Pope Francis News: The Pontiff Draws A Record Crowd Of 6 Million To Manila's Catholic University As The Head Of Catholic Church Ends His Mission To Asia

By Vinay Patel | January 19, 2015 11:40 AM EST


Pope Francis heads home on Monday from the Philippines after a week long trip that included a visit to Sri Lanka and drew a record crowd of 6 million in a Manila park during a celebrated Mass.

Fox News reports, that Pope Francis celebrated Mass in a Manila Park and drew a record largest-ever crowd of 6 million for a papal event.

 TheHindu added that Vatican officials have said between six and seven million people attended Sunday's Mass in Manila's Rizal Park and areas surrounding the park, overshadowing around five million worshippers who flocked to a Mass by Pope John Paul 20 years back in the same park.

President Benigno Aquino III, church leaders and 400 street children yelling, "Viva Santo Papa!" and "Pope Francis, we love you!" accompanied the Pope and saw him off at a Manila air base. The Pontiff, carrying a black travel bag, climbed on a Philippine Airlines plans for a flight to Rome. Pope Francis stood at the top of the stairs and waved to the crowd, slightly bowing his head and then finally walked into the plane. The Pontiff's plane took off from Manila at about 10 a.m. local time (0200 GMT), TheHindu states.

At a Mass in Manila, he made an apparent reversal of his comments on gays and lesbians.

"The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage. These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God's plan for creation," the Pope said. Ramping up the rhetoric, he continued: "Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself."

Back in 2013, the Pope called for gay people to be unified into society, rather than confine to a lower limit as of social standing and said, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Although, the remark was noticeably less hostile compared to comments made by his predecessors, but it looks like that he is still critical of LGBT rights. the Pope even talked about the positive role women can have at an event, despite the fact females are banned from any clerical or leadership positions in the Catholic Church.

The pontiff noted at an engagement at a Catholic university in Manila that most of the crowd was men.

"Women have much to tell us in today's society. At times we are too 'machista' and don't allow room for women," Pope said using 'machista,' a Spanish word for male chauvinist.

The pontiff added, "Women are capable of seeing things with a different angle from us, with a different eye, and pose questions that we men are not able to understand ... so when the next pope comes to Manila, let's please have more women among you."

Torrential rains and high winds, especially on Saturday when he went to confirm survivors of Typhoon Haiyan that killed around 6,300 people in the central Philippines, November 2013, cut short Francis' several scheduled events in the Philippines. TheHindu says, the Pope and the millions of faithful wore plastic ponchos during Sunday's rain-soaked Mass.

The pontiff urged the government to deal with corruption and poverty and pleaded for the world to hear the cries of poor, hungry, homeless and abused children. Pope Francis lashed out at the government's population control efforts, saying the family was under threat from "insidious attacks and programmes contrary to all that we hold true and sacred".

Prior to his Philippines visit, Pope Francis spent two days in Sri Lanka preaching reconciliation between different religions.

Tagged :  pope francis, Philippines, gay, lesbian


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