSA Prayer Rally was my first work. I am willing to do crowd estimation regularly as a service for the Church, provided I am given sufficient data consisting of time-stamped pictures in aerial and street level views. The results of the analysis can be published in the web, i.e. in my blog. Other researchers can then challenge the methodology and assumptions, and come up with their estimates using the same or more comprehensive data set. If there are more researchers working on this problem, we can create a Philippine Journal on Crowd Estimation. The results can be applied to any type of crowd–armies of ants, schools of fish, flocks of birds, herds of cattle–even if they would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens or as the sands in the sea.  For this is how science is done: a continuous dialogue in search for truth.

View of the EDSA Shrine during the Aug. 4., 2012 Prayer Rally

View of the crowd at EDSA Shrine during the Aug. 4., 2012 Prayer Rally (picture by Quirino Sugon Jr.)

5) Do you think your personal convictions affected your scientific work on this particular crowd estimation? Why or why not?

I am a Catholic who loves the Church in the same way as Faramir loves Gondor: “And I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise” (Two Towers, p. 314-315). I read the Bible, the Catechism, the lives and writings of saints, and the history of the Church. I organize Latin masses and promote the rosary. In the case of the RH Bill, and of all other issues such as women ordination, same-sex marriage, and human evolution, I only follow what St. Ignatius of Loyola laid down in his Spiritual Exercises–The Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church:

Rule 1: With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our
minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true
Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical
Church.

Rule 13: To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast
to this principle: What I see as white, I will believe to be black if
the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that
between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse,
there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the
salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours
who gave the ten commandments that our holy Mother Church is guided
and governed.

But I am also a physicist with a passion for precision as the data allows. My model for a scientist is St. Ignatius who counts the number of times he fell into a particular fault per day by writing dots in a paper and observing how the number of dots decrease as the days go by. St. Ignatius is one great observer of the motions of his soul that the Society of Jesus he founded became one great network of observatories for observing the motions of the world–the oceans and winds, the moon and stars. The Jesuits are the pioneers in many branches of physics because their mission is to go to the frontiers of knowledge and the crossroads of cultures in order to convert the world for Christ. Seismology was dominated Jesuits during its early development and Padre Faura of Manila Observatory made the first prediction of typhoon tracks in the country. As a tribute to their scientific work, 35 lunar craters are named after Jesuits, with one of the largest named after Fr. Christopher Clavius, SJ, the architect of the Gregorian calendar we now use and a scientist who was treated with great respect by Galileo.

As a Jesuit-trained lay physicist, I am married to my profession, so to speak, and I am faithful to my craft. What I write as a physicist, the others can verify even if they are not Catholics. What I compute is to the best of my knowledge using the available data and the time constraint–I have to publish my estimate the next day.  More precise estimates require days or weeks of work. I hope somebody can correct me and present a more precise estimate of crowd size during the Aug. Anti-RH Bill rally using more accurate data and better methodology.

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Prayer Rally on Aug 4 at EDSA against RH Bill: What would St. Ignatius do?

From Ateneo Latin Mass Society

Prayer Power Rally against RH Bill on Saturday, Aug 4, 2012

Prayer Power Rally against RH Bill on Saturday, Aug 4, 2012

Dear ALMS members and friends,

The Catholic Church hierarchy has called us to join the Prayer Power Rally at EDSA Shrine on Aug. 4 against the RH Bill. Some of us may still be undecided regarding the RH Bill. But as faithful sons of St. Ignatius, it may be worth pondering on his Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Churchas stated in his Spiritual Exercises:

Rule 1. With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.

Rule 13. To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours who gave the ten commandments that our holy Mother Church is guided and governed.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius asks us to meditate on the Two Standards. Now before us are two standards: the Standard of Christ and of His Church against the RH Bill and the Standard of the Pro-RH groups. The battle lines are clear. There is no middle ground. To waver is to fall. Let us join the standard of Christ and of His Church.

This is a historic moment.

Across the Pacific in US, Obamacare is currently being implemented, which requires to institutions to include contraception coverage to their employees.  Those who don’t get health insurance coverage will be penalized with tax.  The Catholic Church is against this law because Catholics cannot promote contraception.  Though the Catholic Church itself is exempted, Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities are not.  Business run by faithful Catholics have to fight their way in court to be granted exemption.  Hercules Industries won the fight vs. Obamacare.  And there are still other business and institutions who have to fight their own battles.  The US Bishops have been divided on so many issues, but not this one: they are all against the Obamacare.

And the same story is replayed in the Philippines.  The Philippine president and some lawmakers wishes to promote the Reproductive Health Bill which would require government to buy contraceptives and give it freely, so that we can lower our population, which the government thinks is the reason why we are poor.  The bishops are against this bill because it would make Filipino Catholics accomplice to the sin, because the government will use taxes to buy these contraceptives.  The Catholic Church promotes Natural Family Planning which respects the reproductive cycles of the woman’s body.  Contraceptives only makes a woman’s body a tool to be used for the sexual gratification of the man, and the proliferation of contraceptives will promote fornication and adultery to the destruction of the Filipino family.  Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical Humanae Vitae, have prophesied all these long before in 1968:

Consequences of Artificial Methods

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola

The Reproductive Health Bill is supported and funded by international groups: Planned Parenthood (the world’s largest abortion provider), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Marie Stopes International, the Packard Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  As St. Paul says,

“For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”

All these groups seek to depopulate the Philippines and make it another wasteland like Europe whose birthrates have plummeted close to one child per woman, resulting to a graying work force that drains the government’s coffers due to more pension costs and lesser sources of taxable incomes.  If this cultural suicide of not having babies does not end, Western Europe as we know it would soon be gone.  And if US also falls, the West would plunge to a new Dark Age of Faith, and the Philippines would become the last bastion of Judaeo-Graeco-Roman Civilization.  Let us defeat the RH Bill once and for all–a defeat so definitive that  none can foresee its arising ever again.  This may be our last stand before Congress decides to terminate the debates on August 7 and decide the fate of the Philippines.  As Aragorn said before the march of the Western armies to the Black Gates of Sauron:

If this be jest, then it is too bitter for laughter.  Nay, it is the last move in a great jeopardy, and for one side or the other it will bring the end of the game.  (The Return of the King, p. 164)

Tomorrow, August 4, is a First Saturday, a day of battle which we shall dedicate to Our Lady.  She is The Woman Clothed with the Sun who accomplished the bloodless revolution in EDSA in 1986.  She is The Woman Who Crushed the Head of the Serpent who destroyed the Berlin Wall in 1991.  And tomorrow, She will be known once again as Our Lady of EDSA–Our Lady of the Epiphany of the Saints:

Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun, as awe-inspiring as bannered troops? (Song of Songs 6:10)

So tomorrow, August 4, please come to EDSA and bring your rosaries. As Our Lady said to St. Dominic whose feast we celebrate tomorrow:

Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?… I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament.  Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter. (St. Louis de Montfort, Secret of the Rosary, p. 21)

Our Lady’s Psalter is the Hail Mary. And a string of Hail Mary’s is the Holy Rosary:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

I hope to see you there at EDSA tomorrow afternoon.  We can meet at 12:00-1:00 p.m. at Loyola House of Studies and join the  Loyola School of Theology delegationconsisting of Jesuit priests, brothers, and lay people.  Wear red for martyrdom.  Those who wish to join the convoy are asked to bring their cars.  Those who wish to join me–we’ll take the train  If there are only few who will come and EDSA is not filled to the brim, let us fear not but  bravely stand and weather the storm.  As Aragorn said:

Stand, Men of the West!  Stand and wait!  This is the hour of doom.

For this is not just our war.  Heaven is fighting with us.  And may God open our eyes as he did to Elisha’s servant, and see the hosts of angels in fiery chariots and horses surrounding EDSA (c.f. 2 Kgs 6:17)

Lex orandi, lex credendi.  May we who are faithful to the rubrics of the Latin Mass may also be obedient to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

AMDG

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr.

Coordinator
Ateneo Latin Mass Society

RH Bill deception: anti-reproduction, anti-women, anti-prosperity

Birth control pills

Birth control pills

Reproductive Health Bill is a deception: it is not for reproduction but for contraception. A woman is sexually healthy if she can conceive a child. This is a simple, objective definition, so I don’t know why the RH Bill wishes to muddle this by adding the woman’s psychological and social well-being. Is pregnancy a sickness that must be cured or the hope of our nation that must be supported? Is pregnancy a privilege only of the rich and not of the poor? Is pregnancy an invention of man and not a gift to be thanked for? Many women who cannot conceive turn to IVF treatment costing fortunes but with low chances of success, resulting to many fertilized embryos dying or remaining frozen in test tubes. Many women who are rich do not wish to have children because this will divide their wealth and double their figure. And many women who wished to stop pregnancy with pills suffered breast cancer.

The RH Bill claims that it is pro-women, but it is actually anti-women. Contraceptives makes sex-before-marriage easier: the woman is not anymore assured of being married by the man, for there is no more pregnancy that shall act as witness to the promises of love made in the heat of the night. Contraceptives makes sex-outside-marriage easier: the wife is not anymore assured that his husband is faithful, because there is no pregnancy that shall cry out scandal in the entire neighborhood. Where does men enter into the picture in the RH Bill? Nowhere. RH Bill assumes that men are weak: they not strong enough to control their passions. RH Bill assumes that men are dumb: they can’t understand the mathematics of the woman’s fertility cycle. And RH Bill assumes that men don’t earn enough: they can’t support a family of eight. This is an insult to men in general and husbands in particular.

The RH Bill promises a prosperous future with only one or two children per family. But without children, there would be no laborers in the fields, workers in the factories, soldiers to defend our country, and priests to offer masses. There are only schools without children, industries without workers, barracks without soldiers, and seminaries without priests. Two children work hard to feed a family of six, which includes their parents and grand parents. The pension system collapses, and the government will be forced to raise the retirement age to 70 or 80 or even 90. It’s a bleak future: the collapse of the Western civilization due to its cultural suicide of not having babies. As Rachel cried out to Jacob: “Give me children or I shall die!” (Gen 30:1)

Thus says the LORD:
In Ramah is heard the sound of sobbing,
bitter weeping!
Rachel mourns for her children,
she refuses to be consoled
for her children—they are no more. (Jer 31:15)

Estimating abortion rates from contraceptive failure rates via risk compensation: a mathematical model

Please check out our paper entitled in Ateneo Physics News:

Estimating abortion rates from contraceptive failure rates via risk compensation: a mathematical model

Or in Google Plus:

Estimating abortion rates from contraceptive failure rates via risk compensation: a mathematical model

This paper should have been finished last January.  But because of my other writing projects, I postponed the revision to two or three weeks ago.  (So my readers may notice that I don’t reply much to comments or post anything new). I hope this paper would help foster a more sober dialogue on the RH Bill, because both pro- and anti-RH bill groups can use its theoretical framework to prove their statements that the more effective contraceptives would result to less abortions (pro-RH Bill) or more abortions (anti-RH Bill).  Happy Feast of the Annunciation to all.

Here’s the abstract:

Abstract:

In this paper, we propose a set of hypotheses for deriving the abortion rate as a function of the intercourse interval in weeks, the number of weeks since the start of rst intercourse, the number weeks of pregnancy, the number of weeks of breastfeeding, and the contraceptive failure rate. We also propose risk compensation as feedback: the intercourse interval is proportional to the mth power of the contraceptive failure rate. We show that for di erent values of m, the abortion rate may become smaller, bigger, or remain the same compared to the case when no contraceptives are used. Thus, one way to settle the RH Bill debate is to determine the correct value of m derived from accurate data on the reproductive health
parameters of a large sample of the female population. If this data is not available, it is better not to take risk in approving the bill, because there is a possibility of increasing our national abortion rate through the promotion of contraceptives. Instead, it may be better to use alternative methods to manage our population and reduce our abortion rate to zero by promoting chastity before marriage, late marriages, and breastfeeding|and accepting each child conceived as a gift and not as a burden.

 

Is Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo exhibit art? Thoughts on polytheism, iconography, and Lord of the Rings

Here is a description of the Poleteismo exhibit:

When they find it in one of the alcoves of the Main Gallery, they will see multicolored plastic piggy banks stuffed inside a case usually reserved for religious statues; and Christ the King with a bright red clown nose, his right hand replaced by a Mickey Mouse glove, and his head crowned with Mickey Mouse ears made from a Coke can.

Hanging behind a divider is a cross with a bright red penis thrusting out from the vertical bar. And on the walls, a multimedia collage composed of a confusion of images and objects: there are ads, political paraphernalia from Fernando Poe Junior, Gilbert Teodoro, and Barack Obama; there are religious posters of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, and the Holy Family; there are handouts, pamphlets, and stickers; there are rosaries, penis ashtrays, crucifixes, condoms, and Christmas lights; there’s a lot of stuff.

Polytheism is the worship of many gods.  Even though there are many gods, ancient men has portrayed them always as separate entities.  The depictions of the God’s of Egypt are many, using different man-animal combinations, but you know who is who.   Egyptian art is governed by rules. Ra is depicted with head of falcon and sun disk. Sekhmet is a woman with a lion’s head.  So if you depict Ra with a lion’s head, the rule is broken and it ceases to be art according to Egyptian hieroglyphic rules.

Christian iconography, though not the same as Egyptian art, is also based on rules.  Most of these rules are given based on the Bible.  For the case of the icon of the Sacred Heart, the image is based on the Last Judgment and the promise of Angel Gabriel to Mary:

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32o He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,* and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, 33and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Lk 1:31-33)

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32g and all the nations* will be assembled before him. (Mt 25:31-32)

This is why you see Christ depicted with a crown and sceptre, because they stand for kingship.  The beating heart aflame and pierced is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible:

“Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? (Road to Emmaus, Lk 24:32)

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34*s but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out (Jn 19:33-34)

My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. 9I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not a man,g the Holy One present among you; I will not come in wrath. (Hos 11:8-9)

Now, is Poleteismo exhibit of Mideo Cruz based on rules?  Like many modern art, Poleteismo is not based on rules.    Modern poems have freed themselves from the strictures of rhyming and meter resulting to free verses.  Modern paintings in the tradition of Picasso are also not based on rules but on an endless search for the Platonic form stripped of the accidentals–the rules of perspective and the physics of light.  Like a disembodied spirit, you see nothing in modern art but a mirage, an illusion formed in your mind of what could have been–full of potential but achieving nothing.

Classical art, in contrast, do not begin with the Platonic form but with reality, and uses the limitations of reality to convey the Platonic form.  Anguish is an abstraction, but you know it when you see the face of Christ in pain.  Sacrifice is an abstraction, but you know it when you see Christ crucified on the cross.  Modern art fails because it falsely assumes that man is not an embodied spirit whose knowledge of reality is conveyed by the senses.

This leads us to the question: is modern art true art?  As long as it has precise rules for interpreting, then it is art; if not, it is just a plain drawing.  With this definition, I would call Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese characters, and Aztec picture writing as true abstract arts.  But modern art of Picasso and Mideo Cruz I shall not call true abstract art.

But there is something else in Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo: mockery of what is.  In Lord of the Rings, this is a mark of the things bred by evil, for Evil cannot create but can only mock.  As Frodo said to Sam concerning Orcs:

No, they eat and drink, Sam.  The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own.  I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures.  Foul waters and foul meats they’ll take, if they can get no better, but not poison.   (Return of the King p. 201)

The orcs were made in the mockery of elves and men.

So when Mideo Cruz mock not men but the image of Christ, the Son of God, by giving Christ Mickey mouse ears and nose, there is something evil afoot.  Black Masses in Satan worship turn the crucifix upside down, turning salvation inside out, making man as gods, and glorifying all the sins against the Ten Commandments.  The first three commandments has been easily disposed.  The fourth is by rebellion to figures of authority, not only parents, but also the government, the church, and rules of good art.   The fifth is by killing the reputation of a good man–the Man-God Christ–and all those who followed Christianity for more than 2000 years.  The sixth and the ninth are by the promotion of the reproductive health bill and its ills–fornication and adultery–by sticking out the condom in the cross.  The eighth is by using freedom of speech to speak falsehood.  And the seventh and 10th by coveting and forcibly taking the authority of the Catholic Church to declare what is morally good and evil.

Mockery of God is a devilish craft, and Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo has the mark of the devil’s claw.

Was the CCP Poleteismo exhibit condemned by the bishops shown before in Loyola House of Studies?

Update: Loyola House of Studies denies showing controversial works of Mideo Cruz at 2007 Tutok Nexus Exhibit

From the Business World:

Since the controversy over Poleteismo exploded, the CCP’s Visual Arts Unit has been fielding calls from people requesting that Kulo be shut down. “The CCP will not be party to any censorship or suppression. Let it be a point of discussion,” said Ms. Flores, adding that she has seen works at the CCP that were “really, really, really more provocative and disturbing.” (Jose Legaspi’s installation in the Small Gallery, for example, which included a modified Pieta showing the Virgin Mother vomiting on the dead Christ.)

Poleteismo is an old piece first shown in 2002 at the Vargas Museum of the University of the Philippines. Mr. Cruz wasn’t thinking of the Reproductive Health Bill when he conceived Poleteismo nine years ago.

Versions of the installation have been exhibited elsewhere, most notably in 2007 in the lobby of the Loyola House of Studies (LHS) — a seminary inside the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University — as part of Tutok: Nexus, a group exhibit organized in cooperation with Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), “an association of religious priests, seminarians and lay people committed to the service of the Filipino Church and the Filipino nation.”

If Catholic clergymen had kept quiet, if Archbishop Oscar Cruz hadn’t called the exhibit “sickening,” if he hadn’t called the artist “sick,” if he hadn’t advised the artist to see a psychiatrist, if he hadn’t implied that the artist’s sexuality was abnormal, if Bishop Deogracias Iniguez hadn’t called for a boycott, then Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo could have gone unnoticed by the larger public.

When they find it in one of the alcoves of the Main Gallery, they will see multicolored plastic piggy banks stuffed inside a case usually reserved for religious statues; and Christ the King with a bright red clown nose, his right hand replaced by a Mickey Mouse glove, and his head crowned with Mickey Mouse ears made from a Coke can.

Hanging behind a divider is a cross with a bright red penis thrusting out from the vertical bar. And on the walls, a multimedia collage composed of a confusion of images and objects: there are ads, political paraphernalia from Fernando Poe Junior, Gilbert Teodoro, and Barack Obama; there are religious posters of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, and the Holy Family; there are handouts, pamphlets, and stickers; there are rosaries, penis ashtrays, crucifixes, condoms, and Christmas lights; there’s a lot of stuff.

“Thereís nothing there that you won’t see in Quiapo,” said Karen O. Flores, officer-in-charge of the CCP Visual Arts Unit.

Ateneo Guidon: Fr. James Reuter, SJ clarifies statement vs pro-RH Bill professors

The Guidon, vo. LXXXII no. 1 June 2011

Reuter clarifies statement vs. pro-RH Bill profs

By A.J. M. Santos and Rhett D. Gaerian

If you’re supporting the Reproductive Health Bill, you should not teach in the Ateneo.

Jesuit priest Fr. James Reuter, SJ stirred controversy after making this statement over radiio station DZIQ 990, also known as Radyo Inquirere, last May 17.  Reuter expressed his opposition to the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011, or more commonly known as the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.

He also denounced the pro-RH Bill professors who teach in the university.  His statement touched on the 14 Ateneo professors who released a position paper entitled “Catholics can support the RH Bill in good conscience,” which was released in October 2008.  The 14 professors released the paper as their own joint opinion, separate from the university’s official stand.  60 more Ateneo professors later signed a statement of support for the RH Bill.

Ateneo maintains its official stand as being that of the Catholic Church’s,. which is opposed to the RH Bill.

Uphold Catholic Tradition

Reuter said the current bill is unclear on what exactly it supports.  While he admitted that he is no expert on the i on the issue and has not studied the text and fine print, he insisted that a bill that “admits abortion as a moral thing” is wrong.

“Let me make this crystal clear.  When I say RH Bill, I mean it justifies abortion.  If it does not justify abortion, then I’m not against it,” he said.

He added that teachers with opinions contradicting Catholic teachings should not teach in a Catholic school like the Ateneo as they will most likely pass it on to students.  “If they themselves are convinced that abortion is not murder, they should not be allowed to teach.”

But when asked if he wanted concrete actions on the part of the school, he said that it was up to  the administrators’ discretion.  A former teacher himself, Reuter said that he would be wary of hiring a teacher who believes in abortion.  “You have to be sure that you don’t have a teacher in the Catholic [faith] teaching something contradictory to the Catholic Church.  The teachings of the Catholic Church are a body of truth  that is crystal clear and you should not teach something contradicting it.”

Reuter, however, is supportive of the bill’s provision on sex education, as long as it is age-appropriate.

Opinions and Beliefs

In the radio interview, Reuter also said that the freedom of speech-alluding to the 14 professors statement–is not absolute.

Despite his strong reprimand, he clarified that a teacher may believe differently from the Catholic Church, but it should not be presented as a moral truth nor taught to students.  He admitted, however, that that would be a difficult thing to do.  “You teach what you are,” he said.

While he had a definitive stand about the pro-RH bill professors, Reuter said that students with differeing opinions are free to go to the Ateneo.  He said that a teacher could eventually influence a student to think otherwise.  “The Catholic boy or girl going to a Catholic school would build all their opinions on the truths of the Catholic Church.”

More sympathetic opinions

Not all Jesuit priests share the same hard line stance. Lawyer Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ has been more sympathetic towards the RH Bill, although he recognizes the need for more fine-tuning.  A member of the commission  that drafted the 1987 Constitution, Bernas has presented religious pluralism in the country as a reason for passing the bill, even if he sides with the Church teaching on artificial contraception.

He also decried fellow clergymen who preach that support for RH is an automatic sin, but he has expressed opposition to the compulsory nature of the age-appropriate sex education for schools.

In a memo dated March 24, former university president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ, said that the university still opposes “the present bill in the light of our Catholic faith.”  He does, however, commend the critical thinking and opinion that the debate on the bill has generated.

“We appreciate the efforts of these members of the ATeneo faculty to grapple with serious social issues and to draw from Catholic moral teaching in their study of the bill,” he said.  “We recognize the right of our faculty, as individuals, to express their views, and appreciate their clear statement that these views are their own and not that of the University.”

On the other hand, another veteran Jesuit, Fr. John J. Carroll, SJ, expressed his disagreement towards other Philippine bishops who are against the RH Bill.  In a commentary written for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Carroll noted that the bill does not legalize contraceptives, since these are already legal and available in durgstores.  He also noted the bill’s categorical opposition to abortion.

Carroll also recommends the further fine-tuning of the bill, particularly on strengthening the ‘conscience clause’, in which health workers and teachers whose religious values conflict with certain aspects of the bill are protected.

Carroll is the namesake of the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues, which is located in the Social Development Complex of the University.