Pope: I shouldn't be the focus of my Philippine trip
MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis wants Filipinos to make Jesus, not him as pontiff, the focus of his visit to the Philippines in January 2015.
Quoting Francis, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said Wednesday, December 3: “It came from him: 'I should not be the focus. Jesus should be the focus.'”
During a recollection for organizers and journalists involved in the papal visit, the cardinal added in Filipino, “Jesus – the Word of God fully alive – is what the Pope wants to bring us.”
Catholics consider the Pope the Vicar of Christ, or Christ's representative, as the visible head of the Catholic Church.
The Pope will visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19 primarily to comfort the survivors of the Bohol earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Visayas. (READ: Vatican releases Pope's Philippine itinerary)
The theme of his visit is “mercy and compassion.” (READ: Spend more than 6 hours in Visayas, Pope asked)
'Enough of Francis'
During Wednesday's recollection, Tagle added that focusing on Jesus is also “the whole point of the Advent season,” a 4-week period of waiting for Christmas that began on Sunday, November 30.
He explained: “The Advent season is a reminder to us: The one who will come is Jesus. But are we looking for him? Are we interested in him? Do we long for him?”
Even before reminding Filipinos to focus on Jesus during his visit, Francis has already warned Catholics about too much attention on him.
In a speech on May 18, 2013, two months after he was elected pontiff, Francis said: “What is the most important thing? Jesus. If we forge ahead with our own arrangements, with other things, with beautiful things but without Jesus we make no headway, it does not work. Jesus is more important.”
The Pope added: “I would like now to make a small complaint, but in a brotherly way, just between ourselves. All of you in the square shouted, 'Francis, Francis, Pope Francis.' But where was Jesus? I should have preferred to hear you cry: 'Jesus, Jesus is Lord, and He is in our midst!'”
“From now on enough of 'Francis,' just 'Jesus'”! – Rappler.com