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Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April
educate in the •B1 To faith, to make it grow
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
Nassa launches appeal for Zamboanga aid
THE Catholic Church’s social action arm has launched an appeal for humanitarian assistance to Zamboanga City. The National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) made the fundraising appeal to support its local partner working in evacuation centers. To date, Nassa has sent P100,000 as initial contribution to the relief efforts of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga for families displaced by armed conflict. Additionally, Manila Auxiliary Bishop
Zamboanga / A6
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
Passage of FOI key to settle pork barrel issue—bishop
A CATHOLIC bishop echoed calls for the passage of the Freedom of Information bill (FOI), noting that the truth behind the multi-billion peso pork barrel scandal will only be uncovered once government records are made available for public scrutiny. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that contradicting statements of certain groups in relation to the pork barrel scandal will only be cleared through scrutinizing public records that detail how state funds were used. “This is why the FOI has to be enacted into a law. It guarantees that citizens can put up a close and vigilant watch to the affairs of the state,” he said. Pabillo added that to avoid speculations of putting up a partisan investigation, the government must present all its records to achieve full transparency and accountability in investigating cases of fund misuse involving lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). “There might be a possibility for them to hold records. We need the FOI so we can demand all information that is relevant to the investigation,” he added. Fr. Anton C. T. Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila and president of church-run Radio Veritas, echoed Pabillo’s statement and said that once enacted into a law, the FOI bill will hold officials accountable of
FOI / A6
‘Corruption is injustice’
Cardinal Tagle decries individualism, selfish interests
By Jennifer Orillaza
Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in his speech for Caritas Manila’s Generosity Conference on Sept.
View of tents inside a sports complex turned-evacuation center in Zamboanga City where around 70,000 people are struggling against the heat, improper sanitary measures, scarce sources of water and the crowded conditions. Until September 29, 2013 when this photo was taken, the stand-off between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has not been totally resolved; thus the continuing displacement of the local population.
BLASTING corruption as a form of injustice, the archbishop of Manila called on Filipinos to counter greed by letting the values of fairness and generosity reign in their lives.
28, urged the public to give out love and justice while being more sensitive to the needs of the poor. “At present, we witness in our society that cheating and corruption is a form of non-giving. Instead of giving what is due to others and to the country, resources are being denied from them. We do not only lack love for others, but we also lack a sense of justice,” Tagle said in the vernacular. “This explains how cheating and injustice are considered
forms of not giving what the people and the nation deserve,” he added. The cardinal gave this remark amid the ongoing investigation in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam that involves the channeling of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus nongovernment organizations and ghost projects. Quoting verses from the Bible that tackle injustices done against marginalized individuals, he emphasized the need for
people to give not just for the sake of charity, but for the sake of giving justice to those who are in need. “If we are to base the concept of giving according to what is written in the Old Testament, it pertains to the concept of giving that is just, giving that is based on justice,” Tagle said. “Some people think that the act of giving is only a form of charity, but what they fail to see is that there is also a need to fulfill the act of giving that is according to justice,” he added.
‘Demand of justice’ The cardinal also criticized politicians who plaster their names and faces on government projects that were funded with taxpayers’ money, noting that they must not gain credit from what the people rightfully deserve. “It gives me the creeps to see government projects plastered with the names and faces of government officials who grab credit for the construction of various infrastructure projects,”
Corruption / A6
Vatican looks forward to Asian faith gathering in PH, Tagle says
WITH only a few weeks left prior to the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE), the highest leader of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church said the Vatican is looking forward to see the contributions of the Philippine Church in propagating the experience of new evangelization to the Catholic faithful. In a statement, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that the Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle Vatican Office of the New Evangelization and the SynCatholic faith. od of Bishops are eager to know and ex“It is this broken world which reperience the activities prepared for the mains God’s world that also opens for upcoming PCNE slated from October 16 us opportunities for evangelization. to 18 at the University of Santo Tomas. And the challenge was not just to focus “The eyes of the Vatican are on us,” on the negative or the shadows found in Tagle said, noting that the Holy See the world but also to the opportunities is looking forward to the activities of for mission,” the cardinal said. the PCNE not to pry over it, but to He added that through the PCNE, he see how the efforts of the Philippine hopes the delegates would be directed Church can successfully contribute to toward the rediscovery and rejuvenathe Universal Church’s mission of new tion of their faith, keeping the church’s evangelization. mission of new evangelization in synch The cardinal also hinted that there is a with the modern times. possibility for a Vatican official, whose “There are parts of the world where name he did not disclose, to attend the the faith has become some kind of extraconference to personally experience the curricular activity which some even say activities prepared for the PCNE. you can do without,” Tagle said in an Noting that the church in the Philip- earlier press conference on the PCNE. pines has always been reminded of “This drive has a destination, we its missionary role in Asia, Tagle in- would like to reach people who have yet vited Asian churches who do not have to hear about Jesus for this is a constant enough resources to organize the same mission of the church,” he added. conference to join the upcoming PCNE. According to Tagle, the conference Delegates from Taiwan, Vietnam, Bru- carries a tripartite objective of creating nei, and Myanmar will attend the event, an experience of God in the context of he said. the challenges of the new millennium, strengthening bonds of communion, Countering secularist influences and providing avenues of inspiration Tagle said that the Philippine Church and direction imbued with the spirit of is spearheading the Asian gathering to new evangelization. counter the secularist influences hound“New evangelization is not just based ing its conventions, and also to respond on mere strategies. They are based on to the call of Pope Emeritus Benedict a renewed experience of Jesus. We are Gathering / A6 XVI to rediscover and deepen one’s
Pope’s comments not breaking Catholic teachings – CBCP
POPE Francis’ recent comments are not breaking with traditional doctrine but a challenge to the global Church to bear more witness to love, ranking Catholic archbishops said. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the pope is clear about Catholic teaching on abortion and contraception but wants the Church not to put aside “charity.” “There is no contradiction. He is not opposing any doctrine. He is only reminding us that perhaps what the world needs is our witnessing to charity,” Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said. The archbishop commented on a 12,000-word interview of Pope Francis with an Italian Jesuit journal where the pope spoke on wide-ranging issues, including abortion, contraception and gay marriage. Stressing that the teachings of the Church on abortion, gay marriage and contraception remain, the pope nonetheless points out the need for the church to have the “ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.” He said the clergy should be “ministers of mercy” in the confessional, and ministers of the Gospel “who can warm the hearts of people, who walk through the dark night with them, but without getting lost.” “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods,” the pope said. “…But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” “We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” the pope said, “preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound.” The pope’s statement has prompted flurry of media reactions with some news reports depicting his comments as a major shift in tone from his predecessors. “So I am very happy with what he said and I do not see any opposition to the existing doctrines of the Church,” Palma said. “We know that the teachings are one important aspect of the Church but witnessing to love is also the challenge that people want to see in us,” he said. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, CBCP vice president, also agreed with Palma’s statement, but the pope’s focus is for everyone to
Comments / A6
Anti-pork rallies, a cry for servant-leadership — priest
Disgruntled PAL employees seek Pope Francis’ help
A 3,000-STRONG labor union of the Philippine Airlines’ ground crew is asking Pope Francis’ intervention to settle their ongoing rift with the PAL management. The disgruntled members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) said they want to seek the pope’s support in their campaign to “restore justice to the working people.” “Thus we seek the intercession of Your Holiness to achieve a just conclusion to the labor dispute,” GeIllustration by Brothers Matias
Raymond Bandril / CBCPMedia
Disgusted by pervasive corruption in government, Filipinos are holding a series of anti-pork rallies calling for the abolition of pork barrel and public accountability from government leaders.
ASIDE from public disgust over billions lost to questionable dealings, the pork barrel rallies are also a collective cry for true leader-
ship through service, a priest said. “It’s simply telling our leaders, you’ve got to come
Rallies / A7
rardo Rivera, PALEA president, said in a letter to the pontiff. The union believe that an appeal from the pontiff to the stakeholders in the dispute “will exercise “moral suasion and may prove decisive in a settlement fair to the workers”.
Employees / A7
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 28, 2013—As the scheduled execution date approaches for a Florida man convicted of murder, local Catholics are offering prayers and renewing their call for an end to the practice of the death penalty. “Even those who have committed terrible deeds and caused great pain possess a human dignity that is inherent in all persons,” said the Florida Catholic Conference in a Sept. 25 statement. “This dignity, instilled by our Creator, is neither earned nor can it be forfeited.” The conference urged Florida Governor Rick Scott to spare the life of Marshall Gore, who is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 1 for the murder of Susan Roark and Robyn Novick. While voicing “profound sadness” over the murders and praying that the victims’ “families are able to realize true peace and healing,” the Florida Catholic Conference warned that “Mr. Gore’s execution serves only to further distort society’s understanding of the sacredness of all human life.” “With this deliberate taking of a life, the State demonstrates that killing is an acceptable manner in which to address harmful and hurtful acts. We believe it is not.” “The State’s responsibility to protect society and punish criminals can be accomplished without resorting to the death penalty,” the conference continued. “A sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole is a severe punishment, which al-
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
African Catholics stress importance of Bible in faith life
LILONGWE, Malawi, Sept. 28, 2013—Catholic African leaders met in Malawi earlier this week for an assembly dedicated to the Bible and to increasing the place of scripture in the lives of the continent’s faithful. “The Word of God serves as a guide for faith and human activities and gives believers a style of life guided by the Holy Spirit in order to live the mystery of Jesus Christ according to Christian vocation,” the assembly observed. “The Bible is a source of inspiration and faith in the family, among the youth, religious communities and societies when revitalized through daily prayers.” The thirteenth plenary assembly of the Biblical Centre for Africa and Madagascar took place Sept. 17-23 in Malawi at the Archdiocese of Lilongwe’s St. Anthony Major Seminary in Kachebere. The meeting’s theme was “Letting the Bible inspire all pastoral activities.” Dozens of assembly participants from the Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar gathered, coming from as far as Egypt and South Africa. Many bishops responsible for the biblical apostolate joined them, as did representatives of the Association of the Panafrican Catholic Exegetes and other priests, vowed religious, and laity. Topics at the gathering included the Bible as an “action book” for pastoral work, Benedict XVI’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Verbum Domini,” how to advance the apostolate amid the diversity of Africa, and biblical interpretation in dialogue with African culture. One speaker reflected on lay people’s concerns for democracy, good governance and development, while another examined youth formation and the impact of modernity and unemployment among youth. The assembly focused on several goals for “strategic actions,” including an increase in familiarity with the scriptures through lectio divina, Bible sharing groups, catechesis, and the liturgy. One speaker stressed the
Florida Catholics plan prayer vigils, protest death penalty
lows for the prospect of conversion for the sinner and gives us the opportunity to forgive their wrong doings.” A number of vigils have been planned throughout the state to show solidarity and to pray for victims of violence, people on death row and an end to the death penalty. In the Diocese of St. Augustine, prayer vigils will be held in front of the Duval County Unified Courthouse, Flagler County Courthouse, and St. Augustine Beach City Hall, as well as across from the Florida State Prison Execution Building. Pensacola-Tallahassee will hold a Eucharistic Holy Hour at 7:00 on the evening of Sept. 30 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Catholic Charities Respect Life Office is co-hosting a 5:30 p.m. prayer service on Oct. 1, followed by a procession and silent vigil at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach. The Diocese of St. Petersburg will host an evening prayer session on Oct.1on the local radio, which will also be available online. Prayer vigils will also be held in Miami, Orlando and Venice. Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty have organized a community prayer service in front of the Governor’s Mansion on the evening of Oct. 1. An interfaith Remembrance Service has also been planned for noon the day after the execution at the Capitol Building. (CNA)
need to “evangelize the evangelizers,” while another focused on how to increase the availability of the Bible in translation. The gathering said that the biblical apostolate is an “effective tool” against “the invasion of sects and misinterpretation of the Bible.” However, it lamented that this apostolate is not fully developed in many parts of Africa. The assembly listed several threats to Christian practices, such as fundamentalism, “political Islam,” and “bad governance.” The meeting pledged to discern the challenges of contemporary society, especially to respond to the questions and concerns of youth. It resolved
to use modern technology to teach scripture in a way that will “capture the interest” of youths and to make the Bible available in local languages. Every bishops’conference should promote biblical formation, the assembly recommended. These conferences should set aside a specific period of time for reflection on the Bible, such as a special Bible Week or Bible Month. The assembly thanked supporting organizations, which included Aid to the Church in Need, Missio Aachen, and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. It entrusted the meeting’s outcome to the Virgin Mary, “Mother of the Church and Queen of Africa.” (CNA)
Charity must begin at parish level, Caritas head tells Canadian bishops
SAINTE-ADELE, Quebec, Sept. 27, 2013— Charity needs to begin face-to-face, at the local parish level, the president of Caritas Internationalis told Canada’s bishops. “Every Christian community must have a ‘heart which sees’ the miseries which, tragically, persist around it and can attend to them,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of the Vatican’s charitable federation, told the bishops’ plenary meeting Sept. 24. The cardinal, who is archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, told the story of a priest in Brazil who, during the annual Lenten campaign for the poor, wondered how many poor people attended his parish. The priest did a survey and discovered 15 families in extreme poverty. Instead of always asking for money to help the poor, the priest realized something had to be done for the families in his own parish, the cardinal said. The priest gathered parishioners, and one said he could offer work to one of the families. Others stepped forward with offers. “They were organizing and it was beautiful,” said Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga. “We need more organized pastoral reaction,” he said, noting this comes from “knowing the reality” and acting on this. “It’s very important for the work of Caritas to start at the local level,” he said. At the same time, bishops must examine how the church exercises charity on a national level through episcopal conferences, and at the universal level through the Holy See. He warned the church is “living through a time of grave crisis.” “It’s not just an economic crisis, nor is it only a cultural crisis; nor is it a crisis of faith. Today, humankind is in danger. Today, the body of Christ is in danger,” he said. “As Pope Francis said, ‘Our civilization has established a throwaway culture. If it’s no use, throw it away, into the garbage: children, the elderly and outsiders. This is the crisis we’re living through.’” “The challenges we are facing are real, and sometimes daunting,” the cardinal said. “Dear friends, the mission of Caritas Internationalis is to serve the poor, and even more the poorest of them first,” he said. “For many people in need, Caritas is the loving face of Christ who brings relief and comfort, respect and recognition,” he said. “As Caritas we are called to witness his love, and we do it with enthusiasm. We know that God is love and we know and believe that he has created every single person in his image.” “Therefore we can’t afford to lose one single person from our one human family without losing our own destiny. We would lose a brother or a sister in Christ, who made himself equal to all of us,” he said. The cardinal said among the challenges the church faces is ensuring Caritas is at the heart of the church and not merely a fundraising nongovernmental organization. Many times Caritas is “seen as a source of employment,” he said. People have asked him, “Now that you are leading this, couldn’t you get me a job?” But Caritas “works mainly with volunteers,” he said, noting that Spain has one of the best Caritas organizations in the world—62,000 volunteers, organized out of 6,000 parishes. As Spain experiences a crisis of unemployment, with millions of people out of work and austerity measures, Caritas Spain is serving a million food packages a day, he said. Donations keep rising and the agency is “the most respected institution in all Spain.” “When there is a motivation of the people of God, Caritas is growing,” he said. Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of Kingston, Ontario, asked the cardinal about the makeup of other Caritas organizations. “In Canada, and perhaps in other parts of the world, while we have local Caritas organizations in each diocese, we don’t really give aid to ourselves,” the archbishop said. Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga said part of the problem came from Caritas’ growth “as an external part of the body, and not an internal part of the body.” He said it is important “to develop the local part of Caritas to respond to their own needs.” Otherwise, groups might appeal to big organizations like Caritas Germany for funds rather than look after their own needs if possible. “We cannot think the money will come from somewhere,” the cardinal said. “We are co-responsible for our own poor.” (CNS)
Pope to be invited to address European Parliament
At an Oct. 11 audience with the Pope, European Parliament president Martin Schulz is expected to formally invite Pope Francis to address the legislative body of the European Union. The news of Schulz’ visit is still not official, but it has been confirmed by a European Union source who spoke to CNA Sept. 24 under condition of anonymity. The source maintained that Schulz’ audience is already scheduled, though “due to unforeseen circumstances these kind of things can change quite late,” and this is probably a reason why the audience has not yet been made official. (CNA)
Rediscover beauty in communication, Pope tells experts
Thousands pay tribute to memory of future blessed Card. Văn Thuận
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, Sept. 27, 2013—Waiting for the conclusion of the process of beatification — even amid setbacks opposed by the Hanoi authorities—Vietnamese Catholics continue to pay homage to the memory Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Văn Thuận. On September 16, at the Cathedral of Saigon at least 3 thousand faithful attended the memorial Mass for the 11th anniversary of the death of the most charismatic figures in the recent history of the Vietnamese Church. Before Mass, participants were shown a series of images from the Cardinal’s life—who died in Rome, after a long illness, on 16 September 2002—that were projected onto the walls of the church. Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the diocese of Rome, also paid tribute “to Cardinal Van Thuan, who practiced the Catholic virtues in a heroic way.” During the memorial service, Fr. Augustine Nguyễn Văn Dụ told some anecdotes concerning the life of the cardinal, especially during his years in Rome, characterized by the progression of the disease. The priest also recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s description of the Vietnamese Cardinal as “a person full of hope. During his life he was able to instill confidence in all those he met and thanks to this innate hope; he was able to overcome the difficulties ... especially during the years of isolation “in the communist prisons of the country. Cardinal François -Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận was born April 17, 1928, in the central part of Vietnam, into a family that had among its ancestors the first Vietnamese martyrs of 1698. On June 11, 1953 he was ordained priest and graduated in Canon Law at the Pontifical Urbanianum University in Rome. On returning to Vietnam, he was a professor and then rector of the seminary of Hue. On 24 April 1975, Paul VI appointed him coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Saigon. A few months later, on 15 August 1975 he was arrested and imprisoned. He was released on 21 November 1988 after spending more than 13 years in prison. And his being a “source of hope” emerged since his choice of motto—” Gaudium et Spes”—confirming that the time spent in the prisons of the regime failed to deprive him of the joy of faith and hope in Christ. An example that is still valid today, for all Vietnamese Catholics living in conditions of difficulty and persecution at the hands of the authorities. Proof of this is found in his deep “optimism” that stemmed from his trust in the providence of God, which never abandoned him even in the communist detention centers Vinh Quang and Vinh Phu . Vietnamese Catholics have fully grasped the cardinal’s lesson of “hope” as a result of “faith and charity” in anticipation of “eternal life .” Even Pope John Paul II paid tribute to the figure of Vietnamese Cardinal, who “in the depths of suffering,” never ceased to “love others.” And who knew how to die in peace,
Pope Francis spoke to Church officials and social communications experts from around the world, encouraging them to focus on leading others to Christ through personal witness of the beauty of faith. “The challenge is to rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and our journey, the beauty of faith and of the encounter with Christ,” the Holy Father said Sept. 21. His statement comes near the close of the annual plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications that has been meeting in Rome for the last three days. (CNA)
Vatican seminar to explore John Paul II document on women
The Pontifical Council for the Laity is slated to hold a study seminar on one of Blessed John Paul II’s documents discussing the dignity of women and their role in modern society. Held from Oct. 10-11, the theme of the event is “God entrusts the human being to the Woman,” and is drawn from the late Pope’s apostolic letter “Mulieris dignitatem.” The seminar is organized by the Council’s Women’s Section and coincides with the 25th anniversary of the document’s publication. JP II wrote “Mulieris Dignitatum” in 1988 in response to the desire of the Synod of Bishops surrounding the participation of the laity in the life of the Church, and in order to study the question of the dignity and vocation of women in the Church and in society. (CNA)
Live your faith, Pope exhorts catechists
Hanoi-styled religious freedom sees Catholic activists on trial, other Christians segregated at home
HANOI, Vietnam, Sept. 26, 2013—The first hearing in the trial of lawyer and Catholic human rights activist Le Quoc Quan will be held on 2 October at the Hanoi People’s Court. He was arrested on false charges of tax fraud last December. Originally, the trial was scheduled to start on 9 July. The 42-yearold had observed a long period of fasting and prayer to prepare for the trial. However, the court eventually postponed the proceedings because the judge “suddenly” fell ill. Vietnamese authorities have also acted against the wife of a Mennonite clergyman from the central highlands. In prison since April 2011, he was sentenced to 11 years in March 2012. In Vietnam, the government has been involved in a harsh, long term campaign against religious leaders, Catholic activists and entire communities as was the case in recent weeks in the Diocese of Vinh, where media and government launched a smear campaign and engaged targeted attacks against the local bishop and faithful. The crackdown also affects single individuals, guilty of demanding the right to religious freedom and respect for citizens’ civil rights. One of the foremost cases involves a Catholic lawyer. Catholic activists and believers in his home town of Vinh have organized a spiritual retreat and group prayers to win his release. A long-time human rights and prodemocracy advocate, he has also protested against Beijing’s “imperialism” in the South China Sea.
without experiencing “resentment” for some a witness to the fact that he enjoys “eternal life, where the sun never sets.” One example among many that pay homage to the greatness of man, even before the priest, is contained in this story that dates back to the prison. After six years of isolation, Cardinal Van Thuan receives a letter from one of the guards of the prison, the soldier confesses to having kept the “promise” to go “every morning” to the altar of Our Lady of La Vang — home to a famous Marian shrine — and recite “a prayer for my dear brother Thuan.” (AsiaNews)
Pope Francis met with a group of catechists from around the world on Sept. 17, encouraging them to live a life of witness for the faith rather than simply catechizing as a job. “Be catechists, don’t work as catechists,” the Pope said to a group of two thousand gathered in the Paul VI audience hall in Rome on Sept. 27. “Being a catechist is a vocation.” The pontiff stressed the importance of living a life of witness, because as Benedict XVI had noted, the Church does not grow through proselytizing, but through attracting, and that which attracts people is a life that witnesses to the gospel. “People see the gospel in our lives: let them read the gospel,” said Pope Francis. (CNA)
Benedict XVI challenges atheist, says he never hid abuse cases
In Vinh, the Justice and Peace Commission has intervened for his release, accusing the authorities of “political repression” against a “peaceful militant.” Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reported that Vietnamese authorities blocked the entrance to Rev. Nguyen Cong Chinh’s home, preventing his wife and five children from leaving the building. The clergyman, who headed a Mennonite church banned for “undermining unity,” has been in prison for two years. According his wife, police want to keep her at home to prevent any contact between her jailed husband and his family. “This is repression,” she said. “I did not do anything wrong, yet they trapped me inside and terrorize my children.” (AsiaNews)
In a letter to an atheist Italian mathematician, retired Pope Benedict XVI defended his own handling of allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and politely criticized the logician’s total reliance on scientific facts for meaning. “I never sought to conceal these things,” the pope said of cases of clerical abuse, and lamented the scholar depicting the church as the only place where such “deviation” and “filth” occur. The pope, who was the first pontiff to meet with abuse victims, had spoken out forcefully against “the filth” in the church, clarified church laws to expedite cases, and mandated bishops’ conferences, put in place stringent norms against abuse, among a number of other initiatives. (CNS)
Pope, in Sardinia, denounces globalization and unemployment
Visiting an Italian region especially hard hit by the European economic crisis, Pope v rancis blamed high unemployment on globalization driven by greed and said those who give charitable aid to the poor must treat their beneficiaries with dignity. “We want a just system, a system that lets all of us get ahead,” the pope said Sept. 22, in his first address during a full day on the Italian island of Sardinia. “We don’t want this globalized economic system that does us so much harm. At its center there should be man and woman, as God wants, and not money.” Sardinia has an overall unemployment rate of nearly 20 percent, rising to nearly 50 percent among young adults. (CNS)
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
as examples of hope and light,” the cardinal said. Blessed John Paul, known as a globetrotter who made 104 trips outside Italy, served as pope from 1978 to 2005 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011. Blessed John XXIII, known particularly for convoking the Second Vatican Council, was pope from 1958 to 1963; Blessed John Paul beatified him in 2000. Asked by reporters if retired Pope Benedict would participate in the canonization ceremony, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters it was possible, but given the retired pope’s preference for staying out of the public eye, he could not say for sure. The choice of April 27, which will be Divine Mercy Sunday in 2014, was not a complete surprise. Speaking to reporters traveling with him from Brazil to Rome July 28, Pope Francis said he had been considering Dec. 8, but the possibility of icy roads could make it difficult for Polish pilgrims who would travel by bus to Rome for the ceremony. The other option, he said, was Divine Mercy Sunday, a celebration instituted worldwide by Pope John Paul. Since the beginning of his pontificate in March, Pope Francis has emphasized God’s mercy and readiness to forgive those who recognize their need for pardon. He told reporters on the flight from Brazil that Pope John Paul’s promotion of Divine Mercy Sunday showed his intuition that a new “age of mercy” was needed in the church and the world. Asked on the plane to describe the two late popes, Pope Francis said Blessed John was “a bit of the ‘country priest,’ a priest who loves each of the faithful and knows how to care for them; he did this as a bishop and as a nuncio.” He was holy, patient, had a good sense of humor and, especially by calling the Second Vatican Council, was a man of courage, Pope Francis said. “He was a man who let himself be guided by the Lord.” As for Blessed John Paul, Pope Francis told the reporters on the plane, “I think of him as ‘the great missionary of the church,” because he was “a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere.” Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing the miracle needed for Blessed
Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April
VATICAN City, Sept. 30, 2013—Recognizing that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have widespread reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue, Pope Francis announced he would declare his two predecessors saints at a single ceremony April 27. The pope made the announcement Sept. 30 at the end of an “ordinary public consistory,” a gathering of cardinals and promoters of the sainthood causes of the two late popes. The consistory took place in the context of a prayer service in Latin and included the reading of brief biographies of the two sainthood candidates. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, read the biographies and highlighted the “service to peace” and the impact both popes had “inside and outside the Christian community” at times of great cultural, political and religious transformation. The testimonies of their lives, “completely dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel, shine in the church and reverberate in the history of the world
www.thaiyouthmadrid2011.files.wordpress.com | www. en.wikipedia.org
Blessed Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John XXIII
John Paul’s canonization July 5; the same day, the Vatican announced that the pope had agreed with members of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes that the canonization of Blessed John should go forward even without a second miracle attributed to his intercession.
Except in the case of martyrdom, Vatican rules require one miracle for a candidate’s beatification and a second for his or her canonization as confirmations that the candidate really is in heaven with God. However, the pope may set aside the rule. (CNS)
Like Benedict, Pope Francis doesn’t want Church of ‘moralists’ Prejudice towards VATICAN City, Sept. 26, 2013— certain commandments or promigrants and refugees While Pope Francis’ mention hibitions,” Benedict said. of the Church’s priorities in “We give the impression that a recent interview grabbed we are moralists with a few must end, Pope stresses worldwide attention, few resomewhat antiquated convicmember that Benedict XVI said substantially the same thing seven years ago. Pope Francis’ interview with La Civiltà Cattolica published Sept. 19 led to headlines such as CNN’s “Pope Francis says religion does not have the right to interfere spiritually in the lives of gays and lesbians” and the New York Times’ “Pope Bluntly Faults Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion.” Among other things, the Roman Pontiff had said that the Church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods … when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.” He continued, “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, tions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith,” adding that we must never be diverted from that highlight. This continuity between Benedict and Pope Francis was noted by Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, in a Sept. 22 essay in National Review Online. He pointed to a misleading “media narrative,” in which Pope Francis is portrayed as “a progressive, taking the Catholic Church in a profoundly new direction – uninterested in Church teaching on moral issues.” “Benedict, we are told, is conservative, doctrinaire, and old-fashioned — focused on moral issues,” according to the media narrative. Anderson concluded that “neither narrative is true, because each leaves out half of the story.” (CNA/EWTN News)
Pope Benedict XVI at the Wednesday General Audience, October 24, 2012.
on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus … the proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.” The Pope’s words echoed those of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who had made similar comments to the bishops of Switzerland on Nov. 9, 2006. At that time, Benedict recalled that when asked for interviews
in the 1980s and ‘90s, he knew the questions in advance, as they “concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.” “We should not allow our faith to be drained by too many discussions of multiple, minor details,” he said, “but rather, should always keep our eyes in the first place on the greatness of Christianity.” “If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran on April 7, 2013.
‘We leave our convents, seminaries and stand for justice’ – priest
MANILA, Sept. 18, 2013—It is impossible for members of the clergy and religious to stay mum on the issue of corruption, a priest said during a recent mobilization of religious congregations calling for the scrapping of the pork barrel system. “We cannot take things sitting down in the comforts of our convents and watch our nation fall apart. We need to stand up and make a stand for truth and justice. That is the reason why we are here,” Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF, provincial superior of the Claretian congregation, said in his homily during the “Mass for Truth”, organized by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) at the San Agustin Church last Friday. The mass and procession, according to Dalmao is to pressure the Aquino administration to scrap the pork barrel system and all other discretionary funds “in all its forms”. “No matter what form and makeover it takes, it has always been and will always be a breeding ground for corruption, especially among government officials,” the priest emphasized, explaining the reason behind the adamant stance. During his homily, Dalmao highlighted two urgent needs, first, “a government [that] takes risks for the people it claims to serve, rather than one that secures its own interest” and second, “an active citizenry Dalmao explained, the issues of corruption, injustice, failed peace talks and human rights violations are deeply wounding and affecting Filipinos on a massive scale, in terms of resources, quality of life and emotional well-being. “It is because without truth and justice, all of us, our nation and the poor people will continue to suffer. I think we as a nation are the crossroads. We have very difficult decisions to make, both as a nation and as an individual,” he added. Speaking to some 2,000 people present, Dalmao said the pork barrel scandal is also a wake-up call for members of the Church hierarchy to break through the “veils of religiosity” that alienate them from the world and the suffering of others. “Amidst the seemingly insurmountable issues and lies and corruption, we are not hopeless and helpless. And I believe, that is the point of the gathering today; to choose, to make a choice, the choice to be pro-active,” Dalmao told the crowd composed mostly of nuns, priests and other religious, as well as Catholic students. Despite not being easy, he explained, having a choice to change things is good news in itself. After the mass, the group joined members of other religion in the interfaith service in Luneta. (Jandel Posion)
Roy Lagarde / CBCPMedia
Members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) lead other churchgoers in a Mass to push for the ferreting out of the truth in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel fund scam at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, September 13.
that will take responsibility for the course of the nation’s life, including those of the poor and marginalized.” He explained how “a culture of lying, intimidation and impunity” makes standing for truth and justice dangerous. In the end, according to Dalmao, farmers, lumads, underpaid teachers, and those in the informal sector carry the heaviest burden of such a culture. “In other words, the vulnerable, the weak, the defenseless, and the powerless sectors of our country bear the brunt of these overwhelming and long standing issues,” he added.
Sacrifice leads to happiness, fulfillment — Cardinal Rosales
MANILA, Sept. 25, 2013—A high-ranking official of the Catholic Church on Saturday emphasized the importance of sacrifice in the life of the faithful, noting that it is only through living a life suffering that true happiness and fulfillment may be achieved. Former Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said that sacrifice combined with selfrenewal is needed to rightfully take up one’s cross and deal with the sufferings and challenges brought by one’s day-to-day living. “No one will be truly happy without suffering, sacrificing, and dying out from evil. Once you have gone through all these, it is only then that you will be led toward a renewed life,” Rosales said in the vernacular during the Katolikong Pinoy recollection held at the San Carlos Seminary. The failure to follow the path set forth by Christ is the primary reason why Filipinos remain confounded by the same societal issues and concerns every now and then, Rosales said. “The reason why we do not progress as a nation is because we do not follow the rules given by Jesus. We have never really progressed because we have not fully treaded the path Jesus showed us,” he said. “Do you want a better Philippines? I hope our leaders would lead us toward a vision that will make us a better country. And I am also hoping that the media would do the same by focusing on the good news instead of the opposite because that is evangelization—there is good news even after your sins and my sins put together,” Rosales said. ‘Die to what is evil’ The 81-year-old prelate also noted that taking up one’s cross should not be done hastily for one has to go through “the process of suffering, dying to what is evil, and rising to new life” to successfully follow the path treaded by Christ in saving humanity from sin. “The cross does not end in sacrifice and death. Rather, it leads us to a renewed lifestyle, to a renewed way of life,” Rosales said. Noting the hardships people are bound to face for taking up their cross, he urged the faithful to be stronger in facing the odds that might come their way. He also urged the faithful to always believe that Christ accompanies them in every step of the way as they choose to face and carry their burdens in life. “Sacrifice and endurance are important. Remember that in the path of goodness, God is always guiding us. In Jesus Christ, we are encouraged to do this. He is always with us, not only to teach us, but to carry us throughout the journey,” he added. Dwelling on the past and lingering to previous mistakes must also be avoided so the faithful may succeed in living a renewed life, Rosales noted. “We do not progress because we are stuck remembering mistakes and putting the blame to someone,” he said. “Don’t look at the past. Does Christ want us to be always reminded of our sinful beginnings?” “Let it fall, let it die, let it rot. You have to suffer and endure for if there is no pain, there is also no gain. Life is not only defined by the meaning of sacrifice, but of its importance as well,” Rosales noted. (Jennifer Orillaza)
VATICAN City, Sept. 24, 2013—In honor of the upcoming World Migration Day, Pope Francis said that the improvement of society demands the end of common prejudices against migrants and refugees. “In considering the situation of migrants and refugees, I would point to yet another element in building a better world, namely, the elimination of prejudices and presuppositions in the approach to migration.” The message of Pope Francis was read aloud during a Sept. 24 press conference in honor of World Migration Day, which will take place on Jan. 19, 2014. In his address, the Pope emphasized the need to build a better world through “efforts to provide dignified living conditions for everyone, at finding just responses to the needs of individuals and families, and at ensuring that God’s gift of creation is respected, safeguarded and cultivated.” “Our hearts do desire something ‘more.’ Beyond greater knowledge or possessions, they want to “be” more,” he said. “Development cannot be reduced to economic growth alone, often attained without a thought for the poor and the vulnerable.” The pontiff noted the importance of fighting the “scandal of poverty,” warning that “Violence, exploitation, discrimination, marginalization, restrictive approaches to fundamental freedoms, whether of individuals or of groups,” are some of the chief elements of poverty which need to be overcome. Amid the necessity for cooperation among societies in order to create peace, justice and security, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of deconstructing common stereotypes which are held against many who flee their homelands. “Not infrequently, the arrival of migrants, displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees gives rise to suspicion and hostility,” he said. “There is a fear that society will become less secure, that identity and culture will be lost, that competition for jobs will become stiffer and even that criminal activity will increase.” It is those in the field of “communication media,” he said, who have the greatest responsibility “to break down stereotypes and to offer correct information in reporting the errors of a few as well as the honesty, rectitude
and goodness of the majority.” The Pope likened the migrant to the image of the Holy Family, who also left their home and faced rejection in a foreign land, saying that “threatened by Herod’s lust for power, they were forced to take flight and seek refuge in Egypt.” “But the maternal heart of Mary and the compassionate heart of Joseph, the Protector of the Holy Family, never doubted that God would always be with them. Through their intercession, may that same firm certainty dwell in the heart of every migrant and refugee.” The Church, he recalled, who is called to follow Christ’s commandment to “go and make disciples of all nations,” is also called to embrace and proclaim the gospel to all peoples, because “the face of each person bears the mark of the face of Christ.” “Here we find the deepest foundation of the dignity of the human person, which must always be respected and safeguarded.” It is being created in God’s image and likeness that grounds personal dignity, said the pontiff, rather than external circumstances such as productivity, social class, ethnic or religious belonging, or “the criteria of efficiency.” “Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved.” The situation of the migrant, urged the Pope, is for us “an occasion that Providence gives us to help build a more just society, a more perfect democracy, a more united country, a more fraternal world and a more open and evangelical Christian community.” The Holy Father also expressed that the reality of migrants poses the possibility and opportunity for evangelization and for “the growth of a new humanity.” Pope Francis ended his message speaking directly to migrants themselves, encouraging them to “Never lose the hope that you too are facing a more secure future, that on your journey you will encounter an outstretched hand, and that you can experience fraternal solidarity and the warmth of friendship.” (CNA/EWTN News)
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
THERE is no mistaking this country is at the crossroads of its history. It is at the vortex of a developing crisis that maybe unprecedented in recent memory. Since August 26 this year, popular rallies are becoming more frequent, and nobody knows when or where this is going to lead. People are getting angrier by the day. They feel cheated or deceived by the very same people they have voted into office; by their very leaders they have invested their trust and high expectations on. Three years ago, people were mesmerized by a socio-political drama that was cherished and crystallized by a campaign slogan “tuwid na daan” boosted by a popular belief that the standard bearer, Benigno Simeon Aquino, has inherited the relative integrity and heroism of his parents—consequently absolving and confining to oblivion a deficient track record and an inefficient past political performance in his home province. (Columnist Jojo Robles writes that the tagline “tuwid na daan” was a brainchild of a retired advertising executive whose biggest success was in marketing a brand of fast-food fried chicken—and, therefore, was merely an advertisement, not a serious center-piece program of governance, like people were led to believe.) But now big cracks are showing. Since the testimonies of Benhur Luy and the blunder of escorting Napoles from Malacañang to Camp Crame by the president himself who is increasingly being mocked in social media as a double-faced “king of pork”, until the “bombshell exposé” of Senator Estrada at the senate floor and the half hazard coinage by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Jr., of the high-sounding “Disbursement Acceleration Program” (DAP), the erstwhile “straight path” popularity of the president is plummeting despite attempts of social surveys and Malacañang spinners to resurrect an old image. While the gargantuan pork barrel anomalies among legislators and the executive department are problem enough, this DAP may actually be a tipping factor in the corruption saga of the Aquino administration; not to mention the Malampaya Funds which is a heavyweight that can bring down the powers that be if only the audit department will not be politicized. Former Senator Arroyo and Senator Santiago have both denounced the Palace for brewing a fund that is illegal since DAP is not authorized by law. To refute the justifications of the DAP by the budget Secretary, former National Treasurer Leonor Briones explained that the use of the savings of other agencies is prohibited, unless they are savings accumulated by the Office of the President itself. People are now beginning to understand why the Palace was suddenly not interested with the legislation of the Freedom of Information Bill. Now people are getting clarified why Corona was immediately impeached or why the controversial Reproductive Health Bill was passed into law in a jiffy. Votebuying is a scourge in Philippine politics. But how does one add up the highest office of the land buying votes and loyalties of the members of both houses of Congress by dangling both the presidential and congressional pork which the Aquino administration has increased to unimaginable proportion? Really, a crisis is brewing.
Enemies from within and without
IT is so hard to see or find anything really good, anything truly positive in having enemies. They are contradictions to one’s own good, present and future. It is already a big predicament and liability when someone is said to be his own enemy—such as by having insatiable vices, in having no self-control, especially so in losing one’s mind. When one becomes an enemy to himself, then it can be said that he needs no other enemy to be a loser, to suffer defeat. But if in addition to bring one’s own enemy from within, he still has enemies from without, then to be a winner is one huge challenge—if not a moral impossibility. It is sad to take note of the fact that it is common knowledge that our poor country has enemies from within and without. No. This has nothing to do with the criminals that kill, steal, abduct, rape, etc., as a matter of fact, any time of the day, all days of the week. Neither does this has something
Oscar. V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
a fighting mood. TAIPEI is still angry and wants vengeance. HONG KONG remains unhappy and not yet really pacified. From within: MNLF, ASG, BIFF, NDF, NPA, etc. Such is certainly neither an inspiring reality nor a promising future. This is why more and more foreigners do not buy the slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” And that is why travel bans to the country every now and then issued by foreign governments, are not really surprising. Even the optimists find it difficult to rejoice about the actual Philippine situation. But then, some Filipinos are simply being what they are. They love to joke and have fun—probably to enable them to face hard and trying realities, so they say, “call a friend!”—in the spirit of handling a “Play Station.” It is an option that when a player is losing the battle, he calls a friend to help him. This is why—so they say—that a “friend” is coming to the Philippines next month!
Women guides on the pilgrimage
IN the Western world, and here in the Philippines as well, there is a profound shift in the consciousness of women. This new sensitivity often clashes with authoritarian, patriarchal patterns which have influenced many decisions about the orientation, spirituality, and life lifestyle of the sisters. The attitude and stance of Jesus towards women was one of openness and great-heartedness. He made them disciples, thereby educating their faith. He enabled them to witness his crucifixion, death and resurrection, even which enabled them to announce the Good News to others. In a spirit of fidelity, the church must let go of cultural attitudes that prevent the liberating action of Jesus for women. She must actively promote their participation in her internal structures, convinced that the God-created potentials of women will positively contribute to the life of the church. She must also inculcate a healthy respect towards women in order that Catholics may not be guilty of that behavior which the Pope has declared as contradictory: “For whenever man is responsible for offending woman’s dignity and vocation, he acts contrary to his own personal dignity and his own vocation.” The history of many religious women is also the story of the strength, competence, resourcefulness and natural abilities of women. Religious women have the obligation to use these same gifts now for the advancement of the status of women in our country; to minister to and with them; to be open to the women’s movement, modeling for them spiritual leadership in living the Gospel. Religious women should become more responsive to the Spirit’s call to develop their latent possibilities and with a greater sense of responsibility, engage themselves in fuller collaboration in the total work of the church. Thus may the church overcome whatever alienates people one from another, and more faithfully approximate the image of the kingdom proclaimed by Jesus Christ whereby all women and men are called to their full stature as children of the one God. (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 488-493) — Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
to do with many public officials indulging in gross self-service at pocketing big public funds at the expense of the people who are hungry and sick, poor, and destitute. Much less has this anything to do with amoral acts and practices uploaded in the social media for everybody to watch—men and women, boys and girls alike. Yes, this has something to do with enemies that threaten no less than the national security and integrity, the peace and development of the country. And they are neither a bunch of weaklings who should not be taken seriously, nor a group of jokers who could be simply laughed at. Their mere mention is enough for knowledgeable people to really worry, for the country to be vigilant. Who are these enemies? Can they be named? Are they for real? Are they but do-nothing weaklings simply craving for attention? The answer is neither imaginary, much less funny. From without: CHINA is displeased and in
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
ADDING to the confusion of our country’s already misinformed (under-catechized) majority is secular media’s perception and resulting presentation of the pope and bishops as mere political leaders who are expected to “be involved” by making pronouncements on hottest issues of the day and egging on activists to push their “narrow-minded, outdated” agenda. Catholics or not (judging by their misrepresentation of the Catholic Church), most media people do not know Church history and structure, what Magisterium means, or for that matter, even how a man responds to the call to priesthood. Thus, when the pope or a bishop opens his mouth, his voice is heard through a secular megaphone that distorts or filters out the meaning of the message. Case in point: the hoopla generated by headlines like “Church ‘obsessed’ with birth control, abortion and gays,” referring to a recent interview with Pope Francis that came out in an Italian magazine. Whether people read only the headline or the whole second-hand report, it is the headline that will most impact them for it is supposed to carry the gist of the story. To people too busy or uninterested to read or analyze the original interview, it would appear that the pope is going against the teaching of the Church. They would not care that while Pope Francis actually said “We cannot insist only on issued related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods…” he also said: “The teaching of the Church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the Church, but it is not neces-
Reading the popes
sary to talk about these issues all the time.” Did he say the Church is “obsessed”? No—it is the media who said it. So, what is Pope Francis really trying to say? Media have painted Pope Francis as a “different pope”, a “reformer” of the Church, and they are but too quick to color his words to suit their taste. Even some Catholics tend to put the pope in a box: a Jesuit box, for instance. Are we not guilty, too, of seeing the Holy Father as a mere politician? Every pope has his particular contribution to the evolution of the Church. Every pope leaves his fingerprints on the papal chalice, so to speak. Each pope responds to the challenges of the age, as well as adapts to and utilizes civilization’s technological advances in meeting the needs of the flock. Let us take a quick glance at the three popes our country’s predominantly young population has known. Soon-to-be-saint Blessed John Paul II will be remembered by the faithful for throwing wide open the doors of the Church to the world, becoming the most widely-traveled pope in history. In a world where young people were asserting their independence from parents, John Paul II discerned the youth’s search for parental authority and affection, some direction in life, and he offered them Jesus. He hugged them, kissed them, dialogued with them, danced with them during the World Youth Day celebrations that have for decades attracted countless young people to Christ. Sensing the growing sexual unrest in the modern times, he wrote Theology of the Body to
And That’s The Truth / A7
Appreciating our common ‘Fathers in Faith’
WE cannot avoid them. We either commit them ourselves or we receive them. We are both their doers and victims. And so we ought to know how to handle them, offenses, that is. When we commit them, for whatever reason, including those offenses that may have been done unintentionally, we should be quick to ask for forgiveness and to do whatever repair, atonement and restitution is needed. It’s the most human and Christian way to go about them. It shows refinement of heart and acts quickly to resolve conflicts quickly and effectively. It defuses tension and facilitates reconciliation. Obviously, we should try our best to avoid committing these offenses, no matter how slight they are. This should be an ongoing concern that can be effectively attended to if we continue to grow in our sensitivity towards others. The best defence, as they say, is offence, but offence in the good sense of always do-
Fr. Roy Cimagala
forgive offenses. Christ tells us that “whoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Mt 5,21) When offended, we have to try not to get upset, or to let anger overcome our heart. This obviously requires struggle and training. That’s why it always pays to be meek and humble, for these virtues make forgiving easy to do. When we find it hard to do, we have to kneel down and pray, and beg Christ to give us the grace to forgive. We have to remove the obstacles to forgiveness that likely are embedded in our heart. These usually are pride, oversensitiveness, inordinate attachment to our views and preferences, etc. Obviously, meditating on the example of the mercy of Christ as he hung on the cross would be most illuminating. What can help us is to realize that offenses and injuries, even if those who inflict them on us may be sinning, can do us a lot of good, since these can serve to purify us, and
Candidly Speaking / A6
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
ing good to the others. If it’s already second nature to us to be generous in our good acts of service towards others, then we actually minimize the possibility of offending them. It’s when we suffer offenses that we need to learn how to react. Our human condition is such that we are most vulnerable to respond to offenses not only with anger, which is understandable as a spontaneous reaction, but also with hatred, bitterness, resentment and a burning urge for revenge that stay with us for long. We have to be ready for this eventuality which is actually very common, especially nowadays when people are quick to anger and slow to forgive, which is precisely the opposite of how God is with us. We need to look at offenses, when inflicted upon us, from a theological point of view, with faith purifying and enriching our reason and emotions. We have to be clear about not allowing reason and emotions alone to handle the experience of being offended. Our faith tells us that we have to learn to
Illustration by Brothers Matias
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Believing and being church in a time of uncertainty
YOU would think I should not be saying what I am about to say in our present circumstances. But the truth is… Being Filipino and living in the Philippines at the same time is, pardon the expression, the surest formula to living in calamity, er, excuse me, uncertainty (something that, at least in part, explains to me why there seems a never-ending exodus by our people towards other and greener shores). For one, you always contend with all types of calamity, natural or man-made. If you and your family do not deal with at least thirty three regular typhoons a year, now made even more challenging by climate change-spawned super-abundance of water eventually creating floods in so many lowlying areas in the country, then you are confronted by the shocking disrespect for life through random killings and/or political assassinations, unbridled criminality, bigtime political scams such the pork-barrel controversy, armed rebellion such as the latest Misuari-inspired uprising, demoralizing poverty of so many while so few trumpet unprecedented glowing economic figures, a seemingly unchecked joblessness and a lack of opportunity that seems to grow with each batch of fresh college graduates. We have a very popular president who seems to have moved the economy to unheard-of heights but which ironically has scarcely dented the grip of poverty on the islands. They say ours is already a tiger economy. But if there is some truth to it, then our tiger does not roar; it groans. I really wish I could be more optimistic. Two particular sources of man-made
By the Roadside
and to be aware that there are brothers and sisters around us who share not only what we believe but also what we live for. This is why the hierarchy continually pushes us on to belong to or help build small ecclesial communities through evangelization. The Holy Father Pope Francis speaks of how Christian believers, by their faith centered on Jesus Christ, become “radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within” (Lumen Fidei, no. 20). Teaching with vigor that because of this “their lives are enlarged and expanded” such that they can say with St. Paul “’It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me’ (Gal 2:20)”(LF 21), the Holy Father declares that this leads to the “ecclesial form of faith”. The love of Jesus Christ that expands and enlarges our lives also expands and enlarges our horizons. It makes us see and appreciate our membership in the Church. “In this way, the life of the believer becomes an ecclesial existence; a life lived in the Church” (LF 22). I believe there is much to be desired in our Filipino experience of “ecclesial existence” or, to put it simply, our being Church. In fact, it is a mistake we often make to allow the goal of being Church to end up in mere desire. The pope also underlines the teaching of St. Paul “that all who believe in Christ make up one body” (LF 22). The twelfth chapter of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians focuses on this doctrine by a most astounding and unique insight. We could just withdraw for a while from St. Paul and just consider
By The Roadside / A7
Spaces of Hope
‘Hell or Heaven?’ (Luke 16: 19-31)
(The homily I gave before the Cebu Coalition against the Pork Barrel last September 29.)
OUR gospel today is no mere coincidence as to why we are here. It contains a threat, expresses firm hope, and calls us to come together for sustained change. My friends, the amounts are mind boggling! P10 billion is not easy to fathom especially for a rich yet impoverished nation like the Philippines. I know of street children who have gone back to school. P200 a week per child is what it takes for their lunch and transport allowances. That’s money for about 150 thousand street children to finish until grade 7! But even more mind boggling is why people who are in a position to do much good just try to give the appearance of good! Our wounds are deep and healing does not come easy. Ten years ago this month we had a similar gathering to express our collective and prayerful indignation at the unjust impeachment. And our voices were heard. Today we have come—individuals, families, groups representing various sectors, parishes, and others—of different ages, social status, denominations and religions—because something very wrong is happening in our country threatening the very soul of our nation. The stakes are high indeed! To be silent and to do nothing is to condone the wrongs. We join our voices with God who hears the cry of the poor. The Threat Today’s gospel talks about a threat that begins in our hearts. The pork barrel is a symptom of a spiritual disease called avarice. While a selfish person says, “What is mine is mine; what is your is yours,” avarice goes a step further: “What is mine is mine; what is yours is mine.” Avarice destroys life and community. No name is given for the rich man. But the poor man has one. “Lazarus” means “God has helped.” While on earth they lived at the opposite ends of the social spectrum. When they die—they find their fortunes dramatically reversed! The poor man lives forever in God while the rich man finds himself reduced to nothing. But just what did the rich man do to merit his fate? After all he seems to have done nothing wrong to the poor man. He does not abuse nor defraud him. But neither does he do anything for him. He had treated Lazarus as if he did not exist! He does not even address Lazarus directly but only speaks with Abraham. He suffers a horrible fate not because he is rich but because he had made a decisive break with God through hardness of heart towards a needy neighbor. God is love—yes—but he does not force his love on us. The goods of this earth are destined for everyone’s good, not just a select few. God puts us in positions of power to do good, especially to the poor. He holds us accountable when we fail to do this through deliberate choices. When we idolize riches we become blind to others. Dishonest wealth weighs us down, preventing us from reaching heaven. We cut our communion with people and with God. Theologians call this stark condition hell. The Lucifer Effect Hell is a slippery slope. In 1971, an experiment was conducted in a university in the USA. Student volunteers were randomly grouped into two: one played the role of prisoners; the others, as prison guards. The experiment was supposed to last for two weeks but was stopped on the sixth day because normal students who played guards became more brutal. Good people had turned bad, no longer capable of empathy. This is called the Lucifer Effect. The rich man in the gospel no longer had empathy. It can happen to anyone of us. What About Us? So we should ask ourselves: What would we have done if we were in the shoes of the rich man? Would we have helped Lazarus? Really? It is an intriguing question and we cannot take the answer for granted. Power can blind us. What do we do with our God-given powers? As citizens and leaders we exercise this power daily. If we do good, we give birth to our nation. If we do the opposite, nation building becomes stillborn. How many of us obey traffic rules? How many of us pay our taxes correctly? How many of us pay just wages? How many of us get involved in barangay affairs? When was the last time we offered bribes to our officials and justify our actions? If we had an opportunity to have bundles of money — P10 billion to be exact—would we act differently? Truth is, we are all part of the problem—but the good news is that we can and should be part of the solution! Pork: Good Intentions Not Enough I still believe in my heart that the intention to serve is not absent in people who run for elected posts. But what happens to this good intention? Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. “Pork barrel” takes its name from the practice of American slave owners giving salted pork in barrels to their slaves. When pork barrel was restored in the Philippines in 1990 it was supposed to provide legislators, who were supposed to know their constituents, access to fund infrastructure and community projects. Pork was intended to serve the poor. Those who have studied corruption point out that there is a formula involved in its slippery slope. Corruption, they say, is the result of Monopoly plus Discretion less Accountability. This is what is happening with the pork barrel system. It gives a select few much discretionary funds with little or no demand for accountability. It has become an occasion of sin, both personal and systemic. But can the pork barrel still be reformed especially since many poor beneficiaries await? So we ask: is the pork in the barrel just no longer fresh or is it already rotten? In 2000 the Countryside Development Fund or PDF was renamed PDAF supposedly a reformed version of it. In 2005 the biggest network of NGOs came out with a Pork Barrel Watch. In 2008 a congressional duo came out with a report on PDAF with further reforms to safeguard against corruption. Now we have this P10 billion mess which is just the tip of the iceberg. So what else is new? How long do we make excuses and rationalize our moral failures? When will we learn? A growing number of Filipinos think the pork barrel system is beyond redemption like the rich man in our gospel. We agree with them. Giving people great power without oversight is prescription for disaster. Giving money to a group of people who wield tremendous power made accessible to them through the ballot which, in turn, is made accessible through a vote buying culture is formula for disaster. The pork brings out the worst in us. Instead of aligning strengths so that weaknesses become irrelevant, as one management guru puts it — it aligns our weaknesses and
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calamities are Philippine politics and Philippine elections. Now that barangay elections are in the offing, so again are the opportunities to buy and sell votes and many other ways to circumvent the people’s choice, such that our elections recurrently put into power many politicians of the kind that the pork-barrel scam has only partially unmasked. I remember a story of how a losing candidate (a man of integrity) who ran for Mayor and lost in the elections was being consoled by his closest friend who also lost in his own bid to be Councilor. “Don’t take it so hard,” the friend said, “and remember the saying when Ninoy Aquino died, ‘Hindi ka nagiisa’ (‘You are not alone’).” The eldest son of the losing mayoralty candidate overheard it and added: “That’s right, Tatay. ‘Hindi ka nag-iisa’ pero naisahan ka…ng kalaban.” One common feeling shared not only by losing candidates but even by decent Filipino believers especially when they face personal and national tragedies, failures and such other types of calamity is the sense of being alone. Humanly speaking, we say this is anything but abnormal. But for us Filipinos who strive to follow Jesus Christ this is a symptom of a lack of completeness in our life. We should not be feeling alone unless we have no community or sense of community even as we profess to belong to the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, we Catholics are often tempted to feel alone especially in our big churches when we attend liturgical celebrations, such as the Eucharist. This is why the Church encourages us to be active participants
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
AFTER more than two weeks of battle between the government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front or MNLF, many were killed, hundreds are injured including the Red Cross volunteers, thousands were displaced from their residence, several houses and commercial buildings were burnt and destroyed. Zamboanga City is a complete havoc, a huge mess. What a waste of life and destruction to properties. Great damage is caused to infrastructures, houses, schools and other properties worth billions of pesos. Both the government forces and MNLF rebels suffered loss of lives and injuries, not to mention loss and damage to properties. Worst, civilians are the unknowing victims, they got killed, they had to leave their houses, they were used as human shields, they were the great victims. Trauma is suffered by young and old; debriefing has to be conducted on them. The government ordered the release of P6.0 Billion to help Zamboanga do the reparation work; give assistance to residents in forms of shelter, livelihood, education to their children; construction of infrastructures which were obliterated during the battle between the military and the rebels. There are truly no winners or victors in war, in armed conflict. Everyone is a loser, even the taxpayers because the government must fund the destruction in ground zero. Let us just pray that the conflict in Zamboanga, and now in Cotabato, will soon end. Again, let us give peace a chance. Let there be peace. *** Happy Feastday to St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, Diocese of Kalookan. It is celebrating its Golden Anniversary. Congratulations to its parishioners and parish priest Monsignor Alex V. Amandy, the Vicar General and Moderato Curiae of the Diocese. *** The Diocese of Kalookan gratefully received the visit of the International Image of Fatima on September 29, the Feast of the Archangels. The image will depart on October 1, the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Thanks to the World Apostolate of Fatima President Reynald Andales and companions Boying Mansueto of the Archdiocese of Cebu for facilitating the visit. *** The celebration of the National Laity Week, with the theme “Taon ng Pananampalataya sa Diwa ni San Pedro Calungsod” was very successful. We would like to thank the Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa Most Rev. Pedro Arigo, the parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Puerto Princesa Fr. Pipes Torrecampo, the officers of the Council of the Laity of Puerto Princesa headed by its President
No winner in armed conflict
Bro. Roland Baldonado and the Parish Pastoral Council Chairman of the Cathedral Bro. Raul Alarcon for the warm welcome they extended to the officers and trustees of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas or Laiko. The simultaneous General Assembly and Opening Ceremony of the National Laity Week held at Skylight Convention Center last September 21 was a huge success. The parishioners from all parishes attended the Ceremony, including those coming from Brookespoint which is 200 kilometers away from the venue. Mass Presider was Bishop Arigo. Likewise, we also thank the Archbishop of Lipa His Excellency Ramon Arguelles, the officers of the Council of the Laity of Lipa headed by its President Bro. Loreto “Ito” Guinhawa, for the warm welcome they gave the Laiko officers and Trustees. The General Assembly and Closing Ceremony of the National Laity Week held at Batangas Convention Center last September 28. The Mass Presider was His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. The Archdiocese celebrates the National Laity Month, not just one week. They actually started the celebration last April 2, during the Feast of San Pedro Calungsod, to promote the devotion to the second Filipino saint. Every week since April 2, the image of San Pedro Calungsod is brought to different parishes where talks and devotions are conducted. In our Diocese of Kalookan, the Council of the Laity did away with its planned recollection; it used to conduct talk, recollections or medical mission during National Laity Week. Instead the Council will donate its budget for the Laity Week to the Archdiocese of Zamboanga which is in dire need of cash to feed the evacuees housed in the Cathedral. Foods and basic needs had to be delivered to Zamboanga due to limited flight, not to mention the more than a week of flight cancellation, bank closure and danger involved in accessing the area by land and water. The Council requested the parish priests of our Diocese to include in the Prayers of the Faithful in all Anticipated Masses and Sunday Masses in the parish on September 21 and 22 the peace and immediate solution to the armed conflict in Zamboanga. They also requested the Apostolic Administrator, Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, to donate to the Archdiocese of Zamboanga a portion of the second collection in all Anticipated Masses and Sunday Masses in parishes and sub-parish on September 21 and 22. *** Happy Birthday to Fr. Christopher Tibong, Fr. Ed Guantero and Rona Marie Apellanes; Happy 35th Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Gaudioso “Gau” Sustento, Chancellor, all from the Diocese of Kalookan.
F.U.N. (Faith Up Now!): Cross-eyed
CHILDREN’S talk: “Bet you can’t do this!” Karl challenged Bryan. “I can, but my mommy sez that it’s bad to cross your eyes!” Bryan corrected him. “…and why so?” a surprised Karl uncrossed his eyes. “’Coz your eyes might not go back to normal!” Bryan warned him. “Not true!” Karl contested him. “But my mom won’t tell a lie,” Bryan defended himself. “My dad sez it’s cool ‘coz you see more by seeing double!” “You mean your dad crosses his eyes too?” Bryan asked. “Yup! And he jokes with us a lot when he points at our doubles,” Karl giggled. “Then mom must have meant somethin’ else,” Bryan wondered. *** Adult Talk: A man attentively observed the corpulent priest praying after Holy Mass in the front pew. He saw that there was nothing really unique in the way the priest was praying. But he felt attracted to something more, something about how he conversed with God. Unable to contain his curiosity, he approached the priest. “Good morning Fr. Thomas,” he cordially greeted the priest. “Yes, my son, what is it that you wish?” the priest gave him a very reassuring fatherly smile. “Oh, nothing, really…, Father, eh…ah…, I don’t mean to be rude, but I was just wondering… .I hope I’m not interrupting you….” “My son, it’s alright, how may I help you?” the priest offered him to sit down. “Thank you, Father. I have recently come back to the Church. I have been trying my best to get closer to God, but I don’t seem to be making much progress.” “…and…?” the priest patiently listened. “Well, I saw… like how you prayed, and I wondered if you could recommend a book I could read. That way, perhaps…, I can learn how to pray as you do,” the man explained.
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
“My son, you really need not worry too much about that. Each person prays in his own way. What is required is his faith, constancy and sincerity in conversing with the Lord.” “But Father, if I may say so, you seem to have it so easy.” “Neither was it easy when I started. Back then I was just like you when I began taking my spiritual life seriously.” “Yes, but surely with your years as a priest you would have some useful advice?” “Ah, if it is advice you seek, then it is advice I will give,” the priest chuckled. Then he reached into through his large weatherbeaten habit and pulled out something. “A crucifix?” the man reacted both surprised and amazed at how an almost foot-long crucifix could be hidden underneath the priest’s vestment. “Why do you seem surprised?” the priest asked. “I thought you were going to give me a passage in the Bible or some inspiring book whose ideas could guide and enlighten me.” “This, my son, is the only and best book you will ever need for prayer.” “But how exactly do I read it?” “Every wound, drop of blood, sweat, and tear… and the many unseen sufferings our Lord bore upon the Cross is an infinite chapter of grace and conversion.” “But Father, how exactly do I turn the pages of this ‘unique book’?” “My son, unlike other books where the reader is in control by turning the pages, reading and understanding words, paragraphs and chapters… Well, in this book, the reader must allow the book to control him.” The man was more perplexed but simultaneously intrigued at what he learned. “Let’s just say that you have to learn how to cross your eyes,” the priest said. “Cross my eyes, isn’t that bad?” “I don’t know, but I enjoyed doing it when I was boy,” the priest laughed. “In any case, I
Whatever / A7
archdiocese was divided into five dioceses: Parañaque, Novaliches, Cubao, Kalookan, and Pasig. The former districts of Manila now comprise the archdiocese. Before the archdiocese was divided, it had 272 parishes, 402 diocesan priests, and almost 11 million Catholics under its care. The archdiocese said the division was initiated by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin for pastoral reasons. Today the Metropolitan See of Manila has 631 diocesan and religious priests. The program starts with a Eucharistic adoration and reflection by Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco at 9 a.m. Pasig Bishop Hubert Mylo Vergara will also give a talk at 10:30 a.m. This will be followed by group reflection and sharing among priests. The whole-day activity will conclude with a Mass to be presided by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and reflections at 3 p.m. The gathering will also be a special celebration of the members of the clergy for the Year of Faith. (CBCPNews)
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
10 years after division, Metro Manila clergy gather for reunion
PRIESTS of the greater Archdiocese of Manila will gather for the first time in a special reunion, ten years after it was divided into different dioceses. Dubbed as the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila, the reunion will be held at the Rockwell Tent in Makati City on October 3, 2013. It was in 2003 when the Manila
Leave the ‘selfie’ mindset, go back to God — bishop
La Sallian brother is new CEAP chief
DE La Salle Araneta University president Br. Narciso Erguiza Jr., FSC has taken over the helm of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) replacing Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, CM, as the new president of the 72-year old organization of Catholic academic institution nationwide. Bañaga, who is incumbent president of Adamson University Manila, held the post since 2010. The election of the new set of CEAP national officers were announced during the organization’s recent convention held at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu city. Also elected were Ateneo de Davao University president Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ as the new CEAP Vice President while University of the Immaculate Conception-Davao president Sr. Ma. Marissa Viri, RVM as the new CEAP Secretary. University of Sto. Tomas rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP, meanwhile, was elected the new CEAP Treasurer. Based on CEAP rules, national officers are elected annually from among the regional trustees as long as they have not yet reached six years in their regional post or a maximum
Corruption / A1
Novaliches Bishop-emeritus Teodoro Bacani presides a Mass during the visit of the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima at San Fernando de Dilao Parish in Paco.
stay of two terms of three years each in the CEAP Board. During the CEAP’s annual convention, the CEAP Board gathers for an organizational meeting. Since a number of regional trustees have been replaced and the terms of some trustees-at-large have ended, the CEAP Board members elect new ones. All 16 regional trustees plus 5 trustees at large are eligible to be voted as long as they are still in the board for at least one year. The CEAP is an organization of over 1,400 Catholic schools, universities Outgoing CEAP President Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, C.M. and colleges nationwide. More than (center) receives from incoming President Br. Erguiza (right) and Fr. Tabora (left) the plaque of appreciation 3,250 Catholic educators representing during the closing ceremonies of the CEAP National member-schools gathered in this city for Convention at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City. the annual CEAP National Convention. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Baylon led the closing Mass. the Philippines (CEAP) president and Cebu During the closing ceremonies of the Archbishop Jose Palma presided the open- CEAP convention, Erguiza and Tabora preing Eucharistic celebration of the National sented a plaque of appreciation to Bañaga Convention while Episcopal Commission as out-going president of the organization. on Youth chairman and Legazpi Bishop Joel (YouthPinoy)
AN excess of ‘selfie’ photos may not just be a symptom of selfishness, but may show a need to go back to God, a prelate said. “We are selfish, this is what we need to do away with. [It’s all about] I, me, myself [like] those who keep on taking selfie photos,” Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Jr. said in a homily to some 2,000 people gathered to see the international pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal. This kind of mindset is reflected in the social media phenomenon of the ‘selfie’ photo, a self-taken picture made possible by front-facing cameras, according to Bishop Bacani. All taking, no giving “I joked some people, telling them, ‘You’re all about picturetaking, but never about picturegiving.’ This is the world today, it’s all about taking,” he said. In an intended pun, Bacani said this selfishness is evident even in the halls of political power, saying, “If by any chance, you don’t take pictures yourself, you take from the pork barrel instead.” According to Bacani, this shows an unnatural self-centeredness in the “smallest to the most powerful” in society— with 90 million selfie photos posted on Instagram alone, this does not seem hard to believe.
Comments / A1
Talking about a topic that seemed to strike a chord with many of the faithful, he said, this phenomenon also reveals a culture that needs God more than ever before. “What God wants to say is, ‘Leave your selfishness.’ This is what you need to leave and live in God instead because in God is true peace,” Bacani said during a 9 a.m. mass at the San Fernando De Dilao Parish, Paco in honor of the visit of the Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal image. Penance, a return to God He explained that this return to God or repentance is part of the message Our Lady gave to three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. “The original meaning of penance is to return to God,” Bacani said, dispelling widelyheld notions that penance is about extreme physical mortifications like self-inflicted pain. Together with prayer, penance forms a formula of sorts for lasting peace, he explained. The image of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal is on pilgrimage in the Philippines until December 18, 2013 and is currently in the Diocese of Pasig. For more information about the image’s itinerary in the country, visithttps://www. facebook.com/IPVS2013Philippines (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
he said. “These projects are funded by the taxes taken from the salaries of average workers and from the taxes imposed on every consumer good we buy… Do not say that these projects are built as an act of generosity on your part because that is a demand of justice that you should give as justice demands,” said Tagle. He reminded business owners to be fair to less fortunate individuals by paying them with the amount that is due to the services they rendered. “Do not make a profit out of what is due of your workers. Do not withhold their salary and give it when it is due for they have needs to sustain…that is a right that they are entitled to since they rendered their services to sustain their needs,” he added. Tagle then urged the laity to practice a sense of justice that is rooted not merely in equality, but also in compassion. “This is a different sense of justice— not that if someone borrowed 30 from you, he will have to return the same amount. Instead, if someone borrowed 30, you have to see the greater need of that person and let him have
Zamboanga / A1
even what he borrowed. See that his need is greater than what you could gain,” he said. He warned those who take advantage of other people, saying that the Lord will hear the cry of those who seek His name and give justice to those who are marginalized and abused. “When these poor people cry out and seek help from the Lord, be prepared for God will hear and listen to their call…These teachings are set in the time of Moses, but until now we still experience them. When will we ever learn?” Tagle said. Being just He chided the mentality of some people who perceive that the poor are only after money—can be easily bribed and bought, primarily because of their financial needs. “What am I? A (material thing)? Since (material things) can be bought, I too, can be bought as well? Do I still have honor?” Tagle said in the vernacular. The persistence of individualism and personal desire to gain are the primary reasons why some people nowadays lack concern for poor individuals, he noted.
“Be just. Do not only think of what you are going to gain. Instead, think that your neighbor is also like you, suffering from poverty. You are just the same but because of selfish thinking, we tend not to give,” Tagle said. “I hope that we would learn how to give according to justice—helping others because you see their true value,” he added. Citing bible verses from the book of Proverbs, Tagle said, “Those who are just would never be in need of anything. The Lord will take care of all your needs, while those who take advantage of the less fortunate will be cursed.” If his statements will hit those who are guilty of committing injustices against the poor, Tagle said that he is just echoing lessons of the bible. “If (those who are guilty) will get mad, I will just respond by saying that these are not my words. They may charge Moses or the Word of God because I am just quoting His words. I will not make up a message that is based from my own statements…After all, we are ordained to proclaim His words, not ours,” he added.
Photo courtesy of CEAP Facebook Page
Broderick Pabillo, Nassa chairman, said some dioceses have also sent truckloads of clothes, mongo beans and rice. However, he said that the needs continue to rise everyday and are expected to be so in the next three to six months. “We call on your help to sustain the Church’s aid and together bring the Christian message of love and peace to our brothers and sisters in need,” Pabillo said. More than two weeks of skirmishes between the military and the Moro National Liberation
Gathering / A1
Front have resulted in “devastating impact” to the people in Zamboanga City. The tension, the church agency said, has displaced more than 200,000 people and on Sept. 9, the local public officials have sought the help of the archdiocese to open its churches to more evacuees. The archdiocese is currently catering to the needs of some 18,736 evacuees in 11 evacuation centers. This number is apart from some 40,000 families being served by the government.
According to the Nassa, the situation in each evacuation center varies. While seven of the evacuation centers have kitchens, four have no provision for cooking and the archdiocese spends some P70,000 daily in preparing hot meals for at least 2,000 people. The archdiocese also distributes some 3,500 food packs daily to meet the evacuees’ daily caloric requirement. “Children, in particular, are getting sick with the unvaried diet since traditional staples like beans and vegetables are
not available in the market,” the Nassa added. The fighting has also spilledover to Basilan province where thousands of people were also reported displaced from Lamitan City and other towns. Pabillo said the archdiocese prefers cash donations since they can already buy food in the city. He said donations may be deposited to the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) via Account Name CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc. with Account Number 4951-0071-08. (CBCPNews)
have a “personal encounter” with Christ. “Our behavior will follow from that friendship with Christ. Our value system and attitude will follow from knowing Christ,” Villegas said. “He did not rebuff the strong opposition to contraception, abortion, or homosexual marriage. He just set it on proper grounding,” he added. The Church and the government have been at loggerheads over a birth control law with
FOI / A1
several lay Catholic groups shifted their battle to the courts. Palma said they will continue to campaign against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law, believing that the Church “will never change” its teachings on abortion and contraception. “Pope Francis is telling us to be compassionate but it doesn’t mean that the Church will change its teachings,” he said. “Do not expect that to happen. (RL/CBCPNews)
hoping that through this three-day conference, we would gain a renewed experience of Jesus,” the prelate said. He also said that the conference aims to keep the mission of new evangelization alive amid changes brought by modernization. “Our mission is to understand our modern world and look for opportunities to fulfill our mission. We recognize the fact that there are problems and contradiction, but despite this heaviness, we know that this world remains to be the same one that came from our God,” he said. ‘Grand climax’ Dubbed as the “grand climax” of the Year of Faith celebration in the Archdiocese of Manila, the three-day conference features talks, parallel sessions, workshops, and activities that tackle modern-day approaches to deepen one’s faith and spirituality. Tagle will lead the opening mass and perspective setting to be held on the first day. Parallel sessions dubbed as “Streams of Encounter with God” will also be held on the first day, featuring sessions on the following
Candidly Speaking / A4
topics: The Word of God, Paths and Expressions of Prayer, Praying for the “Unjust Structures” of Society, “Your Faith Has Made You Well”: Healing Encounters, Encountering God Through the Arts, Downloading God Through the New Media, and Ang Mahal na Birhen at Ang Mga Banal: Kaagapay sa Panalangin. On the second day, renowned theologian Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J. will give a talk on “Popular Devotions and the New Evangelization.” Another set of parallel workshops dubbed as “Pathways of Communion and Renewal” will be held on the same day. “Pathways of Communion and Renewal” sessions include Integral Faith Formation, Empowering the Laity Toward Social Transformation, Active Presence and Participation of the Poor in the Church, The Eucharist and Liturgy as Font and Apex of Christian Life, The Family as Focal Point of Evangelization, The Parish as a Community of Communities, Integral Renewal of the Clergy and the Consecrated, Journeying with the Youth, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, and Animation and Formation for Mission Ad Gentes.
A musical gathering dubbed as the “concert of the millennium” is also slated on the second day. The third day features a talk on the “Missionary Dimension of Evangelization” by Tagle and the last set of parallel sectoral workshops. Sectoral workshops include sessions on Catechists and Catholic Educators, Lay Associations and Ecclesial Communities, Church of the Poor, Family and Evangelization, Parish as Community of Communities, Clergy, Consecrated Persons, Youth, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue. Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto will celebrate the closing Eucharist. A message from the Supreme Pontiff will be shown at the closing of the convention. According to Msgr. Gerardo Santos, vice chairperson of the PCNE organizing committee, only 5,000 participants can be accommodated in the conference. Online registration can be made at www.pcne.com.ph. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)
their actions. “They should not be selective in releasing documents. We all know that this is a case of group stealing, the investigation should not only focus on the legislative but also to the executive and judiciary,” Pascual said. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely that is why we need to have a deterrent to corruption. Eternal vigilance is the key—the nation should have a close watch to the affairs of the government. With the approval of the FOI, we can achieve this,” he added. ‘Selective justice’ Pabillo supported claims that the ongoing investigation over the pork barrel issue is selective as it focuses only on opposition lawmakers. “We have long been noticing that the (investigating panels) are only looking after those in the opposition. We also have a big problem in the house but they are focusing too much in the senate. The Commission on Audit (COA) report is also selective as it only focuses from 2007 to 2009. What about those that happened before and after? What happened to those?” he said. “I just hope that this investigation is non-partisan. Let us first find out the truth for the improvement of our nation,” Pabillo added. “I wish they would be more patriotic, not that they are only clinging to the incumbent president or to a reigning political party and its ideology. What we have to consider is the improvement of our nation. If we will be united in this thinking, we will reach an attainable solution to this problem,” he said. Senator Jinggoy Estrada, in his much-awaited privilege speech delivered before members of
the Senate last week, blasted members of the Congress and the Commission on Audit (COA) for focusing only on opposition lawmakers with “irregularities” in their spending of the PDAF. Small victory Despite the re-alignment of the P25.2 billion PDAF in the national budget to key government department and agencies, Pabillo said the same principle over the use of lump sum allocations remain the same as lawmakers are still given the opportunity to propose and recommend infrastructure projects following a new menu. “That is just a very small victory. Even if they say that they have already scrapped the pork but they will still propose projects, the scheme remains the same. That is not the job of a legislator. What they have to do is to legislate and not to propose projects,” he said. To reach finality over the pork barrel scandal, Pabillo said that three things must be attained: imprisonment of those who are involved in the 10-billion pork barrel scam, total abolition of the pork barrel scheme—both congressional and presidential, and the passage of the FOI bill. The prelate called on the laity to be vigilant in watching the affairs of the government, noting that mass actions must continuously be done to express public outrage over the prevalence of corruption in the government. “Let us all be vigilant. This kind of problem must not be ignored. What we have to do is to continuously study the issue and engage in gatherings and assemblies to tell the government that we are not contented with what is happening in our country,” Pabillo said. (Jennifer Orillaza)
purification is what we need a lot of, no matter how good and clean we think we already are. We should not forget that offenses also possess some good effects in us. We also need to realize that if we pardon the offenses of others, God will also pardon ours, in accord to what Christ himself has said: “If you will forgive men their offenses, your heavenly
Father will forgive you also your offenses.” (Mt 6,14) How beautiful it is then to be able to forgive quickly and from the heart. Let’s also remember that by wilfully keeping hatred, resentment and bitterness against those who offend us is a sin that separates us from God. Christ himself said so. “If you offer your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has
something against you, leave your offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come to offer your gift.” (Mt 5,23-24) Hatred, resentment and bitterness, no matter how reasonable and fair they may seem to be, have no other effect than to harm us by poisoning our heart and mind. They alienate us from Christ who loved to the point of
assuming our sin on the cross. In this current hue and cry that we have because of this massive and seemingly systemic national rip-off of the pork barrel scandal, we should see to it that we avoid hatred, resentment and bitterness even as we seek justice. As St. Paul said: “Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger.” (Eph 4,26)
Nirva Dela Cruz
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
“new” church. “There is desecration if somebody got killed in the church but if the structure was physically destroyed it needs only to be reconstructed and reconsecrated,” Cruz said. “It’s reconsecrated because it’s already new but if only a few things need to be fixed, then there is no need to do that (reconsecrate),” he added. In the Prelature of Basilan, some churches, like the Sta. Isabel Portugal Cathedral of Isabela, were rededicated when it was destroyed in the past. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said the cathedral was destroyed when it was bombed in 2010. “We did the rite of rededication of the place of worship…we also did it when St. Peter Parish in Lamitan was destroyed in 2001,’ he said. The prelate, however, revealed that no church in his diocese has been destroyed so far because of the fighting between the government troops and the MNLF. (CBCPNews)
2 chapels destroyed in Zambo siege
ZAMBOANGA City—No Catholic churches were damaged but some community chapels have been destroyed by the conflict in Zamboanga City. Msgr. Crisologo Manongas, administrator of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, said violence in some villages has caused enormous damaged to at least two community chapels. “Only two community chapels were damaged by fire. Mostly homes are destroyed. No parish church damaged,” Manongas said. As of now, he said they are focused in their relief and rehabilitation operations for those affected by the fighting between the security forces and the Moro National Liberation Front. Churches that were destroyed during the fighting need to be reconsecrated once reconstructed, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said. He said that a church once rebuilt must be reconsecrated not because it has been desecrated but rather because, in a sense, it is already considered a
Freeze assets of Malampaya fund scam suspects, gov’t told
PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan—The government must sequester unexplained wealth and properties of those linked to the P900-million Malampaya gas fund scam, a Catholic bishop said. Bishop Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa said authorities should act immediately before those involved close or transfer their bank deposits to other accounts. “Bawiin ng gobyerno dahil pera ito ng taong bayan. Ninakaw lang nila ang pera na dapat sana’y napakinabangan ng lahat,” Arigo said on Sept. 23. “Kumilos na dapat kaagad ang gobyerno para ma-sequester na ang mga properties na yan,” he said. The bishop also called on the Supreme Court to finally resolve a four-year old petition on the Malampaya fund in light of recent allegations that the money was misused through fake organizations. He said the people have waited long enough for the court to stop the corruption in the profits of the operation of oil and gas resources in Malampaya off Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo speaks to the media about Palawan. the Malampaya scam during a press conference in this file photo. “Ang masakit sa kawalan ng desisyon mambabatas at opisyal ng pamahalaan ng Korte Suprema ay patuloy na kinu- ang Malampaya fund,” he added. kurakot at pinagpipiyestahan ng mga (CBCPNews)
Cebu forms anti-corruption coalition
Diocesan BEC Directors, Coordinators hold national assembly
CEBU City—Some 135 diocesan BEC directors and coordinators from 64 dioceses in the Philippines gathered for a national convention at the Holy Family Retreat House in Cebu City last Sept.16-18. Organized by the Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the gathering provided a venue for BEC members to learn from each other’s experiences on how to become evangelizing communities. Bishop George Rimando, chairman of the CBCP-BEC Committee and overall facilitator of the event welcomed
By the Roadside / A5
CEBU City—In response to the call for the abolition of the pork barrel system, concerned citizens, civil society organizations, business groups and individuals in Cebu City have joined forces to form the Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System. Convenors said the coalition is a result of the united stand of several multisectoral groups condemning corruption, calling for the scrapping of the pork barrel and for restoring management of public funds for the common good. Those interested to become members of the coalition may contact the secretariat at (032) 406-8079 or 0922-4953975 or email email@example.com. (Jandel Posion)
Youth ministry organizes run for vocations
ORMOC City—In celebration of Vocation Month, the youth ministry in the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte organized a fun run to campaign for vocations to the priesthood and religious life in this city on Sept. 29. Organized by the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, the event was dubbed as the Run4Vocations: “Run for the Call; Join. Pray. Run.” Participants were also encouraged to invite their friends and family to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. (Jandel Posion)
Don Bosco Mati gets TESDA Regional Award
MATI City—the Technical Education and Skill Development Authority (TESDA) awarded The Don Bosco Training Center (DBTC) in Mati for its service of providing technical-vocational education for the less fortunate but deserving students. Fr. Rey Jude Albarando, SDB, local superior of the Salesian Community in Mati, said that other than its technical-vocational education services, DBTC also provides spiritual transformation, on-the-job training, personal development assistance, and entrepreneurial training. The Tesda awarding coincided with its 19th anniversary celebration last August 25, 2013 in Manila, during which the recognition of awardees and giving out of respective awards was led by Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Tesda Director Emmanuel Joel Villanueva. (Sr. Marietta Alo, OND)
participants on October 16. Fr. Amado Picardal, the CBCP-BEC executive secretary, gave the background and orientation to the delegates. Keynote speaker was Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who also presided the opening Eucharist. Two other presentations were given to participants, one by Picardal on “The National BEC Profile and Msgr. Manny Gabriel on “New Evangelization and BECs”. During the open forum, Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan shared his own experience of BECs in his diocese. Delegates also shared in
small groups their own experience of how BECs are becoming evangelized and evangelizing communities. They also shared their best practices in forming BECs. On September 18, delegates gathered by region for planning and brainstorming and came out with answers to the following questions: (1) their expectations and suggestions for the 2015 BEC National Assembly (theme, process, resource persons, possible venue and dates), (2) how they can enhance their regional networking and cooperation. After reporting of delegates in the plenary session,
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao shared what happened during the Synod of Bishops in Rome, which he attended, and how BECs was discussed. Fr. Carmelo Diola of Dilaab also was given time to explain the printed material that he was giving to the delegates for the coming barangay elections. The assembly ended with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Archbishop Valles at 5:15 pm. After an early supper, many of the delegates joined the “Cebu by Night” tour with two airconditioned buses provided by the city Mayor. (CBCPNews)
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back to what is fundamental to leadership which is service, none other than service. It cannot be about money, it cannot be about ambition,” said Fr. Eugene Cañete, MJ during a mass celebrated for the Pious Disciple of Divine Master (PDDM) congregation recently. Leadership divorced from integrity According to Fr. Cañete, who has been to the three major mobilizations calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system, the problem of Philippine politics is that leadership has been divorced from integrity, resulting in power that, more often than not, is gained at the expense of the poor. A person of authority’s dignity is more closely linked to his personal integrity, he said, than to his manner of dress. Truly dignified leaders, he explained, do not just dress well for important occasions like the State of the National Address (SONA) for example, but are people totally committed to serve. “Integrity is one’s wholehearted commitment, one’s wholehearted
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response to the office,” Cañete added. Two examples of breaking the law He was also quick to note the potential impact of having the pork barrel system abolished. If we succeed in eliminating the pork barrel for senators and congressmen, very few people will run for office because they won’t get anything anymore,” Cañete said. Drawing on Jesus’ example in the Gospel, where He brought a dead man back to life, Cañete talked about how Jesus’ leadership is essentially focused on serving. Unlike many politicians who willingly circumvent the law to serve themselves, Jesus broke observance of Mosaic law, which prohibited the touching of the dead, to bring a person back to life. “Jesus’ power to heal is really to bring about the total transformation in the one who needs healing, not by politics or by other motivations,” Cañete said. The second major rally against the pork barrel system was held in Rizal Park on September 21, the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
our own body. It has many parts: the head, the head having the hair, the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the ears and many other organs inside it; then the neck, the hands, the chest, the abdomen, the hips, the legs, with its toes etc. There are so many parts but there is only one body, one corpus. It is the same with the Church of which we are all members. Just as the eye, the hands etc. cannot say they do not belong to the body because they are not the one or the other, so all of us must recognize that we are one body despite our diversity and differences. So says the pope: “Those who believe come to see themselves in the light of the faith which they profess: Christ is the mirror in which they find their own image fully realized. And just as Christ gathers to himself all those who believe and makes them his body, so the Christian comes to see himself as a member of this body, in an essential relationship with all other believers” (LF 22). The sixteenth chapter of the gospel of Matthew has Jesus asking his disciples about people’s evaluation of him and then turns the same question to them. It is Peter who expresses the belief of the group, clearly an expression of the ecclesial form of faith, saying: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). For
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Matthew who was Jewish to adhere to this conviction reflects the radical transformation in his understanding of the one God. Jews strictly profess faith in only one God but for Matthew this one God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ also shows himself to be a community of Divine Persons. Indeed, it is the same gospel of Matthew in which Jesus explicitly mentions the three Divine Persons in the context of the mission to proclaim the gospel and baptize those who would receive it “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Son of the living God opens us to this truth of the faith and its fruit, namely, the sense of community we must live in and by because our God is himself a community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That is why it is on this conviction of Peter that Jesus declares the foundation of his Church. “Blessed are you, Simon, son of John, for it is not flesh and blood that has revealed this to you but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you: You are Peter (Kephas) and upon this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:17-18). For Pope Francis being a member of Christ’s Body, the Church, does not mean being “a part of an anonymous whole, a mere cog in a great machine”
but ”the vital union of Christ with believers and of believers among themselves (cf Rom 12:4-5)” (LF 22). It also doesn’t mean that Christians “lose their individuality” but rather that faith “is necessarily ecclesial; it is professed from within the body of Christ as a concrete communion of believers” (ibid.). I once looked intently into a walis tingting (a broom made of coco leaf midribs) that we use to sweep our homes and streets in the country. It is very efficient when used well. But one midrib will not do the job. It has to be a part of the whole broom. We Christians, especially we Pinoy Catholics, are like that. We are all individuals who profess our faith in Jesus Christ. But Jesus has formed us into one Body so that we can be more effective in proclaiming his Gospel and manifesting the presence of his kingdom on earth. In the Church hindi tayo nag-iisa and hindi tayo maiisahan (we are not alone and we will not be taken advantage of) all because, being one Body, we really are only one family. Tell me, what family member(s) will remain unmoved when many members are up till now victims of calamities, natural or man-made? We must admit there are those who fit the description. But certainly not the likes of you and me?
vulnerabilities and our good intentions become irrelevant. The present system throws pearls before swines. Hope Yet there is hope! In our gospel, Abraham points out that “they have Moses and the prophets.” Our coming here today means that we have not given up on our country and our leaders even if we want the law to take its course on the guilty. We pray for and support those who are trying to respond to the selfsacrificing call to public service. Moses represents the law. We insist on the rule of law. But we are also vehemently opposed to any form of foot dragging, passing the buck, and downright denials. We also insist in the balance of powers between the three equal branches of government. We also rely on the power of the Spirit who puts the law of love into our hearts. He makes all things new and transforms our institutions if we allow him to transform our hearts. Coming Together But we must act discerningly and decisively. The poor cannot wait. Like Lazarus who rests in the bosom of
Abraham, we need to come together to change ourselves and the Philippines one step at a time. If it corruption in men’s hearts then it takes stout-hearted men and women to reverse this downward slide to hell. We shall work with Filipinos in other parts of the country and even those abroad who want real change now! There are already templates on the ground, like development councils to the so-called bottoms-up budgeting. Our barangays beckon us to grassroots good governance work. But we need to get involved and engage in discerning action. As Pope Francis recently said, “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.” Politics, according to him, “is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.” Are we ready to respond to this challenge by the Bishop of Rome? Are we ready to listen to the cry of the poor and go beyond merely pitying them? Are we ready to roll up our sleeves for the long haul, ready to be pleasantly surprised by the God of surprises? The choice is ours.
didn’t mean doing it literally.” “Then what?” “I only wished to say it in that way so you won’t forget.” “So what do you want me not to forget?” “That your eyes must always see the Cross in everything you do. You have to learn not only to pray this
And That’s The Truth / A4
book of the Cross, but also to learn how to find it through, in and with everything you do.” “…find it with everything I do…,” the man attentively followed Father Thomas’ advice. “It will be a constant source of light, peace and joy. You will see things in a richer perspective. As when
we cross our eyes we end up seeing double, by seeing everything through the cross we will learn to pass all of life’s realities through richer human and divine dimensions.” “…but that’s not easy… especially for beginners like me,” the man complained. “Maybe! But if today, you strive to cross your eyes and
tell yourself that you would try your best to pass everything you do through the wounded right hand of Jesus, this would perhaps, begin to open endless possibilities for you in learning how to read this very special book!” “…you mean?” “Yes, learn how to cross everything your eyes see!” “Amen, Father!”
tell us, among other things, about the male and the female in God’s plan for humanity. Seeing the need to remind the faithful of the crucial role women play in the sanctification of the Church, he came up with Mulieris Dignitatem. Possessing media savvy, he would revive interest in Pope Paul VI’s Inter Mirifica and add his own The Rapid Development to stress the need for the Church to use mass media in delivering the message of salvation in the “new
Employees / A1
culture”. He would reach out to the young through Friendster way before the age of Facebook and Twitter (which his successor Pope Benedict XVI was to use during his time). If his lighthearted approach to evangelizing endeared him to the young, his humility in working for peace and unity won for the Church the respect of other religious leaders, particularly when he did something none of his predecessors of 2,000 years had done:
trembling and with slurred speech from Parkinson’s disease he publicly begged God’s forgiveness for the offenses of the Catholic church against the Jews, heretics, women, gypsies, and other native peoples. And in the years when his eyesight was dimming, John Paul II was to open our eyes to the value of five more light-filled episodes in the Lord’s earthly life—which were to be hailed in due time as the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. (To be continued)
The letter was received by the office of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) at its main office in Intramuros, Manila on Oct. 1. Fr. Edu Gariguez, Nassa executive secretary, left Manila evening of the same day for a conference at the Vatican and assured PALEA that their letter will reach the pope.
The PALEA has been embroiled in the country’s biggest labor dispute for the past two years. In September 2011, more than 2,600 regular workers were laid off as part of an outsourcing scheme. Nassa and other bishops have been behind the labor union’s campaign for the dignity of decent work, regular
jobs and against contractualization at PAL. “The support of Church officials and laity has given us utmost hope amidst the despair of a protracted dispute. The solidarity of the Church has indeed assisted us in innumerable ways,” said Rivera. “We were fired with the intention of being hired as
contract workers doing the same jobs without security of tenure, less wages, longer hours of work but without benefits,” Rivera added. “Our only appeal is to restore justice to the working people. Unfortunately, the talks have not yet led to a settlement that is fair and just to the workers,” he said. (CBCPNews)
THE Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) in the Philippines marks a milestone of its existence in the country with the celebration of its 75th anniversary on October 13, 2013. Themed “Celebrating fidelity, counting blessings, reinvigorating service” the anniversary celebration will be an occasion for the Philippine province to look back with gratitude to God and to the many people who have been part of its life since its foundation in the country in 1938. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, will be the officiating prelate of the jubilee Thanksgiving Mass at 9 a.m. at the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary in Pasay City. Other highlights of the day’s events include a video showing of the congregation’s journey in the Philippines for the past 75 years, a Pauline concert, and a telefest. Telefest Noting the popularity of “telenovelas” among Filipino audiences, the FSP sisters launched a jubilee initiative dubbed Paulines telefest 2013, to acknowledge and commend the worth-watching “telenovela” and promote the advancement of stimulating and formative broadcasting. “[Our] aim is to encourage our
People, Facts & Places
local scriptwriters and directors to come up with wholesome ‘telenovelas’ which can uplift the moral standards of our Filipino people,” Sr. Cloth de las Llagas, in charge of Mobile Literacy program of FSP’s Paulines Communication Center (PCC), said. Two awards—the Jury’s Choice Award and the Paulines Citation Award—will be given to winning “telenovelas” chosen by a group of jurors. To come out with a winner of the most-watched “telenovela”, a survey in a sample population of 3,200 was conducted to find out the most watched telenovela by adults and children between 10-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-11:00 p.m. on ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5 in 2012-2013. De las Llagas said survey results were discussed, analyzed and evaluated by groups of parents and teachers from selected schools in Luzon and group of media educators from the PCC. She said the Paulines Citation Award will be awarded based on Christian values that are present in the “teleserye.” Llagas also said that a Commendation Certificate will be given to the Cast and Production Crew of the 3 TV Networks with TV serials that help strengthen family relationships, boost the morale of children, promote search for truth and happiness unoccupied with material pursuit and TV productions that are value-laden and faith-enhancing. Jubilee projects Since the opening of the jubilee celebration last year, the FSP sisters have launched various projects and intensified other media activities to commemorate the occasion. Among the activities are the “Biblia sa Bawat Pamilya” project – biblical animation and diffusion of subsidized Bible to poorest families; reach-out project to street children/juvenile youth offenders/women inmates and poor children of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Pasay area through teaching of catechism and film showing on the bible; media animation to families, professionals and youth; Bible catechism and seminars on personality development to lay collaborators; and teaching catechism to youth and children, and the elderly of Sta. Rita and Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Pasay. FSP Sisters in the Philippine province Numbering almost 200 hundred sisters and 19 communities in various cities nationwide, in Malaysia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea, the FSP Sisters carry out the work of evangelization through various initiatives using the means of social communications: publishing, media
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
Paulines celebrate 75th year of foundation in Phl
centers, pastoral involvement, media animation and production of AV, radio and TV programs. But the congregation is also experiencing a shortage of vocations—a phenomenon that seems to be afflicting many religious institutes in the Church today. The Pauline Choir sings during a concert at the launching of the 75th anniversary celebration last year. “At the challenges stand out for us: first, ourselves to be saved.” moment, our Founded in 1915 in Alba, Italy, Congregation in the Philippines to be holy, because God does is suffering a demographic win- not need our work, he wants the Daughters of St. Paul is the ter due to the scarcity of voca- us to be intimate with him and second of the 5 religious and 5 tions and the ageing, sickness reveal his face as the God of aggregated institutes founded and death of members,” Sr. love to our brothers and sisters; by Blessed James Alberione that Evangelina Canag, a member of second, to use all the forms and comprise the Pauline Family. the Jubilee executive committee means of communication, espe- These are the Society of St. Paul, said. “Nevertheless, the apos- cially the social media, to bring Daughters of St. Paul, Sisters tolic passion has not waned, it is the Word of God, with special Disciples of the Divine Master, still vibrant, even and especially attention to the poor and the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepamong elder sisters who have ‘far away’, with all the ardour herd (Pastorelle), Institute of of our being ; third, to open Mary Queen of Apostles; Our borne the heat of the day.” With the media penetrating all our hearts to humility, simplic- Lady of the Annunciation; St. aspects of human life, she noted ity and compassion, so that in Gabriel the Archangel; Jesus the how the congregation’s charism has our evangelization we will not Priest; Holy Family and the Asbe self-righteous Pharisees but sociation of Pauline Cooperators. become ever more relevant today. She said, “For me, three major wounded healers who need (CBCPNews)
Pope’s Twitter manager to talk about ECY gives partial result of national social media evangelization in Manila youth survey at CEAP Convention
NO less than the manager of the Holy Father’s Twitter account @Pontifex is flying to Manila to echo Vatican’s call to bring Christ in the digital world. Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will give the keynote to the highly anticipated 2nd Catholic Social Media Summit, which will take place at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila on November 23 to 24 —two months from now. Touted as the Pope’s social media guru by Business Week, Tighe was behind the creation of @Pontifex during the pontificate of Benedict, who posted his first post in the microblogging site last December 12. The Twitter account became temporarily inactive after Benedict resigned in February 28, and while the Holy See was vacant. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina resumed using the Papal Twitter account and posted his first tweet as Pope Francis last March 17, four days after he was elected as the 266th successor of Peter. Francis’ tweets included hashtags unlike Benedict’s. The Papal tweets are translated in nine languages, including Latin. His English Twitter account has at least 3 million followers as of this posting, Spanish with 3.8 million, and Italian with 1.1 million, to name a few. Tighe told Business Week that the decision to create a Papal Twitter account is the Vatican’s way to encourage Church leaders and the lay faithful to be present on social media networks. “A number of figures, from cardinals and bishops to individual believers, are quite present in Twitter. In a sense, the Pope’s presence is, ex post facto, an Msgr. Paul Tighe endorsement or encouragement of them. We have a lot of people who are saying, ‘If the Pope is going in there, maybe it’s time for me,’” Tighe said in an interview before Pope Benedict posted his first tweet. Tighe was also instrumental in the annual plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications last September 19 to 21, where Pope Francis was quoted as saying that the Church must work “with discernment, to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages.” ADMINISTRATORS of Catholic schools, colleges and universities nationwide were the first ones to know about the fruits of the Church’s effort to survey young Catholics nationwide. This as the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) presented the partial results of the National Filipino Catholic Youth Survey (NFCYS) 2013 at the convention of the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (CEAP) in Cebu City last Sept. 25-27. ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta confirmed that the survey administration to respondents from 34 randomly selected dioceses was recently completed. “The survey questionnaires were already collated and are now in the process of statistical treatment as to the quantitative result. The regional research coordinators are at work now preparing a presentation of the quantitative result for the CEAP convention tomorrow,” he said. Garganta clarified that the survey is not yet completed, since “there is no qualitative result yet. It is the second phase of the NFCYS 2013.” “The presentation will only cover quantitative result. Questionnaires for the qualitative phase is yet to be designed after the quantitative result presentation,” he added. The NFCYS 2013 is made possible through the collaboration between the ECY and the CEAP. According to the ECY, the survey “aims to gather a substantial set of data concerning Filipino Catholic youth, leading to a better understanding of these youth which will be important for a relevant and effective ministry among them: in our parishes, schools, youth groups, etc.” The ECY disclosed that the survey had a total of 1,067 respondents, selected using proportionate sampling by size based on the Catholic population per ecclesiastical territory as of year 1999. “After a long and careful process of preparation and necessary trainings, the Local Survey Teams (per diocese), composed of youth ministers and leaders, conducted a face-to-face oral interview with the respondents, using a structured questionnaire, which lasted from 20 to 30 minutes,” the ECY explained in its website http://cbcp-ecy.ph. Survey participants hail from schools under the randomly selected dioceses that include Holy Angel University, Angeles City; St. Louis University, Baguio City; University of the Assumption, City of San Fernando; Adamson University, Manila; University of Santo Tomas, Manila; De La Salle University, Manila; Divine Word College of Calapan; Divine Word College of Legazpi; Aquinas University of Legazpi; Ateneo de Naga University; University of San Agustin, Iloilo City; University of San Carlos, Cebu City; St. Peter’s College, Ormoc City; Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City; University of the Immaculate Conception, Davao City; Ateneo de Davao University; Ateneo de Zamboanga University; Notre Dame University, Cotabato City. (YouthPinoy)
Registration to the Catholic Social Media Summit is on-going online. Registration fee is pegged at P1,200 per participant. Visit http://catholicsocialmediasummit.com to register. Organized by YouthPinoy, the Catholic Social Media Summit aims to promote online evangelization, using the internet and social media as pulpit to proclaim the Gospel. YouthPinoy was created under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Media Office and Episcopal Commission on Youth. (YouthPinoy)
Our Lady of Fatima’s pilgrim image visits PHL
SINCE its arrival in the Archdiocese of Manila last Sept. 17, thousands of the Filipino faithful have arrived in droves to see and venerate the international pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal. To love Mary as a model of faith “The visit of the International Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima fills us with joy as we draw nearer to the close of the Year of Faith, a period of grace for our Church,” Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said in a letter addressed to the archdiocese on the image’s visit. The image of Our Lady of Fatima, which will be visiting 41 dioceses all over the Philippines until December 18, 2013, is also a means for the faithful to reflect on and love Mary as “a model of faith and virtue,” Tagle explained. Encouraging the faithful to participate in the visit’s activities, Tagle also hoped that the pilgrim image will move devotees and pilgrims “to recognize her special role in the mystery of salvation.” Timely visit The timeliness of Our Lady of Fatima’s visit to the Philippines is not lost on some. mass at 6.30 p.m. was celebrated by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez for the vicariates of Espiritu Santo, San Jose De Trozo and Santo Niño. The youth choirs of San Fernando De Dilao parish organized a Marian Concert on Sept. 17 to celebrate the coming of Our Lady’s image which arrived directly from the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal. Kalookan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. celebrated another mass on Sept. 18 at 6.30 p.m. also at San The pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima, which came directly from Portugal, is visiting 41 dioceses all over the Philippines until Fernando De Dilao parish, more famously known as December 18, 2013. Paco Church. Young people had a vigil According to Bishop prayer and repentance with the image of Our Lady Emeritus of Novaliches more than ever. On September 17, Manila of Fatima in the form of Teodoro Bacani, who celebrated a holy mass for the Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Taizé prayer at 8 p.m. on vicariates of St. Joseph the Pabillo, celebrated a holy Sept. 18 also at the same Worker, San Felipe Neri mass as part of welcoming parish. To close the image’s visit and Nuestra Señora De ceremonies to greet Our Guia at the San Fernando Lady of Fatima also at the to the archdiocese, MaD e D i l a o p a r i s h , “ O u r San Fernando De Dilao par- nila Archbishop Emeritus Lady of Fatima is with us ish, the temporary official Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales celebrated a farewell at the time when we most church of the archdiocese. The image was also taken mass for Our Lady on Sepneed to hear her call for to several public and pri- tember 19, at 7 a.m. before peace.” Enumerating the highly vate schools, as well as a motorcade brought the p r e c a r i o u s s i t u a t i o n o f religious communities and image to the Diocese of Syria, the ongoing ten- congregations in the Arch- Parañaque. Additional information sion between Israel and diocese of Manila. on the itinerary and schedPalestine, as well as the ules of the international country’s own territory Vicariates in full force The vicariates of San Fer- pilgrim image of Our Lady disputes with China, not to mention rebel uprisings in nando De Dilao, Holy Fam- of Fatima can be found at the South, Bacani said the ily and Our Lady of Loreto https://www.facebook. world needs the Fatima came in full force for the 9 com/IPVS2013Philippines message of peace through a.m. mass., while another (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Nirva Dela Cruz
Photo courtesy of http://www.rte.ie
APPOINTED. Pope Francis has appointed Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes as the new bishop of Dumaguete on September 28. Cortes will become the fourth ordinary of the diocese, which has been without a bishop since last May 2012 following Archbishop John Du’s installation as head of the Archdiocese of Palo. The bishop-elect is not new to his new assignment because he was parish priest for more than five years in Bacong, Negros Oriental, which is part of Dumaguete diocese. He also served as the diocese’s vicar general for 11 years and later diocesan administrator until Du was installed bishop in July 2001. Cortes was born in Paranaque in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1980. After his episcopal ordination in 2002, he has served in a number of pastoral roles: member of the CBCP Commission on Culture and Commission on Liturgy. At present, Cortes is the chairman of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Cultural Heritage of the Church since 2009. As the new bishop of Dumaguete, he will be serving about 40 parishes with around one million Catholics. ELECTED. Sr. Shalimar Rubia has been elected as one of the General Councilors of the Daughters of St. Paul during the congregation’s General Chapter last September 12, 2013. True to the Institute’s universal color, the six elected councilors are of various nationalities representative of the different continents of the world: Sr. Anna Caiazza, Italy; Sr. Samuela Gironi, Africa; Sr. Karen Anderson, USA; Sr. Clarice Wisniewski, Brazil; Sr. Lucia Kim, Korea; and Sr. Shalimar Rubia, Philippines. Rubia was Provincial Councilor and Director for the Apostolate of the Philippine province prior to her election as General Councilor. She will be residing in Rome together with the other councilors to assist the General Superior, Sr. Anna Maria Parenzan in her task of governing the congregation during their six-year mandate. CELEBRATED. Sr. Ma. Ana Burgos, Sr. Ma. Virginia Barcelona, Sr. Ma. Rosalia Faot, Sr. Ma. Marina Insigne, Sr. Ma. Elizabeth Funan, Sr. Ma. Gloria Roa and Sr. Ma. Angela Nenette Santiago celebrated the 25th year of their religious profession among the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) with a Thanksgiving Mass last August 15, 2013. Held at the Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel, the liturgical celebration was presided by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo and attended by the RVM Sisters, family members, friends and benefactors. LAUNCHED. Caceres Archbishop-emeritus Leonardo Legaspi, OP launched his latest book “Living the Episcopacy” last September 30 at the Hall of the Basilica Minore de Penafrancia in Naga City. The book launching was attended by prominent members of society, the religious and lay faithful. Three presenters, according to the book’s target audience, gave practical reviews of the book: Judge Corazon Tordilla, University of Nueva Caceres (UNC) Dean of Faculty-Civil Law, represented the faithful; Caceres Vicar General Msgr. Rodel Cajot, P.C. stood for the Caceres clergy; and Daet Bishop Gilbert Gacera spoke in behalf of the Philippine bishops.
Daughters of St. Paul
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
(Address of the Holy Father Francis to the participants in the pilgrimage of Catechists on the occasion of the Year of Faith and of the International Congress on Catechesis, Paul VI Audience Hall, 27 September 2013)
DEAR Catechists, Good evening! I am pleased that this meeting was organized for the Year of Faith. Catechesis is a pillar of faith education and we need good catechists! Thank you for your service to the Church and in the Church. Even if at times it may be difficult and require a great deal of work, and although the results are not always what we hope for, teaching the faith is something beautiful! It is perhaps the best legacy we can pass on: the faith! To educate in the faith, to make it grow. To help children, young people and adults to know and love the Lord more and more is one of the most exciting aspects of education. It builds up the Church! To “be” catechists! Not to “work” as catechists: this will not do. I work as a catechist because I like to teach… But unless you “are” a catechist, it is no good! You will not be successful … you will not bear fruit! Catechesis is a vocation: “being a catechist”, this is the vocation, not working as a catechist. So keep this in mind: I didn’t say to do the “work” of catechists, but to “be” catechists, because this is something that embraces our whole life. It means leading people to encounter Christ by our words and our lives, by giving witness. Remember what Benedict XVI said: “The Church does not grow by proselytizing; she grows by attracting others”. And what attracts is our witness. Being a catechist means witnessing to the faith, being consistent in our personal life. This is not easy! We help, we lead others to Jesus with our words and our lives, with our witness. I like to recall what Saint Francis of Assisi used to say to his friars: “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words”. Words come… but witness comes first: people should see the Gospel, read the Gospel, in our lives. To “be” a catechist requires love, an ever stronger love for Christ, a love for his holy people. And this love can’t be bought in stores, even in Rome. This love comes from Christ! It is Christ’s gift! And if it comes from Christ, it also starts with Christ, and we too need to start anew with Christ, from the love he gives us. What does this starting anew from Christ mean for a catechist? For you, but also for me, since I am a catechist too? What does it mean? I am going to speak about three things: one, two, three, the way the oldfashioned Jesuits did… one, two, three! 1. First of all, to start anew from Christ means being close to him, being close to Jesus Jesus stresses the importance of this with the disciples at the Last Supper, as he prepared to give us his own greatest gift of love, his sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches and says: Abide in my love, remain attached to me, as the branch is attached to the vine. If we are joined to him, then we are able to bear fruit. This is what it means to be close to Christ. Abide in Jesus! This means remaining attached to him, in him, with him, talking to him. Abide in Jesus! The first thing for a disciple is to be with the Master, to listen to him and to learn from him. This is always true, and it is true at every moment of our lives. I remember, in the diocese, the other diocese I had first, how I would often see catechists finish their training courses and say: “I have the title of catechist!” This means nothing, you have nothing, you took a little journey. What good will it do you? But one thing is true. Being a catechist is not a title, it is an attitude: abiding with him, and it lasts for a lifetime! It means abiding in the Lord’s presence and letting ourselves be led by him. I ask you: How do you abide in the presence of the Lord? When you visit the Lord, when you look at the tabernacle, what do you do? Without speaking… “But I speak, I talk, I think, I meditate, I listen…” Very good! But do you let yourself be looked at by the Lord? Letting ourselves be gazed upon by the Lord. He looks at us and this is itself a way of praying. Do you yourselves be gazed upon by the Lord? But how do you do this? You look at the tabernacle and you let yourselves be looked at… it is simple! “It is a bit boring, I fall asleep”. Fall asleep then, sleep! He is still looking at you. But know for sure that he is looking at you! This is much more important than having the title of catechist. It is part of “being” a catechist. This warms the heart, igniting the fire of friendship with the Lord, making you feel that he truly sees you, that he is close to you and loves you. In one of my visits here in Rome, at a Mass, a fairly young man came up to me and said: “Father, it is nice to meet you, but I don’t believe in anything! I don’t have the gift of faith!” He understood that faith is a gift. “I don’t have the gift of faith! What do you have to say to me?” “Don’t be discouraged. God loves you. Let yourself be gazed upon by him! Nothing else”. And this is the same thing I would say to you: Let yourselves be gazed at by the Lord! I understand that for you it is not so easy; especially for those who are married and have children, it is difficult to find a long period of quiet time. Yet, thanks be to God, it is not necessary for everyone to do this in the same way. In the Church, there are a variety of vocations and a variety of spiritualities. What is important is to find the way best suited for you to be with the Lord, and this everyone can do; it is possible for every state of life. Now each one of you could ask: how am I experiencing “being” with Jesus? This is a question I leave you: “How do I experience this remaining with Jesus, abiding in Jesus? Do I find time to remain in his presence, in silence, to be looked upon by him? Do I let his fire warm my heart? If the warmth of God, of his love, of his tenderness is not in our own hearts, then how can we, who are poor sinners, warm the heart of others? Think about it! 2. The second—two!—element is this: starting anew with Christ means imitating him by leaving ourselves behind and going out to encounter others. This is a beautiful experience, and yet a paradox. Why? Because when we put Christ at the centre of our life, we ourselves don’t become the centre! The more that you unite yourself to Christ and he becomes the centre of your life, the more he leads you out of yourself, leads you from making yourself the centre and opens you to others. This is the true dynamism of love, this is the movement of God himself! God is the centre, but he is always self-gift, relationship, love that gives itself away . . . and this is what we will become if we remain united to Christ. He will draw us into this dynamism of love. Where there is true life in Christ, there follows an openness to others, and so a going out from oneself to encounter others in the name of Christ. And this is the job of the catechist: constantly to go forth to others out of love, to bear witness to Jesus and to talk about Jesus, to proclaim Jesus. This is important because the Lord does it: it is the Lord himself who impels us to go forth. The heart of a catechist always beats with this systolic and diastolic movement: union with Christ—encounter with others. Both of these: I am one with Jesus and I go forth to encounter others. If one of these movements is missing, the heart no longer beats, it can no longer live. The heart of the catechist receives the gift of the kerygma, and in turn offers it to others as a gift. What a little word: “gift”! The catechist is conscious of having received a gift, the gift of faith, and he or she then gives that gift in turn to others. This is something beautiful. We don’t keep a percentage for ourselves! Whatever we receive, we give! This is not commerce! It is not a business! It is pure gift: a gift received and a gift given. And the catechist is right there, at the centre of this exchange of gifts. That is the nature itself of the kerygma: it is a gift that generates mission, that compels us to go beyond ourselves. Saint Paul says that “the love of Christ compels us”, but this “compels us” can also be translated as “possesses us”. And so it is: love attracts us and sends us; it draws us in and gives us to others. This tension marks the beating of the heart of the Christian, especially the heart of the catechist. Let us all ask ourselves: Is this what causes my heart to beat as a catechist, union with Christ and encounter with others? With this movement of “systole and diastole”? Are we being fed by our relationship with the Lord, so that we can bring him to others, and not to keep it for ourselves? I’ll tell you, I don’t understand how a catechist can remain stationary, without this movement. I don’t understand! 3. The third element—three!—is along these lines: starting anew with Christ means not being afraid to go with him to the outskirts. Here I think of the story of Jonah, a really interesting figure, especially for these times of great change and uncertainty. Jonah is a devout man, with a tranquil and ordered life, which causes him to have a clear-cut way of seeing
Faith / B4
To educate in the faith, to make it grow
(Homily of Holy Father Francis during the Eucharistic celebration on the occasion of the “Day of Catechists” during the Year of Faith, St. Peter’s Square, 29 September 2013)
1. “Woe to the complacent in Zion, to those who feel secure … lying upon beds of ivory!” (Am 6:1,4). They eat, they drink, they sing, they play and they care nothing about other people’s troubles. These are harsh words which the prophet Amos speaks, yet they warn us about a danger that all of us face. What is it that this messenger of God denounces; what does he want his contemporaries, and ourselves today, to realize? The danger of complacency, comfort, worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts, of making our well-being the most important thing in our lives. This was the case of the rich man in the Gospel, who dressed in fine garments and daily indulged in sumptuous banquets; this was what was important for him. And the poor man at his doorstep who had nothing to relieve his hunger? That was none of his business, it didn’t concern him. Whenever material things, money, worldliness, become the centre of our lives, they take hold of us, they possess us; we lose our very identity as human beings. Think of it: the rich man in the Gospel has no name, he is simply “a rich man”. Material things, his possessions, are his face; he has nothing else. Let’s try to think: How does something like this happen? How do some people, perhaps ourselves included, end up becoming self-absorbed and finding security in material things which ultimately rob us of our face, our human face? This is what happens when we become complacent, when we no longer remember God. “Woe to the complacent in Zion”, says the prophet. If we don’t think about God, everything ends up flat, everything ends up being about “me” and my own comfort. Life, the world, other people, all of these become unreal, they no longer matter, everything boils down to one thing: having. When we no longer remember God, we too become unreal, we too become empty; like the rich man in the Gospel, we no longer have a face! Those who run after nothing become nothing—as another great prophet Jeremiah, observed (cf. Jer 2:5). We are made in God’s image and likeness, not the image and likeness of material objects, of idols! 2. So, as I look out at you, I think: Who are catechists? They are people who keep the memory of God alive; they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others. This is something beautiful: to remember God, like the Virgin Mary, who sees God’s wondrous works in her life but doesn’t think about honour, prestige or wealth; she doesn’t become self-absorbed. Instead, after receiving the message of the angel and conceiving the Son of God, what does she do? She sets out, she goes to assist her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth, who was also pregnant. And the first thing she does upon meeting Elizabeth is to recall God’s work, God’s fidelity, in her own life, in the history of her people, in our history: “My soul magnifies the Lord … For he has looked on the lowliness of his servant … His mercy is from generation to generation” (Lk 1:46, 48, 50). Mary remembers God. This canticle of Mary also contains the remembrance of her personal history, God’s history with her, her own experience of faith. And this is true too for each one of us and for every Christian: faith contains our own memory of God’s history with us, the memory of our encountering God who always takes the first step, who creates, saves and transforms us. Faith is remembrance of his word which warms our heart, and of his saving work which gives life, purifies us, cares for and nourishes us. A catechist is a Christian who puts this remembrance at
Danger / B4
The danger of complacency, comfort, worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts
© Sky Ortigas / CBCP Media
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
The Catholic University and Ecclesiastical centers of higher learning
First Friday Devotion to Sacred Heart
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:)
Q: Many Christians have the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is observed on the first Fridays of the month for nine months. Because of another pastoral commitment, when I am not available to offer Mass for them on one of the first Fridays, can I authorize a change of the first Friday to the second Friday of the month? — D.M., Nairobi, Kenya A: This question relates to the promise of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690). Among other promises he stated: “I promise you, in the excessive mercy of my Heart, that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments, my Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.” While the devotion to the Sacred Heart gained great popularity after the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, it does not depend on these visions. In some form or other it is rooted in Christianity itself as a particular way of approaching Christ. As St. Augustine says, it is reaching Christ God through Christ the man. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was already implied in many masters of the spiritual life. Blessed Henry Suso, a Dominican religious inspired by St. Augustine, said, “If you desire to attain knowledge of the divinity, it is necessary to ascend gradually through the humanity and the Passion of this humanity as the easiest path.” The devotion was inculcated over the centuries by the meditations on Christ’s wounds and especially the wound to his heart. These reflections were aided by biblical texts such as John 19:34 and Isaiah 53:5. Especially influential was Song of Songs 4:9: “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, you have ravished my heart.” Many writers such as Origen, St. Ambrose and St John Chrysostom applied this text to the Passion. This tradition was later strengthened by the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible which translated the text as “wounded” (vulnerasti) rather than ravished. During the Middle Ages these initial reflections were deepened and broadened with new ideas, especially with more personal and tender elements. Among the writers who influenced this development were St. Bede the Venerable, Haimo of Auxerre, and John of Fécamp, a Benedictine. Their meditations on the Passion inspired numerous imitations. The figure of St. Bernard of Clairvaux dominates his epoch, and his meditations on the Song of Songs gave new impulse to this devotion. His devotion directly influenced many others such as his friend Aelred of Rievaulx and Ekbert of Schönau whose “Stimulus Dilectionis” was incorporated by St. Bonaventure in Nos. 18-31 of his work “Lignum Vitae.” These works also influenced popular piety and devotions as well as the liturgy with many hymns and feasts related to themes of the Passion, such as the feast of the “Transfixation” of Christ’s heart. For example, we offer a rough translation of the 12th-century hymn “Summi Regis Cor Aveto,” composed at the Premonstratensian Abbey of Steinfeld near Cologne. “Let me sing to you, Heart of my God, and present you a cheerful and cordial greeting. My heart desires to joyfully embrace you. Let me speak to you. What love is it that has forced you? What pain has penetrated you, so that you empty yourself so fully, and, lover, you surrender yourself to us, and thus not even death can overpower us?” In the following centuries other saints influenced the spread of this devotion, such as Matilda and Gertrude the Great, and the Carthusians of St. Barbara of Cologne. Among the disciples of the doctrine propagated by this monastery were the early Jesuits St. Peter Canisius and Peter Fabro. This devotion to the Sacred Heart promoted by the early Jesuits prepared the terrain which years later led fellow Jesuit St. Claude de la Colombiere to understand and accept the visions of his penitent, St. Margaret Mary. It also explains in part the strong impulse and support that this order would give to this devotion in the centuries to come. With respect to the precise question, I believe there are two possible solutions to this difficulty regarding the impossibility of fulfilling the First Fridays. First of all, since the promise is united to receiving Communion, and not necessarily to attending Mass, a Communion service could be arranged on the Friday when Mass is impossible. This would appear the safest solution. Second, a few authors point out that the object of this devotion is to inflame our hearts with an ardent love for Jesus and make reparation for the offenses committed against him, above all in the Blessed Sacrament. Since this can be done on a daily basis, these authors suggest that the pious practices tied to the First Fridays are not confined to this particular day. Therefore if someone is legitimately prevented from carrying out the practices on a Friday, he may offer the devotions in the same spirit on any other day. This is a legitimate, but far from universal, opinion based on God’s infinite mercy and knowledge. Most authors make no mention of exceptions, as the grace is tied to a specific promise made in a private revelation. It is clear, however, that someone who carries out these practices with the proper intention will be duly assisted by divine grace. There does not appear to be any Church law on the subject. In general, except in granting indulgences, the Church refrains from legislating on matters related to private revelations, even if they are officially approved and recommended as this devotion certainly is.
By Fr. Jaime Blanco Achacoso, J.C.D.
Catholic Universities The Medieval University . The universities born in Europe during the Middle Ages were simply called such, without any distinction, and were characterized by having the highest level of intellectual work in all the branches of learning— e.g., Philosophy, Theology, Canon Law, Medicine, Natural Sciences, Law, etc. As was true for everything else in that epoch, the Christian sense pervaded all the areas of knowledge, without any pretense at confessionalism, which only arose later as a consequence of the Protestant reformation. Catholic vs. Non-sectarian Universities. Still much later, as a fruit of the laicism characteristic of the French Revolution, the universities were divided into non-sectarian (those run by the State) and Catholic (those run by the Church). This distinction only underlined the two powers that could create universities and
It is interesting to note that the episcopal conferences have been hard-pressed to come up with them, because of the difficulty of drafting something in accord with the civil laws on the one hand and acceptable to existing Catholic universities on the other. In the U.S., for example, this got bogged down in debate—in the name of academic freedom— for almost a decade (cf. K.D. Whitehead, Averting a Collision, in Catholic World Report, May 1999). Finally in June 2000, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved and submitted a document for the recognitio of the Holy See. Kinds of Catholic Universities 1 The use of the adjective Catholic by a university implies a previous consent by the ecclesiastical authority, without which it is not licit to use the term even if in fact they are Catholic (c.808). This means that in fact there are three kinds of Catholic universities, and the canonical norms apply differently to the different kinds:
Institutes or Centers of Higher Studies are not universities, but deal at the scientific level with some specific disciplines. The Code deals with them as equivalents of Catholic universities: The prescriptions established for universities are equally applicable to other institutes of higher studies (c.814). Ecclesiastical Faculties and Universities The Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae (15.VIII.1990) established a new division between Ecclesiastical universities and Catholic universities. This division does not seem to reflect so much the difference in the fields of knowledge or disciplines therein studied, but is rather aimed at reflecting the relation of the sacred sciences with the faith and establishing a juridical regulation proper to educational centers dealing with the sacred sciences, while safeguarding their fidelity to the ecclesiastical Magisterium. Ecclesiastical faculties and universities are those which serve to investigate the sacred
The erection of ecclesiastical universities and faculties is regulated by canon law in the following terms: a ) A c t u a l e r e c t i o n : Ecclesiastical universities and faculties can be established only through erection by the Holy See or through its approval (c.816, §1). b) Initiative by bishops: The conference of bishops and the diocesan bishop are to provide, wherever possible, for the establishment of higher institutes for the religious sciences, namely institutes in which the theological disciplines and other disciplines pertaining to Christian culture are taught (c.821; cf. c.814). Nevertheless, as previously stated, the actual erection of the institute as an ecclesiastical faculty or university will depend on the Holy See. Regulation. The general norms regulating these institutions are found in the Code and, most especially, in the Constitution Sapientia christiana (15. IV.1979). The following can be cited: a) The Holy See has a
the ideology or spirit informing the education therein imparted, and not so much the specific content of the same. In other words, the university institution as such remained one and the same. The Canonical Regulation of Catholic Universities There are basically three legal sources for the regulation of Catholic universities: 1) The Code of Canon Law. The universal norms in this respect are found in cc.807814 comprising Chapter II (Catholic Universities and Other Institutes of Higher Studies) of Title III (Catholic Education) of Book III (The Teaching Office of the Church) of the Code. 2) The Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae (ECE) — issued by John Paul II on 15 August 1990. The result of a long process of consultation with bishops, officials of Catholic higher education worldwide and various experts, its second part contains a set of norms in eleven articles which are presented as “based on, and a further development of, the Code of Canon Law and the complementary Church legislation”. 3) Complementary Church legislation . Art.1, §1 of the Ex corde Ecclesiae called for “episcopal conferences to develop Ordinances for its application within their regions.” Pursuant to the ECE provision, the Congregation for Catholic Education issued directives to assist in the formation of those ordinances (Prot. N. 1485/90).
1) Materially Catholic universities : Those with a Catholic ideology and spirit in fact, but without ecclesiastical recognition of such fact—which are therefore not formally denominated as a Catholic university. They depend on ecclesiastical authorities only in the teaching of the theological sciences: It is necessary that those who teach theological disciplines in any institute of higher studies have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority (c.812). 2) Formally recognized Catholic universities : Those recognized by the ecclesiastical authority as such—which are therefore allowed to be officially called Catholic . Aside from the aforementioned mandate for theological disciplines, they depend on ecclesiastical authorities according to the provisions of their statutes and their document of approval as a Catholic university. Thus, they are bound to the Church through a commitment assumed by their authorities 3) Canonically erected Catholic universities : Those which are canonically erected by the Holy See, an Episcopal Conference, a diocesan Bishop or whatever ecclesiastical juridic person—which are also formally denominated Catholic . They are bound to the Church, by a formal constitution or set of statutes. Thus, they depend on ecclesiastical authority according to the provisions of their act of erection and their statutes. Institutes or Centers of Higher Studies
disciplines or those disciplines related to the sacred, and to instruct students scientifically in those same disciplines (c.815).2 In them the munus docendi finds its greatest ally, being centers where the Gospel message is studied and announced in the most rigorously scientific manner. Ecclesiastical centers for higher education are basically of three types: An Athenaeum —has two faculties, normally philosophy and theology. b. A University—has at least three faculties. The Church also directs other institutions of a university nature—e.g., the Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies , the Higher Institute of Latin Studies, the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archeology, and the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music (all in Rome). c. Non-degree granting institutions . The Vatican has another type of institution that does not grant academic titles, but plays a decisive role in the development of science and humanities in the world— e.g., the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in 1603, which counted Galileo among its members and today has 20 Nobel Prize winners. Other such bodies are the Pantheon Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts, the Pontifical Roman Academy of Archeology , the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, and the Pontifical Academy for Life. Erection and Regulation of Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties
supervisory role with respect to them (c.816, §1). b) Only they can grant academic degrees with validity in the Church. c) The Grand Chancellor represents the Holy See in these universities and faculties, and is the Ordinary Prelate on whom they depend, unless otherwise established. d) In case the Grand Chancellor is different from the Local Ordinary, norms should be established--normally in the statutes--for the mutual agreement of their missions and competencies. e) All professors in matters affecting faith and morals must have a mandate from the Grand Chancellor or his delegate. f) Any Christian faithful-including lay persons--can study or teach in these institutions, provided they fulfill the academic requirements similar to those required for civil studies of the same level. They can also hold whatever position of direction in such institutions (cf. GS, 62).
(Endnotes) 1 For a more complete discussion of this topic, especially as regards the Philippine setting, cf. J. M. Tinoko, Nature and Mission of Catholic Universities in the Law of the Church, in Philippine Canonical Forum, 1 (1999), 91-110. 2 Cf. G. Galazka, Pontifical Universities and Roman Athenaeums, Vatican City, the Vatican Press (2000). The book brings to light the life and history of university centers like the Pontifical Universities of St. Thomas (the Angelicum), the Gregorianum, the Holy Cross, the Urbanianum, Lateran and Salesianum, and the Pontifical Athenaeums, such as the Regina Apostolorum, St. Anselm, Antonianum, etc.
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
(Address of the Holy Father Francis to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 21 September 2013)
DEAR Brothers and Sisters, good morning! I am pleased to greet you and to thank you for your work in the important sector of social communications, but after having heard Monsignor Celli I feel I must remove the word “sector”…and instead refer to an important “ecclesial dimension”. I wish to thank Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli for his kind words of greeting extended to me on your behalf. I would like to share some thoughts with you. 1. First: the importance that the Church attaches to the area of communication. This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Conciliar Decree Inter Mirifica. This anniversary is more than a commemoration; the Decree expresses the Church’s solicitude for communication in all its forms, which are important tools in the work of evangelization. There is a difference between these forms, that are functional means of communication, and communication itself which is something else entirely. In the last few decades the various means of communication have evolved significantly, but the Church’s concern remains the same, though it assumes new ways of expression. The world of communications, more and more, has become an “environment” for many, one in which people communicate with one another, expanding their possibilities for knowledge and relationship (cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the 2013 World Communications Day). I wish to underline these positive aspects notwithstanding the limits and the harmful factors that also exist and which we are all aware of. 2. In this context — and this is the second reflection — we must ask ourselves: what role should the Church have in terms of the practical means of communication at her disposal? In every situation, beyond technological considerations, I believe that the goal is to understand how to enter into dialogue with the men and women of today, to know how to engage this dialogue in order to appreciate their desires, their doubts and their hopes. They are men and women who sometimes feel let down by a Christianity that to them appears sterile and in difficulty as it tries to communicate the depth of meaning that comes with the gift of faith. We do in fact witness today, in the age of globalization, a growing sense of disorientation and isolation; we see, increasingly, a loss of meaning to life, an inability to connect with a “home” and a struggle to build meaningful relationships. It is therefore important to know how to dialogue and, with discernment, to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages. Allow yourselves, without fear, to be this presence, expressing your Christian identity as you become citizens of this environment. A Church that follows this path learns how to walk with everyone. There is an ancient rule for pilgrims, which Saint Ignatius adopts, and which is why I know it! In one of his rules he says that the person accompanying the pilgrim must The challenge is to rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and journey, the beauty of faith and of the beauty of the encounter with Christ. Even in this world of communications, the Church must warm the hearts of men and women. Do our presence and plans measure up to this requirement or do we remain technicians? We hold a precious treasure that is to be passed on, a treasure that brings light and hope. They are greatly needed. All this, however, means that priests, religious and laity must have a thorough and adequate formation. The great digital continent not only involves technology but is made up of real men and women who bring with them their hopes, their suffering, their concerns and their pursuit of what is true, beautiful and good. We need to bring Christ to others, through these joys and hopes, like Mary, who brought Christ to the hearts of men and women; we need to pass through the clouds of indifference without losing our way; we need to descend into the darkest night without being overcome and disorientated; we need to listen to the dreams, without being seduced; we need to share their disappointments, without becoming despondent; to sympathize with those whose lives are falling apart, without losing our own strength and identity (cf. Pope Francis, Address to the Bishops of Brazil, 27 July 2013, n. 4). This is the path. This is the challenge. It is important, dear friends, to bring the solicitude and the presence of the Church into the world of communications so as to dialogue with the men and women of today and bring them to meet Christ, but it is an encounter which is personal. It is not to be manipulated. Today there exists a great temptation in the Church which is a spiritual form of “abuse”: to manipulate the mind; a sort of theological brainwashing which ultimately brings one to a superficial meeting with Christ but not to an encounter with the Person of Christ Alive! Within this encounter, there is the person and there is Christ. There is no room for the spiritual engineer who wishes to manipulate. This is the challenge: to bring the person to Christ. This must be done, however, in complete awareness that we ourselves are means of communication and that the real problem does not concern the acquisition of the latest technologies, even if these make a valid presence possible. It is necessary to be absolutely clear that the God in whom we believe, who loves all men and women intensely, wants to reveal himself through the means at our disposal, however poor they are, because it is he who is at work, he who transforms and saves us. It is our prayer, the prayer of all, that the Lord may make us zealous and sustain us in the engaging mission of bringing him to the world. I ask you for your prayers because I too share this mission and I gladly assure you of my Blessing.
Bringing Christ to the Digital Continent
walk at his or her pace, not going on ahead or falling behind. In other words, I envisage a Church that knows how to walk with men and women along the path. The pilgrim’s rule will help inspire us. 3. The third thought: this is a challenge which we must all face together in this environment of communications where the issues are not principally technological. We must ask ourselves: are we up to the task of bringing Christ into this area, or better still, of bringing others to meet Christ? Can we walk alongside the pilgrim of
today’s world as Jesus walked with those companions to Emmaus, warming their hearts on the way and bringing them to an encounter with the Lord? Are we able to communicate the face of a Church which is “home” to all? We sometimes speak of a Church that has its doors closed, but here we are contemplating much more than a Church with open doors, much more! We must, together, build this “home”, build this Church, make this “home”. A Church with closed doors or open doors; the task is to move forward and help build the Church.
(Pope Francis responds to Dr. Eugenio Scalfari, journalist of the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica”, From the Vatican, 4 September 2013)
Dear Dr. Scalfari, I wish to respond, even if only in a general way, to your letter published in La Repubblica on 7 July last, in which you offered your personal reflections, further expounded upon in the 9 August edition. First of all, I thank you for your careful reading of the Encyclical Lumen Fidei, which was conceived and in large measure prepared by my beloved predecessor, Benedict XVI. With gratitude I inherited this work, which seeks not only to confirm in faith those who already believe in Jesus Christ, but also to bring about a sincere and comprehensive dialogue with those who, like you, define themselves as “a non-believer who for many years has been interested in and fascinated by the preaching of Jesus of Nazareth”. Therefore, it seems very positive, both for us and for the society in which we live, to pause and discuss a reality as significant as faith, which points us to the teachings and person of Jesus. I think that there are two circumstances, in particular, which make this dialogue necessary and valuable today. As is known, one of the principle objectives of the Second Vatican Council was this dialogue, as desired by Blessed John XXIII and successive Popes, each adding his own insight and contribution, walking the path marked out by the Council. The first circumstance—recalled at the beginning of the Encyclical—derives from the fact that, throughout the centuries of modernity, a paradox was witnessed: the Christian faith, whose newness and influence on humanity were expressed by the symbol of light, has been often characterized as the darkness of superstition in opposition to the light of reason. Thus, between the Church and Christian inspired culture on the one hand, and modern culture shaped by the Enlightenment on the other, a point was reached where there was no longer any dialogue. The time has now finally come, ushered in by the Second Vatican Council, for a dialogue that is open and free of preconceptions, and which reopens the doors to a responsible and fruitful encounter. The second circumstance, for one who wants to faithfully follow Jesus, derives from the fact that such a dialogue is not superfluous to the life of the believer, but rather is its profound and indispensable expression. In this context, allow me to refer to a quotation from the Encyclical, which I believe to be very important because it emphasizes the fact that the truth, with the witness of faith, is love: “clearly, then, faith is not intransigent, but grows in respectful coexistence with others. One who believes may not be presumptuous; on the contrary, truth leads to humility, since believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth which embraces and possesses us. Far from making us inflexible, the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all” (n. 34). This is the spirit in which I am writing to you. For me, faith was born of an encounter with Jesus. It was a personal encounter that touched my heart and gave new direction and meaning to my life. At the same time, it was an encounter made possible by the community of faith in which I lived and thanks to which I gained access to understanding Sacred Scripture, to new life in Christ through the Sacraments, to fraternity with all and service to the poor, who are the true image of the Lord. Without the Church—believe me—I would not have been able to encounter Jesus, even with the awareness that the immense gift of faith is kept in the fragile clay jars of our humanity. From this personal experience of faith lived in the Church, I find myself able to listen to your questions and, with you, to seek the paths along which we may walk together. Please forgive me if I do not address your arguments step by step as proposed in the 7 July issue. I think it would be more helpful—and it seems to me more appealing—to go to the heart of your thoughts; neither will I follow the methodology of the Encyclical, in which you note the absence of a section dedicated specifically to the historical experience of Jesus of Nazareth. I would like to state, from the outset, that such an analysis is not of secondary importance. Following the logic of the Encyclical, it is important to dwell on the meaning of what Jesus said and ultimately, who Jesus was and is for us. The letters of Saint Paul and the Gospel of Saint John, which are referred to especially in the Encyclical, are founded in fact upon the messianic ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, which reaches its culmination in the Pasch of his death and resurrection. It is necessary, therefore, to look at Jesus from the point of view of the actual circumstances of his existence, as narrated by the oldest of the Gospels, Saint Mark. There, the “scandal” in others, provoked by the words and actions of Jesus, stems from his extraordinary “authority”. This word, present already in the Gospel of Saint Mark, is not easy to translate accurately in Italian. The Greek word is “exousia”, which etymologically refers to that which “comes from being”, from whom one is. It is not something external or imposed, but rather that which comes from within and is self-evident. Jesus, in fact, impacts us, shocks us, and renews us, and this comes, as he himself says, from his relationship with God, whom he refers to intimately as “Abba”, the Father, who confers this “authority” upon him so that he may offer it for humanity’s sake. In this way, Jesus preaches “as one who has authority”; he heals, he calls the disciples to follow him, he forgives, all of which are realities that in the Old Testament come only from God. The question which arises repeatedly in the Gospel of Mark, “who is this that…?”, concerning the identity of Jesus, arises from the recognition of an authority that is not of this world, one which is not intended to impose itself on others but rather is directed to the service of others, to give them freedom and fullness of life. And this he did even to the extent of risking his own life, of experiencing incomprehension, betrayal, rejection, to the point of being condemned to death, to the point of plummeting into the depths of abandonment on the Cross. Yet Jesus remained faithful to God, to the end. It is precisely at this moment—as the Roman Centurion exclaims at the foot of the Cross in Saint Mark’s Gospel—that Jesus reveals himself, paradoxically, as the Son of God, the Son of a God who is love and who desires, with his whole being, that all men and women discover themselves and live as his true children. For the Christian faith, this is confirmed by the fact that Jesus is risen; not to bring the weight of his triumph to bear on those who have rejected him, but to show that the love of God is stronger than death, that the forgiveness of God is stronger than any sin and that it is worth giving one’s life to the end in order to bear witness to this immense gift. The Christian faith professes that Jesus is the Son of God who came to give his life to open the way of love to all people. Thus you are correct, Dr. Scalfari, when you recognize that the Christian faith hinges on the incarnation of the Son of God. Tertullian wrote “caro cardo salutis”, the flesh (of Christ) is the fulcrum of salvation. Because the incarnation, the Son of God coming in our flesh and sharing the joys and sorrows, the successes and failures of our life, even to crying out on the Cross, experiencing all things with love and fidelity to Abba, testifies to the astonishing love of God for all people, and to the inestimable worth that he sees in them. On account of this, each one of us is called to make Christ’s gaze and love his own, and to enter into his way of being, of thinking and of acting. This is what faith is, with all its expressions as they are accurately employed in the Encyclical. *** Returning to the editorial of 7 July, you ask me furthermore how to understand the unique identity of the Christian faith in as much as it centers on the incarnation of the Son of God, with respect to other faiths which rest on the absolute transcendence of God. The uniqueness lies, I would say, in the fact that the faith makes us share, through Jesus, in the relationship he has with God who is Abba, and from this perspective, in the relationship of love which he has with all men and women, enemies included. In other words, the sonship of Jesus, as presented by the Christian faith, is not revealed so as to emphasize an insurmountable separation between Jesus and everyone else; rather, it is revealed to tell us that in him, we are all called to be children in the one Father and so brothers and sisters to one another. The uniqueness of Jesus has to do with communication, not exclusion. Of course, what follows from this— and it is no small thing—is the distinction between the religious sphere and the political sphere which is enshrined in “rendering to God the things that are God’s, and to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, declared clearly by Jesus and on which the history of the West, not without struggle, has been built. While the Church is called to introduce the leaven and be the salt of the Gospel, that is, the love and mercy of God which reach all men and women, and which point to the heavenly and definitive goal of our destiny, it falls to civil society and political society to articulate and build a life which is more humane, through justice, solidarity, law and peace. For those who live their Christian faith, this does not mean either fleeing from the world or seeking dominance, but rather it denotes service to the person as a whole and to all peoples, starting with those living on the margins, all the while keeping alive the sense of hope that compels us to work for the good of all, looking to the future. You also asked me, at the end of your first article, what should be said to the Jewish brethren concerning the promise that God made to them: is that an empty promise? This question, believe me, is a radical one for us Christians because with the help of God, especially in the light of the Second Vatican Council, we have rediscovered that the Jewish people remain for us the holy root from which Jesus was born. I too have cultivated many friendships through the years with my Jewish brothers in Argentina and often while in prayer, as my mind turned to the terrible experience of the Shoah, I looked to God. What I can tell you, with Saint Paul, is that God has never neglected his faithfulness to the covenant with Israel, and that, through the awful trials of these last centuries, the Jews have preserved their faith in God. And for this, we, the Church and the whole human family, can never be sufficiently grateful to them. Moreover, persevering with faith in the God of the Covenant, they remind everyone, including us Christians, that we wait unceasingly as pilgrims for the return of the Lord, and that therefore we should be open to him and not remain entrenched in our achievements. I now wish to address the three questions from your article of 7 August. I believe that in the first two questions, what interests you is to understand the attitude of the Church towards those who do not share faith in Jesus. Above all, you ask if the God of Christians forgives those who do not believe and who do not seek faith. Given the premise, and this is fundamental, that the mercy of God is limitless for those who turn to him with a sincere and contrite heart, the issue for the unbeliever lies in obeying his or her conscience. There is sin, even for those who have no faith, when conscience is not followed. Listening to and obeying conscience means deciding in the face of what is understood to be good or evil. It is on the basis of this choice that the goodness or evil of our actions is determined. Secondly, you ask me whether it is erroneous or a sin to follow the line of thought which holds that there is no absolute, and therefore no absolute truth, but only a series of relative and subjective truths. To begin with, I would not speak about “absolute” truths, even for believers, in the sense that absolute is that which is disconnected and bereft of all relationship. Truth, according to the Christian faith, is the love of God for us in Jesus Christ. Therefore, truth is a relationship. As such each one of us receives the truth and expresses it from within, that is to say, according to one’s own circumstances, culture and situation in life, etc. This does not mean that truth is variable and subjective, quite the contrary. But it does signify that it comes to us always and only as a way and a life. Did not Jesus himself say: “I am the way, the truth, and the life?” In other words, truth, being completely one with love, demands humility and an openness to be sought, received and expressed. Therefore, we must have a correct understanding of the terms and, perhaps, in order to overcome being bogged down by conflicting absolute positions, we need to redefine the issues in depth. I believe this is
Non-believer / B5
Letter to a Non-believer
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
By Carl A. Anderson
IN an interview this week, Pope Francis noted that the Church should focus on mercy and salvation through Jesus Christ rather than “rules.” The headlines that followed suggested that the Church was suddenly charting a new course. One might think this is the first time a pope said something like this. It isn’t. Though it garnered little media attention, Pope Benedict XVI made a similar statement in 2006. Asked why he hadn’t spoken about same-sex marriage, abortion, or contraception in a speech, he noted that “Catholicism isn’t a collection of prohibitions; it’s a positive option.” With neither pope has the full story been told. Furthermore, as Francis went to great lengths to point out in his encyclical Lumen Fidei, continuity is a hallmark of the papacy. The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation. But the media’s narrative of Francis is something else. We are told he is a progressive, taking the Catholic Church in a profoundly new direction—uninterested in Church teaching on moral issues. Benedict, we are told, is conservative, doctrinaire, and old-fashioned— focused on moral issues. Neither narrative is true, because each leaves out half of the story. As pope, Benedict wrote three major encyclical letters to the Church—two on charity and one on hope—but these weren’t what got him the most coverage. Benedict once stated that “the Church’s first duty is to approach these people with love and consideration, with caring and motherly attention, to proclaim the merciful closeness of God in Jesus Christ.” It
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Popes in the News
didn’t fit the narrative, so it wasn’t widely reported, but he was talking about those who had had abortions. Earlier this year, Pope Francis left the Vatican to greet participants in Rome’s March for Life. He also invited them to “keep the attention of everyone on the important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception.” More recently, he exhorted the Knights of Columbus “to bear witness to the authentic nature of marriage and the family, the sanctity and inviolable dignity of human life, and the beauty and truth of human sexuality.” Again, neither statement was widely reported, because it didn’t
fit the narrative. And on Friday in Rome, the pope spoke to Catholic gynecologists and other medical professionals about our “throwaway culture” that leads to elimination of the weakest among us. “Our response to this mentality is a ‘yes’ to life, decisive and without hesitation,” he said. “‘The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental—the condition for all the others.’” But for those who see the Church running from social issues rather than giving them their proper place in the full constellation of Catholic teaching, this speech doesn’t
fit the narrative either. Pope Francis spoke out against a homosexual “lobby” and then later said that he is not in a position to judge those who are gay “if they are seeking the Lord and have good will.” Media largely neglected to note both the “if” and his concern about the lobbying. His pastoral comments are reported like political comments, and his warnings about politicizing the Church are ignored. Missed too was his implicit reference to his predecessor’s document On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, where Benedict wrote: “What, then, are homosexual persons to do who
seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross.” “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action,” Benedict stated in that document. “Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.” But few know Benedict said anything like that. It is increasingly apparent that it is the media, more often than Catholics themselves, who place a disproportionate focus on Church teaching about sexuality and abortion. In Francis’s dense 13-page interview released this week he touched on many subjects. But the American media are focusing almost exclusively on the few paragraphs related to abortion and contraception. Ironically, this coverage comes after the pope said in that same interview that the Church has a broader focus (and discussed that focus in the other twelve pages). Like Francis, many Catholics have been frustrated by the perception in some quarters that the Church is concerned about only one or two issues. The Knights of Columbus have experienced this firsthand. We are one of the country’s most active charitable organizations, with hundreds of millions of hours and more than a billion dollars given to charitable activity in the past several years. Such good work almost never gets noticed nationally, but when we spend even a fraction of that total amount on social issues, the media take note, often with alarm. Here is what Pope Francis wants Catholics to be thinking about: “I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.” He has presented a stark and dramatic assessment of our cultural situation, and he is proposing as a
Photo: Vatican Radio’s Facebook page
Popes / B5
May They Be One
Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home
• No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign – 85 out of 86 Dioceses • Bibles Distributed (Jan 1, 2013 - Sept. 13, 2013): 174,596 copies • Bibles Distributed by Languages - Bicol (2,473 cps.) Cebuano (34,162 cps.) English TEV (24,458 cps.), English NABRE (1,980) Hiligaynon (12,699 cps.), Ilocano (4,446 cps.), Pampango (1,035 cps.), Pangasinan (1,556 cps.), Samarenyo (385 cps.), Tagalog (64,289 cps.), Tagalog New Testament (2,786 cps.), Tagalog Evangelical (24,327 cps.) • Parishes/Communi ties served: 1,381 • Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009- Sept. 13, 2013): 983,215 cps. • Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2013: 600,000 cps.
What a difference the Word makes
WOMAN of many vices—that was what Leny Tuazon of Tondo used to be. She was a mahjongera and an excessive drinker. This mother of three was also into chain smoking, a habit she enjoyed in the company of her husband. A visitor entering her house would find himself transported into a cloud of cigarette smoke. Interestingly, despite being hooked to these vices, Leny was deeply involved in a religious order and was actively seeking a Bible study group where she and her husband could attend. God, seeing beyond the vices into her thirsting heart, brought her to a Bible sharing group led by Bambi Crispino, under the May They Be One Bible campaign in partnership with the San Rafael parish in Balut, Tondo. Reading and studying the MTBO Bible, Leny was convicted of her vices and appropriated the Lord’s power to give the vices up. Many other blessings followed her journey with God’s Word. Leny was set free from a bad temper that used to bring her a lot of guilt and conflict in her relationships. In place of anger, God gave her self control. This student of the Word who found peace with God also found peace with nature. Her former indifference to the environment gave way to care and good stewardship. Her little yard now bustles with pots of flower and herbs. Leny practices prudence and good stewardship in the use of electricity at home, training her children to do likewise. Asked for her favorite Bible verse, Leny recited John 3:16 with a voice breaking from a heart overwhelmed by the love and goodness of God: For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life (Good News Translation).
Faith / B1
Leny Tuazon with her Filipino language May They Be One Bible
Members of the MTBO Advisory Committee: Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo DD, Fr. Oscar A. Alunday, Mr. Rod G. Cornejo, Mr. Rene E. Cristobal Sr., Dr. Philip C. Flores, Mr. Dante M. Lanorio, Fr. Antonio B. Navarrete, Dr. Natividad B. Pagadut, Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno and Mr. Albert S. Tanlimco. To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call Helen at PBS
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Danger / B1
things and to judge everything and everyone accordingly. He has it all figured out: this is the truth! He is rigid! So, when the Lord called him and told him to go and preach to Nineveh, the great pagan city, Jonah doesn’t like it. “Go there? But I have the whole truth here!” He doesn’t like it. Nineveh is outside his comfort zone; it is on the outskirts of his world. So he escapes, he sets off for Spain; he runs away and boards a ship that will take him there. Go and re-read the Book of Jonah! It is short, but it is a very instructive parable, especially for those of us in the Church. What does all this teach us? It teaches us not to be afraid to pass beyond our comfort zone and to follow God, because God is always pushing, pressing forward. But do you know something? God is not afraid! Do you realize this? He isn’t afraid. He is always bigger than our little way of seeing things! God is not afraid of the outskirts. If you go to the outskirts, you will find him there. God is always faithful and creative. But, really, is there such a thing as a catechist who is not creative? Creativity is what sustains us as catechists. God is creative, he is not closed, and so he is never inflexible. God is not rigid! He welcomes us; he meets us; he understands us. To be
faithful, to be creative; we need to be able to change. To change! And why must I change? So that I can adapt to the situations in which I must proclaim the Gospel. To stay close to God, we need to know how to set out, we must not be afraid to set out. If a catechist gives in to fear, then he or she is a coward. If a catechist has an easy time of it, he or she will end up being a statue in a museum. We have a lot of these! Please, no more statues in the museum! If a catechist is rigid, he or she will dry up and wither. I ask you: does any of you want to be a coward, a statue in a museum, dried up and withered? Is that what you want to be? [the catechists reply: No!] No? Are you sure? Good! I am now going to say something I have already said many times before, but it comes from the heart. Whenever we Christians are enclosed in our groups, our movements, our parishes, in our little worlds, we remain closed, and the same thing happens to us that happens to anything closed: when a room is closed, it begins to get dank. If a person is closed up in that room, he or she becomes ill! Whenever Christians are enclosed in their groups, parishes, movements, they take ill. If a Christian goes to the streets, or to the outskirts,
he or she may risk the same thing that can happen to anyone out there: an accident. How often have we seen accidents on the road! But I am telling you: I would prefer a thousand times over a bruised Church than an ill Church! A Church, a catechist, with the courage to risk going out, and not a catechist who is studious, knows everything, but is always closed: such a person is not well. And sometimes he is not well in the head…. But careful! Jesus does not say: Go off and do things on your own. No! That is not what he is saying. Jesus says: Go, for I am with you! This is what is so beautiful for us; it is what guides us. If we go out to bring his Gospel with love, with a true apostolic spirit, with parrhesia, he walks with us, he goes ahead of us, he gets there first. As we say in Spanish, primerea. By now you know what I mean by this. It is the same thing that the Bible tells us. In the Bible, the Lord says: I am like the flower of the almond. Why? Because that is the first flower to blossom in the spring. He is always the first! This is fundamental for us: God is always ahead of us! When we think about going far away, to an extreme outskirt, we may be a bit afraid, but in fact God is already there. Jesus is waiting for us in the
hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded bodies, in their hardships, in their lack of faith. But can I tell you about one of the “outskirts” which breaks my heart? I saw it in my first diocese. It is children who don’t even know how to make the sign of the cross. In Buenos Aires there are many children who can’t make the sign of the cross. This is one of the “outskirts”! And Jesus is there, waiting for you to help that child to make the sign of the cross. He’s always there first. Dear catechists, I have made my three points. Always start anew from Christ! I thank you for everything that you do, but above all, because you are part of the Church, the pilgrim People of God, and you accompany God’s People on that pilgrimage. Let us remain with Christ – abiding in Christ – and let us always try to be one with him. Let us follow him, let us imitate him in his movement of love, in his going forth to meet humanity. Let us go forth and open doors. Let us have the audacity to mark out new paths for proclaiming the Gospel. May the Lord bless you and the Blessed Mother be always at your side. Thank you! Mary is our Mother, Mary always leads us to Jesus! Let us say a prayers for one another to Our Lady. Thank you very much!
the service of proclamation, not to seem important, not to talk about himself or herself, but to talk about God, about his love and his fidelity. To talk about and to pass down all that God has revealed, his teaching in its totality, neither trimming it down nor adding on to it. Saint Paul recommends one thing in particular to his disciple and co-worker Timothy: Remember, remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, whom I proclaim and for whom I suffer (cf. 2 Tim 2:8-9). The Apostle can say this because he too remembered Christ, who called him when he was persecuting Christians, who touched him and transformed him by his grace. The catechist, then, is a Christian who is mindful of God, who is guided by the memory of God in his or her entire life and who is able to awaken that memory in the hearts of others. This is not easy! It engages our entire existence! What is the Catechism itself, if not the memory of God, the memory of his works in history and his drawing near to us in Christ present in his word, in the sacraments, in his Church, in his love? Dear catechists, I ask you: Are we in fact the memory of God? Are we really like sentinels who awaken in others
the memory of God which warms the heart? 3. “Woe to the complacent in Zion!”, says the prophet. What must we do in order not to be “complacent”—people who find their security in themselves and in material things—but men and woman of the memory of God? In the second reading, Saint Paul, once more writing to Timothy, gives some indications which can also be guideposts for us in our work as catechists: pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness (cf. 1 Tim 6:11). Catechists are men and women of the memory of God if they have a constant, living relationship with him and with their neighbor; if they are men and women of faith who truly trust in God and put their security in him; if they are men and women of charity, love, who see others as brothers and sisters; if they are men and women of “hypomoné”, endurance and perseverance, able to face difficulties, trials and failures with serenity and hope in the Lord; if they are gentle, capable of understanding and mercy. Let us ask the Lord that we may all be men and women who keep the memory of God alive in ourselves, and are able to awaken it in the hearts of others. Amen.
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
(An intervention of the Vatican delivered by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States during the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on nuclear disarmament in New York, September 26, 2013).
MR. PRESIDENT, The General Assembly resolution calling for today’s High-Level meeting on Nuclear Disarmament expressed the common conviction that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons is essential to remove the danger of nuclear war, a goal that must have our highest priority. The Holy See, which has long called for the banishment of these weapons of mass destruction, joins in this concerted effort to give vigorous expression to the cry of humanity to be freed from the specter of nuclear warfare. Under the terms of the NonProliferation Treaty, states are enjoined to make “good faith” efforts to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons. Can we say there is “good faith” when modernization programs of the nuclear weapons states continue despite their affirmations of eventual nuclear disarmament? Concern over the proliferation of nuclear weapons into other countries ring hollow as long as the nuclear weapons states hold on to their nuclear weapons. If today’s special meeting is to have any historic significance, it must result in a meaningful commitment by the nuclear weapons states to divest themselves of their nuclear weapons. Five years ago, the Secretary-General offered a Five-Point Plan for Nuclear Disarmament. It is past time for this plan to be given the serious attention it deserves. The centrepiece is the negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention or a framework of instruments leading directly to a global ban on nuclear weapons. This is a clear-cut goal, fully understandable and supportable by all those who truly want the world to move beyond the dark doctrines of mutual assured destruction. It is now imperative for us to address in a systematic and coherent manner the legal, political and technical requisites for a world free from nuclear arms. For this reason, we should begin as soon as possible preparatory work on the Convention or a framework agreement for a phased and verifiable elimination of nuclear arms. The chief obstacle to starting this work is continued adherence to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence. With the end of the Cold War, the time for the acceptance of this doctrine is long passed. The Holy See does not countenance the continuation of nuclear deterrence, since it is evident it is driving the development of ever newer nuclear arms, thus preventing genuine nuclear disarmament. For many years, the world has been told that a number of steps will lead eventually to nuclear disarmament. Such argumentation is belied by the extraordinary nature of today’s meeting, which surely would not have been called if the steps were working. They are not. It is the military doctrine of nuclear deterrence, politically supported by the nuclear weapons states, that must be addressed in order to break the chain of dependence on deterrence. Starting work on a global approach to providing security without relying on nuclear deterrence is urgent. We cannot justify the continuation of a permanent nuclear deterrence policy, given the loss of human, financial and material resources in time of scarcity of funds for health, education and social services around the world and in the face of current threats to human security, such as poverty, climate change, terrorism and transnational crimes. All this should make us consider the ethical dimension and the moral legitimacy of the production, processing, development, accumulation, use and threat of use of nuclear arms. We must emphasize anew that military doctrines based on nuclear arms, as instruments of security and defence of an élite group, in a show of power and supremacy, retard and jeopardize the process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, fostering a climate of trust and sincere dialogue, capable of promoting a culture of peace, founded on the primacy of law and the common good, through a coherent and responsible cooperation between all members of the international community. Thank you, Mr. President.
A call to nuclear disarmament
Unity Statement against Corruption
WE, concerned citizens, civil society organizations, business groups, and individuals of goodwill, guided by our respective beliefs and by our love for the Philippines, denounce the pork barrel system which is at the heart of the present corrupt political system. In the pork barrel system, lump sum amounts are placed at the discretion of only one person; which allows him/her to use public funds for patronage politics, political dynasties and personal gain. We are united in condemning this CORRUPTION! As the SOVEREIGN PEOPLE, we, the REAL BOSSES are UNITED in ORDERING our PUBLIC SERVANTS the following: 1. Immediate resignation of public servants who are formally charged by the Department of Justice. 2. Punishment of convicted pork barrel schemers and the return of their loot to the coffers of the people. 3. Abolition of the pork barrel system by whatever name or form. We include the pork barrel of all three branches of government, namely, the executive, legislative, judiciary; and their ancillary departments. 4. Respect for and protection of the people’s sovereign right to reclaim management of public funds for the benefit of the common good, such as social services. This is one way of eliminating patronage politics. 5. Providing the people with all the
Resolutions and Recommendation
3rd National Clergy Gathering of the Order of Franciscan Seculars (OFS)
ON the occasion of the 3rd OFS Clergy gathering held on Sept. 16-19, 2013 at Saranggani Highlands and Resort in General Santos City, South Cotabato with the theme: “Starting afresh from the perspective of Faith and Gospel towards a faithful Creativity: listening to the Call and living the gift of fraternity as OFS Clergy”, imbued by the gratuitous love of God, we came together to reflect on our lives, our mission and our accountability as OFS Clergy to the people we serve, in the context of our present Philippine and International realities, namely: flooding, mining, illegal logging, the pork barrel scam and the betrayal of public trust, war and conflict, particularly Basilan, Zamboanga, Syria and the rest of the world. Inspired by the Franciscan tradition, teachings and examples of St. Francis, we realize our connectedness with Creation, as brothers and sisters under the Fatherhood of God, we uphold the honest and upright service for the common interest of people, we recognize the challenge of being harbingers and bearers of peace through active non violence. Thus, motivated by St. Francis as a man of Peace and Patron of Ecology, we strongly resolve to: 1) Uphold the integrity of God’s Creation and desire its healthy balance, thus we beg all the agencies of the government responsible to truly care and respect God’s creation for this will provide us our material needs and the generations to come; 2) Put into practice the preferential option for the poor and live a consistent Franciscan lifestyle as OFS clergy, thus with pork barrel scam pestering our society, we appeal to those responsible for the investigation to bring this to its morally upright, immediate and just solutions; 3) Work, as OFS clergy, both personally and communally, for peace in the war torn Basilan, Zamboanga, Syria and the rest of the world, we pray for peace and harmony based on sincere and peaceful dialogue, we urge all parties involved to recognize and respect our cultural differences and uniqueness so as to create harmonious relations and live as one Filipino people. We recommend also, that local fraternities engage in the planning of concrete activities and projects relative to the resolutions above made by the same forum which shall be spearheaded by the prudent judgments of OFS clergy themselves. We formulate these resolutions in view of an individual and social transformation. Such envisioned change shall start from every OFS clergy together with the individual members of the local fraternities. Hence, they shall be the “leaven” of the society. They shall be true witnesses of the Franciscan spirituality—epitome of “the gospel to life” and “from life to the gospel”. Thereby, we shall be the face of Jesus for the world to see. Signed: OFS CLERGY and NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSISTANTS September 19, 2013 Saranggani Highlands and Resort, Gen. Santos City
information they need in the interest of transparency, accountability, participation, and co-responsibility. To turn these demands into a workable reality, civil society organizations, business groups, the academe, the different religions, non-believers, credible representatives from the government, and individuals of goodwill with relevant competence, will come together to thresh out the concrete details of this unity statement. Likewise, we express our contrition for “we are not just victims of a corrupt system. We have all, in one way or another, contributed
to this worsening social cancer—through our indifferent silence or through our cooperation when we were benefiting from the sweet cake of graft and corruption.” We, the people, honor the God of our understanding and one another. We reconfirm our pledge to our country. We honor and respect our laws, regulations and ordinances; and public servants who serve the common good. Signed: CEBU COALITION AGAINST THE PORK BARREL SYSTEM September 12, 2013
Letter to the Editor September 18, 2013
Aquino warned: Heartless government exposed in targeting compassionate foreigners
beings. It is immoral to threaten this act of humane solidarity. We advise Pres. Aquino that instead of threatening foreigners who are showing compassion to the victims of corruption of “ang di matuwid na daan,” he should expel US Troops who are a bane to peace, human rights and independence of our country. Pres. Aquino would do better by abrogating the Visiting Force Agreement which is an affront to our sovereignty. We want just peace not unjust wars to which we become a target due to the presence of US Troops. W hile welcoming foreign investments that plunder our nation’s resources and cause irreplaceable damage to nature and lives of the people, he should extend a listening ear to the voices of foreign friends who speaks for the welfare and development of the Filipinos. Our world needs more people who share love and compassion to others. Foreigners, who show greater love to people’s welfare, should be commended, rather than threatened. As President Aquino remains callous to the suffering of his fellow Filipino, what more is left to save his credibility? The truth is that until such a time when Pres. Aquino speaks on the abolition of his own pork barrel, the world has no reason to believe his “daang matuwid.” The world is watching. Being “inhospitable” to those who act in solidarity with the victims of scams and corruption speaks volumes to the heartless kind of government the Philippines truly has. Nardy Sabino General Secretary Promotion of Church People’s Response firstname.lastname@example.org; 09339604907
Popes / B4
“LOVING one’s neighbor” knows no boundary. We denounce the warning of the Aquino government through its Bureau of Immigration forbidding foreigners to join rallies against the pork barrel. It seems that this government has lost it senses. Any reasonable human being would naturally be antagonized or angered when she or he sees poverty and hunger in the midst of plunder and looting of the people’s treasury by government officials. It is morally wrong to hinder a person’s desire to express her or his concerns to fellow human
Non-believer / B3
absolutely necessary in order to initiate that peaceful and constructive dialogue which I proposed at the beginning of my letter. In your final question, you ask me if, when man disappears from the earth, will the capacity to contemplate God disappear? Undoubtedly, the greatness of the human person resides in the ability to reflect on God, that is to say, to be able to live in a conscious and responsible relationship with him. But this relationship is between two realities. God—and this is my thinking and experience, shared by many from past and present!—is not an idea even if a lofty one, the fruit of human thought; God is a reality with a capital “R”. Jesus
reveals to us that this reality is a Father of infinite goodness and mercy, in relation with whom, he lives. Furthermore, when earthly human existence ends—and for the Christian faith, at any rate, this world as we know it is destined to pass—men and women will not cease to exist and, in a way that we do not understand, this is also true of the universe created with them. Scripture speaks of a “new heaven and a new earth” and states that at the end, God will be “all in all”, in a time and in a manner that lie beyond us, but towards which we progress in faith with expectation and desire. Dear Dr. Scalfari, I conclude my reflections, which are a response to your thoughts and questions. Please receive
them as a preliminary reply, but one which is sincere and full of hope, along with the invitation to walk this path together. The Church, despite all of the sluggishness, infidelities, errors and sins that are committed and are still being committed by her members, has no other meaning or purpose than to live and witness to Jesus: he who has been sent by Abba, “to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19). With fraternal good wishes, FRANCIS
response a bold, self-sacrificing personal witness. Catholic teaching on moral issues isn’t the totality of the Church’s message. It never has been. And our popes, bishops, priests, and laity have always spent far more time on charity, prayer, and pastoral outreach than on public-policy issues. If the public doesn’t know that, it’s because the media prefer to cover controversies. But there is a real danger here. Coverage warps public perception and misleads when it narrowly focuses on social issues and ignores the rest of what people of faith do on behalf of the common good. Wrongly portrayed
as singularly focused on a narrow set of issues, believers run the risk of being misunderstood and marginalized. Their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion is increasingly seen as unimportant. If the media truly want to embrace Pope Francis’s message, they can begin by heeding his call not to focus too narrowly on just one or two issues in their coverage of faith. Popes, people of faith, and media consumers all deserve better, fuller, and fairer coverage. (Carl Anderson is CEO of the Knights of Columbus and a New York Times–bestselling author. This article is printed with permission by © 2013 National Review, Inc. )
not, can he still be a holy and just God? Is he not malevolent? If he is not able to prevent it and will not, is he powerless and resentful? But if he is and he will, why does he let terrorism and injustice have their way? Though such questions may make sense in philosophical gymnastics, they are foreign to the Scriptures. If anything, it would seem that the problem does not lie with God. On the contrary, it seems to be a question of man’s attitude toward God in the face of the mystery of evil, and its concrete manifestations in history—as in the assault on the American nation. For a man of religion, one’s attitude toward God in the face of negative experiences in the world is one of faith. This is the message of both the 1st Reading and the Gospel, although the meaning of the word is not identical in both instances. In the 1st Reading (Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4), in his response to the questions that the prophet raised, God said that even in the perilous and confusing times, one must trust and hope in him, confident the future belongs to him. And he who is just, because of his faith, shall live (Hab 2:4). Here faith means fidelity and steadfastness. In the Gospel (Luke 17:5-10), the saying about faith is placed in two contexts that have to do with discipleship. On the one hand, there is the larger context which is the journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51), which would have been difficult for the disciples to comprehend, for a crucified Messiah would have been opaque to their understanding. Consequently, if in today’s Gospel they asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5), it could signify the lack of commitment on their part to follow the Lord in his journey to the cross. On the other hand, there is the immediate context, namely, scandals and wrongdoings that inevitably arise in the community (Luke 17:1). In Luke’s theology, the community that Jesus intended to establish is one that loves, cares and forgives. Experience shows, however, that in the Church and in our faith communities, there are people who scandalize, are unrepentant and
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 17:5-10, October 6, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
IN the United States, the World Trade Center, a 110-floor twin towers in lower Manhattan, New York, was symbolic of America’s economic prosperity, while the Pentagon in Washington stands to remind us of her military might. Twelve years ago, on September 11, 2001 to be exact, no sooner had people warmed their seats than two commercial planes, hijacked by terrorists, brought down the twin towers without warning, and another wrecked havoc on the Pentagon. The damage, in terms of lives, not to mention property and their impact on the American psyche, was so enormous that the death toll was, in the words of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, “more than we can bear.” A political analyst may look at these horrific attacks in terms of imperialism and hegemony, but for a man of religion, they raise questions about God’s power and his government of the world. Why does he permit such acts of senseless terrorism? Why does he let injustice and violence run their course? The first reading (Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4) raises almost the same questions. At the time of Habakkuk, the Chaldeans have replaced the Assyrians as the masters of the ancient Near East in the early 6th century BC. There was turmoil in both the international scene and in the land Judah which was rife with confusion, disorder, intrigues and idolatry. Seeing the violation of human rights in the anarchic regime, while God seemed to be unmoved by the disorder, the prophet questioned the ways of God, complaining why he, who was supposed to save his people, tolerated the injustices against the innocent: “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’, but you do not intervene” (Hab 1:2). One is, of course, reminded of the questions of the skeptic on the problem of evil in theodicy: Why does God not prevent evil in the world? Is he not capable of it? If he is and he does the community into one that cares for the spiritual and material needs of its members. It is in this sense that Jesus used the exaggerated image of the power of faith so his teaching can sink well into the mind of his listeners: such faith can uproot the mulberry tree! In other words, many miracles can happen in a community whose members have that kind of trust in what God can accomplish. If human wisdom were left to itself, many people would probably think and suggest that those who are unforgiving, those who are trouble makers and those who are scandalcausing members of the Church should be excommunicated and written off! But human wisdom is folly before God. The wisdom of God dictates that forgiveness, tolerance and sufferings are necessary for the transformation of the community. And to believe in that wisdom obviously requires much faith. Hence the petition of the disciples: “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). With this in mind, a disciple cannot therefore claim that when, for instance, a tragedy strikes the community, as in the despicable assault of the twin towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Washington, God has abandoned his people or does not care about them. One cannot question the ways of God. What happens to the community may not make sense to human wisdom, and human wisdom may even appear to present better solutions to solve the problems that the community encounters. But as a hearer of the Word, the disciple remains faithful to God and to his Word, even when the Word does appear not to make sense at all. Hence the response to the 1st Reading: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Whatever evil may befall on the community, one’s faith in Jesus assures the disciple that God’s Word will ultimately emerge triumphant, because he knows that God is faithful to those who believe in him, and he cannot be deceived nor can deceive. All that he needs when the going gets tough is to ask the Lord to increase his faith so it could accomplish miracles!
Why does God permit acts of senseless terrorism?
unforgiving. There are some who serve as stumbling blocks to others (Luke 17:1-4). Considering the havoc they create in the community even to the point of engendering factions and divisions, one wonders why God allows such problems and people to be part of his very own community. If Jesus came to defeat the powers of Satan and to establish the reign in the community, why does he not remove those community members who stifle the growth of the Kingdom? Does he not care about what happens to the communities and movements of faith that are, for example, placed in the hands of leaders who set bad examples to others, scandalizing even the most
innocent members? Why does he not place millstone around their necks (cf Luke 17:2)? But it is precisely in the face of such realities within the community that faith is necessary so that Jesus’ followers can grasp the divine wisdom. Faith is the disciples’ response to God’s call to belong to the community of love. In this context, faith means an act of abandonment and trust in God. It means putting everything in the hands of God, knowing that, despite what appears to be human foolishness, the wisdom of God will prevail. If the disciples have this kind of faith—authentic faith—not matter how small, they can certainly achieve great things, and transform
On recognizing that God brings healing and provides experience of salvation
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year, C, Luke 17:11-19, October 13, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
WHEN the two commercial jets that terrorists had hijacked brought down the historic World Trade Center in New York, leaving in its wake thousands of casualties and tons of debris, bringing havoc to the American psyche, a number of people went to the nearby St Patrick’s Cathedral to thank the Lord for having been absent in the vicinity of the twin-tower when the tragedy struck. They attended Mass in gratitude to God who saved them from the disastrous attack. But events of course are not always as mind-boggling as the assault on the World Trade Center. And what is or has become ordinary does not normally make a dint. Understandably enough, when one becomes accustomed to an event, however momentous it may be, it becomes so normal that he misses to see even its significance, still less perceive the meaning that has yet to be uncovered in the long run. A sacristan, for example, may tend to regard the change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ to be just an ordinary part of the rite, no different from the making of the sign of the cross at the beginning of the mass. Indeed, sometimes it takes the inquisitive mind of a little boy, who wishes to have his first communion, to make us realize the profound significance of the ritual. At other times, it requires the touch of God’s finger to make us aware that what is happening is far from ordinary, as in the miracle of the Eucharist in Lanciano, Italy. And only then are we conscious that the hand of God is behind what is happening before our very eyes. Today’s Gospel about the healing of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19) provides us an example of that experience. At the outset, it may be noted that leprosy was a general term in the ancient world to cover a variety of skin anomalies from rashes, acne, boils to actual Hansen’s disease (Lev 13). In instances of actual Hansen’s disease, the afflicted were ostracized from villages, although they lived near enough on the outskirts to receive alms. Their isolation, which was regulated by Lev 13:45-46 (see also Num 12:15; 2 Kings 7:3-4), was bridged by warning the people of their approach by shouting “Unclean! Unclean!” Whether the ten lepers in the present story had Hansen’s disease or not, the data do not enable us to determine. At any rate, the episode seems to be a miracle story, in which the lepers called out for pity and mercy, and Jesus answered their plea by healing them while they were on the way to the priests to present themselves for examination (Lev 13:49). One gets the impression that here Luke shows Jesus as a healer who meets the needs of those who cry for help. He is portrayed as a liberator who frees the afflicted from the slavery to evil condition and restores them to the community of Israel. It seems, however, that—as Luke narrates it—this is not the main point of the Gospel story. For one thing, the narrative ends with a pronouncement: “Your faith has been your salvation” (Luke 17:19). Secondly, the Samaritan’s faith is praised,
Recognizing / B7
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C; Start of National Children’s Week; October 6, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
The apparent “absence” of God has always been a severe test for all the great souls who have put their trust in Him. Sooner or later all will experience its torturing fits—God seems to “vanish” or to become impotent right when His intervention seems needed most badly. The prophet Habakkuk experienced it (see Hb 1:2-3); so did Jeremiah (see Jn 20:7-10.14-18) and even Jesus Christ, at the height of his suffering on Calvary. (See Mt 27:46. See also Ps 22:2-3.) All through the centuries, down to our very days, the “inaction” of God has been felt bitterly and decried. In the torments of the tortures inflicted on innocent people (often because of their very allegiance to their faith); in the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps or the Stalinist “Gulags”; in the crying misery of the conglomeration of squatter shanties, full of filth, fumes, mud . . . without roads, electricity and medicare; in many mental hospitals, in the prostitution dens; in the nations or regions where people are just a “labor force” exploited by the state or the local magnate . . . one asks, “Where is God here?” and “Why does He not make His presence and justice felt?!” No human being, with its limited intellectual and moral resources, can answer such questions with certainty and convincingly. Only God Himself can. He has an answer and will surely give it. But in His own time. (See Hb 2:3.) For He has His own rhythm, His own ways, His own plans. And so many times, they are different from ours. (See Is 55:8-9.) It is only those who have the gift of faith who can keep believing in God’s active presence even in the darkest moments of human history and of their lives. It is faith which gives them/ us the unique assurance that God is present and active even if their/our feeble mind cannot comprehend or pinpoint where and how. Often, it is after years that we begin to understand why God allowed certain terrible events to happen. It was for a purification, to bring out a much greater good . . . . We may also begin to understand how God was present and active in the compassion that He inspired, in the generosity and charity that he instilled in many . . . in our very selves, perhaps. In many cases, we will be able to “understand” these mysteries only in the life to come. Then will we be able to understand that God was present and active even in the saddest events as He is present in the dark secret under the surface of the fields where He lets the seed rot in order to let the sprout burst forth and pierce the hard crust of the soil unto the richness of a new harvest. God is present and active at all times. Everywhere. He needs to be trusted, for He knows what He is doing. He could do everything by Himself, yet—usually—He gives us the privilege to be the “instruments” of His care, His concern, His power. This has happened so many times in history. It is happening right now everywhere, especially where He finds people who have the faith that can transplant sycamores and move mountains, and the humility to recognize that He is the Power behind it all, while they/ we are just expendable servants. (See Lk 17:10.)
The faith that works wonders and reveals the ‘invisible’
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C; Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday; October 13, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE word “thanks” is just one syllable, but many are unable to pronounce it. This is due not to a speech impediment but to a moral deficiency which paralyzes their hearts. Some are fast in asking for favors, but very slow in showing gratitude once they have received what they wanted. The group of nine lepers who were cured by Jesus and walked away unmindful of their benefactor, is just a tiny delegation of the immense throng of ungrateful persons who take everybody, every service, everything for granted. They take people for granted, even when the favor or service received may have cost a lot of sacrifice. They take God for granted—His gift of creation, the gift of their very persons, with all the wonderful qualities of soul and body . . . . They take for granted His grace, the Church, the sacraments, eternal life! Ungrateful people are too blind, too deaf, too insensitive, too dull or too proud to say thanks to anyone, including God. If He could ever be saddened, human ingratitude would surely make Him very sad. Gratitude is spontaneous for few. For most of us, however, it is a virtue acquired gradually, just like humility, generosity, and honesty, virtues on which it is based. We have to learn to be attentive and responsive even to the smallest signs of kindness or generosity toward us. We have to learn to show appreciation for what other people and God do for us. Without our realizing it, such an awareness enriches us immensely as does the awareness that we are loved, or the desire to love in return. Gratitude is indeed a form of love – love returned. A simple way of being great. A great way of being human. There are so many ways of being thankful. It can be a written note, a frank smile, a sincere handshake, a delicate caress, a silent tear, a word uttered when it is time to speak it, or a word kept unsaid when grateful love demands that it should not be said. Whatever form it may take, gratitude can never be a momentary formality. When it becomes such, it is hypocrisy. Then it is no better than ingratitude. Real gratitude is rooted deep in the “heart” of a person. It is “utang na loob” that characterizes a person’s life and establishes him/her in a permanent attitude of being a grateful debtor. Such deeply rooted attitude becomes alive whenever the occasion arises. Then life becomes an unceasing “eucharist”—a holy thanksgiving, a joyous giving of self to God and neighbor, in imitation of, and in union with Jesus, the one who taught men the real meaning and the million shades of “utang na loob.”
The faith that leads to gratitude
Bishop Pat Alo
(Everyone who seeks always finds – Mt. 7:7)
is life everlasting. Jesus reminds of that when He tells us in Mt. 16:26: “What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life? (Mt. 16:26). Think it over and be sure. Be honest with yourself, it will be worth enjoying all the advantages and privileges here on earth which is but a temporary life in exchange for an eternal punishment in Hell, just because we dared to violate one important command of God which asks us in His commands to respect all the rights of God and man. And in the cited verse above from Mt. 16:26, He is referring to life eternal in heaven which is the reward of those who truly keep God’s commandments which ask us ‘to give to everyone his due, namely, to God our total allegiance above all and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (cf. Mt. 7:12; Mt. 22:34-30).
Quest for truth
LIKE anything precious in life, we have to search for it, as a man searching for precious pearls or stones. The same thing we have to do in respect to the truth, especially the eternal truths which are connected with our achieving our very final destination and goal in life, which
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
the poor cannot survive even common diseases. There is no social insurance or a national health care system in the Philippines. Maria wasted away and died and left Martina alone with her father who turned to smoking marijuana and took to visiting the cheaper sex bars. He met young enslaved teenagers there and became addicted to abusing the young girls. The drugs made him aggressive and moody and one night, he attacked and raped Martina, his own daughter. She was shocked, hurt, and traumatized. The corrupt political practice of condoning and allowing a thriving sex industry run mostly by foreigners who prostitute young girls with impunity has eroded the moral values and corrupted family and community life. Most child rapists terrorize their victims with threats of torture and death if they tell anyone. Martina was threatened with death by her father. She endured the abuse in silence and he, believing his terror tactic was working, raped her several more times. Unable to endure it any longer, Martina ran away to her maternal auntie in Taguig, Metro Manila. not appear to answer the charges, an arrest warrant was issued. He went into hiding, it took many months for Preda paralegal workers to find him and have the police arrest him. During this time, Martina, still under care at Preda, was brought to a special clinic and gave birth to a normal healthy baby boy. By 20 October 2011, five months later, the arraignment was set in the family court, Olongapo City. It was postponed and reset for 3 November 2011, then postponed again; Judge Pamintuan being absent. After two more postponements, the arrangement was finally set on 25 May 2012; one year after the arrest warrant was issued. The wheels of justice having stopped a few times began to grind again with all the supporters of Martina pushing and shoving. The abusive father pleaded not guilty. The case dragged on and more delays were made. It is a common legal tactic hoping the child would give up and fail to appear as a witness, the case could then be dismissed. Martina would not give into the pressure to give up. She feared that many more children would be abused if he
Recognizing / B6
went free and he might harass or attack her again. There were eight more postponements with months between the settings due to various reasons. Then after some lobbying by Preda Senior staff to the court administrator of the Supreme Court, Judge Bautista was appointed to assist Judge Pamintuan. He took on the case of Martina. The accused was advised by his counsel to plead guilty to a lesser charge and he was found guilty on three charges of rape and was sentenced to ten years for each charge which is equal to a life sentence. The Preda paralegal officer, Marlyn Capio requested the judge to consider the plea of Martina to have a barring order issued so that if ever he got out, he could not pursue her. Judge Bautista did so. This week, the case ended a long protracted pursuit of justice and the end of the rampage of a serial child sex offender. Martina is a survivor, healed, supported and empowered by her courage and brave pursuit of justice and truth. Martina is reintegrated to a happy family. The child is healthy and well. [shaycullen@ preda.org; www.preda.org]
A story of one girl’s fight for justice
By Fr. Shay Cullen
HERE is a story that will gladden the hearts of all who care about children, abhor child abuse and are willing to speak out for human rights. It’s a story of a child’s courageous struggle against all odds. People of good conscience who shun evil and wrongdoing will hunger and thirst for justice and someday, if we struggle hard enough together, we have a greater chance of finding justice than if we stay silent and do nothing. So it was for 14 year-old Martina, she sought justice. She grew up in an impoverished family in Olongapo City not far from the sex industry where young girls are lured and trafficked into prostitution and captured by the bar owners of many nationalities. It had a bad influence on her father. Her mother, Maria, suffered leukemia and her father was unemployed and did part time jobs for a living and got money from relatives. Without a regular job, the family could not pay for health insurance. The medical system is so privatized and medical help is so expensive,
Her auntie noticed her traumatized state and gently asked her what had happened. Martina cried and found the courage to tell her auntie. She told the most difficult thing of all—she was pregnant. Shocked and angered, the Auntie filed a criminal complaint against the father. The police filed the charges in Olongapo City and the social workers from Taguig
called the Preda children’s home hot-line to refer Martina for counseling, shelter and therapy. She was welcomed into the Preda Home for sexually exploited and abused children and felt at home with the other forty children and the Preda professional staff. The Prosecutor Joy Bayona quickly acted and resolved the case and filed it in court on 5 May 2011, and when the accused did
The Heat is On. We Must Act!
By Fr. Benny B. Tuazon
“THE heat is on. We must act,” said UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. “Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire,” commented U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “If your doctor was 95 percent sure you had a serious disease, you would immediately start looking for the cure,” added European Climate Commissioner (ECC) Connie Hedegaard. “The reduction in warming would have to last far longer, three or four decades, to be a sign of a new trend,” Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC. Recently, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awardee, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), released its latest report on climate change. The UN commissioned group’s nearly one thousand scientists nothing clear and definite has been arrived at so far. The second was Kerry’s response to those who still doubt that climate change was a natural phenomenon and not anthropological. It was an interesting statement because it was a known fact that the US was the only nation who did not sign the Kyoto Protocol. The protocol, which had expired and whose extension is now being debated, was supposed to make every nation commit to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by determined amounts. The third was European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard’s similar answer to skeptics of the report and an invitation to finally set aside doubts and start addressing the Earth’s health which is continuously dwindling as shown by various calamities and degradations all over the world. weather conditions. It was noted that since 1950, extreme weather conditions have been happening: hurricane Sandy, EF-5 tornado, Katrina, US heat wave, Great Plains drought, drought in Spain and Portugal, super winter in China, flooding in Europe. In the Philippines, we had Ondoy, Habagat, Maring, floods, and drought in places where they did not exist before. In the near future, extreme weather conditions which occur rarely will do so more frequently. c. Thirty of the last 800 years were the warmest. The world will experience more hot days and nights. It has been measured that between 1901 and 2010 (109 years), the temperature increase was 0.8 degrees Celsius. But from 1979-2010 (31 years), there was an increase of 0.5 degrees Celsius! No wonder our Decembers are not that cold anymore and our summers are becoming more unbearable as each year passes. d. Sea level will rise due to warming of the oceans and melting of ice in the Arctic. Water, when heated, expands. As the temperature increases, sea water level increases. Add to this the melting of ice in the Arctic. It was predicted that soon, we will have an ice-free Arctic. People near the shore should notice that slowly the sea is already expanding and creeping in the inland direction. Another danger of this is when sea water finds and joins our fresh ground water. Then, we will not only contend with inundation but shortage of drinking water as well. e. Climate change is here to stay for centuries even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow. This shows just how far we’ve gone. The call to action started more than 30 years ago. But, we were slow to act. Now, we try to do what we can to take care of the already warming earth. In these situations, developing and island countries are very much at risk. The irony of it is that the countries causing all these changes are the developed ones. The Philippines is an island. We can barely address our economic problems. We do not have the capacity to protect ourselves from the gloomy repercussions of climate change. Our experience in recent calamities can attest to that. As a member country of the UN, we must voice out our concerns and compel responsible countries to assist us by making relevant, effective, and concrete actions to fight climate change and by providing us with funds and technologies to prepare us to face climate change. The sand in the hourglass of climate change is fast falling. But it is not yet too late. Let us take care of this earth that God has given us. Once, God promised that He will not destroy it again after the Noah-event (Genesis 8:21). But it might still be destroyed after all, this time, by us!
monitoring the temperature of the earth for more than 20 years were very much convinced that climate change is caused extremely-likely by human activities. The above quotes were some of the reactions and statements made by some of the main stakeholders in the world’s fight against climate change. The first was a clarion call to action by the UN Secretary General addressed to all leaders. Close to 30 years now, representatives of member and observer countries had been meeting regularly all year-round in different cities around the world, trying to hammer out an agreed and reliable solution to climate change. Unfortunately and disgustingly,
The last was a clarification on the recent findings that the global warming did not increase as predicted from the last report. The findings put a lot of doubt on the authority and credibility of the IPCC. The main points of the latest IPCC report are; a. Climate change is almost certainly man made. From 90 percent in their last report, the certainty went up to 95 percent. It was also noted that there was a significant increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. As a result, earth temperature has increased and is slowly nearing the 3-degree critical temperature increase. b. Climate change is a factor in extreme
obviously in contrast with that of the nine other lepers, and the gratitude of the former is starkly set over against the ingratitude of the latter. One is tempted to say, therefore, that Luke’s point revolves around the act of salvation that Jesus performed. Let us uncover what this means. To be sure, the healing of leprosy was not distinctive of Jesus. There were many miracle workers in the Near East at that time, and the Greeks called them theios aner, divine men. Which is why one can assume that although the nine Jewish lepers showed faith in Jesus, as evidenced by their shouts for help, yet they must have viewed their restoration to health as no different from the various healings that miracle workers performed in Israel. Their mindset was completely that of an Israelite who lived under the Law of Moses. It was for this reason that they were content with fulfilling the prescription of the Law, which stipulates that those cleaned of their leprosy must show themselves to the priests so they could be restored to the community of Israel (Lev 13:49). But for Luke, the healing was not ordinary. Although the nine lepers were blind to the salvific act involved in the healing, it took a Samaritan—a social outcast and religious heretic in the eyes of the Jews—to recognize that what happened to all of them was more than a miracle of healing and restoration to the community. For the Samaritan, the healing was over and above all a miracle of coming to faith in Jesus, and an experience of the salvation that comes from him. The nine Jewish lepers were completely blind to this. In the theology of Luke, Jesus is the bringer of the messianic salvation; he proclaims the Kingdom of God, makes it present in the salvific acts he performs, and invites men to experience the blessings of salvation. But to experience and participate in the messianic blessings, one must come to faith in him. That precisely happened to the Samaritan. It is for this reason that Jesus said to him, “your faith has been your salvation” (Luke 17:19). In other words, in contrast with the nine Jewish lepers, the Samaritan was more than healed; he was saved. Consequently, in contrast to the comportment of nine Jewish leprous who did not show gratitude to Jesus because of their blindness, the reaction of the Samaritan to his experience of the messianic blessings from him, made possible by the eyes of faith, was one of thanksgiving. He recognized that Jesus was God’s agent who not only healed but brought or shared the experience of salvation. Hence, he came back to thank him, and glorified God through him. In contrast, the nine Jewish lepers did not recognize this; it was, therefore, understandable that they were content with simply carrying out the command of Jesus to show themselves to the priests. For lack of the perception of faith, they were simply healed, but never saved. They were never converted to Jesus; they remained under the Law. Hence, they did not feel the urge to thank him. They were unlike Naaman, an army commander from the Arameans in the 1st Reading (1 Kgs 5:14-17) who— despite his being a pagan and, like the Samaritan, despised by the Jews—having been cured of his leprosy, recognized the superior power of the God of Israel at work in the prophet Elisha, and returned to give thanks, again like the Samaritan. Thus, the story anticipates the gradual blindness of Israel to God’s work of salvation in Jesus, and the growing acceptance of it by the Gentiles, whom the Samaritan represents. For Luke, this Samaritan exhibits the basic element of discipleship: faith in Jesus.
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Hindi makaahon sa balon ng paghihinagpis ang nalaos na opera singer na si Regina Cadena (Cherie Gil). Bukos sa kanyang tinig, halos nawala na rin ang lahat sa kanya: matayog na luklukan sa lipunan, papuri ng madla, mga kaibigan at tagahanga, kalaguyo, at ang pagnanais pang mabuhay. Anupa’t mistulang bilanggo siyang lugmok sa pag-iisa at kalungkutan, bagama’t sa hacienda pa rin siya nakatira— ayaw na niyang makakita o makakausap ng tao. Ang hanap na lamang ng mga labi niya’y bote ng alak—at ang mga halik ng kalaguyong may-asawa at unti-unti nang kumakalas sa pangungunyapit niya. Sa ganitong kalagayan matatagpuan ng batang si Jonjon (Chito Jalandoni) ang kumupas na bituin, nang isama ito ng kanyang inang si Cora (Chart Motus) sa Bacolod upang magbakasyon. Mapaglaro si Jonjon, mausisa; maaakit siya ng kakaibang pagkatao ni Regina, at ipapahayag niya ito sa kanyang maliliit at musmos na paraan. Magsisilbing distraction para kay Regina ang pagbibigay pansin sa kanya ni Jonjon, magkakalapit sila, at mamumukadkad ang isang uri ng pagkakaibigan na magdudulot ng panibagong sigla sa naluluoy niyang kaluluwa. Napakahusay ng pagkakatagni-tagni ng mga payak ngunit taos-pusong mga pangyayari sa
Sonata. Damang-dama ni Gil ang papel niyang napakalayo mula sa nakasanayan nang kontrabida. Bida siya rito, ngunit isang bidang kawa-awa, sugatan at bulag sa kagandahan ng buhay. Ang bawa’t aspetong teknikal tulad ng daloy ng salsaysay, tunog, tugtog, liwanag, sinematograpiya, lokasyon, at hanggang sa kaliitliitang detalyang nagpapakita ng karangyaan ng nakawilihang buhay ng opera star ay samasamang bumubuo ng isang makabagbag-damdaming himig—oo, ng isang sonata. Isang pambihirang tampok ng Sonata ay ang paggamit ng wikang Ilonggo (at panakanakang Tagalog at Inggles kung kailan nararapat) na higit pang nagpatingkad ng “kulay-probinsiya” ng pelikula. (Tumpak din ang pagkakasalin sa English subtitles, bagay na kinailangan pagkat tangka diumanong ipasok ang Sonata sa mga international film festivals.) Ang kahanga-hanga sa Sonata ay kung paano nito nahabi ang isang kuwentong aantig sa mga manunood na nagmumula sa iba’t ibang antas ng lipunan. Ang pighati, pangungulila, pag-asam sa lumipas na ligaya, payak at busilak na pakikipagkaibigan— lahat tayo ay mayroon nito, ngunit hindi lahat ng tao ay magkakaroon ng pagkakataong makapanood ng isang opera, o malaman man lamang kung ano ito. Sa Sonata, dahil sa pagiging
TITLE: Sonata LEAD CAST: Cherie Gil, Carlo Jalandoni, Chart Motus, Richard Gomez DIRECTOR: Peque Gallaga. Lore Reyes SCREENWRITER: Wanggo Gallaga PRODUCER: Peque Gallaga, Lore Reyes & Cherie Gil MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Emerzon Texon GENRE: Drama RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes LOCATION: Manapla, Negros Occidental Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: MTRCB rating: PG 13 CINEMA rating: PG 13
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
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magkaibigan ng soprano at isang paslit, naglaho ang pagkakahati ng mayaman sa mahirap: sa pagkukuwento ni Regina kay Jonjon ng istorya ng bawa’t isang operang nagtampok sa kanya, sa pag-aanyaya ni Jonjon na sumama si Regina sa kanilang paglalaro sa riles ng tubuhan, atbp. Anupa’t lumayang muli ang diwa ni Regina at siya’y umawit nang muli. Salamat sa galing ng mga direktor at manunulat, walang nasayang na eksena sa Sonata, buongbuo and pelikula, hanggang sa maganap sa buhay ni Regina ang nawika niya minsan kay Jonjon: “Ang gustong-gusto ko sa lahat (ng ginampanan kong opera) ay ‘yung may namamatay sa dulo.”
Ang 10-taong gulang na si Carding TITLE: Lauriana (Cabido) ay tatlong taon nang LEAD CAST: Adrian Cabido, Allen Dizon, Bangs Garcia, Victor ulila buhat nang maaksidente Basa ang kanyang mga magulang sa DIRECTOR: Mel Chonglo Maynila. Ang kakulangan sanhi ng SCREENPLAY: Ricky Lee biglaang pagkawala ng kanyang DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: mga magulang ay mapupunuan ng Nap Jamir kanyang pakikipagkaibigan kina PRODUCTION DESIGN: Edgar Samuel Corazon (Allen Dizon), isang Littaua Kapitan ng Philippine Constabulary, LOCATION: Quezon, 1950s at sa kanyang kinakasamang si GENRE: Drama, Thriller Lauriana (Bangs Garcia), isang RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes DISTRIBUTOR: Sineng Pambamsa mananayaw sa barrio. Sa simula ay para silang isang maliit na Technical Assessment: ½ pamilya kung saan saksi ang bata sa malagkit na lambingan nina Moral Assessment: MTRCB rating: PG13 Samuel at Lauriana. Pero sa isang CINEMA rating: PG18 iglap ay biglang mababago ang tema at makikita ni Carding ang sunod-sunod na karahasan dahil sa matinding selos at takot ng lalake maagaw ng iba ang kinakasamang dalaga. Ang mga alaala ng kalupitang ito ay madadala ni Carding hanggang sa kanyang pagtanda (Basa). Hirap siyang makipagtalik at wala rin siyang tiwala o awa sa mga katrabaho. Ang pinakamatinding e m o s y o n g nangingibabaw sa kanya ay galit at pagnanasang maipaghiganti ang pagkamatay ni Lauriana sa kalupitan ni Samuel. Epektibo sana ang istilo ng manunulat at direktor na papayapain ang kalooban ng manunuod sa malumanay at mabagal na daloy ng kuwento at pagsusuyuan nina Samuel at Laurina sa unang bahagi ng pelikula. Aakalain ng manunuod na isang pagsubaybay lamang ito sa pagkamulat ni Carding sa mga gawain ng matatanda. Kaya’t matindi ang dating ng biglang paglantad ng karumaldumal na mga karahasan ni Samuel kay Lauriana. Maganda ang disenyo ng produksyon dahil sinikap nitong maging tapat sa dekadang tinutukoy sa mula pinakamaliit na gamit hanggang sa pagkakagawa sa mga set. Kapansinpansin din na pinagbuhusan ng panahon ang pag-iilaw at pagkukulay sa mga eksena. Magaling ang konsepto ng pagkakahubog sa mga tauhan – ang pait ng kalooban ni Carding dahil wala siyang nagawa para tulungan si Lauriana, si Lauriana na pilit binibigyang dahilan ang hindi makataong kalupitan ni Samuel, at si Samuel na lagpas na sa katinuan ang pagmamahal at kagustuhang siya lamang ang umangkin kay Lauriana. Maganda pero nanatiling isang konsepto ito dahil mas nabubuo ng mga manunuod sa isip ang gustong puntahan ng kwento kaysa sa aktuwal na naipakita sa mga eksena. Unang-una, sadyang napakabagal at maraming paulit-ulit na eksena na kung tutuusin ay maaring putulin ang kalahati dahil kuha na ng mga manunuod sa unang mga segundo pa lamang. Nag-uumapaw rin ang mga detalye at side stories na nakagulo lamang sa daloy ng pelikula. Ikalawa, hindi naging ganap ang pagkabuo ng kwento ng mga tauhan dahil na rin masyadong mahahaba ang ilang eksenang hindi na sana kailangan. Ikatlo, hindi epektibo ang pagganap nina Dizon, Garcia at Basa. Pwede na, pero hindi nabigyang katarungan ang pait, sakit at pagkasira ng pagkatao na pinagdaraanan ng kani-kanilang ginanapang mga karakter. Tanging sina Cadibo at Angeli Bayani (ang gumanap na tiyahin) ang naging tapat sa hinihingi ng kwento. Napapanahon sana ang mga isyung inungkat sa Lauriana tulad ng epekto ng pagtuturo ng taliwas o paglalantad sa bata sa mga negatibong gawain, ang pag-aabuso ng mga lalake sa asawa o kinakasama, at ang paghihiganti. Kaya lamang, natakpan ang lahat ng ito ng mahahabang eksena nina Samuel at Laurina ng pakikipagtalik at karahasan. Nakababagabag din na tila walang pakiaalam lahat ang mga nasa paligid ni Lauriana bagamat alam naman nila ang pang-aabusong dinaranas ng dalaga. May maling pagkakaunawa sa pagmamahal—na siyang pangunahin dahilan kung bakit nagtitiis si Lauriana at nananakit si Samuel. Pero tila hindi ito natutunan ni Carding nang siya ay tumanda na dahil patuloy pa rin siyang hindi nakikiaalam kahit kaya niya at malupit magsalita sa iba kahit maliit at di sinasadya ang pagkakamali. Tanging ang tauhan ni Bayani lamang ang kakikitaan tunay na pagtanggap, pag-uunawa at pagmamahal. Sa huling eksena ng pelikula, gusto mong magdiwang dahil mismong tadhana na ang gumanti kay Samuel at magkakaroon na siguro ng kapayapaan at paghihilom si Carding pero sa kabilang banda, tila mas malalim ang panlulumo at kawalang pag-asa na nararamdaman ng manunuod dahil mas matimbang ang ang mensahe ng karahasan kaysa sa pagmamahal at pagpapatawad. Nakapagtataka na PG13 lamang ang iginawad ng MTRCB samantalang tigib sa karahasan, sekswal at negatibong mga elemento ang tema at lenguahe. Tiyak naming walang magulang ang magugustuhang mapanuod ng kanilang mga teenager ang pelikula kahit na kasama pa sila para gumabay.
Buhay San Miguel
TITLE: Lihis LEAD CAST: Jake Cuenca, Joem Bascon, Isabelle Daza, Lovi Poe, Gloria Diaz, Racquel Villavivencio DIRECTOR: Joel Lamangan SCREENWRITER: Ricky Lee PRODUCER: Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) GENRE: Drama RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes DISTRIBUTOR: FDCP LOCATION: Philippines Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: MTRCB rating: R 16 CINEMA rating: V 18 (For viewers 18 years old and above)
ngayon, hindi naglalalayo sa mga modelong nasa billboards sa EDSA— samakatuwid, hindi tapat sa panahon ng istorya. Pero ang pinakamalaking problema ng Lihis ay ang kanyang pahatid na mensahe. Malabo. Sa pagbabalik-tanaw sa mga mabibigat na isyu noong panahon ng Martial Law, at sa pagtatakda sa underground movement bilang mundo ng mga pangunahing tauhan, ano ang ninais tumbukin ng Lihis? Na sila ay may matinding pagmamahal sa bayan at hangaring sagipin ito sa tiyak na kapahamakan? Sa paglalarawan ng bawal na pag-ibig, gusto bang sabihin ng pelikula na walang hihigit pa sa kapangyarihan ng laman para alipinin
M agbubukas n g L i h i s a n g ilang sandaling dokumentaryo na nagpapakita ng mga kabuhungang nangyayari noong dekada 80, at magsasalit-salit iyon at ang mga eksena ng mga pangyayaring magaganap makalipas ang 20 taon. Kabilang sa samahang NPA sila Ka Jimmy (Jake Cuenca) at Ka Felix (Joem Bascon) noong panahon ng kaguluhan, at magkakaibigan sila kahit batid nilang mahigpit na ipinagbabawal ito ng samahan. Hahadlang sa pag-iibigan ng dalawa ang pagdating ni Jasmin (Lovi Poe), isang volunteer na tangkang magtagal sa samahan nang dalawang linggo lamang ngunit mapapaibig at papakasalan ni Ka Felix. Taong 2006, ang estudyanteng si Ada (Isabelle Daza) ay magsasaliksik naman para sa kanyang ginagawang thesis tungkol sa isang massacre na nangyari sa Barrio Acacia. Dito niya matutuklasan ang tunay na pangyayari noong panahong iyon na pilit itinatago sa kanya ng kanyang inang si Cecilia (Gloria Diaz). Maganda at maayos ang simula ng Lihis, bagama’t gasgas na ang mga eksenang ipinakikita nito. Marami-rami na ring mga pelikula ang namuhunan sa mababaw na pagtalakay sa kasaysayan noong panahon ng Martial Law sa Pilipinas, at hindi naiba rito ang Lihis, bagay na nagpakulay-propaganda dito. Sapat ang husay sa pagganap na ipinakita ng bagitang si Daza, higit siyang palagay sa harap ng kamera kaysa sa kanyang ina sa tunay na buhay, si Diaz, na minsa’y magaling at minsa’y hilaw ang pagganap. Pasable na rin ang pag-arte ni Poe, bagama’t hindi ganoong kalaki ang hamon ng kanyang papel. Kakatwang panoorin ang dalawang kilalang machong aktor (Cuenca at Bascon) na kumikilos nang salungat sa kanilang imahen bilang mga artista, ngunit naitawid naman nila nang kapani-paniwala ang kanikaniyang papel. Maliban nga lang sa masyadong malinis at maporma ang mga rebeldeng bida: sosyal ang tabas ng buhok, naka-gel pa yata, style gumamit ng tubaw sa ulo man o sa leeg, at ang pananamit ay sunod na sunod sa uso
ang tao? Kung hangad ng Lihis na pagalabin ang damdaming ng manonood upang mahalin ang Inang Bayan, lumihis ito sa kaniyang pakay, pagkat higit na maigting ang paglalahad nito ng ugnayang namamagitan sa dalawang lalaki kaysa kanilang ipinaglalaban para sa bayan. Noong namalas ng CINEMA ang dokumentaryong nagbukas sa Lihis, naisip naming “Siryoso ito, mukhang malaman!” Ngunit noong mangyari na ang unang “sagupaan” ni Ka Jimmy at Ka Felix, naisip naman namin, “Ganoon lang? Ganoon bang kasimple yon?” Sa una kasi’y ipinakita ang init ng kanilang mga pagtatalo sa mga pulong, na halos magsuntukan na sila, iyon pala’y eskrimahan ang totoong gusto nila. Nagsuntukan; nang magkadaganan, nauwi sa halikan; at nagtuluy-tuloy sa pukpukan. Sa tantiya ng CINEMA, ginamit lamang na “sasakyan” ng Lihis ang Martial law setting upang patunayan na masidhi sa lahat ang tawag ng laman—higit na makapangyarihan kaysa sa mga pinakamatayog na adhikain ng tao. Sa gayon, tila “nabakla” ang layunin ng Lihis. “Mapagbigay” ang pelikula sa relasyon ng dalawang lalaki—ito ang naging pananaw ng CINEMA
gawa ng mga katanungang hindi masagot sa Lihis. Kung mahigpit na ipinagbabawal ang ganoong uri ng relasyon sa NPA, bakit hindi iwinawasto ng mga kasamahan nila ang dalawa samantalang “marami nang nakakahalata” sa kanila? Kung higit na mahalaga kay Ka Jimmy at Ka Felix ang kanilang ipinaglalaban sa bayan, bakit hindi nila inuuna ito sa lahat? Walang ipinakikitang isinasakripisyo ang sariling pagnanasa alang-alang sa pagsulong ng layunin ng samahan. Sa katunayan, alipin sila ng “init” nila sa isa’t isa: sa liwanag ng araw, sa ilog, hantaran silang gumagawa ng bawal—hindi na ba nila naisip na baka may makakita sa kanila, kasama man nila o mga taga-nayon na maliligo o maglalaba sa ilog—bagay na makakapula sa pangalan ng samahan? Kung hindi lamang laman ang ugat ng kanilang pagkaka-akit sa isa’t isa, bakit hindi man lamang sila ipinakikitang nag-uusap nang matimtiman tungkol sa kanilang pag-ibig sa bayan at malasakit sa kapwa? Maging ang buong-loob na pagkarahuyo ni Jasmin kay Ka Felix hanggang sa pakasalan siya nito ay hindi masasabing nagmumula sa tunay na pag-ibig kungdi sa kagustuhan lamang patunayan ng babae na wala siyang ginustong hindi napasakanya. At nang mapasakanya na nga, sa kabila ng pagkakaroon ng maayos na buhay at pamilya ni Ka Felix, mabibitag pa itong muli sa matinding pagtugis ng lumuluha at nagdurusang Ka Jimmy. Kakatwa na pati na ang ina ni Ka Jimmy ay naging kunsintidora; ni hindi niya pinaalalahanan ang anak na layuan ang lalaking may pamilya—and mahalaga sa kanya’y maligaya ang kanyang anak, tapos. May mga naulinigan kami sa sinehan na nag-aabang sa mga eksena ng pagtatalik ng dalawang lalaki. “Tatlong eksena daw iyon,” sambit nila, at dumating nga ang tatlong eksena, tatlong eksenang hindi namin inakalang buong-layang ipapalabas sa mga sinehan ng SM Malls na hindi diumano nagpapalabas ng mga pangadults. Hindi ikinakaila ng CINEMA na may mga taong “lihis” ang kagustuhang seksuwal, at ang mga ito’y matatagpuan kahit na sa mga samahang tulad ng NPA, militar, o Simbahan, sa anumang relihiyon. Hindi nanghuhusga ang CINEMA batay sa kasarian ng tao, ngunit nais ipagpalagay ng CINEMA na ang pinilakang tabing ay may kapangyarihang mag-angat ng kalagayan at kamalayan ng tao. At ang isang paraan upang maisakatuparan ito ay ang pagpapakita na mayroon pang mga bagay na higit na mahalaga kaysa pangsariling kasiyahan, lalu na’t kung ang kasiyahang ito ay nagiging sanhi lamang ng higit pang malaki, marami, at malalang mga suliranin.
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
September 30 - , 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
Officers of the Order of the Knights of Columbus and KCFAPI together with Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr., DD and concelebrants during the TV mass in commemoration of the 36th Death Anniversary of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ.
KCFAPI Weeklong Activities
inspirational talk and catechism was provided by Brother Raymond Bandril of the CBCP for Life. A taxation seminar on how to reduce taxes ethically and legally was held on September 12 at the KCFAPI social hall with Dr. Ruperto P. Somera as the guest speaker a former Bureau of Internal Revenue official and distinguished The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) through the Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) has launched its newest product, the KC Health Guard Plus last September 13, during the Fraternal Benefits Day and as part of the KCFAPI weeklong celebration from September 7 to 14. According to FBG Manager Migz P. Cabra, the KC Health Guard Plus is a ten-year term life insurance coverage plan with five supplementary benefits such as Hospital Cash Benefit, Hospital Intensive Care Cash Benefits, Hospital Surgical Cash Benefits, Accidental Death and Disability Benefits, and Money Back Guarantee Benefits.This health coverage benefit plan was designed for K of C members and immediate family members to protect them from the high cost of medical expenses. Selected Fraternal Counselors who attended the seminar on KC Health Guard Plus are allowed to sell the plan from September 15 to December 31, 2013. FBG also held a recognition program for the K of C Capitol Council 3695 and acknowledged 54 fraternal service awardees. For inquiries on the KC Health Guard Plus, please call FBG department (02) 527-2243 or the KCFAPI hotline at (02) 527-2223. Meanwhile, hundreds of K of C members, families and friends ran together to support the Cause for Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ last September 7. This activity was also offered, to heed the call of Pope Francis for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria and a Marian Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe on the following day. The proper program for the celebration of KCFAPI’s 55th Founding Anniversary was held on September 9, where the employees of KCFAPI and its subsidiaries gathered to witness in harmony the giving of service awards to deserving individuals namely: Edwin B. Dawal (30 years in service), Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Mary Magdalene G. Flores, Cynthia G. Genosa (25 years in service), and Cyrus F. Lao (10 years in service). A certificate was awarded to Joan Apad for completing the Level 1 : Insurance Fundamentals of the Life Ofgiven to the inmates with the distribution of Fr. Willmann pamphlets, prayer cards, and meals. The following spent their time for the Prisoners Jail Apostolate: Atty. Neil Jerome A. Rapatan, Greogorio E. Asis, Christine B. Valencia, Manuel L. Mendoza, Rick Jason D. Mariano, Marianne M. Malabanan, Jenika P. Villamar, Michael B. de Castro, Imelda S. Kabigting, Rowena P. Patricio, Resty Puno, Ramon C. Sanchez, Raoul A. Villanueva, KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia, and KCFAPI President and Luzon Deputy
(first reading), Bro. Rene Sarmiento (responsorial psalm), Bro. Jose Reyes Jr (second reading), Bro. Alonso Tan (prayers of the faithful), Bro. Hilario Davide Jr (prayer for the cause of Fr. Willmann), and Bro. Ronulfo Antero Infante and family (prayer for the unity of the family).
fice Management Association (LOMA). Special citations were also given to Evangelina Dawal, Michael De Castro, and Blenda Porillo as initial batch of winners of the KCFAPI P.E.E.R. Prisoners Jail Apostolate was held on September 10 at the Manila City Jail. K of C Spiritual Director and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Media Director Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III led the Eucharistic celebration. A short talk and consultation was
Arsenio Isidro G. Yap. Around 70 expectant mothers from the poor community within Intramuros received free giveaways, snacks and ultrasound screening on September 11. Dubbed “Celebration of Love and Life”, the project was spearheaded by Rowena Diapolit. Ultrasound initiative is part of the Ultrasound Program of the K of C worldwide aimed at providing women considering abortion a new way of viewing the life within them. Blessings of the expectant mothers were held by Msgr. Quitorio and an
academician. The last day of the weeklong celebration culminated with the commemoration of the 36th death anniversary of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ on September 14. Hundreds of K of C and KCFAPI employees attended the concelebrated TV Mass in the morning at the San Agustin Church. Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr., DD was the main presider. Cocelebrants were Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III, Msgr. Joselito Asis, Fr. Jose William Araña, Fr. Joel Cariaso, Fr. Jeronimo Ma. J. Cruz, Fr. Asis Bajao, Fr. Isabelo San Luis, Fr. Clarence Carta, Fr. Ricky Villar, Fr. Arnold Sta. Maria, Fr. Geoffrey Eborda, Fr. Roy Gallano, Fr. Ariel Lara, and Fr. Marcial Laguna. Lectors were Bro. Arsenio Isidro Yap
Participants in the offertory were Sis. Theresa Curia, Bro. Joseph Teodoro, Bro. Ramoncito Ocampo, Bro. Danilo Sanchez, Bro. Balbino fauni, Bro. Ruperto Somera, Bro. Raoul Villanueva, Bro. Rodrigo Sorongon, Bro. Henry Reyes, Bro. Jose Reyes Jr, Bro. Arsenio Isidro Yap, Bro. Alonso Tan, and Bro. Hilario Davide, Jr. Honorguards from Padre Burgos Assembly added solemnity to the TV Mass and the Catholic Youth Organization Unit 26 together with KCFAPI Chorale provided acapella music during the entire mass. The weeklong celebration allowed the public a tour of the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Museum. (KC News)
KCFAPI Chairman Hilario G. Davide, Jr. together with KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia and KCFAPI Vice President for Actuarial and Business Development Angelito A. Bala, attended the 62nd Installation of Officers of the K of C Three Kings Council 3939 for the CY 2013-2014 held at the Gapan City Gym last September 7.
Employees of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) together with their families and friends joined the Annual Tree Planting Activity of the Luzon Jurisdiction dubbed as “Puno Alay Ko Sa Kalikasan Year 6” conducted at the Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches Quezon City last September 21. The activity coincided with the 36th Death Anniversary of Fr. George J. Willmann SJ, the founder of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines.
Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
WITH my sincerest pleasure and honor, I was asked to give a keynote address to the Masters of the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of the 22nd Annual Provincial Assembly Meeting of the Ferdinand Magellan Province held in Cebu City on September 27-28, 2013. The gathering carried this theme: “Be protectors of God’s gifts.” This was actually taken from the theme of the 131st Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus that was held in San Antonio, Texas last August 6-8, 2013. The Supreme Convention has drawn this beautiful phrase from the homily of Pope Francis at the mass inaugurating his Petrine ministry which by happy coincidence fell on the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19, 2013. In the above-cited homily, the Holy Father said: “In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1). St. Joseph, the protector of the Holy Family, is a perfect model of the Knights of Columbus who, in a way, have also been entrusted to be protectors of life and the family. Moreover, he also personifies the “manly virtues of quite strength, integrity and fidelity which the Knights of Columbus have sought to preserve, cultivate and pass on to the new generations of Catholic men.” Vivat Iesus!
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 Cem etery, 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
Blessed are You, Al mighty Father, source of all goodness and wisdom. Look kindly upon us Your children, who are trying to serve You with all our heart. Deign to raise Fr. George J. Willmann to the honors of the altar. He was the prayerful, strong, dauntless model that all of our Filipino men need in this new era; a man leading other men in the care and formation of the youth; the relief of victims of war and violence; the alleviation of the suffering of the poor; the preservation of the sanctity of life, marriage and the family. Make him the lamp on the lampstand giving light to all in the house. Make him the city set on the mountain, which cannot be hidden, so that all of us may learn from his courage, his integrity, and his indomitable spirit in the struggle to lead men to God, and to bring God to men. Through his intercession, bestow on us the favour we ask You in faith and according to Your will (pause here and silently entrust to the Lord your petitions). Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...
Arsenio Isidro G. Yap
Looking back in the weeks that past, we cannot help but wonder on the many things we had done in celebrating the 55th Anniversary of KCFAPI. Why and how we did them? We started with the First Friday Mass with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a whole day vigil. Early next morning, we had a fun run dubbed as “Run5@55” and a prayer for peace to address the call of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. The following day, a Sunday and Mama Mary’s birthday, we had a Marian Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe which was followed by a catechism and feeding for children of the nearby depressed area. We had the 55th Anniversary Mass to formally open the week-long activities and had some simple ceremonies. We also had a Prisoners Apostolate the following day. We conducted an Ultrasound Initiative for 53 pregnant women in cooperation with the Luzon Jurisdiction. The purpose of this program is to discourage them from even thinking of having their babies aborted. A seminar on Taxation was also conducted and a special day for the Fraternal Benefits Group was held last September 13 where we also gave recognition to Fraternal Counselors who had been in the service for at least ten years. The weeklong festivities was capped with a concelebrated mass at the San Agustin Church commemorating the 36th Death Anniversary of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ officiated by Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez. Finally, we also had a Tree-Planting Program held last September 21, which was initiated by the Luzon Jurisdiction in honor of Fr. George J. Willmann at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches where his body lies. A Eucharistic celebration opened the activity, which was immediately followed by a wreath laying at the tomb of Fr. Willmann and subsequently followed by the Tree-Planting within the compound wherein 2,500 trees were planted by about 800 participants. Again, why and how we did them? Beats me. Ask Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, the man who started all of these 55 years ago.
My Brother's Keeper
An anniversary is a day that commemorates or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same date of the year as the initial event. The first event is the initial occurrence as foundation or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event. The word was first used for Catholic feasts to commemorate saints. Last September 9, 2013, Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, inc. (KCFAPI) commemorated its 55th anniversary while its majorityowned company under the Keys Realty & Development Corporation, Holy Trinity Memorial Chapels (HTMC) will celebrate its 31st anniversary this coming October 10, 2013. Anytime soon, many countries in the New World and elsewhere will celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas, which happened on October 12, 1492, as an official holiday. What is common with these three anniversaries? Well, Knights of Columbus, chose that name in part because it saw Christopher Columbus as a fitting symbol of Catholic immigrants' right to citizenship: one of their own, a fellow Catholic, had discovered America. KCFAPI, on the other hand, became the financial arm and protection of the Knights of Columbus organization here in the Philippines. While, Holy Trinity Memorial Chapels became one of the majority-owned companies of KCFAPI as it extends its mortuary services to Knights of Columbus members and family members. Similar to these anniversary
Best way to celebrate an anniversary!
celebrations, each of us has his/ her own firsts to celebrate. First cell phone, first boyfriend/girlfriend, first car, first house, etc... But do you ever remember you first life insurance benefit certificate? I believe for most members of the Knights of Columbus they would remember their first degree exemplification but very few would remember their first coverage with KCFAPI. Either they do not have one because no fraternal counselor had convinced them yet or they already forgot to pay their succeeding contributions... and so it lapsed. A true Knights of Columbus member is mindful of his own life insurance protection. In fact, it is the number one objective of the Order of the Knights of Columbus. As stated in section 2 of the Charter Constitution of the Order, it says ‘To render pecuniary aid to its members, their families and beneficiaries of members and their families’. It is also the reason why one of Fr. Michael McGivney’s initial aspirations is to ‘To set up an elementary system of insurance so that the widows and children of members in the group will not find themselves in dire financial straits’. To be a Knight is to be protected and to be protected is to have a life insurance benefit certificate. As Columbus Day 2013 put it in theme: “Be Protectors of God’s Gift”. The best way to celebrate one’s special day, like birthday for an instance, is to give oneself the gift of protection, the gift of a life insurance policy. For Knights of Columbus members and family members it is the gift of KCFAPI Benefit Certificate to oneself.
Dr. Jaime M. Talag
Dengue vs. Chikungunya
Cases of dengue virus infection were being reported all year round. It does not anymore choose any season. Children and adults may be affected resulting in increased number of absences in schools and offices. KCFAPI was not spared in such situation. Some employees and their immediate family members were said to have been infected with the said virus. Several information regarding dengue fever have been written and said. We know that a bite of a female mosquito transmits the virus. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, sometimes fatal, and the treatment is only supportive. Another disease caught the attention of many Filipinos. This viral infection is called Chikungunya, which is endemic in Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Several people from Mariveles, Bataan were diagnosed with this disease recently. Curiosities arose because of its similarities to dengue fever. Both are caused by breeding of mosquitoes, with dengue fever by the bite of Aedes Aegypti and Chikungunya, by the bite of both Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus. Symptoms are almost identical, patient experiences high grade fever, headache, lethargy, joint pain and rashes, but bleeding is more commonly seen in dengue fever. Chikungunya is rarely fatal and is a self limiting disease, and not as dangerous as dengue fever. Several methods can be used for diagnosis. Blood tests can detect the dengue virus or chikungunya virus in the blood during the first few days of infection, or antibodies against the viruses subsequently. There are no specific antiviral drugs for both. Currently no vaccine is available for either dengue or chikungunya. Although
KCFAPI scholar graduates Magna Cum Laude
Over the years, the KC Philippines Foundation, Inc. has helped a lot of youth to finish their studies through its scholarship program. As of July 31, 2013, the Foundation has re corded 293 scholars who have completed their college courses. Last March 16, 2013, one of KCPFI’s scholars, Ms. Bernice Marsha F. Reyes, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree of Bachelor of Secondary Education major in English from the University of San Jose – Recoletos Cebu City. Ms. Reyes is the daughter of Bro. Marianito A. Reyes of Council no. 14244 and Sis. Carlota F. Reyes of Talisay City, Cebu. Aside from garnering academic awards during her high school in the same school, she was also active in various extra-curricular activities being the President of the Media Club and a member of Recolect Augustinian Youth (Campus Student Ministry), USJR public speaking class, Campus Ambassadors and Club Council
some dengue vaccines are being tested, they have not yet been approved. Treatment is mainly symptomatic and supportive such as bed rest, analgesics and fluids. The most important measure is prevention by controlling the mosquito vector and taking necessary precautions in avoiding mosquito bites. Once you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, consult your family doctor.
Luzon conducts relief operations in Pampanga
KCFAPI President and Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap led the distribution of relief goods at the Holy Family Parish in Colgante, Apalit, Pampanga last September 17 together with State Program Director Bonifacio B. Marti nez and former State Disaster Relief Chairman Saturnino Galang Jr. Holy Family Parish Priest Fr. Aristotle L. dela Cruz blessed the 250 relief goods, 10 sacks of rice (from Luzon Jurisdiction) and 121 goods (with P3,500.00 cash) from Council 13776. Regional Membership and Program Coordinator Victor Pulangco coordinated the logistics for distribution of goods with District Deputy (DD) Noel Timoteo of District S17, FDD F. Sampang and
of 2008-2009. Currently, she is a grade school English teacher at the Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu – a Jesuit school. She recently wrote KCPFI to in form us about her graduation with Honors and to express her willingness to “render time and serve the organization.” Congratulations to Ms. Reyes and the rest of the Batch 2013 KCPFI Scholar-Graduates!
Luzon State Officials together with Fr. Aristotle L. dela Cruz and other Kapampangan Brother Knights.
Financial Secretary Joselito C. Guzman of Council 13776 Colgante, Apalit, Pampanga. Recently, the Luzon Ju-
risdiction together with the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI) had dis-
tributed packs of relief goods (600 from Luzon and 400 from its insurance arm) in some areas in Laguna. (LuzonNews)
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
The Creativity of Love
Following the lead of Pope Francis, the Order’s works of charity extend to those who may feel estranged from the Church
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
FOLLOWING the election of Pope Francis, I made two observations regarding our new Holy Father. The first was a comparison with Blessed John Paul II. I suggested that just as the first pope from Poland had led a mobilization of Catholics behind the Iron Curtain, the first pope from Latin America has a similar opportunity to encourage a great renewal of the Church in Latin America. The second observation was that the conclave of cardinals, in electing Pope Francis, had seemingly taken to heart the message of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his encyclicals on charity, since Pope Francis has shown throughout his ministry extraordinary solidarity with the poor. Both themes were evident this past July during World Youth Day 2013, which took place in Rio de Janeiro. Of course, there were many unforgettable events during the pope’s visit, such as the 3 million pilgrims who attended the papal Mass on the beach. But I found one of the most important events to be Pope Francis’ July 27 address to bishops. On that occasion, the Holy Father said, “Dear brothers, the results of our pastoral work do not depend on a wealth of resources, but on the creativity of love.” These words brought to mind the many ways that Knights of Columbus express “the creativity of love” in millions of different acts of charity each year. I thought, for instance, of brother Knights in Charlotte, N.C., who washed the feet of homeless men and provided them with new shoes on Holy Thursday of this year; of Knights in Chicopee, Mass., who provided meals for more than 3,500 people last Thanksgiving; and of Knights in Warrenton, Va., who raised and then delivered more than 20 tons of food and supplies to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. During his homily at World Youth Day’s Sunday Mass, Pope Francis spoke of a Church willing and capable of going to “the fringes of society,” and here, too, the work of our councils came to mind. I could not help but think of our councils in Canada that brought wheelchairs to Vietnam or that support Catholic schools in the Holy Land; or of Knights in the Philippines who went into a remote village to build a chapel, bringing with them materials to evangelize those who were not Christian. In Mexico, brother Knights visited the villages of native people and replaced the dirt floors of homes with concrete. Knights in Poland, meanwhile, collected and repaired 400 sewing machines, which were then sent to women in Zambia so that they could support their families with meaningful work. In his July 27 address to bishops, Pope Francis also reiterated the need for a new evangelization. “We have to face the difficult mystery of those people who leave the Church,” he said. “Perhaps the Church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas, perhaps the world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions; perhaps the Church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age.” The pope then concluded: “We need a Church unafraid of going forth into their night. We need a Church capable of meeting them on their way.” This is a challenge that confronts not only bishops and priests. It confronts all Catholics
and especially the Knights of Columbus. Pope Francis is calling for a new global solidarity among Catholics and those who are in need. Thousands of Knights respond to this challenge every day by living our principles of charity,
unity and fraternity with “the creativity of love.” But we cannot be content with what we have done in the past. Now is the time to do even more. Surely the Knights of Columbus is “capable of meeting them on their way.” Vivat Jesus!
The Liturgy as Celebration of Faith
Do you know the most effective way to become beautiful? Look around. You might wonder how some people manage to stay beautiful despite all the hassles and pressures they encounter everyday. The secret? Holiness. The more a person engages himself/herself in prayer, the more that person becomes beautiful. At first look, being prayerful doesn’t seem to have any connection with our physical features but come to think of it, if you know how to pray in such a way that you can really build a deep relationship with God, you’ll start to have more faith and confidence in anything, big or small. This brings you less worries and less stress makes you more beautiful. This is how Fr. Rolando U. Aquino, SVD encouraged us to be more prayerful. He is the Parish priest at the National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, Vicar Forane of San Jose de Trozo and District Superior of SVD Manila District. The theme for this month’s catechism is Celebrating our Faith - The Liturgy. The term liturgy itself means celebration. It came from the Greek word Leitourgia: Laos meaning people and ergon meaning work which when put together, implies the activity of the Church. Fr. Roqui, as he is fondly known, emphasized the three Pillars of the Catholic Faith which are the Word of God, Sacraments and Mission. He said that faith becomes meaningless if one of these three is ignored. He reminded everyone that when we attend Mass at Church, we attend to worship and not to function like an MMDA observing how the church attendees behave inside the Church, what they wear and whether they actively participate in the Mass. In the Philippines, when the priest reads the Homily, the tendency of parishioners is to think that he is not prepared. What matters for us is if the homily is not boring or if the priest can make us laugh or cry. But in the US, when Fr. Roqui prepared so much that he need not have to read from his copy, he was told that he was unprepared and that he did not do some research. He recalled that the St. Jude Parish Office often receives calls asking about the schedule of a particular priest. Again, he advised that to attend the Mass is to worship God and not to focus on the Homily, on the priest or on the people surrounding us. He also mentioned that “If you choose not to share or participate in the Liturgy then you are not supposed to enter in the very Worship proper to God. You defy God in worship or in Liturgy when you become individual or when you create enemies coming to the Church. … The purpose of the Church is to create Saints.” He then explained the logo of the year of Faith. The Catholic Church is like a boat sailing in a pilgrimage towards a goal upon the rough seas where the sailors are challenged by modernism, individualism and values confusion. But rest assured that the boat has Christ in the center and the Sun which illuminates its path. Therefore the Holy Father calls upon us to deepen our faith by studying it, celebrating it and sharing it with other people. The big difference between “I love you as I love myself” and “I love you the way God loves me” can be compared in eating a chicken with a friend. When we love as we love ourselves, we share the chicken equally unlike when we love as God loves us, we give the entire chicken even when nothing is left for us. But why would we do such a sacrifice? Because one thing that never becomes boring is love. (Lei Ann B. Palacay)
Visayas Deputy Rodrigo N. Sorongon and State Secretary Anthony Nazario went to Bacolod City to hold a meeting with the Provincial and District Deputies of Negros Occidental. The meeting was attended by 5 Provincial Deputies and 19 District Deputies. Topics discussed were membership recruitment, new council development, council reactivation, round table, columbian squires, pilgrimage of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and submission of forms or reports. One district deputy submitted 1 new council and 45 forms which will be reported to the Supreme, another 100 forms from new members coming from the different District Deputies were likewise received on the said day. The District Deputies from Negros Occidental committed to meet their quota by October 31. *** The K of C Malabon Council 3951 celebrated their 64th year anniversary last September 7 with the Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap and State Secretary Raoul Villanueva as guests of honor. *** The K of C Sta. Rita De Casia Council conducted a 2nd degree exemplification program last September 15. Thirty eight (38) candidates were exemplified from different councils of Luzon, including one from Baguio. *** District Deputy Voltaire S. Kalaw of District L46 together with other Brother Knights donated goods and cash to Biñan Council 7957 headed by Grand Knight Johnny Alarcon last September 17. *** Faithful Navigator Neil Villanueva took over as the new faithful navigator of Dasmariñas Assembly ACN 2634 on September 15. The ceremony was held at the La Mediterania Subdivision, Pala-Pala, Dasmariñas City, Cavite.
Squires, Squire Rose hold ‘Search for Ambassador and Ambassadress for Peace’
Columbian Squires Circle Francisco Marto 3340 and the St. William Squire Rose Circle Ph 0001 recently conducted the ‘Search for Ambassador and Ambassadress for Peace’ at the St. William Parish in San Marcelino, Zambales headed by Fr. Michael Oliver Lucio. The primary objectives of the activity were to promote unity within the Columbian Squires and Squire Roses, to discover their talents and skills and to promote peace not only among their members but also to the people of San Marcelino. The project was more of a pageant show that promoted the youth organizations of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. Candidates were judged according to different categories such as Sports Wear, Casual Wear, Uniform, Formal Wear and Sunday Wear. Talent was also a factor in choosing the candidates. There were four awards given, Ambassador of Hope (4th place), Ambassador of Love (3rd place), Ambassador of Faith (2nd place) and the Ambassador of Peace (1st place).
Fraternal Benefits Day with FC’s DD’s and GK’s at Bishops Hall, Butuan City, September 29, 2013.
Winners were John Sherwin Dela Cruz and Hazel Ordillas as the Ambassadors of Hope, Karl Vince Esteban and Darla Martina Labio as Ambassadors of Love, Nikko Almojera and Maria Eva Theresse Pammit as the Ambassadors of Faith, and John Patrick Dela Cruz and Loeins Racel as Ambassadors of Peace. The hosts for the event were Brother Squires Abbey Jeremy Garcia, Mencius Carlo Ventura, and Kurt Allen Paningbatan with Sister Squire Rose Alhex Adrea Peralta. Judges were Rev.
Fr. Michael Oliver Lucio, Brother Rodel Callo and Brother Benedict Flores. The event was a joint project of the Columbian Squires, Squire Rose, and Knights of Columbus. Attendees of the said event were mostly members of the organization, proud parents and friends. The Ambassadors and Ambassadress will represent their respective organizations and are expected to set good moral character among the youth. (Squires News/Andro Degala)
1st Degree Exemplification of 39 Seminarians of the St. Peters Seminary at Bishops Home, Butuan City, September 30, 2013.
FST and Refreshers course for 47 FCs, (12 regular and 35 new recruits) at LLido Hall, Butuan City, September 29-30, 2013.
1st Degree Exemplification 26 new lay members at Bishops Hall, Butuan City.
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
22nd Annual Provincial Assembly of District Masters and KCFAPI Time at Welcome Hotel, Cebu City, Sept. 27-28.
22nd Annual Provincial Assembly Meeting
Ferdinand Magellan Province September 27-28, 2013 Wellcome Hotel, Cebu City
Address. The Keynote Address was delivered by KCFAPI Chairman Former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Other prominent KC and KCFAPI officers were also guests speakers – Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan, Mindanao Deputy Balbino C. Fauni, Visayas Deputy Rodrigo N. Sorongon, Past Mindanao Deputy Sofronio R. Cruz, and KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia. Before the investiture, a recollec tion was given by KCFAPI Spiritual Director Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III followed by a Holy Mass.
The 22nd Annual Ferdinand Magellan Provincial Assembly Meeting with the theme “Be Protectors of God’s Gifts” was held last September 27-28, 2013 at Wellcome Hotel, Cebu City. Acquaintance and pre-assembly meeting was held last September 27. The thrusts of the Fourth Degree for fraternal year 2013-2014, membership and new assembly goal setting were discussed. Th e f or ma l O p e n i n g B u s i n e s s Session was held last September 28 wherein Vice Supreme Master Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr. gave his Inaugural
Once again, KCFAPI extends its warmest congratulations on the appointment of Vice Supreme Master Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr. and the fourteen (14) District Masters – Joseph C. Sta. Maria (D1), Armando C. Gonzales, (D2), Pedro M. Manlansing (D3), Deovides F. Reyes (D4), Isagani B. Maghirang (D5), Isagani M. Salvador (D6), Pepito O. Palomero (D7), Jorge D. Cabalit (D8), Rufino P. Soriano (D9), Jose Q. Tan, Jr. (D10), Macodi M. Agus (D11), Reynaldo C. Trinidad (D12), Tomas Clemente D. Casipe (D14), Florencio J. Amparo II (D15).
The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) offered a wreath at the statue of Venerable Fr. Michael J. McGivney after a mass offered for the commemoration of the 123rd death anniversary of the Knights of Columbus founder. The mass was held at the oratory inside the KCFAPI home office in Intramuros, Manila In photo are KCFAPI President and Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap, Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia together with the Officers of the Knights of Columbus - Luzon Jurisdiction and KCFAPI.
Padre Burgos Assembly Holds ‘Mission Run’
THE Knights of Columbus Padre Burgos Assembly will hold a “Mission Run” on November 10 in support of the construction of Santisimo Sacramento Chapel in Baseco, Tondo. The noble cause will be held in Intramuros Manila with 3K, 5K and 10K Road Run within the ‘Walled City’. Registration begins on September 15 with a fee of Php500.00 (3K, 5K) and Php600.00 (10K) inclusive of Singlet, Race Number, Finisher Shirts and Medals. The Road Run is being organized by the Greentennial Run. Registration venues are available at A Runner’s Circle Manila and Mizuno Outlets (Trinoma, Galleria, BGC, SM MOA and Festival Mall). For inquiries, please visit the website of Pinoy Fitness at www.pinoyfitness.com. (KC News)
KCFAPI-FBG Manager Michael P. Cabra together with the participants of the September Fraternal Service Training.
Orientation Seminar on Personal and Group Accident Insurance
Attendees of the orientation seminar conducted by Mace Insurance Agency, Inc. last September 26, 2013. The Knights of Columbus Mary Help of Christians (MHC) Council 8256 donated three boxes of medicines for the use of the MHC parish clinic. This donation of medicines is being done over the last couple of years through the initiative of the council members to help provide for the medicine requirements of the parish clinic which serves the residents of the developing communities needing medical attention. The council’s commitment is to at least provide quarterly donation of basic medicines such as paracetamol, expectorants, and vitamins for the use of the patients receiving treatment from the MHC parish clinic.
Fifty four (54) soliciting associates (SA) of Mace Insurance Agency attended the orientation seminar on Personal and Group Accident Insurance held last September 26, 2013 from 1pm to 5 pm at the Fr. George J. Willmann SJ Memorial Building. Mace President, Bro. Joseph P. Teodoro gave the welcome remarks and inspirational messages to participants. Mr. Teodoro also announced a one (1) month incentive to boost the sales of SA's. The seminar was sponsored by Philippine British Assurance Company, Inc. Present
during the orientation were Philippine British Assurance Company, Inc. President, Ms. Rosario W. Cuyegkeng, AVP for Claim, Mr. Fil Real, and Head of Marketing Mr. Ronald Veloso, Speakers from PhilBritish who presented their products to participants were Mr. Erick Daquioag, Customer Development Officer and Mr. Allan Sta. Ana, Head Underwriter for casualty lines. Certificates of Attendance and raffle prizes were provided to all participants at the end of the seminar. (Basil Occeno)
The Sta. Teresita Council 12308 conducted a "Sagip Mata" free prescription glasses (doble vista) to more than 400 beneficiaries at the Sta. Teresita Parish Church Gym, Mayon St., Quezon City last September 21. The activity was made in honor of their patron saint Sta. Teresita Del Niño Jesus on her feast day and in commemoration to the death anniversary of Fr George J. Willmann SJ, the founder of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines.
Newly exemplified Fourth Degree Members of Msgr. Henry C. Schmitz Assembly ACN 2995 with Host Assembly Antonio C. dela Cruz Assembly ACN 3215 and Faithful Navigator Arturo Alisangco Morta.
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