MANILA — Pope Francis announced that he will be visiting the Philippines in January next year.
The announcement of his visit was made in an in-flight news conference on his way to Rome after his three-day visit to Holy land. He will also be visiting Sri Lanka in the same month.
In an earlier report, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that the Pope may attend the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu scheduled in May 2016 — as requested by the organizers.
A Catholic News Service (CNS) report also revealed that this June, the Pope will be visiting the victims of clerical sex abuse for the first time along with the celebration of a mass in the Vatican guesthouse with six to eight victims from Germany, England, and Ireland.
While a priest has already been found guilty and is now awaiting punishment, the Pope said that the Vatican is still conducting an investigation on the three other unnamed bishops allegedly suspected of abusing children.
Francis was quoted in the report describing the abuse on the children by priests as “an ugly crime” and a “very grave” problem that needs attention.
“We must move ahead, ahead, zero tolerance,” the Pope said, as quoted in the report.
Aside from sexual abuses, CNS also reported that Vatican is also investigating Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, for allegedly misappropriating 15 million euros from the Institute for the Works of Religion or the “Vatican Bank.”
Pope said, as quoted in the CNS report, that the issue is still something to be studied, adding that it might be the truth, “but at this moment, it’s not definitive.”
With reports from Tricia Aquino