By Alex P. Vidal
“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that-it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.”—Charles Spurgeon
PONTIFICIO Collegio Filippino (PCF) Rector Gregory Ramon Gaston has urged Filipinos to pray for former Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle emphasizing that Pope Francis gave Tagle other assignments, including efforts to assist the new officials of Caritas International.
Tagle’s new tasks came when he was ousted from Caritas International, the charity arm of the Catholic Church, according to Gaston in a recent interview with Church-run Radyo Veritas.
We have no problem with that.
Everyone needs to pray; we all need prayers—Catholics and non-Catholics, sinners and saints.
But, wait a minute. Why will Tagle need the people’s prayers when he is enjoying his life in the Vatican-based Caritas International?
Gaston and Tagle, as “soldiers” of God, should be the ones to pray for us. It’s the people that need more mercy, forgiveness, and daily bread.
Even if he was “ousted” in his lofty position, Tagle would not go hungry or live in the gutter.
He is richer than you and me.
Except if he is ill or battling a life-threatening disease, ordinary Filipinos will have to first pray for their families—sons and daughters—who are wallowing in poverty before they will think of kneeling in the prayer room or in the church to pray for the well-fed Tagle.
If we open his refrigerator randomly, he has more cheese, chocolate cakes, grapes and apples than the ordinary Filipinos, who are the ones that need the prayers to be able to live a decent life and eat three square meals a day.
There are more Filipinos who need not just prayers but livelihood, medical and social assistance. Pandemic has not yet totally left. Many people are still unemployed if not underemployed.
Many Filipinos still live below the poverty level, but some Church authorities and scumbags, who use the bible and the words of God to mesmerize and bilk the faithful, live like kings and privileged emperors.
Although Tagle is supposed to “live an ordinary life” like Jesus Christ as what the Bible-toting preachers proclaim in the sermon, we all know that some archbishops, cardinals, and hypocrite parish priests live in affluence; many of them own mansions and luxury vehicles.
Some so-called spiritual leaders (not just in the Catholic Church) even scandalously parade their queridas and queridos. Sin veruguenzas!
A lot of pride and may be geopolitics will be at stake as pundits rev up for the November 29 encounter between nemesis Iran and the United States in Group B of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Believe it or not but the western press has installed the US as the favorite (50 percent) to beat Iran (23 percent). The probability of a draw is 27 percent.
How can it be when Iran has just scored one of the, so far, three upsets in the Cup when it recently beat Wales, 2-0, while the US was recently held to a scoreless draw by England?
The US isn’t expected to win the World Cup which is the domain of Brazil, Argentina, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, and England. The draw versus England, a soccer heavyweight, actually smelled like a win for the Americans.
“A draw’s not the worst thing, but I felt like there were stretches of where we showed confidence and had a lot of the play, and created chances, and even could have won the game” US midfielder Christian Pulisic said. “But all in all, I thought we managed it quite well.”
But the Stars and Stripes will be in the prime position to advance in the knockout stage with a win over Iran. But if Iran wins, it will have a tremendous psychological repercussion on the ongoing strife between the two nations now that Iran is on the radar of international conflict for its human rights abuses in the ongoing suppression of protest actions related to women’s rights.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)