Reflecting the Mind of the Vatican since 1850
Five Hundred Years of Philippine Christianity: Living Heritage and Social Project
Share This Article :
Five hundred years ago Christianity arrived in the Philippines. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) began celebrations with a Mass on April 17, 2021, to mark the first Easter Sunday on native soil. The Covid-19 pandemic pushed a key moment for the Church in the Philippines, the International Mission Congress, ahead to April 2022, while other events moved online for accessibility. During the Eucharist celebrated in the Vatican on March 14, 2021, Pope Francis told Philippine Catholics worldwide: “we see the joy of the Gospel in your eyes, on your faces, in your songs, and in your prayers… I want to thank you for the joy you bring to the whole world and to our Christian communities.”

This extended time allows us to give consideration to differing aspects of the quincentennial celebration. On March 18, 2021, government celebration, President Rodrigo Duterte, a known critic of the Catholic Church, did not mention Christianity and focused on native victory over Spanish forces: “I, therefore, call on all our kababayans (countrymen) to appreciate our rich history and learn from the experiences of those that came before us so that we may never again allow any other tribe to compromise our sovereignty.”

Sectors within and outside the Churches marked the milestone by recalling various aspects. For instance, the 2019 conference of the Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines (Dakateo) stressed the perspective of indigenous peoples and echoed earlier demands for Hispano-American apologies.

This essay presents a contextual framework for the Philippine commemoration and articulates Philippine Christianity’s significance as a living heritage social project.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2022
Click here to Unsubscribe