Between the pope's diplomacy and the president's "faux pas"
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 18, 2015 - 12:00am

The Malacanan welcome ceremonies was a coming together between the Church and the State that should have focused on convergences and common purpose, rather than touch on sensitive and rather sour notes. The President, in his welcome address, started with a highly sensitive subject of some irritants between some members of the clergy and his administration. He even started with the unpleasant manner by which the Crown of Spain brought the Catholic faith to our people and nation. Was this the proper attitude of a welcoming head of state?

President Aquino pointed out to the Supreme Pontiff that certain bishops and priests of the Catholic Church had been very critical against his government, while they were mysteriously silent during the GMA administration. He said that to those members of the clergy, it would seem that their search for the truth would be to find what is there to criticize, without taking into consideration the facts. In other words, the President was presenting a grievance before the Holy Father. The President even alleged that his clerical critics were looking the glass as half-empty instead of looking at it as half-full.

Well, we have our full respect for our Chief Executive. He has had an excellent breeding and a very good education. He was molded by the Jesuits in Ateneo. He is the only son of a very refined and well-bred former President herself and a gentleman Senator and statesman, a scion of the landed Cojuangco clan from Tarlac and the Sumulongs from Rizal as well as from the famous Aquino political family from Concepcion, Tarlac. But, with due respect, we have to say that his speech last Friday was rather unexpected in state ceremonies welcoming another head of a sovereign state.

The Pope, on the other hand, was very statesman-like, very cool, collected and confident. He also took a swipe against corruption and raised some social issues like the rights of the unborn child, but then again, he did it all in a very diplomatic, subtle and respectful manner. His words were the hallmarks of diplomacy, very pleasing to the ears and yet, not twisting the truth about some real issues of concern. Between the pope's diplomacy and the president's brutal frankness, the people discerned that whilst both were telling the truth but only one won the hearts of the people.

It is unfortunate that that unwitting'' faux pas'' was hear by millions of people, Filipinos and those of many other nationalities all over the world. The CNN. the BBC, the Bloomberg, and the Aljazerra, and all other global networks were all looking and transmitting it all over 200 countries. It was discussed in facebook, Twitter, and many other social media. And the criticisms became viral in a matter of a few hours. We know the president is a good and decent man. But such a sour note could have been avoided. It had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

In the arena of international diplomacy, it is not enough that high officials and dignitaries should tell the truth. They should tell the right things in the right way, at the right place and at the right time, and in the right manner to the right audience. Well, we are just an outsider uninformed of his motives and intentions. But what matters most is that we feel the pulse of a very judgmental nation.

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