The Pope on the Church in the Philippines

The Holy Father received the Philippine bishops on their ad limina visit, and affirmed our charism, direction and mission.

Most important is evangelization, the proclamation of the good news of salvation in Jesus. Then there is our emphasis on family renewal, inclusive of marriage, family and life. We are an evangelistic and missionary community that works to help renew the family and to defend life.

Finally, there is the social dimension of the gospel. Aside from our building communities among the poor, our work in prison, especially the Maximum Security Compound of the National Bilibid Prison, enables us to reach the poorest of the poor. More than the poor who have no homes, those who are in the MSC-NBP are the poorest of the poor. Unlike those poor without homes, these poor have lost their freedom, family and future.

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CHURCH IN PHILIPPINES: CONTINUE TO BE A LEAVEN IN SOCIETY
VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2010 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, who have just completed their “ad limina” visit. Addressing them in English, the Pope referred to the close ties that for four centuries have united thePhilippines and the See of Peter, highlighting the benefits the leaven of faith has brought to the Filipino people and their culture.
To be such a leaven, the Church must always seek to find her proper voice, because it is by proclamation that the Gospel brings about its life-changing fruits”, he said. “Thanks to the Gospel’s clear presentation of the truth about God and man, generations of zealous Filipino clergymen, religious and laity have promoted an ever more just social order. At times, this task of proclamation touches upon issues relevant to the political sphere. This is not surprising, since the political community and the Church, while rightly distinct, are nevertheless both at the service of the integral development of every human being and of society as a whole”.
“At the same time, the Church’s prophetic office demands that she be free ‘to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine … and also to pass moral judgments in those matters which regard public order whenever the fundamental human rights of a person or the salvation of souls requires it’. In the light of this prophetic task, I commend the Church in the Philippines for seeking to play its part in support of human life from conception until natural death, and in defence of the integrity of marriage and the family. In these areas you are promoting truths about the human person and about society which arise not only from divine revelation but also from natural law, an order which is accessible to human reason and thus provides a basis for dialogue and deeper discernment on the part of all people of good will. I also note with appreciation the Church’s work to abolish the death penalty in your country.
“A specific area in which the Church must always find her proper voice comes in the field of social communications and the media”, Pope Benedict added. “It is important that the Catholic laity proficient in social communications take their proper place in proposing the Christian message in a convincing and attractive way. If the Gospel of Christ is to be a leaven in Filipino society, then the entire Catholic community must be attentive to the force of the truth proclaimed with love”.
Finally the Holy Father turned his attention to “a third aspect of the Church’s mission of proclaiming the life-giving word of God: … her commitment to economic and social concerns, in particular with respect to the poorest and the weakest in society“. The Church in the Philippines, he said, takes “a special interest in devoting herself more fully to care for the poor. It is heartening to see that this undertaking has borne fruit, with Catholic charitable institutions actively engaged throughout the country. Many of your fellow citizens, however, remain without employment, adequate education or basic services, and so your prophetic statements and your charitable action on behalf of the poor continue to be greatly appreciated. In addition to this effort”, he concluded, “you are rightly concerned that there be an ongoing commitment to the struggle against corruption, since the growth of a just and sustainable economy will only come about when there is a clear and consistent application of the rule of law throughout the land”.
AL/                                                                                                    VIS 20101129 (600)
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)

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