Election season: Vatican edition

Trust me, these days, you have been hearing about clamors on social media for certain cardinals to be elected Pope in this highly-contested and uncertain conclave brought about by the sudden resignation of now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. After all it is election season once again in the Vatican after that February 11th surprise announcement. 

Even the lone Filipino elector in the conclave, Manila archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, has a page or two dedicated to the ‘campaign’ for his papacy, which is inevitable for every cardinal who walks into the Sistine Chapel and swears before God and the Gospels to uphold the secrecy of the election or face damnation as is depicted in the frescoes of Michaelangelo.

Not only Tagle, but even those touted hardliners such as the former secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) and Sri Lankan archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith or perhaps the American prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Raymond Cardinal Burke, regarded as friendly with liturgy conservatives and contemporaries. Count even the back-slapping and sports fan Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York in.

On Facebook, if you befriend people whose interests and stakes lie in watching over the events unfolding in Rome at the onset of Benedict’s sudden departure from the papacy, or those whose interests lie in the Church and in her future after Benedict, you will see that from among them (and even those who just log in to look for beautiful girls or perhaps sell anything God-knows-what), there are those openly campaigning for certain cardinals. In the Philippine setting, you hear about shouts and cheers for Tagle; even a remake of the 80s hit YMCA extolling the Cardinal’s virtues just to show ‘support’ for Tagle, as the composer puts it in his YouTube channel.

I will understand if it is the natural reaction to Filipinos having someone to call their own during the European-dominated conclave. Anyway, the last Filipino cardinal touted as possible papabile was Jaime Cardinal Sin, Tagle’s predecessor and one of the architects of the Edsa People Power revolt that ousted Marcos. That would have happened if John Paul II’s papacy lasted for just 10-15 years as some projected.

However, lest people realize it, openly campaigning for Tagle or any other cardinal for that matter, may never help bolster any of their aspirations to be Pope (should there be any; one cardinal was quoted as saying that ‘those who wish to be Pope are crazy’) nor will it help in the deliberations of cardinals participating in the General Congregations, happening right now as I write this piece.

Please be reminded, that one can never draw a parallelism between the midterm elections in the Philippines and this conclave, which, according to Vaticanologists based in Rome and elsewhere, there are no clear frontrunners. This may be sad news for fans of The Word Exposed, but let’s make it simple: each cardinal is a candidate for the papacy.

However, those same church-loving people who tell us not to campaign loudly for any cardinal to be Pope are the same people who say bad things against some cardinals. As I write now I have only read about people maligning certain because of mismanagement and other allegations, or perhaps about a cardinal’s take on sexual abuse cases in their dioceses.

If these same church-loving people asking the public to stop broadcasting the names of their favorite papabili are the same persons maligning those cardinals, they may be no different from those they are trying to correct. Instead of maligning and therefore disrespecting the priesthood these cardinals possess, they better tell these people to pray instead to the Holy Spirit to guide these cardinals as they ponder and discern for the good of the Church.

Last reminder: if you wish to see your favorite cardinal elected, do not talk about him in social media. Pray for him. That’s the only way to show your cardinal that you love him. After all, the Church will still stand no matter who the Pope will be.




Lunch with Benedict

The Catholic world is in shock, and still is.Image

Pope Benedict XVI, in a statement earlier today, said he is resigning the papacy on February 28 at 8:00 p.m. Vatican time (3:00 a.m. of March 1, Philiippine time) due to his age. He is no longer physically capable, he says, of exercising his Petrine ministry.

Benedict XVI says: “In today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. “

Coincidentally, I reflected on this matter at lunch time yesterday six hours before I received news of his resignation. I was walking along General Maxilom Avenue to get to a mall for lunch when I just thought of this possibility. The other day my good friend Ralph Saberon and I talked about the Pope’s age and his ministry.


I wonder why I thought of it at that particular moment, and when I received the news as broadcast on my Facebook news feed after my shift yesterday, boom. Prophetic? I do not know, nor do I wish to speculate. My thoughts have no bearing on what the Pope says.

I was almost in tears upon reading the accounts from The Telegraph, BBC, and other news sites. As I saw the news feed on FB, I did not immediately believe. My journalistic training has always taught me to verify, and my verification brought me to disbelief, and shock. I saw the name of Father Federico Lombardi, the Jesuit in charge of the Pope’s communications. That hit it.

Tonight, I talked with another good friend from the media, Ador Mayol of Cebu Daily News and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, about the impeding possibilities of a Filipino ascending Peter’s See. There was no statement from the Filipino cardinal, but Ador says he happened to get CBCP President and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma’s statement.


I would like to hear what Cardinal Tagle has to say, perhaps tomorrow or on Friday when he comes to Cebu for an electoral forum with Dilaab.


Quoting Palma, Ador said “Si Blessed Pope John Paul mas weak pa daw tan-awon pero ingon sya nga nothing to be afraid of kay ang Holy Spirit man mag-guide sa simbahan”.

Trusting in this, I am praying that whoever will succeed will be up to the challenge, and that God will give him strength. As far as I am concerned I still love the Church.

We should all be praying for Pope Benedict and his endeavors, and we thank him for guiding the Church in its most crucial moments, especially in this age of moral relativism and modernism. Amen. 


Today is World Communications Sunday. Amidst the noise and the haste of today, we are invited by Pope Benedict XVI to listen to that sound of silence where God speaks.

Since today we rejoice in the gift of communication, I also decided to start a podcast of Sunday Reflections. 

Jason Baguia, a reporter/columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and a good friend, suggested that I launch this podcast today because of the occasion today. Thanks to him, I found an apt opportunity to post this podcast.

Medyo bati pa man ang atong quality kay lagi, bag-o pa.. I hope I can improve pa..
Thanks be to God for the gift of communication, the gift of this means to spread the Good News pa gyod to everyone..
The link to the podcast is below.

Happy Birthday, Your Holiness!

Exactly 85 years ago in 1927, Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born in Bavaria.

Ordained priest on the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29) in 1951, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich-Fresing on March 24, 1977. Ratzinger was ordained later as bishop on May 28, 1977. He became a cardinal a month later in Rome.

Ratzinger was a professor of theology at Regensburg and other universities and is highly regarded for his writings.

In 1981 he became Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and Dean of the College of Cardinals in 2002. During these years

During the death of Blessed John Paul II Ratzinger played an important role in the day-to-day operations of the Holy See, including the celebration of the funeral mass of the late pope with whom he also had a special friendship.

In a seemingly expected turn of events, Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, became the 265th pope in the unbroken list of Pontiffs on April 19, 2005, three days after his 78th birthday. He received the pallium on April 24 and took possession of his cathedra at the Lateran on May 7, 2005.

On Thursday he will celebrate his seventh year as Pope. Let us pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Long live the Pope!

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI

The Roman Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, waving to the waiting crowd at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican after his election as Pope on April 19, 2005, three days after his 78th birthday.


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