Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Pope's Final Goodbye

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor to the Throne of St. Peter, Supreme Head of the Universal Church waved his final goodbye yesterday, February 28, 2013, as he prepared to leave Vatican City

Yesterday marked the end of the eight-year reign of the 265th Vicar of Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict XVI. 

As he left Vatican City, where he had given an emotional send-off of cheers and applause from closest aides, nuns and priests, the bells of St. Peter's Basilica pealed marking his exit in the papacy. While watching the news at abc I saw how weak and frail the pope is, he barely moved his head and he walked with the aid of a cane.

The pope, who is regarded as Catholic church's top theologian for three decades, left the Vatican wearing a white papal cassock and boarded a white helicopter and went to Castel Gandolfo Palace, a summer residence on the hilltop of Rome overlooking Vatican City. He will take up residence there for two months. 

The farewell was emotional as it was the first time in many centuries that a Pope voluntarily resigned or abdicated. After his departure, the church officials sealed the papal apartment and elevator and would not open until the next Pope is elected. They also broke the papal ring, a traditional ritual when the Papacy is vacant to avoid impostors from using the seal of authority.
The scenic view of Castel Gandolfo Palace just outside Vatican

Upon arrival in his new residence, the Pope was greeted by thousands of faithful who gathered outside the balcony of the palace to see the last glimpse of the Holy Father. 

Benedict XVI also took the opportunity to thank his supporters "I am happy to be with you surrounded by the beauty of creation, thank you for your friendship and affection". He added "I will no longer be pope but a simple pilgrim who is starting out on the last part of his pilgrimage on earth". Vatican officials announced that the Pope will still be addressed as "Your Holiness".

The Pope's resignation will provide Cardinals a different view in electing the next Pope. The Cardinals around the world, the only church officials who are eligible to choose a new successor of St. Peter, will gather in Vatican sometimes in March to select Benedict XVI's successor but the crucial point of the criteria of this Conclave might be largely different from the past gatherings.

As mental and physical strengths are the core reasons why the Pope declared his resignation, Cardinals might choose someone who is more energetic and young to lead the universal church.

A cardinal from Australia was quoted saying that his vote will go to "somebody who will maintain the tradition both in faith and morals, where it is under attack. I want somebody who is able to speak to the world and also somebody who has a strong pastoral experience in a diocese and who is able to lift the morale of the Roman Curia and perhaps provides a bit more discipline".




Booked!!Hongkong Travel at last

Yeah!!!Finally got a nerve to book a foreign trip online today and yaaay so very lucky to get a low rate for this Hongkong trip!

My eagerness to travel abroad this year is due to the fact that my passport will expire by 2014 and it's a great shame to renew it at DFA without a foreign embassy stamp hahaha!

I've been praying hard for this trip and God finally allowed circumstances to intervene to make this desire realized soon.

So now finally, yes finally! I can visit the gorgeous Hongkong comes June 1. It's super exciting. I'll be travelling with friends in the university and we'll be taking a round trip from Davao to Clark to Hongkong and vice versa.

But as of now, I don't let my excitement overwhelmed me because I still have to face grueling days of taking comprehensive exams.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Joy of Creating Blog and Banner

The most stressful moment of my life, so far, started last Tuesday...

I'd never felt such tension before! It's the day one of our comprehensive examination review and my mind clouded with so many stressful thoughts. Our comprehensive exam covers six MBA subjects: Human Behavior in Organization, Managerial Statistics, Marketing Management, Production Management, Financial Management and Strategic Managament and our compre review is divided into two weeks with 2 days allotted for each subject.

What made me so very stressed is the trend in the comprehensive exam result of MBA at AdDU -- only few takers managed to pass on the first take, waaaaah! Since it is very tedious, time consuming and very costly to undergo a re-take (and I am taking a foreign trip abroad comes June), I am focusing, really focusing hard to pass all  the subjects in just one take. And I am praying hard now as if I never prayed in my whole life hehehe!

So yesterday, to dart my mind temporarily to other rosy things in life, I surfed the net endlessly, researching for pastry recipes. I want to bake this weekend to relax hehe! I got some good tips in making Creamy Cupcakes and Chocolate Truffles. I wanna try Chocolate Truffles with Rolled Fondant that I kept on installing for the past days hehe!

And to further wind off my mind from tension, I fixed the blogsite of Let's DISH!Food and Coffee which I created and published some months back. You know, one of my de-stressing rituals in life and really my happiness is creating blog and banner, I really loved it to the highest level!

The banner of Let's Dish I created yesterday

Below are the banners I created for the rest of my BLOGS! 

For my Royal World blog
For my personal blog
For my Practical Wedding Guide blog
For my Travel and Leisure blog
For my Wedding Etiquette blog
For my Soap Business blog
For my Food and Home Life blog

There's something in writing and creating blog and banner that I find extremely relieving, it's the joy of seeing a creative work done and made its way to the internet world. It made me feel so very proud of myself, it made me feel very contented with life. There's a real, genuine happiness from deep within that surges high, it boosts my self-esteem, it felt like I suddenly turned into a superwoman. It colors my day beautifully, wheew!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

About Failure

For the past months, years, decades perhaps, I made to believe myself I am a great failure, that I am worthless. The inspirational messages I heard and read about "valuing oneself" and "believing in your worth" just did not sink in my mind. It felt like I was bound to fail. So I hesitated doing things that might highlight failure. 

This self-defeating concept gradually molded my perception about myself that eventually defined my journey. I was too scared to move away from my comfort zone, too terrified to try on many things which hampered my personal growth in the long run.

This negative definition about myself intensified when I suffered one dreadful rejection episode in my life. It  sank my self-confidence and deepened my belief that I am not good on anything. It became a wound that badly damaged my self-esteem.

But time heals all wounds, so they say. And for all those times that I was agonizing in pain over a failed "dream" I'd come to realize that the concept I created for myself is the one that pushes me to the ditch and no one shoves me to fell there.

I've learned lessons anyway and became increasingly aware that the definition of my self-worth depends on how I view life in general and not based on the concept created by other people. Eventually I become more mature emotionally and become very realistic with life.

Now, I want to focus more on cultivating my potentials and in what matters for the future. I don't want to dwell so much on pain and misery and all that "failure" comprises. I don't want to think obsessively about attracting praises and acceptance. I just want to live my life as it is.






Sunday, February 24, 2013

I am not Silly

It's the last week of February. Nothing extraordinary to look forward to except that I'll be facing another challenge--taking comprehensive exam. This is my last battle of survival in the graduate school and hopefully God will grant my prayer. I don't want to undergo a terrible episode of retaking some of the subjects, it's too costly and tedious.

This month is just so stressful. I have to endure several misconceptions about myself but I tried not to be affected with animosities, as if nothings happened, as if everything is fine, but deep inside, I am bleeding, asking the same redundant question I kept murmuring for the past years "Oh God, what is it again!".

Everything messes up. But I have to keep telling myself that tomorrow is another day and it's not going to be like this for the rest of the year. I was just misunderstood. Was I? Or I was just too defensive, trying to rationalize dreary things only myself cared.

Yes, I am often misunderstood even to the very people I thought can understand the depth of my character. Am I speaking a different language? Or maybe I spoke strangely. But I have no reason to complain, people judged and treated us based on how they perceived us.

For so long, I am revolving around this very perplexing state where I have to pull up myself constantly because it felt like I am drowning. The situation made me so very anxious that I was regularly searching for something that could provide me with a fair answer. Eventually, I put myself in a maze of trouble of whether tolerating it or dismiss it as nonsense.

I unconsciously chose the former. Because of my stubborn belief that clinging to a special hope oftentimes spawns reward, I kept tolerating a sort of fantasy even though I saw signs of ambiguity along the way. I was so confident there's still magic behind those tinted uncertainties. This very baffling situation made me somehow very edgy and sometimes temperamental. But I don't want to go on like this forever.

I wanted clarity and this necessity to clear things up made me to swing like a hazy metronome, fidgeting where to put myself and searching for something to hold on without making myself appeared like a hopeless forsaken, rejected bitch.

And as vague as this situation is, I searched for a two-way "something" that would pacify my anxieties---something that would guarantee that my position is secure and something that would take me out from this state of fantasy. My instinct came to my defense by began creating vague scenes in my mind.

But the scenes I created were just part of my lethargy, part of my apprehensions. But my language could not be understood, misinterpreting it as too self-indulgence and silly.

One way or another, the rift sometimes serves as the acid test of rattling the truth. And that "something" fires the bullet of clearing things out that wrong assumptions would cost us a real trouble.

I am prickly, but I can be overtly sweet and caring. I am not pretty and attractive in any man's standard but I can be as thoughtful and accommodating as any girl in town. But I am quick to understand that this attitude and all the niceties are not sure assurances that I would be valued and be seen in a more romantic shade. To some degree, I am a failure again.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Netherlands will have its new monarch


The Dutch monarchy has its own tradition, since 1948, that sets them apart from other royal houses in Europe -- abdication. The tradition started with Queen Wilhelmina and inherited by her daughter, Queen Juliana in 1980 and now her granddaughter, Queen Beatrix.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands reigned for 33 years

The current Dutch Queen announced her irrevocable abdication plan through a television broadcast last January 28. Her son, Wilhelm-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, who would become King William IV on April 30, 2013 will be the first King of the Netherlands in more than 100 years since King William III.

The Prince of Orange has three daughters with his wife, Maxima. Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane. Amalia will be the first Princess of Orange in Netherlands and would assume the title "The Hereditary Princess of Orange" after her father will be crowned as King.

Prince Wilhelm-Alexander and his wife Maxima

After the abdication, Queen Beatrix will be known as Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau.   The Dutch royal family suffered a private pain over a year ago when the Queen's second son, Prince Friso, was severely wounded when he was badly hit by the avalanche during a skiing trip in Lech, Austria, he is still in a coma until now and will most likely miss the coronation of his brother.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE



Friday, February 15, 2013

Reasons why the Pope resigned

Popes are like traditional monarchs -- only the death of abdication can vacate the post they occupied but in a rare case, they can also abdicate or resign.

Five days after the the Holy Father stunned the world with his surprised resignation, I am still in a state of shock and continue searching for the best answers why he suddenly decided to end his term. My research and reading ventures brought me to different articles online and was even more shocked to read that the Pope's move had not surprised other Vatican officials, they knew it's inevitable, they were only caught-off-guard that it happened so fast.

"I always said if any pope would resign, it would be Benedict. This move was very characteristic of his personality. He never wanted to put himself at the center of things," Cardinal Kurt Koch, a close aide to Pope Benedict XVI who was in the room when the Roman Pontiff read his letter of resignation to the small group of cardinals, told Reuters in the interview.

The articles I'd read enlightened me thoroughly and understood the position of Pope Benedict XVI better. Two of these articles came from credible sources so I will be sharing these articles to the rest of the readers of my blog to take a closer look on the real condition of the Pope and the legendary secrecy of Vatican City.
 
This is a re-post from THE NATIONAL POST


For an institution devoted to eternal light, the Vatican has shown itself to be a master of smokescreens since Pope Benedict XVI’s shock resignation announcement.

On Thursday, the Vatican spokesman acknowledged that Benedict hit his head and bled profusely while visiting Mexico in July. Two days earlier the same man acknowledged that Benedict has had a pacemaker for years, and underwent a secret operation to replace its battery three months ago.

And as the Catholic world reeled from shock over the abdication, it soon became clear that Benedict’s post-papacy lodgings have been under construction since at least the fall. That in turn put holes in the Holy See’s early claims that Benedict kept his decision to himself until he revealed it.

One of the most famous cases of Vatican secrecy was the Holy See’s efforts to cover up the fact that Pope John Paul I’s dead body was discovered by a nun. The eventual revelation helped fuel conspiracy theories over the death of the pope who ruled for only 33 days in 1978.

The Vatican is so obsessed with secrecy that the first and only official confirmation that John Paul II had Parkinson’s disease was in his death certificate.

The Vatican justifies itself by arguing that its officials are holders of the divine truth, unaccountable to worldly laws. In particular, the pope’s word is the final say on any issue — infallible on some doctrinal matters. But groups representing sex abuse victims, and other Catholics angered by the scandal, have been demanding modern standards of accountability and calling for reforms.

The Vatican brushed aside criticism for keeping quiet about the pope’s December pacemaker procedure, on grounds it was “routine.” One Vatican official said making the operation public would simply have led to a big and unnecessary commotion about the pope’s health. “You can imagine the satellite dishes in St. Peter’s square,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media

The front-man for the church’s dance of concealment and disclosure: Vatican spokesman The Rev. Federico Lombardi. In his briefings, Lombardi has been forced into the uncomfortable situation of keeping silent on aspects of the pope’s health and future, only to backpedal when confronted with reports in Italian newspapers.

In the latest disclosure, Turin’s La Stampa newspaper reported Thursday that Benedict hit his head on a sink and bled profusely when he got up in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar bedroom in Leon, Mexico. The report said papal blood stained Benedict’s hair, his pillow and the floor.

Lombardi confirmed the incident but denied it played any role in the pope’s resignation. Still, suspicions are bound to be whetted, since the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported this week that Benedict had taken the decision to resign after the Mexico-Cuba trip, which was physically exhausting for the 85-year-old pope.

Then there’s the question of how many people knew of Benedict’s decision to retire.

On the day of the announcement the Vatican cast it as a bolt from the blue, saying almost nobody knew but Benedict himself. Soon, however, prominent clergymen – one not even Catholic – began changing the tone and saying they were not surprised.

“Knowing the pope well, there was something in the air that this decision of the pope was possible,” said Archbishop Piero Marini, master of papal ceremonies under Pope John Paul II. “So it was not a shock.”
 The Holy Father holding a weekly public audience at St. Peter's Square. 
Photo from THE NATIONAL POST

Even the retired Arcbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Rowan Williams, says that based on his last meeting with Benedict a year ago he was not surprise at the decision to step down.

“Because of our last conversation I was very conscious that he was recognizing his own frailty and it did cross my mind to wonder whether this was a step he might think about,” Williams told Vatican Radio.

Renovation work on a convent previously occupied by cloistered nuns has been going on in secret since at least last fall, an issue apparently causing grumbling among cardinals about the choice of arrangements and whether Benedict’s presence on Vatican grounds will allow the retired pope to wield too much influence on his successor.

“I don’t think there was a consultation of the College of the Cardinals about this,” Lombardi said Wednesday, deflecting questions about Benedict’s living arrangements. “The decision and the process of the decision was very limited in the number of persons involved.”

That points to another aspect of Vatican secrecy: The habit of different wings of the Holy See jealously concealing information from one another.

“There is very little cross communication within Vatican departments,” Thavis said, “so one department may know something but that does not mean that the Curia office down the hall knows about it as well.”

 .....From THE NATIONAL POST
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a re-post from The Guardian UK

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world and left the Catholic church reeling when he said on Monday that he would resign – the first pope to do so since the middle ages. The move, announced without warning, will take place on 28 February and leave the papacy vacant until a successor is chosen. 


A Vatican spokesman said the pontiff's aides were "incredulous" when he told them he would step down because he was too weak to fulfil his duties. The pope summoned a meeting of cardinals to tell them of "a decision of great importance for the life of the church". One of those called to hear the announcement, the Mexican prelate Monsignor Dr Oscar Sánchez, said none of the cardinals had expected it. 

"The pope took a sheet of paper and read from it. He just said that he was resigning and that he would be finishing on February 28," he said. "The cardinals were just looking at one another. Then the pope got to his feet, gave his benediction and left. It was so simple; the simplest thing imaginable. Extraordinary. Nobody expected it. Then we all left in silence. There was absolute silence … and sadness." 

A deeply conservative pontiff, whose tenure has been overshadowed by sexual abuse scandals, Pope Benedict, 85, leaves with a chequered reputation after a papacy that was at times both conservative and divisive. One of the organisations representing victims of Catholic clergy in Ireland's notorious orphanages and industrial schools said the outgoing pontiff had broken his promise to offer justice for the crimes of priests and other members of religious orders. 

John Kelly, co-founder of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, said: "In our view we were let down in terms of promises of inquiries, reform and most importantly of all the Vatican continuing not to acknowledge that any priest or religious found guilty of child abuse would face the civil authorities and be tried for their crimes in the courts." 

The announcement of the resignation was immediately followed by intense speculation about a likely successor, with potential contenders including Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican's office for bishops. Georg Ratzinger, the pope's brother, told the German media the papal resignation had been part of a "natural process". "My brother would like to have more rest in his old age," he said, adding that he had been informed of Benedict's plans some months ago. His successor is expected to be elected by the end of March and possibly for the beginning of holy week on 24 March. 

Pope Benedict will honour public commitments and engagements until the date of his resignation, after which he will move to a summer residence near Rome and then to a former monastery within Vatican territory. He will take no part in the process to elect a successor. Cardinals will meet and vote on nominees in a series of ballots until a new pope is chosen. 

 Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said the pope had resigned not because of "difficulties in the papacy" or a specific illness but instead a progressive decline in his strength. "In the last few months he has seen a decline in vigour, both of the body and spirit," Lombardi told reporters. "It was his personal decision taken with full freedom, which deserves maximum respect." In a statement, the pontiff said: "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. 

"For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new supreme pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is." 

Benedict, who became the 265th pope in 2005, has arthritis, particularly in his knees, hips and ankles. He had been due to travel to Brazil, the largest Catholic country in the world, in July for a youth festival, but concerns had been raised among Vatican observers about whether he was fit enough. 

A voluntary papal resignation is rare – certainly in recent centuries. Pope Celestine V exercised his right to abdicate in 1294. Pope Gregory XII resigned in 1415 to end the western schism.

Again, this post is an article from The Guardian UK entitled "Pope Benedict XVI resigns owing to age and declining health"
  

Catholic Life


As the Roman Catholic world continue to wonder why the 265th Vicar of Jesus Christ , Pope Benedict XVI, suddenly resigned, I treated it as a signal of a beautiful, promising outcome of the universal church. Though I was stunned with the Pope's decision not to finish his term, I respected it anyway. The pope's strength continue to decline and at 86 this year, his mental and physical health could no longer endure the stress and pressure associated with being the supreme head of the universal church.

READ HERE THE REASONS WHY THE POPE RESIGNED

I will continue admiring Benedict XVI and his devotion to uphold the traditional, conservative practices of the Roman Catholic Church and I will forever grateful with his effort to fight and defend the church and humanity against tyranny and immorality its laws and apostolic ministry and obeys the mandate instituted by the Roman Pontiff.

Since 2013 has been declared by him as Year of Faith, I am strictly observing the true embodiment of Catholicism in my daily life to keep connected with the essence of my religious belief. My Catholic faith is all I've got in this world, it's what keeps me grounded and safe through all these years.It's the only thing I cling to whenever I am in deep trouble. It made me feel very secure and peaceful.

I am following the practices and approaches mandated by the Popes. St. Pius X, who reigned from 1903 to 1914 and became a saint in 1954, strongly rejected the modern interpretation of the doctrine of the Catholic church, this principle was inherited by all popes that followed him,  this means that Catholics should never allow themselves to be duped by fundamentalists. 

Fundamentalists stir the foundation of the Roman Catholic church, confusing and driving Catholics to a different direction away from the practices of the pastoral mission. They can easily attract followers because of their unique public charisma, but their programs are not coming from the Vatican and not authorized by the Roman Pontiff.

I know how to detect fundamentalists so I avoided them at all costs. Whenever I am in doubts or have questions about my faith, I just read the Vatican II Council book, a paperback given by our Diocesan chancellor to my father. It answers everything about Catholic life.

This week starts the Lent Season, the most sacred and important season in the Catholic calendar, it is a good reminder that Jesus died on the cross for the salvation of mankind. According to priests, complete fasting should be done on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In the province, we still observe this tradition. 

During the season of lent Catholics must observe abstinence on luxurious things, any thing considered luxury must be avoided. I always do an act of self-mortification during Holy Week and avoided anything fanciful, luxurious and comfortable. I wanted to follow the habit of Pope John Paul II about self-mortification. But I find some of those acts very tough to follow hehehe! Now I know it is very hard to become a saint :-D

Last night, I joined other parishioners at the Cathedral for the first Station of the Cross.

I often hate it when I hear former Catholics who converted to other religions uttered "I am no longer a Catholic, I am now a Christian", Oh Jesus!Did they understand the terms? Catholic church, called the universal church, is also a Christian denomination!

The founders of non-Catholic religions are those who go against the teachings of the universal church and any groups that will go against the universal church are called protestants regardless of who founded it, therefore the correct term to use is not Christian, but Protestant.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Meet the Papabili! :-)


Three days after Vatican Palace officials announced the impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, a list of possible contenders for the next Vicar of Christ and Successor to the throne of St.Peter was released by leading newspapers in the world. The Conclave (gathering of cardinals around the world to elect the next pope) is believed to occur in the middle of March this year.

The only people who can elect the next pope are Cardinals also called the Princes of the Universal Church.

The Papabili or potential Popes mentioned came from different countries. Although no specific criteria had established by the Vatican to choose the next Pope, the ideal candidate for the next Roman Pontiff should always be someone who has the competence and devotion to spread and promote international understanding, peace, solidarity, Christian values, good news of the gospel and someone who can staunchly defend and uphold the scriptural traditions, practices and laws of the universal church.

In the past Conclave, mysterious circumstances, wisdom and piousness became the basis of the selection. The manner of selection is one of the best kept secrets of the Vatican. It was never divulged and should never be. The media has no access on how each candidate is voted and selected. 

OATH OF SECRECY

The Conclave is held in the Sistine Chapel (one of the most beautiful and grandest chapels in the world where the ceiling was personally designed by Michaelangelo) within the Vatican walls and the moment the Cardinals entered the place all doors are closed and will only open the moment a new pope is elected. A smoke that passes through the chimney of the chapel will serve as signal to the outsiders. A black smoke means the deliberation is on going while a white smoke means voting is finished and a pontiff is selected. 

The staff assigned to take care the Cardinals during the duration of the Conclave will be under the oath of secrecy and any leaks made by them will means excommunication from the Catholic Church. The area is searched thoroughly ensuring no hidden camera or recording devices are installed, the place where the cardinals gathered for deliberation is extremely exclusive. 

HINT OF THE MANNER OF SELECTION

As soon as the Cardinals entered the Conclave, the atmosphere turned into a deafening silence until they meet for the deliberation. Each will cast his vote according to conscience and meditation. Cardinals take their place in a room called "cell" and meditate who to vote. Each reportedly will listen intently to a "voice" from the depth of their heart. Interception of the Holy Spirit is crucial in the selection so the Princes of the Church searched for a divine intervention the moment they cast their vote and most of the time, Cardinals know from their heart who is the "chosen one" by the Holy Spirit.

MYSTERIOUS OCCURRENCES 

The Conclave is believed to have invisibly guided by the Holy Spirit and had helped the Cardinals decide who is the right person to be the "chosen one", there were two mysterious occurrences happened that thoroughly concluded the Holy Spirit is present during the selection. 

In the 1903 Conclave, while the Cardinals were in deep thoughts pondering who to vote, a DOVE suddenly appeared from no where and hovered above the head of Giuseppe Sarto, an Italian Cardinal. Everyone was surprised as the place was fully closed and secured. A staff within the chapel was called to take the dove out. When it was made sure the door was closed the cardinals continued the deliberation and again the same dove (which was already put outside with no impossible way to get in) hovered above the head of Cardinal Sarto. The Cardinals got the message immediately and elected Sarto. We all know that the Holy Spirit is depicted by a DOVE.

In 1978, when the Cardinals gathered again for another Conclave to elect the successor of Pope John Paul I, the cardinals noticed a soft light coming from the cell of Karol Josef Wojtyla, a Cardinal from Krakow, Poland. He was not popular in that Conclave because he was the youngest among the Cardinals and came from a Communist country, but the Princes of the Church saw greatness in him and guided by the Holy Spirit secured the votes on the second balloting and later proclaimed John Paul II.

THE POPES CHOSEN BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

St. Pius X

Cardinal Sarto became Pius X. Before his election, Sarto was noted with his deeply religious and extremely pious life, when he became a Pope, he made sure orthodox theology and traditional devotional practices were followed by the Catholic Church, he also rejected the modernist interpretations of the Catholic doctrine. He urged all Catholics to follow a lifestyle that reflects Christian Values and personal piety. He was the instrument of publishing the Code of Canon Law. Pius X was particularly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and maintained that there's no surest way to go to the Kingdom of God except through Mary. He died in 1914, beatified in 1951 and was canonized three years later, in 1954.


Blessed John Paul II

Cardinal Karol Josef Wojtyla was born in Wadowice, Poland and moved to Krakow with his father at the outbreak of World War II. His life was marked with so many sufferings. At the age of 19, he was forced to work, and so with the rest of Polish, in the labor concentration camp by the Nazi, there, he endured the hard labor, pounding limestone at the scourging heat of the sun and during the biting cold at winter. At the age of 21, his father died probably from heart attack. 

His mother and only brother died when Karol was still young. A year after his father's death with no one left in his direct family, he entered the seminary and became a priest and rose rapidly to the ranks of Cardinal. His reign as a Pope marked the new age of the role of the apostolic life of the universal church. 

John Paul II threw his effort to the real Christian missions, actively sought the cooperation of world leaders for the promotion of peace and unity and strongly defended human life against violence, oppression and conflicts. Partly, he was the instrument of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.  He was particularly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, this devotion was reflected in his motto: "Totus Tuus" (Mary, I am yours), and in his coat-of-arms--a cross with a letter M representing Mary. He was one of the fewest Popes who was beatified in a very short period of time.

2013 PAPABILI

Now, another Conclave is on the way, which is unexpected by nature. 

Due to the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, unheard for a Roman Pontiff to do so for the last seven centuries, another gathering of Cardinals will be called to elect the next Pope and the anticipation among Catholics all over the world on who will be the next Supreme Head of the Universal Church became intense again.

Among the potential popes mentioned are Cardinals from the US, Latin America, France, Austria, Italy, Africa and the Philippines. Each of them boosts credible credentials and reputations of becoming the next Vicar of Jesus Christ, but each has his own disadvantage that might undermine the chances of being elected.

Among the great contenders are the following:
Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan

Angelo Scola, 71 years old. Milan, Italy. He came from a country considered by many as a springboard to Papacy. He is an expert on bioethics. 

Advantages: He is an archbishop of Milan, closest to Rome, for several years and Papacy is always dominated by Italian Cardinals.

Disadvantages: His overtly straightforward way of communicating might not suit the standard of other Cardinals who are looking for someone like John Paul II, with a gift of charisma to the masses.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City

Timothy Dolan, 62 years old. New York City, USA. His dynamism and good sense of humor impressed the Vatican.

Advantages: He can connect easily with the masses and has a good gift of interpersonal relationships practically considered as good indications for the next Vicar of Christ. 

Disadvantages: His back-slapping style maybe too American for some Catholics and traditionalists and conservatives are wary about a "Superpower" Pope.

Latin American Cardinals from left: Joao Braz De Aziz, Odillo Pedro Scherer both from Brazil and Leonardo Sandri from Argentina

Odilo Pedro Scherer, 63 years old. Sao Paolo, Brazil. The strongest candidate among Cardinals from Latin America. He is regarded as a very conservative cardinal.

Advantages: His conservatism and stand for traditional Catholic practices plus coming from the largest Archdiocese in the Catholic world will give him an edge.

Disadvantages: The rapid growth of Protestants in Brazil is an indication that something was not right in the pastoral mission there and it might work against him.

Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, Philippines, the youngest among the Papabili . If ever he would be voted by the Conclave, he would be the second Pope coming from Asia after St.Peter and the youngest to be elected.

Luis Tagle, 55 years old, Manila, Philippines. Among the contenders, Tagle is the youngest and the newest cardinal to be installed. 


Advantages: He has the charisma and mass appeal often compared to Blessed John Paul II. He is close to the current pope and worked with him in the International Theological Commission. Tagle strongly uphold the social teachings of the Catholic church and extremely opposed RH Bill, same sex marriages and abortion. Most of all, he came from a country that has not yet legalized divorce, abortion and same sex marriages, social issues dreaded by the Vatican.



Disadvantages: He was only made Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI last November 2011 and other Princes of the Church might not favor someone to head the Vatican who is still new in the archbishopric service.



Source of the list of Papabili: Reuters

Papabilis or Potential Popes

Three days after Vatican Palace officials announced the impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, possible contenders for the next Vicar of Christ and Successor to the throne of St.Peter were released by leading newspapers in the world. 

The only people who can elect the next pope are Cardinals also called the Princes of the Universal Church.

The Papabili or potential Popes came from different countries and lived in diverse cultures across the globe. Although no specific criteria had established by the Vatican to choose the next Pope, the ideal candidate for the next Roman Pontiff should always be someone who has the competence and devotion to spread and promote international understanding, peace, unity among races, Christian values and the good news of the gospel, someone who can staunchly defend the practices, doctrine and apostolic ministry of the Roman Catholic church.

In the past Conclave (gathering of cardinals around the world to elect the next pope) mysterious circumstances, wisdom and piousness became the basis of the selection of the next Pope. The manner of selection is one of the best kept secrets of the Vatican, it was never divulged to the public and the media has no access on how each candidate is voted and selected. 

OATH OF SECRECY

The Conclave is held in the Sistine Chapel (one of the most beautiful and grandest chapels in the world where the ceiling was personally designed by Michaelangelo) within the Vatican walls and the moment the Cardinals entered the place all doors are closed. The only hint given to the public regarding the progress of the election is the smoke that passes through the chimney of the chapel. A black smoke means the deliberation is on going while a white smoke means a new pope is elected. The staff assigned to take care the Cardinals during the duration of the Conclave will be under the oath of secrecy and any leaks made by them will means excommunication from the Catholic Church. And they will make it very sure that the area has no hidden camera or recording devices, the place where the cardinals gathered for deliberation is extremely exclusive.  

2013 PAPABILI

Lately, due to the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, unheard for Roman Pontiffs for the last seven centuries, another upcoming Conclave will be called to elect the next Pope and the anticipation among Catholics all over the world on who will be the next Supreme Head of the Universal Church became intense again.

Among the potential popes mentioned are Cardinals from the US, Latin America, France, Austria, Italy and the Philippines. Each of them boosts credible credentials and reputations of becoming the next Vicar of Jesus Christ, but each has his own disadvantage that might undermine the chances of being elected.

Among the great contenders are the following:

Angelo Scola, 71 years old. Milan, Italy. He came from a country considered by many as a springboard to Papacy as most Popes were Italians. He is an expert on bioethics. But his overtly straightforward way of communicating might not suit the standard of other Cardinals who are looking for someone who is more like John Paul II, with a gift of charisma to the masses.

Timothy Dolan, 62 years old. New York City, USA. His dynamism and good sense of humor impressed the Vatican, his back-slapping style maybe too American for some and Traditionalists and Conservatives are wary about a Superpower Pope.
Latin American Cardinals from left: Joao Braz De Aziz, Odillo Pedro Scherer both from Brazil and Leonardo Sandri from Argentina

Odilo Pedro Scherer, 63 years old. Brasilia, Brazil. The strongest candidate among Cardinals from Latin America. He is regarded as a very conservative cardinal, but the rapid growth of Protestants in Brazil denotes that something was not right in the pastoral mission there and it might work against him.
Cardinal Luis Tagle

Luis Tagle, 55 years old, Manila, Philippines. Among the contenders, Tagle is the youngest and the newest cardinal to be installed. He was only made Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2011. He has the charisma and mass appeal often compared to Blessed John Paul II. He is close to the current pope and worked with him in the International Theological Commission. Tagle strongly uphold the social teachings of the Catholic church and extremely opposed RH Bill, same sex marriages and abortion. He came from a country that still follows conservative approaches in life, divorce and abortion here are not yet legal.







Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I am in a State of Shock!

Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th successor to the throne of St. Peter, Supreme Head of the Universal Church, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Head of State of Vatican City, Bishop of Rome, Primate of the West and God's Messenger of Peace and Unity. At the age of 78 during his election to Papacy in 2005, he was one of the oldest Cardinals to become a Roman Pontiff and the first to resign in almost 600 years since Gregory XII in 1415

Still reeling in shock on the unexpected resignation of the beloved Pope...

I am extremely devoted to the Roman Catholic church and very loyal to its teachings and traditions. Despite the transformation of society to modernity and recklessness and amidst the emergence of fundamentalists who lured weak Catholics to their groups, I remained faithful to my religion, following the conservative approach of Catholicism.

I grew up accompanying my father serving our parish as a lay minister and had seen him all my life rendering his unselfish service to the church. So I developed this strong affinity to my faith and a culture of adhering the traditional devotional practices directly commanded by the Vatican. I observed days of obligations and solemnities reverently. I often do an act of mortification during Holy Week.

My respect for my religion is immeasurable and all my decisions in life are based on the teachings of the Catholic Church. I treated the social encyclicals written by several Popes as my life guide and believe that all Popes deserved to be respected by all means.

The decade I was born saw the installation of the new Pope, John Paul II, whose charisma and mass appeal surpassed almost all his predecessors, and whose way of living gave true definition to what Christianity is all about. His effort to unite the world torn by chaos, wars and misunderstanding, created a great impact to people from all walks of life and he became an eternal inspiration. Me too, was mystified and drawn with his unique charm and leadership. 

When he died in 2005, it was terrible, the pain, the sadness of missing a very important symbol of true Catholic faith, justice and morality were all over in my system and though it's impossible to ask God to bring back John Paul II to life, I prayed that may his successor followed what had he started.

I was one of the million Catholics who anxiously waited who will be the next Pope and when it was announced that the Conclave had chosen Joseph Ratzinger, a German Cardinal, who had been John Paul II's closest adviser, I was relieved because he was referred as someone who could really guard the conservative teachings of the Catholic Church. They were right, he continued the crusade left by Pope John Paul II.

But Pope Benedict XVI reigned during the time the world was pushed into madness and wickedness, when the society tolerated the demons around, the wrongdoings and immorality, when people became so heavily influenced with modernity and became disrespectful with human dignity, when the teachings of the church, faith and righteousness are not valued anymore. 

The Pope, as faithful to his mission as he is, tried to fight what is morally upright, tried to steer back the people and even authorities, leaders and officials to the meaning of faith and moral values, strongly opposing same sex marriages, abortion, birth control, cloning, IVF, disintegration of marriage, but his effort went into drain as people and society became so enamored with impiety and transgression. And maybe it's too much for the aging Pope to bear.

Blessed Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI's predecessor. His unique mass appeal, charisma, humility, compassion and leadership made him one of the most effective God's messengers of peace and solidarity ever sat in the throne of St. Peter. The media called him the most beloved Pope of all time. He was the exact representation of what Christianity is all about. He fought tirelessly for the preservation of Christian values and human dignity and had reach out to the world, calling to join his crusade fighting oppression and defending moral values. Now, the legacy he left is rocked by criticism and smirking and needed someone to stand strongly to hold what is left for humanity and morality.


This is the first time since 1415 that a Roman Pontiff resigns from Papacy.By tradition, elected Popes should serve as head of the Roman Catholic Church for life and just like traditional monarchs, only the death of abdication could make the position they occupied vacant. But in this case, Pope Benedict XVI decided to resign due to his advance age which made him difficult to carry the task expected for the Pope, mentally and physically.

May his resignation will not push for the disintegration of the Roman Catholic Church whose members are too preoccupied with impishness and undignified ideologies.

I will remain devoted to my religion no matter what happens. I will continue to uphold the values and teachings I learned from my faith.

Though the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI greatly saddens me as I believed he is truly a devoted Vicar of Christ and a loyal servant of God, I am hoping the next Pope will continue the Christianity crusade, will stand and defend the humanity from tyranny and oppression and will continue to fight for peace and unity and what is moral. 

I still believe we can make this world a better place to live in.


Monday, February 11, 2013

The Pope's Resignation that Shocked the World

The world was shocked when Vatican City officials announced that Pope Benedict XVI, will be resigning as a Roman Pontiff this coming February 28, 2013. I, myself was stunned with this news and at first I hesitated to believe it.

This is the first resignation of a Pope since Gregory XII stoop down in 1415, almost seven centuries ago. A resignation of vicar of Christ is permissible under the provision of the Code of Canon Law which says that "If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, its is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone".

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI happened in a time that the Catholic Church needed a strong figure to lead the flock, in a time that morality and dignity are no longer respected, people become so faithless and evil, society seemed dominated by demons and immorality. Maybe the Pope, who will turn 86 this year, realized he could no longer stand with the devil around and granting his ripe age, must pass his power to someone who have the charisma and leadership to defend Christianity before the world will be dominated by total wickedness.

The Pope made it clear, in the past years, that he was dissatisfied and very sad over the controversies of same sex marriages, birth control, abortion, child abuse and other issues that are tolerated by the society and even government officials in direct defiance of the Law of God. Due to these immorality and disrespect to human dignity, the Pope even declared that 2013 will be the Year of Faith to lead back Catholics to righteousness.

It is interesting to note that in great contrast to Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI is utterly conservative who want a slimmer and morally upright Catholic Church. He even ushered back some of the parish practices to conservative approaches and rites. But the signs of times influenced by technology and media made the mission and crusade very difficult and maybe it's too much for the aging Pope that he wanted to pass his power to someone who could carry the task of "saving the world" from eternal damnation. 

Vatican officials say the Pope's reason of resigning is due to his advance age "that he no longer have the mental and physical capacities to rule the universal church".

The Papacy will be vacant after February 28, 2013 until the new pope is elected through the Conclave of Cardinals.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Year of the Black Water Snake

This Sunday, February 9, 2013, will be the beginning of the Chinese New Year. And for thousands of years, Chinese influence on astrology is considered vital, its impact on the way people perceive destiny is considered intriguing.  Are astrological influences and implications have something to do with our lives really?
 
But whether it reflects truth or just a matter of coincidence is debatable and people from all walks of life are already considered it as part of culture. Celebrities and society figures are heavily fascinated with Feng Shui and the impact of Chinese astrology in their day-to-day careers that most of them sought Feng Shui experts and Psychique when making crucial decisions.

So now, another "phenomenom" is waiting to unfold, the entrance of the Black Water Snake. If we read the predictions, opinions and observations of astrologists and psychique about the year of the snake, 2013 is the year where everyone must be reflective and careful when making crucial decisions in life. 
 
Year of the Snake is viewed as somewhat lenient as snakes are closely associated with volatility, relaxed character and soft elements. So everyone is admonished to take things one step at a time without making rush decisions.
 
If we looked back in the past years of the snake, we can conclude that the pattern of events are somewhat alarming. 1965 and 1941 where Vietnam War and Pear Harbor happened, were both Years of the Snake. The last three Years of the Snake also saw world catastrophes unfolded. In early 1978, just before the Year of the Snake (1977) ended the Blizzard of the Century happened and 2001 (9/11) the World Trade attacked took place and in 1989 the Tiananmen Square massacred happened.

Though these pattern of horrifying events are associated with the years of the snake we should not let ourselves duped in predictions. God is the ultimate symbol of goodness and prosperity, if we truly trust Him nothing bad will happen anyway.