My First Political Cartoon (the Mouse or the Elephant?)

The above cartoon is how the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper reads Blood Ivory: Ivory Worship this weekend even though Blood Ivory clearly states that China dwarfs the Philippines in its impact on the ivory trade (including this call out quote: “By all accounts, China is the world’s greatest villain when it comes to smuggled ivory.”) and exposes how the Chinese government has exploited the CITES system for its gain.

The Cebu paper would apparently prefer its readers go on living in ignorance of any wrongdoing by Catholic leadership no matter the harm to children, elephants, or civil society at home or in Africa (though racist depictions of Chinese are apparently fine).

How different it might be if the Cebu paper recognized that the comparatively small size and high concentration of ivory collectors/carvers/traffickers among Filipino Catholics offered an opportunity for Filipino Catholics at large to correct a problem, and in doing so to lead the world in the protection of the elephant and the improvement of civil society in both Africa and the Philippines.  Think big or think small–that’s the choice.

Monsignor Garcia Stripped of Titles, Suspended

Reports today from Manila that the Vatican has stripped ivory collector Monsignor Cristobal Garcia of his positions in the Archdiocese of Cebu and suspended him while the Vatican investigates accusations he molested altar boys 25 years ago in the United States.  These allegations have been known to the Vatican and the Church establishment in Cebu for nearly a quarter century, not least because of the excellent 2005 reporting of Brooks Egerton of the Dallas Morning News and his “Runaway Priests: Hiding in Plain Sight” series.  But it was at a press conference today in response to Blood Ivory, entitled “Ivory Worship and Monsignor Cris Garcia” that the archbishop announced the Monsignor’s ouster.  Some harsh words were added about me including

Archbishop Jose Palma to Hold Press Conference Re Ivory and Priest: Opportunity for Change?

According to a Cebu Daily News story today, Priest’s Role Cited in Nat’l Geographic, Archbishop Jose Palma will issue a press conference regarding Msgr. Cristobal Garcia this week:

…Sought for comment, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma last night said he would answer the allegations in a press conference today or tomorrow. “I know the issue. I will address it,” he told Cebu Daily News who showed him a printout of the online article [Blood Ivory]. The magazine is not yet on sale in newsstands but early copies are already in the hands of subscribers and posted on the Internet.

This is an excellent opportunity for the relatively new archbishop to make a positive change.  Meanwhile, environment lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr. has called for an investigation regarding wildlife exploitation.