Thirty Years after the Council:
The Catholic Church in the Philippines’ Reception of PCP II and Remembrance of Martial Law
Mr. Kenjie CORTEZ
Ateneo de Manila University
2021 was a momentous event for the Catholic Church in the Philippines as it commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II). Nonetheless, the following year was in no way inconsequential because it marked both thirty years since the promulgation of the Council’s Decrees and fifty years since the declaration of martial law. While one may find this a sheer coincidence, one must not forget that the country’s martial law experience profoundly shaped PCP II’s vision of renewal for the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Needless to say, in assessing the reception of PCP II, one must look into not only the Church’s advancements ad intra but also the issues ad extra – both of which affect the course of renewal in the Catholic Church in the Philippines. With the election of the dictator’s son and namesake to the presidency in 2022, one may wonder if the country’s collective memory of its recent past has anything to do with the extent of renewal in the Catholic Church in the Philippines and vice versa. If PCP II’s central ecclesiology – becoming a Church of the Poor – was influenced by the dark years of martial law and the socio-economic consequences those years engendered, how crucial would it be for the Church to work not only for renewal but also safeguard the nation’s history? Given this, an exposition of the possible sources of PCP II’s vision of a Church of the Poor will help both in strengthening the local Church’s resolve in advancing for renewal and preserving the country’s tragic but defining past.
Keywords: Catholic Church in the Philippines, PCP II, Church of the Poor, Martial Law, Post-Martial Law
Kenjie I. Cortez is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at the Loyola School of Theology. He is also a lecturer at the Department of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. His research interests include Vatican II, PCP II, local Church, and Church of the Poor ecclesiology.