Bishop reveals shrinking Catholic population in Batanes

MANILA, March 2, 2012— Catholicism is facing a decline in Batanes province which is located at the country’s northernmost tip, a Catholic bishop said.

Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio said the number of Catholics in his prelature is decreasing due to migration to cities to seek a better life.

“In this time of modern technology, people would like to progress and they see it in television and so of course they are attracted to a different type of life,” said Gregorio.

But Gregorio, who is set to celebrate his 25th episcopal anniversary on March 29, did not elaborate on the rate of the decline.

Batanes province, located in the Luzon Straight between the islands of Luzon and Taiwan, has a population of around 16,000, with 95 percent Catholics.

About 75 percent of Batanes residents are farmers and fishermen. The rest, he said, are employed in the government and services sector.

“So many of them are really looking for greener pastures in other places like Metro Manila,” Gregorio said. “We are (Catholics) really decreasing because of migration.” [CBCPNews]