His Holiness Pope Francis is visiting the Philippines for 5 days and the entire country is excited. In fact, if you live in Manila within cooee of where the Pope will be, your life is over as you know it until he leaves. I have an Internet buddy who lives a street away from where the Pope will be staying and even days before he is due all the roads are closed and you can’t move, my mate tells me.
I confess I am no fan of the Catholic Church Incorporated at the best of times and more so as I see it operating in the Philippines, but that’s me. I have to confess (pun intended), I like this Pope. I think everyone likes him and he is certainly what the Church needs at this time in its 1800 year history. I know every Filipino and Filipina I have spoken to likes His Holiness, even those who are not Catholic!
I know a lot of Filipino people will get a lot of, well I guess ‘pleasure’ might not be the most appropriate word, but it is certainly apt, from his visit. Filipinos are very devout and I personally think converting them to Catholicism from Animism wasn’t that difficult for the Friars of Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries. Filipinos love to do things in groups, it’s in their blood, so given one thing the Church does very well is ‘community’, it didn’t take long to convert the archipelago, with the exception of the Moro, or Muslim areas.
That uniquely, very distinctly Pinoy way of doing things, that Filipino sense of humour, is coming out, too. You should check out the ‘Pope-Mobile’ for this trip. It is a converted Jeepney. I have to say it looks pretty swish and if I could get one to Australia I’d go into the wedding car business. Where I live in Sydney’s Western Suburbs we have a plethora of pinoy and pinay. If only we had a Jollibee! But I digress. That Pope-mobile is a cracker and I think the Pope will get a big kick out of riding in it. He comes across as a bloke who has a good grip on reality, reality as it is for the average person. I think he has a sense of humour too and that is vital for the success of any trip to the Philippines, as we all know.
I am sure he won’t mind the t-shirt sellers making a peso out of his image, or the souvenir sellers flogging all sorts of memorabilia. He’ll smile, wave and touch the hearts of one of the most devout congregations in the world. Enjoy your Pope, Filipinas!