Vol. 16 No. 11
May 21 - June 3, 2012
Pope says immigrants could revitalize US Church
VATICAN City, May 18,
2012―Pope Benedict XVI says
that Catholic immigrants tothe United States could play acrucial role in the renewal of theChurch and society.“The immense promise andthe vibrant energies of a newgeneration of Catholics are wait-ing to be tapped for the renewalof the Church’s life and therebuilding of the fabric of Ameri-can society,” said the Pope at aMay 18 audience.Pope Benedict made his re-marks to a delegation of U.S.Eastern rite Catholic bishopswho are at the Vatican for a May
15-19 “ad limina” visit—the rstone specically created for non-
Roman rite bishops.He told the bishops that theapostolic opportunities pro-vided by immigration requiremore than “simply respectinglinguistic diversity, promotingsound traditions, and providingmuch-needed social programsand services.”Instead, there also has tobe a commitment to “ongoingpreaching, catechesis and pasto-ral activity aimed at inspiring inall the faithful a deeper sense oftheir communion in the apostolicfaith and their responsibilityfor the Church’s mission in theUnited States.”With many Eastern Catholicshailing from the Middle Eastand Eastern Europe, the Popenoted how the Church in theUnited States has historically“struggled to recognize andincorporate this diversity, andhas succeeded, not without dif-
culty, in forging a communion
in Christ.”More recently, the largestwaves of immigration into theUnited States have come fromother predominantly Catholiccultures, such as the DominicanRepublic and Mexico. A recentstudy suggested that Latinosnow make up 32 percent ofthe U.S. Catholic populationcompared with only 10 percentin 1987.Pope Benedict praised the“unremitting efforts” of Catholicinstitutions that are respondingto the needs of new immigrantsand described their endeavorsas “in the best traditions of theChurch in America.”“The Catholic community inthe United States continues, withgreat generosity, to welcomewaves of new immigrants, toprovide them with pastoralcare and charitable assistance,and to support ways of regular-izing their situation, especially
with regard to the unication of
families.”Earlier this month, CardinalTimothy Dolan of New Yorkpublicly criticized the attitudeof some Republican politicianstowards immigration. He de-scribed laws that separate immi-grant families and require identi-
cation before giving charitable
assistance to the needy as “notChristian” and “not American.”Instead, he urged lawmakers to“come up with a much saner,more civil, more just immigra-tion policy.”In his May 18 remarks, PopeBenedict expressed his “pro-found concern” over UnitedState’s immigration policy beingreformed and called for the “justtreatment and the defense of thehuman dignity of immigrants.”“In our day too, the Church inAmerica is called to embrace, in-corporate and cultivate the richpatrimony of faith and culturepresent in America’s many im-migrant groups.”The leaders of the EasternCatholic churches are the last of15 groups of U.S. bishops to visitRome on pilgrimage in recentmonths.Pope Benedict concluded hismeeting with them by impart-ing his apostolic blessing andentrusting them, along with their
ocks to “the loving intercession
of Mary Immaculate, Patronessof the United States.”
(CNA/ EWTN News)
Messengers of hope, peace still face persecution, pope says
VATICAN City, May 11,
2012―People spreading the Gos
-pel are still subject to persecutioneven though they are bringing amessage of peace and hope to aworld marked by crises, anxietyand desperation, Pope BenedictXVI said."However, despite the problemsand tragic reality of persecution,the church does not get discour-aged, it remains faithful to theLord's mandate," knowing thatwitnesses and martyrs always havebeen numerous and indispensiblefor evangelization, he said.The pope spoke May 11 toofficials of Pontifical MissionSocieties meeting in Rome."Dear friends, you know wellthat proclaiming the Gospel
often brings difculty and suf
-fering," he told his audience.Currently, much of the worldis facing economic, culturaland political change and "oftenpeople feel alone, fallen preyto anguish and desperation,"he said.again to conversion, he added.The pope praised and en-couraged a new initiative by
the Pontical Mission Societies
and the Congregation for theEvangelization of Peoples meantto support the upcoming Yearof Faith: the World MissionRosary, first created by Arch-bishop Fulton Sheen in 1951,and re-launched by the mission
societies. The rosary―made up
of yellow, red, white, blue and
green beads―helps people pray
for the different mission regions
of the world and ve areas of
evangelization: interreligiousdialogue, liturgy, solidarity, wit-ness and proclamation.The pope said he hoped theproject would accompany evan-gelizing efforts around the worldand help Christians rediscoverand deepen their faith.
Head of pontical academy offersapology, afrms pro-life commitment
VATICAN City, May 11,
2012―The president of the Pon
-tifical Academy for Life hasexpressed his full commitmentto the “Gospel of Life,” andapologized for communicationsthat were seen as dismissingmembers' ethical concerns.On May 8, Bishop Ignacio Car-rasco de Paula acknowledgedthat an April 2012 letter, criticiz-ing “some pro-life activists” whoobjected to aspects of a plannedVatican conference on stem cells,“contained unfortunate phrasingwhich, if misunderstood, couldhave offended the sensibilities ofsome persons.”In Tuesday's letter to academymembers, the bishop and academypresident assured them that the of-fending words were not meant “toshow any disrespect, and certainlynot to those with whom we havebeen collaborating closely andgratefully for years in favor of hu-man life and of its defense.”“The fulcrum of our academyhas always been and is, nowmore than ever, the Gospel ofLife,” Bishop Carrasco de Paulatold members.His message came four daysafter a letter addressed to thebishop was made public, inwhich academy member Pro-fessor Josef Seifert sharply criti-cized the organization's recentdecisions about holding confer-ences. According to Seifert, somemembers were calling for resig-nations among the academy'sleadership.The controversy began with aFebruary 2012 conference on in-fertility at the Vatican, in which
the pontical academy played a
non-organizing role. The eventdrew criticism within the acad-emy, for hosting speakers whoappeared to endorse techniquesand methods condemned by theChurch.In April, the academy an-nounced it was canceling aconference on adult stem cells,which would have featuredexperts who also specialize inembryonic research. In two sets
of letters, ofcials gave differ
-ent reasons for the cancellation,and disparaged the objections of“some pro-life activists.”On May 10, two days afterBishop Carrasco de Paula's letter,
a senior member of the Pontical
Academy for Life offered CNAhis thoughts on recent events atthe academy as well as its presentneeds and future direction.
The senior member conrmed
that neither the February con-ference on infertility, nor thecanceled gathering on adultstem cells, was organized by
the Pontical Academy for Life.
It remains unclear who did or-ganize February's conference,though there are suggestionsthat it was the work of a Catholicmedical school.“Dismay” over the infertilityconference was “expressed byall members of the Governing
Council” of the pontical acad
-emy, the member said.He recalled that after the“dreadful infertility conference,”and another “unfortunate” con-ference held several monthsearlier, “attention came to befocused on the upcoming stemcell conference with sensitivitiesand sensibilities heightened.”In the view of this senior mem-ber, the April 2012 adult stemcell conference “might haveworked—even with speakerswho did not agree with theChurch—if the entire programwere placed within the anthro-pological and moral vision of theChurch from the beginning, at theend, and with interventions fromrepresentatives of the Church'sposition if a speaker proposed oradvocated anything immoral.”Nonetheless, other speakers“could have been invited witha high level of expertise whowere not involved in embryodestruction.”The senior member said it was“madness to invite speakers whohad openly and publicly op-posed the Church and her lead-ers.” While “in principle, therewas absolutely nothing wrongwith such a conference,” the “bigissue was the risk of scandal.”“As I understand it, the con-ference on morally licit adultstem cell research was also beingorganized by someone else, and
the Pontical Academy for Life
was providing the patronagefor it without actually putting ittogether,” he explained. “I hopesome hard lessons have beenlearned there!”In the future, he said, the acad-emy staff “has to be more directlyinvolved in planning conferences.It simply cannot turn the plan-ning of events over to outsidegroups … If an outside group isinvolved in planning there has tobe vigilant oversight.”“Better management,” he said,could do much to prevent inci-dents like February's infertilityconference.The senior member also high-lighted the example of pastleaders' efforts to safeguard theacademy's moral vision.“When Cardinal (Elio) Sgrecciawas President of the Academy,he would call all the speakers toRome four months before theconference. Each speaker wouldhave to present his or her com-
plete nished paper, as it was
going to be delivered. That waythere were no surprises.”“Cardinal (Fiorenzo) Angelini,who preceded Sgreccia, wouldactually intervene if a speakersaid anything contrary to moraltruth and point out forcefullyto the speaker and the audiencethat what was just said wascontrary to Catholic teaching ormorality.”“As Catholics we have tobe engaged with the broadersociety,” the senior academymember stated.Simultaneously, he said, “wemust always call those who are
involved in scientic research, or
manufacturing, or governmentto do everything in accord withthe moral vision of the humanperson articulated and clearlytaught by the Church.”
Supercial idea of beauty may be seen in natural bornmen's desire to be beauty titlists
MANILA, May 14, 2012—While same-sex“marriage” supporters in the United Statesattempt to put homosexual unions andholy matrimony on equal footing, the issueon Philippine shores recently has been theidea of admitting physically altered meninto beauty pageants for women in thename of equality.“I think the transgender thing happen-ing was really just a matter of time. Whenbeauty is quantified and broken downto things like height or chest or waistmeasurement, it becomes unsurprisingthat surgically altered individuals wouldwant in. I’m really not a big fan of beautypageants in general because I think theystill tend to objectify women. This for me just makes it even more unpalatable,” saidStef Patag, a homeschooling mom in theUnited States.“It just highlights the way beauty hasbecome a commodity—something that canbe purchased, instead of something that’sinnate, something that comes with beingGod’s creation… or maybe we’re not evenallowed to say that anymore, since that’s[supposedly] ‘bigotry’?”“I don’t think it’s a good idea to mix‘natural born’ women with ‘naturalized’women. This is not like a citizenship is-sue – this involves tampering with nature,”magazine editor and newspaper columnistTeresa Reyes Tunay pointed out.“What’s insidious here is the long-rangeeffect this move will have on people’sconsciousness and values, particularlythe young. It will add to the list of thingsthat blur the difference between right andwrong. No real woman in her right mindwill join a Miss Universe pageant thatinsists on entertaining surgically alteredmen,” she added.
When discrimination is not necessarilywrong
That beauty contests have been taggedas discriminatory is a given, and this kindof discrimination is not necessarily wrong,communications manager Rommel Lopezpointed out, saying that pageants are in-deed discriminatory in nature.“We separate the beautiful from what,in the judges’ perception, is not thatbeautiful. That is how contests are. We dif-ferentiate in order to get the best,” Lopezexplained.“That is also the reason why there arefemale beauty contests and there are malebeauty contests. You cannot compareapples to oranges. There are people whodare change their bodies because theybased it on their perception of what beautyis. You cannot compare now an organi-cally [grown] apple from an apple that isladen with chemicals. You just can’t. Tryconvincing an organic health buff.”
Commending the courageous
Former Miss Universe runner-up Miri-am Quiambao was asked for her opinionon the matter not too long ago, and hersimple, honest reply was met with anger
and ippancy from some sectors.
“…I believe that the Miss Universepageant should only be for natural-bornwomen. Yes, I agree that there is a wholelot more to being a woman than just looksand I believe that a Miss Universe repre-sentative should not only “embody” … butalso have that spirit. By embody, the XXchromosome is a sex-determining factorand the most important,” was part of thebeauty queen’s comments published in abroadsheet in April.“Miriam sounded sincere; she reallyspoke from her conscience. Credit her forcourage,” Tunay said.“Her initial statement was good; sheshould have stopped there and let oth-ers ruminate on her words. But – maybedue to her zeal – she blindly walked intoa trap by guesting at a TV show hostedby an overt homosexual. Of course, thegay activists, like roaring lions ready todevour an absent-minded prey, pouncedon her.”The beauty titlist’s courage and thereactions her remarks generated reachedforeign shores, bringing these to the at-tention even of Filipinos overseas whokeep abreast of events affecting life andfamily issues.
“I’m not surprised about the ak she
got for her comments. But you know, it’sso ‘cool’ these days to call Christianitybigotry. I think Ms. Quiambao shouldbe commended for having the courageto stand up for her beliefs. It’s funny,though, how those who scream and callfor tolerance are the very same people
who are the rst to call ‘foul’ when their
own beliefs, behaviors and/or lifestylesare challenged,” observed Patag.“Let’s face it, anti-Catholicism/anti-Christianity is the last acceptable preju-dice. Tolerance is only real when it goesboth ways. The LGBT crowd have theirown beliefs, let Miriam have hers,” Patagsaid.To be sure, men with same-sex attractionand those who go as far as undergoingsurgical alteration are not being prohibitedfrom taking part in beauty pageants.“I don’t mind if they want to come upwith Ms. Gay Universe, etc.–at least with
all of them transgenders there, the ght
will be fair and square. But with realwomen and ‘virtual women’ together,the judging criteria, for instance, willnecessarily have to be changed,” Tunayexplained.Lopez, too, leaves it to the person if hisdesire is to change his anatomical featuresand to join contests.“It’s his call. But don’t tell us how to
dene which is a woman and which is
not. Go hold your own beauty pageant,”he advised.
In that context, those whoproclaim the Gospel, "even ifthey are messengers of hope andpeace, continue to be persecutedlike their master and Lord" JesusChrist, he said.Despite the challenges andthreat of persecution, Christ'smessage "can never give in tothe logic of this world, becauseit is prophecy and liberation; itis the seed of a new humanitythat grows, and only at the endof times will it come to full frui-tion," the pope said.He said the task of evangelizationalways has been urgent, however,the current era impels the church togo forth "at an even quicker pace" sothat people may know the truth in
Christ, nd salvation and grow in
justice and peace.Christians, too, need to listento God's word and be invited
Media to blame for teen pregnancies―Youth
QUEZON CITY, May 16, 2012—Some youth leaders pointed atmedia as the culprit why therehas been an increase in teenpregnancies in the Philippines.With the United Nations Pop-ulation Fund (UNFPA) 2011annual report showing that teenpregnancies in the Philippinesincreased by 70% from 1999 to2009, young people reacted and
blamed the inuence of media.
Sex and media
Jermer Cruz, 25, a full-timepastoral worker for CFC – Kidsfor Family and Life, explained,“We blame it on media wherethey just say that sex is sex andthat there is nothing more mean-ingful.”Cruz whose profession re-quires him to interact closelywith young people from dif-ferent settings added, “Culturefrom the Western side of theworld is being adopted by theyoung generation right now andthey really don't understand...”For his part, Nelson Ingking, a25-year old teacher from Bohol,
said that specically, TV shapes
young people’s perception aboutsexual desirability.“Pinapakita sa TV, magandaka 'pag naka very short shortska (It is being shown on TV, youare beautiful if you are wearingvery short shorts.)”Print media also encouragesyoung people to experimentwith sex, according Lanie Santos,28, “Pakalat-kalat nalang angmga magazines tulad ng FHM.Siyempre magbabasa sila n'yan.Ma-curious sila. (“Magazineslike FHM are everywhere. Ofcourse, young people will readthem. They get curious.”)
Unknowingly, these youngpeople are echoing findingsfrom a 2008 Rand Corporationstudy that showed, “Adoles-cents who have high levels ofexposure to television programsthat contain sexual content aretwice as likely to be involved ina pregnancy over the followingthree years...”The RAND study, headed byAnita Chandra, surveyed 2,000teens aged 12 to 17.Locally, the sex saturationof media is seen through localteleseryes, magazines, moviesand advertisements that haveseemingly legitimized pre-mar-ital sex and physical intimacy as‘romantic’.UNFPA 2011 figures showthat in the Philippines, 53 out of1,000 women who give birth arebetween the ages of 15 and 19.
(Nirva’ana E. Delacruz)
The Eastern Catholic bishops on May 17, during their ad limina visit toRome.Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula and members of the Pontical Academyfor Life participate in a conference on motherhood in Sept. 2011.
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