Monday, October 09, 2006

The growth of charismatics and pentecostals ...

It's a report from a Filipino paper, but the phenomenon is worldwide: the slow leaching of Catholics to the various pentecostal and other independent "renwalist" groups (the term the Pew survey uses).
In a few more years, the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic-populated country, with a claimed 85 percent of the population being Roman Catholics, may no longer hold that distinction, with more and more Catholics now being attracted and converted to Charismatic Christian groups.

Even as the Vatican theologians discuss “limbo” — the in-between state endured, according to tradition, by infants who die unbaptized — a disputed teaching that Pope Benedict XVI is reportedly set to scrap, a recent poll showed that Pentecostals and Charismatic Christians are rapidly gaining converts, and their views are increasingly impacting religion and politics worldwide.

The survey by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a Washington-based research group, found that at least one in four Christians, or a quarter of the world’s two billion Christians, belong to Pentecostal or charismatic Christian groups.
[The article does get bogged down with the limbo story. Maybe a journalist trying to "fit this in" to make one story.]
In seven of the 10 countries, at least half of Pentecostals attend church services that frequently include people who speak in tongues, prophesy or pray for miraculous healing, the survey report said.

In all 10 countries, large majorities of Pentecostals,ranging from 56 percent in South Korea to 87 percent in Kenya, say they have personally experienced or witnessed the divine healing of an illness or injury.
It's a reminder again to Catholics that the heart of the mission of the church is evangelization: and more often than not it's Catholics who need to hear again the saving message of Jesus Christ, to be invited into real relationship with him, a relationship that is transformative, and to see how the sacramental life of the church fits into this.

And does anyone know more about this?
The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has been reportedly steadily losing its flock, with surveys taken by Church groups showing that the alienation between the Church and its flock was marked after the May 1, 2001 Edsa III revolt of the masses, where the Catholic Church leaders took the side of the elite against the poor and insulted them, driving them away from the Edsa Shrine, saying that the poor were “smelly” “toothless” and “smelly” had desecrated the Holy Shrine.

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