MANILA, Oct. 16, 2013— Drawing context from quake-damaged heritage churches in Visayas, a cardinal said the Church must be rebuilt that is ‘rooted in Jesus’.

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of Manila said he could almost hear the message of God to St. Francis: “Build my Church, rebuild my Church”, while looking at the church crumbling due to the temblor.

“But how can we reconstruct the church apart from Jesus the cornerstone. How can we construct the church without His life giving word? How can we strengthen the Church without the Holy Spirit who will transform hearts of stones into living flesh and all of us into a living temple,” said Tagle.

“How can we construct the church without love that enables us to break—from egoism and self interest in order to embrace God, neighbor society and all of creation?” he said.

This, the cardinal emphasized, is the whole point of the Philippine Conference on the New Evangelization, which started on Oct.16 at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. 

“It is a humble contribution to the construction and strengthening of the church rooted in Jesus, His words, in the spirit, in the midst of ruins, faith in the midst of ruins,” he said. 

“It is just proper to go with this Conference on New Evangelization with celebrating the Eucharist, a memorial of someone Jesus whose life led to ruins, culminated on the cross. That His love, which is greater than the sense of the world, prevented a total collapse and the ruin of humanity…love brought a new hope, a new heaven,” Tagle said.

“We want to revive that love for that is the truth of the Good News of salvation,” he added.

The church official earlier said that rejuvenating the Christian faith is what he hopes to achieve during the three-day conference, which ends on Oct. 18.

The PCNE was convened by Tagle to seek new approaches to keep the church’s mission to evangelize in synch with the modern times.

The cardinal earlier said the conference also aims to win back dissident Catholics to the church and those who think that going to the church is already “obsolete”.


Tagle said the loss of lives and the damaged on properties including the old churches in Cebu and Bohol provinces caused by the 7.2 magnitude quake were ‘heartbreaking’.

“It’s heartbreaking to see how these heritage churches, which became a foundation of faith for hundreds of years, have now turned into rubble. We don’t even know if it can still be used again,” he said.

What is more saddening, he said, is that the tragedy occurred at a time when the country is still reeling from the effects of standoff in Zamboanga City, recent typhoons, including the pork barrel controversy.

“We cannot forget what happened to the people in Zamboanga, Jolo, Basilan, and Cotabato. Some are just recovering from the effects of the monsoon and Typhoon Santi, the farmers of Nueva Ecija, farmers of Aurora, Quezon and the people of the Philippines were still grappling with the horrendous revelations these past months of the misuse of government funds, contributions of simple Filipinos meant for social service,” he said. (CBCPNews)