Our Way Forward

What Does It Mean To Be 'Church' Today

What does it mean to be Church today? The answer, argues Dr Cornelio, lies in recognizing the new normal for what it really is.


Jayeel Cornelio, PhD

Jayeel Cornelio, PhD is Associate Professor and the Director of the Development Studies Program at the Ateneo de Manila University where he also holds the 2019-2020 Oscar R. Ledesma Professorial Chair. He is also the associate editor of the journal Social Sciences and Missions (published by Brill).

Dr Cornelio has written extensively on religious issues with respect to youth, politics, and development. His publications have appeared in leading journals in the field, including Social Compass, Religion, State & Society, and Politics, Religion & Ideology. He is the author of Being Catholic in the Contemporary Philippines: Young People Reinterpreting Religion (2016), which the Journal of World Christianity has featured in a book symposium (2018). He is the editor of Rethinking Filipino Millennials: Alternative Perspectives on a Misunderstood Generation (2020) and lead editor of the Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society (2021).

For his scholarship, Dr Cornelio received two national awards: the Virginia A. Miralao Excellence in Research Award from the Philippine Social Science Council (2015) and the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology (2017). He received the PhD in sociology from the National University of Singapore under a doctoral grant from the Asia Research Institute and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.

What does it mean to be Church today? The answer, argues Dr Cornelio, lies in recognizing the new normal for what it really is. Speaking as a sociologist of religion, Dr Cornelio proposes that the new normal is about loss. From economic recession to unnecessary deaths, loss has become the narrative of many Filipinos for whom grief is the only appropriate response. And yet congregations fail to confront the new reality because their eyes are still on the old normal. In a counterintuitive manner, Dr Cornelio explains how grief is the way forward for religious life: to process our emotions, grieve together, and reestablish hope.


Our Way Forward

Our Way Forward is a series of analysis, speculations, and projections on the ways that the COVID crisis will shape our future, and the resilient systems we should build in its aftermath.

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