MANILA, Sept. 18, 2012—It’s not surprising that more expressions of anger and ridicule toward the Catholic Church find their way into mass media nowadays, but for the faithful these simply reflect a lack of conviction on the part of others, say staunch believers.
“These anti-Church sentiments, pro-RH ideas and dissenting views even from Catholics are propagated through every medium possible. It’s the influence of materialism, relativism, [and] it’s like the devil found a chink in the faith armor. It’s the easiest way to be swayed.
I’m not surprised but it does sadden me,” said graphic artist Jay Acosta, who admitted to believing some of the ideas a long time ago.
“I’m not surprised by all these ideas going around because I feel like there’s a struggle going on in regard to the faith. And people don’t know they’re being planted [with] these ideas. That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that the propagation is widespread – it’s all subliminal in a way,” he added.
God as a ‘good luck charm’
Because the cultivation of faith has not been a priority for some, it has become more difficult for them to understand God’s teachings transmitted through the Magisterium and to even respect the authority of the Church and Her ministers.
Acosta, who is based in Leyte, points out an observation: “From my point of view, these days God has been reduced to somewhat like a good luck charm. Wala nang authority [sa tingin ng iba]. People go to church, they don’t really go to learn and listen. They go ‘cause they’re supposedly Catholic and it makes them feel good, like a bath or something,” he said with a chuckle, adding that they probably go on with their lives without being changed in any way, then back to their Sunday obligation with no appreciation for its essence – which is why it’s not surprising when people end up lukewarm or letting go of their faith altogether.
This apathy or downright rejection of the Church can inadvertently cloud the judgment of some folks in matters concerning the dignity of persons, human sexuality, womanhood and family – issues that are at the heart of the contentious reproductive health (RH) bill.
“The RH bill is wrapped in a pretty package, and people eat it up like candy. I ate it up, so I guess that’s why it doesn’t surprise me,” the graphic artist said.
Unwavering love for God despite dissenters
The apparent lack of faith – and the malice with which dissension is sown on the part of some – did not go unnoticed by Dominic Barrios.
“It’s really heartbreaking to read and hear all the news about dissenters in the Church. I am affirmed that there really is a strong need for re-evangelization and Catholic indoctrination,” the wedding photographer said. “But that doesn’t make my faith or my love for the Church and God falter. It moves me to do something about it and help the church with the work of evangelization.”
“Christ instituted his church on earth to preach and defend the truth,” Barrios stated, quoting from 1 Tim. 3:15. And leaving the church is not an option, he added, emphatic.
It seems that coming to the Church’s defense and nourishing one’s faith go hand in hand based on Justine Francisco’s experience as well. The University of the Philippines student said she takes part in discussions on culture of life/culture of death issues, and explains as much as he can to help others consider points that may have been misunderstood or unknown to them.
Francisco pointed out that her anti-RH position is not only rooted in her trust in God but is a fruit of careful study.
“Nothing can change my mind [about it]. The reason for my firm conviction against the RH bill is not my being Catholic and the fact that I serve in the parish. Though I do respect the Church and I don’t pick and choose what teachings to believe, I’m firmly against the bill because I read it and studied the whole bill. I know it’s not good for the country, particularly for the youth,” she said.
Dissension a challenge to all Catholics
In the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church, the dissension and the attempts to sway the Church into changing Truths to go with the times are not new, as Acosta pointed out. And while some may regard it as a tragedy of sorts, he sees it differently:
“I see it as a challenge to all Catholics, to question whether or not they truly believe in the teachings of the Church and whether they recite the Creed and mean the part where it says ‘one holy, Catholic and apostolic church.’” (CBCP for Life)