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Pope to Syrian Christians: you have ‘great task’ of remaining
Act of Consecration: Not just ritual but a mission
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
High tribunal resets RH law oral arguments on July 9
THE Supreme Court (SC) has rescheduled the oral arguments of the controversial Republic Act (RA) 10354 earlier calendared for deliberation on June 18 to July 9. The SC cited newly- filed petitions and motion as reasons to move the date of the much awaited oral arguments. Late this May, students from various schools filed the eleventh petition while The Couples for Christ Foundation for
Tribunal / A7
Enrollment at Catholic schools ‘steadily’ dropping—CEAP
By Kris Bayos
June 10 - 23, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 12
MORE than hurting parents’ pockets come enrollment time, “inevitable” tuition hike is actually causing enrollment statistics in Catholic schools to decline, according to the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).
After the Department of Education (DepEd) approved the application of 903 private schools to raise tuition for the incoming school year and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) approved the petition of 354 private colleges and universities to hike fees, parents have been complaining about how the Catholic education continues to get expensive. But CEAP president Fr. Gregorio Bañaga C.M. said parents and school administrators share the consequence of increasing matriculation fees. No choice Speaking on behalf of the administrators of some 1,450 CEAP memberschools nationwide, Bañaga said operation and maintenance of schools get difficult to manage when the number of enrollees decreases due to tuition hikes. He said that with dropping enrollment, schools would have no choice
Enrollment / A6
Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara incenses the icons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus during a Mass for the National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (NCIHM) at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Pasig City on June 8, 2013. The bishops together with the clergy, the religious and the laity held the NCIHM on Saturday in cathedrals, parishes, shrines and chapels in all ecclesiastical jurisdictions across the country.
Pope assures Filipinos of spiritual solidarity at national consecration
POPE Francis assured Filipinos of his spiritual closeness and prayers as Catholic leaders led the national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in all cathedrals, parishes, shrines and chapels throughout the country last Pope Francis greets the people during a general June 8, 2013. audience at St. Peter’s Square. “The Holy FaMary’s Immaculate Heart, beatther unites himself spiritually with you on this ing in unison with that of her important occasion, praying unborn child, may inspire an that the Most Pure Heart of ever greater appreciation and our Blessed Mother Mary may attention to all human life, from inspire all Filipinos to devote conception through natural themselves through her, to death, and lead to greater service Jesus her divine Son,” said a to the poorest and the weakest, letter from the Vatican’s Secre- those who are closest to God tary of State Cardinal Tarcisio himself,” part of the message Bertone. (See full text of letter read. Addressed to Archbishop Jose in page B5) Bertone said the Holy Father is Palma, president of Catholic hoping the Filipinos’ devotion to Bishops Conference of the PhilMary may lead them to appreci- ippines, the pope’s message was ate and respect more the value of relayed through the Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe life in all its stages. “He hopes that devotion to Pinto. (CBCPNews)
Bishop slams gov’t slow action on CARP
A CATHOLIC bishop censured the government for the slow implementation of land distribution to farmers. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo criticized the present administration’s ineptness to fulfill promises particularly the distribution of land to farmers before the agrarian reform program expires next year. Pabillo said the 25th anniversary of the of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on June 10, also served as an evaluation on the failure of the present administration to deliver the promises made to protesting farmers last June 14, 2012. “…. [The] farmers are alarmed at the failure of government to distribute nearly 1 million hectares of land before the agrarian reform program expires on 2014,” he said. Pabillo, who is chair of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) stressed that when President Aquino took power, government still had to distribute a total of 1, 209,236 hectares to landless farmers. “From July 2010 to December 2012, Malacañang was able to distribute only 251, 8 Bishop Broderick Pabillo 76 hectares representing a measly 21%, leaving a balance of 957,630 to be given away until the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension (CARP) funding expires on June 14, 2014,” said Pabillo. “DAR records [shows] that the current Aquino administration is the worst performer as far as land acquisition and distribution representing a measly 21% of the total LAD coverage. “We are calling the government’s attention to enforce the law. It is stated in the law that they need to finish the program before the end of the expiration date on June 2014. We are hoping that they respond. The land reform program is a program for social justice which is about peace. If there is no social justice, there will be lots of chaos and the country will have no ‘tuwid na daan’,” Pabillo said. Farmers’ group Task Force Mapalad has organized a gathering of farmers on June 10 in the Visayas and Mindanao to protest the dismal performance of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), most especially its Secretary Gil delos Reyes. (Jandel Posion)
Stephen Driscoll / CNA
Bishop Broderick Pabillo
(LAD) [is concerned] since the CARP was launched by the Cory administration,” he added. He pointed out that the PNoy administration actually scored the worst record since 1986, distributing only 251, 876 hectares to farmers since July 2010,
Tagle to faithful: Clean up corruption in PH
THE head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church has led the faithful in performing a simple act of consecration that comes with a promise: the conversion of the Philippines. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle asked the people to help transform the country by fighting corruption as an act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “Let’s promise that we will clean the heart of our country from corruption. Corruption has no role in a country consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” Tagle said. The Manila archbishop made the statement in his homily during a Mass at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church in Paco, Manila for the National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “Discrimination has no place in a country that is said to be consecrated to heart of Mary which is full of memories about Jesus,” he said. “Callousness, greed, deceitful to oppress and destroy others has no place in a country or in a heart that says Mary, our heart is for your heart,” added Tagle. To achieve this, the cardinal said it means asking God to give then the grace to have a pure heart like Mary. “On this day, when we commonly consecrate our
Corruption / A6
Gov’t inaction on black sand mining hit
IN a marathon prayer session that started at 11 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m., a lay group prayed 2,000 Hail Marys last May 29 calling for an end to abortion. Though other intentions like the conversion of sinners, healing of the sick and the souls in the Purgatory were included as well, Couples for Christ – Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL) misAbortion / A6
The mining of black sand along the shorelines of several towns in Ilocos Sur poses a threat not only on the environment but also on the livelihood of farmers living in the area.
THE Catholic clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia criticized the inaction of the government on the issue of black sand mining in the province. In protest to the mining activities along the province’s
shoreline, Archbishop Ernesto Salgado and the diocesan clergy led the Catholic faithful in a rally against black sand mining last February 9 in front of the Vigan Cathedral. On February 18, the Catholic
Mining / A6
Group prays 2k Hail Marys to end abortion
Diocese of Pasig
PHOENIX, Ariz., June 7, 2013— Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., explained that marriage is rooted in nature and exists prior to the state, which has the authority to recognize, but not redefine, the fundamental social institution. “Marriage is a pre-political and natural phenomenon that arises out of the nature of human beings. The Catholic Church, along with virtually every religion and culture in the world, recognizes and supports this natural institution because without it, no society will exist or flourish,” he said. The bishop explained that marriage is “a natural outgrowth of human nature, capacities and needs.” The natural desire to procreate and create a family “can only be fulfilled through the union of a man and a woman.” Other unions that are “essentially different” from marriage will not become marriages “simply by taking on the institutional guise,” he said. “Those involved in same-sex relationships are looking for social validity and legal approval. All of this is understandable, but that doesn’t make it possible.” His comments came during a May 31 debate sponsored by the Jesuit Alumni in Arizona, held at Phoenix’s Shadow Rock United Church of Christ. The bishop debated Sr. Jeannine Gramick, S.L., the co-founder of New Ways Ministry, which has been criticized by both the Vatican and the U.S. bishop for its dissent from Church teaching on homosexuality. Although the debate was originally entitled “Two Catholic Views on Gay Marriage,” Bishop Paprocki clarified that there is “only one authentic Catholic view” on the subject. Noting that advocates of marriage redefinition describe their cause as “marriage equality,” he criticized equality as “one of the very few unquestioned values” of post-modern philosophy. Attempts to recognize all moral positions in the law are “logically impossible,” he said, because even morally neutral positions are “moral choices that deny recognition and equality to those who disagree.” The bishop rejected utilitar-
ian and morally relativistic approaches to marriage. “If the government says that an apple is now the same as an orange, and the law requires everyone to call apples ‘oranges,’ the state would have the power to punish anyone who calls an apple an ‘apple’ instead of an ‘orange,’ but it would be a totalitarian abuse of raw power and would not change the biological reality of the nature of the fruit in question. So too with the definition of marriage,” he said. Bishop Paprocki said advocates of homosexual unions must show that they are as necessary and beneficial to the common good as heterosexual marriage. He noted that marriage helps protect the vulnerability of relationships with the potential for children and helps unite the complementary sexes. Even artificial reproduction, he said, only finds ways to “mimic the union of a man and woman in order to be successful.” The bishop rejected arguments that legal recognition only for marriage between a man and a woman privileges one religious view over others. Marriage was not invented by the Church or the state, but precedes them both as an institution rooted in nature, he stressed. As a result, he said, the state has no authority to redefine marriage or family, which make up “the first cell of society, from which the state receives its existence.” A law recognizing same-sex relationships as “marriages” is thus “devoid of any intrinsic moral legitimacy,” he explained. The state “exists to serve the family” and the family’s “own legitimate nature and identity.” Bishop Paprocki also recalled the Catholic Church’s experience with 20th century totalitarian movements which sought to remake family life to advance state goals of racial purity or Marxist ideology. This experience, he said, led to the more refined Catholic teaching that “it is not legitimate for the state to interfere with the fundamental nature of the family.” “(I)t is never legitimate for the state to decide that it will use marriage and the family as mere instrumentalities to be manipulated to achieve the state’s own goals of cultural transformation,” the bishop insisted. In addition, he said, it is “naive” to assume that the redefinition of marriage poses no threats to religious freedom. Rather, it is “quite likely” that the Church will be pressured for its opposition to same-sex “marriage,” just as it is pressured to provide contraceptives and abortions. He noted the cancelation of Illinois state contracts with Catholic Charities adoption services and foster care because the government refused to accommodate Catholic teachings against placing children with same-sex or unmarried couples. Bishop Paprocki also voiced concern over unequal treatment in the media. He lamented the brutal 1998 murder of college student Matthew Shephard in Wyoming because he was a homosexual. However, he also noted that his own former parish secretary, Mary Stachowicz, was “brutally murdered” by a coworker in 2002 after she urged him to quit the gay lifestyle. Her murder was “widely ig-
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
State lacks authority to redefine marriage, says bishop
Bishop Thomas Paprocki
nored by the media, despite the fact that she died as a martyr for the faith,” he said. Recognizing that it is an “uphill struggle” to convince people that same-sex relationships are not the same as marriage, the bishop emphasized that “the ethical or moral analysis of an issue is not properly based on polls or surveys of public opinion, but on values, virtues and principles.” (CNA)
New iPad story draws children into the life of Jesus
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 9, 2013—A Christian game developer has released an interactive storybook application to help make the message of the Gospel more accessible for kids. “For children, we really want them to be exposed to the life of Jesus in a way that they can enjoy and connect with,” Brent Dusing, Lightside Games founder and CEO, told CNA on June 6. The app, “Journey of Jesus: His First Miracle,” hit the iTunes store June 5 and features chapters of Jesus’ public ministry from the Bible that engages children and helps relay the story them. Admittedly, Dusing said, there are other secular and Christian storybook applications on the market, but what sets this one apart is its quality and “interactivity.” “We thought this would be a great opportunity to build a great product and to teach kids about Jesus,” he said. “Not only to make it fun and interactive, but tell the story in a way that they would actually understand.” In the first chapter, readers travel through the story of Jesus’ first miracle at the Wedding of Cana when he turns water into wine. Leading up to that event, readers are exposed to the message of trusting in God by witnessing John baptizing Jesus and seeing how Jesus helped Peter pull in a big catch of fish. “This chapter is about willing to trust Jesus,” Dusing said, “even when what he tells you to do doesn’t make sense to you.” Dusing said he was inspired to make an application for the iPad because of how much his own children use his as if it were their own— something he knows is not unique to just his family. When parents let their kids play with their iPads or other interactive device it’s to “give them something to do.” This app, he says, also allows Journey of Jesus eBook. parents to “give our kids “We basically try to put the story is something that they can benefit from.” Frequently, he said, Christian educa- terms children can connect with and tional materials are marketed as “mul- understand, even at a very young age tivitamins.” In other words, it’s good they can learn and walk away with for the kids but may not necessarily something,” Dusing explained. The app is rated for ages four and up, “taste good.” This application, on the other hand, but Dusing said even his two year-old is more like “chocolate cake with vi- daughter enjoys “reading” it over and tamins in it,” Dusing said. “The kids over again. More chapters—“at least 10”—will will enjoy it a lot more and it’s really be released once a month in the iTunes good.” Throughout the app two characters, store. Lightside Games, based in Mouna little boy and girl, “hide” in different tain View, Calif., has recently created a parts of the page and help summarize Facebook game based on the History Channel mini-series, “The Bible.” Before the story. Children can chose from two different that, the company released a Facebook options when viewing the application: game on the life of Moses and another on the life of Jesus. (CNA) “read to me” or “read it myself.”
Archbishops offer prayers after collapse of building in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA, June 7, 2013—The collapse of two buildings in Philadelphia’s center city June 5 that left six people dead and more than a dozen injured drew the attention of Catholic leaders, including those at the Vatican. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, wrote a letter June 6 to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput expressing sympathy for the victims and pledging prayers. “We have just heard about the tragic collapse of the four-story building and its adjoining Salvation Army Thrift Store, in Market Street, Philadelphia, and of the loss of lives involved, and of the many injured,” Archbishop Paglia wrote. “In these difficult circumstances for the city, the Pontifical Council for the Family assures you of its closeness and prayers, especially for the victims and their relatives.” A vacant building at 2136 Market St. was being demolished by a construction crew June 5 when a wall collapsed about 10:30 in the morning. It caused the adjacent four-story building also to partially collapse, trapping shoppers of the Salvation Army store inside. Five women and one man were killed in the accident. One of the survivors was pulled from the rubble later that night. (CNS)
Expert says Church’s abuse prevention should differ for each culture
An expert on dealing with sexual abuse cases within the Church says prevention guidelines being developed with Vatican oversight should vary from country to country. “We’ve realized learning habits and how people respond to some questionnaires and comply to rules varies from country to country,” said Father Hans Zollner, a German Jesuit who heads the Gregorian University’s Centre for Child Protection. “It is most interesting and most inspiring to see this across the different cultures.” He explained that some guidelines should apply to all countries equally, since “sexual abuse is sexual abuse, no matter what.” (CNA)
Legion of Christ update presented to Pope Francis
Sri Lanka gets its own Catholic radio station
COLOMBO, June 6, 2013— The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka today launched the country’s first Catholic internet radio station in Colombo, aimed at providing a platform for young people and for those who are unable to attend Mass. Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, president of the bishops’ conference, presided over the launch ceremony at the National Catholic Social Communication Center in the capital. The web radio station, which will broadcast three hours of Church-centered content seven days a week, will feature mostly Sinhalese-language programming. Father Benedict Joseph, national director of the Catholic Social Communication Center, said the web radio station afforded the Church a new opportunity to reach the country’s minority Catholic community. “The internet encourages new forms of journalism such as blogs, Twitter, RSS Youtube and Facebook, which are interactive and immediate chairman of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, lauded the new station as an important contribution to the communications sector in the country. Marcus Fernando, a Catholic journalist, said he hoped the new station would help set an example for professional and impartial reporting. Sri Lanka has faced widespread criticism for its poor record on press freedom during and in the years following the civil war, which ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels. The media watchdog group Freedom House last year gave Sri Lanka a press freedom rating of “not free” and a ranking of 161, along with Burundi and the United Arab Emirates, out of 197 nations. Local and international rights groups have also cited intimidation of journalists and strict government controls on media programming. Nineteen journalists have been killed in Sri Lanka since 1992, according to New Yorkbased Committee to Protect Journalists. (UCAN)
The papal delegate overseeing the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi met with Pope Francis on May 29 to discuss the progress that has been made in reforming the two religious bodies. Cardinal Velasio De Paolis said, he and the Pope discussed the drafting of a new constitution for the Legion of Christ, which will be presented at the order’s General Chapter in early 2014. They also discussed the general statutes that govern Regnum Christi and its consecrated and lay members. New leaders of both congregations will be elected at the General Chapter. The final results of the renewal process will be presented to the Holy Father for his approval, he said. (CNA)
Pope: God forgives sins that wound
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith gives an interview for the inaugural broadcast
for those who don’t regularly attend Church,” he said. “It’s a new broadcasting opportunity to be able to share the gospel, Catholic values and address pressing social issues. Social media has touched the life of the people today and it allows new forms of audience participation,” he said. “Our goal is to improve believers’ lives by deepening faith,” he added. While programming will
largely focus on general issues regarding the Church, the station also aims to address broader social issues. “I hope the radio station will help encourage people to build up a just society and that it will enhance the lives of people,” said Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith at the launch ceremony. Sri Lanka has more than 40 radio stations, including web radio programming. Hudson Samarasinghe,
Pope Francis emphasized the mercy of God, declaring that God always those who show him the “inner wounds” of their sins. “If we show our inner wounds, our sins, he always forgives us,” Pope Francis told thousands of pilgrims at Saint Peter’s Square. “Let us never forget this, he is pure mercy, let us go to Jesus!” he exclaimed during his Angelus noon prayer June 9. Pope Francis stressed that we should not be afraid to approach Jesus because he has a “merciful heart.” The Church traditionally dedicates the month of June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which reveals his infinite mercy towards people. (CNA)
Pope gives children advice on facing doubts about faith
Setting aside his prepared text, Pope Francis tackled questions from children about having faith in times of doubt, his friends and his favorite aspects of Jesuit spirituality. “Walking is an art because if we always walk in a hurry we get tired and we can’t reach the end,” he said in response to an older boy who admitted he had doubts about his faith. “Walking is the art of looking at the horizon thinking where I want to go, but also to accept the tiredness of the walk,” the Pope reflected. “So many times the walk is difficult.” Pope Francis received around 7,000 students from Jesuit-run schools in Italy and Albania, accompanied by their teachers, alumni and family members in Paul VI Hall on June 7. (CNA)
Pope Francis calls careerism ‘leprosy’ on the priesthood
Priests from Seoul Diocese on pilgrimage to Korean martyrs shrines
SEOUL, June 4, 2013—On World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, a pilgrimage to the shrines of the Korean martyrs in Seoul is scheduled for this Friday. The event is expected to attract 600 diocesan priests. For the first time in history, all the priests of the archdiocese will take part in the celebration. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 am in Myeongdong Cathedral, where the adoration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Word we will be celebrated. This will be followed by readings on the martyrs of Korea. The pilgrimage itself will start instead in the afternoon, when two groups of priests, following different paths, will come together in Seosomun Shrine, the biggest in the country, where a closing Mass will be held. “This pilgrimage is an opportunity for priests and the faithful to learn about the lives of the country’s Catholic martyrs and reflect on their faith,” Msgr. Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, told AsiaNews. “This year is also the 60th anniversary of the Korean War,” he added, “and we shall pray for a true and lasting peace in the peninsula.” The Korean Catholic Church is waiting for the canonization of Paul Yun Ji-chung and his 123 companions, victims of the Byeongi-in persecution (second half of the 19th century), proclaimed ‘servants of God’ by Pope John Paul II in 2003. The Archbishop of Daejeon, Lazarus You Heung-sik, invited Pope Francis to Korea for the occasion. The Korean Bishops’ Conference has set up a website with information about the life and martyrdom of these witnesses of Christ. (AsiaNews)
Using especially strong language on one of his favorite themes, Pope Francis decried a plague of careerism among priests and urged them to renounce their personal ambitions for service to the church—warning that failure to do so would make them look “ridiculous.” “Careerism is a leprosy, a leprosy,” the pope said June 6, in a speech to students from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school for future Vatican diplomats. “Please, no careerism!” All types of priestly ministry require “great inner freedom,” the pope said, which calls for “vigilance in order to be free from ambition or personal aims, which can cause so much harm to the church.” (CNS)
Truth must be spoken with love, pope says
Christians need to “speak the truth with love,” overcoming the temptations of wanting always to be liked or of always thinking their own status or desires are what counts, Pope Francis said. In his homilies at his early morning Masses June 3 and 4, Pope Francis spoke about people who are corrupt: their attitudes, actions and ways of speaking. “Hypocrisy is the language of corruption,” he said during the June 4 Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Even if dressed in “soft words, beautiful words,” if a statement is motivated by self-love or self-gain it is not true, the pope said. “There is no truth without love. Love is the first truth,” he said. “If there is no love, there is no truth.” (CNS)
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
refugees within their own country, as well as in neighboring ones. “Faced with the continuing violence and abuse, I strongly renew my appeal for peace,” he told them. “I ask you to encourage humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced Syrians, aiming first at the good of the person and the protection of his dignity,” he stated. Pope Francis noted that in “recent weeks, the international community has reaffirmed its intention to take concrete steps to begin a fruitful dialogue with the aim of putting an end to the war.” These are “attempts that should be supported and which will hopefully lead to peace,” he said. The pontiff also reminded Cor Unum members that the Church “feels called to give testimony to the humble” and that it must do so with “concrete and effective charity.” “We cannot hold back, precisely from those situations where the pain is greatest!” he exclaimed. “Your presence in the coordination meeting shows the will to continue with loyalty the valuable work of humanitarian assistance in Syria and in neighboring countries that generously accommodate those fleeing war,” the Pope said. The charities’ work, he said, is “timely and coordinated” and an “expression of that communion which is itself a testimony as suggested by the recent Synod on the Middle East.” “The work of Catholic Charities agencies to help the Syrian people, beyond ethnic or religious affiliations, is extremely significant for the Holy See,” said the pontiff. “It is the most direct way to make
Pope to Syrian Christians: you have ‘great task’ of remaining
VATICAN City, June 5, 2013—Pope Francis vigorously appealed for peace in Syria and told the Christians there that they have “the great task” of remaining in their homeland despite the ongoing war. “These (communities) have the great task of continuing to offer a Christian presence in the place where they were born and it is our task to ensure that this witness remains there,” he said June 5. “The participation of the entire Christian community in this important work of assistance and aid is imperative at this time,” he added during the meeting with Catholic aid agencies in the hall of Saint Martha’s House. The pontiff made his comments at a June 5 gathering organized by the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” for Catholic charities engaged in helping Syrian a contribution to peace and the building up of a society open to all the different components,” he stated. The Pope then gave them his apostolic blessing, emphasizing that it extends in particular to “the dear faithful who live in Syria and all those Syrians who are currently forced to leave their homes because of the Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square during a general audience. war.” “You here present are the instrument them and is close to them,” he said. to tell the dear people of Syria and the “The Church does not abandon Middle East that the Pope accompanies them!” he insisted. (CNA/EWTN News)
Pope prays that Christians avoid ‘road of corruption’
VATICAN City, June 3, 2013— Pope Francis on Monday warned about corrupt Christians who think they are “strong” and “independent of God,” emphasizing that Catholics should instead take saints as their models. “How bad are the corrupt in the Christian community! May the Lord deliver us from sliding down this road of corruption,” the Pope said in his June 3 homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta residence in Vatican City. Attendees at the Mass included priests and collaborators of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Cardinal Angelo Amato, who heads the congregation, concelebrated the Mass. Pope Francis distinguished between saints, sinners and “corrupt persons” in a reflection on the Gospel parable of the wicked tenants in the vineyard. The tenants beat the vineyard owner’s servants who sought to collect rent and ended up killing the owner’s son. These tenants “slipped on that autonomy, that independence in their relationship with God,” adopting the attitude that “We don’t need that Master,” and he shouldn’t come and disturb us, the Holy Father said. “These are the corrupt! These were sinners like all of us, but they have taken a step beyond that, as if they were confirmed in their sin: they don’t need God!” he added. But this is a false illusion, he continued, “for in their genetic code there is this relationship with God. And since they can’t deny this, they make a special god: they themselves are god.” The Pope said Christians should be mindful of this temptation, warning “this is a danger for us, too.” He criticized groups in Christian communities that think only of their own group and are “only out for themselves.” He said that Judas was one of these, a “greedy sinner” who “ended in corruption.” “The road of autonomy is a dangerous road: the corrupt are very forgetful, have forgotten this love, with which the Lord made the vineyard, has made them! They severed the relationship with this love! And they become worshipers of themselves.” By contrast, he said, the saints are those who “collect the rent” at the vineyard despite the threats to them. “They know what is expected of them,” he said, and they “do their duty.” “The saints are those who obey the Lord, those who worship the Lord, those who have not lost the memory of the love with which the Lord has made the vineyard,” Pope Francis explained, adding that the saints do “much good” for the Church. He noted that St. John said the corrupt are “the antichrist” and that they are “among us, but they are not of us.” By contrast, Scripture says the saints are “like light” and will be “before the throne of God in adoration.” The Pope prayed that God would grant Christians the grace to “walk in the paths of holiness” as they seek sanctity in their own lives. (CNA)
Pope says ‘throwaway culture’ harms environment and human life
VATICAN City, June 5, 2013— Pope Francis blamed widespread degradation of the natural environment and disregard for human life on an increasingly common “throwaway culture” that places no value on the needs of others. “We are living through a moment of crisis,” the pope said June 5. “We see it in the environment, but above all we see it in man. The human person is in danger.” The pope made his remarks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. Noting that the United Nations had designated June 5 World Environment Day, Pope Francis recalled the biblical account of creation, according to which God made man and woman to “cultivate and protect the earth.” “Are we truly cultivating and protecting creation?” the pope asked. “Or are we instead exploiting and neglecting it?” “We are often guided by the arrogance of domination, possession, manipulation, exploitation,” he said. “We are losing the attitude of wonder, of contemplation, of listening to creation, and thus we are no longer able to read there what Benedict XVI from the table of the poor, the hungry.” Prior to the audience, the pope made a half-hour circuit of the square in an open-topped popemobile, frequently stopping to kiss babies and small children handed to him by members of his security detail. An estimated 90,000 persons attended the audience, 20,000 more than had requested tickets, and the crowd spilled out into the avenue beyond. Afterward, the pope spent an hour and a half greeting visiting bishops, dignitaries and ordinary pilgrims, including disabled children and adults and a group of newlyweds in their wedding attire. The pope’s embrace with a young disabled man lasted so long that an attendant gently pulled the man’s hand away. Many in the crowd remarked on Pope Francis’ “approachable” personality and his down-toearth appeal. The past few popes “gave us the theology, kind of the instruction behind what our faith is about,” said Father Patrick Knippenberg, of the diocese of Victoria, Texas. Pope Francis is “kind of an exemplification of that teaching,” he said. (CNS)
calls the ‘rhythm of the love story of God with man.’” “We have distanced ourselves from God, we do not read his signs,” the pope said. Today’s environmental problems also betray neglect of what Catholic teaching calls “human ecology,” he said. “What rules today is not man, it is money,” the pope said, denouncing an “economy and financial system lacking in ethics.” “Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of money and consumption,” he said. “That some homeless people freeze to death on the street, that is not
news. On the other hand, a drop of 10 points in the stock markets of some cities is a tragedy. That is how people are thrown away. We, people, are thrown away, as if we were trash.” “Human life, the person are no longer felt to be primary values to be respected and protected, especially if they are poor or disabled, if they are not yet useful—like an unborn child— or are no longer useful—like an old person,” the pope said. Today’s “throwaway culture” is also reflected in frequent waste of food, he said, adding that “food that is thrown away might as well have been stolen
Tagle reminds laity: Respect Christ’s body and blood
MANILA, June 6, 2013— As Catholics all over the world united in prayer during the Holy Hour on the Feast of Corpus Christi, a church prelate called on the Filipino faithful to be reminded of the Divine covenant and to regard their physical bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. In a simultaneous Eucharistic adoration with Pope Francis held at the Paco Church, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle chided the evil acts prevalent in the Philippine society that desecrate the sacredness of the body and blood of Christ. “This is my body and this is my blood. Those are precious Words of love and covenant. But what is happening in our world today?” he said, questioning the immoral acts that hound the nation. “This is my body—the body of women being given to be sold as wares, bodies that are used not for covenant, but for desecration. Children abused, kidnapped, and their bodies mangled so that their organs can be sold,” Tagle said. “This is my body—you drive around Manila you find emaciated bodies, children, families, not able to eat but to forget their hunger, they sniff rugby. What has happened to bodies that are supposed to be vehicles of love and covenant? What has happened to blood, donated for a fee and not freely donated out of love,” he added. The prelate also noted the prevalence of violence all over the world primarily due to wars and atrocities, criticizing it as an insult challenges along their way. “We have heard a lot about the faith, to believe, the demands of mission, the demands of an ethical and social involvement coming from the Eucharist,” he said. He noted that the manifestation of faith among each Catholic makes the presence of the Church all the more present and alive. “Faith celebrated in prayer, in processions, in gatherings—they warm the heart. They tell us that the Church is alive because Jesus is alive,” Tagle added. The Lord’s offering of His body and blood signifies the sacrifice He is willing to give to His people, Tagle said, further noting that people are also called to sacrifice and do good just like how Christ did. “We are the people of the new covenant. We are asked to spread His Word. We are asked to be His body, living His love and commitment especially to those people who live in the darkness of betrayals and in their calvaries,” the cardinal said, urging people to be true to the Divine covenant and to live by the example of Christ. “In union with the whole Church, we behold the Body of Christ, the Blood of Christ, the offer of a new covenant, a new humanity. Let us be what we celebrate. Let us be what we receive. Let us be what we contemplate. Let us be the body of Christ, the body of the covenant of Christ, for a world that is weary, for a world walking in darkness,” Tagle added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)
Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Pro-lifers hold demonstrations to uphold ‘Gospel of Life’
MANILA, June 4, 2013—Major pro-life organizations in the country are set to hold demonstrations at the Supreme Court (SC) on June 18 when it begins its oral arguments on the controversial Republic Act (RA) 10354, which is seen as a measure aimed to drastically control the population specifically targeting the poor and marginalized. Dubbed “Buhay mahalin, RH supilin,” Filipinos for Life president Anthony James Perez called on pro-lifers particularly Catholics to gather outside the Supreme Court at Padre Faura Street on June 18, “in order to celebrate life and stand against the anti-life, anti-Filipino RH law.” “This law will put the country into economic peril and moral decay. We must fight it for the sake of the future generation,” Perez said. Worldwide protests at Irish embassies Meanwhile, pro-life advocates across the United States of America and in other parts of the world are set to hold demonstrations at Irish Embassies challenging the Irish government not to allow abortion. Demonstrations are set to begin on June 7 at the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C. calling for Ireland to remain abortion free. Organizers say that abortion could be brought into Ireland this summer. “We cannot be silent or indifferent when it comes to protecting innocent children and embracing human rights for all. As American citizens, we must send a powerful message to the Irish government that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Ireland to keep that nation abortion free, says one of the organizers. Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical ‘Evangelium Vitae’, which the Vatican will commemorate on June 15 and 16, stressed “It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. The Gospel of life must be proclaimed and human life defended in all places and all times.” (Paul De Guzman)
Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
to the gift of body and blood temporarily given to mankind. Yet, Tagle remained hopeful that despite the saddening realities faced by the contemporary world, there is still hope for these acts to be changed. “We, a Eucharistic people, must tell the world: there is hope because God has not forgotten His covenant with us,” he said. “For as long as Jesus is present in the Eucharist, for as long as His Word is proclaimed and His body and blood given to us as the pledge of eternal glory, there is hope, there is recreation, there is rebirth for humanity.” ‘Faith must be understood’ With the celebration of the year of faith this liturgical year, Tagle urged the lay people to deepen their faith to have a clear grasp of the Christian mission and to successfully hurdle
Prelate to laity: Let Marian devotion transform PH
MANILA, June 2, 2013—A Catholic prelate on Saturday called on the faithful to transition their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary into ways that could straighten crooked ways and bring change to the country’s political, economic, and cultural landscapes. Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, in the fourth Marian conference held at the San Carlos Seminary, noted the positive changes felt by a person bound by love, and urged the laity to translate those into measures that can pose beneficial changes to the society. He compared the Marian devotion of the Filipino Catholic against eros, the romantic love felt by humans to their special someone, and noted that emotional changes brought by such love must be used for the benefit of the country. PH problems remain unsolved Just few weeks after the 2013 midterm polls, the prelate criticized the current state of Philippine politics, noting that the preponderance of vote-buying has gone worse and that politicians and citizens alike have not been effective agents of change. He challenged people to use their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary to be concerned citizens who will bring change to the current state of Philippine politics. “Let us ask ourselves, our devotion to Mary should lead to change us. Eventually, that change in ourselves will push us to change society,” Bacani said. The bishop also downplayed the reported 7.8 increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first quarter, noting that such statistical growth does not reach people at the grassroots level. “There is 7.8 percent growth in the GDP but the percentage of poor remains the same,” he said. In terms of culture, Bacani noted that Filipinos are becoming more secular over the years, as proven by current issues like the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law, divorce bill, same-sex marriage, and other simple manifestations such as
Stephen Driscoll / CNA
Values and virtue key to parenthood— Vatican official
MANILA, June 4, 2013—A high ranking official of the Catholic Church has cited values and virtue as main keys to proper parenthood after the United Nations has declared June 1st, 2013 the first ‘Global Day of Parents’. Msgr. Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family hailed the move of the UN General Assembly which recognizes that the family has a primary responsibility in nurturing and protecting children. Laffitte in an interview classified the challenges of parents in taking care of their children, saying, “The first challenge is that of preparing children in a natural way, without hurrying their growth and education. This means to convey certain values, so that the children are filled with hope. Hope and belief that one day they will find their one true love. The second challenge is that a certain number of virtues must be transmitted, as well: mostly rigor and respect for themselves and others.” The official also took the time to give his own piece of advice to parents around the world. “You are modern day heroes: be brave and remember you are fortunate. You have a treasure in your hands: something that the Lord has given you. Be brave! And best wishes to you and your children,” said Laffitte. (Paul De Guzman)
Bishop emeritus Teodoro Bacani called for a meaningful Marian devotion among the laity during a conference held recently at San Carlos Seminary.
having a liberated lifestyle. Act as true lovers of Mary Bacani urged the faithful to use their Marian devotion to transform these societal ills into positive changes that would benefit the deprived and exploited majority. “Let our devotion, starting in the coming consecration, signal this change,” Bacani added. The prelate noted that with majority of the country’s population being Catholic, evil can be greatly reduced if only they
will submit themselves to Divine will. “[If we truly live the] consecration, the backbone of evil will be broken. Eighty percent of the Philippines are Catholic. Can you imagine if even half of those consecrate themselves truly to Mary?” he said, urging the laity to be true to their Marian devotion. “Let us act as true lovers and devotees of Mary. The best way to show devotion to the Blessed Mother is to imitate her,” the bishop added.(Jennifer M. Orillaza)
Stephen Driscoll / CNA
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
OF late it was bannered in national dailies that the country is enjoying at last a stunning economic growth of 7.8%. Presumably, people were either glowing in delight and appreciation or wondering and jeering with disbelief if not disgust. For sure, such newspaper items while good news for some yet a bad joke for others, rightfully deserves even but an elementary non-technical explanation from non-economic experts or professionals for the understanding of the common people. It can be said that such a tremendous growth, if true, still is and remains somewhere else. It is not far cry to say that most of the financial cache belongs to both foreign and local capitalists plus some moneyed families in the country, investing their money in whatever local business ventures that promise profitable returns. As their investments make money, either they withdraw their gains for funding other business ventures or simply roll their money—capital plus earnings—in order to have more. Observably, the said economic “stunning” growth is up there at the command of already wealthy corporations and much moneyed clans. But down the economic ladder, the poor remain poor just as the miserable remain pitiful and helpless. It might be good to note that instead of the usual three “classes” in the socio-economic pyramid, there are now four of them: the “high class,” the middle class,”—which seems to be diminishing—the “low class,” and the “miserable class.” Administration spinners aside, those who hugged the headlines that “Economy grows a stunning 7.8%,” may wish to respond to these queries: Why is it that those wanting to be OFWs are not becoming small in number? Why is it that more people continue to live under bridges, still having their houses built at both sides of dirty canals full of garbage and filth? Why is it that women continue to sell their bodies while children continue to beg at the streets? And why it is that there are still individuals who sell their organs for the transplant needs of the wealthy? With such readily known and noted socio-economic liabilities, time and again, the Philippines is crying for a competent, ethical, and decisive leadership. The Filipinos hope and pray for able, moral, and firm leaders elections after elections. All political candidates proclaim and even promise to be the saviors of the People of the Philippines, but so far, the people and their country, sad to say, are not really moving forward in their down-to-earth economy and pursuant social welfare even but in Asia. In fact, it is now being bullied by its Asian neighbors. “Hope springs eternal!” This is a known maxim that Filipinos should hold on to now and the years yet to come. Because despair is fatal!
Zones of peace
THE hope for peace dims. This is the headline of a newspaper a few days ago. NPA guerrilla units have launched ambuscades and tactical offensives that resulted in casualties on the side of government forces. The AFP has increased military operations including the bombing of suspected NPA positions. The spiral of violence continues. It seems that both the government and the NDF have become pessimistic in coming up with a peace agreement and both sides blame each other for the impasse. In his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II, regards armed conflict as one of the manifestations of the culture of death. Working for peace, is therefore, part of the mission of the Church in promoting life. To be pro-life is to be pro-peace. The question is: what can the Church contribute in promoting peace? Coming up with another pastoral letter may be an option but it is not enough. Twenty-five years ago, the CBPC Public affairs committee came up with the following proposals that remain relevant even today: 1. The formation and proliferation of peace organizations—perhaps the recruiting of Basic Ecclesial Communities to be such organizations—will be effective in the creating and sustaining of a general movement for peace. 2. Peace Zones, organized by the ordinary citizenry, should be encouraged and supported everywhere, as many of these formed as possible 3. Peace Program too not di-
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Along The Way
rectly geared towards a ceasefire or peace talks but towards ensuring development and greater justice for peace should also be multiplied and strengthened. These proposals envision an important role of BECs as part of a grassroots movement promoting peace. The communities are encouraged to establish “Zone of Peace” where the combatants of both sides are asked to withdraw their forces and allow the residents to peacefully pursue socio-economic programs and projects that will bring about progress and development. At the same time, the communities join the clamor for ceasefire and the continuation of peace talks that would address the roots of conflict and the importance of justice as the basis for lasting peace. Thus, in 1989, a BEC in Cantomanyog, Candoni (Negros) declared the first Zone of Peace. This was followed a year later by the BECs in Tulunan, North Cotabato. The NPA and the AFP respected these Zones of Peace. The Zone of Peace in Tulunan expanded in four more neighboring barangays. In spite of these success stories, the Zone of Peace was not replicated by other BECs and parishes, except in Nalapaan, Pikit during the height of the armed conflict between the MILF and AFP. There were other Peace Zones established by civil society groups and local communities (e.g. Cotabato, Sagada, Sadanga) but these were not also later replicated. Looking at the last 25 years, the Church and the BECs have
Along The Way / A7
Catholic educational institutions
CATHOLIC educational institutions have been making a distinct contribution to the total well-being of our country. It is impossible to think if the Philippine becoming what it is today without their contribution. Catholic schools, colleges and universities are among the best educational institutions in the land. Besides their religious task, they make a distinct and important secular contribution. Catholic educational institutions are among the most necessary and potent means of evangelization. We may ask: What are the resources available to Catholic schools which enable them to make a distinct contribution as promoters of evangelization? Distinct from non-sectarian schools, Catholic schools share with other Christian educational institutions an integrated view of the human person grounded in the person of Jesus Christ. Distinct from other Christian schools, the Catholic school is equipped with an understanding of the dynamics of the Christian person as he/she participates in the living tradition of the Catholic Church. It is imperative from the Catholic perspective to view Christian life as intimately woven in the life of the community in a variety of levels: domestic church, BEC, parish, diocese, local, universal. The Church journeys as pilgrim through history, where she discerns the unfolding of history as the progressive communal experience of salvation. Distinct from the other workers of evangelization, Catholic educational institutions can offer a systematic understanding of the link between faith and life. The classroom provides an opportunity to understand the person through the prism of the various academic fields, with faith as the integrating factor. The school further provides the venue for a systematic reflection of one’s experience of being evangelized by others, such as the family and parish. We must sadly admit, however, that many of the graduates of our schools, despite these distinct advantages of their schooling, do not seem to have sufficiently assimilated Christian values in such a way as to renew their Christian living, and make them lay apostles in their respective fields of endeavor. Many seem to look at Catholic education simply as a passport to better opportunities for earning a living, rather than as a grace to live better human and Christian lives, entailing a serious responsibility to build a better world. Many graduates of Catholic schools have been successful economically and politically but they have also contributed to the dismal economic and political imbalance existing in our country. While evangelization is supposed to be the primary concern of Catholic education, we must again sadly admit that in practice this has not always been so. In the very structure of the school curriculum, religion, which should be the integrating factor, has not been treated as a core course in many schools. Relegated as simply one of the many courses, the challenge of evangelization has been limited to those teaching this course, while other courses may even promote values contradictory to the Catholic vision. This situation may lead to a dichotomized perception of faith and life, and the lack of appreciation (by both educators and students) of the significance of faith in life. . (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 622-628) —Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
Fr. Melvin P. Castro
In medio mundi
ALTHOUGH I am not so much into sports (that’s why I am rather unhealthy), I am so distressed and saddened by this particular friendly football match in Hong Kong. Reportedly local fans there derided the Filipino team and their fans by calling them slaves or slave-nation. If it was true, I can only ask God to forgive them. I believe there was a certain slave during the time of St. Paul, Onesimus was his name. He ran away from his master, Philemon. St. Paul earlier converted Philemon and later, in imprisonment, converted Onesimus. St. Paul sought to reconcile the two. I am no foreign affairs scholar, but it pains me, as everyone, to see how the government seemed so uncaring for the Filipinos abroad—some, if not many of them, killed, raped, imprisoned, and even left to fight for their own rights. Yes, we are slaves. Yes we are domestic helpers. Yes we serve and slave ourselves to foreign masters so that we can send some money back home. During my seminary days, I did not have any personal rich sponsor. I had a sponsor
Slaves but free
next apartment that she would be tending. How I would see them so happy on payday and they would line up in remittance centers to send the money to their loved ones. How they are sad when they are told that one of their children is sick back home. How they worry when problems are reported to them. Oh, how problems are magnified when they reach them and, like Mary, they keep all things in their heart. How they are devastated when their spouse betray them. But how happy they are when everything is OK in their homes. With most churches half empty at best or empty at worst, where these slaves and servants congregate it is filled with joy, singing, sharing, prayers. The smoke of the incense during Holy Mass is perfumed by their sacrifices: untold and known only to God Himself. I owe my priesthood to these slaves, to these servants, to these domestic helpers. And I consider myself one of them, for we are all after all, in St. Paul’s words, having one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Yes we are slaves and yes we are servants. But none so free as we are.
for my seminary and University studies but for the personal needs I had none. Every Sunday afternoon, I would attend the Gawain of the El-Shaddai Prayer Group made up mostly of domestic helpers and drivers. It was always a joy to be with them. Knowing that I was financially constrained as a seminarian, they would pitch in money that they could spare and would give it to me so that I could buy books, pay for the bus fare, buy toiletries. They even gave me the money that I needed so I could return home after finishing studies. Yes they were slaves. Yes they were servants. Yes they were domestic helpers. After the prayer meeting and Holy Mass, we would eat at a fast food chain; telling stories, sharing life experiences. Eventually one of them would succumb to cancer after years of hard work, a mother and a servant. How I would see our women running from one apartment to another so that they could clean more apartments and earn more. How I remember seeing one mother and telling me that she just came from the first apartment that she cleaned and is just eating her lunch in the bus while on her way to the
Love the Church and the Pope
WE need to be more conscious and skillful in our Christian duty to love the Church and the Pope. This cannot be taken for granted anymore, especially these days when the world is developing in a very rapid pace that often leaves behind our spiritual and religious responsibilities. The Church is nothing other than the people of the God, gathered together at the cost of his own life on the cross by Christ. This is because we from the beginning are meant to be God’s people, members of his family, partakers of his divine life. We have to understand that this gathering of the people of God is not achieved merely by some political, social or economic maneuverings. It is a gathering that is described as “communion,” where our heart and mind work in sync with the mind and will of God. It is a communion where the love of God for us is corresponded to by our love for him. And this is done not only individually by each one of us, but also collectively, all of us together in an organic way. Thus, we need to need to help one another in this common, universal concern. At the moment, the common understanding that many people have about the Church and their duty toward the Pope is far from perfect and functional. If ever there is such concern, it is limited to the sentimental or some mystical feelings that hardly have any external and, much less, internal effects. We have to know the real nature of the Church, going beyond its historical and cultural
Fr. Roy Cimagala
character, or its visible aspect, because right now we need to do a lot of explaining, clarifying and defending the role of the Church in our life. Knowing it requires nothing less than faith which God himself gives us in abundance. We need to go beyond our own human estimations of it, no matter how brilliant or smart these estimations are. We need faith that is lived in charity. In fact, we need to have the universal inclusiveness of charity to be able to capture what the Holy Spirit wants us to know about the Church. Remember St. Paul saying: “Charity is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful. It is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” We need to be wary of our tendency to know and clarify the nature and life of the Church, to create a certain so-called orthodoxy that leads us to be exclusive rather than inclusive with the inclusiveness of charity. The Church is the mystical body of Christ, with Christ as the head, and all of us incorporated to it in various and often mysterious ways. The usual ways of incorporating ourselves to it is through baptism, and the bond nourished through the other sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, the doctrine of our faith and obedience to our hierarchy.
Candidly Speaking / A7
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
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Companions on a Journey
all, elections are about making choices. The second one would be Catholics who felt the call to run for office. Another is a usual engagement, still a necessary one, involving poll watching. This requires scrupulous nonpartisanship. Still another called for the conscience formation of Catholics serving as teachers, Comelec officials, policemen and soldiers, media practitioners, etc. A fifth engagement saw different groups of Catholics endorsing and campaigning for candidates whom they felt were consistent with the Church’s teachings on life, family, and other issues. The term “principled partisan politics” has been used to describe this group. Finally, some Catholic advocates monitored the PCOS machines. Each of these engagements is necessary and contributes to the successful working of the whole political exercise. In reality, however, there are many dysfunctions in each of these areas of engagement that need to be addressed. One overarching concern is that of conscience formation of voters and candidates in the context of circles of discernment. My personal engagement here was with a network called “Dilaab” (Cebuano, “conflagration” and Tagalog, “tongues of fire” from “dila” and “alab”). This Christian movement forms discerning community support groups for public servants, voters, and the youth in the Philippines to help them consistently make good choices for the community that they serve and belong to in a time when good intentions of public servants, voters, and the youth are easily compromised. Yes, it is all about choices and how supporting one another and making vulnerable individual and groups feel they are not alone can make good choices more feasible. Dilaab began its election campaign with a recollection with His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle who pointed out that the first choice to make is that of listening. With him it also launched the I Vote Good campaign. This non-partisan campaign consisted of a twopronged approach, namely to fight against vote buying and its variations and to promote a discerned vote among circles of discernment using the LASER test. A house-to-house campaign in three selected sitios gave us a “feel” for an honest-to-goodness fight against vote buying. This is a very steep climb but there are footholds and a clear summit to be reached. Dilaab also disseminated prayers related to the elections through prayer cards and the internet. The use of the LASER test by circles of discernment was an empowering experience. It made voters feel that their votes really mattered. At this stage of the development of our network, the biggest need is that of providing
Spaces of Hope / A6
Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Spaces of Hope
GOLDEN wedding anniversaries are always golden moments for me. Last 18 May 2013 was an especially rare gem. Nearly 18,250 days ago that day, two people in love tied the knot at the Chapel of the Archbishop of Cebu. The groom’s older brother, by then a bishop, solemnized the marriage. A boy, nearly four, witnessed the ceremony with his parents. His mother was, after all, the beaming bride’s best friend from college. The joy and the beauty of the occasion impressed him, teaching him some profound lessons on the sanctity of life and love. I was that boy. Tito Naro is the younger brother of the late Archbishop Cipriano Urgel of Palo. He and Tita Pura continue to be outstanding witnesses of love’s patience, kindness, and gentleness. Although they had asked me to preach on their golden day, I told them I was there to learn from and be inspired by them. So I asked the couple to choose the mass readings. They chose Colossians 3:12-17 and Matthew 5:15-16. Salt and light speaks of life’s origins, flavoring, and sustenance. That wedding 50 years ago certainly began a journey that has been flavored, sustained, and fulfilled by faith, hope, and love. “Heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,” as Colossians puts it, have been staples in their home. Growing up in Davao, I always felt a lightness of being every time we visit them in their home in Novaliches. The Christian witness of this couple is a gift from God. Along the way, they have been gifted with very good companions even as they companion each other, their three daughters, and grandchildren. They both come from families and had friends that put faith and prayer at the forefront. It was a time when filial piety was practiced and Christian values were nurtured, and where respect for life was the basic option. Tita Pura and Tito Naro certainly shared bread for the journey of life. May God continue to bless them—and all golden couples—in their coming years. *** It has been more than three weeks now since the May 2013 elections. The indelible ink on my right thumb – I have no idea why it was placed here—remains. It reminds me that the election was just a beginning. “For the first time in my life, I felt excited about casting my vote,” Jenny, the enthusiastic youthful coordinator of the Circles of Discernment for Empowerment told me. She was not alone who felt that her vote mattered even if we still have a long way to go towards making our elections truly free and liberating. The Church faced several fronts in the May elections. The first is the conscience formation of Catholics who voted. After
By the Roadside The lights of St. Anthony of Padua
CATHOLICS think it silly but there are still people who think they are guilty of idolatry because of their devotion to saints and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. During these days of the millennium, with Vatican II reforms that include a more enlightened openness among Catholics to ecumenical relationship with other Christians and believers of other faiths, to say this is sad is an understatement. It is real nonetheless. I find it useful to use distinctions when I meet people who have problems with Catholic devotion to saints and the BVM. Remember from Catholic Catechism the term ‘latria’ which is translated here as ‘worship’ proper to God, one and Triune? This is what Catholics give to God and to God alone. On the other hand, Catholics certainly also practice ‘dulia’ which we translate here as ‘giving honor or veneration’. Dulia is what Catholics give to saints, heroes of the faith or believers declared by the Church to have attained full union with God in heaven. Because of her special place in the community of Christ’s faithful as the Mother of the Lord and Jesus’ first and foremost disciple, we Catholics extend to Mary ‘hyperdulia’ or a special veneration and honor that is only due to the Mother of God. It’s not too hard to notice how quantitatively and qualitatively devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Church practice surpasses that to saints (who themselves extended it to her while they were still on earth and, hence, wouldn’t mind our extending it to her too). One such saint is St. Anthony of Padua, one of the most popular saints in the Philippines and particularly in my parish. When I consider St. Anthony of Padua’s life, I remember Jesus’ words in the gospel: “Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and give praise to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:16). I see four lights worth pondering in the life of St. Anthony of Padua. One, God is the greatest treasure to whom all others pale in comparison. He was born and christened ‘Ferdinand’ in 1195 to a wealthy, noble family—which some accounts say as ‘de Bulhoes’. Some writers in the fifteen century link him to Godfrey de Bouillion who was commander of the First Crusade. Yet all the wealth and nobility he inherited he readily renounced when in 1210 he entered, as a fifteen-year-old, the Convent of Sāo Vicente to join the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. Later in 1220 he deepened his commitment to God by giving in to his desire to be a martyr to the faith and joining the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor at Olivares, moved by the sight of the relics of the first Franciscan martyrs. He took the name Anthony in honor of St. Anthony Abbot, patriarch of monks and monasteries. All these details enhance even more, rather than blur, his total self-gift to God to whom he subordinated not only his family’s wealth and name but also his own life. To the worldly-wise that is simply foolhardy; to the person of faith Anthony’s choices merely showed his finding ‘the treasure hidden in a field’ and the ‘pearl of great price’ (Mt 13:44-46) for which he was ready to part with his other treasures—family, wealth, a good name—to acquire it. Two, we must love the truth of faith to the point of being able to defend it when it is challenged. St. Anthony of Padua is also called ‘Hammer of Heretics” or malleus hereticorum. This is due mainly to how he used his gift of powerful preaching to explain and defend the truth of the Catholic faith. One remarkable case in point was how he defended the Catholic teaching of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic Bread which, to Catholics, is Jesus’ Living Body, against the rising challenge in his time of the Albigensian heresy which denied it. In an encounter with an Albigensian named Bonvillo who challenged Anthony to prove his claim by making a hungry mule which did not eat for three days kneel before the Blessed Sacrament while being offered hay. Anthony accepted the challenge. Upon Anthony’s prayer the hungry mule refused to eat the hay until it knelt to acknowledge the Real Presence. Awestruck, Bonvillo couldn’t utter a word and later decided to become Catholic. At a time when, through television and the internet, the average human being is exposed to countless religious programs from diverse Christian denominations and other religious aggrupations, all of which claim to have the truth, there’s a constant temptation for anyone, even for Catholics, to think that all religions are ultimately equal or as containing the truth taken together. The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has reminded us of ‘relativism’ in belief and morality as one of the problems of our world today and which we have to meet by turning to the truth of the Catholic faith and holding on to it the way St. Anthony did, using his intellectual and persuasive powers to study, deepen and defend it. Three, we must love the poor not only with words but also with deeds. I was visiting a Franciscan church to go to confession one June day in 2004 when I noticed the presence of many homeless persons in the premises of the Church. I asked a Franciscan brother what was going on. He told me, “Today we are giving out St. Anthony’s Bread.” All of a sudden I was reminded of a very ancient practice among Franciscans and devotees to St. Anthony to express concretely Christian love by feeding the hungry. St. Anthony’s Bread is a firm reminder to all Christians of what St. James says to them, “If a brother or a sister is in need of food or clothes and one of you says, ‘May things go well for you; be warm and well-fed’, what good is there in that? So it is with faith without works. It is totally dead.” (Jas 2:15-17) Four, we must use our gifts to proclaim the Gospel. Already learned and well-read even as an Augustinian, St. Anthony did not flaunt his gifts. He chose to live simply when he became a Franciscan, celebrating the Eucharist for his lay brethren and working in the kitchen. His chance came when, during an ordination ceremony at Forli for Franciscans and Dominicans, there was no preacher for the occasion due to a misunderstanding. His superior ordered St. Anthony to speak whatever the Holy Spirit inspired him and the result was the discovery of his eloquence, learning and wisdom in articulating the gospel and the Catholic faith. From then on he used these gifts to preach the gospel in various ways, particularly in defending the poor, the welfare of prisoners, the indebted and the disenfranchised. Crowds flocked to St. Anthony’s talks, homilies and addresses. A story has it that a husband forbade his wife to attend one of his addresses by commanding her to stay at home but when she threw open their window to hear whatever she could from his preaching, her husband heard St. Anthony and was converted. To my mind, St. Anthony was immensely successful as a preacher and proclaimer of the gospel because he was true to the first three lights before the fourth. “I feel happy to see the growth in number of the Confraternity of St. Anthony in our parish,” I heard myself say on the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. “But,” I told the confraternity members in front of me, “what matters most is that God is happier with us when we are able to imitate St. Anthony by reflecting his lights.”
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
SAN Francisco, California. At 10:00 o’clock in the morning of June 08, 2013, all cathedrals, shrines and chapels in all archdioceses, dioceses and apostolic vicariates in the Philippines celebrated the national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It reaffirmed that our country is indeed “pueblo amante de Maria” (the country that loves Blessed Mary). Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said that the event is part of celebrations of the Year of Faith and the nine-year preparation for the 500 years of the coming of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021; it is also one way to strengthen the Church’s advocacy on family and life issues as we look forward to the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress In a circular, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle enjoined all parish priests to ring the bells in churches and chapels for the Angelus at noon on Saturday. *** Was the May 2013 election really clean, honest and reflected the voice of the people? No less than Archbishop Jose Palma called on the Commission on Elections to give a detailed account about the glitches encountered in the recent midterm elections. The Comelec has the responsibility to clarify the concerns of ordinary people, various poll watchdogs and even IT or information technology experts. The malfunctioning of the PCOS machines, the corrupted CF or compact flash cards, transmission failures and non-compliance of election laws made the result of the election a mockery and not credible. Many voters were disenfranchised,
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
very thankful to the Lord for giving us a very loving Mother. She is widowed 28 years ago when our Father, Benito Espiritu Santiago, Sr., joined our Creator. It was very difficult for us to accept, especially my Mother, the passing away of our Father. We did our best for our Mother to move on and by continuously showing her our love and care, which old people like her needs. So friends, make sure you show your love and care to your parents while they are still around. It will definitely make them stronger and healthier, more than what medicines can do. *** The Philippine Football Federation must protest the racial abuse made against Filipinos by Hong Kong football supporters during a friendly match earlier this week. The Philippine National Anthem was disrespected when it was played, Filipinos were insulted by being called derogatory names, plastic bottles and garbage were thrown at them. The barrage of discrimination worsened after the Philippines won the game 1-0. We cannot earn the respect of the international community if we would not take any action against this racial discrimination. *** Happy Birthday to my brother Benito “Benny” Santiago, Jr. Happy Birthday to Most Rev. Francisco de Leon, Apostolic Administrator of Kalookan and Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo; and Belated Happy Birthday to Most Rev. Jesse Mercado, Bishop of Parañaque. Also Belated Happy Birthday to Fr. Medardo “Ardy” Ong and Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Joel Sabijon and Fr. Mario Cueto of the Diocese of Kalookan.
one of them is my niece in Quezon City. All these things make everyone thinks the need to have a parallel count of the ballots which were put inside the PCOS machines. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. is being over-sensitive to criticisms. The people cannot be cowered and silenced by his angry words. The people have the right to know the truth. The Comelec officials are accountable to the people for all their acts. Why not give an explanation, unless they are hiding massive cheating? Why tell the bishops to just attend to matters of religion? Being a lawyer, Chairman Brillantes must know that bishops are Filipinos who have the constitutional right to vote and the right to know if their vote is counted. Do the Comelec officials want to be sued for election fraud, like what they did to former President Gloria Arroyo? People cannot be intimidated if their rights are trampled upon by the very government officials in charge of election. *** Archbishop Palma believes that divorce and gay marriage are so hard to pass in the country. The Church continues to gain ground in its fight against abortion and other measures that attack the sanctity of life, marriage and family. Of those members of the House of Representatives who voted against Reproductive Health Bill, 55 won and 9 lost. Of the pro life partylists, 8 won, 2 were disqualified but case still pending at the Supreme Court, 5 lost. *** Happy 96th Birthday to my Mother, Gloria Angeles Vda. de Santiago, on June 13 – the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. Our family is
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
THE scene opens with a schoolboy running into a dark forlorn building. Outside there is a brewing thunderstorm that sends stray gusts of wind violently shaking the dark weatherworn leafless gnarled trees that miraculously survive in such a desolate and dry school grounds. A stern-looking, unfeeling and almost lifeless professor presides over the class. He is wearing a dark suit which seems to have absorbed the grim and grey colors of the building’s melancholic surroundings. He begins with a rather unexpected lesson, “I'll prove to you that if God exists, then he is evil.” Silence filled the room. The young pupils are struck by his words. “Did God create everything that exists? If God created everything, then he created evil, which means God is evil.” A young boy, however, plucked the courage to interrupt him, “Excuse me, professor, does cold exist?” “What kind of question is this?” he tries to hide his irritation. “Of course it exists! Have you never been cold?” “In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat,” the lad corrected him. Even before the teacher could continue, the boy asked again, “Professor, does darkness exist?” “Of course it does,” he answered. “You are wrong, darkness does not exist either. Darkness in reality is the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness,” the student explained. The teacher becomes pensive upon realizing his error. “Evil does not exist,” the boy affirms. “It is just like darkness and cold. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. Before the scene fades, the name Albert Einstein (1879-1955) appears beside the brilliant and courageous boy. *** Up to now, there are still men who not only doubt the existence
It’s more F.U.N: ‘In One God…’
of God, but even reject totally the slightest possibility of the existence of a ‘supernatural being.’ They perceive this religious stance, as something contrary to reason simply because it cannot be scientifically proven. And there are others who may not deny Him but who blame God for all of the world’s evils. If such men of science were consistent with their positions, then neither should they believe in vital the realities of life such as love, justice, loyalty, friendship, etc. since these do not have any ‘scientific bases’ as well. It is a reduction, and also contrary to man’s noble reason and dignity to say that only realities that can be ‘proven’ are to be accepted as essential for man’s existence and nothing more. Why then do we profess ‘belief in God’? Because God has taken the first step to reveal Himself by creating man and everything else. St. Thomas Aquinas calls the many facets of creation as the ‘proof’ causality: things that now exist must have been brought to existence by something whose essence is existence itself, that is, He was not brought to existence by something else. Otherwise, a rational absurdity would ensue if there were not to be a point of origin of everything that exists. There is, however, stronger and more comprehensive proof: from God who has revealed Himself personally. “Belief in the one God is professed because he has revealed himself to the people of Israel as the only One when he said, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord (Deut 6:4)’” (Compendium of the Catholic Church, no. 37) He is not just some neutral cause or force. He is a God who has a name, He is a living God, and above all He is a God mercifully in love with man and wants to graciously save man. All He wants, as He conveyed to Moses and His chosen people, is our fidelity, our loyalty to Him and Him alone. “Thou shalt not have other gods before me.” What are some implications of faith in one God? The catechism tells us:
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THE Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFCFFL) a Philippine-based Catholic charismatic lay community that emphasizes family life renewal and evangelization has filed at the Supreme Court its own petition calling for the voiding of the RH law on constitutional grounds. CFC-FFL claimed that the law amounts to a class legislation against the poor violative of the Constitution’s equal protection clause. The petitioner contends that the law’s discriminatory tendency arises from two unsubstantiated premises: (1) there is over-population, and (2) the poor are to be blamed for it, which is why the law unduly targets the poor for population control. The group also assailed the following provisions of the law for violating fundamental rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights: (a) Section 23 (a)(1), to the extent that it forces health care service providers to promote and speak favorably about artificial contraception even when their religion considers the use of such contraception as sinful, or when his conscience bids him to do otherwise for any nonreligious reason, in violation of their religious and free speech rights; (b) Section 23 (a)(2)(i), insofar as it confers upon the wife the sole authority to decide whether or not to undergo ligation or use artificial contraceptives even over the objection of her husband, contrary to their (i) religious belief (if the spouses are Catholic) that the husband is the head of the wife as taught in Ephesians 5:21-23 of the Bible, (ii) privacy rights as husband
and wife whose autonomy on such private matters as marital relationship and family is recognized and protected by the State, (iii) joint constitutional right “to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions.”; (c) Section 23(a)(3), insofar as it compels a conscientious objector to participate in and become a party to an act forbidden by his faith by referring an individual who has asked for artificial contraception to a health care service provider who may be willing to oblige, in disregard of his religious freedom; and (d) Section 14, as it discriminates against the poor by making sex education mandatory only in public schools in violation of the equal protection clause and the primary right of parents to raise their children according to their religious beliefs and to be responsible for their moral development pursuant to Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution. CFC-FFL further said that the RH law impairs the constitutional provision granting fiscal and administrative autonomy to local government units (LGUs) by forcing the LGUs to allocate a portion of their local funds for the implementation of the law even if reproductive health is not their priority, and by compelling them to hire employees who will discharge reproductive health services. The voiding of the foregoing provisions of the RH law would render the law ineffectual to the point that it no longer expresses the legislative will, for which reason it must be declared invalid, the group pointed out. Xavier Sotto Padilla of CFC-
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Catholic lay group files 12th petition against RH law
FFL also assailed the law’s over-arching goal of promoting and distributing contraceptives to a population that are 80% Catholics, in disregard of their religious belief that man must multiply and be fertile.
Padilla further argued that what will be left of the law after deleting the invalid provisions are nothing more than mere ‘empty aspirations’ adding that, “the entire law must be voided.” (Angelique Guevarra)
Divorce, gay marriage ‘will not come easy’
THE head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) believes that divorce and gay marriage are so hard to pass in the country. Like the Reproductive Health (RH) law, CBCP President and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma the issue on divorce and same-sex union is not a simple one. “While after many years the RH bill was passed, I don’t believe that the other bills would come easy,” Palma said. The CBCP head also claimed that the Church continues to gain ground in its fight against abortion and other measures that attack the sanctity of life, marriage and family. Even if other countries already have a law on divorce, gay marriage and even abortion, “I think the Philippines is not that excited to follow immediately.” Passing these measures, he said, will have to “struggle” because “we are seeing a change of beliefs among the FiliAbortion / A1
pinos against these kinds of laws.” According to Palma, the National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 8 is also one way to strengthen its advocacy on family and life issues. “As we look forward to the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress and when we think of program up to 2021, the fifth centenary celebra- Archbishop Jose Palma tions of Christianity in the Philipbringing the change we need,” he said. pines, I believe that these will help in (CBCPNews) for the prayer. She added, the desire to offer the devotional prayer came up among the community’s missionaries who wanted to do something special for the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Marian month of May. Spiritual preparation Mardo, also a missionary, said the 2,000 Hail Marys also kicked off the community’s spiritual preparations for the June 8 national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “We want to take the initiative of doing this as missionaries in order to encourage others to also consciously make an effort for their individual preparation for the national event on June 8,” she explained further. Other CFC-FFL missionaries who pered because it is a multi-billion peso business and a product of a partnership between foreign businessmen and local government officials,” Rabe explained. He recalled writing various government offices complaining about the ill-effects of mining operations but the activities remained. “We even had a rally at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources where we had a dialogue with Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Leo Jasareno who declared all mining activities in the province are illegal as they have no permit from his office,” Rabe added. It was learned Jasareno promised to coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation to stop all the illegal activities. However, nothing has happened. were out on mission in the provinces or in other countries were also encouraged to join the prayer whenever they got the chance. Other members also texted to say that they were joining in the prayer even if they could not be physically present at the venue. The group’s only break was at 12 noon and at 6 p.m. to pray the Angelus, and at 3 p.m. to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The group ended the 2,000 Hail Marys by saying the rosary again. Mardo says, this is probably not the last time CFC-FFL will pray the 2,000 Hail Marys. “As it became a very spirit-filled experience for the participants, it is most likely that we will do this again and again, as a group or even individually,” she said. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz) Rabe said they are feeling hopeless with the local government’s inaction and their last remaining hope is a favorable action from President Aquino before their shorelines have been totally destroyed. Asked if he has received any threat from local government officials, Rabe said he has received over 50 threatening messages which he considers as “harassments.” Sr. Lilian Carranza, OSB, Nueva Segovia’s Social Action Center directress echoed Fr. Rabe’s concerns on the ill effects of black sand mining especially on the livelihood of farmers. She said farmers would eventually suffer from the entry of saltwater into their vegetable and rice farms if the mining activities continue. (Melo M. Acuña)
Pope to celebrate dignity of life on ‘Evangelium Vitae’ day
POPE Francis is set to celebrate this June the dignity of life as part of the Year of Faith celebration. The Pope will have his first real opportunity to speak on the sacredness of human life at the upcoming weekend celebration of Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life), set on June 15-16 by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. “Evangelium Vitae,” an encyclical on the Gospel of Life issued on March 25, 1995 by Blessed Pope John Paul II expresses the position of the Catholic Church regarding the value and inviolability of human life. Among the events in Rome that weekend will be an educational conference dubbed “The Gospel of Life and the New Evangelization”
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to be held at the Pontificia Università Urbaniana. The Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke will deliver the Keynote Address. The “Holy Hour for Life: Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction” will follow at the Santo Spirito in Sassia Church to be celebrated by His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The events are meant to provide the faithful the chance to gather with the Holy Father to affirm and celebrate the dignity of human life. The weekend concludes with a Papal Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday morning, June 16. (CBCP for Life)
sionary Marie Relucio, who organized the 2,000 Hail Marys, said, it is but “natural” for Catholics to call to end abortion, which remains a hot-button issue worldwide. “We value life just as God values it and since our community is for family and life, it is always included in our prayers,” she added. Some 50 members of CFC-FFL, mostly full-time missionaries, gathered at their home office in the Star Mall Complex for a holy mass and the saying of the consecration prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at 10 a.m. before the praying of the 2,000 Hail Marys. “We learned that the 2,000 Hail Mary devotion is a very powerful intercessory prayer, and we wanted to share this devotion to everyone,” according to Teny Mardo, who was also present
Mining / A1
Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
clergy and the laity sent a letter to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III complaining about the illegal mining activities but have not received any action from the government. Fr. Alfred Rabe, a convener of the group called Ilocos Sur Collective Action for the Protection of the Environment, disclosed to CBCPNews the ongoing destruction of their shorelines because of black sand mining. “They have been in operation for years in Tagudin and moved to San Vicente to Santa, Caoayan, Sta. Catalina, Sto. Domingo and Magsingal,” he said. The priest added that despite popular resistance to the destructive ventures, the mining operations have not stopped. “We believe the activities relative to black sand mining have been unhamCorruption / A1
but to go to lenders just to get the funds to sustain the school and pay for its expenses. Citing the case of Vincentian-managed De Paul College in Jaro, Iloilo, Bañaga said the Congregation of the Mission has decided to abolish the school after the number of enrollees became non-viable to sustain the operation of the school. “The gradual phasing out of the school is in process. Eventually, part of the school will be leased and the proceeds will be used to pay the debts of the school and eventually to rehabilitate and restart the school,” he said. Bañaga, who is also the incumbent president of Adamson University in Manila, also clarified that majority of the proceeds of tuition hike are used to maintain quality teachers in private schools, who would otherwise transfer to public schools where they will be getting higher compensation. “Almost 70 percent of the proceeds of tuition hikes go to the salaries of teachers. The remaining 20 percent are used to renew and upgrade the physical facilities of the school and only about 10 percent go back to the school as return of investment,” he said. “We have to increase tuition basically because we need to give private school teachers competitive salaries. Otherwise, we will lose them to public schools or to schools abroad,” Bañaga added. Unfair The priest also clarified that school officials consider a lot of factors in deciding whether a tuition hike is necessary or not. Bañaga cited prevailing market
prices as one of the most significant consideration of school administrators. “If you price yourself too high, you may lose your clients. But if you also price yourself too low, people will assume that the quality of education in your school is substandard,” he said. But Bañaga claimed Catholic schools are “forced” to increase its fees if they want to maintain the quality education that private schools are known for. “We are forced to (hike tuition) because we want education to be of quality. But we get blamed for it. This is somehow unfair because the Church, through the congregations, parishes, and religious organizations that operate Catholic schools, is only complementing the efforts of the State to educate our people,” he said. Despite the Church’s initiative, the State only subsidizes the operation of government-run schools and scarcely supports private Catholic schools, Bañaga lamented. Bañaga urged government to raise more funds for education but could not readily give a suggestion on to how to go about it. Convinced Despite the increasing cost of sending students to Catholic schools, the CEAP chief still urged parents to consider it as a worthy investment. “Why do you think parents are still sending their children to Catholic schools even if there is continuous tuition hikes? This is because they are convinced of the quality education that their children are getting. Otherwise, they would have opted to send their children to public schools,” he added.
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nation, our families, ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary… we ask the Lord for the grace that filled Mary so like her, we could respond with equal consecration in our lives,” Tagle said. “We ask that our hearts may also be pure not because its empty but it’s is filled with love, filled with Jesus and when filled with Jesus, it’s a heart that reaches out to others and a heart that will lead others closer to God,” he said.
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Church leaders held the National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in cathedrals, shrines and chapels in all archdioceses and dioceses across the country on June 8. It was last January 28 when the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines declared “the holding of a simultaneous National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 8, 2013, feast of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said the event is part of the celebrations marking the Year of Faith and the nine-year preparation for the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021. Palma said the celebration would help reaffirm the Filipino’s love for the Blessed Mother. (Roy Lagarde) c) Saying ‘thank you’: for every favor received, and this includes trying moments. There always a reason to thank God for it. It’s more difficult to do so when they’re hard, but through hardships we learn to turn and trust in Him more. d) Saying ‘sorry’. What father can refuse to forgive his toddler who says, ‘I’m really sorry!’? Well, will not God do likewise when he sees our genuine sorrow and love to start all over again?
a) Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life. (no. 222) b) It means coming to know God's greatness and majesty (…) therefore we must serve God first. (no. 223) c) It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: "What have you that you did not receive?" (no. 224) d) It means knowing the unity and true dignity
of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God. (no. 225) e) It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him. (no. 226) f) It means trusting God in every circumstance. (no. 227) *** How can this be F.U.N. (Faith Up Now!)? Here are some simple ideas:
a) Playing Hide and Seek. God remains hidden for a reason. And this prompts us to strive in seeking Him in all the realities of our life, big or small, joyful or burdensome. b) Saying ‘please’. As children we have always learned this magic word. It is also useful in prayer, knowing that God knows what we need even before we ask for something, let us be cordial in our petitions, as children are and He is more likely to grant them.
information and data to answer the questions in the LASER test. How would a circle of discernment, for instance, in Bukidnon know about the lifestyle of a senatorial candidate who lives in Novaliches? Did the Church’s varied contributions matter? An initial observation is that in several local churches where the local election results were in the direction of good governance, i.e. removing a well-entrenched local executive perceived to be corrupt and detrimental to the common good, most of the six church engagements were undertaken. As it turns out, Dilaab was not the only one that engaged in houseto-house campaign against vote buying. Those that did so had very encouraging results. We now need to provide pastoral accompaniment to both those who are elected and those who did not make it. Accompanying the latter is a good option since they can always run again. We also need to prepare for the October 2013 barangay and SK elections. The next three years will be critical in terms of networking and providing pastoral accompaniment to elected officials.
*** Did we make a dent against the culture of vote buying? What can we do to spread the lessons learned to other areas? To assess the impact of our efforts we will do focused group discussions in the three sitios where we campaigned against vote buying. There is need to hit the ground running with regards barangay elections in October of this year. If the Church is to make a more meaningful and sustained impact in the evangelization of politics, the barangay is where the action should be. Why? As they say, all politics, is local. This is where the tire hits the road. The barangay is where our parishes are located and viceversa. Any meaningful political impact would be felt at this level. What the three dioceses of Quezon City have initiated together with the late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo—the so-called UBAS (Ugnayan ng Barangay at mga Simbahan)—should be vigorously pursued and spread. Pastoral accompaniment cannot be a hit-or-miss affair. Our efforts must be deliberate. Prayer, as usual, is the first order of business. As we try to accom-
pany public officials we should make room for the Holy Spirit to accompany us through prayer. During the June 8 Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary we organized a Mass for public officials as a follow through to the recollection with Cardinal Tagle. This was an excellent moment to publicly reaffirm commitment of pastoral accompaniment in the context of the consecration. After the celebration we handed some letters to elected officials enumerating areas where we could provide values formation and even a daily text service for personal transformation. The list also included the offer of a seminar on God-centered leadership as well lectio divina after office hours. The forms and expressions of pastoral accompaniment will vary from one local church to another depending on needs, resources, and the openings for accompaniment that will present themselves to those who are willing to accompany. Whatever forms and expressions there may be what is vital is that we take the first steps in faith, hope, and love—and the rest will follow.
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
village chief Salvador Misca, whom he identified as one of the leaders of the illegal mining activities there. Then on May 31, Misca shot Orasan with a shotgun. He survived while Misca was detained. “He [Misca] is not only a protector of the illegal mining activities in the barangay, he is the leader,” Orasan told the CBCPNews in a May 30 interview at the Archbishop Patrick Cronin Hall during the 10th meeting of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC). During that meeting, Dr. Esteban Godilano of the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines (CCCP), which Ledesma heads, urged all Kagay-anons, including residents of Bukidnon and Iligan, to work together to draw a unified systematic plan of action to protect the city’s watershed, a vast 179,350.66 hectares, that straddles a large part of the provinces of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Oriental. The city is just 48,000 hectares. “The challenge is up to all of us. It is crucial for all of us especially young people, to get involved. This will be the most urgent fight of our lives. Ultimately it is us who are going to bring about changes through our individual actions. While the time may not be on our side, our ability to innovate appears to be with us,” he said. Time to act Godilano lamented that despite having the world’s best environmental laws, Filipinos are complacent and lazy in implementing these laws. “Let’s walk the talk,” he stressed. He warned that the city is in danger of being erased from the map by floodwaters if the Cagayan de Oro River will the main river before rampaging to the settled plains,” environmentalist Raoul Geollegue told the CBCPNews in an earlier interview. Also, in the Iponan River Watershed,there are three fault lines with a total length of 20.31 kms that will exacerbate the occurrence of landslides and liquefaction. The Iponan Watershed occupied 35,870 hectares or 20% of the total watershed area of the city. And 18,347 hectares or 60% of the city’s land area falls within the Iponan Watershed. “We should be aware [of all of these] and be responsible for our environment…We need to start protecting our environment in a systematic way,” Ledesma said. “We should not wait for more meetings and/or disasters to happen before we act,” he added. Local officials are the key Ledesma stressed that the CDORBMC alone cannot do the job. “The key here is the local chief executives” of the areas that are within the Cagayan de Oro river basin or watershed, he said. The areas within the Cagayan de Oro watershed are Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. In Bukidnon, the areas involved are the municipalities of Talakag, Baungon and Libona. In Misamis Oriental, the areas are the municipalities of Opol and Manticao and the cities of Cagayan de Oro and El Salvador; and also the city of Iligan in Lanao del Norte. Ledesma urged newly-elected and reelected government officials to partner with civil society organizations (CSOs) and the community in general in the implementation of a systematic plan of action that will protect people
from the effects of climate change on the environment. He explained that protecting the environment is also protecting the people. “I am hoping that our newly elected officials will give priority to this [the protection of the environment],” he said. Rehab Framework Meanwhile, Geollegue reiterated his proposal of a full-scale plan to fortify the Cagayan de Oro River basin ecosystem to prevent loss of lives and properties if another storm visits the city. Geollegue, technical team leader of the Relief Philippines-affiliate Enterprise Works Worldwide/Philippines who predicted 20 years ago a Sendonglike devastation in the city if nothing is done to rehabilitate its watershed area, said there is an urgent need to rehabilitate the Cagayan de Oro River basin so it could provide the basin’s drainage areas with lifegiving water instead of death due to floods. If implemented, his Integrated Ecosystem Rehabilitation Management Framework will make the Cagayan de Oro River basin “resilient to adverse climatic disturbances” by “[restoring] the integrity of the Cagayan de Oro Watershed as a life-support system providing water at the right quality and quantity over time within its confines and beyond.” The Framework’s objectives are to (1) increase forest cover; (2) conserve biodiversity; (3) improve water quality and quantity over time; (4) enhance the socioeconomic well-being of dependent communities; and (5) strengthen the local communities’ capacity in watershed conservation and management. (Bong D. Fabe)
Archbishop Ledesma urges systematic environmental action
CAGAYAN DE ORO City—Protecting the environment is the best way to safeguard the people from the devastating impacts of climate change. Thus, people must do their part in ensuring that the environment is shielded from further degradation. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, this city’s and Mindanao’s foremost environmental advocate, has repeatedly sounded the clarion call to protect the environment. Unfortunately, the call fell on ears grown deaf by the sound of mining and logging machines and on eyes grown blind by the sight of money. Inspite of Typhoon Sendong and despite warnings that flash floods will again drown the city if people do not protect the city’s watershed, unscrupulous village officials—allegedly protected by corrupt officials at City Hall and the regional office of the Environment department—continue raping the city’s environment through illegal hydraulic flush mining and illegal logging activities. Their activities are allegedly funded by foreign capitalists, mostly Chinese, and abetted by corrupt officials. Systematic action “Since 2009, I have been consistently reporting to City Hall illegal mining activities going on in the hinterland villages of the city. But until now, City Hall have not lifted a finger to stop these illegal activities,” lamented 66-yearold Fausto “Datu Sandigan” Orasan of the Higaonon tribe of the village of Pigsag-an. For his vehement opposition to the illegal flush mining activities in the city’s hinterlands, Orasan was threatened. On the night of May 17, his house was rammed by no less than Pigsag-an
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ
once again overflow its banks if people will not do their part in protecting the environment, most particularly the city’s vast watershed area, since the city is the drainage area of its catchbasin which is Bukidnon. The Cagayan de Oro River is 1,342 kms long. 81 percent of its total length or 1,087.0 kms is part of the city’s river basin or watershed. Its headwaters are in the Kalatungan and Kitanglad mountain ranges in Bukidnon. Mt. Kalatungan (2,824 meters above sea level) and Mt. Kitanglad (2,900 meters ASL) are considered as the second and third tallest mountains in the Philippines. Due to high elevation and lack of vegetation, excess water from an overflowing catchbasin that is Bukidnon naturally run down the slopes into the drainage area that is Cagayan de Oro. “The floodwaters cascade through various tributaries and converge along
Be proud you are Catholic, priest tells kids
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan— Kids nowadays should go back to taking pride in their identity as Catholics, a priest said. “Be proud you are Kids for Christ, be proud you are for Mary, be proud you are for the Church,” Fr. Victor Embuido told an estimated 2,500 CFC – Kids for Christ members this morning. Proud of the sign of faith Fr. Embuido, who is also the spiritual director of Couples for Christ – Pangasinan, explained that this owning of one’s identity can be seen through simple actions like making the sign of the Cross. “Do not forget to bring God wherever you go through the
of Purification parish, Binmaley also explained how Catholics at present do not mind making the sign of the faith at home, but will make hardly noticeable signs of the Cross – as if ashamed — if they are in public like praying before meals in restaurants. “Why is it that when we’re outside our sign of the Cross is so small? Let us not be ashamed that we are KFC, let us not be ashamed that we are Catholic!” he said passionately. Jesus, first thing in the morning Fr. Embuido also reminded the young delegates of the Luzon Kids’ Village (LKV) that the sign of the Cross should be the first thing they should do in the
Fr. Victor Embuido encourages kids to be proud of belonging to Jesus and of their Catholic faith.
sign of the Cross,” he said. The parish priest of Our Lady
morning, not reaching for the cell phones or their iPads. During his homily, Fr. Embuido asked everyone present to make a promise to follow Jesus by ‘praying always’. “Today you make a promise. This is your promise to Jesus, a promise of everyone here, not just of KFCs, but also parents and even our camera men, no one will get left behind,” he said. The Luzon Kids’ Village is the yearly island conference of CFC – KFC that gathers kids from as far away as Palawan, Mindoro, Bicol, as well as Metro Manila. CFC–Kids for Christ is the kids’ ministry of Couples for Christ, which caters to children 4 to 12 years old. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Church asked to appeal for extension of grace period for illegal Pinoy workers
ANTIPOLO City—A labor NGO [non-government organization] called on the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups to appeal for the extension of the 90-day grace period given by the Saudi government to all illegal aliens to complete their documents so that they could work and stay in the oil-rich land. The 90-day grace period has expired June 3. The All-Workers Forum, Inc. (AWF) said in a statement that the Church and other religious groups could push the pressure on the Benigno C. Aquino III government to send a high delegation to Saudi, to personally appeal to the King to issue another decree to extend the grace period to all illegal aliens to complete their documents and avail Iqamas or work visas. AWF said that they fear that the crackdown could lead into human rights violations. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Forum tackles faith, consecration to Immaculate Heart of Mary
Youth can be good catechists, too— bishop
IPIL, Zamboanga del Sur— In a recentlyconcluded basic catechetical formation for young people, a Catholic bishop reminded the youth that they can become good catechists also. In his homily for the culmination of the Ipil Basic Catechetical Formation for Youth last May 31, Ipil Bishop Julius Tonel stressed the need for young people to be educated on catechism for them to become catechists themselves. Tonel challenged the young catechists to serve their fellow youth by educating them about the faith and the Church. “As young catechists, you must serve others and do your best like the Blessed Virgin Mary who visited her cousin Elizabeth, spreading the good news. The joy of bringing the good news to other people, mostly to the young is our basic task,” Tonel added. Fr. Ian Conturno, the diocesan chancellor, thanked the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM) for extending their effort and imparting their knowledge and expertise in forming the youth as young catechists. Forty-three young people received their certificates after completing a week of formation. A sending off ceremony for the youth catechists was held at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral after the mass where they received blessing from the bishop and committed themselves to become good catechists. A short program and simple thanksgiving meal followed at the Pastoral Formation Hall of the Cathedral.
Photo Courtesy of CFAM
MANILA—Around 800 young people from all over the Archdiocese of Manila attended the quarterly youth forum called “Ka-Talk” at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of Paco Catholic School on June 8. Organized by the Archdiocesan Commission on Youth (ACY) Manila, the participants reflected on the young people’s belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “The noble task of the youth ministry is to bring young people to Christ. Only after such meeting with Christ can we consider strengthening the existing relationship with Him. Once a relationship with Christ is found, the young are easily led to a deeper accepting of the Faith,” said Fr. Jade Licuanan, the ACY commissioner. (Jandel Posion)
Coalition to Philex: Stop ‘misleading’ the public
More than 40 young people participated in the catechetical formation program organized by Ipil diocese for would-be catechists.
The five-day event, held from May 27 to 31 had plenary sessions, talks, workshops, and prayers. (Jandel Posion)
Cabanatuan diocese marks Golden Jubilee
CABANATUAN City—For 50 years, the Diocese of Cabanatuan sowed the Faith to the flock of Nueva Ecija. With this, the diocese celebrated its Golden Jubilee on June 1 and 3. Diocesan vicar general Msgr. Elmer Maglinao said, the Golden Jubilee was a way to recollect the history and to acclaim the grace and blessing that God has bestowed on his faithful through the foundation of the diocese. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas celebrated the Mass on June 1 as the opening salvo for the June 3 celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the diocese.
Tribunal / A1
Cabanatuan is a suffragan diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. A novena and vigil were also held prior to the June 3 grand celebration at the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Cathedral with Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud as main celebrant. As part of the Golden Jubilee celebration, Maglinao said the diocese declared some churches as diocesan shrines, established a house for priest or the “bahaypari,” and organized a concert of priests. Message to lay faithful In his message to the faithful of the diocese, Bancud stressed that the Jubilee celebration durAlong The Way / A4
ing the Year of Faith is a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of Faith. Emphasizing the three subtopics, “we remember, we celebrate, we believe,” the bishop said the anniversary is indeed a momentous occasion for the faithful of the diocese to gratefully recall God’s providential love for all of His people, to joyfully celebrate in Faith the gains and triumphs, and to journey forward with hope as a Christian community. “The diocese has then considerably grown into a dynamic and vibrant community of Christ’s
disciples. In this celebration, we especially take joy in realizing that in our fifty-year journey, we have been blessed by God in many instances of our lives,” the bishop said. “May this remarkable celebration of thanksgiving for God’s manifold grace to our diocese renew and strengthen the faith of our people so that they may be living signs of Christ’s presence in the world,” Bancud furthered. The diocese was created on February 15, 1963. It was canonically erected on June 3, 1963 with the episcopal ordination and installation of Bishop Mariano Gaviola as the first bishop. (Jandel Posion)
Candidly Speaking / A4
MANILA—An anti-mining coalition slammed a mining corporation for not taking responsibility on the damages caused by the accidental discharge of mine waste in its Pacdal mine. Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) on May 29 criticized Philex Mining Corporation for misleading the public in saying the National Power Corporation (Napocor) has no claim despite damages caused to the state-owned San Roque Watershed Reservation on the accidental discharge of more than thirteen million cubic meters of mine waste from its Pacdal mine. Jaybee Garganera, ATM’s national coordinator said it is very unfortunate and outright irresponsible for Philex to snub the Napocor, one of the sectors damaged by the mine tailings spill last August. (Jandel Posion)
Iloilo faithful join national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
JARO, Iloilo—The Archdiocese of Jaro joined other archdioceses and dioceses across the nation in simultaneously consecrating the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during a Mass celebrated at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles on June 8. The simultaneous consecration was done in all 93 parishes throughout Iloilo. In his homily, Lagdameo urged all the faithful in his archdiocese to heed the call of Our Lady of Fatima to entrust themselves to the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Due to the urgency and importance of the Act of Consecration, Lagdameo encouraged those who were unable to join the simultaneous act of consecration 10 a.m. on June 8, to do it on any other Mass celebrated on the same day. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
Family and Life (CFC-FFL) a Philippine-based Catholic charismatic lay community that emphasizes family life renewal and evangelization, filed at the Supreme Court on June 3 its own petition calling for the voiding of the RH law on constitutional grounds. However, no notice was issued if the preliminary conference scheduled on June 6 will be moved. (Angelique Guevarra)
not significantly contributed to the growth of a grassroots movement promoting peace. A peace negotiation without the support and pressure coming from grassroots communities and civil society will not prosper. A peace negotiation is not only a matter between the government and the NDF. We are all stakeholders in the peace process. Perhaps, the time has come to seriously implement the proposal of the CBCP public affairs committee. This means that the leadership in the Church—the
bishops and the clergy will have to animate the dioceses, parishes and BECs as well as mandated organizations and renewal movements to act for peace. Promoting the establishment and proliferation of peace zones in BECs and parishes especially in areas affected by the armed conflict can send a message to both the government and the NDF that the people do not support their war and that they demand a final peace agreement that will lead to lasting peace.
But there are other ways that only God knows and can explain very well. We can only have glimpses of them and they often escape cut and dry explanations. Just the same, we need to understand that we have the duty to understand the nature and life of the Church. There is, for example, the need to distinguish and then integrate its
seemingly contrasting characteristics and dimensions, like the visible and invisible aspects, the hierarchical and charismatic, the human and divine, the eternal and the historical… This is important to ward off unnecessary misunderstandings and controversies that have hounded all of us, raising a lot of dust in the
process when the truth can easily be found when this dust settles down. The Church on earth is the people of God still in a journey, still in a pilgrimage. As such it is at once holy and in need of purification. St. Bonaventure describes it as the dawn that has passed the night of sinfulness and is entering into the day
of grace, but is not yet completely there. It is still in the mixture of darkness and light, night and day. It would be good if all of us just try to develop in a conscious way a great and realistic love for the Church and the Pope who, with the power given to him, connects us with Peter and ultimately with Christ.
People, Facts & Places
THE president of the Pontifical Council for Culture in Vatican City commended the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Culture (ECC) in its efforts to re-activate Cultural Centers in the country as part of the celebration of the Year of Faith. In a letter to CBCP-ECC chairman and Iligan Bishop Elenito Galido, Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi congratulated the commission and its collaborators for the wonderful work of revitalizing the field of culture in the Philippines. “I would like to thank you for sending me a mid-year report of the Episcopal Commission on Culture for the year 2013 and I’m very happy with the importance you are giving to the promotion of Catholic Centers already activated in the Philippines,” Cardinal Ravasi said in a letter dated April 29, 2013. The cardinal also mentioned his vivid memories
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Evangelista installed as Bishop of Imus
BISHOP Reynaldo Evangelista was formally installed as new head of Imus diocese in a simple ceremony marked by tears and cheers. A crowd of more than a thousand people packed the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar on June 5 to welcome their new bishop. Evangelista celebrated a Mass to formally take possession of one of the country’s fastest growing dioceses in his capacity as the new head of the Catholic Church of Cavite province. Evangelista, the former bishop of Boac in Marinduque, has indicated that he intends to embrace his role as Imus’ bishop as well as leader of the diocese’s more than two million Catholics. In his homily, the bishop turned emotional when he thanked the clergy and the laity of Boac and when he entrusted his new ministry to God. leaders attended the occasion. The Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto and Cardinals Luis Antonio Tagle, Gaudencio Rosales and Ricardo Vidal were Evangelista’s concelebrants. During the offertory, priests and laypeople performed the “Caracol,” a traditional dance of the Cavite natives as they offer gifts to the bishop bringing a lively atmosphere inside the church. The people broke into loud cheers and sustained applause when the bishop joined the priests in dancing after the offertory that lasted for a minute. The Mass ended after Evangelista blessed, for the first time, the image of the Our Lady of Pillar, the Patroness of Imus. Evangelista is the first Filipino bishop to be appointed by Pope Francis to a diocese. (Roy Lagarde)
Vatican lauds CBCP commission on re-activating cultural centers
of the visit of the Filipino bishops to his dicastery during their Ad Limina Visit last 2011 and was impressed with the enthusiasm and dynamism of the Filipino Church. Although Cardinal Ravasi could not attend a national conference being organized by the commission due to conflict of schedule, yet he assured the commission of his prayers for the success of the event. The ECC commission is holding the 1st National Conference of Catholic Cultural Centers in the Philippines on October 14-17 at the St. Paul Center for Renewal in Alfonso, Cavite. Themed “Where Faith and Culture Meet—Catholic Cultural Center: Gateways to New Evangelization,” the objectives of the national conference is to foster dialogue, create awareness, to learn, uplift and plan (DIAL-UP) with other cultural centers in the country. (Jandel Posion)
Formally installed as Bishop of Imus, Bishop Rey Evangelista now heads the more than 2 million Catholics in the province of Cavite.
“As your bishop, I promise to give all to you, in the spirit of pastoral charity, and accomplish all things in the light of faith,” Evangelista said. “Please do pray for me… so that I may have the holiness,
strength, humility and deep pastoral charity as I lead my flock of the diocese,” he added. At least 3 cardinals, 39 archbishops and bishops from all over the Philippines and several local and provincial government
Seminar on new evangelization held for seminarians
200+ Pinoys to go to WYD in Brazil
LESS than two months before the World Youth Day (WYD) takes place in Brazil, only 300,000 young individuals have registered to participate in the event, including some 200 pilgrims coming from the Philippines. The Papal gathering with the young faithful was expected to entice some four million young people from around the globe to converge at Rio de Janeiro, the host of the upcoming WYD, but local organizers said only 1.2 million can make it. This as Brazilian Fr. Antonio Augusto, Vice President of the local WYD organizing committee and Auxiliary Bishop of Rio, confirmed earlier this week that “so far, 220 thousand people have officially registered for the event.” An article published by the Vatican Insider quoted Brazilian press as reporting that the global economic crisis could be one of the many reasons for the drop in attendance, adding that “many have been put off by the expense of the trip, particularly as Brazil is ‘now considered an expensive country.’” In Manila, the secretariat of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) said the financial limitation of the pilgrims is forcing some of them to cancel their participation. The CBCP ECY is sending the ECY-Philippines delegation as the country’s official delegation to the upcoming WYD in the South American host country this July. In an interview with YouthPinoy ,
Fr. Dan Paraiso
Diocesan seminarians get a boost on how to become effective evangelizers of the Word during a seminar organized for them by the Theological Centrum.
Filipino pilgrims await the arrival of Pope Benedict at the Cuatro Vientos Airport in this file photo of WYD 2011 in Madrid.
SOME 24 diocesan seminarians from 15 dioceses of the Philippines and China participated in a seminar on New Evangelization organized by the Theological Centrum in Latag Study Camp in Lipa City last May 20 to 23. The seminar discussed topics on the formation of seminarians and the contextualized challenge for seminarians as evangelizers, well-timed for the observance of the Year of Faith. Resource speakers and guests during the seminar include Archbishop emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Rev. Msgr. Carlos V.G. Estrada, Ph.D., some priests from the Prelature of Opus Dei and members of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross. The speakers emphasized the significance of studies, interior life and human and Christian relationships in the life of priests in-process. Cardinal Rosales said that seminarians must give emphasis to all aspects of formation but reminded them that the best place for formation is where God is. Faithful to the teachings of St. Josemaría Escrivá, Fr. Jimmy L. Liao, Executive Director of Theological Centrum, mentioned at the start of the seminar that, “work is an activity where God is.” In addition Fr. Russell Bantiles of the Archdiocese of Davao stated that “work makes us more of a human being.” Msgr. Alfredo Madlangbayan, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Lipa, also challenged the seminarians to reflect on how they can sanctify their work, how their work can make them holy and how they and their work can make others and others’ work sacred. Participants were later asked how to walk their talk or how can they translate their seminary life into apostolate or work in the ministry, timely to Pope Francis’ call to seek out those who
needed help the most. Speakers also stressed on seminarians not to think and act as if they can change the whole world but rather simply live the life that Jesus lived. That way, they were told, Jesus and His message of love can be shared with others, given the fact that we as a Church are not merely following a set of rules or doctrines but a person. Seminarians found the instruction as quite practical since they were reminded that each one must reach out to the many Catholics whose faith knowledge and practice have eroded. All these must be done by appealing to the reason of the people, they were told. Participants were also reminded that they are not the same, but they are not different. It means that each seminarian has different personalities with different capabilities and apostolate but they share one thing in common, one spirit, and one mission, to love and serve the Lord. Cardinal Rosales and other speakers also stressed on the seminarians to become professional and full-time Christians even in simple ways. Simple as they may seem, still they are expressions to achieve holiness especially when they are done with charity. Seminarians were asked to become the living testimony of the faith they profess by striving to become holy in simple ways, by reaching out to others and through fidelity to prayer. Themed “The Seminarian and New Evangelization”, the four-day seminar was spent in the climate of prayer, series of conferences, talks, pilgrimage cum excursion and sports. The Seminar for Seminarians is an ongoing program of Theological Centrum for diocesan seminarians. (Sem. Khervin B. Domingo)
Students from various school files 11th petition vs RH law
STUDENTS from various schools filed the eleventh petition against the controversial Republic Act (RA) No. 10354 or the Reproductive Health (RH) law. In a 50 page petition, petitioner John Walter Juat, an Education Major taking up Child Development and five other students urged the Supreme Court to junk the RH law being unconstitutional. In their petition, they question RH law’s contrasting intentions with the Constitution that acknowledges the value of youth as the succeeding generation where it provides: “A society guided by love cannot be hostile to the birthing of posterity. Hence, it may not impede conception, the starting point of progeny. Since the Constitution values progeny, necessarily, it protects the human faculties necessary for progeny and human generation.” Juat further said in an interview that he as a student is gravely affected by RH law. That it involves a change in the way of thinking of students on certain issues that deal with family life, marriage, contraception. He furthered that, “maturity of each individual differs from person to person, and something as important
Lanie Santos said there are still 15 subgroups or at least 182 individual pilgrims who are going to WYD under the ECY-Philippines delegation as of May 30. But this figure is not representative of the total number of WYD pilgrims that are coming from the Philippines after some dioceses, parishes, and organizations opted to send delegations separate from the ECY’s. Among those groups that will send separate delegation to the WYD are the Archdiocese of Manila and the dioceses
of Cubao and Novaliches, among others. This number also excludes a few young Filipinos who will participate in the WYD as international volunteers. The ECY has been giving formation for at least eight official international volunteers from Batangas, Manila and Pasig. These Filipino volunteers are among the 135 others that the WYD organizers in Brazil have officially recognized as international volunteers from the Philippines. (KB/ YouthPinoy)
John Walter Juat, a student leader from the University of the Philippines, led other groups of students in filing another petition against the RH law.
and as sensitive as sex education should be left to the parents, who know their child well.”
Juat also stressed that there is a better use of the RH law funding which is believed to reach 13.7 billion a year by directing it instead to basic priorities such as education, hospitalization, increase of salary of teachers or poverty alleviation programs. “To put it simply, there’s a better use of money than the government imposing contraceptive programs targeted on the poor and marginalized.” Juat said. The petition also questions the RH guiding principle that seeks to impose on the poor infertility medicines and devices. (Angelique Guevarra)
‘Teaching kids how to pray develops leadership’
LEADERSHIP and accountability may prove to have a more spiritual dimension to it through prayer, as believed and promoted by a kids’ ministry group. “When they pray, they remember the one who created them –the One who blesses their life… Someone is greater up there and I’m accountable to Him and He’s accountable for me. He will take care of me,” said CFC-Kids for Christ International Coordinator Nic Escalona in an interview. Never too young for accountability According to Escalona, when kids grow up they take to heart this sense of accountability as leaders—something which is easy to forget because of common temptations of power and self-interest. “He will remember he is accountable to others [as a leader]. He will not easily compromise himself, his principles, his family.” Escalona, who was a KFC member himself back in 1993, said kids who join KFC receive “strength or courage [that] sooner or later in life, they will need.” “Whatever they learn at this stage they will carry with them in life because they are kids,” he added, stressing how crucial the early years are as a time to build on personal foundations. Advocating leadership For Rudy Regencia, a sector KFC coordinator of an area that covers the cities of San Juan and Mandaluyong, developing leaders starts with a spiritual foundation and ends with advocacy. “Mas maganda talaga na mat- Kids learn utunan nila ‘yung mga ganoong for Christ. advocacy, umpisa sa worship hanggang sa [they] become a good leader someday,” he said. KFC has several advocacies catchily described by their titles. Batang Kalikasan promotes love of the environment among kids, encouraging them to help plant trees during their Global Day of Service and learn to throw trash in garbage bins and not just anywhere as a habit. Through Batang Business, KFC also encourages kids to save money or try simple money-earning ventures like selling food they cook to help others. Posting about God or sharing inspiring stuff online is also one
Youth ministers gather for teambuilding
AROUND 45 Teresian Association (TA) youth ministers gathered for a sensitivity and self-motivation workshop and team building last May 23 to 26 in Pililia, Rizal. Facilitated by eight members of Inside Out Team, the four-day camp had activities and sessions that taught and prepared the TA youth ministers in trusting their fellow youth minister. Participants were encouraged not only to trust their fellow youth ministers but also the facilitators and all team members. They were taught how to be disciplined as youth leaders, how to be sensitive in dealing with others and to encourage motivational spirit on each other. Jean Japitana, a Teresian member, facilitated a recollection reminding youth ministers that they are God’s instruments in propagating the Faith and that He has His own purpose of creating people through His image and likeness. Fr. Ricky Montañez, a member of the Augustinians of the Assumption (AA) celebrated the Mass and challenged participants to commit themselves to making Christ known wherever they may be. (Jandel Posion/Analene Fullido)
about Christian leadership early on in Kids
thing KFC wants children to practice with Batang Media. Having three of his four kids joined KFC, Regencia can attest to a gradual and concrete change in children after they join the ministry. “There were those who would not even listen, but after some time, there came about a gradual change until they themselves were the ones leading,” Regencia added in the vernacular. For more information on CFC– KFC, visit www.cfckidsforchrist.com (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Marta Jiménez Ibáñez / CNA
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Act of Consecration: Not just ritual but a mission
(Homily delivered by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle during the Mass for the National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 8, 2013 at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish church.)
WE in the Archdiocese of Manila unite ourselves with the whole Church in the Philippines in this solemn act, the consecration of the nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And as we gather, I know in different parishes, different chapels whether they are grand places of assembly or humble places in the barangays, in the barrios, we are of one mind and one heart as a Filipino people and as a Church in the Philippines in this common act of consecration. Allow me to reflect with you on the significance of this action. First, I would like to reflect on consecration. And then we turn to Mary, Mary in her Immaculate Heart. Consecration, well for those who know a bit of Latin would say the word “consecrate” would really mean that someone is associated with the sacred, “cum sacrum”. To consecrate is to associate a person or something to the divine, to God so that in the very heart of God this person, these people, this object will occupy a space in God. Today we will do an act of consecration. It is our action but the first act of consecration is not ours, it is God’s. It is God who through His grace has consecrated us to Himself. No one, no one, can consecrate oneself to God and make that action effective. No one! God must do it first. It is God who consecrates us to Him. And that is the whole spirit of the First Reading. God has looked upon His people Israel and claimed Israel as His own. You are mine. You are my people. These are the immortal words of consecration that we hear in the Old Testament that confound and even scandalize, who are we to be claimed by God as His own? I will be your God; you will be my people. Who made that consecration of Israel, but God? Ang una pong nagkokonsagra ay hindi tayo kundi ang Diyos na sa kanyang di malirip na pagmamahal, tinitingnan tayo at kanyang sinasabi, ikaw ay akin. Ikaw ay akin, ang puso mo ay akin. Kaya ang konsagrasiyon ay kilos ng Diyos at biyaya dahil ang kanyang inaangkin ay hindi naman talaga karapatdapat. Lahat tayo ay kanyang inangkin, inangkin ng kanyang Anak. Inangkin tayo ni Hesus bilang kanyang kapatid. Inangkin tayo ng Espiritu Santo bilang templo nung tayo ay bininyagan. Kilos yan ng Diyos. Biyaya ng Diyos. Kayo tayo ay, “a holy people, a consecrated nation”, not because of our efforts but because of God’s action, marvelous action in our lives. Look at the priests. In a way we are consecrated not because of our work but because God mysteriously called us. Sa kinatatayuan ko pag tinitingnan ko kayo, kung ako ang Diyos baka hindi ko kayo tawagin. Matatakot ako! Pero, we are consecrated. He will not revoke it. I called you by name, you are mine and God will not repent of this choice. The sisters, the religious men and women, of course we know the act of profession, they consecrate themselves, consecrated life but actually the basis of that is what God has first done to them. It is God who has first claimed them as His treasure and all of us. My dear brothers and sisters, what we are celebrating today is the mystery of our being a consecrated and holy people not because we are the best, God knows we are not. But simply because God is love and God is gracious. So the act of consecration is an act of praise to God. It is really a humbling experience to be counted among those loved by the Lord. But God consecrating us, claiming us as His own, demands a response. And this is now our act of consecration. God may say, you are mine but what do we say? Do we also say, I am yours? That’s when our act enters now. Graced by God’s love, graced by God’s choice Sa Bibliya, kaya immaculate, kaya walang “macula”, walang kasalanan, dahil ang laman ng puso niya, sa halip na kasalanan, ay si Hesus. Alaala ni Hesus. Ang biyaya ng Diyos. Ang puso ng tao sa larawan ng puso ni Maria ay hindi dapat sisidlan ng kasalanan kundi sisidlan ng espiritu ni Hesus at ng kanyang alaala. Eto tayo consecration to the Immaculate Heart. Mga kapatid, ano ang laman ng ating puso? Ano? Kung bubuksan ngayon, huwag niyong sabihin, cholesterol. Huwag niyong sabihin ang laman ng puso ko ay mga baradong ugat. Ano ang laman? Sana katulad ng puso ni Maria, at least mangako tayo sa consecration na ito ang puso natin at ang puso ng bansang Pilipinas. Being consecrated to the immaculate, sinless heart of Mary, sinless because of grace, sinless because filled with Jesus and the memory of Christ, mangako tayo lilinisin natin ang puso natin at ang puso ng bansa. Linisin ang puso ng bansa sa corruption. Walang papel ang corruption sa puso ng bansa na itinatalaga sa malinis na puso ni Maria. Walang lugar ang diskriminasyon sa puso ng isang bansa na sinasabi ay itinilaga sa puso ni Maria na puno ng alaala ni Hesus. Walang lugar sa puso ng isang bansa ang pagkamanhid, ang pagkagahaman, ang pagbabalatkayo, ang pagtapak sa kapwa, at pagyurak sa buhay sa isang puso na nagsasabi, Maria ang puso namin para sa puso mo. The heart of Mary is not empty but full of grace. The heart of Mary is clean not because it has nothing in it. It is clean because it is filled to the brim with Jesus and memories of Christ. Ang puso sana natin ngayon hindi puro hinanakit, mga walang pagpapatawad. Si Maria maraming hindi naunawaan kay Hesus subalit laman ng puso si Hesus. At panghuli po ang puso ni Maria, sabi sa ebanghelyo, dinala ni Maria at Jose ang batang si Hesus sa temple, ito ang puso ni Maria, dinadala palapit sa Diyos, una ang kanyang anak at tayo. Saan ba tayo dadalhin ni Maria? Kanino pa kundi sa Ama tulad niya na laging papunta sa Ama at pagsasakatuparan ng plano ng Ama doon tayo dadalhin ni Maria. In our act of consecration Mary might tell us, samahan mo ako, dalhin natin ang katawan ni Kristo sa Amang mapagmahal. Mga marami ritong bata, mga kabataan, malimit mga kabataan nagyayayaan, halika pasyal tayo dun, halika sama ka sa amin. Saan mo dadalhin ang iyong kaibigan? Saan? Sana hindi sa bisyo, ha? Sana hindi sa kapahamakan. Dalhin niyo ang inyong kaibigan palapit sa Diyos. Mga mag-asawa, saan ba kayo nagde-date? Saan be ninyo dinadala ang iyong mga asawa? Sa restaurant ba lang? sa shopping ba lang? Dalhin niyo ang isa’t isa sa Diyos, iyan ang puso natin. Kapag mayroon kayong kaibigan, mga balikbayan, saan niyo ba dinadala? Sa tourist spots, sa mga entertainment centers. Ba’t hindi niyo dalhin sa pilgrimage sa mga napakararami nating magagandang simbahan. Ba’t hindi niyo dalhin ang inyong mga balikbayan sa bible study. Sasabihin natin, naku parang hindi naman yata yan ang pag-e-entertain. Aba, kasama iyan. Ganyan ang puso ni Maria, misyonero. Inaakay ang iba palapit sa Diyos. On this day when we communally consecrate our nation, our families, ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary let us thank God that He had consecrated us to be His people. And we ask the Lord for the grace that filled Mary so that like her we can respond in equal consecration and in our lives, our hearts may also be pure not because it is empty but because it is filled with love, filled with Jesus. And when filled with Jesus it is a heart that reaches out to others and a heart that will lead others closer to God.
we are free to respond or not to respond. Will we receive grace of consecration and make it the rule of our lives from now on we will truly belong to God. Since you want me to really belong to you, here I am. Here we are, we belong to You. So the fundamental question now in our act of consecration is to whom do we belong? God claims us, have we allowed ourselves to be claimed by God? Sino ang nag may-may-ari sa atin? Sabi ng Diyos, akin ka. Sino ho ang nagmay-may-ari ng ating puso, ng ating buhay? Sino ho? Aminin! Ang Diyos habol ng habol, akin ka. Sagot naman natin, mamaya ka na Lord sa pera muna ako. Sasabihin ng Diyos akin ka. Sasabihin ng iba, Lord, mamaya ka na pagbigyan ko muna ang sarili ko. Sa oras na ito para ako sa ambisyon. I belong to ambition. I belong to power. I belong to luxury. I belong to self-gratification. These are the lords that I want to claim me. To whom do we belong? To make an act of consecration to God using beautiful words when in reality our minds and hearts belong to false gods is an insult to the true God. Sino po ang nagmay-may-ari ng ating puso? Sino ho ang nagmaymay-ari sa ating bansa? Sino ang hinahayaan nating maghari at umangkin sa puso ng Filipino? That is a decision that we have
to make. And in our act of consecration we are telling God, you have made us your own we are totally yours. And we will not allow ourselves to belong to other gods, no matter how inviting they may appear but you are our God and we belong to you alone. Kaya po itong act of consecration ay araw ng kagalakan, mahal tayo ng Diyos. Pero araw din ito ng panginginig. Seseryosohin ba natin talaga na tayo ay para sa Kanya. And this leads to mission, a review of life. Everything that is not in harmony with the consecration made by God of us and our response of consecration to God must go. Everything that is not of God must go. So the act of consecration really leads to conversion, leads to a review of our priorities, leads to a review of our values, of our choices. Hindi ko po puwedeng sabihing nakiisa ako sa act of consecration to God in the Immaculate Heart of Mary pero tuloy ako, tuloy ako na hindi nagmamahal sa mga mahal ng Diyos, ang mga dukha, ang mga maliliit na tao, ang mga dayuhan, ang mga ulila, ang mga biyuda, ang mga walang kinakapitan kundi ang Diyos. If I really belong to God, I would love those who God loves and cares for. That’s why we are happy that we have in our midst, in this day of consecration our beloved brothers and sisters with some disabilities,
people with disabilities, in our midst. As we consecrate ourselves to God and renew God’s grace of consecration for us we are being asked do people like them matter to us? Are God’s priorities our priorities? Are God’s values our values? Kaya po para sa ating nandito ngayon at sa buong Pilipinas huwag lang nating gawin ito na isang ritwal at pag-uwi ay sasabihin natin, O, ha, nakiisa ako sa act of consecration. This imposes on us a responsibility. Kung ako ang lalapitan at magsasabi ang isang tao, nandun po ako Kardenal sa act of consecration sa Paco church. Ang una kong tatanungin, nagbago ka na ba? Ano ang nagbago sa iyo? Ano ang nagbago sa iyong pamilya? At ngayon ang magiging tanong sa atin, ano kaya ang magbabago sa bansang Pilipinas? But let it not be an empty action on the part of God and on the part of the Church. Every grace contains with it a mission to accomplish. At bilang pangwakas po, ang puso ni Maria. The heart of Mary, the sympol of her person, whom God claimed as His own. The consecration of Mary starting from the womb of St. Anne, God chose her, God protected her, God redeemed her. God made her, her holy habitation so that the Son of God, the Savior, would have a pure mother. God consecrated Mary to Himself
and to His purpose and Mary consecrated herself to God, to the will of God. I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word. And from that moment on until death of Christ and His rising from the dead, Mary was fully consecrated to God, participating in God’s saving action. The heart of Mary. In her heart we see the action of God, what happens to a heart claimed by God and what happens to a heart that responds with equal love. Kaya po si Maria, Ina ng Diyos, Ina ng simbahan, Ina nating lahat. Tayo naman ay lumalapit sa kanya, upang sa kanyang pusong wagas ay ating maipagkatiwala ang ating sarili, at ang atin pong bansa. Dalawang pagtatapos pong punto. Una, ano ang laman ng puso ni Maria kung saan natin iniintrega ang ating sarili? Sabi po sa ebanghelyo, pagkatapos matagpuan ni Maria at Jose ang labindalawang taong si Hesus sa temple umuwi sila kasama si Hesus, at ang lahat ng ito ay itinago ni Maria sa kanyang puso. Ano ang laman ng Immaculate Heart of Mary? Sa isang catechetical section tinanong ko iyan. Ang sagot sa akin nung isang bata, Eh, immaculate po e di walang laman ang puso ni Maria, kasi immaculate. Ay ganoon ba ang ibig sabihin ng immaculate, walang laman, empty? Hindi!
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
WE have had our parish priest with us for two years now. He is something of an eccentric, very inconsistent. He is very nice to people he likes, but suplado to those who in one way or another he dislikes. It’s okay with us, if that’s the way he is, but what bothers those of us who work closely with him in the parish is that at times he disappears for days without telling us where to reach him in case he is needed. He has a couple of friends, guest priests, who take over when he is away, but they are there only for the sacraments. They can not decide or guide us in making decisions that have to be made when our parish priest happens to be absent. In those times, even the clerk at the parish office or the helper in the rectory does not know the parish priest’s whereabouts. He has a cellphone but nobody seems to know the number. Meanwhile, decisions and therefore actions are delayed. It can be very frustrating. What does Canon Law say about the availability of the parish priest? Do we as parish workers have the right to demand it, if not transparency of our priest? We do not want a blow-by-blow account of his whereabouts, but at least the basic information of where to reach him in case of dire need. The Juridical Notion of Parish Priest In order to understand properly the rights and duties of a parish priest¾who is technically referred to in the Code of Canon Law as the pastor (a poor equivocal English translation of the original parochus in Latin and parroco in Spanish)¾we need to first of all understand the juridical (or legal) notion of parish priest (pastor), which is defined by canon 519 of the Code of Canon Law: Can.519 ¾ The parish priest is the proper shepherd of the parish entrusted to him, exercising pastoral care in the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share; in accord with the norm of law he carries out for his community the duties of teaching, sanctifying and governing, with the cooperation of other presbyters or deacons and the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful. We can limit ourselves to the three most significant elements in this definition from the juridic point of view: (1) The parish priest is the proper pastor (shepherd) of the parish entrusted to him; (2) he exercises the pastoral care of that community, (3) under the authority of the diocesan
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
The Duty of Residence of the Parish Priest (Part I)
er forum¾which is the diocesan Bishop, who is duty-bound to resolve it through an administrative process or a judicial process. All this can really be summed up in yet another quotation from our Lord that really is at the heart of any question regarding the duties of the parish priest: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. But the hireling, who is not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees. And the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep; but the hireling flees because he is a hireling, and has no concern for the sheep” (Jn 10, 11-13). The Availability of the Parish Priest to his Parishioners The question of the physical and moral availability of the parish priest in the parish is inescapable. It simply is not possible for him to fulfill all his obligations to his flock were he not to be available in the parish 24 hours of the day all throughout the year, except for the periods of absence provided by Canon Law for his own rest and formation. Thus, from olden times, the duty of residence in the parish has always been considered as a direct consequence of the function of the pastoral care of souls entrusted to the parish priest. As an eminent 16th Century Italian canonist affirmed: “the pastoral ministry implies many things which necessarily require personal presence”.1 Thus, the Code of Canon Law binds with the duty of residence those who hold offices that imply a particular responsibility as regards the pastoral care of souls, like the diocesan Bishop (cf. c.395), the Bishop-coadjutor and the auxillary Bishop (cf. c.410), the diocesan Administrator (cf. c.429), the parish priest (cf. c.533) and the parochial vicar (cf. c.550). In effect, the habitual presence of the parish priest in the parish aims to guarantee his constant and effective availability for the needs of the faithful, who¾in turn¾should be able to approach their parish priest for whatever legitimate request. On the other hand, it is clear that such pastoral needs of the faithful can present themselves and should be adequately attended to at whatever time of day or night. Hence, the parish priest is¾in principle¾always on duty and on call.
Bishop. Let us briefly go over these elements: The Parish Priest is the Proper Pastor (shepherd) of the Parish. What this means simply is that to the parish priest corresponds¾in an immediate way¾the pastoral care of the faithful in the parish community, a task that he exercises under the authority of the diocesan bishop. The adjective proper (coming from the same Latin root as property and propriety) means that a one-on-one relationship exists between the parish community and the parish priest: the parish priest is for his parish community and the parish community recognizes him as their own. If juridically this reality presents such interesting depth, theologically it is nothing less than touching¾evocative of our Lord’s doctrine of the Good Shepherd: “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them forth. And when he has let out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers” (Jn 10, 3-5). Thus, the task of the parish priest is in principle non-transferable: strictly speaking he cannot entrust it to others, because it has been entrusted by the bishop specifically to him. The Parish Priest exercises Pastoral Care over the Parish Community. Such pastoral care is not something nebulous, but is clearly outlined by Canon Law in canons 528-530. In broad strokes, the scope of such care is
expressed in c.528: Can. 528 ¾ §1. The pastor is obliged to see to it that the word of God in its entirety is announced to those living in the parish; for this reason he is to see to it that the lay Christian faithful are instructed in the truths of the faith, especially through the homily which is to be given on Sundays and holy days of obligation and through the catechetical formation which he is to give; he is to foster works by which the spirit of the gospel, including issues involving social justice, is promoted; he is to take special care for the Catholic education of children and of young adults; he is to make every effort with the aid of the Christian faithful, to bring the gospel message also to those who have ceased practicing their religion or who do not profess the true faith. §2. The pastor is to see to it that the Most Holy Eucharist is the center of the parish assembly of the faithful; he is to work to see to it that the Christian faithful are nourished through a devout celebration of the sacraments and especially that they frequently approach the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of penance; he is likewise to endeavor that they are brought to the practice of family prayer as well as to a knowing and active participation in the sacred liturgy, which the pastor must supervise in his parish under the authority of the diocesan bishop, being vigilant lest any abuses creep in. If the previous canon seems lofty in its aspiration, the next canon is no less demanding in the methodology for the attainment of such aspiration. Can. 529 ¾ § 1. In order to ful-
fill his office in earnest, the pastor should strive to come to know the faithful who have been entrusted to his care; therefore he is to visit families, sharing the cares, worries, and especially the griefs of the faithful, strengthening them in the Lord, and correcting them prudently if they are wanting in certain areas; with a generous love he is to help the sick, particularly those close to death, refreshing them solicitously with the sacraments and commending their souls to God; he is to make a special effort to seek out the poor, the afflicted, the lonely, those exiled from their own land, and similarly those weighed down with special difficulties; he is also to labor diligently so that spouses and parents are supported in fulfilling their proper duties, and he is to foster growth in the Christian life within the family. §2. The pastor is to acknowledge and promote the proper role which the lay members of the Christian faithful have in the Church’s mission by fostering their associations for religious purposes; he is to cooperate with his own bishop and with the presbyterate of the diocese in working hard so that the faithful be concerned for parochial communion and that they realize that they are members both of the diocese and of the universal Church and participate in and support efforts to promote such communion. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep Finally, the Code enumerates seven functions especially entrusted to the parish priest¾i.e., functions which in principle he cannot delegate to another without guaranteeing their ful-
fillment. Can. 530 ¾ The following functions are especially entrusted to the pastor: 1° the administration of baptism; 2° the administration of the sacrament of confirmation to those who are in danger of death (…); 3° the administration of Viaticum and the anointing of the sick (…), as well as the imparting of the apostolic blessing; 4° the assistance at marriage and the imparting of the nuptial blessing; 5° the performing of funerals; 6° the blessing of the baptismal font during the Easter season, the leading of processions outside the church and the imparting of solemn blessings outside the church; 7° the more solemn celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays and holy days of obligation. All the aforementioned functions constitute real duties¾of strict justice¾of the parish priest, to which correspond real rights¾again demandable in strict justice¾of the Catholic parishioners. In short, Canon Law protects the corresponding rights of the faithful to the aforementioned means of pastoral care, such that should the parish priest be wanting in the fulfillment of such functions and duties¾including an attitude of aloofness, whether real or simply perceived, to his parishioners¾the faithful have the right to demand redress: first by speaking to the parish priest about it. Should the parish priest continue to neglect his duty, they may raise the matter to the prop-
© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
Bartholomew Carranza, Controversia de Necessaria Residentia personali Episcoporum et aliorum inferiorum pastorum, Venice (1547), Chapt.2, pp.15-16.
Seal of Confession
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: Following a recent adult education class, a brother priest and I have been discussing a discrepancy in each of our understanding of the nature of the seal of confession as per Canon 983 and 984 of the 1983 code. Canon 983.1 says, “The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.” Canon 984.1 says, “A confessor is prohibited completely from using knowledge acquired from confession to the detriment of the penitent even when any danger of revelation is excluded.” Both of us were formed in seminaries known for orthodoxy, and both of us are determined to preach and practice in full fidelity with authentic Catholic teaching. The question is as follows: A “penitent” tells a priest in confession that he has poisoned the wine for Mass. The priest fails to successfully convince the malicious “penitent” to rectify the situation, thus leaving the confessor in the position to consume the poisoned wine and in some parishes even to administer it to the faithful. Is it permissible for the priest to use such knowledge gained in the confessional in order to change the course of events so that no one is poisoned by the wine, even if the penitent were in no way revealed? One argument is that the confessor’s acting to change the wine by either dropping the cruet or simply pouring it out and refilling the cruet without anyone’s knowledge does not constitute a violation of the seal, since he neither betrayed the “penitent” nor did anything detrimental to “penitent.” The contrary argument is the confessor can in no way use the knowledge gained from the confessional, for the “penitent” would in fact know that the confessor had done so, which constitutes a betrayal of the “penitent” and is consequently detrimental. In fact, the confessor’s action could render the sacrament of confession as odious to the “penitent” or lead the “penitent” to tell others that Father X has broken the seal, which would also render the sacrament odious. Extensive research into the question led me to find reputable priest-theologians and canonists who hold both positions, so we are no closer to an answer. Moreover, as far as I can find, the Holy See has never addressed the specific question at hand, and we have no idea where the scenario first was taken up. Admittedly, the likelihood of such a situation ever happening is miniscule, and the discussion is extremely casuistic. Nevertheless, the example is actually cited here and there—even in seminaries—to illustrate the absolute inviolability of the seal of confession and the obligations of priests relevant to the same. — C.M., Camden, New Jersey A: This classical conundrum of casuistry does tend to come up often as a kind of no-win scenario. The Holy See would probably never address such a situation, as it would give credence to speculation and might even induce some people to actually attempt to abuse the sacrament in this or other ways. Indeed, the first thing to note is that this is an abuse of the sacrament. A person in the situation described would be manifestly unrepentant and hence could not receive absolution even though the confessional seal applies, independent of absolution. In the present case there is no danger of the sacrament’s becoming odious to the penitent, since he or she has already demonstrated total disrespect for the sacrament by an attempt to abuse the seal. It is also probable that the person needs professional help. Another element that must be considered is the equivocal use of the word “betray” in the replies that our reader’s research has discovered. The “betrayal” (prodere in the Latin original) mentioned in the canon is something objective and external. That is, it means revealing the sin and the sinner, either directly or indirectly to other people. The “betrayal” of the penitent mentioned in one of the replies is a subjective betrayal in the sense of disappointment, not living up to expectations, hurt feelings and the like. Only the first meaning has bearing on the seal of confession. That the penitent might be understandably distraught at the priest’s failure to drop dead on consuming the chalice has no bearing on the canonical question of violating the seal. With this clarified, we can see that, provided the priest says nothing, changing the wine or breaking the cruet would in no way lead people to suspect either sin or sinner, and so is not really a violation of the seal. If asked, a priest can give a deliberately ambiguous answer such as “it needed changing,” and his action would not lead to any revelation. In some cases it could lead to a suspicion, especially if the person was seen going to confession and is known to be disturbed. A suspicion, however, is not a direct revelation, and there is nothing in the material act of changing
the wine to justify such a suspicion. Furthermore, the confessor (like every other person) has a duty to preserve his own life and health and that of others. This duty is certain and does not cease because he is a confessor. The alleged violation of the seal is dubious at best. Between a certain duty and a dubious one we should always follow what is certain. It could be argued that this duty is non-existent if its fulfillment entailed perpetrating an intrinsically immoral act such as the direct or indirect violation of the seal of confession by culpable negligence. In the view of several eminent moralists, such culpable negligence could only occur if the priest were to speak about what he had done to
others in such a way as to lead them to identify sin and sinner. A further point would be that the priest would also know that the matter of the sacrament (of the Eucharist) had been adulterated and was probably no longer valid matter for the sacrifice of the Mass. Since he should never consciously celebrate an invalid Mass, the priest would also have a certain moral duty to replace the altar wine. For all of these reasons, I would say that the priest in this very hypothetical case could, and indeed should, replace the wine while avoiding any words that might remotely lead to the revelation of sin and sinner.
© Kris Bayos / CBCP Media
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Daily meditations of Pope Francis at the morning masses held at the Domus Sanctae Marthae
(Since March 22, 2013, L’Osservatore Romano has been digesting the homilies of the Holy Father for its weekly edition. We are running these on this issue as a way of inviting our readers who may wish to make use of these meditations which are downloadable at www.vatican.va—eds)
The scandal of the Incarnation June 1, 2013 THE “scandal” of a God who became man and died on the Cross was the focus of Pope Francis’ Homily at Mass on Saturday morning, 1 June, in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The commemoration of Justin the Martyr, whose liturgical Memorial is celebrated on 1 June, gave the Pope the opportunity to reflect on the coherence of life and on the heart of every Christian’s faith: the Cross. “We can do all the social work we like, and people can say: ‘how good the Church is, what good social work the Church does!’. But if we say we do this because those people are the flesh of Christ, it gives rise to a scandal”. Without the Incarnation of the Word the foundation of our faith is lacking, as the Pope underlined. “That is the truth, that is the revelation of Jesus. That presence of Jesus Incarnate. That is the point”. If it is forgotten, there will always be a strong temptation “to do good things without the scandal of the Incarnate Word, without the scandal of the Cross”. Justin was a witness of this truth, for it was precisely the scandal of the Cross that attracted the persecution of the world. He proclaimed the God who came to dwell among us and made himself like his creatures. The proclamation of the Crucified and Risen Christ upset his listeners, but he continued to witness consistently to this truth. “The Church is not a cultural or religious organization, nor is it a social one, it is not this. The Church is the family of Jesus. The Church confesses that Jesus is the Son of God who came in flesh. This is the scandal and this is why they persecuted Jesus”. The Pope referred to the Gospel passage of the day (Mk 11:27-33), and in particular to the question put to Jesus by the priests and scribes: “By what authority are you doing these things?” Jesus realized that the real aim of his interlocutors was to “set a trap for him”. Each question was a trick to put him in a corner, to induce him to say the wrong thing and to find an excuse to condemn him. When the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?” Jesus replied yes and was immediately sentenced to death. “This is the centre of persecution”, the Pope said. In fact, “if we become merely reasonable, social and charitable Christians what will the consequence be? That we will never have martyrs”. However when we say that “the Son of God came and became flesh, when we preach the scandal of the Cross, there will be persecution, there will be the Cross”. In conclusion Pope Francis urged the faithful to ask the Lord “not to be ashamed of living with this scandal of the Cross”. Eternity will not be boring May 31, 2013 MANY Christians do not know joy. Even when they are in church to praise God, they seem as if they were at a funeral rather than at a joyful celebration. If instead they had learned to step out of themselves and give thanks to God, “they would really understand that joy which sets us free”. Christian joy was the centre of Pope Francis’ reflection on Friday, 31 May, the Feast of the Visitation, at the Mass he concelebrated in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Pope began by referring to the readings of the day from the book of Zephaniah (3:14-18) and the Gospel of Luke (1:39-56), saying that they “speak to us of joy and happiness: ‘rejoice, shout for joy’, says Zephaniah.... ‘The Lord is in your midst’.... He too will rejoice over us. He too is joyful”. “Everything is joy. But we Christians are not very used to talking about joy, about happiness. I think that we often prefer complaints! What is joy? The key to understanding this joy is in the words of the Gospel: ‘Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit’. The One who gives us joy is the Holy Spirit”. “It is the Spirit himself who guides us. He is the author of joy, the creator of joy, and this joy that is in the Holy Spirit gives us true Christian freedom. Without joy we Christians cannot become free. We are enslaved to our sorrows”. The Pope then cited the great Pope Paul VI, recalling that he said: “it is impossible to carry the Gospel any further with sad, dejected, disheartened Christians. It is impossible”. This is a somewhat funereal attitude”. Joy, on the contrary, comes from praising God. “But what does praising God mean?” the Holy Father asked. “Praising him freely, just as the grace he gives to us is freely given”, was his answer. Then he asked: “Do you praise God? Or do you only ask God and thank God?” Doing this, he repeated, means “going out of ourselves to praise God, ‘wasting’ time in praise”. He continued: “if you do not praise God and do not know the freely given gift of ‘wasting’ time in praising him, then of course the Mass seems long! But if you go to it with this joyful attitude, praising God, it is beautiful”. Moreover, “eternity will be this: praising God; but it will not be boring, it will be wonderful”! The Holy Father concluded: “it is she, the Virgin Mary, who brings joy.... We must pray to Our Lady that in bringing Jesus, she give us the grace of joy, of freedom, the grace of praise. That she give us the grace of praising freely .... for he is worthy of praise for ever”. The triumphalism of Christians May 29, 2013 CHRISTIAN triumphalism passes through human failure, the failure of the Cross. Letting oneself be tempted by other kinds of triumphalism, by a worldly brand of triumphalism means giving in to the temptation of conceiving a “Christianity without the cross”, a “half-way Christianity”. Pope Francis’ reflection at the Mass he concelebrated on Wednesday morning 29 May, in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, was centred on humility. The day’s Gospel (Mk 10:32-45) says: content with being “well organized and with... all the offices in good order and efficient”, but which denied the martyrs would be “a Church which thought only of triumph and success”, and was alien to “Jesus’ rule: the rule of triumph through failure. Human failure, the failure of the cross. And we all have this temptation”. The disciples’ payment May 28, 2013 SUFFERING is part of life; but for Christians who are called to follow the very way of Christ, it has an additional value. Especially when it comes in the form of persecution, because the spirit of the world does not tolerate Christian witness. This sums up the Pope’s reflection at the Mass he celebrated in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae on Tuesday morning, 28 May. Commenting on the day’s Gospel (Mk 10:28-31), the Pontiff meditated on Jesus’ dialogue with the rich young man who asked him how to gain eternal life. He recalled that Peter had listened to Jesus’ warning about wealth, which makes it “so difficult to enter the kingdom of God”. After hearing the Lord’s words, Peter asked him: “all right, but us? We have left everything for you. What will be our recompense? What will our reward be?”. Jesus’ answer perhaps “is a little ironic: but of course, you too and all who have left house, brothers, sisters, mother, children and lands will receive a hundredfold”. He warns that they will have to face “persecution”, described as the wages, or rather “the disciples’ payment”. Jesus assures all those who follow him a place among “the family of Christians” and recalls that “we are all brothers and sisters”, but warns that “there will be persecutions, difficulties”. Then, returning to the theme: “whoever follows me, must take the same route that I took”. It is a way, the Pope explained, which leads to humbling oneself and something inside. He feels the urge to go beyond, to follow Jesus more closely. It was precisely the Holy Spirit that drove him”. But when Jesus tells the man that “whoever loves him” must sell all his possessions before following him, “this good and just man, this man inspired by the Holy Spirit to grow closer to Jesus, became discouraged at these words and went away downcast. And Jesus turned and said to his disciples: how hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God”, the Holy Father said. “Each and every one of us”, the Pope continued, “needs to examine our conscience and find out what riches keep us from approaching Jesus on the road of life”. They are the riches that come from our culture. The first is “well-being” or comfort or luxury he said. “The culture of well-being that gives us little courage, makes us lazy and selfish”. We think comfort is enough. He referred to a possible dialogue between spouses: “No, no, no more than one child, no! Because then we can’t go on vacation, we can’t go here, we can’t buy a house; no! It is all fine and good to follow Jesus but only to a certain point...” “We are in love,” he said, “with temporal things”, while what Jesus offers is infinite. We like the temporary “because we are afraid of God’s time”, the end of time. Wellness and transience are precisely the two riches of contemporary society that “prevent us from going forward”. On the other hand, the Pope’s thought turned to the example of the “many men and women who had left their homelands as missionaries for their whole lives”, and to the “man men and women who have left their homes to get married and for their whole lives are working towards the infinite”. “This”, the Holy Father said, “to follow Jesus closely, is the definitive”. His closing words were to “ask the Lord to give us the courage to move forward, emptying ourselves of this culture of well-being, through hope”. the contrary, they shut it. So often “we control faith rather than facilitating it”, and this is something “which began in Jesus’ time with the Apostles”. We are tempted to “take over the Lord”. The Pope gave another example. A single mother goes to the parish to ask for Baptism for her child and hears “a Christian” say: “no, you can’t have it, you’re not married”. “Look at this girl who had had the courage to carry her pregnancy to term” and not to have an abortion. “What does she find? A closed door”, as do so many. “This is not good pastoral zeal, it distances people from the Lord and does not open doors. So when we take this path... we are not doing good to people, the People of God”. Jesus “instituted seven sacraments, and with this approach we institute the eighth, the sacrament of the pastoral customs office”. Finally Pope Francis explained that Jesus wants everyone to be close to him. “Let us think of all Christians of good will who err and shut the door instead of opening it”. Let us ask the Lord to grant that “all who approach the Church find doors open to encounter Jesus’ love”. The wisdom of Christians May 24, 2013 “IN the prayer from the Latin Missal for Mass this morning dedicated to Mary Help of Christians,” said Pope Francis in his homily on 24 May, during Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, “we ask for two graces: to endure with patience and to conquer with love oppressions both internal and external”. They are the graces proper to a Christian; but “to endure with patience is not easy” he acknowledged. Indeed “when difficulties come from outside or when problems are born in the heart, in the soul, inner problems, it is not easy to endure them patiently. It is much easier to be impatient”. What does it mean to endure? To endure is “to bear a difficulty. But is shouldering a burden a difficulty? No”. Enduring, explained the Pope, “is taking up the difficulty and carrying it with strength, so that the difficulty does not drag us down. This is a Christian virtue. St Paul says several times: Suffer [endure]. This means not letting ourselves be overcome by difficulties. This means that the Christians have the strength to not give up, to carry difficulties. Carry them, carry them with vigour. It is not easy, because discouragement comes, and one has the urge to give up and say, ‘Well, come on, we’ll do what we can but no more’. But no, suffering is a grace. In difficulties, we must ask for [this grace], in difficulty”. The other grace the Pope asks for is “to overcome with love”. There are many “ways to win, but the grace that we request today is the grace of victory with love, through love. And this is not easy. When we have external enemies that make us suffer so much: it is not easy, to win with love. There is a desire to take revenge, to turn another against them.... Love: the meekness that Jesus taught us. And that is the victory! The Apostle John tells us in the First Reading: ‘This is our victory, our faith.’ Our faith is precisely this: believing in Jesus who taught us love and taught us to love everyone. And the proof that we are loving is when we pray for our enemies”. Praying for our enemies, for those who make us suffer, the Pope continued, “is not easy”. But we are “defeated Christians” if we do not forgive enemies and if we do not pray for them. And “we find so many sad, discouraged Christians”, he exclaimed, because “they did not have this grace of enduring with patience and overcoming with love”. Therefore, “let us ask Our Lady to give us the grace to endure with patience and to overcome with love. How many people—so many old people—have taken this path! And it is beautiful to see them: they have that beautiful countenance, that serene happiness. They do not say much, but have a patient heart, a heart filled with love. They know what forgiving enemies means, they know what it is to pray for enemies. So many Christians are like that”!
the disciples “were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. Determined. We may even think in haste”. Reflecting on the restive sentiments in the hearts of the “dismayed” and “fearful” disciples, the Holy Father highlighted the conduct of the Lord who revealed the truth to them: the Son of Man was to be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they would condemn him to death and kill him; but on the third day he would rise again. The disciples were subjected to the same temptation that Jesus had faced in the wilderness, “when the devil” challenged him to work “a miracle”, the Pope said. Such as throwing himself down from the temple and saving himself in such a way that all might see it and be redeemed. Pope Francis warned that we risk succumbing to the “temptation of a Christianity without a cross. A halfway Christianity”; but “there is another temptation”, that of “a Christianity with the cross but without Jesus”. He explained that this was the “temptation of triumphalism”. “We want triumph now”, he said, “without going to the cross, a worldly triumph, a reasonable triumph”. “Triumphalism in the Church halts the Church. The triumphalism of us Christians halts Christians.Atriumphalist Church is a half-way Church”. A Church
which “ends on the Cross. There will always be difficulties and persecutions that come from the world, for he took this path first. When a Christian does not have difficulties in life and all goes well, something is not right”. One might think that he succumbed to the temptation to follow the spirit of the world instead of Jesus. “Let us ask for this grace: to follow Jesus on the path which he has shown to us and taught us. This is beautiful: He never leaves us alone, never. He is always with us”. God’s time May 27, 2013 THE charm of temporal goods, the sensation of being masters of time, and the culture of comfort at any cost: these things too often keep people from Jesus. “They seem to be two kinds of wealth”, but in reality they just keep us from “moving forward”, Pope Francis said on Monday morning, 27 May, at Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Pope commented on the Gospel passage of the day (Mk 10:17-27); the Evangelist writes of the rich young man who asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. “He was a good man who went to find Jesus and threw himself on his knees before him, a man who had piety in his heart, a religious man and a just man, who goes to Jesus because he feels
Christian acceptance May 25, 2013 CHRISTIANS who ask to be let in should never find doors closed. Churches are not offices where documents and letters are presented when someone is hoping to enter God’s grace. Pope Francis reflected on Christian acceptance in his homily at the Mass he concelebrated with Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan and others in the Chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae on Saturday, 25 May, Com-menting on Mark’s Gospel the Holy Father recalled Jesus’ reprimand to his disciples who wanted to prevent people from bringing children to him (10:143-16). The disciples were not acting out of unkindness, they only wanted to help Jesus. They had done the same thing in Jericho when they tried to silence the blind man. It was as if they had said “protocol does not permit it, he is the second Person of the Trinity.... This reminds me of many Christians”. By way of explanation the Pope cited the example of an engaged couple who went to a parish office and instead of receiving support and congratulations were fobbed off with a list of the prices for the wedding and asked to show their documents. “So they found the door closed”, he said. “Those who could have opened the door, thanking God for this new marriage”, failed to do. On
Meditations / B7
conversations and classroom time, one should “make sure the language you are using is inclusive of all people. When referring to people in general, try using words like ‘partner’ instead of ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or ‘husband/ wife’, and avoid gendered pronouns, using ‘they’ instead of ‘he/she’. What’s wrong with referring to a man as “he” and to a woman as “she”? Well, the glossary helps us to understand the definition of gender as “a social construct based on a group of emotional, behavioral and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex”. The whole point of GSLEN is that, if you don’t like the “gender construct” society has assigned you, you can construct another for yourself, and have every right to expect that everyone should go along with you. As far as students “coming out” are concerned, one should realize that “it can be a difficult and emotional process for an LGBT student to go through, which is why it is so important for a student to have support”. In other words, encourage them by providing approval and support. Whatever you do, however, don’t advise the student not to tell anyone. Why not? Because, the booklet answers, “This implies that there is something wrong and that being LGBT must be kept hidden”. Gay-Straight Alliances To help carry out this work there are “Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), student clubs that work to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/ expression. 4,000 GSAs are registered that was mystifying to many people and made it real, inspiring an entire generation of educators to see how they could make a difference…. No other film has had a bigger impact on LGBT issues in the schools.” Through means of a transcript, let us examine what the film presents. It should be noted that the film is a documentary. Though it obviously has its own strong pro-homosexual point of view, it is simply recording what is already taking place in the schools from first to eighth grade classrooms in the way of inculcating the acceptance of homosexuality as a norm. At a filmed meeting of the faculty at Cambridge Friends School, a Quaker school in Cambridge, MA, a teacher declares, “What we’re trying to have people do is to understand that people are. And we have to respect the right of all of us to just be, and be who we are, and we do that in the classroom when we teach so that everyone can learn. ‘There isn’t a right way, there isn’t a wrong way, there isn’t a good way, there isn’t a bad way’”. So much for Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. This teaching, however, comports perfectly with the Space Safe Kit’s advice to “Show students that you understand there is no one way a person ‘should’ be”. This sophistical message obviously works. A 3rd grader summed it up by saying, “I don’t get it. Who cares if you’re gay? Do you care? It’s like, duh, you’re gay”. Who cares? The entire homosexual lobby, which has been pushing its rationalization to reach this exact point, cares. In another filmed venue, a first grader at Public School 87 in New York “Robin’s family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad’s partner, Henry, and Robin’s cat, Sassy”. The author Who’s in a Family?, Robert Skutch, explained in a National Public Radio interview, “Here and Now”, May 3, 2005, “The whole purpose of the book was to get the subject [of same-sex parent households] out into the minds and the awareness of children before they are old enough to have been convinced that there’s another way of looking at life”. The Parkers wrote a letter to the principal stating, “There is a book included entitled, Who’s in a Family (with pictures) that include lesbian and homosexual couples with children – implicitly equating this family structure as a morally equal alternative to other family constructs. We stand firmly against this book or any other subject matter pertaining to homosexuality ever being indoctrinated to our child, discussed in school, or sent home. We don’t believe gay parents constitute a spiritually healthy family and should not be celebrated”. The Parkers requested advance notification of any such material in the future and indicated that they wished to opt out their son from any future exposure “to any sexual orientation/homosexual material/same sex unions between parents”. The principal responded: “I have confirmed with our Assistant Superintendent and our Director of Health Education that discussion of differing families, including gay-headed families, is not included in the parental notification policy”. On April 27, David Parker, went to the school for
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Queering education What will happen in the classroom if same-sex marriage is legalized? Massachusetts offers a vision of the future.
By Robert R. Reilly THE logic works like this: If homosexual acts are moral, as so many now insist, then they should be normative. If they are normative, they should be taught in our schools as a standard. If they are a standard, they should be enforced. And so it has come, and is coming, to be. Education is an essential part of the drive to universalize the rationalization for homosexual behavior; so it must become a mandatory part of the curriculum. What began as a plea for diversity ends with a demand for conformity. The infiltration of higher education by LGBT studies is well known. However, less attention seems to have been paid to the effort to spread LGBT propaganda in elementary schools and high schools. Because of the young ages of students K through 12, the introduction of pro-homosexual materials has required a special sensitivity from those who are trying to get away with it. They must avoid the explicit nature of the LGBT courses offered at the college level and disguise the effort in terms of something other than what it really is. Therefore, they use a stealth approach under the cover of issues such as school safety, diversity, and bullying. One of the primary organizations involved in spreading the rationalization for homosexual behavior in elementary and high schools is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), begun in 1990 in Massachusetts. According to its mission statement, GLSEN “strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. We believe that such an atmosphere engenders a positive sense of self, which is the basis of educational achievement and personal growth. Since homophobia and heterosexism undermine a healthy school climate, we work to educate teachers, students and the public at large about the damaging effects these forces have on youth and adults alike”. The statement sounds fairly anodyne, though its clear purpose is to make homosexuality acceptable, and for good reason. GLSEN’s founder, homosexual activist Kevin Jennings, spoke at a homosexual conference on March 5, 1995, titled “Winning the Culture War”, in which he laid out the rhetorical strategy for success. It is worth quoting at length for what it reveals about the agenda. Jennings said: “If the Radical Right can succeed in portraying us as preying on children, we will lose. Their language— ’promoting homosexuality’ is one example—is laced with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendo that we are ‘after their kids.’ We must learn from the abortion struggle, where the clever claiming of the term ‘pro-life’ allowed those who opposed abortion on demand to frame the issue to their advantage, to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to be painted into a corner before the debate even begins. In Massachusetts the effective reframing of this issue was the key to the success of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. “We immediately seized upon the opponent’s calling card—safety—and explained how homophobia represents a threat to students’ safety by creating a climate where violence, namecalling, health problems, and suicide are common. Titling our report ‘Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth,’ we automatically threw our opponents onto the defensive and stole their best line of attack. This framing short-circuited their arguments and left them back-pedaling from day one. “. So successful was Mr. Jennings in his framing operation that he was appointed in the first Obama administration to the position of Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, in the Department of Education. The irony was not lost on 52 members of Congress, who wrote to President Obama requesting that he rescind the appointment because Mr. Jennings had, as the letter stated, “for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda”. Mr. Obama did not do so, and Mr. Jennings served in the position for two years. GLSEN’s mission of promoting a safe and supportive environment for students of all sexual orientations means providing the approval of those orientations. In the Safe Space Kit: Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students, GSLEN provides an examination of conscience for those wanting to be allies to LGBT students. Here are some of the searching questions: “If someone were to come out to you as LGBT, what would your first thought be? Have you ever been to in LGBT social event, march or worship service? Why or why not? Have you ever laughed at or made a joke at the expense of LGBT people?” With an Orwellian touch, the Safe Space Kit advises that, during casual units in each elementary grade. Some units will focus on families, including families with single parents, foster parents, and gay and lesbian parents”. A parent, Shawn Landon, protested, demanding “prior notification to any discussion, education, training, reading or anything at all related (even remotely) to homosexuality”. Here is part of Dr Ash’s response to the father: “… perhaps you are not aware of the lawsuit decided by the United States Court of Appeals (Parker vs. Hurley). This case established Lexington’s right to teach diversity units, including stories that show same gender parents. The court decided we are not required to inform parents in advance of teaching units that include same gender parents or required to release students when such topics are discussed. The Appeals Court dismissed the claim that parents have a right to require the school provide advance notice or the right to remove their children. In addition, the School Committee has decided that teachers must be able to teach topics they feel are appropriate without the requirement parents be notified in advance”. Recall Jean Jacques Rousseau’s prescription for the replacement of the family by the state: “The public authority, in assuming the place of father and charging itself with this important function (should) acquire his (the father’s) rights in the discharge of his duties”. This prescription was filled in Massachusetts. One can expect its spread wherever same-sex “marriage” is mandated by the state. Gender-bending Back to the classroom, we have another GLSEN publication, Elementary School Toolkit , subtitled Ready, Set, Respect!, to assist the state in its usurpation of parental duties. This booklet advises on how to deal with certain children being perceived as “not behaving ‘enough’ like a boy or ‘enough’ like a girl”. It states: “As educators we have the opportunity to create environments that not only support students as they develop an awareness of gender but that also challenge the stereotypes that may impair healthy development”. As if on cue, in May 2013, the Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities, a Milwaukee elementary school, sponsored a “Gender Bender Day” for which the students were asked to dress as a member of the opposite sex. “I think it’s just teaching them the wrong lesson about gender”, one parent told local Fox affiliate WITI. “If you’re a boy, stay a boy. You shouldn’t have something like that at school”. Another parent said she was ‘speechless’ about the school’s decision day. She, like some other parents, ended up keeping her son home from school that day. A school-board member dismissed parents’ concerns, saying they were ‘using the kids for political purposes.’ In an effort to appease upset parents, the school changed the name to ‘Switch It Up Day.’ In fact, WITI couldn’t find many students participating in the themed day when it finally came last Friday; it appears to be mostly teachers and other staffers”. On Fox-6 News TV, one mother protested: “I don’t want to send my son to school dressed as girl. He’s only 7 years old.” However, this is clearly the age at which some homosexual ideologues and their allies would like to reach children with their propaganda. The extent to which this can go becomes, on occasion, unintentionally hilarious. In the Ready, Set, Respect! booklet, for instance, teachers are advised to “write math problems with contexts that include a variety of family structures and gender-expressions”. For example, “Rosa and her dads were at the store and wanted to buy three boxes of pasta. If each costs $.75, how much will all three boxes cost?” This reads as if some now unemployed Soviet or Sandinista propagandist wrote it. If it were written during the Cold War, they would be buying Kalashnikovs, not pasta but, of course, then there would have been only one dad, not two. What happened to innocence? It is a measure of the depravity of the homosexual movement that it will not spare the innocence of children in the spread of its rationalization, which must embrace everyone at every age, regardless of price. Innocence cannot be left to stand in its way. As shocking as some of the classroom and reading material may be, it is all part of the inexorable logic of the situation playing itself out. Classroom presentations by homosexuals or on the subject of homosexuality are invitations to obscenity and inevitably lead to the question asked by one boy during It’s Elementary: “How do you guys do it?” The response was, “We are not allowed to talk about our personal sex lives—we can’t do that”. Nevertheless, with the question implanted, curious young minds will ineluctably be drawn to the subject of
Education / B7
with GLSEN.” The number of GSAs should give some idea of the scope of this organization’s influence. Among the activities sponsored by GLSEN and its affiliates are: the Day of Silence, National Coming Out Day, and GSA Day. On January 24, 2012, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, gave official government approval of the first GSA Day through a GSA PSA on YouTube commemorating the event and endorsing GSA clubs in schools. So this is an officially endorsed event. GLSEN is also hard at work providing role models for LGBT students. NBA player Jason Collins, who plays center for the Washington Wizards basketball team, announced he was a homosexual in an article for the Sports Illustrated website on April 29, 2013. Hardly a week passed before, on May 8, 2013, GLSEN, announced it would honor Collins with the Courage Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards in New York on Monday, May 20. “We are incredibly proud to honor Jason Collins with our Courage Award,” said Dr. Byard. “His decision to come out is a game-changer for sports”. In the classroom What does this kind of thing actually translate into in the classroom? The film, It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues In School, is the first item recommended on the Book Link page on GLSEN’s website. It’s Elementary is, according to its makers, “the groundbreaking film that addresses anti-gay prejudice by providing adults with practical lessons on how to talk with children about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people”. The filmmakers visited six elementary and middle schools to film teachers and students discussing “gay and lesbian issues” in their classrooms. The purpose was to explore “what happens when experienced teachers talk about lesbians and gay men with their students”. It aired on more than 100 public television stations in 1999 and continues to be widely used. This film is worth some detailed attention not only because of its wide circulation, but because it seems to incorporate what GLSEN advocates. In fact, GLSEN’s founder Kevin Jennings said, “It’s Elementary is the most important film dealing with LGBT issues and safe schools ever made. It took a topic
City, Emily, reads to the class from her Mother’s Day essay: “My mothers mean so, so, so, so, so much to me. I have two mothers. Two moms is pretty nice. Well, it’s more than pretty nice, it’s really nice. You can’t imagine. Although having two mothers is a problem to others, I respect that that’s the way they think, and I can’t do anything about it. I still think that those people think stupidly. This once happened with a boy in my class who couldn’t come to my house because my parents were lesbians. One night I called their house and their mother told me their version of the Bible. I stood up for my mothers and knew that many kids in my class were supporting me and calling me to see how I was. I am proud of my moms and enjoy marching in the gay pride march every single year with my moms.” Teacher: “Wasn’t that a nice essay? Shouldn’t we give Emily a round of applause?” (Applause ) Evidently, no one has told poor Emily that one of her parents is a dad. As the responses of the children throughout this film demonstrate, propaganda works. All you have to do is repeat it often enough before their minds are formed. Children can be easily exploited, as the film demonstrates. Whose children are they? The background song with the closing credits has these lyrics (taken from Khalil Gibran): “Your children are not your children; They come through you, but they are not from you; And though they are with you, they belong not to you; You can house their bodies but not their souls…” Well, then, if not their parents’, whose children are they? One may be sure that wherever same-sex “marriage” has been legally enshrined, it will be taught in schools with or without the permission of parents. In this respect, the children will belong to the state and its schools. Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2003, is exhibit A. In 2005, kindergartners in Lexington, Massachusetts, were given a “Diversity Book Bag” to take home, which is what the 5-year-old son of David and Tonia Parker did. To the parents’ shock, it contained a picture book, titled Who’s in a Family? In it, are approvingly displayed same-sex “parents” such as:
a scheduled meeting and insisted that he would not leave until the issue was resolved. As a consequence he was arrested by the Lexington police and charged with “trespassing”. He spent the night in jail. The next year, at the same school, a second grade teacher read the book, King & King, to the students as part of an educational unit on weddings. In the book, the Queen is frustrated that she cannot interest her son in any of the princesses she presents to him as prospective brides. Then, one day he sees the brother of one of the princesses. “At last, the prince felt a stir in his heart... It was love at first sight”, the book exclaims. The pictorial depiction of the subsequent wedding shows the two “Kings” holding hands. The last picture is of the two of them kissing. Parents Robb and Robin Wirthlin complained that they had not been notified about the reading or its contents, to which they objected. Robin Wirthlin appeared on CNN, saying, “We felt like seven years old is not appropriate to introduce homosexual themes… My problem is that this issue of romantic attraction between two men is being presented to my seven-year-old as wonderful, and good and the way things should be… Let us know and let us excuse our child from the discussion”. They were told that the school was under no obligation to notify them or to allow their child to opt out. In 2006, the Wirthlins and the Parkers filed a federal lawsuit against the school district of Estabrook Elementary School, claiming that the school was engaging in sex education without parental notification, in violation of their civil rights and state law. Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf, of the U.S. District Court dismissed the lawsuit, saying “Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation… [The Department of Education] also encourages instruction concerning different types of families… Some families are headed by same-sex couples”. The ramifications of his judgment became abundantly clear in 2008, when Dr. Paul B. Ash, the superintendent of Lexington Public Schools, announced the “new, formalized diversity curriculum in preparation for the next year, when we plan to pilot 4 to 5 short
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Address of Pope Francis to Ecclesial Movements who were gathered at St. Peter’s Square for the Pentecost Vigil, May 18, 2013
I AM happy to meet you and glad that we are all gathered in Saint Peter’s Square to pray, to be united and to await the gift of the Spirit. I had already looked at your questions and I have thought about them—so my words to you tonight are offered with prior knowledge! We must always begin with the truth! I have them in front of me, written down. Here is the first question, “How have you been able in your life to attain the certainty of faith; and what route do you suggest we take to enable each one of us to overcome the fragility of our faith?” This is a historical question, because it concerns my personal history, my life-story! I had the great blessing of growing up in a family in which faith was lived in a simple, practical way. However it was my paternal grandmother in particular who influenced my journey of faith. She was a woman who explained to us, who talked to us about Jesus, who taught us the Catechism. I always remember that on the evening of Good Friday she would take us to the candle-light procession, and at the end of this procession “the dead Christ” would arrive and our grandmother would make us — the children — kneel down and she would say to us: “Look, he is dead, but tomorrow he will rise”. This was how I received my first Christian proclamation, from this very woman, from my grandmother! This is really beautiful! The first proclamation at home, in the family! And this makes me think of the love of so many mothers and grandmothers in the transmission of faith. They are the ones who pass on the faith. This used to happen in the early Church too, for Saint Paul said to Timothy: “I am reminded of the faith of your mother and of your grandmother” (cf. 2 Tim 1:5). All the mothers and all the grandmothers who are here should think about this: passing on the faith! Because God sets beside us people who help us on our journey of faith. We do not find our faith in the abstract, no! It is always a person preaching who tells us who Jesus is, who communicates faith to us and gives us the first proclamation. And this is how I received my first experience of faith. One day in particular, though, was very important to me: 21 September 1953. I was almost 17. It was “Students’ Day”, for us the first day of spring — for you the first day of autumn. Before going to the celebration I passed through the parish I normally attended, I found a priest that I did not know and I felt the need to go to confession. For me this was an experience of encounter: I found that someone was waiting for me. Yet I do not know what happened, I can’t remember, I do not know why that particular priest was there whom I did not know, or why I felt this desire to confess, but the truth is that someone was waiting for me. He had been waiting for me for some time. After making my confession I felt something had changed. I was not the same. I had heard something like a voice, or a call. I was convinced that I should become a priest. This experience of faith is important. We say we must seek God, go to him and ask forgiveness, but when we go, he is waiting for us, he is there first! In Spanish we have a word that explains this well: primerear—the Lord always gets there before us, he gets there first, he is waiting for us! To find someone waiting for you is truly a great grace. You go to him as a sinner, but he is waiting to forgive you. This is the experience that the Prophets of Israel describe, comparing the Lord to almond blossom, the first flower of spring (cf. Jer 1:1112). Before any other flowers appear, he is there, waiting. The Lord is waiting for us. Moreover, when we seek him, we discover that he is waiting to welcome us, to offer us his love. And this fills your heart with such wonder that you can hardly believe it, and this is how your faith grows—through encounter with a Person, through encounter with the Lord. Some people will say, “No, I prefer to read about faith in books!” It is important to read about faith, but look, on its own this is not enough! What is important is our encounter with Jesus, our encounter with him, and this is what gives you faith because he is the one who gives it to you! You were also talking about the fragility of faith, about how to overcome it. The worst enemy of a fragile faith—curious, isn’t it?—is fear. Do not be afraid! We are frail and we know it, but he is stronger! If you walk with him there is no problem! A child is very frail—I have seen many children today—but if they’re with their father, with their mother, they are safe. With the Lord we are safe. Faith grows with the Lord, from the very hand of the Lord; this helps us grow and makes us strong. However if we think we can manage on our own.... Just think what happened to Peter: “Lord I will never fall away!” (cf. Mt 26:3335); and then the cock crowed, and Peter had denied the Lord three times! (cf. vv. 69-75). Think about it: when we are too self-confident, we are more fragile—much more fragile. Always with the Lord, with the Lord! And when we say “with the Lord”, we mean with the Eucharist, with the Bible, with prayer... but also with the family, with our mother, also with her, because she is the one who brings us to the Lord; she is the mother, she is the one who knows everything. So pray to Our Lady too and ask her, as a mother, to “make me strong”. This is what I think about fragility, at least it has been my experience. One thing that makes me strong every day is praying the Rosary to Our Lady. I feel such great strength because I go to her and I feel strong. Let us move on to the second question. “I think that all of us here are keenly aware of the challenge of evangelization that is at the heart of our experience. This, Holy Father, is why I want to ask you to help me and help all of us to understand how to live this challenge at the present time. What do you consider the most important target on which all of us movements, associations and communities must set our sights if we are to be able to carry out the task to which we are called? How can we communicate faith effectively today?” I shall answer with just three words. The first: Jesus. What is the most important thing? Jesus. If we forge ahead with our own arrangements, with other things, with beautiful things but without Jesus we make no headway, it does not work. Jesus is more important. I would like now to make a small complaint, but in a brotherly way, just between ourselves. All of you in the square shouted “Francis, Francis, Pope Francis”; but where was Jesus? I should have preferred to hear you cry: “Jesus, Jesus is Lord, and he is in our midst!” From now on enough of “Francis”, just “Jesus”! The second word is: prayer. Looking at the face of God, but above al —and this has to do with what I said earlier—realizing that he is also looking at us. The Lord looks at us. He looks at us first. My experience is what I feel in front of the tabernacle, when I go in the evening to pray before the Lord. Sometimes I nod off for a while; this is true, for the strain of the day more or less makes you fall asleep, but he understands. I feel great comfort when I think of the Lord looking at me. We think we have to pray and talk, talk, talk.... No! Let the Lord look at you. When he looks at us, he gives us strength and helps us to bear witness to him—for the question was about witnessing to faith, wasn’t it? First “Jesus”, then “prayer”— let us think of God holding us by the hand. Then I would like to draw attention to this element: letting ourselves be led by him. This is more important than any calculation. We are true evangelizers when we let him guide us. Think of Peter; perhaps he was having a snooze when he had a vision, the vision of the sheet with all the animals, and he heard Jesus telling him something that he did not understand.
At that moment some non-Jews came to call him to go to a certain house and he saw that the Holy Spirit was there. Peter let Jesus guide him to that first evangelization of the Gentiles, who were not Jews, something inconceivable at the time (cf. Acts 10:9-33). So it has been, throughout history, throughout history! Letting ourselves be led by Jesus. He is our leader, our leader is Jesus. And the third word: witness. Jesus, prayer—prayer, letting ourselves be led by him – and then witness. But I would like to add something. Letting oneself be led by Jesus leads to the surprises of Jesus. We might think we should work out programmes of evangelization carefully, thinking of strategies and making plans, but these are only tools, small tools. What matters is Jesus and letting ourselves be led by him. We can then plot our strategies but this is secondary. Finally, witness: faith can only be communicated through witness, and that means love. Not with our own ideas but with the Gospel, lived out in our own lives and brought to life within us by the Holy Spirit. There is, as it were, a synergy between us and the Holy Spirit, and this leads to witness. The Church is carried forward by the Saints, who are the very ones who bear this witness. As both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have said, today’s world stands in great need of witnesses, not so much of teachers but rather of witnesses. It’s not so much about speaking, but rather speaking with our whole lives: living consistently, the very consistency of our lives! This consistency means living Christianity as an encounter with Jesus that brings me to others, not just as a social label. In terms of society, this is how we are, we are Christians closed in on ourselves. No, not this! Witness is what counts! The third question: “Holy Father, I would like to ask you how I, how we can live as a poor Church and for the poor. How does a suffering person pose a question for our faith? What practical, effective contribution can all of us, as members of lay movements and associations, make to the Church and to society in order to address this grave crisis that is affecting public ethics”—this is important!—“the model of development, politics, that is to say, a new way of being men and women?” I shall return to the idea of “witness”. First of all living out the Gospel is the main contribution we can make. The Church is neither a political movement nor a well-organized structure. That is not what she is. We are not an NGO, and when the Church becomes an NGO she loses her salt, she has no savour, she is only an empty organization. We need cunning here, because the devil deceives us and we risk falling into the trap of hyper-efficiency. Preaching Jesus is one thing; attaining goals, being efficient is another. No, efficiency is a different value. Basically the
value of the Church is living by the Gospel and witnessing to our faith. The Church is the salt of the earth, she is the light of the world. She is called to make present in society the leaven of the Kingdom of God and she does this primarily with her witness, the witness of brotherly love, of solidarity and of sharing with others. When you hear people saying that solidarity is not a value but a “primary attitude” to be got rid of... this will not do! They are thinking of an efficiency that is purely worldly. Times of crisis, like the one we are living through—you said earlier that “we live in a world of lies”—this time of crisis, beware, is not merely an economic crisis. It is not a crisis of culture. It is a human crisis: it is the human person that is in crisis! Man himself is in danger of being destroyed! But man is the image of God! This is why it is a profound crisis! At this time of crisis we cannot be concerned solely with ourselves, withdrawing into loneliness, discouragement and a sense of powerlessness in the face of problems. Please do not withdraw into yourselves! This is a danger: we shut ourselves up in the parish, with our friends, within the movement, with the like-minded... but do you know what happens? When the Church becomes closed, she becomes an ailing Church, she falls ill! That is a danger. Nevertheless we lock ourselves up in our parish, among our friends, in our movement, with people who think as we do... but do you know what happens? When the Church is closed, she falls sick, she falls sick. Think of a room that has been closed for a year. When you go into it there is a smell of damp, many things are wrong with it. A Church closed in on herself is the same, a sick Church. The Church must step outside herself. To go where? To the outskirts of existence, whatever they may be, but she must step out. Jesus tells us: “Go into all the world! Go! Preach! Bear witness to the Gospel!” (cf. Mk 16:15). But what happens if we step outside ourselves? The same as can happen to anyone who comes out of the house and onto the street: an accident. But I tell you, I far prefer a Church that has had a few accidents to a Church that has fallen sick from being closed. Go out, go out! Think of what the Book of Revelation says as well. It says something beautiful: that Jesus stands at the door and knocks, knocks to be let into our heart (cf. Rev 3:20). This is the meaning of the Book of Revelation. But ask yourselves this question: how often is Jesus inside and knocking at the door to be let out, to come out? And we do not let him out because of our own need for security, because so often we are locked into ephemeral structures that serve solely to make us slaves and not free children of God. In this “stepping out” it is important to be ready for encounter. For me this word is very
important. Encounter with others. Why? Because faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others. We live in a culture of conflict, a culture of fragmentation, a culture in which I throw away what is of no use to me, a culture of waste. Yet on this point, I ask you to think—and it is part of the crisis—of the elderly, who are the wisdom of a people, think of the children... the culture of waste! However, we must go out to meet them, and with our faith we must create a “culture of encounter”, a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters, in which we can also speak with those who think differently, as well as those who hold other beliefs, who do not have the same faith. They all have something in common with us: they are images of God, they are children of God. Going out to meet everyone, without losing sight of our own position. There is another important point: encountering the poor. If we step outside ourselves we find poverty. Today— it sickens the heart to say so—the discovery of a tramp who has died of the cold is not news. Today what counts as news is, maybe, a scandal. A scandal: ah, that is news! Today, the thought that a great many children do not have food to eat is not news. This is serious, this is serious! We cannot put up with this! Yet that is how things are. We cannot become starched Christians, those over-educated Christians who speak of theological matters as they calmly sip their tea. No! We must become courageous Christians and go in search of the people who are the very flesh of Christ, those who are the flesh of Christ! When I go to hear confessions—I still can’t, because to go out to hear confessions... from here it’s impossible to go out, but that’s another problem—when I used to go to hear confessions in my previous diocese, people would come to me and I would always ask them: “Do you give alms?”—“Yes, Father!” “Very good.” And I would ask them two further questions: “Tell me, when you give alms, do you look the person in the eye?” “Oh I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it”. The second question: “And when you give alms, do you touch the hand of the person you are giving them to or do you toss the coin at him or her?” This is the problem: the flesh of Christ, touching the flesh of Christ, taking upon ourselves this suffering for the poor. Poverty for us Christians is not a sociological, philosophical or cultural category, no. It is theological. I might say this is the first category, because our God, the Son of God, abased himself, he made himself poor to walk along the road with us. This is our poverty: the poverty of the flesh of Christ, the poverty that brought the Son of God to us through his Incarnation. A poor Church for the poor begins by reaching out to the
flesh of Christ. If we reach out to the flesh of Christ, we begin to understand something, to understand what this poverty, the Lord’s poverty, actually is; and this is far from easy. However there is one problem that can afflict Christians: the spirit of the world, the worldly spirit, spiritual worldliness. This leads to self-sufficiency, to living by the spirit of the world rather than by the spirit of Jesus. You asked the question: how should we live in order to address this crisis that affects public ethics, the model of development and politics? Since this is a crisis of man, a crisis that destroys man, it is a crisis that strips man of ethics. In public life, in politics, if there is no ethics, an ethics of reference, everything is possible and everything can be done. We see, moreover, whenever we read the newspapers, that the lack of ethics in public life does great harm to the whole of humanity. I would like to tell you a story. I have already told it twice this week, but I will tell it a third time to you. It is taken from a biblical midrash by a 12th-century rabbi. He tells the tale of the building of the Tower of Babel and he says that, in order to build the Tower of Babel, bricks had to be made. What does this mean? Going out and mixing the mud, fetching straw, doing everything... then the kiln. And when the brick was made it had to be hoisted, for the construction of the Tower of Babel. Every brick was a treasure because of all the work required to make it. Whenever a brick fell, it was a national tragedy and the guilty workman was punished; a brick was so precious that if it fell there was a great drama. Yet if a workman fell, nothing happened, that was something else. This happens today: if the investments in the banks fall slightly... a tragedy... what can be done? But if people die of hunger, if they have nothing to eat, if they have poor health, it does not matter! This is our crisis today! And the witness of a poor Church for the poor goes against this mentality. The fourth question: “in the face of such situations, I think my confession of faith, my witness, is timid and awkward. I would like to do more, but what? And how can I help these brethren of ours, how can I alleviate their suffering since I can do nothing or only very little to change their political and social context?”. To proclaim the Gospel two virtues are essential: courage and patience [acceptance of suffering]. They [Christians who are suffering] are in the Church of “patience”. They suffer and there are more martyrs today than there were in the early centuries of the Church. More martyrs! Our own brothers and sisters. They are suffering! They carry their faith even to martyrdom. However martyrdom is never a defeat; martyrdom is the highest degree of the witness we must give. We are on the way to
Pentecost / B7
© Stephen Driscoll / CNA
B6 How does one discover the real identity of Jesus?
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 12th Sunday of Year C, Luke 8:18-24, June 23, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
IN understanding Jesus’ identity, it is not uncommon to approach the problem theoretically by asking whether he is God or man. Thus, we may begin with a certain idea of God and see if this could be applied to Jesus. Such an approach, however, is not without peril, because the idea of God is itself problematic, to begin with. In the Gospel of Luke, the people’s observations on his words and works led them to ask who he was. After the calming of the tempest, the disciples inquired, “What sort of man can this be?” (Luke 8:25). When Herod heard about what Jesus was doing, he said, “Who is this man?” While these questions were never answered, the people’s perception of him, on the basis of his speech and action, was diverse: he was John the Baptist raised from the dead, Elijah or one of the prophets of old risen (Luke 9:7-8.19). If anything, the effort to know Jesus from what he said and dead does not succeed, either. How, then, do we know his identity? It would seem that the best way to approach the problem of Jesus’ identity is to have a personal encounter with him. If Peter was able to approximate the truth about Jesus’ identity, it is because he has been following him. He followed Jesus from the beginning of his ministry, and shared in that ministry. This explains why in much the same way that a wife’s knowledge about her husband is far removed from those of her acquaintances, so Peter’s perception was different from that of the crowd, “You are the Messiah of God” (Luke 9:20). In making this confession, Peter, of course, understood Jesus in the Jewish sense of an expected anointed agent in the kingly, Davidic tradition. Having witnessed Jesus’ ministry of preaching, healing and working miracles, he recognized him as the anointed to free Israel from the yoke of Rome and restore the kingdom of Israel (Acts 1:6). Since Peter’s encounter with Jesus was limited only to the latter’s public ministry, it is understandable that he did not have a full knowledge of Jesus’ identity. Although he correctly applied to Jesus the title “Messiah,” yet his understanding of that title was still far from being entirely correct. Which is why, Jesus rebuked him as well as the other disciples (of whom Peter was the spokesman) and directed him not to tell anyone about his identity. As a corrective to that understanding, Jesus added, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed and on the third day be raised up” (Luke 9:22). In other words, Jesus’ real identity is the Son-of-Man Messiah who, in obedience to God’s plan of salvation, must be repudiated and suffer many things. But all this was not yet fully disclosed to his disciples. His identity was fully revealed when, after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples themselves followed him in his footsteps. In discipleship, his followers had a full encounter with the risen Lord. For this reason, his messianic identity was no longer concealed. Indeed, the disciples were already being asked to be witnesses to it: “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). Logically enough, Jesus asked those who wished to really know him to disregard themselves and take up their crosses daily on account of the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:23). Only those who lose their life for the sake of Christ will really come to a true knowledge of Jesus’ real identity (Luke 9:24). A good example is Paul who did not preach anything save the crucified Messiah. Notice how his knowledge of Christ is intertwined with his sharing in the Jesus’ suffering: “I wish to know Christ and the power flowing from his resurrection; likewise to know how to share in the sufferings by being formed into the pattern of his death” (Phil 3:10). In the contemporary age, probably no one knows the Lord’s identity better than St Francis of Assisi; his stigmata and his poverty are witnesses to his encounters with the risen Lord.
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Extravagant display of love and the grace of forgiveness
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 11th Sunday of Year C Luke 7:36-50, June 16, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
IN the fast-paced movie of adventure and fantasy, shown in theaters two years ago, titled “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” set in an imagined kingdom of Persia in the fifth century, one of the characters that caught the attention of the audience was Dastan, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Dastan was an orphaned scamp who went about the market place. But the King of Persia, Sharaman in the person of Ronald Pickup, caught sight of him; and shown by Dastan’s valor in fighting those who pursued him, he adopted him as his son. Grateful to the King’s benevolence, he distinguished himself as an able commander of the Persian Army. Accused of murdering the King, he never turned against his step brothers who sought him; rather, he tried to prove his innocence to them at his own great peril. Indeed, he sacrificed so much in order to save them from the evil machination of their uncle, Nizam, played by Ben Kingsley, who, salivating after the royal throne, was the culprit of the plot to eliminate the king. Dastan’s behavior recalls how the sinful woman in today’s Gospel (Luke 7:36-50) conducted herself before Jesus. How explain her extravagant demeanor? There’s certainly no doubt about it, what the woman did was an expression of hospitality and great love—her kissing of Jesus’ feet, her bathing them with her tears, her drying them with her
hair, and her anointing them with perfume from an alabaster flask. The problem lies in the correct interpretation of v 47a, which is ambiguous. The new Vulgate renders it thus: “Remissa sunt peccata eius multa, quoniam delixet multum.” “Her sins, which are
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time; Father’s Day, June 16, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
LOVE is a beautiful, exhilarating experience. It affirms and even transforms people. It brings out the best in us, just as hatred brings out the worst. No amount of money or precious objects is enough to pay even for an ounce of love. Love simply cannot be bought or sold. It is freely given and received with all one’s heart and it is paid for or deserved only with loving attitudes and actions. Love is definitely one of the best “inventions” of God. Love is, actually, the “first name” of God. It is an integral part of His very essence. All that is loving is rooted in Him, it derives from Him and ultimately leads to Him. It is no wonder that St. John wrote: “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love . . . and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4:8.16). The same apostle also said: “If one says, ‘I love God’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen . . . . Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 Jn 4:20-21). And this is where love becomes a challenge, for a person who loves can be disappointed and hurt. Love can be hurt very deeply or even killed. And the temptation to withhold love from the person who has hurt us, and even to repay evil with evil, may envelop us like a violent hurricane. Indeed, sometimes Christ’s command to love those who have hurt us may seem impossible to fulfill. It is so much against our natural inclination. It is so different from what we see being done around us. So different from what we would be inclined to do. But the duty to love all remains, nonetheless. It remains a duty for all, but especially for us Christians who profess to follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Both God and people expect us to be “forgiving persons” – which means that we are expected to be better persons than our offenders. Our ability to forgive will reveal and measure the depth of our love. But what is forgiveness, really? Some think that forgiveness is a form of weakness or that it is prompted by impotence – the impotence to strike back and take revenge. This is a wrong concept of forgiveness. Genuine forgiveness is real moral strength. It is love that refuses to be defeated. It is love that refuses to die. Forgiveness is an overflowing of mercy which, like a gentle perfume, overpowers the stench of resentment and hatred. Forgiveness is something that does good to the “forgiver” even before affecting positively those who are forgiven. But it is especially in the person who receives it that forgiveness shows all its life-giving power. Whenever it is received with humility, forgiveness is like a balm that envelops and revives the wrongdoers, restoring to them the worth which they lost through the wrong they did. That forgiveness, which is prompted by love in the one who offers it, evokes love in return in the recipient. It is like a mirror that reproduces the image of
Love / B7
Love and forgiveness
many, are forgiven, for she loved much” (RSV). “Her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much” (NIV). By itself, the verse could mean that her multitude of sins was forgiven on account of the love she had demonstrated to Jesus. But the preceding parable
of two debtors, in addition to the second segment of v 47 (“He who was been forgiven little loves little”), excludes this interpretation. This brief parable allegorizes the divergent behaviors of Simon
Extravagant / B7
Bishop Pat Alo
Listening to the church
WE observe here in the Philippines a good number of Catholics. It was in the 16th century that the first Catholic missionaries from Spain came over to bring the Catholic Faith to our land. Ever since, by God’s grace, majority of Filipinos have been practicing the Catholic Faith devotedly, though it’s true there is an air of freedom of religions, since we are a democratic society. But such freedom is part of our mature conscientiousness of being respectful of others’ rights in the quest for truth and freedom. This fact presupposes our being true to ourselves in honestly searching for the truth. Naturally our quest for the truth should not be a popularity contest of numbers in population but rather an objective perception or understanding of the truth. That’s what the Lord wanted to tell us in the statement—“the truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Naturally, truth brings us success, but error or lies lead us to failure and disappointments. Perhaps you might ask why I chose the present title of this write-up. You can read the reason in Mt. 16:15-20, why we listen to the Church, especially through its authoritative sources, the Pope and the Bishops and their associates or pastors, in their official capacity or acts. Jesus told His disciples: “Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me” (Lk. 10:15). We have to respect as well all lawfully constituted authority. Honesty and truth will stand the test of time and history since the hand of God is ever there to guide man’s destiny through the years.
Following Jesus through thick and thin
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 23, 2013
Soulfood Do you have a distorted image of God?
ONE day, a man came up to me and said, “Bo, I’ve been feeling guilty. I feel God is angry at me today…” “Angry at you? Why?” I asked. “Because I missed my prayer time today. I’m afraid that He’ll punish me.” Friends, I knew that feeling very well. Because for years—decades—I used to think this way. Yes, I once had Toxic Faith. (And if I’ll be honest, I still feel its residue in my soul.) Toxic Faith is based on a distorted image of God. For 20 years, I worshipped a judgmental, wrathful, vindictive, vengeful, and legalistic God. Even if during that time, I was preaching on God’s Love! Why? Because our intellectual image of God is very different from our subconscious image of God. The latter is much deeper and more difficult to change. A person with Toxic Faith will imagine God telling him, “Aha! You missed your prayer time today. I will punish you…” I used to pray daily because of fear. Do you know how absurd this is? Imagine a father calling up his son by phone and growling, “Ingrate! You don’t visit me anymore. I’m warning you. I’m going to put a curse on you if you don’t visit me right this minute. Do you understand?” What kind of father is that? And yet we imagine God to be like that. Today, I still pray daily, but I do so because I love to pray. He blesses me, nourishes me, and fills my heart with love. If I do miss my prayers, He doesn’t throw lightning bolts on me.
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
JESUS had a mission to accomplish—to save mankind from the disastrous consequences of sin and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. That was the very reason why he was born. And the whole of his life was a continuous effort to fulfill the divine plan, even if he knew that this entailed the greatest humiliation and suffering on his part.
All this had been foreseen by the prophets, particularly the prophet Isaiah. Jesus did not back out at the last moment. He went through it in full awareness and in perfect freedom. In speaking of himself as the “Good Shepherd” who lays down his life for the sheep, he had stated forcefully: “I lay down my life freely. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again” (Jn 10:18).
Following / B7
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
conscience of an individual Christian or Muslim properly formed? How can it develop maturely? Are these questions included in the character-building and capacity-building seminars of peace advocates and peace builders? Does the promotion of the so-called culture of peace also include the formation and development of personal and social conscience? Honestly I do not know the answers. All I know is the fact that most character and capacity building seminars given by peace advocates and educational institutions and NGOs in support of peace advocacy and the culture of peace provide for the most part valuable INFORMATION and excellent SKILLS. This can be part of Peace Education which generally is the training of the mind and the intellect. On the other hand FORMATION of conscience or Moral Education is the training of the heart aided by the intellect based on moral values which are values of the spirit or soul. How to strike a balance between Information and Formation is another question I find difficult to answer. Unfortunately I am not a formator. Suggestions, recommendations or proposals from our readers on the Formation of social conscience of peacemakers/peace advocates based on Shalom are welcomed and appreciated. We in the BishopsUlama Conference and perhaps all Filipinos badly need this kind of formation. Our country, presently confronted by so much poverty, corruption and socio-political turmoils caused by illegal elections, urgently calls all peace-loving and brave Filipinos—poor and rich, Christians and Muslims, religious and lay leaders—who, imbued with shalom-based social conscience, will question the moral basis of the present administration and consequently work actively and fearlessly for systemic regime change. For, poverty, corruption and fraudulent elections and other injustices are social disorders that militate against Shalom personified by Jesus Christ who is Our Peace according to St. Paul. (Ephesians 2:14). Since formative seminars and teach-ins on the ground may sometimes be financially costly and security-wise risky, social networking may be the only safe way at the moment. I hope and pray that the Spirit of the Risen Lord will be our light and strength as we take part in the awakening of new social consciousness that gives birth to a new and peaceful nation.
By Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla
THIS reflection focuses on the concept of Shalom as a basis of forming a conscience that determines the morality of any activity in the peace building process. Briefly reviewing the concept of Shalom, we say that this word for Peace in the Hebrew language means wholeness, integrity, harmony and proportion. In the Arabic language it is Salam and means the same as a derivative of Shalom. And from Salam is derived another Arabic word, Islam, which means the Religion of Peace. Both Christians and Islamists or Muslims then, if we go by the consistent meaning of the linguistic derivatives of Shalom, can say that our sense of right and wrong, which is what we mean by Conscience, is already properly formed and maturely developed when it dictates to us that an act, mental and/or behavioral, is morally right or wrong because it either promotes or does not promote wholeness, integrity, harmony and proportion in the life of the individual and of the community or society. From this reflection arise serious questions: how is the
Meditations / B3
Social conscience based on Shalom
The salt that gives flavor May 23, 2013 THE Christian, according to the Gospel metaphor in Matthew (5:13-14), is called to be the salt of the earth. But if the Christian does not transmit the flavour which the Lord has given to him then he becomes “tasteless salt” and the person becomes “a museum-piece Christian”. Pope Francis spoke about this at Thursday morning’s Mass on 23
Extravagant / B6
May in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The day’s Gospel (Mk 9:41-50) inspired the Holy Father to reflect on one characterizing peculiarity of Christians: they must be for the world what salt is for the homemaker and for those who have good taste and appreciate the flavour of things. “Salt is something good... which the Lord created”, said the Pontiff; but, “if the salt has lost its flavour, how shall its saltiness be restored?”.
This refers to the salt of faith, hope and charity. “The Lord gives us this salt”, the Holy Father clarified. He then posed the problem: “What can we do to prevent salt from losing its power?”. The savor of Christian salt, he explained, comes from the certainty of the faith, hope and charity that springs from the awareness “that Jesus rose for us” and saved us. But this certainty was not given to us so that we might simply keep it. If that were so, the salt would end up being kept in a bottle:
“it doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t serve any purpose”. On the contrary, explained the Pope, the purpose of salt is to give things flavor. But salt also has another trait: when “it is used well, one does not taste the flavour of salt”. Thus salt does not change the flavor of things; rather “the taste of every dish is noticed”. It is improved and it becomes more savory. “And this is Christian originality: when we proclaim the faith with this salt, all those who
receive it do so with their distinctive features, like different foods”. Nevertheless, the Bishop of Rome clarified, “Christian originality is not uniform... it takes everyone for who he is”. Speaking of the salt of faith, hope and love, the Holy Father said: “In the service of people: give it, give it, give it!... Salt is not preserved only by giving it in preaching. It needs transcendence, prayer and adoration”.
the Pharisee and the sinful woman toward Jesus. The Pharisee was quite stingy with his hospitality, in contrast with that of the woman which was lavish. While Simon never gave attention to the details of hospitality, even though he was the host who invited Jesus to dinner, the prostitute, who was uninvited, was hospitable to Jesus to the highest degree. This only shows that although Simon knew Jesus, he remained blind to him and his significance to his life; he remained in his self-righteous attitude. In reality, he did not even recognize Jesus as a prophet. On the other hand, the loose woman certainly recognized Jesus as more than a prophet, for she accepted his word of forgiveness. (Luke hints that Jesus is more than just a human being, since the guests wondered why he was able to forgive sins.) Having
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received divine grace, she became a changed woman, and it was in the house of Simon that she was able to give thanks and demonstrate her love on account of the forgiveness she received. In effect, the story assumes that she encountered Jesus and received forgiveness prior to her meeting with him at the house of Simon. Because she realized her need for forgiveness, and received that gift from Jesus, it was natural that she would be generous in her response. On the other hand, if Simon violated the rules of Palestinian hospitality, it was because the logion, “the one to whom little was forgiven, loves little (v 47b),” applies to him. The attitude of the sinful woman is therefore somewhat similar to the attitude of Dastan in the film. Just as
the King’s benevolence resulted in a warrior who remained faithful to the King’s family despite the dangers that he encountered, the Lord’s forgiveness lavished on the woman brought about a generous love for him, in spite of the fact that her action would have left the guests in consternation. St Paul is the best illustration of this episode in concrete life. As he himself declared in his letter to the Corinthians, “I am the least of the apostles; in fact, because I persecuted the church of God, I do not even deserve the name. But by God’s favor, I am what I am. This favor of his to me has not proved fruitless. Indeed, I have worked harder than all the others not only my own but through the favor of God” (1 Cor 15:9-10). Paul was conscious of his sinfulness, but he recognized the grace
of God’s forgiving love that came from Jesus. That is why he knew that if he was chosen as an apostle, it was not because of any good thing he did, or any merit on his part, but it was because of God’s loving and forgiving grace for him. This grace produced a humongous result—Paul devoted himself to the preaching of the Gospel to the pagan world until the end of his life, and became a living Word of Jesus’ life. This grace was the energy that propelled him in his missionary labors. The sinful woman, therefore, is a model for us on what it means to receive grace from God despite our unworthiness. Unlike the Pharisee who paraded himself as righteous, she was never ashamed to accept herself and to be known by others as a sinner. But this recognition worked all the better for her, because she
came to admit her need to be forgiven, to encounter Jesus as the bringer of forgiveness and salvation, and on account of that encounter, she became a new person in Christ. This pericope is a good reminder for some who want to parade as holy men and women, even though they know they are not, and use their power to silence, demote, and punish those who they surmise might turn out to be a threat to the cover-up of their corruption, and invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the use of that power. They are the present-day Simons in our midst. Holiness begins with the recognition that we are all sinners and in need of forgiveness. That recognition not only makes us free; it makes us human and enables us to really walk in real love and gratitude to God.
Education / B4
whoever stands in front of it. Forgiveness causes love and trust to be reborn in the persons who are forgiven. And what a wonderful experience this brings along: peace flourishes in them again as a flowerbed revives after a storm. Who “invented” such a powerful “medicine”? Once again, it was God who “invented” forgiveness as a way to mend and heal wounded love and to make life blossom again. But God does not just forgive us, He also expects and demands that we learn to do likewise, according to the teaching and example of His Son Jesus who made forgiveness
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one of the basic requests and duties included in the only prayer he taught his disciples. Love and forgiveness, then, come from God and lead to Him. They have in Him their champion and their reward. They are a wonderful equation. One recalls and demands the other. Their presence creates life, just as their absence equals death. The more we love, the more ready we are to forgive. The more we forgive, the more eager we feel to love. And in the process we, mere mortal people, become evermore Godlike—a “final product” which we are all destined and challenged to become.
sodomy. “So that’s what those nice guys who talked with us do? There must not be anything wrong with it”. Mission accomplished – to make the abnormative normative before the children have developed their critical faculties of thought. Everyone who has an affliction deserves respect and consideration. But respect does not require calling the affliction something other than what it is – much less its oppoPentecost / B5
site. One cannot teach about sickness and at the same time call it health. It is much worse to promote moral sickness as moral well-being – especially to children. To teach children that one’s orientation, sexual or otherwise, gives one license to perform acts that are inherently immoral is an evil teaching. It scandalizes the children. It also degrades the dignity of human free will and responsibility to teach that these
acts are inevitable outcomes of “who we are”, rather than as freely chosen deeds with consequences in terms of both moral and physical health. (Robert R. Reilly is the author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind. He is currently completing a book on the natural law argument against homosexual marriage for Ignatius Press. This piece is lifted from MercatorNet)
The last act of his dramatic life began with his entry into Jerusalem, through which he fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9-10. But the rejoicing of that triumphant and peaceful entry would not last long. The clouds of human envy and hatred had already begun to darken the horizon. (See Lk 19:39.) Soon it would be pitch dark. (See Lk 23:44.) And Jesus would find himself in it, alone and trusting only in the love of the Father. (See 22:45.) Today we are faced with the Paschal Mystery in reverse: from triumph to defeat. But even in Christ’s most humiliating defeat we find in his LOVE the seed of the forthcoming final victory. Jesus undergoes his suffering and death out of love for all and with love for all, including his executioners (see Lk 23:34) and the repentant thief. (See Lk 23:43.) It is his wounded love – suffering love – that is the source of our salvation! His behavior is a lesson for us all. Christ made his choice and stood by it. We too are called to make our choices and honor our commitments. The doctrine of “nonalignment” may be acceptable in the balance of power between opposite blocks of nations, but it
is not valid when it is a matter of right or wrong, life or death. In particular, it cannot be applied to our attitude toward Jesus. He is not one of the many possible and equally good choices. Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIFE (Jn 14:6). He is the only one who can give meaning and direction to our life. But he is demanding. And this may hurt our pride, our complacency, and our tendency to procrastinate and compromise. To refrain from declaring ourselves for him, out of selfish considerations or cowardice, amounts to a rejection. Today our heart is like Jerusalem. At its gates, waiting for our decision, stands Jesus. What will be our attitude toward him? Shall we welcome him with a radiant smile and an open heart, as our “No. 1,” the one with whom we are prepared to stay, even if all others should desert him? . . . Or shall we opt for what is easier, more fashionable and gratifying, while sending word to him: “Tomorrow, maybe . . .”? We should not take God for granted. That “tomorrow” may never come! Jesus is waiting for our answer NOW. He did not hesitate to enter Jerusalem to die for us. Shall we hesitate to live for him?
martyrdom, as small martyrs: giving up this, doing that... but we are on the way. And they, poor things, they give their lives, but they do so — as we heard in the situation in Pakistan — for love of Jesus, witnessing to Jesus. Christians must always have this attitude of meekness, humility, the same attitude that they have, trusting in Jesus and entrusting themselves to Jesus. It should be made clear that very often these conflicts do not have a religious origin; there are frequently other social and political causes, and unfortunately
religious affiliation is used like fuel to add to the fire. A Christian must always know how to respond to evil with good, even though it is often difficult. We try to make these brothers and sisters of ours aware of how deeply united—deeply united!—we are with their situation, how conscious we are that they are Christians who have entered into “patience”. When Jesus goes to his Passion, he enters into “patience”. They have done the same: we should tell them so, but we should also tell the Lord.
I put a question to you: do you pray for these brothers and sisters? Do you pray for them? In your daily prayers? I am not going to ask those who do to raise their hands: no. I am not going to ask that now. But think about it carefully. In our daily prayers let us say to Jesus: “Lord, look at this brother, look at this sister who is suffering so much, suffering atrociously!” They experience the limit, the very limit between life and death. And there are consequences for us: this experience must spur us to promote religious freedom for
everyone, everyone! Every man and every woman must be free in his or her profession of religion, whatever it may be. Why? Because that man and that woman are children of God. And so I think I have made some response to your questions; excuse me if I have gone on for too long. Thank you very much! Thank you, and do not forget: there must be no question of a closed Church, but rather a Church which is ready to step outside, to go to the outlying regions. May the Lord guide us here on earth. Many thanks.
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TITLE: The great Gatsby CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joey Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Debicki DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Baz Luhrmann SCREENPLAY: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce MUSIC: Craig Armstrong CINEMATOGRAPHY: Simon Duggan EDITING: Matt Villa GENRE: Drama DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. RUNNING TIME: 143 minutes LOCATION: United States, Australia Technical assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: MTRCB rating: PG 13 CINEMA rating: V 18
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average E xcellent
The Great Gatsby (2013) is the fourth translation since 1926 or the classic 1925 tale by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story is narrated by Nick Carraway (Toby Macguire), a mid-western scion who moves to New York and rents a cottage on Long Island for weekend getaways. Next door is an opulent mansion owned and lived in by Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a scandalously wealthy man with a shadowy past and a questionable present. Nick has a cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), Gatsby’s old flame and ongoing obsession, who is already married to a heel of a millionaire, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), with whom she lives in another palatial home just across the bay. At Gatsby’s request, Nick arranges a meeting between the former lovers, hardly suspecting that it would to a tragic reunion. Without being compared to the earlier film versions, or being judged according to the printed novel, The Great Gatsby is eye candy, giving the viewer a walk-through of era of jazz and a vicarious thrill from attending those lavish and decadent parties of the rich. The production set does justice to that age, and so do the costumes, music, etc. DiCaprio, however, tends to come on too strong as DiCaprio—it is hard to imagine a man named Jay Gatsby when
Title: Epic Cast: Collin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O’Dowell, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler and Beyonce Knowles Direction: Chris Wedge Genre: Comedy Animation Distributor: 20th Century Fox Running Time: 85 minutes Technical assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: All Ages
it is played by an actor whose face has grown too familiar from the many other memorable characters he has played. He has the intensity though, matched by Edgerton’s, especially in the confrontation scene over a fickle woman. Edgerton superbly plays the husband who—in spite of his having an affair with the wife of a pathetic gas station manager— would not let go his obviously cheating wife not because he truly loves her but because he wants it known that he owns her. In The Great Gatsby we have a character who must have inspired the coining of the phrase “filthy rich”. He throws parties he doesn’t even care to attend, and his guest list suggests he is not above buying powerful men. Since we have not had the privilege of reading the book, we
cannot say if it is the celebrated author’s idea (or director Baz Luhrmann’s) to glamorize this character (why call him “great”?) and justify his profligate ways. So what is the story trying to tell us? That the poor can be as greedy as the rich? That only the old rich have a right to be rich, and that new money is immoral? That a man’s extravagance is justified because he was hungry as a child? That it is all right to betray the trusting and the ignorant? That a lie can make a man get away with murder? That having a cad of a husband is enough reason for a wife and her lover to ignore the 6th Commandment? That a husband’s love may cover up a wife’s crime? Do the victims in the story deserve their fate? Such are the issues adult viewers may thresh over popcorn and soda.
Epic is based on William Joyce’s children’s book entitled The Leaf Men and the Brace Good Bugs. It centers on the relationship between teenaged Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried), or MK as she wanted to be called, and her father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis). Apparently, Professor Bomba believes that the world is governed and protected by little people who move too fast for an ordinary human. He spends his life searching, studying and proving his theory at the expense of his reputation and his marriage. MK moves to live with him after her mother dies and is equally dismayed to witness how obsessed he still is. Meanwhile, forest queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles) must choose her heir and allow her to bloom under the moonlight so the forest may continue to be protected against the Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) and his Boggans who desire to turn nature into a wasteland. MK, while looking for her dog in the forest is magically shrunk and witnesses the death of queen Tara who turns over to her care the pod which will turn into the next forest queen. MK realizes that her father’s work is true and
is pulled in, reluctantly at first, to aid the Leafman headed by Ronin (Collin Farrell) and his rebellious protégé Nod (Josh Hutcherson). The trio while guarding the pod and misleading the Boggans, learn the value of trust, teamwork and commitment. Visually, Epic is a magical treat both for the young and the old. The forest is an inspiration to watch as petals unfold, flowers bloom, leaves sway, water flows and every living creature comes to life. Of course, the amazing animation and special effects had much to do to make the narrative even more entertaining and understandable. The voice actors perform well and aptly push the story forward with the right amount of humor and earnestness. The plot is reasonable and easy to follow although it feels a little run of the mill as a pro-environment movie. Overall, Epic is a good choice for a family weekend movie. Epic is about choosing a side and sticking to the choice regardless of what it takes—of course, it is presumed that the choice will be the good side. More
than taking a side is the commitment to make a difference for the betterment of mankind. Nowadays, we see people falter in their commitment especially when the going gets rough. It seems that personal well-being is given more weight than common good. Epic is also a movie for the environment, again another very timely issue. We experience the repercussions of bad choices we have made: wastage, over-consumption leading to high utilization of fossil fuels, indiscriminate self-serving activities like illegal logging, mining, etc.—all leading to the destruction of nature. The Boggans are like men who care not if nature dies and the earth becomes a barren wasteland. The Leafmen are those fighting to protect nature at all cost. As children are transformed in a world where the good guys fight to protect their kingdom, perhaps, the adults watching the movie with them can realize that they are called to deliver the same commitment as the Leafmen to make sure that the next generation still has a home to live in.
Buhay San Miguel
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
KCFAPI officials led by Fraternal Benefits Group Vice President Gari M. San Sebastian and Financial Management and Accounting Services Manager Rowena M. Diapolit together with the awardees of the 36th Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Annual Family Service Awards and their families.
KCFAPI Sales Awardees’ Indonesian Trip Towards Unity in Diversity
By Yen Ocampo
Awardees of the 36th Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Annual Family Service Awards together with their companions experienced the culture and arts of Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago last May 24 to 26 as part of being the top field representatives of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI).
The 2013 Asian Trip in Jakarta, Indonesia was part of the incentive program provided by the KCFAPI for their Fraternal Counselors and Area Managers, according to KCFAPI Fraternal Benefits Group Vice President Gari M. San Sebastian. “We have this Asian Trip normally in Bangkok or in Hongkong, we also visited Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. This time, we were in Indonesia and most of the awardees were first timers so they were very much excited to have
counting Services Manager Rowena M. Diapolit. “We had a great time. It was peaceful and the weather was fine so it was a very
tower in the center of Jakarta’s Merdeka Square, which symbolizes the fight for Indonesia's independence, then proceeded to the National Museum, which houses priceless treasures of Indonesia's cultural and historical heritage. They continued their exploration of the
their tour particularly in Jakarta which is the capital city,” San Sebastian said. There were 31 awardees and their respective companions with two KCFAPI Officers – Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group Gari M. San Sebastian and Financial Management and Ac-
comfortable trip,” San Sebastian added. Delegates arrived at Jakarta International Airport on PAL Flight PR539 last May 24. “We stayed at the Amaris Mangga Besar Hotel located at the heart of the city near some shopping malls. During the first day, we had a free and relax mode. Some went shopping or strolling while some had their rest time or relaxation in their respective rooms,” Diapolit cited. On day 2, the delegates had their Jakarta City tour. The group visited the National Monument, a 433-feet
country’s lovely culture with a visit to the antiques and flea market. The tour ended in Fatahillah Square, the centerpiece of Old Batavia, a town
built by Dutch colonizers patterned after the structures of their cities back in the Netherlands. “We sponsored one dinner for the awardees and on the last day of the tour, we had breakfast at the hotel then we had a free time before we headed home via flight PR540,” San Sebastian cited. He added that KCFAPI will provide the best that the world could offer including tours or trips in places that the awardees had never been to.“We look for places where our awardees can relax, be comfortable, enjoy pleasant and memorable scenery, take their time off from any selling activity and enjoy the company of other awardees,” he added. Meanwhile, the KCFAPI Fraternal Benefits Group announced new additions to their incentive program. “We are planning to have a US trip Challenge for the top Fraternal Counselor who are able to achieve 6 million peso target. This is something to look forward to, while the families of the winners may enjoy the Asian spree. So we are expecting our awardees to be up for the challenge,” San Sebastian concluded.
Brother Knights Join Cabanatuan Diocese in Celebrating Golden Jubilee
More than 40 Brother Knights from three Assemblies served as Honor Guards while 40 other Brother Knights in Barong secured the 37 Bishops, 70 Priests and Deacons during the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Diocese of Cabanatuan held last June 1 and 3. Participating Assemblies were Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Assembly under Faithful Navigator Antonio Boado, Bishop Vicente P. Reyes Assembly under Faithful Navigator Rex Blanco, and Sofio Balce Assembly under Faithful Navigator Elpidio Sicat in coordination with the Round Table of District Deputies (RTDD) of Nueva Ecija and Aurora headed by Gil Dindo Berino. Meanwhile, according to Msgr. Elmer Maglinao, the Vicar-General of the
Jubilee / C2
MACE, KC Honor Former COMELEC Commissioner
MACE Chairman, Brother Danilo A. Sanchez presents the Certificate of Resolution of Exemplary Performance to Brother Rene V. Sarmiento in the presence of MACE Directors and Officers. Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines escorting the Bishops, Priests and Deacons during the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Diocese of Cabanatuan. (Photo by Gil Dindo Berino)
Philippines’ Oldest Council Declared Historical Site in Walled City
Knights of Columbus, USA: Wheelchair Mission
(From left to right) National Historical Commission’s Deputy Executive Director Carminda R. Arevalo, Executive Director Ludovico D. Badoy, Council 1000 Grand Knight Antonio T. Hernandez, and Past Grand Knight Florentino B. Rosario.
During their board meeting last May 23, the Board of Directors of MACE Insurance Agency, Inc. presented a Certificate of Resolution to Brother Rene V. Sarmiento for his exemplary performance as Commissioner of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), an embodiment of the highest cardinal principle of the Knights of Columbus --- PATRIOTISM. Sarmiento, Treasurer/Director of Mace Insurance Agency, Inc., after serving the full seven-year term mandated by the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, retired as the Commissioner of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) last February 2. The former COMELEC Commissioner exemplified the highest degree of Integrity, Competence, and Profession-
The first and oldest council of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines located within Intramuros - the oldest
district of Manila has been declared as one of the historical sites of the Walled City.
Historical / C2
Some 23 units of wheelchairs from the Knights of Columbus, USA were turned over to the Knights of Columbus Mindanao Jurisdiction last May 6. Photo shows a beneficiary together with Mindanao Deputy Balbino Fauni, California State Deputy Brother Raymond Warner (in blue shirt) and Fr. John F. Neneman, California State Chaplain (in black polo). (MindaNews)
alism in civil service that further fortified the institution of the COMELEC as the forerunner in the preservation of the sanctity of the electoral process, for the“Voice of the People is the Voice of God”. Sarmiento’s dedication and a selfless service to the people of the Philippines epitomized the character of a true Knight of Columbus, a Catholic gentleman, a pillar of the Filipino family and of the nation. The MACE Insurance Agency Inc. continues to provide incomparable non-life insurance coverage at the lowest premium rates and with additional benefits at no extra cost which begun in 1980 and celebrated its 33rd anniversary last May 20. Meanwhile, last April 21, the Padre Gomez Assembly ACN 0989 conducted a Testimonial Dinner for the former COMELEC Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento led by Faithful Navigator Jose Cuaresma. Sarmiento is a member of the 4th Degree under the Padre Gomez Assembly and a former Faithful Navigator. (KC News)
Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
THE national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by all 86 ecclesiastical jurisdictions (archdioceses, dioceses, prelatures and apostolic vicariates) throughout the country in the morning of June 8, 2013—the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary—did not make much “noise” in the secular media. And yet it was a big event that was simultaneously celebrated in all cathedrals but silently unfolded, though profoundly, like Mary herself who always prefers to “ponder all these things in her heart.” (Lk 2:52) It was on January 28, 2013 when all the Philippine bishops who were gathered for their 106th Plenary Assembly declared in one accord to consecrate the Philippines to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They saw the need to invoke again the loving guidance of our Blessed Mother especially at this point in history when the Philippine Church has embarked on a nine-year pilgrimage towards the great jubilee of the Fifth Centenary of the Christianization of the Philippines in the year 2021. History will bear how deeply the Blessed Virgin Mary is part of the Filipino heritage and identity. In fact, acknowledging such singular devotion, the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines has stated: “the outstanding characteristic of the Church in the Philippines is to be “pueblo amante de Maria”—a people in love with Mary (PCP-II, #153). It may also be said that the members of the Order of the Knights of Columbus are catholic men who are in love with the Blessed Mother. Under the leadership of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, the Knights of Columbus has spearheaded already two international congresses of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe—who is fast becoming the patroness of the Knights of Columbus. I was blessed to have participated in the second international Guadalupe Festival at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 4, 2012—immediately prior to the 130th Supreme Convention in Anaheim, California. May this Marian initiative of the Philippine bishops find a place in the hearts of the members of the Knights of Columbus as we continue to spread and witness the four cardinal principles of the Order. Vivat Jesus!
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
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.
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.
Guillermo N. Hernandez
Independence or Freedom Day reminds us how tough and united we Filipinos are in the face of adversities caused by foreign agression. Thanks to our mighty forebears: Lapulapu, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Emilio Aguinaldo and our national hero, Jose Rizal, to name a few. They have certainly personified for us the value of resiliency against all odds and that no matter how outnumbered or overpowered we are, Filipinos do not just give up and would eventually prevail and be free. Times have changed though and today it is no longer enough for a country to be a free and sovereign state to ensure the freedom of its citizens. Just as important as well is its economic state or well being where ideally citizens could be free from hunger and poverty, free from corrupt practices in government and business, free from the clutches of criminal elements, free from the wrath of nature brought about by rampant abuses against the environment, free from forcing themselves to work as OFWs to feed their families, free from drugs, white slavery and child labor, among others. Secondly, as the family is the basic unit of society and serves as the foundation of core values for a child, we should start with our own respective families. Thirdly, we do not have to look far, as what we need to teach our respective families is something we all know very well. The four (4) Cardinal Principles of the Order, namely Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. Lastly, we should give special focus on Charity. Not only do the other principles revolve around it but Charity signifies what Filipinos badly need today, and that is “consideration for others”. We should simplify matters by imparting Charity through proven practical ways for the families to carry out in their daily lives. Some of it I am sure you have already experienced but could have lost track of it now. A trip back to memory lane would help us recall some of it. These are basic lessons at home that our parents and grandparents painstakingly taught us, like sharing with our siblings the food on the table, taking good care of our clothes, and also our books by not writing on them, putting our trash on the garbage can, and making sure to urinate or spit out only in properly designated places. These of course are intended not just for our good but more importantly for the good of others. Sa tagalog po, “may konsiderasyon sa iba”... unfortunately a trait quite rare among our young Pinoys now. Yes brother Knights, we can do it and we have what it takes to foster Charity as the unifying factor for Filipinos, given the Christian values that each and every Knight would foster to his family as Our Contribution. And as we “Keep Christian Family Above Personal Interest” (KCFAPI), we also “Keep Charity For All Philippine Islands” (KCFAPI). This should sit well with our Lord Jesus Christ for in the end when we face up with Him, we can say: Lord, we did “Keep Christian Faith Above Personal Interest” (KCFAPI). God Bless you all! Vivat Jesus!
My Brother's Keeper
One of the most significant events in the Philippine history is Independence Day because it marks the nation’s independence from the Spanish rule on June 12, 1898. We Filipinos celebrate our independence as a country annually on June 12 but how about marking our own individual independence once we reach our retirement years? A retirement that is worry-free despite the fact that we may no longer be employed. Or enjoying relaxed moments and quality time with our loved ones even though there is no more income to pay our retirement expenses. We at KCFAPI offer such independence to our fellow Brother Knights and family members. We believe that once a KC Brother Knight has started or even finished insuring
Marking Independence with KCFAPI
himself for the protection of his family, his next step is to secure his retirement years. Securing our retirement as financial priority number two is just smart and logical because once we reach the age of 60 or 65 we are no longer employed and therefore have no regular income to look forward to. We may be forced to stop earning a living but our expenses do not stop with our inability to be a worker. Acquiring a KC Retire Plus is the best mark we can start with towards our dream of having financial independence during our retirement years. A 40-year old Brother Knight who secures a P1Million retirement benefit has to save about P75,700 annually for the next ten years of his productive period. It is only P208.00 per day. He would have contributed a total of P757,000 for a P1Million retirement coverage: P500,000 at age 60 and another P500,000 at age 65. He is immediately covered for P1Million Insurance protection on the initial year of his contribution. Even right after he receives his P500,000 retirement at age 65 his life is still protected for another P500,000 up to age 100. A total of P1,500,000 cash benefit only for saving P757,000 from age 40 to 50. What a great tool to secure our retirement years! As we join our nation, the Philippines, in celebrating Independence Day, let us be reminded as well to mark the start of our own individual freedom, the financial liberty for our retirement years.
9th Visayas State Convention held
The Knights of Columbus Visayas Jurisdiction held its 9th Visayas State Convention last May 18 to 19 at Bohol Tropics Resort, Tagbilaran City with the theme “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land.” In solidarity with the Order, the theme was adopted during the 129th Supreme Convention held in Anaheim, California. More than 300 delegates from three regions of Visayas participated. It was officially opened by a Mass celebrated by Fr. Fritz J. Ng, a parish priest from Bohol. After the solemn Mass, Visayas Deputy Rodrigo N. Sorongon sounded the opening of the Convention. Before the other speakers had their piece shared, the Video MesVisayas Deputy Rodrigo Sorongon reported the achievements of the Jurisdiction for the past Columbian Year. In view of the intense membership campaign of the Jurisdiction, he challenged everyone to take part in the recruitment efforts of the State. In the evening, a State Dinner was held in the same resort. President Guillermo Hernandez of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) was one of the speakers while KCFAPI Chairman Hon. Hilario G. Davide, Jr, served as the keynote speaker. A fellowship night followed after the speeches of the guests. The convention was officially closed the following day after a mass. (Anthony Nazario/ VizNews)
Participants of the 9th Visayas State Convention led by (From left to right) Past Visayas Deputy Patrocinio Bacay and wife, KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa Curia, KCFAPI President Guillermo Hernandez and wife, KCFAPI Chairman Hon. Hilario Davide, Jr., Visayas Deputy Rodrigo Sorongon, Past Mindanao Deputy Alberto Solis, Visayas State Treasurer Jun Jo and Visayas State Secretary Anthony Nazario.
sage of Supreme Knight was presented to all the delegates. Guest Speaker and Governor of Bohol, Honorable Edgar
Chatto, was represented by Bro. Isabelito Tongco, who is also a member of the K of C and a Grand Knight.
Sta. Teresita Parish Youth Camp
Squires SOAR 2013: A Memorable and Experiential Summer for Catholic Young Men
Hundreds of Columbian Squires of the Knights of Columbus gathered for a fourday summer youth camp dubbed as ‘Squires SOAR 2013′ at Camp Atate, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija from May 16 – 19. Bishop Sofronio Aguirre Bancud of the Cabanatuan Diocese held a Eucharistic celebration, while the Media Office Director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and KCFAPI Spiritual Director Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III gave a talk to the youth centered on the theme ‘Deepening Our Faith the Squires Way, A Fertile Ground For New Evangelization’. The young Catholic men experienced enriching and fun interactive programs that had scouting-type outdoor activities.
Historical / C1
A youth camp was conducted last May 29 by the Sta. Teresita Parish Youth Ministry together with the Knights of Columbus Sta Teresita Council 12308 headed by Grand Knight Francis Layag. More than sixty participants joined the project from different parish organizations including the Columbian Squires. School supplies were also given to the 150 beneficiaries as a community gift giving from the Parish and K of C Council, while incoming Grand Knight Jordan Villanueva gave a talk centered in deepening one’s faith.
Jubilee / C1
The activity aimed to provide worthwhile activities for Squires Members, promote camaraderie among the Squires and counselors, offer a time for reflection and share God’s love, and give opportunity for Squires Advancement. Meanwhile, the Luzon Columbian Squires Chairman Jose Cuaresma encouraged his fellow Brother Knights to organize their Columbian Squires circles to gather more participants in the next SOAR camp. He added that the youth will surely experience and will definitely learn and practice their leadership skills. The Squires SOAR 2013 was organized by the K of C Luzon Jurisdiction in coordination with the Round Table of District
Hundreds of young Catholic men listen attentively to the talk of CBCP Media Director, Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III."
Deputies in Nueva Ecija and Aurora led by Gil Dindo Berino and Central Luzon Conquerors Area Manager, Manuel Naldoza. (Yen Ocampo) on April 23, 1905. At the time of its inauguration, they had thirty-one charter members, all Americans. The first Grand Knight was Richard Campbell. Present to witness during the unveiling of the historical marker were National Historical Commission of the Philippines Executive Director, Ludovico D. Badoy; Deputy Executive Director Carminda R. Arevalo; and some Luzon State Officers including the Spiritual Director of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III. (Yen Ocampo)
diocese, the Golden Jubilee is a way to recollect the history and to acclaim the grace and blessing that God has bestowed on his faithful through the foundation of the diocese. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas celebrated the mass in the morning of June 1, as the opening salvo for the June 3 celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the diocese;
while the novena begun last June 2. The 50th Anniversary celebration was held last June 3 at the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Cathedral with Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud as the main celebrant. As part of the Golden Jubilee celebration the diocese declared some churches as diocesan shrines. (Jandel Posion/ KC News)
Last June 4, the historical marker granted by the National Historical Commission to highlight the founding anniversary of the Manila Council 1000 and its contributions in the country was unveiled at their main office in Beaterio cor. Gen. Luna Streets, Intramuros, Manila. Council 1000 Grand Knight Antonio T. Hernandez appreciated the marker because it enumerates the achievements of the K of C and he offers this momentous event for the next generations.
“I would like our Brother Knights to look up to this day as a day of reawakening that is worth remembering. Reawakening so that the spirit of the Knights of Columbus in the 1900s shall be the same guiding spirit and the pioneering spirit to move us forward today; and remembering as we move on and react to the current events in the country,” Hernandez said. Grand Knight Hernandez initiated the process to declare Council 1000 as one of the landmarks in Intramuros. He went
to the National Historical Commission on November 5 last year and submitted the Council 1000s historical outline. “This is our pride and from this we can dream more. Maybe without this marker we will not be able to awaken the spirit of love for our country, after all that’s why we [Knights of Columbus] are around and the measure of our love is how much we contribute back to the society,” Hernandez added. Council 1000 is the first council of the Knights of Columbus established in the Philippines
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
Like St. Ignatius of Loyola, Father McGivney and the Knights of Columbus reflect a faithfulness that is essential to the Church’s renewal
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
THE election of Pope Francis — the first Jesuit pope in history — provides a good opportunity to reflect briefly on how St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, understood the papacy. During the early days of his ministry in the 16th century, when St. Ignatius and his followers were known simply as “reformed priests,” they were the victims of many false rumors and gossip. This led to trouble with both the Paris Inquisition and the Vatican. Finally, Ignatius appealed to Pope Paul III, who agreed to review the matter and ultimately gave Ignatius the vindication he sought. The pope later approved the new Society of Jesus. At a time when Renaissance popes had, to say the least, failed to exemplify Christian virtue, Ignatius placed his new religious order in faithful service to the successors of St. Peter. Both Ignatius and Paul III had experienced “conversions,” and Ignatius realized that the popes retained the grace of their teaching office, regardless of theirpersonal shortcomings. For St. Ignatius, the principle of sentire cum ecclesia—to think with the mind of the Church—was essential to the work of the Jesuits. His “Rules” for thinking with the Church conclude his Spiritual Exercises. Because of this faithfulness, the Jesuits were central to the renewal of the Catholic Church, its re-establishment throughout much of Europe, the evangelization of the Western Hemisphere, and the introduction of Christianity to India, China and Japan. Today, our own situation seems to be a mirror image of St. Ignatius’ time. We have been graced by popes of heroic virtue, whose saintly lives are beyond question. These popes have been criticized not for failing to live up to Church teaching, but for upholding it—especially in regard to the sanctity of human life and the sacraments of matrimony and holy orders. Our Church now faces a challenge as profound as the problems of the 16th century. This time, however, it is not a question of which Christian community most faithfully reflects Christ’s plan for his Church. Instead, the challenge is by secularists who say there should be no Christian faith at all. For them, Frederich Nietzsche’s claim that “God is dead” is a turning point in history. They say Christian faith is irrational and should have no influence in society. This new secularism is widespread in Europe and is gaining ground in the Western Hemisphere. Perhaps it is a sign of divine providence that Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus the very year that Nietzsche wrote those words about the demise of God. Today the Church asks of believers nothing more, and nothing less, than it has throughout her history: Profess what you believe and live what you profess. Such personal witness is the only way we can make an adequate response to the claims of today’s militant atheists. Here, too, we see the spiritual genius of Venerable Michael McGivney. In founding the Knights of Columbus, Father McGivney established a way in which Catholic men could confidently profess their faith by living lives of charity, unity and fraternity in their parishes and local communities. This witness through service is at the foundation of our founder’s vision for the Order. Blessed John Paul II spoke of a “charity that evangelizes,” and this must become an ever more present reality in our own lives and the lives of our families.
Thinking with the Church
Since the Second Vatican Council, the Knights of Columbus has sought new opportunities to profess what we believe as Catholics. We have made a determined effort “to think with the mind of the Church” as our popes have worked to implement the council’s vision, and we will continue to
do so as Pope Francis begins to write a new chapter in this history. St. Ignatius knew that a society of strong and determined Catholic men could accomplish great things. Nearly five centuries later, the Knights of Columbus would agree. Vivat Jesus!
Atty. Neil Jerome A. Rapatan
Law in Layman’s Term
What are the basic types of life insurance plans?
a certain fixed premium annually or at more frequent interval throughout his lifetime and the beneficiary is entitled to receive payment under the plan only after the death of the insured. A Limited Payment Life plan is another type of life insurance wherein premiums are payable only during a limited period of years, let’s say for example, fifteen years. When the specified number of premium payments have been completed, the insurance is considered fully paid. After full payment, the insured will enjoy insurance protection throughout his life. It is, however, payable only to the beneficiary at the death of the insured. Another type of life insurance plan is the Term Insurance. By its name, the insurance coverage of the insured in this type is only for a term or limited period. If the insured dies within the limited period, the insurance proceeds are paid to the beneficiary. The premium in this type of insurance is relatively lower compared to the two plans mentioned above because of its limited period of coverage. Lastly, an Endowment plan is a type of life insurance plan where the insurer obliges itself to pay a fixed sum to the insured if he survives a specified period, also known as the maturity date, or, if he dies within such period. Knowing the type of insurance is important to know the benefits that we get under the said plan. For example, if an insured obtained a Limited Payment Life plan payable in ten (10) years, will he be able to claim the insurance proceeds immediately after the completion of his premium payments within such period? The answer is no. In a Limited Payment Life policy, when the specified number of premium payments have been made, the insurance is considered fully paid for. It is like an ordinary life policy in that it is payable only at the death of the insured. (De Leon, Hector S., The Insurance Code of the Philippines Annotated, 2006 ed., page 424) The answer would have been different if the insured obtained an Endowment Policy that will mature in ten (10) years.
KC News Briefs
The Knights of Columbus in the United States moved up to number 909 on Fortune magazine’s recently released 2013 ranking of America’s top 1,000 companies. Last year, Fortune’s list ranked the Knights of Columbus at 912 in total revenues among the nation’s top companies. Over the past six years the Knights of Columbus has climbed 56 spots on the list — up from 965 in 2007. **** The Our Lady of Loreto Council 4288 held their family outing last May 25 at the Dream Wave Resort. **** Congratulations to the new set of council officers for the Columbian Year 2013 – 2014 of the Santo Niño de Molino Council 9926 headed by Grand Knight Ernesto Sunga and Nuestra Sra. De Candelaria Council 5622 of Silang, Cavite led by Grand Knight Kimmerson Bayas. **** The Knights of Columbus Ferdinand Magellan Province Fourth Degree (District 4 – National Capital Region) will hold their 53rd Exemplification on July 7 at the Kaban ng Hiyas Auditorium, Maysilo Circle, Brgy. Plainview, Mandaluyong City. Honorees are former COMELEC Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Master of the Fourth Degree Deovides Reyes. **** The Padre Gomez Assembly ACN 0989 led by Faithful Navigator Jose Cuaresma conducted a Testimonial Dinner for the former COMELEC Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento last April 21. Sarmiento completed his seven years in COMELEC without having been dragged to anomaly issues. He is a member of the 4th Degree under the Padre Gomez Assembly and a former Faithful Navigator. **** The Knights of Columbus Council 5739 headed by Grand Knight Jaime Abrigo Gutay distributed school supplies to 50 indigent children in their local community last May 28 in line with the opening of the classes this June.
Life Insurance is still growing in the country. It is estimated that less than 20% of our population has life insurance. As more and more of our kababayans appreciate the importance of life insurance, it is also essential to know the different types of life insurance policies to be able to choose the best plan that suits one’s needs. A life insurance is defined by law as an insurance on human lives, payable upon death of a person, or on his surviving a specified period, or otherwise contingently on the continuance or cessation of life. (Sec. 197 & 180, Insurance Code of the Philippines) From this definition, we can tell that there are different types of life insurance policies depending on when the insurance proceeds is payable. Although there are numerous life insurance products that are being offered in the market nowadays, the basic types of life insurance policies will be discussed hereunder. The most common type of life insurance plan is the Ordinary Life. Under this type, the insured is required to pay
FBG holds Fraternal Service Dasmariñas Holds First Squires Assembly Training Program
The First Dasmariñas Squires Assembly was held last May 25 at the Technological University of the Philippines-Cavite Campus with the theme “Future Leaders: Responsible Citizens, Anchored on Faith.” The activity aims to establish more dynamic working relationships among Squires in Cavite, teach the youth to act to the call of responsive citizenship and enrich their Catholic faith consciousness as well. The assembly was recommended after the initial deliberations held in Knights of Columbus Council 11030 Chamber in Palapala, City of Dasmariñas, Cavite last April 29. District Deputy Tolentino C. Mantillas coordinated the holding of the assembly with District Squires Chairman Esteve M. Mata, and District Youth Ferdinand S. Candado (LuzonNews)
Participants of the First Dasmariñas Squires Assembly.
Father McGivney Pilgrimage Begins in Mindanao
KCFAPI-FBG Manager Michael P. Cabra (standing 3rd from right) together with the participants of the May FST.
The Fraternal Benefits Group of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) held a two-day Fraternal Service Training program last May 21 – 22 at the 3rd Floor of the Fr. George J. Willmann SJ Memorial Building inside the KCFAPI compound in Intramuros, Manila. Thirteen new Fraternal Counselors from different areas of Luzon attended the said program. The program aims to impart knowledge about and share the advantages of the insurance products being offered by KCFAPI to the KC members and their immediate families. Aside from the product specifications, the training program also served as a venue for learn-
ing the basic insurance processes and conceptualization of new marketing strategies in order to achieve goals and improve sales performance. Speakers in the said program were KCFAPI Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group Gari M. San Sebastian, Fraternal Benefits Service Department Manager Michael P. Cabra, Underwriting Department Manager Carmelita S. Ruiz, and Benefit Certificate Holders’ Relations Office Manager Edwin B. Dawal. The next FST program will be on June 18 and 19. For more information, please contact the KCFAPI-FBG department at telephone number (02) 527-2243. (Jennefer Rose C. Bautista/FBG News)
The pilgrimage of the statue of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney kicked off in the Southern Philippines at San Pedro Cathedral in Davao City last May 28. Hundreds of churchgoers attended the Rite of Reception of the 4-foot statue led by Bro. Balbino Fauni, Mindanao Deputy, and other state officers. In an address, Fauni encouraged the crowd to pray for the intercession of Father McGivney and report any favors or possible miracles to the Father McGivney Office in Manila. While he was outlining the life, legacy and heroic virtues of Father McGivney, prayer cards and posters were distributed to the churchgoers. After the Rite of Reception, a Mass was celebrated by Father Gary Glenn Yba, who was representing Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles. Father Yba said that the archbishop was thankful for the opportunity to spread devotion to the Knights of Columbus founder. According to Fauni, the pilgrimage will continue for 12 months throughout the parishes in Mindanao, with the statue staying for three days at each church.
Mindanao Brother Knights and their families together with Mindanao Deputy Balbino Fauni during the opening of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney’s year-long pilgrimage in Davao.
The statue shall be brought to General Santos City in August and to move from there to the following areas: South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Kidapawan, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Surigao City, Agusan, Butuan, Cagayan de
Oro, Iligan, Dipolog, Oroquieta, Zamboanga and Basilan. Pilgrimages with other Father McGivney statues were launched earlier in the Philippine jurisdictions of Luzon and the Visayas. (Ronalyn Regino)
Squirettes’ 14th Biennial Convention Held
The Squirettes of Mary Immaculate, youth arm of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate International celebrated their 14th Biennial Convention last May 24 to 26 with the theme “Riding the Wave of Faith in God Thru Mary (In the Year of Faith)” at the Ciudad Christhia 9 - Waves Resort, Earth Street, Carrieland Country Homes II, Ampid, San Mateo, Rizal. Squirettes aged 9 to 20 from all over the country who attended were accompanied by their lady counselors from the Daughters of Mary Immaculate International. A total of 250 registered their participation. Two years ago, they gathered in Boracay for their Biennial Convention. Each time, friendships and camaraderie are forged and rekindled during these events, speakers talk of various topics of interest to the youth, and workshop activities are also conducted to foster unity, friendship, charity, humility and sanctity. The Squirettes of Mary Immaculate serves as a training ground for future Daughters of Mary Immaculate, where the virtues of Mary are imbibed in the youth, most especially the virtue of purity - of heart, mind and body. (Squirettes News)
Photo shows participants during the convention activities that were conducted to foster unity, friendship, charity, humility and sanctity
Alan Holdren / CNA
Vol. 17 No. 12
June 10 - 23, 2013
KCFAPI Gift Giving Committee Visits Tulay ng Kabataan
The Gift Giving Committee of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) chose the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation as their beneficiary for their second quarter mission. Last May 27, the Gift Giving Committee, headed by KCFAPI Underwriting Manager Carmelita Ruiz together with KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa Curia, donated some mattresses, pillows, blankets, used clothes and shoes to the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation in Intramuros, Manila. The Foundation helps street children in various home centers. Ms. Ruiz introduced to the children the members of the Committee and told the children about the ocular visit they made last April 22, she also explained the purpose of their visit and donation. Meanwhile, Ms. Curia inspired the children by saying “whatever is our status in life, we were given talents that are meant to be shared because these are gifts from God.” The children then enjoyed a short film presentation prepared
KC Luzon awards Financial Assistance to Seminarian
Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap handed a P10,000.00 donation last May 6 to former State Squires Sentry Mark Anthony C. Villaries of Columbian Squire Circle 4206 and a Fourth Degree Member of Malabon Council 10291 to help in his expenses as seminarian in the Religious Order Mary Help of Christians Crusade (Oblates Alliance of the Two Hearts) MHCC-OATH in San Pablo Laguna. The recipient was endorsed by Columbian Squires Diocesan Area Chairman Sherwin Mamaril and Columbian Squires Chairman Jose F. Cuaresma. The Luzon Deputy will raise funds for his financial assistance amounting to P10,000.00 per semester to be coursed through the special project of the Luzon Jurisdiction. Yap encourages the District Deputies and Grand Knights to support the Vocations Program. (Mon Sanchez/ LuzonNews)
by the Committee while having their snacks. The gifts were turned over to Rev. Fr. Matthew Dauchez, Executive Director of Tulay ng Kabataan, Alexandra Chapeleau, Communication and Partnerships Coordinator of the founda-
tion, and to Grace Habal, Center Coordinator. Towards the end of the short program, Ms. Ruiz in behalf of the KCFAPI Gift Giving Committee encouraged the children to finish their studies and wished them success in their future ca-
reers and reminded them to be of help to others as well. For those interested to donate (cash or in kind) to the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation, please contact the telephone number (+63 2) 922 27 45. (Celine T. Pelayo/ KCFAPI News)
KC Foundation Announces New Beneficiaries of Collegiate Scholarship Program
K nights o f C o l u m b u s P h i l ippines Foundation President, SK Alonso L. Tan, recently announced the new beneficiaries of the scholarship program of the KC Philippines Foundation, Inc. This brings to 33, the current number of poor but deserving scholars of the foundation for school year 2013-2014. Named KC Foundation scholars who will receive P 20,000.00 financial assistance per semester are: Luzon 1. John Raymund B. Brusas (Council 12595 Cataingan, Masbate) – BS Materials Engineering at UP Diliman 2. Christian Emmanuel Lucenario (Council 15554 Quezon City) – BS ECE at UP Diliman Visayas 1. Rhejane Rose O. Cañete (Council 10089 Lapu-Lapu City) – BS Industrial Engineering at University of Cebu Mindanao 1. Rey Anthony O. Malacaste (Council 6669 Cagwait, Surigao del Sur) – BS ECE at Cebu Institute of Technology The Knights of Columbus Philippines Foundation, which was organized in 1971 by Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ and funded by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) has already supported 392 scholars throughout the country.
(From left to right) Columbian Squires Chairman, Jose F. Cuaresma, Luzon Deputy, Arsenio Isidro G. Yap and Columbian Squires Diocesan Area Chairman Sherwin Mamaril during the awarding of financial assistance to Mark Anthony C. Villaries.
Hindrances to Faith and Spiritual Battles in the 21st Century San Felipe Neri Parish celebrates 150th Anniversary
“Ikaw ba ay krus ng nanay mo?” “Hindi natutulog ang demonyo!” These and other thoughtprovoking topics were discussed by Rev. Fr. Ronel D. Ilano during the continuing monthly catechism series held last 23rd of May 2013 at the KCFAPI oratory from 4 pm to 5:30 pm. The topic for the month revolved around the positive and negative characteristics of faith. Fr. Ronel warned that the devil is always present to lead us into temptation twenty four (24) hours a day but assured the faithful that the Holy Spirit is always beside us, protecting and guiding us every minute. He suggested that Catholics maintain their solid, deep and consistent faith in the Lord. Faith is a relationship with the Lord that has to be nourished every day. The Roman Catholic Faith has remained the same despite this new world of modernization and the evolution of an ever changing environment. The devil uses the environment and adapts to these changes by using different tactics to betray our faith in the Lord. Fr. Ronel advised the participants to be conscious, keen, discerning and passionate in the love for truth (Christ). He then enumerated several tactics or hindrances to faith: “verbicide” described by novelist-scholar C. S. Lewis as to the “killing of words”, which means words employ that Catholics often take for granted. However, these little things prevent us Catholics from winning the battle of good against evil. Fr. Ronel then offered some suggestions to counter these hindrances: tap collaborators and professional communicators to evangelize, offer or watch wholesome family entertainment programs, parents to rear their children using sound moral formation, live a well ordered family life (culture of openness), and for legislators to craft a sound law against pornography. In conclusion, Fr. Ronel issued a reminder in making prayers to God about the things we want, be discerning of the things we want. He asked everyone to use the armor that God has provided us in our daily spiritual battles: belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, boots of readiness for the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and God’s words as the sword of the spirit. Fr. Ronel D. Ilano is a KC Scholar and theology graduate of the Divine Word School of Theology. He was ordained as priest last May 19, 2005 and was the former Social Action Director of the Diocese of Imus. At present, he is a member of the Team Ministry at the Our Lady of Pillar Parish and the coordinator of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting in Imus, Cavite. (Lei Ann B. Palacay)
Fr. Ronel D. Ilano (in black polo) flanked by KCFAPI employees during the 3rd monthly Catechesis held at the KCFAPI oratory last May 23, 2013.
or things that were inappropriate before are now being accepted as norm by the society through the modification of the terms used to describe them. Some examples cited were euthanasia (or mercy killing) which is now considered as “aid in dying by legislation”, lying which is now interpreted as “misrepresentation of facts”, cheating as “lapse of judgment”, stealing as “misallocation of funds”, laziness as a “motivational problem”, sin of contraception as “safe sex”, abortion as “reproductive choice” and live-in partners previously scandalous as living-in sin but is now generally accepted as “trial and error” relationship. Fr. Ronel elaborated why the acceptance of these practices are wrong. For the case of euthanasia, he said that God did not promise an easy life. Pain, suffering and aging are part of our lives. As stated in the Gospel of Luke, “Whoever wishes to be my
follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow my steps.” The other tactics that hinder the growth of faith are untransmitted faith, being nominal Christians both in quality and quantity, culture of entertainment (prevalence of violence and pornography), consumerism and trials. The sad truth is that there are still some Filipinos who only visit the church three times in their lifetime: first at baptism, marriage then funeral. Sometimes, Catholics even forego hearing Mass just to be on time due to the on-going sale in the mall. Families no longer eat together because some members are being addicted to soap operas. Children can no longer distinguish the difference between reality and fantasy or morals worth imitating due to constant exposure to violent computer or handheld games. These are some of the most common tactics the devil
Third Degree Exemplification Program
Thirty honor guards from the Maharlika Assembly headed by Faithful Navigator Danny Del Rosario were invited to the 150th anniversary of the San Felipe Neri Parish in Mandaluyong last May 26. The Parish was erected canonically last October 30,1863 with then Parish Priest, Reverend Father Francisco Gimenez. In 1870, Father Gavino Ruiz, was authorized to purchase a new Church site from the Augustinian Fathers for P475.35. The corner stone of the Church was blessed on March 25,1870.
National Flag Day Commemorated in Mindanao
Corpus Christi Procession
Last May 18, the Round Table of District Deputies of Nueva Ecija and Aurora added more than 90 Brother Knights/candidates to third degree exemplification program. Photo shows the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) - Central Luzon Conqueror Area Manager Manuel Naldoza conducting an orientation on the K of C logo.
Tomb of the Unborn Child
Brother Knights in Zamboanga City
Faithful Navigator of Nuestra Sra. Virgin del Pilar Assembly 1993 spearheaded the celebration of the National Flag Day last May 28 at the Zamboanga City hall. The event was attended by the Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus in
Zamboanga City under District Master Jose Tan Jr. Outgoing City Mayor and newly elected Congressman Celso L. Lobregat of the first District of Zamboanga City received a plaque of appreciation from the Knights of Columbus during the event. (MindaNews)
Knights of Columbus Council 4267 Honor Guards led the Corpus Christi procession despite intermittent rains to honor the solemnity of the body and blood of Christ on June 2 at the Sta Clara de Montefalco Parish in Pasay City. Fifty-six KC members participated including ten honor guards under the guidance of Grand Knight Manny Tianzon and Past Grand Knight Carlos Anacta. More than 150 joined the procession. Father Nick Blanquisco, parish priest and KC chaplain is shown carrying the Chalice.
Photo shows Brother Knights of Council 5739 during the recent blessing of the Monument of the Unborn Child held at San Fabian, Pangasinan.
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