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.

World Responding to PH Catholic Ivory Scandal

Priest Investigated in Ivory-Smuggling Inquiry in Philippines

By FLOYD WHALEY, New York Times

MANILA — Philippine law enforcement officials said on Wednesday that they were investigating whether a senior priest in the Roman Catholic Church was involved in the smuggling of elephant ivory to feed the country’s passion for religious icons.

The investigation was prompted by an article in the October issue of National Geographic magazine that…

The Catholic News Service runs this story, which has already garnered important response from the midwest assoc director of SNAP. Also in the US, the Washington Post has its own recap in Business.

Papers, columnists, and blogs in the Philippines range in reaction to Blood Ivory’s expose from “it’s about time” to “why pick on us?” to this is “anti-Catholic bias” to this is the work of the devil

These last reactions, some of which come from the Archdiocese of Cebu and even from the Archbishop, are the most interesting.  If there is a devil at work in the world wouldn’t he come down on the side of pedophiles or elephant poachers?

Is the Church Tossing Out Environmental Opportunity?

With all of the opportunity for good Blood Ivory represents for people in Africa (and the Philippines), not to mention for elephants, it is disconcerting that the archbishop of Cebu believes that my exposing the ivory trade results from anti-church “bias.”

The Archbishop would appear to want things both ways: He wants to take credit for the Vatican’s finally investigating Monsignor Garcia on child sex abuse charges the Church has known about for a quarter century (hilighted in Blood Ivory), while assessing blame on Blood Ivory’s report about Catholics’ role in the global ivory trade.  Both are facts worthy of positive leadership.  The treatment of children has been such a hard-learned lesson for the Church I grew up in, can it be true the Church will miss the same lesson when it comes to animals and the people who protect them?

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