Forum set: What Church will Pope see in Philippines?

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Forum set: What Church will Pope see in Philippines?
Moderated by Rappler, a forum at the Ateneo de Manila University aims to discuss topics such as religion and politics and the role of women in the Catholic Church

MANILA, Philippines – Experts from various fields will join a forum Friday, November 21, to mark the launch of an unprecedented publication on Filipino Catholicism two months before Pope Francis visits the Philippines.

The special double issue of Philippine Studies, an international journal published by the Ateneo de Manila University through its School of Social Sciences, features 9 articles on Filipino Catholicism.

Edited by sociologist of religion Jayeel Cornelio, the special issue features topics such as the following: 

  • religion and politics

  • the idea of the Philippines as a Catholic nation

  • the role of women in the Catholic Church

  • popular religion as seen in practices like crucifixion rituals during Holy Week

The launch of the journal issue comes with a forum that aims to answer the question: What kind of Catholic Church will Pope Francis see in the Philippines?

Moderated by Rappler, the forum features 3 panelists:

  • Randy David, professor emeritus at the Department of Sociology of the University of the Philippines

  • Melba Maggay, president of the Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture

  • Sister Mary John Mananzan, a Missionary Benedictine sister and former chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines

UNPRECEDENTED ISSUE. On November 21, the Ateneo de Manila University launches a special edition of Philippine Studies on Filipino Catholicism.

Rappler is helping organize the event as part of #PopeFrancisPH, its 100-day countdown to Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015. (READ: Vatican: Philippines to help Pope reach Asia)

Pope to see ‘Catholicisms’

Cornelio, the journal issue’s guest editor, told Rappler that the publication matters because Catholicism “is one of the most discussed topics within Philippine Studies, but there has not been any consolidation of all these efforts.”

He added, “It’s time to take stock.”

When the Pope visits the Philippines, Cornelio said, the pontiff will likely see “Catholicisms” – products of an “inherently rich and diverse form of Catholicism.”

“When the Pope comes here in January, he should expect a diversity or plurality of voices within the Catholic Church,” Cornelio said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, in this case, “is just one of the voices.” 

“Catholicism is expressed in many other forms – young people, for example, expressing their faith through Gawad Kalinga, participating in other modes of religiosity, which I think is part and parcel of the rich tapestry that is the Catholic faith today,” he said.

The launch of the Philippine Studies issue on Friday is open to the public.

It will be held at the Faura AVR, Ateneo de Manila University, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.Copies of the journal issue will be sold during the launch at a discounted rate.


Join Rappler in a 100-day countdown to Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines: a journey from the Vatican to Tacloban. Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #PopeFrancisPH!

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email