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WHY POPE FRANCIS ASKS FILIPINOS TO PRAY FOR HIM


Pope Francis prays during a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. Millions filled Manila's main park and surrounding areas for Francis' final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday, braving a steady rain to hear the pontiff's message of hope and consolation for the Southeast Asian country's most downtrodden and destitute. AP/Alessandra Tarantino MANILA, During his brief stay in the Philippines, Pope Francis several times asked thousands of Filipinos before him to pray for him. The pontiff even sent a Tagalog tweet to his social media followers after he left Manila for Rome.
Addressing the faithful waiting for him in the cathedral of Palo, Leyte last Saturday, Pope Francis also asked them for two things: To pray for him, and to keep quiet-the latter being said in jest. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle vowed in the pope's final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday that he will be remembered in Filipinos' prayer READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Newborn babies in hospital named after Pope Francis; 12 of the 25 were girls


Gliceria Catral cuddles her son Jan Francis. SHEILA CRISOSTOMO MANILA, Philippines - The Pope Francis mania that gripped the country during his five-day apostolic visit will continue to live as many Filipino babies were named after him. At the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila alone, 25 baby boys and girls were named "Francis" or "Francesca" since the pontiff arrived to a jubilant crowd last Jan. 15 until he left yesterday morning. Hospital director Ruben Flores surmised that the euphoria stirred by the papal visit had apparently impacted on Filipinos so much that they named their children after the pope. "We all see how the Filipinos celebrated the pope's coming here. We felt him and maybe many of our parents want his spirituality to rub off on their children too, so they named them after him," he told The STAR. READ MORE...

ALSO The Papal Interview: Young Jesuits React and Reflect


Wait for it, wait for it... Wait for it, wait for it… Well, we waited … and he delivered. One of the minor (or not-so-minor) miracles involved in the recent interview with Pope Francis is that 16 Jesuit publications around the globe managed to keep the whole thing a total secret until the moment it was published. Of course, now that the interview has been released, we Jesuits can’t stop talking about it. As our staff here at TJP continues to read through the interview and pray about what we find there, we will be posting some explanations, analyses, and responses to various parts of what Pope Francis had to say. Before you jump into all the reactions, however, let us be the first to remind you: this interview can’t be reduced to soundbites. It deserves a prayerful and discerning reading. CONTINUE READING...

(ALSO) Pope: Gestures of the heart, weeping from faithful killed me, it was beautiful!


People from all walks of life who waited for Pope Francis to arrive at the Manila Cathedral were rewarded with a glimpse of a smiling pope bearing a cheerful countenance. philstar.com / RP Ocampo 
MANILA, Philippines - It rained on the parade – “pasada per agua” – Pope Francis said of his visit to the Philippines, but the heartfelt gestures and weeping of the Filipino faithful “annihilated” him. On “Shepherd One,” the special Philippine Airlines direct flight from Manila to Rome, Pope Francis revealed that his most moving experience in his five days here was his visit to typhoon-ravaged Tacloban in Leyte last Saturday. The pope said he was pleased to see “gestures of the heart” – which had elements of faith, love, and family – particularly by parents who brought their children so they may be blessed and kissed by him. “It was challenging,” he said. “It was beautiful.”  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Aside from powerful memories, Pope brought home vestments he used when he celebrated masses


Pope Francis, right, gestures as he talks with journalists during his flight from Manila to Rome, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Pope Francis flew home Monday after a weeklong trip to Asia, where he called for unity in Sri Lanka after a civil war and asked Filipinos to be “missionaries of the faith” in the world’s most populous continent after a record crowd joined his final Mass in the Philippine capital. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
MANILA, Philippines–When Pope Francis returned to the Vatican, he brought home powerful memories of Filipinos’ strength and undying faith, and a few keepsakes that will make him remember all these. Henrietta de Villa, former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican, on Tuesday said the 78-year-old Argentine Pontiff kept the vestments that he used to celebrate Holy Masses during his four-day apostolic visit to the Philippines. “We asked if the Pope was going to leave the vestments here or take them with him. We were told that he was bringing them home to Rome,” she told reporters in an interview. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Pope says good Catholics do not need to breed ‘like rabbits’


Pope Francis has said that good Catholics do not have to breed “like rabbits,” defending the Church’s stance on artificial contraception and appealing to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to practice responsible parenting. Speaking to journalists on his flight back from the Philippines, the Pope said that he once asked a mother of seven children who was pregnant with her eighth if she wanted to “leave behind seven young orphans.”  “She said, ‘I trust in God.’ But God gave us the means to be responsible,” the Pope said. “Some think, and excuse the term, that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits.”  Francis said creating new life was “part of the sacrament of marriage” and in Manila strongly defended his predecessor Paul VI’s outlawing of artificial contraception for Catholics in 1968. Following the church’s teachings did not mean “Christians should have children one after the other,” he said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Sotto can’t believe Pope used phrase ‘like rabbits’


Sen. Vicente Sotto III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines–Sen. Vicente Sotto III found it hard to believe that Pope Francis would say that Catholics need not be “like rabbits,” and said that at worst, the Pontiff was “taken out of context.”  Sotto said he believed the Pope would speak out for responsible parenthood but he could not accept that the Pontiff would utter the phrase using rabbits as a reference. “It’s out of character for him to say that. It can only be said by someone who disliked what the Pope said,” Sotto told reporters.  Sotto, a staunch opponent of the reproductive health law, said he thought the rabbit phrase was probably an invention. READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Why Pope Francis asks Filipinos to pray for him


Pope Francis prays during a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. Millions filled Manila's main park and surrounding areas for Francis' final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday, braving a steady rain to hear the pontiff's message of hope and consolation for the Southeast Asian country's most downtrodden and destitute. AP/Alessandra Tarantino

MANILA, JANUARY 22, 2015 (PHILSTAR)  Camille Diola - During his brief stay in the Philippines, Pope Francis several times asked thousands of Filipinos before him to pray for him. The pontiff even sent a Tagalog tweet to his social media followers after he left Manila for Rome.

Addressing the faithful waiting for him in the cathedral of Palo, Leyte last Saturday, Pope Francis also asked them for two things: To pray for him, and to keep quiet-the latter being said in jest. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle vowed in the pope's final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday that he will be remembered in Filipinos' prayer.

"We, Filipinos, promise: We will pray for you. But we also want to assure you, to remind you that Jesus, Jesus prays for you," Tagle said in a message that moved many, including evidently the pope himself. The request, however, is not something unusual for this particular pope to issue to the faithful around the world.

A foreign journalist even asked him aboard the papal plane in August 2013 on a return flight from Brazil: "Holiness, I want to ask you why you ask so insistently that we pray for you? It's not normal, usual, to hear a pope ask so much to pray for him."

To this, Pope Francis answered: I've always asked for this. When I was a priest I asked for it, but not so frequently. I began to ask for it with a certain frequency in my work as Bishop, because I feel that if the Lord doesn't help in this work of helping the People of God to go forward, one can't ? I truly feel I have so many limitations, so many problems, also being a sinner - you know it! - and I must ask for this.

But it comes from within! I also ask Our Lady to pray for me to the Lord. It's a habit, but it's a habit that comes from the heart and also from the need I have for my work. I feel I must ask ? I don't know, it's like this. In Catholic teaching, praying for the intentions of the Holy Father is one of the three conditions for one to gain plenary indulgence, or the remission of all temporal "punishment" due to sin. The other two requirements are going to confession and receiving Holy Communion.


PHILSTAR

Babies named after Pope Francis Sheila Crisostomo | Updated Tuesday January 20, 2015 - 7:59am 1 0 Google +0 0


Gliceria Catral cuddles her son Jan Francis. SHEILA CRISOSTOMO

MANILA, Philippines - The Pope Francis mania that gripped the country during his five-day apostolic visit will continue to live as many Filipino babies were named after him.

At the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila alone, 25 baby boys and girls were named "Francis" or "Francesca" since the pontiff arrived to a jubilant crowd last Jan. 15 until he left yesterday morning. Hospital director Ruben Flores surmised that the euphoria stirred by the papal visit had apparently impacted on Filipinos so much that they named their children after the pope.

"We all see how the Filipinos celebrated the pope's coming here. We felt him and maybe many of our parents want his spirituality to rub off on their children too, so they named them after him," he told The STAR.

For Maritess Soldevilla, 38, of Maricaban, Pasay City, naming her first child Francis Larry is a "blessing from God." The boy was born yesterday around the time the pope was leaving the country.

"Our plan was to name him Mark Lauren but when the pope arrived at the Villamor Air Base, I was able see him from Gate 2. I was so excited. I could not explain the warmth that I felt.

So we decided to name our son Francis Larry instead," she explained. She and her husband Larry were childless for six years until last year when she conceived. She believes that God had timed her pregnancy with the coming of the pope.

Gliceria Catral, 32, of Cabuyao, Laguna also wanted her firstborn to be blessed so she named him Jan Francis. The name Jan was taken from January since he was born last Jan. 18. Catral said she initially wanted to name the boy Michael but her husband was so touched when he saw on television the mammoth crowds that the pontiff had drawn the moment he arrived in the country.

The couple personally saw the faithful teeming in Rizal Park on Sunday from the Light Rail Transit on their way to Fabella. Catral was in labor at the time. "There were really so many people at the park. It was then when we decided to name our son after Pope Francis.

We are hoping that he will be a good person when he grows up and that he will also touch many lives, just like the pope," Catral said. Medical specialist Maria Lu Andal, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Fabella hospital, said that "parents could be hoping that the blessing of Jesus Christ will come along with Pope Francis and using his name, these luck and blessing will traverse to their children."

"Our patients are generally from the low socioeconomic groups so the source of income of most of the parents is limited? They are always hoping that luck will knock on their door anytime, especially for the children," she added. She recounted that the last time such a thing happened at the hospital was when Saint John Paul II visited the Philippines in 1995 when he was still pope.

Records showed that 12 of the 25 babies named after the pope at the Fabella hospital were girls who were mostly given the name Francesca as one of their two names. For others it was Frances. - With Danny Dangcalan


THE JESUIT POST

The Papal Interview: Young Jesuits React and Reflect

Wait for it, wait for it... Wait for it, wait for it…

Well, we waited … and he delivered.

One of the minor (or not-so-minor) miracles involved in the recent interview with Pope Francis is that 16 Jesuit publications around the globe managed to keep the whole thing a total secret until the moment it was published. Of course, now that the interview has been released, we Jesuits can’t stop talking about it.

As our staff here at TJP continues to read through the interview and pray about what we find there, we will be posting some explanations, analyses, and responses to various parts of what Pope Francis had to say. Before you jump into all the reactions, however, let us be the first to remind you: this interview can’t be reduced to soundbites. It deserves a prayerful and discerning reading.

We will be keeping this post updated with new TJP pieces responding to the interview as they’re published, so bookmark this page and check back frequently. We’ll also post links here to other responses that we’ve been reading on the web, both in the Catholic and the secular press.

Please add your thoughts and analysis in the comments here or on the individual articles. If you have suggestions or other great articles we should link, let us know. We love a good conversation — and so, apparently, does Pope Francis.


PHILSTAR

Pope: Heartfelt gestures, weeping killed me, it was beautiful! By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 21, 2015 - 12:00am 2 18 googleplus0 0


People from all walks of life who waited for Pope Francis to arrive at the Manila Cathedral were rewarded with a glimpse of a smiling pope bearing a cheerful countenance. philstar.com / RP Ocampo

MANILA, Philippines - It rained on the parade – “pasada per agua” – Pope Francis said of his visit to the Philippines, but the heartfelt gestures and weeping of the Filipino faithful “annihilated” him.

On “Shepherd One,” the special Philippine Airlines direct flight from Manila to Rome, Pope Francis revealed that his most moving experience in his five days here was his visit to typhoon-ravaged Tacloban in Leyte last Saturday.

The pope said he was pleased to see “gestures of the heart” – which had elements of faith, love, and family – particularly by parents who brought their children so they may be blessed and kissed by him.

“It was challenging,” he said. “It was beautiful.”

He noted that the weeping was a sign that despite the people’s grave experiences, they still have the capacity to care.

“For me the mass in Tacloban was very moving, very moving. To see all of God’s people standing still, praying, (even) after this catastrophe, (made me think) of my sins and those people. In a moment during the mass there, I felt as though I was annihilated. I almost couldn’t speak. I felt very little, I didn’t know what happened to me; maybe it was the emotion, I don’t know,” Pope Francis said.

Tacloban City was among the most devastated areas after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) in the Visayas region in 2013.

“These were God’s people, and God was present, and the joy of the presence of God tells us – think on it well – that you are servants of these people, they are the protagonists,” the pope added.

In the interview, Pope Francis mentioned that his visit to Tacloban had to be cut short because of the bad weather brought by Tropical Storm Amang, which had winds of 70 miles (about 110 kilometers) per hour.

“But I wasn’t afraid,” he said, noting that he drew strength from the sight of the Yolanda survivors.

“One of the things that is lost when there is too much wealth, or when values are misunderstood, or when we have become accustomed to injustice, to this culture of waste, is the capacity to cry. This is a grace we must ask for,” the pope said.

He also shared a “beautiful prayer in the ancient missal (about) crying. It went more or less like this: ‘Lord, you who have made it so that Moses with his cane could make water flow from a stone, make it so that from the rock that is my heart, the water of tears may flow.’”

“We, Christians, must ask for the grace to cry. (We should learn to) cry about injustice and about sins because crying opens you to understand new realities, or new dimensions to realities,” the 78-year-old pontiff added.

He also reminded the public that they, too, need the poor. “If we take the poor away from the Gospel, we cannot understand Jesus’ message. The poor evangelizes us. I go to evangelize the poor, yes, but let (yourselves) be evangelized by them because they have values that you do not,” he said.

The pope lauded the fathers who brought their children along just to be able to see him.

“Here were fathers, there were many who thought of their children when we passed by on the road, a gesture which in other places one does not see. (It was) as if they (said), ‘This is my treasure, this is my future, this is my love. For this one it’s worth working, for this one it’s worth suffering.’ A gesture that is original but borne from the heart,” the pope said.

There were also mothers who brought their ailing children before him so they may be blessed, he recalled.


He is truly the People’s Pope. Pope Francis blesses a sick child. #PopeInPH #PopeFrancisPH (at Mall of Asia Arena)

“‘This is my child, he/she is mine.’ All mothers know this, they do this, but it’s the way they did this that struck me: the gesture of motherhood, of fatherhood, of enthusiasm, of joy. There’s a word that’s difficult for us to understand because it has been vulgarized too much, used too badly, too badly understood, but it’s a word that has substance: resignation. (Here are) a people who know how to suffer, and are capable of rising up,” he noted.

The pontiff said he was moved by those whom he blessed and who thanked him in return, noting that they did not make any demand because “for them, a blessing was enough.”

He also said he was amazed by the happiness and the Filipinos’ “capacity of celebrate,” to never lose their genuine smile even under the rain.

“It was a smile that (naturally) came, and behind that smile is a normal life; there are pains, problems,” he said.

Resolution of thanks

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo yesterday filed a resolution thanking Pope Francis for his five-day visit

He said the papal visit has unified the country as various sectors moved as one to reaffirm and renew their Christian faith.

He said the pope brought comforting words and a message of hope to Yolanda survivors in Tacloban City.

Castelo said the pope had originally scheduled his visit in 2016 but moved it last week because of the massive devastation and death caused by Yolanda in Eastern Visayas.

“The papal visit to Tacloban had enabled the victims to find succor and refuge, which were important for their recovery from despair caused by the typhoon,” he added.

He acknowledged the unity fostered by the pope’s visit, as he noted the “mass mobilization” of the church, government, various groups and the Filipino people in general “to make his visit meaningful and successful.”

He said the pontiff’s initiative to meet with leaders of various faiths in an interfaith dialogue had promoted “interfaith harmony, peaceful coexistence and even unity.” – With Jess Diaz


INQUIRER

Aside from powerful memories, Pope brought home vestments Jocelyn R. Uy @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:33 AM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


Pope Francis, right, gestures as he talks with journalists during his flight from Manila to Rome, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Pope Francis flew home Monday after a weeklong trip to Asia, where he called for unity in Sri Lanka after a civil war and asked Filipinos to be “missionaries of the faith” in the world’s most populous continent after a record crowd joined his final Mass in the Philippine capital. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

MANILA, Philippines–When Pope Francis returned to the Vatican, he brought home powerful memories of Filipinos’ strength and undying faith, and a few keepsakes that will make him remember all these.

Henrietta de Villa, former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican, on Tuesday said the 78-year-old Argentine Pontiff kept the vestments that he used to celebrate Holy Masses during his four-day apostolic visit to the Philippines.

“We asked if the Pope was going to leave the vestments here or take them with him. We were told that he was bringing them home to Rome,” she told reporters in an interview.

De Villa, who was part of the papal visit committee, said it was the first time a Pope took home liturgical garments provided him for his visit to the Philippines. “The Popes who came here before left the vestments for the use of the Church,” she said.

Pope Paul VI visited the Philippines in 1970 while Pope John Paul II, now a saint, came to the country twice—in February 1981 for the beatification of the first Filipino martyr, Lorenzo Ruiz, and in January 1995 for the World Youth Day.

Made by Disenio Sagrado

Asked why Pope Francis chose to bring home the vestments, De Villa said: “He was very touched [by the Filipinos]. The gifts that were given to him here, he will surely keep them as his own. [The vestments] are like souvenirs of the love of the Filipinos.”

The vestments that Pope Francis wore for the Holy Mass he celebrated at Manila Cathedral, at Quirino Grandstand and in Tacloban City were created by a couple from Bulacan province, who own a garments shop called Disenio Sagrado.

The shop has clothed thousands of clergymen, including Catholic Church leaders, like Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros. It was also tapped to produce 2,500 stoles for the bishops and priests who attended the Masses officiated by the Pope.

The vestments were embroidered with designs featuring sampaguita, anahaw leaves and bamboo—symbols of Filipino hospitality and resilience, according to its makers, Ronald Allan and Maricel Babaran.

De Villa was among those who met with Pope Francis before he attended the youth rally on Sunday morning. She gave the Holy Father a jacket and a T-shirt. She received a hug and a rosary in return, she said.

Tagle and his family were also present during that meeting with the Pope as well as Archbishop Socrates Villegas and his mother and sibling and other staff of the nunciature, De Villa said.


FROM THE TRIBUNE

Pope says Catholics do not need to breed ‘like rabbits’ Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 21 January 2015 00:00

Pope Francis has said that good Catholics do not have to breed “like rabbits,” defending the Church’s stance on artificial contraception and appealing to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to practice responsible parenting.

Speaking to journalists on his flight back from the Philippines, the Pope said that he once asked a mother of seven children who was pregnant with her eighth if she wanted to “leave behind seven young orphans.”

“She said, ‘I trust in God.’ But God gave us the means to be responsible,” the Pope said. “Some think, and excuse the term, that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits.”

Francis said creating new life was “part of the sacrament of marriage” and in Manila strongly defended his predecessor Paul VI’s outlawing of artificial contraception for Catholics in 1968.
Following the church’s teachings did not mean “Christians should have children one after the other,” he said.

His comments came at the end of a trip to the Philippines, the Catholic Church’s Asian stronghold, which last year passed a family planning law after a 15-year battle by the Church to block state-sanctioned contraception.

The law allows the government to begin distributing free contraceptives to millions of poor Filipinos.
It was a rare loss for the Church which has for centuries been one of the nation’s most powerful institutions and continues to count more than 80 percent of the nation’s 100 million people as Catholics.

The Pope said that his predecessor had foreseen the rise in policies restricting childbirth.

“Paul VI was worried by the growth of neo-Malthusianism” (which advocates restricting the number of children the poor can have) which tried “put a control on humanity... he was a prophet,” he said.

“The key teaching of the Church is responsible parenthood. And how do we get that? By dialog. There are marriage groups in the Church, experts and pastors,” he added.

In 2013, six months after becoming pope, Francis urged the Church to drop its “obsession” with contraception, divorce, gays and abortion, in an interview signaling a dramatic shift in the Vatican’s tone.

The Argentine pope has brought a series of fresh perspectives to the notoriously rigid Church since he took over, signalling a strong reformist drive.

He stressed at the time that the Church’s official position had not changed, but said that it should “always keep in mind the individual”.

Francis’ papacy — he is the first Jesuit pope and the first from South America — has marked a series of breaks with Vatican tradition.

The pope has become known for his humility and concern for the poor, and has reached out to non-believers and those in other religions. He regularly picks up the phone to call ordinary people who write to him.

His latest comments are not the first this month to attract attention for their candor.

Last week when discussing the deadly attack by Islamist gunmen angered by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of the Prophet Mohammed, the pope said: “If a good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched.”

But as controversial the pope’s latest statements are, the Independent Minority bloc in the House of Representatives is set to file a resolution asking the House to extend to Pope Francis the highest recognition in appreciation for his successful five-day apostolic and state visit to the Philippines.

The bloc, led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, noted that Pope Francis, the third Pope to visit the country in the last 45 years, after Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995, was among the first world leaders to pray for our countrymen in Leyte and in other areas which were devastated by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in 2013.

Aside from the Yolanda havoc, Romualdez said Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of the killer earthquake that struck Bohol and of other natural calamities in 2013.

Not content with simply praying for the victims and survivors of the super typhoon, Romuladez said Pope Francis went on a five-day Apostolic and State visit from Jan. 15 - 19, 2015, to personally see for himself the living conditions of Yolanda victims in particular and of the poor in general and to bless and pray for them.

“Pope Francis braved the strong winds and heavy rains brought about by typhoon ‘Amang’ during his visit to ‘Yolanda’ victims in Tacloban City and in Palo, Leyte,” the solon said.

“The rains also did not stop Pope Francis from conducting his scheduled encounter with the youth at the University of Sto. Tomas and celebration of the Holy Eucharist in honor of Sto. Nino, before some 6 million devotees at the Quirino Grandstand,” Romualdez added.

More importantly, the Pope, Romualdez said, “in all his activities throughout his State and Pastoral visit, left us with his own prescriptions for our spiritual and moral rejuvenation.”

“(It is only right,) that the House of Representatives honors Pope Francis with the highest recognition in appreciation of his five-day Pastoral and State Visit, and for the deep and eternal concern he had shown for the welfare of the poor, the youth and our country as a whole,” said Romualdez.

Aside from the Leyte solon, the bloc also includes Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Pampanga), Lani Mercado-Revilla (Cavite), Diosdado Arroyo (Camarines Sur), Jose Atienza, Jr. (Buhay), Jonathan De La Cruz (Abakada), Victor Francisco Ortega (La Union), Philip Pichay (Surgao del Sur), Aleta Suarez (Quezon) and. Toby Tiangco (Navotas).

Meanwhile, with the administration on a denial spree, Presidential Communications and Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr yesterday again denied that street children were rounded up to “clean up” the streets in time for Pope Francis’ five-day visit to the country.

Earlier, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, already known as the “denial queen” claimed no such incident happened, and that the pictures published in a UK paper were old photographs.

Soliman is in the habit of denying even Commission on Audit reports that show funds in her department being misused and even more billions remaining unliquidated.

“The government has no such policy that street children be allowed to wander about or be given harsh treatment. That is against the policy of the government which is to give care and protection,” Coloma said.

“When there are youths seen on streets, the DSWD adopts them in its shelters while others are helped by private humanitarian agencies,” he added.

Last week, British tabloid The Daily Mail reported the harsh treatment to “rounded up” street kids in Manila so as to prevent the pope from seeing the grave situation of poor families in the Philippines.

According to the report, children were crowded into cells and tied to posts in the presence of other criminals.
Charlie V. Manalo, Joshua L. Labonera and AFP


INQUIRER

Sotto can’t believe Pope used phrase ‘like rabbits’ Leila B. Salaverria, Nikko Dizon | Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:22 AM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


Sen. Vicente Sotto III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Sen. Vicente Sotto III found it hard to believe that Pope Francis would say that Catholics need not be “like rabbits,” and said that at worst, the Pontiff was “taken out of context.”

Sotto said he believed the Pope would speak out for responsible parenthood but he could not accept that the Pontiff would utter the phrase using rabbits as a reference.

“It’s out of character for him to say that. It can only be said by someone who disliked what the Pope said,” Sotto told reporters.

Sotto, a staunch opponent of the reproductive health law, said he thought the rabbit phrase was probably an invention.

“I can believe that the Pope would talk about responsible parenthood but for the Pope to say we should stop breeding like rabbits, that’s an invention because that statement I heard already during the RH (reproductive health) debate,” he said.

When told that it was based on reports from a press conference during the Pope’s trip back to Rome from the Philippines and that there was transcript of it, Sotto said: “I will also make a transcript for you where that was not said. It’s easy to make a transcript.”

Common goal

There may be differences between state policies and Church doctrines when it comes to responsible parenthood but there is no disparity on the ultimate goal: To have a strong family.

This was stressed Tuesday by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., who said the positions of the government and the Church “may not be the same in all aspects but while there are differences, we can still start working together.”

Coloma was asked at a press briefing for the Palace reaction to the statement of Pope Francis that Catholics should follow responsible parenting and “not breed like rabbits.”

The Pontiff said there were many Church-sanctioned ways of regulating birth.

Although mainly Catholic, the Philippines has a Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law requiring government health centers to provide free condoms and birth control pills.

Stronger cooperation

“The focus of our government, what was agreed upon, is to work together on the aspects that could help the majority of our fellowmen to allow us to establish strong families and in that way help improve society,” Coloma said.

He said this was similar to the points raised during the papal visit, especially when the Pope met with the youth and families.

“The Holy Father said it is important to have a strong family and, of course, having a strong family is based on goodness and one’s knowledge. That is also the purpose of the government’s policy,” Coloma said.

“Perhaps after the Pope’s visit we should have stronger cooperation among the various sectors and stakeholders to strengthen our families,” Coloma added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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