RADIO Veritas President Fr. Anton Pascual appealed last week for restraint in the use of the Holy Father Francis’ life-size cardboard figure when taking selfies. Indeed, people should remember that Pope Francis deserves respect because he is a priest, a bishop and the Vicar of Christ.
We wholeheartedly agree.
We actually don’t quite like the idea of using standees of the Pope’s image for selfies. But now that parishes have the standees of the Holy Father, we should make the most of it. And help stop any abuse when we see it.
Fr. Pascual initiated the Pope Francis standees. It’s a way to make people close to the Pope in a very Filipino fun way. But of course it WILL be abused. There are Catholics who cannot stop themselves from committing simple acts of abuse–even just in the simple matter of going to Mass in provocative dresses that violate the dress code. So what more in the fun thing of having selfies with the Pope “himself.”
Fr. Pascual issued these guidelines on how people should treat the pontiff’s image.
1. The Pope standee may only be distributed to church institutions such as parishes, schools, chapels, religious congregations and mandated organizations administered and operated by the Catholic Church.
2. Assign a person in-charge in taking care of the standee anytime it is exposed for public view.
3. Picture taking by either selfie or groupie must be taken with utmost respect. Indecent poses, vulgar dresses and anything that is disrespectful should not be allowed at all times.
4. Fun is happiness. But making fun of the standee in bad faith is discouraged.
5. After the papal visit in 2015, Veritas will release some guidelines on how to keep or dispose of the standee prudently.
Fr. Pascual said that those who have been found to have disrespected the image will face “fraternal correction.”
But fraternal correction is a private affair between the wrongdoer and his or her friends or father confessor.
Fr. Pascual also threatened to take back the standee if it is allowed to be used irreverently.
Radio Veritas has released more than 100 copies of the Pope standees in preparation for the forthcoming visit of the pontiff.
Francis is scheduled to arrive on January 15 and stay until January 19, 2015. He will go to Leyte to personally comfort the victims of super typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City.
In Catholic tradition, disrespect for churchmen can be a sin against the fourth of the Ten Commandments (“Honor your father and your mother”). Worse, depending on the intent of the doer, this disrespect can be a sin of blasphemy since clergymen and Church leaders are extensions of the authority of God.
Recently, Pope Francis made a moving appeal to young people to respect the elderly.
He also called for respect for other religions.
He urged Muslims and Christians to raise young people “to think and speak respectfully of other religions and their followers, and to avoid ridiculing or denigrating their convictions and practices.”
He said this in his personal message to the world’s Muslims to mark the end of Ramadan. “Turning to mutual respect in inter-religious relations, especially between Christians and Muslims, we are called to respect the religion of the other, its teachings, its symbols, its values. Particular respect is due to religious leaders and to places of worship. How painful are attacks on one or other of these!
“It is clear that, when we show respect for the religion of our neighbors or when we offer them our good wishes on the occasion of a religious celebration, we simply seek to share their joy, without making reference to the content of their religious convictions.”