China is a Communist Country with atheist beliefs and has always been openly hostile and opposed to True Biblical Christianity. For the last 70 decades or so, till today, Chinese Christians (both Catholics and Protestants) have lived their faith largely in underground churches in fear of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Though the crack down on Christians have been relentless, the Chinese underground churches have survived and flourished solely by the Hand of the Lord. Chinese Catholics amount to nearly 12 million Catholics of which nearly half are underground. This phenomenon of Beijing appointing State-vetted Bishops into office in the Catholic Church is not new and has come up many times in the past but resisted. They anyway went ahead and appointed two illicit bishops in defiance of the Holy See. Even though a senior, retired, outspoken Cardinal – Joseph Zen Ze-Kium (86) personally opposed this recent move, he has been side-lined and labelled as an obstacle. Continue reading
Further to my earlier article Is Marriage for Catholic Clergy the Answer?, it is tempting to see the glimmer of reform as another sign of the “Francis effect”, with the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio opening doors that had hitherto been locked in the area of married clergy. But a word of caution. Among those friends in Argentina who know him best, he is almost universally described as a conservative. “He loves his celibacy,” his former press spokesman Father Guillermo Marco told me.
Yet this is not an either/or choice. There can still be a place for a celibate priesthood as well as married priests, as happens, for example, in the Orthodox branch of Christianity, where the upper echelons of bishops are reserved for those without wives. Continue reading
The present Pope Francis has been under severe criticism right through the first year of his Pontificate for not tackling the pedophile priests matter more thoroughly. Like his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI who did nothing much about it (though there are claims of 400 priests being defrocked by him in 2011 & 2012), this scandal refuses to go away. It has now turned global in nature as cases once restricted to just Ireland and the US have begun to explode all over Europe and beyond especially in the years 2011 & 12 which forced Pope Benedict to do something about it. Often referred to as a disease, but more accurately termed as sin, the time has come no doubt for a spiritual spring-cleaning within. The magnitude of the problem has for the first time caused a secular body like the UN to rap the Vatican on its knuckles as it were, using harsh language such as “kick out those who abuse children“. Continue reading
For the first time I am hearing a pope speak a language I understand and which rings true. Beginning with my earlier post titled “Cleansing of the Temple” where he severely chastised errant priests, the pope goes on now to make another awesome statement saying: “When you lose the sense of sin, you lose the sense of the Kingdom of God” quoted from the Vatican Insider dated 31st Jan, 2014. An interesting article and worth reading. Moreover, The Pope confesses that even he himself can fall into the trap of losing this sense of sin. But a commitment to daily prayer, he stresses, can counter the injustices perpetrated out of human pride and stop so many from falling victim to “Christian mediocrity” and our “unrecognized sins.” (Vatican Radio-31.1.2014). This is a far cry from any infallible positions overstated in the past and closer to the pope being a truer human being. This is the kind of human being that the layperson can relate to. Continue reading
Bishops and priests getting a lashing from the Holy Father?? I stared in disbelief at the news article in front of me from the “Vatican Insider” as reported by Andrea Tornielli, Vatican City, dated 16th January 2014. After years of cover-up and shameless scandals related to money, power and sex, this tirade by the Pope was like a welcome breath of fresh air. However, it also brought home the sombre reality and frailty of man – any man – clergy or laity notwithstanding. The excellently written article by Andrea needs no interference from my part, so I have reproduced it completely in italics below.
At this morning’s homily in St. Martha’s House, Francis asked: “are we all ashamed of those scandals, of those failings of priests, bishops, laity?” Continue reading