Saturday, July 6, 2013

21st Century Pope?

From Grade 7 to Grade 11, I attended a Roman Catholic school in Hong Kong run by Irish Jesuits. I agreed and disagreed with many things taught, and was appalled by the Inquisition, but one thing I did hold dear, and still do, and have been heavily influenced by, was the Vow of Poverty taken by the priesthood, which I deemed in accordance with Christ's teaching, and how the priests truly lived a life of "Imagine No Possessions".

But when I looked up to the Vatican, to which all possessions belonged, the Vow did not seem to apply. And its link with the Mafia was most unbecoming, to say the least. I see no way for a money-influenced cleric to be in anyway spiritual, much less to be in a position of spiritual leadership.

I recall the film "Shoe of the Fisherman", with a newly crowned pope played with palpable humility by Anthony Quinn, who defied the entire Establishment and gave away the immense material wealth of the Church (accumulated by truly evil means during the Middle Ages) to the masses and the poor. In this imaginary landscape, I saw a ray of hope.

And now, seeing Pope Francis living in a sparsely furnished apartment rather than the Papal PALACE, and staunchly bypassing extravagant protocol back to the bare bone basics, I recognize a faint resemblance to the idealized Quinn visage, with a dash of genuine smile thrown in, and despite my deep-rooted misgivings feel nonetheless somewhat hopeful for the spiritual revolution so sorely needed by religion itself for staying anywhere near being relevant to this hyper-materialistic world.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)

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