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Cbcpmonitor Vol15 n07

Cbcpmonitor Vol15 n07

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Published by cbcpmonitor
- Pope urges faithful not to give up fight vs RH
- Bishops mourn executed Pinoy drug mules
- Phivolcs Chief to Church officials: Check stability of old churches
- ARMM postponement disappoints bishop
- 2 bishops urge pork barrel cut for OFWs
- CBCPAdvocates urge priests to use pulpit vs RH bill
- Study shows annulment cases in PH rising
- Pope urges faithful not to give up fight vs RH
- Bishops mourn executed Pinoy drug mules
- Phivolcs Chief to Church officials: Check stability of old churches
- ARMM postponement disappoints bishop
- 2 bishops urge pork barrel cut for OFWs
- CBCPAdvocates urge priests to use pulpit vs RH bill
- Study shows annulment cases in PH rising

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Published by: cbcpmonitor on Mar 31, 2011
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Vol. 15 No. 7
March 28 - April 10, 2011
Php 20.
DIRECTOR of PhilippineInstitute of Volcanology andSeismology (Phivolcs) Dr. Re-nato Solidum urged Church
ofcials to ensure the stability
of church structures againstearthquakes.The Phivolcs chief saidchurch officials should so-licit professional help fromcivil and structural engineersto check on the strength ofchurch edifices in the lightof recent earthquakes that
devastated neighboring coun
Solidum said a signicantnumber of people regularlyock to churches. Old church
Pope urges faithful notto give up fight vs RH
The News Supplement forCouples for Christ
“Pahalagahanang buhay” 
Study shows annulmentcases in PH rising
THE number of annulment of marriages in thePhilippines rose by more than 40% over thepast ten years, according to the Ofce of the
Solicitor General.
From 2001, the country had 4,520 cases and8,282 in 2010. This brings a daily average of atleast 22 cases led every day.
Common grounds for legal separation ordeclaration of nullity is psychological incapac-ity, according to a document sent to CBCP-
Advocates urge priests touse pulpit vs RH bill
SOME anti-reproductive health bill advocates
called on Catholic priests to use the pulpit inthe campaign against the measure.
According to them, priests should be moreaggressive in preaching the people about thechurch’s stand against the bill.
Since the church’s stand don’t get much
media attention, they said, it’s about time forchurch ofcials to use the pulpits in deliveringsermons about the bill during Masses.
Annulment / A6Advocates / A6
Confession teacheshumility to priests andpenitents, Pope says
www.visitaiglesia.net www.cbcpmedia.com
ARMM postponementdisappoints bishop
2 bishops urge pork barrel cut for OFWs
Cut / A6Philvocs / A6
CATHOLIC bishops are mourning the death
of three Filipino drug mules who were ex-
ecuted in China on March 30.
At the same time, the prelates said itshould serve as lesson for overseas Filipino
workers (OFWs) to be extra careful abroad.Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo said
OFWs should make sure they know the laws of
the country they are in to avoid trouble.
“We cannot control the administration of
justice in other countries,” said Quevedo,
former president of the Catholic Bishops’Conference of the Philippines.
Bishops mourn executedPinoy drug mules
Phivolcs Chief to
Church ofcials:Check stability of 
old churches
I also wish to extend my deep condolencesto the families of those executed and I prayfor the eternal repose of their souls,” he said.“I also pray for all those OFWs who are un-der great suffering at this time.”Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz also
said he is saddened by what happened and
expressed condolences over the death of thethree Filipinos.
“I’m sorry for the families who are bereav
-ing now. I hope that this will also serve as alesson for the future that our OFWs should
be more careful,” he said.
“We already know that there are laws in
each country about drugs… this is a lessonfor all to be careful and to respect the laws of
other nations also,” dela Cruz added.
Ramon Credo, 42, Elizabeth Batain, 38,
and Sally Villanueva, 32, were executed
by lethal injection on Wednesday morning
after they were found guilty of illegal drug
The execution took place despite earnestappeal from the Aquino administration tohave their death sentence commuted to life.
es are also point of interestamong tourists, he added.He said concern from churchauthorities is a manifestation
of its social responsibility.
The Philippines had recordsof destructive earthquakesand most of these are found
in Manila, specically in In
tramuros, the rst established
city.The most destructive earth-quake to hit the Philippineswas the one that originatedfrom the Philippine Fault
Zone in 1880.
He said many churches in
Manila and Infanta, Quezon
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Filipinos trooped to the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta March 25, Feast of the Annunciation and Day of the Unborn; to protest against “attacks” on the sanctity of life and integrity ofthe family. Organized by the Archdiocese of Manila, the interfaith rally drew an estimated 200,000 people coming from different religious denominations.
A CATHOLIC bishop is disap
-pointed over President Aquino’scall to defer elections in theAutonomous Region in MuslimMindanao (ARMM).The ARMM polls are
set on August 11 but the
administration’s allies inCongress are determined tohave it postponed.Basilan Bishop Martin Ju-moad maintains that the elec-tions should push through asscheduled to solve the present
problems in his province.
“First and foremost I amfrustrated (with the plannedpostponement of the ARMMelections),” Jumoad said overCatholic Church-run RadyoVeritas.But the Mindanao prelate saidhe will respect the decision ofthe government and will remain
hopeful that it will bring good to
their region.
AT least two Catholic bishops urged law
makers to use their pork barrel funds in the
repatriation of overseas Filipino workers
caught in armed conicts abroad.
The prelates said the lawmakers should
help nance repatriation of thousands ofOFWs in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and
even in the quake-ravaged Japan.Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas said con-gressmen and senators should allocate a portion
By Roy Lagarde
POPE Benedict XVI called onCatholics to strengthen their
resolve and not give up the fght
against any “attacks” to life andthe family.
In a statement read during a prayer rally
on March 25 against the reproductive health(RH) bill, the pope urged Filipinos to respect
and protect every human life.
The pontiff’s message was relayed by
Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertonein a letter to the Filipino cardinals.“His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI recom-mended the defense of these values whichremain vital to the whole of Filipino soci-ety,” said Bertone.“I again encourage you and all who value
the human person to be rm in your com
mitment to honor God and, by doing so,
to manifest a deep love for life and for itsprotection at this time,” he said.Aimed at promoting the use of contracep-
tives, Bertone said that the bill is again put
ting the Filipino society in a “difcult period
in all that concerns life and its defense.”“The Church is not indifferent in such
moments because she believes that life is
sacred, a gift from God who calls man to
cooperate with Him, aided by a deep senseof responsibility for his actions,” the Vatican
Pope / A6
“They have the power of au-
thority so let’s hope for [the] bestbecause that’s what the President
has promised that he will cleanthe government,” he said.
“I hope it will materialize… Iam a law abiding citizen and I
respect the decision of the gov-ernment,” Jumoad added.On March 22, the House ofRepresentatives approved a
bill seeking to synchronize the
Bishop Martin JumoadSan Agustin Church
Vol. 15 No. 7
March 28 - April 10, 2011
CBCP Monitor
Prefect promotes adoration for vocations, holy clergy
The prefect of the Congregation for Clergy says the value
of Eucharistic adoration cannot be overestimated, and he is
recommending that every diocese have an adoration chapelor shrine dedicated to the intentions of consecrated vocations
and the sanctication of the clergy. Cardinal Mauro Piacenzaafrmed this in a March 4 note to Bishop Dominique Rey ofFrejus-Toulon, France. The bishop is promoting an internationalconference on Eucharistic adoration, to be held June 20-24 in
Rome at the Salesianum. “We cannot overestimate the im-portance of adoring the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament,knowing that worship is the highest act of the People of God,”the cardinal wrote.
Vatican urges support of Holy Land collection
The Congregation for Eastern Churches is urging Catholicsworldwide to support the Good Friday collection for theChurch in the Holy Land. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, pre-fect of that dicastery, sent a letter with an appeal to recall
this “commitment that dates back to apostolic times.” Heaffirmed that “the Holy Land expects the brotherhood of
the universal Church and desires to reciprocate it in shar-ing the experience of grace and suffering that marks herjourney.”
Church needs courageous apostles to ght religious
Pope Benedict said at his general audience that the modern
world needs “zealous” disciples of Christ, who will ght reli
gious indifference with the “light and beauty” of the Gospel.
The Pope dedicated his teaching at the Vatican on March 23
to St. Lawrence of Brindisi, who was born in Italy in 1559 and
was named one of the Doctors of the Church for his expertisein preaching Catholic doctrine and Sacred Scripture. St. Law-rence is known for his “clear and tranquil” explanations of theChristian faith to his surrounding culture, the pontiff noted,particularly to those who had left the Church in the wake ofthe Reformation.
New book features in-ight interviews with John Paul
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi recently announcedthe release of the book, “Traveling Companions, In-ight Inter
views with John Paul II.” The book, which features a selectionof in-ight interviews the late Pope John Paul II gave to journal
ists, was released March 23 at the ofces of Vatican Radio. Fr.Lombardi explained that Vatican Radio preserved recordingsof the interviews given by John Paul II during the rst yearsof his ponticate. The organization then made them availableto journalist Angela Ambrogetti, author of the new book. Thebook was published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Vaticanpublishing house.
Pope Benedict prays for peace in Libya
Responding to the widening military conict, Pope Benedict
XVI has prayed for a “horizon of peace and harmony” to arise
in Libya. He also assured the people of Libya of his “heartfeltcloseness.” “The disturbing news coming from Libya has
awakened in me fear and trepidation,” Pope Benedict toldthe faithful in St. Peter’s Square after the traditional SundayAngelus prayers. He reported that he had offered a “special
prayer” about the state of affairs in Libya during his Lenten
spiritual exercises recently.
Atheists and Catholics in Paris examine question of God
Pope Benedict XVI called for a greater sense of brotherhoodin the world as the rst ofcial modern forum for dialoguebetween believers and non-believers was inaugurated lastweek in Paris. “Religions cannot be afraid of a just secularism,
a secularism that is open and allows individuals to live accord-
ing to what they believe in their own consciences,” he said. “Ifwe are to build a world of freedom, equality and fraternity,believers and non-believers should feel themselves to be free,
with equal rights to live their individual and community lives
in accordance with their own convictions; and they must bebrothers to one another.”
Pope picks Augustinian nun to write Good Fridaymeditations
Pope Benedict XVI chose an Augustinian nun to author thetexts for this year’s Way of the Cross procession on Good
Friday, the Vatican announced March 25. Mother Maria Rita
Piccione, a contemplative nun who leads the Federation of
Augustinian Nuns, wrote the texts that will be read at eachof the 14 stations, the Vatican statement said. Each year, the
pope selects a different person to author the texts that mark
the steps in the solemn, candlelight ceremony that begins atRome’s Colosseum and leads toward the nearby Forum and
Palatine Hill.
US bishops reiterate commitment
to ghting clerical abuse
World News
28, 2011—The U.S. bishops are
urging government leaders toexamine the use of military force
in Libya according to principlesof moral responsibility and the
protection of human life.
Bishop Howard Hubbard ofAlbany, New York, chairman ofthe United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops Committee onInternational Justice and Peace,wrote a letter last Thursdayto National Security AdvisorThomas Donilon emphasizingthese points.The prelate acknowledged,“Recently our nation in coali-
tion with others embarked on
an internationally-sanctionedmilitary mission to protect ci-
vilians in Libya from their own
government.”In the wake of reports of
WASHINGTON D.C., March 25, 2011―Arch
bishop Timothy M. Dolan, the head of theU.S. bishops’ conference, reiterated the bish
-ops’ resolve to swiftly remove priests guilty
of sex abuse from active ministry.Archbishop Dolan released a March 22statement—just ahead of National ChildAbuse Prevention Month in April—saying
that the occasion provides an opportunity“to unite with all Americans in a renewed
resolve to halt the scourge of sexual abuse
of youth in our society.”
Archbishop Dolan also cited “recent dis
closures” about the Church’s response to theclerical sexual abuse of minors as a primary
reason for his statement.Earlier this month, Cardinal Justin Rigali
placed 21 Philadelphia priests on admin
-istrative leave following an investigationinto a grand jury report that said there were
credible abuse allegations against the clergymembers, who were in active ministry.
Stress moral responsibility, principles of justice
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia,March 17, 2011—Governmentofcials in Malaysia agreed torelease 35,000 Bibles that were
seized in the country as it con-tinues a heated dispute over
non-Muslims being allowed to
use the word “Allah” for God.
The decision on March 15 by
the Muslim-majority government
is being considered a signicant
move to quell frustration amongMalaysian Christians, as a courtcase continues on whether non-Muslims have the constitutionalright to use the word.The Herald, Malaysia’s sole
Catholic publication, was pros
ecuted last year by the Malaysian
Home Ministry and threatenedwith the loss of its printinglicense for its use of “Allah” in
describing the Christian God in
its Malay-language section.The Herald argued that useof the term follows a centu-ries-old tradition within the
Arabic language that pre-dates
Islam, while the Home Ministryclaimed that its usage outside theMuslim context was an affront to
Muslims. Islam is both the state
religion and the largest faith inthe country.According to Vatican Radio,
on March 16 another govern
-ment minister attempted to
reimpose a block on 5,000 of theBibles in the Malaysian city of
Port Klang.
“In Selangor—where PortKlang is—there is a state enact
ment that prohibits the use of theword ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims,”
editor of The Herald Fr. LawrenceAndrew told Vatican Radio.The enactment, however,“goes against the federal consti-tution,” he underscored.Fr. Andrew also said thereis an internal security act that
allows for use of the Bible by
Christians as long as they have
been stamped with the words
“For Christians Only.”“So legally we Christians can
have the Bible, but they are nowputting restrictions because of
the fear that this will confuseMuslims,” he said.
Malaysian govt to release 35,000Bibles seized over ‘Allah’ dispute
US bishops question use of force in Libya
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, March27, 2011―Young Catholic lm
-makers have produced inspi-
rational YouTube videos with
Catholic themes as part of acontest to help evangelize others
about the faith.The Kentucky-based Catholic
youth media group GoodnessReigns is running the contest,whose entrants include youth
groups and individuals aged 14
and older from all skill levels.
They have submitted short lms
on Church teachings, the sacra-ments, Church history, the livesof the saints and examples of thecontemporary mission spirit.Goodness Reigns’ People’s
Choice Award promises a $1,000
cash prize to the winner of aninternet vote.Entrants are also competingin the “Share the Story” short
lm contest. On April 1 contest
organizers will announce win-ners, who may choose eithervideo equipment packages orall-inclusive travel packages to
World Youth Day 2011 in Ma
-drid, Spain.
The entries come from 25 U.S.
states and Canada, India, Mexicoand Pakistan.As of Friday afternoon, thePeople’s Choice vote leader wasa video titled “The Sacrament ofDivine Mercy.” It retells a storyfrom the life of St. John Bosco inwhich Satan tries to demoralizea priest and his congregation
about the effectiveness of con
-fession.Another leading video, “TheTen Plagues,” reinterpets the
biblical plagues in a high school
setting. The video “Finding John
Doe” involves a troubled girl
contemplating suicide, whileanother, “Morning Star Family
Holy Hour,” describes the Holy
Hour at a children’ prayer group
in New York state.
The contest will help create
a repository of short lms forcatechists and the general public,
organizers said.
Gabriel Castillo, director of
Catholic youth create videos for internet contest
Vatican Brieng
Archbishop Dolan emphasized that the
Church will continue to enforce a zero-tol-
erance policy, referencing the bishops’ 2002
Charter for the Protection of Children and
Young People, which was drafted in the wakeof the rst revelations of sex abuse by clergy.
“Over the past nine years, we have con-stantly reviewed the high promises andrigorous mandates of the Charter, as wecontinually try to make it even more effec-tive,” he said.“We want to learn from our mistakes andwe welcome constructive criticism,” the
archbishop said, adding that the U.S. bishops“remain especially rm in our commitmentto remove permanently from public ministry
any priest who committed such an intoler-
able offense.”
The conference president said that “thispainful issue continues to receive our care-ful attention” and that “the protection ofour children and young people is of highestpriority.”
Archbishop Dolan also expressed his
thanks to the conference’s National Review
Board—an initiative that works to preventsexual abuse of minors within the Church—
as well as “Catholic parents, professionals,the victim-survivor community, law enforce-ment officials, and our diocesan victim-assistance coordinators.”
The archbishop noted that annual outsideaudits by forensic experts will continue,
“checking that we remain faithful to the pro-cesses in place to protect our young people,promote healing of victims survivors andrestore trust.”“In short, the progress made must contin-
ue and cannot be derailed,” he said, adding
that “we want to strengthen it even more.”
“We can never stop working at it, because
each child and young person must always
be safe, loved and cherished in the Church.”
 (CNA/EWTN News)
“massacres” of Libyan protes
tors and bombings of rebelforces by Muammar Gaddafi,the country’s leader for 42 years,the U.N. Security Council passedResolution 1973. This resolution
authorized the international
community to establish a no-y
zone, and to allow for the useof “all means necessary” for the
protection of Libyan civilians.On March 19, several countrieslaunched bombing attacks onthe Libyan military systems in
Tripoli and elsewhere.
Underlining Catholic teach
-ing, that “the use of force must
always be a last resort that servesa just cause,” the bishop afrmed,
“The just cause articulated in
U.N. Security Council Resolution1973 to demand ‘a ceasere and
a complete end to violence and
all attacks against, and abuses
of, civilians’ appears to meet thiscriterion in our judgment.”He added, “Since the protec-tion of civilians is paramount,a key question is: Will the coali-tion actions stay focused on thislimited goal and mission?”
“In recent years,” Bishop Hub
bard observed, “the Holy See
has emphasized the role of in-
ternational bodies in authorizing
humanitarian interventions intosovereign nations.”
Careful monitoring 
He added, “The United Na
-tions Security Council needs tocontinue to monitor carefullythe mission and the use of force
in Libya.”
The prelate outlined “impor-tant questions” in this regard,including: “How is the use offorce protecting the civilianevangelization at St. Theresa’sChurch in Sugarland, Texas,praised the contest.“Now youth groups andteachers will have a safe placeto send their students and peersto get solid Catholic informationpresented in creative ways,” shesaid.
The website for the People’s
Choice vote is
population of Libya? Is the force
employed proportionate to thegoal of protecting civilians? Is itproducing evils graver than theevil it hopes to address?“What are the implications ofthe use of force for the future
welfare of the Libyan people andthe stability of the region?”
He pointed out that “the jus-tice of a cause does not lessen the
moral responsibility to comply
with the norms of civilian im-munity and proportionality.”
In this regard, the bishop
raised other questions, such as:
“Is force being used in ways that
protect civilian lives?
“Are civilian casualties being
avoided? Is the destruction oflives and property proportionate
to the good being achieved in
terms of saving civilian lives?”
Vol. 15 No. 7
March 28 - April 10, 2011
CBCP Monitor
News Features
VATICAN City, March 25, 2011—Confession teaches both priests andpenitents to be humble and aware of
God’s forgiveness, Pope Benedict XVI
said March 25.
“By administering the aSacramentof Penance we can receive profoundlessons of humility and faith,” he tolda gathering of priests at the Vatican.“For each priest, this is a powerful callto an awareness of his own identity.Never could we hear the confessions of
our brothers and sisters merely on the
strength of our own humanity.”
“If they come to us it is only becausewe are priests, congured to Christ,
the Supreme and Eternal Priest, andgranted the capacity of acting in HisName and Person, so as to make pres-ent the God Who forgives, renews andtransforms,” the Pope said.His remarks addressed participants
in an annual course organized by the
Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican tri-
bunal in charge of granting indulgences,
resolving sins reserved to the Pope,and resolving matters of conscienceforwarded to the Holy See.The course concerned the “internal fo-rum,” a technical term for the personalarea of conscience and judgment in thepriest-penitent relationship.Pope Benedict told the priests thatthe sacrament of Penance teaches the
priest about his faith and the truth and
poverty of his person. It also nourishesin him an awareness of his sacramentalidentity.He also pointed out that individualfreedom and self-awareness are ex-pressed “particularly clearly” in thesacrament.“It is perhaps for this reason too that,in an age of relativism and of the con-sequent reduced awareness of self, thepractice of this Sacrament should alsohave diminished.”The pontiff then touched on thepractice known as an examination ofconscience, which involves a review ofone’s sins and failings. This practice, hesaid, teaches Catholics to compare theirlives with “the truth of the Gospel.”Comparing one’s life with the Com-
mandments, the Beatitudes and “above
all” the commandment to love repre-sents a great “school of penance,” PopeBenedict told the priests. An “integralconfession” helps penitents recognizetheir own fragility, achieve an aware-ness of the need for God’s forgiveness,
and achieve the belief that divine grace
can transform life.“Do not fail to give appropriatespace to exercising the ministry of
penance in the confessional. To be
welcomed and heard is also a humansign of God’s welcome and goodnesstowards His children,” he said.
(CNA/ EWTN News)
Confession teaches humility topriests and penitents, Pope says
MANILA, March 17,2011―Local officials musttake a cue from the coal-red
power plant operations inMisamis Oriental whether ornot to allow a similar projectin Davao City, a Catholic
archbishop said.
“The consumer groups andthe city government should
see and observe the coal plantin Misamis Oriental before
coming to action,” said Davao
Archbishop Fernando Capalla.
And if the plan is approved,he said that safety measureswith the use of modern tech-nology and monitoring sys-
tem must be in place.“If they agree to the estab
-lishment of the new plant,they should see to it that
some knowledgeable citi
-zens from civil society andreligious groups should alsomonitor the monitoring plan
of Aboitiz and Department
of Environment and NaturalResources,” he said.
The Aboitiz Corp. pro
posed to put a 300-megawatcoal-red power plant in the
city’s Binugao village as thekey solution power shortagein the southern Mindanao.The firm said the short-
age was merely because
the hydro-electric plants inMarawi and Budkidnon can
no longer provide sufcient
supply of energy to the needsof the locality.The project, which divides
local ofcials of Davao, also
aimed at providing cheaperpower to the region.Davao del Sur GovernorDouglas Cagas and DavaoCity Vice Mayor Rodrigo Du-
terte support the project but
Mayor Sara Duterte is againstit although she would go withthe decision of the people.In a petition, residents ofBinugao village are also op-posed to it and asked the citygovernment to reject the pro-
posed coal-red power plant.
Capalla admitted to have met
with Aboitiz ofcials and got abrieng on the project at least
three times.
Vatican welcomes European court
decision on classroom crucifxes
VATICAN City, March 18,2011—Crucifixes displayedpublicly in Italy, including in
classrooms, are a sign of Chris-
tianity’s key contribution to Eu
-ropean culture and civilization,said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi,
president of the Pontical Coun
-cil for Culture.Christianity is a “foundingelement” of Western civiliza-tion and “even if someone doesnot want to recognize it, it is an
objective fact that the Christianpresence is absolutely relevant,
decisive,” the cardinal told re-
porters March 18.
Cardinal Ravasi spoke just
a few hours before the GrandChamber of the European Court
of Human Rights ruled in favorof Italy in a case where a motherclaimed crucifixes in Italian
public-school classrooms vio
Study on coal-fired power plant,health hazards link pushed
lated her children’s freedom ofconscience.
A lower chamber of the Euro
pean court had ruled in 2009 thatthe classroom crucixes violated
the religious freedom clausesof the European Convention ofHuman Rights.Jesuit Father Federico Lom-
bardi, Vatican spokesman, said
the Vatican welcomed the Grand
Chamber ruling, which recog
-nizes that “human rights must
not be placed in opposition to
the religious foundations of Eu-ropean civilization.”The decision is an affirma-tion of the respect owed to each
country of the European Unionfor “the religious symbols of its
cultural history and nationalidentity” and for national deci-
sions on how the symbols canand should be displayed, FatherMANILA, March 26, 2011—Fil
ipino-Americans in the United
States are once again united in
helping their kababayans whohave been affected by the earth
-quake, tsunami and radiationleaks in Japan.Filipino communities, espe-
cially those who have been en
-gaged in the religious service,had launched their own helpcampaign drive for Filipinos
severely affected by the catastro
phe. Dubbed as Help for Filipino
Migrants in Japan (HFMJ), it aimsto collect money and other formsof assistance to give the victims.In a statement, Nerissa N. Alle-gretti, secretary of the HFMJ and
a coordinator for Lay Scalabrin
ian Missionary Movement-US
Nucleus, said they are targetingto gather enough aids in order
to immediately help the 20,000
Filipinos living in northern Ja-pan, particularly in the Sendaicoasts, who are heavily affected
by the disaster.
“The HFMJ coordinating com-
Vatican says church philosophy studiesmust combat suspicion of truth
mittee is partnering with SAGIP-MIGRANTE Japan to assistmigrant Filipinos as well as other
migrant groups affected by this
tragedy. We are soliciting yourfinancial donation,” reads the
letter of appeal posted by the
HFMJ in the social networking
site, Facebook.Aside from nancial help, the
group has also joined hands withother organizations and indi-
viduals who have been praying
for Japan. A three o’clock daily
habit was launched for the fast
recovery of Japan, where everyCatholics and other Christian de-nominations are asked to pray, insilence, three (3) Our Fathers orcompose their own prayers.Famous Filipino-Japanesemodel, Mayo Okawa, who is
based in Nagoya-shi, also ap
-pealed for help.Trying to inspire and comforther compatriots in Japan and else-
where, who have been affectedby tragedies and war, she wroteon her Facebook wall: “Trials
Fil-Ams unite to help Japan calamity victims
VATICAN City, March 22, 2011—When
training priests and educating students inphilosophy, the Catholic Church must com-
bat a widespread sensation that there reallyis no such thing as permanent, objective
truths, a new Vatican document said.
Because so many students are inuencedby the cultural suspicion of truth, the Vaticansaid it will require an extra year of study be
-fore a student can earn a church-recognized
bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
The “Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiasti-cal Studies of Philosophy,” released March22 at the Vatican, updated norms issued in
1979. The decree was signed and presentedby Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of
the Congregation for Catholic Education.The decree’s introduction said the reform is
needed primarily because of a shift in the cul
-tural understanding of “the concept of truth.In fact, there is often mistrust in the capacity
of human intelligence to arrive at objectiveand universal truth―a truth by which people
can give direction to their lives.”The document said people must realizethat unless there is such a thing as truth,there is no such thing as real charity orlove.The study of philosophy helps peoplerecognize the importance of human reason
and helps them hone the ability to reason
in order to discern the truth, the documentsaid. At the same time, philosophy studies
prepare them for the study of theology by
helping them see that knowledge and truthare not limited to what they can see andshould not surprise us, or cause
us to doubt GOD’s faithfulness.Rather, we should actually be
glad for them. GOD sometimes
sends trials not to punish us but
to strengthen our trust in Him sothat our faith will not fail. Our
trials keep us trusting; they burn
away our self confidence anddraw us near and close to Him.”In addition, in a private messageto this reporter, Okawa extends herdeepest sympathies to the victimsof the tremor and tsunami.
“To my kababayans who were
affected in Sendai and MiyagiPrefecture: My heartfelt sym-pathy and condolences to yourfriends and loved ones who diedand still missing. To all survi-vors, trials and hardships willmake you closer to our Savior.With your faith in Him, you canmake it, we can make it! Don’tlose hope, GOD is in control. Ijust wanted to announce thatthis is not God’s plan. GOD islove, He is merciful. We should
not blame GOD for natural di
-touch, it said.The new document sets a minimum of
three years of philosophy studies ― insteadof two ― for an ecclesiastical bachelor’s
degree in philosophy. The second degree,a license that allows a graduate to teach
in a seminary, continues to be a two-yearprogram after the bachelor’s, and a doctoral
program must include at least three years ofadditional research, it said.
The decree also included a broad outlineof what must be taught in the bachelor’s pro
gram; a brief explanation of the philosophystudy needed before studying theology; andrequirements such as the number of profes
sors a department must have before the
Vatican will recognize it as an ecclesiasticalfaculty of philosophy.
sasters instead, let us pray to ourLORD that whatever happens,we love and praise Him and weneed His mercy for whateversufferings we have since March
11. I am praying for all of us,”
she said in her message.Meanwhile, the National Al-liance for Filipino Concerns(Nafcon), a multi-sector alliance
in the United States assailed the
“slowness” of the Benigno C.Aquino III’s administration inhelping Filipinos in Japan.“The Aquino administrationso far has failed to effectivelyassist Filipinos in Japan. ThePresident should use all avail-
able resources to ensure the
refuge and safe return of our
kababayans. Up to now no emer
gency money has been allocated
for relief and the administration
has proposed only a single C-130
military plane to fly our dis-tressed Filipinos home,” said Fr.Benjamin Alforque, president ofthe Nafcon, in a statement sent tomedia.
(Noel Sales Barcelona)
Lombardi said.
A lack of respect, he said,would lead to a situation inwhich, “in the name of religious
liberty, paradoxically one would
limit or even deny this freedom,ending up excluding every ex-
pression of it from the public
sphere.”Speaking to reporters at a
news conference about a Vatican
project to promote dialogue with
atheists and other nonbelievers,
Cardinal Ravasi had said that
while a crucix is a religious sym
bol to believers, it also is “a sign of
civilization” in the West.In every culture, he said, peo-
ple find symbols that express
their identity and, in losing those
symbols, “we run the great risk
of losing our identity.”“Having white walls leads to
a void, to cultural fragility. You
may need to explain what a reli-
gious symbol means, but it isn’t
right to have to take down your
symbols simply to avoid offend
-ing someone,” the cardinal said.Similarly, he said, “when yougo to a Muslim city, you aren’tconcerned when you see goldencrescent moons” lit at night anddotting the skyline.During his news conference,the cardinal presented the pro-
gram for his ofce’s “Courtyard
of the Gentiles” project, whichaims to promote discussions
between Christians and atheistsor nonbelievers.
The cardinal said the “Court-yard of the Gentiles” projecttentatively is scheduled to holdsessions in other cities around
the world, including in Quebecin 2012 and in Chicago andWashington in 2013.

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