Monday, May 2, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul II: A Past Revisited


The start of May is described by a number of events both here and abroad. There’s the Labor Day, with the protesters rallying for the 125-peso wage hike which was not granted by the government. Then there’s the Agua de Mayo, signaling the rainy season (hopefully, given the intense heat of the last weeks of April) and the commencement of the Flores de Mayo (which would mean pag-aalay in the afternoons, libot in the early evenings, and the santacruzan on the latter part of the month).

A more religion-related commemoration is the Divine Mercy Sunday, designated by then Pope John Paul II as the first Sunday after Easter Sunday. What makes this year’s Divine Mercy Sunday more special and memorable (at least to the Catholic devout) is the beatification of Pope John Paul II. He is now officially Blessed Pope John Paul II.

On this first day of May, we opted to travel to some sites in Manila landing later on a book sale stall. There I was again, rummaging through some sale books. On one book I found a piece of parchment with a picture of the late Pope along with some message and his signature.

The message read: “May the Apostolic Blessing, which I impart to everyone with great affection, be a pledge of my universal favor and the reconciliation of hearts.”

I forgot about the book (maybe something related to his last visit to the country) but nevertheless took the parchment as a souvenir.

But that bit of parchment recalled to my mind an article I read regarding the Pope and Vatican (“Pedophiles and Popes: Doing the Vatican Shuffle” by Michael Parenti, Z Magazine July / August 2010 pp.14-16). This concerns the alleged tendency of the Church (says the article) to defend and even cover up for the child abuses of some of the Church’s priests. I tried to do an online search and I read a result of an investigation in a country in which more than four thousand cases were recorded within a five-decade period (52 years actually). And note that this is just for one country. The article proceeded to discuss other cases in other countries where the general trend is to pass the case or incident to Vatican, thereby bypassing criminal cases that may have been filed against the erring clergies.

I recall this because it was said that it was from the Vatican that the stance to protect its clergies emanated, especially during the time of Blessed Pope John Paul II. Perhaps it is now time to set this issue straight, at least within the Roman Catholic world. This aspect certainty mars an otherwise pristine image of the Blessed Pope.

But beyond this, one cannot help but wonder why the Church cares so much for the yet unborn and not so much for those little ones who have been abused. There is still no unity with regards to the view of the Church on certain matters (on life as in this case). But then, who am I to judge when I am not even a follower? But it’s kind of a turn-off when you see a group of people, supposedly of one belief, speak different tongues (read: views and opinions).

I believe they have set their feet on the wrong stones when they fought against the RH Bill. Hopefully, I could expand on this later.

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