Catholic Church Losing Members

MANILA, Philippines --- The Catholic Church is losing some of its faithful to charismatic movements, retired Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani admitted on Monday.

The prelate said some of the faithful now prefer going to Catholic charismatic movements instead of the church mainly due to the lively speeches of the preachers.

"You'll notice that even if the speeches of these preachers are long, the people are awake but when we (priests) are giving long homilies the people are asleep," Bacani said in his speech during the 6th National Charismatic Congress at the SMX Convention Center of Mall of Asia in Pasay City last week.

"Although that's not always the case, and it doesn't mean that they are excluding the church, it's just that they find it more attractive," he told reporters in a separate interview later.

Bacani said this can be easily observed in the gatherings of El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde.

"You'll notice that in the people attending El Shaddai, Soldiers of Christ and the gathering of Brother Bo Sanchez. A lot of people really attend these gatherings," said the spiritual adviser of El Shaddai.

But Bacani said they don't find the situation alarming, adding that it's more of an "eye opener" for them to change their way of preaching.

"It's not alarming. I think it draws our attention for us to change the way we deliver our homilies, make them livelier," he said.

"There is a need for priests to have that kind of spirituality supporting their ministry of preaching, to study the Bible and how to effectively communicate it to the people," Bacani said.

There are 93 million Filipinos in the country with an estimated 80 percent belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.