It's the Shroud of Turin Mall Tour!
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- For centuries, a piece of linen cloth bearing the image of a crucified man, called the "Shroud of Turin", is continuously revered by the faithful believing it was the actual burial shroud of Jesus Christ.Call me old-school Vulcan but does anybody else find the concept of god in a temple of mammon jarring, to say the least?
The shroud is said to be locked away in a cathedral in Turin, Italy and only displayed three or four times in a century.
However, shoppers at SM City Pampanga will be given the rare opportunity to view the replica of the world's most studied archaeological artifact of all time, which will be unveiled at SM City Pampanga on July 20.
An Adoration Chapel is also on hand for visitors who wish to spend some moments in quiet solace and prayer, while a special of the exhibition is also set aside for special events like seminars and workshops, hosted by religious groups.
"The last part of the tour serves to reach out to our visitors on a personal level," said Lloren. "The area allows them to relive their experience, to reflect on the shroud and what it means to their faith, and to carry out the message of the Shroud in their activities," she also said. (Sun Star Pampanga)
I know that I'm the last person to tell people how they should worship, considering that I'm the sort who's agnostic on a good day and atheist the rest. Faith, in itself (or the lack thereof), is a non-issue with me. But I also believe that a great deal of evil in the world today is due to ignorance. The solace of ignorance is the belief that everything is written down already.
When you think that everything's written down already, you might as well roll over and die. Or place your existence in the hands of some higher being and her/his/its self-proclaimed earthly representatives. You can have a president who says that she/he/it has a direct line to god. In this set-up, to question the validity of such a statement would make you a godless person and just plain wrong, end of discussion.
It puts me in mind of kids having to learn from those awful textbooks. A lot of people--even profs at my university--think that if something's in print, then it must be true. (I once had a very nice prof who--bless her innocent heart--mentioned a Chromosome Z. In humans. I later found the textbook, written by a committee of PhD's, that she "learned" it from.) I'm not a huge fan of the educational system, obviously, because I have a horror of studying for grades or diplomas or even a job. (It's actually more dangerous than it sounds because I don't have go-getter tendencies to make up for my aversion. I'm sure that there's a parallel universe where I'm selling blood right now.)
The current textbook brouhaha valiantly instigated by Antonio Go is absolutely called for, if only to disturb the complacency of the bureaucrats in charge. But, as I see it, the problem with the educational system goes beyond textbooks. In Go's statement, he mentioned the current Secretary of Education painting classroom chairs for a photo-op. This is relatively harmless vanity. What I find more indicative of misguidedness is that the Shroud of Turin Mall Tour is endorsed by the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.
Now, I couldn't care less who the guy on the shroud is, whether it's Jesus or Barabbas or Jacques de Molay. (I do fancy the Molay Theory, though, because it would make the story Umberto Eco fanfic-ish.) But the point is, of all the things that the DepED and CHED can do to show that they are worth their salt, it has to be something unconstitutional. Nowhere, I believe, do government officials so brazenly violate their sworn oath to serve and protect all citizens regardless of religion. This includes, but is not limited to, showing no favor. It makes me wonder: Are they even aware of the separation of Church and State?
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The Philippine Exhibition of The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin opens on July 20 at SM City Pampanga. It will then be taken to SM Mall of Asia from September 8 to December 9; SM City Davao from January 18 to February 3; and SM City Cebu from April 4-27, 2008.