Back to the basics-A A +A
As I See It
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
POPE Francis wants his flock to go back to the basics. He wants to curtail too much bureaucracy in the Catholic Church. Christianity should be anchored on what Christ wants as stipulated in the Holy Bible. The Catholics should be enlightened through knowing the basic insights of Christianity—the truth that shall make us free, not the tradition that brings fear.
The new Pope needs our support, our prayers, and our struggle to understand and live the teachings of Jesus Christ. Some of the traditions in our Church that we practice are not even taught by the Church. They are nothing but prejudices and superstitions. “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The Pagans of long ago celebrated many festivals based on the seasons. These festivals were taken over by the Christians. Pope Francis I should go down deep into our celebrations so as not to continue the rituals we learned from the pagans.
Probably, Pope Francis should review the roles of our priests. We need priests but we do not want them functioning as Pharisees. If we go back to the basics, probably we can make a serious study on how the veneration of saints and their relics were unheard of during the first century and was never mentioned by Jesus and His disciples. This gained momentum only after Constantine the Great made Christianity his religion while his other foot was in the practice of idolatry among the pagans. This calls for a spiritual and academic discussion. “Venerate the saints and adore God.”
In going back to the basics, it is good also to study what St. Augustine said. “Love and sexuality are completely unrelated. The sexual act is only good for procreation and any love involved is considered a venial sin.” We want theologians and Bible scholars to ponder on this. We would like to invite ‘Team Patay’ and ‘Team Buhay’ to participate in academic argumentation. My idol on this topic is St. Alfonsus Ligouri, a Catholic theologian and founder of the Redemptorist Church. He is the patron saint of moralists and confessors.
Another interesting topic is in the words of St. Bernardino of Siena, “All grace that is communicated to this world comes from God in Christ, from Christ in the Virgin, and from the Virgin to us.” I am one of those who ask on the role of the Holy Spirit here. Is this a part of the doctrine of our Church? Is the doctrine unbiblical? In going back to the basics, this could be one good exercise to stretch our mind in search for the meaning of our Catholic faith. After all, we did not learn that much in our catechism classes.
In the book “Revelation of St. Bridget,” Mama Mary gave herself the name of Mother of Souls in Purgatory. She had interceded with Jesus to shorten the suffering of those who asked for help. On the other hand, Stephen Testa in his booklet The Truth About Catholics, Protestants and Jews, said that purgatory is a gigantic fraud for it deprived the poor of their last pennies and extorted large sums from the rich during the Middle Ages. My father’s grandmother said that her husband could be in purgatory until now because her man lived a life with girls and gambling. In my college theology class, my professor and I had a hard time looking for support in the doctrine of purgatory from the Holy Bible and the Apocrypha.
Before, I thought that the selling of the indulgence could be a substitute for confession and pardon of sins. In my high school Church History, my reference said that the indulgence is a document signed by the Pope or his clergy that one can buy mostly with money as payment for the reduction of time to be served in purgatory for the penalty for venial sins. I trembled because I got plenty of venial sins and I am not certain of my mortal sins. In going back to the basics let us pray that Pope Francis I could clarify doctrines that we could not understand.
I do not want to touch on topics like celibacy, contraception, abortion, clergy sex abuse, and the AIDS issue. Those belong to the ‘other team’. I want that team to give its own stand. Welcome Pope Francis I. Let’s start the fun and faith in Vatican.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 19, 2013.