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The language of Pope Francis

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Much has been written about the broad differences that separate Pope Francis from Pope Benedict XVI, and the comparison tends to be at the latter’s expense. This must be personally disconcerting for Francis. For, indeed, he has said many times that he frequently consults with his predecessor. But, perhaps more than this, it is hard to find anything that Francis has said or written so far that can be taken as contradicting Benedict’s thinking. Apart from the obvious differences in personal style, the one thing, in my view, that distinguishes the present pope from his predecessor is perspective—and this is most evident in the distinct vocabularies they use.

Posted: April 13th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

When a pope resigns

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There is so much being written about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. The most basic question asked is whether a pope may resign. There is now no dispute about the legal possibility of a resignation. Canon Law is very clear: “If it should happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required that he make his resignation freely, and that it be duly manifested, but not that it be accepted by anyone.”

Posted: March 3rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Into the deep

At around midnight, Manila time, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the Vatican grounds by helicopter; about three hours after that, he will become the first pontiff to resign the papacy in six centuries, and the seat of St. Peter will be declared vacant. Who will be chosen to take that seat will help determine whether the challenges that currently confront the Catholic Church will be met with clarity and resolve, or will continue to undermine the rock on which the Catholic faith rests.

Posted: February 27th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Habemus Papam’

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“Habemus Papam” (We have a Pope)—these are the words the cardinal deacon uses to announce the election of a new pope to the expectant crowd at St. Peter’s Square. It is also the title of an Italian movie shown in 2011, which tells the story of a fictional conclave of cardinals convened to elect a new pope. In the film, the assembled cardinals repeatedly fail to produce a clear choice. As the ballots are read, some of them are heard mumbling: “Please, Lord, not me.”

Posted: February 27th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

New Church: clergy, laity together spreading the Word

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The decision of Pope Benedict XVI to resign effective Feb. 28, 2013, has literally shaken the world. It is the first such resignation since Pope Gregory XII’s in 1415. And it is remarkable that for the first time a Filipino cardinal, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, is being considered a viable candidate for pope and could in fact be the next pope. This brings to focus the state of the Church in our country.

Posted: February 26th, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Elect ‘who’ as pope?

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There are 12 reasons why the conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI should vote for me, the America Magazine editor suggests in a rib tickling letter to 116 cardinal electors. Before the senior cardinal proclaims “Habemus Papam” (We have a Pope) remember there is “Habemus me,” Fr. James Martin, SJ, writes deadpan. Excerpts:

Posted: February 25th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Is the Catholic Church dying?

Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation has drawn much commentary. Many of these are about the Church’s present state and its future.

Posted: February 25th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Early Filipino ‘popes’ resisted colonial rule

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When Benedict XVI left his pallium on the glass casket that contained the remains of Celestine V four years ago, he was paying homage to a saint who resigned after five months as pope in 1294 and spent the remainder of his life praying, reading, and binding books.

Posted: February 19th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Pope from the boondocks

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If he ever comes close to it, Filipinos will have a field day choosing an appropriate name for him. “Pope Chito” would be great of course, though the tradition seems to be to adopt an official name of a past pope and affix a Roman numeral to it—Pope Benedict XVI, Pius XII, John Paul II, etc. The last of course spawning jokes about George and Ringo being thrown into the bargain as well.

Posted: February 18th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Shattered ring

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“It will be ‘terminated,’” Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi, SJ, told reporters. Just what will be ended?

Posted: February 18th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

A ‘small’ pope

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Even the most generous-spirited praise for Pope Benedict XVI cannot avoid making comparisons. Here, for example, is theology professor Vincent Miller, in a deeply sympathetic essay published in the Jesuit magazine America. “From the beginning of his papacy, in the shadow of John Paul—then called ‘the Great’—Benedict has struck a lower profile. Of course he lacked his predecessor’s charisma, but his gestures were so often intentional.”

Posted: February 18th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Pope Chito?

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The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI opened the real possibility for His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, to become the first Filipino (also first Asian and first non-European) leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Theoretically, anyone can be chosen pope, but in practice, only members of the College of Cardinals are elected to the papacy.

Posted: February 16th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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