THE POPE is hoping that his visit to Manila in
November to attend an episcopal conference of Far Eastern Catholic bishops, before he goes on to Australia, will help to stimulate vocations to the priesthood in the Philippines, where there is a shortage of clergy. With 27,769,709 Catholics-82.48 per cent. of the population--the Philippines is the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia. But there is an average of one priest for 5,865 Catholics, and only about half of the clergy are directly involved in. parish work. The increase in priests tends to fall behind the population increase.
Many Filipino Catholics are still largely ignorant and at times religion becomes superstition, but the proportion of practising Catholics is relatively high. A recent survey showed that more than 45 per cent. of Catholics in the Manila archdiocese attend Sunday Mass.
New Vatican museum
THE Vatican is going modern, at least on the building side. A long, low curved concrete and dark glass creation now houses three important collections of exhibits assembled over the last couple of centuries--the Vatican Museum of Antiques, founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1843, the Museum of Christian Antiques, founded by Pius IX in 1854, and the Missionary and Ethnological Museum, founded by Pius XI after a Vatican Missionary Exposition held in 1924-1926.
These collections were previously in the Lateran Palace, attached to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Pope's "cathedral" as Bishop of Rome, but they had to be transferred to make way for the new headquarters of the Rome Vicariate, under the Vicar-General, Cardinal Angelo dell'Acqua. The new building is light and spacious. One of its architects, Signor Lucio Passarelli, said it has been designed so that as many as possible of the exhibits can be kept permanently on view instead of having to be put in storerooms periodically to make room for others.
THE big changeover in direction at Rome's Pontifical Urban College of Propaganda Fide takes place on July 1. Fr. John Manning, 43, American Maryknoll missionary priest from Boston, becomes Rector, succeeding 71-yearold Mgr. Felice Cenci, an Italian, who resigned after being Rector for 23 years. For the past 13 years, Fr. Manning has been an official of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (formerly the Propagation of the Faith), which controls the. Church's vast missionary activities. He has worked closely with the Prefect, 74-year-old Cardinal Gregory Peter Agagianian. Propaganda Fide comes under the Congregation's direction. It has 240 theological students from 40 mission countries.
Also leaving is the present Vice-Rector, Dr. Patrick Dougherty, an Australian. He is returning to Sydney to become secretary of the Australian Episcopal Conference's national secretariat. He will be on hand for the Pope's visit to Sydney next November. Two new vice-rectors have been appointed, one another Australian, Fr. James Briglia, 40, of the Melbourne Archdiocese. He is at present at St. Peter's College Rome, which is also run by Propaganda Fide. The other is Fr. Philippe Tran-vani-Hoai 40, of the Archdiocese of Hue, South Vietnam. He is also at St. Peter's. They will take up their appointments on September 1.