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Catholic university traces Philippine Christian roots

Lecture series on Catholic history is being held to mark 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines

Catholic university traces Philippine Christian roots

Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first brought Christianity to the Philippines 500 years ago. (Photo supplied) 

A Catholic university in the Philippines has launched a series of online lectures on church history tracing the country’s journey to Catholicism since the arrival of the Spanish.

The University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) wants people to know how Christianity spread in a country composed of thousands of islands.

The lectures titled the “Philippine Church History Webinar Series” are being held every Saturday from Feb. 13 until April 17, to mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first set foot in the Philippines as part of a Spanish expedition in 1521.

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They also aim to deepen a sense of history in appreciating the Catholic faith as a gift.

“The webinar series will examine and analyze the challenges and responses that the Church encountered as it expanded and developed throughout the Philippine islands,” the department said in a social media post.

Distinguished Catholic historians Paul Dumol and Grace Conception are among the speakers.

Dumol, a renowned playwright and author, discussed the beginnings of the Catholic Church with the Filipinos’ struggle for justice during the Spanish period.

Conception is to discuss on April 10 the Church’s modern-day challenges such as post-modernism and relativism.

The seminars feature the works of American Jesuit historian Father John Schumacher, who taught history at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University for over 40 years.

Clergymen are encouraging people to attend the webinars as part of an attempt to deepen the identity of Filipino Catholics.

“Part of being a Filipino Catholic is to know how and why we became Catholics. The online lectures will bring us back to our history, particularly how the faith was brought by Spanish friars to Philippine shores,” said Father Emman Afable of Sorsogon Diocese.

He said not all parts of Catholic history in the Philippines are “virtuous” but nevertheless they are a part of history that needed to be studied and discussed.

“The Church is both divine and human. The humanity of the Church does not make it a perfect institution ... Clergymen committed mistakes. These too, have to be discussed so that we may learn from the past,” he added.

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