Mercy, compassion sum up Pope’s Christmas speech

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MANILA, Dec. 28, 2014—For one Filipina Catholic sister, the “Urbi et Orbi” speech given by the Holy Father  at St. Peter’s Square on Christmas day may be summed up in two words: mercy and compassion.

“The Christmas message of Pope Francis reminds us of what we are called to share in our modern world today: ‘mercy and compassion.’ This is what Christ brings to us as he came to dwell and walk with us,” Sr. Anthony Mary E. Basa of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM) tells CBCP News in an interview.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines earlier had set "Mercy and Compassion" as the theme for the papal visit to the Philippines. (Photo: CNA)

“Our Holy Father, moved with pity and compassion to all those who suffer because of war, persecution, and slavery, calls us to embrace them all with our prayers and loving concern,” she adds.

According to Basa, who is also executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Culture (ECC), mercy and compassion are what the world needs most because these are what many people lack.

The sister shared a story of how one working student under her convent’s care had been held up by five men who left him on the street wounded, half naked, and unconscious.

“But no one helped him. And when he woke up, [he] had to beg for money so he could ride a jeepney back to the convent. When we reported the incident, the police said that it is now normal that no one would help him even if people passed by someone who was hurt,” she laments.

“Sister, wala nang may malasakit ngayon. Wala nang pakialam ang tao sa kanyang kapwa (Sister, no one has compassion nowadays. People do not care about their fellowmen),” Basa quoted the police officer as saying.

“Maybe this is really the reason why there is so much violence and greed in our world today…The culture of indifference and instant gratification prevail in our time.  And maybe this is the reason why Pope Francis’ mantra is “mercy and compassion,” she notes. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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