Aquino Did Wrong in Criticizing
The Clergy Publicly during the Papal Visit
By Apolinario Villalobos
While it is right to criticize the clergy, the occasion chosen by Pnoy Aquino to do it was not right He did it during the courtesy call of the pope at the Malacaῆan palace. Being the host, decency dictates that Aquino should make the visitor at ease. When the pope let out an admonition regarding the publicly- acknowledged presence of graft and corruption in the government, such remark did not sound like a big deal, as every Filipino, even the whole world is aware of it, anyway. Aquino should have restrained himself. His being a brutally frank person should have a limitation for the sake of decency.
His criticism of the clergy should have been said during a post-papal visit press conference in reaction to what the pope said about the graft and corruption in his administration. In such venue, his pronouncements can still merit prominence. Also, the Catholic hierarchy in the country admits that indeed, their rank is not free from corruption ever since, and the Catholics themselves are aware of this. Why then, make a big deal of such, in the presence of the most respected head of State, and whom many consider as a “living saint”?
Anybody has the right to be personal in his views, making him tactless sometimes, but it is different when a person doing it is the Head of a Nation, a president, a vowed Catholic, and entertaining the highest official of the Catholic Church, the representative of Jesus on earth. With what he did, Aquino just added one more stain on his image – that of tactlessness. Filipinos delight in his brutal and frank statements against China, though viewed as without clout and toothless, but the effort has been exerted – bravely. But in the presence of the people’s pope, he should have acted more differently.
Aquino missed the opportunity to show the pope that he is also like the rest of the Filipinos- a people who are ready to suffer with humility, a people who can stand the onslaught of graft and corruption in the government, a people whose food has been grabbed by greedy government officials!…the Filipinos have a word for such loss….SAYANG!