Archdiocese of Cebu slams door on media on Sugbuswak coverage

I woke up today to several messages about an ongoing press conference on Sugbuswak, the move to break up the Archdiocese of Cebu. I knew there was to be a launch of a Facebook page on Sugbuswak but when I read the messages, I thought that the archdiocese had decided to hold a press conference with select reporters. There was no invitation in the Church Beat Facebook chat room.

It turned out that it was indeed only the launch of the official Facebook page on Sugbuswak, with two months left to submit the report to the CBCP and the Vatican. As I said, this is a done deal. They’re not holding consultations; they’re staging information campaigns. The page and the consultations seem a bit late in the day but that just tells us, I think, about the rushed nature of the process.

As far as I can tell while watching the Facebook Live, there was no reporter at the venue.

Were you invited? No. No invitation? Naa diay? These were the messages I exchanged today with some journalists who report on the church. We knew about it the same way most people did, a Facebook notification that the Archdiocese of Cebu was “Live.”

Tomorrow, the archdiocese will hold its General Pastoral Assembly on Sugbuswak. The archdiocese said “participation to the GPA will be strictly limited to those who have been summoned to participate and they have been summoned by an official letter of appointment issued by the Archbishop of Cebu.”

The exclusive nature of this gathering being held by a listening and synodal church, is to “ensure the integrity of discussions. We have no room for distractions.”

They also have no room for the media. I asked around and none have been invited. I don’t understand why the Archdiocese of Cebu sees the media as “distraction” especially on an important issue such as the Sugbuswak. And why the lack of media transparency? It’s a puzzlement shared by several contacts in the Cebu clergy and Church people.

One veteran journalist said “one-way communications” seemed their strategy. I call it the Mt. Sinai method, they’re like God handing mankind messages on a stone tablet.

But, it was announced this morning, they are holding a press conference on Friday, after the GPA is over. Again, Mt. Sinai method – they’ll tell the media what transpired.

Ka hassle ba,” a veteran newspaper reporter who covers the Church told me. “Mayman og sila ray balita.” (It’s not as if theirs is the only news-worthy event.) The reporter decided not to cover a recent Church event.

I’m blogging the Sugbuswak process. You can find my previous posts here.

Do you have information or comments you want to share with me? Send me a message here. Are you attending the GPA? If you can record the proceedings or send me documents, you can email me at [email protected] or go to my contact page for other channels.

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