#ShowThePope: A disconnected Church?
MANILA, Philippines – Jorge Mario Bergoglio's choice of name already spoke volumes about the kind of pope he wanted to become.
He took the name Francis, after Francis of Assisi, the saint known for his simplicity and love for the poor.
His first year as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church frequently landed him on world headlines, with his pro-poor messages and his push for a welcome, inviting Church that would be a "place of God's mercy and hope."
This idea of a more accessible Church was the rationale behind his choice to have an open, unarmored "popemobile" as his vehicle when he goes around the Philippines on January 15 to 19.
Francis wanted to project the image of an "open, accessible, and vulnerable Church," but the local Catholic Church was already, in a way, vulnerable: rocked by scandals and controversies involving high-rolling priests and an institution that some critics claim is distanced from reality.
These are what some netizens want to #ShowThePope – their response to Rappler's crowdsourcing effort to answer the question: What do you want the Pope to see in the Philippines?
Reymark Magoncia posted this photo showing a homeless child sleeping on the sidewalk, just beside the famed Baclaran Church in Quiapo.
In the post with the title, "A call for the Christian leaders to care for God's flock," Magoncia said: "I wish that Pope Francis, the pope of the masses, to call the attention of Baclaran Parish Church to achieve the following: feed the hungry, be shepherd of the flock, welcome poor children, faith with works, good Samaritan, help the needy/poor."
#HolyPlea to Christian Leaders in connection of the visit of #PopeFrancisPH & #showthepope for caring for the flock. pic.twitter.com/ARmPXwwBMk— Reymark Magoncia (@reymarkehm) December 23, 2014
Meanwhile, user @xpeanutgalleryx posted this photo of a young boy selling candles outside a church in Cebu.
The caption read: "#ShowThePope luxurious offices of Sto Niño church in Cebu. Hope he also sees child workers outside."
#showthepope @pontifex luxurious offices of st nino church in cebu. hope he also sees child workers outside. pic.twitter.com/EryGagav0Q— aggrieved citizen (@xpeanutgalleryx) December 22, 2014
Dave Sison linked to this YouTube video that went viral earlier this year.
The video showed a priest in Cebu berating a young unwed mother at the baptism of her child.
http://t.co/Lb20GdevAa MT @rapplerdotcom: #ShowThePope #PopeFrancisPH— Dave Sison (@davesison) December 30, 2014
Other netizens pointed out their observations of a local clergy that is dissociated with the realities of their constituents.
Eli Zar tweeted: "I will #ShowThePope how disconnected the CBCP is from the real world, so he may be able to teach them to follow his examples."
I will #ShowThePope how disconnected the CBCP is from the real world, so he may be able to teach them to follow his examples. #PopeFrancisPH— Eli Zar (@ely1300) December 29, 2014
Meanwhile, Pipo del Rosario added that he wants to show the Pope the "Pajero bishops" – referring to the scandal during the Arroyo administration when several Church leaders reportedly procured luxury vehicles using charity funds.
@rapplerdotcom #ShowThePope all the pajero bishops— Pipo (@pipodelrosario) December 22, 2014
Pope Francis has routinely warned against the dangers of a Church that is "closed in on [itself]."
In a session with members of movements, communities and ecclesial associations in May 2013, Francis said: "When the Church becomes closed, she becomes an ailing Church, she falls ill! That is a danger....A Church closed in on herself is the same, a sick Church."
The pontiff urged priests around the world to create a Church that would "step outside herself…to the outskirts of existence."
"To make others feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged, the Church must be with doors wide open so that all may enter. And we must go out through these doors and proclaim the Gospel," he added.
Francis has also criticized a culture that values money over the tragedies of people dying on the streets and needing help.
"These things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy. A person dying is not news, but if the stock markets drop 10 points it is a tragedy! Thus people are disposed of, as if they were trash," he said.
What about you? What do you want to #ShowThePope?
Tweet us your photos using this hashtag, and we'll include your entries in a gallery that we'll send to the Vatican. We'll also feature the best entries in our stories. – Rappler.com
Join Rappler in a 100-day countdown to Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines: a journey from the Vatican to Tacloban. Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #PopeFrancisPH!
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