Friday, June 26, 2009

Online petition to save Catholic Churches in the Philippines

I saw this online petition asking the CBCP to stop parish priests from doing a Rembert Weakland on churches around the country. It is entitled "A Petition to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines: Please Stop the Further Defacing of Philippine Heritage Churches"

The Philippines was under Spanish rule for 333 years before it declared its independence in 1898. The influence of Catholicism in the country is so deep that some Catholic churches in the country have been declared world heritage sites because of their artistic and cultural value. One of these is San Agustin Church, which is located within the ancient city of Manila known as Intramuros. This is the only church building that miraculously was not destroyed during the bombings of American and Filipino forces during the Liberation of Manila against the Japanese in World War 2.

Now a fellow Pinoy Catholic has setup an online petition to protect such churches from being "modernized according to the reforms of Vatican II", as I would have put it or "parish priests trying to leave their marks in the church" kinda thing.

Here's an excerpt of the petition:

It must have come to your knowledge that several parish priests have taken it upon themselves to modernize and renovate heritage churches under their care without proper consultation with conservationists or representatives of agencies mandated to protect cultural and historical heritage. In their desire to "leave their mark" on the churches, parish priests have caused irreversible damage to our old churches during their short stints in their parishes.
Sadly, there have been instances where parish priests sold off priceless antiques and other church property to unscrupulous antique dealers and collectors to fund these renovations, with the treasures of the Church ending up in homes and other private collections.
In many occasions, the renovations are costly and unnecessary, and at times ostentatious. Priests and parish pastoral councils have undertaken and continue to undertake large-scale fundraising campaigns for these renovations when such funds could be put to better use, especially in a Third-world country such as the Philippines.

To all my fellow Pinoy Catholics around the world please spread the word! Save our churches from useless "wreck-novations"!

Click here to sign the petition. I hope and pray that the CBCP notices the petition.

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