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Secret burial of Marcos is a theological contradiction

The way in which former dictator was interred by his family made it obvious he was no hero

Secret burial of Marcos is a theological contradiction

Soldiers guard the entrance to the cemetery of heroes in Manila during the burial of the remains of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Nov. 18. (Photo by Basilio Sepe)

Prof. Bonifacio Tago Jr., Manila

November 30, 2016

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The hullabaloo created in Philippine society by the secret burial of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos in Manila's cemetery for heroes on Nov. 18 made me reflect.

Christian martyrs and saints can be the religious equivalent to heroes in civil societies. The former gave their lives for their faith in God and in the church, while the latter offered their death to their country and their people.

Martyrs and saints, as well as heroes, are proclaimed in public as individuals who live virtuous lives. They are venerated and honored openly by people as models on how to live fruitful and meaningful lives.

Their relics and memorabilia are exposed to everyone who wish to get in touch with them, know them better, and establish deeper relationships with them. Indeed, the lives of martyrs, saints, and heroes, as well as their death, truly belong to the people.

The burial of former dictator Marcos in the country's cemetery for heroes was made in secret. Contrary to the dignity given to the place of burial (a hero’s place), Marcos' family made it obvious that Marcos was no hero.  

People whose funerals are kept secret, are in no way, worthy of being emulated by the public. Secrecy is the work of the corrupt, the handiwork of the devil, and the masterpiece of those who live in darkness.     

Instead of the people clamoring for Marcos’ relics to be touched and venerated, they are shouting for his grave to be unearthed and for him to be buried in its rightful place. 

Instead of students wanting to spread the good news that they have another human being to look up to, they are part of those rallying to convince everybody that the man secretly buried at the heroes' cemetery is worth condemning.  

The secret burial of Marcos in a supposedly hero’s place is a theological contradiction.  

It is the very nature for goodness and love to be shared, not kept in secret. The good, loving, and merciful God reveals himself to people in public, not in private.  

If some private individuals have had privileged encounters with the Divine, they were meant to be proclaimed to everybody. It is because God’s personal revelations to these so called "privileged" individuals are for the well being of all, not for the private consumption of these "chosen" people.  

Bonifacio Tago Jr. is vice president for academic programs and professor of philosophy at Good Samaritan Colleges in Cabanatuan City, Philippines. He is currently taking up a doctorate degree in Theology in Consecrated Life at the Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia.

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