It is the time of the pandemic. For those of us whose daily work and busyness have come to a sudden halt, it seems a good time for us to be visiting some "old friends". In my case, I have been cultivating long internal conversations with my old companion: academic theology. For the past ten years of my ordained life, my focus has been placed so much on the intellectual faith of others, I have hardly had time to explore my own intellectual deepening. This time of study and exploration has been exciting and I don't long for it to stop.
Part of my little adventure in theological exploration this season has pertained to getting a feel of the state of Western theology is in its method and approach and extent today. In fact, there is something in me that actually "longs" to undertake a postgraduate course of study with an institution in the West for this purpose, but insisting on that would be unwise. As a result of these little explorations and internal conversations, I have drawn some very preliminary conclusions on theology in the West as it stands today.
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: