How did the Pope answer this question?

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 18 Januari 2015 | 20.01

Heartbreaking ... Pope Francis embraces two children, including 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar, during his visit to the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Picture: AFP/Giuseppe Cacace Source: AFP

En route to the Philippines, Pope Francis says you cannot make fun of faith. Jillian Kitchener reports.

A WEEPING 12-year-old Philippine girl, asking how God could allow children to become prostitutes, moved Pope Francis to hug her before he celebrated Mass in front of a record six million people.

Glyzelle Palomar, a one-time homeless child taken in by a church charity, made her emotional plea during ceremonies at a Catholic university in Manila, ahead of the outdoor Mass on Sunday.

"Many children are abandoned by their parents. Many children get involved in drugs and prostitution," Glyzelle told the pope as she stood on stage alongside a 14-year-old boy who also used to be homeless.

"Why does God allow these things to happen to us? The children are not guilty of anything." Glyzelle broke down and wept profusely, prompting the 78-year-old pontiff with a man-of-the-people reputation to take her into his arms and hug her for a few seconds.

The pope later discarded most of his prepared speech that he was due to give in English, reverting back to his native Spanish to deliver an impromptu and heartfelt response.

Pope of the people ... Pope Francis kisses a child as he arrives to celebrate a mass at a park in Manila. Picture: AFP/Ted Aljibe Source: AFP

"She is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer and she wasn't even able to express it in words but in tears," the pope told a crowd, at that time about 30,000-strong.

"The nucleus of your question ... almost doesn't have a reply."

The pope, who is in the Philippines for a five-day visit, said the topic of Glyzelle's question showed women were not adequately represented in society.

"Women have much to tell us in today's society. Sometimes, we are too 'machista' and we don't allow room for the woman," he said.

"Women are capable of seeing things with a different angle from us. Women are able to pose questions that we men cannot understand."

The pontiff told those in the crowd that they first had to learn to cry with other marginalised and suffering people. He said superficial compassion, which resulted in just giving alms, shown by many in the world was not enough.

"If Christ had that kind of compassion, he would have just walked by, greeted three people, given them something and moved on," he said, with his response echoed in English by an official translator.

Final Mass ... more than six million turned out in wet weather for Pope Francis' final Mass in the Philippines. Picture: AP/Bullit Marquez Source: AP

After his emotional encounter, Pope Francis celebrated mass in the rainswept Philippines capital, drawing a record six million people as he delivered a powerful message for the poor to a rapturous audience in a triumphant finale to an Asian tour.

Filipinos are famous for practising a passionate brand of Catholicism and they turned out in force despite the wet weather, determined to see the charismatic pontiff, and in a celebratory mood that defied the gloomy skies.

Service ... Pope Francis conducts a mass at the Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines. Picture: Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Francis made an exhilarating entrance to a Manila bayside park for the mass aboard a "Popemobile" that was styled after the nation's iconic, flamboyant and much-loved "jeepney" minibus.

Dressed in a plastic yellow poncho, he waved and smiled to wildly cheering crowds, stopping repeatedly so he could lean over barriers and kiss babies, before reaching the sea of believers at Rizal Park.

Faithful ... Pope Francis shakes the hands of the faithful after celebrating his final Mass in Manila, Philippines. Picture: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez Source: AP

Pope mobile ... Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he arrives at Rizal Park to celebrate his final Mass in Manila. Picture: AP Photo/Wally Santana Source: AP

The Philippines is the Catholic Church's bastion in Asia, with 80 per cent of the former Spanish colony followers of the faith, and the pope praised them for their reverence.

"The Philippines is the foremost Catholic country in Asia. This is itself a special gift of God, a blessing," the pontiff told the vast crowd.

"But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia." He also spoke out against "poverty, ignorance and corruption", a theme he has drawn on during the visit to the Philippines which opened with a speech in which he lectured the nation's politicians to end "scandalous social inequalities".

Bad weather ... six million people braved steady rain to hear the pontiff's message of hope and consolation for the Southeast Asian country's most downtrodden and destitute. Picture: AP Photo/Wally Santana Source: AP

About 25 million Filipinos, or one quarter of the population, live on the equivalent of 60 cents a day or less, according to government data.

The head of Manila's planning agency said six million turned out to see the pope, surpassing the previous world record for a papal gathering of five million during a mass by John Paul II at the same venue in 1995.

Francis was stunned by the enormous crowd, Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who has acted as the pontiff's chaperone throughout the trip, told reporters.

"I cannot fathom the faith of the simple people," Tagle quoted the pope as saying after the mass was over.


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