My Dear Francis,
I hope it is ok to call you by your papal name; this is only because I feel so close to you. You have captured my heart with your simplicity, humanity, humility and love.
The first 25yrs of my life was filled with dreams of becoming a priest, having been stuffed with an overdose of religion, a very serious matter in my family. When I turned 16, I became an altar boy, never missed Bible class or the regular confessions. My late father was a Knight of the Catholic Church. That’s where I’m coming from.
We were a family that prayed together, staunch Catholics for that matter.
Being an adventurous young man however, I dabbled into the occult, metaphysics, Buddhism, astrology, magic and all that jazz; but be that as it may, I still, am fundamentally a Catholic. The Catholic fate had suddenly become boring and old fashioned for me. Well, until you came along.
In 2013, I wrote an article on you titled A BULLET FOR THE POPE, which was published on social media. In that piece, I expressed my fears and concerns about your life and safety. You bravely and boldly took on the Mafia, knowing that there were still pockets of vampires, fraudsters, and criminals in the Vatican. The Vatican under your watch, honoured Rev Giuseppe Puglisi, who was killed over 20yrs ago by mobsters for preaching against the Mafia, now a martyr. You demanded that Mafia members abandon their “evil ways”.
And I wondered… what if the Mafia decides to take you “out” for sweating their business, knowing their infiltration is deep in the Vatican?
You have shown to be true, the saying that the only thing needed for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing.
I am very glad and pleased that you are doing something.
It is clear that you possess a beautiful spiritual light burning inside of you.
I recognize your effort in trying to bring a better image and name to Catholicism.
No matter how anybody wishes to flip it, you are full of surprises, born of true and faithful humility; it sparks of Charlyboyizim.
Francis, I am head over heels in love with your person, you are my Rock Star.
I saw you in The Philippines rocking the world again after Brazil, through the CNN lens. The World has fallen in love with you: is it Jews, Moslems, Atheists, Punks, Monks? In short, nothing is stranger, ever since you came onboard, than the reactions of evangelicals all over the world. Never before in history has a Pope been so widely accepted by Protestants and evangelicals, Muslims, Buddists, non-believers, all and sundry.
Thank God, it is a proud day for Catholics and all mankind.
Finally, we have a Pope who doesn’t see himself as equal to God, a Pope who abandoned the red shoes (that were never an official part of the papal wardrobe anyway): a Pope who dresses modestly, pays his own lodging bills, drives around Vatican City in a Ford Focus, calls many people on the phone, brings jam sandwiches to on-duty Swiss Guards at his door and invites street people to his birthday breakfast. Haba, how far my guy.
The way you embrace and kiss babies, embrace the sick, disfigured broken bodies and the abandoned of society. You are one world leader who speaks the truth to power, walks his talk, and calls idolatry and greed by their real names. You are a bold and courageous shepherd who lifts up the poor and tells us that if they are not part of our lives, then we are a sad and even doomed lot. Just like Francis of Assisi did in his day.
You spent time on your knees washing the feet of young women incarcerated in prisons; first time ever that a Pope would wash the feet of women, not to mention that some of them were Moslems. Hummm, a bloody break in papal tradition.
Last year you unequivocally said that the “door is closed,” on women’s ordination, a statement that I’m sure disappointed many Catholic liberals. You however reiterated that it doesn’t mean the church should consider women as secondary or inferior; that “the feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed, and the church cannot be herself without the woman and her role.” Gbam! Na you talk am.
I remember when you were a mere Bishop in Buenos Aires, you received letters from gays and lesbians who said they were “socially wounded” by the church, and in an interview you answered, “But the Church does not want to do this,”
I recall also, your visit to Brazil, when asked your opinion about Gays and you gave them a beautiful one liner. “Who am I to judge gay people?”
Simply put, you blow my mind each and every time! Kai!
The world is sick; selfishness, sadness, meanness, vengeance, terror and harshness seem to have the upper hand, and we need the message of Christmas which you preach all year round: goodness, joy, kindness, mercy and the tenderness of our God.
There is this childlike unflinching freedom that allows you to do what you do because you are so unafraid and totally free to be yourself at the same time. I know because it takes one to know one.
You are such a faithful son of the Church.
I see how you want the church to be an instrument of reconciliation and welcome, a church that is capable of warming hearts, a church that is not bent over on herself but always seeking those on the periphery and those who are lost, a church capable of leading people home to God.
We need the Francis’ revolution of tenderness and mercy now more than ever before.
More than anyone in my lifetime, Pope Francis, you have given me a powerful, luminous glimpse into the mind and heart of God. Thank you.
Thank you again!