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.