Vol. 14 No. 15
July 19 - August 1, 2010
w w w 2 . p i c t u r e s . z i m b i o . c o m
w w w . c a t h o l i c n e w s a g e n c y . c o m w w w . c a t h o l i c n e w s . c o m
VATICAN, July 13, 2010—PopeBenedict XVI will focus on reli-gious freedom’s contribution topeace in his World Peace Daymessage for 2011, the Vaticansaid.The theme the pope has cho-sen for the Jan. 1 celebration is“Religious Freedom, the Path toPeace,” the Vatican announced July 13.The Vatican said the popeintends to discuss how the fun-damental human right to believein God is a prerequisite for fullhuman development and “a con-dition for the realization of thecommon good and the promo-tion of peace in the world.”“In many parts of the worldthere exist various forms of re-strictions or denials of religiousfreedom, from discriminationand marginalization based on re-ligion to acts of violence againstreligious minorities,” the state-ment said.The papal message will ex-pand on comments the popemade in his address to the U.N.General Assembly in 2008 whenhe said it was “inconceivablethat believers should have tosuppress a part of themselves—their faith—in order to be activecitizens” and to enjoy their hu-man rights.In that speech, the pope said,“The rights associated with reli-gion are all the more in need ofprotection if they are consideredto clash with a prevailing secularideology or with majority reli-gious positions of an exclusivenature.”Pope Benedict also will distin-guish between authentic religiousfreedom, “which broadens the ho-rizons of humanity and freedomof man” as well as respects humandignity and life, and religious fun-damentalism, in which the truth ismanipulated or exploited to thedetriment of people, the Vaticanstatement said.People cannot be divorcedfrom their beliefs, because thosebeliefs affect their lives andthemselves, it said.Authentic religious beliefsunite people and can have apositive impact on society, itsaid.
Pope’s 2011 World Peace Day message
to focus on religious freedom
VATICAN, July 15, 2010—A leadingVatican official said Pope BenedictXVI’s approval of revised norms onclerical sex abuse sent a clear signalthat the church is serious about protect-ing children and punishing abusivepriests.
At the same time, the ofcial said,
the Vatican norms alone cannot resolvethe problem of sexual abuse, which willrequire a continued and coordinatedeffort at every level of the church.Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the promoterof justice at the Congregation for theDoctrine of the Faith, made the com-
ments July 15 at a brieng for reporterson the revised norms, which simplied
and streamlined many of the church’sprocedures in dealing with priests ac-cused of sexual abuse of minors.Msgr. Scicluna said the doctrinalcongregation was grateful to the popefor transforming into universal churchlaw a number of practices aimed at
dealing more quickly and efciently
with priest abusers.
“I think it gives a signal that we are
very, very serious about our commit-ment to promote safe environmentsand to offer an adequate response toabuse,” he said.“This is a very important step fromthe technical viewpoint of canon law.But a document is always a docu-ment—it does not solve all the prob-lems. It’s a very important instrument,but it’s the way you use the instrumentthat’s going to have the real effect onthe life of the church,” he said.
Msgr. Scicluna was asked why therevised norms, like the previous edi
tion, impose “pontical secret” on the
church’s judicial handling of priestlysex abuse.
He said a better term was “conden
-tiality,” and that it was designed aboveall to protect the dignity of everyoneinvolved, including the victim, theaccused, their families and their com-munities.He also noted that in some cases—forexample, a priest’s dismissal from thepriesthood –bishops are authorized todivulge the decision and the reasonsbehind it if this is seen as necessary forthe common good of the church.
“So the value of condentiality is im
-portant, but it is not absolute. The goodof the church sometimes requires not
condentiality but publicity of a process
that has been completed, either with a
sentence of condemnation or a nding
of innocence,” he said.
Likewise, Msgr. Scicluna said, the
church’s insistence on confidential-ity has limits in the relationship withcivil authorities. Bishops are required tocomply with civil law that requires re-
Revised norms send clear signal on sex abuse, Vatican ofcial says
ANTIPOLO City, July 9, 2010—For humanitarian consider-ations, colleagues of the arrested
43 health workers, now incarcer
-ated in Camp Bagong Diwa in
Taguig, asked Malacañang to re
-lease the two pregnant women,one is about to give birth this July 27 while the other one is dueto deliver in October. Judielyn Carina Oliveros,26, is due to give birth to her
child within two weeks and
Mercy Castro, 27, in about threemonths.In an e-mail sent to CBCP-News, Dr. Julie Caguiat of the
Free the 43 Health Workers
Alliance said that prison is nota conducive place for a womanto give birth.“At this point, medical andhealth issues should outweighall the legalities of the custodialdetention, they must be releasedunder humanitarian consider-ations to show that the state atleast have respect for humanrights,” she said.
Fr. Lombardi counters study reporting negative effects of Vatican Radio towers
VATICAN, July 16, 2010—OnWednesday, Vatican Radio directorFr. Federico Lombardi countereda seemingly incriminating studythat reports emission towers fromthe Holy See’s radio station havedamaged nearby residents’ health.
The Vatican spokesman said that a
second study addressing the matterwill soon be presented to the court.Fr. Lombardi’s message came afterlocal Italian media published the re-sults of a report presented in an ongo-ing court case addressing a higher inci-
dence of leukemia in children in areas
close to a Vatican Radio transmission
center, just kilometers from Rome.
Noting his surprise that the asyet unreleased court document had
been picked up in the press, he said
that Vatican Radio would soon bepresenting the “considerations andcounter-deductions” of their ownexpert counselors in the case.Fr. Lombardi said that, as far as
they know, no causal connectionsuch as that shown in the leaked
report has ever been published in
international scientic literature, so
the hypothesis in the report shouldnot be regarded as proven.Turning to its historical record,he said that the Holy See’s radiostation has “always observed theinternational regulations on electro-magnetic emissions” and, since 2001,has exceeded Italian norms in termsof restrictions.Vatican Radio shares the space atthe area in question, just northwestof Rome, with Italian Navy Radarinstallations, which are also be-ing examined in the investigation.
Free pregnant womenmembers of Morong 43,Aquino urged
Dr. Caguiat said that the pres-ent detention of the female de-tainees is cramped and damp
making the pregnant women
and the rest of the detainees sus-ceptible to infectious diseases.“It would be of best consider-ation to have pregnant and ailingdetainees released,” she said.Not so long ago, Jane Balleta, one
of the 43 health workers had been
suffering from epileptic seizures,allegedly caused by the unhealthyenvironment inside prison.On the other hand, the doctoralso calls for medical attentionto some of the detainees whoare also suffering from varioushealth concerns exacerbated bypitiful conditions of the prisonfacilities.The woman physician alsoreiterated that the state is obligedto accord all detainees decentconditions and just welfare whilein prison.“Unfortunately, that is not thecase,” Caguiat lamented.
MANILA, July 8, 2010—Thirteen
international NGO workers, in
-cluding a Filipina were arrestedby the Indonesian police whileholding a press conference onthe harmful effects of coal plantsto the environment and localcommunities.Ms. Jean Ferraris, team leader
of the Davao Regional Ofce of
the Legal Rights and NaturalResources Center Kasama sa
Kalikasan Friends of the Earth
Philippines (LRC-KsK/FOEI-Phils.) was among other par-ticipants from Thailand, Chinaand Indonesia arrested by police
Pinoy NGO worker, 12 others arrested by Indo police
on the last day of their trainingseminar in Cirebon, West Java,Indonesia.
The NGO workers were par
-ticipating in a Coal Campaign
Skillshare organized by an anti-
coal community in Cirebon,West Java.Participants who came fromdifferent parts of Asia sharedtheir experiences in their respec-tive countries particularly on theharmful impact of coal in the
environment and the knowledge
they have acquired from theirrespective anti-coal campaigns.The Cirebon community who
SC asked to include conversion ban on Luisita, Bacan haciendas
ANTIPOLO City, July 9, 2010— A militant
fishermen’s organization has asked the
Supreme Court to include on its ruling, ban-ning the conversion of agricultural lands,the disputed 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisitaowned by the family of President BenignoAquino III and the 157-hectare Hacienda Ba-can in Negros Occidental, owned by formerPresident and now Pampanga Rep. GloriaMacapagal-Arroyo.
Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national
chairperson, said in a statement that asidefrom the said haciendas, the Supreme Courtmust also include on its ban on land-use con-version other big cases of land-use conver-
sions like the 8,650 hectare Hacienda Looc in
Nasugbu, Batangas and the the 7,100 hectareHacienda Yulo in Canlubang, Laguna.Because of the High Tribunal’s ruling,Hicap said, the Agrarian Reform departmentshould now stop and scrap the planned landuse conversions in the said haciendas.
The sher-folk leader also stressed that
there should be no special treatment toAquino and Arroyo and the landed feudalaristocracies in the country.“Their lands should be subjected to imme-diate, unconditional and free distribution to
farmer beneciaries,” Hicap says.
Agro lands “shrinking” because of conversions
Citing the Sentro para sa Tunay na Re-porting of abuse accusations, he said.“Confidentiality of canonical pro-ceedings is never an impediment to theduty to denounce (crimes), and is neverto the detriment of obedience to civillaw,” he said.Msgr. Scicluna made it clear that PopeBenedict had made the changes in thenorms, and in doing so the pope respect-ed his area of competence, he said.
“It is not the task of the pope to give
indications about civil law. The indica-tion to obey the law of the state wasalready stated by St. Paul” and it was
unnecessary to reafrm this principle ina technical text like this, he said.
The revised norms extended the stat-ute of limitations on sex abuse cases,
included child pornography in the de
-nition of sex abuse against minors andsaid sexual abuse of mentally disabledadults will be considered equivalent toabuse of minors.
Msgr. Scicluna was asked if he expect
-ed the revisions to prompt a new waveof sex abuse allegations or revelations.
“No, we’re not expecting the ood
-gates to open. That happened in 2003,with the historical cases from the UnitedStates,” he said. “This is an importantextension of the law, but it’s not a ques-tion about numbers, it’s a question of as-suring the respect of the dignity and thesafeguarding of these people.”
hosted the activity has beencampaigning against a coalcompany in the area, which theyclaim has brought damage to theenvironment and caused loss oflivelihood among locals.Around 100 Indonesian policeconducted the raid, accusingthe participants of “engaging inactivities that caused ‘instabil-ity’.”But the police found noth-ing they can charge the NGO
workers about, so they turned
them over to the Immigrationauthorities who subjected themto “monitored deportation”.Local activists have denouncedthe arrest, saying the action ofthe police was reminiscent ofthe Indonesian government’sautocratic past.
“This latest episode evokes the
time of Suharto when the coercivepower of the state, through thepolice and the military were used
to sow terror and choke demo
-cratic space. This abusive behav-ior has no place in a supposedlydemocratic country,” said JudyPasimio of the Legal Rights andNatural Resources Center, a legaland policy research NGO.
pormang Agraryo’s (Center for the Genu-ine Land Reform or Sentra) report, Hicapexplained that agricultural lands or landsintended for food production, had been
“shrinking” due to massive conversion of
these lands in commercial, residential, in-dustrial and even recreational use.From six million hectares, rice lands hadnow been reduced to four million due toland-use conversion, Hicap said.In the province of Cavite alone, irrigatedrice land fell from 14,710 hectares to 12,800hectares due to land use conversions; that isbetween the years 1989 to 1993, or during ad-ministration of late President Ma. CorazonC. Aquino.
(Noel Sales Barcelona)