Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
VATICAN CITY, August 31, 2009 — The Year for Priests is also forthose men who have left priestly ministry, according to BenedictXVI’s secretary of state.Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone made this observation Friday inL’Osservatore Romano, in an interview that also explains how theYear for Priests became a reality.“I remember that after the synod of bishops on the Word of God,at the Pope’s table there was talk of a proposal that had already comeup in the past, of convoking a year of prayer, which was very linked
to the reection on the Word of God,” the cardinal recounted.
Nevertheless, he said, “the 150th anniversary of the death of theCuré d’Ars and the situation of the problems that have affected somany priests brought Benedict XVI to declare a Year for Priests.”
With this initiative, Cardinal Bertone afrmed, the Holy Father
wants to show “special attention to priests and to priestly vocations”
Cardinal: It’s time to reach
out to ex-priests
Says priest-saints are supportingPope’s plans for renewal
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
and to promote “a movement within the whole people of God, of agrowing affection and closeness to ordained ministers.”“The Year for Priests is bringing about great enthusiasm in all of the lo-cal Churches and an extraordinary movement of prayer, of fraternity withand among priests, and of vocational ministry,” the cardinal added.He continued, “Moreover, the sometimes weak fabric of dialoguebetween bishops and priests is being strengthened, and special at-tention is being given to those priests who have been put to the sidein pastoral ministry.”The year is also a “renewal of contact, fraternal help, and if it ispossible, a reuniting with those priests who for various reasons haveleft behind their priestly ministry,” Cardinal Bertone stated.
Finally, he afrmed, “The holy priests who have been part of the
history of the Church will not cease to protect and support this roadto renewal that Benedict XVI has proposed.”
RIMINI, Italy, Aug. 31, 2009—Former British PrimeMinister Tony Blair, who converted to the Catholicfaith a few years ago, addressed participants at theRimini Meeting in Italy, saying, “The voice of theChurch should be heard” and “it should speak
condently, clearly and openly.”
During his speech the former Prime Ministerunderscored, “Faith and reason are in alliance, notopposition,” and that therefore “the Church can bethe insistent spiritual voice that makes globaliza-tion our servant not our master.”After praising the Church’s untiring social work,Blair went on to say, “There is not just room, buta growing space today for organizations of civicsociety to step forward and do things that neither
Nations of the world must listen tothe Catholic Church, says Tony Blair
market nor state can do.”Blair said his conversion to the Catholic faithwas due in part to his wife Cherie. “I began to goto Mass and we went together. We could havegone to the Anglican or Catholic Church—guesswho won?” he joked.“As time went on, I had been going to Mass for
a long time ... it's difcult to nd the right words.
I felt this was right for me. There was something,not just about the doctrine of the Church, but ofthe universal nature of the Catholic Church,” TonyBlair said.Despite these words, Blair and his wife maintainpositions on contraception and gay unions that arecontrary to the Church’s teachings.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Scrap Laiban Dam project:Dioceses, NGOs appeal
Vatican economistsays Christiansmust put ethics back into business
VATICAN CITY, August 24, 2009─The current
global economic crisis shows that capitalismwithout ethical grounding doesn't work, andChristians should keep this in mind whetherthey are business people, policymakers or sim-ply consumers, a top Vatican economist said.Thomas Han Hong-soon of the Vatican Pre-fecture for Economic Affairs said that "the root
of this crisis is a moral decit" and that when it
comes to business Christians have not alwaysfollowed the principles of charity and justicefound in the Gospel."Let's start by honestly recognizing that thespirit of capitalism doesn't agree with that ofthe Gospel. The heart of Christianity is lovefor others. The nucleus of capitalism, rather,is competition, which is the opposite of love,"Han told the Vatican newspaper L'OsservatoreRomano Aug. 22.A radical overhaul of the capitalistic system isnot very realistic, he said, considering that alter-natives, such as communism, have not workedout historically. But better rules for governingthe free market are needed, he said."It's clear that as Christians we can't only
pursue the notion of the highest prot at the
lowest possible cost," he said."What is sometimes lacking is the awarenessof a 'social responsibility' of their business. Nobusiness is an island," he said."Those who don't remember that are des-tined to fail," he said, recalling Pope BenedictXVI's recent encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate"("Charity in Truth") that called for justice andequality in the world economy. This is true notonly for single businesses, but for a whole sys-tem that involves shareholders, banks, workersand consumers, he said.Catholics can do much to contribute to abetter system simply by the choices they makein their lifestyles and what they buy. "Thesimple act of purchasing something can haveimportant economic consequences. No choiceis neutral," Han said."It's up to us to start, and everyone in theirsmall part can change the world," he said.The Catholic Church in its many activities, hesaid, should set an example of ethical behaviorin doing business and raising and spendingmoney for its mission "above all with thought-fulness and solidarity."For example, he said, a church-affiliatedentity planning to construct a new buildingshould make sure that the companies hired donot exploit their workers.
Han joined the ve-member international
panel of lay economists who oversee Vaticanbudgets in November 2008. He is a memberof the Pontifical Council for the Laity andis president of the Lay Apostolic Council ofKorea.
MANILA, August 30, 2009—Strongopposition against the controversialLaiban dam project continues tosnowball with yet another strong ap-peal from the local Churches to scrapthe contentious water venture.Saying that the construction of thedam is inimical to both people andenvironment, the Ecology network ofthe arch/dioceses of Manila, Cubao,Pasig, Kalookan, Novaliches, andAntipolo, CBCP-NASSA and NGOssent an urgent appeal to MetropolitanWaterworks and Sewerage System(MWSS) asking it to oppose the con-struction of Laiban Dam.In its letter to Attorney Diosdado Jose Allado, MWSS administrator, thegroup urged Allado to junk the projectand think of alternatives to solve theimpending water crisis.“Laiban dam is the most expensiveproject to be undertaken by MWSS, interms of economic cost, size and ex-panse of the infrastructure, numbersof stakeholders to be affected, envi-ronmental effects, human rights, andthe challenges to the existing environ-mental and indigenous laws, such asProtected Area, Presidential DecreeNo. 1151 [Philippine EnvironmentalPolicy], Environmental Impact Sate-ment System, Presidential Decree no.1586; Wildlife Protection Act, IPRA,and NIPAs,” the appeal stated.The Laiban dam venture in Tanay,Rizal, touted to solve the impendingwater crisis has been a pet project ofthe Arroyo administration since 2003,according to an earlier statement re-leased to the media by independentthink-tank IBON Foundation Inc.The project will affect around 27,800hectares of ancestral and agriculturallands, IBON said.Church and environmental groupshave been opposing the project be-cause of its environmental risks andhuman rights violations against indig-enous people living in the area.If revived, the dam will displace theDumagats and Remontados who havebeen living in the watershed area sincethe time of their ancestors, accordingto the group.“The Kaliwa Watershed has beentheir (IPs) home since time immemo-rial, even before the existence of thePhilippine Government. Indigenouspeople have a conjugal bond with theirland. Uprooting them will render themorphaned from the land that gave birthto their culture, heritage, and the one-ness they share with other beings in thearea causing further alienation.”The group reminded MWSS that IPscannot be displaced from their areaswithout their free and prior informedconsent which the IPRA law only pro-vides in “exceptional circumstances.”“We do not think that the con-struction of a dam is an exceptionalcircumstance, considering that thereare other alternative projects that theMWSS may undertake to alleviate thewater needs of Metro Manila,” theletter further said.Aside from the IPs, indigenous spe-
cies of varied ora and fauna are also
imperiled by the project.The Kaliwa watershed which is hometo some endangered species has been
classied as a forest reserve, a part of
which has been proclaimed as nationalpark under Proclamation No. 1636, thusexempting it from exploitation.Some of the Globally Endangeredspecies found in the Laiban Dam proj-ect area are the Luzon Bearded WildPigs (Sus Philippensis), the PhilippineBrown Deer (Cervus Marianus), andthe Tarictic Hornbill.“We reiterate that we are stewards ofGod’s creation on earth. We must carefor these beings whose importance wemay never learn until they are perma-nently extinct,” said the group.Quoting section 25 of the WildlifeProtection Act, the group said thatcritical habitats shall be protected“from any form of exploitation or de-struction which may be detrimental tothe survival of the threatened speciesdependent therein,” adding:“There is nothing in other provi-sions of the law that would also allowexploitation. We challenge the MWSSto point to us any provision of this lawthat would allow their putting up of adam in the affected areas.The group likewise raised the is-sue of the area’s proximity to majorearthquake faults which could provehazardous to people’s lives.
“Are we willing to sacrice human
lives in favor of a project whose mainpurpose is to alleviate the condition ofhuman lives in the metropolis?” theyasked. “The Holy Father, Pope JohnPaul II, reiterates that the RIGHT TOSAFE ENVIRONMENT is one of thebasic human rights that the State mustprotect,” they added.Citing studies done on the project, itscostly effects on lives, economy and en-vironment, the group said an alternativeshould be considered for the project.“There are studies that indicate thatthis project would produce water thatwould be very costly for Metro Manilaresidents. The take-or-pay provisionalso needs to be further studied as itappears that the same will be highlyprejudicial to the government.”“Alternatives to the project must beconsidered, including the alternativeof no action. We call on the EMB tocarefully consider alternatives to theproject before it even grants an ECC.We call on the MWSS to study andconsider rehabilitating Wawa Damand its watershed as one of the lessexpensive option. The EIS System pro-
vides for a cost-benets analysis that
must consider all alternatives so thatthe least destructive alternative maybe given importance or even chosen inthe end,” the letter pointed out.The Laiban dam project has beenopposed mostly by the Dinagat andRemontado tribes since its inceptionin the 1960s up to the mid-1980s bythe late dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos.The project was shelved because ofthe strong opposition of the people inSouthern Tagalog, only to be revived in2003 by the current administration.A copy of the appeal letter was alsosent to Department of Energy andNatural Resources (DENR) secretary
Lito Atienza, EMB ofce, President
Gloria Arroyo, Senate, Congress and
Ofce of the Government Corporate
Counsel (OGCC).Among those who signed the ap-peal were Fr. Benito Tuazon, EcologyMinister of Manila archdiocese, Fr.Bienvenido Miguel, Director of SocialAction of Antipolo diocese, Fr. JovenAntique, Ecology Minister of Pasigdiocese, Fr. Octavio Bartiana, EcologyMinister of Kalookan diocese, Fr. An-tonio Labiao of Novaliches diocese, Fr.Arnel Recinto of Cubao diocese, Engr. Joyce Palacol, CBCP-NASSA EcologyDesk coordinator; Atty. Galahad PeBenito, environmental lawyer andlegal consultant; Alfredo Albor, CAREFoundation Executive director; and Sr.Maria Aida Velasquez, OSB, LingkodTao Kalikasan Foundation, Inc. Coor-dinator.
(Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
MANILA, August 27, 2009—
The ght against child por
-nography in the Philippinesis far from over even if theHouse of Representatives hasrecently enacted into law thebill penalizing child pornog-raphers, pedophiles, and op-erators of cyber-sex dens andunscrupulous internet cafés.In fact, the involvement of theCatholic Church and Catholicschools can make or breakwhat key foundation the lawhas just instigated.Saying the efforts of thereligious and education sec-tors is needed to complementthe implementation of therecently approved HouseBill 6440, to be known as the"Anti-Child Pornography Actof 2009," Kalookan BishopDeogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr.
Church, Catholic schools play crucial role for anti-child porno
law to succeed—prelate
appealed to Catholic schoolsnationwide to help the CatholicChurch in molding the con-science and morals of the faith-ful, especially the youth, againstsexual exploitation of minors.“While priests can try torefresh and form the minds ofthe people about the concept ofchild pornography as a socialand psychological abnormal-ity, Catholic school teacherscan be our counterparts in theacademe by making sure thatthe advocacy against childpornography is instilled inthe minds of the youth,” saidIñiguez.The prelate even encour-aged administrators of Catho-lic schools to devote certainclasses or organize forums toeffectively educate studentsabout the guises of child por-nography as a crime.“The classroom will be agreat venue for us to advanceour advocacy straight into ourtarget population. If we havethe Catholic schools workingwith us, all of our efforts inthe advocacy will pay off,” theprelate added.Iñiguez heads the Commit-tee on Public Affairs of theCatholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines, the inu
-ential body of prelates fromacross the country that re-mained at the forefront of lob-bying for the legislation of theanti-pornography measure.
Even before the Senate
-nalized its version of the billlast November, the CBCPhas been consistently press-ing lawmakers from bothchambers of Congress to pri-oritize the enactment of thelaw that will protect minorsfrom sexual exploitation.The Episcopal Commis-sion on Youth and CBCPMedia Office even forgedpartnerships with the Opti-cal Media Board, civil societygroups and NGOs in staunchsupport of HB 6440, which,according to its authors, will“institutionalize the country’ssincere effort to safeguardour children and educate ev-eryone on the threat of childpornography as this takesadvantage of their innocenceand poverty.”
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