See Church as continuation of Christ

I congratulate Carmelita Roxas Natividad for being a faithful follower of the Roman Catholic Church (“A new spirituality,” Opinion, 6/20/13). By doing all that had been commanded since her youthful years—receiving the sacraments and actively participating in religious practices and rituals, like saints’ feastdays, Holy Week, All Saints’ Day, Christmas festivities, novenas and others—she became a Roman Catholic model. “I totally believed in the Church, fully trusting that whatever it declared as truth was a mandate from the Holy Spirit. It was unthinkable that ecclesiastical pronouncements could be fabricated by God’s representatives,” she wrote.

But as she advanced in age in her earthly journey, she has, as it were, encountered a crossroads with a sign at the right side: “Signs of the Times.” She followed the direction and toward the end of the highway, she saw the portrait of Pope John XXIII and was reminded of the Second Vatican Council and the fresh air in the Church. It was in this council that ecumenism, inclusiveness, religious freedom and solidarity became a reality. Thus she wrote: “I’ve translated my religion into a way of life in lieu of a ceremonial form of worship. Accepting people the way they are, without bias to religion, race, sexual inclination, imperfection, etc., is the real meaning of Christianity. Love, compassion and generosity should take precedence in our relationship with our neighbor.” Pope Francis has his “preferential option for the poor”!

Unfortunately, it is true there are “religious and pious” Catholic people in the morning who are criminals in the evening—some in high and honorable places, others along the byways. These are the remnants of the Romanized Catholic Church and Christianized pagan empire when Catholicism became the major reason for subjugation and colonization. Well, let us not forget that in the days of the Lord, there was Judas Iscariot; during the times of the early Christians in the Jerusalem community, there were a couple: Ananias and Zappira.

As she continues her journey toward the reign of God, I pray that she finally sees the Church not as a mere eternal-welfare institute, or a mall of services and functions with their attached tag prices, but the continuation of Christ in the economy of salvation, where collegiality is applied from top to bottom and from bottom to top. In this manner, the conclusion of the Council of Jerusalem is reechoed and relived: “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.”



Small Faith Community,

Tacloban City

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