By Fr. Roy Cimagala
IT’S EXPECTED that every New Year, people in different fields make year-end reviews and projections of how the New Year would likely be as far as their interest is concerned.
The media is fond of this. But so far, this exercise seems to be confined only to the political and business sections. At the moment, we are fed heavily with all sorts of reports and forecasts in this regard. They serve a purpose.
Of course, the lifestyle and entertainment section cannot be outdone. In this area, gossips are made to spill like rampaging lava from an exploding volcano.
The big difference is that instead of running away from it, many people like to be buried by this molten flow of red-hot rumors and juicy blind items. As of now, I’m afraid there is no cure yet for this lunacy.
I believe that this annual practice should also be done-and even with more reason-in the area of faith and religion as far as these would be assessable in their human and temporal expressions.
I know that life is largely a mystery. Even if we are talking of ordinary, well-known daily events, that mystery is hardly diminished. Well, our faith and Church life are even more of a mystery!
But this does not excuse us from doing what is humanly possible to gain some kind of control and sense of direction in our spiritual and Church life. Yes, everything depends on God, but things also depend on us. Let’s do our part.
If everyone is prodded to do an examination of conscience not only at the end of the year, but in fact, at every day’s end, then some kind of review and forecast should also be done in the bigger and higher levels of Church life.
Like, how did a particular parish perform last year? And what are its prospects for this year? Any religious organization, diocese, and even the bishops’ conference can ask similar questions if only to infuse a sense of professionalism to their pastoral work.
From there, more people could be better aware of what happened in the past and of what are planned for the future. There’d be more sense of solidarity in our collective effort to be more consistent to our faith.
We have to overcome whatever awkwardness and amateurism we may still have with respect to our Church life. With the pace of development we now have, this attitude is really and laughably out of place.
It’s true that the Church is hierarchical and its main thrust is on the spiritual and the supernatural life nourished by God’s word, dogmas and doctrine, the sacraments, etc.
But it also has temporal and human concerns that require active participation as much as possible by everyone. It’s more in this area that some public assessment of things can be made to generate wider participation.
And the media can be a big help. As long as it realizes its need for continuing formation, it can carry out this delicate function properly. This is a challenge for media to assume greater responsibility in Church life.
Obviously there are differences of opinions, and even mistakes can be committed. But it would be wrong if the media just focuses on stoking controversies and denouncing mistakes and scandals.
It has to do a more constructive and cooperative effort by making a kind of running account of developments in the Church and going deep into the task of making Church life more appreciated by everyone.
It can do better than just announcing town fiestas or reporting the external aspects of whatever events, good or bad, may take place in the parish or the diocese.
It can, for example, make suggestions based on studies or wide consultations on how the continuing task of evangelization can be made or improved.
It can make their views known on how a certain aspect of the faith has affected or will likely affect a particular group of people. Is their growth in the people’s spiritual life, is there a greater sense of Church among them, etcetera?
The media can do many things to deepen and strengthen our spiritual and Church life. If need be, they can hire experts or consultants in Church affairs. An awful lot can be done!