Thursday, March 14, 2013


"Allah created the armies, and he also created the hawks. Allah taught me the language of birds. Everything has been written by the same hand," The boy said, remembering the camel driver's words.

The stranger withdrew the sword from the boy's forehead, and the boy felt immensely relieved. But he still couldn't flee.

"Be careful with your prognostications." said the stranger. "When something is written, there is no way to change it."

"All I saw was an army," said the boy. "I didn't see the outcome of the battle."

Paolo Coehlo
The Alchemist

A few hours before the conclave had chosen it's new Pope, a little bird - a seagull perched on top of the Sistine Chapel chimney. Smoke billowing from this chimney signals whether the Roman Catholic Church has a new pope, or the cardinals must go through another round of voting. For a world waiting for the outcome of the ballot, the avian became a source of news. A diversion - to a highly tense and deeply secretive process of picking the next leader of a chuch - that had seen dark days in the past several years.

Social media allowed ordinary people to pitch in their thoughts and ruminations. Many tweets served as comic relief as the faithful contemplated the future of their religion. I myself made light of the situation; never foreseeing the augur the seagull brings. For mere mortals like us, seldom are we given readings about the plans of the universe.

When the Camerlengo announced "Habemus Papam," and a humble Jesuit named Cardinal Bergoglio appeared on the balcony, nobody still figured what the seagull meant. Only after the new pope adopted the name Francis did things become clear as the light of day.

"Saint Francis was the patron saint of birds," my mom said when I entered the master's bedroom. She too was watching the events in Vatican at 3 in the morning.

"I always knew it was a good omen." I told her, before leaving the room. I went to her bedside to show her the picture of the laridae as it flew away from the chimney.

While science has afforded us to make reason with the universe, there remains a sliver of doubt that we have all the answers to mankind's most profound questions. What is my reason for being? Is there a hand that really shapes everything? are some of the questions I still ask before going to sleep. 

My belief system has granted me this insight - to acknowledge the stuff that lies beyond - because personal experience had taught me to feel these almost imperceptible folds. I may not immediately see these disguises, but I know there are forces that defy reason, or logic that senses can not even fathom.

But let us not delve into my philosophical observations.

I was half-certain to shop for a new religion had the conclave chose a more conservative leader. That, or I will no longer take the hierarchy very seriously given its hypocrisies and series of flawed decisions. Only a handful of priests still have my respect. Many of them Jesuits I read in newspapers, or introduced to me by my ex-girlfriend.  

So when Pope Francis emerged behind the curtains and asked the audience to bless him before he blessed the world, my faith in the church has somewhat been restored.

"Cheers to the good days," I tweeted before turning off the television. "May the new pope serve as inspiration."


rudeboy said...

We'll see about Francis.

On the plus side, he's a Jesuit - the rebels of the empire.

On the negative, from what I've read of him so far, he's an unusually conservative Jesuit.

rudeboy said...

Aaaaaannnddd here we go:

"In June 2010, one month before Argentina officially voted to legalize same-sex marriage, Bergoglio wrote a letter to the Carmelite Nuns of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. In it, he called Argentina's gay marriage bill a work of the Devil and "a move of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God." He later added that waging battle against gay marriage is "a war of God."

Bergoglio and the rest of his flock's prayers didn't work, and on July 22, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage. It was yet another in a long line of defeats Bergoglio suffered at the hands of a much more progressive Argentinean government, led by President Cristina Fernandez, widow to former President Nestor Kirchner. When Bergoglio said that gay people adopting kids was tantamount to "discrimination" against children, Fernandez said his ideas were those of "medieval times and the Inquisition."

If it's any consolation—and if you're gay it's probably not—the Guardian reports that, despite his many conservative stances (and possible war crimes), Pope Francis believes condoms "can be permissible" to prevent the passage of infection. It only took thousands of years, but there you have it: Condoms might possibly be OK in order to help prevent scores and scores of people from constantly dying of AIDS. Welcome to progress, Catholic style."

red the mod said...

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals. Not just birds. We see what we want to see. :)

MkSurf8 said...

it was believed that St. Francis knew how to converse w/ animals.

i like the aura of the new Pope ;)

JM said...


I also like the aura of the new pope. Shy, humble and very grounded.


I was told he is the patron saint of animals - particularly birds.

We see what we want to see. But we can also believe what we want to believe. :)


He's a Jesuit, and that's all that matters. :)