(Disclaimer: I am no longer a practicing Catholic; therefore, I no longer embrace the Catholic Church’s teachings and am currently studying with another religion. However, my parents are both devout Catholics.)

Today is Pope Francis’ last day in the Philippines and I am writing this entry to reflect on his visit and how some people unfortunately misbehaved on the WWW during his stay.

Out of all the popes that I have known or read about, Pope Francis struck me the most from the start of his term. Even if I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I greatly admire Pope Francis because of the way he teaches and how inclusive his teachings are to everyone. I also like how he “walks his talk”. He really is concerned for the poor and other marginalized people, even before he became a pope. He reaches out to those whom he feels need the most help, and his presence alone inspired millions of my countrymen during his stay. He also welcomes people from other faiths and even interacts with them. It is difficult to find someone who stands firm for his beliefs yet is respectful towards those who do not share the same faith or opinions.

This is why I am appalled at some of the things that I’ve read online when he was here in the Philippines. Sure, most of the posts and articles I’ve seen were very positive towards the pope, but some people were just too disrespectful and inconsiderate towards their Catholic countrymen. It is one thing to believe in something else other than the Catholic faith (or not believe anything at all), but it is another thing to be a douche about your opinion and mocking Catholics not only in the Philippines but also all around the world. It is offensive to tell a religious person that only dumb and uneducated people believe in a religion. It is offensive to tell a religious person that a religious leader whom he loves and respects is “a devil” and should be banned from the country. It is offensive to dismiss someone’s desire to see the pope or attend his Mass and asking what the big deal is. And take note, these posts just came out of nowhere. They posted these comments amidst a sea of messages of gratitude to the pope. So what does that tell you about these people’s characters?

Sure, I no longer agree with the Catholic Church’s teachings but I know that this visit is important to my countrymen and I know that the visit makes them feel that it strengthens their faith. Many poor people struck by typhoon Haiyan (PH name: Yolanda) have not yet recovered and this event gives them hope amidst all the sorrows that they faced. This is why I respect their desire to share in this great moment, all the while knowing that though I would never pray their prayers nor attend their rituals, I understand their situation and will not stop them from celebrating.

Instead of bashing Catholics all over the country, I wish they just took the time to read the articles that they commented on and think on how the pope’s message reaches out even to non-Christians and non-believers. After all, good virtues and values should not be limited to one religion, it should apply to everybody no matter what they believe in.


  1. Applause for this post! Very well said Claudine! When some people isnt respecting other’s belief, I just let them go, but sometimes it’s hard not to care about it no matter how we try simply because, sometimes they are causing commotion in social media.

    People should know that every people has their own choice. They have chose what to believe in. The world would be a better place if everyone applies the word “respect” to each other.

  2. I definitely agree. I may not be religious anymore, but the fact remains, that we should respect each other regardless of what we believe in. Yeah, Pope Francis is something else I tell you that much. I think I actually like him, and he does make everything inclusive to everyone.

    Great post!

  3. “Good virtues and values should not be limited to one religion.”
    There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. No virtue belongs exclusively to one religious teaching. Having said that, I will play the devil’s advocate and question the reason why some people may have hurled insults at the pope.

    I suspect that these offensive remarks are the result of pent up resentments that many held against religion itself as opposed to the pope’s visit. The pope happened to be the unfortunate individual who dealt with the brunt of such retaliation. I wouldn’t be surprised if the people who insult religion were told all throughout their lives that they have no moral compass due to their lack of religious affiliation, and it is usually the religious individuals who pin their ideas on the non-religious by attributing certain virtues to their own religion. I remember Bill O’Reilly once saying that “humility is a Christian virtue.” While I won’t deny the possibility that Christianity preaches that, O’Reilly made it sound like humility is exclusively a Christian thing, and those who don’t practice it must therefore be opposite of that.

    That being the case, I wouldn’t let the lack of respect itself bother you. Ask yourself why these insults are thrown around. Should they be taken at face value, or should we try to understand why certain folks resort to knee-jerk reactions? The choice is easy for me: the latter.

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