MANILA — For being a good example, Pope Francis has attracted many former Catholics to return to the Church, according to a Jesuit priest.
Fr. Manuel Francisco said some people who left the Catholic faith and decided to join other sects, have decided to re-embrace Rome because of the Holy Father who practices what he preaches.
“Even in the Philippines, many have turned their backs on the Church and entered other denominations. The general prevailing attitude then was disappointment with the Catholic Church … But Pope Francis has changed all that,” he said in an article posted on the Papal Visit 2014 website.
Francisco is convinced that Catholics and non-Catholics admired the openness of Pope Francis without changing Catholic standards of morality.
“By this example, he has made living and witnessing the Catholic faith attractive,” said the general facilities supervisor of the Loyola School of Theology (LST) in Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU).
He added that the Holy Father was able to reach out to the secular world, as well as to non-Catholic religions in a way that promotes dialogue.
The priest believes that the pontiff has regained the confidence of many Catholics by making the Catholic faith “cool “ again.
Meanwhile, Catholic Church and government officials in the country are set ready to welcome the pope as preparations are already underway for the Apostolic Visit on Jan. 15 to 19, 2015.
Earlier, Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that details of the visit will be revealed either in late November or early December.
Church officials said the apostolic visit will renew the spiritual well-being of the Philippines, Asia’s largest Christian nation, with over 80 percent of its population, Roman Catholics.
Pope Francis will be the third pontiff to visit the country, the first two were Pope Paul VI in 1970, and Pope St. John Paul II in 1981 and 1995.