Aquino to thank Pope for reviving the Church
MANILA, Philippines – A spiritual President Benigno Aquino III talked about his faith in a forum with the youth on Friday, December 19, and said he would thank Pope Francis for reviving the Catholic Church.
Aquino made the statement at the Youth Summit of the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) movement, when a participant asked what he would discuss with the Pope during his scheduled visit to the country in January.
“This Pope was able to bring back the concept of being a pastor for his flock, hasn't he? He isn't distant, he isn't ignorant of what his flock is going through. This Pope, he really personifies the concept of taking care of his flock,” he said.
Aquino added: “I will likely thank him in the end for inspiring many that the church they are part of is very much alive, as opposed to [a church] that is divorced with society.”
The President said he would also like take up with Francis the state of the church in the Philippines and ways to promote the “Kingdom of God” during his presidency.
The Pope is expected to visit the Philippines from January 15-19, the first papal visit since Pope John Paul II came to Manila in 1995.
The President also took the opportunity to share not only his faith with the youth but also give them some advice.
Asked what his greatest fear was, Aquino said it was “fear of the unknown” or “fear of uncertainty,” but he said he has since learned that God “really has a plan for each one of us” – a response that earned him thunderous applause.
“At the end of the day, the way I have managed to overcome this fear is when I look back at my life, and not because I am talking to JIL, but really there seems to be – God really has a plan for each one of us and it is true that he will reveal it at this time and that he will not give you a burden that you cannot bear,” he said.
Aquino was apparently talking about his unexpected rise to the presidency. He was a reluctant late entrant in the 2010 presidential race, his candidacy propelled by public outrage over the controversy-hounded Arroyo administration and the death of his mother, President Corazon Aquino on August 1, 2009.
Aquino reminded the youth to “be patient because He will unfold His plan” during difficult times, and “He will provide the wherewithal for us to be able to accomplish His will.”
Aquino said this is how he has managed to be fearless during times like Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), combined with earthquakes and possible volcanic eruptions.
“I guess, when we fear something, we are just reminded that we are human and we are mortal and so long as what we are doing really is for the good, God will provide that way for us to accomplish that mission,” he said.
Aquino, a Catholic, also shared his Christmas message.
“Christmas reminds us...Christ was born, Christ came into this world to save us from all of our sins. But the important thing is perhaps that family was intact and as Filipino I really want to make sure that our Filipino families get in touch with other and in effect rebond with each other, reunite and keep that family intact where regardless of the distances involved,” he said.
“So the wish really is families to get together to be at peace and to be full of joy and optimism especially for the coming year," he added.
The Philippines is Asia's predominantly Catholic country, where up to 80% of the population belong to the Catholic Church. JIL is headed by Bro Eddie Villanueva, whose son is Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) Secretary Joel Villanueva. – Rappler.com