MANILA – An amulet bearing the image of Sto. Nino is an ordinary thing to see, especially in Quiapo. But would you wear one with the same image but with one very odd feature: an erect penis?
And while Fr. Carlos Reyes, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue (ECID), said the amulet “has something to do with the occult”, many in the male homosexual community challenged the priest saying, “Hindi nyo lang malunok ang katotohanan na walang malisya yan kasi malisyoso kayo” (You priests just cannot swallow the truth that this symbol is without malice because you are all malicious.”)
According to CBCP News, Fr. Reyes first came across the image when someone asked him to bless what looked like an inch-high Sto. Nino. That “someone” is the current national chairman of the Gay Alliance of Philippine Associations on Nice-treatment for Gays (GAPANG), Teodoro “Cho-Cho” Paeng.
Paeng thinks that the brass figure of the Sto. Nino has the potential of becoming the symbol for gay religiosity. “Being gay is a divine gift,” says Paeng. The figure has an orb in his left hand and has three rays emanating from its halo and an erect penis disproportionate in size with respect to the body.
Fr. Reyes warned the bearer of the amulet, which resembles the much-loved image of The Child Jesus, of the dangers of carrying such image in their persons. This was received with indignation from Paeng. “What is the danger? We cling on this amulet for protection against violence on homosexuals like us.”
LGBT people are becoming increasingly vulnerable to crimes because of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). To date, 156 LGBTs have been murdered (data since 1996), 17 of those in 2012 alone. “Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are the major motivations for hate crimes against LGBT people. Fear and hatred kills,” says Santy Layno, Trustee of Ladlad Partylist.
Fr. Reyes said that Msgr. Gay Bandojo, Vicar for Clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila, confirmed that the image has something to do with the occult and evil spirits. “When you wear this,” Reyes said, “you are inviting the phallic spirit to consume you and summon phallic powers to abuse you.” This idea according to Paeng is welcome in the gay community, “We think phallic, so what’s the problem?” (Phallic is an adjective of, relating to, or resembling a phallus or erect penis: ex, “a phallic symbol”
Msgr. Bandojo also assists the Archdiocese of Manila’s Office of Exorcism. “Evil spirits will have a foothold on people who own [these amulets]. It is deceiving because at first glance, it looks like the Sto. Nino,” Reyes said.
GAPANG issued a statement recently on this remark by Msgr. Bandojo stating that “Catholic priests are known to love ‘niño’ and loves holding their patotoy.” The statement made mention of the Catholic sex abuses in the US.