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Pope Francis told his public audience on January 21 that he found it refreshing to meet parents in the Philippines who “know that every child is a blessing.”

Commenting on his trip to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, the Pope said that he rejects the notion that poverty is caused by overpopulation. He argued that “the main cause of poverty is an economic system that, at its center, has replaced man with the god of money.” He went on to decry the “throwaway culture” that “excludes children, the elderly, and young people who cannot find work.”

Pope Francis also said that he was inspired by his meeting with the typhoon survivors he met on the island of Leyte. “The power of God’s love, revealed in the mystery of the Cross, was made evident in the spirit of solidarity shown by the many acts of charity and sacrifice that marked those days of darkness,” he said.

The Pope mentioned that on the first stop of his Asian trip, in Sri Lanka, he had encouraged inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation in a nation still pained by the scars of a long civil war. He said that St. Joseph Vaz, whom he canonized, was an “example of holiness and love for his neighbor.”

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