Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

Karol Wotyla

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

For 26 years a Pope has reigned while I’ve been drifting in and out and in and out again of the Catholic church. Part of that was my search for meaning and for reasons for being in a church which I felt had lost touch with the world around it. Part of it was that I felt that many members of the church were hypocritical lemmings who spouted one thing and more often than not, did another.

To a large extent those views have not changed. However, in that 26 years “Il Papa” has been both a source of pride and irritation. He, above all recent Popes, had fought for what he believed in. Lent his moral suasion to causes grand and minor. He is credited partly, with good reason, for the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of “Solidarnosc,” and the fall of Communism in the now defunct USSR.

He also brought a common touch to the Papacy which was missing from previous regnants. A Pope was expected to write encyclicals and make pronouncements on aspects of church life and that was pretty much that. However, Karol Wotyla opened the windows and allowed fresh air to blow through the halls of the Vatican. Travelling more than any other Pope in history and being seen as a major player on the world stage. At times, being more effective, I feel, than the moribund United Nations.

In the broad sweep that is history, he will be remembered most for this fight against totalitarian regimes and hopefully, for ecumenism.

For me, he had some dark spots on his record.

As it affects me personally, I still believe that his stance on homosexuality was misguided. On the one hand there is the admission that there may be genetic factors involved and that having feelings for those of the same sex are not wrong. Only acting on it was.

That dichotomy is what characterizes the Catholic church of today. When it comes to the frontiers of social questions, I felt that he fudged the issues towards social conservatism.

When all was said and done however, I believe that none can dispute the fact that he was an amazing iconic figure and a testament to what man can aspire to if they set out with a firm faith in what is right.

1 Comment

For a church that is trying to keep in touch with the world around it while exercising honest genuine faith, you might want to check out Bangsar Lutheran Church. The pastor's blog-site is sivinkit.net and it has a link to the church website too. I'm not a member there, but some friends who have been wrestling with similar issues have spoken highly of it. (By the way, I don't know you personally, but bumped into your website quite by accident while googling.)

- Lee Cheng

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