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CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 1

CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 1

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

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Published by: cbcpmonitor on Jan 09, 2014
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 Vol. 18 No. 1
 January 6 - 19. 2014
Php 20.
Church supports local govt’s stand against mining in Catanduanes
THE Church strongly backs the call of Sang-guniang Panlalawigan (SP) on President Benigno Aquino to immediately forfeit the Coal Operating Contract (COC) of Altura Mining Philippines, Inc. (AMPI), which was issued by the Department of Energy (DOE), to probe about 7,000 hectares of land in the province for coal deposits, Assistant to the Chancellor Rev. Fr. Eric John T. Rojas said in an e-mail letter.
Mining / A6
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders
 Villegas urges dynamism among lay people on Year of Laity
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
LINGAYEN-DAGUPAN Archbishop Socrates Villegas urged for a greater involve-ment from lay people even as he called on priests to be more open in sharing church responsibilities with the laity.
“We need to cultivate in our archdio-cese a fresh sense of co-responsibility in the Church and to explore all pos-sibilities for priests and laity to work together with mutual respect and fra-ternal charity,” the Archbishop said in a pastoral letter to the Dagupan faithful on January 1.As the Catholic Church observes 2014 as Year of the Laity, Villegas, who is also president of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said it is important to use this “occasion of grace to attend to two pastoral concerns that need conversion.”He noted the necessity “to bring the laity out of the situation of passivity” and for the clergy to be “more open and willing to share church responsibilities” with the lay faithful.Villegas said that the laity, by virtue of their baptism, share “in common
priesthood of life [which] denes the
identity, mission, dignity, vocation and spirituality of all Christians.”
He encouraged his ock to take heed
of what Pope Francis said in Evangelii Gaudium regarding the role of the laity.The Pope in his pastoral exhorta-tion noted that many lay persons have not been given proper formation that would facilitate their taking important responsibilities in the Church, and even
Pope’s envoy spends Christmas with typhoon victims
AS a sign of personal soli-darity, Pope Francis sent his envoy to typhoon-stricken areas of Visayas on Christmas.Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, arrived in Tacloban City on Dec. 24 and was welcomed by Palo Archbishop John Du, some priests and lo-
cal government ofcials.
From the airport, Pinto went to the Sto. Niño Church which was dam-aged by the typhoon. He then proceeded to the Kapangian Elemen-tary School where he led the distribution of relief goods. The nuncio then pre-sided the Christmas Eve Mass, despite the bad weather, at the Palo ca-thedral that had the roof blown off at the height of the typhoon.Because of the heavy rain, churchgoers had to use umbrellas inside the church to protect them from getting wet.Pinto stayed overnight at the Palo archbishop’s residence, which was also badly damaged by the typhoon.Du said they were con-cerned about where Pinto will sleep but the nuncio was quoted saying “never mind I will sleep under the tent.”On Dec. 25, Christmas Day, Pinto also led a Mass at 10am at the Sto. Niño Church and distributed relief packs to the victims.Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, for his part, said Pinto is closely monitor-ing the church’s relief efforts in Eastern Visayas. He said the move of Pinto to spend Christmas in Leyte is the church’s heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by the
Bishop calls for missionary fervor in diocese
A YOUNG bishop called on the faithful to fully involve them-selves in the local church and transform the diocese with apos-tolic and missionary dynamism. For a “diocese to be truly vi-brant” it is necessary that “we must become a church” that is created by full participation of all the members, Bishop Gilbert Garcera told Daet faithful. A church is not built through the involvement of only a se-lected few, neither is it centered only on the clergy, but active participation from everyone is vital to make it alive and ener-getic, Garcera emphasized in his pastoral letter on January 1. Garcera introduced the dioc-esan celebration of the Year of the Laity and of Social Concerns in his New Year’s message, stressing on the role of the laity in building the church and trans-forming society, while following the examples of Mary. He echoed Pope Francis’ words saying: “parishes are not outdated institutions. Our
parishes possess great exibility.
Our parishes can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the parish priests and the community.” “Thus, we ask ourselves,” Gar-cera said, “Do I involve myself in my parish? Is my parish vibrant with apostolic and missionary enthusiasm?”
Faith and praxis
The bishop stressed that if one’s faith is to grow, it must be
a faith that “ows into daily life
Bishop Gilbert Garcera
Christian, Muslim leaders unite in rebuilding Zamboanga
AROUND 250 Christian and Muslim leaders met in a re-gion-wide leaders’ summit in Zamboanga City committing themselves as one people in rebuilding the city that was at-tacked and destroyed by rebel forces in September last year.
Themed “Condence Build
-ing, Reconstruction and Healing: What Muslims and Christian Leaders Can Do Together”, the event was organized by Darul Ifta and the Archdiocese of Zam-boanga, in coordination with the city government.Representatives from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and two other provinces in ARMM were also in attendance as an expression of solidarity with Zamboanga City and its citizens over the suffering it underwent from the MNLF attack on the city last September 9, 2013.It will be recalled that the attack lasted 23 days with gov-ernment forces and the rebels
ghting within residential zones
of 7 villages, about 7 kilometers from City Hall.
The three-week ghting killed
about 200 and displaced thou-sands from their homes which were razed to the ground.The internally displaced per-sons (IDPs) were housed in a sports center and public el-ementary school buildings and provided food and other services by the government and various organizations.According to Sulu Vice-Gov. Sakur Tan any calamity that befalls Zamboanga City also impacts on the residents of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi because many of the people liv-ing in these three places come to
Smartphone app helps keep track on New Year resolutions
FINDING it hard to keep your New Year resolu-tions? A new smart-phone application might  just be the answer to your dilemma. Two young Filipino professionals have de-veloped a smartphone app called Alvaro Daily designed not only to
Dynamism / A6Unite / A6App / A7Fervor / A6
storm and its aftermath.“These are some of the ways on how we can help to make people feel that they are not alone. We are willing to jour-ney with them,” he said.
Balanga donates P2M to typhoon-ravaged dioceses
THE diocese of Balanga turned over more than two million pesos in donations to various dioceses affected by recent calamities. Bishop Ruperto Santos on  January 1 thanked the faithful of Balanga for their generosity and spirit of solidarity with the victims of typhoon Yolanda. He said despite their own need, parishioners have been
Donates / A6
 An elderly woman slumps amid the rubbles and twisted steel outside her house that was destroyed by supertyphoon Yolanda in Eastern Samar.
Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace
Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto poses with parish staff and members of the parish pastoral council of Palo Cathedral after giving Christmas goodies to them. With him are Archbishop John Du and Msgr. Bernardo Pantin.
   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e   F   I   L   E   P   H   O   T   O   C  o  u  r   t  e  s  y  o   f   M  s  g  r .   B  e  r  n  a  r   d  o   P  a  n   t   i  n
In what could be a prelude to the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9, young devotees carry a replica of the centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ during the blessing of replicas outside the Quiapo Church in Manila, January 7. Millions of mostly barefoot devotees join the yearly religious event to seek miraculous cures for illnesses and pray for good life. At
this Year of the Laity, the faithful are called to deepen their faith especially in their sanctication and transformation of society.
   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
 Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
CBCP Monitor
 World News
Vatican Briefng
Pope Francis announces pilgrimage to Holy Land
Pope Francis has announced that he will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this coming May to mark a key moment in Catholic and Orthodox Christian relations. Pope Francis will meet with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, during his May pilgrimage. Along with rep-resentatives of “all the Christian churches of Jerusalem,” the two leaders will celebrate an ecumenical meeting at the site of the Holy Sepulchre, which Christians revere as the place of Jesus’ burial prior to the Resurrection. The Pope explained that the “principal goal” of the trip is “to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras I, that occurred precisely on January 5, as today, 50 years ago.”
Vatican encourages renewed missionary zeal in Catholic schools
A recently released Vatican document is calling for a fresh commitment to Catholic identity within what it calls an in-creasingly secularized educational system. At a press confer-ence held Dec. 19, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said, “the Catholic identity of the school is fundamental.” Noting the many chal-lenges facing Catholic schools, the Cardinal added, “today one of the greatest problems is when large organizations want to impose gender ideology.” “Catholic schools’ primary respon-sibility is one of witness. In the various situations created by different cultures, the Christian presence must be shown and made clear, that is, it must be visible, tangible and conscious,” reads the congregation’s “Educating To Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools.”
Value silence, encourages Pope
Pope Francis reected on in the importance of silence in his
daily homily, noting that God’s plan of salvation always in-cludes moments of mystery and quiet. “Silence is really the ‘cloud’ that covers the mystery of our relationship with the Lord, our holiness and our sins. We cannot explain this mys-tery, but where there is no silence in our lives, the mystery is lost, it goes away. Guard the mystery with silence!” said the Pope on Dec. 20. The Pontiff considered today’s Gospel pas-sage containing the story of the annunciation, in which Mary is “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit in conceiving Jesus. The mystery of God becoming man is carefully protected, he noted.
2 frms hired to advise Vatican on communications, fnance
The Vatican has hired two international consulting rms to modernize Holy See communications and to improve nancial
procedures throughout the Vatican’s agencies. “An advisory role has been entrusted to McKinsey & Company for the development – in close collaboration with the heads of the
relevant ofces – of an integrated plan to render the organi
-zation of means of communication within the Holy See more
functional, effective and modern,” the Holy See press ofce
announced Dec. 19. The decision was made the previous day,
on the initiative of the Pontical Commission for Reference on
the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, after a bidding and selection process. The commission was established under Pope Francis to study and streamline Vatican administration.
Vatican newspaper launches redesigned website
L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper, unveiled its revamped website Dec. 17, meant to broaden the reach of the paper and make it more friendly to social media. “More news, more photos, more sharing through social networks,” one of the paper’s journalists, Piero Di Domenicantonio wrote in an editorial published Dec. 16, saying the publication “renews and broadens its online presence and the information service it of-fers to the world.” “With innovative graphics and a substantial improvement in accessibility, the new site marks a turning point in the spread of the newspaper,” he said, adding that articles “can easily be relaunched on Twitter and Facebook.” The website includes the contents of L’Osservatore Romano’s
daily edition; its ve weekly editions, including English; and
its monthly edition, published in Polish, and is accessible by computer, smartphone and tablet. The website also features a secure and easily accessible transaction system so that users can donate to the service, which is provided free of charge.
Pope limits ‘monsignor’ honor for diocesan priests
Pope Francis has decided to limit the honor of “monsignor” among diocesan priests and grant it from now on only to those at least 65 years of age. The change, which is not retroactive
and does not affect Vatican ofcials or members of religious
orders, was announced in a letter from the Vatican Secretariat of State to nunciatures around the world, along with instruc-tions to inform local bishops. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, informed U.S. bishops of the new policy in a letter dated Dec. 30. Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, forwarded the letter to the bishops Jan. 3. Of the three grades of monsignor—apostolic protonotary, honorary prelate of His Holiness and chaplain of His Holiness—only the last will be available to diocesan priests who meet the new age requirement. Bishops must resubmit any pending requests for papal honors in accordance with the new rules.
Retired Pope Benedict visits Pope Francis for lunch
Three days after Pope Francis paid his predecessor a visit on Christmas Eve, retired Pope Benedict joined the pope for lunch at the Vatican guesthouse. The two shared the meal Dec. 27 at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. Accord-ing to a report by Vatican Radio, the pope and the retired pope were joined by their personal secretaries and by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, and U.S. Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor in the Vatican Secretariat of State. Pope Francis had invited Pope Benedict to lunch Dec. 24, when the pope visited the retired pope in his residence to offer Christmas greetings. Pope Benedict lives in the former Mater Ecclesiae convent, also in Vatican City State.
During the pope’s visit, the two prayed briey together and
then spoke privately for about half an hour.
Remember those like Holy Family who are homeless, pope says
Seeing a protest sign in St. Peter’s Square that read “The poor cannot wait,” Pope Francis urged individuals and government leaders to recognize the pain, struggles and rights of families—like  Jesus, Mary and Joseph—who do not have a home. Pope Francis read the sign out loud Dec. 22 after reciting the midday Angelus prayer from the window of the apostolic palace. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “It makes me think how Jesus was born in a stall, not a house. And reading that sign I think today of all the families without homes, either because they never had one or because they lost their home for some reason. “A family and a home
go together,” the pope said. “It’s very difcult to keep a family
going without a home to live in. During these Christmas days, I ask everyone—individuals, social agencies, authorities—to do everything possible so that every family can have a home.”
 Vatican hosts top world leaders; experts to push for end to Syrian war
VATICAN City, Jan. 3, 2014—Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Egyptian Vice President Mohamed El-Baradei are among the key politi-cal experts invited by the Vatican for a one-day meeting aimed at
promoting a cease-re in Syria,
the protection of Christians there
and a transitional and unied
government.The Vatican meeting Jan. 13 will come ahead of major peace talks Jan. 22 in Geneva between the Syrian government and op-position forces.Sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the day-long Vatican “workshop” will
seek to propose “a cease-re to
make humanitarian aid possible” in Syria; an end to “persecutions against Christians to encourage interreligious dialogue; a tran-sitional authority to organize
elections (and) a unied national
government also responsible for the military sector and security;” as well as an end to human traf-
cking and prostitution in the
war-torn nation.The meeting’s title is “Syria: With a death toll of 126,000 and 300,000 orphans in 36 months of war, can we remain indifferent?”The eight-page program, pre-pared by the sciences academy, gave a brief background of the
Syrian conict. It said U.S. calls
for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down “put the U.S. in effective opposition to the United Nations’ peace initiative” put forth in early 2012.“Russia argued that America’s insistence on Assad’s immediate departure was an impediment to peace. In this, perhaps Russia was right,” the booklet said.However, while Russia backed U.N. peace initiatives, it also — with Iran — “supplied more and more sophisticated weapons to the regime” as the U.S. and other
countries nanced the rebels, it
said.The Vatican invited eight in-ternational experts and leaders to discuss the tragedy unfolding in Syria, the political stances of the major international players involved and possible solutions.With opening remarks by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tau-
ran, president of the Pontical
Council for Interreligious Dia-logue, the invited speakers are:— Blair, founder of the Tony
Blair Faith Foundation and of
-cial envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East: the U.N., European Union, Russia and the United States.— ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, 2005 Nobel Peace Prize
winner, and a major gure in
Egypt’s revolution against oust-ed Presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi.— U.S. economist and adviser  Jeffrey Sachs, who is active in
the world ght against poverty
and hunger.
Archbishop and Imam call for UN Peacekeeping Force in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Jan. 3, 2014—The Catholic archbishop and imam of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, have issued a joint appeal for a United Nations peace-keeping force, warning that the country is on the brink of war.Writing in the French newspaper “Le Monde”, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Imam Omar Kobine Layama said the CAR “remains on the verge of a war with religious aspects” and that half the population “desperately need aid”. About 40,000 people have taken refuge at Bangui airport where they are living without shelter or sanitary facilities.Despite the interven-tion of French and Af-rican troops, the two religious leaders called on the UN to deploy a peacekeeping force “with the utmost urgency”.Meanwhile, Caritas networks have mobilized to bring aid to victims, Fi-des news agency report-ed. Catholic Relief Servic-es - Caritas of the United States - working with the support of the French Secours Catholique, has launched a humanitarian program in Bossangoa. The town, in the north of the country, has been the
focus of ghting leading
to tens of thousands of people taking refuge near the Catholic mission.The program, which will last until August, will also distribute aid to another site, where the majority of the displaced are Muslims.
Archbishop Müller afrms doctrine, pastoral care for divorced
ROME, Italy, Jan. 3, 2014—In a recent inter-view with Corriere della Sera, the Vatican’s
head ofcial on doctrinal matters discussed
the importance of personal pastoral care for divorced re-married persons, while adhering to Church teaching.“We must try a combination of general principles and particular, personal situa-tions. Finding solutions to individual prob-lems, though always on the foundation of Catholic doctrine,” Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told Gian Guido Vecchi of the Italian daily in an interview published Dec. 22.“You cannot adjust the doctrine to the circumstances: the Church is not a political party which does surveys to look for con-sent. A true, pastoral dialogue is necessary. There are different situations, which are to be evaluated in different ways.”The archbishop’s comments follow months of back-and-forth between himself and bishops from his native Germany who have suggested that divorced and remarried Catholics could receive Communion under certain circumstances.In November, Archbishop Müller wrote a letter to the emeritus archbishop of Freiburg clarifying that “no pastoral directions are sanctioned which are in opposition to Church teaching,” and he had made the same point in an essay published at L’Osservatore Romano the preceding month.In his Corriere della Sera interview, the archbishop explained, “the truth is that we cannot clarify these situations with a general statement. On those divorced and civilly remarried, many think the Pope or a synod can say: of course, receive Communion. But this is not possible.”He added that this is because a “valid, sac-ramental marriage is indissoluble: this is the
Catholic practice, reafrmed by Popes and Councils, in delity to the Words of Jesus. And
the Church has not the authority to relativize the Words and Commandments of God.”Archbishop Müller added that while the sacraments have a “medicinal aspect” and are not restricted to “the perfect,” an irregular marriage is an “objective obstacle to receiving the Eucharist.” This is “not a punishment” and the bar on divorced and re-married persons receiving Communion does not keep them from attending Mass.
He afrmed that annulments can be grant
-ed, adding that in many places, Christian tradition “has lost its meaning” and there is a “total confusion” about who man is and what is his purpose and dignity.The archbishop also discussed Church structures in the wake of Pope Francis’ Nov. 24 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudi-um”, in which he discussed a “conversion of the papacy” and suggested that bishops’ conferences could be given a greater role, including “genuine doctrinal authority.”He said the interpretation of “some” who believe the exhortation means the Pope “wishes to promote a certain autonomy of local Churches, a tendency to distance themselves from Rome” “is not possible”
and would be “the rst step towards auto
-cephaly.”Archbishop Müller clarified that “the Catholic Church is composed of local Churches, but it is One. ‘National’ churches do not exist … the presidents of bishops’ conferences, while important, are coordina-tors, nothing more, not vice-popes!”He emphasized that both the Roman Pontiff and individual bishops are of “di-vine right, instituted by Jesus Christ,” while patriarchates and bishops’ conferences are established by the Church, by man.”
 Archbishop Gerhard Muller at the Vatican Press
Ofce on July 5, 2013.
   L  a  u  r  e  n   C  a   t  e  r   /   C   N   A
Cardinal Gracias: The Message of Peace is a recipe for India’s development
MUMBAI, Jan. 3, 2014—Pope Francis’s theme of “Fraternity as the foundation and pathway to peace” and his message for peace are very relevant to India today. Fraternity is urgently needed to herald sustainable peace, development and prog-ress in our country.Following India’s national pledge, we pledge that “All Indians are my brothers and sisters. As the Holy Father indicates, ‘the Fatherhood of God can be seen as the basis of fraternity, this is our national pledge. All Indians are broth-ers and sisters and we are all children of the same father. Regrettably, the prevailing ethos of mass culture enshrines money as the supreme value. This results in mass poverty and social inequality.The Holy Father cautions against the “globalization of in-difference” that makes us blind “to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves.”This speaks directly to the situation in India, where the gap between the rich and the poor and between rural and urban society is increasing. It is a matter of utter shame that over 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997.The same is true for women, whose inferior status leads to increasing female foeticide and horrific practices and abuses against the girls and wom-en, and other despicable evils against life.Our sense of fraternity ex-tends to Dalit Christians and all our brothers and sisters in India, under the Fatherhood of God, so that discrimination may end and they may receive the privileges that others have. We are concerned about this and hope that with God’s grace everything will come right.In 2014, we have general elections, and the pope’s call for fraternity becomes even more significant. We are all Indians, and we share a com-mon heritage with our com-mon Fatherhood in God. Our politicians must place the well-being of the whole nation before their personal, party and petty interests. The Holy Father states that indifference brings with it “of-fences against fundamental hu-man rights, especially the right to life and the right to religious freedom.”Spirituality is an intrinsic part of Indian culture, yet religions
laws seek to stie the right to
religious freedom, which is enshrined in the Indian Con-stitution.To discriminate against reli-gious beliefs, or discredit reli-gious practices is tantamount to exclusion contrary to respect for fundamental human dignity that will eventually destabilize society by creating a climate of tension, intolerance, opposi-tion, and suspicion, which are not conducive to social peace and can become detrimental to the progress of our beloved country.Seen in this light, fraternity is the foundation and pathway to peace. Whatever traditions we belong to, we are brothers and sisters of the same family; therefore, the importance of understanding, dialogue and trying to reach out to others can make a better world. It is essential for us in India to fight the three evils of com-munalism, the caste system and corruption, which pose a constant threat to our beloved motherland India.For each of us brothers and sisters of our great motherland India, I, as President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, pray that each one of us Indians has the spirit of frater-nity and be led, in the words of the Upanishads, ‘from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, and from death to immortality” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.3.28).
  w  w  w .  a  s   i  a  n  e  w  s .   i   t   /   P   i  n   k  y   B  a  r  r   i  e  n   t  o  s ,   F   S   P
— Thom-as Walsh, a U.S. expert in interreli-gious peace building and security, in-ternational president of the Universal Peace Federa-tion.— Pyotr Stegny, a for-mer diplomat and expert in Russian diplomacy and foreign policy in the Middle East.— Joseph Maila, a Lebanese expert on the Middle East, Islam and politics.— Miguel Angel Moratinos, a Spanish diplomat and member of congress who served seven years as the European Union special representative for the Middle East peace process.— Thierry de Montbrial, a French economist and expert in international relations.The workshop program out-lined Pope Francis’ calls, prayers and diplomatic efforts for peace in the region. It credited Rus-sian President Vladimir Putin with convincing U.S. President Barack Obama to not carry out its threat of military strikes on Syria in September in response to the reported use of chemical weapons against civilians by forces loyal to Assad.With the upcoming “Geneva II” talks, the “resumption of the U.N. peace process, this time with the U.S. and Russia on the same side to prevent violence, might succeed in keeping al-Qaida at bay—a shared inter-est—and finding a pragmatic long-term solution for Syria’s complex internal divisions,” it said.Meanwhile, a two-person delegation representing the Syrian government delivered a letter for Pope Francis from Assad. The letter was delivered Dec. 28 when the Syrians met at the Vatican with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Domi-nique Mamberti, the Vatican foreign minister.The Vatican confirmed the delegates gave the pope “a mes-sage” that illustrated the posi-tion of the Syrian government.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias
 Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
CBCP Monitor
News Features
Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders
VATICAN City, Jan. 3, 2014—Pope Francis said he has ordered a revision of what he called outdated Vatican norms on the relations between reli-gious orders and local bishops, in order to promote greater appreciation of the orders’ distinctive missions.The pope’s words were published  Jan. 3 in the Italian Jesuit magazine
La Civilta Cattolica
. He made the comments Nov. 29 at a closed-door meeting with 120 superiors general of religious orders from around the world.Pope Francis referred to “
 Mutuae Rela-tiones
,” a set of directives issued jointly by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Religious in 1978. The document said that religious orders are part of the local church, though with their own internal organization, and that their “right to autonomy” should never be considered as independence from the local church.“That document was useful at the time but is now outdated,” the pope said. “The charisms of the various insti-tutes need to be respected and fostered because they are needed in dioceses.”
Pope Francis giving an address at the Vatican, June 7, 2013.
The pope, who until his election in March 2013 served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and formerly served as a Jesuit provincial, said he knew “by experience the problems that can arise between a bishop and re-ligious communities.” For example, he said, “If the religious decide one day to withdraw from one of their works due to a lack of manpower, the bishop often
nds himself suddenly left with a hot
potato in his hand.”“I also know that the bishops are not always acquainted with the charisms and works of religious,” he said. “We bishops need to understand that con-secrated persons are not functionaries but gifts that enrich dioceses.”“The involvement of religious com-munities in dioceses is important,” the pope said. “Dialogue between the bishop and religious must be rescued so that, due to a lack of understanding of their charisms, bishops do not view religious simply as useful instruments.”At the Nov. 29 meeting, the pope also asked the heads of the Congregation for
Religious to nish a pending document
on male religious who are not priests. He acknowledged a “vocational crisis” among such men, but said he believed they still had a role in religious life.The 15-page article by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, quoted extensively from the pope’s remarks at the three-hour meet-ing, which Father Spadaro attended.Father Spadaro’s wide-ranging in-terview with Pope Francis, published in the same magazine in September 2013, included the pope’s controversial statement that the church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.”During the meeting with religious superiors, Pope Francis preferred “nei-ther to give a talk nor to listen to their prepared remarks: He wished to have a frank and free conversation consist-ing of questions and answers,” Father Spadaro wrote.Noting the growth of religious orders in Africa and Asia, the pope acknowl-edged challenges to evangelization there, including correct adaptation of Catholic teaching to local cultures, as well as a temptation to exploit poorer societies as sources of vocations.The pope recalled that Filipino bish-ops had complained of foreign religious orders running a “novice trade” in their country. “We need to keep our eyes open for such situations,” he told the superiors.Pope Francis said that sensitivity is needed not only for crossing geographi-cal boundaries but social and cultural frontiers as well.“The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which
sometimes are difcult for us to under
-stand,” he said, noting that Catholic teachers must be prepared to “welcome children in an educational context, little boys and girls, young adults who live in complex situations, especially fam-ily ones.”The pope offered an example of such a situation from his experience in Bue-nos Aires: “I remember the case of a
very sad little girl who nally conded
to her teacher the reason for her state of mind: ‘my mother’s girlfriend doesn’t like me.’”Seminary directors, too, must be sen-sitive to the needs of religious novices, encouraging them to engage in sincere and fearless dialogue with their instruc-tors, he said.“Formation is a work of art, not a police action,” the pope said. “We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the People of God. This really gives me goose bumps.” “Just think of religious who have hearts that are as sour as vinegar: They are not made for the people,” the pope said. “In the end we must not form administrators, managers, but fathers, brothers, traveling companions.”Pope Francis praised efforts by Pope Benedict to stop sex abuse of minors by clergy and religious and stressed the importance of vetting candidates for religious orders, in order to weed out those with incorrigible failings.“We are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt,” the pope said. “Sinners are accepted, but not people who are corrupt.”
Pope: Time to stop violence, discord, and begin making peace at home
VATICAN City, Jan. 2, 2014—Welcoming in a new year, Pope Francis said it was time to stop provoking and ignoring vio-
lence, tragedy and conict in the
world, and begin building peace at home.“Justice and peace at home, among us — you begin at home and then you move on to all of humanity. But we have to start at home,” he said Jan. 1, which the church marks as the feast of Mary, Mother of God and as World Peace Day.Speaking to tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s
Square for the rst noon Angelus
of 2014, the pope referred to his peace day message, which he said called for building a world where everyone “respects each other, ac-cepts others in their diversity and takes care of each and every one.”People must not remain “indif-ferent and immobile” in the face of violence and injustice, but commit themselves to “build a truly more  just and caring society,” he said.The pope referred to a letter he had received the day before from a man struggling to understand why there were still so many tragedies and wars.The pope said he wanted to ask the same question: “What is happening in people’s hearts? What is going on in the heart of humanity” that leads to violence?“It’s time to stop,” Pope Francis said. “It will do us good to stop taking this path of violence.”May God “help all of us walk the path of justice and peace with greater determination,” he said, and the Holy Spirit break down the obstinacy and barri-ers people construct between each other.The pope also prayed to Mary that the “Gospel of fraternity” might “speak to every con-science and knock down the walls that hinder enemies from recognizing each other as broth-ers and sisters.”Earlier in the day, the pope celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was decorated
with white owers, evergreens,
gold trim and poinsettias. Two girls and one boy, wearing long capes and shiny gold paper crowns in memory of the magi who traveled to Bethlehem, brought the offertory gifts to the pope.Prayers for peace were offered
in ve languages; the Spanish
version asked that God “bless all women and all mothers, called to bring forth, to guard and to promote life.”In his homily, the pope said Mary, the Mother of God, be-came the mother of all humanity when Jesus, dying on the cross, gave her to the world.When she lost her divine son, “her sorrowing heart was en-larged to make room for all men and women, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved  Jesus,” he said.Even before the church officially defined Mary as God’s mother in
the fth century,
the faithful had already acknowl-edged her divine
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square
before the Wednesday general audience Dec. 11, 2013.
maternity and called for its recognition, the pope said, not-ing the case as an example of
the “‘sensus dei’ (sense of the
faith) of holy people, the faithful of God, who, in their unity, are never ever wrong.”Mary is a source of hope and true joy and continually strengthens people in their faith, vocation and mission, he said. “By her example of humility and openness to God’s will she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation.”He asked the faithful to entrust with Mary their journey of faith, their hopes and needs as well as “the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice, peace and God.”In his homily, Pope Francis also mentioned the Marian icon “Salus Populi Romani” (health of the Roman people) in Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major, which he said was the first Marian shrine in the West where the image of the Mother of God—the “Theotokos”—was venerated.According to Vatican Radio, the pope visited St. Mary Major Dec. 31 to pray at length before the icon, repeating a pilgrimage he made on the first morning
of his ponticate in March and
on other subsequent occasions.
Six million people attended Pope Francis’ Vatican events in 2013
VATICAN City,  Jan. 2, 2014 —More than 6.6 million people have taken part in events with Pope Francis at the Vatican since his election to the pa-pacy, the Prefecture of the Papal House-hold has estimated.In the nine months since Pope Francis’ March 13 election, more than 2.7 million people have attended the Pope’s An-gelus and Regina Coeli prayers. About 2.3 million have attended liturgical celebrations in St. Pe-ter’s Basilica and at St. Peter’s Square. Some 1.5 million people have attended Pope Francis’ general audiences, while 87,400 have attended private audiences with the Pope.
The gures only concern ac
-tivities at the Vatican and are approximations based on the number of requests to participate in events and invitations issued by the Prefecture of the Papal Household. They also draw on attendance estimates for the Angelus and major celebrations at St. Peter’s Square.The figures do not include events that took place outside the Vatican, including World
Youth Day in Brazil. The gures
also do not include attendance estimates for papal events within Italy and the Diocese of Rome, such as his visits to Lampedusa and Assisi.An estimated 3.2 million Cath-olic pilgrims attended World Youth Day’s final Mass with Pope Francis at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on July 28.During Pope Benedict XVI’s
rst year as Pope from April 2005
to April 2006, an estimated 4 mil-lion people attended his public events at the Vatican. About 1.9 million attended the Sunday Angelus in that time period,
the Prefecture of the Pontical
Household said in 2006.
(CNA/  EWTN News)
Pope Francis at the Wednesday general audience
in St. Peter’s Square on June 5, 2013.
Pope prays for upcoming Synod of Bishops
VATICAN City, Dec. 29, 2013 —In his Angelus address given on the feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis prayed especially for the approaching Synod of Bishops which will discuss pas-toral challenges to the family.“The next Synod of Bishops will address the theme of the family, and the preparatory phase has already begun some time ago. For this reason, today, (on) the feast of the Holy Family, I wish to entrust this synodal work to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, praying for families around the world,” he said on Dec. 29 in St. Peter’s Square.Asking the crowds that packed St. Peter’s Square and the sur-rounding streets to join with him spiritually, Pope Francis prayed, “Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bish-ops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolabil-ity of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.”The Pope dedicated his An-gelus message to considering  Jesus’ own family as an example for families everywhere. “God wanted to be born in a human family, he wanted to have a mother and a father, like us,” he explained.“It’s an example that does much good for our families, helping them to become ever more a community of love and reconciliation, in which one experiences tenderness, mutual help, and mutual forgiveness.”Even the Jesus’ own family, however, was not without its difficulties. Forced to flee to Egypt to escape being killed by Herod, “Joseph, Mary, and Jesus experienced the dramatic condi-tion of refugees, marked by fear, uncertainty, need.”Unfortunately, Pope Francis continued, “in our day, millions of families can see themselves in this sad reality.” Refugees and
immigrants do not always nd
“true welcome (or) respect.”Yet “Jesus wanted to belong to a family that had experienced
these difculties,” to show that
no one “is excluded from the nearness of God’s love.”
“The ight into Egypt because
of Herod’s threats shows us that God is also there – there where man is in danger, there where man suffers, there where he escapes, where he experiences rejection and abandonment; but he is also where man dreams, hoping to return to his home-land in freedom, designing and choosing a life of dignity for himself and his family.”Even in families who do not face such dramatic circumstanc-es, “exiled persons” can be found, noted the Pontiff: “the elderly, for example, who some-times are treated as a burden-some presence.”“Many times I think that one sign to know how a family is doing is to see how the children and elderly are treated in it,” he said.Pope Francis then repeated one of his oft-used instructions on family life. “Remember the three key phrases: excuse me, thank you, I’m sorry!” he ex-horted the crowds, who cheered in response.In a family that uses these words, “there is peace and joy,” he assured them.“Repeat it with me, everyone together!” the Pope urged, “ex-cuse me, thank you, I’m sorry.”The Pontiff closed by greet-ing the many pilgrim groups who had traveled to Rome and wishing everyone a happy feast day.
‘Yolanda’ victims vulnerable to human trafcking, priest warns
MUNTINLUPA City, Dec. 10, 2013—As if the tragedy of a natural calamity is not enough, ‘Yolanda’ victims in the Visayas are now falling prey to the man-made scandal of
human trafcking, a priest warned.
“[Victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’] need food, they need shelter, they need employment, so [they become prone to believe] anyone who promises to them some of these things…Behind those promises are those syndicates of human
trafcking,” said CBCP Episcopal Commission
on Family and Life executive secretary Fr. Mel-vin Castro in a recent interview.
Missing women and children
According to Castro, reports of women and children missing from refugee centers in ‘Yolanda’-stricken areas are alarming and should make key agencies like the Depart-ment of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as well as the public, vigilant
against the threat of human trafcking.
In a report published in the Daily Guard-ian, a publication based in Western Visayas, DSWD Assistant Secretary Cheche Cabrera said, the agency was able to intervene in at
least two cases of human trafcking involv
-ing ‘Yolanda’ victims before it was too late. According to Cabrera, one case involved “a very beautiful girl [who] was [being] es-corted by two burly looking guys”.
‘Modern-day slavery’
“Every tragedy and calamity brings out the best and unfortunately, the worst in some people that’s why let’s take care of [the vic-tims] because there are really many people lurking around who will take advantage of the situation,” he added. Castro, who is also the founder of the Con-fraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace, alerted the public, organizations and gov-ernment agencies that are most involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts for ‘Yolanda’ victims about “many who will put up a front of trying to help”, but who are, in fact, intending to lure women and children into prostitution or forced labor.
He called the reality of human trafcking
“modern-day slavery”, demanding that authorities scrutinize suspicious interna-tional flights from Manila that could be
transporting human trafcking victims to
other countries. “These are dangerous moments for wom-en,” Castro noted. For those interested to help document orphans left by ‘Yolanda’, which could be
a rst step to safeguard them against hu
man trafcking, contact the Pro-Life ofce
hotline at (02) 733-70-27, Telefax 7349425 or 09192337783.
 (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Fr. Melvin Castro
 Vatican ofcial to speak at conference celebrating 50 years of ‘Pacem in Terris’
MANILA, Dec. 16, 2013—A
Vatican ofcial will lead a ros
ter of high prole speakers in a
national conference organized by the Association of Catholic Universities to celebrate the 50th year of the encyclical Pacem in Terris.The Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (ACUP) is holding a national conference at the University of the Immaculate Conception (Bajada Campus) in Davao City to pray tribute to the celebrated encyclical of Pope John XXIII, from January 9 to 11.Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah
Turkson, president of the Ponti
-cal Council for Justice and Peace will keynote the conference with an address on “The Formation of New Catholics in Politics”.Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI leads a panel
of speakers on the rst day with
a discussion on “The Struggles of Catholic Universities in De-veloping Leaders for Peace and Progress in the Philippines.”Also in the panel are Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, president of the Ateneo de Davao University, Sister Corazon Manalo, D.C., Superintendent of the Daughters of Charity Schools, and Cong. Karlo Alexis B. Nograles of the 1st district of Davao City.Multi-awarded and highly re-spected ABS-CBN news anchor Tina Monzon-Palma will moder-ate the discussion.Also on the same day, Mr. Leon G. Flores III, chair and chief
executive ofcer of the National
Youth Commission, will give a talk on “The Filipino Youth in Politics: A Commitment to Lead-ership for Peace and Progress”.A Eucharistic celebration will
cap the rst day to be presided
by Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles.On the second day, presenters will explore on the topic “En-gagement of Catholic Universi-ties: A Milieu for the Inculcation of Values Leading to Social Transformation”.A collaborative research paper among the University of Santo Tomas, La Consolacion Univer-sity, St. Louis University, and Angeles University Foundation will be presented discussing “The Pastoral Care of Overseas Filipinos and their Families by Catholic Universities: A Case Study”.Br. Ricardo P. Laguda, FSC, president of De La Salle Uni-versity- Manila will present a research on “The Impact of Com-munity Development Programs of Catholic Universities”.Manila Auxiliary Bishop Brod-erick S. Pabillo, D.D., National Chairman of NASSA/Caritas Philippines will discuss “The En-gagement of the Catholic Church in Values Formation and Social Transformation”.Fr. Eliseo R. Mercado, Jr. OMI, former director and senior policy adviser of the Institute for Au-tonomy and Governance of Notre Dame University will talk on “Peace : Our Hope and Responsibility in Mindanao”.Themed “The Formation of New Catholics Engaged in Poli-tics: the Challenge and Inspira-tion of Catholic Universities”, the conference will also include a group sharing on its theme.
   L  a  u  r  e  n   C  a   t  e  r   /   C   N   A   K  y   l  e   B  u  r   k   h  a  r   t   /   C   N   A   L  a  u  r  e  n   C  a   t  e  r   /   C   N   A   C   B   C   P   f  o  r   L   i   f  e

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