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CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 19

CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 19

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Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace

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Published by: cbcpmonitor on Sep 18, 2013
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 Vol. 17 No. 19
September 16 - 29, 2013
Php 20.
Freed Fr. Ufana urgesrelease of other hostages
A CATHOLIC priest, freed from captivity inZamboanga City, called for the immediaterelease of other hostages.The Moro National Liberation Front(MNLF) freed Fr. Michael Ufana on Sept. 13as the crisis in the city dragged on.Msgr. Crisologo Manongas, currentarchdiocesan administrator, said he alreadytalked with Ufana over the phone immedi-ately after his release and assured that thepriest is in “good spirit.”“He is still worried about his father and
Release / A6
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Pope calls faithfulto pray, participateactively in politics‘Hate evil and lovegood and let justiceprevail…’
CBCP: It’s ‘immoral’ tocontinue pork barrel
By Roy Lagarde
THIS time, they did notmince words in calling for the abolition of thenow notorious porkbarrel system.
In an unprecedented move,the Catholic bishops took acollective position against thePresidential Development As-sistance Fund (PDAF) andunleashed criticisms against it.In a pastoral statement, theCatholic Bishops’ Conference ofthe Philippines (CBCP) said thepresent pork barrel practice ingovernment “is fertile groundfor graft and corruption.” (Seepage B1)“Promoting the politics ofpatronage, it is contrary tothe principles of stewardship,transparency and accountabil-ity. It is immoral to continuethis practice,” the bishops said.“Government corruption isan act of terrorism against ourpoor and our children,” theysaid.Titled “Hate evil and lovegood and let justice prevail,”the statement was issued onSept. 5, following a closed-doormeeting of the CBCP PermanentCouncil at their headquarters in
Mindanao bishopsappeal for dialogue, peace
CATHOLIC bishops in Mind-anao called on the governmentand the Muslim rebels to step
up efforts in dialogue, to nd
a peaceful settlement to the
In a statement, the 18 archbish-ops and bishops of the islandsaid the government and theMoro National Liberation Front
must sit down, talk and nd a so
-lution by dialogue. (See page B5)“We appeal to them to discussthe deeper issues regarding theongoing MILF-GPH (Moro Is-lamic Liberation Front – Govern-ment of the Philippines) peacenegotiations that the armedgroups wanted to raise by theiraction,” part of the statementread.Ever since the siege began, thechurch leaders said Zamboangais “virtually paralyzed” and in a“state of fear.”Government authorities saidthat the death toll from hostilitieswas already at 53 and 70 otherswere wounded as of Saturdaynoon.The number of displacedpeople has also reached around62,000 on the sixth day of thesiege.“We are deeply saddened anddisturbed by this terrible tragedyto human life and property.We express our solidarity withall those affected Muslims andChristians alike,” the bishopssaid.“We condemn the terror that
has been inicted on an entire
city. We condemn the inhumaneact of using hostages as humanshields,” they added.The bishops also appeal to thegovernment, non-governmentorganizations and civil society toprovide assistance to evacuees.The church leaders called onthe MNLF and the governmentto negotiate “for the release ofhostages.”“As leaders of our Catholiccommunities, we join hands withother religious leaders—Mus-lims, Christians, and Lumads—in praying and working forpeace. Peace, yes; war, never,”they also said.
More rallies seen if Aquino ignores ‘pork’ abolition calls
PRESIDENT BenignoAquino III has the wholemonth of September toabolish totally the porkbarrel system or face
more protests, an inu
-ential religious group haswarned.
An ofcial of the Asso
-ciation of Major ReligiousSuperiors of the Phil-ippines (AMRSP) saidAquino should decide“the soonest” as Con-gress deliberates on theproposed P2.268 trillionnational budget.“While the Congressdeliberates on the budget,we must remain vigilantbecause that’s where thehokus pokus are hap-pening,” said Fr. MarlonLacal, AMRSP executivesecretary.“He (Aquino) shoulddecide at the soonest pos-sible time,” he said. “Weare giving the Presidentuntil the end of this month
to nally decide (for the
abolition of pork barrel).”The AMRSP officialsaid that their campaignwill continue until allforms of pork barrel areabolished, principallythe priority developmentassistance fund which islump sum and discre-tionary.He said the peopleshould put pressure onthe government againstcorruption and abuse ofpower by some publicleaders.“Our prophetic re-sponsibility compels allof us to make our voice beheard by all concerns. Wecannot be idle with whatare happening aroundus,” he said.The Catholic Educa-tional Association of thePhilippines’ memberschools participated inthe rally dubbed “For-ward March to #abol-ishpork” held at Lunetafrom 3pm to 6pm lastSeptember 13.The gathering was amulti-sectoral initiativethat began with an in-terfaith service and alsofeatured a cultural pre-sentation that discussedissues of corruption in thepork barrel system.The CEAP said theevent served as an educa-tion venue for participantsthat come from the youthsector.
 An estimated 15,000 demonstrators, mostly college students, raise
their sts in the air to protest the now notorious pork barrel systemat a rally in Manila last September 13.
Churches band together to
ght human trafcking
CHURCH leaders banded to-gether to push for a crackdownon human trafficking in thecountry, a trade that even vic-timized aboriginal girls andwomen.Catholic, Protestant, Evan-gelical and other Christian
churches joined forces to ght
the problem as well as helpthe government address its“interlocking” causes with an“integrated response.”The Philippine InterfaithMovement Against Human
Trafcking aims to coordinate
existing programs and the shar-ing of resources to intensify thecampaign particularly in thegrassroots level.Manila Auxiliary BishopBroderick Pabillo who chairsthe CBCP’s National for Secre-
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, CBCP-Nassa chairman, withInternational Justice Mission (IJM) national director Andrey Sawchenko
at the sidelines of the Freedom Forum, a multisectoral gathering against
human trafcking, at the CCF Center in Pasig City, September 5, 2013.
Marriage before sexstrengthens bond of couples,Catholic speaker says
IN an attempt to erase the com-mon misconceptions perceivedby young individuals on thevirtue of chastity, renownedCatholic speaker Jason Evertstressed the importance of livinga chaste life through abstainingfrom sexual acts outside thesacrament of marriage.“The world today has manymisunderstandings when itcomes to intimacy and that’slargely because they do not thinkabout sex, especially the youngpeople…They talk about it, they joke about it, but they rarely stopand think—what is really God’splan for human love, sexuality,and relationship?” Evert said,speaking before thousands ofindividuals during the Real LoveRevolution 2013 held at the Phil-ippine International ConventionCenter, Sept. 7.“Chastity is not about repress-ing our sexual desires. What itdoes is it frees us not only to love,but frees us to know that we are(being loved),” he added.Noting that love is often-times masked by lust, Evertsaid people are being led to themisconception that chastity ismerely a religious conventionthat has to be followed by piousindividuals.“A lot of people think thatthe Catholic Church’s (viewon sexuality) is all just a list ofprohibitions or things we are notallowed to do,” he said.“Do you love (your partner) ordo you love the pleasure you getat (their) expense?…That’s whatwe think about sexuality. If it ispleasurable, then it is probablyimmoral. That is all we know,and we actually miss the beautyof God’s plan,” he added.
Citing research ndings pub
-lished in the weekly newsmaga-
Organizers open registrationfor CSMS version 2
WITH just 2 monthsand a few daysleft to the 2ndCatholic SocialMedia Sum-mit (CSMS),organizersopened to in-terested par-ticipants theregistrationfor the much-awaitedevent.Withits earlybirdpromo,the first500 registrants from yesterdayuntil September 30 will pay thefee of P1,000.00, instead of theregular fee of P1,200.00. Earlybird registration is applicableonly to participants registeringfrom the Philippines.The regular registration ratefor international participantsis USD 30.00 per person exclu-sive of bank charges.Regular, online registra-tion may be made through the
event’s ofcial website, www.
catholicsocialmediasummit.com, until October 30, 2013.Walk-in registration rate forlocal participants is P1,500.00,while foreign delegates mayregister onsite for USD 40.00per person.The registration fee includes
Various Church groups marched to Luneta to call for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the third major protest againstthe pork barrel system, on Sept. 13, 2013. An estimated 15,000 demonstrators, mostly students, joined the rally to also push for the ferreting out of thetruth in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.
Pork Barrel / A6Bond / A6
Human Trafcking / A6
   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e   /   C   B   C   P   M  e   d   i  a   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e   /   C   B   C   P   M  e   d   i  a   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e   /   C   B   C   P   M  e   d   i  a
 Vol. 17 No. 19
September 16 - 29, 2013
CBCP Monitor
 World News
Vatican Briefng
Pope praises newly beatied Argentine ‘cowboy priest’
On the occasion of the beatication of Fr. José Gabriel Brochero
of Cordoba, Argentina, known to locals as the “cowboy priest,”Pope Francis praised him for his open heart. “Brochero was anormal man, fragile, like any of us,” said Pope Francis. But hisgreatness came from the fact that, “he knew the love of Jesus.He let his heart be touched by the mercy of God.” Born in 1840and ordained to the priesthood at age 26, Fr. Brochero wasknown for traversing his mountainous parish by mule to bringthe gospel and sacraments to the people of Cordoba.
Vatican willing to hand over accused nuncio to civilauthorities
A Vatican spokesman has said that the Holy See is willing tohand over a former nuncio accused of sexual misconduct tocivil authorities in the Dominican Republic if requested to do
so. Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press ofce,
said that the Holy See continues to cooperate fully with ongo-ing investigations into Archbishop Józef Wesolowski, formerapostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic. Because there isno extradition treaty between the Vatican and the DominicanRepublic, the Holy See is not required to return the nuncio to
Dominican ofcials. In addition, the Vatican has a legal right to
invoke diplomatic immunity in protection of the nuncio.
Italian pastor donates used car to Pope Francis
An Italian pastor has donated a used Renault 4 with 186,000miles to Pope Francis, in response to the exhortation he madeto priests and seminarians in July to live simply and humbly.Father Renzo Roca, 69, who is pastor of St. Lucy Parish inPescantina, wrote to the Holy Father offering to donate hiscar, according to news reports out of the Vatican. The car wasdelivered to the Pontiff on Sept. 7 at St. Martha’s Residence,shortly before the beginning of the Vigil for Peace, which theHoly Father led in St. Peter’s Square that evening.
Pope Francis continues peace appeals on Twitter
After a global day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria andthroughout the world, Pope Francis is continuing his calls forpeace, hope and negotiations through messages on social me-dia. “Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hearwords of hope and peace!” he exclaimed on Twitter Sept. 9. “Iask each party to follow decisively and courageously the pathof encounter and negotiation,” he said, referring to potentialstrikes on Syria by Western nations. Both of these tweets werefollowed by the hashtag “#prayforpeace,” which the HolyFather has repeatedly used throughout the month.
Pope hears ofcials’ input on reforming Vatican
Pope Francis met with Vatican ofcials Sept. 10 to hear their
questions and suggestions about his ongoing reform of theVatican bureaucracy. The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit FatherFederico Lombardi, said the meeting lasted nearly three hoursand, except for a brief greeting by the pope, was devoted toremarks by the other participants. About 30 people attended,
almost all of them heads of the major Vatican ofces, joined
by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commissiongoverning Vatican City State, and Cardinal Agostino Vallini,vicar general of Rome. Also present was Archbishop LorenzoBaldisseri, secretary of the College of Cardinals.
Pope: Calling folks is no big deal, media reports just tipof iceberg
Picking up the telephone and calling people out of the blue is
no big deal for Pope Francis, according to a Vatican ofcial.
Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Center,said the pope told him that the many calls the journalists havebrought to light are just the tip of the iceberg: “Good thing theydon’t know about all the ones I have made!” the pope report-edly said. In an interview Sept. 13 with Famiglia Cristiana, anItalian Catholic magazine, Msgr. Vigano said that during arecent meeting with the pope, he asked the pontiff about themedia frenzy over reports of papal cold calls. The monsignorsaid the pope looked at him amazed and said, “Tell the jour-nalists that my calls are not news.”
UK Bishop laments decision toignore sex-selective abortions
LONDON, Sept. 11, 2013—Archbishop Peter Smith ofSouthwark joined his voice tothose expressing concern thatthe Crown Prosecution Servicedecided not to prosecute twodoctors who agreed to per-form abortions based on sexselection.In a statement Tuesday, thevice president of the bishops’conference of England andWales responded to the CPS de-cision, handed down last week.“Many people are rightlyvery concerned about the CPSdecision not to prosecute in thecase of the doctors who werewilling to conduct abortion as ameans of gender selection, andI welcome the intervention ofthe Health Secretary,” he said.The archbishop added thatabortion “is always an injusticeto the child who is unwanted,and sex selection through abor-tion is just one expression ofthat injustice.”It is illegal in Britain to per-form abortions for sex selec-tion.The Daily Telegraph last Feb-ruary published results of aninvestigation they did, whichincluded film of two doctorsagreeing to do abortions eventhough the mothers said theirreason for seeking the proce-dure was because of the sex oftheir children.The CPS said it found suffi-cient evidence to prosecute butthat a “public interest test” hadnot been met.Archbishop Smith calledfor more than just protectingBritish law: “The existing lawshould be enforced, but whatis needed above all is a soulsearching and honest debateabout how our culture andsociety needs to change if therights of unborn children areto be protected.”
Youth call education key in solving
Israel-Palestine conict
WASHINGTON D.C., Sept. 12, 2013—Edu-cation and interpersonal interaction offer thebest hope for change in the situation betweenIsrael and Palestine despite challenges facingthose in the region, young students said ata recent panel.“When you live under occupation, youcome to accept things you shouldn’t ac-cept,” Lubna Alzaroo, a Muslim graduate ofBethlehem University and Fulbright scholarstudying at the University of Washington,said Sept. 9 at the D.C. event.“Education is our best way for liberation,”Alzaroo added, echoing her father’s part-ing words to her when she left to go to theUnited States.She noted, however, that even this hope isthreatened by the current political situation.Peace talks between Palestine and Israelwere put on hold in 2010 over the issue ofIsraeli settlements in the West Bank, whichare considered illegal under internationallaw. Dialogue resumed in late July of thisyear in D.C., but with signs of tension begin-ning to emerge over discussions involvingdecades-old border lines.Also speaking on the recent student panelwere Nagib Kasbary, a Christian and 2013graduate of Bethlehem University, and NaorBitton, a Jewish Israeli graduate of HebrewUniversity in Jerusalem and a FulbrightScholar at the University of Minnesota.
Bethlehem University is the rst univer
-sity founded in Palestine’s West Bank. Thecollege is run by the De La Salle ChristianBrothers, serving both Christian and MuslimStudents.The panelists spoke at a conference titled“Religious Freedom & Human Rights: Pathto Peace in the Holy Land—That All MayBe Free,” hosted by the Catholic Universityof America. The event was co-sponsored bythe university as well as the U.S. Confer-ence of Catholic Bishops and Catholic ReliefServices.Alzaroo explained that her education inPalestine was “uncertain,” because it was atthe mercy of violence and political situations:she had to pass through checkpoints to makeit to and from class.Passing through these checkpoints wasa process dictated by security threats, andincluded anything from simply walkingthrough to full-body searches. She explainedthat she nearly missed entrance exams at theuniversity because of a closed checkpoint.“We don’t have the freedom to moveabout as we want,” she explained, addingthat “a lot of people had to let go of their
dreams” because of the difculty of pursuing
an education.In addition, “teachers go on strike everyyear because they aren’t paid enough – or,in some cases, they aren’t paid at all,” Al-zaroo said.
Because of the difcult situation facing
education in Palestine, “we can’t get our owngraduates to come back and teach,” she said.Kasbary agreed with Alzaroo’s take, say-ing that the Palestinian people “don’t want toput up with this anymore,” and that “thosewho can leave do leave.”
He posited that the conict is not a reli
-gious one, but a political one, pointing tointerreligious cooperation throughout theWest Bank, particularly in Bethlehem Uni-versity. Kasbary said that “we are less thanone percent, but that doesn’t mean that weare a minority” among the Muslim-majorityterritory, though he noted that it was “veryimportant for the Catholic Church to keepsupporting” Christians in the Holy Land.Instead, he pointed to checkpoints, lawsrestricting access to holy sites, even for HolyDays, and the expansion of settlements intoPalestine as the root of the problem.Bitton agreed that settlements “are thebiggest obstacle to peace,” saying that theypromote “religion as extreme,” and encour-age extreme responses.
Still, even with these difculties, Bittonencouraged Palestinians to use ofcial av
-enues to gain access, because he said it wouldhelp moderate the perception of Palestiniansamong Israeli citizens.He also encouraged Israeli and Palestinianyoung leaders to reach out to one another toenact change.“I wish the Imam and the Cheif Rabbi of Jerusalem met when they were 25—not the
rst time they saw an Israeli soldier.” He
explained that if people met younger, theywould understand and work with each other
more efciently. Interpersonal change and
interaction “can lead to a push” for politicalaction.“This is the future: think about who hasthe most interest to change things wherethey live—the people who are going to stickaround for another 60 years.”
(L-R) Nagib Kasbary, Naor Bitton, and Lubna Alzaroo take part in the panel on ReligiousFreedom and Human Rights at CUA on Sept9, 2013.
Texas-Mexico border bishops planpastoral letter on family immigration
WASHINGTON DC, Sept. 13,2013—After a gut-wrenchingvisit with young children in theEl Paso, Texas, area who arein immigration detention, thebishops of the border region ofTexas and Mexico have decidedto write a joint pastoral letter onhow families are harmed by thecurrent immigration system.San Antonio Archbishop Gus-tavo Garcia-Siller told CatholicNews Service in a Sept. 12 phoneinterview that after visiting thechildren who were brought tomeet the bishops at an El Pasoparish and learning their stories,the bishops wanted to draw at-tention to the family effects ofthe broken immigration system.He told about meeting a girlof 6 who has been in detentionsince her parents were deportedfour years ago. Apparently bothher mother and father werekilled soon after they were re-turned to Mexico and theirdaughter has been a ward of theImmigration and Customs En-forcement agency ever since, as
ofcial systems of two countries
have slowly churned to placethe girl with another memberof her family. That girl and theother children in ICE custodyintensely long to be with theirfamilies, he said.“Here in this country are 11million undocumented people.How many of their childrenrisk losing a parent because theylack documents” and could bedeported, he asked. The pastoralletter to be issued in the nextmonth is intended to “bringsome sane, rational understand-ing” of the many ways familiesare broken apart by the currentimmigration system, Archbish-op Garcia-Siller said.
 Vietnamese government and State TV launch fresh attacks on Bishop of Vinh
VINH, Vietnam, Sept. 16, 2013—Vietnameseauthorities, with the support of the media,have launched a new , violent attack againstthe Vinh diocese and Msgr . Paul NguyenThai Hop, “guilty” of asking for the releaseof two parishioners imprisoned for monthswithout motive. In a 10-minute reportbroadcast last night by state television harshaccusations were made against the prelate ,guilty of “lying , breaking the law on purposeand inciting to revolt “ against Hanoi.The Catholics are accused of having “art-fully fabricated” a legal issue—this is whatthe authorities say—to transform it into acase of “religious persecution.” And thesmear campaign was followed by threatsagainst the Catholic community of My Yenand Nghe An, with the promise of “new ar-rests” if the protests continued.“In an interview with foreign journalists—claimed the state television broadcast servicein Hanoi yesterday—Bishop Nguyen ThaiHop manipulated the truth, made false ac-cusations against the government of Vietnamin order to transform what is a normal pro-cedure into a case of persecution against theChurch. “The prelate also apparently “tookadvantage” of Catholics and their good faithto “foment riots.” The report ended with awarning, which sounded more like a threat:“no one is above the law” and there will be“more arrests” if the rebellion continues.Along with the bishop, the Vietnamese au-thorities have also targeted the website of thediocese of Vinh. Ngo Ba Hao, vice-presidentof the Committee for telecommunications,sent an urgent letter to Msgr. Paul sent anurgent letter to the prelate asking him to shutdown the Web site of the diocese or face legalactions as the Web site is operated without thegovernment permission. In fact, the govern-ment has never granted any such permissionto Church institutions. Due to pastoral needs,dioceses in Vietnam run their websites at therisk of being prosecuted at any time.The entire Vietnamese Catholic Church,both domestic and in diaspora, has shownfull support to the Diocese of Vinh in itsresponds to recent defamatory attack by gov-ernment media, defending the good name ofits bishop and community and reiteratingthe baseless accusations of the authorities.The dispute is really over events linked tothe parish in My yen, which is seeking therelease of two parishioners who have beenin jail since last June without even a formalaccusation being made against them.The diocese of Vinh and its bishop inter-vened in defense of the imprisoned parish-ioners, requesting the release, and the entirecommunity, legitimizing the protests. Thesupport of the diocesan Catholic leadershiphas sparked the reaction of the local and cen-tral authorities, who have launched a smearcampaign against Msgr. Paul Nguyen ThaiHop and threatened to intervene harshly toquell the protest.For some time now, the Vietnamese gov-ernment has been involved in a campaign ofrepression against bloggers, activists and dis-sidents seeking religious freedom, respect forcivil rights, or the end of the one-party state. Apetition has been launched for that purpose.In 2013 alone, Hanoi has arrested morethan 40 activists for crimes “against thestate”, a legal notion human rights groupsconsider too general and vague. TheCatholic Church has also been subjected toconstraints and restrictions; its members,victims of persecution. In one case back in January, a Vietnamese court sentenced 14people, including some Catholics, to prisonon charges of attempting to overthrow thegovernment, a ruling criticized forcefully byand human rights activists and movements.
(J.B. An Dang / AsiaNews)
Archbishop urges prayers for victims of widespread ooding in Colorado
DENVER, Sept. 12, 2013—Denver Archbishop Samuel J.Aquila said he is praying forall those affected by extensive
ooding in northern Colorado
and urged all people of goodwill "to join me in prayer.""This morning I heard withconcern about the floodingthat is hitting the Front Rangeand impacting people withinthe Archdiocese of Denver,"he said in a Sept. 12 state-ment. "According to the latestreports, three people havealready died in the flooding.I am praying for the souls ofthose victims, for their fami-lies and all people who are be-ing affected by the flooding."Archbishop Aquila said thearchdiocesan Catholic Chari-ties agency was prepared tohelp storm victims.Heavy rains caused severe
trafc delays during the morn
-ing rush hour, with the cities ofBoulder, Aurora and Thorntondeclaring accident alerts. The
widespread ooding destroyed
many homes and stalled carsthroughout the Colorado'snorthern counties, includingBoulder and Denver counties.Public officials closedschools, including the Uni-versity of Colorado in Boul-
der, because of the ooding,
and ordered evacuations froma number of communities.Rushing water made roadsthroughout the region impass-
able. Law enforcement ofcialsconrmed at least three peopledied in the ood waters.
More rain—from 6 to 10inches—was expected to fallthrough the weekend, accord-ing to a forecast by the NationalWeather Service. Residents ofcanyons in the foothills westof Denver were being warnedabout the risk of more flash
According to a USA Todaystory, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle described the situa-tion as no "ordinary disaster,"saying that "all the preparationin the world" could not getrescue workers into mountain
canyons to help ood victims
"while these walls of water arecoming down."
German diocese promises ‘transparency’after claims of extravagance
OXFORD, England, Sept. 13,2013—Germany's Limburg Dio-cese pledged "dialogue andtransparency" after a formerVatican nuncio was sent todefuse complaints of extrava-gance against Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. CardinalGiovanni Lajolo continued meet-ing with Bishop Tebartz-vanElst, cathedral staff, local clergyand religious order representa-tives Sept. 13.A diocesan spokesman, StephanSchnelle, acknowledged that me-
dia reports about the prelate's rst-class ights and his luxuriously
appointed new residence "has led
to difculties among priests and
people here.The bishop is aware of theirconcerns and wants to be in dia-logue. He knows the importanceof transparency in appeasinganxieties."In a Sept. 12 interview withCatholic News Service, Schnellesaid Cardinal Lajolo arrived Sept.9 in the diocese in the small west-ern German town to seek a "solu-tion in peace for all parties," butadded that local Catholics were"generally supporting" BishopTebartz-van Elst.The 53-year bishop attractedmedia attention after his No-vember 2008 appointment forcriticizing Islam and dismissinga local priest for blessing a same-sex union.
  w  w  w .   f   i  c   k  r .  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
 Archbishop Peter Smith
 Vol. 17 No. 19
September 16 - 29, 2013
CBCP Monitor
News Features
Pope calls faithful to pray, participate actively in politics
VATICAN City, Sept. 16, 2013—Catho-lics should not be indifferent to politics,Pope Francis said, but should offer theirsuggestions, as well as prayers that theirleaders may serve the common good inhumility and love.In his Sept. 16 daily homily at SantaMarta, the Pope rejected the idea that“a good Catholic doesn’t meddle inpolitics.”“That’s not true. That is not a goodpath,” he said, according to VaticanRadio. “A good Catholic meddles inpolitics, offering the best of himself,so that those who govern can govern.”“None of us can say, ‘I have nothingto do with this, they govern,’” PopeFrancis told those present for the Mass.Rather, citizens are responsible for par-ticipating in politics according to theirability, and in this way are responsiblefor their leadership.“Politics, according to the Social Doc-trine of the Church, is one of the highestforms of charity, because it serves thecommon good,” he explained. “I cannotwash my hands, eh? We all have to givesomething!”He noted that it is sometimes com-mon for people to speak only criti-cally of their leaders, to complain about“things that don’t go well.”Instead of simply complaining, weshould offer ourselves – our ideas, sug-gestions, and most of all our prayers, theHoly Father said.Observing that prayer is “the bestthat we can offer to those who gov-ern,” he pointed to St. Paul’s letter toTimothy inviting prayer for the conver-sion and strong leadership of those inauthority.Even if they believe certain politiciansto be “wicked,” Christians should pray“that they can govern well, that they canlove their people, that they can servetheir people, that they can be humble,”he said.
At the same time, the Pope reected
on the role of those who hold politicalpower, stressing the need for humilityand love.
Reecting on the Gospel of the cen
-turion who humbly and confidentlyasked for the healing of his servant, theHoly Father explained that “a leaderwho doesn’t love, cannot govern – atbest they can discipline, they can give alittle bit of order, but they can’t govern.”In addition, he emphasized, “Youcan’t govern without loving the peopleand without humility!”“And every man, every woman whohas to take up the service of govern-ment, must ask themselves two ques-tions: ‘Do I love my people in order toserve them better? Am I humble and doI listen to everybody, to diverse opin-ions in order to choose the best path?’”“If you don’t ask those questions,your governance will not be good,”Pope Francis continued. “The man orwoman who governs – who loves hispeople is a humble man or woman.”
Dialogue essential to Christianity, Popetells non-believing journalist
VATICAN City, Sept. 13, 2013—In a letter to a prominent non-believing Italian journalist, PopeFrancis called dialogue a “pro-found and indispensable expres-sion” of the Christian life.It “seems to me that it is noth-ing other than positive, not onlyfor us individually but also forthe society in which we live, topause to dialogue on a realityas important as the faith is,” thePope said in a Sept 11 letter toEugenio Scalfari, translated bythe Catholic news agency Zenit.Scalfari, the 89-year-old jour-nalist and founder of the Italiannewspaper “La Repubblica,”had posed several questions tothe Pope in response to his Julyencyclical “Lumen Fidei.”The Pope replied that his lat-est encyclical was intended not
only to conrm the faithful but
also to advance a “sincere andrigorous dialogue” between
Pope Francis greets children as they arrive in VaticanCity aboard a train during the Journey of Beauty eventJune 23, 2013.
Catholics andnon-believers.Dialogue is notsecondary to theChristian life, hesaid.Citing “Lu-men Fidei,” hereflected thatfaith “grows incoexistence thatrespects the oth-er.” The certaintyof faith “makespossible witnessand dialoguewith everyone.”Pope Francis said his ownfaith is born from the “encounterwith Jesus” that “has touchedmy heart and given directionand new meaning to my exis-tence.” This was made possibleby “the community of faith inwhich I have lived,” the Church.“Believe me, without the ChurchI would not have been able to en-counter Christ, also in the aware-ness that the immense gift that faithis kept in the fragile earthen vesselsof our humanity,” he said.The Pope examined the “para-dox” of Christianity’s presentreputation among many non-believers. The faith is expressedthrough the symbol of light, buthas come to be referred to as “thedarkness of superstition that isopposed to the light of reason.”He lamented the “incom-municability” that has existedbetween the Church and the“modern culture of enlighten-ment stamp.”He then took the opportunity
of the letter to reect on the life
of Jesus.Pope Francis spoke of the“scandal” that Jesus’ words andaction caused, crediting this tohis “extraordinary authority.”This authority is “not aboutsomething exterior or forced”but is “something that emanatesfrom within.” Jesus’ authority is “not aimed atexercising power over others, butat serving them, at giving themliberty and the fullness of life. Jesus shows this to such an extentthat he faces “incomprehension,betrayal, rejection” and ultimatelycondemnation to death.“But Jesus remains faithful toGod, to the end,” the Pope said. Jesus Christ is the “son of aGod who is love and who wisheswith all His being that man, ev-ery man, discover himself andalso live as His true son,” PopeFrancis explained.He said that Jesus’ Resurrec-tion is not done “to triumphover those who rejected him”but instead “to attest that thelove of God is stronger thandeath, the forgiveness of God isstronger than any sin, and thatit is worthwhile to spend one’slife, to the end, witnessing thisimmense gift.”The originality of the Christianfaith rests in its foundation onthe Incarnation and its participa-tion in Jesus’ relationship withGod the Father, he said. Jesus’ life means that “we areall called to be children of theone Father and brothers amongourselves.”“The singularity of Jesus isfor communication, not for ex-clusion,” the Pope added. TheChristian life means service to allmen and to “the whole of man”to keep awake “the sense ofhope that drives one to do gooddespite everything and alwayslooking to the beyond.”Pope Francis’ letter also con-sidered the role of non-Chris-tians. He praised the Jewishpeople’s persevering faith inGod and his remarks about non-believers made headlines.In answer to the question ofwhether God forgives “one whodoesn’t believe and doesn’t seekthe faith,” the Pope respondedthat “the mercy of God has nolimits if one turns to him with asincere and contrite heart.” Hestressed the non-believer’s needfor “obeying one’s conscience.”“Sin, also for those who don’thave faith, exists when one goesagainst one’s conscience. To listento and to obey it means, in fact, todecide in face of what is perceivedas good or evil. And on this deci-sion pivots the goodness or maliceof our action,” the Pope said.Pope Francis characterizedhis letter to Scalfari as “tenta-tive and provisional” but also a
“sincere and condent answer
to the invitation to escort you ina segment of the road together.”
Pope calls for ‘war against evil,’ including illegal arms trade
VATICAN City, Sept. 9, 2013—Repeating his recent calls forpeace in the Middle East, PopeFrancis urged Christians towage a “deeper war” againstevil, including the illegal armstrade that he said drives much
of the world’s military conict.
The pope made his remarksSept. 8, before praying the noonAngelus with a crowd in St. Pe-ter’s Square, where the previousevening he had led a four-hourvigil for peace in Syria, theMiddle East and the world.“This war against evil meanssaying no to fratricidal hatred,and to the lies that it uses;saying no to violence in all itsforms; saying no to the prolif-eration of arms and their saleon the black market,” the popesaid.“There are so many of them!”he said of black market weap-ons. “And the doubt always re-mains: This war over there, thisother war over there — becausethere are wars everywhere— isit really a war over problems,or is it a commercial war, tosell these arms on the blackmarket?”“These are the enemies we
must ght, united and coher
-ent, following no other interestsbut those of peace and the com-mon good,” he said.Following the Angelus, PopeFrancis thanked those whohad participated in the Sept. 7vigil, which drew an estimated100,000 to the square.The pope asked listenersto pray for an end to Syria’scivil war, and for peace in otherbeleaguered Middle Easterncountries: stability and contin-ued “peaceful coexistence” inLebanon, an end to “sectarianviolence” in Iraq, and progressin the Israeli-Palestinian peaceprocess.“Finally, let us pray forEgypt,” the pope said, “that allEgyptians, Muslims and Chris-tians, may commit themselvesto build up together a societydedicated to the good of thewhole population.”
‘EDSA Tayo’ unitesinterfaith communitiesagainst ‘pork’
MANILA, Sept. 11,2013—Hundreds of Fili-pinos gathered at thehistoric EDSA shrine onWednesday to strength-en their clamor for theabolition of lump-sumallocations in govern-
ment nances.
“EDSA Tayo,” aninterfaith prayer vigilorganized by a groupof artists and mediapractitioners, echoedcalls of various religiousgroups for the abolitionof the graft-tainted porkbarrel system, demand-ing transparency andaccountability in thegovernment.The event followedthe citizen-led initiativeMillion People Marchthat gathered thousandsof Filipinos in Lunetalast August 26 to express theirwidespread disgust over thealleged channeling of lawmak-ers’ pork barrel to dubious non-governmental organizationsand foundations.Retired Caloocan Bishop De-ogracias Iñiguez, who joinedthe mass gathering, urged thepublic to continue initiatingmovements that could awakenthe social consciousness of Fili-pinos against corruption in thegovernment.He called on the public tounite in probing the appallingcases of fund misuse and actupon the social ill of corruptionthat perennially hounds thecountry’s political landscape.“I feel glad for it seems thatwe are slowly being awakenedwith what is happening. But Iam hoping that we will continuescrutinizing and examining theissue so we would be able to un-derstand and guide our politicalleaders in moving toward theright direction,” Iñiguez said inthe vernacular.The prelate said the publicmust be vigilant in monitoringthe acts done by the governmentto settle controversies regardingthe appalling misuse of publicfunds.“The reason why we continu-ously support movements suchas this is because the pork bar-rel scheme remains intact up tonow. This has to be changed andwe should closely monitor thesteps being done by the govern-ment to address this challenge,”he said.
Abolish entire SPF, not justpork
In a lecture given before“EDSA Tayo” protesters, for-mer National Treasurer andLead Convenor of Social WatchPhilippines Leonor Briones saidit is not enough to abolish thepork barrel for it just constitutesa small amount in the entirety oflump sum appropriations in theP2.268 trillion national budget
The statue of the Our Lady stands as amute witness to the aspirations of Filipinopeople for a transparent and accountablegovernment.
Laity urged: Strive to build a ‘community of humankind’
MANILA, Sept. 9, 2013—With inuences of
secularism hounding the quality of humanrelationships throughout the years, a high-
ranking church ofcial urged the faithful
to foster stronger ties with each other bygathering as a “community of humankind”that interrelates with the whole of Divinecreation.Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio CardinalTagle noted the growing interdependenceamong people and urged them not to settle
with the establishment of supercial bond
with others and instead strive to anchor theirrelationships to a deep interpersonal level.“The sign of the times shows the growinginterdependence among people…It is clearthat there is no single person, family, neigh-borhood, and even country that is detachedor separated from the whole of creation,”Tagle said in his talk during the monthlyManila Archdiocesan General Pastoral As-sembly (MAGPAS) held at the Cardinal SinAuditorium of the Paco Catholic School.“We could not claim that we don’t needothers for we depend on them, and they, too,also depend on us,” he said in the vernacular.Citing the Second Vatican Council docu-ment Gaudium et Spes, Tagle pointed outthe trend that dialogue among humans isgetting more utilitarian as time passes by—merely settling on the levels of technologyand commerce and fostering relationships
only for the sake of benetting something
from the other.Tagle said the faithful must fight theflourishing of utilitarian relationshipsfor it merely bases the worth of humansfrom the benefit one is ought to get fromthe other.“Nowadays, we base friendship accord-ing to what we will be gaining from the
other person. Once we stop benetting, we
begin to deny them. In this trend, we cansee that there is no personal relationship be-ing established for we just tend to use eachother,” he said.
Gift of oneself
“God has willed that all people shallconstitute one family…He wants us to treateach other in the spirit of true brotherhood,”he said.Once people learn to give themselves fully,the more they will be able to uncover whothey truly are, Tagle noted.“This is the mystery of the human personand that this how we must build our respec-tive families,” he added.The prelate also reminded the faithful toallot time for their loved ones despite thebusy demands of their day-to-day living.“Brought by our fast-paced living to attendto our work and other duties, do we still havetime to give each other the gift of a caringpresence?” he said.
Live with integrity
Tagle encouraged the laity to protect theimage of the country against destructive is-sues by letting the virtue of integrity reignin their lives.“Let us lift the honor of the Filipino. I hopethat we would be able to establish an orderlypolitical community. Once we are able toestablish its dignity and honor, it will push
and challenge us to be dignied,” he added.
He said the people must promote the com-mon good to give people from all walks oflife equal access to basic needs and necessi-ties for them to live comfortably.“There are places wherein people rarely eatthree times a day, but in other places, thereare also those who have so much food thatit just gets wasted. There are those who donot have access to housing, but there are alsothose who have so many houses that we can’t
even count them with our ngers,” he said.
“Is this what we consider a family of hu-mankind? While there are those who live inextreme abundance, there are others who aredeeply marred in poverty, having literallynothing for themselves,” he added.The prelate urged the people to treat othersthe way they treat themselves to establish amore equitable situation where everyone ben-
ets from growth that is inclusive of all sectors.
“Treat others not just as a brother or asister. Treat them as another self, as anotheryou. Maybe if we are able to do this, we canact toward successfully building a commu-nity of humankind,” he said.“We should not exploit, take advantage,and belittle others. Whatever love we aregiving to ourselves, we must also be will-ing to give others,” Tagle added.
(Jennifer Orillaza)
proposed for 2014.According to Briones, whatmust be done is to abolish theSpecial Purpose Fund (SPF)which amounts to approximate-ly P310 billion. The pork barrel,amounting to P25 billion in theincoming budget, is only about8.06 percent of the total SPF.“It is important to look at theentirety of all lump sum appro-priations that total to a notablybigger amount,” she said in thevernacular.“If we will remove the porkbarrel, what will we do withthe special purpose fund? If wedon’t remove the latter, it might just give birth to another porkbarrel bearing a different name.This is the reason why we haveto look closely. This is just thebeginning,” Briones said.Briones cited the P7.5 billioncalamity fund included in theSPF as an example on why itis better to distribute the presi-dential pork barrel to variousline agencies.Through the direct distribu-tion of the SPF, there is a higherpossibility for public funds toreach Filipinos from all walksof life, Briones noted.
Unity is important
 Junep Ocampo, one of theorganizers of the “EDSA Tayo”movement, said unity amongpeople is very important in timeswhen threats of corruption de-stroy the foundation of the state.He urged the people to con-tinue the protest through theirown simple means within theirrespective communities.“We want the people to holdsmall vigils in their families,churches, and schools, study the
pork barrel issue, and reect on
what this issue means to them.We are all victims affected bythis. We have to participate andnot just watch what is happen-ing around us,” he said.“This is a very good start. The‘EDSA Tayo’ movement doesnot end here,” Ocampo said.
(Jennifer Orillaza)
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagleurges the faithful to do their best to create acommunity that cares and promotes the goodof all people.
  w  w  w .  c  a   t   h  o   l   i  c  n  e  w  s  a  g  e  n  c  y .  c  o  m
   J  e  n  n   i   f  e  r   O  r   i   l   l  a  z  a
   N  o   l   i   Y  a  m  s  u  a  n   /   R   C   A   M
Pope Francis gives the homily during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on July 7, 2013.
   L  a  u  r  e  n   C  a   t  e  r   /   C   N   A

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