A Catholic bishop in the Philippine capital urged the faithful to be part of a “servant Church” through “self-emptying.”
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said Catholics are called to follow the example of Jesus’ “self-emptying act.”
“We are usually so full of ourselves. I don’t believe that we can be empowered to participate in the life and mission of Christ if we are full of ourselves,” said the prelate in a radio interview.
Bishop David said his diocese is “preoccupied with transforming” parishes from “maintenance to mission.”
“We get used to maintaining our parish just like how we got used to them,” he said. “Our parishes are still effective, but they are old and tired institutions that also need renewing.”
“We have grown to be self-referential, and very churchy in our languages,” said Bishop David, who is also president of the country’s bishops’ conference.
“Even our ministries are all very churchy,” he said.
He said he finds it funny when church institutions “invite people to serve the Church,” adding that “the mission is not about asking people to serve the Church.”
“I think the mission is asking the faithful to serve society as part of a servant Church,” said Bishop David.
He said serving society as part of the servant Church has consequences.
“To be able to respond to it, you have to put your life on the line because you are taking risks,” said the prelate, citing his experience during the government’s “war on drugs.”
He said attacks and harassments from those who are in power are expected as “consequences of holding on to our spiritual and moral stand as a church in defending human life.”