Tacloban trip ‘best’ of Pope’s visit; PNoy speech ‘worst’—historian

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ANGELES City, Jan. 24, 2015—For a scholar from Pampanga, Pope Francis’ brief but memorable visit to Yolanda survivors in Tacloban is the “best moment” of his recent apostolic trip, while the “worst” of it is President Aquino’s “not-so-welcome” remark.

The best

“The bravery of this Pope who proceeded with his trip to Tacloban despite the real danger of the approaching typhoon. I held my breath from the time the plane took off at 7 a.m. until it landed safely back at 2 p.m.,” shares historian Robby Tantingco, who also directs Holy Angel University (HAU)’s Center for Kapampangan Studies (CKS) in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Historian and director of Holy Angel University (HAU)’s Center of Kapampangan Studies (CKS) in Angeles City, Pampanga Robby Tantingco at a press conference (Photo: Jaypee Manalang)

Historian and director of Holy Angel University (HAU)’s Center for Kapampangan Studies (CKS) in Angeles City, Pampanga Robby Tantingco at a press conference (Photo: Jaypee Manalang)

He quotes the Holy Father as telling Yolanda victims: “You are the reason I made this trip to your country … I am sorry I don’t have the words to say to you, but I am here.”

“That, to me, was the very soul of Pope Francis,revealed for all the world to see,” he says.

The worst

Tantingco, moreover, expresses dismay that the highest leader of the land gave the Holy Father such a “discourteous welcome.”

He railed against how President Benigno Aquino III had to compare himself with Pope Francis in the speech he gave in the presence of His Holiness, as well as government officials, the diplomatic corps, and other dignitaries.

“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 kindred spirits!,” he laments.

According to PNoy, his and the Holy Father’s “other kindred spirits” are Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio Cardinal G. Tagle, Jesuit Fr. Catalino Arevalo, and Sister Agnes Guillen, allegedly because they “have always been voices of reason, and who are spiritual people who will always be natural allies.”

“The President also stated he “would like to think that even more will join us in the truth in the fullness of time,” Tantingco notes.

“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’,” he adds.

Tantingco said such assertions are not only “shocking, but rude.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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