Sunday, July 03, 2016

147. Pres. Duterte, Pope Francis, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son



"Pu__ ___ __ Pope," oh my, I can't even write it. In November 2015, then just a mere prospect of a presidential candidate Duterte uttered the equivalent of the "F" word to the head of the Catholic Church. If this were the middle ages that would have spurred a crusade. But the cursing and iconoclast-thinking candidate out to make a point that decent is overrated -- and incompetent -- would not be denied his freedom of speech. He would speak his mind, curse the traffic and  the pope who caused it, condemned to hell if he had to, but no moral code was going to make him blip what his mouth wanted to say about the hellish traffic that Pope Francis caused when he visited the Republic in January 2015. Pope Francis seemed unmindful of the raucous. And  I could imagine the humble Pope even offering an apology for the incident had he been informed about it until -- bowed by the pressure of his handlers who were probably led by what could be imagined as septuagenarian members of the Catholic Women's League -- candidate Duterte wrote an apology to the Vatican and to the Catholic Bishop of Bacolod, and vowing to donate a thousand pesos to Caritas Davao for every curse word he said as an act of contrition.  The Vatican accepted the apology and said, "The Holy Father offers the assurance of prayers for you, as he invokes upon you the divine blessings of wisdom and peace."  That was April 2016, and the matter was settled once and for all by an overwhelming vote of the Catholic and non-Catholic majority in favor of candidate Duterte in the May 2016 elections.



("Bago" by Celeste Lecaroz, acrylic on canvas, 4 feet by 4 feet)

Still, I wonder if the Pope's prayers for candidate Duterte had a  hand in the elections -- after all candidate Duterte was the only one who had the benefit of papal prayers among the presidential candidates in spite of being depicted by the other candidates as a foul-mouthed murderous man. If so, it gave a hint of how that goody-goody brother of the prodigal son felt after the rich father gave the son a feast despite living a reckless life -- a parable regularly read in Catholic churches that sidelights an earthly phenomenon in which nice guys finish last and the bad boys have all the fun.



("Viva Il Papa" by Celeste Lecaroz, acrylic on canvas, 4 feet by 4 feet)

Nonetheless, if and when Pope Francis meets Pres. Duterte, it wouldn't be just them meeting, but the Vatican and this Republic, the nation states that they represent, no cursing or crusades expected. Wouldn't that be nice? But nice, like decency, is overrated. For ultimately, as in the parable, we find out that the key to  most everything is discarding our Manichean world view about being nice, decent, or of good behavior for it simply misses the point.

4 comments:

Zerkse Garcia said...
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Zerkse Garcia said...
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Zerkse Garcia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zerkse Garcia said...

Why is Duterte portrayed in this article as the prodigal son? And who is the father, Francis of Rome? It would rather be appropriate to see Duterte as the prodigal son and the God of Israel as the Father. But what about Francis of Rome? Where does he fit in the scenario of the Father-prodigal son scenario of the Scriptures? Duterte has nothing to do with the Roman church because his heart was already very far from it for a long time. The whole structure of the papal system had been repugnant to him due to its hypocrisies and gross immorality. Duterte’s devotion to God was direct. He is a Christian, but his mindset had been steeped in Protestant individualism, and not the docile Roman-catholic submissiveness. And he does not want the interference of ANY CHURCH when it comes to spiritual matters. But theologically and practically, we DO NOT need a pope or any human head to whom we subject ourselves to. The Messiah is enough. “The Head of every man is Christ” (1Corinthians 11:3), not your pastor, bishop, nor any priest. Just as we obey our parents only if it is “in the Lord” (Eph.6:1), so we obey our church leaders (Heb. 13:17) only if they speak according “to the law and to the testimony”, otherwise their guidance is not valid (Isaiah 8:20). We obey only what is clearly stated in a “THUS SAITH THE LORD”, and in “what is written in the Law” (Luke 10:25,26), not what “THUS SAITH THE CHURCH” or “THUS SAITH JUSTIN MARTYR” or “THUS SAITH IGNATIUS” or some brilliant theologian says. When it comes to spiritual decisions, God alone is our Father, and the Messiah our Master, not a pope or any theologian. “All of you are brothers” (Matthew 23:8-12). There is only one Mediator, Jesus (1Timothy 2:5). We do not need Mary as co-Mediatrix, nor priests for confession of our sins. Jesus is our great high Priest to whom we address our confessions (Hebrews 4:14-16; 1John 1:9; Matthew 11:28) and God Himself loves us, and hears our prayers (Matthew 6:7-8; John 16:27). He alone forgives sins (Isaiah 43), not a church. The Jewish Messiah and His Jewish Apostles DID NOT build a gentile ecclesiastical empire of papal caesars at Rome. Nor did the Messiah grant His followers to institute and pronounce decisions contrary to "the law and the testimony", using its own outlook opposite to what God had plainly commanded. Further, if the heavenly priesthood of the Messiah is all that we need for our salvation, what is the use of Roman priestcraft on earth? It is nothing but an interception and obstruction. The papal priestcraft is useless and NOT valid. Scriptures had predicted this religio-political power that usurps, obstructs, and pollutes the Messiah’s priesthood in heaven (Daniel 8:9-13; 23-25; Daniel 11:31-32), exalts itself above the Messiah and above God (Daniel 8:11; 25; Daniel 11:36-37; 2Thessalonians 2:3-4). This antichrist system DARES TO CHANGE GOD’S TIME-LAWS and persecutes His saints and murders them (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:24; Revelation chapters 13 & 17), and is skilled in diplomacy, deceiving many nations (Daniel 8:25; Daniel 11:21-24; Daniel 11:32; Revelation 18:3, 23-24). There is no other institution that historically and logically fits the Biblical description of Daniel and Revelation except the Roman church. It is the seat of Satan and through this antichrist empire to rule himself upon the world with his impious laws against the Law of God, just as the fake sabbath, Sunday, is the antithesis to the true Sabbath day, Saturday: papal sabbath versus God’s Sabbath. Moreover, just as there is the harlot woman (church) in the Revelation (Revelation chapter 17), there is also the pure woman whose remnant “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus” which is “the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 12:17; Revelation 19:10). The chaste woman versus the harlot one, as truth is opposite to error. So we have the Seventh-day Adventist movement, the exact opposite of the Roman-catholic institution.