Editorial: A relevant Church

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Sunday, March 31, 2013


THERE was the niggling irritation upon reading news feeds where Pope Francis washing of feet in a Rome youth prison, included two women, Maundy Thursday, was criticized.

The criticisms are by Catholic traditionalists, one of whom said Pope Francis’ inclusion of two women in the 12 persons whose feet he washed sets a questionable example, while another says the Pope’s moves might be “interpreted as a vindication of Catholic liberals that have been increasingly marginalized during the conservative papacies of Benedict and John Paul II.”

The niggling irritation became disbelief upon reading news of the Vatican defending what Pope Francis has done.

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If Vatican had to defend such action, no wonder why the Catholic Church is losing members. Spirituality after all is all about living the life of a true believer and not a dogmatic follower.

How can one live as prescribed if traditions are given higher priority than relevance, faith, and being humane?

“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethrens, that you do unto me,” we sang in church service since we were kids. Except that Catholic traditionalists are saying, no, women should never have their feet washed.

Imagine the scene in that youth prison, where obviously even the most hardened Catholic offender will feel excitement upon having the Pope right where he or she is serving sentence. Imagine the greater excitement of being chosen to be among those whose feet the Pope will wash. But then, here comes the Catholic experts saying, “Sorry, you two women, get out. Traditions do not allow women’s feet to be washed; especially by the Pope.”

Imagine a Church that speaks spirituality that way to an audience who are like the Ateneo valedictorian who refuses to accept high-paying job and instead committed to teach poor folks for two years, and like the De La Salle University students who had to bid out the opportunity to join the group who will build and paint homes of typhoon Pablo survivors in Compostela Valley, that come complete with daily brownouts and sans the luxuries of home. Like the whole nation that responded in generous droves to every city and town devastated by calamities.

In stark contrast, we have Catholic experts more concerned about the possible vindication of liberals when what should be stressed is spirituality and salvation.

That said, we are just glad that Pope Francis was chosen as the Catholic Pope, to bring back spirituality and humility to the center of our collective beliefs, especially us Filipinos, who as a people claim to be from the largest Catholic nation in Asia.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 01, 2013.

Opinion

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