Cardinal Daly's passing should have marked a period of loss and reflection across the community. It's a pity that the First Minister Peter Robinson, rather than setting the appropriate tone, took two-and-a-half days to respond to the churchman's death.
When Mr Robinson finally released a statement it struck a petulant note, hitting out at the media before touching fleetingly upon the life and works of the cardinal.
Doubtless Mr Robinson had had a stressful week. His party remains engaged in an endless wrangle with Sinn FÃ©in over the devolution of policing and justice powers, the Executive is still on shaky ground and his wife Iris was forced to retire from politics after a struggle with ill-health and depression.
The DUP leader chose to cite these personal circumstances to explain the absence of an early response to the Daly family's bereavement. Yet, in an age in which communication is both swift and instant, it is difficult to believe that Mr Robinson or his staff could not at least have found time to issue a Press release in his name.
The episode provides a further hint that the relationship between Peter Robinson and the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has deteriorated sharply.
When the pair came together to condemn the murders of Sappers Azimkar and Quinsey and Constable Carroll we were told that Northern Ireland had witnessed a defining moment. There is little of that sense of common purpose evident within OFMDFM now.
The common perception is that Robinson and McGuinness have neither the will nor the ability to set an example for a shared society. The First Ministers' office reflects an Executive and a system of government too riven by internal divisions to respond coherently to the public mood.
Robinson frequently reacts angrily when he feels the press has misinterpreted his actions. But he cannot escape culpability for the DUP's mixed messages.
The First Minister claims he was "out of circulation" over the weekend. He fulminates against "elements in the Press" who have mischievously interpreted his silence as a snub to Cardinal Daly and the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland.
Mr Robinson might genuinely believe that he is being treated unfairly, but he has become ensnared in a trap of his own making.
Under his leadership the DUP has attempted to portray its relationship with Sinn Fein both as a truculent and hostile stand-off and a successful, mutual partnership. He has attempted to win back hardliners, arguing that power-sharing is effectively a one-way street, while remaining the figurehead of a purported cross-community coalition.
It is not the media's fault if the First Minister and his party occasionally creak under the weight of their own internal contradictions.
The DUP's bona fides cannot be imputed. By 'fluffing his lines' after Cardinal Daly's death Peter Robinson has missed another opportunity to display the good grace, dignity and respect which he and his party are often accused of lacking.