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Facebook and TV are killing church numbers, says youth commission head

Head of bishop's conference commission blames 'virtual world'

Only 37 percent of Filipino adults attend church every week compared to 64 percent in the early 1990s Only 37 percent of Filipino adults attend church every week compared to 64 percent in the early 1990s
  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • April 18, 2013
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The head of the bishop’s conference youth commission has said that the distracting influence of the internet, sites like Facebook and too much television are to blame for declining church attendances in the Philippines.

Father Kunegundo Garganta said that the internet has become a “virtual world” where the youth cannot find Mass or the Church.

“[Young people] tend to believe that what the internet offers is true,” he said in an interview in Manila.

New media – and particularly social media like Facebook and Twitter – has presented the Church with a huge challenge to be relevant and inspire the faithful, he added. he also made the suggestion that social media is still not being used effectively in efforts towards evangelization.

A recent survey conducted by pollster Social Weather Stations revealed that weekly church attendance among Catholic adults in the Philippines declined from 64 percent in July 1991 to 37 percent by February 2013.

The survey also noted that one in every 11 Filipino Catholics is thinking of abandoning the Church.

Activist priest Robert Reyes is in the minority among the clergy when it comes to acknowledging the decline in attendances, a trend he attributed to “boring homilies” by unprepared priests, noting many people had become born again Christians.

“Our problem is that, with the number of Masses we celebrate on Sundays, we sound like broken records,” he said.

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