CBCP Monitor Vol14 n13
- DepEd sued over sex education
- Poor economy blamed for low enrollment in Catholic schools
- Archbishop Cruz asks Aquino to abolish Pagcor
- Residents file class suit vs 3 mining firms, DENR
- Bishop, poll watchdog call for independent probe of May 10 polls
Benedict XVI calls for •A3 ‘more profound knowledge’ of the Eucharist
‘The Priesthood ... Is •B1 not Simply Office, but Sacrament’
The News Supplement for Couples for Christ
Bishop Soc to Aquino: Oppose casino gambling
ARCHBISHOP Socrates Villegas on Monday has made his first public appeal for Presidentelect Benigno Aquino III: stop the opening of more casinos. In a pastoral letter dated June 14 but was released to the media today, Villegas, known to be close with the Aquino family, said that gaming is not in the country’s best interests. He said it’s imperative for the incoming administration to provide alternatives to boosting economy that will not cost the country the
Bishop Soc / A6
CBCP official credits GMA for abolishing death penalty
AN official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) has credited outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for having abolished the death penalty in the country’s justice system. Aside from abolishing the death penalty, ECPPC executive secretary Rodolfo Diamante also acknowledged Arroyo’s support to legislaGMA / A6
June 21 - July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
DepEd sued over sex education
By Melo Acuña
PARENTS led by a lawyer of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines have filed a class suit against the education department in response to new sex education program for public schools.
Atty. Jo Imbong, CBCP Legal Office executive secretary, said the implementation of the foreign-funded program was unconstitutional and violates parents’ rights to be responsible for the development of their children’s moral character. Together with representatives of Catholic political party Ang Kapatiran, Imbong went to court on June 21 seeking to stop the pilot testing of the program funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Adolescent Reproductive Health program, to be integrated in regular subjects including science and health, English, mathematics, and physical education, will be pilot tested in 80 elementary and 79 secondary schools. Imbong said she filed the case in behalf of 30 concerned parents who strongly opposed the sex education plan. Named respondents in the case were Education Secretary Mona Valisno and Undersecretary Ramon Bacani, among others. ‘Contraceptive imperialism’ Imbong, a candidate of the Ang Kapatiran
DepEd / A6
Poor economy blamed for low enrollment in Catholic schools
AS millions of elementary pupils and high school students trooped to their respective schools today, Catholic schools have continued to suffer from declining enrolment. Msgr. Gerardo Santos, President of both the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and Manila Archdiocesan Parochial Schools Association said the decline was anchored on the economic difficulties suffered by Filipino families. “Whenever Catholic schools increase their tuition fees, a significant number of parents would opt to transfer their children to public schools,” Santos said. He also said Catholic schools noted an increase in their dropout rates until last year. The school executive hoped the decline in enrolment would be arrested soon as the government plans to increase its funds for its servicecontracting scheme. Santos said Catholic schools suffer from teachers’ exodus to public schools due to higher-paying and lighter routines. Hardest hit by decline in enrolment are parochial and mission schools. He defined parochial schools as those operated by the parishes under the supervision of its respective directors and the local ordinaries (bishops and archbishops) while mission schools are the ones operated and supervised by religious congregations in remote areas. “There are a few Catholic schools experiencing an increase in enrolment due to their location and parents’ capacity to support their children’s Catholic education,” he added. Educational Service Contracting He said there are parochial and mission schools surviving on the government-sponsored Educational Service Contracting (ESC) scheme which provides financial support to poor but deserving students in far-flung areas. “We are optimistic President Benigno Aquino will fulfill his campaign promise to increase the ESC scheme while phasing out the Educational Voucher System,” he explained. He said the Educational Service Contracting scheme provides public schools some breathing space by sending beneficiaries to Catholic schools instead of enrolling them in already crowded
Poor / A6
CBCP-ECFL chairman and San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto (2nd from right) is joined by (from L-R) Human Life International–Asia/Oceania director Dr. Ligaya Acosta, CBCP lawyer Jo Imbong, and Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias in exposing some inappropriate contents of the sex education modules being promoted by the Department of Education, June 21, 2010.
Bishop, poll watchdog call for independent probe of May 10 polls
Residents file class suit vs 3 mining firms, DENR
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Archbishop Cruz asks Aquino to abolish Pagcor
ARCHBISHOP Oscar Cruz urged President-elect Aquino to abolish the staterun gambling firm Philippine Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) for bringing havoc to the country. Cruz, a known anti-gambling crusader, said Pagcor’s so-called social objective only breeds corruption whenever it rakes in millions from private citizens and public officials. He said the gambling firm failed and does not enrich the nation or generate wealth for the country. Instead, Cruz claimed, it simply impoverishes its own so-called patrons, clients, or customers. “On bended knees I would want to ask the incoming administration to get rid of Pagcor especially as a government corporation because all the money that Pagcor earns are taken from the pocket of people and gambling capitalists never loses because the odds are always against the gamblers,” he
Pagcor / A6
ENVIRONMENTAL CLASS SUIT VS. MINING. Hundreds of streamer-bearing residents of Barangay Anislagan, Placer, Surigao del Norte trooped to the Hall of Justice to file a class suit for mandamus against three mining firms and the DENR-Caraga for violating local ordinances banning mining in the barangay and town, which has been identified as a protected watershed area.(Photo supplied by LRC-KSK/FoE)
SIMPLE barangay folks, mostly farmers who derived livelihood from the land, have filed an environmental class suit against three mining companies and the Environment department for violation of a local ordinance that ban mineral exploration in their locality in Surigao del Norte. Hundreds of residents of Barangay Anislagan in the municipality of Placer, Surigao del Norte who belonged to the Anislagan Bantay Kalikasan Task Force, Inc. (ABAKATAF) stormed the Hall of Justice
Tuesday and filed an injunction for mandamus against Manila Mining Corp. (MMC), Kalayaan Copper Gold Resources (KCGR) and Silangan Mindanao Mining, Inc. (SMMC). Also included in the charge sheet were some top officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Caraga Region, said Ma. Zherwinah B. Mosqueda, team leader of the Cagayan de Oro City office of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center- Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the EarthPhilippines ( LRC-KsK/FoE-Phils). In their 14-page complaint,
ABAKATAF said the DENRCaraga issued exploration permits (EPs) to the three mining companies despite the community’s strong opposition. ABAKATAF, which has been in the forefront in the struggle against all forms of mining in their area for more than a decade, feared that mining activities will affect their farms and will have adverse impact on Anislagan’s forest areas and water sources. Mosqueda, in a statement, said that ABAKATAF included
Residents / A6
A CATHOLIC bishop has joined calls for the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to form an independent body to assess the just-concluded automated elections. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo along with other conveners of the Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) made the appeal in a letter sent to the House committee. “The panel (should) be constituted with competent individuals of established probity and mandated with proper and adequate support to conduct a thorough review and evaluation of the technical, procedural, and other aspects of the automated election system used in May 2010,” part of the letter read. Aside from Bishop Pabillo, AESWatch’s letter was signed by conveners Alfredo Pascual, president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association; CenPEG vice-chair Dr. Temario Rivera; and Dr. Rachel Roxas, dean of the De La Salle University College of Computer Studies. Pabillo chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action- Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). AES Watch expressed concern over the “many technical and procedural glitches which tend to put into question the overall validity of COMELEC’s claim” that its system worked “perfectly” “and that the poll automation glitches were due mostly to human intervention resulting in procedural errors.” The broad, multi-sectoral poll watchdog said the May 10 voter turnout is way below Comelec’s forecast of 85 percent, and “could be the lowest” compared with previous presidential elections. The group added the technical and procedural problems resulted in long queues and inconveniences that discouraged many voters from voting. “The magnitude of voter disenfranchisement could be bigger if the significant number of rejected ballots is considered,” it said. It asserted that the important question to answer is “if and how the AES enhanced the exercise of voters’ rights and whether it provided fair, transparent, and credible elections.” “Prudence,” the AES Watch signatories
Bishop / A6
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
June 21 - July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
Pope: Candidates for priesthood do not think of security in life or social positions
VATICAN NEWS, June 20, 2010—“The priesthood can never be a way to achieve security in life or to gain a position in society”. This was Benedict XVI’s stern warning to priests as he conferred the sacrament of Holy Orders on 14 deacons from the diocese of Rome today in St Peter’s basilica. The concept is not new to the Pope’s teaching, and was repeated later, before the Angelus prayer, after which he also appealed that “peace and security will soon be restored in southern Kyrgyzstan” and recalled the World Refugee Day celebrated today. The real way to be priest was thus indicated by Benedict XVI, inspired by the Gospel episode of “St Peter’s confession” from that “you are the Christ of God,” which made Simon the first of the apostles. Commenting on Jesus’ reply, “that being a disciple means “losing oneself”, but only to fully rediscover oneself (cf. Lk 9.22-24),” Benedict warns that “ the man who aspires to the priesthood to enhance his personal prestige and power has misunderstood the meaning at the root of this ministry. The man who wants above all to achieve a personal ambition, achieve personal success, will always be a slave to himself and public opinion. In order to be considered, he will have to flatter; to say what people want to hear, he will have to adjust to changing fashions and opinions and thus deprive himself of the vital relationship with the truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he would praise today. A man who plans his life like this, a priest who sees his ministry in these terms, does not truly love God and others, only himself and, paradoxically, ends up losing himself. The priesthood—let us always remember—rests on the courage to say yes to another will, in the awareness, to be nurtured every day, that our compliance with the will of God, our “immersion” in this will, does not cancel our originality, rather on the contrary, it helps us enter deeper into the truth of our being and our ministry. “ “We too,” he said later, after the celebration, before the Angelus, addressing the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter’s Square, “can know God through faith in his Word and Sacraments, Jesus invites us to follow Him every day and also reminds us that to be his disciples we must take upon ourselves the power of his Cross, the culmination of our goods and the crown of our hope.” First, addressing the newly ordained, Benedict XVI stressed that “the central one task of the priest is the celebration of the Eucharist.”You are entrusted the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, you are entrusted his body given his bloodshed”. “We pray to the Lord to give you an ever vigilant and enthusiastic consciousness of this gift, which is at the centre of your being priests! So that he may give you the grace to be able to experience in depth all the beauty and strength of this and at the same time your priestly service, the grace to live this ministry with consistency and generosity every day.” Even in our days, he said later during the Angelus “there are many Christians in the world, inspired by love for God, who take up the cross every day, the cross of daily trials, and the cross procured by human barbarity, which sometimes requires the courage of the ultimate sacrifice.” Extending his gaze to the tragedies of today’s world, the Pope, after the Angelus, launched an “urgent call for peace and security” to “be restored soon in southern Kyrgyzstan”. “To the relatives of victims and those suffering from this tragedy he continued - I express my heartfelt closeness and assure you of my prayers. I also invite all ethnic communities in the country to renounce violence or any provocation and ask the international community to work so that humanitarian aid quickly reaches the affected populations”. Finally today’s celebration of the UN World Refugee Day was also remembered, “to draw attention to the problems of those who have been forced to leave their land families, and customs arriving in environments that are often very different . The refugees want to find acceptance and be recognized in their dignity and their fundamental rights, at the same time, they want to offer their contribution to the society that welcomes them. Let us pray - he concluded – so that in a just reciprocity, we may respond adequately to this expectation and that they may show the respect they nurture for the identity of the communities that receive them.” (AsiaNews)
Cuban bishops working to secure papal visit in 2012
HAVANA, Cuba, June 18, 2010—The Catholic bishops of Cuba have expressed their hope that Pope Benedict will visit the island nation in 2012. Bishop of Holguin Emilio Aranguren commented, “it’s our hope, our interest, that the Pope come to Cuba in the year 2012… It’s up to the Holy See.” The bishop spoke at a briefing on the activities of Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s secretary for Relations with States, who is in Havana to mark Catholic Social Week. According to the Associated Press, Bishop Aranguren said the visit had nothing to do with a possible papal visit. In 1998 Pope John Paul II made the first papal visit to Cuba. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, visited in 2008. The year 2012 marks the 400th anniversary of the discovery of a small wooden statue of the Virgin Mary which has become an object of veneration on the island, the Associated Press reports. In 1612 three men from the eastern copper mining town of El Cobre found the statue floating off the coast. It was labeled “I am the Virgin of Charity.” Under the title “Our Lady of Charity,” St. Mary was declared patron saint of Cuba in 1916. Cuban political dissidents have hoped that Archbishop Mamberti’s visit could lead to freedom for more political prisoners or more prison transfers for those held far from their families. Bishop Aranguren said that the archbishop will likely meet with President Raul Castro before he leaves on Sunday but has no plans to meet with dissidents. (CNA)
Asian bishops’ conference laments exploitation of women
HONG KONG, June 17, 2010—The East Asia Bishops’ Institute on Lay Apostolate is highlighting the need for more help for victims of sexual harassment and human trafficking, as well as more awareness of how society exploits the woman’s sexuality. The recommendations come at the end of the institute’s May conference on the woman, co-organized by the Office of Laity and Family of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and Taiwan’s episcopal conference. The conference, which took place in the Diocese of Hsinchu, Taiwan, had as its theme “Mary, Truly A Woman of Our Times.” The meeting drew over 100 participants from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau and Taiwan, the organizers reported, and included laypeople, religious, bishops and priests. A final statement from the meeting said the gathering took place “to encourage the Church to look at Mary as a woman who lived through many of the trying situations that women experience today, and to encourage them to draw strength and inspiration from her as Mary has a universal message for all Christian disciples today.” The discussions brought participants to “a deeper sensitivity of women’s plight and an urgent need for all men and women to follow Mary’s model of femininity (recovering the femininity of God), virginity (filled with the Spirit closely following God’s Word), and maternity (nurturing life through work for peace and justice).” In the statement, the institute lamented “the impact of the modern-day work culture on people—causing stress and conflict in families; resulting in the destruction of the family system, where young women do not want to marry and start a family,” and “in the neglect of human dignity seen in the commoditization of the human person in mistreatment of migrant workers, exploitation of women’s sexuality in the entertainment and advertising industry, abortion, and human trafficking.” The participants suggested that Asian churches should support victims of sexual harassment as well as create awareness on sexuality in the Church for both men and women; help to restore the sacredness of women’s bodies and sexuality from its devaluation in popular culture; and to raise awareness and consciousness of women’s issues through the small Christian communities. (Zenit)
© Yahoo! News
US bishops encourage diocesan relief effort for gulf oil spill victims
WASHINGTON D.C., June 20, 2010— In response to the recent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that has ravaged wildlife and decimated seafaring jobs for many in the area, the U.S. bishops have started diocesan wide network relief efforts and encouraged Catholics to respond. Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, Georgia, who serves as bishop promoter of the Apostleship of the Sea—which provides spiritual assistance for seafarers—urged Catholics to participate in the efforts already underway by the Church to address the disaster. The prelate announced that the Apostleship of the Sea is setting up a network of diocesan relief efforts along the Gulf Coast and recommended Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese and New Orleans as a starting place for the faithful to get involved. “It is God’s creation,” Bishop Boland said, speaking of the environment. “He has given it to us to take care of it. We must do all that we can, both as individuals and as a Church and as a community to restore to its proper dimensions and its proper beauty what God has given to us.” Bishop Boland also offered and encouraged prayers for the victims of the oil rig explosion and their families and for all individuals whose livelihoods have been threatened by the spill. He also urged Catholic to pray for the success of relief and clean up efforts. (CNA)
‘Illegal’ Vietnamese priest becomes bishop
HANOI, June 18, 2010—Father John Mary Vu Tat, who was originally made a priest without government approval, has now been ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Hung Hoa diocese. His ordination was celebrated at the Our Lady Immaculate Cathedral in Son Tay on June 15. It was attended by 24 archbishops and bishops, 200 priests and a congregation of 10,000. John Mary Vu Tat started studying for the priesthood in his youth, but the government closed his seminary in 1966. After that, he dug ditches, grew crops, worked as a carpenter, gave basic education to local farmers and served as village secretary for 24 years. At the same time, he secretly studied philosophy and theology, cycling 60 kilometers to his teacher’s house and returning home each night. He was ordained a priest—without government permission—by Bishop Tung of Bac Ninh in April 1987. He obtained a bachelor degree in canon law at the Pontifical University Urbaniana, Rome, in 1997. He served as vice rector of Saint Joseph Major Seminary in Hanoi until his appointment as auxiliary bishop was announced in March. Hung Hoa is northern Vietnam’s largest diocese in terms of territory. It has 63 priests and 202 nuns serving 223,000 Catholics. (UCAN)
Australia’s newest Catholic university to host youth conference
Auxiliary Bishop John Mary Vu Tat blesses parishioners after his ordination
Faith leaders urge aid for starving North Koreans
SEOUL, June 18, 2010—South Korean religious leaders are urging their government to allow humanitarian aid to reach starving people in the North. North Koreans are starving to death through economic hardship and food shortage, said 507 religious leaders in a statement released during a press conference in Seoul on June 17. “We need to reach out to North Koreans by giving humanitarian aid urgently. It will help to bring about reconciliation and a peaceful reunification of the two Koreas,” said the Buddhist, Catholic, Cheondo-gyo, Protestant and Won Buddhist leaders. Cheondo-gyo and Won Buddhism are religions founded in Korea. The religious leaders, members of the Religious Solidarity for Reconciliation and Peace of Korea, urged their government to suspend its policy of non-cooperation and withholding food aid to the North. Since Lee Myung-bak became South Korean president in 2008, his government has forbidden civil groups, including religious institutions, from sending food to the North. All forms of exchange stopped after the South Korean government blamed the North for sinking the Cheonan warship on March 26. In return, North Korea has threatened war with South Korea. The religious leaders called for a summit between the leaders of both nations to break the current impasse. “The leaders need to … discuss further measures for peace on the peninsular including humanitarian aid,” they said. Meanwhile, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) held a prayer meeting in Seoul on June 17 in which they issued the declaration of South Korean Churches for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. (UCAN)
Religious leaders are asking the government to allow humanitarian aid to North Korea
SYDNEY, Australia, June 19, 2010—For the third year running, “Convivio,” a Catholic youth conference which has been held annually around the world since 1977, will take place in Australia. Initiated the by the Christian Life Movement which was founded in Peru, “Convivio” is a congress for Catholic youth which seeks to help them deepen their relationship with the Lord Jesus, with themselves, and with others. June 25 -27 conference, which has the theme, “What are you searching for?” will be held at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney and will play host to hundreds of young people seeking to deepen their faith. Over the course of the weekend, 10th 12th graders will be able to reflect on issues impacting today’s world through talks, discussion groups, Mass, reconciliation, theater, films and games. Conference organizers explain that Convivio aims to produce leaders who are committed evangelizing society and building a civilization of love. It is their hope that participants will eave the congress knowing that God is their source of reference for all that they do. (CNA)
Vol. 14 No. 13
June 21 - July 4, 2010
Benedict XVI calls for ‘more profound knowledge’ of the Eucharist
VATICAN CITY, June 16, 2010—Yesterday evening, Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the diocesan congress of Rome in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The congress, which is being held June 15 to17, has as its theme this year, “‘Their eyes were opened, they recognized Him and announced Him:’ The Sunday Eucharist and the witness of charity.” “The faith,” said the Pope, “can never be taken for granted, because each generation needs to receive this gift through announcement of the Gospel and knowledge of the truth that Christ revealed to us. Thus the Church constantly strives to present the heritage of the faith to everyone. This also includes the doctrine on the Eucharist.” Unfortunately, he continued, this doctrine “is insufficiently understood in its profound significance and in the relevance it has for believers’ lives. It is important, therefore, for people to have a more profound knowledge of the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord.” Speaking about the Mass, the Pontiff explained that “when it is celebrated with respect for liturgical norms, and with adequate attention for the importance of signs and gestures, it favors and promotes the growth of Eucharistic faith.” He encouraged the faithful “to rediscover the fruitfulness of Eucharistic adoration, ... and to ensure that our apostolic activity is not reduced to sterile activism; rather, that it be a testament to the love of God.” “Drawing nourishment from Him, we free ourselves from the bonds of individualism. And through our communion with Him, we ourselves become, all together, a single unit, His mystical Body,” said the Pope. “Thus we overcome the differences due to profession, social class or nationality because we discover that we are all members of one large family, that of the children of God in which each individual is blessed with a specific grace for the common good.” “When we receive Christ,” the Holy Father explained, “the love of God expands inside us, radically modifying our hearts and making us capable of gestures which, by the contagious power of goodness, can transform the lives of people around us.” “For the disciples of Jesus,” he continued, “witness of charity is not some passing sentiment; quite the contrary, it shapes their lives in all circumstances.” The Pope invited those in attendance to show “commitment in the delicate and vital area of education in charity, as a permanent dimension of individual and community life.” “Our city of Rome,” he added, “calls Christ’s disciples to a renewed announcement of the Gospel and to a clearer witness of charity.” He also expressed his gratitude “to the people who work in various charitable structures, for the dedication and generosity with which they serve the poor and marginalized.” The Eucharist “requires us to become, and at the same time makes us capable of becoming, the bread broken for our brothers and sisters, meeting their needs and giving of ourselves. For this reason, a Eucharist celebration that does not lead us towards men and women where they live, work and suffer, to bring them the love of God, fails to express the truth it contains.” “In the present economic and social crisis, let us show solidarity with those who live in poverty, offering everyone the hope of a better tomorrow worthy of mankind,” the Pope concluded. Finally, he encouraged young people not to be afraid “to chose love as the supreme rule of life,.. to love Christ in the priesthood, ... to create Christian families that live a faithful and indissoluble love, open to life.” (CNA/EWTN News)
Eco groups hit Palawan mining ‘midnight deal’
MANILA, June 10, 2010—Environmentalists have demanded transparency from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) even as they accused the government agency of entering into a “midnight deal” with a mining company. Green groups have charged DENR of fast tracking a mining contract in Palawan in favor of MBMI Resources, a mining company that has a stake on a wide area of forested lands in the province that is rich in biodiversity. They claimed the alleged contract is contained in a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) which combines other contracts separately awarded to Narra Nickel Mining and Development Inc. (NNMDC), Tesoro Mining and Development Inc. (TMDI), and McArthur Mining, Inc. (MMI). The smaller mining contracts cover four mining projects located in the municipalities of Rizal, Bataraza and Narra, all in Palawan. Alarmed Fr. Edu Gariguez, Executive Director of the National Secretariat of Social Action of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-NASSA), has expressed alarm on the alleged awarding of contract. “The granting of this latest FTAA in Palawan, if true, goes against the Catholic social teaching of stewardship of the Earth and preferential treatment of the poor,” he said, adding that “given the fragile ecology of Palawan and the opposition of local communities, especially IPs, the mining contract should be rescinded as soon as possible.” The influential Catholic Church in the Philippines has consistently been vocal in its opposition against large-scale mining because of its destructive impact on ecology and livelihood of the people. For his part, Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, an alliance of mining-affected communities and support groups, dared DENR to be transparent and urged it to release documents for perusal. “It is unacceptable that affected communities and the rest of the Filipino people learn about this midnight mining contract from international sources and the mining company, and yet the DENR itself is mum about it,” Garganera said. The groups believed that the FTAA approval will allow MBMI and its Philippine partners to expand in its exploration activities in the province. At least more than 3,200 hectares forested lands rich in biodiversity along Mt. Bulanjao range in southern Palawan will be impacted by mining if pushed through, not to mention the six major rivers that provide water supply to the population. “It is the highest form of irony and hypocrisy that a destructive midnight mining deal was fast-tracked in Palawan, a province that is considered as a global biodiversity hotspot, and host to one of the wonders of the modern world – the St. Paul Subterranean River System,” Garganera lamented. Worst activity Artiso Mandawa, spokesperson for ALDAW/NATRIPAL (Ancestral Land and Domain Watch-Nagkakaisang Tribo ng Palawan), also decried the DENR’s alleged sneaky decision. He lamented that mining has so far brought conflict among the people as it destroys not only the environment but also the cultural values of the people. “Mining is the worst activity of man because it destroys our mother earth; it destroys our livelihood and our Life,” Mandawa said. (CBCPNews)
Pope apologizes for abuse, says priests called to bring God to the world
VATICAN CITY, June 11, 2010— Pope Benedict XVI said the Year for Priests might have been ruined by the clerical sex abuse scandal, but instead became a “summons to purification” in the church. Concelebrating Mass June 11 with some 15,000 priests, the pope said that “the enemy,” Satan, wants to drive God out of the world and opposes those who work to ensure that God is at the side of every man and woman, especially in times of trouble. “And so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light -- particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God’s concern for our good, turns into its very opposite,” the pope said in his homily at the Mass concluding the Year for Priests. The priests, 80 cardinals and 350 bishops and archbishops, who were sitting under the hot sun in St. Peter’s Square, signaled their agreement with the pope’s statement by applauding. The Vatican said that with so many priests vested for Mass and reciting together the key words of the eucharistic prayer with their hands extended toward the altar, the liturgy marked the largest concelebration ever held at the Vatican. Addressing the abuse scandal in his homily, Pope Benedict said the Catholic Church begs forgiveness from God and “from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again.” In admitting men to the seminary and priesthood, he said, “we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers.” The priests and bishops, who turned St. Peter’s Square into a sea of white albs and stoles, were well aware of the scandal and of the shadow of doubt it cast over the Catholic priesthood. But, the pope said, the scandal should make priests grow “in gratitude for God’s gift, a gift concealed in ‘earthen vessels’ which, ever anew, even amid human weakness, makes his love concretely present in this world.” “Let us look upon all that happened as a summons to purification,” the pope said. He then led the priests in the solemn renewal of their priestly promises to be faithful ministers of Christ, working not for their own interests, but for the good of all men and women. Father Paul Daly, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Heywood, England, said, “I think the pope was spot on” in saying the Year for Priests was about thanksgiving and renewal, not shouting the glories of the priesthood. “It wasn’t a triumphalistic celebration, but was calm and reflective,” he said. As for the pope using the Mass to apologize for abuse, Father Daly said, “He says and continues to say from the heart that he is shocked and sorry. The pope would have been pilloried if he hadn’t said anything, but he also needed to apologize for the past and renew the church’s commitment to making the church safe for children.” In his homily, the pope said, “God wants us, as priests in one tiny moment of history, to share his concern about people.” Called to be shepherds, imitating Christ the Good Shepherd, he said, “we are not fumbling in the dark. God has shown us the way and how to walk aright.” When priests, like anyone else, walk through “the dark valleys of temptation, discouragement and trial,” they must remember that God is there, he said. “God personally looks after me, after us, after all mankind. I am not abandoned, adrift in the universe and in a society that leaves me ever more lost and bewildered,” he said. Continuing the work of the Good Shepherd, the pope said, “the church, too, must use the shepherd’s rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray.” The “rod and the staff” help the church exercise its love for people and for their true good, he said. “Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated,” he said. “Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith (is) twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented,” the Pope said. The Year for Priests coincided with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. During the liturgy, Pope Benedict used a chalice that belonged to the saint and was brought to Rome from his former parish in Ars, France.(CNS)
Council of Churches affirms solidarity with RP human rights workers
MANILA, June 11, 2010—The Filipino Human rights workers who attended the 14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council have been invited to speak at the World Council of Churches, also in Geneva. The World Council of Churches (WCC) through its Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA-WCC) has asked the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (EVPHRP) to speak on the country’s human rights situation. WCC is one of the international organizations that issued a statement calling for the release of the 43 health workers arrested on February 6 in Morong, Rizal. The EVPHRP group has gone to Geneva to attend the session of the UN’s Human Rights Council and to formally file their complaint against the Philippine government and military on the illegal arrest and detention of Morong 43. Dr. Mathews George Chunakara, director of CCIA-WCC welcomed the delegation of RP human rights workers led by Fr. Rex Reyes, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of human rights watchdog KARAPATAN. Thanking WCC for its unwavering support to the churches in the Philippines, Reyes said it is essential to speak up in defense of human rights especially in countries “where it seems not to exist” emphasizing the importance to “affirm the church’s self-understanding as being for and with people.” “We do our best to preserve human dignity in that part of the world, conscious of the fact that we are your representatives there. It is an ecumenical task”, Reyes told WCC. The group presented to the council the situation of the detained health workers also known as Morong 43, highlighting their illegal arrest by the military, torture and continuing detention. Atty. Edre Olalia, acting Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and a legal counsel of the Morong 43 discussed the various human rights violations the health workers have experienced which he said afforded solid grounds “for citing the arrest and detention as illegal.” Jigs Clamor, a member of the delegation, and husband of one of the detained health workers recounted the sufferings his family has undergone and still going through while his wife is under detention. He described how the military
The panel of speakers in a round table discussion with members of the World Council of Churches. (Contributed photo)
threatened his wife of reprisals to her family unless she admits her group’s association with New People’s Army. “This is the same story with the families of the other detainees,” Clamor said. The health workers who have been illegally detained at Camp Capinpin since their arrest on February 6 have since been transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa, in Manila. Five of the detainees have turned state wit-
ness amid alleged torture and harassment from military. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, for its part, has also issued a statement expressing grave concern on the continued detention of health workers while calling the illegal arrest as a “seeming lack of regard of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for human rights and the rule of law.” Citing the importance of international pressure, Enriquez
said, “the number of human rights victims in the Philippines shoot up each time nobody is watching.” The delegation also called on WCC general secretary Dr. Olav Fykes Tveit who also reiterated the WCC’s continuing support and interest on the case of Morong 43. The 14th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council began May 31 and ended June 18, 2010. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
Sexualization of children
June 21 - July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
AT press time the Secretary of the Department of Education seem to have stepped back from implementing the sex education curriculum saying “we have decided to hold sex education module in abeyance until a final decision is made on the consulting process.” At first blush that seems to be a happy development. But this is no cause for jubilation for the parents who went out of their way to sue the Education Department. Because, if there is going to be any “consultation process” it will merely be, as perhaps before, a rubber stamp of an aggressive implementation of a curriculum that will allow neither concession nor compromise—despite media statements of the Department to the contrary. The reason why this curriculum is “immutable” is, it is crafted or, better still, dictated, by foreign sponsors that have bundled both content and logistics in one well-funded program. This present sex education curriculum that was supposed to be piloted, or in fact, already implemented in several schools this year carries the content of a sexed curriculum model issued by UNESCO in which five year olds would be literally taught about the pleasures of masturbation. The cover of the sex-ed manual carries the logo of both DepEd and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. There should be an overarching agenda why this seeming obsessive-compulsive behavior of international grand planners seems too overt. They are the same planners that met in Cairo in September 1994 on Population and Development; in Beijing in 1995 on the 4th World Conference on Women; in Davos Switzerland on Climate Change and Tourism UNWTO in 2007 and elsewhere. Whatever the grand plan is, it is troubling to finally realize that these supposedly technocrats stand on a theory that children’s innocence is a myth. Their psychological premise is that children younger than five already know about sex and are sexual “agents”—hence, the logic and necessity of teaching them about sex. This, of course, is not true no matter what modern theorists says—unless, of course, they have already changed human nature in the same fashion that George Soros is famed for changing a financial scenario by mere currency speculation. It is not therefore far-fetched to say that this sex education proposed by the education department will certainly disrupt the natural development of sexual awareness of children by deliberately feeding them more advanced knowledge which is still beyond their realm. This indeed is a form of “sexualizing” the children which in itself is already a form of sexual abuse that may progressively prepare them for physical abuse should any occasion arise.
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season
AFTER a whole night of unsuccessful fishing, during the daytime, at Jesus’ command, Simon Peter lowered his nets into the sea and hauled in a colossal catch of fish. Humbled, astonished and frightened by the unexpected event, Simon Peter fell on his knees in repentance. But Jesus said: “Do not be afraid; henceforth, you will be catching men” (Lk. 5/10). In his biblical context we situate the beginning, development, growth and spread of Bukas Loob sa Diyos (BLD) from eight dreamful couples led by the late Sonny de los Reyes with Fr. Pascual Adorable, S.J. to several thousands of committed and prospective disciples. “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (Jn. 20/21). “Go, and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt. 28/19). The date, twenty-five years ago, when Bukas Loob sa Diyos saw the light of day, was April 16, 1985. There was no stopping the momentum that was started. Within the BLD there developed the institution of its leadership: the Executive Council of Servant Leaders (ECSL), the district Council of Stewards (DCS), the District Servant Leaders (DSL), the formation of Tricords, Shepherds, Teachers, Homesteads and Households, the fruitful holdings of Encounters, Seminars and Word Sharing. We are witnesses to the dedication and unselfish functioning of the fivepronged apostolate: Management, Pastoral, Evangelization, Formation and Mission. In faith we see the hand of God guiding
Bukas Loob sa Diyos
every step in every level of BLD, simply because BLD is “open inwardly to God.” Today the total number of BLD Districts worldwide is 51, made up of Full-Term Districts, 19 Full-Fledged Districts and 23 Districts in Process. They make an average total of almost 5,000 active covenanted and committed disciples and almost 5,000 regular members. To which District do you belong? What specific responsibility or apostolate are you in charge of a member of? As in the human body, as in the mystical Body of Christ, everyone is an important member. What stories of BLD, about BLD, or in BLD do you treasure or remember, which are worth sharing with others? A celebration like this is not complete without thanking God and one another for the stories and experiences of the past in BLD. This are what have made the present BLD. Present also means “gift”. The present BLD is the gift of the historic past of BLD. A celebration like this is also not complete without entrusting the future of BLD. To God as we have expressed in our Vision and Mission Statements. On this occasion, let us remind ourselves of BLD VISION: that we are a communion of reconciled, encountered and renewed individuals, couples and families, each blessed with spiritual, natural, innate or acquired gifts and talents which we freely and fully surrender and offer to God for the building of His Kingdom here on earth.
In and Out / A6
A renewed church
PCP II invites us to renewal in our Church. It is calling us to join in that springtime in the universal Church that the 3rd Millennium will usher. This is the intuition and prayer of the Holy Father. Joyfully, we make that our own. On what will the hope for renewal rest? On the growing awareness by the family of its nature: by God’s design to be the Church in microcosm, that like the Church, itself Evangelizer. And so, the Holy Father points, evangelizing the family is at the heart of evangelization. “Evangelization, in fact, necessarily passes through the family.” The family itself proclaims the gospel. And what in the gospel does it specifically proclaim? It proclaims the very core of the entire gospel: that GOD IS LOVE. We can more readily accept his prediction that “as we look on the now imminent 3rd Millennium, the evangelization of families in the Dioceses will intensify”. This is what we now see happening. Now God will no longer be thought of as only found in “sacred places, such as the chapels and churches. He will now also be found closer to all persons meaningfully in the churches of the homes, in the families, and in the daily realities of their lives. And wherever, too, they extend themselves—their workplaces, markets etc. There will no longer be purely secular realities. All earthly realities will have a religious meaning, and offer opportunities for experiencing of the sovereignty of God’s love. To find God in all things—His presence and His workings. To experience His covenant with His people in the dayto-day life. That is the gospel which the Church of the home is called upon to proclaim. It is the entirety of the Church in the entirety of Life that is being opened to the invasion of the Holy Spirit.
-- Save the Family and Live, 1993
Breast cancer linked to abortion
“UP to a third of breast cancer can be avoided”. This was the title of an article that appeared in a leading daily newspaper a few weeks ago. The information is indeed welcome news to us women, especially those of us who have experience of taking care of our mothers, sisters and friends who suffered or are now suffering from breast cancer. Some of them have passed away—a tragedy lingering in our memories and filling us with anxiety that we might be the next victim. Teens now are being taught how to detect lumps and other signs that could point to breast cancer and to go to a physician as soon as possible. Women who smoke, who are overweight, who live on high-fat diet or have history of breast cancer in their family are advised to go for annual check-ups. Experts believe that exercise, even among slim women, is highly advisable in order to burn fat that stores estrogen—the hormone responsible for triggering all those lumps and cysts and cancer cells in the breast.
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
taglandins hormone in the breasts until they develop into cysts and lumps years later. Nature knows what to do and we cannot fool nature. In a miscarriage, the situation is different. When the baby dies in the womb due to some abnormality and not due to a forced abortion, the mammary glands know that the task of preparing for breastfeeding is over, so it clears itself up. This information on the link between abortion and breast cancer has been published in many medical journals but media is not inclined to publish it because of their prevailing pro-abortion orientation. If only girls and women were given the hard truth, many will not even dare to have an abortion. This is not to say that all the women who had/have breast cancer underwent abortion. But it is sad that the article did not mention abortion as one of the preventable means under the woman’s control. Here is a Resolution from the Catholic
Love life / A6
The article quotes Dr. Michelle Holmes of Harvard University who has studied cancer and lifestyle factors. She refutes the people who think their chances of getting cancer depend more on their genes than their lifestyle. Lifestyle then has a lot to do in so many of women getting breast cancer these days. With so many women choosing abortion as a way out of pregnancy, abortion has become part of the modern woman’s sexual lifestyle. It is no longer surprising to hear of some having two or three or four abortion – what with casual sex getting so common among college students, young professionals, sales girls, not to mention those involved in prostitution. They could have an abortion today but ten or fifteen years from now, the mammary glands that began to process production of breast milk as soon as pregnancy occurred is blocked suddenly by the abortion, confusing the developing cells and locking up the pros-
Fr. Melvin P. Castro
Speaking of Mary
ROME (Italy). It was such a sunny and very hot day. The day was Friday, 11th of June, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Closing of the Year of Priests. We were told, there were 15,000 priests in attendance. By far, the largest Mass ever concelebrated. We were already in line at left side of the colonnades facing the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica as early as 8:15 in the morning. I’ve never seen so many priests, save for the Philippine National Congress of the Clergy last January. I didn’t know anybody except for the priests that I saw days earlier. But in that line, I just felt very happy and very much at Rome. We’re in Rome and we’re in the company of priests, bishops, Cardinals, and the Holy Father. It was family and it was home! The security check was not waived. At 8:45 a.m., the bells were tolling. And we were still in line. 9:15 a.m. passed. Finally, were made to enter near the Aula Paulo VI. We were told to leave behind our bags. Our bags! Then, all had to take out their bottles of water, digital cameras, and everything that could fit in the pockets. The entire Aula was filled with bags. I just thought it would take a miracle of St. Anthony if I were to find my bag after the Mass. As we enter the Piazza di San Pietro, the sun was smiling. Nay, the sun was laughing! It was just too hot. I kept on praying that I’ll make it throughout the Mass without fainting or having
The Year that was, and the Years that are to come
my blood pressure shoot up. Anyway, I thought, I took all my medicines that morning. It’s the Closing of the Year of Priests, and it is just a small sacrifice. Bottles were being handed out as we passed. Oh, one last bottle I saw. I had it in my right hand. Yehey! My trophy. Then there was another hand. Non c’e piu’? An elderly religious nun. Obviously, there was no more at that moment. Oh sister, I just closed my eyes, and gave it to the nun. And I just didn’t look back. No more water... Then I saw two Filipino priests. We were literally running to the available seats. Let’s take the seats near the aisle, I exhorted them. The Holy Father will pass by here, and so I hoped. And yes, seminarians came in and they were bringing along the much-needed bottles of water. In front of me was a Filipino priest, at his side was a Peruvian and two Chinese priests. At my side were Italian priests. And at my back were Polish priests. That is how universal the Church is. But the Chinese came more prepared than us. They had a blue umbrella with them. The Italian priest at my side was preparing for the long sunny morning. He poured water into his cloth hat and placed it in his head. I thought it was good. But I was saving my bottle of water to drink. Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See, H.E. Mercedes Tuason texted me then. Bring out your blue umbrella so I could see you.
Speaking of / A5
Pedro C. Quitorio
Kris P. Bayos
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Melo M. Acuña
Ernani M. Ramos
Roy Q. Lagarde
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Vol. 14 No. 13
June 21 - July 4, 2010
‘Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap’
No Philippine President has ever made a serious dent on corruption. Each presidential regime has its own anecdotal illustrations of corruption incidence, even if only two suffered legal consequences, sequestration of alleged ill-gotten wealth for one and conviction of plunder for the other. For others, various alleged scams were subjected to grandstanding investigations “in aid of legislation” but for this very reason there has been no conviction. We are a society that in fact turns a blind eye to past grievous lapses of corruption. A quick scan of election winners will reveal how short our memories are and how easily we put aside moral judgments. Given the nature of corruption as a personal sin and as a structure of sin and given our own propensity to disregard moral judgments, it is clear that corruption is not going to go away easily. The President-elect needs all the help he can get to make good on his slogan. He would need a miracle to get rid of corruption in his six years of office. Good intention and good example are not enough. We have the example of the Cory Aquino regime to demonstrate this. Will her son have the same experience? He should have people around him who are incorrupt and who can personify his slogan: ‘Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.’ The first question then is: who will serve as his cabinet members, his closest advisers? Do they pass the test of integrity? Of course we believe that with God everything is possible. That is our faith. In Church language, we need contemplation and solidarity, prayer and cooperation. Solidarity would dictate that in the battle against corruption, all of us have to be united, striving to be persons of integrity in our areas of responsibility and refusing to connive with others in acts of corruption. In solidarity we need to denounce what we see are corrupt systems in public and private life that ensnare and trap people into corruption. In solidarity we need to work with our leaders who want to establish structures of integrity and justice. If we believe that with God all things are possible, then prayer for wisdom, guidance, and courage and integrity would be necessary. Through solidarity and prayer miracles do happen.
Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I.
PRESIDENT-ELECT Noynoy Aquino ran his campaign with this catchy slogan. Like all slogans, it has both an element of truth and an element of oversimplification. Corruption indeed is a cause of poverty. But it is not true that if there is no corruption, there would be no poverty. Poverty may also be due to misguided economic philosophies and development programs. Poverty may also be due to some extent to some cultural factors. Imbalances in the political sphere can also cause poverty. Destruction of the environment causes poverty. Thus the campaign slogan is only partly true. As such it is unrealistic. It offers false hopes for a long suffering people. Why is corruption so difficult to eradicate? Corruption is a sinful attitude of the heart. It is the surrender of the heart to the temptation of power and wealth. Once the heart succumbs to a first temptation and gains access to some amount of money without being punished, it is easier to surrender to the next temptation. This is even more so when the gains in wealth and power are incredibly huge. The repeated acts of sin become an attitude of the heart. God is sacrificed on the altar of mammon. But corruption is also embedded in social, economic, political structures. It is a social sin, a structural injustice, built up by repeated personal sins. The many personal sins of corruption build a structure within the economic, social, and political structures, embed corruption in it, and facilitate continuing corruption. The structure of corruption is also built up by imbalances in economic and political power. While powerless people can be easily convicted and jailed, this is not true for the powerful. Bribery, threats to life, and extortion are bedfellows in the structure of corruption. Because it is both a sinful attitude of the heart as well as an unjust social structure, corruption in the Philippines, as elsewhere in many Asian countries, is firmly entrenched. It is also endemic in private and public life. It infects the whole social ladder, from top to bottom or from bottom to the top. Even elections for kabataang barangay positions are now afflicted by extravagant spending because of the promise of more money gained through one’s position.
Population and philanthropy
EVERY year in the waning days of springtime the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has a ceremony to bestow its Population Award on a person and an organization that has met its criteria for population control. The afternoon of June 3rd, as storm clouds gathered over New York, a very tall, elderly gentleman made his way with other dignitaries to the podium of a vast conference room. He was William H. Gates, Sr, father of the more famous Bill, accepting the 2010 United Nations Population Award on behalf of his travelling son (who was in Spain) and travelling daughter-in-law Melinda (who was in Mexico). The thought crossed my mind that perhaps the UNFPA award was to offset the scathing article written earlier this year by the hand of this author [“A Geek with Cheek” MercatorNet, 9 February 2010] but quickly moved on. Each year the multibillionaire uses funds from his multibillion dollar foundation, the world’s largest private foundation, operating in over 100 countries, to provide a number of charities and nonprofits with the wherewithal for the tools of the population control trade under the wide umbrella of “family planning”. The UNFPA has undoubtedly been the beneficiary of the Gates largesse for its global scale works. The citation read at the ceremony by UNFPA executive director Thoraya Obaid stated in part that the Gates Foundation was “a leader in the fields of global health and global development, particularly in promoting excellence in population assistance, including through the design of innovative, integrated solutions in the areas of reproductive health, family planning, and maternal and neonatal health….” No doubt with so much money and a great need to alleviate much misery Gates monies go to many worthy charities. But “promoting excellence in population assistance” does not exactly inspire confidence in light of activities covered under “family planning.” Mr. Gates Senior read his “acceptance statement”—which to trained ears that have been present at more than one of these awards—sounded as though it could have been written for him by the UNFPA itself. Here is a key quote: “The United Nations helped pioneer the field of family planning. You are recognizing Bill and Melinda today because they followed your lead.” After expressing regrets for the Bill and Melinda absence, he went on to convey that “…this honor is especially meaningful, because family planning first sparked their interest in global health 15 years ago. The occasion of this ceremony has given them the opportunity to reflect on why they started the Gates Foundation in the first place, and how much progress they have seen since then.” The rest of his statement contained all the phrases, facts and figures that are routinely bandied about at any and all panels, conferences and presentations by the UNFPA on the “wide ranging benefits of family planning” and that there are “215 million women” that the UNFPA has determined “want to use contraceptives but don’t have that option”—if only their UNFPA-determined desire were to be fulfilled, why this “would prevent millions of abortions that occur because women were not able to access contraception.” In his closing remarks Mr. Gates pledged “the Gates Foundation support in the effort to meet the unmet need for family planning….” and that Bill and Melinda would “continue to be your partner in this essential work.” It is worth recalling that William H. Gates Sr. was once head of Planned Parenthood in the US and that International Planned Parenthood Federation won the population award in the institutional category in 1985. He must have felt very much at home. The population award carries with it a medal, a citation and a monetary award. Given that the last is of no consequence to anyone in the Gates family, Mr. Gates said the foundation would “match the prize money for this award and make a grant for the total amount to the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development—the institutional category recipient for the 2010 population award. This organization, founded in 1981, advances the agenda set out at the UN’s Cairo population conference by “promoting parliamentary action on population and development issues” according to the citation read at the ceremony. This group has become a “worldwide model” that spawned similar associations in other regions of the world, particularly in Europe and Africa. One wonders if there was any whiff of influence on the recent approval of the health care legislation in the United States which seems to contain some population control elements. True to their word, a few days after the UN award the Gates foundation pledged a considerable sum to support the UN led initiative called “The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health” which is “hosted and administered by the World Health Organization” and includes approximately 300 NGOs such as Planned Parenthood and organizations like the UN Population Fund. The announcement was made by Melinda Gates at a “Women Deliver” conference in Washington, DC on June 7th, where the “partnership” organizations had gathered to support the maternal/child cause—as they see it. The foundation is to invest $1.5 billion from 2010 through 2014 “to support innovative projects addressing family planning; health care for pregnant women, newborns, and children; and nutrition.” While maternal and child welfare are noble and worthy goals, it is worth noting that “family planning”—with all of its life prevention implications—was listed first as the Gates Foundation continues to hold fast to its original inspiration: population control. At UN insistence, the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health initiative is being added to the agenda of the G8/G20 summit of world economic powers, to be held June 26-27 in Canada, with the purpose of generating even more money. Matching funds anyone? (Vincenzina Santoro is an international economist. She represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations. This article is reprinted on special arrangement with MercatorNet.)
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
WITH the glaring fact that the country is so down under in socio-economic development as well as in politico-cultural integrity offers no consolation to anybody in anyway. Yet this same lamentable national situation nevertheless strongly implies that the incoming administration has no other way of governing and leading the Filipino people but up: Up in examples of honesty and probity. Up in the degree of their trust and respect. Up in terms of industrial progress and employment. Up in the matters of finances, health and education. It could be difficult and possibly even messy. There would be resistance on the part of experts in graft and corruption. Those accustomed to the use of questionable power held and untenable wealth accumulated might urge and pay certain individuals or groups to oppose what is right and just.
No way but up
wrong deeds have already been done and well done before. In the same way, these post-Hello Garci period has done anything vicious and everything odious possible. It would then be quite hard for the now named “P-Noy” to still do wrong, to still go astray—as all these have been already very successfully done by his depreciated and disdained soon to be predecessor. Alone, it is certain that the incoming leadership cannot do much. But with the honest and upright, competent and trusted collaboration of his carefully chosen lieutenants, he is on! Again: anything bad and everything wrong have already been done before by someone becoming bad history—very soon. With firm right intention and consequent virtuous decisive option, the incoming successor cannot go wrong—practically speaking. Hence: Go, man, go!
But most Filipinos, the “uneducated” ones included, feel and know what is good or evil, what is virtuous or vicious. This is called intuition, and this is what the poor, the helpless and the ignorant mostly have. The at long last existing inglorious reign boasted of so many things done! But at what cost to the people—the still unborn included? The billions upon billions from foreign and local debts incurred, plus all the direct and indirect taxes spent, are too big to have too little to show. It is said that the going, going, gone Chief of all chiefs simply loved doing public works. But lo and behold, it is no secret that it is precisely in public works that practically half of the money spent goes to SOP’s. How intriguing! How revolting! These are like the post-Martial Law days. Then, the succeeding administration could practically do nothing wrong whereas all
Unrepentant or opportunistic?
THIS is in reaction to Time Magazine’s cover story of June 7, 2010, with the banner title: “Why being Pope means never having to say you’re sorry: the sex abuse scandal and the limits of atonement.” That’s, of course, a reprise of a late ‘60s movie, “Love Story,” whose famous line precisely was “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” This new version, however, has nothing of the sweet elements that characterized that romantic movie. It’s rather full of attacks, missiles, torpedoes and carpet bombing aimed at the Pope and the Church. It spent a lot of precious ink trying to prove that Benedict XVI’s papacy is “permanently damaged,” and that the Church now needs a radical reformation, again trying to repeat an unfortunate event in the Church’s tumultuous history. Reformation here means nothing less than changing the Church’s nature and from there whatever may come as consequences. The piece proudly concludes, from a logic mostly emotion-driven, that the Church has to be democratized. The Church, it pleads, has to be
Speaking of / A4
Fr. Roy Cimagala
cultures. Still, there were glaring loopholes, foremost among which is the matter of perspective. In short, we have to choose between looking at the issue within the framework of faith and reason as they impact on human realities, or the viewpoint of reason alone with its full complement of human sciences like history, sociology, etc. In this particular case, the lens used had hardly anything to do with faith, but rather more with pure reason, a reason unguided by faith but highly affected by emotions. The scandals are ugly enough, and the Pope has apologized already a number of times for these unfortunate incidents and has promised to do all to resolve them in their different aspects and levels. Those accusations of systematic cover-ups by bishops and even the Pope are unfair in the sense that unless legal actions are initiated and pursued, the Church authorities obviously will try their best to keep the cases away from public attention while pursuing the appropriate actions to mete justice to all parties concerned. This behavior is universal. It can be seen in families, governments, corporations, organizations and groups. That is why we have a legal system of justice, with its laws and rules, so as to attain greater objectivity in the pursuit of justice for all. What we should try to avoid is to be rash in judging the actuations of these human social bodies. Of course, we can look into them, probe them, and if there are valid grounds to think some unfair practices have been committed, then let’s prosecute them according to our legal system. But this procedure has nothing to do with the nature of the Church. That nature is God-given as revealed by Christ. It is not ours to change and to shape according to our designs. It is for us to follow it and live it as best as we can. Of course, we are notorious for our infidelities and sins. Still all these do not add up to the need to change the nature of the Church. What we need to do instead is to try our best, up to our last breath, to be faithful. For this, we have to help one another. Are the Pope and the bishops really unrepentant, or are there groups who are taking advantage of these unfortunate events to push their own agenda?
taken away from aging ecclesiastics helplessly lost in their theologies and traditions and brought back to the people. The subtext seems to be that the present Church has become obsolete. I’m always suspicious of this kind of contrasts. There will always be distinctions of roles in any organization. But these differentiations are not meant to divide the parties involved, but rather to distribute the work to be done and to foster greater unity. This is part of our human condition. As soon as this idea came into view while reading the article, I immediately asked myself: whom should I believe—the authors of this article or the Pope and the whole teaching of the Church from the beginning? It’s a crazy proposition that tempted me to drop the magazine immediately. But I had to read it in toto just to get its whole thrust. It would not be fair to comment on it without reading it entirely. I might be addressing myself to phantoms of my mind. Certainly, the story had many good points. It was well-researched. It exposed ugly details that had accumulated through the years in both Church and world
She was, of course, seated along the diplomats sopra delle Collonade. Oh, the umbrella that she lent to me earlier on was left inside the bag that was now in the Aula and that which I did not if ever I would find it again. The Swiss guards then came to their assigned positions. The Holy Mass was about to start. Then, the very beautiful Litany of the Saints. And the Holy Father started the Entrance Procession. He was in the Pope Mobile, but without the bullet proof glasses. He seemed very happy seeing the thousands of priests. Viva il Papa! One group shouted. Another group shouting Benedetto! Fol-
lowed by five rhythmic claps. There we were the Catholic priests, in the midst of the scandals engulfing us, we have chosen not be engulfed by this world’s madness and utter sense of discouragement. It was not a celebration of priests, it was a celebration of the Priesthood! On the facade of St. Peter’s was the tapestry bearing the image of St. John Marie Vianney, very serious looking. As if beckoning to us priests that we take our priesthood more seriously and with more dedication. The Holy Mass has begun, it was not the usual Penitential Rite, instead there was the Asperges. The sprinkling of the
Holy Water calling to mind that from the wounded side of Christ gushed forth blood and water, the fountain of sacramental life. After the Homily of the Holy Father, we renewed our priestly vows. It was such a wonderful scene and an unforgettable experience, the thousands of priests responding three times to the three different tasks of the priesthood, and all were in unison. Volo! I do. At the end of the Holy Mass, the Holy Father was kneeling before an icon of Our Lady, Salus Populi Romani, Salvation of the Roman People. He led in
the Consecration and Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Once the Mass was ended, riding the Pope Mobile, he went around the Piazza. And thankfully, he passed in front of us. And no, I failed to take pictures, I was just elated to see him pass by just in front of me. And off we went to the Aula Paulo VI, would I find my bag? I really didn’t care then, I was just happy to have attended the Holy Mass marking the closure of the Year of Priests. I went to the spot where I thought I laid my bag on that particular part of the floor. And it was not there.
The Year of Priests might have ended but the coming years are to stay in and be in love with the Priesthood of Christ that we simply share in continues on. My bag was no longer at the pavimento. Somebody probably took pity on the bag that was just being kicked around and trampled on. He placed it on top of one of the seats. And there I found it, with nothing missing at all. I thought I lost it for good, but it was there. I thought it is also like the priesthood. We, His priests, and the Priesthood itself, may be kicked around and trampled on, but Christ will elevate it all the more. It’s His, after all.
A FAKE priest was formally excommunicated after serving at the Diocese of Cubao for over a year. The excommunication of Xavier Eubra de Borja was issued last May 30 but made public only recently. According to Cubao chancellor Fr. Fredrick Edward Simon, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said the decision came because de Borja “disguised” as a priest. De Borja was a homegrown resident of St. Ignatius village and was a parishioner of Christ the King Parish at Greenmeadows where he served as altar boy during his school days. He allegedly left the country and entered a seminary in Russia and went back for vacation in 2009 identifying himself as “ordained priest” and went around the parish in black cassock. The man had clerical robes and documents that he is a member of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine based in France. Sources said de Borja’s family being parishioners and upon the recommendation of several parishioners, he was accepted as “guest priest” while on vacation prior to his “return to his current assignment in Russia.” A check, however, with Vladivostokbased Mary Mother of God Mission Society website revealed no Filipino priest has ever been assigned there. It was learned he celebrated the Eucharist, heard confessions and conducted retreats and recollections. He reportedly attracted parishioners with his celebration of the Mass described as “reminiscent of all the reverence and
GMA / A1
June 21 - July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
Fake priest in Cubao excommunicated
strict compliance with the movements and rituals whenever traditional Latin Masses are celebrated. The fake priest was also reported to have delivered good homily during Mass and knows how to say the Holy Mass in Latin and Traditional (Tridentine) Latin Mass. It was also learned he heard confessions and accepted invitations to conduct retreats and recollections for various parish-based organizations. Being excommunicated, De Borja is now banned from participating in Mass, Communion or other religious ceremonies even as a participant. Meanwhile, the Diocese of Paranaque warned Catholics about certain Joseph Sorongon posing as Deacon. The diocesan chancellor Fr. Benjamin D. Molina,
Xavier Eubra de Borja
Jr., in a circular dated June 16, 2010 said Joseph Sorongon introduces himself as a Deacon from the Order of St. Benedict of the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Fr. Molina said Sorongon is a fraud and impostor. “The Chancery, after careful research and investigation, found out that Mr. Joseph Sorongon is not a deacon nor is he a member of the Order of St. Benedict, as confirmed by Fr. Savio Ma. Siccuan, OSB, Prior of the Monastery of the Transfiguration,” Fr. Molina wrote. He cautioned the faithful to ask for a celebret or certificate of ordination to the diaconate issued by their chancery of their diocese or religious congregation and duly signed by the bishop or religious superior. (Melo M. Acuña)
Bisbop Soc / A1
inevitable negative social and moral consequences. Villegas was joined by six other bishops from Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija comprising the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese in appealing to Aquino to reject gambling. The bishops particularly rebuffed a government plan for the introduction of casinos in two towns within the archdiocese, adding that it “destroys families and corrupts people.” “Now that we are at the dawn of a new beginning for our nation, with hopes high and patriotic fervor at its best, …make a unified stand to oppose the plan to open a casino in Urdaneta City, and San Leonardo, Nueva,” the statement read. “If it is not legally possible to close all casinos immeDepEd / A1
diately, we plead with the government not to open new ones,” it said. The bishops said what is not being acknowledged is that the harm will reach far beyond the individual gamblers by affecting their families and the community in which they live. Opening another casino, the bishops added, will “open more doors for corruption” and pave the way for the “impoverishment of the families of the gamblers.” “Where the casinos operate now, we see the ill effects on the socio-moral fiber of the citizenry—the rise of criminality, the spread of prostitution and the shameless corruption of those engaged in the business,” they said. The church leaders said they are counting on Aquino’s battle cry during the campaign
period of ending the problem of poverty and corruption. “We appeal to the government to aggressively fight corruption and diminish poverty. One of the first steps the government must take is to stop the opening of more casinos,” the prelates further said. “The right step is values education for the children and livelihood opportunities for the poor. Opening another casino—in Urdaneta and San Leonardo or in any other place—is a step deviating from our vision,” they said. Other signatories of the pastoral letter are Bishops Jacinto Jose of Urdaneta, Mylo Hubert Vergara of San Jose, Artemio Rillera of San Fernando, Marlo Peralta of Alaminos, Sofronio Bancud of Cabanatuan and Renato Mayugba, auxiliary bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan. (Roy Lagarde)
Party, lost the senatorial race on May 10. She claimed that teaching sex education in schools violates the 1987 Constitution. She said the restriction is provided by Section 12, Article II of the Charter, which states that, “The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government.” Imbong also described the program as a form of “contraceptive imperialism,” not only because it is funded by UNFPA but it attacks moral sensibilities and values of the children and encourages sexual promiscuity. Based on their studies of the sex education modules being used by DepEd, Imbong said they’ve found out that it promotes family planning, reproductive health and demographic development. “It is specifically designed to transform the attitudes, behavior and social norms of young people based on a foreign model,” Imbong said in a press conference. The lawyer said sex education was being implemented in the basic education curriculum 12 years ago, and the education department only updates the modules. Imbong also vowed to put together a nationwide mechanism for parents and parent associations “so that DepEd defers to us, not we to them.”
Poor / A1
Scrap sex education San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto urged Presidentelect Benigno Aquino III to immediately stop the government’s sex education program being taught in primary and high schools students. Aniceto, chairman of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life, said scrapping the program is the best thing Aquino could do as soon as he assumes his post this month. In the same press conference, he said: “Aquino should devote to the importance of the (sex education) project of the DepEd because he is responsible for the spiritual, mental and physical advancement of the people.” Aniceto added that “being a Christian,” Aquino should “do what is according to moral law, according to the dignity and rights of every Filipino.” The church official reiterated that the parents have the sole responsibility of teaching their children about human sexuality. Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias said they will continue to mobilize their faithful to be on the lookout for sex education modules being taught in government-run schools. He said they are concerned of the manner sex education is being taught to intermediate elementary pupils and high school students.
Behavior modification Human Life International-Asia executive director Dr. Ligaya Acosta criticized the government for insisting that children need a course of instruction in sex education. For Acosta, sex education “is actually a course in systematic behavior modification, designed to change the child’s entire belief system.” She claimed that there is a rapid escalating rate of teen pregnancy and an exploding AIDS epidemic in nations where there is sex education and aggressive contraceptive use. “The glaring truth is that researches around the world substantiate the fact that the more contraceptive programs are aimed at the young, the more pregnancies, abortions, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, and cancer of the cervix results,” Acosta said. From pilot testing, the sex education program will later be expanded nationwide in a bid to limit unwanted teenage pregnancies and stop the spread of HIV and AIDS. “Granting that there is now an increased incidence of premarital sex and teenage pregnancies, we don’t solve a wrong by another wrong – worse than the problem. What we need is a massive moral and spiritual regeneration,” Acosta said.
tive reforms that allowed detention prisoners to vote last May 10 during the country’s national and local elections. “Some 24,000 detention prisoners have registered and participated in the recent elections,” an elated Diamante told CBCPNews. He said the Commission on Elections ordered their staff to visit various detention facilities to allow inmates to register few months before the campaign season. Since there were no Precinct Counting Optical Scan machines brought to the detention centers, the inmates manually filled the ballots which were later taken to the polling precincts for counting. The Commission on Human Rights and the Ateneo School of Governance are currently conducting studies on the conduct of elections in detention centers. “The next step is to revise the existing Omnibus Election Code to allow convicts to vote in the coming elections,” Diamante said. He explained voting is not just a privilege but a matter of individual right. He added one doesn’t take
Bishop / A1
away another’s rights because of detention and convicted prisoners should learn the importance of citizenship. Asked if he sees detention and convicted prisoners getting elected into office, Diamante said prisoners would know what is best for them and probably institute reforms in the country’s judicial system. Prisoners’ participating in elections would assure them of restorative justice and depart from the usual punitive justice. “Reforms happen inside jails whenever celebrities, including politicians serve terms,” Diamante added. He also underscored the need for conversion among detention and convicted prisoners and their victims’ families as well. Diamante said his office will celebrate the 4th anniversary of the death penalty’s abolition at Ateneo de Manila University with Quezon Representative and Human Rights advocate Erin Tanada as guest of honor and speaker. Asked where the MacapagalArroyo administration failed to deliver, Diamante said the
Residents / A1
granting of executive clemency was limited to influential politicians and personalities and not the lowly convicts. “There were no jails constructed though the prisoners’ numbers nearly doubled during the past nine years,” Diamante added. However, Diamante also lauded the enactment of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 authored by Senator Francis Pangilinan and Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara enacted into law as Republic Act # 9344. He said the Philippines was left behind by other countries in looking after the welfare of minors in conflict with the law. He added minor offenders in South Africa and other poor African countries don’t go to jail but to facilities run by government to assure them of rehabilitation. “Yes, minors have been involved in criminal activities but the main reason behind is economics. When the young get hungry, in their will to survive, they resort to criminal activities,” Diamante said. (CBCPNews)
said, “dictates that the AES and its management be looked into to determine the accuracy and integrity of the election results.” Weeks before the elections, AESWatch rated Comelec preparations for the May 10 polls as being “deep into the danger zone” given the absence of minimum internal safeguards and the imperfect certification of the AES operation issued by the Comelec’s Technical Evaluation Committee. “An appraisal of the recent automated elections is also needed in aid of whatever legislative action shall be taken to review RA 9369 (amended Automated Elections Law) and other election-related laws”; and to “resolve tensions between opposing views, achieve closure on various issues and questions, pinpoint accountabilities for lapses and misdeeds, and learn lessons that can inform the use of automated systems in future elections,” said AESWatch. The poll watchdog stressed that its experts are available to support the work of the proposed panel. (CBCPNews)
the DENR-Caraga officials in the case because of their patent and clear disregard and violation of a barangay ordinance that disallowed mining or even mineral exploration in Anislagan to protect the area since it has been identified as a watershed area. The Municipal Council of Placer also passed an ordinance protecting the watershed and communal forest in the whole municipality. But despite this, DENR-Caraga officials still issued 13 permits to MMC to explore the mineral-rich Anislagan town without consulting the barangay’s residents. MMC, a subsidiary of the Lepanto Group of Companies, was issued two exploration permits (EPs; XIII-014 and XIII014A) by the DENR-Caraga, which also granted an EP to KCGR and Silangan Mining. KCGR is a joint venture of MMC and Anglo American, a British mining company. According to Mosqueda, the class suit will put to test the newly-promulgated environmental case proceedings (environment courts) by the Supreme Court and how it will properly address
this kind of cases. ABAKATAF expressed hopes that their case against the three mining companies will finally put a stop on all mining activities in their area. Last January 11, 2010, hundreds of Anislagan barangay residents formed a human barricade to prevent the entry of a 6-vehicle convoy of the Philex Mining, the country’s largest mining company. Anislagan is an area very rich in natural resources. It has been identified by the government as priority area in mining because of its rich mineral resources. It has first–class nickel and gold minerals. Lakes, rivers and springs also surround it. Anislagan provides potable water to the entire town of Placer. Anislagan also provides irrigation to rice fields in the village and to adjacent villages. A barangay resident and member of the ABAKATAF said: “The Barangay Council (of Anislagan) already filed a resolution as early as 2002 not to allow any mining activities in our village. They should respect it!” (Bong D. Fabe)
public schools. Effects on students Santos warned that students fleeing the private system to state schools may hurt the students’ “psychological and emotional” side. “Shifting to other schools is really hard especially when a student is used to cultures in private schools. Shifting to a state college and university is a bit difficult,” he said. Some 23.43 million students trooped back to public and private elementary and secondary
In and Out / A4
schools on June 15 for the start of the school year 2010-2011. As parents feel the economic crunch enrollments in public schools have risen this year with education officials claiming a large proportion of the increase was due to students fleeing the private system. Even Santos admitted Catholic schools continue to experience “a downtrend of enrollment” each year. Told that there are some students who would rather stop temporarily than be forced to transfer to public schools, the
priest said this should not be the case. “As much as possible, they should not stop in their studies,” stressed Santos. The education department figures show that there are some 20.17 million or 86 percent of the students enrolled in public schools, while the other 3.26 million or 14 percent are enrolled in private schools. The agency however has no figures yet on how many transferred from private to public schools for this school year. (CBCPNews)
told reporters. Cruz is the former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the founder of the People’s Crusade Against Gambling. The retired archbishop made the appeal on Wednesday following the reported retirement of Pagcor chief Efraim Genuino. Cruz said the president-elect should abolish Pagcor as this is also synonymous to corruption, a thing which the latter promised to rid the country of during his campaign.
Love life / A4
“Gambling is synonymous to corruption and if Pagcor remains just like that, and in fact it’s still trying to open new branches… the promise of anti-corruption is not as tenable as that,” he said. At least seven bishops led by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas earlier called on Aquino to reject gambling too and “stop the opening of more casinos”. In a pastoral letter, the bishops said that gambling is not in the country’s best interests, as they urged Aquino to instead provide alternatives to boost the
economy that will not cost the country the inevitable social and moral consequences. The prelate, meantime, called on other Pagcor officials to resign from their posts. “A good option is never late. Just imagine how you present yourself to your children…. how could you be proud of that?” said Cruz. Earlier Pagcor spokesman Edward King said Genuino filed his “retirement” papers May 28 with outgoing President Gloria Arroyo. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)
Let us also remind ourselves of BLD MISSION: that “we are called by the Lord to build communities of disciples of Jesus Christ who, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will renew and strengthen our Christian faithful. a) through programs of Christian Encounters ( Marriage Encounters, Family Encounters, Singles Encounters, Solo Parent Encounters, Youth Encounters) and Life in the Spirit Seminars. b) through programs of Discipleship Formation, Spiritual Growth and Pastoral Care aimed at developing Intercessors, Worship Leaders, Shepherds, Teach-
er and Witnesses; c) and through programs promoting Servant Leadership and poverty alleviation of society.” (Statues of BLD-CC, May 5, 2009) In the last 25 years, the movement of grace has been very tangible. It is, therefore, with great trust and confidence in God above all and in one another that the BLD Community can continue to “put out into the deep waters and lower the nets for a catch” (Lk. 5/4). The instruction of the Lord is that BLD move on to gain in both quantity and more importantly in quality that means moving on
outwardly and inwardly. Let the final word be profound and sincere gratitude to all the people who have helped and worked with BLD through the 25 years to reach what it is today. How can we thank satisfactorily the Archbishops and Bishops, the Priests and Spiritual Directors and the members of the laity in the various Archdiocese and Dioceses where BLD is? “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He show His face to you and have mercy on you. May He turn to you and give you peace. May the Lord bless you.” (St. Francis of Assisi)
Medical Association insisting that full information on the link be told to all who go for abortion: “Whereas epidemiological evidence of an association between abortion and breast cancer has existed for almost a half century, “Whereas 29 out of 38 worldwide epidemiological studies show an increased risk of breast cancer of approximately 30% among women who have had an abortion, Whereas all women undergoing abortion are entitled to full informed consent as to all risks including long term risks, Therefore
be it resolved that the Catholic Medical Association endorses the passage of state legislation to require abortionists to inform all women of their future increased vulnerability to breast cancer.” (Resolution Approved 10/15/03) Although abortion is illegal in the Philippines, we are aware of thousands of abortions being done every year through abortifacient pills, by the “hilot” or by midwives who have learned how to do D and C. Unscrupulous physicians perform for money and get away with it by reporting false diagnosis.
It is urgent then that abortion prevention by educating the public on the many side effects of abortion is done through the schools, organizations and parishes. All sectors should be reached—the outof-school youth, the single or married male and female, and the priests, nuns and teachers who can include the topic in their advocacies. For more information on the abortion-breast cancer link and other topics on abortion prevention, contact Pro-life Phils. Office at (02)733-7027, 0919-733-7783, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vol. 14 No. 13
June 21 - July 4, 2010
LIPA CITY—Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, a staunch anti-gambling prelate, called on re-elected celebrity Governor Vilma Santos-Recto to do everything possible to stop illegal activities in the province at the soonest possible time. In a letter dated June 7, 2010, the 65year old prelate said he heard “founded rumors” about many groups including people identified with the re-elected governor who are now “fighting to take over this unfortunate business (jueteng).” “May I respectfully beg Your Honor not to allow these immoralities taint your good record,” Archbishop Arguelles further said. The prelate reminded Governor Santos-Recto that prior to the 2007 local elections, it was he who encouraged her to challenge incumbent governor. He said they were successful in putting an end to a regime characterized by nefarious activities. The archbishop admitted he was one of the most hated persons in his archdiocese because of his advocacies against gambling, immorality and criminality that were rampant before 2007. Although Governor Santos-Recto’s victory “promised a hopeful future”, Arguelles said he noticed that jueteng which was identified with the former governor for a number of years continued during the lady governor’s first term. “I accepted the reality that gambling could not be stopped due to midnight approvals of the former governor,” he explained. He described the Small Town Lottery as a camouflaged jueteng which prevailed. The prelate recalled PCSO Chairman Valencia’s statement that something could be done to stop it (STL) upon the expiration of the probationary period “which is NOW.” Arguelles said he pledged to collaborate with the Santos-Recto admin-
istration and “bring behind me the full force of the religious sector to achieve what is for the best interest of the Batanguenos.” He hastened to add that the re-elected governor is aware that as Archbishop of Lipa, he “cannot and will not keep silent when it comes to opposing gambling of all kinds, the proliferation of sex dens, spread of drugs, all sources of criminality, because it will not do any good to our people.” “I plead with you to make sure that the crimes of the past administration will not prevail under your program to promote a wholesome environment, in alleviating the life of our people, in giving them hope,” he added. The prelate said he hopes and prays Governor Santos-Recto’s second and third terms “will bring brighter prospects for the province which hopefully will be truly progressive, vice-free and environment-friendly.” (Melo M. Acuña)
Archbishop to Ate Vi: ‘Fight illegal gambling’
Archbishop Ramon Arguelles
SIBUYAN, Romblon—Residents of San Fernando in Sibuyan Island are urging President-elect Benigno Aquino to order the immediate retrieval of sunken ship M/V Princess of the Stars. Two years since the boat sunk off the Coast of Sibuyan Island, full retrieval of the victims’ remains and other cargoes are yet to be accomplished. Fr. Noel Sixon, parish priest of Our Lady of Remedies in San Fernando town lamented the inaction of concerned companies and agencies directly responsible for the retrieval operations. “How many times that they promised to retrieve the sunken ship completely? Two years is enough for these promises. We pray for justice for these souls who have been taken for granted, who are still trapped in the indifference of the concerned agencies
Order immediate retrieval of sunken ship, Aquino urged
and companies,” Sixon said. The tragedy has severely affected not only the lives of the victims’ families but his parishioners as well, the priest said. “There are a lot of things to be done after the tragedy, not only the trauma and sadness of the bereaved family but also the lives and livelihood of my parishioners who are gravely affected by the typhoon which are left forgotten,” he said. Taclobo village chief Arturo Mortera also demanded the immediate retrieval of the ship saying the people cannot anymore take another year of promise. “As we seek justice for our fishermen and those who were affected, we demand for the complete retrieval of the remains of the passengers which are still trapped inside the ship, these poor souls are already part of our community,” he added. A fishing ban was implemented after the sea tragedy which has affected many fishermen who depended on fishing as their main livelihood. And even after the ban was lifted, fishing was deemed unsafe because of oil leak coming from vehicles trapped in the belly of the ship. Rodne Galicha, coordinator of environmental group Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment Inc. (Sibuyan ISLE) said the wastes and garbage washed ashore transformed the seashore into a virtual dumping ground. “Huge containers have been stocked along the seashore with putrefying cigarette packs and other products, oil leaking from the ship and unretrieved cars and trucks, the remains of the victims still trapped, garbage pits on the island—these are some realities which continue to worry our island-people,” he said. An earlier report also said the salvor company built three garbage pits in the area for waste disposal despite restrictions from the local government not to leave any waste in the area. Galicha said the Aquino administration should include the completion of retrieval operations in the agenda of his first 100 days in office. “In the first 100 days of incoming President Benigno Aquino, we urge him to look seriously into this tragedy with a sense of urgency,” he said. Galicha said it is lamentable that the Arroyo government failed to pressure the companies and agencies involved to fully accomplish the retrieval operations. Two years is too long, he added. (CBCPNews)
San Pablo clergy gets P.5 million gift on closing rites of Year for Priests
SAN PABLO CITY—Showing their love and concern for their priests, the Council of the Laity of San Pablo Diocese gifted their clergy with P.5 million during the closing rites of the Year for Priests here. The Diocesan Council of the Laity headed by President Bro. Gerry Gonzales handed over to the clergy led by San Pablo Bishop Leo Drona an enlarged replica of a check worth P500, 000.00 as gift to the Clergy for their needs and other projects related to priestly formation. The gift was given during a program tendered by the laity to the clergy at the culminating activities for the Year for Priests. Bishop Drona led the San Pablo clergy, religious and laity in closing the year-long celebration of the year of the clergy on June 10 with a Holy Eucharist and a program. The culminating activities started with the Blessing and Inauguration at 3:00 p.m. of the newly constructed Pre-College Institute Building located at the grounds of St. Peter College Seminary in Brgy. Concepcion. The Concelebrated Mass presided by the prelate followed at the San Pablo Cathedral at about 6:00 p.m. Around 100 priests, religious and deacons joined the bishop in the solemn ceremony. Also in attendance were nuns, youths, professionals and a big number of the faithful who were actively involved in the preparations of the Liturgy and the sumptuous dinner that followed after Mass. The bishop in his homily praised the priests and religious for their active participation in making the yearlong celebration for priests successful. He also expressed his gratitude to all the members of the laity for
Basilan Bishop asks prayers for evacuees
ISABELA CITY—Hundreds of families in Basilan have fled to safer places to avoid the escalating military operation in the area, a bishop said. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad has asked for prayers for hundreds of families who fled to escape the military offensives launched against the Abu Sayyaf bandits. “The only thing we can do right now is to pray (for the evacuees) because we cannot go to the area at this time,” Jumoad said in an interview. According to a report, at least 400 families escaped from their homes when the military launched offensives against the Abu Sayyaf bandits. There were already three evacuees that have been reportedly executed. Jumoad said the situation is getting complicated due to the delay in the distribution of relief goods from the Catholic Church because of the strong military operation. “Areas in Sumisip are quite difficult to reach because of the military operation and at the time, roads are very poor for our relief delivery,” he said. He also expressed his fear on the “worsening peace and order situation” in Sumisip, Basilan. “Some priests reported to me the displacement of innocent people because of the ongoing military operation in the area,” noted Jumoad. (Kate Laceda)
Shun policies harmful to indigenous people, Aquino told
their spiritual and material support to all the priests and religious for the entire year. The prelate has urged both the priests and laity to remain supportive of each other in the present and years ahead. Reiterating what he said in the invitation message sent for the occasion, the bishop said: “With the activities that the committee we created for the purpose and with the initiatives coming from the priests themselves, religious and lay, I am confident that each has contributed a lot to make this year a 365 days full of grace which we could humbly bring back to God praising and praying to Him to “look with favor on our offerings.” Right after the Holy Communion, the priests, religious knelt before the altar together with the Bishop who led the prayer of dedication of priests to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary. After the Mass, the priests, religious and deacons were then ushered into the Liceo de San Pablo Gymnasium for the Agape and program offered by the Diocesan Council of the Laity. Various groups rendered presentations in honor of the priests. They included Doxology by the Servi Dei Choir of Sto. Rosario Parish in Pacita I, San Pedro; Intermission by the San Pablo Seminary Choir; song number by the Sancti Joanis Choir of the San Pablo Cathedral parish. The priests led by the bishop, responded with a song number entitled “Pari Magpakailan Man.” A 30-minute fireworks display followed outside the gym as a final highlight of the diocesan ending of the Year for Priests (June 2009 to June 2010). (Fr. Romulo Ponte)
TARLAC CITY—The Aeta communities of Tarlac urged President-elect Aquino to take up their cause and avoid implementing policies that are damaging to the indigenous people. The indigenous Aetas of Tarlac called on Aquino, their fellow Tarlaqueño, to address their plight, as well as all indigenous peoples in the country who are facing almost the same issues and threats. (CBCPNews)
Bishop lauds Arroyo projects in Catanduanes
VIRAC, Catanduanes—A Catholic bishop hailed outgoing President Arroyo for the various infrastructure projects deemed to improve the social and economic welfare of Catanduanes folks. Virac Bishop Manolo Delos Santos said he is grateful to Arroyo for her concern to boost Catanduanes economy by building various infrastructure projects. (Melo M. Acuña)
UNO-R administrator joins China’s Climate Project training
NEGROS OCCIDENTAL—A training on Climate Project in Beijing last June 9-12 has one Filipino religious as participant among 300 Chinese and selected trainees from other countries. OAR Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem, property administrator of University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos joined with other participants from other countries in the training organized by former US vice-president and Nobel Laureate Al Gore. (CBCPNews)
Groups laud gov’t ban on open pit mining
KORONADAL CITY—Open pit mining is now forbidden in South Cotabato on the basis of a recently passed environmental code by the provincial government. Environmental groups and indigenous communities in South Cotabato province lauded the provincial government’s move to ban open pit mining in the area. (CBCPNews)
Prelate to poll winners: Deliver campaign promises
JARO, Iloilo—A Catholic prelate has urged all poll winners in the recent elections to fulfill their campaign promises for the best interest of the people. Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said the public expect the winning candidates to be better leaders than their predecessors. (Melo M. Acuna)
Sack officials linked on human trafficking syndicate, Noynoy told
ANTIPOLO CITY—As the US State Department said that there had been increasing number of Filipinos being “exported” to the countries by illegal means, a militant group urged Presidentelect Aquino to sack immigration and foreign affairs officials involved in human trafficking. Migrante International chair Garry Martinez said this would be the greatest challenge to Aquino as there were confirmed reports about some public officials are involved in the transnational crime. (CBCPNews)
Panlilio open to Cabinet position
SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—Outgoing Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio, a suspended priest, is responding positively to possibilities that President-elect Aquino offer him a post in his Cabinet. Asked whether he would accept such a position, Panlilio replied, “(I’m willing) to help Aquino in so far as it does not ride in conflict with my priesthood.” (Roy Lagarde)
Bishop urges Aquino to stop jueteng
BANGUED, Abra—Bangued Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian called on the incoming administration to be active in the campaign to eliminate “all unlawful gambling,” especially jueteng. Jaucian said President-elect Aquino should also turn his attention to the illegal numbers game and to jueteng lords who remain untouchable. “It will be a miracle (if Aquino could stop jueteng) but we are hoping he could do something about it,” he said. (Roy Lagarde)
People, Facts & Places
June 21 - July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
Largest concelebration ever held in Vatican
© Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III / CBCP Media
CELEBRATED. Diocese of Malaybalay Bishop-emeritus Honesto Ch. Pacana, SJ, 45th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination; June 10, 2010. Bishop Pacana who has recently retired as bishop of Malaybalay upon the election of Bishop Jose Cabantan on February 19, 2010, has spent his 21 years of priesthood and another 17 as bishop in the diocese. At present, Pacana continues to serve the diocesan faithful through facilitating of recollections and retreats. He currently stays in a house near Blessed John 23rd College Seminary at Pal-ing, Patpat, Malaybalay City. APPOINTED. Fr. Rochester Charles Resuello, Director of the Lipa Archdiocesan Commission on Vocations as the new executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Vocations during the 22nd National Vocation Convention, April 2010. Resuello is the first Executive Secretary who is not from the National Capital Region (NCR). He will officially seat as the ECV Executive Secretary after the Bishops’ Plenary Assembly on July 2010. The ECV is currently headed by Boac Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista. Other officials of the commission are Iba Bishop Florentino Lavarias, Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra, Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Bagaforo, San de Antique Bishop Jose Romero Lazo and Ipil Bishop Julius Tonel. ORDAINED. Nicanor Valiente of Sto. Niño de Praga Parish, Matalam Cotabato and Krizaldy Tadiaque of St. Isidore Parish, Tulunan Cotabato, to the Sacred Order of Priesthood, June 18, 2010. Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz led the ordination rites at the Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace Cathedral. The ordination mass was preceded by caravans from the 17 parishes with parishioners carrying banners and streamers with the words “We love our priests.” The ordination rites, concelebrated by the clergy of the diocese also marked the closing of the year-long celebration of the Year for Priests in the Diocese of Kidapawan. ORDAINED. Bernard S. Ondap, OMI of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, to the Sacred order of Deacons by Bishop Angelito Lampon in Sto. Nino Parish Church, Midsayap, Cotabato, June 5, 2010. Family members, confreres among the Oblates, and guests from Japan witness the celebration. ORDAINED. Rev. Estephen Mark Rayos Espinoza to the Sacred Order of Priesthood by his Excellency Socrates B. Villegas, DD, at the church of the Epiphany of Our Lord Parish, Lingayen, Pangasinan; May 31, 2010. Fr. Estephen was the first priest ordained by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, DD upon assuming the post as Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan. He was assigned in the Parish of St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr, for about a year, first as a seminarian, and as a Deacon upon his ordination to the Diaconate. The newly-ordained priest is currently assigned as the Parochial Vicar of St. Ildephonse Parish in Malasiqui, Pangasinan. CELEBRATED. First Profession of vows of Cleric Albert O. Garong and Cleric Eric Mark S. Salamat among the Society of St. Paul (SSP), June 6, 2010. The two seminarians professed the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and fidelity to the Pope during the Mass of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ held at the St. Paul Novitiate Chapel in San Fernando City, Pampanga. The celebration was led by Fr. Ruben Areño, SSP Provincial Superior together with Fr. Joe Aripio, Novice Master, and Fr. Alan Gamutan, Master of Juniors and other priests of the congregation. Also in attendance during the event were representatives from various congregations, members of the Pauline family, friends, benefactors and family members of the newly professed. As temporary professed members, the two juniors will go for their theological studies and begin their apostolic assignments in the various communication ministries of the congregation.
THE Eucharistic celebration with the greatest number of concelebrants in the church’s history, 55 of whom are Filipinos, was recorded in Rome on June 11. Some 15,000 cardinals, bishops and priests from around the world gathered at the St. Peter Square in a Mass presided by Pope Benedict XVI to close the Year for Priests. In his homily, the pontiff said the Year for Priests might have been destroyed by the clerical sex abuse scandal, but instead became a “summons to purification” in the church. The pope said that “the enemy,” Satan, wants to drive God out of the world and opposes those who work to ensure that God is at the side of every man and woman, especially in times of trouble.
“And so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light—particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God’s concern for our good, turns into its very opposite,” Benedict XVI said. The priests, 80 cardinals and 350 bishops and archbishops, who were sitting under the hot sun in St. Peter’s Square, showed their agreement with the pope’s statement by applauding. The Vatican said that with so many priests vested for Mass and reciting together the Eucharistic prayer with their hands extended toward the altar, the liturgy marked the largest concelebration ever held there. During the Mass the prayers of
the faithful was said in many different languages. Representing the Philippine delegation was a Filipino nun from the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres who read the prayer in Tagalog. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales was on the lead of four Filipino prelates and some fifty priests who attended the occasion. The other bishops were Ramon Villena of Bayombong, Bernardino Cortez, Auxiliary bishop of Manila, and retired bishops Benjamin Almoneda and Antonio Ranola. During the Mass, special moments in the celebration were observed such as the “rite of aspersion with the holy water as penitential act.” Four concelebrant cardinals joined the pope
to sprinkle the assembly. Monsignor Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, said “This rite was chosen taking into account the solemnity of the Sacred Heart and making reference to the blood and water that gushed from the Lord’s heart as salvation for the world and also to take up again the topic of purification, about which, in different circumstances, the Holy Father has spoken recently.” After the homily, the priests renewed their priestly promises as on Holy Thursday in the Chrism Mass. At the end of the celebration, before the conclusive blessing, Benedict XVI renewed the act of consecration of priests to the Blessed Mother. (CBCPNews)
Filipino journalist bags int’l journalism award
Advocates mark anniversary of death penalty abolition
The award recepient, Jose Arenas (extreme right) with his collaborators at New City Magazine.
A FILIPINO writer has been chosen to receive the prestigious International Award for Excellence in Journalism sponsored by International Union of Catholic Press (UCIP) in Geneva, Switzerland. Jose Aranas, editor-in-chief of New City Magazine of the Focolare Movement is among the 43 journalists in religious and secular media who will receive an award for their exemplary contributions in the world of journalism. Aranas was cited for his efforts to promote interreligious dialogue through his writings. He, together with Paul Mati, a journalist in Indonesia were chosen by the jury as recipients of “Honourable Mention of International Award for Inter-religious Dialogue 2010.” The International Union of the Catholic Press told Aranas in a letter, that “the jury took the decision considering on one hand your brilliant and exemplary presentation, and on the other hand the message you wanted to communicate through your work.” Aranas had sent three articles on interreligious dialogues for the jury’s consideration. One, an editorial titled “To disarm the heart”
highlighted the relationship between Christians and people of other faiths and the need for a continuous dialogue that is based on understanding and respect of the other. Another article was the story of a young Muslim teacher in Maguindanao named Najiyyah, who strives to live the Golden Rule in her relationships with her Christian students. The third was an article on the 60th death anniversary of Gandhi, translated from Citta Nuova, New City magazine’s Italian edition. Aranas’ writings delved mostly on the topic of promoting unity and universal brotherhood, essentially at the heart of the Focolare Movement, of which he is a member. “I have been active in the Movement for almost 12 years, and have travelled to different places in the Philippines and abroad because of the Movement,” he disclosed in an email interview. As a writer, he has traveled throughout the country writing stories of hope that seldom featured on the papers. “I visited the southeastern Philippines, Maguindanao included, last March, and I saw a lot of hope in the region… The Sta. Cruz Mission site in Cotobato is indeed great as they cater to the needs of the lumads,
as is the Pamulaan Center for Indigenous People’s Education in Davao City which I featured in an article in the present June issue of New City Magazine…” he said. Aranas said those are good news that should be highlighted in the media so as to bring hope to the people. “The uplifting experiences of unity, solidarity and brotherhood are truths which media should highlight more which I have seen very present in our nation,” he said. Aranas and the other awardees will receive their citation at the UCIP World Congress to be held on African continent, at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 12 to 19 September 2010. Eight major awards will be handed over during the event: Gold Medal, Titus Brandsma, photojournalism, interreligious dialogue, women issues, educommunication, solidarity with refugees and international award for excellence in journalism. The International Journalism and Media Awards are given every three years to outstanding media professionals, publications and institutions worldwide both in secular and religious media by the International Union of Catholic Press. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
IN celebration of the 4th year anniversary of the abolition of death penalty in the Philippines, a general assembly will be held on June 24, 2010 at the Social Development Complex, Ateneo De Manila University in Quezon City. Convened by the Coalition against Death Penalty (CADP) and the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC), the assembly aims to update the status of the advocacy campaign and lobbying for penal reforms. CADP President Fr. Silvino Borres, SJ will give his opening annotations while a message from the representative of the Royal Netherlands Embassy will be delivered. Rodolfo Diamante, Executive Secretary of CBCP-ECPPC and Vice President of the CADP, will tackle on the current update on the status of the advocacy campaign and the lobbying for penal reforms. Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tañada III is expected to come to discuss on the issue “The Need for Prison and Jail Reform.” The assembly will culminate with a synthesis and a Eucharistic
celebration presided by Borres. Meanwhile, the launching of the 4th Sourcebook on Restorative Justice and Alternatives to Imprisonment will also be featured in the gathering. This sourcebook tackles the current systematic environment which basically delves on the criminal justice system in the Philippines. It also discusses the basic concepts and framework of the “justice that heals” as well as the current situation on the detainees today. Significant documents are also included in the book as a reference to the restorative justice advocates. Participating in the assembly are the restorative justice advocates and the five pillars of the criminal justice system that includes of the prosecutors, Supreme Court employees and personnel, Parole and Probation administration members. The death penalty was first abolished in the 1987 Philippine Constitution however; it was enacted in December 1993 due to the increase of heinous crimes. (CBCPNews)
100 youth leaders renew commitment to the Gospel
MORE than 100 youth had gathered together in a parish covered court to reaffirm their faith and service to God and men, as they launch the first ever Parish Youth Ministry (PYM) Open House by the Christ The King Parish of Quezon City, last June 12, Independence Day. Bearing the theme, “Let us bring the Light to the world by being the light ourselves,” based on Genesis 1:3 and Matthew 5: 13 – 16, Eliza Kris Cuerbo, the PYM overall coordinator said that the gathering aimed not only to strengthen the faith of the youth servants in their parish, but to renew their vow in spreading the Gospel of Christ as living witnesses of the love of God by setting an example to their respective communities. “This is the first time that we will be able to gather the [youth from] the nine out of 20 subparishes of the Christ the King [church] and the aim of the gathering is to encourage them to join us in the journey in taking the path of Christ, going to the Father in heaven,” the 17-year old lay leader said. Participants came from the different chapels spread into different villages in the Batasan, Payatas and Veterans area namely Mary the Queen chapel in Sugartowne; Pook Pag-asa; St. Vicente Ferrer, a newly-opened subparish; Divine Providence; St. Anthony of Padua; and Dakila. The participants, mostly are entering into the youth service for the first time, said that they were excited not only to show their talents but to offer these talents to the Lord. Mrs. Zenaida Gutierrez, president of the Parish Pastoral Council of the Christ the King Parish, in her speech said that she is glad to see many young people eager to serve God and she had wished them well, praying for their spiritual and moral growth. For the first time, the group had introduced its new logo, which bears the primary mission of the youth ministers, “The circle with two green ribbons, symbolizes the world; the green color in the logo symbolizes the freshness of the youth and their renewed commitment to the service of Christ. Meanwhile, the Cross that the human-like figure with the flame serves as its head, symbolizes the Passion of Christ, as He shows His love to the world, especially the youth, as the Bible had exposed in the Gospel of Mark and Luke. The central figure, the human-like image, with the flame as its head, is the youth itself—serving as the salt and light of the world,” Cuerbo explained. The young leader also said that they are planning to have a follow up activity in the coming days in order to solidify their commitment to the spiritual service. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
These children had begun their journey as ambassadors of Christ as they join the Parish Youth Ministry of the Christ the King Parish at Batasan, Quezon city. (Photo courtesy by Pia Montalban)
Vol. 14 No. 13
June 21 – July 4, 2010
‘The Priesthood ... is not simply Office, but Sacrament’
Homily delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at the Eucharistic celebration that marked the closing of the Year for Priests on the feast of the Sacred Heart on June 11, 2010, at the Vatican Square
Dear Brothers in the Priestly Ministry, Dear Brothers and Sisters, The Year for Priests which we have celebrated on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of the holy Curè of ars, the model of priestly ministry in our world, is now coming to an end. We have let the Curé of ars guide us to a renewed appreciation of the grandeur and beauty of the priestly ministry. The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation—words which make Christ himself present, the risen One, his Body and Blood—words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite it to him.
The priesthood, then, is not simply “office” but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings—who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead—this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word “priesthood”. That God thinks that we are capable of this; that in this way he calls men to his service and thus from within binds himself to them: this is what we wanted to reflect upon and appreciate anew over the course of the past year. We wanted to reawaken our joy at how close God is to us, and our gratitude for the fact that he entrusts himself to our infirmities; that he guides and sustains us daily. In this way we also wanted to demonstrate once again to young people that this vocation, this fellowship of service for God and with God, does exist—and that God is indeed waiting for us to say “yes”. Together with the whole Church we wanted to make clear once again that we have to ask God for this vocation. We have to beg for workers for God’s harvest, and this petition to God is, at the same time, his own way of knocking on the hearts of young people who consider themselves able to do what God considers them able to do. It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the “enemy”; he would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world. and so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light—particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God’s concern for our good, turns into its very opposite. We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again; and that in admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers. Had the Year for Priests been a glorification of our individual human performance, it would have been ruined by these events. But for us what happened was precisely the opposite: we grew in gratitude for God’s gift, a gift concealed in “earthen vessels” which ever anew, even amid human weakness, makes his love concretely present in this world. So let us look upon all that happened as a summons to purification, as a task which we bring to the future and which makes us acknowledge and love all the more the great gift we have received from God. In this way, his gift becomes a commitment to respond to God’s courage and humility by our own courage and our own humility. The word of God, which we have sung in the entrance antiphon of today’s liturgy, can speak to us, at this hour, of what it means to become and to be a priest: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). We are celebrating the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and in the liturgy we peer, as it were, into the heart of Jesus opened in death by the spear of the roman soldier. Jesus’ heart was indeed opened for us and before us—and thus God’s own heart was opened. The liturgy interprets for us the language of Jesus’ heart, which tells us above all that God is the shepherd of mankind, and so it reveals to us Jesus’ priesthood, which is rooted deep within his heart; so too it shows us the perennial foundation and the effective criterion of all priestly ministry, which must always be anchored in the heart of Jesus and lived out from that starting-point. Today I would like to meditate especially on those texts with which the Church in prayer responds to the word of God presented in the readings. In those chants, word (Wort) and response (Antwort) interpenetrate. On the one hand, the chants are themselves drawn from the word of God, yet on the other, they are already our human response to that word, a response in which the word itself is communicated and enters into our lives. The most important of those texts in today’s liturgy is Psalm 23(22)—”The Lord is my shepherd”—in which Israel at prayer received God’s self-revelation as shepherd, and made this the guide of its own life. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”: this first verse expresses joy and gratitude for the fact that God is present to and concerned for humanity. The reading from the Book of ezechiel begins with the same theme: “I myself will look after and tend my sheep” (Ez 34:11). God personally looks after me, after us, after all mankind. I am not abandoned, adrift in the universe and in a society which leaves me ever more lost and bewildered. God looks
Priesthood / B4
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
© Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III / CBCP Media
June 21 – July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
Crime and Punishment in the Catholic Church (Part I)
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
THE Catholic community in Quezon City was shocked recently by the much-publicized excommunication, inflicted by the diocesan Bishop on an impostor-priest. The person had been serving in the diocese of Cubao─especially in Christ the King Parish at Green Meadows Subdivision─for a good part of a year, but who was recently discovered to have never been ordained as he claimed he was in Europe. The scandal was exacerbated by the fact that this “fake priest” displayed a lot of positive external qualities (always properly dressed, well-spun homilies and pious liturgical celebrations), and of course administered the sacraments (including celebrating the Mass daily and hearing Confession). Several questions have been asked by disturbed faithful: Is it that easy for somebody to simulate being a sacred minister and victimize the faithful? Can the bishop punish so severely? What is excommunication ferendae sententiae? To answer these questions, we shall break this article into two parts. The Penal Law of the Church What is the justification for the coercive power? Or equivalently, what is the ultimate justification for the ius poenandi? Several theories have been proposed, but we can summarize the prevailing canonical doctrine into three reasons: 1) Defense of the Juridic Order. The ultimate justification of penalty is the same as that of Law: The need to maintain the juridic order (which is the end of punishment), without which society (civil or ecclesial) would be impossible. Traditionally, punishment had been justified by three purposes: (i) Retribution of damaged juridic order. Punishment aims to redress the disorder introduced by the offense, by depriving the offender of a good of a proportionate degree to that which was suffered by the offended, or—in the ultimate analysis—by the society. Hence, the punishment must be commensurate to the gravity of the offense. In any case, retribution cannot be confused with revenge. (ii) Reformation of the offender. Since society is for man (not vice-versa), when society inflicts punishment, it must redound to the good of individual man. Thus, punishment must contribute to the correction of the offender, giving him a chance to change for the better. (iii) Deterrence for future offenses. Punishment must deter crime, and it does so to the extent that the severity of the punishment produces fear, which hinders one from committing a crime. Thus, a successful deterrent must be a psychologically effective threat. The first two ends of punishment are succinctly summarized by the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the following terms: Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorders introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party (n.2266). 2) Perfect-Society Ecclesiology. a perfect society needs a coercive power in order to protect its juridic order against those who may want to disturb or destroy it from within. Since the Church is a perfect society, it needs such power. 3) Magisterium of John Paul II. In an address to the roman Rota (17.II.1979), the Roman Pontiff gave the ultimate justifica¬tion for the ius poenandi in the Church: “In the image of a Church which safeguards the rights of every faithful, and which—even more—fosters and protects the common good as an indispensable condition for the integral development of the human and Christian person, penal law is positively included. The penalty inflicted by the ecclesiastical authority (which in reality only acknowledges the situation in which the subject has placed himself) should be recognized as an instrument of communion, i.e., as a means to recover those deficiencies of the individual good and of the common good arising from whatever anti-ecclesial, delictive and scandalous behavior of some members of the people of God.”i Dealing with the question of the death penalty, John Paul II affirmed that “the primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is to redress the disorder caused by the offense”. Thus, “public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfills the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people’s safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behavior and be rehabilitated.” ii Notion and Typology of Canonical Crimes The old Code of Canon Law stated that in ecclesiastical law, the term crime (or offense) is understood as the external and morally imputable violation of a law which carries with it a canonical sanction, at least undetermined (c.2195). This gives 1370-1377) 3) Usurpation of ecclesiastical functions and offenses in their exercise (cc. 1378-1389). 4) The crime of falsehood (cc. 1390-1391). 5) Offenses against particular obligations (cc. 1392-1396). 6) Offenses against human life and freedom (cc. 1397-1398). Notion and Finality of Canonical Sanctions or Penalties a canonical sanction or penalty is the privation of some good, imposed by the legitimate authority, for the correction of the offender and the punishment of the offense (CIC 17, c.2215). We can analyze this canonical definition in the following terms. 1) Privation. Evidently, the sanction cannot be a gift, but rather—as Grotius affirmed—a malum passionis propter malum actionis (i.e., the offense). Being a canonical sanction, such malum must be in the ambit proper of the ecclesial society—i.e., the privation of some good which is enjoyed in the Church. Since it is the Church which deprives the offender of such good, and since nobody can deprive except of such things over which he exercises dominion, the goods which the canonical penalty can deprive of must have the following qualities: offender is deprived of certain spiritual or related goods until he ceases in his contumacy and is absolved (CIC 17, c.2241). Analyzing this definition, we see the following elements of the ecclesiastical censure: a) Objective Element: It is a true penalty (not just a penance). The spiritual or related goods which a censure can deprive the offender of are only those under the control and administration of the Church. b) Subjective Element: The destinatary of the penalty is the person who has been baptized— or received—in the Catholic Church (c.11), and who has completed 16 years of age (c.1323, 1°). c) Formal Element: Contumacy. a special requisite of the censure is contumacy—i.e., the persistent will in the of¬fender to violate the ecclesiastical law. It is the juridical counterpart of the Pauline (and biblical) notion of the hardness of heart. It is worthwhile noting that contumacy is not conceptually identifiable with the reincidence in the offense (even if the latter can be a manifestation of the former). Thus, c.1326,§1, 1° employs the term pertinacia for the case of reincidence. This is due to the fact that the notion of contumacy is derived not from the relation of offender-offense
On banners, overhead projectors and PowerPoint displays
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: It is a regular feature at Masses in australia and New Zealand that children or artists make banners for decorating churches, especially for the different seasons and for special occasions, such as confirmations. Many parishes are now replacing overhead projectors with the words of the hymns, with computerized PowerPoint displays that allow for all kinds of graphics and backgrounds to be added. I have seen everything from small discreet icons to actual video clips of the entry into Jerusalem from Mel Gibson’s Passion during the Sanctus and worse. are there any norms for visual displays in church, and in particular, the use of projected images during Mass?—J.B., Melbourne, australia A: There are few specific laws or even orientation regarding this aspect. But perhaps some of the principles formulated by the U.S. bishops’ document on Church art and architecture, “http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/livingstonesind.shtml”>Built of Living Stones,” might be of help. With respect to the use of banners, the document says: “127. Fabric art in the form of processional banners and hangings can be an effective way to convey the spirit of liturgical seasons, especially through the use of color, shape, texture, and symbolic form. The use of images rather than words is more in keeping with this medium.” This would at least indicate that tasteful and well-designed banners may have a place within the liturgy, even if the handiwork of children. Indeed, in one form or another, banners such as the symbols of confraternities and other Catholic organizations have long been used on solemn occasions such as eucharistic processions. Since the use of videos or overhead projections is such a novelty and is still a rarity, I have found almost nothing official on this theme. Some of the general principles on liturgical artwork in “Built of Living Stones” might help clarify the issue: “The role of religious art “143. Art chosen for the place of worship is not simply something pretty or well made, an addition to make the ordinary more pleasant. Nor is the place of worship a museum to house artistic masterpieces or artistic models. Rather, artworks truly belong in the church when they are worthy of the place of worship and when they enhance the liturgical, devotional, and contemplative prayer they are inspired to serve. “Components of True and Worthy art “146. Authentic art is integral to the Church at prayer because these objects and actions are ‘signs and symbols of the supernatural world’ and expressions of the divine presence. While personal tastes will differ, parish committees should utilize the criteria of quality and appropriateness in evaluating art for worship …. “148. Appropriateness for liturgical action is the other criterion for choosing a work of art for church. The quality of appropriateness is demonstrated by the work’s ability to bear the weight of mystery, awe, reverence and wonder that the liturgical action expresses and by the way it serves and does not interrupt the ritual actions which have their own structure, rhythm and movement …. “Materials of the artist “162. Artists choose materials with integrity because they will endure from generation to generation, because they are noble enough for holy actions, and because they express what is most respected and beautiful in the lives and cultures of the community. Materials, colors, shapes, and designs that are of short-lived popularity are unworthy …. “163. Similarly, artworks consisting of technological and interactive media, such as video and other electronically fabricated images, may also be appropriate for sacred purposes. Subject to the same criteria of suitability as other sacred art, technologically produced works of art can point toward sacred realities even though they do not possess the more enduring form, color, texture, weight, and density found in more traditional sacred art.” Thus, while No. 163 apparently leaves open the possibility of the use of technological aids, it does not elaborate upon the contexts in which these means may be used. Personally I do not consider that the use of slide shows and videos during Mass is a legitimate option. It is said that a picture paints a thousand words, but even a picture must be interpreted using words, albeit mentally. Thus, these visual elements, instead of enhancing the rite, draw attention away from the liturgical action of participating in the rite itself. For this reason I believe that No. 148 cited above, by stressing that liturgical art serve and not interrupt “the ritual actions which have their own structure, rhythm and movement,” is especially applicable in this case.
an apparent configuration of canonical offense as a violation of a penal law. although the actual Codex does not define a canonical offense, c.1321,§1 gives us its constitutive elements: No one is punished unless the external violation of a law or a precept committed by the person is seriously imputable to that person by reason of malice or culpability. Here we are no longer considering the canonical offense as an abstract case, but the structure of a concrete one. From the above canon, we can glean three factors that determine whether or not a given case constitutes an canonical offense: an objective element (harm to the ecclesial society), a subjective element (grave imputability an culpability) and a legal element (typification of the delictive act as such in a penal law and the establishment of the corresponding punishment). In principle, we can speak of as many types of ecclesiastical crimes as types of goods that are juridically protectable. Nevertheless, in the work of codification, the legislator has opted for a classifica¬tion of long tradition in classical Law, based on six categories of the more general goods, giving rise to the Titles I-VI of Part II of Book VI of the CIC: 1) Offenses against religion and the unity of the Church (cc. 1364-1369) 2) Offenses against ecclesiastical authorities and the freedom of the Church (cc.
a) Good of the juridic order—the enjoyment of which requires an external relation of Churchfaithful, a rela¬tion on which are founded mutual rights and duties; these exclude moral rights, grace, etc. b) Good of spiritual, material or mixed nature—since the relation Church-faithful applies to all three cases. 2) Finality of Canonical Sanction. This can be summarized in the formula: to defend the fundamental juridic interests of the Church: a) Not Retribution. The ecclesial society inflicts a sanction not because such sanction is just: there is no exact correspondence between offense and sanction. Rather, a sanc¬tion is imposed in order to support and preserve the just juridic ordering. b) Correction of the Offender. The Church tries to move the offender to contrition and amendment. c) Other Ends of Sanction. These are not properly ends, but rather qualities of sanctions. It is said that penalty intimidates, sets an example, and gives social tranquility (by acting as a deterrent to crime). Kinds of Canonical Sanctions Can. 1312,§1 states: The following penal sanctions exist in the Church: 1° medicinal penalties or censures enumerated in cc. 1331-1333; 2° expiatory penalties enumerated in c.1336. a. Medicinal Penalties: Censures The censure is a penalty by which the baptized and contumacious
(i.e., to his persistence in the delictive act per se), but rather from the relation offenderauthority: the rebellion against Church authority. This doctrine is very much in keeping with the notion of the censure as a medicinal penalty: as a medicine, a censure should only be inflicted after all the extrapenal (e.g., warnings) or semipenal (e.g., penances) means for making the offender submit to ecclesiastical discipline have been exhausted. Obviously, such measures can only be effective if the presumed offender submits himself to the ecclesiastical authority, who determines the manner in which he can express contrition, satisfaction, etc. The minute such person rejects such means, he breaks off from the Hierarchy, who then have to impose a censure to break the contumacy. b. expiatory Penalties Expiatory penalties are those whose direct finality is the expiation of the offense, such that their remission does not depend on the cessation of the contumacy of the offender (cf. CIC 17, c.2286 under the term vindictive penalties). Due to the possible pejorative sense and allusion to retribution of the term vindictive, the new Code has opted for the expression expiatory penalty, taken from St. Augustine (De ci¬vitate Dei, 21.13); but the notion is the same, in its nature as well as its effects. From the above definition, the following essential elements can be deduced, which differentiate
Crime / B7
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP/CBCPMedia
Vol. 14 No. 13
June 21 – July 4, 2010
Questions and Answers on Freemasonry
(Starting this issue, we are serializing Question and Answer on Freemasonry which is part of the Primer on Freemasonry issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in September 2003—Eds)
I. Pastoral Guidelines 1. What is the latest declaration of the Catholic Church on Freemasonry? On November 26, 1983 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued, with the approval of Pope John Paul II, “A Declaration on Masonic Associations”. 2. Why did the Catholic Church issue that Declaration? That Declaration was in answer to questions whether the negative judgment of the Church in regard to Freemasonry had been changed by reason of the fact that there is no explicit mention of Freemasonry in the new Code of Canon Law (1983) as there was in the old Code (1917). 3. What is the main teaching contained in the same Declaration? The third paragraph of the Declaration says: “Therefore, the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” 4. Isn’t this statement equivalent to a judgment on the conscience of Catholics who have joined Freemasonry? No. It is rather a statement of the objectively serious wrongness of such membership. The subjective moral culpability of each individual is determined by himself in his conscience, after an honest consideration of what the Christian Faith teaches through the Church. 5. What are those principles of Freemasonry which are irreconcilable with the Christian Faith? First, with regard to religion in general, Freemasonry considers all religions of the world as mere competitive attempts to know God, who remains unknowable. Consequently, to say that Christianity is the true religion would be unacceptable in Freemasonry. Second, Freemasonry considers itself as above and beyond all religions, a source of unity among men because it upholds only those beliefs in which all men agree. “We are religious, but Freemasonry is not a religion,” its members would describe themselves. Third, Freemasonry makes human reason as the only source of knowledge. What reason cannot totally comprehend—such as the mysteries of Christianity—is disregarded as superstitious. Fourth, and as a consequence of the above, Freemasonry teaches that the truth about God and man is unattainable; thus, in Freemasonry, whatever sounds dogmatic (in Christian faith and morals) is dismissed as bigotry and fanaticism. Fifth, Freemasonry seeks the perfection of man only in the development of his natural virtues. Whereas Christianity gives primary importance to supernatural grace received in the Sacraments, Freemasonry grounds man’s “enlightenment” and moral perfection on man’s human effort alone. 6. Since when has the Church declared that Freemasonry is incompatible with the Christian faith? Since 1738, with the constitution “In Eminenti” of Pope Clement XII, twenty-one years after Freemasonry was established in 1717. 7. Was the same teaching of Pope Clement XII maintained by his successors? Yes. eleven popes, including John Paul II, maintained the same teaching. For example, in the 19th century Pope Pius IX issued three formal statements, Pope Leo XIII issued four, foremost of which was the encyclical “Humanum Genus” in 1884. 8. What are the canons in the 1983 Code of Canon Law relevant to Freemasonry? Canon 1364 §1 says: “An apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication, without prejudice to the provision of can. 194 §1, n.2; a cleric, moreover, may be punished with the penalties mentioned in can. 1336 §1, nn. 1,2, and 3.” (Note: Canons 194 and 1336 refer only to clerics.) Canon 1374 says: “A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.” 9. What did the Code of Canon Law of 1917 say about Freemasonry? Canon 2335 stated that “Those who join a Masonic sect or other societies of the same sort, which plot against the Church or against legitimate civil authority, incur excommunication”. 10. Why was Freemasonry not mentioned in Canon 1374 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law? The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the second paragraph of “A Declaration on Masonic Associations” mentioned in no. 1 above, explains the reason: “This Sacred Congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance is due to an editorial criterion which was followedalsointhecaseofotherassociations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories”. 11. What happens to a Catholic if he is excommunicated? a Catholic who is excommunicated is deprived of the right to receive the Sacraments—not even the Sacrament of Penance (Confession)—and to participate in public acts of worship. If he is a cleric he is forbidden to celebrate the Holy Mass and all the other Sacraments; neither is he allowed to receive the Sacraments. It is a penalty that is intended to make the faithful realize the gravity of his sin. Only after the excommunication is lifted by the competent Church authority can a Catholic receive the Sacraments again. 12. What is meant by latae sententiae excommunication? Latae sententiae means that the offender automatically incurs excommunication uponcommittingtheoffense,thatis,without any need for a formal judgment issued by the competent ecclesiastical court. 13. What does it mean to be an apostate from the faith? What is a heretic and a schismatic? an apostate is a baptized Catholic who willfully and completely abandons his faith either by becoming an atheist (one who rejects belief in God) or by joining a non-Christian religion. A heretic, strictly speaking, is a Catholic who willfully rejects any important element of the Christian faith that forms part of divine revelation as contained in Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. a schismatic is a Catholic who formally breaks his union with the visible structure of the Church (under the leadership of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him). 14. Does a Catholic who joins Freemasonry become an apostate? InsofarasFreemasonry’sbasicprinciples are incompatible with Christianity (see no. 5 above and Part II), a Catholic commits apostasy if he joins it and adheres to the same principles with full conviction. 15. If a Catholic joins Freemasonry but does not maintain a convinced adherence to its principles and philosophy, does he incur excommunication latae sententiae? No, he does not, but the prohibition of membership remains: he is still obliged to withdraw his membership. as mentioned in no. 3 above, objectively speaking, “the faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion”. 16. What is an interdict, referred to in Canon 1374? When a Catholic is under interdict, he is still a member of the Church (i.e., he is not excommunicated), but he is forbidden to receive the Sacraments and an ecclesiastical burial, and to participate in public acts of worship such as hearing Mass, acting as sponsors in baptism and confirmation. An interdict is incurred only after it is imposed and declared by the ecclesiastical authority (Cf. Appendix 2). 17. Is a Freemason who is a leader in his lodge (takes office) and promotes Freemasonry liable to an interdict? Yes, in accordance with Canon 1374. and if, subjectively, he maintains a convinced adherence to the philosophy of Freemasonry, he is in fact incurring excommunication latae sententiae (Cf. Appendix 2). 18. If a Catholic’s purpose in joining Freemasonry is merely to establish professional or social contacts, does that justify his membership? No. The end does not justify the means. right judgment and discernment should govern the person’s right to association. Moreover, he would be exposing himself, without any important reason, to beliefs that can water down his Christian faith. The First Commandment enjoins the faithful not only to follow the truth about God but also to protect that truth from error. (Cf. Appendix 4) There are many other civic or professional associations whose basic ideologies are not at variance with Christianity that can satisfy a Catholic professional’s need to belong to a group. 19. Why can’t a Catholic join a particular Masonic lodge where the religious beliefs of the members are not even discussed? Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Humanum genus explains why: “If those who are admitted as members are not commanded to abjure by any form of words the Catholic doctrines, this omission, so far from being adverse to the designs of the Freemasons, is more useful for their purposes. First, in this way they easily deceive the simple-minded and the heedless, and can induce a far greater number to become members. again, as all who offer themselves are received whatever may be their form of religion,
they thereby teach the great error of this age—that a regard for religion should be held as an indifferent matter, and that all religions are alike. This manner of reasoning is calculated to bring about the ruin of all forms of religion, and especially of the Catholic religion, which, as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be regarded as merely equal to other religions.” (no. 16) 20. What is the most recent Declaration of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Freemasonry? The CBCP, on July 6, 2002, during its Plenary assembly, issued a Joint Declaration applying the provisions of Canon Law on sanctions against membership in Freemasonry. The Declaration states that: (1) Any Catholic who is publicly known to be a member of any Masonic association and actively participates in its program and activities, or promotes its views, or holds any office therein, and refuses to renounce such membership despite at least one warning (Cf. Canon 1347) is to be punished with an interdict (cf. Canon 1374), that is: a) he is not to be admitted to Holy Communion and other sacraments (Cf. Canon 1332); b) is prohibited to act as sponsor in Baptism and Confirmation; c) is not to be admitted as member of parish or diocesan structures; d) is to be denied funeral rites, unless some signs of repentance before death have been shown (cf. Canon 1184, §1, no. 3); e) where Church funeral rites are allowed by the bishop no Masonic services shall be allowed in the Church or cemetery immediately before or after the Church rites in order to avoid public scandal (Cf. Canon 1184, §1, no. 3, and Canon 1374). (2) Any Catholic who is a convinced member of Freemasonry, notoriously adhering to the Masonic vision, is already considered excommunicated latae sententiae (Cf. Canon 1364). (See Appendix 2 for the complete text.) 21. What is the purpose of these sanctions? These sanctions are meant to help the members of the Church see clearly that the incompatibility between Christianity and the principles of Freemasonry touches on important matters. “(They intend) to enlighten the consciences of the faithful about a grave consequence which must derive from their belonging to a Masonic lodge.” (Cf Appendix 4) The law of the Church only seeks to promote and safeguard the spiritual good of her members. 22. How should a Catholic treat other Catholics who have joined Freemasonry? Since Catholic Masons are members of the Church, they deserve the prayers and charity Christians owe to one another (Romans 13:8). But charity is the same motive behind the need to explain to them why they cannot be simultaneously Freemasons and Catholics. at the same time this should be done in such a way that, while the Church guidelines are not watered down, the personal and individual situation of a Catholic Mason is considered, so that gradually he may freely follow those guidelines. This is why it is recommended that a Mason speak with his parish priest or bishop to receive personal spiritual guidance on this matter. (To be continued next issue)
Joint Declaration of the CBCP on Sanctions for Catholics Who Join Freemasonry
We, the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, gathered at Tagaytay City for our 85th Plenary Assembly, in the exercise of our pastoral duty to guide the members of the Church towards a sincere discipleship of Jesus Christ, hereby issue this Joint Declaration in order to apply the provisions of Canon Law on sanctions for Catholics who join Freemasonry. We decree that: (1) Any Catholic who is publicly known to be a member of any Masonic association and actively participates in its program and activities, or promotes its views, or holds any office therein, and refuses to renounce such membership despite at least one warning (Cf. Canon 1347) is to be punished with an interdict (cf. Canon 1374), that is: a) he is not to be admitted to Holy Communion and other sacraments (Cf. Canon 1332); b) is prohibited to act as sponsor in Baptism and Confirmation; c) is not to be admitted as member of parish or diocesan structures; d) is to be denied funeral rites, unless some signs of repentance before death have been shown (cf. Canon 1184, §1, no. 3); e) where Church funeral rites are allowed by the bishop no Masonic services shall be allowed in the Church or cemetery immediately before or after the Church rites in order to avoid public scandal (Cf. Canon 1184, §1, no. 3, and Canon 1374). (2) Any Catholic who is a convinced member of Freemasonry, notoriously adhering to the Masonic vision, is already considered excommunicated latae sententiae (Cf. Canon 1364). As such, the censures described in Canon 1331 automatically take their full effect on this person. Canon 1331 states: 1. An excommunicated person is forbidden: a. to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the eucharistic Sacrifice or in any other ceremonies whatsoever of public worship; b. to celebrate the sacraments and sacramentals and to receive the sacraments; c. to discharge any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, or functions whatsoever, or to place acts of governance. 2. If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the guilty party: a. wishing to act against the prescription of §1 is to be prevented from doing so or the liturgical action is to stop unless a serious cause intervenes; b. invalidly places acts of governance which are only illicit in accord with the norms of §1 no. 3; c. is forbidden to enjoy privileges formerly granted; d. cannot validly acquire a dignity, office or other functions in the Church; e. cannot appropriate the revenues from any dignity, office, function or pension in the Church.” (3) Further, all the individual bishops, in virtue of Canon 455 §4, decided to strictly disallow in their respective jurisdictions these Masons from being witnesses in Marriage, and as members of any associations of the faithful. These sanctions clearly manifest that the incompatibility between Christianity and the principles of Freemasonry touches on important matters of Christian life. In the spirit of the Good Shepherd, we trust that these sanctions be received by men and women of good will as signs of our solicitude for their spiritual welfare. Since Catholic Masons are members of the Church, they deserve the prayers and charity Christians owe to one another. While the Church’s guidelines should not be watered down, the personal and individual situation of a Catholic Mason should be considered, so that gradually he may freely follow these guidelines. It is recommended that a Mason see his parish priest or bishop to receive personal and spiritual guidance on this matter. +ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, OMI, D.D. President, CBCP 6 July 2002
By Bishop Jose C. Sorra
Challenges to Catholic Education What education challenges then must the Catholic school leader face today? The following may be some of the currently pressing challenges to the Catholic education leaders of our Catholic Schools: Secularized education. We are faced today with a ”secularized culture” massively advertised and advanced by an amoral mass media and wittingly or unwittingly tolerated, if not naively adapted by many a so-called Impressionist schools, cultural organizations or movements—all in the name of burlesque cultural art appreciation. another secularized or secularist approach by an amoral educational system takes place in the narrow confines of a laboratory or classroom. It rejects or is indifferent to the fact or realities of the “fallen human nature” as reflected in man’s human frailties underlying his human existence. Head. The target of Catholic schools is primarily the HEAD, making it just a storehouse of information. But true education does not consist merely in the possession of many facts and figures in the head, just as an encyclopedia, which has a vast store of information, is never called “educated.” Such a person may be learned but not necessarily educated. Besides, now-a-days such a mind easily becomes obsolete and outsmarted by even a tiny laptop computer. Incidentally, some brilliant and learned men (some are invariably addressed “the Honorable Gentlemen” of Congress), who have such an “education,” are today either behind prison bars or are fugitive convicts of the law. For, as one observer succinctly articulated about our Philippine society, “We are a society of lawyers but not of law.” And cynically he added, “In our Catholic-Christian country, it is not what you know that counts, but who you know”—Palakasan! an educated mind must be able to see something in another—from both a human and a divine perspective. That something is reality, truth which must lead the knower to the “ultimate Truth,” Who is the source of all truths. To quote one educator of substance, “The head with its eyes and the light outside must not only see how the earth and sky seemingly meet in the horizon. It must also see or understand the reality, the Truth beyond.” Now, what happens when education doesn’t even allow the learner to look around and beyond? Then it becomes secularist, materialistic, moneyoriented; thus, the mighty dollar becomes the be-all and the end-all of his pursuit in life. It’s therefore “education” of the head—only for money-making. No wonder, even doctors of medicine have to stoop down, so to speak, to take up nursing to be able to fly to the U.S. and qualify for a hospital or nursing home job. Heart. a balanced education must equally and imperatively involve the molding of the heart. “Good manners and right conduct” can only be a result of a clear-thinking head balanced by a good humane heart. More often than not, so-called “good manners” are not so good. Many times it is used as a mask for evil or a hidden agenda. Take for instance, the term “diplomacy,” which is often used in high circles to substitute for the more refined phrase “good manners.” Hands. But, of course, the target of a wellrounded education is not only theHead and the Heart, but must likewise include the Hands, which stands for human skills—vocational and physical education or athletics. We’ve stressed earlier first the urgency of the education of the Head and the Heart, because skills in a man or woman without a sound mind and heart may be risky or dangerous. Skills can make a living for a person, but not necessarily teach him how to live. Misguided skills could regretfully ruin one’s life, family and future. Take for example the world’s
Priesthood / B1
Christian leadership in Catholic School education
Second of two parts
June 21 – July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
always been so. In the very structure of the school curriculum, religion, which is the integrating factor, has not been treated as a core course but relegated as simply one of the many courses in many Catholic schools. apparently, other courses are not seen in their integral connection with faithlife (Ibid. no. 628). It is a basic principle in education that it is the teacher that makes the school. And it is also Christian faith and the Gospel values, imparted more by example than by words, which spell the difference between secular education and Catholic education. So PCP II asks: Are these teachers true witnesses of their faith to their students? Do they simply view teaching religion as mere transmission of doctrine divorced from morality and worship? Some well-meaning parents also ask why the teachers of religion in some Catholic schools are lay catechists, and not religious sisters, brothers or priests? They admit that while lay religion teachers may be academically well qualified, they, however, do not wear their symbolic religious habit or attire, which enhances the credibility of the religious as Church evangelizers and witnesses to the Word of God. What some parents seem to point out is it sends the wrong signals to the lay people when they see lay teachers of religion in the classrooms while the religious sisters are in the school canteen. Renewal and Conversion If we may cap off our reflection on the leadership qualities and the daunting challenges to our Catholic school education leaders, we would suggest just two key words: Renewal and Conversion. There must be a renewal of the school community through intensive religious formation of teachers and non-teaching school personnel, for “You cannot give what you do not have,” says the philosophical dictum. Building a Community of Disciples has been the vision-mission of the post-Vatican II New Evangelization, which Catholic schools are tasked to pursue from within their school campus. In every Catholic teacher, then, there must be formed a “sense of community” and training in the required skills to form such school campus communities. This could be the answer to a dichotomized faith-life, or to the so-called split-level Christianity or double standard of morality. This gives rise, indeed, to the brokenness of our society, whose pernicious vital roots stretch back down to the home and further reinforced in a fragmented school community. PCP-II has actually been re-echoing the Gospel call for conversion. But this conversion must start with the individual heart, which must put itself back into the Church Community. This sense of “Church Community” must have a manifestation in the core community of the school, in the religious Congregation that runs the school, in the administration and faculty, and in the very student body itself. This conversion, to be true, must be rooted in the Gospel and lead to a new image of the school. It will no longer be an exclusive Catholic school for the elite (a contradiction of terms). Even less will it identify education with money, but rather a community-extension of the family, where the individual grows as a person and not just a cog in the wheel of a secularized modern society. But to attain this purpose, the content and process of religious education must be renewed. It must lead the good-willed person to nurture and grow in his faith. It must help him form a mature conscience and must give him the Christian sense of purpose in life that will drive him to do his Christian Vision-mission to “Go into the whole world and teach (educate/evangelize) all nations the Good News” (Mk 16:15). (The first part of the following article appeared in Vol. 14, No. 8, dated April 12-25, 2010. Due to urgency of other materials, this continuation comes a month after—Eds)
king of golf, Tiger Woods, and two of the world’s champion basketball players—Earvin Magic Johnson and Kareem abdul Jabbar. Years ago, the latter two athletes came to our country not only to give the Filipino youth fantastic exhibitions in basketball, but also to forewarn all young Filipino athletes against the dreaded disease of aIDS. They and a host unfortunate others who are revered icons of the athletic world, have become themselves victims of the incurable aIDS. Authentic Christian Education These three H’s are not complete visions of authentic Christian or Catholic education; Christian education must be rooted in the person of Jesus Christ. It must aim to personally know Christ and not just know about Christ. It must impart not just the doctrine about Christ, but also let live the very life of Christ. Finally, authentic Catholic/Christian education must embody and pursue Christ’s vision or dream— not just man’s dream of living comfortably and happily in the society of the “City of man,” but Christ’s dream or vision for man to live the New
Life in Christ in the “City of God” as a “Community of Christ’s Disciples.” And to them, Christ entrusts His own mission of evangelizing and Christianizing the whole world. Hence, Christ’s command to all His followers, as echoed by Pope John Paul II to the Filipino Youth at the World Youth Day in Manila: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you!” The 2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines sadly admitted, “Our Catholic school graduates do not seem to have sufficiently assimilated Christian values in such a way to renew their Christian living; that many seem to look at Catholic education as a passport to better opportunities for earning a living; that many Catholic school graduates have been successful economically and politically but they have also contributed to the dismal economic and political imbalances existing in our country” (Ibid., no. 627). Indeed, many of our country’s filthy-rich political leaders proudly claim the distinction of being products of our exclusively elite Catholic Universities. evangelization, says PCP II, is supposed to be the primary concern of Catholic education. We must, however, admit that in practice this has not
after me. He is not a distant God, for whom my life is worthless. The world’s religions, as far as we can see, have always known that in the end there is only one God. But this God was distant. evidently he had abandoned the world to other powers and forces, to other divinities. It was with these that one had to deal. The one God was good, yet aloof. He was not dangerous, nor was he very helpful. Consequently one didn’t need to worry about him. He did not lord it over us. Oddly, this kind of thinking re-emerged during the enlightenment. There was still a recognition that the world presupposes a Creator. Yet this God, after making the world, had evidently withdrawn from it. The world itself had a certain set of laws by which it ran, and God did not, could not, intervene in them. God was only a remote cause. Many perhaps did not even want God to look after them. They did not want God to get in the way. But wherever God’s loving concern is perceived as getting in the way, human beings go awry. It is fine and consoling to know that there is someone who loves me and looks after me. But it is far more important that there is a God who knows me, loves me and is concerned about me. “I know my own and my own know me” (Jn 10:14), the Church says before the Gospel with the Lord’s words. God knows me, he is concerned about me. This thought should make us truly joyful. Let us allow it to penetrate the depths of our being. Then let us also realize what it means: God wants us, as priests, in one tiny moment of history, to share his concern about people. as priests, we want to be persons who share his concern for men and
women, who take care of them and provide them with a concrete experience of God’s concern. Whatever the field of activity entrusted to him, the priest, with the Lord, ought to be able to say: “I know my sheep and mine know me”. “To know”, in the idiom of sacred Scripture, never refers to merely exterior knowledge, like the knowledge of someone’s telephone number. “Knowing” means being inwardly close to another person. It means loving him or her. We should strive to “know” men and women as God does and for God’s sake; we should strive to walk with them along the path of friendship with God. Let us return to our Psalm. There we read: “He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me” (23:3ff.). The shepherd points out the right path to those entrusted to him. He goes before them and leads them. Let us put it differently: the Lord shows us the right way to be human. He teaches us the art of being a person. What must I do in order not to fall, not to squander my life in meaninglessness? This is precisely the question which every man and woman must ask and one which remains valid at every moment of one’s life. How much darkness surrounds this question in our own day! We are constantly reminded of the words of Jesus, who felt compassion for the crowds because they were like a flock without a shepherd. Lord, have mercy on us too! Show us the way! From the Gospel we know this much: he is himself the way. Living with Christ, following him—this means finding the
right way, so that our lives can be meaningful and so that one day we might say: “Yes, it was good to have lived”. The people of Israel continue to be grateful to God because in the Commandments he pointed out the way of life. The great Psalm 119(118) is a unique expression of joy for this fact: we are not fumbling in the dark. God has shown us the way and how to walk aright. The message of the Commandments was synthesized in the life of Jesus and became a living model. Thus we understand that these rules from God are not chains, but the way which he is pointing out to us. We can be glad for them and rejoice that in Christ they stand before us as a lived reality. He himself has made us glad. By walking with Christ, we experience the joy of revelation, and as priests we need to communicate to others our own joy at the fact that we have been shown the right way. Then there is the phrase about the “darkest valley” through which the Lord leads us. Our path as individuals will one day lead us into the valley of the shadow of death, where no one can accompany us. Yet he will be there. Christ himself descended into the dark night of death. even there he will not abandon us. even there he will lead us. “If I sink to the nether world, you are present there”, says Psalm 139(138). Truly you are there, even in the throes of death, and hence our responsorial Psalm can say: even there, in the darkest valley, I fear no evil. When speaking of the darkest valley, we can also think of the dark valleys of temptation, discouragement and trial through which everyone has to pass. Even in these dark valleys of life he is there. Lord, in the darkness of temptation, at the
hour of dusk when all light seems to have died away, show me that you are there. Help us priests, so that we can remain beside the persons entrusted to us in these dark nights. So that we can show them your own light. “Your rod and your staff—they comfort me”: the shepherd needs the rod as protection against savage beasts ready to pounce on the flock; against robbers looking for prey. Along with the rod there is the staff which gives support and helps to make difficult crossings. Both of these are likewise part of the Church’s ministry, of the priest’s ministry. The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented. as if it were no longer God’s gift, the precious pearl which we cannot let be taken from us. Even so, the rod must always become once again the shepherd’s staff – a staff which helps men and women to tread difficult paths and to follow the Lord. at the end of the Psalm we read of the table which is set, the oil which anoints the head, the cup which overflows, and dwelling in the house of the Lord. In the Psalm this is an expression first and foremost of the prospect of the festal joy of being in God’s presence in the temple, of being his guest, whom he himself serves, of
dwelling with him. For us, who pray this Psalm with Christ and his Body which is the Church, this prospect of hope takes on even greater breadth and depth. We see in these words a kind of prophetic foreshadowing of the mystery of the eucharist, in which God himself makes us his guests and offers himself to us as food –as that bread and fine wine which alone can definitively sate man’s hunger and thirst. How can we not rejoice that one day we will be guests at the very table of God and live in his dwellingplace? How can we not rejoice at the fact that he has commanded us: “Do this in memory of me”? How can we not rejoice that he has enabled us to set God’s table for men and women, to give them his Body and his Blood, to offer them the precious gift of his very presence. Truly we can pray together, with all our heart, the words of the Psalm: “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Ps 23:6). Finally, let us take a brief look at the two communion antiphons which the Church offers us in her liturgy today. First there are the words with which Saint John concludes the account of Jesus’ crucifixion: “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out” (Jn 19:34). The heart of Jesus is pierced by the spear. Once opened, it becomes a fountain: the water and the blood which stream forth recall the two fundamental sacraments by which the Church lives: Baptism and the eucharist. From the Lord’s pierced side, from his open heart, there springs the living fountain which continues to well up over the centuries and which makes the Church. The open heart is the source of
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
a new stream of life; here John was certainly also thinking of the prophecy of Ezekiel who saw flowing forth from the new temple a torrent bestowing fruitfulness and life (Ez 47): Jesus himself is the new temple, and his open heart is the source of a stream of new life which is communicated to us in Baptism and the eucharist. The liturgy of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also permits another phrase, similar to this, to be used as the communion antiphon. It is taken from the Gospel of John: Whoever is thirsty, let him come to me. and let the one who believes in me drink. As the Scripture has said: “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (cf. Jn 7:37ff.) In faith we drink, so to speak, of the living water of God’s Word. In this way the believer himself becomes a wellspring which gives living water to the parched earth of history. We see this in the saints. We see this in Mary, that great woman of faith and love who has become in every generation a wellspring of faith, love and life. every Christian and every priest should become, starting from Christ, a wellspring which gives life to others. We ought to be offering life-giving water to a parched and thirst world. Lord, we thank you because for our sake you opened your heart; because in your death and in your resurrection you became the source of life. Give us life, make us live from you as our source, and grant that we too may be sources, wellsprings capable of bestowing the water of life in our time. We thank you for the grace of the priestly ministry. Lord bless us, and bless all those who in our time are thirsty and continue to seek. Amen.
Vol. 14 No. 13
June 21 – July 4, 2010
Restoring Integrity, Alleviating Poverty
Statement of Atty. Jo Imbong on behalf of the petitioners in Imbong et als. vs. Sec.Mona Valisno
IT is not difficult to see that our two biggest problems in the country right now are dehumanizing poverty and unabated graft and corruption in government. In fact, our President-elect focused his campaign platform on bringing a lasting solution to the problem of poverty and corruption. For indeed, in the last few years, the spread of corruption and the deepening of the poverty level became so evident. Now that we are at the dawn of a new beginning for our nation, with hopes high and patriotic fervor at its best, we your Catholic pastors in Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija comprising the Ecclesiastical Metropolitan Province of Lingayen Dagupan make a unified stand to oppose the plan to open a casino in Urdaneta City, and San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. Gambling and integrity of character are opposites. Gambling and poverty have been twins for a very long time. If it is not legally possible to close all casinos immediately, we plead with the government not to open new ones. Opening another casino will open more doors for corruption and pave the way for the impoverishment of the families of the
gamblers. Where the casinos operate now, we see the ill effects on the socio moral fiber of the citizenry—the rise of criminality, the spread of prostitution and the shameless corruption of those engaged in the business. The long way to the recovery of our lost national pride begins with the restoration of moral values. Gambling and upright moral values cannot flourish side by side. Gambling breeds indolence and laziness. Gambling destroys families and corrupts people. at the end of the day, even winners in gambling games become poorer and end up addicted to this malady. We are ready to help the government fight corruption and find a lasting solution to poverty. We have livelihood programs and micro financing projects initiated by former President Cory and now flourishing in many parts of Luzon. We do not only offer protest. We offer viable practical moral alternatives. We appeal to the government to aggressively fight corruption and diminish poverty. One of the first steps the government must take is to stop the opening of more casinos. The right step is values education for the children and livelihood opportunities for the poor.
Opening another casino—in Urdaneta and San Leonardo or in any other place—is a step deviating from our vision. From the archbishop’s House, Dagupan City, June 14, 2010 +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan +ARTEMIO L. RILLERA, SVD Bishop of San Fernando, La Union +SOFRONIO A BANCUD, SSS Bishop of Cabanatuan +MARLO M. PERALTA Bishop of alaminos +JACINTO A. JOSE Bishop of Urdaneta +MYLO HUBERT C. VERGARA Bishop of San Jose de Nueva ecija +RENATO P. MAYUGBA Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
(Address of Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, at the 64th session of the U.N. General Assembly on the topic of HIV/ AIDS; June 10, 2010)
Mr. President, In the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, Heads of State and Government acknowledged with urgent concern that the spread of HIV constituted “a global emergency and one of the most formidable challenges to human life and dignity” as well as a serious obstacle to the realization of the internationally agreed development goals (A/RES/S26/2). Five years later in the Political Declaration on HIV/ aIDS they noted with alarm that one quarter of a century into this scourge we are still facing an “unprecedented human catastrophe” (A/RES/60/262). On both occasions they made a commitment to take the necessary action to combat this serious threat to the human community. Given the significant engagement of Catholic Churchsponsored organizations in providing care in all parts of the world for those with HIV/ AIDS, my delegation takes this occasion to note that the global community continues to be confronted by many obstacles in its efforts to respond adequately to this problem, for example, that 7,400 people become infected with HIV every day; that nearly four million people are currently receiving treatment, while 9.7 million people are still in need of such life-saving and lifeprolonging interventions; and that for every two people who commence treatment, 5 more become infected (UNAIDS: Country and regional responses to AIDS). Mr. President, If aIDS is to be combated by realistically facing its deeper causes and the sick are to be given the loving care they need, we need to provide people with
‘We Need to Provide People with More than Knowledge’
TODaY marks the first step to reclaim our culture. More than just assailing DepEd Memorandum 261, more than asserting our rights as families, the suit filed this morning points a finger at the forces that are reshaping the hearts and minds of our children. The suit brings together parents who want to pull the plug and stop the devices that are capturing our children when we are not there to hold their hand. What has sex education done to us since these were planted into the educational system 30 years ago? From a culture that cherishes children, robust families, decency, integrity of the body, respect for parents, holy fear of God, the person in the street today thinks that couples should have only two children, that we are almost bursting at the seams because of “unwanted pregnancies”, that morality is relative and sex can be a topic for group dynamics in the classroom. Why do many youngsters today trifle with their bodies? Why do most couples today choose not to marry? Why do many marriages fail? Why are we governed by policies that are hostile to new births, and why have birthrates in this country significantly decreased? Our young population has metamorphosed into an age whose mindset is a refusal of moral limitations in the sphere of human sexuality. In an environment where one hears and sees condom ads on primetime programming every single day, where ads splash contraceptives in the guise of “family planning”—it is almost impossible for young people to assume the enduring sacrifices on which stable marriages and families are built. and the system is almost succeeding. after all, the sex education program is designed, according to DepEd Memo 261“to change the lifestyle, behavior, attitudes and values of Filipino children on sexuality.” In other words, to draw the hearts and soul of our children into the vortex of a contraceptive imperialism. By the way, this program is funded generously by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). Deped has used a new term for sex education—“population education”. Today, DepEd calls it “lifeskills-based” education. Lately an official offered a new term, “Gender education.” As parents who treasure our children, we shall fight against any continuing onslaught, in whatever chameleon-like language it may be called. We shall also consider putting together a nation-wide mechanism for parents and parent associations so that Deped defers to us, not we to them. after all, we are the first and primary teachers of our own children. June 21, 2010
IN order to dispel confusions and avoid misunderstanding that may have been caused by the prohibition we issued last week on the celebration of Mass at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City at the funeral wake for the deceased Governor of Quezon, Hon. rafael P. Nantes, we feel the urgent need to make the following clarifications: The local Catholic Church of the Diocese of Lucena mourns with the people of Quezon. Fact is, we sent our condolences to the family of Governor Nantes immediately after we received the sad news of his tragic death. We did not, in any way, forbid prayers for the eternal repose of his soul. Our priests were allowed to bless the mortal remains of the Governor. They were also not precluded from saying Mass in churches for him as long as his body was not there. This was so because the Mass cannot be said “corpore presente” due to the following impediments: 1. The Governor is a “born-again” Christian and the laws of the Catholic Church are explicit on this. Canon 1184 of the Code of Canon Law says: “Church funeral rites are to be denied to the following, unless they gave some signs of repentance before death: (1) notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics; x x x.” This Catholic Church considers “born-again” Christians’ willful dissent from orthodox doctrines of Catholic faith as a form of heresy. In addition, Canon 1185 states that “Any form of funeral Mass is also to be denied to a person who has been excluded from a Church funeral.” 2. The late Governor is a member of Freemasonry. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Primer on Freemasonry says: “The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin. Therefore, any Catholic who is publicly known as a mason…may not receive Holy Communion…and, Church funeral rites may be denied unless some signs of repentance before death had been shown” (Moral Guidelines on Membership in Freemasonry, March 1990) The prohibition we issued as clearly in conformity with and in pursuance of the Catholic Church’s established norms and precepts. It should not, therefore, be viewed as provoked by or in any way tainted with political undertones as the Church’s laws do not admit compromise. Be that as it may, we wish to assure the family of Governor Nantes of our continued prayers for the eternal repose of his soul. +EMILIO Z. MARQUEZ, DD Bishop of Lucena
more than knowledge, ability, technical competence and tools. For this reason my delegation strongly recommends that more attention and resources be dedicated to support a valuebased approach grounded in the human dimension of sexuality, that is to say, a spiritual and human renewal that leads to a new way of behaving toward others. The spread of aIDS can be stopped effectively, as has been affirmed also by public health experts, when this respect for the dignity of human nature and for its inherent moral law is included as an essential element in HIV prevention efforts. My delegation is deeply concerned about the gap in available funds for antiretroviral treatment among poor and marginalized populations. Catholic Church-related providers in Uganda, South africa, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea, among others, report
that international donors have instructed them not to enroll new patients into these programs and express concern about further cutbacks even for those already receiving such treatment. The global community carries a serious responsibility to offer equitable and continuous access to such medications. Failure to do so will not only cause untold loss and suffering to those individuals and families directly affected by the disease but also will have grave public health, social, and economic consequences for the entire human family. Particularly vulnerable are children living with HIV or HIV/ TB co-infection. Access to early diagnosis and treatment is far less accessible to HIV-positive children than adults; without such access at least one-third of such children die before their first birthday and at least one-half die before their second birthday. Such loss of the future
generations and leaders can no longer be met with silence or indifference. Mr. President, Through their global commitments in 2001 and 2006, Heads of State and Government articulated a vision of equitable access as well as comprehensive and effective action in response to the global HIV spread. The present-day challenges call into question our ability to fulfill such promises. Yet, in the face of the ongoing threat of HIV and AIDS, we must acknowledge the demands of the human family for worldwide solidarity, for honest evaluation of past approaches that may have been based more on ideology than on science and values, and for determined action that respects human dignity and promotes the integral development of each and every person and of all society. Thank you, Mr. President.
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
EVEN if one just limits his reading to newspaper headlines this week, it will not take him more than a minute to conclude that this is not a peaceful world. The killings attendant upon national and local elections, firefight between the abu Sayyaf and the military in Basilan, the tribal bloody conflict in Darfur, the tension between North Korea and South Korea, the war against terrorism in afghanistan, the drug crimes in Mexico and the unrest in Thailand—these stories may not prove Marx correct in his theory that ours is a history of struggle between the rich and the poor, but they do indicate that our history continues to be characterized by confrontation, conflict and hostilities. But despite these endless happenings of violence and war, people—especially those who experience war and those who are victims of human rights violations, of disinformation and blackmail—know the need and long for peace. In today’s 1st Reading (Isa 66:10-14c), Isaiah speaks of peace that God will bestow on his people who suffered strife, defeat and humiliation. But what is peace? For the prophet, peace is not merely the absence of war. One does not create a desert and call it peace. Using the image of the new Jerusalem as a mother who consoles the returning exiles at her breast and dandles them at her lap, the prophet describes peace in terms of the mournful experiencing comfort, prosperity spreading over the land, and all inhabitants being joyful in mind and heart. Isaiah’s imagery expresses in another way the Old Testament idea of peace as an experience of wholeness and integrity in the life of the people and community—the right relationship among the members of the community and nation and the right relationship between the people and God. But will we ever experience it? In the theology of the New Testament, such peace—if it is experienced—is often elusive. This is because, viewed according to the Jewish symbolic universe, evil forces are at work. An example of this explanation is given in a scroll found at Qumran caves: “all dominion over the sons of perversity
June 21 – July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
The mission to bring peace
14h Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C (Luke 10:1-12.17-20); July 4, 2010
is in the hand of the Angel of darkness; they walk in the ways of darkness. And because of the Angel of darkness all the sons of righteousness go astray; and all their sin and iniquities and faults, and all the rebellion of their deeds, are because of his dominion… and all the blows that smite them, all the times of their distress, are because of the dominion of his malevolence. and all the spirits of his lot cause the sons of light to stumble; but the God of Israel and His angel of truth succor all the sons of light” (1QS 3:20-25a). The influence of Satan’s power is vast and difficult to eradicate. This is evidenced in, among others, personal rifts and social and political conflicts where, it is assumed, he dominates. according to this symbolic universe, illness and physical handicaps are results of the activity of Satan’s power. also, if there is no harmony and prosperity
in the land, it is because his demonic power controls not only the life of the individual but also the relationship within the nation and among nations. In the light of this view of reality, one can claim that the power of Satan lies behind the proliferation of prohibited drugs, the uncontrolled jueteng, the kidnappings for ransom, and other evils that plague our present society. With Jesus, however, came new and full power (cf Matt 28:18). Through his cross and resurrection, he vanquished the powers of this world: “thus did God disarm the principalities and powers. He made a public show of them and, leading them off captive, triumphed in the person of Christ” (Col 2:15). Because he defeated the forces of evil, peace is now possible. Of course, during his public ministry, he already anticipated this victory over evil and triumph
for peace through his healings and exorcisms. “For with what authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out” (Luke 4:36). By undoing Satan’s work, Jesus challenged the demonic power and its influence. That is why, in today’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-12.17-20), the seventy-two disciples, who were given power by Jesus, could exclaim in triumph: “Master, even the demons are subject to us in your name” (Luke 10:17). They penetrated into the territory of Satan who, unseen by men, exercises influence over people and events in the world. Thus, even in his public ministry, the power of Satan to sow evil was already being broken. As Jesus himself said, “I watched Satan fall from the sky like lighting” (Luke 10:18). Though the eschatological battle between the forces of good and evil has begun, now the ultimate victory over
Satan is being won, with the rising of Jesus to new life. In the words of the Johannine Jesus, “Now has judgment come upon this world, now will this world’s prince be driven out, and I—once am lifted up from earth—will draw all men to myself” (John 12:31-32). and as Paul puts it, “then the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20). But what does the Gospel wish to teach us about peace? We all long for peace, for wholeness, integrity and wellbeing—which is meant by the Hebrew word shalom, but in order to establish this peace not only in our individual lives, but also in our community, in the nation and in the world, Jesus needs men to spread it. It cannot be privatized as if it were an individual possession, with the bearer unmoved by the events, vicissitudes and concerns in this life. Peace always involves relationships within communities and between peoples; it is always about their unity and harmony. If Jesus gave his peace to his disciples (cf John 14:27), his disciples must bring it to men. This is why in today’s Gospel, Jesus sent his disciples for the mission to spread peace: “On entering any house, first say, ‘Peace to this house’. If there is a peaceable man there, your peace will rest on him” (Luke 10:5-6). What Jesus meant here is not a simple greeting that one gives to people he meets on the way, but an announcement of the peace that the salvation of Jesus brings. We, Christians, must be peace-bearers. We are to be vehicles of peace—for it is only through the communities of disciples will real peace come upon earth. We have to be involved in the peace-process. In our time, that process would include not only maintaining the balance of power, but even more important, safeguarding of the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and assiduous practice of charity (CCC 2304). And it may be stresses that to spread peace is not a work of mercy—it is rather demanded by our status as disciples of Jesus. “Peacemaking is not an optional commitment. It is a requirement of our faith. We are called to be peacemakers, not by some movement of the moment, but by our Lord Jesus” (NCCB, The Challenge of Peace, 333).
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
Bishop Pat Alo
‘Dear Dad …’ (Part 1 of 3)
SHaNGHaI INTerNaTIONaL aIrPOrT Dear Dad, It will be still some four hours before my connecting flight for New York arrives. I think this would be the best moment, (I’ve always been searching for a neutral ground, I guess an airport would do) to confide something I never had the courage to tell you until now. I can’t imagine how you will react to what I’m about to share, but I think the distance between us and the life I am about to live on my own will help us to come to terms with the reality that I’m gay. The pressure was tremendous. I, it seemed, was not allowed to make mistakes. My social life was then constantly monitored, and I was being bred into someone I was totally detached from. I couldn’t, or was not allowed to find myself. at this point I’m freer to be myself, and perhaps, hopefully find an answer to my situation. Dad, I hope you don’t take all this personally. It wasn’t your fault –at least I feel, not entirely–, but at this stage I guess it’s water under the bridge and it would be useless to ask whom to blame. Perhaps, I should at least explain how this condition developed in me through the years. Did I have any special difficulties or trials? I don’t think so. On the contrary, I was as one of the most gifted children in our family and our community. I excelled ever since grade school and from then I always represented our school in almost every academic competition and event. I recall how I often received the annual best athlete award in basketball and judo, and came out as one of the most outstanding student models. I was, mom would casually say (trying hard not to show her pride), the envy of every parent. Was I truly perfect as you thought I was or at least as you intended me to be? Deep inside me then, I wanted to say something I just couldn’t properly express. I was buried under a heap of achievements! I cried out for help, but I was only pushed by mom to excel more. I became her trophy to show to her friends as she introduced me to them during community gatherings. Perhaps, I have to confess, this was the reason why at first year high I began to intentionally flunk my subjects. I felt that this would send some signals and make you realize what I was going through. But fate had you reassigned to South africa for the longest time. Mom simply brushed my bad performance aside and said I only missed you. She was right! I was truly missing you! I needed someone to answer my emotional hang-ups. Thus, I found myself totally at a loss, and realized that I had to succeed by myself when there was no one who would pull me out of my confusion. Funny, I now recall how I even tried starting a relationship with a girl! Mom found out and freaked out. Since then I could never move without her snooping on me and my whereabouts. She said relationships would only distract me from my precious academic track record. I’m sorry dad, but I have to continue later. The flight to the U.S. will be quite long and ample time to introduce you to my very good friend Jude. (To be continued…)
THE above word usually refers to the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church which implies the guarantee of truth and infallibility promised by Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Peter, the first Pope. “Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:18-20). Church magisterium is thus delineated this way: The solemn or the ordinary magisterium of the Church is the norm of faith in truths revealed by God. The solemn magisterium consists of papal or conciliary dogmatic definitions. The ordinary magisterium is the unanimous teaching of the bishops united with the Pope (cf. Canon Law 748-749). For the same reason as above, the daily ordinary uniform teaching of the Church in every place in the whole world is infallibly true because it is one with the universal Catholic Church under the successor of Peter and the Bishops united with him. Canon 748 – [1.]. All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which regard God and his Church and by virtue of divine law are bound by the obligation and possess the right of embracing and observing the truth which they have come to know. [2.] No one is ever permitted to coerce persons to embrace the Catholic faith against their conscience. Canon 749 – [1.] By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses infallibility in teaching when as the supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful, who strengthens his brothers and sisters in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held. [2.] The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively. [3.] No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident. In the confused teachings of our world, the divergent doctrines, and the malicious errors that originate from the Devil who is “a murderer and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44), we need the guiding light of the Roman Catholic Church to guide us towards love, purity, morality, justice and righteousness and reach the final destiny we all aim for – heaven with God as Our Father, source of every good and happiness. Jesus, being God’s only begotten Son, knew how necessary is that guarantee of protecting the Church from wrong teachings since He Himself gave that final instruction for the Church and its missionaries. “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). The universal body of the faithful who have received the anointing of the holy one (see 1 Jn. 2:20,27) cannot be mistaken in belief (Lumen Gentium 12).
Let some things not change
I reMeMBer a time when life was a little simpler. During an ancient, pre-historic era, there was only one Shakey’s pizza store in the country—located in far away angeles City. I was only twelve years old when my father would bring me there for a two-hour drive, just to eat pizza. He’d eat two slices, and I’d eat the rest. More than the pizza however, I treasure the time I spent with Dad. In my heart, I knew that my father loved me. Because he loved me enough to waste his time on me. Things have changed now. Today, we no longer go out of town to eat pizza. We don’t even leave the house. I just dial delivery, ana Dad and I can eat pizza. My father’s an older man now, and so am I (Sniffle). Sometimes I pay the bill. (Waaaah!) But when I really think about it, the deeper things haven’t changed. Dad still eats two slices, and I still eat the rest. and I still enjoy his deep friendship, much more than ever. As a kid, Dad and I walked together to Cubao, and we loved passing by that tiny Shoemart—if you can still remember— that ancient SM that sold only shoes and nothing else. I loved those walks! Just Dad and me, walking man to man. What has changed? Today, SM consumes 30% of the geographical land space of the republic of the Philippines. and it sells everything else except nuclear reactors and live piranha. Also, Dad and I are no longer able to take long walks. I’ve become a missionary and that has taken me away from home. But when given a chance, I invite Dad and Mom to hop along the journey. So we’ve gone together to different parts of the world. They don’t give talks or anything like that. I still do the preaching. But from the pulpit, I could see Dad and Mom, praying at the back of the crowd. They’re praying for me. They love me. Thank God, some things don’t ever change. Because in this insanely chaotic world of ours, our kids desperately need to know that they can hold on to certain realities that remain true for life. Or else they’ll lose their way, and die somewhere inside.
Vol. 14 No. 13
June 21 – July 4, 2010
By Fr. Shay Cullen
Compassion for children
IT was a dark, overcrowded prison cell packed with the sweating, heaving tattooed bodies of the most wickedlooking criminals you could imagine. I could not see Hakim, the young kid I had come to rescue from this harsh place of human misery and degradation if ever there was one. Then in the dark corner near the stinking hole that served as a toilet, I saw the large staring eyes of this shrunken figure. He was terrified. I looked through the bars, the other prisoners stirred and shouted at me for food, cigarettes, money and drinks. I motioned to the guard, he removed the padlock and Joan slid back the bolt with a loud clang. “Hakim, come out!” the guard shouted. The boy looked up fearful. He stood on wobbly legs, a skinny skeletal body like a prisoner from auschwitz, a Lazarus from the grave. He took a faltering step and almost fell over. He was weak, emaciated, halfstarved and naked, he had nothing but cotton shorts. The specter of TB was all over him like a shroud of death, like so many of the others we rescued. He was poverty itself. We guided him out the cell gate, down the crowded corridor to the warden’s office and his quivering hand signed the release paper. He was free. a precious human life was saved, a cast away, unwanted, alone with his dark skin, Negroid hair and indigenous features, he was low caste. Now he was saved from certain death. “I came to bring freedom to the captives”, Jesus said, and so we all should too and meet Him right there in the likes of the kid with the scabies and the hollowed-out eyes. “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” The gate clanged shut, he slowly walked free that day in March, out into the blinding, scorching sun, clutching a plastic bag with a dirty T-shirt in it – his only possession. I thought once again of all the useless surplus stuff I had, too much, and promised heaven I would finally give it away. The first stop was for food. Hakim was slow to eat, too weak to chew the first bit of chicken he had eaten in years. The boy looked around him hardly believing he was out of the cells. It had been ten months without a visitor, ten months with only two short trips to the court. One to be arranged for a crime he didn’t know, and although he said he was 15 years old, he couldn’t prove it and was marked an adult. The second time in court was to learn that there was no evidence or witness or a complaint to accuse him. But he was still
Daniel, Jezebel and the Mangahas girls
By Denis Murphy
We watched Daniel search back and forth in the field of concrete rubble. My wife and I were in Baseco to help young students from the Mapua School of Architecture survey the field, so the families who lived there, before a fire destroyed their homes, could return. This time they will not be squatters, but legal occupants of lots that will someday be titled to them. Daniel never stopped his search; back and forth he went tirelessly. When he came close to where we sat, we saw there was no joy in the little boy’s face. We called him over and he came, but he wasn’t happy losing time talking to us. We asked to see what he had in the white plastic bag he carried. You could always tell where he was in the field by looking for that bag flashing in the sunlight. He was reluctant to show us what he had found, until a little girl named Jezebel came and sat with us. She told Daniel to show us what he had found. There were rusty nails and nails embedded in concrete he would have to smash to free the nails. There were pieces of plastic singed with fire. Sibak and plastic. Daniel gets P10 for a kilo of nails and P10 for a kilo of plastic, Jezebel explains. He is always working, she says. Jezebel is his public relations person. They are both in Grade 1, though he is 6 and she is 10. Soon eight other children and a woman selling turon gathered around us. We bought some turon for them. The other children and Jezebel ate their piece, but Daniel wrapped his in cellophane the turon woman gave him. “He’ll give it to his baby sister.” Jezebel told us, and sure enough when the group broke up, we saw Daniel running across the field to give his sister the turon. Later in the afternoon on the way out of Baseco we came upon a truck coming in with concrete remnants from a construction site, old wood, junk and trash. Men and older boys were up in the truck, sorting out the good pieces and throwing them down to their friends. Daniel was also in the truck. He was by far the youngest and smallest person there, but holding his own in the struggle for good pieces to sell. Other children around the world, and even in Baseco, play ball on Saturday, but not Daniel. How will he turn out in life? and Jezebel, how will she turn out? Will they stay friends? Watching them we can understand the weight of Jesus’ words of doom for those who “scandalize one of his little ones.” a day later we met the three young Mangahas girls—evelyn, Emily and Novelyn, 6-9 years old. They are the daughters of a woman who was one of the Navotas women leaders who mounted a barricade against the Department of Public Works and Highways’ eviction team earlier in the month. The girls were sitting in front of the very temporary shack they put up after their home was destroyed. They wait with 340 other families who were literally left in the streets of Navotas for the government to find some place where they can begin life anew. I asked the girls how they felt during the eviction. They said they were very frightened and angry when they saw their mother handcuffed by the police and dragged away while she was crying out for help. There were tears in their eyes as they told the story. evelyn said: “It was hard to see mama like that. The
sent back to the brutality of the prison and was forgotten. He was at the bottom of the pile in the jail since he was a dark-faced indigenous tribal person, a Muslim from war-ravaged Mindanao. Even an enemy and migrant in a foreign land you might say. His village had been burnt, the people fled the fighting and Hakim was taken by relatives on a rusty old ship filled with war refugees and they got separated when the ship hit a reef and many drowned. He got to Manila and was begging on the streets when he was picked up by the police and charged with theft. It was the usual frame-up so they could claim they had solved a crime and get a reward and a step closer to their arrest quota and promotion. This boy was the most forgotten and discriminated of all. No doors would ever have opened for him unless Mina, Joan and Shiela had undone the bolt and led him out to freedom. as the days passed, he slowly emerged from the ten-month depression. But the affirmation, acceptance, and friendship of the other boys in the Preda New Dawn Home gave him trust and the small smile grew bigger. He responded to the medicine and the food and the good sleep in the cool shade of the mango tree. He healed. Today he is a college student.
water canonizing of mama and the other women made us dizzy. It was sad to see our house torn down. It was small, but it was always clean, and we all helped with the chores. We were very happy there with mama and papa and Sari James (the baby brother). They just tore our home down. They didn’t care. I was afraid I would be arrested. Yes, I dream of those things.” every year by its illegal, forced evictions, the government gives thousands of children such traumatic experiences. How long will the bad memories stay with the children? What harm will they do? There are another 60 evicted families from Navotas camped out in front of DPWH on Bonifacio Drive opposite Intramuros. It was midmorning when we visited the families in their patched and tattered tents. They sat on low wooden platforms packed together like passengers in economy class quarters on an inter-island boat. The people just sat and talked. No one was in a hurry, just as on a boat. Young girls slowly ate bananas—the whole day ahead of them and nothing to do. a woman sweeps around to keep busy. They had chicken adobo the night before. This night it will be upo, rice and dried fish. It was cold in the tent the night before and the women said they feared big trucks roaring along Bonifacio Drive from Tondo would come crashing in on them. The dust and exhaust made them sick. Why are they there? They want the city to know of the injustice done to them. Few people stop to talk with them, however. They want the president and the general public to know how they were brutally and illegally removed from their homes of 2030 years. Does anyone care?
Crime / B2
(Family Name) (Given Name)
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Media Office, with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. PO Box 3601, 1076 MCPO • Domestic 1 Year Php 500.00 2 Years Php 900.00 • Foreign: Asia 1 Year US$ 55.00 • All Other US$ 80.00
Mailing Address _______________________________________________ _________________________________________________ Phone No.: ________ Fax No.: ________ E-mail: ___________ Mode of Payment Check/PMO enclosed Cash Payment
(Payable to: CBCP Communications Development Foundation Inc.)
PLEASE SEND TO: CBCP Monitor, P.O. Box 3601, Manila, Philippines 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila, Philippines | Tel (632) 404-2182 • Telefax (632) 404-1612 Or e-mail this at email@example.com
the expiatory penalties from censures: a) Principal and Direct Pretension of expiatory penalties is the expiation of the offense, i.e., the reparation of the social order objectively damaged by the offense. b) Verification of contumacy is not relevant to the infliction of expiatory penalties; neither is the cessation of contumacy relevant for their remission. c) Duration: expiatory penalties can be inflicted perpetually, for a fixed time, or ad nutum of the Superior. c. Penal remedies and Canonical Penances Can. 1312, §3 further states: Penal remedies and penances are likewise employed; the former especially in order to prevent offenses, the latter to substitute for or to increase a penalty.
1) Penal Remedy: A moderate, canonical, para-penal means of a preventive nature. It cannot be considered as a punishment in the strict sense, since it is established precisely to prevent the commission of offense (which is necessary for a punishment). Thus we call it para-penal. 2) Canonical Penance: A juridic semi-penal action by which the legitimate authority imposes the carrying out of an external act of piety to the repentant offender, in lieu of the due penalty, or to substitute for an inflicted penalty which has been remitted either by absolution or by dispensation. (To be continued)
In Osservatore Romano (English Ed.),
John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium Vitae (25.III.1995), n.56.
June 21 – July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
Sex and the City 2: sugar coated poison
By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
THOSe who have become fans of the cable-TV series will no doubt find something to like in the movie, but for audiences who regard movies as powerful shapers of values particularly of the young, Sex and the City 2 is sugar-coated poison. after two years, the quartet of long-time gal-pals Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) reunite and update one another on their woes, their joys, etc. Lawyer Miranda grumbles that she is pushed around by her male boss simply because she’s female. Housewife Charlotte thinks she’s a happily married mother of two kids. PR agent Samantha swears happiness is looking 35 when she is 50.. Writer Carrie (who narrates the story) chooses marriage without children as most fulfilling for her. They are so close that when Samantha is gifted by a potential client with the opportunity to travel first class and spend some days in style in abu Dhabi, she wouldn’t go without the other three. In abu Dhabi, situations invite them to confront their insecurities otherwise unexamined back in america. A sequel to the 2008 feature by director Michael Patrick King, Sex in the City 2 is candy for the eyes, especially if viewers relish high end fashion, high end travel, high end living, high end everything. There’s a story all right, a story of women who represent the ultimate consumer, and everything else in the movie backs this up. The pace is snappy and so is the script, and with the frequent costume changes, fancy settings, “beautiful people” and exotic locales, it’s hard to get drowsy or bored watching this 145-minute bloated version of the TV sitcom. In this technically polished production, acting is sincere, but the characters are contemporary and seem too close to home to challenge one’s acting skills. Besides, when the movie is almost fashion-porn, who needs to act? Those who have become fans of the cable-TV series will no doubt find something to like in the movie, for it is indeed entertaining in its own right, but for audiences who regard movies as powerful shapers of values particularly of the young, Sex and the City 2 is sugar coated poison. If the movie is candy for the eyes, it is also toxic for the impressionable soul. While sound values are presented—like fidelity, family, sexual equality, tolerance and respect for alien culture—these are glossed over when contradictory values forcefully grab screen time, making us wonder whether the movie is pushing a hidden agenda or is simply being dismissive and downright contemptuous of people who are not “in”. A lavish gay “wedding” eats up nearly half an hour, with the Best Man being a woman (Parker) in a tuxedo, and the pastor another woman—60something Liza Minelli doing a whole song and dance routine (I’m a Single Lady) in a glamorized man’s shirt and fishnet stockings. That number in itself trivializes the pastor’s ministry and makes of the marriage ceremony a vaudeville show. also inserted into the story is a tour of a luxurious hotel suite—mouthwatering to many no doubt, but may be thoughtprovoking to some who may wonder how much the fiveminute plug is actually costing the hotel owner. Five minutes in a movie where fates are sealed in a matter of seconds must cost quite a fortune. While the gang of four fashionistas do care to be there for each other, they are too self-absorbed, pathetically unaware that there breathes a world outside of their own sparkly little bubble. Carrie prides herself in juggling career and marriage with elan, but she’s a writer who has no “give and take” in her vocabulary. Charlotte is the picture of a contented wife and mother, until her two-year old daughter impatient for her attention imprints red paint on her prized Valentino skirt. Lawyer Miranda plays safe and does some research on the local customs before they fly off to abu Dhabi but the movie does not take her seriously; instead it gives the youthobsessed Samantha license to mock with impunity the sex and dress issues of the Muslims. In fact, Samantha is the kind of American tourist no self-respecting American traveler would want to be identified with, uncovering her profound maleducation by openly defying mores of Islamic modesty and seducing a man in public in full view of a traditional Muslim couple. In real life, Samantha could have been stoned, but in the movie the director lets her go scot-free, her neck saved by burqa-clad women who literally unveil themselves as clones of the fashionobsessed quartet from New York. (Uh-oh… insult upon injury! Let’s see how this movie performs among Middle Eastern audiences). It is doubtful whether Sex and the City writer and director King intended to portray these four friends as conflicted human beings struggling for enlightenment, but if he believes film ought to serve as a tool for man’s growth, he needs to transform his heroines from women of (dubious) style to women of substance. From lauding these women’s avarice he should now challenge them to get real and outgrow their narcissism. In Sex and the City 2, women empowerment means the entitlement to la dolce vita, the privilege to shop on a husband’s largesse, and the freedom to carry condoms in your bag as a basic necessity. In spite of everything they have, these women can’t seem to have enough. We’d love to see Sex and the City 3 do justice to women, real women. Miranda will now be running her own law office and rendering legal services pro bono to cuckolded husbands on welfare. Charlotte will be shown happily conducting healing sessions in a facility for battered wives in Harlem while her children play with her patients’ children in a crying room she’s built out of her own pocket. Realizing that a novel of import is never written from atop an ivory tower, Carrie will move to Brazil to write while living alone in a favela and managing a soup kitchen for its residents—because has husband has now claimed his right to enjoy in solitude black and white movies without talkies. Samantha who will have (finally) fallen in love, will now be residing somewhere in afghanistan as the fourth wife of a handsome 80-year old sheik who demands that she wear a burqa for life, or else… (The author is Founding Board Member of the CBCP/ CINEMA)
Title: Sex and the City 2 Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth Director: Michael Patrick King Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance and Sequel Distributor: Warner Bros. Running Time: 146 mins. Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewing by mature 18 year olds and above.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the images of St. Ignatius de Loyola, Holy Bible, and Angel. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
Vol. 14 No. 3
February 1 - February 14, 2010
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
CFC: Filled With Thanksgiving
By Octavio Mella
Beloved CFC Family! Tonight, before I allow my weary body to rest in anticipation of a brand new day, I greet you all a happy anniversary! I have seen tonight the revelation of God’s love for His people in this community! If today’s celebration is the precursor of another awesome anniversary next year, then . . . I shiver at the thought of what God has in store for this bigger family He has blessed so much! Almost 50 thousand people gathered at the luneta today to savor the fellowship of one another under the sweltering heat of the noonday sun. They came in droves . . . dressed in the anniversary blue and white shirts, old and young, parents and children together bringing all kinds of food and reveling in the love and laughter that was in great abundance! There were games, songs, dances, . . . there was the joy of seeing old, familiar faces . . . there was much hugging, kissing, reminiscing about good old days . . . there were many joyful moments. The sun refused to hide, even as the delegates were assembling for the 4:00 pm parade, sweltering under intense heat but excited at the idea of parading and exhibiting the exuberance being part of this community gives. By this time, historic luneta had swelled with brethren from different parts of the country . . . and of the world, applauding and cheering the different Metro Manila sectors and provincial delegations as they paraded with their mascots and banners, and entertained everyone with their cheers, antics, and dances. But suddenly, the darkening clouds which had begun to thicken as the parade was drawing to a close, erupted in a sudden downpour of rain, with accompanying thunderstorms. The papal nuncio, Archbishop edward Joseph Adams and his entourage arrived at this point. The streets were already flooding and it was our task, as the events security, to secure the papal nuncio and his group from the drenching rains. It was an exercise in futility! We hoped that the rains would cease and give us a break, but again, it was a futile hope. And yet, wonder of wonders, the people just stood in the drenching rain, waiting for the papal nuncio to celebrate the mass. Their shoes were soaked, and without adequate cover (some only had plastic bags to cover their heads), soon their clothes were wet as well. But if the rains wouldn’t let up, the band wouldn’t either! They continued to sing praise songs, and everyone just joined in! After the impromptu praisefest, someone on the stage started praying the rosary. once again I saw the power of prayer. As the rosary was ending, the rains started to die down, such that when the papal nuncio started the mass, joined by 16 priests, he was led to remark that “the angels have turned off the faucets!” As we were all singing “Glory to God,” the rains completely stopped, and one by one, the stars came out as if from hiding behind the clouds! It was the most wonderful experience of celebrating God’s presence in the bigger family of the Church. The papal nuncio acknowledged CFC’s role in building the home of the church and the poor. The mass ended with Joe Yamamoto’s leading CFC to a recommitment to be one with the Catholic Church for the next 29 years and beyond. In the hearts of the tens of thousands of brethren who were there until the jubilant end of the praisefest led by Kirby llaban, it did not matter if they were drenched in sweat earlier and soaked in the rains later. What was important was being able to feel the fullness of God’s love in each other as members of this bigger family. The voices raised in praise and worship during the praisefest told it all -- each one at the Luneta was filled with thanksgiving! I’m tired, I’m so weary, I have to buy shoes to be used for tomorrow’s conference to replace the ones that got ruined in the floods, my body aches due to my clothes being drenched for hours. but I’m joyful right now. I’m shedding tears of joy because God has given me this faithful, loving family that is CFC! (Ed’s Note: Octavio “Bobbee” Mella is a member of the CFC USA National Council.)
THe following are excerpts from the homily of the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop edward Joseph Adams. It was a homily that almost did not get said. Prior to the Mass, the rain poured down in torrents, flooding the streets leading to the stage where CFC’s anniversary Mass was to be held and stranding the Papal Nuncio and his party in their cars. Meanwhile the people waited patiently under the rain, huddled under umbrellas but getting soaked nonetheless. After almost thirty minutes of waiting, someone suggested that the Mass be cancelled, in consideration of the tens of thousands who were out under the rain. But someone else suggested that they wait a little bit more, pointing out that in all of CFC’s 29 years, there has never been a time when the anniversary Mass was not celebrated. Meanwhile, up on stage, someone began leading the praying of the Holy Rosary. Just as the Rosary was ending, the rain suddenly ceased its torrential downpour and became a gentle rainshower. The Papal Nuncio and his party were able to get to the stage and the original plan was for him to simply give a general absolution after the readings – no more offertory, no more Communion, in short, a “dry” Mass. But God indeed works miracles. As soon as the Mass began, and just before the Nuncio gave his homily, the rain completely stopped, hence the Nuncio’s first remark: “The angels have turned off the water.” The original plan was scrapped and the Mass was celebrated in its entirety. After the Mass, the Praisefest was vibrant, joyful and totally awesome – a recognition of God’s power and His love for His people! The following are excerpts from the Papal Nuncio’s homily.
29 Years of Grace
Lay Faithful as Witness to Christ in Civil and Political Community
By Arnel Santos
“To intensify evangelization, to provide pastoral accompaniment to members of Couples for Christ (CFC) called in the political arena, and to witness to good citizenship.” These are the goals of CFC, in response to what were discussed and enunciated at the 3rd Clergy-lay Congress held on June 18, 2010, at the Marikina Convention Center. CFC leaders from all over the country and abroad, joined by three archbishops and 32 priests, tackled the theme, “The lay Faithful as Witnesses to Christ in Civil and Political Community.” In his opening remarks, Msgr. Allen Aganon, CFC spiritual director, stressed that this theme was based on the address of His Holiness Benedict XvI to the 24th Plenary Session of the Pontifical Council of the Laity (PCl), on May 21, 2010. “CFC is approaching midlife, at an opportune time when the world has grown with ideas and ideologies,” said Msgr. Aganon. “CFC should be better equipped by seeking guidance from Pope Benedict XvI, a profound observer of human affairs,” who in his PCl address, emphasized that “Politics is a very important field in which to exercise charity.” Rouquel Ponte, International Missions director and a member of the CFC International Council, explained that “The lord is not done with us yet. A lot more surprises are in store for us,” especially in this day and age, when “the call is for the laity to bring Christ in all aspects of life.” He emphasized that the social doctrines of the Church are very important to CFC with its thrusts for family life renewal, mission and evangelization, and total Christian liberation. The Congress’ keynote speech was delivered by dr. Jesus estanislao, who cited Pope Benedict XvI’s Caritas in veritate (CIv) and highlighted the Pope’s call for commitment for the common good of all, subsidiarity, solidarity with others, and the promotion of the personal dignity of every individual. He stressed that “all these values are in search of individual persons who can personify them.” dr. estanislao concluded that “secularism” is wrong and “clericalism” is against Catholic teachings. “The laity should take the lead. Giving witness is not limited to assisting the hierarchy. our area is a far bigger area – to proclaim Christ in politics, business and society. The clergy have their competence. We, the laity, have our competence. And the duty of the laity is to put order in our country’s politics, business and society.” Bishop Jose Advincula, as a member of the panel of reactors, said that with the proliferation of new ecclesial communities with members coming from the laity, the lay now are becoming leaven in the world. “The only obstacle,” he said, “is lack of knowledge of what Christian values to espouse. The laity should start giving flesh to human values so that they
Lay Faithful / C1
“The angels have turned off the water. It is a pleasure for me as the representative of Pope Benedict, the 264th successor of St. Peter, to be present with you, as you-members of Couples for Christ -- mark your 29th year of existence. I rejoice with you, and with you, give thanks to the lord for these years of grace. As you look back to these 29 years, so much good has been accomplished. They have been years of spiritual awakening, years of love and dedication to the God of the universe, years of prayer, years of self-giving, years of answering the cry of the poor, years of hard work, years of zeal to share Christ’s way-- in couples, with your families, with your neighbors; years of faith and devotion, 29 years during which the lord’s Word has been listened to and proclaimed, and the sacraments received, celebrated, and lived… My dear people, I am here with you today to strengthen you and encourage you in your effort to remain faithful to God and to His Christ, for whom as Couples for Christ, you have lived and worked this past 29 years. “Couples for Christ”... ‘For Christ’. Who is this Christ that you are for? In our reflection this evening, we take a look at the Lord’s question… There were many who listened to Him but did not believe Him. In our lord’s time, many saw Him as a prophet. Yes, they even thought maybe he was the one who was foretold, the one who would come to deliver Israel from its enemies…. In other words they thought that this Jesus was a prophet, maybe a messiah, but a human figure, a liberator, one who would vindicate the rights of his people. That’s how they saw him. Many of our contemporaries, people who live in our world, they
don’t believe in Jesus, they don’t believe he is the Christ. They look at him in a similar way. They would see him as a man who fought against abuses in his society, a man who was against dishonesty, against moral depravity; a man against wickedness; a man who gave a conscience and a voice to the poor and the oppressed. They see him as a martyr for freedom, a rebel against exploitation of all kinds, someone who fought to the death for the rights of his people. This is how they look at Jesus. They don’t believe in Him. They see Him as a good man, a liberator but not as we do—you and I. This is an image of the Christ recognized by so many who plan social change today. It is an image of Him which does not correspond to the reality of the Christ, the Christ for whom you couples are for. What do people of our world say about this Christ, this Jesus? Many unbelievers see him as a human being, as one who realized the noblest of human possibilities, a model for all of us, someone who was not God, but who was god-like. This Christ is a figure for them who gives inspiration for harnessing mankind’s positive energies, directing them towards a better future, a future of peace and justice, the conservation of our environment. This is a Christ which is not our Christ. It is a political figure whose goals are entirely of this world…. In the Gospel, our lord asked the second question… “Who do you think I am?” These people who were his friends, he asked them “who do you think I am?” They were of course believers and from them, our lord expected a different answer… And it is the same today. Jesus is not content to hear what unbelievers say about him, what our modern culture says about him… He wants to hear your answer and my answer -- the answer of people who believe in God and who have placed their hope and trust in Him as God. He wants to hear the answer of you, dear Couples for Christ. Who is this Christ that you are for? What is your answer? “He is our lord! He is our lord!” our answer, your answer, my answer, is the answer of Peter— “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” That is our Christ. That is the Christ that you are for. This is our faith, my brothers and sisters. It is the answer of all Christian generations that preceded us. It is the faith that you who belong to Couples for Christ have professed, and have tried to live
Grace / C3
Joe Tale, CFC Chairman
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
June 21 - July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
HAPPY 29th anniversary, CFC! Praise God and congratulations for a successful and victorious celebration of 29 years of God’s blessings! Amidst our celebration, particularly during our Philippine Mission Congress that capped our anniversary week, we also joined many others in the world in celebrating Father’s day. Newspapers and magazines were replete with articles on fathers, and television, too, with shows featuring fathers. Father’s day greetings on SMS messages and emails exchange filled a good part of our Sunday. And it is good, that we set aside a day focused on honoring fathers. of course, there is the commercial aspect of this celebration, which actually helps in getting everyone’s attention on this special day, but it is important that we do not stay on the superficial, but actually experience the substance of what this day really means. Celebrating Father’s day falls right in with our life and mission in Couples for Christ, for we have been blessed with the charism of being a family renewal movement. We thus take this moment to reflect on fatherhood and how the entire family may celebrate this great gift from God. With the unrelenting attacks against it, we need to stand firm and strengthen the family, beginning with the role of fathers. Much has been written and much more can be said about fathers and fatherhood. We will only take up three key points here. It is important too, to view things holistically, and look at the entire picture. For fathers are not just fathers to their children, they too are children to their fathers. We also cannot speak about fathers without also recognizing their role as husbands to their wives. And so we start from the early times, when God was forming a people and a nation. Central to the formation of a nation are guides to live by, for peace and good order. God gave His people basic guides to live by - the Ten Commandments. Many may look at these commandments as stringent old fashioned rules, burdensome and all, but if we really think about it, they are timeless, and if everyone just observed them, what a wonderful world this would be. In particular, the fourth commandment says: “Honor your father and mother.” Many read and understand this commandment just this way. But actually, there is much more to this special commandment. It is the only commandment where the consequence of observing the same is also given. exodus 20:12 after giving the commandment further says, …”so you may live a long time in the land I am giving you.” Honoring parents is not only a joyful thing to do, and a major ingredient in strengthening the family, it is also key to a long and happy life in the lord’s care and provision. Honoring fathers includes recognizing and respecting their headship of the family. ephesians 5:22- 25 says: “ Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the lord. For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over church; and Christ is himself the savior of the church, his body. And so wives must submit themselves completely to their husbands just as the church submits itself to Christ. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it.” St. Paul cannot be too clear. It is important that we heed these inspired words. of course we hear about the headship of husbands being the subject of jokes and sometimes ridicule. Some of the time it is just about humor, and the ability to laugh at ourselves. But again, let us take heed, for he who obeys laughs last and laughs best. It should be clear that the above passage is not about the dignity of persons. It is not putting women down. It is not considering them of lower dignity. The passage talks about roles to play, so there may
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of the diocese of Cagayan de Oro is visited by IC members Joe and Babylou Tale and Joey and Tess Arguelles, provincial leaders and the Mission Team from Metro Manila.
be good order in the family. Both men and women are equal in dignity, and that is not diminished in the above passage. We are here delineating roles so there is harmony and good order in the home. When there is a mix up of roles, certain dysfunctions happen. Finally, while we honor our earthly fathers, we really above all, honor and give glory to our Heavenly Father, who loves us unconditionally, sending even His only son to suffer and die for us so we may be saved eternally. Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:37 – “Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples; those who love their son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples.” There might be some who are uncomfortable with these words. We should not be. It should be clear that Jesus is not asking us not to love our father and mother, nor our son and daughter. He is saying that we should love God above all things. There is no inconsistency. It is loving all the way, God first, then family. In fact, the blessing is that as we love God above all, God actually helps us to deepen and increase our love for our own family too. And so we greet the fathers among us. We greet with love our own fathers and fathers-in-law. We even also greet our pastors, our priests, our reverend fathers. But most of all, we take this special occasion to express above all, our love and honor to our Heavenly Father. Happy Father’s day!
Joe Yamamoto, CFC Director
The Heart of a Fisherman
“LAUNCH out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” (luke 5:4) The verse above is taken from the gospel of luke and narrates the first time Jesus exhorts Simon and company to do something out of the ordinary. In the fifth chapter of Luke, we see Jesus by the shore of lake Gennesaret, being pressed by a great multitude wanting to hear the Word of God. The crowd was so great that Jesus got into one of two boats, owned by Simon Peter, that were standing by the lake, and delivered his words of inspiration and hope from there. That done, he then instructed Simon to put out a little farther from the land: “launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” (luke 5:4) We see the seasoned fisherman cooperating fully and not uttering any word of resistance, saying instead, “ Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at your word I will let down the net.” (luke 5:5) That response was surprisingly rewarded by a big catch of fish, the volume of which would have been enough to tear the nets and yet did not. Simon on experiencing something truly out of the ordinary, falls on his knees and cries out: “depart from me, for I am a sinful man, o lord.”(luke 5:8) Many things are seemingly out of sync with the recounted scenario. Consider that these were seasoned fishermen who knew that after a futile evening expedition, it would be better to just wait another day and hope that the next day would bring positive results. Then there is the conventional wisdom that no fisherman expects to catch fish in broad daylight. How about the seemingly foolish act of following orders from a carpenter who had no connection at all to fishing, and who gave the very crazy advice of dropping the nets so close to shore where fishes would be scarce? But the most out-of-sync reaction came from Simon, who simply obeyed, and was rewarded for that act of faith not just with a big haul but also with an unusual mission: “...from now on, you will be fishers of men.” (Luke 5:10b) From that day forward, Simon would catch men for the kingdom of heaven. In order to do this, he quickly and willingly left his profession to follow the Messiah and fulfill his mission. It is interesting to note that when Jesus issued his call to the first disciples, it was Andrew and John who first responded. It was Andrew who introduced his older brother, Simon, to Jesus. during that initial encounter (John 1:42), Jesus looked at Simon and said “You are Simon, son of John; you will be called Cephas” (i.e.Peter, rock in Greek). The seemingly inauspicious encounter between Jesus and Simon prefigured the role that Simon would fill and defined the responsibility that was thrust upon his shoulders. Thereafter, the four disciples, brothers Simon and Andrew, and brothers John and James, were never far from Jesus. They constituted the inner circle of the lord and it was very appropriate that they started the work of recruiting disciples as ‘fishers of men.’ Their fishermen’s instinct and background came in wonderfully handy for the task at hand. From that inner circle, Jesus progressively enlarged the group by recruiting other disciples who eventually became his Apostles. Jesus wanted evangelization to proceed as a personal experience of encounter with the divine and subsequently influence others to follow the leading. From planting the seeds of leadership to nurturing the fruits of spiritual maturity, every disciple goes through two important phases, the call and the preparation. In the case of the disciples, the call was the easy part; what came after - the preparation and the commitment to a higher level of existence – was much more difficult. everyone knows the struggles of Simon Peter, the rough and unlearned fisherman who had been placed in the center stage of the unfolding ministry of Jesus. There was actually no preparation prior to the call and everyday that he spent with the lord was spent in very deliberate and meaningful mentoring and teachings. The disciples learned to follow the footsteps of Jesus, going where he went, learning to do what He showed by daily examples and relishing every word that came from His mouth. Simon Peter is a model for every Christian. The qualities of leadership he exhibited reflect his own personality, background and experience. The letters of his name, Simon Peter, his original name and the name assigned to him by the lord, provide us with these qualities: 1. SIMPle and SINCeRe - The many episodes of Simon serving and following Jesus are replete with examples of the simplicity of his life’s approach. But one classic example is the simplicity and sincerity of his reply when Jesus, on seeing some of his disciples deserting him, asked all of them, “do you also want to go away?” of them all, only Simon answered with complete conviction, reflective of the honesty of his beliefs and the total trust he had reposed on Jesus:”lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:67-69) INTeNSe - Simon displayed intensity in doing his work. His commitment and eagerness to serve led him, in some occasions, to ‘shoot himself in the foot’, to borrow the modern day lexicon. In the category of intensity, nothing can beat the episode where Peter became a ‘water walker.’ It was the fourth watch of the night (about 3 to 6 am), when Jesus had left them behind while he went up to the mountain to pray. Jesus walked towards the boat and in the darkened night was mistaken for a ghost. Despite being seasoned fishermen-disciples, they still had not overcome their superstition and were relieved only when Jesus declared –“it is I, do not be afraid.’ once again, intense and reactive Peter beat others to the draw by asking Jesus to invite him: “lord, if it is you, command me to come to You on the water.” Whereupon, the lord simply said “Come.” Peter did as commanded and indeed walked on water until his steady progress was interrupted and he began to sink because he looked at the waves and shifted his focus from the lord. Jesus reached out to Peter with his outstretched hand, caught him and said, “o you of little faith, why did you doubt.” What lessons are we taught? – simple Peter was the only one willing to go out of the boat and, even if he was admonished by the lord for his ‘lack of faith,’ actually displayed faith and confidence that the Lord will always be on hand for his disciples. By going out of his comfort zone, Peter became even more intense in his commitment to the lord. MoTIvATed - Peter had a unique experience during the Transfiguration in Mount Tabhor, when he and the brothers John and James witnessed Moses and elijah talking with Jesus. Peter, sensing this to be a very special and momentous event, was motivated to say to Jesus: “lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, one for Moses and one for elijah.” There was no external suggestion; Peter was simply motivated to honor and commemorate 4. an event of profound importance. Maybe, Peter was following a leading from the Holy Spirit. oBedIeNT - Impulsive Peter knew the value and importance of obedience. His experience at sea must have trained him to emphasize to his crew that if the captain of the fishing boat, who was the most experienced and competent, was not followed, disaster and failure might be the consequence. As he followed Jesus, this training and natural mindset served him well. Consider the time when he was asked if his Master paid temple taxes, and Jesus responded and acted in an unheard of manner. Jesus orders Peter: “.. go to the sea , cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money, take that and give it to them for me and you.” (Matt.17:27) Peter’s act of obedience, in the face of what was assuredly an absurd order, is admirable. No- NoNSeNSe- In Matthew, Chapter 18, there was another memorable dialogue between Jesus and Peter about how and how frequently one must forgive. Peter in the traditional manner of the time volunteered “seven times?” Jesus gave a different answer: “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” No-Nonsense Peter received a no-nonsense response from the lord. PReSeNCe - of the qualities that Peter eloquently demonstrated throughout his period of training and mentoring by Christ, it was his good fortune to be present in all the major and pivotal events in the public life of Jesus. Perhaps it was this endearing quality of loyalty and capacity to commit to presence that Jesus saw as one distinct quality in Simon Peter. even though Peter is seen as having denied Jesus, the gospel depicts him as somehow staying within the vicinity of the accused Jesus. Peter never lost sight of the need for him to be around, even if he was helpless and afraid for himself. eAGeRNeSS - Perhaps Peter might strike some people as being ridiculous in his attempts to please the lord, in his being over solicitous. Consider the instance when he reproved the Lord and he confidently declared that he will not allow any harm to befall him, only to be strongly admonished that he was not thinking according to God’s plan. Then there was his pronouncement that he would not allow the lord to wash his feet, only to be told that those who will not let Jesus do the washing will have no share of inheritance in heaven. He was impulsive, over eager, quick to anger, but also quick to defend. How reckless he was in rushing to Jesus’ defense and cutting off the ear of Malchus the servant at the encounter in Gethsemane, without stopping to consider that there was a whole platoon of soldiers around him. TRANSFoRMed- Following the life and progress of Peter in the gospels and the Acts, one cannot help but rightfully conclude that Peter was forever transformed not only by the unique assignment given him by the lord, but also by the teaching, training and the mentoring he received. He was transformed by experiencing up close the miracles of Jesus and feeling intimately the love and friendship of the lord. From a timid and fearful apostle he successfully journeyed to one who was fearless. He needed to take that journey for he was entrusted the daunting task of leading and growing a young Church. The complete transformation of Peter came about through the love, mercy and grace of God. Simon Peter displayed a very important trait that all struggling leaders must emulateit is the attitude of remaining TeACHABle. If Peter were not teachable, he would probably have continued to lead a bumbling life and harbored a deep hurt with the strong admonitions he received from Jesus. But because the admonitions were gentle and loving, Simon Peter never saw these as rejections nor rebuffs. 9. eveR ReAdY- Throughout the gospels where Jesus made his most powerful and pivotal teachings and miracle works, Peter was always around. Peter might just as well be the greatest turnaround disciple leader in the New Testament. He was the same man who made the knee jerk promise that he will follow Jesus no matter what even unto death, and yet when a servant girl accused him as a follower of the Christ, readily denied his lord. In the Acts, the changed Peter spoke the name of Jesus with authority and great power. He was not concerned with the consequences. His only concern was to be ready at all times to share the lord to one and all. 10. RISK TAKeR – After the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, an empowered Peter continued to be a relentless Risk Taker. even if he knew the dangers of preaching Jesus, he persevered. Simon Peter knew the cost of discipleship and by doing the will of God and preaching Jesus at every turn, was taking his life in his hands. As the risk taker he always had been, Peter just had to preach the name of Jesus and not be concerned with any other mundane things. With the commissioning he received from the lord, Peter moved on to be the top shepherd of the growing flock. Truly, his was a remarkable journey, the fumbling “water-walker” with feeble sea legs matured through the power of the Holy Spirit to a powerfully outspoken, courageous and charismatic leader. Simon Bar - Jonah, as he transitioned to Simon Peter the Rock, learned many personal and leadership traits which he readily shared with others. These very attributes we can find useful in our present circumstances. leARNING FRoM SIMoN PeTeR For Christian leaders confronted with the modern day realities of materialism, selfishness and hedonism, is Simon Peter a good role model? Peter had once been like every one of us, unprepared and perhaps even unconcerned with the affairs of the world. Just as Peter was called, we are likewise invited to discipleship. What is critically important is to follow the examples of Peter in terms of his willingness to be present with the lord, to be ready with our own journey of spiritual and personal transformation and to allow the lord to reach out to us and look after our welfare and safety. In so many occasions, Peter learned to confront his own failings but he never had a falling out with God because he recognized God’s indispensability in his life. Just like Peter, we must profess that Jesus is our Messiah and we will not leave as “Jesus is the Son of God and he has the words of eternal life. To whom can we go?” Peter allowed Jesus to transform him from an unassuming fisherman to an obedient and ever ready fisher of men and to a shepherd called to feed God’s sheep. In our daily life and in our own mission of renewing the face of the earth, the same attitude Peter had – the desire to be in the presence of God – must be ours as well.
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 13
June 21 - July 4, 2010
The Psalms: The Heart of God’s Word
By Raymond Bucu THe Psalms is the Heart of God’s word,” thus stated renowned Catholic author and speaker, Thomas Smith, during a one-day seminar organized by Christ the King Parish, Greenmeadows, Quezon City, entitled “A day with the Psalms” held last June 12, 2010 at the Chapel of the eucharist lord at the SM Megamall. The seminar, which was co-sponsored by Couples for Christ, consisted of three main talks. Talk one revealed why the Psalms are the ‘Heart of God’s Word,’ whose “unique power to meet and join our hearts, broken or whole, bruised or bursting, remains largely untapped. Talk Two was entitled “Masterpiece of Prayer,” where Smith explained why the Church has offered us the Psalms as an indispensable companion in our spiritual life. Finally, Talk Three discussed “our daily delight,” and examined why Psalm 1 introduces us not only to the whole Psalter but also how to approach God’s word in a daily dialogue of love. According to Smith, the Psalms, also known collectively as the Psalter, is an ancient collection of Jewish songs usually accompanied by musical instruments, and sang first in the Holy Tent, then later in the temple of Jerusalem. It is traditionally believed that King david regulated their use in the Temple liturgy and that he wrote all 150 Psalms. However, Biblical scholars found it more likely that david only wrote around 70 Psalms, found within the first two books, and that the levites, who were in charge of the sacred music of the temple, probably wrote the rest of Psalms, as well as selected which ones to use in the Jewish liturgy. Smith emphasized the importance of the Psalms, citing that they are sure to have been used as songbooks by Jesus and Mary. He also said that “the Psalms have nourished the hearts of our lord and His mother.” This is the power of the Psalms, says Smith. “The Psalms is big enough to provide anyone with companionship. They have the power to meet us exactly wherever we may be. The Psalms give us the language of love, a literary garden where we can seek God in a mystical moment. There are Psalms for lovers, or for the heavy of heart.” According to Smith, the Psalms have the “ability to cut down the thorns and briars that surround the Celestial Road (God).” In fact, in many verses of the four Gospels, Jesus quoted extensively on the Psalms, even more from any book of the old Testament. Even at the final moments of Jesus on the cross, He cried out, “eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani? (Matthew 27:46), a direct quote from Psalm 22. Smith explained that the Psalms, having been composed by various writers, have come down to us through the ages as a powerful means of prayer, for they are surely the reflections of people who have undergone various spiritual encounters with varying emotional experiences. For instance, says Smith, the Songs of lament, attributed to King david, can be seen as coming from the darkest places of the human soul. We are reminded that david wrote them during a period of 12 years, a time when he was being hunted down by King Saul. It was therefore a time of deep despair, of serious questions about his future, as well as of persistent doubts about God’s revelations to him, coming as it were after Samuel’s anointment of him as the next King of Israel. Thus, says Smith, anyone who feels that they are being tested may be able to relate to the dark lamentations of david. However, he will also find out that after the darkness, he will also be brought to joyful praising in the end. As Smith put it, God will allow you to visit Pity City, but He will not let you stay. The Psalms consist of five books. Smith explained that in Book one, the Psalms “bring us to varying degrees of darkness that brings the reader to exultant praise in the end.” Book Two is about thanksgiving. Book Three, which begins at Psalms 73, may be one of the darkest parts of the Psalms, some of which were written in the days of the Maccabeean struggles and was a time of great tribulation. The psalmist expresses feelings of abandonment by the lord of His people but later reflects that their suffering is brought about by their disobedience to the God. Book Four, written when the davidic throne was forced into exile, expresses the psalmist’s sense of wonderment at God’s ways. Finally, Book Five is marked by exultant praise, where some of the Psalms, called the “Songs of Ascent,” were usually sang by pilgrims coming up the mountain of Zion to visit the Temple of Jerusalem. Smith stated that “these Psalms were sure to have been sung by Jesus and His parents during their visits to the Holy City.” of great interest to the listeners was Smith’s discussion of the Messianic psalms (Psalms 2, 15, 22, 24, 40, 41, 45, 50, 68, 72, 91 and 118, to name a few) and how they related to our lord’s rabbinic teaching technique which Smith called, ‘remez,’ Hebrew for ‘to hint.’ Smith said that “even at the foot of the cross, Jesus was still teaching His disciples by quoting Psalm 22, which hinted at all that was happening at that profound moment.” Smith reiterated that “whenever we read Jesus quoting the Bible, we must pay attention and start finding out where the quote came from and why He is quoting it.” Finally, the seminar ended with Smith’s brief discussion of lectio divina, or divine reading. There are many variations on the practice of lectio divina, but they all rely on reading a passage of scripture and attempting to attain a deeper understanding of Scripture through meditation and contemplation. Smith explained that to benefit even more greatly from the Psalms, it may be approached by using the four steps of lectio divina: reading (lectio), reflecting (meditation), responding (oratio), and resting (contemplation). “lectio divina” may be likened to the eating of delicious food, taking in its appetizing sights and smells, chewing it and quietly relishing the various tastes while identifying the different ingredients that went with it, until finally it is swallowed, where it becomes pure grace, to nourish and to strengthen, allowing us to go deeper into God’s presence” he added.
CFC - Dili Celebrates Pentecost with Praise
CoUPleS for Christ in dili celebrated the birthday of the Church in true Pentecostal fashion – through worship. last May 23, Pentecost Sunday, around 140 members of CFC and its Family Ministries gathered to commemorate Pentecost with a lively mass, the highest form of worship. Rev. Fr. Alan Bondoc, Svd led everyone - couples, singles, youth and kids alike - in praising God through the liturgy. Everyone truly felt the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in their hearts, especially after receiving Holy Communion. Before the final blessing, Fr. Alan led the congregation in a rousing praise and worship session that had everyone raising their hands, clapping, dancing, jumping and singing their hearts out to the lord. It was truly refreshing and empowering for everyone!
Fullness in Christ in Ho Chi Minh
By Annette Taguba CFC vietnam held the Fullness in Christ seminar last May 30, 2010 in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). The activity was further enhanced by the presence of Sr. Mary Niere, a Carmelite nun, who was one of the speakers at the retreat. The retreat was, in the words of the participants, “particularly meaningful because it brought home to us the value of loving one another as a requisite to truly achieving fullness of life in Christ.” The other speakers were Nonoy and Marivie dalman, lily domingo and Tony and Zeny Gimenez from Manila. The visiting team from Manila also visited Phnom Penh, Cambodia and conducted pastoral teachings, particularly on leadership, commitment and sacrifice.
CFC Jolo Celebrates 15th Anniversary
By Nanding Gonzales After the mass, the formation course on “living As A People of God” was given to leaders and members of CFC, Hold, Sold and SFC, as part of CFC - Timor’s transition to local governance. Although physically drained from the heat, humidity and the lengthy whole-day affair, everyone went home on fire with the Holy Spirit, eager to give light to Timor leste and the world through CFC and its ministries. Hahi ba Nai Aleluia! Praise the lord Alleluia! CoUPleS for Christ Jolo gathered to celebrate their 15th anniversary last May 30, 2010. The celebration was held at the demasinud Formation Center. Ji valdez, Area Head of Jolo, Sulu, Nanding Gonzales, Provincial Area director of Zamboanga City, vic lauro and Willy Fermin, members of the Area Council, led the Jolo brethren in thanking God for the past 15 years of their community life. It was not all celebration, however. In addition to the festivities, the council members provided everyone an update of the various CFC activities and programs and asked them to reflect on the CFC Covenant and the pastoral structure. Some leaders also shared their inputs and insights which helped everyone to fully understand the meaning of the theme for the year: “Fullness of life In Christ”. A planning session was also conducted which stressed the importance of evangelization to increase the number of God’s Army in Jolo. The session allowed the leaders to draw up programs and activities such as Christian life Programs and pastoral teachings. CFC Jolo is fully supported by the Prelature of Jolo under the leadership of Bishop Angelito lampon, who assists and encourages the brethren there not just with his pastoral guidance but by practical help such as making prelature facilities available for all
Grace / C1
this past 29 years…. That is the Christ that you believe in, the Son of God. In our prayers and in our teachings, always the Church repeats the same faith -Jesus is not a man. He was a man, but he is not just a man. He is not just a prophet. He is not just a human being who is a great leader, a great liberator, a great lover of mankind, the icon of peace and the sacredness of environment. He is all of that, but much more. He is God with us, for us. And you are for Him, Couples for Christ! This is the Christ in whom we believe and who enables us to do miracles, to extend his presence in our world but most especially to bring His presence to those who long for God, those who feel abandoned, the poor, those who look for signs of love and compassion. My brothers and sisters, you are there for them. Through you, the Christ speaks to our world, as He did two thousand years ago, to the tax collectors, the ones who were rejected, to the centurion, the pagan and to the crowds who wanted to listen to His voice, His consoling words. You are there for them, Couples for Christ! Remember which Christ you are for. It is He who came to bring glad news to the poor, to proclaim freedom to those who are unfree, recovery of sight to those who don’t see, and release to those who are captives. Allow yourselves to be transformed by Him, the Christ who is the Savior, the Messiah, the Son of God, our Hope. Allow yourselves to be transformed by Him, to be filled by His grace so that as Couples for Christ – couples for Him – you might stay with Him and lead others to Him. As you recall the past with gratitude, look forward to the future, with courage and optimism. do not lose sight of the Christ that you are for, the real Christ. He is a God who has enabled us to be what we are, to accomplish so much good. You who accomplished so much good for the past 29 years --It is only He who has done it. It is the real Christ who now blesses you and sends you on a mission to spread His Gospel, the Gospel of love, of Truth and of what is Right. In the Philippines and throughout the world, it is He who unites husband and wife, keeps them faithful and keeps the family together in the holy bond of love. This is the real Christ.”
CFC activities. one major problem in Jolo is the unstable peace and order situation, but judging from the past 15 years of vibrant community life, CFC Jolo is unfazed by any difficulty and instead remains committed to the vision of being Families in the Holy Spirit, Renewing the Face of the earth.
Lay Faithful / C1
become virtues.” Fr. Carmelo diola, for his part, explained, that “politics is the art of public service.” It has only gained a dirty or pejorative connotation because of default. He elaborated that “behind development is good governance. Behind good governance is principled politics and politicians,” made possible in turn by “engaged communities”, composed of “values-driven families”, behind which are “enlightened and renewed individuals.” Fr. Bs Mardiatmadja, SJ. from Indonesia spoke about the expression of our faith life as a “counter-witness” and the need to discern always what are the best ways to witness to Christ. Atty. Nides Respicio, National Coordinator of St. Thomas
More and Associates (STMA), expressed affirmation of his resolve to make “the office and the courts as milieu for evangelization” and to truly heed the call to witness because this “opens up opportunities for more CFC to be active in STMA.” Rommel Ancheta, YFC International Coordinator, commented that “politics has been farfetched from the mind of the youth.” The Pope’s call presents a greater challenge, especially for the youth who are in search of role models and heroes. Cagayan de oro Archbishop Antonio ledesma exhorted CFC to lead the way in terms of Natural Family Planning (NFP). The Congress ended with the celebration of the Holy eucharist celebrated by Archbishop Ra-
mon Arguelles, and assisted by the other bishops present. In his homily, Archbishop Arguelles exhorted that, “The best people who can evangelize are the lay people, as exemplified by the first lay person to evangelize – the Blessed Mother. She could be anyone of you.” He explained that “We, priests, are meant to make the lay feel the love of Christ. They should experience the presence and power of Christ that passes through us. We are here to enable the lay to be rooted on the real Christ alive in the Church.” “What we are meant to export is trust in God and in human beings. That’s our evangelization, based on the humility of the Son of God- made-man. The only hope of the world is Christ.
Build indeed, our life on Christ, ” said Archbishop Arguelles. The Clergy-lay Congress is an annual CFC event. Joey Arguelles of the CFC IC explained that the idea of the congress started in 2008 as CFC’s way of renewing its ties to the clergy. eventually, it has become a forum to strengthen the bond between the lay and the clergy. Addressing the clergy, Joey Arguelles said: “We remain hopeful and encouraged despite difficult situations because of the gift of pastoral fathers powerfully praying for all of us as we strive to be better sons and daughters of God… As we have found pastoral fathers in you, we hope that you have found a family in CFC.”
CFC Country Leaders’ Congress:
June 21 - July 4, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 13
CFC’s Truly Catholic Evangelization
By Nirva Delacruz CoUPleS for Christ’s call to be ‘missionary’ is as old as its 29 years of existence. But at this year’s Country leaders’ Congress held last June 16, the emphasis for CFC’s global work is for it to be truly Catholic, truly universal. CFC is now on Twitter! Top CFC leaders from 28 countries listened to the sessions which talked about “our Role in CFC’s Global evangelization and Mission” given by International Missions director Rouquel Ponte. Ponte particularly stressed the accountability that comes with leadership. Worth noting is the importance CFC is starting to give evangelization using the “new media” or the internet through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This is the first year that CFC is taking its presence on the net seriously by championing the cause of bringing Christ online. To date, Couples for Christ in several countries have been building their own websites and have been setting up official Facebook pages to create a sense of community for members and even non-members online. This move is in line with the Church’s exhortation to the clergy to start evangelizing the “digital continent” – the internet. A Missionary, Pro-poor and Pastoral CFC For the second session, CFC International director Joe Yamamoto reminded CFC leaders about the concrete directions of CFC’s global work. “The first responsibility of leadership is to define reality,” Yamamoto said at the start of the session. He emphasized that it is crucial for leaders not to forget where CFC is headed. CFC should not be complacent about being present in 107 countries but should desire to conquer more areas for Christ, citing a prophecy by CFC Council wife Nina Ponte about CFC “winning the world for Christ” decades before. Yamamoto also reminded everyone that CFC’s Work with the Poor program should not be Philippine-centric. “We do work with the poor but we shouldn’t see it as happening only in the Philippines. Where there is CFC, there is work with the poor,” he explained. Yamamoto also exhorted the country leaders to “strengthen our relationships” and “embrace the pastoral formation.” leaders like CFC Thailand National director Jimmy lozare found this year’s congress inputs helpful for the continuity of the missions. “We are more Church-oriented which is the proper direction,” he explained. The congress ended with a praisefest led by Singles for Christ full-time worker lawrence Quintero.
International Missions Director Rouquel Ponte with delegates from abroad: (standing from left) Fr. Bartholomew Ogumelu of the diocese of Onitsha, Nigeria, Jerry Tanigue, country coordinator for Nigeria and Ghana, Rouquel and Lito Illescas of Qatar. Seated are: Tess Illescas and Lourdes Quiambao or Abu Dhabi.
CFC FAMILY MINISTRIES: Our love and our Life
By Dana Flores THe heat was no match for the vibrancy and excitement that filled the air on the afternoon of June 16,2010, when the Family Ministries Congress was held in the Marikina Convention Center. All Family Ministries Heads, CFC International Council, Ministry Heads of different areas, and ministry fulltime workers, gathered together to celebrate and embrace the beauty of the CFC vision. T h e congress started with a worship led by Goi villegas, Youth for Christ pastoral worker. A dance presentation by the Kids for Christ, kicked off the first session for the day, entitled “Families in Fullness.” Given by CFC Family Ministries director, Melo villaroman, the talk centered on how families these days have lost and forgotten the plan that God had for them, as he illustrated very alarming statistics about families today. Alarming as it may seem, Melo assured everyone that there is still hope, as he pointed to the role of the CFC Family Ministries in bringing the CFC vision “Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the earth”, into reality. Melo pointed out that the spirit of love is the driving force of our work. He used love as an acronym to describe the essence of being a Family Ministries Head, which are: leading and championing our overall mission for families oneness and Consistency with the CFC vision, Mission, and directions vessels of Fullness exemplifying Christ in personal leadership and family life The congress was also the venue for the launching of the new Family Ministries Heads Handbook which explains the roles and responsibilities of family ministries heads. The second session “Build My Family, Build My Home” was also conducted by Melo villaramon, who explained in full detail the concrete things that Family Ministries Heads need to move in order to put the vision into reality. Again he used the acronym lIFe to describe these: linkages between Ministries for Continuity Integration of all Ministry strengths, efforts, and potentials Forebearers of the Message enabling and empowering Ministry Heads in leading their respective ministry (through training, and pastoral guidance) Melo pointed out that these responsibilities, if fulfilled, will ensure that the lord’s vision for His people are put into reality. An exuberant praise fest concluded the activity.
“….Where No One Is In Need”
The First Couples for Christ ANCoP Congress
Joe Tale announced that CFC is committed to continuing and embracing the work with the poor, and that we shall move as the Holy Spirit moves us, to work hard and to give our best in this mission. He stressed that this work is one with the Catholic Church. “CFC’s work with the poor will continue for as long as we put the lord at the center of it.” He asked everyone to attract others to do this work by example and witnessing, and by being our brother’s keeper. “Through ANCoP, may the work of bringing Christ to the poor give our brothers and sisters a bit of the piece of heaven God has promised us all here on earth.” In the second session, Joe Yamamoto exhorted CFC leaders to manage the changes we face together in this mission. He emphasized that the heart of our work with the poor stems from the heart of Christ. This means that CFC, through our work with the poor, are called to proclaim the face of Jesus to the poor and to our individual and private partners, lGU’s, and/or nongovernment organizations. With the expanding and massive work ahead of us, and now that CFC ANCoP has gone full circle, Joe Yamamoto called all CFC leaders to respond to this work by loving one another and by being connected to the true source of this work which is CHRIST. The afternoon sessions highlighted the 4 basic programs of ANCoP. These programs aim to address and provide the basic needs and necessities of the poor. The programs were simplified with the acronym word “Heed” which means: H- Health e- education e- economic Stability d- developing Communities The discussion of these four programs of ANCoP gave the leaders a head start on the work that is at hand. The day ended with a final session, inspiring everyone to heed the CFC ANCoP mission which was: Answering the cry of the Poor by sharing Christ’s love,
Ricky Cuenca, ANCOP President, leads the two Joes in shouting out the ANCOP slogan.
By Layle Ancheta IT was a great and joyful morning last June 17, 2010, when the provincial, Metro Manila and international leaders of Couples for Christ gathered at the Marikina Convention Center for the 1st CFC ANCoP Congress. The theme of the congress was taken from the verses in Acts 4, emphasizing the phrase “… where no one is in need.” Mon Penalosa, provincial council member of Negros occidental, started off the activity with a vibrant worship, followed by lito Tayag, CFC International Council member, who gave the welcome remarks. The two morning sessions inspired the leaders. Joe Tale, CFC Chairman, gave the first talk entitled “From ANCoP to ANCoP,” while the second session, entitled “Moving Forward with ANCoP,” was given by Joe Yamamoto, CFC executive director. Joe Tale gave everyone a glimpse of the journey of CFC’s work with the poor through the years. ANCoP, an acronym which means “Answering the Cry of the Poor,” was the name given to CFC’s work with the poor during the early 1990s. Joe reminded everyone that
ANCoP was re-launched last december 8, 2010, a date specifically chosen to honor the Blessed Mother, specifically in her being our lady of Banneux, more popularly known as the “virgin of the Poor.” “Since its launch last year, the work of ANCoP has been truly gaining momentum,” Joe Tale said. “We have seen groundbreaking of various sites in the provinces of Batangas, now with 10 ANCoP village sites, building 1500 homes; in San Mateo, Rizal where 300400 homes will be built in the first “Our lady of Banneux” ANCoP village, and in Tarlac and Quezon Province.” Bernie Cuevas, the first fulltime worker for ANCoP, shared her own experience in the journey of serving the poor. “Work with the poor of CFC started with the work of the youth in Bagong Silang sometime in 1994, making a difference in the lives of the out of school youth there. We started with youth development, and eventually the work with the poor expanded to building homes and houses, then, we were called to do the work of nation building. Work with the poor expanded and became very massive through these years” she said.
as an instrument of healing, addressing their relevant needs (material, physical and emotional) And fulfilling their yearning for a better future Through personal and family transformation that leads to a just and caring society and a life of dignity for all. The long yet very inspiring day ended with a powerful closing exhortation led by Ricky Cuenca, newly installed President of CFC ANCoP. In his message to the leaders, he affirmed that the Lord is truly blessing us in this immense global work. “We have truly been anointed by God to “build the church of the home and build the church of the poor. We are to truly answer the cry of the poor.” Ricky said. Truly, it was a day to celebrate and be grateful for the immense work God has entrusted to Couples for Christ. Through ANCoP, our work with the poor, God has given us the great privilege to heed the call of Christ to his chosen disciples to give all our love and
Fr. Allen Aganon, far left, and Fr, Paul Uwemedimo, second from right, join Joemar Salumbides, PAH of Southern Leyte and SFC volunteers in providing service as “waiters” in the fundraising activity called “Ang Cup” during the ANCOP Congress.
service to others. With the grace of God, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, truly, we will soon have a society “…where no one is in need” This vision may seem far-fetched but true to our ANCoP slogan, “SAGoT KITA dAHIl SAGoT TAYo NI loRd,” the lord is assuring us that in this great and massive work, He will always give us the guidance of the Holy Spirit, inspiration in the hope he gives, and the driving force of love that He has for all of us.
CFC Chairman Joe Tale, right, and CFC Executive Director Joe Yamamoto (with shovel), lead groundbreaking rites at the San Mateo ANCOP site.