December 8, 2023

As an ardent and dedicated Catholic, I am disturbed by an article that I read published in the Internet by U.S. News entitled “Empty churches, prayer and confessions make way for drinking and dancing.”
The essay alleged that “churches, convents and chapels stand empty and increasingly derelict after faith and church attendance shriveled over the past half-century.”
The scenario portrayed by the quoted article is in Europe, specifically in Belgium. Yet, the sad situation might find application in the Philippines.
I am no statistician but I can observe. Truly, much like in Europe, the number of adorers going to church and chapels on a regular basis here in the Philippines is dwindling. The ones who go are the middle aged and the elders who did not have the benefit of owning computers or live the life that technocrats are wont to live.
But what can be the reason why there are less mass-goers than the usual? I can reckon some guesses.
People who were born in the era of religious zeal pin their hope and offer their tragedies to the Almighty. They had more time to pray and exerted more effort to be with their God. They cannot do away with their religious fervor and their search for meaning is founded on spiritual rather than temporal enlightenment.
On the other hand, the newer generation finds this demonstration of faith odd and time-consuming. In this world where everything is done in an instant, even adoration and communing with God is expected to be achieved on the fast lane. Their line of thinking is that God is omnipotent and omnipresent who knows what is needed and what is in the heart even before He is told. So, why pray lengthily and repeatedly when the effect will be the same anyway? God will know. That is why He is God.
Therefore, ethics and morality are compromised. Without ethics and morality, life becomes self-centered making temporal longings become more significant than spiritual satisfaction. Today, people give preference to other things than God. Let me cite an example.
I was watching the program “Family Feud” hosted by Steve Harvey. One segment asked the question: “One hundred people surveyed, what is the thing you can’t do without?”
Perhaps, if this question was asked in the 1970’s or earlier, the most logical answer would be “God.” Had I been the contestant, I would have given that answer.
However, this is the new millennium and the number one answer given to that question was “my cellphone.” It is the testimony of how people give convenient excuses to skip their beliefs in lieu of their material possessions.
Another reason why religion is on a decline is because of the tendency of our religious leaders to meddle in strictly political exercises. Our cardinals, bishops and even priests always have a say in politics. Some religions even dictate on their members on whom to vote. Justified or not, our religious leaders are veering away from what they were ordained to do causing their flock to be disillusioned on what to believe and what not to believe.
Finally, there are a welter of ideas and beliefs that counter religion. Instead of drowning our fears with prayers, we drown it with wine and entertainment. We are distracted by modern gadgets that the time allotted for praying is devoted to watching and playing games, instead.
If this trend continues, religion, as we know it, will be obliterated and God, in all of His bounded wisdom, will be overshadowed by worldly things that neither save our souls nor satisfy our spirit.