Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the country’s Catholic population may have increased but there is still an urgent need to awaken people “whose faith has turned cold.”
“We need to awaken the faith of Christians that became cold,” Tagle said in a press briefing at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila Tuesday.
However, the cardinal stressed that this phenomenon happens not only in the Philippines but also in other countries especially in Europe.
“That phenomenon of Catholics whose faith is becoming cold or who are transferring to other religion is not only happening here in the Philippines rather in other parts of the world,” Tagle said.
“It’s troubling because other countries received their faith from European missionaries and now you hear them say that the number of their baptisms and marriages are decreasing,” he added.
In the Philippines, the church leader particularly lamented the number of Catholics who do not go Mass on Sunday.
“Not everyone goes to church every Sunday. We don’t know if it’s just out of habit or if they are already distancing themselves from the Church,” Tagle said.
“There are also those who say outright that they are already leaving the Church to join other groups,” he added.
Bringing back lapsed Catholics to the Church, he said, is one the missions that the upcoming Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) somehow wants to achieve.
In a rapidly changing world, the cardinal said the Gospel does not change and it will always remain the same.
But Tagle pointed out that the Good News must be proclaimed in a way that could address the challenges of a changing world.
“Why did they turn cold? Let us listen to their questions, criticisms and complaints and maybe by listening to them we will be able to answer to the call of how we can transmit the faith more effectively,” Tagle said.
Organized by the Archdiocese of Manila in celebration of the Year of Faith, the PCNE will be held at UST on October 16 to 18.
“It’s a very humble approach to the new evangelization,” he said.
Henrietta de Villa, PCNE executive secretary, said they are expecting not less than 5,000 participants to attend the “festival of Good News and festival of joy.”
She said that bishops from other Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Brunei have also been invited to grace the gathering.
“This is our offer to the universal Church with a Filipino flavor… an Asian flavor,” Tagle said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)