The Catholic bishops of the Philippines who on Saturday kicked off their 114th plenary assembly in Manila, were told that “rapid changes” in society required of them a deeper understanding of and adequate response to fundamental human needs. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) made the call addressing the nation’s more than 90 bishops on “The Church at the Crossroads.”
Among the agenda of the 3-day assembly at the Pius XII Center are the current “socio-political climate”, the ethical use of social media, and the proposed change to the Constitution to give way to a federal system of government.
Arch. Villegas said, “We can be victims of change, but we can be its authors as well as its guardians,” It is understandable, he said, that Churches are among the shell institutions or those that have become inadequate to the tasks they are called to perform - lovely to see with nothing inside. The outer shell remains, but the inside has radically changed, he said, adding that this is happening even in families, relationships, decision making and almost everywhere. The archbishop admitted there is fear within the Church that they might be “compromising the Gospel and moving with the world rather moving the world with the power of God.” He said, “A defensive Church will not inspire and ignite souls. I have many questions but I lack answers.” “With you I search for answers and ask the Spirit to inspire and set our hearts afire,” he added.
In a message to the plenary assembly, Pope Francis has assured the Filipino bishops of his prayers that their “deliberations may be guided by the Holy Spirit, and bring light of faith to bear on the pressing issues facing the Filipino people.” (Source: CBCPNews)