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CBCP Monitor Vol 18 No 12

CBCP Monitor Vol 18 No 12

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

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Published by: cbcpmonitor on Jun 11, 2014
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 Vol. 18 No. 12
 June 9 - 22, 2014
Php 20.
 Villegas to Filipinos: Don’t condemn alleged pork scammers
MANILA, June 8, 2014– Despite the tempta-tion to do so, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Pentecost Sunday called on Fili-pinos not to condemn those who have been charged with plunder over the multi-billion pork barrel scandal.“As Christians we are exhorted to love at all times, even those who sin and err, for none of us is above human frailty,” Lingay-en-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a press statement.“For those among us who are not accused,
Condemn / A7
The Cross
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
Moral Ethical Dimensions of the ComprehensiveAgrarian Reform
CBCP chides ‘disturbing’ facts, realities behind CARP
By Jennifer M. Orillaza
THE Catholic Bish-ops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday re-minded the public of the moral and ethi-cal dimensions of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) with only a few weeks left before it expires by June 30.
In a statement, the bish-ops chided the appalling realities behind the CARP, urging Filipinos to con-tribute in devising a more responsible system of dis-tributing the country’s natural resources towards agricultural productivity. (Full text of the Statement in B1)“While the task of re-distribution is apparently done, the government’s efforts—in tandem with the initiatives to the pri-vate sector, particularly our Catholic laity—should go into rendering these new holdings productive,” the CBCP said in a statement signed by its president Lingayen-Dagupan Arch-bishop Socrates Villegas.“A more responsible sys-tem of allocating, distribut-ing and applying govern-ment funds and resources towards farm productivity must be set in place cou-pled with people’s efforts at rendering transactions transparent and responsible officials, accountable,” it added. Furthermore, the CBCP noted the need to enact needed legislative reforms that could “enable leases and mortgages of acquisi-tions towards higher levels of productivity and a rise in the living standards of
‘Disturbing’ facts
Describing the hard facts behind land reform as “dis-turbing,” the bishops noted that 54 percent of house-holds among agrarian-reform beneficiaries fell below the poverty line, ac-cording to the 2011 Agrar-ian Reform Communities Level Development Assess-ment (ALDA).
New Evangelization confab calls for reaching out to ‘lapsed Catholics’
AN estimated 4,000 Filipino Catholics on Saturday gath-ered at the New Evange-lization Conference (NEC 2014) held in response to heed the Church’s call to spread the Good News and reach out to “lapsed Catholics.”In his talk, Live Christ Share Christ (LCSC) moderator Frank Padilla stressed the need to spread the Good News, noting that it is through reaching out to more people that the mis-sion of New Evangelization is accomplished.“We have to work to-wards bringing our distant brothers and sisters back to Christ. We were all like them before, but by the grace of God we were able to overcome. That is what we should also do—bring them back to Christ,” Pa-dilla said in Filipino.Catholic individuals—young and old alike—par-ticipated in this convention that drew together religious groups and organizations all working towards New Evangelization.Working towards evan-gelization, LCSC mem-bers have vowed to work, guided by its four pillars in
 Japanese martyr- priest still inspires
WHILE many demoral-izing challenges confront the modern religious, a clergy remembered the story a 17th century Japa-nese priest who braved the unforgiving seas and the heathen Japanese swords for his faith. The journey of Fr. Thomas of St. Augustine  Jihyoe, a martyr for the faith, still remains relevant until today.According to Convento San Agustin-Manila local prior Fray Peter Casiño, Ji-hyoe, a Japanese Augustin-ian priest who had strong ties with the Philippines, can inspire the modern priest “to rise above today’s challenges.”Against a backdrop of persecutions of Chris-tians in Japan during the Tokugawa shogunate, Ji-hyoe would bravely return to his homeland to work for the faith; he would eventu-ally be tortured and mar-tyred in 1637 because of his refusal to renounce Jesus.
Philippine ties
Recently beatied togeth
-er with 187 other Japanese martyrs, Jihyoe was a teen when the Decree of Extinc-tion was imposed during the Edo period in 1614, seeking the suppression of Christianity in the land.Violent persecutions of
Tagle: Artists ‘save’ the world
THE country’s high-est priest paid tribute to artists recently in a press briefing for a
benet concert for the
rebuilding of churches and chapels in Eastern Visayas destroyed by Yolanda.“The reconstruction of the world, even the salvation of the world, on a human level, at least, depends so much on artists,” Manila Archbishop Luís An-tonio G. Cardinal Tagle said.In response to people asking why the Church is putting up a concert when others means for raising funds can do as well, if not better, he declared, “Sublime things, noble things, spiritual things are best expressed in art.”Like his Renaissance predecessors, Tagle be-lieved that “artists can lead all of us to deep truths which serve as foundation of civiliza-tion and of a commu-nity that knows what  justice, truth and com-munion mean”.He stressed that these things, which “cannot be taught by ideology”, “can only be intuited and expressed by art-ists”.The cardinal shared that the Church has always been “the re-pository of so much art expressions, paintings, sculpture, music, archi-tecture”.Popes and cardinals had supported artistic geniuses like Michelan-gelo, Bernini, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Bramante, and many others.Billed as “RISE”, the concert featuring Ryan Cayabyab and his mu-sic will be presented on June 11, 7 p.m. at the Manila Cathedral-Basilica, Intramuros, Manila.Also slated to per-form are the Philippine
 Broadcaster gives ‘proud Catholic’ testimonial
PASAY City, June 10, 2014—Like the 80 or so percent of the Filipino population, broadcast  journalist Mariz Umali is a baptized Catholic. But unlike most Filipino Catholics, she takes her faith to heart—proudly.
Proud Catholic
On June 7, she was brave enough to stand on the SMX stage to tell the assembled faithful at the New Evangelization Con-ference (NEC 2014) 7
Limasawa first mass not a ‘hoax’ – experts
MANILA, June 8, 2014—Experts from the National Histori-cal Institute (NHI) claim they have set-tled the issue over Limasawa being the site of the first mass—something which has not remained unchal-lenged.“The National His-torical Institute Board has resolved the con-troversy over the first mass,” National Com-mission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) chairman Ambeth R. Ocampo on Thurs-day said, confirming that the first mass was indeed held in Limasawa, Southern Leyte—contrary to
Inspires / A6Hoax / A7Broadcaster / A6Artists / A6Confab / A6CARP / A6
“Bigger than the World Cup, bigger than the Olympics.” This is how Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle described the upcoming 51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu City, Philippines on January 24 - 31, 2016 at a recent press conference where all four Philippine cardinals were present. Tagle said it is Jesus who will make the gathering life-changing because He is the true reason for hope. Themed “Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), the IEC is expected to draw 15,000 participants from all over the world. Also present were Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo.Religious and lay Catholics gather for a whole day conference on New Evangelization on June 7, 2014 at the SMX Hall 1 Mall of Asia, Pasay City.Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal TagleMariz Umali, a broadcaster of a major TV network, talks about how her faith guided her personal life and career.
   Q  u   i  r   i  n  o   S  u  g  o  n   F   I   L   E   P   H   O   T   O   C   B   C   P   N  e  w  s
Pope tells presidents only God can bring peace to Holy Land
   R  o  n  a   l  y  n   R  e  g   i  n  o   /   C   B   C   P   N  e  w  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
 Vol. 18 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2014
CBCP Monitor
 World News
Vatican Briefng
Reject mediocrity, Pope encourages young pilgrims
Pope Francis made a phone call to a group of young Italians who were on pilgrimage, encouraging them to embrace hope in God and reject mediocrity. “Don’t let yourselves be discouraged by failure or anxiousness that wants to remove your dreams, that wants to close you into its dark mentality rather
than letting you y in the light of hope. Please, do
not fall into mediocrity, into that mediocrity that lowers and makes us grey, for life is not grey, life is for betting on grand ideas and for great things,” he said in a phone call on June 7 to the participants of the 36th annual pilgrimage from Macerata to Loreto, Italy. The basilica in Loreto is believed to contain the “holy house” where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary at the annunciation. The Pope said that was pleased to be with the young pilgrims “virtu-
ally,” the Holy See Press Ofce reports. He asked
especially for their prayers for the June 8 meeting of prayer at the Vatican with the presidents of Israel and Palestine and the Orthodox Christian Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.
Pope encourages athletes to play for the Church
Youth from around Italy turned St. Peter’s Square
into a giant playing eld on Saturday as they ran
relays, played basketball and performed karate on a day dedicated to the celebration of sports. As the
Pope arrived in the overowing square participants
welcomed him as their “captain.” He thanked them for the honor. “As captain I urge you not to block yourselves off in defense, but to come on the offense, to play together our match, which is that of the Gospel,” he said May 7. “Sports in the community can be a great missionary tool, where the Church is close to every person to help them become better and to meet Jesus Christ,” he told the enthusiastic crowds.
Pope encourages crime experts to humanize justice
Pope Francis has sent a letter to the participants of an international conference on criminal law, encouraging them to consider a fuller under-standing of justice that moves beyond mere punishment. “It seems to me that the big chal-lenge that we must all face is that the measures taken against evil do not stop with suppression, discouragement and isolation for those who caused it, but help them to reconsider, to walk in the paths of good, to be genuine people far from their miseries, becoming merciful themselves,” he said in a letter to the participants of the 19th International Conference of the International Association of Penal Law and the 3rd Congress of the Latin American Association of Penal Law and Criminology. “Therefore, the Church recom-mends a justice that is humanizing, genuinely reconciling, a justice that leads the offenders, through an educational way and through inspir-ing penance, to complete their rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.” The letter, written in Spanish and dated May 30, focused on the three “steady elements” in the understanding of justice after sin: satisfaction or reparation for damage; confession; and contrition.
Pope Francis honors D-Day soldiers
In a letter sent Friday to French bishops, Pope Fran-cis paid homage to the men who fought in the D-Day invasion of Normandy 70 years ago, which was one of the key turning points in World War II. “His Holiness Pope Francis unites himself wholeheart-edly to the intercession of those who commemorate the tragic events which occurred here seventy years ago, and prays for peace,” read the letter sent June 6 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, to Bishop Jean-Claude Boulanger of Bayeux (-Lisieux), in whose territory the Normandy landing occurred. On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation. As many as 13,000 soldiers died that day. The Pope’s
message commended the sacrice of those who “left
their homeland to land on the beaches of Normandy, with the aim of combating Nazi barbarity, freeing occupied France,” and also urged that we “not forget the German soldiers driven into this drama,
like all victims of this war.” “It is tting that today’s
generations express their full appreciation to those
who accepted such a great sacrice.”
Never forget your rst love, Pope encourages
Pope Francis directed his daily homily to his brother bishops and priests, telling them to al-
ways put love of God and their ock rst, before
pursuing a scholastic career. “This is the question I ask myself, my brother bishops and priests: how
is your love today, the love of Jesus? Is it like rst love? Am I as in love today as on the rst day?”
the Pope asked in his June 6 homily. Centering his
reections on the day’s Gospel passage from John
in which Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” the Roman Pontiff asked those in attendance
“How is your rst love?” explaining that this ques
-tion is not only for married couples, but also those consecrated in the Church. Addressing his fellow priests and bishops, the Bishop of Rome asked whether they still love Jesus as much as they did
when they rst began their ministry, “Or do work
and worries lead me to look at other things, and forget love a little?” Observing how “There are arguments in marriage. That’s normal,” the Pope explained that “when there is no love, there are no arguments: it breaks.” “Do I argue, with the Lord? This is a sign of love. This question that Jesus asks
of Peter brings him to rst love. Never forget your rst love. Never.”
Pope: Half-hearted Catholics aren’t really Catholics at all
Those who insist others pray and believe exactly like they do, those who have alternatives to every church teaching and benefactors who use the church as a cover for business connections may call themselves Catholics, but they have one foot out the door, Pope Francis said. “Many people say they belong to the church,” but in reality have “only one foot inside,” the pope said June 5 at the morning Mass in the chapel of his residence. “For these people, the church is not home,” but is a place they use as a rental property, he said, according to Vatican Radio.
 Bishops: surge in unaccompanied child migrants a ‘crisis’ 
WASHINGTON D.C., June 6, 2014—The migration of unac-companied children into the U.S. is a “humanitarian crisis” that demands a “comprehensive re-sponse” from the government, said the head of the U.S. bishops’ immigration committee.“These children are extremely vulnerable to human traffickers and unscrupulous smugglers and must be protected,” said Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Com-mittee on Migration.“Young lives are at stake,” he emphasized.About 60,000 children from Mexico and Latin America are expected to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014, CBS News reports. U.S. government statistics indicate that over 47,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the
border in the 2014 scal year, a 90
percent increase over the previous
scal year.
Bishop Elizondo said in a June 4 statement that child migration is “a very complicated problem” whose roots must be addressed both by the U.S. government and by governments in the region.He said increasing violence from gangs and organized crime in the young migrants’ home coun-tries must be examined.“This is an issue which should not become politicized or give cause for negative rhetoric,” the bishop said.Momentum behind immi-gration reform increased last year as a bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators worked together to introduce legisla-tion aimed at both provid-ing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and securing the U.S. border. In June 2013, the Senate ap-proved the bill in a bipartisan 68-32 vote. However, it stalled in the House of Representa-tives amid sharp divisions within Republican lawmakers.The U.S. bishops’ conference has laid out several goals for com-prehensive immigration reform, including an “earned legalization program” with an “eventual path to citizenship” for those who pass
background checks and pay a ne,
along with “targeted, proportional, and humane” enforcement mea-sures.The conference has also called for a program to help low-skilled migrant workers to enter and work in the U.S. legally, as well as the restoration of due process protec-tions for immigrants, an emphasis
on family unication, and policy
changes to address the deeper causes of immigration.Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, reiterated the call for immigration reform days before the bishops’ spring assembly begins in New Orleans.“As pastors, we see the human consequences of this broken sys-tem each day in our parishes and social service programs, as fami-lies are separated, migrant work-ers are exploited, and our fellow human beings risk everything to find a better life for themselves and the ones they love,” he said  June 5.“Our nation should no lon-ger tolerate an unjust system.” Archbishop Kurtz quoted Pope Francis’ words that migrants “do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved.”He pledged support for Con-gress in reforming immigration law “in a manner that properly balances the protection of human rights with the rule of law.”
U.S. Mexico border crossing at San Ysidro. Credit: Josh Denmark/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Nun wins ‘The Voice Italy,’ leads crowd in Our Father
ROME, Italy, June 6, 2014--In an emotional nale
decided by Italian TV viewers, 25 year-old Sister Cristina Scuccia won the 2014 edition of The Voice Italy on June 5.The Ursuline Sister of the Holy Family capti-vated millions with her talent and charisma. Upon
winning 62 percent of the nal vote, she told the
audience, “I want Jesus to enter into here,” and led the crowds in praying an Our Father.“I wish to thank everyone, my sisters, all the people who have supported me at this moment,” Sister Cristina said when she was announced the winner. She explained that her presence on the program was not about herself, but about “the one who is above. My ultimate gratitude is to the one on high.”Sister Cristina’s mentor, J-Ax, said that the experience has been “incredible” and voiced hope that “this small change we have made together will allow you to go on. My advice, as I told you before, is that you can change things and be an important example out there.”As was the case throughout the competition, Sister Cristina was accompanied during the
nale by members of her community and her
own family.She performed several songs, including one by her mentor J-Ax, as well as “No One,” by Alicia Keys, the song she sang at the begin-ning of the show that garnered worldwide attention.After she finished the Keys song, J-Ax said, “I think I can speak for everyone. This song has changed everyone’s lives. It is a song that has caught the attention of everyone, even Alicia Keys.”“To paraphrase Elvis, 50 million people can’t be wrong,” he said in allusion to the 50 million views the video of the performance has received so far on YouTube.
Before taking part in the nale, Sister Cristina
told the Italian daily La Stampa, “Tonight an incredible adventure that still surprises me is coming to an end.”She hopes the attention that she has gained “will give young people the will and strength to follow their own dreams.”“I don’t deny that I felt somewhat uneasy when reporters asked me what it feels like to be in the spotlight as a religious. I always answer that when I discovered my vocation, I found myself in the arms of Jesus, and by singing I seek to express God’s beauty.”Regarding her future, Sister Cristina said she is leaving it in the hands of Providence. “If they send me overseas I will go. If they want me to keep singing I will do so with my kids at the oratory and I will do so with joy.”
 Hundreds of Catholic employers win exemption from HHS mandate
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., June 5, 2014--A federal court has ruled
that the Catholic Benets Associa
-tion and its hundreds of employer members are exempt from a federal mandate requiring coverage of con-traceptives and abortifacient drugs.“We are grateful for the rul-ing, but continue to pray that our leaders recognize that Catholics, whether bishops or businessmen, cannot in good conscience provide insurance that covers drugs and procedures that undermine the dig-nity of the human person and the sanctity of human life,” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, the
benet association’s vice-president,
said June 5.“Religious freedom entails more than the right to worship and any contrary legislation must be op-posed,” he added.Archbishop William Lori of Bal-timore, the association’s president, also welcomed the decision.
“We formed the Catholic Benets
Association to support Catholic employers in providing quality, cost-competitive, morally compli-
ant health care benets for their
employees,” he said June 5. “Yester-day’s decision makes this a reality.”On June 4, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Okla-homa ruled that the more than 450
employer members of the benets
association are exempt from the mandate. The ruling enjoined the U.S. government and its agents from attempting to enforce the mandate against the association’s members.
The benets association’s general
counsel, Martin Nussbaum, said the ruling is “especially gratify-ing” because the lawsuit is the only challenge to the HHS mandate that includes Catholic-owned for-
prot businesses and other non-
exempt organizations like colleges, Catholic Charities and healthcare institutions in addition to houses of worship.The benefits association’s em-ployers include 23 Catholic arch-dioceses and dioceses and almost 2,000 parishes in addition to non-profits and Catholic-owned for-
prot businesses. Its membership
is also open to Catholic religious congregations, Catholic medical facilities, and Catholic universities.
The Catholic Benets Association
formed a subsidy, the Catholic In-surance Company, to allow Catho-lic employers to exercise their faith in what health care coverage they provide to their employees. The association also arranges health provider networks to help Catholic employers provide comprehensive health care that is consistent with Catholic ethics.The Department of Health and Human Services mandate requires employers to provide insurance coverage of sterilization and con-traception, including some drugs that can cause early abortions.Widespread complaint led to a series of changes in the mandate
into its current nalized form. A
religious exemption to the mandate does exist, but it applies primarily to houses of worship and their af-
liated organizations.
Religious employers that do not qualify for the exemption are in-stead offered an “accommodation” by the government, under which employees automatically receive contraceptive coverage from the objecting groups’ health insurance issuers.These provisions have contin-ued to draw criticism and legal complaints from hundreds of in-dividuals and organizations who argue that their right to exercise their religious beliefs freely is being violated by the requirements.In addition, neither the exemp-tion nor the accommodation ap-plies to individuals with religious or moral objections who own for-
prot businesses.
Wednesday’s federal ruling on the class action lawsuit recognized
that the benets association could
represent all its individual mem-bers without their explicit partici-pation because its members are “so uniform in their beliefs.”The named participants in the lawsuit include the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, Inc., Archbishop Lori and the Archdiocese of Balti-more.Archbishop Coakley said that the U.S. government has already “ef-fectively granted exemptions from the mandate to various employers whose plans cover more than 130 million employees.”“We’re simply seeking the same exemption for Catholic employ-ers who have religious objections to the unjust requirements of the mandate.”According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the mandate has prompted some 100 lawsuits from more than 300 plaintiffs, including non-profits, for-profits, Catholic and non-Catholic organizations, and individual states. So far, court decisions have predominantly fa-vored the objecting groups.
A signicant Supreme Court case involving the legal challenge led
by craft store giant Hobby Lobby is expected to be decided later this month.
 JAKARTA, June 7, 2014—In response to the Pope for the World Day of Social Com-munications, some young people of the Diocese of Weetbula—Sumba Island, the province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT)—partici-pated in a seminar on new media and evangelization. Participants come from one of the remotest areas of Indonesia and, unlike the majority of citizens, es-pecially young people, are not familiar with comput-ers and the internet.In response, the local Catholic leadership has facilitated a three-day meeting and discussion, which drew 62 young Catholics from various parishes of the diocese. Some of them - seminar-ians, students, activists, teachers and nurses - have had to travel for 5/6 hours from their places of origin, to reach the diocesan pas-toral Kotiku Loku center, in the north-western part of Sumba district.The main purpose of the workshop was to strengthen missionary communications, to pro-mote social networks and new media. From 7.30 am until 11 pm, they learned the basics of photography and editing thanks to the valuable advice of a professor of the School of Art in Jakarta; they then had lessons in journalism and the use of new media held by the AsiaNews cor-respondent.The lessons were con-cluded with a final practi-cal test, a sort of term pa-per for publication. Once they overcame their ini-tial reluctance, the young Catholics responded with interest and involvement demonstrating ability and potential in the production of “news” related to the world of the Church and to the path of evangeliza-tion.Young Catholic activ-ist Melky, points out that such initiatives should be repeated because they are “not enough”; another par-ticipant adds that he has received “illuminating” advice in the workshop, so as to have greater con-
dence in the media and
the potential contained in a small room and a computer keyboard, with the aim of evangelization. Organizers included Catholic Bishops’ Confer-ence Social Communica-tions Commission (KWI Kosmos); led by Msgr. Pe-trus Turang, the Archbish-op of Kupang, who said that the Indonesian Church promotes seminars and ini-tiatives for “the production of Catholic news, aimed at evangelization.”Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Catholics are a small minority of about seven million, or 3 per cent of the population. In the Archdiocese of Jakarta, the faithful reach 3.6 per cent of the population.Although the coun-try’s constitution recog-nises religious freedom, Catholics have been the victims of violence and abuse, especially in areas where extremist visions of Islam are entrenched, like Aceh.Still, Catholics are an ac-tive component in society and contribute to the na-tion’s development as well as to emergency operations when they arise, as was the case in last year’s devastat-
ing ood.
Catholic young people and new media: a seminar to boost the evangelization
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 Vol. 18 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2014
CBCP Monitor
News Features
Pope tells presidents only God can bring peace to Holy Land
VATICAN CITY, June 8, 2014—Praying for peace in the Holy Land alongside leaders of long-antagonistic nations, Pope Francis called on God to act where human efforts had failed, to end what he described as vio-lence inspired by the devil.“More than once we have been on the verge of peace, but the evil one, employ-ing a variety of means, has succeeded in blocking it,” the pope said June 8 at an evening ceremony in the Vatican Gardens. “That is why we are here, because we know and we believe that we need the help of God.”The pope addressed his remarks to Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestin-ian President Mahmoud Abbas during an “invoca-tion for peace” in the Holy Land, to which he had in-vited them during his visit to the region two weeks earlier.“I was young, now I am old. I experienced war, I tasted peace,” Peres said in an English portion of his statement. “Never will I for-get the bereaved families, parents and children, who paid the cost of war. And all my life I shall never stop to act for peace for the genera-tions to come. Let’s all of us join hands and make it happen.”
According to an ofcial
translation of Abbas’ pre-pared Arabic text, the Pal-estinian president said: “We want peace for us and for our neighbors. We seek prosperity and peace of mind for ourselves and for others alike.”The event, at which Christians, Muslims and  Jews prayed in each oth-er’s presence, was almost certainly the first of its kind at the Vatican, ac-cording to Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, direc-tor of the Holy See Press Office.The starting time of 7 p.m. had been chosen in part to avoid the midday heat, yet temperatures were still in the mid 80s less than an hour earlier, when Peres arrived by car at the Vati-can guesthouse, where the pope lives. Abbas arrived at 6:30 p.m., and 15 minutes later the two presidents embraced in the presence of the pope.“Nice to see you,” Peres and Abbas told each other in English. Joining the group was Ecumenical Patriarch Bar-tholomew of Constanti-nople, whom Father Lom-bardi had described as one of the event’s “four protag-onists,” and Franciscan Fa-ther Pierbattista Pizzaballa, custos of the Holy Land and the principal coordinator of the event.The five men rode to-gether in a white minivan the short distance to the site of the ceremony, a triangular swath of lawn walled off by tall hedges along two sides. The set-ting had been chosen, according to Father Lom-bardi, because of its “neu-tral” appearance, lacking in religious imagery.Pope Francis and the two presidents sat at the corner of the triangle where the two hedges met.Along the hedge to to their left sat what the Vati-can described as “political” members of the Israeli and Palestinian delegations, including both nations’ am-bassadors to the Holy See; Christian religious leaders, including Patriarch Bar-tholomew, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of  Jerusalem and Palestinian Lutheran Bishop Monib Younan; and musicians who performed between prayers during the cer-emony.Along the other hedge sat various Muslim, Jewish
and Druze religious gures,
including Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, longtime friends of the pope from Buenos Aires and leaders respectively in their city’s Jewish and Muslim communities, who accompanied Pope Francis during his visit to the Holy Land.
Vatican City - June 8, 2014: (L-R) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis, Israeli President Shimon Peres, and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople meet in the Vatican Gardens to pray for peace on June 8, 2014.
Members of the Palestin-ian and Israeli delegations and guests of Pope Francis read a selection of Jew-ish, Christian and Muslim prayers, in order of their religions’ historical prece-dence. Each set of prayers praised God for creation, begged forgiveness of sins and asked for peace in the Holy Land.Patriarch Bartholomew read in English from the Book of Isaiah: “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust.” At the end of the cer-emony, which lasted about an hour and 45 minutes, the pope, patriarch and the two presidents kissed each other on both cheeks, then took up shovels and added dirt to the base of a newly planted olive tree. They then spent about 15 minutes speaking privately inside the nearby Casina Pio IV, a 16th-century villa which now houses sev-
eral pontical academies.
(Francis X. Rocca / CNS)
 Do not cage the Holy Spirit, Pope tells massive Rome gathering 
ROME, Italy, June 3, 2014–On Sunday afternoon Pope Francis told throngs of Charismatic Catholics to not obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit in evan-gelizing, but make the adora-tion of God the “foundation of renewal.”“Go forth into the streets and evangelize, proclaim the Gospel. Remember that the Church was born to go forth, that morning of Pentecost,” the Pope said June 1.“Let yourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, with that same freedom. And please, do not cage the Holy Spirit!”He addressed 52,000 people from 55 countries who had gath-ered in Rome’s Olympic Stadium for the national convocation of “Renewal in the Spirit.”Those gathered included two organizations that coordinate the Catholic Charismatic Renewal: International Catholic Charis-matic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Charis-matic Covenant Communities and Fellowships.The event included praise and worship music, spiritual testimo-
nies, and a “ash mob” event,
Vatican Radio reports.Pope Francis said that adoring God is the “foundation for re-newal” and the basis for evangeli-zation, spiritual ecumenism, and attention to the poor and needy.He stressed the need for “con-version to the love of Jesus” that is life-changing and turns a Christian into “a witness to God’s love.”“I hope that you will share with all in the Church the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said. “I expect from you an evangelization with the Word of God that proclaims that Jesus lives and loves all humankind.”He said he hopes that they will witness to “spiritual ecumen-ism” with all Christians of other Churches and communities.“May you remain united in the love that the Lord Jesus asks of all for all mankind, and in prayer to the Holy Spirit to reach this unity, necessary for evangeliza-tion in the name of Jesus,” the Pope continued. “Be close to the poor and needy to touch in their
esh the wounded esh of Jesus.
Seek unity in renewal because unity comes from the Holy Spirit and is born of the unity of the Trinity.”He especially denounced the
danger of splits and inghting.
“Where does division come from? The devil! Division comes from the devil,” Pope Francis said. “Flee from internal strug-gles, please!”
“Teach us not to ght between
ourselves over a little more pow-er,” he prayed, adding “teach us to increasingly love the Church that is our ‘team’, and to keep our hearts open to receive the Holy Spirit.”The Pope also warned against “excessive organization.”“Yes, you need organization, but do not lose the grace of let-ting God be God!” he said.He urged attendees at the Charismatic gathering to be “dispensers” of God’s grace and not “controllers” of it.The pontiff then answered questions from priests, young people, families, the sick and the elderly.He told priests to remain close to Christ and to his faithful. He warned young people not to keep their youth “locked away in a safe” but instead to “Bet on great things.” He encouraged the sick to imitate Jesus in their dif-
culties. He praised the elderly’s
wisdom and memory.Pope Francis prayed that God might grant everyone the “holy intoxication of the Spirit that enables us to speak many lan-guages, the languages of charity, always close to those brothers and sisters who need us.”
Pope encourages athletes to play for the Church
 VATICAN CITY, June 7, 2014—Youth from around Italy turned St. Peter’s Square into a giant
playing eld on Saturday as they
ran relays, played basketball and performed karate on a day dedi-cated to the celebration of sports.As the Pope arrived in the
overowing square participants
welcomed him as their “cap-tain.” He thanked them for the honor.“As captain I urge you not to block yourselves off in defense, but to come on the offense, to play together our match, which is that of the Gospel,” he said May 7.“Sports in the community can be a great missionary tool, where the Church is close to every per-son to help them become better and to meet Jesus Christ,” he told the enthusiastic crowds.Pope Francis arrived in the early evening to witness perfor-mances of ballet and gymnastics. He also met with popular Italian
sports gures and heard testi
-monies from those whose lives has been impacted positively by sports.At one point, he met with members of an Italian amputee soccer team and posed for a group shot with one member’s iPhone as the theme song from the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire” rang out over the square.The Pope’s remarks focused on how sports can bring about good in the lives of young people. He noted that sports are like school and work in helping youth de-velop themselves and avoid addictions to drugs and alcohol.He said that to belong to a sports team “means to reject all forms of selfishness and isolation—it is an opportunity to meet and be with others, to help each other, to compete in mutual esteem and grow in brotherhood.”The pontiff acknowledged the “beauty” of team sports which do not allow for individualism.“In my country,” he recounted to the youth, “when a player plays only for himself, they say, ‘this one wants to eat the ball!’”Everyone who wants to join in sports should be welcomed, he said, “not just the best, but everyone, with the advantages and limitations that everyone has, indeed, focusing on the most disadvantaged, as did Jesus.”He encouraged the young ath-letes to apply themselves in “the game of life” as they do in sports.“Put yourselves in the game, in the search for good, in the Church and in society, without fear, with courage, and enthu-siasm.”“Don’t content yourselves with a mediocre ‘tie.’ Give the best of yourselves, spending your lives for that which is truly valuable and that which lasts forever.”Pope Francis closed his re-marks asking for prayers that he would be able to “play in the game” of life “until the last day when God calls me to himself.”Saturday’s event was orga-nized by the Centro Sportivo Ital-iano, on the occasion of its 70th anniversary.
 (CNA/EWTN News)
Vatican City - June 7, 2014: Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for the Italian Sporting Center’s celebration of sports on June 7, 2014.
Priest urges faithful: ‘Read the Bible more’
PARAÑAQUE City, June 6, 2014—“What makes a Catholic Bible different from a Protestant one?”Redemptorist priest JM Macasaet asked this of his congregation Wednesday, June 4, at the Baclaran Church as a starter to his sermon on why Catholics should read their Bibles more.Impatient for the crowd’s response, Ma-casaet quipped, “A Catholic Bible is clean.”He lamented that very few of the faithful neither have the time nor the willingness to pick up and read their home Bibles.
Mystery of the ‘clean’ Bible
“We, Catholics, love the Bible too much we don’t even want to touch it…With much reverence and care, we place it on our altars only to have none of it again until it gathers dust,” he shared.If only for their approach to Scriptures, Macasaet pointed out that “there’s much that Catholics can learn from Protestants”, whose well-thumbed King Jameses and NIV’s attest to their zeal for God’s word.
Church emphasizes Bible reading 
Catholics often draw flak from other Christians for their alleged “ignorance” of the Bible and “attachment” to Tradition.But whatever some individual Catholics take’ on Scriptures may be, the Church is clear on the importance of reading them.According to Vatican II document Dei Ver-bum (DV) “The Church forceful-
ly and specically exhorts all the
Christian faithful...to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ’, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. ‘Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ’.”
Scripture plus Tradition
The Church regards as true “rule of faith” the Bible and Tradi-tion as manifested in the Magis-terium, to which “were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly”.DV explains, “Hence, there exists a close connection and communica-tion between sacred Tradition and
sacred Scripture. For both of them, owing from
the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.”The Vatican document noted, however, that the Church does not draw her “certainty about everything which has been revealed” solely from sacred Scripture.“Both sacred Tradition and sacred Scrip-ture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence,” it added.In 2 Thess. 2:15, St. Paul instructs Chris-
tians to “stand rm and hold to the traditions
which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter”.Macasaet also stressed that just as some of the faithful are enthusiastic about spreading useless gossip, all the more should they be when preaching the Gospels.
 (Raymond A. Sebastián)
On June 4, 2014, Fr. JM Macasaet encourages the faithful at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to read the Bible more. There was hardly any space to move about
as devotees from different parts of Metro Manila kept ooding
Baclaran church for its First Wednesday novena.
Why kids need to be ‘media literate’ 
MANILA, June 6, 2014—24/7
wi access, tablets and mobile
browsing spell endless con-nectivity, but is that always a good thing for kids? A group doesn’t think so and advocates parents, teachers and forma-tors’ proper guidance of young people towards smart media consumption.“What parent can do is guide the child,” said Paulines Insti-tute of Communication in Asia (PICA) Directress Sr. Ma. Conso-lata Manding, FSP, PhD. “That’s where media literacy, which is very relevant today, comes in.”Media literacy helps people whose job is in line with forma-tion like teachers, priests, nuns, and laypeople to distinguish “the good from the bad”, she said, noting that even adults need special training to be truly media smart.
With the growing inuence of
media as a result of the broad-ening reach of radio, print, TV, cinema, mobile phone, especially, the internet, Manding said there is a need to protect the young from the moral threats posed by the increasing exposure to “cor-rupt media.”Today’s young people spend much of their time on their mo-bile phones, TV, and the internet, particularly social networks, unconscious that they are wide open to less than desirable in-
The young have come to a point where living without the computer, TV, and mobile phone seems impossible, the religious school head said. And parents cannot simply tell them “to stop.”Despite media’s being in-dispensible to modern living, its excessive use can hamper children’s proper development, Manding said.According to her, it is common to observe a child staring closely at his teacher as if “closely listen-ing to the lecture”, but actually what occupies his mind is the telenovela that kept him awake late last night.
(Oliver Samson)
Millennials, those born from 1981 to 1996, are the most media-saturated generation by far.
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