The National, Friday November 8th, 2013
A CATHOLIC academic at Divine Word University, in Madang, has warned of the challenge the world will face with the loss of religious values.
Dr Catherine Nongkas, pictured, the faculty of education dean, told delegates at the Catholic Church General Assembly at DWU that people were developing a mentality in which God was effectively absent “wholly or partially from human life and awareness”.
She said secularisation was not only an external threat to believers but it had manifested for some time in the heart of the church herself.
“It profoundly distorts the Christian faith from within and consequently the lifestyle and daily behaviour of believers,” Nongkas said.
She said for Catholics, this year had been declared as the Year of Faith by Pope Benedict, and she encouraged the faithful to read and study the Catechism of the church to understand the teachings and to defend their faith.
She called for a new evangelisation to help transport the faith in areas where it had diminished.
Nongkas encouraged participants in the general assembly to reflect, renew their faith, rediscover, deepen, intensify and revitalise their faith and put in into action.
“If we look at all individual parishes and dioceses, we are beginning to see that the number of people coming to church on a Sunday is decreasing. Have we started to do some research to find why this is happening,” she asked.
She said even at DWU when she first joined, the number of people coming to Sunday mass “so high that there were two masses”. She said however, this year the number of staff and students attending mass had declined.
Nongkas said the first encyclical of Pope Francis was about enlightening the faith.