Yes, Pope Francis has graced us his holy presence upon arrival yesterday and his speech after his courtesy call on President Noynoy Aquino today, January 16, at the Malacanan Palace can be read below:
Message of His Holiness Pope Francis
During the welcome ceremony of his state visit
[Delivered at Malacañan Palace, Manila, on January 16, 2015]
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank you, Mr President, for your kind welcome and for your words of greeting in the name of the authorities and people of the Philippines, and the distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps. I am most grateful for your invitation to visit the Philippines.
My visit is above all pastoral.
Thus will they be able to marshall the moral resources needed to face the demands of the present, and to pass on to coming generations a society of authentic justice, solidarity and peace.
Essential to the attainment of these national goals is the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity. The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor.
It bids us break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart.
The Bishops of the Philippines have asked that this year be set aside as the “Year of the Poor.”
I hope that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community.A fundamental role in the renewal of society is played, of course, by the family and especially by young people.
A highlight of my visit will be my meetings with families and with young people here in Manila.
Families have an indispensable mission in society. It is in the family that children are trained in sound values, high ideals and genuine concern for others.
But like all God’s gifts, the family can also be disfigured and destroyed. It needs our support. We know how difficult it is for our democracies today to preserve and defend such basic human values as respect for the inviolable dignity of each human person, respect for the rights of conscience and religious freedom, and respect for the inalienable right to life, beginning with that of the unborn and extending to that of the elderly and infirm.
For this reason, families and local communities must be encouraged and assisted in their efforts to transmit to our young the values and the vision which can help bring about a culture of integrity – one which honors goodness, truthfulness, fidelity and solidarity as the firm foundation and the moral glue which holds society together.
Mr President, distinguished authorities, dear friends:
As I begin my visit to this country, I cannot fail to mention the Philippines’ important role in fostering understanding and cooperation among the countries of Asia.
I would also mention the oft-neglected yet real contribution of Filipinos of the diaspora to the life and welfare of the societies in which they live.
It is precisely in the light of the rich cultural and religious heritage of which your country is proud that I leave you with a challenge and a word of prayerful encouragement.
May the deepest spiritual values of the Filipino people continue to find expression in your efforts to provide your fellow citizens with an integral human development.
In this way, each person will be able to fulfill his or her potential, and thus contribute wisely and well to the future of this country.
I am confident that the praiseworthy efforts to promote dialogue and cooperation between the followers of the different religions will prove fruitful in the pursuit of this noble goal.
In a particular way, I express my trust that the progress made in bringing peace to the south of the country will result in just solutions in accord with the nation’s founding principles and respectful of the inalienable rights of all, including the indigenous peoples and religious minorities.
Upon all of you, and upon all the men, women and children of this beloved nation, I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings.