Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Picking up where I left off yesterday with the visionary of Agoo who captivated Bishop Lazo and Bishop Manat...

From the Manila Standard Today:

It was the height of queerness when a transvestite portrayed the Virgin Mary in a Passion Play last Holy Week. Not only did the event and the gesture challenge the tradition that fixes the gender of Christ’s mother, so hauntingly transposed in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ; it also redefined the meaning of the nature of the Passion. It was an act of transformation along different axes: the change of gender and its body, the performance of sexuality, and the history of a hopeful self not condemned to a social type. But there was more to this conversion, for the Mary in question was Angel de la Vega, who in a previous incarnation was the androgynous Judiel Nieva, the celebrated miracle worker of Agoo in La Union named after the archangel Jehudiel. The privileged religious instrument, who was a soloist in the choir and baked strawberry shortcake, created a stir when he claimed to have had visions of Mary, an experience akin to the revelations to the innocents of Fatima and Garabandal; he also testified to a mystical communion with Christ. After the media circus had relented in its coverage of this so-called paranormal curiosity as well as of the pilgrimages it had provoked, nothing much was heard of its star, until he, like a quick-change artist of characteristic alacrity, made himself over as a woman bearing the name Angel. From the stage of apparition, he now appears before us on the screen of show business as actress and impresario, thriving on the myth of appearance and bedeviling our notions of faith and fantasy: from Marian visionary to Mary’s own surrogate in theater, a mission carried out in ecstasy.

It was Bishop Lazo who encouraged Bishop Manat to look into the Agoo apparition and the SSPX. A Catholic website lists the lineage of the SSPX bishops and includes Bishop Lazo among them. The bio indicates that Bishop Lazo retired in 1993, the same year that Bishop Manat claims to have first met him in the Philippines.

An SSPX website claims

Asian pilgrims were able to visit Econe and Mgr. John Bosco Manat of Ratchaburi, a friend of Mgr. Lazo celebrated the Mass in the new Church of Econe.

The website also takes note of the death of Bishop Lazo.

Just to close the loop, remember that it is Bishop Manat who is credited with the founding of the Missionary Society of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, the same society to which Athol Bloomer belongs, and which is noted at the Hebrew Catholic Association website. A cached version of a TCR News article confirms Bishop Manat's association with the Missionary Society. The original version of the story at TCR News has mysteriously disappeared.

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