Church ‘trusted champion’ of poor, helpless—sister

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MANILA, Oct. 30, 2014—A Catholic religious sister believes the results of a recent study placing the Church as the top institution Filipinos trust only reaffirm her indispensable role as “champion of the poor and helpless” in Philippine society.

According to Sr. Mary Anthony E. Basa of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM), the Church rates highest in EON’s 3rd Philippine Trust Index (PTI), because she is able to respond to the needs of the less fortunate, especially the victims of social injustices and survivors of natural calamities.

‘Mother figure’

“Spiritually and culturally, Filipinos are God-loving, and they look up to the Church as a mother figure who cares most about people in the fringes of society,” she declared.

Basa, who is also the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Culture (ECC), stated over Catholic Radyo Veritas that while the Church as an institution run by humans has her share of shortcomings, the faithful still see God’s loving hands at work in her.

She pointed out it is second nature for Filipinos to run to the Church for help, particularly in times of crises.

“The first People Power Revolution [Edsa Uno] is proof enough that ordinary folk believe in the Church. A public appeal from Cardinal Sin [then Manila Archbishop] was all that was needed to bring them together in droves [to] Edsa,” she said.

“Today, we have authority figures, first, in Pope Francis, and in our very own Cardinal Tagle, as well as in other priests,” Basa noted.

Increase in religiosity

Meanwhile, a member of the clergy also rejoiced at the favorable outcome of the survey.

Fr. Carlos V. Reyes, executive secretary of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue (ECID) (Photo: Antonio Endaya)

“Maybe priests are doing something right after all,” quipped. Fr. Carlos V. Reyes, executive secretary of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue (ECID),

Asked why he thinks the Church tops the latest PTI, he suggested that the question be left to social scientists.

“I don’t really know, but I am happy our fellow Filipinos still trust us … Perhaps because they have a bleak view of the world, and God and His Church are all that remain to be trusted,” the priest explained.

Reyes conjectured the phenomenal increase in religiosity, not only locally, but worldwide, may have been a key factor in the survey.

“The number of non-religious people decreased, while that of the religious sector ballooned,” he said.

Reyes shared that a separate study conducted by another priest, Msgr. Hernando Coronel, shows there is an ongoing trend among young people who are coming back to the Church. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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