by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, newmedia specialist
Photo from ncregister.com
CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Adulation and the desire to take photographs with the self (selfie in cyber lingo) may harm Pope Francis.
President Aquino III, speaking before the media in a conference in Malacanang Palace, in line with Pope Francis apostolic journey in Manila and in Yolanda-struck Tacloban City (Leyte) expounds as to why forces as large as 25,000 personnel will be deployed as security detail, for the Pope’s visit from January 15 to 19, 2015.
He was heard over Bombo Radyo’s early evening news and public affairs program in a nationwide feed yesterday, January 12, pointing out that though there is no direct terroristic threat to the Pope’s life, the eagerness of believers to get close to him in the hope of not only seeing him but taking pictures with him via mobile phones and similar gadgets, as is the fad, may trigger commotion and disruption in peace and order.
Aquino said “in light of this, it is my fervent hope that we treat His Holiness’ visit with reverence and with all the solemnity befitting our faith. As Filipinos, we are well known for our warmth and hospitality, which I am certain we will not fail to demonstrate on this occasion. The Pope’s public engagements are expected to gather millions of the faithful. While such a turnout shows well the devotion of the Filipino Catholic, it also carries the corresponding dangers attached to large crowds: the potential for panic, or commotions that may lead to stampedes, which can threaten the lives of all involved.”
“As such, I call on all Filipinos to exercise the utmost discipline, in order to ensure that our gatherings are peaceful and orderly. Cooperate with the proper authorities, and follow the reminders of both government and the Church. Keep informed, remain vigilant, and take all precautions necessary to ensure your wellbeing and that of your fellow devotees. Three simple rules can go a long way in maintaining a peaceful and orderly celebration: As we participate in the activities, remember to keep calm; do not push; and do not run.””
The conference presented videos of untoward incidents experienced by the past pontiffs while they were either on papal visit or were just carrying out their duties in the Vatican. Pope John Paul II, now Saint John Paul II, was shot at by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca in carrying out an extremist mission in 1981. He somehow survived and even visited Agca in prison to personally grant forgiveness. Pope Benedict XVI, meanwhile, was attacked by a German national while he was presiding a Eucharistic celebration at the Vatican.###
corresponding dangers attached to large crowds: the potential for panic, or commotions that may lead to stampedes, which can threaten the lives of all involved.”