TEN WORST MOMENTS OF THE POPE’S VISIT
Written by Robby Tantingco
After the 10 Best Moments now come the 10 Worst, in ascending order:
10. President Aquino monopolizing the Pope upon his arrival at Villamor airport. The gracious thing to do would have been to greet the Pope then step aside and let the people welcome him, too. After all, he would still welcome him again the next day in Malacanang!
9. The Cabinet members who obviously used their position to secure access to the Pope. I saw them at the airport, saw them again at the palace, and once more at the Mall of Asia, tagging along different faces every time!
8. The Cabinet members (again!) who rented a private jet to tail the Pope’s plane to Tacloban. On the return flight to Manila, their jet skidded on the runway and got stuck in the mud, stranding the rest of the flights. Thankfully the Pope's plane had left 30 minutes earlier.
7. Our obsession with selfie. Instead of rosaries, we raised only smartphones and tablets. It's OK to record sightings of the Pope (I did, too), but it's better to drop our cameras and savor the moment with our five senses. And I’m sure the Pope wanted to see our faces, not our gadgets!
6. The starstruck priests who videotaped the Pope at the Mass that they were supposed to be concelebrating. They didn't care that he was the Pope who had urged priests to be prayerful and to lead simple, unadorned lifestyles.
5. Two awkward moments: (a) when the Pope faced the clergy and religious inside the Tacloban Cathedral to announce he was cutting short his visit, they responded with a loud groan so that Pope had to humor them before they let him go; and (b) the guy at the UST event who was busy looking for a letter he was going to give the Pope that he did not immediately see the Pope’s hand reaching for a handshake.
4. The emcee at the Quirino Grandstand whose annoying voice actually made me change channels. However, CNN and EWTN were using the same live TV feed from Manila so there he was again, shouting for all the planet to hear, “Okay pa ba kayo dyan?? Let’s do the Pope Francis Wave one more time, one, two, three! Now let’s sing Papa Francisco, Papa Francisco…”
3. Typhoon Amang, which literally rained on the Pope’s parade and sabotaged the organizers’ best-laid plans. Hundreds of thousands suffered from hypothermia and sleep deprivation, and were in desperate need of thick blankets and hot soup. By the time the Pope arrived at the Quirino Grandstand, the crowd had thinned in the middle quadrants—quite embarrassing for organizers who needed to break the 1995 record for the biggest papal crowd.
2. PNoy’s shockingly discourteous welcome speech at Malacanang. He lectured the Pope on the role of the Church in the colonization of the Philippines, made sumbong about bishops who supported Marcos and Gloria, and told two very inappropriate jokes, one about a bishop criticizing his bald head and another about the security nightmare the Pope’s visit was causing his government. Then he showed off his knowledge of Scripture by quoting not one but two passages from St. Matthew's Gospel (complete with chapter and verse numbers) to defend his RH program which he knew the Pope opposes. Didn't they have a private meeting where he could have unburdened all these?
And worst of all...
1. PNoy comparing himself with Pope Francis in the same speech. He told the Pope that they "both see things as they are and are unafraid of asking 'Why not?'" and that they are "both instruments of God through which His Kingdom is allowed to flourish." Therefore, he said, he and the Pope must be (gasp) kindred spirits! PNoy named their other kindred spirits: Cardinal Tagle, Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ and Sister Agnes Guillen who "have always been voices of reason, and who are spiritual people who will always be natural allies.” He said he “would like to think that even more will join us in the truth in the fullness of time.” Bolstering further his claim of kinship with the Pope, he said he hoped there would be more like them “in the fight to transform society.”
Photos credit to the owner