MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED WITH VIDEO) – He looked at the people gathered with him on stage at the UST grounds in Manila and quipped: “There’s only a very small representation of females among you… too little.”
Pope Francis said this was unfortunate since “women have much to tell us in today’s society.”
The Pope began his speech on Sunday, January 18, before throngs of youth gathered at the University of Santo Tomas, by remembering the female volunteer in Tacloban, who died after a scaffolding by the stage where Pope Francis said Mass for disaster survivors in Leyte on Saturday, January 17, collapsed.
He asked the crowd to pray in silence for her soul and for her mother who is coming home from Hong Kong to bury her. (READ: Yolanda aid worker dies after scaffolding collapses)
Francis mentioned a second female: Gyzelle Palomar, who earlier cried before him on stage and could not finish her testimony as a street kid. (READ: Girl breaks down before Pope)
Francis said it is important to ensure women are represented in society.
“Women have much to tell us in today’s society. Sometimes, we’re too ‘machistas‘ (chauvinistic). We don’t allow room for the woman.” (READ: Full text of the Pope’s message)
“But women are capable of seeing things in a different angle from us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions that we, men, are not able to understand.”
Earlier, 12-year-old Palomar began to speak from a prepared speech. She talked about the problems facing street children such as drugs and prostitution. Then she asked in Filipino: “Why does God allow this to happen.”
She cried, unable to finish her speech.
Said Pope Francis: “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.”
“So when the next pope comes,” Francis said, “please [invite] more girls and women.” – Rappler.com