Many Catholics who have left the Church are returning to its fold, drawn by the charisma of Pope Francis.
Fr. Manuel Francisco, who like Francis is a Jesuit, said an overwhelming number of people who joined other sects have recently found sufficient reason to re-embrace the Church because of the pontiff’s leadership by example.
“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,” Francisco was quoted in an article posted in a papal visit website.
He said Francis’ way of making the Catholic faith “cool” has help regained the confidence of many Catholics.
“By this example, he has made living and witnessing the Catholic faith attractive,” the priest said.
He noted that Francis has won the admiration of both Catholics and non-Catholics with his openness to the secular world and non-Catholic religions in a way that promotes dialogue.
Pope Francis will visit the Philippines on January 15 to 19 to particularly console the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Preparations for the visit are under way, and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the details will be revealed either in late November or early December.
Local Church officials believe the apostolic visit will renew the spiritual well-being of Asia’s largest Christian nation, over 80 percent of which identify as Roman Catholics.
Francis will be the third pope to visit the Philippines. Paul VI was here in 1970, and Pope St. John Paul II in 1981 and 1995.