“Find new ways to spread the word of God to every corner of the world.” Pope Francis
By Alex P. Vidal
ILONGGOS can always understand why Pope Francis will limit his visit only in Manila and Leyte.
Their excitement is also building up that the Argentine Pontiff, the third non-Italian pope in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, is in the country for five days from January 15-19.
We actually have religious representatives in Manila and Leyte during the Papal Visit.
We have Ilonggo leaders in the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP); and probably some church officials who are part of the Philippine entourage have Ilonggo blood running in their veins.
Masses are being offered with hymns venerating the pope in Jaro Cathedral, in the district churches of Molo, Arevalo, San Jose (City Proper), Santa Maria Church (City Proper) Sto. Niño Sur Chapel-SM Delgado, Tanza (City Proper), Bo. Obrero, and La Paz.
Religious institutions like St. Paul University (City Proper), De Paul College (Jaro), Pius Institute (Jaro), San Jose College (Jaro), Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus (City Proper), Colegio de las Hijas de Jesus (City Proper), Ateneo de Iloilo, Mary Immaculate Academy, among others, have also made preparations related to the Papal Visit.
Thus officially Panay, Negros, Romblon, and all Ilonggo-speaking populace in the country are not left behind in the historic Papal Visit.
Almost every religious and spiritual person, a layman or ordinary faithful, is smitten by “Papa” mania.
Since we are a predominantly Catholic nation, Pope Francis’ visit has a widespread impact in the entire archipelago, including the Muslim territories in Mindanao.
There is no radio program, TV channel, and newspaper page that Pope Francis is not mentioned.
Even non-Catholics, the Protestants and Christian fundamentalist sects, welcome the presence of the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion baptized Catholics.
The Papal Visit aims also to unite us as a nation.
But do we really need the pope as a unifying symbol?
Is it necessary to have a pope, in the first place?
Based on the Roman Catholic teachings, Christ made Peter the leader of the apostles and of the church (Matthew 16:18-19).
In giving Peter the “keys of the kingdom,” Christ not only made him leader, but also made him infallible when he acted or spoke as Christ’s representative on earth (speaking from the seat of authority, or “ex cathedra”).(source: gotquestions.org)
“This ability to act on behalf of the church in an infallible way when speaking ‘ex cathedra’ was passed on to Peter’s successors, thus giving the church an infallible guide on earth. The purpose of the papacy is to lead the church unerringly.
“Peter later became the first bishop of Rome. As bishop of Rome, he exercised authority over all other bishops and church leaders. The teaching that the bishop of Rome is above all other bishops in authority is referred to as the ‘primacy’ of the Roman bishop.
“Peter passed on his apostolic authority to the next bishop of Rome, along with the other apostles who passed on their apostolic authority to the bishops that they ordained. These new bishops, in turn, passed on that apostolic authority to those bishops that they later ordained, and so on. This ‘passing on of apostolic authority’ is referred to as ‘apostolic succession.’
“Based upon the claim of an unbroken chain of Roman bishops, Roman Catholics teach that the Roman Catholic Church is the true church, and that all churches that do not accept the primacy of the pope have broken away from them, the original and one true church.”
While there have seemingly been good (humanly speaking) and moral men who have served as pope of the Roman Catholic Church, including Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis I, the Roman Catholic Church teaching about the office of the pope should be rejected because it is not “in continuity” with the teachings of the original church related to us in the New Testament.
This comparison of any church’s teaching is essential, lest we miss the New Testament’s teaching concerning the gospel, and not only miss eternal life in heaven ourselves, but unwittingly lead others down the wrong path (Galatians 1:8-9).
We welcome, Pope Francis.
In heart and spirit, we are one!