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Filipino prelate: Focus on the gift of faith, not colonialism

The reality of colonial history in the Philippines is painful but it shouldn’t be used as a reason not to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the country, the head of the local Catholic bishops’ leadership has said.

Instead, the upcoming jubilee is an invitation to celebrate “God’s love,” Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao said, reported CBCP News.

Colonial realities are “no doubt” a “very painful” part of the nation’s history, Archbishop Valles said while celebrating Mass in Davao City on Oct. 6.

“Compared to the crooked lines… there’s the straight subtle line of God’s love for us,” he said.

Nevertheless, the archbishop pointed out that Christians must rejoice in their “gift of faith.”

“And in order to appreciate that love of the Lord to us, we should be equipped with the eyes and gift of faith.”

He added that Filipino Christians are called to celebrate the 500 years of Christian faith in 2021.

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“Our celebration is about journeying, growing, and deepening our faith with Jesus,” he said.

CBCP News reported that the archbishop also joined an earlier meeting in Cebu City, where major jubilee activities are set to be held.

Cebu is considered the “cradle of Christianity” in the country. The first baptism was believed held there not long after the Spanish arrived in 1521. Spanish missionaries also gave the local population the icon of the Santo Niño or the child Jesus.

CBCP News likewise reported that Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said that the jubilee is not about colonialism. Instead it’s a celebration of faith as a gift “albeit from people who were not necessarily motivated by the purest of motives,” he said. “The mere fact that we eventually repudiated colonial rule but continued to embrace the Christian faith even after we won the revolution could only mean that the natives did not equate Christianity with colonialism.”

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