Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oratio Imperata Ad Petendam Pluviam

I've been looking at a Google Timeline of published news articles involving Catholic Church leaders praying for rain.

Although much of Asia was battling devastating floods in July, 2007, there were fears that a drought was taking hold in the Philippines because of the El Nino weather phenomenon, which had delayed the onset of the rainy season.  Thus...   

August 2, 2007 (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales on Wednesday urged priests and the laity to storm the heavens with prayers and seek divine intervention for more rains to come.

Rosales said “the lack of rains in what is already the rainy season of the country calls for divine intervention.”

“Our relief will come from nature. And so we implore the Master of all creation, God, our Father, at whose command the winds and the seas obey, to send us rain,” the cardinal said in a statement.

Rosales issued an Oratio Imperata Ad Petendam Pluviam (Obligatory Prayer to Request for Rain) and Intercessory Prayers for Rain to be said in all Masses in the Archdiocese of Manila beginning Friday.

The Oratio Imperata was issued to all parish priests, shrine rectors, chaplains and school directors.

The prayer for rains will be said until the rains come, said archdiocese spokesperson Peachy Yamsuan.

Lo and behold! During the next two weeks no less than three typhoons (Chedeng, Dodong and Egay) arrive in quick succession bringing floods, devastation and catastrophe to a stunned and perhaps wondering Archipelago, finally causing the Cardinal of Manila to issue a HALT to all the previously ordered supplications to the Almighty for rain!

August 16, 2007 GMA TV News

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales on Thursday called on the faithful to stop the Oratio Imperata Ad Petendam Pluviam or the prayer to request for rain. 

In a circular dated August 15, Rosales directed all parish priests, rectors, chaplains, and school directors in the Archdiocese of Manila to lift the prayer for rain as the weather bureau announced the end of the dry spell in portions of Luzon. 

The directive came even as the country braced for the effects of typhoon 'Egay' which has gained more power as it nears the Philippines.

Only days before, the country was lashed by typhoons Chedeng and Dodong that rendered areas flooded, caused landslides, and destroyed crops. 

“The rains have come and the Philippine weather agency has pronounced the end to the dry spell. We thank God for this blessing, a sign of His providence and love for us," Rosales said. 

The cardinal had issued the circular on July 31, instructing priests to recite a prayer for rain during every Mass starting August 3.

It shall be a source of ceaseless wonder for me henceforward that the Cardinal of Manila can, within the space of a fortnight, implore Almighty God to do one thing, and having gotten quick service and satisfaction, beseech a halt to Divine Intervention!  [Vanity, thy name is Roman!]

I remember that Jaime Cardinal Sin once used this very same MAGIC TRICK (with a perfectly straight face of course) during another period of El Nino in 1998.  It helps to know of course that an average of 20 to 21 typhoons visits the Philippine Archipelago annually, a fact known from Spanish Times,  with the traditional peak of the stormy season being in the July-August-September time frame.  After all, every drought in history has ended in rain, eventually!

Thus, any Reverend Charlattan wearing the flowing robes of holy orders, a pointy hat and a weighty ring,  can pull off the Oratio Imperata Trick with blithe aplomb.

The Catholic Church has certainly taken on some very controversial positions on environmental issues, mining, energy, pollution, nuclear power, oil and gas production, etc.  I just hope it stays out of Meteorology and Weather for a while. 

For September 2009 of course the Google Archive Timeline will contain all manner of references to Typhoon Ondoy, whose calamitous effects are still unreeling slowly, breathlessly before our eyes, as the rescue and relief efforts are only now going into high gear.  

The present catastrophe that has sunk Manila and much of Luzon this past week in veritable Deluge of biblical proportions (at least for those worst affected) has started a scramble for explanations and causes. Climate change and global warming have received much attention.

A quite remarkable and relevant speech on this phenomenon of environmentalism as a religion was delivered by the author, Michael Crichton to the Commonwealth Club of California some years back. Read it all on the official website after this
small quotation:

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday---these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don't want to talk anybody out of them, as I don't want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don't want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can't talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

But if a moralistic approach to the environment should work towards the adoption of sane and scientific approaches to remediation and adaptation to weather and climate changes, so be it!

But no praying to Gaia okay? 

SOURCE: Philippine Commentary


manuelbuencamino said...

Nice. the antics of prelates made me laugh

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

Oratio anti-pluviam

realtor Toronto said...

How ridiculous! I mean the prayers of the priests - that is insane - I think the meteorological regularity proves it clearly! I suppose it even might have been a clever way to show the power of religion. Or maybe I'm just giving them too much credit. Although I have to admit that the comparison of enviromentalism with the traditional religions by Michael Crichton was kind of impressive. Julie