There is something to be said of the call to be mindful of the plight of the poor among us. The point of the Catholic faith is more than just about giving food and money and clothing to the poor people. To be sure, these are important aspects of our faith. But more than that, the constant call of the Gospel is about making good our human lives. God created us to be human beings, not something less human because we are now the baptised "elite". If anything, being Catholic should make us more human than ever.
I get it. He happens to be a Cardinal who sharply and unapologetically tries to stay as close as possible to what many deem to be "manmade" traditions of the Church, a crony of the previous pope (who, incidentally, a particular bishop -- not my own bishop -- told me in my face should be shot dead because he thought I too was a militant crony of the previous pope), an archaic never-evolving stiff-necked conservative who gives the Catholic Church a bad name. So his removal from the Apostolic Signatura and subsequent transfer to the Order of Malta is interpreted as a sign of the present reigning Monarch of the Church not being in favour of such conservatism.
Pope Francis is the second Supreme Pontiff to whom I have pledged my obedience since my entry into full communion with the Holy Catholic Church. I do not like him. He unsettles me.
I do not like the fact that he refuses to live in his Apostolic Palace, that he dresses down and that he braves through a torrential rain on his pope mobile just to meet the crowd in St Peter's Square during his papal audience. I do not like it at all. Because when he does such things, it shakes the equilibrium of my expectations towards people who are in authority and who are supposed to be personifications of greatness.
I do not like it when he does things that I would not have personally wanted to do had I been the pope. He is... unbecoming of a pope.
Just do good, and we'll find a meeting point, says Francis in marked departure from Benedict's line on non-Catholics
I have sometimes wondered to myself if I have truly become Catholic at heart, at an affective level, not just at an intellectual level. Until now.
In April 2005, when Pope John Paul II passed away, I felt like my neighbour's father had passed away. It came with a subtle tinge of melancholy, but not a very heavy heart. I felt, well, sorry at the grief expressed by many Catholic faithful throughout the world, but I shed no tear. The one who had passed away was a very, very good man. But he was "someone else".
Pope Benedict XVI has just announced in a Consistory that he will be abdicating from the Chair of Peter very soon.
It has been more than six centuries since a Pontiff renounced his ministry as supreme and universal shepherd of the Church, and this makes the announcement shocking to many around the world.
Here is the full script of the announcement:
The past few days have been one of the most sensational seasons in the life of the Catholic Church in West Malaysia. This began since the public sighting of an alleged image of our Blessed Virgin Mary on the window pane of Sime Darby Medical Centre in Subang Jaya.
You can read more about this inconclusive phenomenon here.
The purpose of this post is to provide a little catechesis for all the Catholics who are in touch with this phenomenon either by visiting the site of this alleged apparition or by following news of it through the media. This catechesis also contains the exact answers I gave to the journalist of the Star newspaper who interviewed me on this phenomenon.