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Religion and Poverty

Bienvenido Macario justifies his criticism of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. "I am sure that there are good as well as bad sides to every religion. It just so happens that the Catholicism is not the best Western religion for the Philippines, which is in Asia where there are so many other religions, including Presbyterian Protestant, the dominant religion in a progressive South Korea."

Bienvenido cites two books by Roman Catholics on the need for change in the Church: Frank L. Flacy, In the Name of God, and John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die : A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile. Amazon customers gave the latter book four stars.

My comment: I have not read either book, but I doubt if a Catholic bishop will commend the widely sought reforms, uch as the right of women to become priests, acceptance of birth control and divorce. Pope John Paul II is very conservative in theology. God knowswhat his successor will be like. Mexico is apparently a very Catholic country. July 3 is Holy Cross Day, and it is still celebrated in Mexico, especially by construction workers, whose day it is. The cross symbolises the dangers of their work, more dangerous than ever in the skyscraper age. Construction workers attended mass, followed by a fiesta paid for by their employers. Then a cross was hauled to the top of the buildings under construction. This recalls the tree German workers put on the top of a new building, and the cross apparently took the place of the tree. Yet in Mexico and other Catholic countries the Church is in danger. A new University of Michigan study of seventy countries records a steady decline. The celebration of the Day of the Holy Cross seems to be dying out.

Ronald Hilton Ц 5/5/01

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