When I first started this blog, I was still studying in the seminary. It started as my reflection of my experiences before it was commercialized, Five years later, I am going to theologize about the Papal visit.
Just a background, I am baptized as a Protestant but I was also baptized secretly as Catholic later which is why my mother was wondering why was it allowed without her consent. Even though I was raised as a Protestant, I was told that once I was baptized as a Catholic, I am automatically a citizen of the Vatican as any Roman Catholic.
During my year at the seminary, I was told that the late Pope John Paul II was an ecumenical pope. When John Paul II died, we thought there will be no pope like him that is willing to break barriers. And then Ratzinger resigned and for the first time, the new Pope was not from Europe. Pope Francis is a native of Argentina. Just like the Philippines, his native Argentina is also a former colony of Spain.
Just like John Paul II, Francis I also breaks barriers. He was able to accept gay people as fellow believers as long as they are not doing anything sinful. He is also open to reproductive health which is his cardinals are opposed to as well as the local bishops here.
In preparation of his arrival and his papal visit, I was able to see how Pinoys are preparing for the event, One of the news broadcast features a house that was repainted because the baranggay funded it because they are aware that the Pope's motorcade will pass there. When the owner was interviewed, a grandmother, told the reporter that they are doing this because the Pope is second to God. I find this Biblically wrong. According to general Christian faith, the Church is second to Christ since he called the Church the Bride. The Catholic Church should orient their believers more like how we Protestants do in Sunday School. But I prefer the world as second to God since majority of the people believes in God.
As a Protestant, I still have respect for the Pope as a head of state, Besides, protestants during the Reformation never intended to break away from the Universal Church which was the Roman Catholic Church. They were excommunicated and even executed by the Inquisition.
But that is history. Back to the main event, I am not surprised how people prepared for this. Even though according to the owners of the commercial establishments complained that 5 days is too long but they have to comply since it is for the Pope and the government already made it a holiday. It did affect the public transportation even our LRT. Some of the stations are affected and people have a hard time going home. On Day 2, the mobile networks were down the whole morning in the Metro Manila area especially in Manila and Pasay. I already knew that it was intentionally planned during the papal convoy.
But again, it is not about religion. It is about mercy and compassion as the current Pope is emphasizing. Today, there is an Encounter With Filipino Families at The Arena in Mall Of Asia. I just hope that Reproductive Health will also be addressed by the Pope in the event. But I am glad that the Pope emphasized to the leaders to reject corruption. Hope it does not fall on deaf ears even though I am doubtful. Follow this blog for more theological reflections or like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.