POPE’S VISIT

The Pope’s visit to Scotland and England during the past week had been initially received with some mixed feelings and some degree of coldness by a small sector. Having completed his visit, it is only good and fair to give the visit some appraisal. Aside from the Pontiff’s strong intellectual status, which many saw as a hindrance to his expected diverse roles of spiritual father, and role model to the large community of Catholics and the secular world in general, this visit was able to make more people within and outside the Roman Catholic Church to see the Pope in a brighter and more impressive light. He did lay aside the inhibitions of old age to meet his very tight schedule. He met both the old, young and babies; blessed all, bringing joy to many. The Pope made a call not to undermine religion, especially the Christian faith, under the guise of  secularism.  In a big assembly, he spoke to children and asked them to aspire to be great ”What sort of person do you want to be” ? Tendering his apology for the ”unspeakable crimes” of church ministers for immense sufferings brought to the innocent victims of child abuse. The Pope expressed his deep sorrow and said these acts have brought shame and humiliation to the church. He held a private meeting with selected five of the victims of clerical abuse. Some people have criticized the manner of the meeting as well as the basis for the choice of the five. Some people expect further sanctions to be placed on the erring ministers while safeguarding in all parishes should be improved and perfected. One hopes that the meeting with the Bishops would bring good results to enhance healing and reconciliation. There have been calls in some quarters to review the issue of celibacy. Why not give liberty to some priests to be married  while remaining as priests. Those who are able to be celibate could do so, but let the compulsion aspect be removed and the liberty in Christ enjoyed by the priests as well. History tells us that Peter, regarded as the first Pope, was married, as well as many of the apostles of the first church.  On the issue of gay rights, the church’s view must be respected by all. God Almighty unequivocally opposes homosexuality,but he loves everyone including gays.  All Bible practicing Christians know that only the marriage between a man and a woman is approved by God as fully analyzed in the Bible. The permissiveness ( indulgence) on the use of condoms, if allowed at all, should be for only those in a permanent heterosexual relationship, as in marriage and certainly not outside of marriage. Therefore the issue of abstinence as a perfect means of avoiding unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is the unadulterated, Biblical standard. Legally married couples could use prophylactic sheaths, but not as a liberty for licentious, reckless sex outside their matrimony! One other issue raised is that of female priests or women ordination, I think this is long overdue. Which priest could easily rival the great exploits of the legendary late Mother Teresa ? We do have the Biblical examples of Priscilla, Mary of Magdala, Deborah the Judge, just to list a few. Robert Pigott, the BBC religious correspondent, on 19th September 2010 also wrote extensively on the visit. In one of his writings captioned ” What has the Pope’s visit achieved”? he opines that the Pope was drawing the nation’s attention to the need for a secular society to stay in touch with the basic, unchanging moral code offered by religion. I agree fully with him on that point :-http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11361749

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