National Consultation of BEC Promoters on the Social Concern of Basic Ecclesial Communities in the Philippines
Tagaytay, June 18-21 1996
Statement on BEC
… We come from various archdiocese, dioceses and religious congregations, from different social development agencies and Church-based organizations. Despite the apparent diversity that initially seemed to polarize us, we now recognize and humbly admit that there is more than unites than divides us in our vision and comprehension, in our concerns and commitments to the birth and growth of BECs in our country.
Listening to one another’s experiences on BECs, some having implemented it these past thirty years, and others, having literally shed tears and blood to uphold it, we now profess our shared understanding of BECs.
- It is the basic ecclesial unit of the parish and diocesan communities, the majority of whom are poor, the Church at the very roots.
- It gives direction to the local Churches’ mission to evangelize and be evangelized, the “new way of being Church.”
- As a source of direction, the BEC requires a process that respects our people’s journey in faith and spiritual heritage, utilizing the dialogue of the Gospel and the human situation and the promotion of Kingdom values in the light of their day-to-day struggles – all these for the preservation and promotion of human dignity.
- It also employs methodologies and strategies that begin with the faith reflection of the BECs in their situation, discerning the courses of action to take, and allowing fresh experiences of conversion and “paradigm shifts” toward social transformation.
- Its approaches to community organizing and mobilization, to formation and education, to promotion and development very well support the call of PCP II for integral, renewed Evangelization.
Consequently, we see BECs not just as organizations although the include critical task of organizing. They are not specialized or particular ministries, although they contain all kingly, priestly and prophetic ministries for their total edification. They are not movements, even if some of them are started by members of movements. In fact, they are to direct such transparochial communities or movements and support the New Evangelization of the local Churches. BECs are also not just mere programs, although they have to be programmed to guide the thrust of our pastoral programs of the parish and diocese. Lastly, they are not just approaches and strategies even if they need to employ varying approaches and methods of organizing and formation.
Indeed, the BEC phenomenon in the Philippines, inspired by the early Christian communities and later by Vatican II, is a concrete realization of a renewed Church, a community of disciples living in communion, participating in the mission of Christ, and the Church of the Poor.
BECs also affirm John Paul II’s assertion that they are “forces of evangelization, signs of vitality within the Church, an instrument of formation and evangelization, a solid starting point for a new society based on the ‘civilization of love’ … and source of new ministries.” (Redemptoris Mission 51).
We… affirm the reality that the BECs are one of the true key agents bringing about a Renewed Church, a Church of the Poor and a transformed Philippine society.
We also strongly affirm and recognize the indispensable role of ecclesiastical leadership and support in the promotion and development of BECs in the local Church;
Finally, we affirm our collaborative efforts to extend our support in the promotion, formation and development of BECs.