Pope Francis and the Papal Fever in the Philippines

The Papal Visit has successfully ended. Pope Francis has essentially done his Vene, vidi, Vici. For the past few days one could see the mood catalysed by Pope Francis across media and social media. One observed a rising deluge of epiphanies, testimonials and reportage caused by the visit Pope Francis. The positive seemed to flood the negative content about the Papal visit. And there were negative rhetoric and information no doubt about it but it seemed to have been overwhelmed by the mass pouring of the admirers of the Pope Francis. They could not just upset the Papal Fever spreading across the media and social media.

The euphoria was phenomenal. Pope Francis is indeed a charismatic Pope. Then again this is the Philippines a country that is predominantly Catholic: Having lived around three hundred years under the Church Bell or Bajos delas Campanas. The inherent charisma of Pope Francis has been magnified. It was interesting to watch the kind of content posted on media and social media

The flood of messages were legion:

There were coverage and updates.
There were testimonials and epiphanies from the devote and the affected.
There were comments for the sake of commenting.
There were colour commentary.
There were even challenges and ideological monkey wrenches aimed to challenge and even bait the other side.
And then there were those nitpicky tweets and posts that brought to attention issues of lesser importance.

It was an interesting mix that from time to time caused a chuckle or two.

Well in the end everyone is entitled to one’s opinion and one’s tweet is well … one’s tweet 🙂

And as hands were waved along with towels, statues and gadgets from Manila to Tacloban, Leyte come rain or shine one wonders what was at work. Was it Faith? Something ingrained in an individual psyche by nature and nurture? Was the so-called God Gene Theory at work? The gene Vesicular Monoamine Transporter 2 or VMAT2 that predisposes men and women to spiritual or mystic experience through delivery of dopamine (that induces euphoria) to the brain? I doubt it was Michael Presinger’s Helmet of God. It was physically absent. Was it spin as some critics of Pope Francis has said? What was it that drove individuals to go to the streets and patiently wait: What was it that made people glue to their radio, television, computers, smartphones and gadgets and follow Pope Francis? I do not know.

I think there can never be one universal answer. I further think that the answer is individual in nature. Perhaps it is the sum total of our nature and nurture. And the impact will also be different for each. Some will be fleeting – something easily distracted by a barker on stage and some will be long lasting as in doing some fundamental change in one’s life. Whatever the reason may be well it would be best to make use of it. The Pope: Pope Francis is an instrument of change like anyone one meets in the road of life. They say once you meet a person you are somewhat change. Let us hope: Let us pray in this instance for the better.

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2 Responses to Pope Francis and the Papal Fever in the Philippines

  1. Carlo Fernandez says:

    Hi sir! I just happened to pass by your blog and read this one because it interested me, and because the visitation of the Pope was close to my family (my dad served in the Pope’s ultimate mass and both of my parents are devout Catholics).

    I was struck by your question “What was it that made people glue to their radio, television, computers, smartphones and gadgets and follow Pope Francis?” since I think most Filipinos tend to be bandwagon fanatics and would easily join any fleeting craze or sensation. This makes me question the sincerity of those who busied themselves by being constantly updated by the whole event of the Pope’s visitation. It makes me wonder if those who went to UST, Tacloban, and Luneta were really looking for enlightenment or were just seeking to join what’s “in”. However, I would like to believe that many were actually touched and moved by the Pope’s visitation. I think that in the end, as long as there were at least a few who were genuinely moved and changed, all the negative parts are outweighed. Indeed, Pope Francis is an instrument of change.

    • Juned says:

      Hi Carlo, I think the interest is genuine and in a sense sincere. The objectives and goals would be varied. In the end its the effect after contact that matters. In that he can be instrument of change.

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