Monday, April 01, 2013

Pope Francis – Mabuhay!

It can be said that practically the whole world – of every race, color, and creed – watched with awe and respect, with interest and fascination if not with but curiosity and inquisitiveness – the recently concluded Papal Conclave which received long and repeated international tri-media coverage. And this is not saying anything about the vast and sustained interest of the social media about the same distinct event. And, needless to say, after the election of Pope Francis, there is still the continuing wonder and admiration about his ingrained simplicity – in terms of simple living and simple teaching, simple gestures and simple preferences, inclusive of simple vestments.

Among his impressive attributions – such as his love for the poor without hating the rich for their eventual generosity, his compassion for the helpless without excluding the powerful for their ultimate conversion – simplicity of life and moderation in living is one of the most noticeable, known and admired qualifying personality features of the lovable Pope Francis. This is why it is so easy to admire and love him.

The above observations bring to mind a long standing 1983 Church Law about the simplicity of life that clerics should observe as a general rule. Church Law thus expressly and clearly provides: “Clerics are to follow a simple way of life and avoid anything that smacks of worldliness.” (Canon 292 par.1 CIC)

Translation: Deacons, Priests, and Bishops – who are all clerics – should live simple lives and should therefore do away with luxurious living through expensive options. To be rich, to act rich, to live rich – any of these is a betrayal of the nature and import of clerical life.

Question: Who sees to it that simplicity of clerical life is duly observed? The Bishop checks or exercises vigilance over his own clerics – directly or indirectly through his Episcopal Vicars or Deputies. The Bishops themselves are regulated or moderated by the Pope himself – customarily through his own Papal Vicars or Deputies.

Conclusion: Men of God such as Deacons, Priests, and Bishops are dedicated to God – teaching, serving, and sanctifying people. But human as they all still remain and who not only can but at times in fact do not live in accord with their chosen vocation. This is why the Church has her own body of norms -- called the "Code of Canon Law" -- intended not simply to advise but also to oblige them what to do and what to abstain from doing.