Pope and the Church-A A +A
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
POPE Benedict XVI's historic farewell to the cardinals and to the faithful of the Catholic Church and "urbi et orbi" was a significant example of a noble dignity in humility and an enlightened wisdom in his crucial decision to resign from the papacy due to his advanced age and failing health.
Now called Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, he even humbly and honestly confessed that "I had moments of joy and light, but also moments of turbulent seas and rough winds, as have occurred in the history of the church when it seemed like the Lord was sleeping."
Pope Benedict could have opted to stay on as the most revered head of over 1.2 billion followers and of one of the most prestigious and influential institutions in the world until his death, notwithstanding his age advancing faster than his steps and his
brilliant brain diminishing in size as do all human brains at old age.
He could have continued to cling to power with all the honor, pomp, perks and comforts appurtenant to the office, as many of our over-aged politicians or political leaders would want to do, as indeed they continue to do--clinging to their public office as if they own it for themselves and their family members and selected cronies, in almost complete disregard of the interest of the country.
But not Pope Benedict XVI.
The Catholic Church will survive as it has survived for the last 2,000 years or so.
It even survived the great Roman Empire, which persecuted the early Christians and even crucified to death the first Pope, now venerated (not worshiped) as St. Peter, the apostle, and just as it has survived the scribes and pharisees, the Turks and the vandals and the other empires and kingdoms listed in human history.
As to the current concern that perhaps the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI may have some negative effect on the Catholic Church, which in fact is already slowly losing some members who have transferred affiliation to other religious or spiritual denominations, all I can say is that positive always attracts the negative.
At any rate, even Jesus Christ, who is God Himself, was abandoned by some of his followers who could not take and understand some of his teachings, particularly referring to the mystery of the Eucharist, and saying "This is too hard to accept."
Worse still, from among the first twelve, yes twelve, apostles who were personally chosen by Jesus Christ Himself and who personally witnessed with their own eyes and ears the miracles and sermons of their Master, one of them, Judas Iscariot, believed to be the treasurer of the new group, betrayed Jesus to death for a mere thirty pieces of silver.
Another one, Peter, also known as Simeon bar Jona, appointed by his Master to be the leader of the group and to whom Jesus Himself proclaimed "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church," denied his Master not once, not twice but three times.
And finally the third one, Thomas, doubted the resurrection from death of his Master.
That the Catholic Church is losing some of its members from the fold is not really surprising nor a big issue, considering that there is an increasing number of religious groups with different perspectives, different though more in methodology rather than in theology.
Moreover, there are more and more prosperous people today who now tend to believe that
they are no longer dependent on any direct intervention by any divinity or divinities.
What is a bigger issue is for all living Christians to follow the footsteps of Christ not to Calvary but to His teachings of love--to love God and to love one another. An act of mercy to a person in need of such mercy is more pleasing to a benevolent God than a thousand heads bowed in prayer or a million hands lifted with shouts to the heavens.--Amay P. Ong Vaño, Cebu City
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2013.