Pope earns respect of Marxist atheist

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MANILA, Jan. 15, 2015 – “A remarkable religious leader.” This is how a Filipino Marxist atheist talks about the acknowledged leader of more than a billion Catholics in the world.

“We saw since the succession of the post in Rome [that] he kept his feet on the ground,” said Jose Mario De Vega, an associate professor at the Unibersidad De Manila (UDM).

Prof. Mario Jose De Vega at the Unibersidad De Manila, Jan. 14, 2015. (Photo: Oliver Samson)

Prof. Mario Jose De Vega at the Unibersidad De Manila, Jan. 14, 2015. (Photo: Oliver Samson)

His intense attachment to the poor is demonstrated through his consistent preoccupation with social injustices and corruptions, he said.

According to De Vega, who took up Philosophy in the University of the Philippines, the Pope insists on bringing the Church as close as possible to the people.

The Holy Father jumps out of his car, kisses people and washes their feet, he notes.

“I am an atheist, but I respect this pope,” De Vega noted.

But the Pope’s challenge is to do away with the “remnants of Damaso’s church” in the local church hierarchy, he said.

The Pope should tell President Benigno Aquino III to respond to the killings of journalists, and also to seek justice for the Ampatuan massacre victims, said De Vega.

The Holy Father is set to be welcomed formally at the Malacanan tomorrow, Jan. 16, where a brief encounter with the diplomatic corps, headed by Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Giuseppe Pinto, will follow as well. (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

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