MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Why does God allow prostitution, a 12-year-old girl asked Pope Francis, before she broke down and cried.
Carrying a prepared speech to relate her life as a street kid to Pope Francis at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Glyzelle Palomar started by introducing herself as one who lives in the streets who’s exposed to all sorts of problems such as drugs and prostitution. “Why does God allow this to happen,” she asked in Filipino and then cried and stopped speaking.
Organizers had to console her before she and another street kid, 14-year-old Jun Chura, were brought to the Pope, who gave them a tight hug. (READ: Full text of Pope Francis’ UST message)
The two are from the Tulay ng Kabataan foundation, which takes care of street children in Metro Manila. The Pope earlier met with members of Tulay on his second day in the Philippines, Friday, January 13 – his first unscheduled event during his visit. (READ: Street kids meet Pope Francis in a surprise visit)
Reacting to Palora in his speech, Francis said: “She is the only who has put a question for which there is no answer. And she wasn’t able to express it in words but rather in tears.” (READ: Where are the women, Pope asks)
‘How may we love, truly?’
Law student Leandro Santos II asked the Holy Father a question that represents the dilemma of young Filipinos in this fast-paced techology-driven world of “unlimited texting” and “instant romantic relationships.”
This is an excerpt of his testimony:
To the young Filipinos of today, a challenge confronts us. Let us see beyond these distractions. May this day filled inspiration last even beyond our lifetime. Let us fully utilize the use of technology. Let us give more and strive for excellence while having the values that honors and glorifies our God Almighty.
Holy Father, please allow me to ask you these questions: In behalf of all the young people of the Philippines, in a world where the youth is exposed to fast Internet connection, smartphones, unlimited texting, instant romantic relationships and busy lifestyles, how can we take time to stop, listen to and reflect on God’s will?
Lastly, in following the will of God, I am aware that I need to lead a life that contributes to a civilization of genuine love. However, in these modern times, we somehow lose the meaning of love.
Dear Holy Father, how may we love truly?
Santos presented the Pope a gift, and a big glass jar filled with colored notes, bearing messages from UST students.
Rikki Macolor, an electronics engineer who invented the Solar Night Light for Yolanda victims, asked Francis, “What more can the youth do? How can we, especially the youth, be agents of mercy and compassion?”
The Pope arrived at UST shortly past 9 am to a rousing, noisy welcome punctuated by chants of “Pope Francis, we love you!” (READ: Pope to youth: Gadgets good but there’s danger)
In his response to the youth’s testimonies, the Pope chose not to use his prepared speech, saying, “I am sorry I have not read the prepared remarks but reality is superior to ideas,” Francis told thousands of young Filipinos gathered on Sunday, January 18. (READ: Pope Francis: Reality superior to ideas)