Filipino Pope, AnyoneBy Philip Dominguez Mercurio
IT’S a shame that the Philippines does not have
a front-runner contender for the papacy.
Looking at the list of potential candidates in many of the national papers, you’re not going to find a Filipino candidate in any of them.
Brazil and Mexico are the biggest Catholic nations in the world, each of them have at least one person in contention: Cardinals Claudio Hummes and Morborto Rivera Carrera from each country respectively.
America may be the fourth largest Catholic nation but they have no contenders for the papacy thanks to their recent scandals roiling over from years of sexual abuses.
Italy, the fifth largest Catholic nation has reduced influence in the College of Cardinals. Still, she has an impressive home field advantage with a plethora of contenders with every city-state along the Mediterranean to choose from.
Then there is third largest Catholic nation in the world: the Philippines.
Being one of the powerhouses of Catholicism and the biggest in the Asian block, it would be nice to see one of our own brown brothers go for the seat.
Now there is an Asian contender for the papacy but unfortunately it’s not from the Philippines but from India: Cardinal Ivan Dias.
Perhaps saying this would belittle other Christians and Muslims in the Philippines, but if one would crank out the numbers, when it all comes down to it, in terms of Catholicism, we are definitely one of its superpowers.
Unfortunately, we have nothing to show for it.
Being one of the powerhouses of Catholicism isn’t the only reason why the Philippines should place a cardinal in legions of others running for the papacy. The Filipino people are also in desperate need of a hero.
As of now, the most lasting figure from the Philippines at least on the world stage remains to be a woman with too many heels.
And with the ongoing political wrangling and government’s continued indifference to the needs of the masses, any faith the people have in their political leaders or the institutions they lead had long dried up.
Filipinos need someone like John Paul II had been to Poland in our own midst; someone who could make an impressionable inspiration for our people on the world stage for all to see.
In Poland, John Paul II was considered their savior. Upon becoming the pope, he galvanized his own people on his first visit to his homeland with millions of Poles ignoring the government’s restrictions, leaving their normal lives to greet him.
With his one visit, he brought back religion and God, steps that later lead to the unraveling of events that ultimately culminated with the downfall of Communism 10 years later.
An editor of a Polish Catholic weekly, Rev. Adam Boniecki, said to The New York Times, “This was a little country. We had the feeling that we practically didn’t exist, that we had been forgotten, and the pope told us who we are and that we were remembered. He was the presence who created the Polish identity.”
For a country generally ignored by the outside world except for being mentioned occasionally as an exporter of maids to Hong Kong or the Middle East, entertainment workers to Japan or blurted out by President George W. Bush as areas infested with terrorist cells, having a Filipino pope to create our own Filipino identity would be a God send.
Such a pope will raise our people up, make them feel good about whom they are and the country they represent.
There is no need for Filipinos to sly away and not represent themselves on the world stage when our country is very embroiled in Church theology where its pull even influences many of our domestic policies: issues such as family planning and population control.
John Paul II perhaps most enduring legacy upon the history of the world was his participation in the defeat of Communism that shielded many nations from the light of God.
His passing presents the close of that era but a new battle existing in the majority of Catholic nations endures: life-wrecking poverty that threatens the very quality of life the church is trying to protect.
Its defeat should be the mission of the new pope.
Filipinos therefore must there in the frontlines, ready to do battle. -PDM
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