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CBCP Monitor Vol15 n14

CBCP Monitor Vol15 n14

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Published by cbcpmonitor
- Bishop hits SC ruling on Hacienda Luisita
- PCSO donations are used for social services, says prelate
- Bishops to elect new CBCP officials
- UP students mount silent protest vs RH
- Media office re-launches online radio
- License of pastors in gay wedding may be revoked – bishop
- Eco group supports motion for reconsideration on Ortega murder case
- Bishop hits SC ruling on Hacienda Luisita
- PCSO donations are used for social services, says prelate
- Bishops to elect new CBCP officials
- UP students mount silent protest vs RH
- Media office re-launches online radio
- License of pastors in gay wedding may be revoked – bishop
- Eco group supports motion for reconsideration on Ortega murder case

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Published by: cbcpmonitor on Jul 08, 2011
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 Vol. 15 No. 14
 July 4 - 17, 2011
Php 20.
Work: An Opportunity forPeople to Transform toReality
Eco group / A7
PCSO donations are used for social services, says prelate
UP students mount silentprotest vs RH
BELYING the accusation by the Phil-ippine Charity Sweepestakes (PCSO)that he received an SUV for personaluse, Cotabato Archbishop OrlandoQuevedo stressed that his request forassistance from the agency was for theuse of the social action apostolate andnot his own.In a statement, the archbishop said hehas never requested PCSO for a vehiclefor his personal use, but admitted thathe indeed asked the agency for a vehiclefor their social action program meant tohelp the poor in the diocese.Quevedo said the request was for avehicle they can use “for communityorganizing at the grassroots, capac-ity building, training of IndigenousPeoples’ leaders, as well as to bring sickpeople to hospitals when necessary.”He lamented that the Catholic bishopsare seemingly being singled out for ask-ing donations from PCSO for projectsthat are meant to help the poor.Asking assistance from PCSO to helpthe poor is not something unusual asit has been done for years, Quevedosaid.Since the time of former PresidentCorazon Aquino up to present, thegovernment agency has been grantingassistance to various Church-relatedorganizations in support of their so-cial programs and poverty alleviationprojects.Earlier, PCSO Director Margarita Juico has disclosed that at least 7 Catho-lic bishops had received SUVs amount-ing to several millions from formerPresident Gloria Macapagal Arroyothrough PCSO. Juico has said that the bishops arecriminally liable for receiving donationsfrom the PCSO as the Constitutions pro-hibit any government agency to appro-priate public funds to favor a particularreligion or religious groupBut former Senator Aquilino Pimen-tel, in a Manila forum held June 5 saidthe burden of proof lies on the giver andnot on the receiver.
The PCSO ofcials should be held li
Media ofce re-launchesonline radio
The News Supplement forCouples for Christ
Bishop hits SC ruling onHacienda Luisita
able for disbursing government fundsinstead of the bishops, who merelyreceived the donations, he said.Lawyer Romulo Macalintal, alsoechoed the same sentiment saying thebishops did not commit a criminal of-fense by receiving donations from thegovernment’s charitable arm.He stressed that there is no law in theland that says receiving donations fromPCSO is a criminal act.Macalintal added that if giving dona-
Bishops to electnew CBCP
The Cross
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPIand the Order of the Knights of Columbus
By Roy Lagarde
A CATHOLIC bishopdeplored the SupremeCourt ruling on the dis-puted Hacienda Luisita,a 6,453-hectare sugarplantation in Tarlacowned by the familyof President BenignoAquino III.
 Manila Auxiliary Bishop Brod-erick Pabillo, head of the CBCPNational Secretariat Social Ac-tion, questioned why there isa need for another referendumwhen the SC has already ruledagainst the 1989 stock distribu-tion option (SDO) deal of theHacienda Luisita, Inc.“What we are asking fromthe Supreme Court is to upholdwhether SDO is valid or not. Ifit’s not valid, then why call for an-other referendum,” Pabillo said.“The decision would only letthe Cojuangcos to still have fullcontrol of the land while thefarmers have none,” he said.“The farmers are really sad andwe are with them.”Voting 6-4, the high courtrevoked the SDO in HaciendaLuisita in Tarlac and ordered theDepartment of Agrarian Reform(DAR) to hold a new referendumin the sugar estate.The magistrates in a 90-pagedecision penned by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco re-quested DAR to report its com-
pliance 6 months after the nal
-ity of the SC decision.“We are not happy, of course.It is very saddening especiallysince it will be returned to thepeople for a referendum,” saidFr. Edu Gariguez, Nassa execu-tive secretary.“It is like they do not wantto be blamed for anything. It isthe SC’s job to resolve the issue.It appears that they failed to doit,” he said.Pabillo said the decision is a
blow to farmer-beneciaries who
had been dreaming of tillingtheir own lands.He said the ruling is also ahuge setback to the country’sComprehensive Agrarian Re-form Program with extensionand reform (CARPer).
Eco group supportsmotion forreconsideration onOrtega murder case
ENVIRONMENTALISTS support the moveof the family of the late environmentaladvocate, Dr. Gerry Ortega to appeal thedecision of the Department of Justice (DOJ)to exclude former Palawan Governor JoelReyes from the roster of suspects in theOrtega murder case.MEMBERS of the CatholicBishops’ Conference of thePhilippines (CBCP) willgather to elect their newpresident this week.The bishops from thecountry’s 86 dioceses willalso vote their new vicepresident and members ofthe CBCP permanent councilrepresenting Luzon, Visayasand Mindanao.The election will take placeduring the CBCP’s 103rdplenary assembly to be heldat the Pope Pius XII CatholicCenter in Manila on July9-11.Pope Benedict XVI,meanwhile, has assured his“spiritual closeness” with thePhilippine bishops.In a message relayedthrough the Nunciature,Vatican Secretary of StateCardinal Tarcisio Bertoneconveyed to CBCP PresidentBishop Nereo Odchimar, thepope’s prayers for a fruitfulgathering.“His holiness prays thatthis time for reflection andrenewed dedication in theservice of the Gospel will bearabundant fruit for the Churchand the society,” Bertonesaid.“He encourages the bishopsin their efforts in defenseof the value of each humanlife, of the sacredness ofmarriage, and of the family,”he added.Odchimar of Tandag andvice president Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu are both
serving their rst terms.
The president and the vice-president are elected for two-year terms and may serve fora maximum of two terms. Bytradition, they are reelected fortheir second and last term.In CBCP history, membersof the permanent councilenjoy four cumulative terms in
ofce, with the vice president
normally succeeding thepresident when his termexpires.The permanent council actsfor and in behalf of the CBCPwhen the plenary assemblyIT was a silent protest, but itlooks like the demonstrationcarried out by some Universityof the Philippines (UP) studentsshowed conviction to go againstthe grain in a campus that hadbeen dismissed as simply going
with the ow as far as support
for a proposed birth controlmeasure is concerned.The students, part of a growinggroup dubbed UP Against RH,had been handing out aroundcampus information materialsrevealing the truth about the Re-productive Health (RH) bill fora few days up to a July 1 marchconducted by RH supporters.They also tied red ribbonsaround trees and lamp posts andstuck the ubiquitous “No to RHbill” stickers in some parts ofthe campus to demonstrate thepresence of the pro-life voicein what had been previouslyperceived as an RH-supportinguniversity.The silent protest culminatedin red-garbed students walk-ing with red balloons towarda crowd gathered at the stepsfronting Palma Hall, one of theuniversity’s main buildings, for
THE media ofce of the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philip-pines has re-launched its CBCPonline radio with more programsaimed to further serve Filipinos hereand abroad.Several new programs are be-ing produced in coordination withseveral government agencies andkey personalities in business andpolitics.Among the programs scheduledto be begin this month are “SagotKo ‘Yan” in coordination with the
Ofce of the Civil Registrar Gen
eral and National Statistics Ofce;
“Batas ng Bayan” in cooperation
with the Public Attorney’s Ofce;
“Business Bits” with Manila Bul-letin VP Melito Salazar and severalothers.The occasion also provided avenue to recognize partners who
have supported the media ofce’s
recent project, the Visita Iglesia
License of pastors in gay weddingmay be revoked – bishop
THE authority to solem-nize a marriage of pas-tors behind the recentsame-sex mass weddingin Baguio City may berevoked, a Catholic prel-ate said.Retired ArchbishopOscar Cruz believes thatadministering in a same-sexwedding goes against the meritof a priest or minister’s authority tosolemnize a marriage.Such authority is issued by the National Statistics
PCSO / A6SC Ruling / A6UP / A6Elect / A6Online / A6License / A7
People can abuse reasonwhen they demand proof from God, pope says
 Vol. 15 No. 14
July 4 -17, 2011
CBCP Monitor
Archbishop Gomez reects on America’sChristian roots for July 4th
 World News
Holy See rejects Leshan bishop
Money, political clout set tone forN.Y. debate over same-sex marriage
Pope to hear confessions at WYD
Benedict XVI will hear the confessions of several youngpeople when he is in Madrid this August for World YouthDay. The pope will hear confessions in the Jardines del BuenRetiro and then celebrate a 10 a.m. Mass for seminariansin the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena onAugust 21. The Holy Father will arrive in Madrid, Aug. 19.
Pope praying for AIDS victims and missionary sistersin July
The Vatican announced June 30 that Pope Benedict will bepraying in July for victims of AIDS and religious women inmission territories. The Pope’s general intention is “that Christmay ease the physical and spiritual sufferings of those who aresick with AIDS, especially in the poorest countries.” His mis-sion intention is “that religious women in mission territoriesmay be witnesses of the joy of the Gospel and living signs ofthe love of Christ.”
Vatican newspaper is at service of truth, justice, popesays
The “pope’s newspaper” is a paper of information and ideasat the service of truth and justice, Pope Benedict XVI said.L’Osservatore Romano, therefore, must continue to putfocus on important issues of the day like bioethics and onwomen’s perspectives, ecumenism and relations with Jews,the pope said. The pope praised the Vatican paper as “one ofthe privileged instruments at the service of the Holy See andthe church,” in a written message marking the paper’s 150thanniversary.
Pope to Indian bishops: Promote unity in charity
Bishops are called not only to teach, sanctify and governtheir flocks, but also to promote unity and to “mouldhis flock into one family,” says Benedict XVI. The Popereflected on the duty of a bishop to promote unity uponreceiving in audience June 17 Group IV of the CatholicBishops’ Conference of India during their “ad limina”visit. “By the laying on of hands and the invocation of theHoly Spirit,” he began, “you are set over God’s people aspastors, and you are called to teach, sanctify and governthe local Churches.”
Vatican City State and Holy See back in the nancial
The Vatican City State ran up a surplus of $30 million over the
past year, after three years of decit. The gure was revealedin nancial results published July 2. “Both the excellent per
-formance of the Vatican Museums – thanks especially to theincrease in visitors, which runs against the current worldwide
trend in the tourism industry – and the upswing in nancial
markets contributed to this positive result,” the report noted.
Pope says selsh economic models at root of world
Pope Benedict XVI said persistent world hunger was a “trag-
edy” driven by selsh and prot-driven economic models,whose rst victims are millions of children deprived of life or
good health. In responding to the crisis, international agenciesshould rediscover the value of the family farm, promoting themovement of young people back into rural areas, the popesaid July 1 in an address to participants in an annual confer-ence on hunger organized by the Rome-based U.N. Food andAgriculture Organization.
Pope launches appeal for refugees
Benedict XVI launched for an appeal for the dignied treat
-ment of refugees on the eve of the UN’s World Day forRefugees. Speaking June 19 after celebrating Mass in theOlympic Stadium of Serravalle, at the beginning of his one-day pastoral visit to the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro,the Pope appealed to civil authorities and “all people of good
will to guarantee a welcome and dignied living conditions
for refugees, until they can freely and safely return to theirhomeland.”
Vatican Briefng
WASHINGTON, DC, June 29, 2011—It
was a ght involving an age-old deni
-tion of marriage, with several Catholicsplaying key roles.But in the end, the effort to stopa same-sex marriage bill in the NewYork Legislature came down to moneyand political favors—neither of whichwere at the disposal of Catholic lead-ers and their allies working to keepthe traditional view that marriagecan only be between one man andone woman.“Money talked in this case,” said Den-nis Poust, director of communicationsfor the New York State Catholic Con-ference, in an interview with CatholicNews Service.By a 33-29 vote late June 24, the stateSenate approved legislation makingsame-sex marriage legal in New Yorkstate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democratand a Catholic, signed it into law laterthat evening.Poust said the strategy used by pro-ponents of the legislation was “verysimple—millions and millions of dollarsfrom wealthy gay-rights advocates fromall over the country, a billionaire mayorin New York City willing to spendwhatever it took and an extremelydetermined governor willing to doanything to get his way.”“That’s not something the churchcan compete with,” he added in a tele-phone interview from the conference’sheadquarters in Albany, N.Y. “Wedon’t have money to throw aroundand even if we did, it wouldn’t bepermitted.”Poust also said there were “all sorts ofbackroom deals and promises to sena-tors” who voted to support same-sexmarriage, as well as pledges by NewYork Mayor Michael Bloomberg to“open up the pocketbooks” for thoselegislators. “There was a lot of armtwisting, a lot of cajoling,” he said.In a message to Catholic New York-ers after the vote, the heads of the eightNew York dioceses thanked the legisla-tors and citizens who worked for defeatof the legislation.“We know the pressure that wasbrought to bear on them, and we admiretheir courage and yours in attempting todefend marriage and protect religiousfreedom,” the bishops said. “Many sure-ly believed that Catholics would simplyshrug their shoulders and go along withthis radical act of social engineering. Yetyou did not do that.”The bishops expressed “particulardisappointment with those elected of-
cials who publicly profess delity to
our Catholic religion but whose publicstance is at odds with a fundamentalteaching of that faith.”Among those voting in favor of same-sex marriage was Republican Sen. Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo, N.Y., who said on
the Senate oor that “as a Catholic I was
raised to believe marriage is between aman and a woman.”But he said he “would not respectmyself if I did not make an informed de-cision based on the information beforeme,” and had ultimately concluded that“I cannot deny anyone in my districtand across New York the same rights Ihave with my wife.”Poust said the New York bishopshave expressed frustration with Catho-lic legislators who say they are person-ally opposed to same-sex marriage butfeel compelled to vote for it anyway.“The idea that you can claim to bea faithful Catholic and take a positionthat is at the opposite extreme of whatthe church teaches is no longer accept-able,” he said.Passage of the same-sex marriagelegislation prompted Bishop NicholasDiMarzio of Brooklyn to direct Catholicschools in his diocese “to refuse anydistinction or honors” bestowed byCuomo or by any legislator that votedfor same-sex marriage and to tell pastorsand principals “not to invite any statelegislator to speak or be present at anyparish or school celebration.”Poust said he did not expect adoptionof a similar policy statewide, but “it willcontinue to be a diocesan bishop’s call”about what to do in his own diocese.The legislation exempts any clergymembers who decline to performsame-sex weddings and protects anyemployee “being managed, directed orsupervised by or in conjunction with areligious corporation, benevolent order
or a not-for-prot corporation.”
It also says failure to provide same-sex ceremonies would not “result inany state or local government action to
penalize, withhold benets, or discrimi
-nate against such religious corpora-
tion, benevolent order, a not-for-prot
corporation operated, supervised orcontrolled by a religious corporation.”When the law takes effect, probablyin late July, New York will become thesixth state to permit same-sex marriage,more than doubling the number of peo-ple for whom same-sex marriage willbe an option. It currently is allowed inConnecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, NewHampshire and Vermont, in addition tothe District of Columbia.Renewed efforts to pass same-sexlegislation or place the issue beforevoters are expected in Maryland, RhodeIsland, Maine, Oregon, Delaware, Min-nesota, North Carolina and elsewhere.Meanwhile, despite what they calleda “sad moment in our state’s history,”the New York bishops and their rep-resentatives at the Catholic conferencewill continue to work with Cuomoand the Legislature on behalf of thepoor and vulnerable, the unborn andCatholic school parents, among others,Poust said.“We can’t afford to cut off relationswith legislators or with the governor
because we have other ghts to ght,”
he said. “There are many more issuesof grave concern to us. So we’ll just getup and brush ourselves off and continueon.”
HONG KONG, Hong Kong, July 4, 2011—The Holy See hasreleased today a firm-stancestatement against the episcopalordination of Father Paul LeiShiyin in Leshan diocese, south-western Sichuan province, whowas ordained without apostolicmandate on June 29.The 4-point statement de-clares Father Lei has incurredthe penalty of Canon 1382 ofthe Code of Canon Law, andthe seven consecrating bishopshave also exposed themselvesto the same “grave canonicalsanctions.”The Holy See does not recog-nize Father Lei as the Bishop ofLeshan diocese, and he has noauthority to govern the diocesancommunity, the statement says,adding that the ordination wasa unilateral act and has sowndivision and produced rifts andtensions in the Catholic commu-nity in China.“If it is desired that theChurch in China be Catholic,the Church’s doctrine and dis-cipline must be respected,” thestatement said.The pope is deeply saddenedby the case, which has damagedthe unity of the Church, thedocument states, adding how-ever that the pope wishes to senda word of encouragement andhope to his beloved faithful inChina and invite them to prayerand unity.The Leshan ordination was
the rst case since the Holy See
issued a declaration on the cor-rect application of the canonicalpenalty of excommunication forunapproved bishop ordinationson June 11.
ROME, Italy, July 4, 2011—TheFourth of July is an opportu-
nity to reect on the American
founders’ “Christian vision” of
the human person and the inu
-ence of Spanish missionaries inbringing Christianity to the land,Archbishop Jose Gomez of LosAngeles said in a call for a newevangelization.“Although it was founded byChristians, America has becomehome to an amazing diversity ofcultures, religions and ways oflife,” the archbishop wrote in his July 1 column for his archdioc-esan newspaper The Tidings.“This diversity flourishesprecisely because our nation’sfounders had a Christian visionof the human person, freedom,and truth. It is a basic Americanbelief that men and women arecreated equal — with God-givenrights to life, liberty, and thepursuit of happiness.”This vision is part of the legacyof Bl. Junipero Serra and his fellowmissionaries, said the archbishop.Serra, a Franciscan priest wholived from 1713 to 1784, founded
the rst nine of the 21 California
missions. He is buried at MissionSan Carlos Borromeo in Carmel,California.Archbishop Gomez, whowrote his column from Romeafter receiving the pallium fromPope Benedict XVI, said Ameri-can Catholics need to see that the July 1 memorial of Bl. JuniperoSerra and the Fourth of July “be-long together.”“America’s story starts withthose Spanish missionaries. Ournational character and identityare deeply marked by the Gospelvalues they brought to this land,”he said, noting the many placesnamed in Spanish for saints,sacraments and other objectsof faith.“The Mass was being cel-ebrated here years before theDeclaration of Independenceand the Constitution,” he said,deeming this missionary legacyto be part of the identity of theArchdiocese of Los Angeles.“California was among the
rst outposts for the evangeliza
-tion of America. California mustnow become a leader in the newevangelization of our country,”the archbishop wrote.Participants in the new evange-lization should bring the signs ofGod’s love to Los Angeles and tothe world. The archbishop citedBl. Junipero’s comments that Mis-sions will provide this countrywith “what is most important –the light of the Holy Gospel.”“The light of the Gospel isstill what is most important forAmerica. For that, our coun-try needs each one of us tobe missionaries,” concludedArchbishop Gomez, who askedCatholics to pray for the moraland spiritual renewal of theUnited States.
Catholics pray for the return of two priests, seized like their bishop-designate, in Handan
HANDAN, China, July 4, 2011—Two priests disappeared onSaturday in Handan (Hebei)
after meeting ofcials from theReligious Affairs Ofce. Sources
close to AsiaNews said that the
two, who hold important ofces
in the diocese, wanted to knowabout the situation of their bish-op-designate, who disappearedbefore his episcopal ordination.The two priests are Fr. Huai Jianting, chancellor, and Fr. LiuXiuhua, a member of the pres-byteral council. After two days,nothing is known about themor about Fr. Sun Jigen, coadju-tor bishop-designate, sources inHandan told AsiaNews.Msgr. Yang Xiangtai, the 89-year-old ordinary bishop whohad suffered a heart attack whenhe heard about his successor’sdisappearance, is now doingbetter.Fr. Sun’s ordination was setfor 29 June, feast day of Saints
Peter and Paul; however, he was
taken into custody by police on26 June. His ordination was thuscancelled (see Jian Mei, “Hebei:ordination of Handan bishop can-celled, it had Holy See approval,”in AsiaNews. 27 June 2011).On the day of his ordination,police surrounded the churchwere the ceremony was to takeplace as well as all streets lead-ing to it.On Saturday, Fr. Huai wasasked by local Religious Af-
fairs ofcials to discuss matters
relating to Fr. Sun, sources toldAsiaNews. The priest went tomeet them. Eventually, he wasseized and the diocese lost allcontact with him.Towards 6 p.m. on the sameday, Religious Affairs officialsalso called Fr. Liu and askedhim to come and see them. Theirmeeting ended at 10 pm, andwhen he left the building, he wasseized by a group of men whoforced him into a van and droveaway. The diocese’s car was leftwaiting for him outside.Only later did Handan Catho-lics learn that Chongtai Districtpolice had seized him.Catholics in the local and otherdioceses have called on the faith-ful to pray for the safe return ofthe three men who disappeared.Meanwhile, the Voice of Amer-ica’s Chinese Service reported on30 June that Liu Bainian, honor-ary president of China’s PatrioticAssociation and bishops’ college,said they did not receive anyreport concerning Fr. Sun ofHandan.Since Fr. Sun was elected can-didate as coadjutor bishop ofHandan, the bishops’ college wasstudying his case but has not of-
cially approved him.
In addition, Fr. Sun has notbeen detained, Liu said.
(Asia News)
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 Vol. 15 No. 14
July 4 - 17, 2011
CBCP Monitor
News Features
People can abuse reason when they demand proof from God, pope says
VATICAN City, June 28, 2011―The
Vatican is studying a possible documenton the relationship of clergy and laity,which touches on the sensitive issueof the administration of the church’sgoods, Vatican sources said.The sources denied an Italian reportthat the document will issue instruc-tions on the reorganization of U.S.
dioceses that face nancial pressures inthe wake of the sex abuse scandals ― in
particular regarding parish closings.The sources, who spoke to CatholicNews Service June 28, said the docu-ment under preparation only margin-ally touches on the topic of parish clos-ings and, if published, will be directedat the universal church. The form of the
document has not yet been determined;
it may be an instruction or a less formalcircular letter, they said.“The main topic here is the respectof norms regarding the nature of thepriesthood in collaboration with lay-people, especially as it is affected bythe restructuring of parish life,” saidone source familiar with the draftdocument.“In some countries, new forms ofparish structures have been createdin which the priestly ministry appears
weakened ― in practice, the priest’s
role risks being reduced to that of a cel-ebrant of the sacraments, while teams oflaypeople are put in charge of manage-
ment. But the ofce of governing is part
of the priestly ministry,” he said.The preparation of the documentis being guided by the CongregationQUEZON City, May 11, 2011—Thecountry’s agriculture output grew
by 4.1 % in the rst three months,
the Agriculture department said,boosted by good harvests of palay,corn, sugarcane, and banana.DA Secretary Proceso Alcala saidthe crops sub-sector continued some52.99% to the total agricultural out-put which expanded by 8.19%.He said despite the decline in
sheries production, the gross value
of agricultural output amounted toP 347.2 billion or 12.72% more thanlast year’s record.“The recent typhoon came at a timewhen most palay crops have beenharvested and within the next twoor three days, we will have a clearpicture of Bebeng’s effects on ourcrops,” he said. However, Alcala saidhe remains hopeful the ill effects ofthe typhoon will be very minimal.He said most of the rice crops
may recover as soon as ood waters
Vatican preparesdocument on clergy-laity relationship
Students need values formation, not
RH-based sex ed―solon
VATICAN City, June 30,
2011―While empirical science
has done much to further prog-ress, subjecting God and his
truth to scientic scrutiny rep
-resents an incorrect and despoticuse of human reason, Pope Bene-dict XVI said.How reason, truth and faithinterconnect has always sparkeddebate throughout history, thepope said June 30 during anaward ceremony in the fresco-covered Clementine Hall in theApostolic Palace.The pope gave three Europeantheologians the Ratzinger Prizefor their excellence in theologi-cal studies: Manlio Simonetti,an 85-year-old Italian professorand expert in ancient Christianstudies and patristic biblical
interpretation; Father Olegario
Gonzalez de Cardedal, a 76-year-old Spanish priest and professorof dogmatic and fundamental
theology; and Cistercian Father
Maximilian Heim, a 50-year-oldGerman theologian and abbotof the Heiligenkreuz monasteryin Austria.The pope used the occasionto talk about the significanceand the challenges surroundingtheology.He noted the important contri-butions theology has made, butwarned that theology must notonly be concerned with the pastas that would “leave the faithtoday in darkness.”Nor must theologians onlylook at psychological or socio-logical studies leaving faith onthe wayside as that would striptheology of meaning and a solidfoundation, he added.Though studying the pastand understanding human andsocial sciences are important intheology, the pope said the realquestion at stake is: “Is what webelieve in true or not? In theol-ogy the question of truth is atplay: truth is its ultimate andessential foundation.”Christ is the truth, and peoplecan and must know him throughreason, he said.“From here one understandsthat Christian faith, by its verynature, must call forth theology,it had to ask itself about the rea-sonableness of faith.”
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VATICAN City, June 29, 2011―Pope
Benedict XVI has launched a new Vati-
can News website with his rst Tweet.The site ofcially went live on June 29.
The Pope got things underway witha message posted on Twitter: “DearFriends, I just launched News.vaPraised be our Lord Jesus Christ! Withmy prayers and blessings, BenedictusXVI.”The new site brings together all theVatican’s communication outlets into
one online location for the rst time
ever. The list of agencies includesFides News Agency, the newspaperL’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See’s
Press Ofce, the Vatican Information
Service, Vatican Radio and the Vaticantelevision service, CTV. Each will also
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for Clergy because it has competenceover matters pertaining to the admin-istration of ecclesiastical goods. In thatsense, the sources said, the documentwill touch on the matter of parish clos-ings, which often involve the loss orredistribution of the church’s assetsand properties.In the United States, parish closingshave sometimes prompted protestsamong the faithful. In several recentcases, the Vatican has upheld mergers ofparishes but said that church buildingsthat were closed must be reopened and“used in some manner as determinedby the bishop.”
Vatican ofcials have privately ex
-pressed reservations about some of theparish closings and the way they werehandled.
One Vatican ofcial said, however,
that the document under consideration
would not seek to emit specic norms
for the United States.“If that were the purpose, we wouldhave talked to the (U.S.) bishops’ confer-ence,” he said.“The focus of this study is muchwider. In the United States, there isthe issue of parish closings. In Europe,there are other problems tied to a lackof clergy. The situations are diverse, andthe Holy See wants to give a universalresponse,” he said.The sources said the clergy congrega-tion had been studying these issues forseveral years. They said it was still too
early to say when―or if―a document
would be published.
So while reason is fundamen-tal to faith, there is an incorrect
use of reason―a “despotism
of reason which becomes the
supreme and nal judge of ev
-erything,” he said.The pope said this use ofreason, which is “incompatiblewith the nature of faith,” can beseen in Psalm 95, which recallsMeribah as the place where theearly Israelites tested God and“tried me though they had seenmy works.”Putting God to some sort ofa test is even more pronouncedin today’s world, where naturalscience and its empirical methodhave achieved so much, the popesaid.But there is a limit to how rea-son is used: “God is not an objectof human experimentation. He isa subject and he manifests him-self only in a person-to-personrelationship,” he said.The correct use of reason inmatters of faith then is when itis used on a personal level andis driven by love.The pope said: “Love wantsto know better the person whoAlcala said they will not revisetheir projected rice imports due to thetyphoon because they have alreadyfactored in the possible impact oftyphoons this coming rainy season.He explained the reported La Ninaphenomenon was not as severe asprojected.
He said he is more than satised
with the rice and corn harvests for the
rst quarter as he allayed fears from
Filipino consumers that sugar priceswould increase this year.“Sugar mills in the Visayas willcontinue operations until the end ofthe month and I have been informedthe withdrawal of stocks from sugarmills have been slow which meansthere’s limited demand,” he said.Interviewed after the press brief-ing, Alcala said it is imperative forrice farmers to consider using organicfertilizers because with every increasein petroleum prices, commercialfertilizers sourced from petroleum,
would also increase and signicantly
Pope Benedict launches new  Vatican News website
retain their own independent website.“The new portal is giving you thepossibility of having a direct, immediateapproach to the most important piecesof news from the Holy See,” said the
President of the Pontical Council for
Social Communications, Archbishop
Claudio Celli, in his rst interview with
Vatican Radio on the new website.The new site also has a multimediaformat, offering live-streaming of papalevents, photographs from L’OsservatoreRomano, audio from Vatican Radio andvideo footage that will also be availableon the Vatican’s YouTube channel. Italso links to other social communica-tion sites such as Facebook, Twitterand Flickr.Initially only two languages will beon offer, Italian and English, but thatcould soon change.“After summer we need to have arestyling of the site and we hope to startimmediately with another language –probably Spanish,” said ArchbishopCelli.“But our idea is to then offer the por-tal in other languages, such as Frenchor German or Portuguese.”The initial reaction from the onlineCatholic community today seemed tobe overwhelmingly positive.“Along with other Catholic bloggers,I have been heartened by the news.vawebsite which makes news from thevarious agencies available easily inone place,” said Fr. Tim Finigan, theLondon-based creator of The Herme-neutic of Continuity blog.“The Holy Father has repeatedlyencouraged us to use the Internet inthe service of the Church and is dem-onstrating publicly his support for ourapostolate,” he told CNA.“Although the Vatican website itselfis still in need of improvement, thenews.va website shows what can bedone.”Signs elsewhere also look positive.After only a few hours of going live, thenew Vatican site already had over 3,000“friends” on Facebook and over 36,000people following it on Twitter.
(CNA/  EWTN News)
loves. Love ― true love― 
doesn’t make us blind,” itmakes people see.Love will satisfy a per-son’s thirst to really knowthe other, and that is whythose who seek the truthare on the path to seekingGod, he said.“This is why authentictheology is so important.Solid faith leads reasonto open itself up to thedivine, so that reason,guided by love for thetruth, may know Godeven more from up close,”he said.Therefore, theologymust be made up of twoelements: “humility, whichlets us be ‘touched’ by God,and discipline, which istied to the order of reason,(which) keeps love fromblindness and helps develop itspower to see,” he said.During the ceremony, thepope greeted each of the prizerecipients, handing them each
a large award certicate and a
small envelope.The prizes included a checkfor $87,000.The Ratzinger Prize will beawarded each year in sacredScripture, patristics and funda-mental theology.This was the first time theprizes were awarded since theestablishment last year of the Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI)Vatican Foundation, which pro-motes theological studies on thepope’s writings and to rewardpromising scholars.
reduce farmers’ income.“It is time for farmers to turn toorganic fertilizers for environmentaland economic reasons,” Alcala said.He added he has personally triedusing organic fertilizers in his farmin Quezon Province that is why heis strongly recommending it to otherFilipino farmers.The CBCP’s National Secretariat forSocial Action (Nassa) has introducedsustainable agriculture to most of thecountry’s 86 ecclesiastical provinces.Various pilot farms utilizing sustain-able agriculture methods have beenset-up by different dioceses acrossthe country.“With all these factors, we lookforward to being self-sufficient inrice by 2013,” he explained. He saidthey have already repaired most ir-rigation facilities across the country
as this was the rst order he received
from President Benigno Simeon C.
Aquino III when he assumed ofce.
(Melo M. Acuna)
Aquino urged to pardon deserving inmates
MANILA, June 30, 2011―A mere
stroke of a pen would mean a lotto an inmate aspiring for a newlife outside prison.A growing number of deserv-ing inmates at the Nationalpenitentiary and other penalinstitutions in the country areawaiting presidential pardonbut the president has yet toorder their release, according toNational Bilibid Prison chaplainMsgr. Roberto Olaguer.Olaguer said some 25% of thetotal number of inmates at theNBP would qualify for release.Asked how many would ben-efit from it, the chaplain saidanywhere from 3,000 or morewould be released. He explained
the gures are not limited to the
NBP but would include prison-ers from various penal coloniesacross the country.“We have interviewed a lotof inmates who are already(due) for release, maramingdapat lumaya na at tinutulun-gan namin sila dahil sa atingSimbahan, mayroon namantayong para-legal service ng
Chaplaincy Ofce,” Olaguer told
CBCP News.He added they have alreadyforwarded the prisoners’ fold-ers to the Board of Pardon andParole and the Office of thePresident but these papers havenot been acted on.Traditionally, Olaguer said,various Presidents in the pastwould order the release of quali-fied prisoners every Indepen-dence Day where 300-500 re-lease papers would have beensigned.“Ngayon, wala ng pinirma-han ang presidente liban sa 14
na Vietnamese illegal shers,”
Olaguer lamented.He said it would be muchbetter to let go those who are
qualied for release at the soon
-est possible time.Olaguer added that he hasnever grown tired of calling onagencies like the Public Attor-
ney’s Ofce about the growingnumber of qualied inmates for
release.Church officials have beencalling on government to domore for inmates by extending justice beyond punishment.According to Chief Public At-torney Persida V. Rueda-Acosta,some inmates were still minorsduring the commission of thecrime and were jailed uponreaching maturity.She said these inmates canrebuild their lives again if Presi-dent Aquino extends pardon orclemency on them.“Ang buong Public Attorney’s
Ofce ay nananawagan sa mahal
na Pangulong Aquino na sana poay mag-extend na siya ng pardon,clemency at commutation o ano-paman dito sa mga bilanggongmatatanda na, maysakit na at iyongiba naman ay minor ng makagawang krimen at ngayo’y nakakulongsila,” Rueda-Acosta said.“Napapanahon ang pagpa-palaya ni Pangulong Aquinosa pagdiriwang ng kanyangunang taon sa panunungkulansa bansa,” Rueda-Acosta said.
(Melo M. Acuña)
Bishop to faithful: Fight evilforces that seek to destroy family, life
MANILA, June 29, 2011―Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philippines’president and Tandag Bishop NereoOdchimar urged everyone to fightagainst the forces that seek to destroythe family and life in general - such asthe divorce and reproductive healthbills.He was speaking to a crowd of morethan 7,000 people during the Couplesfor Christ Foundation for Family andLife’s (CFC FFL) 30th anniversary last June 26 at the Ynares Auditorium inAntipolo City.He stressed that God overwhelms useveryday with His goodness and love,even in the little things. We just need toopen our eyes and hearts to recognizethem, he added.Odchimar was the principal cel-ebrant at the CFC FFL anniversarymass together with Bishop GabrielReyes of Antipolo, Bishop Valentine ofGaborone, Botswana, Fr. Peter West theassociate director of Priests for Life inthe USA, Fr. Francis Gustilo of the Vati-can’s International Theological Com-mission and more priests from aroundthe Philippines and the world.CFC FFL is a lay Catholic communitythat strives to renew the family anddefend life, led by its Founder andServant General Frank Padilla, who,along with his wife Gerry, is part of
the Pontical Council for the Family.
 (Xavy Padilla)
   P     o   t  o  c  o  u  r   t  e  s  y  o   f   C   B   C   P  -   E   C   P   P   C

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