HomeNewsChurch leaders hit ‘offensive’ drag performance

Church leaders hit ‘offensive’ drag performance

Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines have lambasted a drag performance depicting Jesus Christ while singing the “Lord’s Prayer” in a punk rock version.

“May God have mercy on him. The sacred liturgy is a sacred celebration where God encounters his people thru his word and the sacraments,” said Archbishop Victor Bendico of Capiz on Thursday.

The prelate, who heads the Commission on Liturgy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said liturgical celebrations of the Church “should glorify God and not insult Him”.

“They are meant to sanctify people, not to insult or disrespect people,” the prelate added.

Pura Luka Vega, a Filipino drag queen, drew criticism after posting on social media a video of herself singing the Catholic hymn to a cheering crowd at a bar, while in an outfit that appeared to be portraying Christ.

“Faith and sacred objects are not for entertainment purposes. They are useful for channeling our deepest desire to have recourse to the Divine,” said Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the bishops’ conference’s Commission on Public Affairs on July 12. 

The priest encouraged the public to be “extremely prudent” in using elements of religion and faith “for secular purposes”. 

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“If not used properly, such actions border on mockery and profanity. Dancing to the tune of a sacred and biblical prayer, with matching sacred costume to boot, is completely disrespectful not only of people and institutions practicing such faith but of God Himself,” the priest said. 

In an interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, Vega said the performance was not meant to offend anyone. “I understand the sentiments, and I think they’re valid but as an artist, the perception of my art is beyond my control. However, my intent is clear and does not mean to offend,” she said.

“It’s my way of expressing my faith, odd as it may seem,” she said. “I deliberately chose Ama Namin for the message—a message of hope for the oppressed, particularly the LGBTQIA+ community.” 

The drag queen said the performance was an attempt at how “the act of expressing faith and worship intersect with queerness”. 

In a social media post, Father Michael Angelo Dacalos of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart said the Lord’s Prayer was “taught by Jesus that is preserved in the Scriptures” and it is “prayed by Christians in times of peace and persecution, of abundance and famine, of faith and doubt”.

“Mocking it doesn’t strip off the prayer of its dignity and truth, it’s the mocker who loses them,” he said.

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