Before anything else, let me write my disclaimer down:
This post is not meant to insult any religion, belief or faith nor do I intend to insult anyone. I am merely writing down my thoughts on what I know is a very sensitive topic for the majority of the people who might get to read this. I am not trying to look down at anything or even trying to be superior in terms of beliefs over anyone else’s. I would just like to “think out loud”, to simply put, in the hopes that maybe, there will be some readers out there who will be helpful enough to comment their reactions, thoughts and probably answers to some of the questions that I have. Should there be anyone that I unintentionally offend with this post, let me make my apologies now and I hope you also try to see things from where I am standing. 🙂 Again, this is not meant to criticize nor look down or even mock others’s beliefs so please bear with me.
So here goes:
When Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines, I was still in grade school. As I was already in a public school that time where majority of the students and faculty are Catholics, we were taught to sing the anthem (do you call it that?) for the visit. I was included in some sort of Religion classes of sorts to learn about the Pope (I couldn’t remember anything about it, though) and if I remember it correctly, everywhere I passed by within the campus, there were discussions about the Pope’s visit in the country.
Given that my family is Born-Again Christians, I didn’t even know what a Pope is for. I grew up only knowing the Pastors in our church, the priests in my previous school (an Anglican private school) and probably Cardinal Sin because he was almost always in the news before. So I just went through the motions thinking that the activities that we were asked to do was part of the curriculum.
Fast forward to a couple of decades later, the new Pope visits the Philippines. Earlier today, Pope Francis II landed and had his motorcade from the airport going to his home for a couple of days. He will be visiting Tacloban as well over the weekend, I think, then he will depart on Monday.
I haven’t been following the news (well, I don’t watch the news, to be honest) that appears in my Facebook newsfeed but I have read a few. The country has really prepared for his arrival. Isuzu customized one of the Papal mobiles that was used earlier and I’ve read that there is another one made that will be used tomorrow, I think. The days when the Pope is here has been declared special non-working holidays, too, but only in the big metro. There was even a news article that came out and has become viral about caging street children for the next few days so they won’t be loitering the streets. (If that is true, I really find that action disgusting).
Watching the news clips earlier, there were a lot of people who went to the airport, lined up and waited for the arrival of the Pope. Everybody was excited, everybody was emotional. As the motorcade passed the street filled with people, the Pope waved to the people and the people cheered on. There were a lot of cameras flashing away, twinkling like stars in all the videos that I’ve watched. Then I read a few status updates as well about their encounters and all that.
Then everything got me thinking.
Before anything else, like I said, I grew up as a Born-Again Christian and lived in an Episcopalian dominated community growing up. Though I have been a non-practicing Christian now and haven’t been attending church for a few years now (I have my reasons for this and catching up on sleep is not one of them), my faith has been tested to the breaking point, as I write this down, let me say that I still keep my own faith.
Going back… Our country has made a lot of preparations for the arrival of the Pope. He deplaned and walked on red carpet complete with a grand entourage, military men scattered across the street to ensure the Pope’s safety and security, all media companies covering his arrival and all that. He was treated more than a royalty, in my opinion.
Then here comes the status updates I have been seeing in social media the whole day. A lot were saying they are “feeling blessed” and the likes. I started getting confused.
From what I understand, the Pope is the highest rank in the Catholic church leader hierarchy. (If my understanding is wrong, please do correct me). So, it is like he is the President of the whole Catholic church and I think he has a lot of responsibilities piled on his plate.
So what makes the Pope’s visiting a country so special? What sets them apart from any dignitaries visiting the country? The red carpet treatment and the secured motorcade somehow reminded me of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem where people threw their cloaks on the ground where Jesus’ donkey was going to pass by. Does that mean that the Pope is treated like Jesus?
I have high respect for the Pope even if I am not a Catholic because somehow, I find him a lot different from the previous one and he definitely has a kinder and more gentle approach to things compared to some devotees I have met in my life. Anyway, the Pope’s treatment is the least of my concerns, I just had to get that out there in the hopes that someone could explain a few things to me. 🙂 I would greatly appreciate the education.
Now that the Pope is here, people are feeling blessed. May I ask why? What impact does the Pope’s visit have in your lives? Will his visit (including listening to his homily) make a great impact on one’s belief and faith? Will it make a person change for the better in the future? Or is feeling blessed hashtag included in some status posts is just there to ride on the current trend in the cyberworld? Has anyone ever thought of the real reason why they are really blessed for having the Pope in our country?
I am not sure if I have articulated my questions in a way that won’t offend anyone and I am sure I missed out some other pertinent questions in my head trying to get out but I think I will leave it at that for now.
Anything about religion, faith, beliefs and politics are hard topics to write about, so again, I tried my best and I hope I haven’t offended anyone.
Have a blessed day! 🙂