Quevedo: Pope combines heart and mind
MANILA, Philippines – What sets Pope Francis apart from his predecessors?
For Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, it’s simple. If Pope John Paul II "showed the heart of the Church," and Pope Benedict XVI "showed [its] mind and reason," Pope Francis combines both.
“He’s...a theologian [and] he also studied philosophy and taught philosophy, and he combines both. He’s the combination of heart and mind. It's something that people can understand easily,” Quevedo, Mindanao’s first Cardinal, said during RapplerTalk on Tuesday, January 13.
He explained that Pope John Paul II connected very well with people – especially young people – as he showed a very strong spirituality, while Pope Benedict XVI's "mind was brilliant."
As for Pope Francis, he is conservative – sometimes harsh – in official doctrine, but he presents it “in a new way,” and his pastoral practice and language is "more generous and compassionate.”
'Church of the Poor'
Coming from Latin America, he has been tagged as a Marxist and a socialist when what he has actually done is expand the thinking of the papacy. One of his interests, climate change, is mirrored in the first apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium or the Joy of the Gospel.
In his exhortation, he mentions the Philippines and quotes from a Philippine pastoral letter that asks, "What is happening to our beautiful land?"
How does the Pope make the Catholic faith relevant in the face of inconsistencies between what the Church preaches and what some of its members practice?
According to Quevedo, the Pope's measure is profound conversion – the “deep conversion of both mind and heart” – which is in line with his vision for the Roman Catholic Church to be a “Church of the poor, for the poor.”
Quevedo also wants this vision to become real in the Philippines, where Francis will visit this week. (READ: Pope Francis wants 'poor Church for the poor')
“To be a Church of the poor in the Philippines, we need profound conversion, not only of structures, but of hearts and minds. The key to renewal, to becoming a Church of the poor, is the clergy,” he explained.
But many Church and religious institutions are rich, Quevedo said. (READ: Pope Francis known as champion of poor) The only way to redeem those riches is by "placing them at the service of God’s kingdom" and placing them "at the service of the poor and social justice,” he added.
Since Pope Francis' election in March 2013, the “simple shepherd” and leader of the Roman Catholic Church has been leading by example, showing simplicity in his life, and preaching against materialism and excessiveness (READ: 'The Holy Father's example is very strong' – Quevedo).
"Like the simple fisherman in the Gospels, here he is – a simple man – and he doesn’t go for the limelight. [He] stays low-profile, but people are drawn to him, simply by his affability, his simplicity, his welcoming smile,” Quevedo said.
The Synod of Bishops this October will focus on the family, and given that doctrines of the Church cannot change with time, the question that Church leaders will have to be answer will be how to show mercy and compassion to families that are in great difficulty. These would include families in situations that involve abortion, gay marriages, and divorce.
To keep its connection with the youth, the Church will need to speak the language of the young, "the language of the digital age" without being artificial about it.
The coming visit of Pope Francis is significant, he said, because through him, the Vicar of Christ "becomes a face, a concrete face" and not just a name to Filipinos.
Francis brings the Church of Rome, which to many Filipinos is distant and far, to the local Church. – Rappler.com
Join Rappler in a 100-day countdown to Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines: a journey from the Vatican to Tacloban. Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #PopeFrancisPH!