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CBCP Monitor vol13-n19

CBCP Monitor vol13-n19

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- CBCP raises fears over RH bill ‘railroad’
- Be responsible creation stewards: Bishop
- Bishops urge voters to study candidates’ political record
- Cruz retires, Villegas takes over
- Groups hold rally vs proposed Mindanao coal-fired power plant
- CBCP raises fears over RH bill ‘railroad’
- Be responsible creation stewards: Bishop
- Bishops urge voters to study candidates’ political record
- Cruz retires, Villegas takes over
- Groups hold rally vs proposed Mindanao coal-fired power plant

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 Vol. 13 No. 19
September 14 - 27, 2009
Php 20.
00
The CROSS
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPIand the Order of the Knights of Columbus
 
A3
Catholic Church mustrenew its efforts toevangelize, Pope says
C1
B1
‘We should have a longingand a passion to illumineall peoples with the Lightof Christ’
PPCRV pins hope on new Comelec commissioner
A CHURCH-BACKED election watchdog ispinning hope on the new Commission on Elec-tions’ commissioner to help restore the integrityand trust in the institution.The Parish Pastoral Council for ResponsibleVoting called on Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal tohave the decisiveness in ensuring a credible2010 elections.President Arroyo appointed on Sept. 2Comelec regional director Larrazabal as theseventh commissioner of the poll body replac-ing Leonardo Leonida.
Bishop condemns killingof priest in N. Samar
BISHOP Emmanuel Trance of Catarman hascondemned the murder of Fr. Cecilio Luceroand is demanding that authorities “investigateand bring to swift and due justice” those behindthe crime.In a telephone interview with CBCPNews,the bishop expressed his indignation over thekilling of Fr. Lucero, who he said was active
in the ght against human rights violations in
Northern Samar.Fr. Lucero, rector of St. Joseph the WorkerParish in Catubig town, was killed in an ambush
Comelec / A6Killing / A6
ANTI-COAL groups in General SantosCity led by Bishop Dinualdo Gutier-rez and other diocesan priests held aprayer rally to declare their unwaveringopposition to the proposed SouthernMindanao 200MW coal fired powerplant in Maasim.The Maasim Peoples Coalition on Cli-mate Change (MP3C), a local anti-coalplant alliance gathered thousands of lo-cal residents and support groups to the"Inter-cultural, Inter-religious PrayerService" of the Tri-Peoples (Christians,Islam and Indigenous Religions), Sept.14 at the Municipal Plaza of Maasim,Sarangani Province. The plant will beerected in Sitio Tampuan, BarangayKamanga.MP3C chairperson Dra. WinifredaOlbes said that the prayer-rally was amanifestation of their commitment toTHE Vatican said Pope Benedict XVIhad agreed to Archbishop Oscar Cruz’sretirement as archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan.An outspoken advocate of democracy,the archbishop has been a vocal cham-pion of human rights and social justice.During his tenure, the 74-year oldprelate criticized the Arroyo govern-ment for alleged cases of graft and cor-ruption and for failing to curb “jueteng”,an illegal numbers game.The archbishop will be succeededby Balanga Bishop Socrates Villegas,former auxiliary bishop to the charismatic ManilaArchbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.At 48, Bishop Villegas will soon become thecountry’s youngest archbishop.Archbishop Cruz’s retirement and the appoint-ment of Bishop Villegas as successor were an-nounced in Vatican on Sept. 8.
Early resignation
Archbishop Cruz rst tendered his resignation
in March 2007. He previously said that that he
already led his resignation despite the fact that
he was only turning 73 that year.
CBCP raises fears over RH bill ‘railroad’
A DAY after Senator Benigno “Noynoy” AquinoIII declared his presidential bid, Catholic bishopsurged the public to study the proposals offeredby those running for the presidency.Despite their neutrality, the prelates calledon the faithful to look at candidates’ politicalrecord as well as how they have pursued thecommon good.Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, chairman of thePublic Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bish-ops’ Conference of the Philippines, said votersmust choose the candidates who will promotethe welfare of the people.“Let’s not be carried away by our emotions orby the bandwagon mentality,” said the bishopof Diocese of Kalookan.“Whoever enters the arena, we have to studythem. Let’s examine their programs. It’s notbecause he is an Aquino that we will vote forhim,” he said.Aquino has announced his decision on Sept.9, to accept the challenge as the standard bearerof the Liberal Party in the 2010 presidential
Bishops urge voters to studycandidates’ political record
elections.Various groups said Aquino is the best personto carry on the legacy of democracy fought forby his parents, the late former senator Benigno“Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and the late former PresidentCorazon “Cory” Aquino.Meanwhile, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtiocoadvised the senator to follow the example set byhis mother in upholding a righteous but compe-tent campaign.
The Church ofcial said having competent
men and Divine guidance would compensatewhatever shortcomings a candidate may have.“I believe we can never get a perfect candidate.What is important for Senator Aquino is to get agood circle of advisers. His openness is necessary
but rmness should be exercised. Like his mother
he should be prayerful to be a person of faith inconfronting the world,” said Ongtioco.Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David andBorongan Bishop Crispin Varquez also separatelyexpressed their hopes that Aquino’s promise ofchange would become a reality.
(Roy Lagarde)
Cruz retires, Villegas takes over
The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law setsthe age for retirement of bishops at 75 and the prel-ate is about to reach that age on November 17.Local media earlier quoted him as saying heplanned to concentrate on his advocacies and also ashead of matrimonial tribunal of the Catholic Bishops’Conference of the Philippines after his retirement.
‘Thank the Virgin Mary’
Archbishop Cruz said “the rst thought that
came to my mind upon knowing of the changeof my ecclesiastical status is to thank the Most
Groups hold rally vs proposed Mindanao coal-fred power plant
preserve God’s creation and to showtheir vehement opposition to the coalplant project which will eventually de-stroy the environment and people.MP3C is composed of various groupsand organizations including the Cath-olic-based Santa Cruz Parish AgainstPollution (SCPAP), the Iglesia FilipinaIndependiente (IFI), the Muslim com-munity, the Church of Christ and theSovereign Grace Church International,the academe led by the Notre Dame of
Maasim, farmers and sherfolks and
the youth sector.MP3C is spearheading a covenantsigning entitled “Kasabutan tali saGinoo ug sa Katawhan sa Maasim(Covenant between God and the peopleof Maasim) to protect the environmentand oppose the construction of the coalplant.“Majority of the people of Maasimoppose the project” said Fr. EmerardoManingo, CSsR of MP3C.Fr. Romeo Catedral, Social ActionDirector of the diocese said the cam-paign for environmental protection anddefense of future generation is part ofthe Church’s mission.“The Bishop’s presence last Sep-tember 14 was not just to preside the
patronal esta mass but becoming a part
as well in the holy covenant activities toshow that the diocese is serious in itsenvironmental protection mission.”SOCSKSARGEN CAN (Climate Ac-tion Now), a multisectoral coalition ofvarious groups in the region opposed tothe coal plant project will also mobilizeits members to the rally.“The devastating effect of climatechange should be addressed now, and
VIVA, LA VIRGEN! Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP blesses the crowd during the traslacion procession of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. On September 11, the image of the Virgin was carried in procession from the Shrine to the Metropolitan
Cathedral where a pontical concelebrated Mass was held in honor of Our Lady. The traditional uvial procession will be held on September 20, the feast day of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.
By Roy Lagarde
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on law-makers not to hasten the passage of a controversial family planning bill andgive a healthy debate on the matter a chance.
While time is running out for its proponents because of the upcoming elections, Church leadersrevealed the alleged plan to “railroad” the passage of the Reproductive Health bill.Outgoing CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said it appears the Congress even plans to“shorten” the discussion in order to have the measure passed before the end of October.“We hope that the normal process of discussion and interpellation be observed, that the congress-AS local mining industry players gathered recently, a Catholic bishophas challenged the people of faith to be concerned about taking careof the one that we have now.The Catholic hierarchy believes it’s an imperative for the faithfulto help maintain the planet for social, resource-management andeven spiritual reasons.That’s why government leaders, said Manila Auxiliary BishopBroderick Pabillo, should address environmental issues withguts, and that humanity is called to be responsible stewards ofthe earth.He said the government’s aggression towards mining, for instance,is a sign that creation is under threat, and it is everyone’s duty toprotect it.
Be responsible creation stewards: Bishop
‘Railroad’ / A6Responsible / A7Take over / A7
closing all and notbuilding new coalfired power plants toreduce greenhousegasses emissions is amust to mitigate cli-mate change” saidSOCSKSARGENCAN spokesper-son Sr. Susan Bo-lanio, OND.
(Mark S.Ventura)
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Archbishop Oscar CruzBishop Socrates Villegas
men who have signied the interpellation on the RH bill be honored and given the opportunity to
interpellate,” he said.“To shorten the period of interpellation would give the impression that the passage of RH bill is
“lutong macaw”, not judiciously and sufciently discussed,” Lagdameo added.
For Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life, the moretime for legislators and the people to study the bill, the “great chances” for them to oppose it.“In fact our pro-life legislators are telling us that they’re not afraid to debate. But the problem is somelawmakers are planning to cut the discussion short,” he said.According to the priest, such a sensible issue should be given enough time for deliberation by allparties concerned.In a statement, he reiterated the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Con-ference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the government to repeal theMining Act of 1995.The law, he said, has given foreign and local mining firmsmore economic and political rights and privileges in the form ofmining permits.“Allowing the interests of big mining corporations to prevail overpeople’s right to these sources amounts to violating their right tolife,” said Pabillo, who also chairs the CBCP’s National Secretariatfor Social Action-Justice and Peace.He added that “mining threatens people’s health and environ-mental safety through wanton dumping of waste and tailings inrivers and seas.”
Mining conference
Last Sept. 15 to 17, local mining industry players gathered for the
Mining Philippines 2009 Conference at the Sotel Philippine Plaza
Hotel in Pasay City.The three-day meeting discussed developments in the mining sec-tor not only in the Philippines, but also in other Asian countries.The mining conference was organized with the support of the
Minerals Development Council under the Ofce of the President,
as well as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,and Mines and Geosciences Bureau.The country’s proven mineral reserves have revitalized globalinterest in the extractive industries in the country.
   ©   T  o  m    F  a   l  c  o  n   ©   T  o  m    F  a   l  c  o  n
 
A2
 Vol. 13 No. 19
September 14 - 27, 2009
CBCP Monitor
Pope Benedict XVI with newly ordained bishops from (L-R) Giogio Corbellini, Pietro Parolin, Gabriele Giordano Caccia, FrancoCoppola and Raffaello Martinelli during the ordination ceremony in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on September 12, 2009.
 World News
Pontiff ordains 5 bishops
VATICAN CITY, Sept. 13, 2009—Benedict XVI has ordained ve Italian bishops in St. Peter’s Basilica,and urged them to be servants that exemplify delity, prudence and goodness.
The Pope had been working with three of the new prelates in the Secretariat of State, and now willbe sending them as his representatives to various countries.Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia was appointed apostolic nuncio to Lebanon in July. ArchbishopFranco Coppola will represent the Pontiff in Burundi, and Archbishop Pietro Parolin will be nuncioin Venezuela.Bishop Raffaello Martinelli, a close collaborator with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the Congregation forthe Doctrine of the Faith, was ordained by the Pontiff to lead the Diocese of Frascati, close to Rome.
The fth newly ordained prelate, Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, who served for some time as the vicesecretary-general of the Governor’s Ofce for Vatican City State, was appointed in July as president ofthe Central Labor Ofce of the Holy See.
Priestly essence
In the homily of the ordination Mass, the Holy Father underlined the role of the bishop, and allpriests, as “servant.”It is the “most profound nucleus of Jesus Christ’s mission” and the “true essence of his priesthood,”he said, to serve and “give yourselves” for God.Benedict XVI pointed out that Christ has “made the term ‘servant’ his highest title of honor,” therebygiving us “a new image of God and of man.”
The Pope urged the bishops to be servants who exemplify three characteristics: delity, prudence
and goodness.
Regarding the rst of these, the Pontiff explained that the servant “is entrusted with a great good
that does not belong to him.”He continued: “The Church is not ‘our’ Church, but his Church, God’s Church.“The servant must give an account of the way that he has taken care of the goods that have beenentrusted to him. We do not bind men to us; we do not seek power, prestige, esteem for ourselves.“We lead men to Jesus Christ and so to the living God.”
“Fidelity is not fear,” the Holy Father claried, “but it is inspired by love and its dynamism.”
Truly reasonable
Speaking about the second characteristic, Benedict XVI explained, “Prudence means engaging in thepursuit of truth and acting in a way that conforms to it.”He exhorted his listeners to become “truly reasonable men, who judge on the basis of the whole andnot according to accidental details.”“We do not let ourselves be guided by the little window of our personal cleverness,” the Pope af-
rmed, “but by the big window that Christ has opened up to the whole truth for us.” In this way “we
look upon the world and men” and from this perspective “see what truly counts in life.”The third characteristic that Jesus lauds in a servant, the Pontiff stated, is goodness.
He afrmed that God “is the Good, the Good par excellence, Goodness in person.”
The Holy Father continued: “In a creature—in man—being good is therefore necessarily based on a
deep interior orientation to God. Goodness grows with interior unication with the living God.”This was the second episcopal ordination celebrated by Benedict XVI, the rst having taken place
on Sept. 29, 2007.The Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, also took part in the ordination, along with theprefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada.
(Zenit)
VATICAN CITY, Sept. 11, 2009—Benedict XVI has given his sup-port to U.N. efforts to promote literacy, noting that along withhunger, poverty and disease, illiteracy is one of the major obstaclesto development.
The Pope afrmed this in a note sent through his secretary of
state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the director-general of UNESCO,Koichiro Matsuura, on the occasion of International Literacy Day,celebrated Sept. 8.The statement expresses the Holy Father's "encouragement for allpeople who work for literacy with UNESCO," since, "like hunger,
Benedict XVI encourages int’l literacy day 
poverty and endemic disease, illiteracy is one of the major obstaclesto development."The Pontiff called literacy "one of the most important springboardsfor the integral development of the person, making them morecapable of self-orientation and able to participate more actively inpublic life."As he mentioned in his encyclical "Caritas in Veritate," Bene-dict XVI expressed his wish that literacy can help bring about anevolution toward "better instructed and more solidary societies,"consolidating a "democratic life capable of ensuring peace andfreedom" (cf. No. 21).The Pope asked "disciples of Christ to commit themselves withparticular concern to this fount of humanization that should alsoallow people to more freely approach sacred Scripture." And he
afrmed that the "reading and meditation of Scripture reveals the
'eminent science of Jesus Christ.'"The papal message concluded with the promise of a special bless-ing for UNESCO collaborators.
According to UNESCO, one in ve adults is still not literate and
two-thirds of them are women.
(Zenit)
WASHINGTON D.C., Sept. 12, 2009—Of-
cials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops have welcomed President BarackObama’s September 9 address on health carereform, singling out for praise his statementsregarding help for the uninsured and theprevention of federal funds for abortion.During his Wednesday address on healthcare reform, the president said he wanted toclear up a “misunderstanding.”“Under our plan, no federal dollars willbe used to fund abortions, and federalconscience laws will remain in place,”he stated.
Two ofcials with the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) respondedto the speech in a Thursday press re-lease."We especially welcome the President'scommitment to exclude federal fund-ing of abortion, and to maintain existingfederal laws protecting conscience rights
in health care,” said Richard Doeringer,
Associate Director of Pro-Life Activities atthe USCCB.He said that incorporating “essential andlongstanding” federal laws on such issueswill strengthen support for health care
reform. Doeringer also pledged that the
USCCB will work with Congress and theadministration to ensure the protections are
“clearly reected” in new legislation so that
it does not require anyone to pay for abortion
U.S. bishops’ ofcials welcome president’sapparent pro-life accommodation
or to take part in one.Speaking to CNA via e-mail on Thursday,
Doeringer said that current health care re
-form bills such as H.R. 3200 will “fund andmandate” abortion coverage. In his view, thepresident is preparingto intro-ducea new billwhich will not fundabortions."We have to wait and see what is actuallyin the bill before judging whether we agree.We are willing to work with him and Con-gress to help make sure this commitment
is reected in the actual bill," Doeringer
added.Kathy Saile, Director of Domestic SocialDevelopment at the USCCB, expressed agree-ment with the president’s comment “no oneshould go broke because they get sick.”“That's why the U.S. Bishops have workedfor decades for decent health care for all,”she added, according to the USCCB pressrelease. “The Catholic Church provideshealth care for millions, purchases healthcare, picks up the pieces of a failing healthsystem, and has a long tradition of teachingon ethics in health care.”She said health care reform that re-spects “the life and dignity of all” is a“moral imperative” and an “urgent”national priority.“We agree with the President that thereare details that need to be ironed out,"Saile continued. "And with his addresslast night, we see the opportunity to worktowards a truly universal health policy withrespect for human life and dignity, access forall with a special concern for the poor, andinclusion of legal immigrants.”She added that the USCCB believes it ispossible to preserve freedom of consciencewhile restraining health care costs and ap-plying them equitably.
In his Thursday CNA interview, Doering
-er reiterated that there is cause for pro-lifers’concern about health care reform proposalsand called for the forthcoming legislation tobe scrutinized “very carefully”.
(CNA)
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept. 13,2009—The investigation into
the possible beatication of the
widely loved former Archbishopof Nairobi, Cardinal MauriceMichael Otunga, has begun withthe appointment of the postula-tor of his cause.Cardinal John Njue, the pres-ent Archbishop of Nairobi, hasappointed Fr. Anthony Bellag-amba as postulator. A ConsolataMissionary, Fr. Bellagamba is
Inquiry into beatication of Cardinal Otunga begins in Nairobi
a former profes-sor of pastoraltheology at theCatholic Univer-sity of EasternAfrica (CUEA).His appointmentcoincided withthe sixth anniver-sary of CardinalOtunga’s death,the Catholic In-formation Servicefor Africa (CISA)reports.Fr. Bellagamba was born incentral Italy and first workedin Kenya from 1958 to 1963. Hecame to know Cardinal Otungafrom 1984 to 1994 while teachingat CUEA, where the cardinal waschancellor.The priest, a former Vice Gen-eral Superior of the Conso-lata Missionaries in Rome, nowworks at Allamno House, theConsolata seminary in Nairobi.He described Cardinal Otungaas a man who possessed “a greatsense of the Divine” and a greatsense of the supernatural.“His prayer life was excep-tional. His gentleness, kindness,was very, very attractive. Hewould take time to talk to you,”Fr. Bellagamba said, accordingto CISA. “He was so simple—not simplistic, because he wasshrewd—but he was simple inthe sense that he was not double-faced. What he believed, what hethought, he said.”As postulator, Fr. Bellagamba
will coordinate the beatication
investigation and will lead acommission of church expertswho collect all information fromwritten and oral testimoniesabout the candidate’s life. If thearchbishop of Nairobi thinksthe results are suitable, they willbe presented to the Congrega-tion for the Causes of Saints inRome.“The purpose is to collect in-formation, any type of informa-tion, that would prove whetherhe practiced the evangelicalvirtues in a heroic way or not,”he explained.“Suppose someone comesand says his experience of theCardinal was very negative, sayhe was a selfish person,” thepriest said. “Then we have to gointo it and be able to show thateither the person is biased orthe person has some ill feelingsagainst the cardinal for whateverreason (he didn’t accept his sonor daughter in one of the Catho-lic schools, etc). If we are able todemonstrate that the depositionis biased, the process continues;if not, you have to do moreresearch and really resolve thatissue before you continue.”If the postulator’s investiga-tion results are sent to Rome,they will again be scrutinized tosee if negative depositions havebeen properly resolved. Investi-gators at Rome will also have toascertain that someone has ex-perienced a miracle through theintercession of the candidate.Fr. Bellagamba told CISAhe could not say how long theentire process might take, buthe reported that the diocesanlevel investigation takes “severalyears.”
(CNA)
Catholics bury a much-loved bishop
NAM DINH, Vietnam,Sept. 11, 2009—Cath-olics have laid to restAuxiliary Bishop PaulLe Dac Trong of Ha Noi,who died on Sept. 7.Some 10,000 Catholicswearing white mourn-ing bands on their headspacked the church inNam Dinh city on Sept. 9to pay their last respectsat a funeral Mass. Joseph Nguyen DucThang, a Nam Dinh pa-rishioner, was seen wip-ing tears from his eyesafter the service.“Bishop Trong’s deathis a great loss to us. We lost a devoted father, a faith educator,who served us until his death.”Thang, a father of three, said the 6,000 local parishioners“highly respected and loved” the departed prelate who servedthem for 60 years.Bishop Trong was ordained a priest in 1948 and started to servethe Nam Dinh parish near Ha Noi the following year.He was one of the few Catholics to remain in Ha Noi after theexodus of Catholics in 1954 following the defeat of the Frenchby Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh guerrillas. The late bishop was towitness great persecution of the Church and the Catholics whoremained under the Communist regime.Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Ha Noi presided at therequiem Mass for the much-loved bishop, concelebrated by 15bishops and 200 priests.In his homily, Auxiliary Bishop Laurence Chu Van Minh of HaNoi said the late bishop was dedicated to a life of service.Bishop Minh, 65, who is from the parish, said Bishop Trongtaught catechism to local children, youths and adults and orga-nized Catholic associations for them.The late bishop also translated many Church books into Viet-namese and secretly delivered copies to Catholics, priests andbishops from the neighboring dioceses of Bui Chu, Phat Diemand Thai Binh.He taught at Saint Joseph Major Seminary in Ha Noi andtrained many lay leaders, priests and bishops, noted BishopMinh, who received spiritual support from the late bishop.He also established a Catholic high school in 1950 and served
as principal. The school was conscated by the government and
is now used a public school.Bishop Minh praised the late bishop as a brave pastor in wartime. He celebrated daily Mass at the parish church for yearsalthough the parish house was ruined by US bombs.When the church was destroyed and a local priest died frombomb attacks, the bishop was pulled from the wreckage andforced to move to another place. He later returned to rebuild thepresent parish facilities, Bishop Minh said.Parishioner Marie Nguyen Thi Toan told UCA News: “Welearnt many moral and faith values from his life. So we will teachthese same values to our children.”Bishop Trong was buried near the church altar.
(UCAN)
   ©  w  w  w .   d  a  y   l   i   f  e .  c  o  m
 
A3
 Vol. 13 No. 19
September 14 - 27, 2009
CBCP Monitor
News Features
VATICAN CITY, Sept. 9, 2009─In a letter to bishops' conferences
around the world, the Vatican said true religious education inschools is at risk of being replaced with a more "neutral" teachingabout religious ethics and culture.The result is confusion and indifference among students, whosefaith can sometimes be put in danger, said the letter, issued by theCongregation for Catholic Education."A form of education that ignores or marginalizes the moral andreligious dimension of the person is a hindrance to full education,"it said.Dated May 5, the letter was posted on the congregation's Web siteSept. 9, just as most schools in Europe prepared to reopen. The textimmediately ignited a debate in Italy over the proper balance be-tween religious content and the secular nature of public schools.The letter addressed the issue of the Catholic identity of church-run schools, but much of its attention was focused on religionclasses in public schools. It said the nature and role of religiouseducation in schools has become the object of debate."In some cases, it is now the object of new civil regulations,which tend to replace religious education with teaching about thereligious phenomenon in a multidenominational sense, or about
religious ethics and culture ─ even in a way that contrasts with the
choices and educational aims that parents and the church intendfor the formation of young people," it said.The letter warned that religious content in such classes can bedowngraded to the point that students are led into error."Moreover, if religious education is limited to a presentation of thedifferent religions, in a comparative and 'neutral' way, it creates con-fusion or generates religious relativism or indifferentism," it said.The letter quoted from a 1984 speech of Pope John Paul II, whostrongly defended the rights of Catholics to religious education inall schools, whether Catholic or state-run."The families of believers have the right to such education; they
must have the guarantee that the state school ─ precisely becauseit is open to all ─ not only will not put their children's faith in peril,
Vatican encourages strong contentin religious education classes
but will rather complete their integral formation with appropriatereligious education," the late pope said.The letter said it was the church's role to "establish the authenticcontents of Catholic religious education in schools," regardless ofthe nature of the schools, in order to guarantee that the educationpresented as Catholic is indeed authentic."The Catholic religious instruction and education which are impart-ed in any school are subject to the authority of the church," it said.It insisted that religious instruction have an equal place in thescholastic programs of schools."It must present the Christian message and the Christian eventwith the same seriousness and the same depth with which otherdisciplines present their knowledge. It should not be an accessoryalongside of these disciplines," it said.
The letter said religious education ts into the evangelizing mis
-sion of the church, although it is different from and complementaryto catechesis on a parish or personal level.The text did not explain in detail how, in a pluralistic society,public schools could satisfy its vision of authentic religious instruc-tion. One informed Vatican source told Catholic News Servicethat the faith identity of teachers was an important aspect of thecongregation's concern."To be authentic, religious instruction on any faith needs to betaught by someone who lives it. It is true that the teacher in thissituation does not aim to lead people to the faith, but in order topresent the faith in its fullness he needs to be in harmony withwhat he is teaching," he said.
"Content specic to the Catholic faith, such as a dogma like the
Resurrection, must be explained by a believer; otherwise it couldbe presented as a myth," he said.In the United States, public schools can teach about religion aslong as they do not provide religious training. A U.S. SupremeCourt ruling in 1963 distinguished between teaching about reli-gion, which it said was permissible, and state-sponsored religiousindoctrination, which it prohibited.
(CNS)
Take time out dailyfor silent prayer tohear God's voice,says pope
VATICAN CITY, Sept. 9, 2009─People need to carve time out of
their busy day to dedicate to silent prayer or meditation in order tohear what God has to say, said Pope Benedict XVI.The faithful also have to remember not to become completelycaught up in their daily activities and concerns, forgetting that Je-sus should be the focus of their lives, he said at his weekly generalaudience Sept. 9.
Continuing a series of audience talks about inuential Christian
writers from the Middle Ages, the pope focused his catechesis onthe life of St. Peter Damian, an 11th-century monk, cardinal anddoctor of the church.Living an austere, secluded life in a cloister, St. Peter Damiandetermined that "the hermetic life was the apex of Christian life"because it allowed one to be free from the ego and from worldlyconcerns, said the pope.
Monastic life offers an important lesson to all Christians ─ that
it is important to learn how to achieve an inner silence in order tolisten to God's voice, he said.The faithful must take time out of their day to seek out a quiet place,"a sort of sitting parlor, where God can speak to us," he said.One can learn God's word and the right path to take in life throughquiet prayer and meditation, he said.St. Peter Damian taught that Christ must be at the center of mo-nastic life; Christ must be heard in one's voice, be served in one'slife and felt in one's heart, said the pope.All Christians, not just contemplative religious, must cultivate thisintimate union with Christ, Pope Benedict said."We shouldn't let ourselves be completely absorbed by our dailyactivities, problems and worries, forgetting that Jesus must truly beat the center of our lives," he said.
The pope ew to the Vatican by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo,
south of Rome, to leadthe general audience inthe Paul VI hall beforeabout 8,000 pilgrims fromaround the world.The pope greeted vis-iting bishops and well-wishers with his righthand, showing he wasrecovering greater useof his wrist, which hehad broken in a fall July 17. The cast andwires used to stabilizethe break had been re-moved Aug. 21.At the end of the gen-eral audience, the popeflew back to the papalsummer residence inCastel Gandolfo, wherehe was spending thefinal weeks of his vaca-tion.
(CNS)
ILOILO CITY, Sept. 8,
2009─CBCP President
and Jaro Archbishop An-gel Lagdameo denouncedthe practice of graft andcorruption in governmentagencies, saying it is a“sin that cries to heavenespecially if it is commit-ted against poor people,like poor drivers.”Addressing a congrega-tion of local taxi driversgathered for the Mass onSeptember 3, Lagdameonoted how the evil of graft and corruptionhas embedded its tentacles in “many levelsand areas of life.”The local taxi drivers has asked the arch-bishop for support in protest of a controver-
sial ofcial of the Land Transportation Fran
-chising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) basedin the city who was purportedly extortingmoney from those applying for franchise.The Association of Taxi Operators inPanay (ATOP) led by its president PerfectoYap has earlier asked for the removal of oneAtty. Rommel Duron, chief of the LTFRB’sTechnical and Evaluation Division amidstaccusations of extorting money from taxifranchise applicants. The clamor was alsosupported by the Alliance of Panay TaxiOperators and Drivers Association, accord-ing to earlier news reports.The prelate said that increasing the franchisefee from P810.00 to some P35,000.00, as somepapers reported, “[if true], is an act of cheatingand dishonesty, by whoever it is committedand against whomever it is committed.”
Corruption entrenched in many areas of life: CBCP head
He underscored suchdishonesty is not onlyagainst the government“but also against God,because it offends a fel-low human being.”Lagdameo said thosewho commit graft andcorrupt practices againstthe government and tax-payers are harming thecommon good and thetrust that people shouldhave for them.He then called on theCatholic faithful to continue to pray and callfor their conversion and change of attitude.The prelate assured the congregationof the support of the archdiocese for thecitizens’ advocacy, especially the drivers,for honesty in business.“Our country remains poor because ofprojects that are substandard and becauseof overpricing of collectibles that are due,”he said, adding, that because of such practice
“the common good is sacriced.”
He commended Pavia residents for thetimely posters that promote honesty and
decry corruption: “Help ght grant and cor
-ruption. Be honest. Do not lie. Do not steal.
Do not make promises you cannot fulll.”
Quoting the book of Proverbs, Lagdameosaid, “Be honest… even if others are not,even if others will not, even if others cannot.He who walks honestly, walks securely.”He said the Church-based Brotherhoodof Christian Businessmen and Professionshas this virtue of honesty as their vision andmotto in their business.“Only good and honest business canbe God’s business,” the prelate stressed.
(CBCPNews)
MANILA, Sept. 7,
2009─The outpour
-ing of concern andsupport from theinternational com-munity has boost-
ed up the ght of
rural poor commu-nities in Mindanaoaffected by aerialspraying of bananaplantations.
At least 200 con-
Opposition vs aerial spraying gains global backing
cerned citizens from44 countries gavetheir all out sup-port against aerialpesticide operationsby petitioning thePhilippine govern-ment to put a stopon the harmful aer-ial spraying of agrochemicals in bananaplantations.In an open let-
tal epidemiologistRico Euripidou ofSouth Africa, andenvironmental jus-tice advocate JefferCastelo Branco ofBrazil.
The grouplauded the ruralcommunities forbanding togetherand asserting theirrights to live in ahealthy and safeenvironment.ter addressed tothe president, theconcerned citizensasked PresidentGloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue anExecutive Order thatwill protect the ruralcommunities fromthe toxic effects ofaerial spraying.“In the spirit ofglobal citizenship,we state our solidar-ity with the wom-en and men of theMamamayan Ayawsa Aerial Spraying(Citizens AgainstAerial Spraying) andmany other people’sorganizations fromthe various banana-growing provinces insouthern Philippineswho are assertingtheir inherent rightnot to be harmedby aerial pesticideoperations,” the pe-titioners said.
Among those whosigned the petitionwere noted public in-terest scientists andadvocates, includingprofessor emeritus ofchemistry and zerowaste champion Dr.Paul Connett and cit-izen science advocateDr. Joseph Parrishof USA, 2009 Gold-man EnvironmentalPrize winner YuyunIsmawati of Indone-sia, pesticide activ-ist Sarojeni Rengamof Malaysia, endo-sulfan ban crusader Jayakumar Chela-ton of India, anti-DDT health expertDr. Paul Saoke ofKenya, environmen-
Spraying / A6
Catholic Church must renew itsefforts to evangelize, Pope says
VATICAN CITY, Sept. 7, 2009─Pope Benedict's message for the 83rd
World Mission Day was made public on Saturday, September 5. TheHoly Father reminds Catholics in his message that evangelizationis the essential mission of the Church and that they should do allthat they can to support the missions.World Mission Day will be celebrated this year on Sunday, Oc-tober 18, with the theme: “The nations will walk in its light.” Themessage, published in six languages, bears the date of June 29,Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.Excerpts from the English-language version are given below:"The goal of the Church's mission is to illumine all peoples withthe light of the Gospel as they journey through history towards God,
so that in Him they may reach their full potential and fulllment.
...It is in this perspective that the disciples of Christ throughoutthe world work, struggle and groan under the burden of suffer-ing, even offering up their own lives. I strongly reiterate what was
so frequently afrmed by my venerable predecessors: the Church
works not to extend her power or assert her dominion, but to leadall people to Christ, the salvation of the world. We seek only to placeourselves at the service of all humanity, especially the suffering andthe marginalized, because we believe that 'the effort to proclaim theGospel to the people of today... is a service rendered to the Christiancommunity and also to the whole of humanity.'""In truth, the whole of humanity has the radical vocation to re-
turn to its source, to return to God, since in Him alone can it ndfulllment through the restoration of all things in Christ. ...This new
beginning can already be seen in the resurrection and exaltationof Christ, Who draws all things to Himself, renewing them andenabling them to share in the eternal joy of God. ...The Church's
mission is to spread hope 'contagiously' among all peoples. This is why Christ calls, justies, sancties
and sends His disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God, so that all nations may become the Peopleof God.""The universal Church, which knows neither borders nor frontiers, is aware of her responsibility toproclaim the Gospel to entire peoples. ...The measure of her mission and service is not limited to material
needs, or even to spiritual needs conned to the sphere of temporal existence; rather, it is transcendentsalvation, fullled in the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom, although ultimately eschatological and not
of this world, is also in this world and within its history a force for justice and peace, for true freedomand respect for the dignity of every human person. The Church wishes to transform the world throughthe proclamation of the Gospel of love. ...With this message I renewmy invitation to all the members and institutions of the Church toparticipate in this mission and this service.""It is therefore necessary to renew our commitment to proclaim-ing the Gospel which is a leaven of freedom and progress, brother-
hood, unity and peace. I would 'conrm once more that the task
of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of theChurch', a duty and a mission which the widespread and profoundchanges in present-day society render ever more urgent. At stake
is the eternal salvation of persons, the goal and the fulllment of
human history and the universe.""On this day dedicated to the missions, I recall in prayer thosewho have consecrated their lives exclusively to the work of evan-gelization. I mention especially the local Churches and the mis-sionaries who bear witness to and spread the Kingdom of God insituations of persecution, subjected to forms of oppression rangingfrom social discrimination to prison, torture and death. Even today,many are put to death for the sake of His Name.""The Church walks the same path and suffers the same destinyas Christ, since she acts not on the basis of any human logic orrelying on her own strength, but rather following the way of the
Cross, becoming, in lial obedience to the Father, a witness and a
traveling companion for all humanity."I remind Churches of ancient foundation and those that aremore recent that the Lord has sent them to be the salt of the earthand the light of the world, and He has called them to spread Christ,the Light of the nations, to the far corners of the earth. They mustmake the 'Missio ad gentes' a pastoral priority.
"I am grateful to the Pontical Mission Societies and I encour
-age them in their indispensable service of promoting missionary animation and formation, as well aschanneling material help to young Churches.""Missionary zeal has always been a sign of the vitality of our Churches. ... I therefore ask all Catholicsto pray to the Holy Spirit for an increase in the Church's passion for her mission to spread the Kingdomof God and to support missionaries and Christian communities involved in mission, on the front line,often in situations of hostility and persecution.
"At the same time I ask everyone, as a credible sign of communion among Churches, to offer nancial
assistance, especially in these times of crisis affecting all humanity, to enable the young local Churchesto illuminate the nations with the Gospel of charity."
(CNA)
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Archbishop Angel Lagdameo

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