MonthJune 2019

Why Did The Pope Visit The Philippines?

Pope Francis visited the Philippines in 2015 on a papal visit termed “A nation of Mercy and Compassion”. The visit recorded the highest turn out exceeding the crowd at the World Youth Day which was the highest gathering for a papal visit at the time.

Though a lot can be said about the visit, very little is said about the reason behind the visit.

Why did the Pope visit the Philippines? The Pope’s Apostolic visit was in order to console the victims of ‘Yolanda’ super typhoon which was the strongest typhoon making landfall in history. Pope Francis had also wanted to visit the Philippines as his predecessor was unable to do so.

The people of Philippines definitely appreciated this visit as they came en masse to welcome the Pope. The three days of his visit were declared public holidays and the Philippines definitely took advantage of it.

The purpose and impact of his visit were felt all through the country.

What Was The Purpose Of The Pope’s Visit?

The Pope’s visit to the Philippines was not without an agenda or purpose and every day of the visit was tailored to fulfilling that purpose.

In the spirit of mercy and compassion, the Pope’s visit touched the hearts of many especially the victims of ‘Yolanda’, the typhoon Haiyan that the Pope despite all odds went to see.

On January 15, the Pope arrived at the Philippines’ air base at 5:32 pm. He was welcomed by various government officials including the President and highly regarded religious officials.

The next day, Pope Francis drove to the Malacanang Palace. President Benigno Aquino III met with the Pope and there was a meeting held with other diplomats and officials at Rizal Memorial Hall.

At the gathering, the President gave a speech addressing the roles of the church in the country. Pope Francis spoke after the President’s speech urging politicians to shun corruption and pay attention to the needs of the poor.

After the meeting, there was a closed off mass held at Manila Cathedral consisting of just Bishops, Nuns, Priests, Seminarians, and 500 lay persons. Before the mass, the Pope and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle had met with some street children fed by the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation.

On Saturday, the Pope traveled to Tacloban by 7:37 am. Using the Philippines airlines, he arrived at Tacloban around 8:50 am to be welcomed by the Palo Archbishop John F. Du. At the airport, the Pope conducted a mass in the Celebration of the Eucharist.

He had lunch with the survivors of the typhoon Haiyan. He also blessed the Pope Francis Center for the Poor that was completed in December 2014. The Pope held a brief meeting with the religious leaders. His visitation was cut short due to the brewing Tropical Storm Mekkhala.

The Pope met with representatives of other religions on Sunday after which he also met with about 24,000 youth representatives at Santo Tomas Field. The concluding mass for the Pope’s visit was held at Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park.

This mass was open to the general public and it witnessed a massive turn out of over six million people, making it the largest mass during a papal visit.

The people sang the World Youth Day Anthem ‘Tell the World of His Love’ and the theme song for the Pope’s visit ‘We Are All God’s Children’.

On Monday, the Pope was ready to take off after a send-forth ceremony with the President, cabinet officials and other government officials.

Prominent religious leaders were also in attendance. The Pope’s visit definitely touched the Philippines in a true spirit of mercy and compassion.

Did The Pope’s Visit Achieve Its Purpose?

Yes, the Pope’s visit definitely achieved its purpose. Despite the hurdles and challenges, Pope Francis ensured that the truth of the theme was conveyed to the Philippines especially the survivors of the typhoon.

Pope Francis visit touched the hearts of many and the comments of the Philippines showed that the visit was highly appreciated.

The papal visit was able to reach various aspects of the country and the Pope was able to meet with not just religious leaders but also political leaders.

Does The Pope Visit Countries Often?

While travel is not common to the papacy, Pope Francis, like a few of his predecessors, often visit other countries that request his presence.

The Pope that visited other countries the most is Pope John Paul II. He traveled far more than all of his predecessors, traveling approximately 31 times around the earth.

Pope Francis has gone on various visits ranging from international trips to unscheduled visits. Since 2013, the Pope has embarked on approximately 45 international trips.

Everywhere he goes, he holds a mass and blesses the people of the land. These visits help strengthen the faith of the Catholics in the land.



News About Pope Francis Visit To The Philippines

Pope Francis visit to the Philippines is not an event forgotten in a hurry. The visit, etched on the lines of history forever, provides a lot to report and talk about. There is a lot of news about the happenings during Pope Francis visit to the Philippines.

News About Pope Francis Visit To The Philippines? Pope Francis visit to the Philippines recorded the largest final mass gathering. The Pope, also despite all odds and a tropical storm, went to see the survivors of the Typhoon Haitian.

The three days of the Pope Francis visit was packed full of activities. Let’s discuss what was said about this visit and news that made the rounds during and after the Pope’s visit.

What Did Pope Francis Do During His Visit?

Here are some of the highlights of the important things that the Pope did during his visit to the Philippines.

  • Pope Francis on the second day of his arrival went to see the President at the Malacanang Palace. There were other diplomats and official present at the Rizal Memorial Hall used for the gathering. The President made a speech that would be later termed controversial. Pope Francis, in his speech, called for integrity and honesty in political leaders. He advised that leaders should shun corruption. He also declared that his visit is to show the closeness of the Typhoon Yolanda survivors to his heart.
  • After seeing the President, Pope Francis held a closeted mass with Catholic leaders ranging from bishops, nuns, priests, seminarians, and a few laypersons. He highlighted issues of inequality and injustice and said leaders should lead society away from confusion on sexuality, marriage, and family. Taking the side doors after mass, he was able to meet with some street children. The Pope also held a meeting of families with representatives from various dioceses.
  • The Pope’s visit to Leyte despite the tropical storm notice was one of the noteworthy things about his visit to the Philippines. He had lunch with the survivors of the Haiyan Typhoon. There was also a mass held at the Tacloban airport. The Pope also commissioned a clinic completed in December 2014. Though the visit was short due to the storm, the survivors and Leyte felt appreciated by the Pope’s gesture.
  • The final mass was the largest papal gathering since the turn out for World Youth day in 1995 at the same venue. The mass held at Luneta Park. More than the five million people that were recorded to be at Pope John Paul’s World Youth Day Mass, the Mass, by the estimation of the Metro Manila Development Authority, had six million people in attendance.

Though the Pope only had major activities on three days of his visit, he did a lot and clearly, the purpose of his visit was accomplished. The Philippines were excited to have him and the comments from survivors of Typhoon Haiyan showed that his visit had an impact on them.

Controversies That Arose During The Pope’s Visit

Certain issues arose during the preparation for and during the visit of Pope Francis. Most of these issues got resolved and the visit went peacefully.

However, two of the major controversies surrounding the Pope’s visit are the alleged abuse of street children and the President’s speech.

Street children had been rounded up by the government to prevent attacks to the Pope by street gangs run by these children.

Press publications released to the effect that these children get abused in the detention centers.

MailOnline gave an exclusive report on this child abuse in Manila. The report claimed that these children suffered physical and sexual abuse, lacked education, and wasn’t treated with basic dignity.

In response to an inquiry made concerning the situation, Pasay City Social Welfare Department chief, Rosalinda Orobia said that the rounding up action was to protect the Pope and prevent street gangs from taking advantage of him.

This only riled criticism at the authorities as questions were asked as to if the Pope’s arrival was the only important issue.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, Dinky Soliman, officially reported on the issue on January 16, claiming that the street children were not abused and photos published on MailOnline were old pictures.

She cited the case of a child named Federico in the pictures, claiming that the child was under care. She also said corrective measures have been taken against the abusive practices of the past.

It would have been great if there was an opportunity for the Pope to visit these detention camps so there would have been a completely satisfying answer to this issue.

The President’s Speech was one of the other controversies that arose during the Pope’s visit. President Benigno Aquino III had, in his speech, criticized the Church for not acting during past administration abuses.

This criticism got mixed reactions as some thought it honest while others claimed it was inappropriate.

Cardinal Luis Tagle described it as a “commentary of previous administration”. He also said: “I think [Aquino] was coming from a deeply personal experience and also a deeply political experience.

The personal experience that shaped that type of interpretation of facts was his own suffering during martial law and his appreciation for the role of the Church during that time.” But, Tagle implored the public to focus on the papal visit and revisit the President’s speech after.

The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi said the speech was original as speeches like that were not usually given at the Pope’s reception.

He also described the speech as “very interesting” and showing two different perspectives; one of “the politician and the Pope”.

These issues didn’t affect the reception of the Pope or the smooth running of activities related to his visit.

The Philippines gave the Pope a warm reception and visit was one that will remain etched in history.


What Does The Pope Think About Psychics?


A psychic is a person that has paranormal abilities or can see into the supernatural. People are known to contact these psychics to read into their future or help them know what to do.

This practice is quite common in Rome, which is the home of the Pope. The Pope has, however, made his opinion of this practice common even among Christians clear.

What Does The Pope Think About Psychics? The Pope does not support going to see psychics. The Pope described it as idol worship He said that a Christian does not need a Psychic or horoscope, only guidance from God.

The Pope also had much to say about the related practices of fortune telling, horoscope reading, tarot cards, and the likes.

What Advice Did The Pope Give Concerning Psychics?

The Pope advised Christians not to turn towards psychics or horoscopes but look unto God. At the morning mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae on June 26, 2018, Pope Francis said,

‘The Christian life is a path along which men and women are called to be led by God rather than turning to psychics and horoscopes in the hopes of knowing what lies ahead.’

He went on to explain how Christians especially Catholics should pray and live their lives without dependence on mediums or supernatural influences like horoscopes and crystal balls.

“A Christian does not have a horoscope to see the future. He doesn’t go to a fortune teller with a crystal ball or have his palm read. No, no! He doesn’t know where he is going. He is guided.”

The Pope’s advice for Christians was to follow the lifestyle of guidance by God. He implored that Christians should trust in the Lord and look toward him for all their answers.

Pope Francis advised Christians to live the lifestyle of people journeying towards the Promised Land.

Witchery has been condemned by the Catholic Church from time past. The practice of fortune-telling, going to psychics or witches is still not acceptable in the Catholic Church of today.

Pope Francis declared that such acts are acts of idol worship. He urged people to turn towards the one true God as these idols will just disappoint them.

He told the masses of the benefits of this one true God. He said the true God does not ask for your life but rather give you his own.

“The true God does not offer a projection of our success, but teaches us to love,” Pope Francis said that recognizing these idols and freeing oneself from them is the beginning of grace that puts one on a path of love.

The Church’s Opinion On Fortune-Telling, Psychics, and Witches

The Catholic Church has always had a firm stand against fortune telling, psychic counselors, and witches. The first commandment of, “I am the Lord thy God.  Thou shalt not have any gods before me,” is not taken with levity in the Church.

While it is believed that God can make his will known through his prophets and saints, people are advised to rely on God to tell them their future and how to live.

St. Paul said that “We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His decree” (Romans 8:28).

Relying on this promise, one does not need the aid of fortunetellers, psychics, or witches to live a fulfilled life.

All these sorts of practices are condemned in the Old and New Testaments. You would find verses like:

“You shall not let a sorceress live” (Exodus 22:17),

“Whoever sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord alone, shall be doomed” (Exodus 22:19),

“A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning:  they have no one but themselves to blame for their death” (Leviticus 20:27), and

“Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortuneteller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead.  Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord…”

All these verses from the Old Testament condemn the fortune telling, witchery, and psychics and the Catholic Church still stands by them.

From the New Testament of the Bible,

“But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:” (Acts 8:9)

“But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” (Acts 13:8)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” (Galatians 5:19).

St. Paul in the last two chapters, rebuked Elymas for practicing sorcery and called it an act of the flesh in Galatians. St. Peter, in Acts 8, rebuked Simon who wanted to buy the power of the Holy Ghost to make his sorcery more powerful.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ declared, “As for the cowards and traitors to the faith, the depraved and murderers, the fornicators and sorcerers, the idol-worshipers and deceivers of every sort– their lot is the fiery pool of burning sulfur– the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Though the Church condemns the act of witchcraft, psychics, fortune telling and other associated practices, the Church believes in the gospel of love.


Therefore, practices like witch hunting and burning are not condoned by the church. Throughout history, Catholic Popes have stood against using torture or burning a person regarded as a witch.

Pope Nicholas I, in 866, prohibited torture for obtaining confessions, though it was allowed in civil law and judicial practices.  Pope Gregory VII in 1080, stood against putting accused witches to death for supposedly causing storms or crop failures.

The church teaches love and abstinence from all kinds of idol worship.



7 Interesting Facts About The Pope You Didn’t Know

The pope acts as a symbol for holiness and goodness for the Catholic believers all around the world. He is the leader of the Catholic church and is among the best known public and influential figures worldwide.

The institution has been around for centuries with the pope actually being the head of state in the Vatican City. Pope Francis is the current 266th pope, and it’s sufficed to say that he is beloved by the people, both believers and non-believers from all across the world.

Most people have a picture of the pope as the guy goggling with kids, shaking hands and blessing masses as he goes. There’s more to him than that. Here are seven interesting facts about the pope you probably didn’t know:

pope facts

#1. First Latin American Pope

His real name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He’s the first Jesuit pope to lead the Catholic church, the first pope originating from the Americas and the first non-European native pope since Gregory III in 741 more than 1,000 years ago. It’s important to note that Jesuits are excellent communicators. Out of the 265 popes that have come before him, 200 were natives of Italy alone so you can see how rare and hard it is for a pope whose homeland is outside Europe to get the post.

#2. Was The Runners Up To Become Pope In 2005

He came in second in the election that elected Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) as pope in 2005 after the passing on of Pope John Paul II. This shows how popular he was at the time among his fellow Arch Bishops by receiving the second most votes.

#3. Lives In A Simple Guest House

Rather than take advantage of the perks that come with being the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis rejected staying in the upscale apartment quarters within the Vatican walls used by previous the popes. He instead decided to reside in a simple two-room apartment. He broke a century-long tradition.

#4. Named “Person of the Year”

During the time of his inauguration in 2013, he was named as the Person of the year by Time making him the first ever pope to receive such an accolade. He was honored with this title due to the impact and influence he had already made as a leader. The reason he is called ‘the people’s pope’ is because of how he loves children and allows them to get close, blessing them during ceremonies, visiting the sick and advocating for people’s rights are but a few of the things he does.

#5. He isn’t A Fan Of The Bulletproof Popemobile

The pope doesn’t like the traditional bulletproof Popemobiles because he sees them as “sardine cans” with glass enclosures which people are gawking at as he rolls by. Even though not everyone may mean to cause harm to the pope, he said he still preferred to be closer to the people on the ground. During his papacy, Pope Francis has been cruising around in cars like Jeep Wranglers and Fiats which allows human contact and personal appeal.

#6. Has One Lung

In his teenage years, Pope Francis was diagnosed with a severe infection that resulted in him undergoing surgery to remove the infected lung. Sadly, this operation wouldn’t be needed today with the current advancements in antibiotics. Medical professionals were concerned about his health at the time of the conclave but at the ripe age of 82 years, he is in good physical health.

#7. Multilingual

Pope Francis is conversant and doesn’t struggle much with many languages. Though the pope often uses Italian, Latin or Spanish to carry his roles, he is also fluent in German, Portuguese, Ukrainian, English and French. This grasp of different languages allows him to reach a wide range of his congregation globally who look up to him as a source of inspiration and moral guidance.

Pope Francis has tried to repair the tarnished history of the Catholic Church taking it upon himself to lead by example through humanitarian efforts which have made him capture the hearts of many. His humility alone is a basis for great admiration, especially by the people in Niagara Falls. By reading just a few of these facts, you can see why he is admired and respected by many.

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