Manila, January 2015

Pope Francis embraced two children, including 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar, during his visit to the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on January 18, 2015.

The weeping 12-year-old Philippine girl, asking how God could allow children to become prostitutes, moved Pope Francis on Sunday to hug her and appeal for everyone to show more compassion.

Glyzelle Palomar, a one-time homeless child taken in by a church charity, made her emotional plea during ceremonies at the Catholic university in Manila, ahead of a mass by the pope to millions of faithful.

“Many children are abandoned by their parents. Many children get involved in drugs and prostitution,” Palomar told the pope as she stood on stage alongside a 14-year-old boy who also used to be homeless.

 

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“Why does God allow these things to happen to us? The children are not guilty of anything.”

The pope responded, “… your question doesn’t have a reply.”

Palomar broke down and wept profusely, prompting the 78-year-old pontiff with a man-of-the-people reputation to take her into his arms and hug her for a few seconds

 The pope could have shared author Thomas Harris’ thoughts on the subject –

“God’s choices in inflicting suffering are not satisfactory to us, nor are they understandable, unless innocence offends Him,”.