Editor’s Note

The queen’s death overshadowed the appointment of Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, who had just taken office two days prior to the monarch’s demise.

Sep 17, 2022

As I write this, the world is still riveted by the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history. There was much speculation in recent years as to whether the queen would ever step down and allow her heir, Prince Charles, to take her place. Obviously the word ‘retirement’ was never in the late monarch’s vocabulary. She chose to hold on to the sovereign title until her last breath, and will go down in history as having reigned for 70 years and 214 days. Among the many tributes to the late queen is her witness and legacy of faith. (Elizabeth II, the “last Christian monarch”)

The queen’s death overshadowed the appointment of Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, who had just taken office two days prior to the monarch’s demise. While the journey of the queen has come to an end, the journey for the new prime minister has just begun. Before her lies the mammoth task of addressing a downward spiralling economy and the rising cost of living. She has been urged to give her urgent attention to the needs of the poorest people. (Cardinal urges new UK prime minister to focus on poor, Back Page)

Meanwhile, in Church circles, the spotlight continues to be on Pope Francis who is making his latest trip to Kazakhstan. Despite the pontiff not showing any signs of slowing down, the question on the minds of many is, ‘Will he follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and resign?’

Several names have been thrown into the hat as a likely successor to the pontificate, including Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines. (Cardinal Tagle – will he succeed Pope Francis? Pg 10)

Would an Asian pope even be possible? We do not know, but we are no longer surprised by ‘firsts’. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since Gregory III, a Syrian who reigned in the eighth century.

New leaderships almost always bring with it changes, though some traditions and structures will still remain steadfast.
Bishop Sebastian Francis, when addressing the Peninsular Malaysia Pastoral Team Assembly last month asked these pertinent questions, ‘What will happen after the Synod? Will there be a paradigm shift?’ The bishop went on to explain that the hierarchy – clergy, religious, laity – are not biblically based, but just a tradition that had served the Church well as a structure. (Mission: Called to be disciples, Pg 4)

Irrespective of whether we stick to old traditions and structures, or have a paradigm shift, our journey as Church, especially as we move towards the Synod of Synodality in October 2023 and the Pan Malaysian Pastoral Convention in 2026, must begin with — whether we, the Christian community, embody the ‘style’ of Jesus, who travelled the paths of history and shared in the life of humanity.

In the words of Pope Francis, ‘Are we prepared for the adventure of this journey? Or are we fearful of the unknown, preferring to take refuge in the usual excuses: ‘It’s useless’ or ‘We’ve always done it this way’?’

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