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Pope says laypeople share responsibility for church
Placing Work and Workers at the Center of Economic Life
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
Church boosts NFP campaign amid battle over RH bill
AMID a battle with President Benigno Aquino III over a proposed contraception measure, the Catholic Church is promoting natural family planning. Allied with other pro-life organizations, the Catholic hierarchy has initiated a nationwide effort to overturn the Aquino administration’s aggressiveness to promote artificial contraception. Various dioceses have also conducted series of seminars on the natural method of family planning as part of the Church’s
NFP / A6
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Vol. 16 No. 18
Blessed Pedro Calungsod miracle revealed
Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson
CEAP 2012 National Annual Convention. Photo shows (from left) Dahl Benett, Senior Communication Associate at Miriam College, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines vice president Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines vice president Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CEAP president Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, Jr., and CEAP National Advocacy Commission Chair Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, during a press conference at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, 29 August 2012.
Ateneo rejects RH bill
By Roy Lagarde
THE Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) has reaffirmed its opposition to the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill opposed by the Catholic Church.
ADMU president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ said the university has never changed its stand against artificial contraception together with the Catholic hierarchy. “Together with our leaders in the Catholic Church, the Ateneo de Manila University does not support the passage
of House Bill 4244 (The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill),” Villarin said. “As many of these leaders have pointed out, the present form of the proposed bill contains provisions that could be construed to threaten constitutional rights as well as to weaken commonly shared human and spiritual values,” he said. The head of one of the country’s leading universities made the statement August 20 as a reaction to the endorsement made by 159 ADMU professors for the passage of the RH bill. It also followed a strong appeal made by the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for Catho-
lic schools not to defy the teachings of the Church. In letter to the CBCP, the Jesuit hierarchy has also assured support for the CBCP in its fight against the bill, which will require billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money to fund contraception and sterilization programs as well as “questionable” sex-education modules. Fr. Jose Magadia, provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, said that in the country’s many struggles, they have always sought to work with the bishops as their “pastors and guides.” “This means, as has happened in many prior issues of national concern, it is our preference not to lead you but to follow you, our Bishops,” Magadia said.
“May such spirit continue even as we remain one with you in prayer and in desire that fullness of the Gospel be proclaimed for all our people,” he said. Don’t defy Church teachings Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, asserted that Catholic universities must teach and uphold the official teachings of the Church. “If we are a Catholic school, we should not teach anything contrary to the official teachings of the church,” Palma said. Amid the debate on a controversial artificial contraception measure, he admitted that there is a clash of beliefs between the church and teachers of
Ateneo / A6
A CATHOLIC priest has revealed initial details about the miracle that paved the way for the canonization Blessed Pedro Calungsod. Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, a lead advocate for Calungsod’s sainthood, recalled that the miracle took place in 2003 involving a woman who almost died because of lack of oxygen in the brain. He said the woman was comatose caused by Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a deadly condition in which the brain does not receive enough oxygen. “The doctor himself who knew the situation that the patient would die anytime prayed before Pedro Calungsod to save the life of his patient,” Leyson said. Four hours later, the woman regained consciousness, he said, which surprised the doctor taking care of the patient. In many cases, the priest said, most people do come out of coma for several weeks but they may not make a full recovery. The doctor, he said, told him that other people who do not recover slip from coma into vegetative state. “If there are chances of recovery, it’s not a complete recovery. Others get paralyzed because the brain is so delicate,” Leyson added. But the woman, according to him, recovered quickly with “no sensory and motor deficit” despite what she had been through. The hospital, he added, cannot explain what happened and even the doctors in the Vatican declared it as a supernatural healing.
© Roi Lagarde / CBCP Media
Miracle / A6
‘Divorce could worsen declining marriages’
A CATHOLIC archbishop lamented the decreasing number of couples heading down the aisles and warned that legalization of divorce could aggravate the situation. Archbishop Oscar Cruz, head of the church’s National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, said that aside from the weakening sanctity of marriage, many couples worry about the consequences of splitting up later. “With this administration wanting to introduce divorce, why get married at all? It will further destroy our culture,” Cruz said. “More and more people don’t believe in wedding anymore as long as they live together then split up if they want. The culture is getting destroyed,” he said. The Philippines remains the only nation in the world where divorce is illegal although there are moves in Congress to push a law for its legalization.
Divorce / A6
Robredo, a ‘beacon of hope’ ― bishops
EVEN as the nation grieved over the death of a public official lauded for his integrity, Catholic bishops considered Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo a “beacon of hope” for the nation. Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Caiban Abarquez credited the late Secretary Robredo for his simplicity, sincerity and his being a servant-leader. The prelate said Robredo’s simplicity made him approachable and people never hesitated to come to him “especially the last, the least and the lost.” Robredo’s sincerity was remarkable which further enThe prelate from Calbayog added that Filipinos should always learn from Robredo’s legacy which he summarized into ATM – which means accountability in all things, big or small, transparency in whatever projects or programs and motivation which means correct and proper disposition to get the end result no matter what. He also cautioned Filipino leaders to avoid grandstanding and work as expected and follow the late cabinet secretary’s leadership style for God’s greater glory. He recalled what the former Interior and Local Government department secretary said that he will work with or without confirmation. “Jesus must have been very happy and excited waiting for Jess with Mama Mary to whom Jesse had a great and genuine devotion,” he further said. In an earlier interview with reporters, anti-gambling crusader retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz also mourned the loss of his long-time friend. “Underlining all these, it’s a big loss for the country and government because he is one of the most trusted and trustworthy fellow in the public service in the national level,” Cruz said.
Jesse M. Robredo
deared him to the people because he delivered without pretenses, he said.
© Bong D, Fabe
Beacon / A6
Bishops praise Sotto for anti-RH exposé
SENATOR Vicente Sotto III has won praise from ranking Catholic bishops for his expose surrounding the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill. Sotto, in the continuation of his speech, revealed the various international lobby groups behind the measure and their motives that would allow abortions to be performed in the country. He particularly cited the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which has long been providing birth control services to many nations, as among those pushing for RH’s passage in the Philippines. “We appreciate those who advocate for pro-God policies,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference
‘Church is vital advocate of energy conservation’
WHAT else is the Church advocating these days? Energy conservation and efficiency, it seems. In an interview, Center for Clean and Renewable Energy Development (CCRED) Director Catherine Maceda said the Church is a consistent and vital partner to the advocacy of energy conservation and lifestyle changes towards energy efficiency. In particular, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) has been active in roundtable discussions on renewable energy and similar issues, as well as in the TV Olympics held recently at the SM Mega Mall Atrium. When asked about the apparent ‘secular’ feel to energy issues, Fr. Conegundo Garganta, the ECY executive secretary, was quick to point out that being Catholic automatically means being “stewards of Earth’s goods.” He explained, “These resources as given and received, are being managed by man and should be maximized.” Maceda believes the Church has a network of young people who are the ideal champions for lifestyle shifts that have huge effects on energy consumption, for example, TV set choices or simply unplugging appliances not in use. True to its commitment, the ECY was able to tap youth leaders from Chiro Youth Movement, Youth for Family and Life and YouthPinoy! to be at the TV Olympics’ opening. The Department of Energy and the Asian Development Bank’s TV Olympics kicked off August 16, bringing together 50 different TV models to show how TV sets’ wattage can impact consumers’ monthly electricity bill. Among the TV manufacturers participating in the TV showdown are Devant, Hyundai, Konka, Haier, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, TCL and Toshiba. The TV Olympics weeklong display ended August 22. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
of the Philippines (CBCP). The senator also said it is his “personal” mission to block the passage of the population control bill because his son died due to the side effects of contraceptives.
Praise / A6
WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 24, 2012—Earlier this week the Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council released a report titled: “The Survey of Religious Hostility in America.” It consists of a digest of more than 600 documented incidents of hostility to religion that have occurred in the United States during the last decade. “America today would be unrecognizable to our Founders,” declared Kelly Shackelford, the director of the Liberty Institute. “Our First Liberty is facing a relentless onslaught from wellfunded and aggressive groups and individuals who are using the courts, Congress, and the vast federal bureaucracy to suppress and limit religious freedom,” he said. “Let this be a call to stand for religious liberty in the United States,” urged Tony Perkins, the director of the Family Research Council. “Our Founding Fathers considered religious liberty our ‘first freedom,’ and the bedrock upon which all other freedoms rest,” the report’s introduction noted. Among the long list of instances where religious liberty has been threatened were the following: + A federal judge threatened “incarceration” to a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech. + City officials prohibited senior citizens from praying over
their meals, listening to religious messages or singing gospel songs at a senior activities center. + A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch. + Following U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ policies, a federal government official sought to censor a pastor’s prayer, eliminating references to Jesus, during a Memorial Day ceremony honoring veterans at a national cemetery. + Public school officials prohibited students from handing out gifts because they contained religious messages. + A public school official prevented a student from handing out flyers inviting her classmates to an event at her church. + A public university’s law school banned a Christian organization because it required its officers to adhere to a statement of faith that the university disagreed with. + The U.S. Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire.
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Report highlights problems for religious liberty in the US
+ The State of Texas sought to approve and regulate what religious seminaries can teach.
On the Net: Full text of report ― http://downloads.frc.org/EF/ EF12H29.pdf (Zenit)
World Youth Day volunteers receive Olympic flag in Rio Church in England backs legislation to make internet safe for kids
LONDON, Aug. 24, 2012—CSAN, the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has called for legislation requiring Internet service providers to automatically block potentially harmful content and give adults the option to “opt-in” upon providing age-verification. Responding to the Department for Education's consultation on new mechanisms for keeping children safe online, CSAN stated that an “opt-in” system would “provide a thorough safeguard against children being inadvertently exposed to [harmful] content, whilst maintaining personal choice for adults.” Emphasizing the role of service providers, the organization noted that “whilst parents have a clear responsibility to protect their children's online safety, businesses also have a responsibility to support, not undermine, parental safeguards.” Helen O'Brien, chief executive of CSAN, stressed the importance of adequate protections: “Whilst the internet is often beneficial to educational and social development, evidence shows that sites containing pornographic images, promoting self harm, encouraging eating disorders or depicting gratuitous violence, can have a devastating impact on mental or even physical health.” An “opt-in” system is viewed as the most effective option by a range of organizations concerned with child welfare, on the basis that it would be comprehensive, administratively simple and would not require parents to have technical knowledge in the same way that other filtering systems often do. Rosaleen Griffin, head of Children and Family Services at Caritas of the Diocese of Salford, described an “optin” system as a “robust measure for protecting children from the significant harm which results from their accessing pornographic and offensive material on line.” CSAN's support was welcomed by Peter Kerridge, CEO of Premier Christian Media, co-organizer of the Safetynet campaign: “We are very pleased CSAN is supporting the “opt-in” proposals regarding Internet Safety. We believe this is the best way to protect children and young people from pornography and other harmful content online. The Catholic Church's involvement is absolutely crucial to ensuring a united Christian perspective is brought to bear on this issue.” (CNA) RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Aug 23, 2012—The official flag of the Olympic Games, on its way from London to Rio de Janeiro’s Shrine of Christ the Redeemer, was received by Archbishop Orani Tempesta and World Youth Day volunteers. The flag was presented during a ceremony on Aug. 19 attended by the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, and the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman. Archbishop Orani said the presence of the flag next to Christ the Redeemer should be a reminder that the preparations for the Summer Games in 2016 should take place in an atmosphere of peace and fraternity. “We pray for the intercession of Christ the Redeemer so that, not only during the Olympics, the presence of the Olympic flag will lead us to seek after peace, understanding and fraternity,” the archbishop said. After the ceremony to receive the flag, the rector of the Shrine of Christ the Redeemer, Father Omar Raposo, celebrated Mass for the World Youth Day volunteers. In his homily, he reflected on the mission Christians have in the world. “Service to God demands of us sacrifice and good will. We do everything for love of God and our Redeemer,” he said. Pope Benedict is slated to attend the global youth event next summer, which will take place from July 23 to July 28. (CNA)
Archbishop Orani João Tempesta.
Archbishop Brown: Signs of hope for Church in Ireland
KNOCK, Ireland, Aug. 22, 2012—The Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, gave the homily at today’s closing Mass of the National Novena being held in Knock. Titled “The Future of the Church in Ireland,” it started with a reminder of how Blessed John Paul II came to Knock on September 30, 1979, to celebrate Mass. Just as the former Pope did we too have come as pilgrims to pray to Mary, Archbishop Brown commented. The times in which Mary appeared, in 1879, were difficult for Ireland and yet in the years that followed there was a great flourishing of the Church in Ireland. “When we reflect on Our Lady’s apparition at Knock and the historical circumstances in which it occurred, we cannot help thinking about our times and our own future,” the nuncio observed. There are certainly reasons for discouragement at the moment, with a continual stream of news pointing to the weakening of the Catholic faith in Ireland. Yet, only two months ago the archbishop said he had witnessed the success of the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin that exceeded everyone’s expectations. He also recounted the fervor of people at a recent ordination and the thousands of pilgrims who climbed Croagh Patrick. And just ten days ago the nuncio said he had seen hundreds of young people praying the Rosary while in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. “We need to propose the Catholic faith in its fullness, in its beauty and in its radicality, with compassion and with conviction,” he said. “We need to be unafraid to affirm the elements of the Catholic way which secular society rejects and ridicules,” the nuncio added. The Church should seek the Kingdom of God, which is not a worldly kingdom, but one which will only be completed in the New Jerusalem. Archbishop Brown referred to Pope Benedict XVI’s efforts regarding the New Evangelization and the forthcoming synod of bishops on this topic to be held in October, as well as the Year of Faith which will begin in October. “Reflection on the faith will have to be intensified, so as to help all believers in Christ to acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel, especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is currently experiencing,” he recommended. The nuncio noted that in Ireland, the recently published National Directory for Catechesis of the Bishops of Ireland, titled Share the Good News, recommends Catholics set up study groups to study the Catechism and that in his opinion this could have a very positive effect. “Brothers and sisters, the future of the Church in Ireland begins now,” he said. “Certainly, the road ahead is not an easy one, but the road ahead for Catholics in Ireland did not look very easy in 1879 when Our Lady appeared here on that rainy evening in August,” he commented. (Zenit)
Apostolic nuncio named to Israel
Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, formerly apostolic nuncio to Australia, as apostolic nuncio to Israel and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine. Speaking to Vatican Radio about the appointment made August 18, the 70-year-old archbishop acknowledged that while grateful, he is aware that he faces a major challenge. The Italian prelate is familiar with the region, having served in Jerusalem in the early 80s, then as apostolic nuncio to Jordan and Iraq from 1994-2000. (Zenit)
Pope mourns Taiwanese cardinal
Taiwan mourns death of two prelates
NEW TAIPEI City, Taiwan, Aug. 23, 2012–Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, 89, the retired bishop of Kaohsiung died yesterday evening, while Bishop Paul Cheng Shih-kuang, 97, the retired bishop of Tainan, passed away just hours later. Bishop Paul Cheng (left), assisted by Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, blows out candles on his birthday cake in 2010. Cardinal Shan, who had suffered from lung cancer for six years, died at the Cardinal Tien Hospital in New Taipei city on Wednesday evening. The fifth Chinese cardinal in history died without being allowed to revisit his birthplace on the Mainland. The Beijing government refused him an entry permit last year. In his final moments, the Cardinal made a phone call to his 88-year-old sister but did not reveal the details of the conversation. Cardinal Shan and his sister last met in 1979, before he was ordained the bishop of Hualien. That was his most recent return to mainland China, more than 30 years ago, when he paid his respects at the gravesite of his parents. Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei, president of the bishop’s conference in Taiwan, said he would ask the Straits Exchange Foundation, Doctor Wang Cheng-yi told ucanews. com he was amazed to see the cardinal’s strong will to live. “He lived nearly six years after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Though I am not a Catholic, I find it hard not to consider it a miracle.” The Jesuit cardinal was the former bishop of Hualien and Kaohsiung dioceses. He was made cardinal of the Taiwan Church in 1998. Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation in 2006. Also born in mainland China, Bishop Cheng died early Thursday morning at the Veterans General Hospital in Taichung city. Bishop Bosco Lin Chi-nan of Tainan went to receive his body back to the diocese today. A Requiem Mass will be celebrated at the cathedral and his body will be placed there for public tribute until a date can be set for the funeral. Bishop Cheng was the oldest bishop in Taiwan. Born in Shanxi province in 1915, he was ordained a priest in 1943 and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Taipei in 1960. He served as bishop of Tainan from 1966 until his retirement in 1990, after which he lived in Taichung, under the care of the Missionary Sisters of Providence. (UCAN)
Pope’s butler will stand trial for alleged document leaks
Pope Benedict XVI’s personal assistant Paolo Gabriele has been charged with theft amid suspicion that he leaked confidential papal documents to the press with the help of an accomplice. Examining judge Piero Bonnet announced Aug. 13 that the papal aide would be tried in a Vatican City State court on charges of “aggravated theft,” Vatican Radio reported. If found guilty, he could face six years in jail. Claudio Sciarpelleti, a computer technician at the Vatican Secretariat of State, faces a lesser charge of “aiding and abetting” Gabriele. (CNA)
Pope sends heartfelt condolences for Ethiopian patriarch’s passing
Bishop Paul Cheng (left), assisted by Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, blows out candles on his birthday cake in 2010
The death of the head of the Ethiopian Church has garnered sympathy and sadness from Pope Benedict XVI, who praised the patriarch’s ecumenical efforts. His Holiness Abuna Paulos, who served as the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church for two decades, died at the age of 76 after battling a long illness. In an Aug. 17 telegram, Pope Benedict addressed the clergy, religious and faithful of the Ethiopian Church, saying that he learned of their leader’s passing “with great sadness.” “I am also grateful for his firm commitment to promoting greater unity through dialogue and cooperation between the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church,” he said. (CNA)
Cardinal hopes for upcoming beatification of Pope Paul VI
a semi-official organization which bridges Taiwan and mainland China, to help arrange for Cardinal Shan’s sister to attend his funeral. “Cardinal Shan also advised a simple funeral with a paschal candle, a Bible and a coffin for the poor as he wished to be poor to the end,” Archbishop Hung told a press conference last night. Archbishop Peter Liu Cheng-chung of Kaohsiung said the body of their former bishop would be moved to the curia on Thursday for public tribute. His funeral Mass is scheduled for September 1 at St Dominic High School and his body will be buried at Kaosong Diocese Cemetery.
More violations of religious freedom by local Vietnamese authorities
HANOI, Vietnam, Aug. 24, 2012—Although Catholics and the office of the bishop of Hanoi were able to stop the City of Hanoi in the past, they are facing once against an attempt by the leaders of the Vietnamese capital to seize illegally Church property, like the land and buildings owned by the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Paul, which include St Paul Hospital, in order to make huge profits. This is not the only expression of a methodically anti-religious policy pursued by various local authorities, even in violation of Vietnamese laws. Bishop Paul, president of the Justice and Peace Committee of the Vietnam Bishops’ Council referred to them as “persecution” and a “violation of Vietnam’s religious policy.” Harassment by local authorities is rooted in government regulations, more precisely Decree 38/2005/ NĐ-CP, which restricts religious functions to places of worship and requires government authorization for any public meeting of five people or more. Against this legal background, Catholics can be easily charged of violating the law even when they hold a function at home or at a neighbor’s house. Whether they are charged or not is at the discretion of local authorities who hold power over religion. The decree does not address the issue of religious buildings and their construction. This too is an instrument for control and persecution. Thus, when, as the decree says, people “aspire and have a need for faith and religion” but do not have a church and meet in a private home to pray, they can be attacked without hesitation, they can be threatened and even beaten by thugs and government officials convinced that they have the law on their side. This is what happened in Thái Hà, Cồn Dầu and Con Cuông, in the dioceses of Vinh and Hanoi, where violence was openly used against priests and worshippers, and where religious images and symbols were destroyed. The same is now happening in Con Cuông District, Nghệ An province. The member of a local parish said that local authorities “are methodically suppressing religion. Beside the central government’s religious policy, they have religious policies that go against national policies.” According to local Catholic media, the reason local authorities feel they can act provocatively is the fact that “they feel protected by their atheist leaders and the lack of laws, so that they can legally violate the law.” (AsiaNews)
Commemorating the 34th anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI, retired Archbishop of Milan Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi said he hopes to see the late pontiff raised to the altars soon. “I trust and greatly desire that soon – and I am sure than many, everyone, shares this – the Church can venerate Paul VI as blessed,” he said during an Aug. 6 Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. “This desire is ignited every time I read his writings and I think of his service of love to the Church and to humanity,” the cardinal noted, according to the SIRnews agency. (CNA)
Pope among donors to restoration of Algeria’s Basilica of St. Augustine
With a personal donation, Pope Benedict XVI—a longtime scholar of the works of St. Augustine—has contributed to the restoration of the Basilica of St. Augustine in Annaba, Algeria, near the site where the fourth-century saint served as bishop of Hippo. Bishop Paul Desfarges of Constantine, Algeria, told the Vatican newspaper that Pope Benedict’s personal donation, as well as a contribution from the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, demonstrates the importance of the project. The Algerian government also has given its support. “We all know how St. Augustine is dear to the heart of the pope,” the bishop said in the interview published Aug. 24 in L’Osservatore Romano. (CNS)
Benedict XVI sent a message of condolence to the bishop of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, upon the death of his predecessor, Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, 88. The cardinal served as president of the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference, as well as serving as bishop of Hwalien (1979-1991) and Kaohsiung (1991-2006). He was a priest of the Society of Jesus, ordained in 1955 at the age of 31. He was a native of Puyang. (Zenit)
A3 News Features Pope says laypeople share responsibility for church
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
VATICAN City, Aug. 23, 2012— As Catholics prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, all church members need to make a renewed effort to ensure laypeople are aware of their responsibility for the church and are allowed to exercise it, Pope Benedict XVI said. “Co-responsibility requires a change of mentality, particularly regarding the role in the church of the laity, who should not be considered ‘collaborators’ of the clergy, but people who truly are co-responsible for the being and action of the church,” the pope wrote in a message to the assem-
bly of the International Forum of Catholic Action. The Aug. 22-26 assembly in Iasi, Romania, brought together representatives of Catholic Action groups from around the world. The international forum promotes lay involvement in parish and community life, particularly through studying and acting on the principles of Catholic social teaching. Pope Benedict's message, released by the Vatican Aug. 23, said the church needs a “mature and committed laity, able to make its specific contribution to the mission of the church”
in a way that respects the different roles and ministries of its members. The Vatican II dogmatic constitution on the church, “Lumen Gentium,” described the style of relationships within the church as “familial,” the pope said. Viewing the church as a family emphasizes shared responsibility, mutual support and joint action while, at the same time, recognizing the special role of guidance belonging to the church's pastors, he said. The pope asked Catholic Action members to work with and for the church through their
“prayer, study, active participation in ecclesial life, (and) with an attentive and positive gaze upon the world in a continuous search for the signs of the times.” He asked the members to help with the new evangelization, proclaiming salvation in Christ “with language and methods understandable in our age.” In addition, he encouraged them to continue studying and applying Catholic social teaching, particularly with the aim of bringing about a “globalization of solidarity and charity,” which will further the church's mission of bringing hope to the world. (CNS)
Pope Benedict: insincerity is ‘the mark ‘Filipinos deserve explanation on sudden RH debate termination’ of the devil’
VATICAN City, Aug. 26, 2012—Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that a lack of sincerity in life is “the mark of the devil” as witnessed in the decision of Judas Iscariot to continue following Jesus Christ even after he had ceased to believe in him. “The problem is that Judas did not go away, and his most serious fault was falsehood, which is the mark of the devil. This is why Jesus said to the Twelve: ‘One of you is a devil’,” said the Pope in his midday Angelus address to pilgrims at Castel Gandolfo Aug. 26. The pontiff said that Catholics pray to the Virgin Mary to help them to believe in Jesus as St. Peter did and “to be always sincere with him and with all people.” The Pope continued his recent weeks’ reflections upon Jesus’s “Bread of Life” discourse as delivered in the synagogue of Capernaum. After Christ declared himself to be “the living bread which came down from heaven” many of those who had followed him, records St. John in his Gospel, “drew back and no longer went about with him.” Asked by Jesus if they too will leave, St. Peter replied on behalf of the Twelve “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The one exception, said Pope Benedict, was Judas Iscariot who “could have left, as many of the disciples did; indeed, he would have left if he were honest.” Instead, he chose to remain with Jesus. Not because of faith or love, said the Pope, but out of a secret desire to take vengeance on his Pope Benedict XVI master. “Because Judas felt betrayed by Jesus, and decided that he order to be able to understand,” wrote in turn would betray him. Judas was a St. Augustine in his Commentary on the Zealot, and wanted a triumphant Mes- Gospel of John. siah, who would lead a revolt against After reciting the Angelus, the Pope the Romans.” Jesus, however, “had expressed some special words of weldisappointed those expectations.” come to the new class of seminarians The Pope, turning to the 11 apostles at Rome’s Pontifical North American who did believe, reminded pilgrims College. of “a beautiful commentary” of St. “Dear seminarians, use your time Augustine in which the Church Father in Rome to conform yourselves more observed how St. Peter “believed and completely to Christ. Indeed, may understood.” all of us remain faithful to the Lord, “He does not say we have under- even when our faith in his teachings is stood and believed, but we believed tested. May God bless you all!” (CNA/ and understood. We have believed in EWTN News)
‘Bully proof ’ kids by building self-worth
PASIG City, August 27, 2012 – While it is impossible to completely prevent bullying from happening, building kids’ self-worth can be the perfect defense, says parenting experts. Michele Alignay, a guidance counselor, said parents who are the main builders of a child’s selfworth can do this through verbal affirmation and listening. “We need to shift our mind from negative to seeing the positive. We need to catch people doing good and tell them,” Alignay, who has extensive experience with cases of bullying in an exclusive school for girls, explained. Concretely, she said Filipino parents can avoid negative comments when their kids behave well, phrases like, “Himala, nagaaral ka! Anong nakain mo? (It’s a miracle, you’re studying! What did you eat today?)” or “Bakit ang bait mo ata? Anong kailangan mo? (Why do you seem so good? What do you need?)” Kids are KSP Alignay said parents need to spend more time with their kids to prevent them from seeking attention elsewhere, which often makes them a magnet for bullying. “KSP sila.. (They are attention-hungry.) They cannot distinguish between good and bad attention,” she explained. In a workshop about bullying during the Family Congress 2012 last Saturday, Alignay, together with Maribel and Raf Dionisio of the Love Institute, stressed the central role parents continue to play in helping kids build up emotional resources to handle verbal abuse, intimidation and cyber-bullying. Relationship expert Maribel Dionisio shared about how she role-played with her son, Raf, to teach him how to stand up to bullies. Raf said he was bullied for 6 years, starting when he was in kindergarten. Cyber-bullying According to a 2008 AsiaPacific regional study on bullying, more than 16% of Filipino students experience 4 or 5 types of bullying, the highest statistic among 9 countries. During the workshop, Alignay also focused on the huge, negative impact cyber-bullying has on young people because of the public nature of social networking sites on which a majority of online bullying happens. Recent statistics by Social Bakers revealed there are 29,100,700 Facebook users in the Philippines, 19% of which are 13-17 years old. The Family Congress 2012 featured workshops on managing kids’ media and technology use, dealing with loss and separation and the new K-12 systems in schools, among others. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
MANILA, Aug. 15, 2012—Pro-life citizens had an ally among the lawmakers who told fellow solons during deliberations that the House of Representatives owes the Filipino people an explanation regarding the sudden termination of interpellations on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, which was scheduled for August 7. “This is about the integrity and reputation of this House and its members vis-à-vis the termination of the debate on the RH bill last Monday, August 6. I believe that we owe our nation an explanation on what happened, and that each member of this house has the right to make that attempt—a right that is also a duty,” Palawan Rep. Dennis Socrates said in his privilege speech. After dwelling on events leading up to the sudden vote—from hearing about Malacañang’s invitation to solons to an August 6 meeting (“I received no invitation so I did not attend,” he stated in Filipino) to his astonishment over the premature voting on the same day ― Socrates said he felt that he and his anti-RH colleagues were duped. “I feel that we (anti-RH) were had. We were not even given the chance to explain our side well,” he said, adding his surprise at the outcome of the vote to terminate debates, which was done by simply shouting one’s preference. Some of the “aye” votes seemed to him to come from the galleries rather than on House members present, he continued, revealing later that he had voted against the motion to end debates. So that the people may know “I am saying this so that the Filipino people may know: A deception happened. We were simply duped. And if we are walking on the Right Path—“Daang Matuwid”—then there should be no room for deceit. Deceit and excuses go hand in hand,” Socrates explained. The Palawan congressman explained that he’d prefer that interpellations on the contentious bill continued because these serve to enlighten not only the lawmakers but the public as well and
have led to a better understanding of the measure and the consequences of enacting it into law. Socrates posited that his anti-RH colleagues may have consented to an August 7 vote—the original schedule—only because of the agreement that should the motion to end debates lose, the bill would not be taken up again. The notion of shelving House Bill 4244 was indeed something they relished, and this was the situation before August 6, he revealed. And then the Malacañang meeting took place. RH bill an attack on Catholicism The lawmaker reiterated that the measure—which will pour billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money into the procurement and distribution of a full range of contraceptives and a six-year sex education program in all schools – is an attack against Catholicism. And Catholics’ rejection of the measure is not an imposition of religious beliefs on others but a protection of rights. He appealed that Catholics should not be forced to agree with and follow the “faith” of those pushing for the bill. “I am referring to beliefs such as liberalism, socialism, Marxism, atheism and other –isms that aim to trample on and banish the Catholic Church from public discourse because the Church contradicts their foreign ideology, which leads to the annihilation of the Filipino race,” the Palawan congressman said in Filipino. Socrates said he was not allowed to deliver his privilege speech in its entirety, thereby preventing him from informing the body about a signature campaign against the RH bill addressed to the House of Representatives and which bears a “We respectfully but strongly urge you to reject the RH/RP Bill” message. As of August 6, the petition had contained some 100,000 signatures of people from different parts of the country. The petition will be submitted to the House of Representatives, the congressman said. (CBCP for Life)
Vatican official to priests: Use homilies in teaching about AIDS
MANILA, August 23, 2012— A Vatican official called on Filipino priests to play a more active role in HIV/AIDS education. As the Catholic Church’s point man on HIV/AIDS, Msgr. Robert Vitillo promotes education about the disease, and one way, he said, is bringing the issue to the pulpit. “Education continues to be the only effective vaccine to combat denial, ignorance, and prejudice which places people at risk of contracting HIV,” said Vitillo, special adviser on HIV and AIDS for Caritas Internationalis and head of the International Delegation to the UN in Geneva. He made the statement during a workshop on HIV/AIDS at the San Carlos Seminary, Makati City yesterday with several priests from Metro Manila in attendance. “Reflect with people on the hope for a world in which fewer people will become infected with HIV and which those living with or affected by the disease can be treated with respect and compassion,” he said. The Vatican official then showed the priests several Scriptural texts to inspire homilies and other reflections about the disease. He added that World AIDS Day, observed on December 1 every year, also presents an opportunity to “preach about, pray in faith, and hope for increased solidarity in the human family to address all the factors contributing to the vulnerability of people to contract HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses.” “World AIDS Day is at the beginning of Advent. Reflect on ‘waiting’ for care and compassion that are needed by so many people affected by HIV,” he said. If it is not the convenient time to focus on the pandemic, he Msgr. Robert Vitillo said that consideration might be given to reflection on the pandemic in other of which are in Metro Manila. He also said that while the global times. Last year, the Catholic Bishops’ Confer- trend is decreasing, the number of HIV ence of the Philippines (CBCP) declared cases in the Philippines is rising, as douthe first Sunday of December as Catholic bling time continues to shorten. “Of the 9,669 reported cases from AIDS Sunday, which seeks to guide the faithful in responding to the reported 1984 to May 2012, 5,245 cases (or 54 increase of new AIDS cases in the country. percent of total cases) were recorded beThe priest also encouraged that AIDS tween 2010 and 2012. What is alarming information resources will be made is that the 20-29 year old age group has had the most number of cases,” he said. available to parishioners. The first two days of the workshop Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle earlier said that there is a need to were organized exclusively for priests learn more about the disease so the local while tomorrow, the last day of the church can come up with an effective workshop, will be open to seminarians and appropriate pastoral response to and lay people. Monsignor Vitillo will then be going the “silent epidemic.” He noted that nine new cases of HIV to Cebu City to conduct a similar workinfections are reported daily, 52 percent shop. (RL/CBCPNews)
Senate ratifies maritime convention safeguarding seafarers’ rights
MANILA, Aug. 16, 2012—After six years of intensive campaign, and the persuasion of different maritime labor groups and institutions including the Roman Catholic Church, the Maritime Labor Convention of 2006 is now ratified by the Philippine Senate. In a statement sent to CBCPNews, the International Seafarers’ Action Center (ISAC), a Quezon City-based non-governmental organization that advocates maritime labor rights, said that the Senate concurred to the ratification of the MLC 2006 last August 13. ISAC, for a time, had partnered with the RCC’s Apostleship of the Sea, during its campaign with the MLC in 2008. Moreover, early this year, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto had also appealed before the Philippine Government to immediately ratify and adopt the MLC 2006 to protect the rights of the Filipino mariners, sailing all over the world. Calling it a fruit of the Filipino mariners’ collective struggles, ISAC hopes that the Philippines would transmit the ratified MLC 2006 documents to the International Labor Office in Geneva, making the Philippines the 30th country to ratify the instrument, which is called the “new bible” of maritime labor rights. “We thank Sen. Loren B. Legarda for convincing her fellow lawmakers at the Senate to immediately ratify the Convention, which the seafarers and other stakeholders have been campaigning for the past six years,” ISAC secretarygeneral Atty. Joseph T. Entero said in a statement. Legarda is the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. However, the seafarers’ rights advocates’ work is far from done, Entero said. On ISAC’s part, the maritime labor lawyer said, they would be closely monitoring the implementation of the MLC 2006. “Our urgent task today is to amend the labor and maritime laws of the land and the POEA Standard Employment Contract to conform to this new convention,” Entero explained. “We are keeping a close watch in its implementation as we did with the campaign in its ratification. We will not allow that the MLC 2006 would remain in paper, and will make it sure that every provision should be properly—and strictly—implemented as it means life and death to our 400,000 mariners sailing in different fleets, all over the world,” he added. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)
© Roi Lagarde / CBCP Media
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
IT’S a hot, controversial issue, this thing about academic freedom. And it’s understandable because what is involved is something very intimate to a person working in an academic community. Ideas, theories, views, opinions are so personal that anything that would tend to obstruct them can be very painful. Everything has to be done to avoid such predicament, therefore. One has to understand somehow why this academic freedom can be defined in its extreme form, as Wikipedia would have it, as: “The belief that the freedom of inquiry by students and faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities) without being targeted for repression, job loss, or imprisonment.” Some parties involved in this issue have even gone to the extent of describing academic freedom, again taking from Wikipedia, as having the following properties: a) “Academics, both inside and outside the classroom, have unrestricted liberty to question and test received wisdom and to put forward controversial and unpopular opinions, whether or not these are deemed offensive, and, b) “Academic institutions have no right to curb the exercise of this freedom by members of their staff, or to use it as grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal.” Still, while any decent person would respect such freedom, one could not help to point out that such take on academic freedom is one-sided and is oblivious and quite naïve of other factors and conditions that need to be taken into consideration too. This extreme form of academic freedom has to contend also with the rights of the other parties involved. And more basic to the issue would be that some structure be made in the academic community where a healthy exchange of views could be done, and clear guidelines have to be made. The dynamics of this exchange of ideas should be closely monitored and managed, otherwise there would be chaos and confusion. And rules of the game should be clearly spelled out for this. It cannot be denied that academic communities have their basic constitution that, no matter how imperfect it is, should be respected and upheld, unless legitimately revised. So if an academic institution defines itself as religious or Christian or Catholic, etc., then certainly any position that smacks of atheism or agnosticism or that contradicts an official teaching of said faith, would be out of place. One cannot invoke here the excuse of freedom of conscience, because personal conscience cannot fly without reference to an objective moral law that is authoritatively taught by a legitimate institution. Freedom of conscience, which is often used as the rationale for academic freedom, does not work in a vacuum. To function well, it needs a proper environment that can consist of a moral law based on human nature as defined by a lawful authority. Otherwise, anybody can just go against these official doctrines invoking all sorts of self-created justifications, or justifications derived from inadequate foundations. Such is the case when in talking about what is moral, only considerations derived from practicality, popularity, convenience, etc. are made. The spiritual and the supernatural aspects of man are completely ignored. Let’s also hope that all parties who participate in it do so with honest intentions and good dispositions, keeping a good grip on our emotions and passions that can easily spoil the whole thing. There’s always hope. Controversies can be opportunities for greatness and enlightenment rather than just problems
Great Figures of Vatican II
AT the Second Vatican Council several important theologians and key bishops made great contributions to the renewal of the Church; this piece highlights only four important personages. Father Yves Congar, Dominican ecclesiologist, possessed a unique combination of brilliance, loyalty to the Church, and personal holiness. In 1950 Congar published his seminal work True and False Reform in the Church. Pope John XXIII, the father of Vatican II, read this work when he served as apostolic nuncio in France; it influenced him deeply. John XXIII asked Congar to serve on the preparatory commission for Vatican II. Congar’s pivotal insights focused on renewal and holiness, the living Tradition of the Church, laity and participation, and viewing the Church as the People of God. When Congar was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1994, he noted: “The mystery of the Church was and is the center of my entire life as a Christian and theologian.” Cardinal Augustin Bea, Jesuit biblical scholar, was requested by Pope John XXIII to serve on the central preparatory commission for the Council. In the mind of John XXIII, promoting Christian unity was an important objective of Vatican II. Bea influenced the writing of Unitatis Redintegratio, the Council’s decree on ecumenism. Bea with his expertise in scripture had influenced the biblical encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943) and participated in drafting the Vatican II document Dei Verbum on Revelation and the Word of God. Cardinal Josef Suenens, pri-
Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM
Vatican II Perspectives
mate of Belgium, was a confidant of Pope John XXIII; he found in Suenens a man who shared his views on the importance of renewal in the Church. Suenens asserted that the Church needed to examine both internal aspects (ad intra) as well as external questions (ad extra). Following this two-fold vision, Suenens helped shape two pivotal Council documents: Lumen Gentium on the Church and Gaudium et Spes on the Church in the Modern World. Suenens contributed to the renewal of the life of religious women through his book The Nun in the World. He promoted the collegial dimension of Church authority through Coresponsibility in the Church. He also championed the themes of lay involvement and religious liberty. Rufino Cardinal Santos, one of the forty-nine participants in Vatican II from the Philippines, is remembered, not for his theological acumen, but for the leading role he played in the effort by many Council Fathers to have a separate document on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Cardinal König of Vienna argued that Mary’s role would be best presented within the document on the Church. The König view prevailed; the title of Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium, which reflects solid Mariology, is: “The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the Mystery of Christ and the Church.” These four figures, as well as countless others, are remembered for their love for the Church which they manifested through their active role in Vatican II.
NO social transformation is genuine and lasting where people themselves do not actively participate in the process. This is not only a sociological axiom but it also stems from the nature of human dignity and solidarity. “Persons are the active and responsible subjects of social life.” In the context of our society today, where the poor and marginalized have little genuine participation, and when the brief but brilliant moments of our liberation have been made possible because of “people power,” we realize that the integral development of people will be possible only with their corresponding empowerment. Today we understand “people power” to subsume basic ideas that go beyond the mere gathering of people in support of a cause. We understand “people power” to include greater equality in both political and economic matters, more democracy, more participation. People’s participation is a recognition of God’s fundamental gifts of freedom and responsibility. The repression of such gifts has led to the collapse of pro-democracy movements in some of our Asian neighbors. We need to activate these fundamental charisms of freedom and responsibility, and encourage the emergence of people’s organizations, sectoral associations and the like, inspired by the principle of solidarity and empowered by the principle of subsidiarity. The possibilities of people power are enormous in the economic and political fields, such as in determining the directions of change, deciding policies, implementing projects and monitoring them so that the common good may be truly served. The building of God’s Kingdom begins, after all, on earth and depends on human cooperation with the grace of God. Empowering people is thus a prerequisite in the renewal of our country. Without it, our destiny as a people would remain in the hands of the few. (Acts of the Council, Nos, 325-329) ―Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
THE RH Bill attacks mothers: Mother Nature, Motherland, Mother Church, Mothers. Can we still doubt that an evil force is behind it? Whether you call this force Satan, Darth Vader, Mephistopheles or The Omen, the fact is it does exist, and it’s out to vanquish mothers. Mother Nature. It may sound funny but studies reveal that birth control pills can make gay fish! Several studies done on rivers and streams in Europe, the United States, Great Britain and some other First World countries reveal that fish reproduction is negatively impacted by the presence in the water of “EE2” or ethinyl estradiol, the primary active ingredient of contraceptive pills. The synthetic hormone supposed to control human pregnancy makes its way to the rivers via the urine and feces in the waste-
RH Bill attacks mothers
so I asked, “Are you a girl or a boy?” The demure reply, “Girl ako, titaaaa!” “Talaga? Ano’ng lihim ng kagandahan mo (Really? What’s the secret of your beauty?),” I asked. “Diane pills, tita; eight years na,” he replied. Omigawd, I thought, a boy, eight years on the pill, that beautiful? I was so amazed I told my doctor about it, and—I’m not joking—asked her if taking Diane would have the same effect on me. She replied, “What for? Magka-cancer ka pa!”, decimating my fantasies. Reading about these river studies, I concluded that if the pill can feminize a human born male, then it could do the same for the fish. Biologists John Woodling and David Norris did a study of fish in Colorado’s Boulder Creek, reported in 2005 by the Denver Post. Of the 123 fish (mostly trout) captured at
And That’s The Truth / A7
water from contracepting women, and then “demasculinizes” male fish of certain species, affecting their natural ability and their instinct to mate. Just last June the condition in Britain was reported to be so bad that it would cost them over $46 billion to clean up rivers, streams and drinking water supplies that have been polluted by the substance. Fish is food for humans and bigger fish. A declining fish population could have serious implications on the life chain, not to mention the economy. I’m not surprised that EE2 can “feminize” male fish, as I recall an incident about a year ago at the hair salon. The person cutting my hair was very pretty, with porcelain complexion and adolescent breasts bulging through the T-shirt but the shoulders were too broad and the hips too narrow for a girl,
Challenges of the new evangelization
EVANGELIZATION, of course, is a continuing concern of the Church. It’s her mission inherent in her very nature, since the Church is a pilgrim Church. The Church is in some kind of a travel, a dynamic process that involves forming people in all their variety of conditions to be the People of God, the family of God, in perfect communion of life and love with God and among ourselves. That’s the goal. It involves the living transmission of the entire faith, and not just parts of it, and everything else that goes into the making of a breathing and working Christian life. Yes, it entails inculcating the doctrine and truths of faith in an organic way. But to be sure, evangelization is not just an intellectual affair carried out simply by giving classes, receiving talks, listening to sermons, etc. Still the intellectual aspect of evangelization is, of course, very significant. Those involved in it—first the clergy and then the consecrated, religious as well as other committed lay people—really have to master the doctrine of the faith in such a way that they have it at their fingertips and able to explain it well anytime to anyone. This, to me, is still a big challenge. For it is getting obvious that many of the clergy are not yet well-formed in terms of doctrinal grounding. Not only are there many still in their amateur stage and very sophomoric in their preaching. There are quite a number who are confused if not mistaken in some areas. This is not to mention the many inconsistencies in their or our life and ministry, me included, that often give rise to scandals that turn off people en masse. It might be good to
Fr. Roy Cimagala
look into the formation given in seminaries and to also see if the continuing formation for priests and others is truly working. The usual problem here is that the formation is in many instances shallow, irregular, and incomplete. It’s not integral. If it’s fiery in one part, it’s cold as dead in the others. Thus, we can see a priest who is very active in social concerns but is rather asinine in spirituality. Or viceversa. The formation of priests and other evangelizers is one challenge in the new evangelization. The other and bigger challenge is how to deal with a people who have become increasingly secularized and Godless. There are already many analyses made on this phenomenon. Big things, like the scourge of relativism, are posed as one major cause. But to me, the basic problem is that people don’t pray and do not believe in the power of prayer anymore. They cannot relate to it. They cannot find God in it. They rather stick to their own ideas, opinions, views, ideologies. It seems many people are now stuck with a very harmful attitude of believing in themselves more than in a superior being. This is now the new ethos, the new spirit of the world that challenges the evangelizers. And this has led to a fragmented view of things that has become the new normal nowadays. Each one can be on his own, or some consensus can be made, but going to God is now largely considered passé. It’s now man, not God, who holds the key to reality, to what is true and false, good and evil. With this kind of mentality, the consideration of morality can go in any direction. And so,
Candidly Speaking / A5
Pedro C. Quitorio
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Contending with the globalization of Western Culture
The Aquino Government is influenced by the Western economic and cultural agenda ― including the population control policies. The efforts to impose the RH bill can be seen from this perspective. The Church’s opposition to the RH bill is perceived as the efforts of a conservative Church to hold on to outmoded cultural values―a hindrance to progress and develop. Others regard this as an attempt to assert or maintain the Church’s control over Philippine society. Thus, even among many civil society groups, the Church has become a target of criticism and ridicule. The Church is simply exercising her mission as a prophetic and servant community. This is the mission that the Church exercised during the Marcos dictatorial era and which contributed to the EDSA people power event. The Church has continued to exercise her role as conscience of society over the years. It will continue to do so under the present Aquino administration and in the years to come. The Church will continue to denounce and oppose any manifestation of culture of death and preach the gospel of life. The Church will not remain silent, nor will it stay in the sidelines while a government is bent on pushing policies that will adversely affect the future of our country. In exercising her prophetic mission, the Church must follow a consistent ethic of life. The pro-life stance includes not only opposition to the RH bill but also opposition to the pro-mining policies of the present government which is contributing to the destruction of the environment. This includes the promotion of genuine agrarian reform, peace advocacy and the adoption of economic policies that benefit the Filipino people rather than foreign companies and transnational corporations. The Church must continue promoting the Christian values and culture as part of the process of renewed evangelization. Living and witnessing to these values must take place at all levels ― the family, Basic Ecclesial Communities, parish, diocese, regional, national and global. The Church all over the world must be prepared to exist as a creative minority that continues to be a light, leaven and salt amidst a globalizing Western culture.
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Along The Way
WE live in an era of globalization. The liberal capitalist economic system promoted by the US and European industrial societies and transnational corporations is dominating the world. The underlying liberal capitalist culture of the West has also spread globally. This has become more possible through the means of communication like TV, news magazines and the internet. Movies and TV programs promote the point of view and values of the rich industrial societies―especially the US. Thus, Third World societies like the Philippines have to contend not just with Western economic imperialism. They have to contend with western cultural imperialism. Globalization is not simply an economic and technological phenomenon, it is also social, political and cultural in character. What are the cultural values and worldview of the Western capitalist societies that are spreading all over the world ― including former communist and socialist societies? Among these are individualism, secularism, consumerism, hedonism, sexual permissiveness, contraceptive mentality, divorce, gay marriage, etc. Abortion is accepted as part of women’s reproductive rights. The right of a woman’s privacy over her body takes precedence over the right to life of the unborn. Religion has no place in the public sphere. All these are part of the culture of modernity. The liberal capitalist values are promoted as the standard towards which all countries should adopt ― otherwise they will be regarded as backward. These values are often anti-life, anti-family and do not give importance to the community. These often promote greed and selfishness. Many of these promote the culture of death that John Paul II spoke about in his encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.” The West is also peddling a neo-Malthusian myth of overpopulation as the source of economic underdevelopment and poverty and a hindrance to economic progress. This conveniently hides the main cause of poverty which is the unjust and unequal distribution of the world’s resources and an economic system built on greed and exploitation― the legacy of centuries of colonialism and imperialism.
Spaces of Hope The LASER Man
“UNLESS the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24). It was in 2005 when I first met the late Jesse Robredo during a gathering of NGOs in Manila. During an open forum after his speech, he was asked about his six terms as mayor and how he managed to keep getting reelected without buying votes or its variations. People kept electing him, he said, because of his effective good governance work. I was deeply impressed. I asked for his cell phone number and he obliged with his patented winsome smile. Knowing him to be a very busy man, I did not expect him to respond to my texts. He did. This made me even more impressed by his sincere availability. Immediately after the elections 2007, I emailed the good mayor a series of questions that Dilaab had developed for its emerging good-governance advocacy. The LASER – lifestyle, action, supporters, election conduct, and reputation – test is a concrete framework for candidates and voters to undertake a prayerful decision-making process for the elections. What I emailed to Mayor Robredo was the LASER test in its nascent stage. Again he obliged me by taking time to answer the four questions. Here is his unedited answer to the question “How did or will you try to remain a person of integrity once you were or are elected into office?” Avoid spending personal money in helping your constituency (unless you are Ambassador Danding, Jaime Zobel, etc.). Legitimate constituency needs (medical, emergency transportation, burial, etc.) should be paid for by the government. There is what we call the AICS (Assistance to Indigents in Crisis Situations) Program authorized by DSWD that can address these. Never spend what you cannot earn legally. This unburdens you the pressure to get the funds from some other sources. Avoid bad company. Limit you “social life”. Live a frugal life. Request relatives and family members to “stay away” from all transactions with your local government. This might entail some sacrifices because they might have been dealing with the local government before you got elected. Leaders should not only be honest but should be perceived to be honest as well. By 2009 Jesse has become a lead convenor of the good-governance support group “Kaya Natin.” After the 2010 elections, he is appointed DILG secretary. The city mayor takes up the cudgels of leading a nationwide network of local government executives, not to mention the police and other public-safety agencies. It is a daunting task by any standard. He applies himself resolutely to his new role. There are tensions at the start but he soon wins over many skeptics. In the January 2011 CBCP meeting, Sec. Robredo writes the bishops to consider partnering with the DILG on grassroots good governance. UBAS – Ugnayan ng mga Barangay at Simbahan – was born when Bishop Tony Tobias of Novaliches initially responds to the good secretary’s invitation. Soon two other bishops join, Bishop Iñiguez of Caloocan and Bishop Ongtioco of Cubao. On 07 April 2011, Sec. Robredo and the three bishops sign a covenant at the St. Peter’s Shrine for Leaders in Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City. It is a red-letter day for ChurchState partnership on the local level with priests and barangay officials coming together, a watershed event symbolizing a new approach to promoting the common good. In 02 February 2012, I had the privilege of being in a seminar alongside the late DILG secretary. This was a gathering of elected officials, priests, and lay leaders of Malolos who came together upon the invitation of Bishop Oliveros of Malolos. His talk was on the “Seal of Good Housekeeping,” a DILG program recognizing and rewarding local government executives who, based on specific indicators, pass muster as proponents of good governance. Jesse spoke directly and effectively. I tried to complement his thoughts by sharing on the zeal for good governance and ethics in government. My reflections paled beside a living embodiment of the aforementioned zeal. A month later, our paths crossed again, this time for the National Summit on Good Governance held in Manila. Participants come from dioceses all over the country. Judging from his candor and energy, Sec. Robredo was at home with the group as he shares a version of the seal for good housekeeping, providing church participants a mirror to their own challenges. Some words stick regarding his participative approach with constituents regarding raising taxes: “Kapag nagtitiwala ang tao sa katuturan ng kanilang kontribusyon, ayos lang kahit pa makadagdag gastos ito.” A discernment conference for public servants followed in Cebu last 20 July convened by Archbishop Jose S. Palma. Again Sec. Robredo makes time for sharing his thoughts. It is a moment of sheer euphoria for the good governance champion as his statements: “Walang madumi na politika. Ang madumi ay ang politiko” and “may korap kasi hinahayaan natin” were strongly applauded by the more than 1,000 lay leaders and government officials who had come. People picked up on his “matino at mahusay” theme. Before he leaves for his next appointment, he approves the idea of writing a document for the expanding network to form the basis of the partnership between local churches and the DILG. Meanwhile, Jesse made his commitment to join another covenant signing, this time in Mindanao, between the Diocese of Kidapawan and the provincial government. Other prospects
Spaces of Hope / A7
Laity’s Co-Responsibility with the Church
IASI, ROMANIA. As of press time, this columnist as National President of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (“Laiko”), together with Laiko Vice President for Luzon Dr. Amelita Dayrit-Go, is in Iasi (pronounced as “Yas”), Romania attending the VI Assembly of the Foro Internacional Accion Catolica (“Accion Catolica”) or International Forum of Catholic Action (“IFCA”). The conference, from August 22-26, 2012, had the theme “Lay Catholic Action Members: Ecclesial and Social Co-Responsibility.” IFCA is supported by the Italian Bishops Conference. The Secretariat composed, among others, of Maria Grazia Tibaldi, Maria Chiara Finocchietti and Maria Laura R. L. Naticchioni, ably managed the conference together with Oana Tuduce, National President of Accion Catolica Romania, and Adriana Ianus, the Diocesan President of Accion Catolica in Iasi. A total of 150 delegates and 13 bishops from 33 countries of the 4 continents attended the conference—9 from Africa, 12 from Europe, 7 from America, 5 from Asia, including the Philippines. Among them are Bishops who attended the Conference and presided over the daily Masses during the Conference: His Excellencies Petru Gherghel of Iasi, Florentin Crihᾰlmeanu of Cluj Napoca, Virgil Bercea of Oradea (who is responsible for the Laity Bishops’ Conference of Romania)—all of Romania, Domenico Sigalini of Palestrina (a place close to Rome), Venant Bacinoni of Burundi (Africa), Felix Machado of Vasai, India, and Bishop from Myanmar, Luis Collazuol of Argentina, Ioachim Bacaoanu of Archiepiscopia of Roman and Bacau and delegate of the Orthodox Metropolite of Iasi. The Holy Mass on the last day was presided by Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi. Masses were celebrated in the Latin rite and on the second day in Byzantine rite. Participants were provided with Missalette containing translations in Romanian, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Latin.
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
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groups to discuss the co-responsibility functions of the laity. Each delegate, including this columnist, talked about their respective countries, the role of the laity in the Church and the goals and programs in each country. She also discussed in another session about Vatican II the 9 priorities of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines or PCP II to implement the Vatican II while Dr. Go discussed possible pathways to move forward. Despite the hectic schedules of the conference, the host country treated the participants to a tour of cultural, historical and tourist spots of Romania, particularly the cities of Iasi (the cultural capital of Moldavia), Cachica,Voronet, Agapia and MoldovaHirlau. To Accion Catolica, the bishops, priests and participants of the Assembly, congratulations, more power and may our good Lord bless us all in our apostolate in being co-responsible with the Church in our respective countries. *** Calling the participants to Laiko’s 10 days Pilgrimage on the Canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, Catechesis on the Life of the Beato will be held on August 30 from 2pm-5pm at Laiko office. Fr. Marvin Mejia, CBCP assistant secretary general will be the speaker. Attendance is a must for all. Certificate of Attendance is required to get the Schengen visa. Please bring all your documents. *** Happy Second Wedding Anniversary to Mary Gretchen Rosales and Charlemagne Castro, my niece and nephew-in-law, who were married at the St. Vincent de Paul, Manila on August 28, 2010. Happy Birthday to Lorenza Natividad, Gay Leaño and Edith Salvador of Special Ministry of the Word of San Ildefonso Parish, Kalookan Diocese.
Earphones were also given to listen to translations during the Assembly. The Highlight of the Assembly is the reading of the message to the delegates of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI who advised the participants that they are called to reflect on “ecclesial and social co-responsibility” especially this time which is of great relevance to the laity in the Year of the Faith and the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. The Pope exhorted “Co-responsibility implies a change in mentality, especially about the role of the laity in the Church. Lay person are to be considered not as “collaborators” of the clergy but as persons co-responsible in the reality of the essence and action of the Church. For this reason, it is important to consolidate a mature and committed laity, able to give specific contribution to the mission of the Church, in respect of the ministries and works that each and every one has in the life of the Church and always in cordial communion with the Bishops.” The Pope encouraged the Catholic Action Associations to renew the commitment on the road to holiness, upholding an intense life of prayer, a “transparent life” guided by the Gospel and enlightened by their encounter with Christ, loved and followed without fear. He encouraged them to make theirs the decisions of their dioceses and parishes, promoting sincere collaborations with other components of the Ecclesial community, creating a respect and communion with the priests, for a community which is alive, ministerial and missionary. He advised them to offer their disposition to participate in all aspects of the social, cultural and political life, keeping always in mind the common good. His Holiness ended “while I assure you of my affectionate prayers, for you, your families and for you associations, I send you all participants in this Assembly my Apostolic Blessing, which I gladly extend to all those whom you meet in your daily apostolate.” The participants were divided into small
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
IT is common to hear people, both young and not-so-young, talk about the need to make a ‘leap of faith’ in order to face many of life’s trials. But not all leaps of faith are a blind jump into the dark. More often than not, a leap means growing more steadfast in this virtue, acquiring a deeper significance and leaving enduring fruits. Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (“door of faith”), which literally opens for us a Year of Faith, gives us a wonderful opportunity to once again make a leap of quality in our faith. Below are nine concrete points which I have translated from Almudi (http://www.almudi. org). They will surely help us better embrace this invitation of Benedict XVI, so we may rediscover anew the personal and ecclesial features of our faith and become living witnesses for the entire world. 1. What is the Year of Faith? The Year of Faith “is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one ‘Saviour of the world.’” (Porta Fidei, no. 6) 2. When does it start and end? It begins on October 11, 2012 and ends on November 24, 2013. 3. Why these dates? The 11th of October coincides with two anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The closing, the 24th of November, is the solemnity of Christ the King. 4. Why has the Pope convoked it this year? “Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people.” (Ibid., #2) Thus, the Holy Father invites to an “authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one ‘Saviour of the world.’” The main objective of this year is that each Christian “rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm
Leaping in the Year of Faith
of the encounter with Christ.” (ibid., no. 2) 5. What means has the Holy Father suggested? In Porta Fidei he writes: to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist; to give witness of one’s own faith; and rediscover the contents of one’s faith, mainly explained in the Catechism. 6. Where will it take place? As the Pope says, it will have a universal reach. “We will have the opportunity to profess our faith in the Risen Lord in our cathedrals and in the churches of the whole world; in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times. Religious communities as well as parish communities, and all ecclesial bodies old and new, are to find a way, during this Year, to make a public profession of the Credo.” (Ibid., no. 8) 7. Where will one find more precise guidelines? In a published note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, some examples are: • doing pilgrimages to St. Peters; • organize pilgrimages, celebrations and gatherings in major sanctuaries; • hold symposiums, congresses and gatherings that foster knowledge of the contents of the Catholic Church’s doctrine, and to have an open dialogue between faith and reason; • read or re-read the main documents of the Second Vatican Council; • focusing more on the homilies, catechesis, discourses and interventions of the Holy Father; • promote programs about the faith in T.V. and radio, movies and publications, including the popular level which is accessible to a great audience; • make the saints of every locality known as authentic witnesses of the faith; • foster a greater appreciation for the legacy of religious art; • prepare and spread materials with an apologetic theme in order to resolve doubts; • organize catechetical events for the youth and transmit the beauty of the faith; • to turn with greater faith
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some extreme aberrations are now in the offing. Thus, we have this sad phenomenon of terrorism and a wave of rampage killers who must have been inspired either by a fanatical spirit or a nihilist one. Perhaps, if we are to probe into their mind and soul, we can find that they most probably think that what they are doing is right. They become invincibly convinced they are right. It’s a horrible prospect that we need to consider very seriously. With this kind of world, how should the new evangelization be? How should the evange-
lizer be to be effective? These are questions that should challenge the Church now, understanding the Church to be not only the Pope and bishops and clergy, but all the people of God, including the laypeople The challenges of the new evangelization have to be tackled by all of us. We need to pray hard, study, develop the virtues, wage continuing conversions, because there can be no other way to face them. The very daunting challenges are asking us to be more consistent with our Christian life. We need to be more committed.
MORE than 500 young people from the diocese of Pasig deepened their awareness on faith, mission and vocations through workshops during the 1st diocesan youth day (DYD) held August 18 at the Pasig Catholic College. The chosen topics for workshops―faith, mission and vocations―were inspired by the life of Pedro Calungsod, the soon to be 2nd Filipino saint while taking into account the Philippine Church’s celebration of the Year of the Pontifical Missions, the upcoming Year of Faith and Vocations. Cocoi Javier and Jermer Cruz, both members of Youth for Family and Life (YFL) talked about faith and mission, while a seminarian, Fr. June Sanchez of Sta. Martha Parish, a couple from the Marriage Encounter group who were also the couple-coordinator of the Vicariate of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Family & Life Ministry, and two religious nuns shared on the topic of vocations. Cruz shared his experiences as a delegate during the last World Youth Day celebration in Madrid, Spain hoping to encourage young people to join the upcoming WYD in Brazil as missionaries sharing the gift from God by being Catholics. He also emphasized that in order to celebrate the Year of Faith young people must always evangelize their fellow youth and renew their faith. Cruz encouraged the youth participants to ponder on the
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
‘Communities, schools should provide Pasig youth intensify faith, family atmosphere to OFWs’ children’ mission awareness
WITH an estimated six million children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) living far from their parents, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle believes that organizations, schools and parishes should be a support and a ‘family’ to them. “I think it is the responsibility of organizations, schools, even the ‘barkadas’, the BECs to provide some family atmosphere, a home where these persons can be built up, so they will not feel that they are homeless,” Tagle explained to some 300 participants at the Family Congress 2012 yesterday. The Archbishop of Manila pointed out how poverty has caused a lot of displacement and separation among families of Filipino overseas workers, something that has a profound impact on child-rearing, values and parenting. According to a One Philippines article, which cited an Asia Policy Center (APPC) study on the effects of migration on children, children who receive less care are more prone to engage in pre-marital sex, take drugs and be victims of physical or sexual abuse. Giving the keynote address on “Building the Filipino Family”, Tagle expressed concern over particular challenges OFWs’ kids will face as future parents, considering they grew up with one or both parents physically absent. He said that while it is also good to focus on the nuclear family, there is a need to “stretch our imagination” to reach out to OFWs’ families left in the country, which are often extended families of uncles, aunts or grandparents as guardians. Interspersed with short anecdotes, Tagle showed that the Filipino family is evolving and communities and the Church should respond to it. He explained, “[Today, the] family is lolo, tia, mga anak. Minsan pa nga, bata, tv.” Tagle also praised the continuing work organizations and groups have with children of OFWs, saying, “The organizations are keeping the family fabric alive.” Miriam College, College of the Holy Spirit, STC Family Council, individual bloggers, the Balay Pag Inupdinay Foundation, as well as the Diocese of Cubao attended the Family Congress 2012 organized by the Love Institute. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Criminal justice system failing—Nassa official
MALACANANG’S move to raise the reward for information that will lead to the arrest of several high-profile fugitives only showed that the criminal justice system is failing, a Catholic priest said. Human rights advocate Fr. Edu Gariguez of the National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace (Nassa) said it is not even good to offer reward money because it is strictly police work. “The government should really show the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and prove the capabilities of our authorities in arresting criminals,” Gariguez said. Nassa is the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). According to the priest, intelligence gathering has funding and is a basic police work and failing to do so is a failure to do their duties. “Now, if the result is not good then there is a problem with the system that’s why they can’t make arrests,” he said. President Benigno Aquino III has raised the bounty for three high-profile fugitives – retired army general Jovito Palparan, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes, and Ruben Ecleo of Dinagat Island – to P2 million each. He also offered P2 millionreward money for information that will lead to the capture of housing developer Delfin Lee. The government also reminded the public of the existing P5.6 bounty each for communist leaders Benito Tiamson and George Madlos. Gariguez expressed hope that authorities can finally find lead for the arrest of said fugitives particularly Palparan who has been subject to a manhunt over alleged abduction of two student activists since 2006. “The Aquino administration should do its serious resolve to really get all these wanted elements,” he said. He claimed that he himself was a victim of harassment from the military when Palparan was assigned in Mindoro. Gariguez added that he was among those in the alleged military liquidation list as “terrorists” because of his strong campaign against mining there. (CBCPNews)
word FAITH, which for him means Foster friendship, Attend gatherings, Initiate, Testify and Hold firm, to your friends but most importantly to God. Those who shared on the aspects of vocations, meanwhile, emphasized that vocation is always a story of love, it involves a mystery where it has become a personal response and is always a way to life. Aside from the workshop, other activities include a Taize prayer, confessions and gallery walk exhibit of past youth activities in the vicariate level. YouthPinoy! president Eilleen Esteban was also present to promote Blessed Pedro Calungsod as well as Peter Pardo, the NCR regional youth coordinator who shared about the RH bill. Actress Dimples Romana also gave her testimony encouraging the youth to be always grateful for all the blessings given them by God. “As a youth of today, we are lucky because there are programs laid down to us to equip us for the future. We should thank the Lord always for all the blessings we have received and breathe in the blessings of God and must breathe it out to share those blessings to others,” Romana said. Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara celebrated the culminating Mass reiterating in his homily that the youth should be happy and always be hungry for the Lord for He is the bread of life. (Jandel Posion)
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some Catholic schools. “In some places, we first talk to them because some teachers may have some misunderstanding of what they think of freedom of conscience or academic freedom,” said Palma. “In some of the universities, we say that if you want to teach that idea, do not do it in a Catholic school because we are confusing the students… do it in other universities,” he said. The CBCP head stressed that the motive why many parents send their children to Catholic schools are for reasons of faith formation. “They are hoping that their children will learn the Catholic teaching and also the Catholic formation,’ he said. “It will be a contradiction if we will bombard them with ideas which are against the official teachings of the Catholic faith,” added Palma. Open to dialogue Palma said the CBCP is also willing to conduct dialogue with professors of the Jesuit-run Ateneo De Manila University over the RH bill. “For me, there’s really a need for a sincere dialogue because the professors, I think must be motivated by their desire to discover what is good,” Palma said. The bishops, he said, are open to dialogue with the pro-RH bill Ateneo professors “because we are all part of the Church and we are responsible for our actions.” “We are willing to meet other people with dialogue,” said the soft-spoken prelate. He also revealed that members of the CBCP Permanent Council will meet on September 4 to talk on certain “academic concerns” related to RH bill. “We will talk about good approaches, solutions and the task of Catholic universities to seek the truth and of course to continue studying and working out hoping to come out with possible solutions to many concerns from the academic and also related points of view,” Palma said. “In the search, we should be guided by the light of truth or by the light of faith. That is the mission of the Church,”
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he said. Palma also lauded the ‘sincerity’ of the ADMU administration and the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus in standing with the CBCP against the RH bill. “They are both sincere in saying that they are with us together with the Catholic Church when they said that they are with us,” he said. ‘Not trigger happy’ Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP vice president, echoed Palma’s statement and emphasized that the bishops are not just acting on issues without valid reason. “We bishops are not trigger happy with imposing penalties because we, at first, are brothers and we, at first, are fathers who need to guide and correct,” Villegas said. He made the statement during a press conference at the start of the 2012 Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Annual Convention at the SMX Center in Pasay City on August 29. According to him, the bishops would always resort to dialogue in cases of misunderstandings within the church. “When we see errors, the first thing that we do is to dialogue… call the child and ask for an explanation then explain my side and listen to his side. Let us talk,” he said. If the dialogue does not work, he said that by law, there has to be a written reprimand and they go on with investigation. “But if the child of the Church remains incorrigible then that is when the sanctions are imposed. And the sanctions are not always excommunication. It is not always termination from the job. There are different degrees of sanction,” said Villegas, who also chairs the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education. The CEAP also reiterated its “oneness” with the bishops and expressed its strong objection to any law, which promotes “abortifacient regulation of birth.” “The killing of human life is absolutely forbidden. It is prohibited by the
Philippines Constitution and prohibited by the 6th Commandment. The CEAP is one (with the bishops) in protecting human life from the moment of conception,” the CEAP said in a statement read by its National Advocacy Commission Chair, Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ. “The CEAP supports the bishops in their official teachings, which is binding all believers the official teaching concerning the dignity of human life, the need to choose life and to support a culture of life and to affirm and reaffirm the sacredness of sexuality,” said Tabora, who is also the president of Ateneo De Davao University. Contradiction In a statement, the Ateneo professors said that the RH bill is not a population control measure but a legislation that promotes sexual reproductive rights, the right to health and the right to informed choice. Their position, however, contradicts the statement of no other than President Benigno Aquino III who wants the bill passed, saying that population control is the answer to the backlogs in education and the alleviation of poverty. The professors first released this statement in 2008, and reiterated their stand recently as the House entered into the period of amendments on the RH measure. They also stated that they are not speaking for the entire Ateneo institution and only expressing their personal position. Villarin also asked Ateneo professors who are engaged in the Christian formation to ensure that the “Catholic position on this matter continues to be taught in our classes, as we have always done.” He added the university will continue to support the Church in its future actions should the bill is passed by Congress. “Should the bill with whatever amendments be passed, we should neither hesitate to bring to the judiciary whatever legal questions we may have nor cease to be vigilant in ensuring that no coercion takes place in implantation,” he added.
He became emotional as he blamed contraceptives for the medical condition of his son, Vincent Paul, who died five months after he was born in 1975. Asked for comment, Palma said, “The advocacy of leaders really depends with many things and other context of morality. We are grateful for those who support pro-life laws.” For his part, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said they are still hopeful the RH bill will not be passed into law. “We are still hopeful even if we really don’t know what our lawmakers are thinking. We are still praying that it will not be passed,” Reyes said. Now that the Lower House has enDivorce / A1
tered into the period of amendments, the bishop called on lawmakers to omit the “wrong” provisions in the measure. “Among them include the questionable sex education program and that employers should provide contraceptives to their employers,” he said. Reyes also revealed that many lawmakers who favored the termination of the debate on the RH bill assured them that they would reject the bill once it is put to a vote on second reading on the floor. “There are congressmen who told us that they will vote for an end of the interpellation but when time comes that they have to vote for its passage, they will vote no,” he added. “This means that those voted for the end of the debate are already pro-RH bill,” according to him. (CBCPNews)
Recently, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported that fewer Filipino couples are getting married during the past decade due to rising poverty. Government data showed that the number of registered marriages had dropped by 13 percent from 559,162 in 2001 to 482,480 in 2010. But the church official stressed that poverty is a lame reason since getting married does not require being lavish. He said that if couples really want to get married, they can have their opportunities without spending much. “In the Church, all parishes offer
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free weddings at least once or twice a month. But it’s just a simple one… no more flowers, balloons, singers. Others, however, still prefer a special wedding so it’s really expensive,” Cruz said. He added that some even haggle with church expenses but spend extravagantly in the receptions. This is the reason why, Cruz stressed, that the Church must further teach the faithful that spending excessively is not a requirement in getting married. He also said there is nothing wrong with couples planning a lavish wedding “but not beyond their means.” (RL/CBCPNews)
and frequency to the sacrament of Penance; • use the Compendium of the Catholic Church in schools; • organize reading groups of the Catechism and to promote its diffusion and sale; 8. What documents can I read for now? Begin with the Pope’s motu proprio Porta Fidei and the guidelines suggested by the Congregation for the
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Doctrine of the Faith. 9. When can I get more information about the Year of Faith? Check out the Vatican’s web page hosting this particular celebration: http://www. annusfidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en.html With these nine points, we will have more than enough to make a real quality leap in our faith and also helping others to make this leap as well.
“moral responsibility” to the people. Church leaders believe that active educational campaign would help empower the couples on the “moral, effective and safe” way of family planning. The church is not only stressing that artificial contraception violates Catholic teaching but also that it harms women’s bodies and the environment. In Manila, Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle has enMiracle / A1
dorsed the establishment of a network on NFP as the church’s way of exercising “responsible parenthood.” Heeding the call, members of the “All-Natural Family Planning Network” mee on August 23 at the Pius XII Catholic Center to discuss plans to further improve their advocacy. Hosted by the Catholic W o m en’s League (CWL), the gathering served as a venue for looking into
the options allowed by the Church in terms of amendments to certain provisions of the RH bill. The booklet, “The Standard Days Method of Natural Family Planning: Expert Opinions and Pastoral Perspectives,” was also launched during the meeting. The launching had Dr. Hanna Klaus as speaker, one of the experts who contributed to the booklet, published by the Archdiocese of
Cagayan De Oro and CWL. “As a positive alternative to the RH bill, we can propose a nationwide program for All-NFP as a valid, viable and vital way of addressing the felt needs of many couples today for family planning and for their preference for NFP methods,” said CWL president Caridad Rabuco. The Catholic hierarchy has consistently opposed the use of artificial contraception methods like condoms and pills. (CBCPNews)
Leyson refused to identify the woman but said she is from Visayas and was confined at a hospital in Cebu City when the miracle happened. “She is now a devotee of Blessed Calungsod and is even serving as a church volunteer,” said Leyson.
Last December, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the woman’s healing as a miracle obtained through the intercession of Calungsod who would be second Filipino saint. Along with six other soon-to-besaints from other countries, Calungsod
will be canonized in Rome on October 21. Calungsod was doing a missionary work in Guam in 1672 when he was killed at age 17. Blessed John Paul II beatified him on March 5, 2000. (RL/ CBCPNews)
“It’s too bad that we lost one of the few honest public officials,” he added. The late cabinet secretary, according to Cruz, “is the incarnate example of Integrity, Industry and Simplicity.” Cruz said Robredo’s passing signals a great loss for the country, considering his successful eradication of Jueteng operations in Naga City, which earned for him a Ramon Magsaysay Award. Robredo’s vision on making the Philippines Jueteng-free is a larger than life mission he shares with the prelate. He said Robredo ought to be the kind of politician that the public should support during elections—credible, dedicated and humble. “I hope the voting public learns the lesson of not voting based on name, wealth and popularity. I hope that eventually, the Filipinos will be wise voters,” he added. Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma and several civil society leaders in the province said Robredo exemplified honesty and hard work in government. “We will miss him as a public servant that exemplified the ideals of honesty and hard work in government,”
Ledesma said upon hearing the news of the recovery of Robredo’s dead body on August 21. He expressed hope that Robredo’s death will spark a flame that will grow into a conflagration that will institute good governance, transparency and accountability starting with the Aquino administration and beyond. “His death should give us lasting legacy that good governance is possible and is necessary especially this time because of President PNoy’s own campaign against corruption. Whoever succeeds Sec. Robredo should continue that legacy,” he added. Ledesma described Robredo as a “friend” of Cagayan de Oro who showed his concern to everyone everytime he visited the city. “He has also shown his concern for good governance in the city,” he added. On August 28, President Benigno Aquino has conferred on Robredo the highest presidential citation for his exemplary service as a public servant, following the funeral Mass held at the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. (CBCPNews)
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
US relief agency donates P750, 000 worth of goods to Laguna flood victims
SAN PABLO City— A US-based international relief service agency in coordination with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has distributed some Php750, 000 worth of non-food item kits to 500 flood victims in Laguna on August 16 and 17. The Catholic Relief Services (CRS), a relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has distributed relief goods to every family of evacuees during the “Operation Lingap Habagat” project on August 16. Relief goods included items like: 1 piece 20 Liter Jerry Can, 1 piece 16 liter Pail with cover,1 piece sleeping mat, 3 pieces blankets, 10 pieces bathing soap (135 gm), 4 long bars laundry soap (480 gm), 4 pieces tooth brush, 2 pieces tooth paste (150 ml), 1 pack napkin, and 5 pieces towels. The same activity also took place in Victoria town on morning of August 17 according to the CRS personnel. Some 200 target beneficiaries, they said, were given the non-food item kits with similar contents as the one made in Sta. Cruz earlier. The donations given to each family, each pack worth about Php1,500 is estimated to last for one month, according to Ma. Emily “Nikki” De Vera, Deputy Program Manager for Emergency. She said this is only their initial round of donating goods to the flood victims in Laguna. Once the next project proposal is approved their staff in the fields and counterparts in the Catholic Churches would be mapping out more flood victims in the province to identify those who needed aids the most for the next schedule of “Operation Lingap Habagat”. Maria Josephine Wijiastoti of CRS Indonesia who was among the about 10-crew members helping distribute and supervise the operation, said a process of assessment, identification of the appropriate beneficiaries who needed immediate support with emergency
This August 9 file photo shows a family inside an evacuation center in Marikina, one of the many areas in Metro Manila that was submerged by floods. Low lying areas in the metropolis have remained flooded, almost a month after the tragedy.
Photo courtesy of CBCP-Nassa
Bishop: Pampanga needs new breed of leaders
SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—A Catholic bishop said Pampanga province needed new breed of leaders who would emerge from next year’s elections. San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said it is high-time for the province to have “new faces” to meet the social and political challenges. “We are trying as much as possible to encourage a new breed of promising leaders to enter politics to change our political landscape here,” David said. The church official expressed concern over the rampant patronage systems that have stalled the pace of social and economic reform. The bishop believes that the province will never run out of leaders of the right caliber. “I think there are enough people out there but when it comes to politics of patronage the primary concern is capital and popularity. If they don’t have that, they are discouraged to run,” said David. “The election is approaching so the people are beginning to talk about options now. We hear a lot of things but of course the most that we can do is to educate the voters. We try not to get involved directly in politics,” he said. David was reacting to former president Gloria Mapacapagal-Arroyo’s reported plan to seek a new term as Pampanga representative in May 2013.
relief items were done before the actual distribution was made. She said her CRS group in Indonesia and the Philippines in partnership with CBCP NASSA have worked together with the local parishes in helping them identify the target beneficiaries without discrimination in terms of religion, political affiliations or race. Wijiastoti who was with the group who helped Sendong victims in Cagayan de Oro said, prior to the distribution process, the group explained to the evacuee beneficiaries proper steps about hygiene, awareness on Leptospirosis and how to prevent it and the like. They were also taught on the proper way of hand washing. She said the 300 beneficiaries in Sta. Cruz came from 4 barangays affected by the floods. The main donor of the goods, according to the organizers is the USAID (United States Agency for International Development).
Submerged in flood waters As of August 13, there are 19 out of the 30 towns in Laguna submerged by flood waters which affected 171 barangays, 68,950 families and 299, 209 individuals, according to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) in Laguna. Roseller Gabinete, Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (OPSWD) said that their office is still updating their data and they are yet to validate figures. He said Siniloan town was the latest addition of municipalities flooded with waters hence, the total number of towns is now raised from 18 to 19. Ernesto Montecillo, PSWD head reported that to date there are three casualties who drowned and five were injured due to the inundated rivers and lake of Laguna. Some 90 houses were totally damaged and 652 houses partially damaged in Laguna by the floods. (Fr. Romy Ponte)
Mindanao’s major seminary gathers alumni priests for homecoming
DAVAO City— After spending years in seminary formation and the priesthood, the alumni priests of St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary (REMASE) of Mindanao are back again to the seminary for their biennial homecoming. Priests coming from 21 dioceses of Mindanao converged August 20 to 22 at REMASE, Catalunan Grande, Davao City, where they underwent rigorous academic, human, pastoral and spiritual training and formation. The occasion was graced by the presence of the newly installed Archbishop of Davao Romulo G. Valles who was the keynote speaker. (John Frances C. Fuentes)
Formation seminar held for Bicol’s student leaders
LABO, Camarines Norte— In a bid to form future Christian leaders, the Saint John the Apostle Academy of Labo, Camarines Norte organized a leadership seminar last August 9 and 10 to facilitate the education and formation of future government and Church leaders. More than 80 student leaders who are also active members of the Holy Childhood Association, one of the foundations of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), attended the seminar titled “Following Jesus the Servant Leader”. Sr. Yolanda Lunod, AMP, the outreach program coordinator, said the seminar was held because they believe that years from now, the children will become government or church officials so it is important to facilitate the children’s education and formation to produce good, efficient and effective leaders who are Christcentered. (Jandel Posion)
Diocesan youth hold indigenous fashion show for Calungsod, environment
But the bishop said Arroyo is free to seek a fresh term in the House of Representatives. “That’s her prerogative. We are a democratic country but of course she also has to look after her health,” he said. “But I would say that there is a good constituency of middle class voters who are looking for other alternatives. It’s not necessarily from the traditional political families but new breed of leaders,” he said. (RL/CBCPNews)
IBA, Zambales— Young people from the Diocese of Iba presented their different creations using various recyclable and indigenous materials in a diocesan youth fashion parade titled ‘One Fashion Show for One Mother Earth’. The fashion extravaganza, which was held at Harbor Point Ayala Malls, Subic Bay Freeport Zone last August 25, aims to promote awareness and motivate people from all walks of life to protect and conserve the environment. It was also held in honor of Blessed Pedro Calungsod who will be canonized in October, according to Madonna Dalit, diocesan youth coordinator of Iba. (Jandel Posion)
Lay group conducts 1st mercy medical mission
Parañaque bishop blesses drafts of Calungsod’s painting
ANGONO, Rizal— Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado blessed the drafts of Pedro Calungsod’s painting as well as the artists from Angono town of Rizal, who were commissioned to paint the life and martyrdom of the would-be second Filipino saint, as part of the national preparation for his upcoming canonization in October. In a news report posted on the news and information website, Rizal News Online, the bishop had commended the artists from the country’s Art Capital, Angono, and said of the painting as “a reflection of the Filipino life, that is characterized by hope and
And That’s The Truth / A4
joy, as well as the pains and sorrows.” “Ang mga ito rin ang tuwa at pag-asa, pighati at hapis ng mga alagad ni Kristo. Higit pa rito ang mga likhang sining na nakatalaga sa panalangin at pagpaparangal sa Maykapal ay mistulang bintana kung saan dumudungaw ang kagandahang loob at katarungan ng Diyos,” the bishop said. On Blessed Pedro Calungsod’s official proclamation as the second Filipino saint on October 21, Mercado said that the new saint would now be part of the life of the ordinary Filipino and that this is a grace “that cannot be measured”. However, the Angono-based artists
had also sacrificed some of their precious time and talent just to enliven on immaculate white canvases the life and suffering of the Cebuano saint. The project is a joint effort of the Programs and Events Cluster of the Commission on National Celebration of Pedro Calungsod’s canonization, which is chaired by Mercado; by the Neo-Angono Artist Collective, Angono Ateliers Association, Angono Artists Association, independent artists, and fine art students from the University of Rizal System-Angono (URSA). (Noel Sales Barcelona/ CBCPNews)
SAMAL, Davao del Norte— A Catholic lay group, the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) of Davao East conducted their 1st Mercy Mission at Sto. Niño Parish in Kaputian, Samal City, August 5. The medical team, headed by Dr. Hansel Magno, from the Kaputian Health Center served around seven hundred fifty (750) patients coming from the Poblacion Kaputian and various areas nearby. Medical practitioners and volunteers members of BCBP rendered their services for free such as medical, pediatrics, optometric, dental, and pharmaceutical. A feeding program was also held during the mission where the group distributed goods like rice, clothes and slippers to the people of Kaputian. (Jecy Opada/Jandel Posion)
Christians visit Muslim inmates for dialogue
DAVAO City— In the spirit of unity, Christians and Muslims in Davao City had an exchange of spiritual moments and dialogue last August 11 at Ma-a City Jail, Davao City for the 3rd Silsilah Forum of Davao (SFD). Called ‘Duyog Ramadhan’, SFD has been conducting the forum every year that aims to highlight the significance of the holy month of fasting. The forum was headed by Ms. Nor Asiah Adilao, together with a Catholic nun from the Life-in-Dialogue Youth (LID-Youth), Ms. Kharla Acosta of the Archdiocesan Cultural Heritage and Ustadz-Imam Isa Tahas, the forum’s resource speaker. (MJ Olea/Jandel Posion)
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random, 101 were female, 12 were male, and 10 were an unnatural hybrid of male and female. This was the disturbing phenomenon: the 1:1 male-female balance was seriously disrupted, and the culprit behind the feminization of the fish was the EE2 in the water! This led Woodling to say, “It’s the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me. It’s one thing to kill a river. It’s another thing to kill nature. If you’re messing with the hormonal balance in your aquatic community, you’re going deep down. You’re twiddling with how life proceeds.” Motherland. The attack on our Motherland started with the National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM200), also called The Kissinger Report, promulgated
on December 10, 1974 by the United States National Security Council. Subtitled “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth For U.S. Security and Overseas Interests”, it was a classified document that laid out in detail the US strategy to aggressively promote population control in less-developed countries—called LDCs by the Report—in order to gain better access to the countries’ natural resources. Those 13 LDCs are Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey. According to the Report, population growth in the developing world threatens U.S. security, thus the need for population control with the purpose of serving the
U.S. strategic, economic, and military interests at the expense of the LDCs. If you’re hearing about it now for the first time, you might be disappointed as many Filipinos were who couldn’t believe Big Brother America can do that to us. It’s best that you read the whole document yourself. It was declassified by the White House in 1989 and is now available online. Please visit this site, http://www.lifesite. net/waronfamily/nssm200/ nssm200.pdf and you will see the mother blueprint for depopulation of which our RH Bill today is a progeny. NSSM-200 is technically still in force as it remains the official strategy paper of the U.S. on population. If you are a Filipino and love the land of your birth, you will
be angry at what you will discover. You will see the link between NSSM-200 and the RH Bill, and see why and how the ruling elite of a foreign nation—coveting our natural resources with the backing of UN and other global agencies—schemes to cajole and pressure our leaders and legislators to pass the RH Bill. For the health and empowerment of our women? For the sake or our economy? That’s the bunkum that its proponents in Congress claim, and it is so, so sad that people we have elected into office are acting like pimps in handing over our Motherland to these opportunistic aliens. Passing the RH Bill is laying out the red carpet for rapists, plunderers and pillagers to enter our country through the front door. (To be continued)
were in the horizon. Then an 18 August plane crash dashed these dreams and the expanding network to pieces. Or did it? I never knew much about Jesse the family man and the believer. Leni Robredo’s interview gave me a glimpse of a very simple man who got solid family support in his journey towards integrity. Can you imagine a cabinet member having no lavish celebration for his silver wedding anniversary? Or a regular guy who did household chores when he got home? Or a devotee of our Lady of Penafrancia who went to confession two to three times monthly? Or a member of the CFC’s social action group who mentored other politicians? Or a politician who steps down without appointing his wife or a close relative as successor so as not to start a dynasty? In 2009, in preparation for elections 2010, I was part of a team that asked seminar participations: “What qualities are we looking for in our elected officials and public servants?” Participants of 30 different groups all over the country had a common vision: he or she, above all, must be truly God-fearing. This is followed by two qualities: tested integrity and servant-leadership. Behind
these are competence and commitment to life. Jesse Robredo possessed these qualities and passed the LASER test with flying colors. The grain of wheat that fell to the ground reverberates in the hearts of common Filipinos all over the country who yearn for truly Godfearing leaders. Remembering Jesse, we declare, “Pwede pala Pinoy!” I have read that the police training school in Cebu, whose groundbreaking ceremony Jesse attended before taking the ill-fated flight, will be named after him. Well and good. Yet we need to do more. Who among our current politicians and public servants will catch the baton that he so bravely carried to carry it through to fulfillment? Let us beware of clowns who even now are trying to form his memory according to their own image and likeness. Shall we go beyond apathy and respond to the call to be discerning voters and engaged citizens? Are there other public servants needing our support and whose confirmation are blocked by petty politics? Can we continue to come together for the common good? Leni, your husband’s dream will not die with him. It will bear fruits.
Taal lake’s Marian regatta to create environmental awareness
CHURCH and civil leaders in Taal province joined hands in reminding the public of its responsibility to take care of mother nature’s bounty. The local government in tandem with the local church and the private sector are set to hold a first ever Marian regatta around the world famous Taal lake to call people’s attention on the importance of protecting the natural wonder from degradation. The Marian regatta, consisting of 50 boats bringing the images of the Virgin Mary and patron saints, will be held on September 8, birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to a post on the website of Fr. Leonido Dolor, media director of Lipa archdiocese. Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, meanwhile regards the upcoming fluvial event, not only a reminder to all Batangueños of their duty to protect the lake from destruction but also a means of evangelization. Arguelles earlier has called for a decade of Evangelization and Renewal following the Ruby jubilee celebration of the archdiocese. The Marian fluvial parade also serves as a kick-off event for the 9th National Marian Pilgrimage to Lipa which will be held on September 12. Highlighting the significance of environmental awareness and responsibility in protecting Taal lake, the regatta will move around the volcano as devotees recite prayers asking God “to spare Taal from destructive activities of the very people to whom this was entrusted for them to use and enjoy.” Dolor said the event “should put our feet on the ground and see the importance of taking good care of Taal Lake!” “Otherwise, its volcano might take an active part in reminding us of our responsibility—to keep Taal Lake clean, productive and aesthetically picturesque!” he said. Illegal fish pens thrived on the lake to farm tilapia and bangus. The provincial government with the backing of the archdiocese has been on a campaign to dismantle the fish cages as these threaten the water’s freshness and the survival of fish endemic in Taal’s waters, like tawilis and maliputo. Arguelles said that problems hounding the lake should be known to all Batangueños so they can responsibly act on the matter. “We should learn how to take care of the lake and its resources,” he said reiterating his plea for the fish cages to be dismantled and for the re-cultivation of the indigenous species that could only be found in Taal Lake. “We will storm heaven with prayers during the fluvial procession, which will have the two Lipa Marian images prominently participating—the Lady of Caysasay and Mary Mediatrix of all Grace,” he said. (CBCPNews)
People, Facts & Places
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace
Workshop highlights Church’s pastoral role in HIV-AIDS advocacy Caritas Manila to exhibit
A RECENTLY held workshop on HIV-AIDS shed more light on the role the Church can play as a pastoral support for people infected with the virus. “We still have a serious problem of stigma and rejection even by family members. Here the Church can play a very important role because many people in the Philippines have a closeness to the Catholic Church… so through our parishes we can reach out,” Msgr. Robert Vitillo, special adviser on HIV and AIDS for Caritas Internationalis and one of the main speakers for the training, said in an interview. As seen through the discussions, the HIV-AIDS reality is not a purely medical or epidemiological reality but one that has root issues in poor family relations, poverty, sexual abuse or molestation, prostitution, etc. One of the main speakers, Fr. Dan Cancino, director of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care programs on HIVAIDS, stressed that pastoral care, counseling and unconditional acceptance are just some of the concrete ways the Church can support people living with HIV. Other partners like the UNAIDS affirmed the potential of what the Church can do with its existing influence over many Filipinos. During her report, Teresita Bagasao, UNAIDS Country Coordinator, appealed to the religious communities and faith-based organizations present to explore how they can help young people deal with confusion about sexual identity, as indirectly seen through the rise in HIV infections transmitted through ‘MSM’ or males having sex with males. Bagasao stressed that these males do not necessarily classify themselves as homosexual. According to Noel Palaypayon, R.N. of the National Epidemiology Center, there has been a 587% increase in HIV infections CARITAS Manila, the Archdiocese of Manila’s social arm, will hold a series of art exhibits featuring artworks done by prison inmates. The artworks using wood burning medium, that utilizes soldering iron to create images from burnt wood, will be exhibited first at the lobby of the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City on August 27 to September 8, and at the ground
prison inmates’ artworks
floor of Greenbelt 3, Makati from September 1 to 6. The art exhibit is part of the livelihood program of Caritas Manila for inmates through its Restorative Justice Program. Aside from helping sustain the operations of Caritas Manila’s livelihood program, the revenues from the exhibit will also benefit the inmates, their families and urban poor partners. (CBCPNews)
Fr. Dan Cancino, director of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Health Care programs on HIV-AIDS, talks about the disease and its prevention during a workshop at the San Carlos Seminary attended by various lay leaders in the Archdiocese of Manila, 24 August 2012.
© Roi Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vatican grants Bicol congregation pontifical right
POPE Benedict XVI has granted pontifical right to a religious congregation of women founded in Naga City in 1966. The congregation of Daughters of Mary Mother of the Church Institute has been approved by the Holy See as a congregation with pontifical right through the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic life. Institutes of pontifical right are those erected or approved by the Holy See by formal decree. The DM congregation received the Holy See’s approval on May 29, 2012. Mother Hedelina Vitalicio, general superior of the DM sisters, disclosed in an interview that it took about three years to have their request granted because of the many requirements they had to comply with. She said one of the things that took time was the revision of their constitutions which was required by the Holy See. Another Vatican requirement were testimonials from diocesan bishops where the DM sisters worked and have established communities. Grateful for the grace of approval, Vitalicio also regarded the Vatican decree as a sign and a challenge for the congregation to live faithfully its vocation. “To be granted the pontifical right is not a privilege but an obligation for us to be more holy and faithful,” she said. The DM Sisters celebrated the religious milestone with a thanksgiving Mass on August 15, Feast of the Assumption of Mary, attended by the schools founded and run by the Daughters of Mary and by the different religious communities in the Archdiocese of Caceres. Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi officiated the 10 a.m. Eucharistic sacrifice at the Basilica Minore de Peñafrancia, together with Most Rev. Jose Rojas, D.D., Most Rev. Lucilo Quiambao, D.D., Most Rev. Jose Sorra, D.D., and the Caceres Clergy. In his homily, Legaspi said that it is through the “Congregation’s ‘vitality and stability’, ‘distinct achievements’ in the fields of education and Catechesis” that the Holy
from 2007 to 2011. Although the 9,669 reported cases of HIV in the country do not seem like a numerically significant number, it continues to be a pressing and urgent issue, Palaypayon said. He also explained a distinct shift in the mode of transmissions, showing that a majority
of HIV infections are no longer transmitted through heterosexual sex but through MSM. The Philippine Catholic Network for HIV and AIDS (PhilCHAN) invited members of its 44-organization strong network to participate in the training intended for religious, seminarians and lay leaders. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
INVESTED. Msgr. Marvyn Maceda as Honorary Prelate, Msgr. Hipolito Remandaban III and Venancio Sosing as Papal Chaplains, August 25; at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Naval, Biliran. The investiture for papal honorees was the first in the diocese since it was created in 1988. Msgr. Maceda currently serves as vicar-general of the diocese, Msgr. Remandaman as the chancellor and Msgr. Sosing as member of the parish formation team of the Parish of St. James the Apostle in Caibiran. The Diocese of Naval was created on November 29, 1988, sliced off from the mother diocese of Palo in Leyte province. It comprises the entire island of Biliran and four municipalities at the northwestern tip of the island of Leyte and is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Palo. Consisting of 3 vicariates with 14 parishes manned by 33 priests, the diocese covers a land area of 1,170 square kilometers, with a population of 218,708 of which 92 per cent are Catholics. CELEBRATED. Fr. Manuel Hilario, MSC, 50th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination, July 29, 2012. Joined the MSC Novitiate in 1957, Fr. Hilario took his seminary training in Melbourne, Australia. He was ordained a priest in his hometown in San Jose, Nueva Ecija on July 29, 1962. He was first assigned at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Angeles City as Prefect of Discipline. He became assistant parish priest of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Quezon City, a year later. In January 1965, he was transferred in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija as an assistant priest. After six months, he was appointed Director of St. Andrew’s School in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija. He was there for 5 years until appointed acting parish priest in Guimba, Nueva Ecija on February 1970. On the same year, he became the Director of St. Joseph School in San Jose, Nueva Ecija. Three years after, he joined the formation ministry as Rector of the Sacred Heart Scholasticate in Quezon City. After six years in formation, he was sent back to the school ministry as Director of San Sebastian School in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. On April 1981, Fr. Hilario was elected as the first Filipino Provincial Superior of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of the Philippine province. He served as Provincial Superior for two terms with a total of six years. After that, he was assigned as Director and Co-Pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy (OLSHA) in Guimba, Nueva Ecija for 16 years. On April 2003, he retired from active ministry and stayed at MSC Provincialate in Quezon City. CELEBRATED. Fr. Clemente Mauricio, MSC, 50th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination, July 28, 2012. A retired US Army Catholic Chaplain with the rank of Major, Fr. Mauricio first priestly assignment as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart was to teach in the Sacred Heart Mission Seminary in Angeles City, Pampanga. He also worked as a Vocation Recruiter, Procurator for the material needs of the seminary. After 11 years in the seminary, he was assigned as an Associate Priest in a parish in Quezon City. During the Martial Law years, he transferred to USA and worked in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as Pastoral Care Minister in the county hospital. He was in the hospital ministry in Los Angeles and Long Beach for 10 years and trained in Clinical Pastoral Care Education (CPE). After 10 years doing the hospital ministry, Fr. Mauricio joined the US Navy as a Catholic Chaplain. His chaplaincy work would span 25 years and 5 months of continuous service in the US Army and brought him to various military stations across United States and abroad. He officially retired on November 2008. He was elected as the first Friar for the newly established 4th degree Assembly No. 2975 at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Leesville, Louisiana. Although now retired from active ministry at 77, Fr. Mauricio still happily serves as supply priest to the local parish. LAUNCHED. ‘Barkada ni Pedro’ (BNP), an online prayer network where people in need of prayers can get in touch with others who would want to pray for other people’s intentions, by the Cebu Archdiocesan Youth Commission. BNP was launched last August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration and a day before the 345th anniversary of Blessed Pedro’s departure for his mission to the Marianas islands. The symbolic first intention was posted by Msgr. Arthur Navales, PC, Chairman of the Youth Commission of Cebu archdiocese. By typing “PRAY BOX” before an intention, BNP’s network of pray-ers will be alerted to a person’s prayer request on the FB page’s wall. Examples of prayer requests would read like the following: “PRAY BOX: I will be having a job interview tomorrow. Prayers please!” or “PRAY BOX: My sister is sick. I hope you guys could include her in your prayers.” To join this online community, simply go to https://www.facebook.com/barkadanipedro and click “like”.
The Daughters of Mary Mother of the Church founded in Naga, Camarines Sur offer a Thanksgiving Mass to celebrate the pontifical approval granted by the Holy See on the congregation, August 15, 2012.
Father granted them Pontifical Right. With 138 professed members, the DM sisters carry their catechetical ministry in various dioceses in the Bicol region, in Central Luzon, in the National Capital region and abroad, where they have established communities. (CBCPNews)
Ex-America’s Next Top Model finalist to lead pro-life conference
FORMER fashion model celebrity Leah Darrow is visiting Manila to deliver her story of conversion and fortitude to a mixed audience of students, young professionals, and parents. Darrow, a finalist in season 3 of America’s Next Top Model, will lead this year’s “Real Love Revolution 2012,” a pro-life and chastity conference at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on September 1. Another renowned chastity advocate Chris Stefanick will speak in front of more than 15,000 young people that are expected to attend the event. Organizers said Darrow and Stefanick will probably see the biggest crowd they would have ever addressed since they started their crusade. Organized by the CATALYST, the student organization at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in Pasig City, the event is also supported by the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Patrick Lim, CATALYST president, said the event is timely given the present issues in the country such as the reproductive health (RH) bill, divorce, pre-marital sex, and same-sex marriage. “We believe that through this conference, we can contribute something in the fight against these social evils,” Lim said. He added that majority of the crowd are students from various schools and colleges from across the country, and some Asian countries. Darrow earned a bachelor degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, graduating with Magna cum Laude honors and President of the Psychology Honor Society, Psi Chi. She is also currently working towards her Masters in Pastoral Theology, in the IPT program, at Ave Maria University. Now, as a full-time apologist for Catholic Answers, Darrow brings her experience of the fashion world and the Catholic world to the masses. Stefanick, meanwhile, is currently the Director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver. A graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville and an accomplished guitarist and songwriter, he combines his musical talent with drama, humor and gripping stories to deliver the Gospel. His dynamic presentations and retreats have inspired thousands of teens all over the world to a deeper love for God. Stefanick also co-wrote the book “Raising Pure Teens” with Jason Evert. (RL/CBCPNews)
Celebrate ‘heroes’ day with community service, public urged
A DAY after the nation commemorated the death of former senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr,, a Catholic priest urged the public to mark the day of ‘Ninoy’ more meaningfully by doing community service for the benefit of society. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Youth Commission’s Fr. Conegundo Garganta said that the commemoration of a hero can be done in many ways, but for the priest, a more productive and meaningful way to do it is to conduct community service for the benefit of the public. Offering one’s service or time for the good of the community could be a concrete program to mark Ninoy’s day or of other national heroes, he stressed. Although Ninoy’s death brought inspiration to all Filipinos and change in Philippine society, the priest however, doubts if the zeal inspired by his death is still strong in the hearts of his countrymen. “In order for him to be remembered greatly, the government and school administrations must find a concrete way to provide programs that will make his life memories or spirit of self-giving be really remembered and rooted in everybody’s heart,” Garganta said. The priest believes that instead of a class holiday during Ninoy Aquino day or any other hero’s day, it is better that students should immerse themselves in doing community service as part of a program of remembering our heroes so that the youth must also feel that they are heroes in their own way. “One way can be Community Service Day for all Filipinos, that as a Filipino remembering Ninoy for his work, we will be able to say that even for a day, a person is a hero and can experience being one by helping in cleaning sidewalks or the streets or any other means of community service, which we feel is necessary nowadays. [Then], maybe we [would no longer] see wastes in any part or place in our country,” he added. Garganta emphasized that people can do many things to help lessen the country’s many problems—like planting trees, or clean rivers, dams and waterways—of debris that hinder the flow of water. “Yes, we pray, we thank the Lord that we have a hero, thanking Him for the life offered, just as Jesus did for us. But there are more concrete and positive actions, responses that could communicate our gratitude to this person, to this hero. The government must also be firm in these steps, even schools must be strong to these concepts and the Church as well,” he furthered. (Jandel Posion)
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Placing Work and Workers at the Center of Economic Life
(Statement of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Labor Day 2012)
THIS Labor Day, our country continues to struggle with a broken economy that is not producing enough decent jobs.
Millions of Americans suffer from unemployment, underemployment or are living in poverty as their basic needs too often go unmet. This represents a serious economic and moral failure for our nation. As people of faith, we are called to stand with those left behind, offer our solidarity, and join forces with “the least of these” to help meet their basic needs. We seek national economic renewal that places working people and their families at the center of economic life. The Broken Economy Leaves Too Many Without Decent Work Officially over 12 million workers are looking for work but cannot find a job and millions more have actually given up seeking employment. Millions more are underemployed; they are willing and able to work full time, but there are not enough jobs available. Over ten million families are “working poor”―they work hard, but their jobs do not pay enough to meet their basic needs. The sad fact is that over 46 million people live in poverty and, most disturbingly, over 16 million children grow up poor in our nation. The link between joblessness and poverty is undeniable, as Pope Benedict points out: In many cases, poverty results from a violation of the dignity of human work, either because work opportunities are limited (through unemployment or underemployment), or “because a low value is put on work and the rights that flow from it, especially the right to a just wage and to the personal security of the worker and his or her family” (Caritas in Veritate, no. 63). Public officials rightfully debate the need to reduce unsustainable federal deficits and debt. In the current political campaigns, we hear much about the economy, but almost nothing about the moral imperative to overcome pervasive poverty in a nation still blessed with substantial economic resources and power. These harsh economic realities bring terrible human costs for millions of families, who live with anxiety and uncertainty and cope with stagnant or falling wages. Many are forced to work second or third jobs,
which places further strain on their children’s well-being, and millions of young adults are denied the ability to begin families. These people are not abstractions: they are fellow parishioners and our neighbors; our cousins, aunts, and uncles; our brothers and sisters; our mothers and fathers; possibly our own children. The economy should help families thrive, not place additional pressures on them. This broken economy also contributes to the danger that workers will be exploited or mistreated in other ways. For example, many employees struggle for just wages, a safe workplace, and a voice in the economy, but they cannot purchase the goods they make, stay in the hotels they clean, or eat the food they harvest, prepare, or serve. Immigrants and their families are especially vulnerable, which highlights the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform. 2 The Catholic bishops of the United States, through our Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), provide help and hope to exploited and mistreated working people. MRS helps workers who have fled their home countries with the promise of employment, only to find themselves forced to work long hours in dangerous jobs. CCHD supports groups throughout the country that empower working people to raise their voices and regain wages that have been taken from them, demand fair treatment, and seek greater economic opportunity. The broken economy also places additional strain on other Catholic organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, that struggle to fulfill our Gospel mandate in the face of increased demand and fewer resources. The exploitation of working people, whether subtle or obvious, injures their humanity and denies their inherent dignity. Exploited and mistreated workers require our care and solidarity. An economy that allows this exploitation and abuse demands our attention and action. As the bishops point out in the Catholic Framework for Economic Life, “By our choices, initiative, creativity, and investment, we enhance or diminish economic opportunity, community life, and social justice.” We should ask: How do we contribute to forces that threaten the human dignity of
vulnerable workers? How can our choices in economic and public life enhance their lives, pursue economic justice, and promote opportunity? A Call for Economic Renewal and Support for Workers Our nation needs an economic renewal that places workers and their families at the center of economic life and creates enough decent jobs for everyone who can work. Work is more than a paycheck; it helps raise our families, develop our potential, share in God’s creation, and contribute to the common good. Everyone and every institution has a role to play in building a more just economy. In the words of our Conference, we seek an economy that serves the person rather than the other way around. Blessed John Paul II said: …society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a continuous effort to improve workers’ training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society. The role of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions is decisive in this area (Centesimus Annus, no. 15). Unions and other worker associations have a unique and essential responsibility in this needed economic renewal. Our Church has long taught that unions are “an indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrialized societies” (Laborem Exercens, no. 20) and are examples of the traditional Catholic principles of solidarity and subsidiarity in action. At their best, unions demonstrate solidarity by bringing workers together to speak and act collectively to protect their rights and pursue the common good. Unions are a sign of subsidiarity by forming associations of workers to have a voice, articulate their needs, and bargain and negotiate with the large economic institutions and structures of government. Like other institutions, including religious, business and civic groups, unions sometimes fall short of this promise and responsibility. Some union actions can contribute to excessive polarization and
intense partisanship, can pursue positions that conflict with the common good, or can focus on just narrow self-interests. When labor institutions fall short, it does not negate Catholic teaching in support of unions and the protection of working people, but calls out for a renewed focus and candid dialogue on how to best defend workers. Indeed, economic renewal that places working people and their families at the center of economic life cannot take place without effective unions. This renewal requires business, religious, labor, and civic organizations to work together to help working people defend their dignity, claim their rights, and have a voice in the workplace and broader economy.
pervasive poverty or offer a path to overcome it. We need to hear from those who seek to lead this country about what specific steps they would take to lift people out of poverty. In this election year, Catholics should review and act on what the U.S. bishops said on economic issues in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: Economic decisions and institutions should be assessed according to whether they protect or undermine the dignity of the human person. Social and economic policies should foster the creation of jobs for all who can work with decent working conditions and just wages. Barriers to equal pay and employment
with those who have been left behind, and will call for prayer, education, discussion and action. It will be an example of responding to the call of Pope Paul VI to the laity: ...to take the initiatives freely and to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws and structures of the community in which they live. Let each one examine himself, to see what he has done up to now, and what he ought to do. It is not enough to recall principles, state intentions, point to crying injustice and utter prophetic denunciations; these words will lack real weight unless they are accompanied for each individual by a livelier awareness of personal responsibility and
Building a More Just Economy In this time of economic turmoil and uncertainty, we need to reflect on the moral and human dimensions of too much poverty and not enough work. We are called to work together―business, labor, and government―to build a productive economy that offers opportunity, creates jobs, generates growth, protects the dignity of working people, respects the family, and promotes genuine human development. The relative silence of candidates and their campaigns on the moral imperative to resist and overcome poverty is both ominous and disheartening. Despite unacceptable levels of poverty, few candidates and elected officials speak about
for women and those facing unjust discrimination must be overcome. Catholic social teaching supports the right of workers to choose whether to organize, join a union, and bargain collectively, and to exercise these rights without reprisal. It also affirms economic freedom, initiative, and the right to private property. Workers, owners, employers, and unions should work together to create decent jobs, build a more just economy, and advance the common good (no. 76). Our Conference of Bishops is developing a pastoral reflection on work, poverty, and a broken economy. This modest reflection will draw heavily from Pope Benedict’s powerful encyclicals, will communicate our solidarity
by effective action (Octogesima Adveniens, no. 48). This Labor Day, millions of working people and their families have urgent and compelling needs. I ask you to join me in a special prayer for them and all workers, especially those without a job struggling to live in dignity. May God guide our nation in creating a more just economy that truly honors the dignity of work and the rights of workers. +STEPHEN E. BLAIR Bishop of Stockton Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development United States Conference of Catholic Bishops September 3, 2012
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
Academic Freedom in a Catholic University: The Ateneo Question
Changing the Presider
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: When our new priest was installed as parish priest, I saw something I have never seen before—they swapped who was presiding at Mass. Background: In the absence of the bishop we had Monsignor A. in his stead. Monsignor A. started as presider, wearing the chasuble, whereas Father V. did not. After Monsignor A. gave the homily, we had a little installation ceremony. Monsignor A. asked us to extend our hands in blessing; after he said the prayer, took the chasuble off and Father V. put in on; from that point on Father V. was presiding. If the bishop had been there instead, I would be very surprised if he handed over the role of presider during the Mass. Something else I wish to ask. The following Sunday he brought back the procession of the lectionary before the readings, after the penitential prayer. We don’t have a Book of the Gospels only, nor a deacon. The reader of the second reading carries it in procession from the back of the church to the front, led by two altar servers, bows to the altar when (s)he gets to the front, turns, holds it aloft to the congregation, then gives it to the reader of the first reading who is waiting at the lectern. We had recently stopped it when our priest said it was supposed to be a Book of the Gospels carried by a deacon. ― J.V., Auckland, New Zealand A: In principle there are no situations when there is a change of principal celebrant in the liturgy. This was emphasized in a private 2007 letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship dealing with a different case of change of principal celebrant. The congregation wrote: “From a liturgical point of view it is inadmissible for there to be a change of president in the course of one and the same liturgical celebration.” To forestall possible objections, the letter also addressed the apparent exceptions to this principle such as those “That occur when the Bishop presides over a celebration in choir dress or when a newly ordained Bishop becomes the president of the Eucharistic celebration from the moment of his Ordination.” The first example occurs when a bishop assists at a Mass but does not celebrate, for example, on the occasion of a priestly jubilee. In such cases the bishop may give the homily and the final blessing. The letter concludes that these are not true exceptions but “arise from the nature of the Bishop’s ministry, and do not take the general rule.” An analogous case of a brief change in presider can occur when a newly appointed bishop takes possession of his diocese. If he does this himself, he is received by the ranking priest of the cathedral who offers him a crucifix to be kissed and holy water to sprinkle himself and the people. He briefly visits the Blessed Sacrament, goes to the sacristy, vests and presides over the Mass from the beginning. At the beginning of Mass he goes to the cathedra, sits and puts on the miter. The apostolic letter of his appointment is then read. After reading the text he is greeted by the ranking priest and some other members of the clergy. After this, omitting the penitential rite (and optionally the Kyrie), he intones the Gloria. However, on some occasions the new bishop is introduced into the diocese by the local metropolitan archbishop. In this case No. 1145 of the Ceremonial of Bishops says: “If, however, the Metropolitan himself brings the Bishop into his cathedral church, he presents the Bishop at the door of the church to the highest-ranking member of the chapter and presides at the entrance procession; at the cathedra he greets the people and requires that the apostolic Letter be shown and read. When it has been read, and after the acclamation of the people, the Metropolitan invites the Bishop to be seated in the cathedra. Then the Bishop rises and sings Glória in excélsis according to the rubrics.” As we see, these are all exceptional cases and refer only to bishops. Therefore, it was not liturgically correct to substitute the presider at the Mass in which a pastor is introduced into his parish. The different possible rites are described in the Ceremonial of Bishops, Nos. 1185-1198. Although the possibility is foreseen of the new pastor presiding over the Mass because the bishop does not celebrate, at no moment is a change of president foreseen. A very exceptional case involving a change of a presider would be when a priest is stricken, or even dies, during the course of a Mass. In such a case another priest can continue from the point where the first left off until the end of Mass. Regarding the procession of the lectionary, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 120, says that in the procession there may be “A lector, who may carry the Book of the Gospels (though not the Lectionary), which should be slightly elevated.” If there is a deacon, he will normally carry the Book of the Gospels. Therefore, no procession of the lectionary is foreseen during Mass.
(Part I: In Defense of Academic Freedom?)
discovered freedom, in defiance of moral standards, he is not really acting freely: he is acting licentiously according to his whims. The very term “adolescent” comes from the Latin adolescere which means “to grow up”, alluding to the lack of knowledge of standards and—even more important—the lack of self-dominion necessary to direct himself to the true end, which is the mark of this period of transition from irresponsible childhood to responsible maturity. But some adults seem never to outgrow such adolescence. Thus, we have the sad phenomenon of men who cannot dominate their emotions—lust really—so as to resist extramarital relationships; women who cannot dominate their moods so as to fulfill their duties as mother and wife; yuppies who do not want to settle down for fear of committing themselves. Freedom precisely is the capacity to commit oneself without coercion; if freedom is not committed, it is absolutely useless, remaining in potency to what it is meant for. It is like having lots of money, but not wanting to spend it; it is like having a BMW, but not wanting to use it lest it wears out. Worse still is taking freedom to mean doing whatever. That would be like burning money, just because it is mine to burn; like driving my BMW crazily just because it is mine. The first would be indeterminism or absolute contingency; the second is license. When a Freudian columnist of a national daily belabors the point that lust is natural and unavoidable (and must not be repressed), he does nothing but betray his own lack of virtue and thus of freedom. He acknowledges that he is not free to control his sexual appetite, but rather is controlled by such appetite—just like the lower animals who go through life directed by physiologically-driven behavioral laws. Why do some people generalize their miseries to all mankind? The problem is when such an unfortunate personal condition is foisted on the general public as the normal thing. What’s Academic in Academic Freedom? If freedom is the genus, what is the specific difference that defines academic freedom? Obviously the qualifier academic does not refer to the mere location of the exercise of academic freedom—i.e., freedom exercised in campus or in the academe. It should rather refer to the essence of the academe—i.e., what makes the academe as such. And what is the academe? What essentially characterizes the academe is the pursuit of knowledge—i.e., the truth. Thus. the non-academic personnel and the UP-Ikot drivers generally are not really involved in academic activity, despite their being in the campus. Academic freedom, therefore, must be understood as that capacity to pursue knowledge—i.e., the truth—without coercion: the freedom to pursue the truth. With this understood, one easily understands why claims of academic freedom—to justify such activities as watching pornographic movies in campus, or allowing gays to flaunt their abnormality and even to teach it in the guise of Gay Literature (another manifestation of the malaise at the Diliman campuses)—are nothing but a prostitution of the concept. How can the oblation run in UP really help the pursuit of knowledge? For that matter, what is the relevance of watching a pornographic film to the teaching
By Fr. Jaime Blanco Achacoso, J.C.D.
THE national broadsheets recently quoted at least two bishops—specifically Abp. Palma (CBCP President) and Bp. Medroso (immediately past Chair of the Episcopal Commission on Canon Law) regarding possible disciplinary actions against the 192 faculty members of the Ateneo de Manila University who expressed their support for the RH Bill. AdMU President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, was quick to issue a Memo to the University Community of Ateneo declaring that “Together with our leaders in the Catholic Church, the Ateneo de Manila University does not support the passage of House Bill 4244 (The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill). With two long weekends in a row, this affair has become a popular topic of commentary and discussion. At the core of the discussion is the seeming opposition between the professors’ right to academic freedom on the one hand, and the Catholic identity of the Ateneo. I would like to dedicate this long article to this topic, beginning with the notion of “academic freedom”. Understanding Freedom Perhaps the greatest misfortune of modern man since the French Revolution is the absolutization of human freedom. Put bluntly, the error consists in considering freedom as the capacity to do what one damn pleases. In its more usual form, it is expressed by a misunderstood freedom of choice: the right to choose freely, regardless of the morality of the choice. This is behind the thinking that—to cite a blatant case—a woman may be wrong in choosing to abort her baby, but society must respect her freedom to make that choice. The same error is at the foundation of the cafeteria approach to family planning means doggedly pursued by the DoH: regardless of their ethical dimension, all medically safe means should be offered to the citizens, so they can freely choose. The error lies in the failure to realize that human freedom does not lie in a vacuum. Rather, it is the capacity to ordain oneself to the good perceived by the intellect, free of any coercion—whether external (violence) or internal (vices). The greatness of the spiritual creatures (man and angels) lies precisely in their capacity to direct themselves to their end—that which perfects their nature—not by blind forces (physical laws, biological laws and instinctive behavioral laws), but through a deliberate act of the will, based on their intellectual perception of what behavior is in keeping with their nature and the nature of things around them. Non-spiritual beings are directed to their end by the Creator through the immutable laws of nature (physical or behavioural). Man and the angels direct themselves freely to that end, based on their understanding of the Creator’s immutable laws. Such freedom, therefore, is not absolute— creator of its own object—, but is rather relative to an absolute moral norm or standard. To do evil is not a sign of freedom, but of its imperfection (just as to err is not a sign of the perfection of the intellect, but precisely of its imperfection). One is free to the extent that he is able to elect the right path that leads to the good; he is a slave to the extent that he is constrained in his choices (away from the good), either by internal forces (e.g., disorderly passions) or external ones (e.g., wrong social values). Do Not Confuse Freedom with Contingency! The absolutization of human freedom has degraded it to absolute contingency—i.e., absolute indeterminism, the human will floating in a sea of possibilities, like the flotsam on the Pasig River. When a typical adolescent first claims his newly-
of communication skills to freshmen? Meanwhile, the University is churning out graduates who cannot even write a decent paragraph—much less speak it—in straight English, or straight Pilipino); yuppies who do not know the essence of being male and being female (thanks to the gay literature class); and potential plunderers and opportunists who seem to have forgotten that they were eskolar ng bayan, who owe it to their countryman to serve them disinterestedly for having heavily subsidized their university education (so much for the fraternity). That the most violent fraternities—those with most rumble and hazing deaths to their discredit—seem to be precisely those based in the College of Law of the State University and even in the Catholic university which is the Ateneo is again an alarming portent of things to come: What kind of lawyers—for not to say jurists—can come out of such a barbaric medium? What has happened is a prostitution of the
concept of academic freedom into academic license. Under this guise, a UP or Ateneo professor is free to do with his class what he damn pleases: he is free to deform young minds (that’s what the gay literature and some Freudian professors do), waste the students’ (and the people’s!) time and money on irrelevant theories (that’s what the former philomarxist and pseudo-nationalist professor does teaching “his story” instead of history). And all these are done, more often than not, in lieu of real scholarship. Come to think of it, academic license is too noble a term to apply to what is happening in some classrooms, because no matter how licentious, honest scholarship would still be academic in a sense. But to cover up for true scholarship by foisting such trash as a pornographic film (instead of teaching grammar and literature) is nothing but frivolity. It is neither academic nor freedom. Fortunately, this is far from being a generalized syndrome. Philippine universities—UP and Ateneo included—still have many dedicated men and women who are giving their lives for the formation of the youth. I cannot but smile when I remember my dear professors—in botany, in history, in English, in math and of course in my own chemistry department—who instilled academic excellence despite the material odds. But I also grimace at the recollection of my professor in Western Thought (he taught nothing but Marxism and the muddled theories of a motley crew of immanentist modern philosophers), and the Rizal Course (who presumed to teach Rizal’s thought without a clear knowledge of the European historical context in which such thought was formed). [To be continued.]
Kissing at the Sign of Peace
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: My fiancée and I have noticed married couples who, at the sign of peace, give each other a kiss on the cheek rather than a handshake. My fiancée likes the idea as a special sign between couples. Is this encouraged or prohibited? My only concern is that it could be an exclusive greeting (one which I would not share with others) when the sign of peace is supposed to be something you share with all others around you. ―N.M., Canberra, Australia A: The rules are very open with regard to the means of making the sign of peace. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, in No. 82, says: “The Rite of Peace follows, by which the Church asks for peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament. “As for the sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by Conferences of Bishops in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples. It is, however, appropriate that each person offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner.” To this the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum added further specifications: “72. It is appropriate ‘that each one give the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner.’ ‘The Priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so as not to disturb the celebration. He does likewise if for a just reason he wishes to extend the sign of peace to some few of the faithful.’ ‘As regards the sign to be exchanged, the manner is to be established by the Conference of Bishops in accordance with the dispositions and customs of the people,’ and their acts are subject to the recognitio of the Apostolic See.” Benedict XVI in his apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis made the following reflections in the light of the 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist: “The sign of peace “49. By its nature the Eucharist is the sacrament of peace. At Mass this dimension of the eucharistic mystery finds specific expression in the sign of peace. Certainly this sign has great value (cf. Jn 14:27). In our times, fraught with fear and conflict, this gesture has become particularly eloquent, as the Church has become increasingly conscious of her responsibility to pray insistently for the gift of peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family. Certainly there is an irrepressible desire for peace present in every heart. The Church gives voice to the hope for peace and reconciliation rising up from every man and woman of good will, directing it towards the one who ‘is our peace’ (Eph 2:14) and who can bring peace to individuals and peoples when all human efforts fail. We can thus understand the emotion so often felt during the sign of peace at a liturgical celebration. Even so, during the Synod of Bishops there was discussion about the appropriateness of greater restraint in this gesture, which can be exaggerated and cause a certain distraction in the assembly just before the reception of Communion. It should be kept in mind that nothing is lost when the sign of peace is marked by a sobriety which preserves the proper spirit of the celebration, as, for example, when it is restricted to one’s immediate neighbors.” After the synod there was some discussion and widespread consultation on the possibility of changing the moment of the sign of peace. The overall results were inconclusive but with a general tendency recommending keeping the traditional position before communion. Keeping in mind the above documents we can say the following: -- If the bishops’ conference has legislated regarding the form of carrying out the sign of peace, and this legislation has received Roman recognition, then this form is obligatory. -- If the bishops have not legislated, then the sign should be carried out according to local custom, to those nearest, and in a sober manner. -- Local custom can vary. In some countries a bow and a smile is common, in others a handshake, in others joining one’s hands and bowing. -- It could well be argued that in some cultures a brief kiss on the cheek among spouses is a fitting sign of peace while a handshake would be rather formal. Local customs could well tolerate a difference of gestures for immediate family and toward others, with nobody taking offense. In other words, there is no reason why the gesture has to be universal if local custom readily accepts differences, provided that unnecessary movement and exaggerated gestures are avoided.
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Year of the Missions
Urdaneta diocese holds mission congress
SEVERAL months after the celebration of the Grand Mission Festival in Marikina City last April, the diocese of Urdaneta re-echoed the event through a Diocesan Mission Congress that was held at the Diocesan Gymnasium last August 18. The mission congress was held to re-awaken missionary consciousness among the faithful in different parishes and educational institutions in the diocese, according to Sr. Victoria Sibayan, OP, diocesan mission collaborator of Urdaneta diocese. Adapting the theme of the celebration of the Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies, “Remembering our History, Proclaiming Jesus Story, Celebrating our Faith”, speakers for the congress were Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) National Director Fr. Socrates Mesiona, MSP and PMS staff Mr. Anthony Dameg. In his talk, Mesiona described mission as an outcome of the Church’s experience of God who is with His people. He also stated that people should be aware that they are God’s missionaries. Mesiona said Jesus is not an abstract person; He became flesh and blood and dwelt among us, so mission in concrete is to share the physical Jesus to others. Quoting St. Teresa of Avila, Mesiona said “Christ has no body here on Earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks with
MSC Nueva Ecija @ 75
Missionaries without frontiers
By Fr. Jommy A. Burgos, MSC
WE recall with gratitude and fervor as the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in Nueva Ecija turns 75 on November 26, 2012. Filled with hope and banking on the Providence of God, the MSC’s are celebrating with the commitment expressed on the theme: MSC Nueva Ecija @75: continuing the mission without frontiers. The MSC is an international Society of brothers and priests founded by Fr. Jules Chevalier, MSC in Issuodun, France in 1854. They set foot first in the land of Surigao (now a city), in 1908. The MSCs are men who are imbued with the spirituality of the Compassion of God, believing and committing that love is the answer to the many quests of humanity and that they are willing to assume any role as plainly expressed by them, “mission without frontiers.” Hence, they assumed varied ministries, apostolate, and advocacies as a shepherd’s call to his flock. Generally, in the Philippines, the MSCs are working actively in parishes founded by them, in schools, in media apostolate, and in sectoral groups which every MSC took as an answer to the challenges of the times in favor of helping the poor and the disadvantaged. In 1937, the MSC came to Nueva Ecija through the invitation of Bishop Guerrero who was then the local ordinary of Lingayen, Dagupan and to where the northern part of Nueva Ecija belonged. The bishop offered 8 parishes in Nueva Ecija to be manned by the MSC since at that time, the diocesan clergy were scarce and the area was a mission territory given the vast coverage of the diocese. Some parishes that were offered were founded also by the preceding missionaries, especially the Augustinians and several others, the MSC had to start from the beginning in terms of building and organizing. As part of gentleman’s agreement with the bishop, eight parishes were given to be administered by the missionaries; i.e., San Jose, Lupao, Pantabangan, Caranglan, Munoz, Guimba, Cuyapo and Nampicuan. By November 26, 1937, the first MSC missionaries came to Nueva Ecija. They all came from the Netherlands: Fr. Theodore Keet, MSC, Fr. Rainier van Glansbeek, MSC and Fr. Theodore Mees, MSC. These three missionaries, as well as those who followed later in the foundation years of the mission worked so hard pastorally, to attend to the catechetical, sacramental and other needs of the people where they were being sent. It was also the same spirit shared by the following missionaries— both Dutch and Filipino missionaries— to Nueva Ecija. War broke out on December 8, 1941. Most of the missionaries joined the people in seeking refuge and securing safety against the ferocious war with the Japanese. Since most of them were white, they were called ‘hostile aliens” by the Japanese and brought in concentration camps in Los Baños, Laguna. On February 25, 1945, the American troops led by Gen. Douglas McArthur advanced. The prisoners were freed and most of them came back immediately to Nueva Ecija, picking up the ravage of war. The missionaries began rebuilding the San Jose church that was heavily damaged and strafed. All schools were founded after the war by the MSC, seeing the significance of teaching in the light of the needs for the instruction of faith and administration of the sacraments. The missionary works of the MSC expanded; more missionaries came later to work in Nueva Ecija. Such missionary endeavors paid off when it produced vocations for the Church. Very notable of them was Bishop Pedro Magugat, MSC, D.D. who was one of those boys from St. Joseph School who entered the MSC during the post-war. The mission rapidly spread out that Filipino MSCs took over the missions while the local clergy also increased in number. In July 14, 1984, the Diocese of San Jose was born, weaning itself from the diocese of Cabanatuan, its mother diocese. Today, with much fervor to the mission without frontiers, the missionary tasks continue specifically in the Diocese of San Jose. The 75 years of presence in Nueva Ecija has brought a lot of contributions to the local church. It expanded even to the neighboring province, Pangasinan yet under the District of Nueva Ecija. Finally, the MSC in Nueva Ecija renews with greater commitment as it is in the congregation the commitment to the local church as they intensify their mission to work with JPIC-Farmers and the indigenous peoples (IPs), Catechetical Formation and the promotion of the Basic Ecclesial Communities. To God be the glory. of your Doctrines! I do not want to know more about God because he is evil and I hate him! [Padre Diego was not the least discouraged by the obstinacy of Matapang. What strengthened him was the sight of Padre Calungsod who was there at his side helping him in his apostolate.] Determined to kill Padre Diego, Matapang went away and tried to enlist Hirao in his cause: “Let us kill him!” Hirao answered, “For your life’s sake, let him go. Don’t you remember you owe your life to him? But if you want to kill him, let it be at least later.” At this, Matapang derided Hirao, “What coward you are! Leave me then! I will kill him alone.” Hirao got piqued, and so he consented, “Well, then, let us kill him!” Then went away to fetch their weapons. [DuringthisabsenceofMatapang from his hut, Padre Diego and Padre Calungsod took the chance of baptizing Matapang’s baby. When Matapang learned about this in his return, he became even more furious.] Matapang barbarously hurled spears first at Padre Calungsod Two document of the 18th century (1700 and 1723 respectively) give us an immediate reason why Pedro Calungsod was the first to be attacked by Matapang. However, the immediate reason that each of these two documents give us are not necessarily the same. Thus, while one document says that Pedro Calungsod was the first one to be attacked because he was the first one to be seen, the other document says it was because Pedro Calungsod was seen preaching the natives at that
Students participate in workshop activities during the mission congress.
(Excerpts lifted from the book of Fr. Ildebrando Jesus Aliňo Leyson titled Pedro Calonsor Bisaya: Prospects of a Teenage Filipino)
The Buen Soldado de Cristo As soon as peace was established between the revolting natives and the missionaries on 21 October 1671, Padre Diego decided that the work of the missions should continue. So the missionaries started to go out to their assignments in the different islands and villages. However, some good natives secretly informed them of the fear and suspicions they had of some new plots on the part of those who were not confirmed in the Faith. In early 1672, Padre Diego ordered churches to be constructed in different parts of the Island of San Juan (Guam) so that there would be more places where the Holy Mass could be celebrated with more decorum and within the easy reach of the natives. These places were the villages of Merizo in the south-west, Pigpug in the southeast, and Pagat and Nisihan in the eastern coast. Padre Diego chose to work in Nisihan for it was a most difficult and dangerous location and the natives there were known to be very rude and reluctant to hear the Christian Doctrine. With him was Pedro Calungsod―who had already grown to be a lad―and some of the other lads of the mission group who were assigned to build the church there. Their longtime companion, Pedro Tomas de Cardenoso, was assigned in Pigpug, but at the moment he was still in his old assignment on the Island of Buenavista Mariana (Tinian), Padre Diego was planning to assume the work in Pigpug if Padre Tomas would not arrive yet. Besides working on the construction of the Church in Nisihan, Pedro Calungsod and his other companions also had to continuegivingChristianformation to the natives. Perhaps, they had to take turns in accompanying Padre Diego to the nearby villages and, from time to time, to their main residence in San Ignacio at the other side of the island. But “the devil, seeing the great war which with such efficacious means was being carried out against him, upset again the feelings of the natives of the mountain called Chuchugu, inducing them to plan the total ruin of the Padres and their companion Spaniards and Filipinos by taking advantage of the fact that the missionaries were isolated from each other and unarmed[…]” in their different assignments. And so, the apparent peace lasted only for five months. On Thursday, 31 March 1672, one of the young assistants of the Jesuits―a lad from Mexico―was sent from the missionaries’ main residence in San Ignacio to Nisihan to inform Padre Diego of the arrival from the Island of Buenavista Mariana of Padre Tomas de Cardenoso. When the lad passed near the village of Chuchugu, he was killed by some Urritaos. His death was not known by those at the main residence in San Ignacio. On the night of the same day, some natives also tried to burn one of the sentry boxes of the soldiers of the missionaries in San Ignacio, but the dog of the residence started to bark, thereby alerting the soldiers who then discovered the enemies and shot an arquebus into the air. The natives fled, leaving behind them their instruments of fire and several lances. Since the Mexican lad failed of the enemies, Padre Diego immediately ordered the lads who brought the message, and later, the other lads who were assisting him, to return to and to take refuge in their fortified main residence in San Ignacio except Padre Calungsod whom he retained as his lone companion. Padre Diego meant to make his retreat to San Ignacio with Pedro Calungsod very apostolic by first looking for their wayward interpreter Esteban and to do some baptisms along the way. Thus, while the other lads took the usual central route across the island to get to the western side where San Ignacio was located, Padre Diego and Padre Calungsod made their way towards the north-eastern coast. Besides carrying the usual in by a friendly pagan native of Tumhon, named Hirao, who was also heading for the same village. At around seven o’clock in the morning, they arrived in Tumhon. There, Padre Diego and Pedro Calungsod learned that an infant girl was recently born to their Christian friend Matapang, so they went to his house. With delicacy, Padre Diego asked Matapang if there was any woman who recently gave birth so that they may go and baptize the child. But Matapang surprised them with angry reply. “What did the woman give birth for? There inside my house is a skull. Baptize it! With his usual affability, Padre Diego invited Matapang to bring out his infant daughter for baptism, but Matapang retorted,
Pedro Calungsod: A mission for a Vertueux Catechiste
compassion to the world; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands in which He is to bless people now.” He pointed out that the primary task of a missionary is to put on, bring and proclaim the word of God. “The word is the source of our salvation when we bring the word into our homes, families, communities and to the ends of the earth,” he added. Meanwhile, Dameg emphasized on living out the challenge of the document of Ad
Gentes saying that all people are missionaries by virtue of baptism and mission is not only going out or Ad Extra but we could be missionaries in our own place, or Ad Intra. “All of us are missionaries by virtue of our baptism and that in own little way, we can participate in the missionary work of the church starting with our own families and friends using our God given gifts and talents,” Dameg explained. A mass was presided and celebrated by Urdaneta Bishop Jacinto Jose together with Mission
Director Fr. Numeriano Gabot, Jr. and PMS Director Fr. Soc Mesiona. In his homily, the bishop reiterated what the speakers said in their lectures and emphasized on the commitment of the participants to accomplish our mission by being faithful to our vocation and grow in faith and relationship with Christ so that all people can be His witnesses. More than 500 participants including priests, religious sisters, youth and students attended the mission congress. (Jandel Posion)
Retired Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal blesses the time capsule during the groundbreaking ceremony for the template of the Nov. 21 national thanksgiving Mass for soon-to-be-declared saint Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City’s South Road Project (SRP), 7 August 2012.
to return from the errand, on the following day, Friday, 1 April, three other young assistants―two Filipinos and a Mariano ― were sent from the main residence to Nisihan to inform Padre Diego not only of the arrival of Padre Tomas, but also of new enemy attack the night before. On the way, they met one of their companions―a Spanish lad―who was coming from Nisihan. After being informed about the recent happening, the Spanish lad decided to join them and bring them to Guay where Padre Diego was doing his visitation at that moment with Padre Calungsod and five others lads. It was in Guay where they all realized that their Mexican companion did not get to his destination but must have been killed on the way. The last mission Upon learning of the new assaults
things for the apostolate, Pedro Calungsod also had to guide Padre Diego with a rope. They spent 1 April searching for Esteban along the cliff line from Guay to Pagat where they thought their old friend from the Visayas might be hiding in caves. Failing to find their “lost sheep” there, they climbed up the steep jungle-clad mountains to cross to the western side of the island. Night overtook them among some Christian natives in the inland hamlet of Facfac where they slept. The martyrdom At dawn of Saturday, 2 April, [after celebrating the Holy Mass] they started going down towards the western coast of San Juan, to the village of Tumhon which was by the beach and only around 7 mi (11 km) north of San Ignacio. Along the way, they were joined
“I don’t want you to baptize my baby because baptism is of no use! Go away, you liar, or I’ll kill you!” It was now clear to Padre Diego and Pedro Calungsod that their friend Matapang had been influenced by Choco and the Macajnas and apostatized. Sorry for what had become of Matapang, Padre Diego told him, “It is easy to kill me; but let me first baptize your child. I prefer to die if only to save your child from hell through the waters of baptism.” Matapang remained stubborn. To give Matapang time to cool down, Padre Diego and Padre Calungsod decided to leave him for a while. They gathered the children and some adults of the village and started chanting with them the Christian Doctrine. Matapang was watching them, so Padre Diego called out to him, “Come and join us Matapang!” But the apostate shouted back, “I am sick and tired
Photo courtesy of Sammy Navaja
Photo Courtesy of PMS
Pedro / B7
The Well-Read Catholic
By Cristina A. Montes
BOOK lovers should thank the Catholic Church. It was the early Christians who first used the codex―a primitive form of the modern book―instead of the scroll to record information. They pioneered the compact, portable format which allows us to enjoy reading anytime, anywhere, at any pace, and which allows the reader to easily go back to previously read parts, as well as to skip to parts yet unread. Unfortunately, not many book lovers see the Catholic Church as an ally. For many people, the Catholic Church burns and bans books and is afraid of new ideas. Because of this, Catholics who like reading either feel guilty about enjoying this wholesome pastime, or feel they must disregard everything that the Church says about the matter. Is it possible to be well-read and a faithful Catholic at the same time? How can a Catholic become well-read and yet maintain clear ideas in his head? This essay hopes to answer these questions. The Church Wants You to be Well-Read It was reading that made St. Ignatius of Loyola a saint. While recovering from his wounds from the Battle of Pamplona, the only books available to him were about the life of Christ and the lives of the saints. These readings inspired him to abandon the military, embrace a life of asceticism, and eventually found the Society of Jesus. Books are an indispensable tool to nourish one’s relationship with God. C.S. Lewis, an atheist-turned-Christian, wrote that he who wants to remain an atheist cannot be too careful about his readings. It is true that loving God is more important than being a scholar. However, God also wants us to love Him with all our minds. A person whom God has given a very capable intellect as well as the opportunities for intellectual advancement would displease God by burying his talents. A lot of cases of people losing their faith would have been avoided if only they took time and effort to study their faith at the same level as their knowledge of other fields. Unfortunately, many Catholics who read books like The Da Vinci Code do not bother to read the Bible nor the Catechism of the Catholic Church. At the barest minimum, every Catholic should read these books as well as any sound commentary that explains the Catholic faith like The Faith Explained by Leo Trese or Catholicism for Dummies by Cardinal Trigilio. There are many other excellent books on the Church’s teachings. A Catholic who wants to become well-read will also benefit from the lives of the saints, as well as books on history. He or she would want to know the side of the Church on various issues, and would not want to take for granted that the Catholic Church is the Bad Guy in the Galileo affair, the Crusades, or the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. (This is not to whitewash whatever errors churchmen committed in these historical events; just to encourage a fuller understanding of the issues involved. The reader might ask, so what’s the real deal? Is the Church the good guy or the bad guy in these events? The point of this essay is, precisely, read and find out!) Not to be underestimated, too, are the literary works which depict life―lights and shadows―from a Catholic world view. Such works not only inform the reader about the faith, but also inspire the reader with the faith’s beauty as well as make the reader proud to be in the same church as such talented wordsmiths. There are the poems of T.S. Eliot, Alfred Noyes, Siegfried Sasson, and Edith Sitwells and the voluminous works of Hillaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton (like Orthodoxy, The Everlasting Man, and a favourite of mine, the Father Brown mystery stories). Novels too; my favourites are Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, The Power and the Glory by Grahame Greene, The Samurai by Shusaku Endo, and that famous fantasy trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Then, there are the other classics – works which, for their literary craft and for the universal truths they depict, have stood the test of time. They may be hard to read at first, but exhilaration similar to the post-physical exercise high rewards the effort of mental exercise. Then, there are the other non-fiction books—about art, about music, about one’s hobbies and sports, about travel...in fact, just about everything, for nothing human should be foreign to the Catholic, and the world is good and worth studying. At the same time the Church is a mother... While the Church has no problems with Catholics being well-read, she is also a mother who is concerned that her children don’t suffer harm. While reading is a good thing, it is only good insofar as it helps the reader know truths. It is because of this that the Church formulated the Index of Forbidden Books – to protect her children from falsehoods. Right now, the Index of Forbidden Books is no longer binding, but there is still a general moral obligation for Catholics to be careful with their readings. It is a widespread modern viewpoint that one’s ideas do not matter as long as one lives a good life. But the reality is, ideas have consequences. The two world wars all started with ideas. One may think he or she is immune to bad and false ideas. But these ideas usually do not attack us frontally. They seduce us with their halftruths, with attractive and sticky images, with the appeal of being cool and hip, with their ability to justify a pleasurable way of life over an honourable one. In the fictional collection of letters from Screwtape, an older devil who is mentoring his nephew Wormwood on the art of corrupting a person, the veteran tempter advises the newbie not to convince his “patient” that false ideas are true. Instead, the way to corrupt a person is to convince him that false ideas are new, fashionable, exciting, “the philosophy of the future”. Unsafe readings won’t explicitly convince the reader that murder is good. Instead, they gradually wear down the reader’s resistance to such falsehoods until eventually, the reader ends up siding with indefensible propositions. Entertainment and Curiosity The common objection people make to suggestions that they should be careful about a certain popular book is that they’re only reading it for entertainment, or out of curiosity. These people do not realize that it is precisely when one is reading for entertainment that one’s defences are down. Furthermore, one has a moral obligation to choose forms of entertainment responsibly. Entertainment should leave one better as a person, or at least should not leave one worse. As for the “curiosity” argument... while curiosity is a sign of intelligence, there is a difference between the healthy thirst for knowledge and idle curiosity. Not all knowledge is helpful or useful. The news that Celebrity A is hooking up with Celebrity B and that Celebrity C is actually gay may satisfy curiosity more than how to identify edible wild plants when stuck in a desert island, and yet it is obvious which kind of knowledge is more helpful. Even then, the relentless pursuit of knowledge on its own is worthless if it is not accompanied by a pursuit of wisdom, of the truth. One may know how to build an atom bomb without knowing that it should not be dropped on innocent people. Simply satisfying one’s curiosity for its own sake is not always a good thing. Practical tips In summary, while the Catholic Church far from objects to Catholics being well-read, reading should be in the service of one’s pursuit of truth and goodness. Readings that help attain this goal are recommended, and readings that hinder this goal should be
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
Country’s longest teaching Catechist refuses to retire even on deathbed
titular received an award as the oldest and longest teaching catechist from the Missionary Catechists of the St. therese during the National Congress of Catechists held in Calamba City in 2000.
By Fr. Romy Ponte
EVEN when she was weakened by old age and dying in bed due to sickness, 90 year old Cesaria L. Titular, the oldest catechist in the country had been praying and hoping her health would be restored soonest so she can continue teaching. “Father, I hope I would recover very soon. I couldn’t wait to go back to school and teach the children,” Titular told her parish priest several days before she died at dawn on August 20 in Barangay Bautista, San Pablo City. Titular was awarded as the oldest and longest teaching catechist in 2000 by the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese during the National Congress of Catechists. Acknowledged as the oldest and longest teaching catechist in the country, Titular was conferred an award during the National Congress of catechists held in Calamba City at Montevista Hot spring Resort and Conference Center in 2000. The gathering was attended by delegates from various provinces in the country including Davao, Palawan, Northern Luzon, etc. Although she was already in her late 80’s at that time, Titular said the idea of retiring from teaching catechism never occurred to her. Even an enlargement of the thyroid gland which she bore for a long time did not discourage her from teaching. According to Monina Dador, parish coordinator of Catechists in San Gabriel Parish, despite her advanced age, Titular showed no sign of slowing down in her zeal to teach children in school. Titular started teaching as a catechist at
the age of 14 in 1935 in their native Barangay of San Nicolas together with her elder sister who already died ahead of her. They were trained by Spanish priests who were then administering the San Pablo Parish. One of them was one Fr. Martirez. During the Second World War in 1942, Titular and her fellow catechists were forced to stop teaching. Titular had related that she and her sisters had a near tragic incident with a Japanese Imperial army who happened to be on the spot where they were harvesting coconut fruits in their field. She said it was a blessing that the Japanese soldier did not have his gun at that time and when they were fleeing they were met by some members of the Guerilla movement who fought the Japanese and rescued them from harm. She also recalled one time while on holy retreat for two weeks in Los Baños when they were caught in an armed encounter between Filipino guerillas and the Imperial army. She thanked God that the firefight ended and no one of them was hit by the exchanges of fire from the fierce gun battle. When liberation came, Titular said she resumed teaching catechism until she reached 30 and got married with her late husband at the San Pablo Cathedral in 1952. Living then at Barangay Bautista, where her husband also was residing, Titular initiated to teach catechism to some few kids as priests seldom able to reach the barrio because of its distance. The 12-kilometer barangay was virtually inaccessible due to its rugged road and five rivers which separated the area from the town center. Her being a housewife with six children
and an active partner of her husband in their modest coconut business did not stop her from continuing her activity as a catechist in her spare time. She said she also got active in the Block Rosary devotion called Birhen ng Barangay initiated by then parish priest Msgr. Rosal, and promoted the devotion in Brgy Bautista. The devotion was a house to house praying of novena and the Holy Rosary that lasted for five years in the barrio until Rosal died. The religious practice shifted into what was then called Pamayanang Kristiyano through the leadership of next parish priest Fr. Domingo Dolleton. She was appointed as president of the group in Bautista. Titular’s catechism works continued despite her other religious concerns and duties as mother and wife. She became a widow when she was 48 years old. “I was alone in supporting my growing kids to school. But I succeeded in making them finished at least their high school studies.” Titular said she continued to manage the coconut dealer business she had with her late husband to support her family. Her eldest son Noriel became Chairman of Barangay Bautista for several years until he retired sometime in 2009. Due to her achievements in supporting her kids as a single mother, good example as molder of kids and contribution in the city of San Pablo as Cocofed Board Member, active involvements in the City Fiesta activities, Board member of Cursillo and Charismatic movements, among others, Titular received an award as Dakilang Ina (Great Mother) from then Laguna Governor Felicisimo San Luis in 1990.
May They Be One
Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home
• No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign – 85 out of 86 dioceses • Bibles Distributed (Jan 1, 2012 - Aug. 22, 2012): 140,361 copies • Bibles Distributed by Languages - Bicol (3,600cps.) Cebuano (32,932 cps.) english (16,899cps.) hiligaynon (6,245 cps.), ilocano (5,257cps.), Pampango (735 cps.), Pangasinan (3,787cps.), • Samarenyo (3,514 cps.), Tagalog (67,392 cps.) • Parishes/Communities served: 1,308 • Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009- Aug, 22, 2012): 674,219 cps. • Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2012: 400,000 cps. • Total Funds Needed for Printing and Transport of bibles in 2012: P60M
The Principal Solution
Educators play a crucial role in molding young minds to become good citizens. This is the firm belief of davao del Sur private school principal Sis Florifes Bejod that spurred her to take steps in influencing the values system of her faculty and staff. Acknowledging that the bible sets the time-honored guidelines for righteous and successful living, Sis. Florifes organized regular bible studies in her school, with the help of a team of May They Be One staff. the bible studies employed a “listen-read-share method “ where the participants silently read Scripture passages from the May They Be One bible while simultaneously listening to the same passage being dramatized in an audio bible called the Proclaimer (distributed by the Faith Comes by hearing apostolate). Afterwards, the participants share their insights about the passages. the bible study program is also being cascaded down by chosen facilitators to the different school levels and sections with the goal that the faculty, staff and students will have a good foundation based on God’s Word. If you obey the Lord your God and faithfully keep all His commands that I am giving you today, He will make you greater than any other nation on earth. Deuteronomy 28:1
Members of the Mtbo Advisory Committee: bishop broderick S. Pabillo dd, Fr. oscar A. Alunday, Mr. rod G. Cornejo, Mr. rene e. Cristobal Sr., dr. Philip C. Flores, Mr. dante M. Lanorio, Fr. Antonio B. Navarrete, Dr. Natividad B. Pagadut Atty. Jose T. Tale and Mr. Albert S. tanlimco. to learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call us at PbS 526-7777, eCbA 527-9386 or visit www.bible.org.ph and www.ecba-cbcp.com. donations can be made by making a deposit at any bPi branch to the following bank accounts: PbS-Mtbo Account #3903-0649-34 (bPi Sta. Mesa branch). Fax deposit slip to 521-5803 or eCbA-CbCP Account #0251-021376 (bPitayuman branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card payments – go to PbS website (www.bible.org.ph)
Read / B7
Sis. Florifes Bejod
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Doctor explains contraceptives’ link to unborn babies’ abnormal dev’t
AT no other time has the birth control pill been given so much attention by the public as it has been the past year, and particularly the past week, as talk of contraceptives possibly contributing to the early death of a senator’s baby rages. Now a medical doctor provides more information explaining how oral contraceptives work to expel any newly formed life should the contraceptive mechanism of the pill fail (“breakthrough ovulation”), which may lead to abnormal development should the baby survive. Put simply, the developing baby in the mother’s womb ends up deprived of much-needed nutrition due to irregular uterine hormone levels caused by the pill, which “will have a negative impact on uterine preparedness for implantation. This will affect the baby’s development, which may result in abortion. If the fetus survives, congenital malformations can be manifested after the baby’s birth,” said Rey Echavez, M.D. In short, the cause of this deprivation of nutrition is hormonal contraceptives. “It is not the hormones per se [that directly affect the embryo] but the effects of the hormones in the process of implantation and development. The moment the implantation is not correct, meaning no or deficient nourishment, such as less blood supply from the endometrium for the embryo, the development of the organs will be disturbed,” explained Echavez, the physician who headed the 1995 investigation of a World Health Organization (WHO)-Department of Health (DOH) government program that involved injurious tetanus toxoid vaccines administered to over 3 million Filipinas (the DOH stopped the program after the case was decided). Not enough nutrition for the baby During pregnancy, a baby needs adequate nutrition for proper development—which is why pregnancy resources like magazines, websites, and videos are full of information on folic acid, calcium intake, no-rawfood reminders, and multi-vitamin supplements for expectant mothers. Little is publicized, however, about the consequencesofhormonalcontraceptives on fetal development, on which Echavez expounded. One of the contraceptive pill’s mechanisms of action is making the endometrium (the innermost lining of the uterus) inhospitable to a fertilized ovum—in essence a human being in the first stages of life—thereby making it more difficult for the ovum to implant. However, should the ovum successfully implant, multiple effects of pill usage on the endometrium pose threats to proper development during the pregnancy. One example: deficient nutrient absorption. “No matter how much vitamins the mother takes, the baby can’t absorb the nutrients because of a hostile endometrium,” Echavez pointed out. “The endometrium is thin, avascular, less glandular and not well-developed to accept the blastocyst. Also, Gut Dysbiosis of the mother will reduce the absorption of nutrients for the baby even if the mother takes all kinds of vitamins.” It is not surprising, therefore, if the baby fails to develop normally during the pregnancy since nutrition is vital for the proper development of the body’s organs and systems (e.g. circulatory, nervous, digestive, reproductive), according to the doctor. Echavez explained that though many other factors come into play, the bleeding some patients experience intermittently during the first trimester may also indicate problems with the embryo’s survival. Medication for ‘pampakapit’ “Management of obstetric cases also involves giving medication to stop bleeding. Sometimes ito yung tinatawag na ‘hindi makakapit ang baby’ kaya binibigyan ng ‘pampakapit’,” he said. During the times that the baby is in danger, a doctor gives something to the patient “para kumapit ang baby.Nasira na ang circulatory system tuloy. The baby’s development is affected because of this,” Echavez said. The inability of the embryo to implant properly into the uterus may be due to the pill’s effect on molecules that are called “integrins, which help in adhesion and which are normally found on the embryo and the uterine lining. The doctor explained that insufficient or the absence of these integrins is among the effects of taking birth control pills, and “if there’s no integrin, hindi makakadikit [ang baby]. In short, it is the abortifacient effect of the contraceptives,” he stressed. The suppression of ovulation and prevention of fertilization are well-
known mechanisms of action of oral contraceptives, so that equating the pill with abortion has been dismissed by advocates of free birth control as an attempt at “disinformation” and “scare tactics.” Even Senator Vicente Sotto III, who in his August 13 turno en contra speech attributed his infant son’s death to his wife’s use of oral contraceptives, has been met with remarkable criticism mainly because the other mechanisms of action of pills are unknown to many. Eleanor de Borja-Palabyab, M.D., president of Doctors for Life, insisted that this lack of understanding of the
workings of hormonal contraceptives is the reason why more time should have been allotted for interpellations on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill in both chambers of Congress. “Not until the bill was being hotly debated in Congress have people become so aware of these issues, so that’s something good. But they should have continued interpellating further para maliwanagan ang marami pang mambababatas,” Palabyab said. “Kawawa ang mga pasyente, ang mga potential patients who will be receiving the effects and consequences of all this,” Palabyab added. (CBCP for Life)
Sotto bares foreign agenda behind RH bill
FOREIGN organizations are out to circumvent the country’s strict abortion laws and control the population by way of the “reproductive health” (RH) bill, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III bared. In the continuation of his “turno en contra” speech representing the Senate opposition to the controversial bill, Sotto said four local groups were working to legitimize abortion in the Philippines, with financial help from these foreign organizations. Sotto said the US Agency for International Development (USAID), various United Nations bodies, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have been seeking to “surreptitiously impose their hidden agenda through this bill.” “Aking natuklasan na may mga local organizations na ginagamit ng kanilang mga katuwang na foreign organizations upang unti-unting imulat ang kamalayan ng sambayanang Pilipino sa moderno at liberal nareproductive health schemes, simula sa paggamit ng artificial contraceptives hanggang sa malaunang pagtanggap ng bansa sa konsepto ng abortion. This is the big picture, and the RH Bill is an important detail to complete this picture,” Sotto said. The RH bill, which seeks billions in public funds to purchase and distribute artificial contraceptives nationwide, claims to uphold the prohibition against abortion, but various versions contain provisions mandating “post-abortion” care. Studies abroad have connected a contraceptive lifestyle to increased abortions. Sotto named the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN), Likhaan, and the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP). “Sa laki ng budget ng mga organisasyong ito, hindi na kataka-takang napakasigla ng kampanya nila para sa RH Bill sa radyo, telebisyon, pahayagan at lalo na sa internet,” he said. “IPPF’s recent financial statement reveals that FPOP received a subsidy amounting to $625,095 or almost P27.5 million in 2011. It thus appears that FPOP [has] already adopted IPPF’s abortion advocacy. FPOP’s website displays the organization’s support to the use of abortive facilities. In fact, the FPOP posted on its website an instructional brochure discussing different methods of abortion, depending on the weeks of pregnancy,” Sotto said. RHAN, meanwhile, had submitted a budget proposal to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) containing a budget allocation for “nurturing legislators,” to expedite the passage of the RH Bill, Sotto said. “LIKHAAN, an affiliate of RHAN, is also one of the local organizations actively pushing for the RH Bill. It reportedly received funds from the UNFPA for the passage of the RH Bill. Likhaan openly supports abortion, as it features in its website step by step procedure on how to abort a baby,” Sotto bared. The lawmaker also noted that DSWP “excludes the unborn from the definition of ‘children’ and claims that ‘calling the unborn a child is going beyond what the constitution provides.’” Conflict of interest Sotto also pointed to a conflict of interest on the part of those supplying data to proponents of the RH bill, citing the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey which was a basis for the oft-repeated statistic of 11 maternal deaths a day. The survey was funded by USAID. “The USAID, for the information of the body, is the agency which the United States uses as its principal instrument to control and reduce the population through birth control worldwide. It is also the same agency which funded the DKT … manufacturer of Trust condoms, pills and other contraceptives. Nais ng DKT na lumaganap ang paggamit ng contraceptive products sa Pilipinas,” Sotto said. “USAID ang magpopondo sa NSO para lumabas ang impormasyong kailangan ng population control sa bansa, at USAID din ang tumutulong sa DKT na mapalaganap ang produkto nila. Aba, ang galing ano? Gagawa ka ng demand for contraceptives, tapos ikaw ang magsu-supply ng solusyon. Magandang ideya sa marketing pero hindi sa paggawa ng batas.” Sotto cited a 2010 World Health Organization publication stating that there were 5.75, not 11 maternal deaths a day. Data from hospitals nationwide, meanwhile, did not amount to 11 maternal deaths a day, he said. Nueva Viscaya Provincial Hospital only had two deaths in 2011. In Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, four deaths were recorded for the whole year. In Batangas Regional Hospital, there were seven deaths out of 2,584 deliveries, or 0.27%. Cavite Naval Hospital, meanwhile, did not have maternal deaths last year. “Uulitin ko lamang po, hindi po sa wala akong pakialam sa mga nanay na namamatay. Ang punto ko po ay ayokong gamitin nila ang maling figures at statistics para lamang hikayatin ang nakakarami na ipasa ang RH bill. Maling konklusyon po ang kahihinatnan nitong maling figures. Gaya po ng nasabi ko nung Lunes, malamang kapag naipasa ang RH bill ay mas marami pang kababaihan ang mamamatay dahil sa contraceptives. Ayaw ko po mangyari `yon,” he added. Last Monday, Sotto told his colleagues that contraceptives are abortifacients, and that they pose health risks to women and have harmful effects on children born to mothers using “Diane po ang pangalan ng pills na ginamit ng aking asawa noon. Supervised po siya ng doktor habang ginagamit niya ito. Intelehente naman po ang asawa ko, alam niya kung paano gumamit nito,” he said. “Malinaw po ang sinabi sa amin ng kanyang doctor, katuwang ang aking ina, Dra. Herminia Castelo Sotto, na ang pagbubuntis niya kahit may contraceptives ang maaring naging sanhi ng kumplikasyon, prematurity ateventually pagkamatay ng anak namin. Bakit ko po iimbentuhin ang katotohanang ito? Maliwanag, nagko-contraceptives, nagbuntis. `Yun ang issue.” The prevailing clinical knowledge at the time bears Sotto out. The 1977 study “Cardiovascular Birth Defects and Antenatal Exposure
Love, Life and Why I am Anti-RH Bill
By Madonna Escolano
LOVE. So much has been written about this four-letter word and yet, we cannot seem to get enough of it. I myself, at least from my very limited experience and ‘ordinary’ human standpoint, have not yet totally fathomed its mysteries. Writers have explored all possibilities of what love is―between vampires, ethereal beings, aliens, humans (heterosexual and homosexual), and creatures imaginable. I tried to read some (and even watched some movies), merely out of curiosity. I was once asked by a conservative Protestant friend why I read such books or watch such movies. (He thinks I should choose only the ‘good’ books and films so as to keep my mind pure.) I answered that I felt I needed to do so, just in case I come across a friend or stranger who’d come to me to ask about the complexities of love. I have to know where they were coming from and what they were talking about. And at the same time, I have to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks me to give the reason for the hope that I have; doing it with gentleness and respect.” True enough, every now and then, I’d get into small talk with someone and get asked about what I think of love. And as years get added into my life, I have come to the knowledge of what true love is: GOD. Ah, here comes the boundless, unfathomable mystery that is God. I remember a common answer to the question ‘What is Love?’ in ‘slam books’ back in my elementary and high school years: ‘God is Love.’ I cannot exactly remember if I wrote that same answer, but back then, if I did, I definitely did not fully understand what I was writing. Let alone comprehend what that really meant, especially in my own life. “We love because He first loved us.” Loving comes naturally for us as breathing, because we were all created in Love and by Love Himself. Most of us have heard that man was created in the image and likeness of God. The first time I heard that verse as a little girl, I imagined how God looked―physically! But growing up in a deeper knowledge of the Faith, I have come to understand that it meant “having the dignity of a person; that I am not something but someone; that unlike the animals or the trees and the other creatures God made, I was created to have the capability to know my Creator and love Him; that I am called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life. And that I am called by grace to a covenant with Him...” I am made God’s daughter by being baptized in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Becoming God’s daughter is one of His wonderful gifts to me! The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: “What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in Yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good.” (§221) Incalculable, infinite, perpetual, unconditional Love. The recent flooding and loss of lives have once again brought me to reflect on how ephemeral life is. And how, no matter what our status is in society, we have absolutely no power over our own lives. We can, in the blink of an eye, perish, if God would will it so. Recent posts on social networks attribute the inclement weather to the wrath of God, as a ‘punishment’ to the decision of the Philippine government to stop the debate about the RH Bill and go ahead with its amendment. If I would look at the story of the Israelites in the Old Testament, truly God had brought about punishment to them whenever they disobeyed His commands. I definitely cannot and will not even dare belittle God’s power and might. Truly He can do whatever He willed if He wanted to. And yes, that is saying He can punish us anytime if He deemed it necessary, or extend His mercy just a little bit more to give us all a chance to repent and have a change of heart. But who am I to know the thoughts and ways of God Almighty? As a Catholic-CHRISTian, I personally believe that God always looks upon this (our) generation with unconditional love and infinite mercy, all because of the merits of Jesus Christ. Two weeks ago, while the rain pounded heavily on the UV-Express I was in, and with a view from the car window of the streets that started to get flooded, I asked God in my prayers if we (as a nation) were indeed being punished. I thought about those people living in shanties near rivers and creeks all over the city; of those families living in the streets with
Love / B7
Senator Vicente Sotto delivering his ‘turno en contra’, revealed the various international lobby groups who are pushing for the passage of the reproductive health bill.
contraceptives and still got pregnant. Sotto castigated critics for doubting his family’s own experience on the ill effects of pills. On Monday he revealed that his wife, actress Helen Gamboa, conceived while on the pill and gave birth in 1975. The child, Vincent Paul, was born with cardiovascular problems and died five months later. “I would like to take exception to the statements made by Dr. [Esperanza] Cabral and to a certain extent by Congresswoman [Janette] Garin, in reaction to my disclosure and confession on the death of my first son, Vincent Paul. I find their statements callous and insensitive and it is unfortunate that the reproductive health debate has come to this level. They should have given the sorrow of my family more respect,” Sotto said.
to Female Sex Hormones” published by the New England Journal of Medicine found: “In a cohort of 50,282 pregnancies, 19 children with cardiovascular defects were born to 1,042 women who received female hormones during early pregnancy (18.2 per 1000). Among 49,240 children not exposed in utero to these agents there were 385 with cardiovascular malformations (7.8 per 1000). Six children with cardiovascular defects were born to a subgroup of 278 women who used oral contraceptives during early pregnancy (21.5 per 1000). After the data were controlled for a wide variety of potentially confounding factors by multivariate methods, the association between utero exposure to female hormones and cardiovascular birth defects was statistically significant.” (CBCP for Life)
CBCP For LiFe
CBCP For LiFe
become something like the incarnate word, the Bible people read, or, in the words of St Paul, the letter of Christ, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor 3:2). Since Jesus as bread of life is God’s sacrament, the Spirit lives in us and we live in him, and we mediate Christ’s presence to men. Of course, such a view is not found in the Gospel of Mark, but the thought is not foreign to it, for by his criticism of the Law, Jesus in Mark is trying to say that he is the norm of life, he it is who regulates the relationship between God and the people, between the individual and society, and among the members of the community. Not the Law but first of all Jesus, or in John, the bread of life, constitutes the symbolic universe for Christians. Here, Law is relativized—it finds its fulfillment only in Jesus. It is for this reason that in the Gospel, Jesus criticized the Law. If religion were solely concerned with the observance of the law, it would probably be very easy to practice it. To go to church regularly, to abstain from meat, to give contribution to charities—these are not difficult to do. But according to the Gospel, there is a danger that we might separate these from the intention of the commands of the law—the matters of the heart and of the spirit. The law, at its bottom, is really rooted in the love of God in men. To be sure, our external life may be faultless, but the heart is full of evil and bitter thoughts. Rightly then Jesus quoted
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
An exegetical reflection on the Gospel of the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 7:1-8.14-15.21-23) September 2, 2012
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
MIKHAIL Gorbachev’s chief military adviser committed suicide on September 25, 1992. Unlike Pavlov or Yanayev, he was not linked with the coup plotters. It was believed that he killed himself because he could not imagine, still less bear to see, the fall of the Russian Empire, the USSR. In other words, the world that gave meaning to his being a Russian and being a part of the Russian government collapsed. What is significant to us is the world that gave meaning to the existence of the Russian people—it is a world mediated by communist teaching. In sociology, such a world is called symbolic universe. It defines what it means to be a Russian, it regulates the way of life of the citizens, and it makes them what they are. Of course, life would be difficult without such universe, for it would be meaningless. At the time of Jesus, the symbolic universe that regulated the relationship between the individual and the Jewish society, between a Jew and his fellow Jews was the Law of Moses. By this is meant not only the Ten Commandments or the Pentateuch, but the entire Old Testament. The Law defined the people of God and stipulated the way of life that a Jew must live. So, just as what defines the Filipino way of life is the Philippine Constitution, so what Isaiah: “This people pay me lip service, but their heart is far from me. Empty is the reverence they do me because they teach as dogmas mere human precepts” (Isa 29:13; Mark 7:6b-7). The heart is hardly within the sphere of the Law. But even more important, Jesus replaced the role of the Law. What regulates a pleasing life before God is not the law, but Jesus himself. As we noted in John, this is what eating the bread of life means. But for Mark, who seldom uses signs, Jesus’ criticism of the Law is his own way of saying that the center of Christian life is not the Law, but Jesus himself—his life and ministry, but especially his passion, death and resurrection. If communism follows the doctrine of Marx for its symbolic universe, Christians follow the person of Jesus who gives meaning to the Christian world view. Since Jesus is the center of Christian life, this implies that one cannot be a Christian by merely following the Law. No wonder that in the 2nd Reading, James exhorts his reader to welcome the word—the word of salvation that, in the New Testament, is none other than Jesus himself—and to act upon it: “Humbly welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you. Act on this word. If all you do is listen to it, you are deceiving yourself” (James 1:21b-22). In Luke, of course, to welcome the word and act on it is what discipleship, a life centered on Jesus, means—a thought which is not foreign to James.
The Place of Mosaic Law in Christian Life
regulated the Jewish way of life was the Law. Understandably enough, the Jews must observe it faithfully if they wished to live a meaningful life. Thus the 1st Reading: “Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. In your observance of the commandments of the Lord your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command nor subtract
from it” (Deut 4:1-2). Because of the centrality of the Law in Jewish life, it is not surprising that they have been called a people of the Law. But must Christians make the Law central to their lives? As we learned in the preceding Sundays, Jesus declared himself the bread of life. If we want to live, if we wish to have eternal life, we must eat the bread of life. As we noted, in John’s Gospel, this means two things. First, since Jesus as bread of life is God’s wisdom, we must
Reflections on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) September 2, 2011
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
TRADITIONS and social conventions are part and parcel of our life. They are signs of our links with the past and our dependence on it. Such traditions and conventions can be a precious treasure enriching us in many ways. They embody the customs and ways of life that are fruit of the wisdom of past centuries, and are handed over from one generation to another as a sort of “cultural gift.” As such, they may contain genuine values which deserve to be preserved and assimilated by all. But certain conventions and traditions (not Sacred Tradition, with capital “T”) may contain also elements of decay and death. This is so because they are always in danger of becoming either worthless dross, or enslaving chains, and even blasphemous idols. They become dross when they are reduced to empty formalities because they have lost the original values which used to make them rich and meaningful. Certain traditions and conventions may also become heavy chains that fetter us to the past, dampening or preventing altogether the vital thrust toward new and genuine ways of relating to God and among ourselves. Under the negative influence of these “chains,” we may come to forget, as it happened to the Jews at the time of Jesus, that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27). Worse still, some traditions may become idols when we put them at par with, or even above, the positive manifestation of God’s will. In some cases certain external (religious) observances are used like a cloak to hide the inner corruption that we do not want to remove. This is not just a form of hypocrisy, but a sign of practical rejection of God and His commandments. (See today’s Gospel, especially vv. 6-8.15.21-23.) An opposite defect is the forsaking of time-honored traditions in order to start following new ways of life and fads that look more appealing or “fashionable.” We are constantly in danger of committing this mistake. The Israelites had done so more than once and long before the time of Christ, when they “forgot” their Lord-Savior and adopted ways of life typical of the neighboring peoples who “knew nothing of the Lord.” Thus, they abandoned the “Source of living water” and dug for themselves “broken cisterns that hold no water.” (See Jer 2:13.) Against such danger there is only one remedy: to cling to the freshness of God’s Word and the living Tradition of the Church, made rich with the perennial vitality of the Holy Spirit. Our lives should be molded only by the sound instruction coming from God’s commandments, and the teaching and example of Christ coming to us through the Church. Mere human traditions and conventions can be followed only if and to the extent that they are in keeping with the positive revelation of the divine will, and remain open to the continuous call of God to be ever new, ever greater, ever closer to Him who is both the well spring and the future of man.
Treasuring the real values
Reflections on the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) Grandparents’ Day, September 9, 2011
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
SOME friends or relatives must have made the deaf-mute man understand that a benevolent healer was coming that way—Jesus, the man who had been setting afire the hearts of all around the Lake of Gennesareth. They brought the poor man to Jesus and pleaded for him, since he was unable to speak and hear. As he was being led away from the crowd, the deaf-mute felt that his days of humiliating silence were about to be over. And so it was. At the touch of Jesus’ hands and at the sound of his powerful word, the ears of the deaf man were cleared and his tongue was loosed, as Isaiah the prophet had foretold. (See Is 35:5.6 and Mk 7:35.) The saving power of God had reached out to the handicapped man, filling his life with sounds and words. There are forms of deafness and dumbness much more serious than the case mentioned in today’s Gospel. Sometimes we even have the impression that we live in a world of deafmutes. And perhaps, we, too, are suffering from this handicap, to some extent... There are many people who are deaf to the harmony of nature, to the groans of the suffering and the oppressed; deaf to the voice of God speaking through their conscience! Not a few perpetuate and increase their deafness by burying themselves in the noisy dens of vice... Many are spiritually mute. A mysterious “moral virus” paralyzes their tongues. They are unable to speak words of truth, justice, wisdom. They are incapable of uttering words of prayer to God . . . . It is the sad plight of a humanity steeped in sin—the sin committed in Eden, the sins of all generations, the sins of our society, the personal sins of each one of us. It is in order to heal all men from these forms of deafness and dumbness that the divine Healer became one of us. Every day he comes to touch us with his healing presence. He is ready to open our ears and loose our tongues. He addresses to us his Word of life. He would like our lips to echo his Word in faithfulness and sincerity. But the result depends on our response. If we, in our pride, close our hearts to God’s inspirations and calls, then His healing power will pass us by, and we will remain locked up in the voiceless grave of a sinful life. But if we, like young Samuel, say: “Speak O Lord, for your servant is listening!” (1 Sam 3:10), then miracles will happen. Lots of them. Every day. The Word of the Lord will fill our heart with its wisdom and life-giving power. And that very Word that enriches our heart will open our lips in praise and thanksgiving to Him, in words of love, concern and solidarity for our neighbor. All this and much more will the Lord Jesus achieve in us if we let him have his way. At our baptism our ears and lips have been touched in blessing, and the word Ephphatha (be opened) has been pronounced. It is for us to let the power of that word of Christ be constantly active in us that we may hear and proclaim his Word.
Busting the many forms of dumbness and deafness
God will take your burden
WHAT in the world is a yoke? Jesus said, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30) You see, I’ve lived in a city my whole life. If you’re like me, you wouldn’t know what a yoke is too. When I was a kid, I thought Jesus was talking about the part of the egg that’s used for leche flan. (I was a really bad speller.) It’s the wooden beam that you harness two bulls so that they can pull a wagon together. A bull is strong by itself. But two bulls pulling together are even stronger. Yes, one plus one equals three. Because we live in the city, we don’t understand this passage at all. Usually, what the farmer does is pair a younger bull with an older bull. The older bull, being stronger and more experienced, will help and guide the younger bull. Here’s where we’re mistaken. Many people read this Bible verse and think Jesus is the farmer and we’re the bulls. And being gentle, Jesus won’t use a whip but just coax us along. Nope. Wrong interpretation. Here’s the meaning of this passage: Jesus is the older bull and we’re the younger bull. That’s why He says, “Learn from me…” Jesus says, “Take my yoke. My yoke is easy and light because I’ll be carrying most the load…” In other words, God is telling you, Relax, I’ll take care of you. Relax in my love for you. Let me tell you one of my favorite stories… God Carries Your Burden With You Many years ago, I wanted to dispose of a wooden cabinet. It was huge, tall, and heavy. So I asked my friend, Jodean Sola, to help me carry it out of the house. (FYI, Jodean heads He Cares street kids ministry.) Now Jodean is one of the strongest men I know. I told him that I’ll carry one end and he’ll carry the other end. I said, “One, two, three…” and we lifted it up together. He was able to lift his side. I, on the other hand, managed to produce a lot of noise. “Arrrggghhhh…” I couldn’t lift it up an inch off the floor! That was when Jodean said, “Bo, let’s do it another way.” With his back towards the huge cabinet, he bent down, and he said, “Push the cabinet towards me.” His idea was to make it that humongous thing his backpack. I pushed it towards him, and the cabinet was now leaning on his back. Using his strong arms and legs, he lifted the entire cabinet all by myself. Well actually, I was carrying it with him. He was carrying 99% of the weight. I was carrying 1% of the weight. But that was the only way we were able to carry that cabinet out of my house. Friend, here’s my message for you today: Don’t try to carry your burdens by yourself. God is there beside you. And God will carry 99% of your burdens. Just carry the 1% that you need to carry. Believe me, it’s the only way to carry a burden out of your house and out of your life. God is telling you now, “Relax in my Love for you.” May your dreams come true.
Bishop Pat Alo
Cards on the table!
THIS is one expression of those playing a game of cards asking to show what cards the players have by placing them open on the table. The same thing happens when we express, seek, or ask for the truth. We keep an open conversation, not keeping or hiding any agenda or important detail. That may be the basis of any true and sincere relationship. It is being true to God, yourself, and the neighbor. It is based on truth and openness, keeping out any sense or movement of deception. In fact that’s what the original derivation of the word ‘sincere’ comes from: the Latin ‘sine cera’—translated ‘without the wax’. It means taking off those wax masks that actors or actresses may put on in a play or opera. Our main goal in the search for truth is to get to the reality of things for the good of humanity, not hide the truth because of some vested or personal interest which may be disadvantageous or prejudicial to any member of our common humanity. Let’s remember what the Lord Jesus had said: “The truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Let’s always endeavor to be grounded in the truth since Our Lord Jesus Christ has plainly told us: “The devil is a murderer and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44). If we humbly love the truth, live the truth and tell the truth, we are likely to escape from the devil’s clutches since he is a liar and the father of lies (cf. Jn. 8:44). So truly was it said by the saints, like St. Teresa: “Humility is truth.”
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
organization, together with the Anti-nuclear coalition, led by Professor Roland Simbulan. Subic Bay cannot endure more pollution and contamination, concerned SBMA officials say. This level of contamination could be enough to prompt a ban on fishing. The research, the first of its kind, is to determine the environmental state of Subic Bay and to test if the bay has any capacity left to endure and carry any more pollution because of a proposed coal fired terminal power plant that the SBMA says should not go ahead. Campaigners are appealing to President Aquino to relocate it elsewhere. The presence of other heavy metals have been indicated but more sophisticated scientific instruments are needed to determine their exact identity and level of concentration. The initial finding of mercury contamination is alarming since coal fired power plants are notorious for spewing out mercury into the atmosphere and contaminating the waters that they depend on for cooling. Subic Bay cannot possibly sustain any more such contamination, experts say. They fear that the poison-spewing coal burning plant will add more contamination and drive away property developers, tourists and cause untold health problems. Desperate to reverse the almost total absence of public and social acceptability, (a key requirement to get all important Environmental Clearance Certificate), the company has resorted to “hakot” tactics. To achieve the required social acceptability, the company behind the pollution-prone coal plant, RP Energy, (composed of Meralco, Aboitiz and a Taiwanese partner), allegedly paid for transportation, gave free meals and a day out for about 5000 people last 26 June at a convention center. But the event was joined by campaigners opposing the plant. With the slogans “No to Coal”, “Yes to Renewable Energy”, the campaigners, led by Alex Corpus Hermoso, claimed that many of the people thought they were going to a concert to see movie stars. Instead they heard lectures on how clean was coal. During the gathering, the Zambales Provincial Vice Governor, Ramon Lacbain, made a speech saying the coal burning plant will end tourism in Zambales and Subic Bay. The campaigners have succeeded in getting a Supreme Court environmental protection order, Writ of Kalikasan, to uphold their rights for an environment free of
By Fr. Shay Cullen
Twin poisons: mercury and a coal burning plant
WHEN Joseph Artemio, a poor fisherman living on the shore of Subic Bay in the Philippines pulled-in his net from the murky waters of the bay, he found a few small fish not enough to feed his family of six children living in a hovel along the garbage strewn beach. But besides hunger and malnutrition, any of his children could face a severe disease and deformity from mercury poisoning. Experts from an environmental scientific research company, Berkman Group, contracted by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), conducting research into the status of the water and sediments of the bay, was shocked to find high concentrations of the deadly element “mercury” in the sediment and the bottom feeding fish. More research findings are due out shortly and feared to be as equally disturbing. The more than hundred-year presence of US military in Subic Bay from 1898 to 1992 could be the source of the mercury and other heavy metals, researchers say. The military base was closed and converted into the Subic Bay Freeport Zone after a long ten-year campaign led by the Preda Foundation, a child rights
Pedro / B3
dangerous coal plant. Another alleged tactic decried by the “No to Coal, Yes to Renewable Energy” campaigners as an insidious propaganda is the so-called environmental education of elementary school children to so-called “Clean Coal’, which does not exist . However, for the RP Energy propagandists, it does and allegedly they show the children, a piece of washed coal and tell them to tell their parents that coal is clean and safe and gives them a brochure to bring home. This causes conflict in the family,
campaigners say. Coal burning power stations have a negative impact on the local environment, air quality and add mightily to the global volume of green house gasses that is causing the earth to warm up. Climate change is with us to stay and more frequent and severe storms and floods will be with us for a long time to come unless we phase out these disastrous sources of electricity and turn to wind power, sun power, and geothermal power. The Philippines has an abundance of geothermal power
sources because of the volcanic nature of the country. But the energy czars and politicians bypass it in favor of coal plants because there is more money in coal. Sadly, greed is the driving force behind it all. Instead of caring for the beauty and integrity of creation and these beautiful islands, the corporate greed is damaging the air we breathe and water we drink. These are God’s environmental gifts, protecting them is to protect life and that ought to be top of our concern and interests.
Read / B6
moment. In the same way, one document of the 20th century tried to fill in the “gap” left by the earlier documents regarding the immediate reason why Pedro Calungsod was attacked first by saying that it was because he tried to protect Padre Diego from the assassins. Whatever the exact immediate reason was for the assassins to attack Pedro Calungsod first, it is already sufficient for us to know the remote reason; some natives, including Matapang, esteban tan poseidos de la infernal furia contra los ministros evangelicos y cristianos que nos asistian. Matapang was obviously against the Christian Doctine and Baptism. That was why he hated and attacked Pedro Calungsod who was a Christian, a catechist and one of those who administered baptism in the Marianas. Pedro Calungsod evaded the onslaught of spears with remarkable dexterity. Y comenzando por el companero le tiro algunas lanzadas que con destreza frustro […] [Martyrdom 5 (p. 72)] Y acometio primero al companero del Padre San itores, tirando muchas lanzas, que frustro con los movimientos del cuerpo[…] [Martyrdom 8. (p. 79)] This detail aggravates the drama of the killing of Pedro Calungsod. It took sometime for Matapang to kill him because he was able to evade the darting spears with considerable agility. The poor lad may have tried to evade death if possible as any human being―especially a youth―would. For “a deep instinct leads a human being rightly to shrink from and to reject the utter ruin and total loss of his personality. […] He rebels against death.” Other good and valiant persons may have also tried to flee from death as did the young David who in diverse occasions dodged the spear that was hurled at him by the envious King Saul. Or could it be that Pedro Calungsod
Love / B5
tried to evade death because he felt the responsibility to live in order to protect his superior Padre Diego from the aggressors? If so, skirting the onslaught of spears was a good and Christian act performed by Pedro Calungsod. The same detail also gives us an idea of the physical alertness or dexterity of Pedro Calungsod and a proof that the lad would have all the chances to escape death if he wanted to. Hence, it must be said that dodging the charging spears could not have been an act of cowardice on the part of Pedro Calungsod or a sign of unwillingness to die for the Faith. Thus, many hold the thought that: Pedro Calungsod could have escaped death if he would only flee, but he did not want to forsake the Venerable Padre. Rather, he preferred to die at his side as a good soldier of Christ. Y pudo librarse de la muerta si emprendiera la huida, mas quiso, como buen catolico morir al lado de su Padre, y no desampararle. [Martyrdom 5 (p.72)] Y pudiera excusar la muerte, si emprendiera la huida. Pero noi quiso, desamparar al Venerable Padre, sino Morir a su lado, como buen Soldado de Cristo. [Martyrdom 8 (p. 79)] E potendo fuggire non volle scortarsi da chi tanto amava. [Martyrdom 12 (p. 88)] This detail must have impressed all who learned of the death of Pedro Calungsod that it appears in several documents. It is here that we clearly see one of the heroic acts of Pedro Calungsod that may remind us of the words of Jesus: “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” For while he tried to evade death by skirting the darting spears of
Matapang, he nevertheless heroically chose to remain and stand for his faith in Christ his true Friend―for which he was hated by the assassin―and for his faithfulness to his superior and friend Padre Diego. Perhaps, he may have been assailed by the strong temptation to escape, but he came out victorious against it. Pedro Calungsod would have first defeated the two enemies and saved himself and the Venerable Padre if he were armed, considering his energetic; but the Venerable Padre’s pious heart would not allow his companions to carry weapons. This is the common opinion of the companion missionaries of Pedro Calungsod like Padre Francisco Esquerra and Padre Alonso Lopez. Those who knew him personally would know his usual reactions and his natural capabilities. Even if he was only young, Pedro Calungsod must have really been a good fighter because his friends believed that he would have defeated two strong aggressors all by himself if only he were armed. But here in this detail, we see another admirable act of Pedro Calungsod, and that is his complete, humble control and denial of himself and of his physical prowess in order to opt for what is more sublime and Christian. He was said to be a naturally valiant and dexterous fighter, but in that most appropriate moment when he ought to have used all the alentados espiritus que tenia, he surprised everyone by his non-violent and mute reaction. Such a reaction cannot be explained away simply as a consequence of not having any weapon with which to fight back the aggressors. In the first place, his not providing himself with a weapon may not have been only due to his obedience to Padre Diego. For if he – aware of the imminent dangers in the Mission and of the perilous journey back to San Ignacio—really meant to fight back any aggressor, he would have (at least secretly) provided himself with weapon. His obedience to Padre Diego must have
very probably been coupled with the firm resolve to die for the Faith. In the second place, he in fact had some weapons near at hand: the first spears that Matapang hurled at him but which he dexterously skirted. If he really intended to fight back – brave, quick and able fighter that he was—he would have picked up and made use of those spears; but, he did not. Thus, in that critical moment of his life when the entire forces of evil were waging war against him—probably tempting him to arm himself, fight back, demonstrate his physical prowess, give in anger, save life—he managed to reflect the obedience and resignation of Christ on Calvary who, while having the power to “get down from the cross and save himself”, opted to remain “powerless” and to die. It is in this complete, humble control and denial of himself in order to opt for what is more sublime and Christian that we can see the true fighting spirit of Pedro Calungsod. Valiant in his physical strength, he was even more valiant in facing a violent death unarmed for the sake of his Faith. He was truly a buen Soldado de Cristo. And so, after evading the first charges of spears, Pedro Calungsod was finally hit in the chest and fell to the ground. Hirao immediately rushed towards him and finished the crown for him by splitting his head with a catana. Finalmente despues de haberse librado de muchas Lanzadas que le arrojaron le alcanzo una y Acudiendo los barbarous con un alfange le acabaron Dandole un golpe en la cabeza. [Martyrdom 5 (p. 72)] Colpito nel petto da una lancia di Matapang, e in Capo da una mezza scimitarra d’Hirao, cadde Trafitto ai piedi del San Vitores. [Martyrdom 12 (p.12)] (To be continued)
avoided, if possible. It practical terms, it is a good idea for a Catholic to seek the opinion of a spiritual mentor regarding readings. The advice of a spiritual mentor on what to read, what not to read, and what to look out for in one’s readings can help ensure that one’s readings will help rather than hurt. It also helps if one approaches reading as a conversation with the author of the book. Reading should not be a passive process; the reader should interact with the material. Does he or she agree? Does he or she disagree? Why does he or she find this character or that event appealing? Is this character whom the reader finds appealing in fact worthy of emulation? Does the premise of this story agree with the Christian world view or not? This approach to reading not only helps one screen out harmful ideas; it also helps one extract the most insight and enjoyment from one’s reading. I have a yearly ritual of reading the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I never get bored. It is because every reading for me is like a conversation with the author, and good friends never tire of recalling the same memories over and over again. Each time I read the trilogy, I notice new things, and different things resonate depending on whatever happens to be my personal issues at the time I’m reading. I especially love asking why the author structures his sentences in a certain way, why heusesonewordinsteadofanotherthatmeans the same thing. I have always been better at words than with numbers at school, and I have always been fascinated by the power of words.Theremustbesomethingspecialabout words that even Jesus Himself is referred to in the Bible as the Word made Flesh. Indeed, words put our minds in touch with wonderful realities. Unfortunately, there are those who have perverted the use of words, using them to corrupt rather than to edify. Let us not be naive as to ignore the harm that they do. Let us read, but with discernment.
no roof over their heads and who would shiver through the night because of the cold; of those men, women and children who would be greatly affected by that impending catastrophe... And there I was, in spite of the temporary inconvenience of the daily commute in such a bad weather, I know I have a house I’d go home to where I and my family would be safe, have hot meals, and enjoy the warmth of a cozy bed, pillows and blanket. And I’d even have the bonus of still having electricity to use my laptop, have good internet connection, have a hot soothing shower, enjoy extra hours of television, and curl up in bed to catch up on reading! These thoughts flooded my mind; add to that the fact that I too may risk having to walk in a flooded street on the way home! I knew I was blessed, and I was counting my blessings. But I knew too, that many of my fellow Filipinos would have to brace themselves that night because of the raging power of Nature. That moment, I could only pray for everyone. In the middle of the downpour and the sight of streets starting to get inundated, I remember a story I was told of in high school. It was about a woman in her early twenties who was accompanied by her boyfriend to go to an abortion clinic. Although, later on they eventually got married and established a family of four children, their first
child almost did not get born. The woman related that while waiting for her turn to be ‘treated’ at a clandestine clinic, so many thoughts ran through her mind. ‘What if she did not survive the procedure? What if the baby in her womb held on and not get aborted? What complications would there be?’ She voiced out her thoughts to her boyfriend, who at that time had decided to have the abortion because apparently he was not yet ready to support them then; what with his entire family still dependent on him. (It’s still quite common for a single member of a Filipino family to be the bread winner, usually supporting parents, younger siblings, and even siblings who are already married and with children of their own.) If fear had any good in it, then thank God for fear! Fear for dear life! Because the woman was able to convince the man that she’s afraid she might die because of the procedure. That would cause another problem for the man; for what explanation would he give to his girlfriend’s family if she died? The woman had also expressed to her obstetrician the ‘idea of abortion’. Praise God for medical professionals who stand up for their Faith, for the doctor convinced the woman that keeping the baby is the right thing to do. She advised that abortion won’t solve their other pressing concerns. Besides, if it’s
only money to support a family that they were worried about, the doctor said money could be earned. And life is too precious to simply ‘throw-away’. And so the woman kept the baby, and with that same obstetrician, (God bless her!) she was assisted in delivering a healthy baby girl one stormy-heavily-flooded-day in May. The couple did of course get married, and welcomed the lives of three more children in their union. After all, “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.” (CCC§162) “Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: ‘It is not good that man should be alone,’ and “from the beginning [He] made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in His own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.” (CCC §163) The extensive effect of the deluge
caused by the southwest monsoon (or what we call the habagat), for reasons I did not comprehend at first, made me think of marriage and procreation, life and death, obedience to God and committing sin; and distinctively reminded me that somewhere in the country a baby is being born at that precise moment. So I whispered a prayer for all those babies saying hello to the world that rainy Monday night! And said even more prayers for those whose lives are being terminated! I am certain that they are way too many compared to those who are being given the gift of life! I hesitated at first to write this article, because I know I am putting myself at a very vulnerable situation. And I know very well how the enemy works―Satan would strike my weaknesses! But for several days now, the Holy Spirit has been nudging me, assuring me to simply trust, because “all things always work for the good of those who love God!” Saying YES to God has taught me, with His grace of course, to learn to trust Him, even when He bids me to go where my Faith too might be tested; and to remain firm in my convictions because with Jesus Christ, I am a conqueror, a victor, and God’s heiress...And because I am God’s daughter, the devil won’t ever have a way with me! Had there been a Reproductive
HealthLawimplementedbackthen, the man and woman would have had easy access to contraceptives and condoms, and the baby girl may not have been ‘formed’ from the start. But because contraceptives are not 100% successful, the woman would still likely have conceived; and because she and the man were unprepared, abortion would have been easily accessible too. If there were an RH Law back then, the obstetrician could have just easily offered to do the abortion procedure herself because medical facilities would allow it even if it were against her own religious beliefs; unless she was willing to be penalized for not offering it or even lose her job and her license. So what has this got to do with me? Why think about marriage, childbirth, abortion, surrender and obedience to God in the midst of a natural calamity? And why attempt to talk about being anti-RH Bill while also empathizing with those people (who come mostly from below the poverty line) affected by the flooding? That baby girl that almost got aborted was me. I was born on a stormy day when, like that night, most of the metro were heavily flooded. My parents are not wealthy like those people pushing to have the RH Bill become a law. They, like majority of hardworking Filipinos, in spite of their weaknesses and shortcomings, chose (and still
choose every single day,) to make amends for their sins and follow God’s laws the best they could. And that night of all nights, I got to thinking that had my mom decided to go through with the abortion, I would not be here today. If I were aborted, I would not be thanking God for my countless blessings and I would not be able to pray for strength for my fellow Filipinos whose Faith are being tested now! I would not have the wonderful honor in doing my share to serve the least of my brethren in whatever little way I can contribute. I would not know trials and sufferings and the priceless lessons that come with them. I would not know that my Strength and my Hope is in the Lord. If I were aborted, I would not know the warmth of my parents’ embrace, or know the fun and joy of having siblings. I would not be cherishing every single moment spent with my nephews and nieces. I would not know the blessing of having wonderful and true friends. I would not know how magnificent God’s creation is, or how beautiful Life is. I would not know that Life and Love are worth dying for. Had I been aborted, I simply would not know Love. (Phrases in quotation marks were taken from Holy Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, tweaked a little to express the author’s personal convictions.)
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
Abhorrent disturbing Acceptable Wholesome exemplary
Poor below average Average Above average excellent
THE opening scene of The Bourne Legacy teases the mind: how could anyone survive deep winter in the frozen wilderness wearing only a blanket and rubbing his palms in front of a little bonfire? Of course, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is not just anyone—he’s a biologically altered government spy running for his life. He has been marked for assassination by the Defense Department headed by retired Air Force Col. Eric Byer (Edward Norton). Jason Bourne had supposedly exposed the government project of chemically heightening the spies’ skills, Intelligence decided to terminate a similar project, of which Cross is a member. Col. Byer wants to terminate not only these biologically altered and endowed spies, but also everybody who knows about it, including the research scientist Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who had treated Cross as he was being chemically “empowered” for a mission. Alone in the Alaskan wilderness Cross takes a blue and a green pill daily, his “maintenance medicine” to keep his powers up. Down to his last couple of pills, he climbs snowy peaks barehanded, nimbler than a mountain goat, and finally comes to civilization in search of Dr. Shearing, for his fix. He finds her in the oddest of circumstances but alas, the drugs are manufactured halfway
around the globe—in Manila. Th e p o p u l a r e sp i o n a g e franchise with Matt Damon as Jason Bourne has earned almost &1 billion at the global box office. Tony Gilroy, director/writer of The Bourne Legacy, takes the Robert Ludlum creation to the next level by introducing a new hero (Renner) whose fate has been shaped and directed by the events in the first three Bourne films. The first 30 minutes or so of The Bourne Legacy is rather slow, apparently careful to establish the legitimacy of the new hero while ensuring that the titular one, Jason Bourne, remains a menacing presence despite his absence in the film. Real action picks up when Cross saves Dr. Shearing from assassination and the two fugitives are hunted down by the government killers. The action assumes blinding speed in Manila, as Renner does the slums rooftops while Weisz trails him on the alleys; then as tandem motorbike riders snaking through the crazy traffic in Manila’s seediest neighborhoods. The lead cast, notably Renner, Weisz and Norton, do justice to their parts, giving credence to the plot. The Bourne Legacy raises questions in medical ethics. How far may we go in altering nature— the human being—to serve our ends? Midway through the film the viewer may ask, could this
TITLE: Bourne Legacy CAST: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, oscar Isaac, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn DIRECToR: Tony Gilroy GENRE: Action & Suspense RuNNING TIME: 125 minutes DISTRIBuToR: universal Pictures LoCATIoN: uSA, Philippines, South Korea and brief scenes from a few other countries TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT:
MoRAL ASSESSMENT: ½ CINEMA rating: V14 (For viewers aged 14 and above)
thing really be happening under our noses, scientists and doctors conniving with governments and using people to kill? What for? Animated and timely discussions over dinner with friends or family may result from such brainpicking. The Bourne Legacy, quite a film, and something that Filipino movie buffs wouldn’t want to miss—being “made in Manila”. But what sordid views of the city are shown! The closing scene, a boat leisurely gliding on an island-peppered sea, speaks more positively of the Philippines—and it looks like a prelude to another Bourne-again movie.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the images of the Crucifix, Blessed Mother and Pope John Paul II. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi) AFTER the 3rd World War by the end of the 21st century, there are only two liveable territories on earth: the upscale cosmopolitan center of politics and economics in the United Federation of Britain (UFB) and the cramped Chinatown-like Colony, believed to be the former Australia. The Colony factory worker who at the UFB must travel to the other side of the world via the “Fall”, a gravity transport at the core of the Earth. One of the factory workers Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) has been having recurrent nightmares of him escaping with another woman and being caught by the robot soldiers of the UFB. He does not tell his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) but constantly vents how humdrum his life is turning out to be. He decides to visit Rekall, a company that can implant memories to a person to allow him to live out his fantasies, only the chosen memory should not be in anyway true to the person. Douglas chooses a spy adventure and undergoes a routine test. He fails the test and the entire Rekall is attacked by the SWAT team. Surprisingly, Douglas counter-attacks when he is about to get arrested. He returns home and confesses to Lori what just transpired. When Lori starts attacking him, he realizes he has been living a fantasy life where false memories were implanted to him to erase his true identity as Carl Hausser. As he dodges attempts on his life, he meets Melina (Jessica Biel), the girl in his dreams and his real lover. He attempts to TITLE: Total Recal put together pieces of his real CAST:Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinlife and rejoins Melina’s cause sale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy to fight the oppression of the UFB chancellor. DIRECTIoN: Len Wiseman Total Recall is a remake PRoDuCERS: Neal H. Mortiz, Toby Jaffe of the Schwarzenegger GENRE: Sci-Fi Action 1990 movie, although the RuNNING TIME:118 minutes producers claim it is more of LoCATIoN: united Federation an adaptation of Philip Dick’s of Britain / Colony short story. Its CGIs and DISTRIBuToR: Columbia visual effects are impressive Pictures and keep the audience TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT: glued to the screen. The action sequences are equally MoRAL ASSESSMENT: captivating. Colin, Beckinsale and Biel have an intrinsically CINEMA Rating: V14 authentic chemistry and rapport. Their encounters and scenes together or individually are moments to watch for. Total Recallsucceeds as an action-packed film but sadly story-wise it falls short. The high-pack chases are over extended that there was really little time to develop the characters and the narrative. (This is quite puzzling since the basic plot has already been laid out both in the short story and the 1990 film.) The filmmakers paid too much attention to the “wow” factors like effects, high impact action sequences and production design and left a more basic component lacking—the storyline. Sacrifice for the welfare of the underprivileged, fighting for a cause and standing up to oppression—these are some of the sociopolitical issues that the film addresses. Oppression may succeed for some time, but it is human nature to protect not just the self but life itself. But more than these, there is an in-your-face message against government’s population control solutions—kill someone less important so that the chosen few can live. The method that the UFB chose was blunt and brutal and can easily be condemned by an ordinary viewer. But analysing what is taking place in our own nation today—this is the same step that the authorities forcing to enact certain laws and bills that are clearly against life are doing. Although they are targeting the unborn and attacking women’s fertility in the guise of a better economics, health and other benefits, the steps being imposed are anti-life, attacks the weak and disadvantaged. The movie can be a springboard for various socio-political discussions but because it really focuses more on hard core action, you’d have to fish long to get to the better messages it has. This is better for older audiences with strong caution to parents.
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
KCFAPI joins 130th Supreme Convention in California
KCFAPI delegates together with other Filipino delegates during the 130th Supreme Convetion held at Anaheim, California, USA.
According to Pedro Lubenia, KCFAPI Corporate Audit Senior Manager, California was a great location for the event. “Some participants brought their family, stayed a couple of extra days and made it a family vacation,” said Lubenia. As a first timer, Lubenia experienced an extravagant celebration like the other event conducted in the Philippines sponsored by the K of C. “However, the culture there has a big difference from ours, and yet to attend
OFFICIALS of the insurance arm of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines have participated in the recently held 130th Supreme Convention in Anaheim, California with the theme “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land.”
the Supreme Convention was once in a lifetime opportunity,” he added. Finance & HRCC Vice-President Mary Magdalene G. Flores enjoyed her experience with other ‘kababayans’ in California. “That was my second time and we were required to wear a Filipiñana dress. I attended the Supreme Convention 5 years ago. And this year’s convention was more exciting for me. We saw a lot of Filipinos in a big crowd, I saw my old friends and met new ones,” Flores said. She added that the delegates including her had the chance to visit the Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, the Long Beach Aquarium, and many of the other close-by family attractions. “There were a lot of free things to do and sceneries to enjoy with in Southern
California, such as Olvera Street, the La Brea Tar Pits, a walk along the beach or Hollywood Blvd, among others,” Flores said. Filipino Brother Knights who attended the Supreme Convention also brought along their better halves, said KCFAPI Executive Vice- President Ma. Theresa G. Curia. “Supreme Convention had a “Pin Trading” event which gave opportunity to the delegates to trade their “California Pins” with Brother Knights from other states. There was also a professional entertainment that was suitable for the whole family in the evening,” Curia said. She added that throughout the convention, different State Councils had a ‘hospitality event’ where delegates had the chance to meet the other Officers
and Members from different Jurisdictions while tasting some of their home town delicacies. The 130th Supreme Convention started on 5 August 2012, with a Guadalupe Festival at the Coliseum in downtown Los Angeles, followed by the convention proper at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel on August 6. On morning of August 7, an opening Mass was held with more than 80 Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals and 100 plus Priests participating. The business session began in the afternoon followed by a Eucharistic celebration that concluded mid-day of August 9. Different events, activities, and socials were obtained throughout that week. Group tours were slated on August 3 until August 5. The convention included a Memorial Mass for Brothers
Knights that have passed away during the Columbian year. The “State Dinner” was held August 7, an event that was touted to be nothing like any other banquet delegates have ever attended. California had also a “Wine and Cheese” tasting party where California’s best was offered. A “Western States Breakfast” was served on August 8 which was attended by Brother Knights from Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. The event was a great place to meet Brother Knights coming from the Western States. It will be recalled that Anaheim was also the venue of the Supreme Council Convention held about ten years ago, an occasion that was attended by more than 200 Filipino Knights. (KCFAPI News)
KC Phils receives top awards during 130th KC Confab
THE Order worldwide praised the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines for having a consistent top ranking position in the membership growth and Church/community services during the recently held 130th Supreme Convention in Anaheim, California. The Luzon Jurisdiction received several awards for the Columbian Year 2011-2012 under Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap (as of June 30, 2012). From 1,079 councils Order wide that received Star Council Status, Luzon was ranked as number one followed by California and Florida. The Star Council Award is the highest distinction any council can realize. It takes into consideration membership growth and programming activities reported in each of the program categories of Church, Family, Community, Council, Youth and Culture of Life. Luzon also ranked as number one in the Star District Awards followed by Visayas, Mindanao, Florida, and California. The Star District Award is given to District Deputies who attained 100% or more of their district’s membership quotas. The Supreme Knight’s Circle of Honor (COH) Award recognizes the State Deputy’s performance based on achievement of 100% or more of their intake quota for the fraternal year. The three Philippine Jurisdictions achieved the COH Award for accomplishing more than 100% of their intake quota: Luzon with 102.42%, Visayas, with 100.87%, and Mindanao with 102.75% of their targets. The three State Deputies, Arsenio Isidro G. Yap (Luzon), Rodrigo N. Sorongon (Visayas), and Balbino C. Fauni (Mindanao) will be the special guests of the Board of Directors for a weeklong stay at the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa in the Grand Cayman Islands. In terms of the New Council Development (NCD), Luzon registered 112% with a quota of 25 while Visayas had 115% and Mindanao with 160% — the highest Orderwide. NCD and council reactivation continue to be the foundation of the Order’s growth and goal to establish a Knights of Columbus presence in every parish. Ranked number one in the “VIP” (Very Important Proposer’s) Club was Luzon with 11,012 members and Mindanao with 5,097 members. The “VIP” Program invites every Knight to join its prestigious ranks of outstanding recruiters. Club members advance through the ranks as they recruit new Knights. Council 5234 of Ballesteros, Cagayan is the only awardee for the Century Club with 104 members. Councils that add at least 100 members over suspensions and withdrawals are eligible for the Order’s prestigious Century Club Award. International Service Program Winner for Community Service was awarded to Our Lady of Pillar Council 14569 Morong, Bataan. The entry was the “First and Second Responders of the KC Disaster Response, Relief and Rehabilitation Groups.” The winning programs were chosen from entries judged to be the best in their respective jurisdictions. Reports of all state council winners were submitted to the Supreme Council office for judging. Grand Knight Jimmy J. Laranang received the award in the convention with all trip and accommodation expenses paid for by the Supreme Council. Moreover, only three jurisdictions led the official youth organization, the Columbian Squires, in growth, helping the program to reach all time high in the number of circles in active status.
From L-R) Luzon Squires Chairman Jose Cuaresma, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, DD, Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Remy and Pascual Carbero of Luzon.
LUzON achieved the largest gain in Squires membership recruitment, posting a net gain of 1,975 Squires to end the fraternal year with 10,426 Squires. Luzon also captured the top spot in the largest net gain of
circles with an outstanding gain of 25 new circles. The awards were received by worthy Luzon Deputy and Columbian Squires Chairman Jose F. Cuaresma. (KC News with reports from Mon Sanchez)
Luzon Jurisdiction gets two top awards at 130th KC confab
THE Columbian Squires of the Luzon Jurisdiction received an international award for acquiring the largest gain in Squires membership recruitment, posting a net gain of 1,975 Squires to end the Columbian year with 10,426 Squires. Luzon also captured the top spot in the largest net gain of circles with an outstanding 25 new circles. “This has been our fifth consecutive year of excellent performance. May these awards inspire and motivate us for more apostolic works. We have to work harder in order to be able to extend our services to the youth in every council or assembly, parish and school in our respective Arch/Dioceses by establishing and reinstituting more circles,” said Jose F. Cuaresma, Luzon Squires Chairman. The awards were given during the Supreme Knight's awards session, a program part of the 130th Annual Supreme Convention held August 7 to 9, 2012 at Anaheim, California. Aside from the Philippine Luzon Jurisdiction, Manitoba in Canada and South Carolina in USA also led the Columbian Squires, in growth helping the program to reach an all time high in the number of circles in active status. (KC News)
Give zero vote to ProRH politicians - Supreme Knight
KNIGHTS of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson called on all Brother Knights especially in the Philippines to be more vigilant and say NO to politicians supporting the reproductive health bill. “Catholic voters have the power to transform politics,” said Anderson during the recently held 130th Supreme Convention in Anaheim, California. “Is it not time for Catholic voters to say NO? – no to every candidate of every political party who supports such intrinsic evil,” Anderson asked. However, saying “no” is not the only way that Catholics can transform politics, he added. Anderson tackled the latest initiative of the Brother Knights
Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan, Luzon Squires Chairman Jose F. Cuaresma, and Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap together with the latter's wife, Annie and daughter, Ana Kristel.
to a nationwide Campaign for Civility in America which insists in an online petition drive that will give the American people a voice in speaking up for a respectful public discourse. More than 16,000 people have already signed the petition at www.civilityinamerica.org. Meanwhile, the State Deputies of
Zero / C2
TO the KCFAPI and the K of C–Philippines, September of 2012 is not just an ordinary ninth month of the year. It is a month of great historic events which have left legacies which ensured their bright future. It is a future sealed with charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. We celebrate the 54th anniversary of the founding of the KCFAPI and the 35th anniversary of the death of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, the founder of the KCFAPI, the first Deputy of KC-Philippines, and the “Fr. Michael McGivney of the Philippines.” Without Fr. Willmann there would have been no KCFAPI whose tremendous growth was inspired by his vision, and without his missionary zeal the K of C-Philippines would not have increased, beyond all expectations, in quality membership and in building exemplary Catholic families. We are the trustees of these legacies; and our burden and tasks to protect, preserve and promote them are great. Fortunately for us, we are ushered into the tasks with the force of the New Evangelization embarked by the Holy Father, and the power of the spirit of the Year of Faith which commences in October. By Divine plan, these momentous events take place when the world will witness the canonization of our own Blessed Pedro Calungsod – the second Filipino Saint, the young catechist who suffered martyrdom for our Faith while in a foreign land to help the Jesuit Priest Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores Evangelize the natives of Marianas. Our KCFAPI founder was a Jesuit too who came to the Philippines to continue the Jesuit mission to help the Catholic Church evangelize the Philippines. Then, too, the K of C celebrates this year its 130th founding anniversary and it just had last 7-9 August 2012 its 130th Supreme Convention in Anaheim, California, USA. The Convention was highlighted by the Marian Celebration at the LA Memorial Coliseum in honor of the Our Lady of Guadalupe with sixty thousand devotees in attendance, and the inspiring and challenging message of our Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson, on religious freedom and our solemn role in fighting against all attempts to violate, abridge or diminish it and in preserving and promoting the sanctity of life and of the family. With all of these as our guiding light, we must resolve never to fail in our tasks as trustees of the legacies mentioned above. We must be in the forefront as Knights of our FAITH and of the NEW EVANGELIzATION. Long live Fr. Willmann! Long live the KCFAPI! Vivat Jesus!
The Cause for the Beatification of Father George J. Willmann, SJ
EMULATING the virtues that bespeak of sanctity of a person, like Father George J. Willmann, is what we need today to draw us into a deeper living out of the fullest meaning of our Catholic Faith in the context of increasing secularism. Thus, we believe, is one of the most important objectives in initiating the Cause of the good Father George. As prescribed by the Congregation for Causes of Saints in Rome, a person may be elevated to the honors of the altar if he has lived up to a “heroic” degree of the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity, as well as the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. We believe that Father Willmann practiced them all to an exceptional degree. In order to establish and widen the fame of Sanctity of Father Willmann, may we call on all Brother Knights, their families and friends to respond to the following appeal: • Submission of testimonies on Fr. Willmann’s heroic virtues; • Recitation of Prayer for his Beatification in private and during K of C meetings and affairs; • Invocation of his intercession in our prayers; • Submission of Reports on answered prayers through the intercession of Father Willmann; • Visitation of his tomb in the Sacred Heart Novitiate Cemetery, Novaliches, Quezon City. • Membership to Fr. George J. Willmann Fellows. This is a challenge for all of us Knights of Columbus members, who dearly love Father George J. Willmann, SJ.
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
Prayer for the Beatification of Father George J. Willmann, SJ
LORD God, look down upon us, your children, who are trying to serve You with all our hearts, in our beloved land, the Philippines. Deign to raise Fr. George J. Willmann, of the Society of Jesus, to the honors of the altar. He is the wise, strong, cheerful, dauntless model that all of our Filipino men need in this new era, in this new millennium. He was your Knight, Your gentle warrior, especially in his ministry with the Knights of Columbus.
A man leading other men, in the war of good against evil, in the war of the Gospel of Life against the Culture of Death. Make him the lamp on the lamp stand giving light to all in the house. Make him the city set on the mountain, which cannot be hid, so that all of us may learn from his courage, his integrity, his indomitable spirit in the struggle to lead men to God, and to bring God to man. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Luzon names winners of most outstanding service program
THE Luzon Jurisdiction of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines announced the top 3 winners in the Most Outstanding Service Program Contest for the Columbian Year 2011-2012. There are six categories with three winners each that received cash prizes and a plaque of appreciation. Winners for the Church Activities Category were Council 14904 of Landayan, San Pedro, Laguna with Grand Knight Wilfredo A. Monzon; Council 11367– Tublay, Benguet with Grand Knight Willy L. Velasco; and Council 11765 – Landayan, Maligaya Park, Novaliches, Q.C. with Grand Knight Ruperto Q. Meneses. For the Community Activities Category were Council 14569 – Morong, Bataan with GK Jimmy J. Laranang; Council 1000 – Manila with GK Diosdado A. Sapo; and Council 3711 – Dagupan City with GK Jaime C. Reyes. Council Activities winners were Council 12308 – Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City with GK Gregorio S. Tumbagahon; Council 3710 – Malolos, Bulacan with GK Mario F. Mangulabnan; and Council 1000 – Intramuros, Manila with GK Diosdado A. Sapo. The Family Activities winners were Council 8451 – Dasmariñas City, Cavite with GK Neil M. Villanueva; Council 11847 – Marcelo Green Village, Parañaque with GK Frichard D. Policarpio; and Council 14904 - Landayan, San Pedro Laguna with GK Wilfredo A. Monzon. Winners for the Youth Activities category were Council 10971 – Aniban 1, Bacoor, Cavite with GK Jerry N. Lucena; Council 6956 – Aurora Hills, Baguio City with GK Jose R. Tabanda; and Council 6822 – Don Bosco, Baguio City with GK Melecio C. Ariza Jr. And for the Pro-Life Activities, winners were Council 3710 – Malolos, Bulacan with GK Mario E. Mangulabnan; Council 11847 – Marcelo Green, Parañaque with GK Frichard D. Policarpio; and Council 12308 – Sta. Mesa Heights Quezon City with GK Gregorio S. Tumbagahon. “Our sincere appreciation to all the councils who participated in the contest. All the entries were meritorious, but just like in any other contests, only a few could emerge winners. Congratulations to all the winners and keep up the good work,” said Ramoncito A. Ocampo, State Program Director. (KC News)
Guillermo N. Hernandez
KCFAPI’s 54th Founding Anniversary and Fr. George J. Willmann’s 35th Death Anniversary THE month of September is extra special for the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. not only because it is the anniversary month of your Association but because it is also the very month when KCFAPI commemorates the death anniversary of its founder, Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ. This year, KCFAPI will be celebrating its 54th Founding Anniversary on September 9. For which, KCFAPI management is coming up with a week-long celebration dubbed as “KCFAPI week”. Among the activities lined up for the KCFAPI week are the following: Medical mission, feeding program, BC Holders’ day, FBG/Foundations’ day, Day for the Cause of Fr. Michael J. McGivney and Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, and Mini-Concert/Dinner-Dance for a Cause. On the other hand, there will be a Family T.V. Mass on September 14, 2012 to be held at the San Agustin Church to commemorate the 35th Death Anniversary of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ. As KCFAPI celebrates these two special events, we are reminded at how your Association started 54 years ago. Looking back, it was in 1958 when thru the then first Philippine Deputy, Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, sixty four (64) Filipino Knights donated P500 each totalling to P32,000 to found the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. – a non-stock, non-profit, charitable, benevolent mutual society. Then on September 9, 1958, KCFAPI was duly licensed by the Insurance Commission to operate as an insurance system for the exclusive protection of the Brother Knights and their immediate family members. From a seed capital of P32,000.00, your Association has managed to cultivate it to more than a hundred thousand times during its 53 years of corporate existence, with P3.6 Billion total resources as of December 31, 2011. The whole KCFAPI family therefore takes time to commemorate its founder, Fr. George J. Willmann,SJ., who although an American by birth, was declared a citizen of the Philippines in 1975 through a Presidential Decree No. 740 because of his admirable service to the Church, Academe and the Society. It is he to whom the existence of your Association and the successful expansion of the KC Order in the Philippines are attributed. Hence, through the concerted efforts of our Brother Knights along with the KCFAPI family who continually support the various projects for the Cause of Fr. Willmann, we aim that someday, he could be the First Filipino Clergy Saint.
KCFAPI Executive Vice-President promotes Catholic Family life
THE Executive Vice President of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) is promoting the holiness of Christian marriage and family life. In an exclusive interview, KCFAPI-EVP Ma. Theresa G. Curia stated that family relationship reflects the essence and value of personal relationship with God and gave her family as an example. “One of the Catholic ideals that we want to promote is family life. Kung tutuusin pala pag binuo mo ang tatay na Knights of Columbus at yung asawa nya na member ng Daughters of Mary Immaculate together with their children na members ng Columbian Squires or Squirettes, in one Sunday the whole family can devote to work in the Church. Like in our council, you will see the DMI helping the KCs and normally we have a joint project,” she added. She is referring to her husband Harry R. Curia, Past Grand Knight of Council 10104 and her children Dominic, Monique, and Sophia. “Squirettes are trained to be a DMI member. Even my youngest, Sophia, she actively participates in our Church activities despite her hectic schedule.” Eighteen year old Sophia is taking up BS Accounting in La Salle where she is in the dean’s list. She is usually asked to act as emcee in their Church programs. “Children inspire. It’s better to involve our children at their early stage in this kind of activities.” Sister Tess also cited the involvement of the entire family in Church communities is one way of promoting the Order be-
CATHOLIC FAMILY AS EVANGELIZERS. KCFAPI Executive VicePresident Ma. Theresa G. Curia together with her husband, PGK Harry R. Curia and their children Dominic, Monique, and Sophia.
cause the programs designed by the DMI and K of C are “family activities.” She believed that the Catholic Families are evangelizers and
she recognized the implications of their baptismal call, to commit themselves to reconciliation, and to share their faith with others. (KC News)
KC Phils calls for Bayanihan in flood-affected communities
THE Knights of Columbus in the Philippines called on all Brother Knights to conduct a Bayanihan in their respective communities affected by the recent typhoon. “We are calling on all the Knights of Columbus Councils to please conduct a disaster relief operation in your respective parish or the nearest parish affected by the recent flood especially in Metro Manila and nearby parishes. You can give any of the following: food, clothing, clean up support. This is to give immediate response to our brothers in need,” said Luzon State Treasurer Joseph Teodoro. Some K of C councils have conducted relief operations in their areas like in Pacdal, Baguio. zosimo M. Abratique of Council 5379 said they have started collecting donations. The tentative collection center is at Grand Knights Ono's Office in Gov Pack Road, Baguio near the bus terminals for the purpose of easy transport of goods. On August 7, Brother Irineo Leyritana said they conducted an actual rescue operation in Cavite City, Rosario and Bacoor, Cavite with the help of the Knights of Columbus Disaster Response Teams (KCDRT). Council 8708 conducted a feeding and food pack distribution to 250 families last August 8 as second responders. “We will be conducting another feeding and food pack distribution for 150 families,” Bro. Leyritana added. Meanwhile, District P-24 with its constituting Councils had already responded to the call of Bishop Jesse Mercado to help the flood victims. Aside from the foodstuff and clothing that were delivered to the Vicariate, other councils continue to provide relief goods and personal assistance, according to Brother Vicente Cloribel Duroy. The worthy Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap has lauded all the Brother Knights who immediately responded to their community needs. “This is what I like, council in action. We knights should be answering the needs of our neighbors, always ready to extend a helping hand even if we ourselves are sometimes victims also,” said Luzon Deputy Yap. (KC News)
Zero / C1
the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines backed the call of the Supreme Knight Anderson to say NO to all PRO RH politicians. “I’m calling on those who love God and respect life to please remember the names of those who are Pro RH and give them a resounding NO in the 2013 elections. It’s time that Catholics band together and give these politicians a beating they have never experienced before,” said Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap. Luzon Deputy Yap also urged his fellow Brother Knights and their families in the Luzon Jurisdiction to continue to stand for the rights of the unborn and oppose
any Congress Bill that would weaken the structure of the family that would eventually lead to Bills that would allow Abortion, Divorce and Same Sex Marriage. “Please impress upon lawmakers in your area [K of C councils] that the Reproductive Health Bill has no room in a society dominated by sensible Catholics who could not be tempted nor lured to accede to the demands of a few with twisted morality and blinded by false promises of said Bill,” stressed Luzon Deputy Yap. “It’s time for the faithful Catholics to realize their voting power”, Luzon Deputy Yap said. (KC News)
Council 15139-District P-24 sends relief goods to typhoon victims
THE Knights of Columbus’ Council 15139-District P-24 of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Parish has asked for donations to be distributed to the families devastated by typhoons such as canned goods, noodles, biscuits, bottled water, and milk. “Please extend your generosity and kindness. We need your help. Cash donations are also welcome,” said Grand Knight Walter Barrios. On August 7, District P-24— spearheaded by Brother Vicente C. Duroy together with its constituting councils—sent relief goods for flood victims of Typhoon Gener to the drop off site of the Vicariate of Our Lady of the Abandoned at Pacific Village in Muntinlupa City. Due to the massive quantity of goods being dropped there, volunteer members of the constituting councils gathered to assist in the unloading and repacking of goods. Volunteers from neighboring communities and parishes also came to extend a helping hand. The goods and other donations were distributed by the Vicariate to flood affected families in the Muntinlupa area, specifically those residing near the Laguna de Bay. Meanwhile, Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap lauded the K of C Council 15139-District P-24. “This is what I like, council in action. We knights should be answering the needs of our neighbors, always ready to extend a helping hand even if we ourselves are sometimes victims also. Vivat Jesus!,” said Yap. Other K of C Councils within the District P-24 which also benevolently provided relief goods are Co.13298, Co. 8256, Co. 6060, Co. 12370 and Co. 11847. (Jun Autencio III / KC News)
Vol. 16 No. 18
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Inspired by brother Knights of the past, we stand firm in our faith and dedicate ourselves to charity and justice
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
IN 1827, Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence and the only Catholic to do so, wrote this about the freedoms that the founders of the United States had secured: “God grant that this religious liberty may be preserved in these States to the end of time, and that all believing in the religion of Christ may practice the leading principle of charity, the basis of every virtue.” A little more than half a century later, a young parish priest in New Haven, Conn., and a handful of the young “go-ahead” men of the city gathered in the basement of their church to establish a new organization dedicated to the principles of religious freedom and charity. These were men who had experienced the trauma of a bitter civil war and who had heard the stirring call of President Abraham Lincoln, declaring that their nation “under God” must have a “new birth of freedom” and become a place “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” And they took to heart Lincoln’s admonition to act with “firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.” The spark those men lit in the cause of Catholic fraternalism soon captured the imagination of a generation of Catholic men as the Knights of Columbus spread throughout the United States and into Canada, Mexico and the Philippines within its first 25 years. For decades, Catholics throughout the United States suffered the indignity of being deprived of the right to vote or hold public office. “Know Nothings” and other bigots claimed that Catholics who remained faithful to the pope could never be loyal citizens in a democracy. It was the Knights of Columbus that finally challenged that slander, first with the creation of the Order’s patriotic degree in 1900 and later with a tremendous outpouring of support and service in the First World War. When the history of the Catholic Church in America was maligned, we established the K of C Historical Commission and endowed a professorship in history at The Catholic University of America to set the record straight. When extremists such as the Ku Klux Klan sought the prohibition of Catholic schools throughout the United States, we stood with the Society of Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary and helped them bring their case challenging the constitutionality of such a law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. When many in America were drawing barriers based on race and religion, we raised a banner saying “Everybody Welcome.” And when Catholics in Mexico faced the most dreadful persecution of Christians ever experienced in the Western Hemisphere, we launched a nationwide campaign to bring attention to their plight, even as many brother Knights in Mexico sacrificed their lives in witness to our faith. Throughout our history, Knights have been men who were undeterred by adversity and discrimination. Some lived to see their sons and grandsons become governors, justices, premiers, prime ministers and presidents. They were men who, for the most part, joined the Knights of Columbus not to engage in the great controversies of the day, but to improve the lives of their families; to provide financial security for their wives and children; to strengthen their parishes; and to make their communities better. But when challenges and controversies came, they were men who did not step aside. In the words of Lincoln, they remained firm in the right as God gave them to see the right. As we reflect on the astonishing accomplishments of the Order over the past 130 years, we might reasonably ask whether our founder, Venerable Michael McGivney, could have imagined all that his brother Knights would achieve. Would he even recognize the Knights of Columbus today? I believe the answer to those questions is “yes.” I believe Father McGivney could see into the hearts of the men who gathered with him at St. Mary’s Church. He knew their aspirations and he knew what they were capable of.
Our History, Our Future
FBG holds service training program
THE Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) held a two-day fraternal service training program on August 22 and 23, 2012 at the KCFAPI Social Hall in Intramuros, Manila. Training participants were from Bicol, Southern and Central Luzon. The participants learned about KCFAPI’s featured plans like KC CARES and other insurance products. Benefit Certificate Holders’ Relations Office Manager Edwin B. Dawal and Underwriting Department Manager Carmelita
I believe our saintly founder sees exactly those same qualities in his brother Knights today. And 100 years from now, he will not
be surprised by what his brother Knights have continued to accomplish. Vivat Jesus!
Angelito A. Bala
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What factors determine a standard (substandard) life insurance rating?
A. The Underwriting Department assigns a standard or substandard life insurance rating based on the risks posed against the assumed mortality tables and other insurance-related reference tables. A standard rating merits a standard contribution rate and is generally assigned to those persons who pose typical risk to life insurance. On the other hand, those rated with substandard rating are charged more contributions because of the perceived risks they present like occupation, habits, health condition, hobbies, place of work, and other considerations. Among the factors that the Underwriting Department uses in their evaluation of risk include: • Health condition. A person is usually not eligible to a standard rating if he has a chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, or pulmonary disease. One must demonstrate that he is reasonably healthy like having an ideal blood pressure and body mass index, and not considered overweight. Family health history is also important, with no relatives having health problems such as cancer, heart diseases and other life-threatening illnesses before retirement age 60. • Age and gender. Males generally have higher contributions as males have higher mortality rates compared to their female counterparts for the same age. Older applicants will need to pay more or higher contributions. • Smoking habits. Commercial companies offer lower rates if the applicant is a non smoker. If previously a smoker and has stopped smoking, the insurance company will normally wait for five years before one is eligible to get a standard rating. • Financial condition. A person with a stable income is a better risk than a person with irregular source of income. • Hobbies. A person engaged in high risk recreational activities like bungee jumping, racing on wheels, rock climbing, and sky jumping increases the likelihood or probability of injury or death. • Occupation. A person must not be involved in boxing, mining or other hazardous occupation. A worker in a public safety office is often slapped an occupational extra. • Place of work. If an applicant works in war-torn areas, or will work in a place where there is much civil disobedience, the application is usually postponed. Otherwise, a location extra is considered in the application. • Others. The fraternal counselor FC is also task to volunteer relevant information on the applicant. The FC must explicitly state information in the FC’s confidential report. The FC must disclose changes in the finances of the applicant, vices, pending legal cases if any, family/marital problems, and other material information not asked in the application forms. It has to be remembered that underwriting procedures vary from company to company as no two companies have similar mortality experience. A company may rate a risk substandard while the same risk may be evaluated as standard by another company. The first company may have had small provision for the assumed risk before and would like to adjust or calibrate their rates based on their claim experience. To know more about risk assessment and selling insurance, be a Fraternal Counselor (FC). Contact your servicing FC or Area Manager or get in touch with the Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) at (02) 527-22-43.
Ruiz discussed the various functions of their departments, while KCFAPI Medical Director Dr. Jaime Talag discussed about medical underwriting. Fraternal Benefits Group VicePresident Gari San Sebastian and FBG Staff Jemwel Santillan tackled about the fraternal service program, sales technique, and sales approach and sales compensation. The FBG also familiarized the participants with the Order of the Knights of Columbus in order to provide optimum mutual benefits to all members and their immediate families. (KCFAPI News)
Luzon Squires receive Brother Barnabas, Corps’d’ Elite Awards
THE Columbian Squires of the Luzon Jurisdiction has received the Brother Barnabas Award and 2011 -2012 Corps d’ Elite Squires Awards from the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council. The Brother Barnabas Award is the most prestigious award that a Circle can win. Awardees were Circle 4548 for its project “Donation to the Victims of Typhoon at CDO” under the K of C Council 12308 of Sta. Teresita, Quezon City, Diocese of Cubao, with Chief Counselor Jan Patrick Villanueva; and Circle 5359 for “Standing in Faith to Defend Life” project under the K of C Council 14876 of Calumpit, Bulacan, Diocese of Malolos, with Chief Counselor Gamaliel Sampedro. Meanwhile, the Corps’d’ Elite is given to the Circles that are active from the start of the Columbian Year and those that are instituted or reinstituted during the program year. The overall circle achievements of every Circle are being recognized to qualify for this award. Among the qualifications for the award are Circles that have conducted at least four major activities under the Squires program which are service, spiritual, circle and membership. Circles must also recruit at least two new members before the end of the Columbian Year. The 2011 -2012 Luzon Squires Corp d’Elite Awardees were: Circle 2134, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City; Circle 3066, San Antonio, Cavite; Circle 3165, Novaliches, Quezon City; Circle 3278, Las Piñas; Circle 3655, Valenzuela, Bulacan; Circle 3702, Meycauayan, Bulacan; Circle 3776, Molino, Bacoor; Circle 4154, Calumpit, Bulacan; Circle 4336, Cavite; Circle 4358, Parañaque; Circle 4537, Quezon City; Circle 4548, Sta. Teresita, Quezon City; Circle 4863, Calumpit, Bulacan; Circle 5268, Fairview, Quezon City; Circle 5340, Calatagan, Batangas; Circle 5344, Osmeña, Tondo, Manila; Circle 5359, Calumpit, Bulacan; Circle 5396, Frances, Calumpit, Bulacan; Circle 5417, Calumpit, Bulacan; Circle 5502, San Marcos, Calumpit, Bulacan; and Circle 5560, San Mateo, Rizal. (Luzon News)
Manila archbishop urges knights: Be one with the poor
he can’t be a “true brother to others and a defender of the poor.” “So I also stand before you in the name of the lonely, lost, weary and wounded people of the world. Let us be brothers to them. Let us be Jesus’ love to them,” he said. At least two thousand members of the Knights of Columbus worldwide were gathered in Anaheim, California from August 7 to 9 for their 130th Annual Supreme Convention. Pope Benedict XVI, in a message sent through the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, encouraged Knights to continue to bear daily witness of their faith in Christ, of their love of the Church and their commitment to spread the Kingdom of God in the world. The three-day event which was also attended by at least 7 0 st a t e a n d l oca l cou n ci l chaplains across the world, focused on the theme “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land.” A first time attendee to the KC supreme convention, Tagle, whose father was a former Grand Knight, recalled how belonging to the group had shaped his upbringing and later his vocation in life. “My belonging to the group brought me closer to the Church and to the call to mission,” he said. Tagle was president of Columbian Squires in his home parish during his teenage years and became a Fr. George Willmann, SJ scholar of the Knights of Columbus when he entered the seminary after high school. “So I stand before you as one who has been formed, guided and inspired by the ideals and spirit of the Knights of Columbus,” the archbishop said. Founded in 1882, the Knights of Columbus has around 1.8 million members worldwide. The organization is active in supporting various charitable activities and advocacies of the Church, particularly the promotion of life. (CBCPNews)
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle
ADDRESSING the thousands of Knights of Columbus gathered for their annual convention, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle called for a more committed and loving service to the poor “through a dialogue of life and love with them.” He said the “abandoned and neglected” of society will only realize that “the Church is in-
deed the family of God” if we are able to treat each one as brother and sister deserving of our love and service. “This demands a formation centered on Jesus, His teaching, His humility, His docility to God’s will and His heroic service to all,” he said. The archbishop stressed that unless a Knight is rooted in Jesus
Visayas Jurisdiction joins anti-RH rally
THE Visayas Knights joined the anti-RH bill rally organized by the Archdiocese of Jaro, headed by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo last August 4. The Knights of Columbus mobilized its thousand of members and their family to show their protest against the proposed reproductive health bill. They brought streamers and posters showing their support to the call of the Catholic Church. Brother Knights likewise issued statements condemning the RH Bill, which were published in the local and national newspapers and aired on some radio stations. The protest march in Iloilo City was successful despite a short notice, according to Visayas State Deputy Rodrigo Sorongon. Meanwhile, the Visayas Jurisdiction headed by VSD Sorongon has also initiated some fund raising campaign for the victims of monsoon flood in Manila. They are currently consolidating the proceeds of the fund raising activity to be given and turned over to the victims of flood. Other activities of the Visayas Jurisdiction are the Grand Knight and Fraternal Service trainings/seminars to be held on September 1-2 for the Western Visayas; September 8-9 for Central Visayas; and on September 15-16 for the Eastern Visayas. The Jurisdiction will organize a tree planting activity and will officially launch the Fr. McGivney Icon Pilgrimage. “With these activities, the Jurisdiction may be able to reach out to our grassroots councils and help them in their council operations,” said Sorongon. He added that they are intensifying their campaign for membership so that they may be able to reach the quota by September 30, 2012. “We launched membership promotion activities to
Brother Knights during the anti-RH Bill Rally in Ilo-ilo
reward councils and District Deputies who contribute in the membership campaign of
the jurisdiction,” Sorongon said. (Anthony Nazario/Visayas News)
August 27 - September 9, 2012
Vol. 16 No. 18
Mindanao Jurisdiction’s latest activities underway
KCFAPI President and Trustee Guillermo N. Hernandez receiving the Association’s 2012-2013 Certificate of Authority from Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel F. Dooc last August 17. On hand to witness the event is Deputy Commissioner Vida T. Chiong and KCFAPI Officers led by Executive Vice-President Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Vice-President for Information & BC Holders’ Services Ronulfo Antero G. Infante, Vice- President for FBG Gari M. San Sebastian, and Vice-President for Actuarial and Business Development Angelito A. Bala.
The K of C Philippines State Deputies together with other Filipino Brother Knights who attended the 130th Supreme Convention in Anaheim, California.
KCFAPI holds send off party for Joseph P. Teodoro
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) held a “send-off party” to former Fraternal Benefits Groups (FBG) Vice President Joseph P. Teodoro (JPT) on June 28 at the KCFAPI main office in Intramuros, Manila. The party is a gesture of appreciation to JPT for his more than three decades of dedicated service to the KC Order and the Association. The program included a skit with Melvin Milan presenting JPT’s frustrated dreams of being a photographer, tour guide, taxi driver, and Spider Man. JPT’s wife and daughter were present together with more than ten special guests who attended the send-off party. Selected employees of KCFAPI also delivered special messages. In 1981, JPT became the marketing manager of MACE and as a Fraternal Counselor of KCFAPI at the same time. He became the senior manager of the FBG on August 1988. In 2006, he was promoted as VicePresident for FBG for being a dedicated leader and a Brother Knight. Joseph P. Teodoro was part of the
Mr. Joseph P. Teodoro(6th from left) together with his wife Ms.Luningning (7th from left), his daughter Loraine (8th from left), and some KCFAPI employees.
KCFAPI for 31 years and a member of the Order for 36 years. He was given numerous positions in their council such as Grand Knight, District Deputy, Faithful Navigator, State Program Director, State Membership Director, and State Treasurer. During his term in 2011, KCFAPI registered the highest first year contribution income of 127.5 million pesos, the highest ever since the KCFAPI was organized in 1958. JPT’s legacy can be seen in various projects he has conceived during the last five years to bring FBG to new heights—projects best known for their acronym-- Action, Drive110, Gear 5,
and Focus. “I am blessed to have you, my KC family. But please let me give you a piece of advice — to consider the KCFAPI as your first option in choosing a life insurance company. Thank you for the wonderful experiences and for this momentous evening. A heartfelt thank you to my co-employees and my fellow Brother Knights. KCFAPI is always for Brother Knights by Brother Knights,” said JPT. The program was hosted by the new FBG Vice-President, Mr. Gari M. San Sebastian and Ms. Ma. Kristianne G. Pascual, Human Resources and Corporate Communications Manager. (Yen Ocampo)
DESPITE bad weather condition besetting the country, the Mindanao Jurisdiction of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines is all set to conduct a series of training seminars for their Grand Knights, Financial Secretary, Membership Director, and Program Director, according to Mindanao Deputy Balbino Fauni. Topics to be discussed will include the duties and responsibilities, basic required reports, and review of past performance versus the target for the Columbian year. However, focus will be given on membership growth such as "One Member Per Month Per Council", Reactivation of Suspended Councils, How to Avoid Council Suspension, and How to Attain a "Star Council Award" or “Double Star Award." Last August 8, a training was conducted in General Santos City with over 60 councils attendees. Other schedules are on September 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, and 30. There will be another set of trainings on October 6 and 13. “For more information, please get in touch with your local K of C councils. This truly means, it's more fun to be Knights," Bro. Fauni said. Meanwhile, sharing his experiences on the 130th K of C confab, Bro. Fauni said: “It was a very rewarding and fruitful convention. All the efforts...sweats and tears exerted by our Mindanao Brothers to achieve our goals were recognized
and rewarded. I am very much grateful and thankful to our State Officers, Regional Deputies, Provincial Deputies, District Deputies, Grand Knights, Council officers and members for they did their part...it was really a teamwork effort,” said Bro. Fauni. He added that they got the highest percentage (for the Philippines) in the Circle of Honor Award and in the New Council Development Award besting all State Deputies Worldwide. With a target of 20 New Councils, Mindanao was able to organize 32 new councils or with a performance of 160% for the Columbian year 2011-2012. “I also attended the Guadalupe Celebration held at the famous LA Memorial Coliseum Sports Arena last August 5. It was an experience to witness this celebration. I guess there were more than 40,000 devotees with their families, majority of whom were Latinos (Hispanics),” Bro. Fauni cited. Together with Fauni, other delegates from Mindanao were PSD Sofronio Cruz, Membership Director Volmar Clavano, State Secretary Juan Abraham Abando, and Henry Espejo of Council 4639 in General Santos. “Our State Chaplain Most Rev. Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, DD also concelebrated during the third day masses held during the convention from August 7 to 9. Vice Supreme Master Pedro Rodriguez, Jr. was also with us,” Bro. Fauni added. (KC MindaNews)
Thousands of Lagunenses join anti-RH rally at EDSA
THE Knights of Columbus (KC) in Laguna and the Family Life Ministry in the Diocese of San Pablo joined hands in mobilizing thousands of Lagunenses to support the Prayer Rally on August 4 in protest against the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill being pushed by Malacañang. According to District Deputy Grand Knight Ricardo Supena, the KC contingents from Laguna who joined the rally had assembled in three areas in San Pedro town, Calamba City and San Pablo City. Laguna Bishop Leo M. Drona had encouraged all parishioners and priests in the diocese who have the same convictions with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to protect life and join thousands of diocesan and Luzon-wide constituents in protesting the evils of RH bill. The prelate said he is praying that all four Congressmen in Laguna would finally signify their categorical decision to oppose the passage of the (RH) bill pending in Congress which is being rushed for approval by the house leadership in cahoots with Malacanang. He said that “All Catholic constituencies in Laguna should support those Congressmen whose convictions are in conformity with the Gospel values and the CBCP.” Drona said the Diocese of San Pablo is always at the forefront in this fight involving the protection of human life and the dignity of every human individual by protesting against this anti-life and anti-family RH measure. He further reminded all priests and parishioners in the diocese to continue praying the Oratio Imperata against RH Bill at Holy Masses celebrated in all parishes and chapels in Laguna until the bill considered by the Catholic Church as immoral and a threat against life and family is finally repelled once and for all. (Fr. Romy Ponte)
Brother Knights of San Pablo, Laguna during the Prayer Rally against RH Bill.
Pangasinan holds officers orientation seminar
ALMOST 400 Brother Knights from the whole province of Pangasinan gathered for an orientation seminar at the modern Lingayen Training and Development Center, in Ligayen, Pangasinan on August 19. Themed “One Pangasinan the Power of One”, the seminar was spearheaded by Bro. Manuel Naldoza, Regional Membership Director and KCFAPI Area Manager. Collaborating with Naldoza were the District Deputies of Pangasinan province, namely from the Diocese of Alaminos, Arturo Ladislao of Salasa Bugallon, from the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, Josefino Abrigo of San Fabian, Angelo Royeca of Calasiao, Camilo Melendez of Binmaley, singing of the national anthem, followed by the Pangasinan Hymn. An audio visual presentation of the pictures of the District Deputies and their Grand Knights were presented as well as their accomplishment in last Columbian year. Mr. Raffy Baraan who represented Governor Amado Espino, welcomed the participants. KCFAPI Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group Gari San Sebastian delivered the message of KCFAPI President Guillermo Hernandez; while Bro. Jose Cuaresma, state Squires Chairman, delivered the message of Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap. Naldoza explained the Luzon Policies and Membership recruitment, while Nestor Berber explained the roles of an officer. Pedro Fernando Jr. tackled the organizational set up and protocol, while Grand Knight Roger Santos demonstrated the online facilities to access the supreme office. Grand Knight Hon Panahon delivered the laws and rules of the Order. Participants enjoyed a showcase of the province’s delicacies such as putong calasiao, tupig from mangatarem, bibingkang bilao from bugallon, peanut brittle from mangaldan, inihaw na bangus Dagupan, kambing delicacies from binmaley, lechon, exotic kuhol from Sta Maria fruits, among others. (Manuel Naldoza/KC News)
Brother Knights during the officers’ orientation seminar in Pangasinan.
Danilo Guinto of Bayambang, and from the Diocese of Urdaneta, Nazario Timbresa of Binalonan, Ricardo
Cachola of Asingan and Antonio Junio of Sta Maria. The seminar began at 9 a.m. with the
KCFAPI joins 34th Nat’l Disability Prevention & Rehabilitation Week
KC News Briefs
WITH the assistance of the Knights of Columbus Council 15139 and the Squires Circle 5503 in Parañaque City, a good Samaritan, Ms. Grazielle Duroy has shared her blessings during her birthday celebration to the local community. Children from developmental areas received packs of multivitamins and other goodies to promote their health. All participants were also nurtured onsite with the sharing of porridge. MAHARLIKA Assembly in cooperation of its constituting councils sponsored a first degree exemplification free of charge in commemoration of Fr. Mcgivney's Birth Anniversary last August 12. The activity was held after the 8 a.m. Fraternal Mass at Sta. Teresita Parish at Mayon St. (cor. Dapitan St. Quezon City). Participants to the exemplification include members of other councils. LUZON Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap said the theme of 130th Supreme Convention in Anaheim, California “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land” will likewise be adapted by Luzon as its theme for the Columbian Year 2012-2013. “We hope that it shall also be adopted in major events of the different councils in Luzon. Vivat Jesus!” Yap added. THE Knights of Columbus in the Philippines greets a Happy Fiesta of Nuestra Señora Virgen Delas Nieves (Also known as OUR LADY OF THE SNOWS) the 2nd Patroness of the Cathedral Parish of San Roque. Brother Knights in Caloocan City supports the fund raising campaign of the Epiphany of Our Lord Parish for the extension of the Parish office, repair/ repainting of the Church pews and kneeler, and for PPC/Pamayanan Council fund. The project entitled “My 20 Pesos Love Offering” has 15 major prizes and 15 consolation winners as well. First raffle draw will be on October 19, 2012 and the Grand Raffle Draw will be on December 8, 2012. The Knights of Columbus Padre Crisostomo Council 6000 in Cabanatuan City will hold a Blood Letting Program on September 3, 2012 8:00am to be held at the San Nicholas de Tolentino Cathedaral. Other programs and activities lined up for the Saint Nicolas Feast are Gamutang Bayan on September 6; Tree Planting in 24 barangays (1 fruit bearing every house compound); Gift Giving/ Tree Planting in Bacao on September 22; and recollection, according to Deputy Grand Knight and Fraternal Counselor Larry Santos.
The emerging winners together with KCFAPI employees headed by President Guillermo N. Hernandez(7th from right), Executive VicePresident Ma. Theresa G. Curia (5th from right) and Vice-President for FBG Gari M. San Sebastian(1st from right) during the "Search for Talentadong PWD ng Makati" event held at Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City.
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) took part in the weeklong celebration of the 34th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week by supporting the “Search for Talentadong PWD ng Makati” held July 15 at the Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City. Barangay Chairman Ernesto A. Moya and Ma. Theresa G. Hernandez, Persons with Disabilities and Co. (PERDISCO) President said the event aimed to contribute and promote the full employment of persons with disabilities and also support human rights-based initiatives for the economic development of
persons with disabilities. KCFAPI officials who attended the event were KCFAPI President Guillermo Hernandez, KCFAPI Executive VicePresident Ma. Theresa Curia, KCFAPI Vice President for FBG Gari San Sebastian, and KCFAPI Vice President for Finance & HRCC Mary Magdalene G. Flores. Themed “Mainstreaming Persons with Disabilities in Economic Development”, the KCFAPI’s officials and staff have enjoyed the performance of the talented PWDs. Various activities were lined up for the weeklong celebration. Last July 17, a Thanks-
giving Mass was celebrated and a stakeholder’s forum and ribbon-cutting of the “Likhang PWD 2012,” (an exhibit of artworks and products made by PWDs) at the DTI Exhibit Showroom, Makati City was held. Last July 18, a contest dubbed as “Paligsahan ng may “K” sa Kasaysayan at Kultura ng Pilipinas” was held. Last July 19, setting-up of Mobility Clinic, Seminar on Early Prevention of Children with Disabilities as well as 1st Road Safety Seminar for PWDs. Orientation Forum on Accessibility Law with Sensitivity Training and Job Fair was held last July 20. Nationwide Special Registration for PWD
Voters last July 21, M.O.V.E. Manila Run last July 22, and last July 23, an Entrepreneurship Appreciation Seminar and Wreath laying ceremony on the Birthdate of Apolinario Mabini in Batangas City was also held to culminate the celebration. The NDPR Week is celebrated every July 17 to 23, based on Proclamation No. 361 issued on 2000, as amended by Administrative Order No. 35 issued 2002. The National Council on Disability Affairs that led the national affair is an attached agency of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) (KCFAPI News with reports from DSWD)
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