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.
Well, I didn't exactly sit on the Chair of the Pope when I preached, for "preaching from the Chair" is a liturgical privilege accorded only to the successors of the Apostles. But I was in fact really close to the Chair during the celebration of a Mass with over 60 other pilgrims at the Basilica of St John Lateran on 25 April 2012. I think it was insane that we were given such a significant spot to have our Eucharistic celebration. Nothing can buy such priceless opportunities that come by once in a lifetime.
What was going through my mind? My homily on the day quite summarised what occupied my mental faculties at that celebration. I told the pilgrims that this was IT as far as our journey into the heart of the Church was concerned; one cannot get physically any closer to Mother Church than to be seated right before the Chair of the Bishop of Rome in a Eucharistic celebration. But yet, what does this mean for us all? Because millions of other pilgrims have also stood where we were standing, and perhaps most of them did so with utter ignorance about the significance of the moment