Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam!

As a devout Catholic, I was really upset when Pope Benedict XVI resigned.  I felt he simply gave up and abandoned his flock.   But I'm sure he had valid reasons and he mulled over his painful decision several times before finally deciding to resign.

The period that followed was known as "sede vacante" which literally meant an empty or vacant seat.  It felt strange that 1.2 billion Catholics were living without a Supreme Pontiff at the helm of the Church yet it continued to thrive and survive on its own merits.

The throngs of crowd waiting outside the Vatican brought back fond memories of my visits to the Holy See. In 2001, my sister and I were lucky enough to be there when the late Pope John Paul II appeared on the balcony to bless the crowd.  It is quite a humbling experience, one that would cherish forever.

The days leading to the Conclave, several media organizations (both local and international) were bombarding us with reports of the Papabiles, which included our very own Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.   But once again I took a different view and believed that Cardinal Tagle who just assumed the position last November 2012 is better off tending to his flock in the Philippines first than to serve as our Supreme Pontiff.   The Roman Catholic in our nation is suffering a crisis and it needs more reforms as it adapts to modern times. So while everyone was hoping and praying he would elected as Pope, I prayed that the Holy Spirit would pick someone else.  

Once the Conclave started, I was practically glued to the telly eagerly anticipating the color of the smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney.   I found it really amusing that the chimney had his own twitter account and would tweet like a normal person. After the chimney released two black smoke, I desperately tried to stay awake. But it was already past midnight and my eyes were dozing off so I reluctantly switched off the TV.

I woke up at 9:30 am to find out that Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina is now our 266th Pope.  He takes on the name of Pope Francis and is the first Jesuit and Latin American Pope.   

May God bless him as he embarks on a gargantuan task.

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