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CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 4

CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 4

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

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 Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
Php 20.
00
By Jennifer Orillaza
NOTING the apparent threats of secularization in today’s world, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) stressed the vital role of Catholic educational institutions in leading younger generations toward the search for truth that roots from the Divine.
Lingayen-Dagupan Arch-bishop and CBCP President Socrates Villegas said this can
only be fullled through a “re
-newed encounter with Christ” and communal discernment among educational institutions
to reect and act upon the press
-ing concerns faced by the church and society at present.
“That specic vocation calls them as universities to be cen
-ters for the authentic search for the truth of God, of nature, and of the human being-in-human-society and the communication of this truth to students and the world,” Villegas said in his
speech delivered at the De La Salle University last Feb. 13. (See full text in page B1) “As Catholic, they are called to ‘the privileged task’ to ‘unite
existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already
knowing the fount of truth, Jesus
Christ,” he said.
‘God’s precious gift’
Noting Catholic higher ed-ucational institutions in the
country—47 universities, 241 colleges, 17 graduate faculties of
theology, and 60 seminaries—as
among “God’s precious gifts
both to the Church and society in the Philippines,” Villegas urged them to lead the youth in search-ing for the truth of God, nature, and humanity.
“The search for the truth of God involves the search for Him in our ever more secular world
that increasingly ignores God and his Church, or for him in our Catholic culture that, despite its intense piety, is neither scandal-
ized by the painful poverty in
our midst nor willing to change the structures that support its yet
pervasive corruption,” he said. “The search for the truth of nature involves understand
-ing the awesome power of ty-
phoons and earthquakes, and,
due to what human beings do in their industrial centers, facto-ries, power plants and cars, the changes in natural climate cycles as we are experiencing these
today; it involves understanding
the intimate truths of how hu-man life is transmitted, nurtured and sustained,” he said.
“The search for the truth of humanity involves understand
-
ing the human individual in his
or her complex relationships in society, and how human life-in-society is sustained, threat-ened, harmed, or destroyed,” he added. Villegas recognized the need for academic freedom to be prac-ticed in educational institutions, but noted that it must be taught
in the Divine context. “This awesome vocation for the Catholic university as it must now impact on New Evangeli
-
zation cannot be taken lightly.
It must precisely wrestle with
diversity in a marketplace of
Vital / A6
Catholic schools  vital in transformingsociety—Villegas
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is surrounded by participants of the Catholic Congress on Blindness held at the Paco Catholic School in Manila on February 8. The gathering discussed the situation of the blind people and the programs that should be undertaken to assist them.
Order of Malta headlines blessing of sick in Manila
TRUE to its mission of “serv
-
ing the sick and the poor”, the Order of Malta’s Philippine arm
was again at the forefront of the
“World Day of the Sick” celebra
-tion, which coincided with the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, held at the Espiritu Santo Parish
in Santa Cruz, Manila on Feb. 11.The World Day of the Sick is an observance in the Catholic Church instituted on May 13, 1992 by Blessed Pope John Paul
II who will be canonized in April, to encourage people to
pray for the sick and those who
care for them.
Since February 11, 1993, it is celebrated yearly all over the
Catholic world during the feast
of Our Lady of Lourdes as “a
special time of prayer and shar-
ing, of offering one’s suffering”. John Paul II chose the feast of
Lourdes because many pilgrims
and visitors to Lourdes (a place in France where the Marian apparition took place) have re
-portedly been healed through the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin.Incidentally, it was also dur-
ing the Our Lady of Lourdes’ feast day in 2013 when Pope
Benedict XVI announced his resignation.
The Order, or the “Sover
-eign Military Order of Malta”
(SMOM), with the Archdio
-
To proponents of RH law, funding makes a difference
AN ofcial from the Department of Health in a recent interview revealed that the govern
-
ment agency can provide “family planning services” even without a reproductive health (RH) law.Dr. Ruben Siapno, M.D. assistant regional director of DOH for the National Capital Region (NCR) said that the department ‘will still provide family planning services’ even if the Supreme Court will declare the RH Law
unconstitutional.
CBCP not yet taking position on Charter change
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is not yet taking a
position on the proposals to amend
the 1987 Constitution.House Speaker Sonny Belmonte  Jr. had declared Charter change as
one of his priority measures for the
16th Congress.However, CBCP president Arch
-bishop Socrates Villegas said the conference might issue moral guide-
lines but it’s not for the CBCP to
reject or endorse Charter change.
“We are not political problem solvers… you should keep that in
mind,” Villegas said.
“We are not to make a position
for or against it because ours is only
to give guidelines so that whatever step we take is according to moral
and ethical principles,” he said.
The archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan said the Church’s only
 Aquino lacks political will for land reform – priest
THE huge backlog in land
allocation and distribution show the Aquino admin-
istration’s lack of political
will to implement land
reform, the Church’s social
action arm said
Fr. Edu Gariguez of the
National Secretariat for
Social Action—Justice and Peace (Nassa) said the government has not done
enough to cause genuine agrarian reform in the country.
“The issue lies in the [lack of] political will and the resolve of the Aquino government to pursue this
social reform agenda,” Gariguez said.
Around 200 farmers from different provinc
-
es picketed the Depart
-
ment of Agrarian Reform on Feb. 4 to protest the agency’s “effectiveness” in
implementing land reform
and services. The farmers from Ha
-
cienda Luisita in Tarlac, Bondoc Peninsula, Ha
-cienda Dolores in Pam-
‘Catechism over coffee’ launched to attract yuppies to talk about faith
YOUNG professionals generally, may not be that
psyched to talk about their
faith, but maybe a little coffee will help, a couple of Catholic professionals
believe.
 Young priest’s bible talk in Sta. Cruz parish a hit
PARISHIONERS packed the conference hall of the Santa Cruz Church (ofcial name: Our Lady of the Pillar Parish) evening of Feb. 6, as they listened to a young priest expounding on a variety
of Biblical topics.
Fr. Ritchie Gomez of the Missionar
-
ies of the Sacred Heart (MSC) said he could not believe that his lecture would become such a “blockbuster” among those present given that invitation to the event was “less than aggressive”.The lecture marked the Santa Cruz Parish’s participation in the Church-wide “Bible Week” celebration which
aims to encourage the lay faithful to
read the Sacred Scripture, and to take to heart its “very important message”.
The Mercy Café serves as a venue for young people to discuss spiritual matters that uplift the soul.SMOM members assist the sick as they receive the sacrament from the priest during the celebration of ‘World Day of the Sick’, Feb.11.
Malta / A7Charter / A7Land / A7Bible / A6Cafe / A6Funding / A7
   R  a  y  m  o  n   d   S  e   b  a  s   t   i  a  n   R  o  y   L  a  g  a  r   d  e   J   h  o  n  s  e  n   S  a   l  e  s   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
 
A2
 Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
CBCP Monitor
 World News
Vatican Briefng
Pope urges Sri Lankans to reconcile, accepts invitation to visit
When civil strife, conict and bloodshed have pitted people of
different ethnic groups against one another, reconciliation is
particularly difcult, but it’s still the only way to ensure a better future for all, Pope Francis told a large group of Sri Lankan pil
-
grims. “It is not easy, I know, to heal the wounds and cooperate with yesterday’s enemy to build tomorrow together, but it is the only path that gives hope for the future,” the pope said Feb. 8 during a meeting with an estimated 12,000 Sri Lankan pilgrims. Pope Francis joined the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Basilica after Car
-
dinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo celebrated Mass. The cardinal invited Pope Francis to visit Sri Lanka, to which the pope responded, “I welcome this invitation and believe the Lord will give me the grace to do so.”
(CNS)
Mass, even with the pope, isn’t a tourist activity; it’s God’s time
An invitation to attend Pope Francis’ early morning Mass is a hot ticket in Rome, but the pope said the Mass—in his residence or anywhere else—isn’t an event, but a time for entering into the mystery of God. “Maybe someone would say, ‘Oh, I must get to Mass at Sanctae Marthae because the pope’s morning Mass is on the Rome tourist itinerary,’” he said, according to a report by Vatican Radio. Addressing those gathered for the Mass Feb. 10, he said, “All of you come here, all of us gather here to enter into a mystery, which is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is God’s cloud that envelops us all.”
(CNS)
People power: Popular devotion is key factor in sainthood process
The sainthood process is long and technically complicated, and ultimately requires the approval of the pope, but the whole pro
-
cedure is driven by Catholics in the pews and, especially, those on their knees. The Congregation for Saints’ Causes and the ofcial promoters of causes—known as postulators—do the paperwork, but if there is no evidence of widespread devotion to a candidate, no visits to the person’s grave, no reports of favors and even miracles received through the potential saint’s intercession, the cause just sits there. Even for centuries.
(CNS)
Pope says relativistic ideas of marriage lead to divorce
Pope Francis said contemporary ideas of marriage as an ar
-
rangement dened by personal needs promote a mentality of divorce, and he called for better preparation of engaged couples as well as ministry to Catholics whose marriages have failed. The pope’s remarks appeared in a message distributed Feb. 7 to Polish bishops making “ad limina” visits to Rome to report on the state of their dioceses. Pope Francis met with the group but,
as he frequently does, dispensed with reading out his prepared text. In his message, the pope warned the bishops of some of the
“new challenges” the church faces in their society, including the “idea of liberty without limits, tolerance hostile to or wary of the truth, or resentment of the church’s justied opposition to the prevailing relativism.”
(CNS)
Meeting Jewish group, pope asks prayers for his Holy Land trip
Pope Francis asked leaders of the American Jewish Committee to pray for his May trip to Jerusalem, “so that this pilgrimage
may bring forth the fruits of communion, hope and peace.”
The modern relationship between Jews and Catholics, he said Feb. 13, has a “theological foundation” and is “not simply an
expression of our desire for reciprocal respect and esteem.” Pope
Francis noted that in 2015, the Catholic Church will mark the 50th anniversary of “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on relations with other religions. The document, the pope said, is “the sure point of reference for relations with our ‘elder brothers.’”
(CNS)
Be patient even in the midst of trials, Pope encourages
In his daily homily Pope Francis emphasized that God is not a “sorcerer” who does what we want, but rather has a plan that we should wait for with patience even when we face challeng
-
es. “God does not behave like a sorcerer, God has his own way
of proceeding. And God is patient,” the Pope said during Mass
on Feb. 17, adding that “when we endure trials with faith they ripen our lives.” Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse alongside the members of
the council of eight cardinals, who are holding their third meeting
on matters of Church governance and reform this week.
(CNA)
Gossip is poisonous, insists Pope
Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus message emphasized the impor
-
tance of avoiding all forms of slander in living a Christian life. “It’s
so rotten, gossip. At the beginning, it seems to be something
enjoyable and fun, like a piece of candy. But at the end, it lls the heart with bitterness and also poisons us,” Pope Francis said Feb. 16. “I tell you the truth,” he preached to the crowds lling St. Peter’s Square. “I am convinced that if each one of us would purposely avoid gossip, at the end, we would become a saint! It’s a beautiful path!” “Do we want to become saints? Yes or no?” he queried as the crowds replied, “yes!” “Yes? Do we want to live attached to gossip as a habit?” Pope Francis continued, “Yes or no? No? Ok, so we are in agreement! No gossip!”
(CNA)
Belgium becomes rst country to legalize child
euthanasia
In a law passed in Belgium’s parliament on Feb. 13, the country has become the rst to legalize the euthanasia of minors, drawing
widespread opposition from its citizens, and from Church lead-
ers. “The law says adolescents cannot make important decisions on economic or emotional issues, but suddenly they’ve become able to decide that someone should make them die,” Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard stressed. Archbishop Leonard oversees
the diocese of Brussels, and is head of the Catholic Church in
Belgium, and made his comment during a prayer vigil held last week opposing the legislation, BBC News reports. Belgium’s parliament voted on Feb. 13 in favor of passing a bill which allows
euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit by an
86 to 44 vote with 12 abstentions, and will ofcially become the rst country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice
once the bill is signed by Belgian King Phillipe.
(CNS)
Archbishop announces effort to help Tanzania AIDS
victims
A new partnership between the Good Samaritan Foundation and Gilead Sciences will provide free HIV and AIDS testing in the diocese of Shinyanga, Tanzania as well as those who test posi
-
tive. “‘The Test and Treat Project’ is indeed an important result of the work engaged in by the Good Samaritan Foundation and by our Pontical Council,” Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski said in a Feb. 11 press release announcing the initiative. It fullls “the mission of the Church…which Jesus himself gave as a mandate: Euntes docete et curate inrmos,” or “‘go, teach and heal the sick,’” he said, quoting the Gospel of Matthew. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski is the president of the Pontical Council for Health Care Workers, which oversees the Samaritan Foun
-dation, an organization dedicated to training nurses on proper healthcare.
(CNA)
 Archbishop asks prayers for marriage,  World Meeting of Families
PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Feb. 14, 2014—Archbishop Charles J.
Chaput of Philadelphia encour-aged prayers for married cou-
ples and families on Valentine’s
Day, also requesting prayers for
the upcoming World Meeting of Families.Recognizing that “Saint Val
-entine is the patron of happy marriages, engaged couples and young people,” the archbishop
asked in a Feb. 14 statement that the faithful pray “for married
couples as well as all those pre-paring to enter into the sacred bonds of marriage.”
“The married couple is the building block of the family –
the cornerstone of society,” he
observed. “Today is a special
time to celebrate the authentic
love that a husband and wife experience in the person of Jesus Christ and the greater fulll
-
ment of that love in the creation
of a family.”In addition, Archbishop Cha-put requested prayers for all
those working “to prepare for the World Meeting of Families
that will be held here in Phila-delphia next year.”
“That event has the power
to transform, in deeply posi-
tive ways, not just the Catholic
Church but our entire commu-nity,” the archbishop said.
The eighth World Meeting of Families will be held Sept. 22-27, 2015, and is expected to draw
tens of thousands of partici-pants from around the world.
Begun in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, the gathering takes place every three years and seeks to
support and strengthen families throughout the world.
The event was last hosted in Milan, Italy, in 2012. More than 1 million people gathered for Mass with the Holy Father, and 153 nations were represented.The Philadelphia meeting will mark the rst time that the event
will be held in the United States.Archbishop Chaput has pre-
viously stated that such events can be “moments of grace” for the entire area, able “to trans
-
form, in deeply positive ways,
not just the spirit of Catholic life in our region, but the whole public community.”
“The more we encourage and
support the integrity of families, the healthier society becomes,” he said, adding that families play a critical role in sharing the message of Christ with the world.
Pennsylvania governor Tom
Corbett and Philadelphia mayor
Michael Nutter will serve as honorary co-chairs of the 2015
gathering.
Governot Corbett—who is
Catholic—noted at a press con-ference last year that Philadel-
phia is “the birthplace of reli
-
gious freedom,” with “church
-es, synagogues, mosques and
temples [that] are places of both personal faith and civic
freedom.”
“But it is our families that
grow up in these institutions that are the foundation of that freedom,” he emphasized, not-
ing that faithful families have “played a profound role in
building not only Philadel-phia but the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania.”
 (CNA)
 Archbishop Chaput at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
‘Son of God’ movie brings Gospels to life, Catholic leaders say
LOS ANGELES, Calif., Feb. 15, 2014—A new movie about Jesus Christ—to be released by the makers of the popular History Chan
-
nel television miniseries “The Bible”—has drawn praise from several Catholic bishops
and leaders.
“It is the biggest, greatest story ever told,” said Roma Downey, a co-producer of “Son
of God” who stars as Mary.
“The Story of the Son of God is one of the most-known stories in the history of the
world,” added her husband and co-producer
Mark Burnett. “And yet it never gets old. And the way we have told it is very connec
-
tive, very young, very gritty and real. You
really feel connected and can see yourself as these characters.”
The movie is based on the Bible and covers
the life, death, resurrection and ascension
of Jesus Christ. A 20-minute preview of the video is already being distributed by 20th Century Fox.The full movie will be released Feb. 28 in
English, Spanish and Korean. Portuguese ac-
tor Diogo Morgado will play the role of Jesus. Morgado said the role is “overwhelming.”
Burnett said that teenagers and young
people who see the movie are “absolutely
connecting with the disciples” and realizing
“they were just ordinary people.”“They did not know they were in the Bible, they were just leading ordinary lives,”
he said.
The movie was made in consultation with
academics and faith leaders.
It has drawn praise from several Catholic
leaders.
“It is a joy to watch this lm bring alive
the pages of the Gospel and help us see
what those who lived at the time of Jesus experienced,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.He said the movie helps individuals and families “be inspired all over again with the story of God’s love for us.”Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said the movie “gives us an opportunity to realize God’s presence in our own lives.”“Each one of us is a son or daughter of
God. It is a wonderful, awesome reality.”Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the
Knights of Columbus, said the movie “will speak to your heart and nourish
your soul.”
“This is a lm that does not simply tell
you about Christ, but puts you in the midst
of his life, allowing you to see rsthand his public ministry, his love for humanity, and the death he suffered that we might have
life eternal.”
Cardinal Wuerl has commissioned movie discussion guides and videos for Catholic
churches and schools in his diocese. Both
Archbishop Gomez and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami are organizing showings of the movie.
In addition, some community leaders are
organizing “Theater Take-overs” to show the movie on every screen in a multiplex. These private screenings will begin Feb. 27.The movie’s producers hope it will draw upon the success of “The Bible” miniseries, which drew around 11.7 million viewers for its nale at Easter 2013.“When we were lming the Jesus nar
-
rative, we knew that we had something extraordinary,” Downey said. “We over-shot everything in the hopes that we could put together a lm, and that’s what we’ve done.”Downey and Burnett said Feb. 13 they hope that the movie means “the story and message of Jesus Christ will reach tens of
millions of people nationwide.”
The movie’s website is www.SonofGod
-
Movie.com.
(CNA)
Archbishop warns of genocide in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African
Republic, Feb. 14, 2014—A
Central African bishop has re-ported signs of genocide in the
growing conict there, urging an effective security response and warning against the “evil” desire to kill and destroy.“If there is no one to hold back the hand of the devil here, he will achieve his goal.
Many people will be hunted
down and killed,” Archbishop
Dieudonnè Nzapalainga of Bangui told Aid to the Church
in Need Feb. 12.He said he had visited a
town called Bodango, about
125 miles from the capital of
Bangui, where all of the Mus-lims—who are among those
targeted in the conict – have
disappeared. Members of the
Anti-Balaka militia told him the Muslims had been driven
out, but the archbishop was
skeptical, fearing instead that they had all been killed.“That over 200 Muslims,
along with all their children
and old people could have walked 125 miles is impos
-sible,” the archbishop said.
Violence broke out in the Central African Republic in December 2012. Seleka rebels,
loosely organized groups that drew many Muslim fighters from other countries, ousted the president and installed their own leader in a March
2013 coup.
After international pres-sure and resistance from Anti-
Balaka self-defense groups,
that president stepped down
in January 2014. Soon after,
a national council elected as interim president Catherine Samba Panza, who has no ties to either group.
The Anti-Balaka militias now claim to be taking revenge
for Muslim atrocities commit-ted last year, though President Samba Panza has pledged to hunt them down.Amnesty International has
said militia attacks have caused a “Muslim exodus of historic proportions.” Tens of thou
-
sands have ed into Cameroon
and Chad and many more are
internally displaced. Their
flight could add to the food crisis, as many shops and wholesalers were run by Mus-lims, the BBC reports.
Seleka rebels have also at
-
tacked the Christian popula
-tion in the small town of Bo-
hong, about 10 miles from the
western town of Bouar.
“When I arrived there, part
of one area of the town has been completely burned down. I also saw that people had
been burnt alive. I saw human
bones and human heads,” the
archbishop said. “I had only ever seen that sort of thing in lms about Rwanda before, but never here with us.“I think that evil was there. Now the evil has touched us. It shows itself in the desire to kill, to destroy. This is the devil.”There are presently 1.25
million people in need of food assistance.
While media sources have described the Anti-Balaka forces as a “Christian mili
-tia,” Archbishop Nzapalainga
rejected this. He said that they are rather a “self-defense movement that has now left the
politicians behind.”
Other bishops have rejected
depictions of the fighting as
divided solely along religious
lines, noting that not all Anti-
Balaka forces are Christians
and not all Christians are Anti-
Balaka. They have said the same applies to the Seleka
forces and Muslims.
Amid the violence, there are also peacemakers. In the south
-
western town of Boali, Father Xavier Fagba at St. Peter’s
Parish Church has sheltered
about 650 Muslims since mid- January.“Now is the time for men
of good will to stand up and
prove the strength and quality
of their faith,” the priest told the BBC.
He said when he took in the
Muslim refugees no one in the community understood him.
“They attacked and threatened
me.”
The church walls have bul
-let holes from opponents of
the Muslims’ presence in the church. The refugees fear they will be killed if they leave.Attacks on Muslims in Boali, including machete attacks, have killed several people including 22 children. Crowds have also torn down the town’s
two mosques.
Father Fagba said he believes
that some of the refugees in
his church were involved in attacks on Christian families,
though he does not mention
this when he talks to them.“When I talk to them it’s a
call for them to change their
lives and their behavior,” he
said, adding that the Muslims
should be considered “as our
brothers.”Some townspeople are help-ing the refugees, but them-
selves come under attack from Anti-Balaka forces.Soldiers from Chad have
escorted Muslims from Boali
back to their country. The
troops are sympathetic with
the Seleka forces and some have reportedly opened re on several Boali civilians.
Archbishop Nzapalainga told Aid to the Church in Need that foreign missionar-
ies are serving as a “protective bulwark” for the people and
are staying of their own free
will. If they leave, he said, the people will be “left standing in
the streets.”
“The devil scatters, God gathers. When the people gath
-er around the Church, then God is there,” he said.
He urged the Church to be “the heart that beats in the rhythm of love, without distin
-guishing as to religion or ethnic identity.”
The archbishop stressed the biblical virtue of comforting others. He said this is put into
practice when he stands beside
his “enraged” brother.“I experience his suffering, his weeping,” he said. “My
brother suffers with me, my
sister suffers with me. This is the kind of sympathy that
is shown by the other per-
son. And I believe that God is
there.”
The archbishop said that the restoration of security is “the
priority of priorities.”
He said people are living in
terror, fearing that their neigh-
bors have weapons. There is danger of “anarchy, chaos,
total disorder.”
The U.N. has assigned about 7,000 peacekeeping troops to the country. How
-
ever, the bishop said estab
-
lishing peace is “impossible” with a force of only several
thousand.
(CNA)
   C   N   A   A   l  a  n   H  o   l   d  r  e  n   /   C   N   A
 
A3
 Vol. 18 No. 4
February 17 - March 2, 2014
CBCP Monitor
News Features
Pope lauds fruitful dialogue between Jews, Catholics
VATICAN City, Feb. 13, 2014—In an encounter with the American Jewish Committee, Pope Francis highlighted the strong unity of Jews and Catholics,
stating that their shared roots obligate
them to work together in building a
 just society.
“I am very grateful to you for the dis
-
tinguished contribution you have made
to dialogue and fraternity between
 Jews and Catholics, and I encourage
you to continue on this path,” the Pope
expressed during the Feb. 13 encounter.Speaking to members of the com
-
mittee, which was established in 1906
in order to safeguard the welfare and
security of Jews worldwide, the pontiff
extended his greetings to the organiza-
tion, giving special emphasis to their “good relations with the Holy See and with many representatives of the Catho
-lic world.”
He then drew attention to the fact that next year commemorates the f
-
tieth anniversary of the publication of
the Second Vatican Council document
“Nostra Aetate,” which is the Coun
-
cil’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions.The document, he noted serves as “the sure point of reference for relations with our ‘elder brothers,’” observing that from it “our reflection on the
spiritual patrimony which unites us and which is the foundation of our dialogue
has developed with renewed vigor.”
Emphasizing that this foundation is a
“theological” one, the pontiff highlight
-
ed the importance of ensuring “that our dialogue be always profoundly marked
by the awareness of our relationship with God.”
“In addition to dialogue, it is also im
-
portant to nd ways in which Jews and
Christians can cooperate in construct-ing a more just and fraternal world,” he continued, calling attention to the
shared concern of Jews and Catholics in serving “the poor, the marginalized
and those who suffer.”
“Our commitment to this service is
anchored in the protection of the poor, widows, orphans, and foreigners as shown in Sacred Scripture,” the pontiff
observed.
Concluding his address, the Pope
stated that in order to keep their ef
-
forts from becoming “fruitless,” it is “important that we dedicate ourselves
to transmitting to new generations the
heritage of our mutual knowledge, es
-
teem and friendship which has…grown over these years.”“It is my hope,” he stated, “that the study of relations with Judaism may continue to ourish in seminaries and in
centers of formation for lay Catholics.”
Pope Francis also expressed his hope “that a desire for an understanding of
Christianity may grow among young
Rabbis and the Jewish community.”Turning to his upcoming visit to the Holy Land, the Pope noted that “in a few months I will have the joy of visit
-
ing Jerusalem, where – as the Psalm says – we are all born (cf. Ps 87:5), and where all peoples will one day meet (cf. Is 25:6-10).”
Pope Francis addresses pilgrims during his General Audience on Sept. 25, 2013
He then asked members of the com
-
mittee to “accompany me with your
prayers, so that this pilgrimage may bring forth the fruits of communion,
hope and peace. Shalom!”
(CNA/EWTN  News)
Pope: Catholic educators must share Gospel with multicultural society
VATICAN City, Feb. 13, 2014—Pope Francis said Catholic edu
-cators should engage in dialogue with increasingly multicultural societies in order to share the Gospel more widely.
The pope made his remarks Feb. 13, at a meeting with par
-ticipants in a plenary session of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Vatican body
that oversees church-afliated
schools and colleges around the world.
Noting that “Catholic schools and universities are frequented
by many non-Christian stu-
dents and even nonbelievers,”
the pope said such institutions should offer all of their students,
“with full respect for everyone’s
liberty and in ways appropriate to the educational context, the
Christian proposal — that is, Je
-sus Christ as the meaning of life, the cosmos and history.”
“Catholic education is one of the church’s most important
challenges, committed to carry-
ing out the new evangelization
in a historical and cultural con-text in constant transformation,”
he said, likening the modern world to Jesus’ mission eld in the “Galilee of the gentiles: a crossroads of people of diverse
races, cultures and religions.”In this context, Catholic edu-
cators must involve themselves in “discussion and dialogue, with a courageous and innova
-
tive delity that might lead to
an encounter between Catholic
identity and the diverse ‘souls’
of multicultural society.”
Church-afliated schools and colleges have a “responsibility to express a living presence of the Gospel in the elds of education,
science and culture,” he said.
Referring to the Areopagus in
ancient Athens where St. Paul preached to the pagans, the
pope said “Catholic academic
institutions should not isolate
themselves from the world, but should know how to enter
courageously into the areopagi
of today’s cultures and engage
in dialogue, conscious of the gift
they have to offer everyone.”Pope Francis said Catholic
teachers need spiritual ground-ing to communicate with young people in a fast-changing society.
“The young need high-quality teaching as well as values, not
merely enunciated but wit-
nessed. This coherence is an
indispensable factor in the edu-cation of young people,” he said.
“For this reason, the educa
-tor himself needs permanent
formation,” the pope said. “In
-
vestments must be made so that
teachers and administrators might maintain both their pro-fessionalism and their faith and the strength of their spiritual
motivations.”
(CNS)
Pope’s Lenten message highlights poverty of Christ
VATICAN City, Feb. 4, 2014—In his rst message
for the Lenten season,
Pope Francis focuses on the poverty of Christ in
becoming man, empha-sizing that it is our duty
to give the same humble
witness in our care for the poor.
Announced in a Feb.
4 press conference, the
Pope’s Lenten message
was read by Cardinal
Robert Sarah, president of the Pontical Council “Cor Unum,” the council that presents the ponti
-cal message each year.
Taking his theme from Paul’s Second Letter to
the Corinthians, the Pope
reects on the apostle’s words “For you know
the grace of our Lord
 Jesus Christ, that though
he was rich, yet for your
sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you
might become rich.”
Reflecting on grace which Christ gives, the
Pope emphasizes that the meaning of these words for Christians to-
day shows “us how God works,” and that “God’s
becoming man is a great
mystery!”What Paul says in his letter “is no mere play on
words or a catch phrase,”
Pope Francis states, but “rather, it sums up God’s logic, the logic of love, the
logic of the incarnation and the cross.”
“God did not let our salvation drop down from heaven, like some
-
one who gives alms from
their abundance out of a sense of altruism and
piety. Christ’s love is dif
-
ferent!” he afrms.“Christ’s poverty is the
greatest treasure of all,” the pontiff explains, not-
ing that “Jesus’ wealth is
that of his boundless con-
dence in God the Father,
his constant trust, his desire always and only to
do the Father’s will and give glory to him.”Recalling the words of
author Leon Bloy when he says that the only real
poverty is not to be a
Saint, the Pope also em-
phasizes that “there is only one real kind of pov
-
erty: not living as chil
-dren of God and brothers and sisters of Christ.”Drawing attention to
the witness we give as
Christians, the Pope ex-plains that although we
often believe that we can “save the world with the right kind of human resources,” this is “not
the case.”
“In imitation of our
Master, we Christians are called to confront the
poverty of our brothers
and sisters, to touch it,
to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it.”Reecting on the dif
-
ference between “pov
-
erty” and “destitution,” the Pope observes that “There are three types
of destitution: material, moral and spiritual.”
“Material destitution is
what is normally called
poverty,” he notes, and it “affects those living
in conditions opposed to human dignity: those
who lack basic rights
and needs such as food,
water, hygiene, work and the opportunity to devel
-op and grow culturally.”
What the Church does as a response is “meeting
these needs and bind-ing these wounds which
disgure the face of hu
-
manity,” because “in the
poor and outcast we see
Christ’s face,” explains
the pontiff.
“Our efforts are also directed to ending viola
-tions of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution.”
“When power, luxury
and money become idols,
they take priority over
the need for a fair dis-tribution of wealth,” he
notes, and thus “our con
-
sciences…need to be con
-
verted to justice, equality,
simplicity and sharing.”
Turning his focus to
moral destitution, the Pope highlights that it
“consists in slavery to vice and sin,” and that
many families suffer
because “one of their members – often a young
person - is in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling
or pornography!”
Lamenting that many
“no longer see meaning
in life or prospects for the
future” and have “lost
hope” due to unemploy-ment, unjust social condi-tions, or unequal access to education and healthcare, the pontiff stated that such cases of moral desti-
tution “can be considered
impending suicide.”
“This type of destitu
-tion, which also causes
nancial ruin, is invari
-
ably linked to the spiri
-tual destitution which we experience when we turn away from God and
reject his love,” he says, because when we “be
-
lieve we can make do on
our own, we are headed for a fall.”An antidote for this spiritual destitution can be found in the Gospel, the Pope reflects, em-
phasizing that “wherever
we go, we are called as Christians to proclaim the liberating news that
forgiveness for sins com
-mitted is possible.”
“The Lord asks us to
be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope,” the pontiff notes,
expressing that “it is
thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news.”Encouraging the faith-
ful to “imitate Christ who
became poor and en-
riched us by his poverty,” Pope Francis explains that “Lent is a tting time
for self-denial,” and that
“we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help
and enrich others by our
own poverty.”“Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no
self-denial is real without this dimension of pen-ance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.”
He then voices a prayer to the Holy Spir
-
it, asking that he help
us in our resolutions to
have a greater concern
and responsibility for
humanity “so that we
can become merciful and act with mercy.”
“In expressing this hope, I likewise pray that each individual member of the faithful and ev
-ery Church community
will undertake a fruit
-ful Lenten journey,” the Pope states, adding that
“I ask all of you to pray
for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady
keep you safe.”
(CNA/  EWTN News)
Pope Francis blesses a rosary for a pilgrim in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on Dec. 4, 2013
Pabillo urges respect for nature, slams proposed Manila Bay reclamation
MANILA, Feb. 6, 2014—In keep
-ing with Vatican teaching, a
high-ranking church official denounced as “immoral” the
multi-billion peso projects that will reclaim land from the Ma-
nila Bay, of which developers boast will give jobs to thousands of Filipinos.
But Manila Auxiliary Arch-
bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, in an interview with CBCPNews,
was not impressed.
The said projects, he ex
-
plained, will “benet only the
rich and powerful”.
“The projects are immoral,
and that is why we bishops are standing up to them,” Pabillo told CBCPNews in Pilipino. Pabillo, who also chairs the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, questioned the claim
that these projects will improve the lot of the Filipino poor.“No. As usual, only the
wealthy ones will stand to gain from the project. But what about
our underprivileged country
-
men?” he asked.
Church leaders led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardi-
nal Tagle had earlier expressed concern over the projects in a
letter to President Aquino dated
November 19, 2013.
In it, the bishops cited simi-lar reclamation deals in places
like Navotas, Malabon, Cavite,
Bulacan, and Pampanga where
incidents of ooding have gone
from bad to worse.
They also lamented that the
decision allowing these projects
were “determined only by nan
-cial considerations”.
Boosting tourism and preserv
-ing culture by restoring old his-torical sites rather than building on reclaimed land at the expense
of people’s livelihood and the environment are a superior op
-tion, the bishops added.
Pabillo warned of the projects’
potentially disastrous impact on
the ecosystem saying it “will in
-
crease the chances of ashoods
and storm surges in nearby com-munities.”
He also called on Filipinos to “respect the ecological balance”, so that “a tragedy like Yolanda
would not happen again.”
Various advocacy groups also
fear that the reclamation projects
would adversely affect local live
-
lihood, notably shing.Some 30,000 to 50,000 families, mostly in Navotas, Malabon, and the coastal villages of Cavite and
Bataan, depend on the Manila Bay for their income.
Salvador France of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamal
-
akaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)
maintained that the bay must be free of reclamation projects
“to stop the wholesale loss of people’s livelihood and prevent
natural and man-made calami-ties in the future.”At issue here is the multibil-lion-peso worth of projects in
key locations fronting the scenic
Manila Bay.
Shopping mall magnate Hen
-
ry Sy’s P54.5-billion proposal involves the reclamation and de
-
velopment of nearly 300 hectares
of the offshore and onshore bay areas within Pasay.
Another firm, the William Tieng-owned Manila GoldCoast Development Corp. (MGDC) is set to reclaim 148 hectares in Ma
-nila proper which will be called
the “Manila Solar City”.
MGDC Vice Chairman Ed-mundo Lim said the Manila
Solar City is envisioned as a “world-class commercial, resi
-dential and tourism center”.
This project, Lim boasted, will provide jobs to over 600,000 Filipinos.The most extensive of these proposals, the P14-billion
Alltech Coastal Bay Project which stretches from Parañaque
up to Bacoor, Cavite, will reclaim close to 635 hectares of the Ma
-nila Bay coastline.
It covers the Las Piñas-Para
-
ñaque Critical Habitat and Eco
-tourism Area, which is home to
more than 195 species of birds,
including endangered ones.
(Raymond A. Sebastián)
Faithful urged: Be available, listen like Mary 
PASAY City, Feb. 5, 2014—In a
world where preoccupation is the norm, Manila Archbishop
Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
reminds the faithful to follow
Mary’s example of listening and being available to God.“How could the woman [Mary] become the dwelling
place of the Incarnate Son of
God? The Gospel describes it, de
-
scribes the path of Mary. What is it? Listening to the Word of God
and acting on it,” said Cardinal
Tagle during a votive mass for the Blessed Virgin last January 29 at the San Isidro Labrador
parish.
The character of Mary
According to him, this “char
-acter of Mary as a disciple” is
precisely what modern believers should strive to emulate.“Mary listened with faith to the Word of God and listen
-
ing to the Word of God, she offered herself. She was avail
-able to fulfill the will of God
and in this availability the Word that she heard became flesh in her,” Cardinal Tagle
added further.
This listening and being open to God’s words, he explained,
is not simply hearing sounds or sentences from the Bible, but
being open to a person – Jesus
himself.
 “The Word is not just a sound
that would be heard; the word
was the living person of Jesus.
And when Mary said, ‘Let it be done to me according to your
word’, that Word became esh in her,” Cardinal Tagle told some 600 Marian devotees.
According to him, this call to
enesh the Word of God in ev
-eryday life is not just meant for
Mary, but for all believers.“[Focus] not just on recit
-
ing [Bible verses], but more on
whether my life reflects what
the Word contains. Is the Word made flesh in me? That’s the
path of Mary and that should be the path of all her children,”
Cardinal Tagle said.The votive mass in honor of
Our Lady was also celebrated to
mark the inauguration of the of
-
ce of the Marian Movement of Priests (MMP) in the compound
of the San Isidro Labrador par-ish.
 (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
MANILA, Feb. 5, 2014—Considering the ef
-fects of secularization to modern-day Philip-
pines, how effective are the evangelization efforts of the church to the Catholic faithful?The top churchman of the Manila Arch
-diocese stressed the need to reassess the
efficiency of the church’s evangelization
efforts, noting that the Philippines as a pre-dominantly Catholic country might need a
deeper catechetical approach to effectively
reach out to the faithful.
“We, as a Catholic community, have a prob
-
lem to face. Filipino Catholics are very big in number, but how effective is our evangeliza
-
tion?” Tagle said in the vernacular during his talk for the Manila Archdiocesan General Pas
-
toral Assembly (MAGPAS) held at the Cardinal
Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School.
“With the many individuals to whom we
administer the sacrament of reconciliation, are
they being catechized properly? With all those who are getting married, do they really live by the teachings of the good news?” he said.In 2013, the number of Filipino Catholics reached 76.18 million out of the country’s estimated population of 96.8 million, records
from the Catholic Directory of the Philip-pines showed.
The same records showed that the total
number of priests in the country reached
9,040 for the year 2012 to 2013, notably too
few to attend to the spiritual needs of ap-
proximately 76 million Filipino Catholics.Tagle noted that while priests in other
countries rarely get the chance to administer the sacraments due to the dwindling number
of Catholics in their area, Filipino priests
could hardly accommodate all those needing pastoral guidance.
“For the ordained, how do you minister in the archdiocese when you have teeming millions of people…with most of them are poor?” he asked.The prelate urged the faithful to come up
with a formation program for the archdio-
cese that would address its specic needs to
be holistically catechized.
“It would be better if we are all together—
priests, religious, and the lay people—this year of the laity so we may come up with a forma-
tion program for the archdiocese,” Tagle said.Tagle stressed the need for everyone to be
united in the common goal of intensifying
efforts to evangelize the good news.
As for the Manila Archdiocese, the month-
ly MAGPAS will be made more “interactive” to achieve “communion in mission not only
in the Manila Archdiocese but as well as in other archdioceses and dioceses in the world
that are seeking ways on how to heed the call of new evangelization,” Tagle noted.“Whatever ministry we participate into, I
hope that we will all be treading the same direction. Members of the parish council may change, but what is important is for us to
have one vision,” he said.
(Jennifer Orillaza)
Cardinal stresses need for effective evangelization among Filipino Catholics
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