Losing One's Religion

Picture source from Yahoo! News

“One in every eleven Filipino Catholics admitted that they sometimes think of leaving the Church.” That is, if we are to believe the Social Weather Station (SWS) survey. (Source: Yahoo! News) According to SWS, “Having thoughts of leaving the Catholic Church is more common among Catholics who do not consider themselves as very religious, who attend Church monthly at most, and whose church attendance is less now than five years ago.” (Ibid) 

[When the survey was released, there were those who questioned its timing. They feel that its release was due to the clash between the government and the Catholic Church on the Reproductive Health law of the former and the “Team Patay” campaign of the latter against the proponents of the said law.]

Image source: Yahoo! News Philippines

But it appears that Father Robert “The Running Priest” Reyes agrees with the survey results. “We’re hemorrhaging. It’s not massive blood loss but there’s blood loss. I see it; I experience it. The parishioners are losing faith, passion and interest in the Catholic Church. There’s something lacking that they can’t put their fingers on.” (Source: Inquirer.Net) Reyes and Msgr. Sabino Vengco, a professor of the Loyola School of Theology, offered various possible reasons why “religious migration” is happening such as boring homilies and liturgies, too much preaching on money, accusations of sexual abuses committed by priests and too much distractions among the faithful. Reyes blames the priests. “Liturgies are rather bland and boring, and if the Liturgy is bland and boring, we have to wonder whether Godis bland and boring. It has nothing to do with God; it has a lot to do with priests.” (Ibid)
A cartoon asking for more dynamic homilies. "Wake up! Those who are in the mass are already sleepy." (Translated in English). Image source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

On the other hand, Vengco blames the “superficial religiosity” of the Filipino Catholics. “We’ve been nominal Catholics sheer tradition since the Spanish period. It is never a case of conversion but rather political accommodation. There is not enough depth in it. The Filipinos are satisfied with what is superficial.” (Ibid)

Image source: Flickr

While listening to the news about the SWS survey, I told my son Jessey, “People of other faith such as ours should not rejoice with what’s happening with the CatholicChurch. For there is no assurance that, if and when they leave their religion,they would move to us.” I fear that they might actually lose their faith in anything and everything. 

This poses a challenge to us evangelicals, too. We are to live our faith in an authentic, vibrant way. We should not be satisfied with a superficial faith but with an intimate faith. We are not to gloat about what’s happening with other religion. We are to grow deeply in our relationship with God. “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7, NLT)

My take? True faith is a relationship with God, not a mere religion about God.

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