POSTSCRIPT / June 29, 2017 / Thursday


Opinion Columnist

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NoKor rejects idea of ‘peace Olympics’

WE MUST be so desperate for a respite from the rumblings of war that we feel bad hearing of Pyongyang’s rejecting the idea of its forming a joint ice hockey team with Seoul for the 2018 Winter Olympics set February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The suggestion for a unified team came from South Korea’s sports minister Do Jong-hwan, who went as far as saying that the North could even host the skiing events along the idea of a “peace Olympics.” Newly installed President Moon Jae-in pushed the proposal.

Co-hosting would require complicated negotiations and planning. To simplify, not a few observers propose that the two Koreas continue to explore the feasibility and desirability of their uniting only for one common ice hockey team.

But Chang Un, a member of North Korea’s International Olympic Committee, said that even the forming of a common team would be quite difficult in the remaining eight months before the Games.

Reminded that the two Koreas played as a unified team at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba (Japan), Chang was quoted by BBC as saying: “It took us 22 rounds of talks to set up that joint team. It took us five months.”

Describing himself an Olympics expert, Chang continued: “It’s a little late to be talking about co-hosting. It’s easy to talk about co-hosting, but it is never easy to solve practical problems for that. It’s the same for forming a joint team for ice hockey.”

From our corner, we pull out the Filipino saying “Kapag gusto may paraan, kapag ayaw maraming dahilan” – meaning “if we want it, ways could be found; but if we don’t want it, there are excuses aplenty.”

Helping form a unified team for an Olympic event would help boost Pyongyang’s political stock and clean up its image as the bad boy recklessly firing missiles against imagined enemies. Back channeling may yet make North Korea leader Kim Jong Un see the light about being a good neighbor.

• To NoKor: More fun in Olympics

THE IDEA of the two Koreas forming one team, even just for ice hockey, rekindles hope that such a one-time move could lead to other areas of collaboration.

We take off from the ping-pong (table tennis) games between Chinese and Americans in the early 1970s. The matches helped lead to a US-China rapprochement, and the China visit of President Richard Nixon in 1972 signaling the normalization of relations after a 20-year hiatus.

China under then chairman Mao Zedong, proud of its excellent athletes, invited Americans for matches upon hearing of top US ping-pong players expressing a willingness to come over if given the chance.

After the games and their social time, athletes of both sides shared with media their discovery that the opposing team members were normal human beings, contrary to propaganda of the day.
The slight opening of the Bamboo Curtain to the sporting world paid off. The progression of events after normalization, in step with internal reforms, saw China’s rise as an economic global power — a status devoutly wished by North Korea’s reclusive leader Kim Jong Un.

The US could continue talking to Beijing to help influence Pyongyang into accepting the idea of a unified Korean ice hockey team as a small step toward a bigger role in regional affairs.

Using his line to Pyongyang, China President Xi Jingpin could cite Chinese economic strides to illustrate how North Korea’s coming out could bring prestige and prosperity to the country without losing its sovereign power.

• Pinoys prefer chalice to wine glass

BASED on feedback to our Postscript of June 25, we see more Filipinos favoring the traditional golden chalice to a wine glass for the Consecration at mass when the wine is transubstantiated into the blood of Christ. Samples below:

Organicmamita: “I am very glad to know that you are a faithful Catholic and you know the requirements of what kind of vessel to use for mass. I am one who believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and I cannot imagine what will happen if the priest accidentally breaks the wine glass! Even without knowing the requirements of the vessel to be used, I think using wine glass is exposing much danger to spill the body and blood of Jesus.”

Reader who asked not to be quoted: “You asked the question why our bishops and priests do not use simpler vessels. Actually you answered that question yourself when you quoted the GIRM. The GIRM also gives the rationale for ‘noble’ vessels — because they hold the blood of Christ, our God and Savior.

“Our bishops and priests are simply following the instructions of the Church. In other words, they are submitting themselves, their wills and egos to the discipline of the Church. It is not, as you might think, the desire for ostentation, but humility, because obedience requires humility. The American priest, on the other hand, was not humble but willful, because he obeyed his own impulses rather than the discipline of the Church. He was wrong to do so.

“If you are to compare the living conditions of our clergy to that of the American clergy, you will find that they live much simpler lives than the Americans. American priests receive salaries and benefits which are much, much better than what our own dioceses can afford to give our priests. Our bishops also live simpler lives, in part because the American church is much richer than ours, but also because our own clergy are much more influenced by liberation theology than the Americans.”

Reread “Wine glass instead of golden chalice” at:

(First published in the Philippine STAR of June 29, 2017)

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