Pope Francis: Full of Surprises.
For only the fourth time in the last one hundred years, the maxim “He who enters the conclave a pope leaves it a cardinal” proved true yesterday. An elderly cardinal who had never made it to the papabili lists of all but one Vatican observers, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, became Pope Francis.
Everyone is pointing out all of the “firsts” about this new Roman Pontiff– The first pope from Latin America, the first Jesuit pope, and the first pope to take a totally new regnal name– but few are pointing out what seems to be the elephant in the room: That the election of Pope Francis is, in a way, an Italian restoration. And I’m not merely referring to the fact that the Argentine is of Italian descent.
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HABEMUS PAPAM? Dominum Aloysius Antonius Sanctae Romanae Eclessiae Cardinalem Tagle
Predicting the outcome of a conclave is like predicting who would sit in China’s Politburo during Beijing’s leadership transition. It’s purely speculative, since it’s almost impossible to determine what’s on the cardinal-electors’ mind. As in all political events, however, an educated speculation is possible if all variables are carefully examined.
For instance, while the election of Karol Cardinal Wojtyla in the second conclave of 1978 had been very surprising to most; it was, in retrospect, not that improbable. At that time, there had been a bitter battle between the reactionary clerics, led by Guiseppe Cardinal Siri, and the liberals, led by Giovanni Cardinal Benelli. This bitter rift ensured that there would have been a gridlock, since neither of the blocs could have attained the required two-thirds majority, and that a compromise candidate would have had to be found.
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NOTE: What follows is a thought-provoking short essay written by a very close friend, Michael Kakumoto, entitled Emergence of Worldview-Structures: A Cause to Re-think the Separation of Church and State Principle. He wrote this essay for a journal that he and I are collaborating on. I edited this essay, and it is still undergoing review by other individuals.
Auguste Comte, considered the father of Sociology and Positivism, proposed in his “Law of Three Stages” that societal development undergoes three stages: (1) Theological, where nature and the natural phenomena are sought and understood through mythical and supernatural explanations; (2) Metaphysical, where understanding of the origin of nature and the natural phenomena was through abstract and philosophical explanation; and (3) Positivism or Scientific, where nature and the natural phenomena are explained and understood through scientific methods and means, and invalidated abstract or supernatural concepts as an explanation. For Comte, the third stage is the pinnacle of the development of human society.
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British Airways employee Nadia Eweida was dismissed for wearing a crucifix at work. (AP Photo)
In response to a landmark case in the European Court of Human Rights involving two British women who were dismissed by their employers for wearing crucifix while working, the government of the United Kingdom is set to argue that Christians have no right to wear the crucifix at work. British ministers will point out that since wearing of the said symbol is not a requirement of the Christian faith, the right to wear it cannot be invoked against the right of employers to set out a uniform policy that bans the wearing of the said symbol.
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