TO MOST Christians, this is a time to contemplate yet again in order to be uplifted, at least once a year, on their spiritual journey and to fulfill some prayers and promises. It’s another year for a Holy Week. Another year for Christians to be a good example for their society as a whole.
In the Philippines, the Catholic majority and the churches still hold a strong influence in the society. But recently, there seems to be a gap between most of the Catholic followers and the local hierarchy of the Church, at least this has been my personal observation since I was never a Catholic myself.
In a time where progressive ideas were brought to become laws of the lands, the Catholic Church has always been part of shaping these decisions. But not all are won. From the Reproductive Health Bill which is now a law, they say the human “faith” was being challenged again after the proposals to revive death penalty. And now, lately, the emergence of possible passage of same-sex union and divorce bills, are subjects for a long debate, not to mention the Church’s staunch criticisms to extrajudicial killings and corruption.
This is something that the Catholic Church and the Catholic devotees (and even some non-Catholic sects) could never settle that this would become the norm of the future, especially that the very foundation of the Filipino is family, and its values are shared based on religious pretexts.
Most social issues in this country is not without the Church having a take on it, and interestingly, even there were Catholics who were faithful, there remains those who support the bills and other issues that the Church contradicts because of economic and other political reasons.
For example, in the same-sex unions, despite some who are faithful to the church, they are also part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, and Queer (LGBTQ+) communities and they want to be with partners on the level that has the same privileges as those with the married heterosexuals, and of course, they have loved their partners the same way as heterosexuals loved theirs.
Now comes divorce, even some religious people would want to get a divorce on reasons that they see their relationship with their husbands or wives no longer workable, especially those living in constant abuse physically and mentally.
Of course, this will never be permissible under the teachings of the
Catholic Church, citing immorality and further destruction of the children’s well-being. And so, the debate still continue despite some would insist that there should be a separation of the Church and State.
These religious gaps and misunderstanding should not lead to further condemnation of one group over the other. Instead, this should serve as an opportunity to widen our perspectives and understanding of the diverse beliefs and faiths on certain social issues in the spiritual sense of looking at it.
This means, if we are to be religious and faithful, is it not the time to become one even without offending or hurting other’s beliefs? It can be possible.
If you look at it in a different perspective, this is a time to be better from within. Consider this as a test of faith, and that what is important that your personal spiritual values should remain intact despite all these laws and situations in our country seem to contradict your religious views.
Consider this an opportunity to reach out to people, however, it should not be done in a way that you will condemn those who have differing views or beliefs. Perhaps, the most effective way of reaching is by reaching by doing, and not by mere preaching.
You can’t change people’s beliefs overnight, but you can be more adaptive without compromising one’s own beliefs and faith, by simply listening and engaging with them.