MANILA, Nov. 3, 2015 – Echoing his November prayer intentions, a few Filipinos have taken on the task of inviting fellow Catholics to heed Pope Francis’ call for dialogue with members of other faith groups.
“Many of us who claim to be firm Catholics tend to forget the meaning of the word Catholic: ‘all-embracing,’ ‘universal.’ This month, Pope Francis challenges us to discern the gift of spiritual dynamism by making an effort to reach out to our brothers and sisters who have different views and beliefs,” said Khing L. Macaranas, a youth minister from Pasig City, in an interview.
He went on to express disagreement with Catholics who allegedly “look down” on others just because the latter profess a different creed and observe practices out of step with former’s.
“The point is just because they believe differently does not mean we will condemn their person. Nobody can measure nor limit the wisdom of God. By involving ourselves in dialogues and reaching out to ‘the others,’ we can discover more and nurture our sense of faith,” added Macaranas.
Nestor Limqueco, an instructor from Arellano College-Manila, granted that since earlier times, there has always been baptized people who have separated from the visible Church and from Peter’s successors.
According to him, they are nevertheless still Christians in that they continue to possess to a certain degree the grace only Catholics have in full.
“Catholics should foster the ecumenical movement, which includes the initiatives and activities planned and undertaken to promote Christian unity,” Limqueco commented.
JM Tuazon, an accountant from Meycauayan, Bulacan, agreed that Catholics should be at the forefront of ecumenical discussions.
“This is what Pope Francis does which we’d do better to imitate. I believe this is one way we can bring peace inside our homes, in our communities, and to the world,” he shared.
Citing Matthew 5:9, Tuazon noted, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Nich de los Nieves, an entrepreneur from Olongapo City, lauded those engaged in dialogue with non-Catholic Christians in an effort to heal the wounds of division.
Journey of faith
“The Church has a mission to accompany all in their journey of faith, with Jesus as their only hope. The Church only cares about our salvation,” she added.
The Holy Father’s universal prayer intention for November is: “That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.”
Meanwhile, his intention for evangelization is: “That pastors of the Church, with profound love for their flocks, may accompany them and enliven their hope.” (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)