CBCP ‘ready’ for papal visit
“The pope is welcome anytime. The time to prepare is not an obstacle,” Archbishop Villegas said.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president said that if Pope Francis decides to drop by the Philippines earlier than expected, preparations for his visit will not be much of a hassle.
US-based Catholic News Agency earlier reported that a papal visit to the Philippines in January or February 2015 is “under study”. Quoting Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the CNS said the Pope will possibly stop by Sri Lanka first before going to the Philippines.
“The pope is welcome anytime. The time to prepare is not an obstacle,” Archbishop Villegas said. He is certain that many people will help in the needed preparation since “Filipinos love the pope.”
The CBCP head also added that security for the pontiff would not be an issue, saying “There is no problem without any solution.”
In his first Asian trip, Pope Francis will travel to South Korea from August 14 to 18 this year for the Asian Youth Day.
Pope Francis had expressed his intention to visit typhoon ‘Haiyan’ victims in Central Visayas.
The CBCP had earlier invited the pope to attend the International Eucharistic Congress set in Cebu in January 2016.
If the papal visit pushes through, Francis will be the third pope to visit the Philippines after Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995.