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CBCP Monitor Vol. 16 No. 24

CBCP Monitor Vol. 16 No. 24

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 Vol. 16 No. 24
November 19 - December 2, 2012
Php 20.
Representatives of family and life groups ash thumbs-down sign, as they shout “No to RH bill” at a rally against “foreign meddling” in establishing a population control policy in the country during the Summit on Family Planning inthe Business Sector at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City on Nov. 15, 2012. The Summit that was organized by the British government with the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, United NationsPopulation Fund and foreign pharmaceutical rms—and attended by big business groups in the country not famous for helping the poor—proved fatal to the campaign that the RH bill is pro-Filipino, pro-poor and pro-women.
Determining whenlife begins crucial– bishop
WHILE senators are still arguing over when
life begins, Catholic Church ofcials said
there are more reasons to be apprehensive
of the reproductive health (RH) bill.Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes said that“common sense” dictates that the govern
ment should be more careful in providingthe public with birth control pills and otherfamily planning devices.
The chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal
Commission on Family and Life (ECFL)
Life / A6Foreign / A6Consistory / A6
Foreign meddling in
RH bill ‘confrmed’
By Diana Uichanco
THE cat is now out of thebag.The recent Summit onFamily Planning in theBusiness Sector organizedby foreign government andagencies may have been alast-ditch attempt to pushthe reproductive healthbill forward, but it unwit-tingly revealed what itsproponents and supportershave been denying: that themeasure is of foreign origin.
Former Senator Francisco “Kit”
Tatad said everything that RH billcritics have been saying about the“alien origin and design” of the billhas now been conrmed.He said the summit was a strongproof to their claim that many peoplefound to be “too outlandish” to bebelieved before.“The summit unmasked the Filipi
no authors, sponsors, and supporters
of this bill, who have all been postur-
ing as nationalists and progressives,
champions of women’s rights, mater-
nal health and poverty eradication, asnothing but puppets and petty agentsof a foreign consortium,” Tatad said.“Now is the time to say, ‘now youhave been found out,’” he said during
the National “Philippines for Life”Congress at the Summit Circle Hotel
in Cebu City on November 17.
Real deal
The summit, held at the Philippine
International Convention Center on
Nov. 15 and hosted by the British gov
ernment with the Bill and MelindaGates Foundation, United NationsPopulation Fund and with a numberof large European and Americanpharmaceutical rms, was a sequel tothe London Family Planning Summitheld in July where the BMGF raised$4.6 billion for putting 120 millionpoor women in developing countrieson birth control.Critics, however, recognize this bidto fund RH services in developingcountries as part of the depopulationagenda on poor nations specically inAfrica and Asia.
“If the PICC summit was meantto exert pressure on the congressmen
or Malacañang to make a last-minutepush for the RH bill, it could onlyhave achieved the opposite result,”Tatad said.“For the summit exposed the realimperialist authorship of the highlyunconstitutional, immoral and anti-Catholic population control bill, andnot even Pnoy can afford to be pub
licly labelled as an imperial poodle, alap dog. He decided not to attend thesummit,” he said.According to Tatad, who has madethe rounds of international confer
ences on development, family andlife issues in the past several decadesas a lawmaker and Cabinet ofcial,and continues to participate in globalefforts to deal with socio-politicalconcerns, Family Planning Sum
mits similar to those conducted inLondon and Manila had taken placein other parts of the world, with the
Gates couple—long known for the
eugenicist direction their foundationis taking—at the helm.
Consistory to expandvariety in College ofCardinals
FOI bill’s fate lies inAquino’s hands
A CATHOLIC bishop said that
the passage of a crucial measure
for transparency and account
ability in the government lieson one man’s hands: PresidentBenigno Aquino III.Manila Auxiliary v said ifAquino really wants reform inthe government, he would exert
all efforts possible to pass the
Freedom of Information (FOI)bill.Otherwise, he said, the lack
of political will on the part
of the President to push themeasure is mirrored in thelack credible commitment to
root out irregularities in the
Nun helping Ati tribes feels ‘helpless’
LAMENTING the government’s
inaction to their appeal, a Catho-lic nun who has been helping the
Ati tribe’s ght for their ancestralland in Boracay said they feel‘helpless’.Sr. Herminia Sutarez of theDaughters of Charity has been
working with the Atis for four
years and said efforts to getthe government on their side
Obama’s pro-abortionstance, a concern for PH
WITH the re-election of pro-
abortion president BarackObama, freedom of choice isbeing thrown out the window
for numerous Americans,who can expect more coercionwhen it comes to supporting
a government mandate that
violates their moral values,
said a young Filipino.
“While I am not an Ameri-
can voter, I am concerned
about Obama’s being vehe-
mently pro-choice. Not onlydoes he support abortion
rights, but he also wants toimplement an all-encom-
passing healthcare policy that
covers contraception, steril-
ization, and abortion-causingdrugs,” said writer and lifeadvocate Nicole Bautista.“I mean, sure, if you don’twant to avail of it, don’t take
it, right? But this government-
funded policy forces the handof people regardless of theirbeliefs, to pay for somethingthey don’t believe in withtheir hard-earned money—through their taxes.”Bautista, who appeared ina video produced by Human
Congress to honor Archbishop Tagle
THE House of Representativesis set to extend a congressionalcommendation to Cardinal-designate Manila ArchbishopLuis Antonio Tagle.Manila 5th District Rep. Ama
do Bagatsing on Oct. 7 led a
House resolution congratulatingTagle following his elevation to
cardinal of the Catholic Church.
“The Catholic Church of the
Philippines and the entire coun
try accept as a great honor
the Vatican’s recent announce-
ment,” Bagatsing said.On Oct. 24, Pope BenedictXVI has appointed Tagle,
along with six others, to the
ranks of cardinals who willelect his successor.Other new cardinals,who would be elevatedat a consistory in Romeon Nov. 24, were from
Lebanon, Nigeria, Co-
lumbia, India and theUnited States.Bagatsing added that theArchdiocese of Manila, with apopulation of 2.8 million Catho
lics, is strengthened with the
appointment of Tagle who is a
highly respected theologian inthe Church.“The entire City of Manila isproud to have as the head of the
Catholic Church in the Arch-
diocese of Manila duly appointedyoung and charismatic Cardinal-designate,” he said.
Sr. Herminia Sutarez with some members of the Boracay Ati TribalOrganization.
Obama / A6Ati / A7
   R  o   b  e  r   t   L   i  m    /   C   F   C  -   F   F   L
SHORTLY after announcinghe was creating six new cardi
nals, Pope Benedict XVI said hewas doing so to show that “the
church is a church of all peoples,
(and) speaks in all languages.”
The six new “princes of the
church” hail from six different
countries in North America,
Latin America, Africa and Asia,and represent both the Latin-rite
of the Catholic Church as wellas two of the Eastern Catholic
Churches.Inducting them into the Col
lege of Cardinals Nov. 24, PopeBenedict will bring up to 120 thenumber of cardinal-electors—those under the age of 80 and
eligible to vote in a conclave to
elect a new pope.
With the exception of theCatholic newspaper Avvenire,
the headlines in Italian news
-papers the morning after Pope
Benedict announced the newcardinals all pointed out the
absence of new Italian or new
European cardinals.
Painting the pope's move as
drastic and trying to make senseof it, Il Foglio and several otherpapers jumped to the conclu
sion that the pope deliberatelyexcluded Italians because ofthe “VatiLeaks” scandal. Thescandal saw the publication ofprivate Vatican and papal cor
respondence, much of it paintinga picture of careerism and cor
ruption in the Vatican, mostlyinvolving Italian curial ofcialsand bishops.Il Foglio's headline was: “Aconsistory to lead the church outof its Roman misgovernance.”The new cardinals will makeup only 5 percent of the electorsin the College of Cardinals, butthey shift the continental bal
ance, even if just slightly. The
percentage of European electors
will drop from almost 55 percentNov. 16 to just over 51 percentNov. 24; the figure contrastssharply with the fact that, ac
cording to Vatican statistics, lessthan 24 percent of the world'sCatholics live in Europe.The new consistory will bring
the percentage of Asian electors
from 7 percent to 9 percent.
Catholics in Asia account for just
over 10 percent of the worldwideCatholic population.
Naming two prelates in their
50s to the college also will lowerthe average age of the cardinal-electors; as of Nov. 16 the elec
-tors’ average age was just over
72.The six new cardinals slatedto receive their red hats and car
dinal rings are: U.S. Archbishop James M. Harvey, 63, prefect ofthe papal household; Lebanon'sMaronite Patriarch Bechara Rai,72; Indian Archbishop BaseliosCleemis Thottunkal, 53, headof the Syro-Malankara CatholicChurch; Nigerian Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekanof Abuja, 68; Colombian Arch
bishop Ruben Salazar Gomezof Bogota, 70; and Philippinegovernment.“One big help to ght graftand corruption is transparency
FOI / A6
   I   l   l  u  s   t  r  a   t   i  o  n   b  y   B   l  a   d   i  m  e  r   U  s   i
Bishop Broderick Pabillo
   F   I   L   E   P   H   O   T   O   ©   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e   /   C   B   C   P   M  e   d   i  a
 Vol. 16 No. 24
November 19 - December 2, 2012 
CBCP Monitor
 World News
Vatican Briefng
Holy See, Burundi sign framework agreement
A framework agreement was signed Nov. 7 between the Holy See and theRepublic of Burundi on “matters of common interest”. The agreement ac
knowledges the amicable ties between the two states over the past 50 years,while dening and guaranteeing the legal status of the Catholic Church inBurundi. It also regulates several areas including canonical marriage, placesof worship, Catholic institutions of instruction and education, the teaching ofreligion in schools, the Church’s charitable activities, pastoral care of the armedforces and in prisons and hospitals, and the property and tax regime.
Pope saddened by plight of quake victims in Guatemala
Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram Nov. 8 to Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela ofVera Paz, President of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala expressinghis sadness for the deaths and injuries suffered by victims of the recentearthquake in the region. The pope conveyed his “spiritual closeness” tothe people of Guatemala and offered his prayers to those affected by thenatural disaster. According to Agenzia Fides, the massive 7.4 earthquakerocked the Central American nation causing 48 deaths, hundreds of injuredvictims, and over 17,000 people displaced from their homes. A red alert wasstill in affect due to the possibility of aftershocks.
Bono thanks Vatican for helping with debt forgiveness
The famous U2 vocalist Bono traveled to the Vatican Nov. 16 to thank the Churchfor its work to free the world’s least developed countries from their foreign debt,enabling them to invest in education. Bono spent nearly an hour speaking withCardinal Peter K. Turkson, president of the Pontical Council for Justice andPeace, according to Vatican Radio. In 2000, the Church was an important backerof the “Drop the Debt” campaign, which coincided with the Church’s jubileeyear. Bono was one of the leading gures in the campaign, and is known for hisactivism for world’s poorest people. Bono said the Church deserves “incrediblecredit” for their role in securing debt forgiveness, and that Catholics should bemade aware of how their faith was central in the efforts.
Vatican ofce unveils Faith Scroll for pilgrims
In honor of the Year of Faith, pilgrims to Rome can now share their thoughtsabout the gift of faith by writing them on a special scroll at the Vatican’sPilgrim Ofce. “Since it’s the Year of Faith people are going to live intenseexperiences of faith,” said the ofce’s director, Father Cesare Atuire, after thescroll’s Nov. 15 debut. “So we’ve decided to create this initiative wherebypeople can actually leave something written down – their thoughts, theiremotions, concerning what their faith really means for them.” Those entriesthat the Pilgrim Ofce deems the most inspiring will be posted on a blogassociated with it, www.jospers.travel. Fr. Atuire hopes this will “create amini community whereby we really share our experience of faith.” Designedby New York architect Isabella Mancini, the Faith Scroll can be found inthe pilgrim ofce, which is located just west of St. Peter’s Square.
Jerusalem bishop laments new Israeli-Palestinian violence
 JERUSALEM, Israel, Nov. 16,2012—Amid renewed militaryaction between Israel and the
Gaza Strip, a bishop from the
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
is lamenting the “vicious circle
of violence.”
Bishop William Shomali, Vicar
of the Latin Patriarchate of Jeru
salem, told Vatican Radio Nov.15 that it is presently hard toknow who started the violence“because everyone condemnsthe other.”“What is true is that many vic
tims are falling down. Innocentpeople are dying,” he continued,adding that many people onboth sides of the fighting arehungry and students cannot goto school.
“Life becomes impossible in
that region,” he said.
In recent weeks, rocket at-tacks on Israel from Palestin-
ian militants in Gaza causedretaliatory airstrikes from theIsraeli military. On Nov. 14,Israel launched an offensive thatkilled the Hamas military chiefAhmed Jabari and destroyedseveral dozen rocket launchers.Palestinian militants retaliatedby shooting more than 200 rock
-ets at the Tel Aviv area, killing at
least three. The attacks reachedfarther into the city than ever be
fore, the Associated Press says.At least 15 Palestinians havebeen killed in two days andnearly 200 have been wounded.
The conflict is the heaviest
ghting in four years and couldpush Israel to conduct a groundinvasion of Gaza. Bishop Shoma
li urged Christians to pray forthose suffering and to advocatefor humanitarian aid for thevictims.“These people don’t onlyneed our prayers. They need ourhelp,” he said.The Latin Patriarchate of Je
rusalem itself expressed “deep
concern” about the escalation
between the Palestinians andIsraelis.
“Violence will solve nothing
in the crisis,” it said Nov. 15,advocating an “internationalsolution.”The patriarchate expressedsolidarity with all the victims,saying they are “at the center ofits thoughts and prayers.”It also prayed that those withresponsibility in the conict “donot give in to hate.”
Expert nds religious freedom a matter of 
national security
WASHINGTON D.C., Nov. 16, 2012—The protection of religious freedomworldwide is so essential to democracyand prosperity that it should be con
sidered an issue of “national security”to the U.S. government, says a formerdiplomat.“Religious freedom is buried in thebureaucracy and so people understandthis is not a priority for us,” Dr. Tom
Farr, senior fellow at Georgetown’s
Berkley Center for Religion Peace andWorld Affairs, said Nov. 14.Farr, who spoke as part of the FamilyResearch Council’s “Cry of the Martyrs”webcast and served as State Depart
ment’s rst Director of the Ofce of In
ternational Religious Freedom, said thatthe U.S. needs to implement policiesand provide resources to support reli
gious freedom throughout the world.Created 14 years ago, the Ofce ofInternational Religious Freedom worksto promote religious freedom as a “coreobjective of U.S. foreign policy,” butFarr said the current administration,as well as its predecessors, has largely
fallen short in promoting this issue as
foreign policy.“That needs to change if we’re goingto have an impact on persecuted Chris
tians and others around the world,”he said. Protecting religious freedomabroad is “in our interest” since doing socan help emerging democracies to growbeyond just one generation.“The point is religious freedom canlead to economic development, reli
gious freedom can lead to political de
velopment,” Farr said, “There’s plentyof history and plenty of data today thatsuggests this.”Even still, Farr said he’s concernedthat “our government doesn’t pay muchattention to this.”During his remarks, Sen. David Vitter(R-La.) said the persecution of Chris
tians is “on the rise, not on the decline”with 160,000 Christians “seriouslypersecuted” for their beliefs last year.
One of the biggest threats to religious
freedom is “Islamic extremism” whichhe said has not been challenged enoughto the extent that it should be by theObama administration.In Iran, for example, Vitter saidthe current administration has “not
been aggressive at all in pushing back
against” the growing trend of Christianpersecution.Vitter recommended that Americans
raise awareness about persecution,
such as in the case of Pastor YoucefNadarkhani, an Iranian Christian whowas sentenced to death for his faith,but released in September due to inter
national outcry calling for his freedom.Todd Nettleson, director of mediadevelopment for Voice of the Martyrs,called on Americans to sign a petition
calling for the release of Asia Bibi, a
Pakistani mother sentenced to death forinsulting the Prophet Muhammad bydefending her Christian faith at workin 2010.
In Nigeria, Emmanuel Ogebe of The
 Jubilee Campaign, said that despitethe “persecution on steroids” Chris
tians in his country are experiencingat the hands of Boko Haram—a radicalIslamist organization—the U.S. gov
-ernment will not label the group as a
terrorists and has failed to list properdata regarding the attacks in State De
partment reports.“There’s a systematic desire not to
label it as what it is,” Ogebe, who is also
a Christian and lawyer, said. “They willnot concede that Christians are beingattacked.”He raised the point that althoughBoko Haram attacked three citiesthroughout Nigeria on Christmas Dayin 2011, only one was recorded in theAnnual Report on International Reli
gious Freedom.Ogebe said he knows that data isincorrect because a family memberattends one of the churches that wasbombed and “anyone who Googles theChristmas Day attacks will see threecities were attacked.”Tony Perkins, president of theFamily Research Council, encouragedsupport for persecuted Christiansthrough prayer and by petitioning
the government to take more action
in supporting religious freedomworldwide.“...we as individual believers in thiscountry can take a stand in standingwith our brothers and sisters that arebeing persecuted around the world, andthen we can get our government to dothe same,” he said.
Dr. Tom Farr
Asian Bishops gather in Holy Land
 JERUSALEM, Israel, Nov. 16, 2012—From November 6 to 12, a group of 120bishops from Asia undertook a pilgrim
age to the Holy Land.The event was organized by theNeocatechumenal Way and held inthe “Domus Galileae” on the Mountof Beatitudes, according to a report bythe Fides News Agency. Around 70 ofthe bishops were from India while sev
-eral came from various other countries,
including Burma, the Philippines, Ma
laysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and China.Priests, religious and lay people werealso among the participants.It was “a profound experience ofcommunity, brotherhood, sharing of theWord of God and the living experienceof each of us,” Archbishop John Barwaof Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, told Fides.
The pilgrimage “strengthens thelinks between the Pastors of the Asian
Church,” he said, which is a very im
portant factor in the Year of Faith. It alsoemphasized the urgency of the NewEvangelization in Asia, he commented.The meeting came shortly before ameeting of the Assembly of the Fed
-eration of Asian Bishops' Conferences,
which will be held in Vietnam in De
cember. The meeting will center on the
theme of challenges to evangelization
in Asia.During their time in the Holy Land,the bishops examined “how to conveyto the peoples and cultures of Asiathe gift of Truth and bring the joy ofpreaching Salvation and Resurrectionof Jesus Christ”, asking the Holy Spirit“light to nd new ways to proclaim the
Gospel in our time,” Archbishop Barwa
In Andhra Pradesh, Catholic nuns bring drinking water to 250 tribal families
Kerala Church loses battle over sacked bishops
PURAM, India, Nov. 15,2012—The Catholic Churchin Kerala received a ma
 jor jolt yesterday when thestate’s High Court refused
to revoke the sacking of two
prelates from the board of atelevision channel.The boardroom war inthe Jeevan Telecasting Cor
-poration that manages the
Church-initiated Jeevan TVtook a dramatic turn threedays ago when its sharehold
ers in an extraordinary gen
eral body meeting expelled
their chairperson Archbish-
op Andrews Thazhath ofTrichur with immediate ef
fect.They also removed theirvice-chairperson and boardmember, retired Archbish
op Jacob Thoomkuzhy ofTrichur.A section of shareholders
supporting the prelates ap-
proached the High Court tostay the decision. However,a two-judge bench rejectedthe petition that helped theboard to implement its deci
sion from yesterday.Trichur Syro-Malabararchdiocese started thetelevision channel 10 years
ago with then Archbishop
Thoomkuzhy as the found
ing member and chairman.Later the company went pub
lic with a paid-up capital of250 million rupees (US$4.55million).
The tug of war between the
clergy and lay directors start
ed after the channel’s manag
ing director, Baby Mathew,tried to take over the com
pany. Mathew, a leadingplayer in Kerala’s tourismsector, said the shareholderstook the decision to remove
the prelates to ensure profes-
sional quality.He also claimed that con
trols over 60 percent of sharesof the company and that98.74 percent of shareholdersattended the AGM.An insider of the company,who asked not to be named,said the boardroom war be
gan a year ago.“The managing directoroutsmarted the Church lead
ers by acquiring shares of thecompany,” he said. “Nowhe has a majority of sharesin his control and the clergyhas become a minority in thecompany.”However, the Laity Com
mission of the Syro-MalabarChurch has decided to ght
the prelates’ sacking from the
board, with its secretary V.C.
Sebastian calling it illegal
and arbitrary.“We would approach the
High Court against the or-
der,” he said. “Jeevan TVwas founded by the Churchand we will use all legalplatforms to ght the expul
sion.”The lay leaders also saidthe commission would con
-vene further meetings of
shareholders to mobilizeopinion against the decision.
Basic communities and inter-religious dialogue: Synod’snew challenges for Thai Church
BANGKOK, Thailand, Nov. 16, 2012—
Strengthening the work of the Basic
Ecclesial Communities (BEC), a modelfor sharing faith and the new evangeli
zation, and promoting inter-religiousdialogue and cultural diversity aroundthe world to promote peace and harmony.
These are the two proposals that
Msgr. Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kov
-ithavanij, Archbishop of Bangkok, has
advanced during the recent Synod ofBishops, which was held at the VaticanOctober 7 to 28. The prelate took part inthe 13th Synod Assembly as representa
-tive of the Thai Episcopal Conference
(CBCT) during which he met with PopeBenedict XVI, bishops, cardinals, Catho
lic personalities from around the world.In recent days, Msgr. Kovithavanijwanted to share this privileged experi
ence with all the faithful of Thailand,with a reection assigned to the col
umns of the Thai Catholic UdomsarnWeekly, starting with the openingceremony, which he termed “elegant”.Taking inspiration from the 2010-2015
pastoral plan of the Thai Church, the
Archbishop reminded those presentat the Synod, of the value of the Basicdiscussions, he said, have made it more“vividly” enhanced the work of evange
lization and strengthened “love” for theproclamation of the Gospel. “I suggestthat Thai Catholics immediately beginto proclaim the Good News, and whenthe post-synodal document is pub
lished, we will immediately understandthe right track to follow.”At the end of reection, Msgr. Ko
vithavanij emphasized the “great op
portunity” that presented itself to “ex
change ideas with other bishops” of theworld and understand “the problemsfaced by other churches.” “The univer
sal church expands its vision ― said thebishop ― to promote mutual listening,especially among representatives ofother Christian denominations suchas the Anglican Archbishop RowanDouglas Williams and representativesof the Orthodox Churches.”
Ecclesial Communities
and interreligious dia
-logue, which applies to
Thailand as for Catho
lics around the world.
“There are elements
of the Synod ― saysthe prelate ― that the
Thai Church must
know about”, the rstof which is the “Mes
-sage to the People of
God” and the secondis “the nal list of pro
-posals” that the Pope
“has allowed to bepublished”. The threeweeks of meetings andHYDERABAD, India, Nov. 17, 2012—Thanks to the efforts of ve Sisters of theCross of Chavanod, a tribal communityin Koderna (East Godavari District,Andhra Pradesh) now can meet basicneeds like safe drinking water andeducation for their children. Until a yearago, the 250 families that call the villagehome had to rely on polluted water andtyphoid and malaria were widespread. Lo
cal kids did not go schools. Now villagershave a well with clean water, a dispensaryfor basic health needs and a school.Last year, the Sisters of Chavanod vis
ited the unspoilt mountains that are nextto the village. During their trip, they dis
covered the village. “Beside the tranquilstreams and sparkling atmosphere ofthe mountains stood the village wherepeople drank highly polluted water,”said Sister Priyanthi Samala.Sadly, the government has shown
little interest for the fate of this village,
as did other communities in the area. Aschool does exist in Koderna but it liesempty because the teacher comes everytwo months.Outsiders do visit the village but onlyto buy local goods, like tamarind, wood,charcoal, ragi (nger millet), bamboo,brooms and spices at very low prices.
In view of the situation, the nuns got
in touch with an engineer who lookedat the ground to see how drinking watercould be brought to the village fromanother source.Eventually, he succeeded in hissearch. The nuns then approached thegovernment for help and began to work
on the villagers to have them join the
project.“After a year of assiduous efforts tomotivate this community and severalfrequent visits, we gained the con
dence of the people and establishedour work in their location. We were
certain of their cooperation,” Sister
Samala said.“They did not hesitate to send theirchildren to the school,” but “the fewchildren who saw the school for therst time were terried and perplexed.”Now about100 of them attend theschool the nuns set up and run out ofa rented house. Eventually, the sistershope to get a building of their own.
  w  w  w .  c  a   t   h  o   l   i  c  n  e  w  s  a  g  e  n  c  y .  c  o  m  w  w  w .  c  a   t   h  o   l   i  c  n  e  w  s  a  g  e  n  c  y .  c  o  m  w  w  w .  a  s   i  a  n  e  w  s .   i   t  w  w  w .  a  s   i  a  n  e  w  s .   i   t
Archbishop Francis Xavier Kovithhavanij of Bangkok speaksof his participation at the 13th Assembly of the Synod lastOctober.
 Vol. 16 No. 24
November 19 - December 2, 2012 
CBCP Monitor
News Features
'Practical atheism' more destructive than disbelief, Pope says
VATICAN City, Nov. 14, 2012―Thepractical atheism of those who say theyare Christian but live as if God does
not exist is a greater threat than actual
atheism, Pope Benedict XVI said as hepresented three ways for people to morefully discover God.
While actual atheists often think
deeply about God before rejecting
belief, practical atheism “is even more
destructive … because it leads to indif
ference towards faith and the questionof God,” the Pope stated.
His fourth installment in a series of
lessons on faith was delivered Nov. 14to an overow crowd of nearly 7,000 inthe Pope Paul VI Hall, near St. Peter’sSquare.Benedict XVI focused his address on
the challenge of witnessing to Christ in
today’s world.Christian witness is always hard, hesaid, because people are prone to “beingdazzled by the glitter of worldliness,”but in the Western world sharing thefaith is even harder today.As he described it, the Christian faithwas the everyday reality for most peo
ple in what used to be called Christen
dom. The burden was on non-believersto justify their disbelief.But today the tables have turned fol
lowing a long slide into atheism, skepti
cism and a secular worldview that wasushered in by the Enlightenment.This, in turn, has paved the wayfor moral and spiritual disaster in theWestern world. People have becomeconfused about ethics once commonlyheld, making room for relativism and
fostering “an ambiguous conception of
freedom, which instead of being liberat
ing ends up binding man to idols,” thePope said.In response to the ensuing moral andspiritual chaos, Pope Benedict called onall people to discover God by followingthree paths.The rst path involves contemplatingcreation. “The world is not a shapeless
magma, but the more we know, the
more we discover the amazing mecha
-nisms, the more we see a pattern, we seethat there is a creative intelligence,” the
pontiff remarked.The second way of nding God isthrough inner contemplation. The HolyFather quoted St. Augustine’s famoussaying, “Do not go outside yourself,come back into yourself: truth dwellsin the heart of man.” He also observedthat the modern world is full of distrac
tions that make it hard “to stop and takea deep look within ourselves and readthat thirst for the innite that we carrywithin, pushing us to go further and to
wards that Someone who can satisfy it.”The third path, faith, is a dimly litpath for many people who view it asa limited aspect of life, if not a form of“illusion, escapism…or sentimentality.”But in reality, the Pope stated, faithconcerns the truth about mankind andour eternal destinies.“Faith … is an encounter with Godwho speaks and acts in history andwhich converts our daily life, transform
ing our mentality, system of values,choices and actions,” he said. Faith is
“not illusion, escapism, a comfortable
shelter, sentimentality, but involvementin every aspect of life and proclamationof the Gospel, the Good News which canliberate all of man.”Yet, many people consider Christi
anity as a mere system of beliefs andmorals instead of God’s self-revelationin history so that he could have a lovingrelationship with his creatures.“Christianity, before being a moral or
ethical value, is the experience of love,
of welcoming the person of Jesus,” PopeBenedict stated, calling on all Christiansto learn better the faith they professand purify their lives in conformitywith Christ.After the Pope summarized his mes
sage in different languages and prayed
the Our Father in Latin, the visiting men
and boys of England’s Choir of West
minster Abbey burst into a joyful hymn. Jim and Joyce Vieland, visiting Romefor the rst time with other pilgrimsfrom the Diocese of Cleveland, wereenthralled by the experience.“It was tranquil, yet joyous,” said Mr.Vieland of Chardon, Ohio. “What I tookaway was the message that if you give joy to Jesus, then others, you yourselfwill be happy.”Mrs. Vieland rejoiced in the unity ofCatholicism on display in the hall, withso many people from around the worldprofessing their common faith.
“I believe that if more people came
to Rome to see the unity of the Church,they’d become closer to our Lord,” shesaid.
Pope: World's spiritual poverty heightens needfor Christian unity
VATICAN City, Nov. 15, 2012― 
Christians must not allow their
divisions to keep them from
working together to evangelize
a world enduring a “crisis offaith,” Pope Benedict XVI told
the Pontifical Council for the
Promotion of Christian Unity.The failure to do so, he said,
“goes against the will of Christ,
and is a scandal in the world.”
The council, which is meeting
Nov. 15 –19, will address the
theme of “The Importance ofEcumenism for New Evange-
lization.” The theme dovetails
with the topic of overcoming
Christian divisions, which waswidely-discussed topic at lastmonth’s synod of bishops on theNew Evangelization.
Speaking in the Clementine
Room of the Apostolic Palace onNov. 15, the Pope stressed thenecessity of having theologicaldialogue with Christians whodo not hold the Catholic faith, inorder to give a credible witnessto Christ in a world sufferinga crisis of faith and spiritualpoverty.“Even if we do not see the pos
sibility of the restoration of full
communion in the near future,
(other faiths) enable us to under
stand the wealth of experience,spiritual life and theologicalreections that become a stimu
lus for a deeper testimony,” thePope said.
The aim of ecumenism is a
“visible unity between dividedChristians,” he told the assem
bly, and the Lord must be in
voked to make even an imperfectunity possible.And even if Christians’ unityis imperfect, it is still needed toevangelize a culture gone awry,especially in the Western world.“We cannot follow a truly
ecumenical path while ignoringthe crisis of faith affecting vast
areas of the world, including
those where the proclamation
of the Gospel was rst acceptedand where Christian life hasourished for centuries,” he toldcouncil members.
The situation has grown so
bad that many people no longerregard the absence of God in
their lives as a vacuum to be
lled. This presents a situationall Christians must address, dis
covering common ground thatovercomes their denominationaldivisions.
The essential
unity of Chris
tians needs tobe emphasizedin order to bearwitness to Godbefore the world.This, he said,
consists in faith
in the Trinity – afaith received at
baptism whichall Christians canprofess together
Pope tells young to welcomeChrist's embrace, share his love
VATICAN City, Nov. 16, 2012― When young Catholics fromaround the world gather inRio de Janeiro in July, they willbe under the gaze of the city's
famous statue of Christ with
outstretched arms, a reminder ofhis desire to embrace all people,Pope Benedict XVI said.In his message for WorldYouth Day 2013, the popeasked young people to welcomeChrist's embrace and share withothers the joy of being loved byhim.
In preparation for the interna-
tional youth gathering July 23-28, Pope Benedict asked youngCatholics to “reread your per
sonal history,” looking at howthe faith was passed down tothem from previous generations.The pope also asked them
not to wait to begin the task ofsharing their Christian faith with
“We are links in a great chain
of men and women who havetransmitted the truth of the faithand who depend on us to passit on to others,” he said in themessage released Nov. 16 bythe Vatican.The theme of World YouthDay 2013 is: “Go and make dis
ciples of all nations.”“This mandate should resoundpowerfully in your hearts,” thepope told young people.In fact, he said, the heart hasa major role to play in bringing
them closer to Christ, motivating
them to share his Gospel and de
termining the words and actionsthey should use in approachingothers.“Many young people todayseriously question whether lifeis something good and have ahard time nding their way,”the pope said.
Faith helps people see that
“every human life is priceless,
because each of us is the fruit
of God's love,” he said. “Godloves everyone, even those whohave fallen away from him ordisregard him.”Pope Benedict asked young
Catholics to reach out with love
to their questioning or doubt
ing peers, helping them nd thehope and meaning faith brings.
As the Catholics most im-
pacted by globalization andnew technology, Pope Benedictsaid, young people need a spe
cial awareness and have specialresponsibilities in those areas.
“We are passing through a
very particular period of his
tory,” he told them. “Techni
cal advances have given usunprecedented possibilities for
interaction between peoples
and nations. But the globaliza
-tion of these relationships will
be positive and help the worldto grow in humanity only if it isfounded on love rather than onmaterialism.”“Love is the only thing thatcan ll hearts and bring peopletogether,” he said.While asking the young to
bring their Christian values to
their social media networks and
other online activities, he also
cautioned them to use the mediawisely.“Be aware of the hidden dan
gers they contain, especially therisk of addiction, of confusingthe real world with the virtual,and of replacing direct and per
sonal encounters and dialoguewith Internet contacts,” he said.Pope Benedict also told theyoung people that the respon
sibility to share the faith ows
from their baptism into the
church, is sustained by prayer,nourished by receiving the Eu
charist, purified through con
fession and strengthened byconrmation.“If you are to remain rm in
professing the Christian faith
wherever you are sent, you needthe church," he said. "No one
can bear witness to the Gospel
Environmentalists call for climate justice
MANILA, Nov. 18, 2012—Filipino climateactivists joined an annual biking event call
ing for environmental justice and reductionof greenhouse gases (GHG) emission espe
cially from industrialized countries.Dubbed “Tour of the Fireies”, the eventwas participated by thousands of cyclists ina bid to raise the issue of sustainable trans
portation in the era of climate change.Gerry Arances, coordinator of PhilippineMovement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), abroad movement of basic sectors of soci
ety, said the activity is one way of raising
awareness among the public on the effectsof climate change as well as “contributing
in cutting GHG emission globally, by ad
-vancing a more sustainable transportation
system—like promoting bicycle riding as oneof the means of transportation.”But he said that rst world countries, likethe United States must be the rst to drasti
cally reduce its GHG emission.“While we agree that we do our share inmitigating climate change by promotingclean and sustainable transportation, andconsequently low-carbon, clean and sustain
able cities, we cannot deny the fact that ourcountry’s contribution to the global GHGemission is less than 1%” said Arances.According to U.S. Environmental Protec
Thousands of cyclists participated in the“Tour of the Fireflies” biking event aimed atpromoting sustainable transportation as the worldexperiences the negative impacts of climatechange.
“in hope and charity.”A truly ecumenical spirit, thePope noted toward the end ofhis remarks, demands abandon
ment to the will of God in orderto bring others to belief in him.“In the nal analysis,” PopeBenedict concluded, “ecumen
ism and new evangelizationboth require the dynamism ofconversion, understood as thesincere desire to follow Christand to fully adhere to the will ofthe Father.”
Starting on the afternoon of
Nov. 17, council participantswill deliberate on the work oflast month’s synod and explore
the progress of ecumenical work
in different parts of the world.Council president Cardinal
Kurt Koch will give the opening
address.In a Nov. 13 interview withVatican Radio, Cardinal Kochsaid he hopes the council meet
ing will foster Christian unityand aid evangelization efforts.“The credibility of the mes
sage of the Gospel depends onunity,” he said. “The division ofthe Church in the world is the
biggest obstacle to the mission-
ary activity in the world.”The Pontical Council for thePromotion of Christian Unity wasfounded by Pope John XXIII dur
ing the Second Vatican Counciland celebrated its 50th anniver
sary in 2011.
tion Agency, transportation contributedapproximately 27 percent of total U.S. green
house gas emissions in 2010.Under the United Nations Convention onClimate Change, the U.S. and other indus
trialized countries are legally obliged to cut
their GHG emissions, in recognition of their
historical responsibility that led to currentdire climate situation.“We are already in a state of planetaryemergency. Let us join hands to compel in
dustrialized countries, like the U.S., to fullltheir obligations. Now is the time to beginand demand climate justice.” Arances said.The tour was led by one of PMCJ mem
bers, Tado Jimenez who claimed, he was a“victim of climate change” and many otherdisasters it bring.“Not only am I a cyclist, like many of usin Marikina and the rest of our kababayans,I am a victim of climate change and the di
sasters that it bring,” Tado stressed.Tado is one of the many residents inMarikina who survived Ondoy and Haba
-gat, but is still anxious for the worse that
climate change may bring to them.“That is why I am adding my voice to themany in the globe that are calling for climate justice now,” he said. “We are doing our part,the U.S. and other developed countries mustfulll their responsibilities too.”The “Tour of the Fireies” was held in
support of the “Global Week of Action to
Demand Climate Justice” organized by theGlobal Campaign to Demand Climate Jus
tice, from November 12-18.The global week of action is coordinated world
wide to raise the necessity for climate justice aheadof the climate summit by the Conference of Parties(COP 18) in Doha, Qatar from November 26 untilDecember 7, 2012.
Bravery, faith the way to uphold culture of life—bishop
CEBU City, Nov. 17, 2012—There will always be stumblingblocks in promoting and pro
tecting life, and those who aredetermined to uphold the goodin society need only be bravein carrying out the work for agenuine culture of life.“Such are the facts of life:there will always be ghting.If in the past, Jesus was ght
-ing against the lack of faith of
the Pharisees and the Scribes,today we are ghting againstseemingly beautiful ideas like‘right to one’s body’ or ‘in
formed choice,’” said CebuAuxiliary Bishop Julito Cortesin his welcome address at the
National “Philippines for Life”
Congress organized by HumanLife International-Pilipinas and
the CBCP Episcopal Commis-
sion on Family and Life (ECFL).Nearly 400 participants camefrom various parishes anddioceses including Bacolod,Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro,
Baguio, Dipolog, Tagbilaran
and Manila, to name a few.It was a dictatorship that“many forces in the Church”
fought in the past, but now thestruggle is against those whotrample on the right of parents
to raise their children groundedon sound values and to protectthem “from intrusive sex edu
cation in our publicly fundedschools,” the prelate continued.“We are not saying that wedo not respect the ‘right to one’sbody nor to ‘informed choice,’nor are we saying that childrenshould remain ignorant on mat
ters related to their bodies. We aresaying that, in the end, it is Faithwhich should guide us in theconduct of our lives— whether itis about our bodies, our choices,and our need to know about oursexual lives,” Cortes explained.The audience who gathered
at the ballroom of Summit Cir-
cle Hotel for the two-day eventdubbed “Do or die for 2013 andbeyond” was apparently redup by the prelate’s words ofencouragement and his refer
ence to recent developmentsin the advocacy against anti-life legislation, particularly thereproductive health (RH) bill.“There is need to be coura
geous in the years to come.
Vicious attacks like those onSenator Tito Sotto, a valiant
anti-RH bill supporter, willsurely intensify. These heavycriticisms and bullying againstSotto only shows, accordingto Fr. Melvin Castro, that theywill do everything including
character assassination just to
pass the RH bill,’” Cortes said,quoting the Executive Secretaryof the CBCP-ECFL.Formidable enemies will notbe lacking and an uphill battleis to be expected, the prelatesaid, especially involving the“so-called educated and en
lightened ones, who, surpris
ingly, equate the incidence ofpoverty with population, rather
than looking into other issues
like corruption and politicalwill in government.”After reminding everyonethat protecting and promot
ing Life “is everyone’s work,everyone’s call,” the bishopexplained the role and nature
of the Church in this aspect of
evangelization.“The Church only has thegood of the total person inmind. The Church does notwish to lead the people astray.The Church, through you,therefore, must speak. Andshould our message not bewelcome to many of thosein power, then so be it. AsSt. Thomas More beautifullyarticulated it, ‘I am the King’sgood servant, but God’s rst.’”
(CBCP for Life)
   M  a   t   t   h  e  w   R  a  r  e  y   /   C   N   A   M  a  r   i  a  n  n  e   M  e   d   l   i  n   /   C   N   A   C   N   A   P   h  o   t  o  c  o  u  r   t  e  s  y  o   f   P   M   C   J

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