MANILA, July 25, 2-015 – The Philippines may be majority Catholic, but there’s still a lot of work to be done among children, the poor, and “hurting” Catholics in the country.
This was the message of CBCP president and Lingayen-Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas to some 700 attendees of the 2nd Marriage Encounter National Congress held on July 25 at the Century Park Sheraton along Pablo Ocampo Avenue, Manila.
Speaking on the theme “The Gospel of the Family Today,” the 55-year-old prelate challenged the participants, mostly from the Catholic renewal organization Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines, to actively attend to the needs of children, the poor, and the Catholics who have opted to leave the fold.
He said while Catholicism is the predominant religion in the Philippines, the “dry” Catholics form the second largest group. The prelate said there are Catholics who criticize the government and the Church for not attending to their needs.
“If you put together the cold, cynical, skeptical, and rebellious Catholics and those who left the faith, they will be more than the Moslems, Protestants, and the Iglesia Ni Cristo put together” he added.
Villegas said while it is true that people have different priorities in life, as Catholics there ought to be one priority which is the Gospel.
Realizing their mission
“If it is not your priority in life, you can never call yourself a friend of Jesus [who gave] a message of hope while He walked our earth,” he explained
Presenting the stark reality to participants, the prelate called on the couples of Marriage Encounter to realize their mission.
He further said the convention serves as “a temporary break, a lull and a refresher course” for them to look for the youth and the children who “are now more informed of teachings against the Catholic Church, the poor who look at the church as an institution for the rich and the former Catholics who are hurting, disillusioned that they don’t even want to talk about God anymore.”
“Cast your nets on that side and you will have a great catch,” Villegas quoting the Scriptures as he encouraged his audience “to be ready to plunge into the deep.”
He called on his audience not to simply look and fish in their own “aquariums and fisponds”. (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)