Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines
Damdaming Katoliko sa Teolohiya
Message from the President
It’s been twenty years since DaKaTeo was founded in 2002 as an association of professionally trained theologians who envision a “just and inclusive church and society.” By engaging in theological research and discussions on intra and extra ecclesial issues that call for enlightenment and critical analysis, the association has encouraged social and ecclesial praxes that dialogue with varied contexts, disciplines, social movements, and faith traditions from a liberative perspective.
Through the years, DaKaTeo has addressed many “signs of the times” in the Philippines and globally, through various theological conferences and public theology statements. While fostering a “writing culture” among theologians, DaKaTeo has fostered a sense of camaraderie, fellowship, and solidarity among the members in their individual and group endeavors.
Notwithstanding its contribution to relevant and liberationist theological research, the members ask themselves: How have our voices been heard, dialogued, and collaborated with the larger people of God, including the episcopal hierarchy and the pastoral leaders and communities at various levels?
The members are individuals who are prominent in theological scholarship and leadership, yet it is also asked how they, as an organized community, have made an impact in the Philippine church and society that they seek to serve? Moreover, the members are still relatively few, especially among women theologians, young scholars, and non-theological scholars who are engaging in questions about church and Christian living.
These are some of the challenges facing DaKaTeo today. But there is also a bigger horizon where DaKaTeo’s vision and mission continue to be tested.
In January 2022, DaKaTeo took a big risk by publicly coming out with a statement that supported the candidacy of Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo as President of the Philippines. It is the first time DaKaTeo decided to be overtly partisan in a political process in an “extraordinary” time in the nation’s history by supporting a particular political candidate. While the position of the association was met with appreciation and support, it also received criticism (also within the association) and public online bashing and ridicule by voters who supported other candidates.
Emmanuel S. de Guzman
President, 2021 – 2023
24 June 2022
The collective discernment undertaken by DaKaTeo concerning the elections took in mind that the problems and challenges facing the nation are beyond Robredo and electoral politics.
The resultant victory of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte surprised if not shocked the Catholic church, particularly its leaders. One church leader described this victory as a “slap on the face” as it raised crucial questions whereby the Church has lost its influence as a moral guide in Filipino society.
The collective discernment undertaken by DaKaTeo concerning the elections took in mind that the problems and challenges facing the nation are beyond Robredo and electoral politics. These include the prevalent problems of poverty, corruption, political and different forms of social injustices, and most especially the culture of disinformation and fake news that has torn the social fabric of the nation. It was hoped that a Robredo presidency would encourage or inspire the citizenry, the Christians included, to craft a society that is free from lies, corruption, and unjust social and economic relationship.
These internal and external backdrops have posed challenges for DaKaTeo in the coming years. In particular, the upcoming conference in November 10 to 12, 2022, raises the question as to whether or not, and how, the religious faith of Filipinos engages in social transformation. Capping the end of the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, and in light of the discernment process on the Synodal Church, the November conference is an attempt to move forward by accepting first the bright and sad realities of the Church in its soci0-political engagement, and discerning the paths for the future, especially for the theologians amidst the social problems of the nation.