Bishop: Telecast of Pacquiao fight promotes violence
MANILA, Philippines—While millions of Filipinos will be glued to their TV sets on Sunday to watch international boxing icon Manny Pacquiao slug it out with Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas, a Catholic prelate reminded the faithful on Saturday that the live telecast of the fight indirectly promotes violence.
Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz reiterated the Church’s misgivings about the sport which has given Filipinos a new source of national pride.
“The Church accepts the fact that there’s boxing, but it does not endorse, much less promote it, because of the physical violence in the venture,” Cruz said in an interview. “That (broadcasting of the fight) is indirectly promoting physical violence.”
Noting that many local governments and business establishments would be showing the fight, Cruz said there was no need for Catholic parishes to join the bandwagon.
“Even if it’s allowed, it’s neither necessary nor proper because there are so many other public and private agencies that undertake this venture,” Cruz said.
“There are enough entities that would put up pay-per-view screenings,” he added.
In May, Pacquiao’s own bishop— Marbel bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez—urged the boxing legend to retire from the ring. Gutierrez’s Diocese of Marbel embraces South Cotabato, parts of Sultan Kudarat and Pacquiao’s Saranggani province.
Echoing the Church’s stance, Gutierrez reminded the flock that the Church considers a person’s body as the “temple of the Holy Spirit” and that it should not be abused or harmed.
“Usually, I don’t approve of boxing because you are hurting the other. Every person is a temple of the Holy Spirit. If you box someone and punch him, it’s like you’ve also punched the Holy Spirit… the temple,” Gutierrez said.
“What did the lord say? Love your neighbor, so I never approved of boxing,” he added. “That’s why I’ve told the Knights of Columbus not to sponsor boxing because I said it is un-Christian to hurt others.”
Gutierrez and Cruz’s misgivings about boxing are shared by many Catholic moral theologians. In 2005, Civilta Cattolica, a leading Jesuit journal in Rome that reflects the official view of the Vatican, said that boxing and the business interests around it were immoral.
It said boxing was based on violence and run by business interests interested in making money out of the suffering boxers inflict on each other.
“I have for a long time advised (Pacquiao to retire),” Gutierrez said, adding that the boxer remains his “friend.”
“He just said ‘Opo.’ He was just saying ‘Go ahead. You have your (way), I have my own (way),” the bishop added.
Asked about the prestige Pacquiao has brought to the country, Gutierrez said: ”The end does not justify the means. You can go into drugs, gun smuggling, prostitution…. The end does not justify the means.”
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