Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco raising the Blessed Sacrament in the announcement of the Day of Reparation released by the Diocese of Cubao (Courtesy of the Diocese of Cubao Facebook page)

The Diocese of Cubao held a day of reparation in response to the viral video of drag artist Pura Luka Vega who performed a remixed version of the Lord’s Prayer dressed as the Black Nazarene of Quiapo.

“I ask all the parishes and religious communities to offer the Holy Hour for first Friday of August (August 4, 2023) in reparation for the sacrileges against Our Lord. I would also like to urge our dear parishioners to take this opportunity to teach your children the importance of showing respect to everything that is sacred, whether it be the Eucharist or the Lord’s Prayer and to avoid any act of desecration,” said Cubao Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco in post in the diocese’s official Facebook page.

The move was in reaction to the controversial performance of drag artist Pura Luka Vega who performed a remixed version of “Ama Namin” while dressed as Jesus Christ. The video uploaded on X (formerly Twitter) drew condemnation from various religious groups. The viral video was later deleted.

A group of Christian leaders was charged Vega in court on Monday, July 3, for allegedly violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code.

Screenshot of the livestream of the Holy Hour of Reparation at Fr. Zerrudo’s parish church. (Courtesy of the St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church’s Facebook Page)

Fr. Michell Joe B. Zerrudo, parish priest of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Balintawak, Quezon City said Vega’s performance “transgressed the 2nd commandment” and was not a simple “mockery of a religious song.”

“He made fun of the prayer which our Lord himself taught us. This prayer starts with the word “Ama” which is the personal Name of the first person of the Blessed Trinity. By making fun of the Lord’s prayer, he made fun of the name of God the Father,” Zerrudo who is also the exorcist of the Diocese of Cubao said in an interview with PressOne.PH.

Zerrudo stressed that the “offense against the 2nd commandment is truly a grievous one” adding that the issue is not only pursued in a civil court but one that “demands reparation”, which, in Catholic theology means a prayer or devotion with the intent to expiate the “sins of others”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that every offense committed entails the duty of reparation, even if its actor has been forgiven.

Acts of reparation include public praying of the Rosary, Way of the Cross and an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament called Holy Hour.

The Diocese of Cubao also issued a liturgical guide on how to conduct the “Diocesan Day of Prayer in Reparation for the Sacrilege Against the Lord”. The Holy Hour also falls on the first Friday of the month when Catholics traditionally hold an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Only the Diocese of Cubao among the 72 dioceses in 16 ecclesiastical provinces, as well as 7 apostolic vicariates and a military ordinariate in the Philippines has conducted a public act of reparation against the drag artist’s performance.

Fr. Zerrudo admitted that some of his parishioners approached him to express their dismay at the drag artist’s performance. He led this morning’s Mass and Holy Hour reparation in his parish church with more people attending than the usual number of daily Mass goers.

Asked if the controversy is a battle between a person’s right to free expression over religious beliefs, Zerrudo said he would rather see the outrage “as a call to respect religious beliefs.”

“I don’t think he will make a drag performance of anything related to Islam. I even appreciate the negative reaction of some Muslim vloggers. They understood the importance of respecting religious beliefs,” he said. – Rommel F. Lopez