94% of Filipinos believe in God-A A +A
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma said the Filipino people, in attending foot processions or reciting novena prayers, use their heart in expressing their faith.
The prelate, a theologian, said there are three ways that faith is expressed. These are through one’s knowledge or creed, through the heart or one’s reception of sacraments, and through witnessing or through physical expression.
During his homily at the feast day celebration of Our Lady of Carmel at the Monastery of Carmelite nuns in Barangay Mabolo in Cebu City, he mentioned the survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) research group at the University of Chicago in April 2012.
The survey showed that the Philippines is the country with the most number of people who believe in God at 94 percent, followed by Chile with 88 percent and the United States with 81 percent.
The study included 30 countries with Christian majorities and in which a similar survey has been taken since 1991.
Palma’s news was welcomed with loud applause from the mass-goers yesterday morning.
“This survey recognizes we are number one in terms of faith, of belief in God,” he said.
Lifting a quote from Jesuit theologian Fr. Catelino Arevalo, he said, “If faith is only in the head, when they can no longer find a reason for the things they believe in, then they crumble.”
“When there is crisis, and the people can no longer reason out, the faith crumbles,” said Palma.
However, he pointed out that the country is also known in terms of corruption, so he also challenged the people to start expressing their faith through deeds by witnessing what they believe in.
Palma related a conversation he had with an Irish priest at the recently concluded International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Ireland.
“He (Irish priest) pointed out that when the Congress was first held in Ireland in 1932, one-third of the population in Ireland attended the event. But in the second celebration this year, there were only 80,000 participants,” said Palma.
Archbishop Palma, who is also the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said the Congress will be held in Cebu in 2016.
This would be the second time the country is hosting the event, with the first in 1937. Palma is confident that with the results of the survey, there would be at least a million people who would gather in Cebu in the coming Congress and for the thanksgiving for the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
“I invite you to appreciate our expression of faith,” he added.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2012.