Philippines Losing Sense of Sin, Says Prelate

Cites Example of 32 Cohabiting Couples

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MANILA, Philippines, MARCH 9, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Philippine Catholics have little understanding of repentance due to the loss of the sense of sin, warns the president of the country's episcopal conference.



"Repentance is difficult because today the sense of sin is disappearing from the conscience of Filipinos," Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao said in an editorial in the bulletin of the episcopal conference, according to AsiaNews.

He cited an incident that occurred last November. At a parish, 32 couples who had cohabited for years were being prepared for marriage. The pastor told them they should go to confession before their marriage, a ceremony that would be celebrated by the archbishop. The couples answered: "Father, we have no sins to confess."

Such ignorance of sin happens because of their "indifferent and weak conscience, so hardened as to no longer hear the interior voice of God," the archbishop said. The couples' reply is common "to many in our country and in the Church of today," he added.

"What has happened?" he asked. "Why do people say sin no longer exists? Why do they rarely go to confession? Why do so many receive the Body of Christ in holy Communion even in a state of mortal sin?"

The archbishop sees the loss of the sense of sin affecting the electoral campaign in the Philippines.

"The politicians make vain promises, buy the votes of the electorate; some even denigrate with lies the rival candidates," he said. "Yet, despite this, they go to church, attend Mass and go to Communion. But when they leave the Church, they fight against one another."