Where do younger Filipino Catholics go on Sundays, if indeed many of them no longer hear mass? They go gaga over the Internet, a local Church official said.
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Youth executive secretary Kunegundo Garganta thus urged the Church to push for relevance in rapidly changing times.
"Marami talagang factors kung bakit marami sa mga kabataan ang tumitigil sa pagsisimba o physically present sa Simbahan (The youth's waning presence in churches may be attributed to many factors)," Kunegundo said in an interview over Radyo Veritas.
Among these is their penchant for the Internet and social media, which he said "offer a false reality in the lives of the youth."
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"Nakikita ng mga kabataan na mas parang totoo ang gamit ng Internet o medium na ito (The youth perceive the Internet as a more useful medium)," Kunegundo said.
U.S.-based pollster Gallup has earlier noted that 75 percent of Filipinos, including young users, access social networking sites despite low Internet penetration among Pinoy homes.
"[M]alaking hamon din ito sa mga nasa Simbahan kung paano makapagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa buhay at pakikisangkot sa buhay ispiritwal ng mga kabataan," Kunegundo said.
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His statement comes weeks after a pollster claimed that one of 11 Filipino Catholics sometimes consider leaving the church and the church attendance in the coutnry has been on the decline.
Bishops have earlier bucked the poll results, however, claiming that more Filipinos are going to church as seen in how masses should now be held in shopping malls to accomodate the faithful.
They have also called for a "scientific study" to validate the claim, even as they questioned the timing of the release of survey results to only days before Church-led groups' plan to announce support for some senatorial candidates.