Could someone please take the invisible picture off me or I may stop smiling…..


During these first weeks most of our mornings are full with  conferences / presentations /seminars.  So the twelve of us tertians (& masters) were sitting there listening to a top class presentation on Phillipino Culture when we kept on being interrupted with howls of laughter and excited shouting from a room nearby.  I thought to myself this must be a boisterous theology class or maybe some sort of student elections?  It was announced at Lunch that it was the theologians watching the final stages, live, of …… the Miss Universe Contest.

Sorry ……. Miss Universe? Surely those guys should be up to their eyeballs in Aquinas, or at least Rahner or Amalados ( to be contextual & maybe controversial)

However since Shamcey Supsup, representing the Phillipines, was announced third runner up – it has dominated the conversation on the streets of Manila and yes even in the Jesuit Community.  We even had her mentioned in a homily from our Tertian Master.   As well as national pride etc…. what everyone has been talking about is her answer to the following question that was posed to her by one of the judges – Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person that you love? Why or why not?

Shamcey’s Answer: “If I had to change my religious beliefs, I would not marry the person that I love because the first person I love is God, who created me. I have my faith and my principles, and this is what makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God, too.

Sure Fr Tim, I would love to join you and your Jesuit brothers for dinner ……

I’m not sure how this answer would go down with our experts in inter-religious dialogue. In the UK mixed marriages are more common – but it certainly was a brave answer, and I admire her for sharing them. She seems to have confused the judges – but not the Phillipinos – they loved it and they are very proud of her. A licenced architect, who came top in her class and graduates with a magnum cum laude from the University of the Phillipines you can see why.  In Europe we can be a bit sniffy about beauty pageants – they’re sexist, no place in the modern world etc.etc.  However I will leave the last word to a Phillipino friend – ‘To some degree, the candidates we send year in and year out to these international beauty pageants are no different from the intellectuals we fly in to science and math Olympiads worldwide, the athletes we support in international meets, and to the artists and performers we applaud in the global stage. Aren’t they all simply ambassadors of the Philippines and its people?

P.S. I have invited Shamcey to come and join us for dinner at the Tertianship one night via twitter ….. so far I haven’t got a reply …. but you know me the eternal optimist….