BECs: The Shape of the Church to Come

In a book  which he wrote almost 40 years ago entitled “The Shape of the Church to Come,” Karl Rahner made a prediction: “The church in the future will be one built from below by basic communities as a result of free initiative and association. We should make every effort not to hold up this development, but to promote it and direct it on the right lines.”

I believe that the future that Rahner predicted is already a reality in many parishes and dioceses in the Philippines and other countries. As I ran & walked across the Philippines last summer,  I became aware of the extent of the spread of BECs in our country. From Mindanao, across Eastern Visayas, Norther Luzon, Central Luzon, the Cordilleras, and up to Aparri, I learned that BECs are spreading in different forms, shapes and stages of development. While attending BEC gatherings in Surigao, Lingayen and Kalookan recently I was pleasantly surprised to see that BECs are thriving not only in rural areas but also urban areas.  Of course, not everything is rosy.  There are BECs that are struggling to be born, needing the support of the clergy. There are BECs that have stagnated and needs to be revitalized. Still, there are many signs of hope. There are many wonderful stories about BECs that needs to be told and documented.

There is much to be done. The promotion of BECs which started over 40 years ago continue. Much has been accomplished over the years, yet more effort is required to realize the vision of a renewed Church promoted by Vatican II almost 50 years ago and PCP II twenty years ago.