October 23, 2014

IMPORTING THE SUPERIOR CULTURE...TO ROME:

The future is Filipino (Philip Jenkins, 10/22/14, Christian Century)

When Pope Francis visits the Philip­pines in January, we will undoubtedly hear a great deal about that country's importance on the global religious scene. Partly that's a matter of raw numbers. Al­ready one of the world's three largest Catholic nations, it may by some measures lead the pack within a quarter century or so. By 2050, there could be 100 million Catholic Filipinos.

The church also has a charismatic leader in Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila. Only 57, he features prominently in speculation about the next papal election, whenever that might occur. If Tagle is not chosen, it is likely that some Filipino will be­come the first nonwhite pope since the early Middle Ages.

John Allen, the superbly informed expert on all things Catholic, rightly stresses the central role of the Philippines in the Catholic future. He also warns that the Philippine experience belies any West­ern hopes that culture wars and church-state conflicts might fade in consequence of rapid social change. The Philippine church is powerful and politically influential, priding itself on its heroic role against the Marcos dictatorship of the 1980s. In recent years, the Philippine hierarchy has been consistently at war with the national government over official attempts to expand access to contraception and over sex education in the schools. Threats of excommunication have been flying. Contraception is still a primary battlefield of cultural politics; same-sex marriage is barely even discussed.

Posted by at October 23, 2014 5:17 PM
  

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