Transparency, the Church, and Sugbuswak

I’ve covered several news beats and in my experience, the Church is among the least transparent. At times, their approach to dealing with the media is Old Testament Biblical – like they’re God on Mt. Sinai handing the 10 commandments on stone tablets to Moses.

A few in the church hierarchy also have a medieval outlook, like the media are supposed to be scribes doing nothing but stenography. I think the Church as an organization – being hierarchical and regimented – explains that. Or maybe it’s just my experience.

During one of the first church events I covered, I was taken aback when an archdiocesan official started framing for reporters the headline and angle of the story.

So it’s not surprising that there is no media engagement on Sugbuswak. Disappointing, yes, but unsurprising. Apart from the lack of transparency, their schedule is also tight as they prepare the report that will be sent to Rome on the move to break up the Archdiocese.

But that’s just one small part of the picture. Archbishop Jose Palma, when you get the chance to interview him, is humble, forthright, and accommodating.

The Church also has some of the most helpful and brilliant people I have ever encountered while reporting on stories. Whenever I am stumped with a piece of information that I couldn’t understand, I ask a few church officials to help me, on deep background, and they do. The arrangement means I will never name them or use what they say in my articles. But what they share, however, gives me important context, better understanding of issues, and story leads to follow.

I am not sure if there will even be a press conference or media briefing on the subject. If there will be one, it would probably be at the end of the process when they present it as an accomplishment.

Note: I’m blogging my coverage on Sugbuswak. The articles are in this section. If you have tips or information you want to share with me, you can contact me on this page.

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