Pope Francis’ trip to the Philippines last week will go down in the history books as having hosted the largest papal gathering in history when more than six million people gathered for Mass on Sunday.
During the plane trip from Sri Lanka to the Philippines yesterday, Pope Francis gave candid responses to a variety of questions from the press, admitting that he believes suicide bombers are unstable individuals and how he has already asked the Lord to spare him a lot of pain should he be personally attacked.
In a country torn by the same kind of ethno-religious ideologies that are tearing the world apart, Pope Francis asked Sri Lankans to look to Mary to learn how to forgive the violence that has plagued this small island nation.
Pope Francis arrived in Sri Lanka today to a thunderous welcome from the faithful and dignitaries and told the crowds that he came to “meet, encourage and pray with the Catholic people of this island.”
During his annual foreign policy address to Vatican-based ambassadors, Pope Francis called for a united response from the international community against the kind of terrorism that inspired the killings of 17 people in Paris last week, saying the attackers were enslaved by “deviant forms of religion”.
During his return journey from Strasbourg, where he addressed both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Pope Francis answered questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on the flight.
In a statement that sounded much like his two predecessors, Pope Francis gave a firm and pointed address to the European Parliament yesterday, asking them to recover their religious moorings and respect for the dignity of the person, including the right to profess one’s faith.