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SWS Survey Showed Churchgoers Among Catholics Decline

Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showed that a number of Filipino Catholics going to church is decreasing, from 64 percent to 37 percent.


Catholics in the Philippines are more than 80 percent of the 94 million Filipinos, but in the recent survey, other sects are more frequent churchgoers: 64 percent among Protestants, 70 percent among Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members, 62 percent among other Christian groups, and Muslims has 75 percent of them going to mosques weekly.


The survey was conducted last February 15 to 17, 2013, two weeks before Pope Benedict XVI resigned.


SWS used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.


SWS has been conducting this survey to Catholics since 1991 and this year’s is the lowest, the same with the survey conducted in March 2008.


The highest recorded weekly church attendance among Filipinos was 66 percent in July 1991.


In the same survey, 11 Filipino Catholics, or 9.2 percent sometimes think of leaving Catholic Church.


Among the 9.2 percent, 57.3 percent think of leaving the Catholic Church say they have no religious belief, while 18 percent of them are those who attend church services only once a year.


Numbers also showed that Catholics are less devout compared with other religious groups having less percentage of churchgoers and getting only 29 percent of those who say they are very religious.


Protestants consider themselves as “very religious” with a 50 percent score, 43 percent among INC members and 41 percent among those from other Christian sects, while Muslims got 38 percent.


Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other Catholic priests disagreed with the results of the survey.


CBCP media chief Msgr. Pedro Quito said churches remained packed during Sundays especially during the recent Holy Week celebration.


Other parishes remained “standing room only” and even malls conduct masses plus additional churches and chapels are being built.


Retired Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said that the survey is lie and only targets to destroy the reputation of the Church.


He also linked it as a black propaganda against the “Catholic White Vote Movement” campaigning against senatorial candidates who supported the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law.


On the other hand, Fr Robert Reyes, known as the “running priest,” personally observed the decreasing number of churchgoers and those who leave the Catholic Church in exchange of other religion.


He says the decline may be attributed to boring homilies and second collections.


Boring homilies would happen because most priests lack the time to prepare their sermons since they officiate mass several times a day, especially during Sundays, Reyes explained.


He also pointed out that some Catholics are being turned off in going to mass because of priests preaching about why they should donate to the Church, while others because of those who preach about political issues.

Corabelle is the Bayanihan's Phillippine News Correspondent.