More of changes-A A +A
Saturday, February 16, 2013
AT this point in our life as Catholics, we’re holding back in abated breath to find out which Roman Catholic Church leader, the next one to be chosen on March 31 by the College of Cardinals in Rome, will lead as pontiff of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI this month at 85 years old.
But the worldwide shock on the resignation of the Pope is again one of the changes in these days reshaping the world in physical, ethereal and natural character.
The pontiff said in his resignation speech that “in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith…both strength of mind and body are necessary.”
There are changes, big and small, in our life today and the resignation may not be as clear as a summer that’s cooling off, or the environmental heat melting the Antarctic sea ice pack.
It’s a resignation that shocks and surprises the world even as changes in other aspects of human life continue to gain speed. New developments unfold in surprising outward blasts or in quick deep reflections, like on a pope resigning.
In world politics, the changes show in the fight of ordinary citizens to be free from Middle East dictatorship, and the act is catching on in the region.
To this add the changes in the Church.
In fact, the last appointment of new cardinals made by Bavarian Pope Benedict XVI could influence the election of the next Pope, observers noted.
Those who were appointed in November last year were Cardinals from the United States, Lebanon, India, Nigeria, Colombia and the Philippines, none from Europe where Christianity was born.
The new cardinals will help elect the Pope’s successor, and perhaps with some of them making it to the list of candidates as papal contenders, or “papabile.”
Interesting things are happening with the changes in the world in the natural environment, the breakneck growth of technology in many other aspects shaping life and living, influencing human outlook.
The feel has not been just shock and surprise but hope, too, like to Filipino Catholics who can dream of getting into the international picture of the Church. Media reports that in the short list of 10 candidates to be chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI is the Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, a Filipino-Asian churchman.
As of Jan. 28, the biggest number of 120 cardinals were from Europe, then the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania. By March, two cardinal electors will reach the age of 80 and can’t vote anymore in a conclave to elect a new pope. This could still affect the choice of the next pontiff.
The resignation also seems to point out to the dramatic changes where by year 2025, almost half the count of Catholics will be in Latin America, Africa and Asia, not in Europe anymore. A Pasadena studies professor expects a change in the picture of the average Catholic as “relatively poor, young mother from Brazil, the Philippines” or Africa.
In Latin America are 40 percent of the world’s Catholics, even while in Asia, the Philippines continue to be “the largest Christian community in Asia.”
In the choice of pope, there are Catholics who are scared about the possibility that the resignation of Pope Benedict and the coming of a new pontiff could lead to a “new era.” And the fear of changes could be distressing to a simple believer. But there will be “basic continuity,” assures Australia’s Cardinal George Pell.
Philippine media won’t let a moment go but follow up the development on Cardinal Tagle being a papabile. Contending successfully for the cardinal is like a dream. But the changes are coming up to our faces, who can tell what happens next?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 17, 2013.