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CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 24

CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 24

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

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 Vol. 17 No. 24
November 24 - December 8, 2013
Php 20.
Use social media power to transform digital world,  young people told
TODAY’S young people have in them the power to transform the internet as a place of solidarity if they use their online presence to support one another, the secretary of the
Pontical Commission on Social Commu
-nication, said. “You are the people that make up the social media. You are the people that make up the community of the internet. Use your power, your voice, your talents, your abili-
Transform / A6
The Cross
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
Synopsis of the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium’Pope concludes Year of Faith preaching ‘centrality of Christ’
Godes / A6
Spirit / A6Devotion / A6
Tagle tells Yolanda survivors: There is hope in the midst of tragedy
By Jennifer Orillaza
RISING from the shambles caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda may be a struggle for some, but not for Filipinos who never forget to call on the Lord in times of hopelessness and despair.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio
Cardinal Tagle, in a series of reections
delivered during the Prayer Service and Holy Hour for the thousands of people who suffered the wrath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, urged the Filipino faithful to continuously seek the Lord as they begin to rebuild their lives. “We have seen pictures of raging waters, houses, and trees. We have seen lives devastated (by this wrathful
storm). Could we keep ourselves from
worrying? Is the Lord really enough?” Tagle said in the vernacular at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish last Nov. 16. “My brothers and sisters…the Lord listened because it is in Jesus’ heart that all of our pain and sufferings are stored…There is an answer to all of our prayers, there is an answer to all of the things we seek. Through the voice of Jesus, the Lord will listen,” he said. Super Typhoon Yolanda wreaked
havoc in Central Visayas last November
8, leaving thousands of Filipinos dead and millions affected. As of Nov. 27, the National Risk
Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that the Yolanda
death toll stood at 5,500, with 26,136 people injured and 1,757 still missing. The report also stated that 2,145,359 families or 9,996,065 people suffered
‘Evangelii Gaudium’ (The Joy of the Gospel) Released Nov. 26
Pope Francis First Apostolic Exhortation Presented by Holy See
VATICAN City—Pope Francis’ highly
anticipated Apostolic Exhortation, Evan-gelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel, was released Nov. 26 by the Holy See. The
rst Exhortation of the Holy Father’s pon
ticate, Evangelii Gaudium “develops the
theme of the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world.In a press conference held Nov. 26 at the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop
Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontical Council for Promoting the New Evange
-lization, presented the Exhortation. Also present at the conference was Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop
Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pon
tical Council for Social Communication.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of
the Holy See Press Ofce, told journalists
that the Pope’s exhortation was originally translated in Spanish and, subsequently, translated in all other languages. The Holy Father began writing in August and based ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ on the suggestions made by Synod Fathers after last year’s Synod of Bishops on ‘The New Evangeliza-tion for the Transmission of Faith.’During the press conference, Arch-bishop Fisichella noted Pope Francis’ call to seize with enthusiasm “a new phase in the journey of evangelization.”“Pope Francis offers this document to
the Church as a map and guide to her pas
-toral mission in the near future,” he said. It is an invitation to recover a prophetic and positive vision of reality without ignoring the current challenges.”Two major themes articulate the Holy Father’s call for a missionary action of the
Church: addressing the cultural challenges of individual Churches and a common
denominator so that all evangelizers may follow a common methodology.One of the notable aspects of the Apos-tolic Exhortation is the language it is writ-
ten in. A language, Archbishop Celli noted
that “is the simple, familiar and direct language which has been the hallmark of the style that has emerged in the months
of his ponticate.”Commenting on this aspect, Archbishop
Fisichella said through this method of writing, Pope Francis wished to show that it is not only about the contents of faith, but rather “the language we use to express faith.”In article 41, Pope Francis stated that in listening to completely orthodox lan-
Vatican ofcial joins PHL Church at ‘Year of Faith’ closing
IN a timely gesture of solidar-
ity with the Philippine Church a Vatican official was in the
country recently to give a talk
on Catholic social media, as well
as to celebrate holy mass as an apt closing to the ‘Year of Faith’, Nov. 24. “We need to listen to [people online], talk to them and en-courage them in their journey
of faith,” said Pontical Council for Social Communications Sec
-retary Msgr. Paul Tighe, who was the keynote speaker for the
Catholic Social Media Summit
version 2.0, which was held at
the Colegio San Juan de Letran
last November 23 to 24.
Faith is central
During his keynote speech, Msgr. Tighe, the brains behind the papal Twitter account, @Pontifex, stressed the centrality
of the message of faith to Catho
-lics’ online presence. Fittingly, after the holy mass, which also celebrated the Solem-
nity of Christ the King, some 400
participants from various youth ministries, schools, publications, religious congregations and dio-ceses recommitted themselves to spreading the Good News through social media, which they symbolized by wearing small, wooden crosses around their necks.Across the country, different themes colored celebrations of the ‘Year of Faith’ closing like in the Diocese of Tarlac, which marked its golden Jubilee, while also remembering the victims and deceased of the recent ca-lamities like super typhoon ‘Yolanda’.
‘A lot to be thankful for’
“After such calamities, Tarlac was hit by typhoon ‘Santi’, the earthquake in Bohol, then super typhoon ‘Yolanda’, there’s a lot to thank God for. Although many died, we pray for them. That’s the context of our celebra-
Palma commends Pinoys’ indomitable spirit amid adversity 
THE recent calamities that struck the country may have severely tried the faith of Filipinos, but
Typhoon survivors pray inside the destroyed Sto. Niño Shrine in Tacloban.
these also demonstrated their indomitable spirit amid ad-
‘Year of Faith’ strengthened, renewed devotion of Catholic faithful—bishop
AS the celebration of the Year of
Faith ended Nov. 24, a Catholic
bishop emphasized its nourish-ing effects to the spiritual life of
the Catholic faithful, noting that
it was a period that “strength-
ened, conrmed, and renewed our Catholic faith in the God
of love.”In a pastoral letter, Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera said the Year of Faith celebration, which started on October 11 last year, helped the faithful to appreciate more God’s gift of faith and ponder upon how it gives meaning and enriches their lives.“One of the fruits of the Year of Faith is that it has given us an accurate and updated picture of
the faith status of the Catholic
faithful…We are also able to discern the kind of faith we should aspire for and the triple duties that we must assume,” Garcera said.“We started with the desire to see Jesus; we end with the gifts of seeing Him in our lives,
in the Church, in our society, in
the face of our neighbor, in our brokenness and sinfulness, in the calamities that struck our country and in the whole of creation,” he added.Garcera noted the need to
“fan into ame” the faith of the Catholic faithful through ad
Post ‘Godes’ instead of seles on social media
AT a time when “selfie” has been considered the word
of the year, Catholics
are urged to refrain from joining the bandwagon and to create a new trend instead.
Fr. Stephen Cuyos has urged Catho
-lics present on social
Vatican / A6Hope / A6
   I   l   l  u  s   t  r  a   t   i  o  n   b  y   B  r  o   t   h  e  r  s   M  a   t   i  a  s
Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican’s Pontical Commission on Social Communication (inset) delivers a talk on “The Church in the Digital World” to about 400 participants composed of students, seminarians, clergy, religious sisters and parish youth ministers during the Catholic Social Media Summit version 2.0 at the Colegio de San Juan Letran College, Nov. 23, 2013.
   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e
Evangelii Gaudium / A6
 Vol. 17 No. 24
November 25 - December 8, 2013
CBCP Monitor
 World News
Vatican Briefng
Vatican, Google team up to bring ancient Christian catacombs to light
VATICAN City, Nov. 20, 2013—Early Christian burial sites are now easier to
see, both in person and via the Internet, thanks to 21st-century technology and collaboration between Google and the
“This is perhaps the sign of the joining of two extremes, remote antiquity and
modernity,” said Cardinal Gianfranco
Ravasi Nov. 19, at a news conference at
the Catacombs of Priscilla in northeast
Rome.The cardinal, president of both the
Pontical Council for Culture and the Pontical Commission for Sacred Archae
-ology, lauded recent restoration work by the archaeological commission inside the
complex of early Christian tombs.
Using advanced laser techniques, restorers have uncovered vivid late fourth-century frescoes depicting  Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and Sts. Peter and Paul accompanying
Christians into the afterlife. Jesus’ face
resembles portraits of the Emperor
Constantine, who legalized Christian
worship in 313.
Cardinal Ravasi also heralded the
Nov. 19 debut of the catacombs on
Google’s Street View feature, a project
he said had grown out of a conversation he had with the Internet giant’s execu-tive chairman, Eric Schmidt.Users of Google Maps can now click the “see-inside” option for the catacombs, which allows them to move
Pope’s document hailed as reshaping modern evangelization
In his rst apostolic exhortation, the uncommonly simple terminology of
Pope Francis brings a fresh approach to the new evangelization, also giving
a decisive direction to the Church’s mission, say Vatican ofcials. “Pope
Francis speaks in a direct way, easy, communicative, in a way that quickly reaches the hearts and the minds of people,” said Archbishop Rino Fisichella
in a Nov. 26 interview with CNA. Archbishop Fisichella is the president of the Pontical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, and
was present at the Nov. 26 press conference detailing the new document. The apostolic exhortation, known as “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel) follows the 2012 bishops’ synod on the new evangelization, held as part of the Year of Faith. Released Nov. 26, the papal document stressed
in particular the need for Christian joy in the Church’s work of sharing the
Gospel with all people.
Pope backs male priesthood, urges ‘feminine genius’ in Church
Pope Francis reafrmed Catholic teaching on male priesthood in his rst
apostolic exhortation, while calling for a broader application of the “feminine
genius” in Church life. “The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to
discussion,” he said, “but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power
is too closely identied with power in general.” The Pope’s words came in
his new document, “The Joy of the Gospel,” released Nov. 26. Also known as “Evangelii Gaudium,” the apostolic exhortation follows the 2012 bishops’ synod on the new evangelization, which was held as part of the Year of Faith.
“Demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected, based on the rm conviction that men and women are equal in dignity, present the Church with
profound and challenging questions which cannot be lightly evaded.”
Pope: Church’s teaching on abortion is unchangeable
In his rst apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis ex
plained that the Church can never change its teaching on abortion, which is
part of a broader understanding of human dignity. At the same time, he said
in the document released Nov. 26, the Church must increase efforts to “ac
company” women in difcult pregnancies. “Precisely because this involves
the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person,
the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question,” the
Pope said of abortion. “I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or ‘modernizations.’ It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”
Pope Francis calls a traditionalist writer who criticized him
Mario Palmaro, a traditionalist writer who co-authored an article critical of Pope Francis, received a phone call Nov.1 from the Pope himself, who knew
that the writer is suffering from a grave illness. Palmaro shared with CNA
Nov. 22 that “Pope Francis wanted to act as a priest; yet he is a very special priest and bishop, by calling me and paying attention to my health condi-
tion.” According to Palmaro, one of the features of the new ponticate is
“the Pope’s phone calls to people, who luckily represent many other people who do not receive a papal phone call.” “It is the kind of attention Pope Francis wants to show for sick people.” “He just wanted to tell me that he is praying for me,” Palmaro explained of the Pope.
Pope Francis blesses man with severely disgured face
Continuing his efforts to promote a “culture of encounter” with the disabled, Pope Francis again embraced a severely disgured man after his Nov. 20
weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope spoke with a man who lacks facial features, embraced him and gave him a blessing. Pope Francis then smiled at the man, kissed him and gestured toward the sky in the midst of a
crowded square. The cause of the man’s disgurement was not known. His
identity is also not known, the British newspaper The Daily Mail reports. It is the second time this month that the Pope’s hospitality towards the
disgured has drawn public attention.
In document, pope lays out his vision for an evangelical church
In his rst extensive piece of writing as pope, Pope Francis lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelization in a positive key, with a
focus on society’s poorest and most vulnerable, including the aged and the unborn. “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”), released by the
Vatican Nov. 26, is an apostolic exhortation, one of the most authoritative categories of papal document. (Pope Francis’ rst encyclical, “Lumen Fidei,”
published in July, was mostly the work of his predecessor, Pope Benedict
XVI.) The pope wrote the new document in response to the October 2012
Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization, but declined to work from
a draft provided by synod ofcials. Pope Francis’ voice is unmistakable in the 50,000-word document’s relatively relaxed style—he writes that an
“evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from
a funeral!”—and its emphasis on some of his signature themes, including
the dangers of economic globalization and “spiritual worldliness.”
Pope, at audience, says he goes to confession every two weeks
Pope Francis said he goes to confession every two weeks, knowing that God never tires of forgiving those who repent, but also knowing that hav-ing a priest say “I absolve you” reinforces belief in God’s mercy. Using the literal Italian translation of a Spanish saying, “It’s better to turn red once than yellow a thousand times,” Pope Francis said he knows some people are embarrassed to confess their sins to a priest, but it is the best path to spiritual healing and health. At his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s
Square Nov. 20, Pope Francis reected on the forgiveness of sins as one
of the missions Jesus entrusted to his apostles and their successors.
Pope prescribes daily rosary for what ails you
Pope Francis admitted he wasn’t a pharmacist, but he didn’t hesitate being
the spokesman for the heart-healthy benets of 59 little pills strung together:
the rosary. “I want to recommend some medicine for all of you,” the pope said Nov. 17 at the end of his Sunday Angelus address. “It’s a spiritual medi-cine.” Holding up a white medicine box with an anatomical drawing of the human heart on it, Pope Francis told some 80,000 people gathered for the midday prayer that the boxes contained a rosary. “Don’t forget to take it,” he said. “It’s good for your heart, for your soul, for your whole life.”
 A fragment from an ancient marble sarcophagus is pictured in a new museum in the reconstructed 4th-century Basilica of St. Sylvester above the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome.
virtually through the narrow corridors tunneled out of soft tufa stone, and to see high-resolution im-ages of the interiors from practically ev-ery angle. The bril-liantly lit views are in startling contrast to the shadowy real-ity of an in-person visit. Google’s Giorgia Abeltino told re-porters that almost the entire eight-mile complex of catacombs is now accessible online. However, there is no underground map to let users know exactly what they are seeing.Also Nov. 19, Google launched a
Street View of the catacombs of the Ipogeo di via Dino Compagni, located
in southeast Rome. The catacombs are privately owned and not open to the public, so the virtual mode is the only way to visit them.
The news conference at the Cata
-combs of Priscilla was held above ground in the reconstructed fourth-century Basilica of St. Sylvester, where a new museum displays hundred of fragments of ancient marble sarcophagi, also recently restored. A glass floor offers illuminated views of the sites of ancient tombs below.
Msgr. Giovanni Carru, secretary of the Vatican’s archaeological commis
-sion, said the restorations had made
the Catacombs of Priscilla a “privileged
course” for pilgrims to Rome, helping them to appreciate these “dark places that were lit up by the emblematic and paradigmatic stories of salvation” painted on their walls.
In Central African Republic, thousands turn to bishop for protection
2013—More than 35,000
people are living on the 40-acre diocesan compound in
Bossangoa, Central African
Republic, seeking protection from rebels who are target-
ing Christians, said the local
bishop.“The priests have been sharing their rooms in their private apartments,” said Bishop Nestor-Desire Nongo Aziagbia of Bossangoa, who visited Washington in mid-November. “The only place that has not been used is my private apartment.”
Bishop Nongo told Catho
-lic News Service he closed the minor seminary, which is now used as a shelter, and the pastoral center has been
destroyed. He said the Cath
olic aid agency Caritas has an ofce in the compound, but people also live in the ofce.
The people began com-ing Sept. 8 to escape attacks by rebels of the Seleka al-liance, most of whom are foreign mercenaries and do not speak the local language. The rebels are predominantly
Muslim; Central African
Republic is about 85 percent
Christian and 12 percent
Muslim. Bishop Nongo said the
U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief
Services sent emergency help in mid-September, and the World Food Program sent help in late September, “but it is not really enough.”Most of the people in the diocesan compound are women and children, the bishop said. To protect their families, the men do not stay, fearing they will attract rebel soldiers, who will accuse them of being members of civilian defense forces and kill them.The bishop said the wom-en have been risking rape and attacks to go out to their farms to harvest food, but soon all the crops will be gone, and the next planting season is May and June.
The bishop spoke to Cath
-olic News Service Nov. 19, after testifying about his situation before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Hu-man Rights and International Organizations.
He told CNS when he
called his vicar general early that morning, he learned that, the previous night, rebels had surrounded the diocesan compound and threatened those inside with a rocket attack.“So, last night, nobody could sleep,” he said.Bishop Nongo said that, every day, he receives mes-sages from villages about violence and abuse. The people are “turning to me” to solve their problems, but “I’m not the government,” he said. He added that he passes along the information, but nothing happens.“I’m helpless,” he told
He said that before he left Nov. 13, he did not men-tion his trip to the displaced residents, because he did not want to frighten them.“As they saw me (leaving) in the car ... some started weeping,” he said.In his testimony submitted to the House subcommittee, Bishop Nongo said Seleka was pitting the country’s
Christian and Muslim citi
-zens against each other.“Seleka’s violent attacks
have targeted Christian
homes, schools and places of worship while sparing lo-cal Muslim communities and mosques, often only a short distance away,” he said.
“Christian communities have
now begun to set up self-
defense militia to ght back.
Sadly, there are reports that they are attacking Muslim communities in retribution.”He testified that when Seleka militia raid villages and steal livestock, they pass it on to Muslim herders, since herding is part of their shared culture.
“Inevitably, Christians
see local Muslims herding the cattle that Seleka stole from them,” he said in his testimony. “This has left
some Christians to believe the Central African Muslim
community is in league with
the Chadian and Sudanese mercenaries and is benet
ting from Christian losses.”
He added that had possible
internal ramications even
if the mercenaries left the country.Since the March coup in which Seleka rebels over-threw the government, about 440,000 citizens have been displaced, the bishop said, “and no one knows how many people have died.”“The road south to the capital, Bangui, over 200 miles away, is deserted,” he
said in his testimony. “Vil
lagers have ed to escape the
attacks, mass killings, rape and plundering perpetrated by the roaming groups of Seleka militia,” who have divided up the country and established regional control.He said interim president Michel Djotodia, who led the March coup, formally dissolved the Seleka alliance in an effort to end the vio-lence, but “he has no formal army to enforce peace and security.”The bishop urged congres-sional leaders to work with France, the African Union and the U.N. to provide im-mediate assistance to help secure the country and “com-pel Seleka forces to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate into society or return to their home countries.”He also asked them to fund humanitarian assistance and a “transition process to a legitimate, democratically elected government.” He noted the country would need continued assistance for years and asked them to rally the international community.After his testimony, Bishop Nongo was headed home to continue to provide his people with support and to work with local Muslim leaders.
He told CNS that when Christians see atrocities, the
temptation for retaliation was great.But he said both Muslims
and Christians are victims
of Seleka, and he tells his people, “Never give in to such temptation.”
 A woman washes clothes near makeshift tents Nov. 9 on the 40-acre diocesan compound in Bossangoa, Central African Republic. Bishop Nestor-Desire Nongo Aziagbia of Bossangoa says more than 35,000 people are living on the compound, seeking protection from rebels targeting Christians.
 Year of Faith: thousands of Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists join Christ the King procession
KATHMANDU, Nepal, Nov. 25, 2013—Thousands of Nepali Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists on Saturday took part in Christ the King procession organized by the Catholic Church in Kath
-mandu to mark the closing of the Year of Faith, which ended with a solemn Mass in St Peter’s Square.Participants, who took time off work, showed “great devotion”, local sources said, at a time of great tension due to the recent
elections to the Constituent As
-sembly.Priests, religious, lay peo-
ple and non-Christians walked
from St Mary of the Assumption School to the church, reciting the Rosary and hymns, carrying candles, images of Jesus with passages from the Bible.For the occasion, the local church used an open car that carried the diocesan vicar, Fr. Pius Perumana, dressed in sol-emn garments, at the helm of procession.
Catholics from Kathmandu but
also Godavari and Lubhu Bani-yatar attended the celebration, walking in the procession with
ags and banners.
“It was such a thrill to be in the
Christ the King procession. For
me, it was a time to glorify Jesus and strengthen my faith in God,” Soni Rana, a young 18-year-old
Catholic woman from Baniyatar (a northern suburb of Kathman
-du), told AsiaNews.A year ago, she attended a service for the start of the Year of Faith. For her, this was a crucial
time of prayer and reection, as
well as for her family and her friends.After the fall of the monarchy in 2006, Nepal saw a gradual opening to religions other than Hinduism, which had once been persecuted.After Maoists came to power (2008), several Hindu extremist groups attacked religious mi-norities. The most serious was
carried out against Kathmandu’s Assumption Cathedral on 23 May
2009, which left two people dead.Although proselytizing is banned, the government made
Christmas a national holiday in 2012 to boost tourism. Chris
-tians were allowed to show their sacred images and ornaments in stores and outside of churches and homes and to organize pro-cessions.This visibility has prompted
many non-Christians to seek baptism. Currently, there are 10,000 Catholics in Nepal,
4,000 more than in 2006, the year the state became secular.
   P  a  u   l   H  a  r   i  n  g   /   C   N   S   C  o  u  r   t  e  s  y   B   i  s   h  o  p   N  o  n  g  o   /   C   N   S
  w  w  w .  a  s   i  a  n  e  w  s .   i   t
 Vol. 17 No. 24
November 25 - December 8, 2013
CBCP Monitor
News Features
Pope concludes Year of Faith preaching ‘centrality of Christ’
VATICAN City, Nov. 24, 2013—
In his homily at Sunday Mass
on the Feast of Christ the King,
Pope Francis emphasized Jesus’ crucial place in creation, history,
and the Church.
“The attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recog-nizing and accepting in our lives
the centrality of Jesus Christ, in
our thoughts, in our words, and in our works,” he preached to a crowded St. Peter’s Square on Nov. 24.The many pilgrims who had come to celebrate the close of the Year of Faith listened attentively as he continued, “When this cen-ter is lost, when it is replaced by something else, only harm can result for everything around us and for ourselves.”This historic Mass at the “crowning of the liturgical year” marked not only the conclusion of a year dedicated to rediscov-ering “the beauty of the journey of faith begun on the day of our baptism.” In an unprecedented gesture, Pope Francis had the reliquary containing the bones of St. Peter brought out to the square.Pope Francis stood clutching the bronze box holding the bones
of the rst Pope, his head bowed low as throngs of Christians pro
-claimed their faith in the Son of God made incarnate.The Pope had also expressed his gratitude for the patriarchs and major archbishops of the
Eastern Catholic Churches who
were present at today’s Mass, saying, “the exchange of peace which I will share with them is above all a sign of the apprecia-tion of the Bishop of Rome for these communities which have
confessed the name of Christ
with exemplary faithfulness, often at a high price.”
“Christ, the descendant of King David, is the ‘brother’
around whom God’s people come together.”Thus, “to him we can bring the  joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives,” he encouraged.“When Jesus is the center, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; he gives us hope,” just as he did to the “good thief” on the cross, who begged, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”“Remember me. Jesus, remem-ber me,” Pope Francis repeated. “Let us take a moment to repeat these words in the silence of our hearts,” he told the congrega-tion.“The Lord always grants more
than what he has been asked:
you ask him to remember you,
and he brings you into his King
-dom!” the Pope exclaimed.At the conclusion of the Mass, Pope Francis distributed copies of his new apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel” to 36 rep-resentatives of diverse groups
in the Church, including clerics,
catechists, families, religious, artists, and journalists.He then thanked Archbishop Fisichella, President of the Pon-
tical Council for the New Evan
-gelization, and his collaborators for their work during the Year of Faith.The pontiff led the congrega-tion in the traditional Ange-lus Prayer, remembering in a
special way those Christians
around the world who are per-secuted and suffering. “There are many!” he reminded those in attendance.Prior to Mass, a special collec-tion was taken up for those in the Philippines affected by the recent typhoon.
Pope Francis venerates the relics of St. Peter on November 24, 2013.
Such a witness for Christ is the call of every Christian, since
 Jesus “is the center of all things.”“In him, through him, and for him all things were created,” explained the pontiff.But Jesus is not only divinely
transcendent: he became human,
caring “for his people, for all of us, even at the price of his life.”
Reecting on the Old Testament
scriptures, Pope Francis noted that “in searching for an ideal king, the
people were seeking God himself:
a God who would be close to them, who would accompany them on their journey, who would be a brother to them.”
Asking God ‘why’ attracts his fatherly love, pope tells Filipinos
VATICAN City, Nov. 22, 2013—In the midst
of a disaster, it is natural and perfectly healthy to ask God why, Pope Francis told members of Rome’s Philippine commu-nity.Referring to the death and destruc-tion Super Typhoon Haiyan caused in the central Philippines in early November, Pope Francis said, “Why do these things happen? It can’t be explained. There are many things that we cannot under-stand.”The Philippine com-munity had gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica Nov. 21 to formally place a mosaic of St.
Pedro Calungsod in
the grotto under the church. The ceremony, planned months ago, turned into a prayer service for the de-ceased and the survi-vors of the typhoon.
Cardinal Luis Anto
-nio Tagle of Manila led the prayers, speaking not only of the sorrow and suffering the me-ga-storm caused, but also of the faith, love and solidarity evident in its aftermath. Joining the pilgrims, Pope Francis thanked the cardinal for his “words full of faith, full of pain, full of hope.”The pope, who asked that a collec-tion for the victims be taken up at his Nov. 24 Mass closing the Year of Faith, said he has followed the situa-tion in the Philippines closely.The question of why there are natural disasters is something he said he also asks.But, then, the pope said, he thinks of children who are just starting to understand that there are things they don’t understand. They start asking their parents, “Why? Why? Why?”Often enough, he said, “the child does not wait for an an-swer from his father or mother,” but just adds more questions.In effect, the child is seeking attention from his mother or father more than answers, the pope said. “He needs his parents’ eyes, their hearts, to be focused on him.”In times of trouble, the pope told the Phil-ippine community, “never tire of asking ‘why’ like a child. That way, you will turn the gaze of our father to your people; you will attract the tenderness of our heavenly fa-ther.”
Pope Francis and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila (right) take a moment to pray before the mosaic of St. Pedro Calungsod in St. Peter’s Basilica on Nov. 21, 2013.
Church’s intervention to state affairs is done out of moral guidance—priest
MANILA, Nov. 17, 2013—The Church’s active intervention to
the political affairs of the state must not be misconstrued by Filipinos as a form of nosy intru-sion, rather it must be perceived as moral guidance done by the church as part of its evangelizing
mission, a Catholic priest said on
Saturday. Fr. Nonong Fajardo, vice-convenor of the advocacy group October Movement (OM) calling for the abolition of the graft-tainted pork-barrel scheme through a people’s initiative, said that the church has the re-sponsibility to speak out when-ever societal issues affect, in one way or another, the morality of the people. “(The issue of the pork bar-rel) is a moral problem that whoever believes in the ex-istence of both good and evil must speak,” Fajardo said in a chance interview during the Unity Forum against the Pork Barrel held at the Adamson University. “It just so happened that the church, which represents that moral sector, has become con-vinced on how extreme this issue has become, resulting to the active participation it has shown,” he said. But regardless of one’s reli-
gious afliations, Fajardo said
that being a Filipino entitles priests, bishops, and all ordained members of the church to speak out and criticize the mistakes
committed by country ofcials.
“Let us just put the context to our being Filipino. We are speak-ing as Filipinos and you should not categorize us for we have the same rights as anybody,” he said. “We want to speak for our country. If you remove that basic right from us then that would be a problem.”The priest noted that con-cerned citizens must actively voice their opinion for those in authority to realize their mis-takes that caused injustice to the country and its people. “Even if you are not an or-dained minister, you have to speak whenever you notice wrongdoings being committed by those in position. If you won’t speak, then I already do not know what kind of apathy has struck you,” he added. Fajardo, who is also a housing
consultant for Caritas Manila
and director of the Adamson
University Integrated Commu
nity Extension Services (ICES),
criticized the government for the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam involving lawmakers who allegedly channel their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus organizations and foundations in exchange of hefty kickbacks. “We would like to change the system for we have seen that it is where graft, corruption, and greed root from…The principle behind a victorious advocacy must not only be by yourself but through fostering coopera-tion among the confederation of the willing,” he said.
(Jennifer Orillaza)
‘Sex ed’ will lead youth to culture of contraception, promiscuity—life advocate
MANILA, Nov. 19, 2013—With the
impending implementation of sex education in the country as mandated by the Reproductive Health (RH) law, life advocates fear that sexuality courses will only expose the youth to a culture of contraception, leading them to be-come more promiscuous in handling relationships.Rolando Delos Reyes, Pro-Life Philip-pines Board Member, said that exposing the Filipino youth to the intricacies of human sexuality and relationships at a young age will just lead them to the absorption of distorted ideals that do not go hand-in-hand with the teachings
of the Catholic Church.
“Proponents of sex education are just complicating things that are supposed to be simple. (It is just as basic as) there must be no sex before marriage,” Delos Reyes said during the Pro-Life Seminar Series on Sex Education and the Media held at
the Our Lady of Loreto Church in Manila.Citing the National Sexuality Educa
-tion Standards (NSES), which according to him would most probably be the basis of the sex education curriculum being prepared by the Department of Educa-tion (DepEd), Delos Reyes expressed fears that the sexuality courses might  just derail the conservative teachings of the church on family and sexual identity.The NSES is the curriculum model prepared by medical and academic experts in teaching sex education in American public schools.It aims to “provide clear, consistent, and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum, core content for sexuality education that is developmen-tally and age-appropriate for students in
grades Kindergarten through grade 12.”
Distortion of values
Delos Reyes criticized some of the core concepts present in the NSES, not-ing that they only sow confusion on how the Filipino youth must perceive familial ties and sexual identity.According to the NSES, students in kinder to grade two will be taught to “identify the different kinds of fam-ily structure and demonstrate ways to show respect to the different types of family.”Delos Reyes said that it is misleading to teach students about the different kinds of family structure for there is only one familial structure designed by God.“We should accept probably at this point that single parenthood (and other family structures) has become a reality…But what we are saying here is that it is not the design of God. The design of God is that parents should be
complete—a father and a mother who
will raise their children,” he added.
The NSES also species that students in grades three to ve will be taught
to “define sexual orientation as the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or differ-ent gender.”Delos Reyes said that opening the minds of young individuals regarding same sex attraction might lead them to the perception that it as a societal norm deemed acceptable by the church.“I am also teaching about (gender is-sues) but I do so in the proper context. Meaning to say, it must be contextual-ized in the sense that no one is born gay or lesbian,” Delos Reyes, who also works as a guidance counselor, said.
Rolando Delos Reyes, Pro-Life Philippines Board Member fears the government mandated sex education in schools will counter Church’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage and family.
“That is how you are made and God designed you to be either a man or a woman. If you don’t like what you are given, you have to wrestle with it. Wrestle it with a counselor, wrestle it with your teacher or parents, but you have to accept what it is,” he added.
Attack against family, identity
Delos Reyes said that the implemen-tation of sex education not in line with
Catholic teachings damages the faith
-ful’s values regarding the family and the self, primarily because of the inclusion of lessons pertaining to contraception and same-sex attraction.“We have to realize that they attack
the family rst and then the identity of
the person. The enemy of our soul wants to destroy the family because when we destroy the family, we also destroy the identity of the person,” he said.He emphasized the importance of keeping a family whole together, noting that the father and the mother provide
the rst male and female gure to be
inculcated in the minds of their children.
“It is important for a family to be whole—composed of male and female parents—in
order to provide the child’s identity its needed holistic growth,” he said.
“The rst perception of the child re
-garding man is being modeled by the fa-
ther and if the mother is the rst female
in the life of her child, whatever percep-tion the child will have to a female will be rooted with the relationship it has with its mother,” he said.The same applies with a child’s percep-tion on relationships, Delos Reyes said.
“The rst relationship seen by the child
is the relationship of the mother and the father. Whatever it is that the child sees will be the basis of how he or she will relate to others. This is why it is very important for the family to be complete.”He also noted that the task of educat-ing students about sex does not fall on educators. Rather, it is a task that must be shouldered by parents to ensure proper guidance in the way their child would understand sexual concepts.
(Jennifer Orillaza)
Sectoral groups support people’s initiative vs ‘pork’ scheme
MANILA, Nov. 17, 2013—Groups
from different societal sectors unite to
rally behind the move of former Chief
 Justice Reynato Puno for a People’s Ini-tiative aiming to pass a law that would
scrap all forms of pork barrel—includ
-ing the controversial Priority Develop-ment Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program
(DAP)—once signed by enough mem
-bers of the Filipino electorate.October Movement (OM), a newly-formed coalition of grassroots-based and multi-sectoral organizations in the country, rallied support from different societal sectors in preparing for the ini-tiative, which will commence through a people’s congress set early next year. Fr. Nonong Fajardo, vice-chairman of the OM convening group, said that the “coalition of the willing” to be held in January will signal the start of their collation of signatures for the proposed law that calls for the scrapping of all forms of discretionary funds in the country’s coffers. “The process (that we would like to implement) is systemic change. When we say systemic change, we have to start through small means that would later on develop into something big, eventually creating an alternative system,” Fajardo said in an interview during the Unity Forum against Pork Barrel held at the Adamson University on Saturday. “We have to start small, learn from it, replicate, institutionalize and make it a system that will confront the pres-ent that is doing harm to the Filipinos,” he added.
Chiding legislators
Fajardo noted that denominations who have vowed to support the move-ment have notably increased, with vari-ous sectors such as the church, labor, business, military, academe, and many others joining the movement. “The effort has gained a lot of support from various groups. The
only thing we have to nalize is the
mechanism to be implemented. If the petition will gain enough support in
the referendum, we will be the rst in
the world to initiate change through a People’s Initiative process,” he said.
The Cebu Coalition against the
Pork Barrel System, another coalition composed of various sectoral groups, also launched a signature campaign to support the People’s Initiative process in scrapping the pork barrel scheme. Fajardo also chided legislators who are expressing doubt over the capabil-ity of Filipinos to set off a People’s Initiative in calling for the abolition of the graft-tainted pork scheme. “It is saddening to realize that those officials whom we have voted into positions are the ones who do not believe in the capacity of the Filipino people. They have already segregated themselves from the people who have voted them,” Fajardo said. “They should not represent the Fili-pino people for it shows that they are
sitting down in their ofces for them
-selves and their families and not for the electorate. I hope that this time, they will see how these issues have gravely affected the country,” he added.
Nothing to lose
If ever the People’s Initiative process would fail to materialize, Fajardo said that Filipinos have nothing to lose because trying to mobilize an entire electorate toward a common cause is already a victory by itself. “I believe we have nothing to lose
in this ght. If ever we fail in this ini
-tiative, we are still victorious for we are able to unite this mass movement together…It is a very good process be-cause the process itself is the end,” he said, noting that mobilizing the people is the by-product of the People’s Initia-tive process. Fajardo noted that the important thing for those pushing the People’s Initiative is for them to awaken the public and show those in authority that Filipinos are united in standing against government corruption.
“CJ (former chief justice) Puno said before that even if we fail in this ght,
we should still be proud for trying to mobilize millions of people who are united in pushing for a common cause. Who wouldn’t be afraid of such crowd size?” he said. “I believe in the capacity of the Filipinos to rise up. Rising up does not mean simply getting out of poverty, but making poverty a footprint that will only be in the past. I want to see any Filipino who can stand hand-in-hand with any country and any race,” he said.
(Jennifer Orillaza)
Various sectors are coming together to mobilize electorates for signature campaign in a bid to scrap all forms of pork barrel.
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