MANILA, Dec. 29, 2014—Filipino Catholics have expressed outrage online over how “papal visit-inspired statement shirts” being peddled to the public twist Pope Francis’ openness and views on diversity.
“So disappointing… even His Holiness is being used for selfish motives and capitalism. The best souvenir we can have is to let God radiate in our lives like what the holy pope is doing, walk the talk,” netizen Nini Reyes commented over social network Facebook.
Besides flashing the official papal visit logo, two of the shirts “quotes” the pontiff, one declaring: “Ganiyan ako. Ganiyan ka. Who am I to judge?” while another stating: “No race. No religion. I embrace diversity.”
For social media user Jasper Jed Belda Gueco, Pope Francis’ statements on atheists, homosexuals, and unmarried couples do not mean he wishes to overturn the teachings and the traditions of the Catholic Church.
“I think he is just simply conveying that if you look at someone look at them as a humans first rather than looking at them as sinners and don’t judge them , for you are not God and you are also a sinner in the first place. I think it is his way of promoting compassion. Pope Francis would never destroy the Catholic Church,” he said.
“They are not after Pope’s intention of visit, their objective is to sell and earn money at the Pope’s visit expense,” posted Noe Rdm.
“I just wish all souvenirs be officially released and sold by the organizers, so that the income from those be used by the church to help the poor and the needy. And don’t buy ABS-CBN shirt,” he added.
Johnny Sinon noted, “Another ABS-CBN epic fail. They should be banned from covering all Papal events.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)