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Jorge Mario Bergoglio

January 21, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Ronald Roy — Jan. 21, 2015

Now that His Holiness, Pope Francis — Signor Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he became a priest, erstwhile Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, and now the Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Jesus of Nazareth — has returned to the Vatican, it remains to be seen whether his Filipino flock will learn to dream (“If you lose the capacity to dream you lose the capacity to love”), “to cry and weep” (as Jesus did for the poor and the infirm, and over the remains of his dear friend Lazarus) and “to think, to feel and to act” (as Christ had thought, felt and acted for the underprivileged).
No chronicler can describe Pope Francis’ four-day pastoral sorties in Metro Manila and Leyte with the same emotional intensity that touched the Faithful, some of whom had actually seen and heard him in person, or with some luck hugged and be hugged back by him, held his garment or hand and kissed his sacred ring — the symbol of that authority vested by Jesus in Peter as his first Pope.
With radio and television as my only instruments of witness, I have never been so overwhelmed by such massive multitudes drawn to his charisma — a mystifying allure which can perhaps be explained by six factors, namely, the deep religiosity of Filipinos, the pontiff’s message of hope for those oppressed by chronic poverty and betrayed by their avariciously corrupt leaders, his disarming bias for the young, infectious sense of humor, incredible energy unknown to many octogenarians his age at 78 and, most especially, his very simplicity of language and lifestyle.
For four days, he touched our lives not with the scholarly erudition of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVl and other previous popes , but with words and phrases so simple even the illiterate understood the profound gospels of agape, forgiveness, sacrifice and: compassion particularly for those in the “peripheries” where one finds the prisoners, the infirm, the aged and the impoverished victims of injustice. For four days, Pope Francis was their comfort and salve, light and hope. He once poignantly said, “I’m here to be with you”, to which most surely reacted with a wish for him to stay forever.
Pope Francis named himself after St. Francis of Assisi, a rich soldier who, after his release from a military prison, refused to resume an affluent life of wine, women and song. Instead, he gave all his wealth to the poor in accordance with the wishes of Jesus Christ who, he claimed, often appeared to him in his cell. It was a claim first believed to have resulted from a mind ravaged by imprisonment, but was later confirmed when he started to bear Christ’s stigmata in his hands, feet and around his head. He proceeded to serve the marginalized in the peripheries until he died at the youthful age of 28.
For me, the most tear-jerking moment was when 12-year-old Gyzelle Palomar stood before “Lolo Kiko”, reading from a paper that narrated the horror of her and other children’s captivity in the hands of drug traffickers and flesh traders. When she broke out into tears halfway through her story, Lolo Kiko pulled her close to mark a cross with his thumb on her forehead. Then, as he embraced her, she swung her arms around his girth and buried her face in his chest, appearing relieved to be nestled in the perpetual comfort of divine deliverance.
Expectedly, there would be a most embarrassing episode, and that was when His Holiness addressed government officials, business moguls, clergymen and other personalities. The top officials were gathered, along with smuggling lords, Chinese tax cheats and other big-time felons who had contributed to P-Noy’s 2010 campaign kitty. Throughout, the Pope maintained his characteristically gentle tone as he expressed concern over how government corruption has continued to debilitate the impoverished.
His audience listened, their heads bowed, if not in contrition, then in anticipation of a presidential rescue. They all sat up smiling as the President rose to deliver a response. But their smiles slowly disappeared when he went into a tirade denouncing the administration of a Filipino president who had died 25 years ago. He likewise denounced the corrupt practices of the clergy during Gloria Arroyo’s presidency.
Once again, P-Noy employed his tactic of critiquing previous administrations in order to exalt himself by comparison. Characteristically, he committed an unpardonable faux pas with the way he responded to the spiritual head of billions of Catholics worldwide.
If Benigno B.S. Aquino lll is stupid, perhaps he can be forgiven for “not knowing what he does”. But if we are to believe his propagandists that he is in fact brilliant, God save us all on the supplications of Pope Francis.

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