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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis meets with bishops from the Philippines for their ad limina visit


The visit of the bishops from the Philippines got off to a good start: with this gift.

The pope is devoting a lot of time to ad limina visits during this time of year. At the beginning of the month, he met with the bishops of Argentina and now with the bishops of the Philippines.

“Welcome.”

They come from one of the most Catholic countries in the world, but also one of the poorest. For example 80% of its more than 100 million inhabitants declare themselves to be Catholic and 40% of the population live on less than two dollars a day according to the United Nations.

In addition, relations between the Church and the current government are difficult. The president, Rodrigo Duterte, has gone so far as to call Catholic bishops “useless.” They criticized his controversial methods in the fight against drugs, which began in 2016. He promised to "kill" criminals and fulfilled this promise to the point that the UN denounced the many summary executions in the Philippines.

Pope Francis visited the Philippines in 2015 and during this trip there were moving moments such as the street children who, crying, lamented before the pontiff the global indifference towards their plight.

"Why does God allow this to happen? Children are not to blame and why are so few people willing to help us?"

The Philippines, moreover, is a country heavily affected by natural disasters. Typhoons have caused hundreds of fatalities and much suffering in the country. A few months after beginning his pontificate, pope Francis called upon the Philippine community in Rome to join him in prayer due to of the desolation caused by Typhoon Haiyán, which left in its wake a total of more than 6,000 deaths.