We had a very fruitful recollection last January 5 at Eden Nature Park, Toril, Davao City. It was facilitated by Rev.Fr. Russell Bantilles. In his lecture, he emphasized the true essence of Catholic faith and how everyone must understand the depth and value of being Catholics, of being faithful to the religion and to God.
Well, I grew up in the province, in an environment where Catholic faith is the center of our daily lives. My father had been serving the Catholic parish as a lay minister for more than 50 years now. I was taught basic catechism early on and had followed religiously all those teachings.
The words of father Russell rung true, it was genuine, I admired his effort to drill to everyone's head the true value of being Catholics, of being Christians. I agree with what he had said, that a genuine religion cannot be measured with the speaking charisma of a pastor or a speaker, it's on how he speaks for the truth and on how his preaching manifested the true value of religion and scriptures that make the whole thing difference.
What horrifies me is the emergence of fundamentalists, posing as Catholic preachers, luring people through their unique speaking abilities to join their group/s offering attractive activities, Catholics who are confused with their faith and who are looking for deeper explanations about life and religion are the most common victims of these groups. But we don't need to change direction to experience a deeper spiritual journey, Catholicism already have it, we only need to get in-touch with our parishes to take part of it. The Diocese has enough programs to support the spiritual needs of its parishioners.
These fundamentalists mislead Catholics, blinding them with deceitful programs not authorized by the Roman Pontiff, thoroughly confusing people with what Catholic values, tradition and practices to follow. As genuine Catholics, we must abide with the rules, practices and teachings of the Vatican carried out by the Parishes of the Diocese.
Father Russell reiterated that there's no such thing as "same religions", he said, there's always a true religion, and if you believed that all religions are the same then you are an atheist. Everyone must expressed loyalty and devotion to the religion they embraced and believed in to experience the real relationship with God. A religion that always stands for the truth and what is right and just.
Pope Benedict XVI is worried that the next generation of Catholics will no longer walk on the path of Catholicism that most of them will be deceived by fundamentalists who banked on their speaking charisma and time will come, the genuine Catholic practices and beliefs will be thrown out by its followers due to charismatic practices pushed by fundamentalists, thus, the Pope declared 2013 as the Year of Faith calling all Catholics through out the world to go back to the essence of Catholicism.
I am glad I have a very strong Catholic life foundation.