Condensed from the Catholic Herald:
Pope Francis set aside the text he had prepared for a meeting with young Filipinos after a 12-year-old girl [Palomar] asked him a tearful question about why God allows suffering….
He also listened to the testimony of two other young men and their questions: how do young people discover God’s will for them? What is love? And how can young people become agents of mercy and compassion?….
One of the first things he commented on was the fact that Palomar was the only female on the programme.
“Sometimes we’re too ‘machista’ and don’t allow room for the woman,” he said. “But the woman is able to see things with a different eye than men. Women are able to pose questions that we men are not able to understand.
“Pay attention,” the Pope told the young people. Palomar was “the only one who posed a question for which there is no answer. And she wasn’t able to express it in words but tears.”…
While it is impossible to explain why God would allow children to suffer, he told the young people, “only when we, too, can cry” can one approach a response.
“I invite each one of you here to ask yourself: ‘Have I learned to weep and cry when I see a child cast aside, when I see someone with a drug problem, when I see someone who has suffered abuse?”
Being moved to tears out of compassion and in the face of the mystery of suffering is holy, he said. It is not the same thing as crying to manipulate or get something from someone.
“Jesus in the Gospel cried, he cried for his dead friend,” Lazarus, “he cried in his heart for the family that had lost its child, he cried in his heart when he saw the old widow having to bury her son, he was moved to tears of compassion when he saw the multitude of crowds without a pastor,” Pope Francis said.
“If you don’t learn how to cry you cannot be good Christians.”
In the face of suffering like Palomar’s and Chura’s, he said, “our response must either be silence or the word that is born of our tears”.
“Be courageous, do not be afraid to cry,” the Pope said.