Catholic Church seeks to lure back prodigal children

PHILIPPINES - The Catholic Church will evangelize the Philippines anew to win back Filipinos who have broken away and joined other churches.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), on Monday said the undertaking would be part of a nine-year preparation by the Church for the celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.

Speaking at a news conference after the close of the CBCP's biannual conference, Palma said the journey toward March 16, 2021-five centuries since the coming of Christianity to the Philippines-was an opportunity for the Church and its clergy to reflect on their shortcomings and how they could draw back people to the Catholic fold.

"It's possible that we failed somewhere in the sense that people are transferring to another sector because they are not happy," Palma said in a later talk with reporters.

Palma said the Church was willing to take up new ways and means to bring back people growing weak in their faith.

"We have been doing a lot of things already such as renewed enthusiasm in teachings, visits and other activities that could once more make people believe that the Church care for them," Palma said.

The CBCP released a pastoral statement yesterday, saying the "new evangelization" meant considering "new methods and means for transmitting the Good News" more effectively.

The new evangelization would also include "bringing the Good News to the poor," reaching out to the Catholic flock whose faith-life has been "largely eroded" and lost due to confusion, moral relativism, doubt, agnosticism and those who have joined other churches and religious sects.

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