In this completely secular world, we are unfazed by almost anything anymore. Nothing probably shocks us anymore, or even keeps us on our toes. We are just people waiting for the next big thing, the next bad news, the next whatever!
To Catholics, we probably never gave much attention to Pope Benedict XVI stepping down from the Seat of St. Peter. Rocked by series of sex scandals, secularism and pro-contraceptive issues, the Catholic Faith has been hit from all sides by hard critics and even by its own faithful. It’s hard not to really see these signs bearing down on the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. And with Pope Benedict XVI–a staunch conservative Catholic–deciding to leave the papacy than to stick it out to the very end, that spells a world of meaning.
Sorry for hard-nosed critics (and I know I will get a lot of flak for saying this, but I’m saying it anyway. Why do liberals have more leeway to say their piece but we conservatives can’t???), but I happen to belong to the group of conservatives who firmly believe that the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church should not change. I believe that despite changes in society, the Faith should always remain the same. We are now in a period that is filled with conflict and antagonism, it becomes even more apparent that the push for a modern pope is in the works. There is a dark cloud looming over the whole Church, if not the whole world.
THE CAVEAT IN EMBRACING CHANGES
Where is the danger here, you say? By embracing modernity, we are in danger of corrupting the Faith; and when are corrupting it, we are changing the tradition and beliefs that were started by Jesus and His disciples. Gradually, modernity is seeping in the cracks of the Church which has already been divided between the conservatives and the liberals. We see clergymen debating over pro-life issues, dividing the faithful even further. How to solve errant priests? Allow priests to marry? The cracks are showing and it is ripping the faithful apart. Even in predominantly Catholic Philippines, church attendance is dwindling. In fact, we are losing to other religions that show a more united front.
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD: WHY WE OUGHT TO PRAY
Let us pray for a new pope that will remain steadfast to the teachings of the Catholic Faith, a leader who lives in the world but shall not be influenced by the world despite pressures for a more liberal and secularized approach.
The conclave will meet very soon and a new pope is expected to be elected on or before Easter. That’s a few weeks from now. Easter could bring a double-edged sword of symbolism: either it could spell a new breath of life to the Church or the dawn of a totally revamped Church.
For now, let’s offer prayers and sacrifices for the election of a good pope.