21 Jan 5 Ways Filipinos Insulted the Pope in his Visit
5 Ways Filipinos Insulted the Pope in his Visit
1. Insulted the Church face-to-face
Imagine you have a guest, one who is beloved by your housemates. As a way of greeting him, you say to him: “Hey, your children suck”. See anything wrong with it? If yes, congratulations, you are normal. If not, congratulations, you are Presidential material. At least you know how a President should treat a guest of honor such as the Pope.
We thought it wasn’t too much to ask that Noynoy Aquino not follow his standard speech template of 1) blame the past administration 2) glorify my family legacy 3) anyone who criticizes me is irrational for welcoming the Pontiff. But we were DEAD WRONG.
(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here)
JUAN SAYS: So everybody was cringing while our President was delivering his speech in Malacanang. We are guessing that even the press people inside the Palace were also cringing. We are guessing that with his lengthy rants on what the Catholic church did and didn’t do (and the blame game starts here) before and during his administration, has also offended the clergy in one point or another. Distasteful? Yes. It was short of putting up a ‘Damaso’ sign in front of the Pope. #Kosa as Carlos Celdran posted on facebook.
2. Media ‘dumbed down’ the Pope…
Do you know why Pope Francis is super popular, even compared to previous Popes? Well if you ask Philippine media (particularly TV and radio broadcasters and commentators), it’s because of his smile, what he ate for breakfast and lunch, his seemingly boundless energy, etc.
No, really, if I was just some ordinary Filipino and I hadn’t learnt about Google, then that’s what I would think. Because that’s virtually everything about the Pope that local media focused on.
What did the Pope say about corruption, lack of social services, and continuing extreme poverty under the Aquino administration IN FRONT of Noynoy Aquino himself? It doesn’t matter! Pogi naman yung kumakanta sa misa. That’s how stupid the local media coverage of the Papal visit was.
JUAN SAYS: We too took notice of what the media has been writing and saying about the Pope. And to this day, there have been news items on who made his room, the ice cream he ate during his flight back home, and yeah, a continuing saga (an in depth report, mind you) on who the ‘cute responsorial psalm guy’ is. Enough already! The media has reduced us to this. And we have also allowed the media to belittle our brains with their reports. But that is what sells. The shallowness of it all sells and generates more facebook shares than the real stories. Because this country is one hell of a telenovela. Even the Philippine government is one slapstick joke.
3. … and so did some of the ‘faithful’
I’m being nice with the word some. At times, I ask myself whether I’m waiting for the Pontiff, or in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition. Because man, everyone’s wearing a Papal shirt, beating the heat with Papal fan, and buying food from a fastfood joint with a Papal tarpaulin. Oh and if that’s not enough, vendors are selling anything Papal all the way to dolls and pillows that are meant to look like Francis.
It’s like a fiesta where everyone is celebrating, but if you ask the original religious significance of the fiesta, only a few people can remember (come to think of it, I think this was my comment on the Sinulog).
JUAN SAYS: With a pep rally cheerleader in Luneta to boot! Wave! Wave! Waaaaaavvveee!
The only thing missing was Kris Aquino’s interview of the pope and interrupting him every chance she could get. As the facebook status of topnotch PR practitioner suggested: “You know my son Bimby has more followers than you and we make more money in the Philippines.” We’re with her wishing that Robert Langdon would come to remove that anti-matter threat from this country!
4. Military bullies priests, nuns, and other religious (and Church officials allow it)
This is where shit gets serious. Remember how Aquino mentioned in his speech ‘Martial Law’? Apparently, he wanted to demonstrate to the youth today (those born after 1986) how that worked. So the Armed Forces arrested some nuns in the province of Leyte simply because they previously criticized the incompetence of the government’s relief efforts after Yolanda (and despite those nuns having done MORE than the government in that specific field).
They also tried to prevent people, led by both Catholic and Protestant priests, from seeing the motorcade because their banners called on the Pope to ‘help them against corruption’ (something which the Pope is against with, in the first place). Finally, they tried to prevent a Catholic priest from attending the Papal activities in Tacloban (even though he was in the guest list), again, because of his criticisms of the government’s Yolanda efforts.
What did the Pope say again in front of Aquino? “The great Biblical traditions enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the Poor”. Baka dapat ata Tagalog para maintindihin ni Noynoy.
And worst of all, the Church (or at least, top officials of the Catholic Church in the Philippines) were part of it. At the very least, they allowed themselves to be bullied. At most, they were guilty of the same paranoia and anti-poor biases as Aquino.
JUAN SAYS: And we are not even under Martial Law. ‘Nuff said. Surely, the Military and the government would say that priests and nuns who weren’t allowed to see the Pope served as a security threat for the Pontiff. We’d like to disagree. The Pontiff’s meeting with ‘liberal theologians’ posed a threat to the security of the government. Wala pa ngang nagsusumbong ng deretsahan, sinapul na ng Santo Papa ang in denial na gobyerno. Paano pa kung makikita at maririnig niya mismo ang tunay na mga pangyayari sa buhay ng mga maralitang Pilipino? (Read: Not us, says President on Pope’s remarks on poor and corruption) In English, “der wath neber an ath.”
5. The poor were silenced, censored, and airbrushed
At every step of the way, the poor, the main reason the Pope came to the Philippines, was kept out of his way. Street children and vendors were swept off the streets as if they were garbage. High fences were erected to hide slums. Farmers from the island of Samar were blockaded so they could not enter Tacloban.
JUAN SAYS: this was more than just street cleaning, this was a total makeover of the streets of Metro Manila and Tacloban in a grave effort to conceal the truth. In a report by Rappler (Were Street Families Hidden from the Pope?) it was said that 600 individuals from street families living in Malate were brought to a resort in Nasugbu, Batangas, sponsored by no less than DSWD. Why then would the government initiate a field trip for these poor families when they could have been shuttled to MOA Arena for a day to be with the Pope? Mas mura pa! Mas may meaning. No wonder we didn’t see any of the marginalized poor in the MOA Arena gathering.
Is it just us? Or were you also looking for poor families inside MOA Arena? All we saw were familiar faces of the rich and socialites all comfortably seated in the “patron” area. We expected more of the poor and underprivileged to grace this event for it has been reported that the heart of Pope Francis belongs to the poor. He has done this in the slums of Argentina, and he is doing it in Vatican to date (you know, those stories where he would escape from the Papal home to visit the prostitutes, and those that are considered ‘lost’ in Rome).
But then again, there is more than one definition of poor in the English vocabulary. There are those who don’t have enough for their basic needs, and there are those who just can’t get enough of themselves. How blessed indeed are the “poor in spirit,” they were in the comforts of MOA Arena while those whom the Pope really wanted to see were struggling outside, standing under heat and rain for many hours.