The IOC has reprimanded Pope Francis for using #Rio2016 in a tweet to athletes competing in the Olympics. Apparently this particular hashtag has a protected status and is only to be used in official IOC endorsed communication. So the pontifex using #Rio2016 was not compliant with Olympic guidelines stating that #Rio2016 is off limits for common mortals like you, me and the Bishop of Rome. I say that Internet is for al, free speech is for all and #Rio2016 certainly is for all. I say the Olympic officials are forgetting what #Rio2016 was all about; using sports as a means to unite people. #Rio2016 that.
A prostitute? Feminist avant la lettre? Front runner of female emancipation? The thirteenth apostle? The mistress of Jezus Christ? His wife? Mother to his heir? Fast forward two millennia. The opinions on Mary Magdalene are still divided. It is a fact that when the Gospels were added to the Bible (during the Council of Nicea, 325 AD), the Gospel of Mary was excluded. In my humble opinion, that exclusion has led to subordination of women lasting to this very day. Pope Fransis has now ‘upgraded’ July 22nd, Mary Magdalene’s Day, to a Feast, putting her on the same level as the Apostles. Bravo.
As worldly embodyments of the religion they represent, churches are not liable to all sorts of taxes. In fiscal lingo they qualify as not-for-profit, charitable institutions that serve a communal purpose. Hence their tax exemption. Pope Francis now has vented an inflammable notion on this particular fiscal ruling. He stated that churches should be eligible to keep their special tax status, as long as they provide help for the needy. This new interpretation of being a good shepherd surely rocks the foundation under the countless of trusts, reserves and funds that are kept in Name of the Lord. The man has a point.
What the pope presented as a contemporary and ‘merciful’ interpretation of Vatican doctrine on family life, probably is a watered down version of his original ideas. His ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (‘Joy of Love’) refers to ‘non-traditional forms of family’, such as couples remarrying after divorce; most of the people on the planet perceive this a life as it happens. Am I glad to see the Vatican inch forward to a more commonly accepted interpretation of the modern family? Or am I disappointed to see that their dogma on alternate forms of co-habitation in principle still dates centuries back? Both, actually.
Today, an 81 year old Buddhist monk found it worth his time to visit the school of my children. For two hours straight he talked and answered questions, capturing his audience with sparks of inspiration. World problems seized to exist in his upbeat manner. His message was simple yet effective: hope is with the youth. The energy the monk radiated through his smile, posture and wisdom overwhelmed both elementary school students and high school seniors alike. I feel blessed that my children got to witness His Holiness the Dalai Lama up close and learn a lesson of humbleness, friendliness and peace.