Fr. Anscar Chupungco: Filipino Benedictine who tangled with Pope Benedict


POPE Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.AFP

Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking announcement that he would renounce the Petrine office on Feb. 28, the first pope to do so in more than 500 years, has served as a fitting fillip to a man whose ecclesiastical career has been characterized by a dramatic struggle to come to terms with the tumultuous history of the Catholic Church and its grappling with change and modernity.

Propitiously enough, his decision to renounce the papacy followed the death of another theologian who, like him, had had to contend with issues revolving around the Church’s relevance: Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, who died from a heart attack in the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Bukidnon last Jan. 9. He was 73.

Father Chupungco was a Benedictine liturgist who was a longtime president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in Rome during the time when the Pope was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

As is well-known, it had been Ratzinger’s single-minded resolve to check the excesses of the Second Vatican Council, especially the liturgical reforms that came with its constitution on liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), the first document to be issued by the council and, as borne by events later on, perhaps the most contentious and far-reaching. The document called for “active participation” of the people in the liturgy and the translation of the Latin Mass in the vernacular.

In 2007, as Pope Benedict, Ratzinger issued the motu propio or decree, Summa Pontificum, which basically restored the Latin Mass.

In 2010, in a forum organized by the University of Santo Tomas Ecclesiastical Faculties, his alma mater, Father  Chupungco took a subtle jab at the Pope for what he called as “reform of the reform” and for turning back the reforms of Vatican II. He explained there was a need to distinguish between papal decrees and the “theological musing” of Ratzinger, who wrote the celebrated book, “Spirit of the Liturgy,” which decried abuses in the aftermath of Vatican II.

In the book, Ratzinger said changes in the liturgy undermine the sacrificial nature of the Mass as worship, placing the focus on the priest and tending to celebrate the community, not the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice.

But Chupungco, who had also served as  consultor to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Congregation for Catholic Education, said Ratzinger’s “reform of the reform” came at the expense of “active participation” of the community not familiar with the old prayers and language that had long been discarded.

“The agenda is an attempt to retrieve the discarded liturgical practices and paraphernalia, sometimes at the expense of active participation,” Chupungco said.

In highly poetic—and liturgical—language, Chupungco warned about the campaign to derail Vatican II:

“Dark clouds are forming ominously on the Western horizon. They move hurriedly and decisively toward the direction of the sun that burns radiantly in the sky. They cast upon it stronger shadows to hide it from view. Suddenly it is dusk, before the appointed time.”

But the darkness is provisional, caused by passing clouds:

“In the reality of our day, the realness is called by the passing clouds. This cannot put the clock back to yesterday’s evening hours.”

The soliloquy might as well have conjured for the audience the antipodal images of a Benedictine monk and the Pope pitted against each other in a theological joust.

The Varsitarian, the official student organ of UST, couldn’t resist the irony of the situation and headlined its front-page report of the lecture, “Benedictine hits Benedict for ‘reform of the reform.’”

From Cainta to Rome

Who was Fr. Anscar Chupungco? He was born José Herminio Chupungco on Nov. 10, 1939, to Estanislao Chupungco and Dominga Javier of Cainta, Rizal.

When he joined the Benedictines after high school, he was given the name “Anscario,” after a good friend of the abbot who was killed during the religious persecutions that preceded the Spanish civil war.

Chupungco’s educational and religious formation straddled the period around the Second Vatican Council. He obtained his licentiate in Philosophy, magna cum laude, from the University of Santo Tomas in 1961, amid preparations for the convocation of the council the following year; and his licentiate in Theology, magna cum laude, also from UST, in 1965, the year the council closed. “He studied philosophy in the years before Vatican II, but his theological formation was influenced by the spirit of the council,” said fellow Benedictine Fr. Bernardo Ma. Perez.

Although he had wanted to take up systematic theology, Anscar was ordered by his superior to take up liturgical studies at San’t Anselmo, the great Benedictine pontifical school in the Aventine hill in Rome. His mentors were spearheading liturgical reform in the aftermath of Sacramentum Concilium. One of them was the famous liturgist Fr. Salvatore Marsili, who entered the lecture hall on the first day of class and after a prolonged awkward silence, asked, “And so, what is liturgy?”

The question had so preoccupied Anscar since then that in 2010, he titled his book, “What, then, is Liturgy?” (Claretian Publications; available in St. Pauls bookstores nationwide; Subtitled “Musings and Memoir,” the book combines a critique of Pope Benedict’s liturgical changes and Fr. Anscar’s reminiscences of a life well-lived. (Most of his quotations and views in this article are from the book.)

After receiving his doctorate in 1969, Chupungco returned to the Philippines to teach at San Beda College. In 1973, he received a letter from Rome inviting him to teach at San’t Anselmo: “(The dean and faculty) recognize your competence in the field and realize the importance of having a truly universal faculty which would reflect the universality of the Church herself. As the first Filipino on our faculty, your experience in that country and part of the world should bring a new dimension to studies here where so many students are coming from the Third World.”

A highly prolific author like Ratzinger, Chupungco contributed to Concilium, the famous journal of theologians supporting Vatican II reforms; authored the famous books, “Cultural Adaptation of the Liturgy” and “Liturgical Inculturation”; and edited the five-volume “Handbook for Liturgical Studies,” the best authority on the subject.

Most important Filipino theologian

In 1990, after 24 years of teaching in Rome, Chupungco was asked by Philippine bishops to establish a liturgical school in the country. He obliged and set it up in Bukidnon and named it after Paul VI.

In 1997, Father Chupungco received an honorary doctorate of theology from the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago, United States. In 2000, on the occasion of his 60th birthday, the Liturgical Press published “Liturgy for the New Millennium,” a festschrift in his honor.

Writing the foreword was Bishop William D. Gregory of Belleville, Illinois. “I am privileged to claim the honor of being Anscar’s first doctoral candidate—a title that is entirely the dignity of chronological coincidence,” the prelate said.

“Anscar’s scholarship and his professional expertise in ways far more profound than my initial experience of his tutelage no doubt have influenced and continue to influence dozens of other students of liturgy.”

In their introduction, the editors, Fathers Mark R. Francis, CSV, and Keith F. Pecklers, SJ, who were likewise former students of the Filipino Benedictine, wrote: He “has been one of the most important figures in the international postconciliar reform of the liturgy because of the special vision he brings to liturgical renewal.”

When he died last Jan. 9, Chupungco was executive secretary of the Asian Liturgy Forum, which has members from Southeast and North Asia, and teacher and thesis adviser to several scholars, many of them foreigners. His scholarly output, his pedagogical achievements, and his international reputation should point to Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, as indubitably the most important Filipino theologian and arguably the most influential Asian theologian today.

Prayer as law

That Ratzinger and Chupungco should clash on the liturgy may confound many. From the Greek word denoting public duty, “liturgy” simply means the public worship of the Church. But considering prayer and worship draw freely from the sentiment and are more spontaneous, they are said to reveal the inner recesses of the being. So much so that in the liturgy may be felt the workings of God.

SPECIAL memorial issue of the official bulletin of the Graduate School of Liturgy of San Beda College in honor of Fr. Anscar Chupungco

The Church has a Latin phrase for the importance of the liturgy, lex orandi lex credendi, “the law of prayer is the law of faith.”

Philosopher Roger Scrutton might have referred to the meaning of the Latin phrase when he warned against tinkering too much with the liturgy:

“Changes in the liturgy take on a momentous significance for the believer, for they are changes in his experience of God—changes… in God himself. The question whether to make the sign of the cross with two fingers or with three split a Church. So can the question whether or not to use the Book of Common Prayer or the Tridentine Mass.”

In fact, it was the Pope’s restoration of the Tridentine Mass that has divided theologians and Catholics.

In 1969, in a general audience address, Paul VI delivered the eulogy for the Latin Mass and said the new rite of the Mass with its preference for the vernacular was needed since participation was worth more than preserving the language of the previous Christian centuries, and valued “particularly by modern people, so fond of plain language which is understood and converted into everyday speech.”

Perhaps in reference to the ceremonious robes which attended the old rite, Paul VI said that the “understanding of prayer is worth more than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed.”


But Ratzinger, in his 2000 book, “Spirit of the Liturgy,” used fashion language as well to say that the Church should not be subjected to passing fads. He likened the Church with its efforts at updating to a “poorly managed haberdashery trying to lure more customers.”

He added that “active participation” should not mean crude inculturation.

Ratzinger even said that some contemporary liturgies may be forms of apostasy. He likened the changes in the liturgy so as to be comprehensible to the modern age to the Israelites worshipping the golden calf in the Old Testament.

He said the point of the Bible story is not that the Israelites were doing idol-worship; they knew that the statue was not God, but what they wanted was something brought down to their level so they could relate to it.

He also warned against “overnight” inculturation. “Not until a strong Christian identity has grown up in the mission countries can one begin to move, with great caution and on the basis of that identity into the liturgy and allowing Christian realities to merge with the forms of everyday life.”


But Chupungco argued that the Latin rite itself was a product of inculturation. He said the young churches of Northern Europe in the 10th century had been tampering with the Roman liturgy and that many popes then, German like Ratzinger, had allowed useless repetitions, allegorical interpretation of rites, and the mysteries-laden symbols that were typical of northern peoples at that time. “The Tridentine Mass was a byproduct of this hybrid liturgy.

In fact, the Vatican II agenda was the restoration of the original seventh-century Roman rite, the Benedictine argued, “because the simpler the rites and symbols are, the easier they will be understood; and the more people understand, the more fully they can participate.” He explained the adoption of the vernacular follows this spirit, arguing that the Church officially allowed in the fourth century the use of the vernacular Latin “to replace the elitist and foreign Greek koine.”

Contemplation vs action

“Active participation is Vatican II’s prized gift to the Church,” Chupungco declared.

Ratzinger said the Mass should foster contemplation.

Chupungco argued that contemplation and action are not mutually exclusive words; they complement one another.

“While active participation should not distract from contemplation, contemplation should not disengage itself from active participation,” the Benedictine said. “The liturgy is the action of Christ and the Church; it should not be merely regarded as a background for personal contemplation.”

Tridentine Mass

Father Chupungco’s followers and those who champion Paul VI’s abolition of the Latin Mass feel that the restoration of the Tridentine rite is Pope Benedict’s attempt to rehabilitate the schismatic Society of St. Pius X, whose founder, Archbishop Marcel Levebre of Switzerland, had taken part in the Second Vatican Council, but never recognized and, in fact, opposed its reforms.

Fr. Roberto Loanzon, a Dominican student of Father Chupungco at San’t Anselmo who was set to have a dissertation consultation with him on the day he died in Bukidnon, said it was doubtful if the Levebrites would rejoin the Church after the restoration of the Tridentine Mass, since the differences “are fundamentally theological, not just liturgical.”

Dynamic equivalence

On translation, Fr. Chupungco upheld “dynamic equivalence” while Ratzinger demanded that the translation should hew as closely as possible to the Latin text.

Chupungco said there are words such as mysterium and sacramentum that defy translation and should therefore be transliterated. “But I would encourage translators to give dynamic equivalence a chance to prove its worth as a method of translation,” he said. “While formal correspondence can give the impression of propinquity to the source language, in reality it can obscure the message and raise more questions than it can answer. Servility is not the same as fidelity.”

Perhaps respecting his predecessors while sticking to his guns regarding the “organic development” of the liturgy, Pope Benedict issued Summorun Pontificum (SP), upholding the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI as the “ordinary expression” of the law of prayer of the Church, but also ruling that the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V in the 16th century and reissued by Blessed John XXII in the 1960s is the “extraordinary expression” of the same law of prayer and should be given the proper honor.

While SP “has cast a menacing shadow on the future of inculturation,” Chupungco said it also opened a door when it classified rites into “ordinary” and “extraordinary.”

“I would like to consider this a basis for the Holy See to declare inculturated forms of liturgy as ‘other extraordinary’ forms of the Roman Mass along with the Tridentine rite.”

To his credit, Father Chupungco remained loyal to the Church. “With gratitude I recall my Dominican mentors (at UST) who sowed in my soul the difficult virtue of loyalty,” he wrote.

Even his teachers’ faith was rocked when Vatican II seemed to have introduced a Church that was “youngish and fashionable and behaved like a liberated person.” “To this new type of Church,” Father Anscar said, “my Dominican mentors struggled to be loyal.”

“Just stay inside the boat, they advised, and hold on to dear life, especially when the boat rocks mightily.”

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  • fides249

    Now about the liturgical (vernacular) translations ‘dynamic equivalence’, I have an experience on this in a daily Mass I attended at one of Makati villages’ churches about two years ago.

    The parish priest was changing the words of Consecration of the Wine from the official text. After the Mass I approached and asked him why he does it. Also if it does not invalidate the Mass since the Mass is a sacrament (of the Holy Eucharist) and sacraments require the proper words to use as prescribed by the Church.

    He replied he is using ‘dynamic equivalence’ (which actually not allowed by the Church). So I wrote the Archbishop of Manila (Cardinal Rosales) about it. His office replied that the Archbishop has taken note and will do the appropriate action. Later, I heard that the parish priest was transferred to a seminary job. 

    This changing of the official text on a sacrament also happened back in the 1980s in New England area of the U.S. A priest replaced the official text for baptizing some infants in his parish to a more inclusive language. Instead of baptizing them “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ he used ‘in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier’. So a parent complained to the bishop and the bishop told the priest to contact all the parents or guardians of the infants he baptized using the inclusive language formula and re-baptize them using the official Church formula (.. the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit) because there was NO baptism that occurred using the inclusive text formula.

    • reddfrog

      Parang Harry Potter ano. If the abracadabra-mahubad-ka-sana incantation is wrong then God, like an automaton or a computer, cannot recognize and will return an error message, or crash.

      • Bernard Buela

        Reddfrog, God forbid, you lack theological understanding of what fides249 is trying to say. We can’t understand God in the way we want; otherwise, that would relativize our notion of God. Rather, we should understand God according to the faith of the Church, which is handed down by the apostles, transmitted and preserved by their successors  from one generation to the next. So we call our Christian faith apostolic faith. In this light, we have to submit and subscribe to the “formula prayers” which bring faithful expression to the doctrines (dogmas) of the Church. No priest has the right and authority to change the wordings and the formulas. This is what makes us Catholic (another term used also for orthodoxy, which is to be embraced universally). You are wrong about your abrakadabra. 

      • Mamerto

        Go back to your computer games and

        enjoy the company of “dragons & genomes”.

        Please, learn first the subject that you may wish to comment to.
        Your “ignorance” on the subject is glaringly…, showing. FROG.

      • peach black

        may sumeseryoso ba sa mga latin incantations ninyo mga hunghang. mga hangal. everything is plain gibberish and reflects the temporal nature of FAITH. yes. . . you’ve read it right. . . FAITH is temporal. depende yan kung bilog ang buwan or whether the stars are properly aligned. all mumbo-jumbo mascarading as something so important and relevant. Di ba dati relevant si Zeus, Minerva at Apollo? Asan na ngayon mga ungas na nagtayo ng mga templo ng mga equally hunghang na GODS kunong ito?

      • fides249

        If you are not Catholic then you have no business bashing our beliefs; if you are Catholic then you are an ignoramus about the Faith.

    • nrcarcht

      So therefore, stay on the Latin mass so there will be text and word translation problem. Pope Benidect XVI said, ” But some of those who put themselves forward as great defender of the council also need to be reminded that the Vatican to embrace the entire doctrinal history of the church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life.”

  • Mang Teban

    This is the reason why man has to return to God in contemplation of what our Lord wishes us to follow. In such a short parable, Christ Jesus draws a parallel between the Old and the New. He spoke of new wine skins and old wine. Likewise, he talked about new patch to tear away the old garment.

    In my little understanding, there was just an element of timing whether Fr. Anscar wanted to elicit active lay participation to enliven the Church while Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) cautioned the haste to apply “new liturgy” when the “old liturgy” has not reached its fullest maturity. For new wine has to be put into new wine skins, not old wine skins or both will be ruined.

    No need to make too much analysis which one form has more substance than the other. Let the soul of Fr. Anscar rest in peace. Let us respect Pope Benedict XVI in his decision to retire in solitude and prayer. Both theologians had done good for the Church. 

  • Mamerto

    Ever since the Council of Bishops took upon themselves the 
    authority & power to formulate/create Dogmas…, 
    the Roman Catholic Church has had no moment of “Peace”

  • Ann Jonnett

    Latin mass uses the original words in the Eucharist needed to obtain all the special graces given through the Sacrament. Any translation invalidates it. So the fewer the graces we receive. This is according to one of the exorcisms done by a group of priests in Switzerland. It should only be the old Latin mass.

    • Bernard Buela

      I don’t think so. I beg to disagree with those priests. You see, we are putting God in the boxes of our personal opinions, making Him look the way we want Him to. Isn’t this a sin? Rather, we ought to understand God as the Creator of the entire reality, the Lord of the Universe, who “installed” all designs in nature especially in His beloved human creatures. Whatever language people speak is part of the divine design and is a gift. Why would God prefer one language over the other? Why would one language be more reverent than another? According to the Creation story in the Book of Genesis, everything that God created is good. Don’t we realize this? There is nothing bad and wrong in God’s creation, much less with the vernaculars, for they are all God-made for a purpose. 

      In context, the Roman Missal may be looked upon as the “blueprint” embodying the objective faith of the Church, the basis of which should engender the liturgical expression. The Vatican II made that great step of letting the Latin Rites be translated into the vernacular for the people to, obviously, understand, appreciate and participate actively in the highest worship that the whole church must render to God.

      From the foregoing, indeed, Fr. Anscar and Pope Benedict XVI made a great teamwork, however that came about. Now, I see the Holy Spirit at work!

      • Ann Jonnett

        Warnings From Beyond (Hell), Part 1 of 3

        To the Contemporary Church
        [Confessions of Hell]
        A literal text of the revelations made by the demons
        Beelzebub, Judas Iscariot, Akabor, Allida,  and Veroba
        during a series of exorcisms’ from 1975 to 1978
        A translation from the French, by Nancy Knowles Smith, of the book
        ‘Avertissements de l’Au’delà à l’Église Contemporaine – Aveux de l’Enfer’ 
        by Jean Marty.
         The revelations have also been published in German by Bonaventure Meyer in Switzerland.
         Jean Marty’s book in French is available from ‘Les Editions Saint Raphael, 31 Ouest, rue King, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada J IH INS.——– pls. Read. These are the sources on how we should celebrate mass, receive the sacraments.

      • Bernard Buela

        With due respect to you, Ann, I do appreciate your great faith in and passionate advocacy of the Sacred Liturgy. However, we ought to understand this great warning in context and not literally. Otherwise, Catholicism would be just at par with the Islamic faith where the Qur’an wouldn’t be the divine message of Allah if not read and understood in Arabic, the “divine language”. 

        The great caution (true I suppose also with the Qur’an), rather, should be understood in terms of deterring digression from and alteration of the original wordings that embody the Orthodox Faith which has already been articulated in Latin.

        Henceforth, translation is not at all a violation of the orthodox Catholic Faith if a translation into a particular vernacular preserves faithfully the essence of the Sacred Liturgy.

      • nrcarcht

         How about tourists, migrants, travelers and OFW’s when they are on alien place? Can a tagalog speaking appreciate a cebuano mass? How about attending a Malaysian or a local mass in Africa? Latin is the language of the church and preservation then will attend to globalization. Church is consider one then it should also has a one language.  Future pope Cardinal Ratzinger said “I am convinced that the crisis in the church that we are experiencing today is too large to extent due to the disintegration of the lithurgy”  

  • Josemaria Martin Von-verster

    This Article does NOT mention that the Late Fr Chupungco was Kicked out of Anselmo in 2005 by the Order of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. That’s why for the last years of His life,he is against the Pope’s program for the Liturgical Restoration of the Extraordinary Form and the New translation of the Ordinary Form.

    • MD Writer

      That is why we must be relieved that He is resigning as Pope. One of the many machinations by him (see Vatileaks) to undermine scholars, who even though dedicated their lives in understanding Christ’s teachings, was kicked by the roadside because they represented a bit more progressive views compared to what he believes. It is saddening that in his short stint on top, he has greatly diminished the reputation of the Holy See. I hope our Cardinals do not commit the same mistake again. Bless our church and may a the new Pope really lead our church back to relevance.

      • Bernard Buela

        I don’t think so. We seem to be forgetting that whatever is happening in our Church, the Holy Spirit is always at work in the midst of human frailties and imperfections. Are we saying, then, that the Holy Spirit “wasn’t there” when Benedict the XVI took over? Besides, whoever takes the seat of the Holy See, the cynic would always spot a splinter in the eyes of a pope (caused by the wooden beam blurring the onlooker’s eyes).

        What I learned is that the Vatican II did not really debunk the Latin Mass. It just recognized the need for greater participation by its translation into the people’s vernaculars. And what I’m seeing is that Pope Benedict just wanted the “blueprint” of the Missal be preserved and also somewhat “activated” to be alive!

        Hence, the Pope and Fr. Anscar made a teamwork for the Church and for the glory of God!

      • myogab16

          Lahat na lang kasalanan ng Holy Spirit — galing sa pang aabuso ng mga bata ng mga ka-parian hanggang sa pag excommunicate kay Galileo.  Sa aking paniniwala — walang kinalaman ang Espiritu Santo dito — ang tao ang may sala at sila ang dapat husgahan at ilagay sa kulungan kung sila man ay lumabag ng batas lalo na sa pangaabuso.  At si Fr. Anscar kahit ano pa ang sabihin ng kahit sino dito ay tunay na bayani sa tapang at talino — walang takot nyang hinarap kahit ang Santo Papa upang maging kapakipakinabang para sa ordinaryong tao na tulad ko ang Santa Misa. 

      • Bernard Buela

        You’re not employing logic here but bitterness so obviously. May you be enlightened by the Holy Spirit whose Name you’re using in vain. Are you not casting the first stone? If so, then you must be guilt-free, sinless. Then you’re truly admirable.

        In case you don’t get the point, here is what: we were born “from scratch” but then we grow and develop along the way in good times and in bad. The Lord is always present to us to lift us up each moment we fall. We always learn from our mistakes. Such is the dynamics of the Church. Like persons, it was conceived by the apostles as Christ’s eyewitnesses in the light of Christ’s resurrection, then the Church was born on Pentecost Day. Like persons, it had its infancy, its bad moments and good ones, and “childhood and adulthood” too. So we say that the Church today isn’t mature yet especially with Christians who share your very negative mindset.

        Read the Church history from objective sources and find out why the Church is still around despite its alleged mistakes. Try to understand what the Church is, but here’s some gist: the pope, bishops and priests are not the Church, not the religious alone, neither the lay faithful. The Church is all of these as “parts” of the mystical Body of Christ, who is its Head. What makes the Church a Church is the Christian Faith transmitted by the Apostles who proclaimed it, as it were, in the light of Christ’s Resurrection. All who become Christian do so with commitment and fidelity to this Faith. Sadly, Christians fall short and struggle to live up to this Faith, invoking the Grace of Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit.

  • peach black

    i stand in awe of people who make it their lifetime preoccupation to study something as irrelevant as, let’s say how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. LITURGY. . . what a waste of time to discuss, much more, study. I might as well study the mating habits of the madagascar roach!

    • Lateralus

       e ikaw pala ang nag aaksaya ng oras e, hahaha

    • Bernard Buela

      We look at each other as crazy, that’s what. At least, in my case, I spend my whole lifetime figuring out how I can make most out of my life by understanding my existence and the whole reality of my environment. I find the most profound meaning from the Christian faith, particularly that of Catholicism. On the other hand, take a look at your case: preferring to study “the mating habits of the madagascar roach”. Well, you have very peculiar sense of humor. I bet, if you just give yourself enough humility and open-mindedness by venturing into the Christian theology, which I am sure you know little or nothing about, you’d be taking back your word. May the light of truth and wisdom be on your side.  

  • Bernard Buela

    Like every other human being, the pope is subject to every human vulnerability. Unlike every other ordinary human being, however, the pope is one who embraces the conviction that there is a God, that God created man, that God created everything for man’s sake, that God revealed Himself to man not only through nature but also more objectively through Jesus Christ our Lord, that Jesus came to our world to lead all mankind to their perfection at the price of His Life on the Cross, and that God in Christ Jesus loves every human person including those who despise God, the Church and its faith.

    The pope is holy not because of his personal merits but because of the sacred privilege of being the vicar of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thus, he has a tremendous task of telling everyone, insiders and outsiders alike, to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel, and to embrace and love the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. 

    Making the papacy an even more difficult and complex task is to Christianize the secular world if only for it to benefit from the immense Grace that Christ gifted the world to bring it salvation and lead it to communion with the Father in Heaven on the last day.

    Every Catholic Christian ought to pray for the pope and take up the challenge to understand the Faith of the Church so that it should not only be the task of the pope, bishops and priests to Christianize the world but of all. 

    Let us truly be passionate witnesses to the love and goodness of God who reveals Himself in Jesus Christ, whose Presence, by His own initiative and doing, remains in and through the Church. The kind of battle we fight is that of Christ. Unlike the mediocrity of human battles, our Christian battle has already been won over sin and evil by the great Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on the Cross.

  • Tomas

    apparently the inquirer online has just put a byline to the article. it’s by lito zulueta, inquirer art and books editor and a professor at ust and identified by reuter in its reportage about the philippine church and the papacy as an “analyst of church affairs.” the original printed edition contains his byline though. so he’s not really hiding.

  • 444mangyan888

    wow…i love reading below the comments and exchange of thoughts among the readers..
    This is what make PDI my choice.
    While we have the kind that follow most of Mon Tulfo’s writings, those that solicited reactions like this article makes for better reading

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