#AnimatED: Waiting for the Pope
Let us voice support for Pope Francis’s daunting mission: to breathe fresh air into a Church that has locked its doors to many Catholics.
When Pope Francis lands in Manila on January 15, he would just have come from Sri Lanka, where only a minority, 6% of 20 million, are Catholics; most are Buddhists. Already, his upcoming visit in this South Asian country is causing controversy as some prominent Catholic priests and laypeople are urging the Pope to postpone his visit since it has taken on a political color. It will happen soon after their presidential election.
In contrast, we are swarming with Catholics, the only other majority-Catholic country in Asia. (East Timor has since joined our ranks.) And preparations have reached fever pitch, with abundant media coverage and excitement crackling in the air.
Many things about Pope Francis have floored us, including peripheral Catholics. Foremost is the marked shift in tone: we hear of a more inclusive Church, more compassionate, and utterly simple.
The Pope has set the example—and the images are vivid, like when he wrapped a severely disfigured man in his embrace, when he visited a favela in Brazil on foot, and when he allowed a little boy, who wandered to the stage and hugged him while he was giving a speech, to stay as he greeted guests and sit on his chair.
Equally important is the Pope’s courage to shake things up, to take our breaths away with statements that have now become part of our global conversation. Most memorable is, “Who am I to judge?” referring to the gay clergy.
Let us remember that the Pope comes to us amid an internal battle among the cardinals on doctrinal issues of sexuality and family life. In October, the Vatican’s Synod on the Family released a draft document which some considered a “bombshell.” It called for “greater openness and understanding toward divorced individuals, remarried couples, couples who live together without being married, families with children from different marriages, homosexual couples, and mixed couples who practice different religions.”
In October next year, the synod will finalize its report.
The visit in January will be an opportunity for our bishops, priests and concerned Catholics to voice support for this daunting mission of Pope Francis, to breathe fresh air into a Church that has locked its doors to many Catholics. - Rappler.com