…On any list of the most consequential Catholic nations today, the Philippines would easily finish in the top five, and there’s a good case to be made that it’s #1.
It’s the third largest Catholic nation on earth, and unlike its two larger peers, Brazil and Mexico, its levels of faith and practice remain robust. For another, given the swelling Filipino diaspora, in a staggering number of places today, from the Arabian Peninsula to Malaysia, Hong Kong, and beyond, often the most dynamic pockets of Catholic life are populated by enthusiastic Filipino ex-pats. …
Today, the Catholic Church in the Philippines is in crisis.
The crisis isn’t primarily self-generated, the result of an abuse scandal or financial meltdown or theological controversy. Instead, it’s the product of the deeply polarized reactions to the country’s new leader, President Rodrigo Duterte.
He only took office June 30, but one certainly can’t accuse Duterte of having presided over a slow first 100 days. He ran on a get-tough platform on crime, and as president he’s launched probably the most lethal anti-drug campaign the world has ever seen.