Catholic mediaman urges respect for ‘Pope standees’

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QUEZON City, September 18, 2014—Seeing they are often made fun of, Catholic radio anchor Ansel Beluso appeals to the Filipino public to be “more reverential” when taking pictures with the life-size cardboard cutouts of the Pope’s image.

Posting on social media website Facebook (FB) Friday, September 12, Beluso expresses concerns that many—who may or may not be Catholics—disrespect the Holy Father in how they treat his standees.

“May I just say this: When we take a selfie with a life-size image of Pope Francis on a standee, can we please be more reverential about it? I find it disrespectful when people wrap their arms [around] the Pope’s shoulder, acting like they’re on the same level with him, grinning, patting his head, and mocking his baldness,” he said.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015 for a pastoral and state visit. (Photo: CNA)

According to Beluso, he feels “violated” that some go so far as pose like they are about to punch the Holy Father; others even kiss the papal standees.

Meanwhile, other netizens have taken Beluso’s side in denouncing this behavior.

Mabel Gaskell of Quezon City believes it has to do with a loss of the “sense of the sacred”, connecting it with how people behave during mass.

“If they can sit in the pew and behave like they’re sitting on a park bench, then that means they have forgotten or worse ignored the fact that Jesus is present in the tabernacle. And so the Pope to them becomes just an ordinary world figure,” argued Gaskell.

Maria Retina C Sarmiento of Manila underscored the importance of giving the Pope the respect due him as “Vicar of Christ”.

Rey Cazenas of Antique lamented that some people miss the point why Catholics refer to the Pope as “His Holiness”.

”Reverence, respect, and honor should be given to Jesus’ representative on earth. If we see Jesus Christ in Pope Francis, we need to give him the same respect and love,” shares Kristy Manuel of Parañaque.

“A picture or a standee represents the person. I don’t think those people would do that to pictures of their parents or ancestors? It’s in very bad taste,” shared Thelma Balajadia of Cebú, regretting that many Filipinos seem to have lost the value of respect.

Church-run Radyo Veritas is giving away “papal standees” in a bid to raise awareness on the upcoming apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines scheduled from January 15 to 19, 2015.

“Many people are taking selfies so this is an opportunity to take a picture with the Pope,” said Fr. Anton Pascual, who heads both Radyo Veritas and Caritas Manila.

Pascual added the Church-run radio station aims to place about 100 standees of the Holy Father in selected schools, churches, and offices of religious organizations nationwide, including places the Pontiff is set to visit. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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