It has been a very busy past few days. There was a ride down the B.C. interior, through striking fall colours and the province’s stunning beauty, into the Thompson and Fraser canyons, among craggy snow tipped mountains, dry lands, even sagebrush and lush river bottoms to the lower mainland and Vancouver.
Then a flight to the capital city of the Philippines. On the trip over, I sat beside an accomplished Filipino lady who was returning from Toronto to attend her brother’s funeral. She was very interesting and had some fascinating things to say about the predominant religion of the Philippines. She was born before World War 2, and remembers the news that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and the invasion of the Philippines. She survived this but some members of her family did not. She went on to go to the United States and get a master’s degree from Yale University in pharmacology.
A good job offer brought her to Canada, where she did research on DNA.
She told me that they were brought up in the Church of Rome and her father was a Catholic but he hated the priests and didn’t believe in confession. She told me that as a boy, he had witnessed terrible wrongdoing by priests, that stayed with him. He was an adventurous boy and though they were not supposed to, he and others had gotten into a convent. They must perhaps heard or seen someone, then hid on the grounds and inadvertently witnessed the rape of a nun by a priest. This lady indicated that this must have happened more than once. Her father reported what he saw but was not believed. It is quite a report from a very credible, accomplished woman, information that she volunteered. Echoes of the sensational nineteenth century book, The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk. She also said she was not allowed to read the Bible as a young person because the Church forbid it, as Charles Chiniquy also said in his autobiography.
It is has been also interesting to see the role of Catholicism here in the Philippines, on the surface, still a predominantly Catholic nation. I noticed one prayer room at the Manila airport, that obviously was for Catholics with all the photos of John Paul 2 on the wall. And there is Manila, the steaming, bustling capital. I had heard about the streets and the driving but you have to experience it to believe it. I don’t think I would like to try. A friend here said that reportedly an F1 race driver said he wouldn’t want to drive Manila streets also. Friends are staying in possibly the most exclusive hotel in the city. I am staying in a very nice new Holiday Inn nearby but we apparently don’t rate the machine guns that the guards are holding in front of that hotel. This place moves, even in shopping malls, you lead, follow or get out of the way or get run over, it seems.