Cardinal stresses need for effective evangelization among Filipino Catholics

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MANILA, Feb. 5, 2014—Considering the effects of secularization to modern-day Philippines, how effective are the evangelization efforts of the church to the Catholic faithful?

The top churchman of the Manila Archdiocese on Saturday stressed the need to reassess the efficiency of the church’s evangelization efforts, noting that the Philippines as a predominantly Catholic country might need a deeper catechetical approach to effectively reach out to the faithful.

“We, as a Catholic community, have a problem to face. Filipino Catholics are very big in number, but how effective is our evangelization?” Tagle said in the vernacular during his talk for the Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS) held at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School.

“With the many individuals to whom we administer the sacrament of reconciliation, are they being catechized properly? With all those who are getting married, do they really live by the teachings of the good news?” he said.

In 2013, the number of Filipino Catholics reached 76.18 million out of the country’s estimated population of 96.8 million, records from the Catholic Directory of the Philippines showed.

The same records showed that the total number of priests in the country reached 9,040 for the year 2012 to 2013, notably too few to attend to the spiritual needs of approximately 76 million Filipino Catholics.

Tagle noted that while priests in other countries rarely get the chance to administer the sacraments due to the dwindling number of Catholics in their area, Filipino priests could hardly accommodate all those needing pastoral guidance.

“For the ordained, how do you minister in the archdiocese when you have teeming millions of people…with most of them are poor?” he asked.

The prelate urged the faithful to come up with a formation program for the archdiocese that would address its specific needs to be holistically catechized.

“It would be better if we are all together—priests, religious, and the lay people—this year of the laity so we may come up with a formation program for the archdiocese,” Tagle said.

Tagle stressed the need for everyone to be united in the common goal of intensifying efforts to evangelize the good news.

As for the Manila Archdiocese, the monthly MAGPAS will be made more “interactive” to achieve “communion in mission not only in the Manila Archdiocese but as well as in other archdioceses and dioceses in the world that are seeking ways on how to heed the call of new evangelization,” Tagle noted.

“Whatever ministry we participate into, I hope that we will all be treading the same direction. Members of the parish council may change, but what is important is for us to have one vision,” he said. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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