POPE FRANCIS has left the Philippines. Many Filipinos can now go back to doing what they love most: hating one another.
Last Sunday morning, Pope Francis visited The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines for the “Encounter with the Youth” event. One of the speakers was a former street kid who asked the Pope why God allows children to suffer from prostitution and drug addiction. The Pope said there was no answer to that question. But President Aquino disagreed and said it wasn’t God who’s at fault but the previous administration.
In his homily, Pope Francis mentioned about faith and distractions. He said, “We forget to remain, at heart, children of God because of the promise of ephemeral pleasures and superficial pastimes, such as ‘tinkering with gadgets.’ The crowd missed that part of the homily because they were editing some cellphone photos.
Responding to Pope Francis’s message to Filipinos, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said, “Every Filipino wants to go with you.” And then there was a boisterous applause. Tagle continued, “Every Filipino wants to go with you, not to Rome, but to the peripheries.” And then there was silence. Everyone was like, “Ano raw?! Spell!”
In one of his homilies, the Pope said, “The devil is the father of lies.” He didn’t say though if it’s a congressman, a governor, a senator, a mayor, or a vice president. Basta, mag-ama.
Former First Lady Imelda Marcos made an appearance at the mass officiated by Pope Francis in Tacloban City. Moments later, Pope Francis’s visit to the city was cut short, a papal volunteer died in a freak accident, and a private plane skidded off the runway. Go figure.
The infamous Imelda Marcos told reporters that she, in fact, witnessed the collapse of the scaffolding that killed the papal volunteer. Fortunately, the victim’s body was immediately retrieved – unlike the bodies of construction workers at the Manila Film Center.
When sought for comment, Imelda Marcos said, “The message of the Holy Father is about the poor, and I love the poor.” Why wouldn’t she? She helped create them.
Controversial Executive Sec. Paquito Ochoa and other government officials were in the private plane that skidded off the runway in Tacloban City last Saturday. The accident prompted some people to ask Pope Francis, “Holy Father, can you consider that an answered prayer?”
Cellphone signal was a problem in many areas during the five-day papal visit. Signal jamming was apparently part of security. Telcos received several complaints from cellphone users. Smart described the situation as “horrible.” Globe described it as “an ordinary day.”
Now it can be told. Security was very tight during the papal visit because, radio DZRH learned, there was indeed a threat to disrupt the event. Thankfully, authorities were able to neutralize… Carlos Celdran.
Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Manila to get a glimpse of Pope Francis. The people were very emotional – although they were less emotional than TV reporters covering the event.
According to MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino, an estimated 6 million people attended the Pope’s final mass in Manila. But another official pegged the figure at 7 million. President Aquino told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour “it was lower than that.”
Filipinos learned a lot from the five-day pastoral visit of Pope Francis. They learned to be more disciplined, patient and forgiving. They also learned how to pronounce “nunciature.”
Every pastoral visit is a huge event in the Philippines, the largest and predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. Religious gatherings like this revive our hope, our faith, and Jamie Rivera’s singing career.
While en route to the Philippines last Thursday, Pope Francis said, “You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” The Pope said there’s a limit to free speech – especially if you’re an altar boy who wanted to speak out against the Catholic priest who abused you.
In Other News…
A day after meeting the Pope in Malacañang, a furious Kris Aquino had an exchange with a follower on Instagram. Apparently, the follower opined that Bimby was probably gay. The presidential sister took offense and accused the follower of bullying her son. We don’t know for sure if Bimby’s gay or not but as Pope Francis said, who are we to judge?
A 32-year-old Taiwanese man died in an Internet cafe in Kaohsiung after playing computer games for three days. So guys, now you know the limit: two days.
After a three-day gaming binge, a 32-year-old man in Taiwan died in an Internet café. Game Over.
“All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays.”
“Today, with so many means of communication we are overloaded with information. Is that bad? No. It is good and can help. But there is a real danger of living in a way that we accumulate information.”
~Pope Francis, UST, 1.18.2014
Have a holy week! [Whatever that means!] Peace y’all!
I am on Twitter: @HecklerForever.
[Photos: AFP: Pope Francis; AP/Aaron Favila: Tagle/Pope; NBC News: Imelda; Ernie Peñaredondo/Philstar: Private Plane; Official Gazette: Luneta Crowd; Reuters/Eric De Castro; Kris Aquino Instagram]