MANILA, Jan. 28, 2014—In line with the Philippine church’s celebration of the Year of Laity, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday called on the lay faithful to lead a life of conversion in every household and church community as a means to usher change in the Philippine society as a whole.
“The invitation to conversion, to return to Jesus and to the joy of bringing him into our world, is issued to all members of the Church, including bishops, priests and religious,” the CBCP said in a pastoral letter signed by its president, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
Noting the need for a just social order “which we, in the Philippines, have far from achieved,” the CBCP urged the faithful “to be converted from the idolatry of money and the obsession with private property and private gain.”
“In God’s love for all, we must recover not only our sense of the common good, but our obligation to work for it and achieve it, even at the cost of personal convenience or of personal treasure,” it said.
“This entails not only turning away from the corruption that has so shamefully marred our history, but to embracing positive action for the good of all. This means acquiring the learning, gaining the skills, cultivating the wisdom, and making the hard choices that the common good entails,” it added.
Social conversion does not only imply shunning corrupt acts, but also respecting the diversity present in the society for the pursuit of the common good, the bishops noted.
“It also means acknowledging humbly and respecting the cultural, religious, confessional and ideological diversity that belongs to human and Philippine society today,” they added.
The bishops’ collegial body said that the “immediate responsibility” to lead the faithful back to Christ rests with the family, stressing that “nothing is more urgent than that parents introduce their children credibly to the compelling love of Jesus, and that children see their parents as exemplars of human goodness and responsibility impelled by the love of Jesus.”
“Lead our families back to Jesus!…No Christian family can flourish without prayer, worship, service to each other, and service to others. No family can be Christian reared only on junk food, trashy media, selfishness, and indifference to the needs of others,” it said.
The bishops also urged the laity to be involved in the church activities, noting that they also have a responsibility to fulfill in the life of the church community.
“Get involved in the Church’s parishes, the Church’s organizations and the Church’s schools. Make sure that they are not turned in on themselves, missing to bring the life of Jesus to those in our world who need Jesus most,” they said.
“The shared pursuit of the common good through dialogue hopes for an ever-improved synthesis in human community and community with the environment,” they added. (Jennifer Orillaza)