The visit of Pope Francis has profound significance for the Filipino people. The country is the only Roman Catholic country in Asia and one of a few remaining nations with a predominantly Catholic population. While Pope Francis is not the first Pope to visit the country, his visit has so much meaning and significance especially now.
Pope Francis has called for a renewal of the church’s preferential option for the poor. He has spoken against capitalist greed and inhumane poverty, social injustices and oppression.
It is timely indeed, as the Filipino people have been battling impunity, greed and corruption, worsening social inequities, debilitating poverty and unemployment. Even the local Catholic Church has been in search of its role in Philippine society after the decades of Sin when the Archbishop of Manila was one of the most powerful figures in the country.
This section is dedicated to a coverage not only of the visit of Pope Francis, but also of the messages of suffering the people try to convey to Pope Francis, and the message of hope Pope Francis would bring to the people.
Progressive groups and activists led by the People’s Committee to Welcome the Pope were barred from joining the crowd waiting for Pope Francis on January 16 because of their banners.
The groups, composed of peasant, workers, urban poor, women, and human rights victims and advocates, had converged at the Chino Roces Bridge (former Mendiola Bridge) where they held a short program.
They wanted to proceed to Ayala Bridge to welcome the Pope but had barely marched several meters from Mendiola bridge when they were already barred by the police. (Click here to read the entire report)
With the visit of Pope Francis, peace advocates find renewed hope. They are calling on the Pope to act as a broker just as he interceded for the reopening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. (Click here to read the entire report)
Pope Francis … blames the idolatry of wealth – for the world’s woes. He declared inequality, which has been at its worst level in history, as the root of social evil. And he called on the church to side with the poor. (Click here to read the entire report)
Following Pope Francis’ pronouncements urging the Sri Lanka government to pursue truth, relatives of political prisoners gathered in front of the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila urging the pope to intercede for the release of their loved ones.
“We want to show the Pope what this government might try to hide from him. And that is the worsening human rights situation,” Nikki Gamara, daughter of political prisoner Renante Gamara, tearily said during the program. (Click here to read the entire report)
Two days before Pope Francis’ arrival, indigenous peoples were the first to give a symbolic welcome to Pope Francis at 10 am, January 13 at the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft avenue.
“We wholeheartedly welcome the Pope to the Philippines, and also to the lands of the indigenous peoples,” said Piya Macliing Malayao, national coordinator of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Kamp).(Click here to read the entire report)
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected by the conclave to the throne of St. Peter on March 13, 2013. He chose the name Pope Francis.
Pope Francis, 78, is the first Jesuit and the first non-European to head the Catholic hierarchy.
The Pope, at his first press conference in Vatican, explained why he named himself after the 13th century St. Francis of Assisi. In a report, the pope described St. Francis of Assisi, as “the man of the poor. The man of peace. The man who loved and cared for creation and in this moment we don’t have such a great relationship with the creator. The man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man who wanted a poor church.” (Click here to read the entire report)