November 18th, 2013
08:18 AM ET

Religion as solace in the Philippines

Tacloban City, The Philippines (CNN) - The day after the typhoon, the Rev. Edwin Bacaltos stepped out of the compound of the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in central Tacloban and began his work.

The scene was one of unspeakable horror. Dead bodies were strewn all over the place. The debris of shattered buildings and their contents filled the street.

Bacaltos' self-appointed task that day was to bless the bodies that lay scattered around his parish.

"It was difficult for me," he said. "It was a really emotional experience."

The next day, he said, "When I celebrated the Eucharist, I broke down because of all the suffering I had seen."

Hundreds of survivors were taking refuge in the church compound, much of which withstood Super Typhoon Haiyan's ferocious winds and destructive storm surge.

Many of them asked the pastor how God could let such a calamity befall this predominantly Catholic city.

His response, he said, was to tell them that "God is not the cause of the suffering. God cannot prevent this. This is the work of nature."

But why it had to happen to Tacloban and its more than 200,000 residents, Father Bacaltos acknowledged, is "difficult to explain."

As the people who remain in this broken city attempt to come to terms with the catastrophe that engulfed them a week ago, religion is offering a degree of solace for some of those who have suffered incalculable losses.

It's also providing basic elements of community and support to residents of an area where local government ceased to fully function for several days and is still only slowly sputtering back into action.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Death • Faith • Foreign policy • Philippines

soundoff (1,313 Responses)
  1. billy vidal

    tthe typhoon in phillipines is the example of the GOD are againts to catholics religion,,, look at the victim,,,, this is means to abbandoned that false religion ,,, meaning of that funishment are to change the rules and las,,,, the right teacher of religion now are the hebrew,, because this is the only religion with connection to the god ang after the finish of funishment this religion are the distributerr of longevity treatment and fountain of youth,,, and this is real because all the key are in our hand

    November 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  2. Truth

    James 1:13 When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.

    Mankind took himself from under God's protective hand with the rebellion in Eden. With that rebellion Adam and Eve said that they didn't needs God's help in their lives, that they could live successfully with out His help. God's son Jesus Christ showed that he could control the weather when facing shipwreck at Mark 4:35-41. This lets us know that he can and will protect us when God's Kingdom takes over the daily affairs of men in the coming future. Our goal should be to be sheep like when this message comes to our door and make God's heart rejoice each day. Proverbs 27:11. http://www.JW.org

    November 29, 2013 at 7:46 am |
  3. Science Works

    Here what the church/bishops did to help. but there is a link at bottom if you can help.

    No gods needed to give.

    And the pope tweeted to pray he should of tweeted send water or money maybe.

    While at least $300 million has been pledged by nations around the world to help survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines, a billion-dollar non-government organization, has responded to the disaster by sending 1,000 bibles and 12,000 rosaries to survivors, according to CBS News. Additionally, the Pope tweeted for Catholics to pray for the typhoon
    victims. His message was retweeted 30,000 times.


    November 28, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  4. Kate

    Here's important Prophecy about THE ILLUMINATION OF CONSCIENCE predicted by Virgin Mary in Garabandal in 1961. It will take place soon to save the world.


    To prove to all that God exists.
    To bring everyone back to Jesus and the way of the truth.
    To dilute the impact of sin and evil in the world through conversion.
    To help save us before the final day of judgement by giving us a chance to ask for forgiveness for the sins we have committed.
    To convert non-believers who would have no chance of redemption without this great act of mercy.
    To strengthen the faith of believers.


    Every one over the age of 7 will experience a private mystical encounter with Jesus Christ which will last anything up to 15 minutes
    It is a gift from God the Father to convert people back to the truth. It is how the Final Day of Judgement will unfold only this time you will not be condemned. Instead you will be given a chance to ask for forgiveness.
    Two comets will collide in the sky.
    People will believe it to be catastrophic worse than an earthquake But it is not – it is a sign that Jesus has come.
    The sky will turn red it will look like a fire & then you will see a large cross in the sky to prepare you first.
    Atheists will say it was a global illusion. Scientists will look for a logical explanation but there won’t be one.
    It will be spectacular and will not hurt us because it comes as an act of Love and Mercy from Jesus.
    Our sins will be shown to us and this will make us feel tremendous sorrow and shame when they are revealed to us. Others will be so sickened and shocked by the way in which their sins will be revealed that they will drop dead before they have a chance to ask for forgiveness.

    Everyone will see the state of their soul before God – the good they have done in their lives, the grief they have inflicted on others and all that which they failed to do.
    Many people will fall down and cry tears of relief. Tears of joy and happiness. Tears of wonder and love.
    For, at last, it will be possible to live a new life thereafter when we know the full truth.
    Jesus is now asking everyone to pray for those souls who will die of shock who may be in mortal sin. Everyone needs to prepare now. Jesus asks that all ask for the forgiveness of their sins in advance of The Warning.

    More info and Prophecies for all of us – http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com

    November 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • igaftr

      Throw this on the pile of other failed "prophecies".

      November 25, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And fortune tellers continue to wreak stupidity upon the world !!!!

      November 26, 2013 at 7:42 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.