Pope Calls on Filipino Leaders to Reject Corruption, Support Families in Transmitting Values

Reminds That Every Person Has Inviolable Dignity

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Pope Francis says families must be supported because, «like all God’s gifts,» the family can be disfigured, and families are needed to transmit basic human values, which democracies today are failing to defend.

The Pope said this after a ceremony officially welcoming him this morning to the Philippines, following his arrival last evening from Sri Lanka.

Francis made a courtesy visit to President Benigno Aquino III, before speaking at the Presidential Palace about the family and other issues to the diplomatic corps and other leaders.

The Pontiff’s address followed the president’s own welcoming speech, in which he spoke highly of the Pope and Manila’s archbishop, but didn’t hesitate to criticize certain stages in the history of the Church in the Philippines. 

The Bishop of Rome then began his address, speaking of his visit, which stretches till Monday, as being primarily pastoral, to show solidarity with the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, and as «the Church in this country is preparing to celebrate the fifth centenary of the first proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on these shores.»

«The Christian message has had an immense influence on Filipino culture,» he said. «It is my hope that this important anniversary will point to its continuing fruitfulness and its potential to inspire a society worthy of the goodness, dignity and aspirations of the Filipino people.»

The Pope was clear in his exhortation to the political leaders to reject corruption. 

In this context, he said that «the great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor. It bids us break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart.»

«The Bishops of the Philippines have asked that this year be set aside as the ‘Year of the Poor.’ I hope that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community.»

Right to life

The Pope then took up the theme of the importance of the family in this renewal of society, saying a highlight of his visit will be his meeting later today with youth and families.

«Families have an indispensable mission in society. It is in the family that children are trained in sound values, high ideals and genuine concern for others. But like all God’s gifts, the family can also be disfigured and destroyed. It needs our support. We know how difficult it is for our democracies today to preserve and defend such basic human values as respect for the inviolable dignity of each human person, respect for the rights of conscience and religious freedom, and respect for the inalienable right to life, beginning with that of the unborn and extending to that of the elderly and infirm. For this reason, families and local communities must be encouraged and assisted in their efforts to transmit to our young the values and the vision which can help bring about a culture of integrity – one which honors goodness, truthfulness, fidelity and solidarity as the firm foundation and the moral glue which holds society together.»

The Pope also praised the Philippines’ important role in fostering cooperation in Asia and mentioned the «oft-neglected yet real contribution of Filipinos of the diaspora to the life and welfare of the societies in which they live.»

«It is precisely in the light of the rich cultural and religious heritage of which your country is proud that I leave you with a challenge and a word of prayerful encouragement. May the deepest spiritual values of the Filipino people continue to find expression in your efforts to provide your fellow citizens with an integral human development.

«In this way, each person will be able to fulfill his or her potential, and thus contribute wisely and well to the future of this country.»


On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-diplomatic-corps-in-manila

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