Christmas without faith is an empty Christmas—Archbishop Villegas

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Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas (cbcpforlife.com photo)

With Christmas becoming more commercialized each year, a Catholic Church official on Monday encouraged Filipinos to reclaim its true meaning by never forgetting the real significance of the season.

In his Christmas message, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that Christmas is about a poor couple, Joseph and Mary, having difficulty finding a room in Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world, on that glorious night more than 2,000 years ago.

“Christmas is a feast of faith. Without faith, [it] will only be a social festival,” Villegas said.

“Christmas giving is only a commercial gimmickry for profit and business gain [and] wishing ‘Merry Christmas’ without faith is no better than fools laughing madly without reason,” Villegas, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, added.

Villegas’ message echoed the theme of the Christmas message issued by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday.

In that message, Tagle encouraged Filipinos to renew their faith in God this holy season.

Without faith, Tagle said, “Christmas will be emptied of its meaning.”

In his own message sent from the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Villegas observed that today, the holy season has become just an adjective to describe parties and  bonuses “because we have forgotten that Christmas is an event of the past that must still continue to happen through us.”

“Christmas has become a season for festive lighting and amazing carnivals,” Tagle said.

“[P]eople have forgotten how difficult it must have been for Mary and Joseph to find a room in the inn—the [poor] couple continues to be rejected in our broken homes,” he said.

Villegas pointed out that  Christmas carols have been replaced by songs about missed loved ones and that caroling has metamorphosed into yearly fundraisers because people have put a price tag on “almost everything and everyone.”

“[P]eople have forgotten the angels that announced [Jesus’] birth, the sweetest carolers of all time,” he said.

The traditional simbang gabi—a novena of Masses celebrated at dawn—is also slowly turning to be just another feature of Christmas in the Philippines, with Filipinos forgetting that it was originally a thanksgiving novena for the gift of Catholic faith, “which we now ridicule and ignore and consider obsolete,” Villegas said.

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  • UrHONOR

    >>>Christmas without faith is an empty Christmas—Archbishop Villegas<<<

    Christmas is empty without money — – People

    • tonyoks

      ito kasing mga bishop na to, hindi naman ito nakaranas ng walang pera sa bulsa nila.
      sarap buhay ng mga ito…sa pera ng mahihirap ito nagpakasarap…para sa “kaligtasan ng ng yong kaluluwa”…

      sa hirap ba naman ng buhay sinong aayaw sa buhay na walang hanggan sa kalangitan???

      sarap ata doon…sabi nina bwisyap…

      basta may “faith ka lang”….

      • UrHONOR

        NAKAKALUNGKOT nga dahil ang walang-tigil nilang pinaglalandakan ay ang panggagagad nila ng buhay ni Jesus Christ na sa katotohanan ay kabaliktaran ang ginagawa at pinakikita nila ng lantaran sa mga kabig nila….na takot-na-takot imulat ang mga mata sa katotohanan dahil sa na-itanim na pananakot ng mga damaso na pinagsalin-salin sa mga sumunod sa kanila hanggang sa mga sandaling ito.  Pananakot ng imp**rno kapag hindi sila sumunod sa utos ng mga taong tulad din nila…na wala ding alam sa tinuturo nila kundi hearsay.  Nabasa o nadinig sa kung kanino man.  

        SARRRRRAP talaga ng buhay ng mga nakasayang-puti….walang ka-proble-problema sa lahat ng pangangailangan sa buhay…ckonting hokus-pokus  ar abracadabra lang, kwarta na.  Mansion, kotse, travels, fat bank accounts, substantial financial investments, real estate properties, etc., courtesy of the alms giver.

        BTW, I have BIG FEET….size 12 1/2 in athletic shoes.

  • mangtom

    To the CBCP:

    Christmas without credibility is empty. So keep your Christmas message to yourselves. Thanks but no thanks.

  • Pork_Republik

    Dami din naman natatangap na Christmass gifts ang mga obispo ngayun ah, saka kabilaaan kung sila ay iniimbita sa mga Christmass party ni honorables.

    Yan ang mundo.

  • $37644997

    Christmas is not only the celebration of Jesus birth,but it is also the birth of the “begotten son” of God in each and everyone of us.When the Almighty God created us He imparted himself to all of us.Also what is known as the multitudes of ONE.He is a living flame composed of a Three Fold Flame of Love,Wisdom and Power,and that flame is in the Hearts of all men,women and children alike.The flame in the Heart(the begotten son of God)is also a potential to become like He is.Jesus is one best example.Happy Christ mass to all.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U62PHGMKO4RK7BLMC4ACA4EG5A EREC

    What kind of faith…… faith in money that can moves mountain, faith in money that can let deaf listen…the faith of Ignorance that lazy to read New Testament and just keep say Amen to bishops and clergy….. is that the faith.

    Or the faith in Jesus the Christ and a Messiah that born by a Virgin.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/F7U5GJ7LTBKEIF2YVXIDSXCIIM ROSARIO

    Jesus Christ was not born in December. Christmas tradition during December is actually a pagan celebration, adopted by missionaries. Same as Santa Claus- pagan origin, Christmas tree-pagan origin. You must separate your faith from pagan holidays and rituals if you want to be a pure- Christian religious person. So, just be happy and enjoy your Chritmas without hurting other people and be generous especially to the poor. Then, you are a true Christian. Christmas is a time for all of us to be happy and enjoy family traditions. Even some Muslims have Christmas trees and Christmas lights. I am a devout Catholic. I keep my religious belief to myself.

  • tonyoks

    Your so called “faith”is the main reason why people in the Philippines are kept ignorant and remained poor after all the 400 years of lying and deception your church has been feeding us all along.

  • JosengSisiw1

    So for people to renew faith the CBCP should stop politicking. This is the main reason I lost my faith to Catholic church.

    • txtman

      HUH?

      YOU MAY LOST

      YOUR FAITH

      TO SOME OF THE PRIESTS
      .
      .

      BUT
      .
      .

      A TRUE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST

      NEVER LOST

      HIS/HER FAITH IN THE CHURCH
      .
      .

      THAT SET A PART

      BETWEEN

      AN EMPTY CAN

      FROM

      A HUMAN BEING
      .
      .

      PITIFUL

      • JosengSisiw1

        And how can you be so sure of your church? Is it the real or right one? Pity @ this age your knowledge is still in a tin can.

  • Benito Juarez

    “Christmas without faith is empty.” If you are concerned only for the benefit of the Catholic church and not for the interests of your flocks you’ll lose more numbers.  Please set aside your differences with the State if only for a short period of time so that people become united.  But then again, when it comes to religion not all “religious men” are alike, some smell the sweet scent of money and power while others are magnanimous.  Show us then your benevolence by tending to the spiritual needs of the people and not by interfering with the affairs of the government.

    • where_I_stand

      I am also a pro-RH advocate but your idea of the mission of the Church solely for the spiritual needs of the faithful reveals your ignorance of the Catholic faith. The Church mission is not limited to the spiritual needs of the people. If this is still your view of the Church mission, then your thinking is outdated. It belongs to the old understanding of the mission of the Church. You need to update your theology if you want to criticize the Catholic faith. You cannot blame the Catholic church for your ignorance.

      Another misconception is your reference to “benefit of the Catholic church” as different from the “interest of the [flock] faithful”. The Catholic church as “the people of God” includes the faithful. So, whatever is beneficial to the Catholic church it is also good for the Catholics. Maybe you refer to the hierarchy of the Church, the bishops and the clergy. Obviously, you did not limit your idea of the Church as a building or structure. Both the hierarchy and the building, may play important roles in its life and mission, are not the Church. To view them as such is a fundamental flaw of those who are critical of the Church but ignorant of its identity and mission.

      • Benito Juarez

        Let’s take the time to reevaluate ourselves as adults before
        we even cast cheap shots against each other. I know nothing about your church and its mission. I believe in Him; that’s my faith. I am not religious either. I grew up believing John’s words
        were designed to wake the people up by rebuking them for their wickedness for they have forgotten the words of God as they become ignoble to their traditions. Traditional Catholic practices, much like the Pharisees, to preserve the temporal indulgence of the clergies are the causes of untold miseries of the overburdened, poor people.

        I knew  a peasant who suffered injustice. Ignorant? Yes, he
        suffers injustice as he’s born a peasant and dies of injustice that even a
        Catholic priest refuses to give him his last rite.

        Reforming the  traditional practices of the clergies
        pursuant to the needs of their flocks, on this age, has been fruitless.
        “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe
        your own traditions,” one says.

        I sense knowledge
        has become a burden not joy. You may possess the knowledge but arrogance will
        take you down.

         

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IGLQQ2TTZF3BAWUHUWLFWVPZDE Vladymir

    Christmas was invented by the roman catholic church,besides nobody knows actually when jesus was born,certainly not on december 25

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FLJTDAJBXYODZXD5KAK76UT73Q Nerraw

    Me and my family are enjoying Christmas with faith as always. Merry Christmas to all, and peace be with you. For those who don’t have faith, we always pray for you. You are always welcome by the Lord.

  • txtman

    WATCH

    FIREPROOF MOVIE (2008)

    THIS SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

    A LOT TO LEARN FROM THIS MOVIE

  • Hey_Dudes

    Well, in our country where there are even faked church money collectors, it is getting harder and harder to differentiate between faith and fake specially with bishops preoccupied in meddling in government instead of doing their religious work and performing miracles among themselves now and then.

  • KaAsar

    Huh?

  • kilabot

    there is a false faith. 
    it should be christmas without Christ is empty.

  • Horst Manure

    Xmas started as a Roman pagan ceremony and Jesus was born in a manger as it was Xmas and all the motels were booked out.

  • BLITZKRIEG166

    merry christmas to all

    • BLITZKRIEG166

      and may the almighty GOD bless us all……

  • akimaxx

    A well written piece. Ask an ordinary Filipino Catholic the deeper meaning of Christmas, he/she will give you a shallow answer. Try it. What can you expect from a dumb teacher? Unless materialism of ‘merry Christmas’ were erased from our minds, we can’t renew our faith with Jesus.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    YANG FAITH NA YAN ANG DAHILAN KAYA DUMAMI ANG BATANG HUBO! SA KALYE SATANAS CARNIVAL TAGLE DAMASO!! MAYOR LITO ATIENZA ABORZIONIST” CBCP BISHOPS EXTREMIST TERRORIST!!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZA5INZ7BBS6VEFCJW5VK366KCA jun

      Hey, hey, hey! relax ka lang. Just respect others so others will also respect you. Don’t demean or speak ill of others who are different from you. Your language drips with poison and speaks so much of the kind of person you are. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    SATANAS CARNIVAL TAGLE DAMASO!!

  • UrHONOR

    REALITY~
        Christmas season: commerce, profits, gifts, money, parties, celebrations, travels, business opportunities.

    FANTASY~
        Everything else other than the above.

    History repeats itself…and as it does, commerce and business get bigger and bigger as population expands….from millions to billions to trillions.  While morality degenerates from isolated to regular occurrences…..even among churchmen dressed in white.

    Briefly, this may be difficult for the dreamers to accept, but for the realist, it’s a fact of life.  Dura Veritas Sed Veritas.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XWH5SD6XPM3XKND6PJQQ32ZRAU Mabuhay

    So let us have faith in DIVORCE LAW! Ipasa na ito, long overdue na, 92% na ang YES sa PDI survey yeheeeeeeeeeey!!!!!!!! Calling all senators and congressmen, nothing to worry about now, people are behind you. di kayo mawawalan ng boto, this is your time to make something right Kakalimutan muna namin ang mga kurakot ninyo basta maipasa lang ito…..

  • shots_fired

    I don’t believe in Christmas, God’s Disciples does not commemorate or celebrate it. Why Should i? Besides it’s origin are of pagan origins. Catholic Priest and bishops you are all full of lies and deceit.!!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZA5INZ7BBS6VEFCJW5VK366KCA jun

      You are entitled to your own belief. You don’t have to speak ill of others. Just profess your own faith or none of it. You are respected as you should also respect others. Your toxic language only poisons your self. Take it easy. May peace be with you. 

  • Filpino

    hehe ang daming inggit na inggit sa mga katoliko. sige lumuwa mata nyo sa inggit hehehe..

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