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January 13, 2015


Pope FrancisIn TWO days, the Philippines will have the honor and privilege of hosting Pope Francis.


Since his ascendance to the papacy, Pope Francis has opened the windows of the Vatican to let in the refreshing winds of change. He has been restoring the institutional Church’s role as spiritual shepherd; rectifying shocking errors with electrifying bold leadership; and expunging it of its dogmatic, pompous and worldly ways that have gotten in the way between God and the faithful.


His blistering candor includes such quotes as the following:

1. On feeling immortal, immune or indispensable: “A Curia that doesn’t criticize itself, that doesn’t update itself, that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body.”

2. On becoming spiritually and mentally hardened: “It’s dangerous to lose that human sensibility that lets you cry with those who are crying, and celebrate those who are joyful.”

3. On having ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s.’ “We see it in the people who have forgotten their encounter with the Lord … in those who depend completely on their here and now, on their passions, whims and manias, in those who build walls around themselves and become enslaved to the idols that they have built with their own hands.”

4. On being  rivals or boastful. “When one’s appearance, the color of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life.”

5. On suffering from ‘existential schizophrenia.’ “It’s the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of hypocrisy that is typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that academic degrees cannot fill. It’s a sickness that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic work, losing contact with reality and concrete people.”

6. On committing the ‘terrorism of gossip.’ “It’s the sickness of cowardly people who, not having the courage to speak directly, talk behind people’s backs.”

7. On glorifying one’s bosses. “It’s the sickness of those who court their superiors, hoping for their benevolence.They are victims of careerism and opportunism, they honor people who aren’t God.”

8. On being indifferent to others. “When, out of jealousy or cunning, one finds joy in seeing another fall rather than helping him up and encouraging him.”

9. On having a ‘funeral face’. “In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity. The apostle must be polite, serene, enthusiastic and happy and transmit joy wherever he goes.”

10. Wanting more. “When the apostle tries to fill an existential emptiness in his heart by accumulating material goods, not because he needs them but because he’ll feel more secure.”

14. Forming ‘closed circles’that seek to be stronger than the whole. “This sickness always starts with good intentions but as time goes by, it enslaves its members by becoming a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body and causes so much bad—scandals—especially to our younger brothers.”

15. Seeking worldly profit and showing off. “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.”


Like all change agents, Pope Francis is incurring the ire of the status quo, with quotes that might as well be directed at wielders of power who need the tongue-lashing.

I mention this because two Popes who had previously visited the Philippines – Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II – were at risk from assassins. During FVR’s watch, Al Qaeda agents, who were responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, planned to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Manila. So we must assume that Pope Francis is under surveillance by those who wish to shatter the Church, the Philippines and the Catholic faithful worldwide. Local and foreign terrorists; proxies for state terror; lone wolves; disgruntled targets of internal reform, including organized crime syndicates; certified psychos – any of them could be out there lurking and finding the right time to strike.

Our security forces should study the many methods that could be used: a surprise attack by an armed jihadist group; a long-range sniper shot; improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or recoilless propelled grenades (RPGs) while traveling by car; a missile or drone strike as his plane lands or takes off; suicide bomber, unmanned aerial kamikaze, knife or pistol attack in a public gathering; poisoning; smothered or lethal injection while asleep.

They cannot rest until Pope Francis departs safely from the country. They cannot afford to be negligent, passive, presumptuous and unprepared.


Photo Credits: Gil C /

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