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CBCPMonitor vol11-n25

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Pope urges 23 new Cardinals to be “servants” of love


World Meetings of Families to encourage embattled family, says Cardinal Trujillo

Mother of Life Center


CBCP Commission supports pardon of Aquino killer
A COMMISSION of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines wants to see the government pardoning more to show that the presidential pardon is not just for influential few. The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care made the statement, following the release of Pablo Martinez, one of the convicted killers of the late senator Benigno “Ninoy”
CBCP Commission / A6


Cruz: Gov’t intelligence system weak
A CATHOLIC bishop has condemned the bombing in Congress, which he said stemmed from a weak government intelligence system. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said whoever perpetrated the crime “has no conscience” and has no place in a civilized society. “My prayers go especially to those who were killed and hurt,” he said. But Cruz said the government is definitely
Cruz / A6

Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace November 26 - December 9, 2007 Vol. 11 No. 24 Php 20.00

CBCP head calls for ‘moral revolution’

MORE than political change, a ranking Church official has called for “moral revolution” to defeat the country’s prevailing social ills.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said that part of the solution obviously is finding real values. In a statement posted at his web blog (abplagdameo.blogspot.com) Lagdameo asserted the need for moral recovery in a country suffering from ethical crisis. “If only to stop our country from continuing to become a ‘social volcano’, we support the ideal of a moral revolution,” he said. The Catholic bishops’ hierarchy has already made the call many times in many ways on the belief that at the core of public’s clamor for change is value transformation. This is what the bishops have always recognized as a vital aspect in nation building towards a genuine reconciliation in a country plagued by political turmoil. “And we would like to say it again. Nothing new, but the resolve may be,” said Lagdameo. The CBCP head expressed concern over unresolved cases of social, economic and political issues, which he said, keep filing up. These problems, he said, include the “cash gift” scandal, the killing of a poll executive and the deadly blasts at a Makati mall, and more recently the bombing at the Batasang Pambansa. “These are the social concerns and nagging issues that are crying for solution and closure,” he added. Add to the list, he also said, the multi-millionpeso worth of government projects “sprawling like white elephants because of substandard qualities and questionable arrangements.” But again, Lagdameo maintained that these are not purely socio-economic issues. He said that the Church’s social teaching insists on their moral connotations.
CBCP head / A6

Members of the Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines pause for a prayer at the start of the second conference held at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, November 27; issues on marriage and the family contained in House Bills Nos. 1129, 1820, 2419, 2420, 2617 were among the issues discussed. (Photo by Roy Lagarde)

Pope accepts Cariño’s resignation; names Quiambao administrator
POPE Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Nestor Cariño from the pastoral care of the diocese of Legazpi. Apostolic Nuncio Edward Joseph Adams announced the acceptance of Cariño’s resignation in a recent letter to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Adams said in his letter that Legazpi Auxiliary Bishop Lucilo Quiambao will succeed Cariño but only as apostolic administrator. Cariño is only 69 years old. According to the Apostolic Nuncio, the acceptance of the resignation was made in accordance with canon 401, paragraph 2 of the Code of Canon Law. The said church law provides that a prelate who, “because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfillment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation from office.” Carino, was born in Malinao, Albay, on September 8, 1938. He was ordained priest in 1961, and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Legazpi on March 9, 1978. He served as the bishop of Borongan for six years—from 1980 until January 31, 1986, when he was elected CBCP secretary general. In October 2001 the Archbishop of Manila asked him to serve the ecclesiastical district of Pasig. He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Daet on June 11, 2003 until April 2005 when he was appointed bishop of Legazpi. Quiambao, meanwhile, was born on October 30, 1932, in Bacacay, also in Albay province. His early seminary formation was in Holy Rosary Seminary in Naga City. His philosophy and theology degrees were earned at UST Central Seminary in Manila. He was ordained priest on April 2, 1960 and as prelate on April 27, 1982. (Roy Lagarde)

Cardinals Vidal, Rosales attend consistory in Rome
MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales left the country Nov.19 to attend a consistory at which Pope Benedict XVI has created new cardinals. The Archdiocese of Manila said Rosales was originally scheduled to leave earlier for the meeting of the Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue but this was cancelled because of the consistory. Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the archdiocese said, also attended the Rome gathering but did not mention the date of his departure. The Pope announced last month the names of 23 prelates who were created cardinals in a consistory held on November 24, the eve of the Feast of Christ the King. The celebration took place in St. Peter’s Square at 10.30 a.m., (Rome time). Courtesy visits to the new cardinals took place on the same day from 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. The following day, November 25, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic concelebration with the new cardinals at 10:30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square. The cardinals were given their ring of office during the mass. The consistory was the second during his pontificate. Following the November 24 consistory, the College of Cardinals now numbered 202 members of whom 121, under the age of 80, are electors. Below is a list of the new cardinal electors:

- Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, prefect of

the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. - Archbishop John Patrick Foley, progrand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. - Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State. - Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum.” Cardinals / A6

CBCP goes after problems Dev’t projects in prison system helping peace
THE prison ministry of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is continuing its advocacy to solve the country’s problem-laden prison system. Over 200 prison chaplains and volunteers are gathered in Taytay, Rizal from Nov. 27-30 to examine the justice system particularly its restorative aspect. Dubbed as the 7th General Assembly of Chaplains and Volunteers in Prison Service (VIPs), the underpinning theme is “Discovering the face of Christ among the prisoners.” Organized by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC), the assembly hopes it would result in the adoption of a more systematic and significant approach to the prison ministry. ECPPC executive secretary Rodolfo Diamante said the conference is to give prison workers a more focused venue to tackle problems affecting jails in

process in Mindanao
BISHOP Angelito Lampon, OMI, Apostolic Vicar of Jolo, said the military has embarked on a much effective approach to address the separatist movements and other lawless persons in the area. He said the military began development projects including the construction of irrigation systems, road construction, electrification projects among others thereby transforming what used to be ambush sites to growth areas. The concerns of internally displaced persons have also been considered. Bishop Lampon said “With the military’s civic action programs, the communities now have
Dev’t projects / A6

Holy See to present Benedict XVI’s new encyclical
VATICAN CITY, November 23, 2007 —Today the Press Office of the Holy See announced that “Spe Salvi ” (Saved by Hope), the new enHoly / A6

CBCP to / A6

TV Maria soon to have its own channel on Sky
TV Maria, the only national television network of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, will soon have its own channel on Sky Cable, according to Fr. James Reuter, S.J, director of National Office of Mass Media. Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, will bless the studio of TV Maria, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8, 9.30 AM, at the corner of Quirino Avenue and Jesus Street in Pandacan, Manila. It will mark the official launching of TV Maria, which has been on the air since January 1, 2006 beamed over Dream Satellite. TV Maria’s programs are now being carried by over 300 cable networks in the country including Destiny Cable. It is also seen and heard in the United States, Canada and the Middle East. The objective of TV Maria is to bring the Word of God, in all its beauty to Filipino people wherever they are, said Fr. Reuter.
TV / A6

Bishop Iñiguez makes early appeal to bring Christ back to Christmas
“ABOVE all else, let’s bring back Christ to Christmas,” Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr. appealed to the Catholic faithful. Speaking over Radyo Veritas, Bishop Iniguez said it is a challenge for everyone to discover the message of Christmas. “While it is true Christmas and other occasions have been commercialized, we still have the opportunity to share and when everybody shares, we can share significantly to those in need,” the prelate explained. Asked about the commercialism behind Christmas and other significant occasions, Bishop Iñiguez said “we live in a commercialized society as there’s an impact on businessmen who take advantage of such occasions.” “The crib we see in the manger reminds us of the poor, those in need,” Bishop Iñiguez explained as he called on everyone to understand the message of Christmas, which is offering one’s self for others. (Melo Acuña)





World News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

PA blocks ordination of Bishop of Guangzhou, approved by the Holy See
of Guangzhou, has been waiting for over a year to take up his post. The obstacle is the Patriotic Associations insistence that illicit bishops, not in communion with the pope are present at the ceremony. Msgr. Gan was elected by the diocesan community of Guangzhou in November 2006. One month later he received Vatican approval, which was confirmed last September, but he has yet to receive the formal approval of the Council of Chinese bishops. According to AsiaNews sources the reason lies in the Patriotic Association (which controls the council) and its desire to insert a couple illicit bishops, not in communion with the pope among the ordaining bishops. In all probability the illicit bishop in question is Msgr. Ma Yinglin, ordained without Vatican agreement on April 30 2006, and present at the last Episcopal ordinations of Guiyang and Beijing. In a September 21 article the L’Osservatore Romano, expressed “regrets” at the presence of “bishops not in communion with the Holy See” at ordinations. According to the English language Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post, the ordination should take place on December 3. The paper also publishes a comment from Msgr. Gan who confirms that he needs to “discuss [the date] with other relevant organizations,” and adds: “I would like to invite bishops from other dioceses to my ordination.” Msgr. Gan Junqiu, 42, has long been in charge of the ordinary running of the diocese which has been without a bishop since 2001. He is known to be an intelligent pastor, faithful to the pope, committed to the evangelization of the youth and aiding the poor. He also has good relations with the government, who collaborated in the restoration of Guangzhou cathedral, dedicated to the Sacred Heart and re-opened to the public last February. (AsiaNews)

Mexico City’s cathedral closed after 100 protesters disrupt Sunday Mass
MEXICO CITY, November 19, 2007—The cathedral of Mexico City closed its doors last weekend, after more than 100 political protesters disrupted Sunday Mass. The decision was announced the same day by Armando Martínez, the president of the College of the Catholic Lawyers of Mexico, who said that the cathedral will not open again until the government can guarantee the security of the faithful and priests. During the midday Mass at the cathedral Sunday, a group of members of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) interrupted the liturgy chanting slogans supporting Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the 2006 presidential candidate who lost by a slim margin to Felipe Calderón. López Obrador contested the results, raising allegations of electoral fraud, and proclaimed himself the “legitimate president” of Mexico. The protesters also threatened the faithful, the priests and Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, who was in Rome on Sunday. “These are acts of aggression that we should not allow,” said Martínez, who said the main concern is for the safety of the faithful present in the cathedral, as well as the cardinal, bishops and priests. The demonstrators said they were provoked by church bells that chimed for an unusually long time, disrupting a rally in the central Zocolo square at which López Obrador was speaking. The dean of the cathedral, Rubén Ávila, told the newspaper El Universal that the bells rang for the normal time for a Sunday Mass. In a statement released by Hugo Valdemar Romero, director of communication for the Archdiocese of Mexico, he called the event a “condemnable and cowardly act of terror, unequivocal expression of religious intolerance and of the hatred toward the Catholic Church.” (Zenit)

HONG KONG, November 16, 2007—The ordination of a new bishop of Guangzhou may take place next December 3rd if the Patriotic Association does not postpone the appointment. Msgr. Giuseppe Gan Junqiu, approved by the Holy See and Beijing as the new bishop

Caritas leader sees a threat in Latin America
VATICAN CITY, November 23, 2007—Underdevelopment plaguing Latin America provokes tensions conspiring against peace, said the president of Caritas Internationalis. Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga affirmed this Wednesday, the second day of work for the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which focused on consideration of Paul VI’s “Populorum Progressio.” The archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, said, “The objective of development is not just elevating all people to the level of the rich countries, but rather basing a more dignified life in the work of solidarity, a life in which the dignity and creativity of each person can effectively increase, as well as his capacity of responding to his own vocation, and therefore, to God’s call.” The cardinal added, “The integral development of the human person is favored by the productivity and efficacy of work,” although a business should not be considered only “a society of capital” but “a society of persons.” Given this, he explained, the Church’s social doctrine emphasizes the concept of social responsibility of a business, and places emphasis on the priority of the human person and the common good. The archbishop of Tegucigalpa said that “just as there exists a collective responsibility to avoid war, there should also exist a collective responsibility to promote development.” Echoing a theme of Paul VI, the cardinal said: “If development is a new name of peace, Latin American underdevelopment, with particular characteristics in each coun-

Ecumenism “is not an option but a sacred duty,” says Pope
Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga

try, is a situation of injustice that promotes tensions conspiring against peace.” “In the work of evangelization,” he concluded, “the practice of charity and the fight for justice should be considered a permanent model for the Church.” (Zenit)

United Nations admits to having exaggerated statistics about AIDS in the world
According to a report on LifeSiteNews.com, this strategy was seen to “benefit the massive AIDS industry’s constant demands for large funds. Last Tuesday, UNAIDS presented its annual report, in which it “admitted the world body has sharply reduced its estimates of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic because of strong evidence from AIDS scientists that the agency’s methods for measuring and predicting the course of the epidemic were flawed.” Dr. James Chin, former head of a World Health Organization Global Programme on Aids unit from 1987-1992 and Drs. Edward Green and Daniel Halperin, formerly with AIDS units of USAID, accumulated and publicized much of the evidence that eventually forced the UN to publicly admit the serious flaws with its AIDS numbers, the LifeSiteNews.com reported. The Washington Post reports that Dr. Chin has responded that the UN’s revisions are still too high. Chin estimates the current number of AIDS cases worldwide to be 25 million whereas the new UN figures are 8 million above that. Chin told the Post “If they’re coming out with 33 million, they’re getting closer. It’s a little high, but it’s not outrageous anymore”. Much of the reduction, says UNAIDS, is due to revised information from India, where the numbers have been cut in half from six million cases to about three million, and from new data from several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Helen Epstein, author of a recent book on the AIDS fight, told the Washington Post that within the UN, “There was a tendency toward alarmism, and that fit perhaps a certain fundraising agenda”. (CNA)

NEW YORK November 23, 2007—After using exaggerated statistics not in accord with reality, the United Nations Program for the fight against AIDS (UNAIDS) has finally admitted to having distorting and inflating data.

Pontifical University of Rome to present new edition Communiqué concerning of encyclical against modernism salaries of Vatican staff
ROME, November 23, 2007—On November 27, the Angelicum Pontifical University of Rome will present a new edition of the encyclical against modernism by Pope St. Pius X, “Pascendi Dominici Gregis,” during an event promoted by the International Society of Thomas Aquinas. The new edition of the encyclical that the Pope wrote against the influences of modernism in theology and Catholic thought is being published by Cantagalli with an updated Italian translation, making the hundred yearold document easier to read. The new version also includes an introduction by Professor Roberto de Mattei of the European University of Rome explaining not only the historical context of the encyclical but also the relevancy of the document to the growing “dictatorship of relativism” denounced by Pope Benedict XVI. The new edition will be presented by Professor De Mattei and by Bishop Luigi Negri of San Marino-Montefeltro, who said a re-reading of the famous encyclical would be an excellent opportunity to reflect on the responsibility of an evangelization capable of dialoging with the modern world. (CNA) VATICAN CITY, November 21, 2007—The Holy See Press Office released the following communiqué at midday today: “This morning in the Sala Bologna of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a meeting was held of heads of dicastery and other heads of Vatican State and of organizations associated with the Holy See or administratively dependent on APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See). “The meeting was presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. “It was dedicated to presenting a number of important new measures concerning the salaries of personnel working in the service of the Vatican. “The principal and most innovative measure concerns the new parameters for the payment of staff (who are employed in a system of ten functional levels), and above all the introduction of ‘classes of merit’ within each individual level. This

VATICAN CITY, November 23, 2007—For the Catholic Church, “ecumenism is not an option but a sacred duty. It is the mandate of Our Lord!” said Benedict XVI. The Holy Father today reasserted a principle he enunciated at the beginning of his pontificate and reiterated several times. He did it in the Vatican during a prayer and reflection meeting with cardinals on the eve of tomorrow’s consistory when he will appoint 23 new cardinals. A Vatican press release said that the Pope himself briefly presented the topic he chose for the day, namely “ecumenical dialogue in light of the prayer and the Lord’s mandate: Ut unum sint.” Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, presented his report “on the main guidelines with regard to ecumenical dialogue and relations.” He focused “three main areas: 1) relations with the ancient Churches of the East and the Orthodox Churches; 2) relations with the Ecclesial Communities born of the 16th century Reform; and 3) relations with the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements that emerged last century.” His presentation was followed by intervention by 17 cardinals. According to the cardinal, the meeting took place in a “familiar and very cordial” atmosphere. Speaking with reporters afterwards, Cardinal Kasper said that the document prepared in October in Ravenna by the joint Orthodox-

Catholic commission was an important topic of discussion. The “important step” it takes is that “for the first time Orthodox Churches said yes to the notion that the Church has a universal level which includes conciliarity, synodality and authority. This means there is a primacy. According to the customs of the ancient Church, the first bishop is the bishop of Rome; there is no doubt about it.” The Ravenna document does not address the issue of “the privileges of the bishop of Rome;” that matter will be the basis for “future discussions.” But “it is a step on the path of dialogue;” Cardinal Kasper said, “a good step on a path that will be very long.” As for the rift between Moscow and Constantinople and the former’s withdrawal from the Ravenna meeting, the cardinal said “that it was a political issue between Constantinople and Moscow, not a theological one.” The cardinals also discussed the need to achieve “pastoral understanding of the problem of Pentecostals, who now number 400 million people” and cannot be ignored, not in order to criticize them but rather to formulate the right pastoral. Lastly, he said that the Church’s social doctrine and its implementation, the latter understood as the ways to work with other Christian Churches against poverty and for peace, are among the “most promising areas for ecumenism.” (AsiaNews)

Mother delivers quintuplets after refusing multiple abortions
LONDON, England, November 19, 2007—A Russian mother has given birth to quintuplets despite opposition from doctors who wanted her to abort some of them. Varvara Artamkin and her husband Dimitri had to travel to England in order to keep all of their children. She and her husband Dimitri, a 28 year-old math professor, were told by Russian doctors that they would not treat Varvara during her pregnancy unless she aborted two or three of her babies. The doctors said the ‘selective terminations,’ as the abortions are called, were essential to giving the remaining babies a chance of survival. Mr. Artamkin’s grandmother, Irina, 74, speaking from her home in Moscow, described their plight: “They went to several maternity hospitals to ask them to take her on but the doctors kept saying they would only accept her on the condition that she terminated two or three of the babies.” Irina continued: “Our families are very religious people— Varvara’s father is an archpriest— and the church teaches that abortion is murder. Varvara and Dimitri wanted all their babies and they would not agree to such a condition.” The expecting parents were too poor to seek treatment abroad, but Vavara’s father, a senior priest in the Russian Orthodox Church, secured anonymous benefactors in Oxford who are paying the bill for the care of Varvara and all her new daughters. Dimitri’s sister, Maria, 24, said: “For me, that they were born alive was a miracle. It was all in God’s hands and I was elated. We will go to church and light a candle for each baby.” Varvara gave birth in an Oxford hospital a week ago to five daughters 14 weeks pre-mature. As of Thursday, all of the newborns were said to be doing “very well.” (CNA)

novelty brings an element of incentive and remuneration into the Vatican salary system, taking account—within each individual functional level—of factors such as dedication, professionalism, productivity and correctitude. “Other measures relate to management categories and to Regulations concerning lay management personnel. “All these measures will come into effect on January 1, 2008, though the ‘classes of merit’ will be gradually applied over time. “It should be recalled that, from January 1, new measures for overtime payments will also come into effect, completing those introduced over the last few months. “All these measures involve advantages for staff and, naturally, a greater outlay for the administrative offices, which are invited to follow wise management practices in order to be able to meet these new expenses, which are aimed at improving the treatment of staff.” (VIS)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

News Features
stows on him the biretta, that is the cardinals hat as well as his “title” or titular Church which is found in Rome. Thus they formally become part of the Roman Clergy whose duty it is to elect the pope. Tomorrow, during the mass which the newly created cardinals will celebrate together with Benedict XVI, they will be given their cardinal’s ring. Today as the Pope noted, “times have changed and the great family of Christ’s disciples are spread throughout the continents.” “The diversity of the members of the College of Cardinals by their geographic and cultural origin highlight this while at the same time they underline the changing pastoral demands to which the Pope must respond. The universality, the Catholicity of the Church is well mirrored in the College of Cardinals,” he continued. In fact, with the new appointments, it is now composed of 201 members, 120 of whom, having yet to turn 80, could take part in conclave to elect a new pope. Of the 201 cardinals, 104 are European, 20 North American, 34 South American, 18 African, 21 Asian, and 4 from Oceania. The Asians come from India (6), Philippines (3), Vietnam (2), Korea (2). Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Syria, China, Taiwan, Lebanon and Iraq have one each. Two of the new cardinals are from Asia, Oswald Gracias and Iraqi Emmanuel III Delly. In reference to the latter, the Pope spoke of “Iraq’s dear Christian communities…These brothers and sisters in the faith are feeling with their own flesh the dramatic consequences of an enduring conflict. By calling the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church to enter into the College of Cardinals, I intend to my spiritual closeness and affection for that population. Let us together reaffirm the solidarity of the whole Church with the Christians of that beloved land and invoke from the merciful God the coming of longed-for reconciliation and peace for all the peoples involved”. Shortly before, Cardinal Sandri had also evoked the “tears and blood” and the “painful exodus of the many Christians from which Abraham once departed.” Benedict XVI reminded all of the newly created cardinals that “every true disciple of Christ may aspire to one thing only: the sharing of Christ’s passion, without any claim to recompense. The Christian is called to assume the


Pope urges 23 new Cardinals to be “servants” of love
VATICAN CITY, November 24, 2007—The Catholic Church has 23 new Cardinals. A suggestive ceremony, comprising over 100 crimson robed cardinals and hundreds of bishops, to the tones of Latin formulae and song marked their entrance into what was once referred to as the Roman clergy and what today represents the universality of the Church. Love, dedication, loyalty, service: these are the virtues which the Pope said must characterize the works of those whose very vestments symbolize the commitment to serving the Gospel “to the spilling of blood,” as is recited in the Latin formula which they all swear. This vocation was made all the more poignant by both Benedict XVI and newly elected cardinal Leonardo Sandri in their addresses, when they evoked the sufferance of Christians across the world but especially in Iraq, the violation of religious freedom and the offences against human dignity. A solemn ceremony held in St Peter’s basilica marked Benedict XVI’s second Public Ordinary Consistory for the creation of cardinals—as it is officially referred to. A rite during which the Pope “creates” a new cardinal and be-

condition of the servant, following in the footsteps of Jesus that is, freely and disinterestedly spending his whole life for others. It is not the quest for power and success, but the humble gift of self for the good of the Church that must characterize all our actions and every one of our words.

True Christian greatness consists not in domination, but in service”. “Dear brothers, he then said, in becoming part of the College of Cardinals, God asks of you and entrusts you the service of love: love for God, for His Church, for your brothers and sisters with the maximum dedication, usque ad

sanguinis effusionem, as the formula for the imposition of the biretta reads and as the crimson color of your vestments show. You are the Apostles of God who is Love and witnesses of evangelical hope: this is what the Christian community expects from you.” (AsiaNews)

Peace training workshop held in Bukidnon Resistance to Latin Mass
Peacebuilding Training Workshop were on perceptions; violence; and related socio-economic, cultural and political issues affecting the youth in general. Also highlighted were themes on power; peace and basic framework of peace education; dialogue and reconciliation through the concepts of mediation and negotiation; conflict transformaThe participants of Peacebuilding Training Workshop with Mr. Orson Sargado of tion; communication CRS (standing, extreme right) and its importance; A THREE-DAY training workshop on and processes and various peacebuilding efPeacebuilding, aimed at promoting peace forts and its challenges. and reconciliation in strife-torn Mindanao The participants came to several signifiwas held last October 26 to 28 in Malaybalay, cant insights: that Peace is having the “right Bukidnon. relationship” and not merely the total abThe Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC), sence of war; that it is a process that seeks through its Mindanao Tripartite Youth Core to have desirable procedures that will for(MTYC), and the Catholic Relief Services tify and re-establish relationships and (CRS) conducted the three-day workshop. change undeserved institutions and systems Twelve youth coming from focal areas of into a society where the people’s interest is Mindanao; Cagayan de Oro City, Bukidnon, at the center and strongly recognized; that Oroquieta City, Marawi City, Surigao, peace is everybody’s quest and desire and is Polomolok and Zamboanga City partici- evident in the sprouting of many related propated in the activity. Alexander A. Jikiri and grams, projects and activities initiated both Mubin D. Taala, both officers of the Youth by the government and local communities Council of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement toward its realization. The peace process represented Zamboanga. All participants are seems to be sluggish because of discriminaleaders in the promotion of dialogue and tions, individual biases, erroneous perceptions, and prejudices toward people of other peace in their respective communities. Mr. Orson Sargado of the Catholic Relief faiths. The striving for power and fame and the concept of violence as a means to achievServices was the resource speaker. The workshop focused on strengthening ing them have influenced and contributed the dialogue orientation of the core group of to the so-called “conflict”. Although some have given up on the quest peace-movers to better prepare them to tackle the current conflict situation of Mindanao; for peace because of the failure to identify and help them contribute to conflict trans- and analyze the real root cause of the conformation, bringing in their perspective as flict, still more and more sectors, especially the youth, are now actively involved in the Christian, Muslim and Lumad youth. The topics discussed during the three-day promotion of peace. Conflict is natural and part of society’s reality. It may be constructive or destructive, depending on how it is looked at. For a few, it’s an opportunity and an avenue for settlement of differences and for some it is used as a way of continuing suffering, death, destruction and displacement. How is conflict resolved? First, is to genuinely attempt to do justice at all times and at all cost. And in all situations, instill the virtue of “cooperation.” Second, reconciliation among conflicting groups is attainable if and only if in every peacebuilding effort implemented by any concerned party—may it be the government, civil society, non-governmental institution or even by the international body—there should always be the presence of mutual trust and respect. In every agenda to be tackled, a wide understanding and acceptance of one’s origin, history and culture is needed for it is a pre-requisite in having a well-founded dialogue and peace. Third, the role and importance of communication should not be neglected. But how to practice authentic and proper “communication” is the challenge that each of us should be ready to face. Aside from dialogue, the process may also be either through mediation or negotiation. Both involve methods that require skills. Mediation and negotiation towards peace is said to be successful if it is only accompanied with transparency, trust and all parties must lay down all their concerns and not their self-seeking interest. According to Lyndon Baines Johnston, “If we are to live together in peace, we must come to know each other better.” Hopefully this simple phrase will inspire and motivate us to work for peace. Our quest for peace is not mysterious as what they think because it is just a matter of conviction and genuineness of intention. The three-day workshop was part of a week-long program dubbed Core Leaders’ Enrichment activity held from October 26 to November 1, 2007 at different venues in Mindanao. (Silsilah Dialogue Movement)

liberalization is disobedient and proud, says bishop
congregations requesting the old Mass must be “stable,” though that requirement is absent from the Pope’s document. The cardinal’s commentary was called an “ungenerous interpretation” and “a slap in the face of traditionalists.” Another clergyman, Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, claimed that the power of the bishops to stop the Tridentine Mass remained in effect. Archbishop Ranjith said that, in these dissents, “there hide, on the one hand, ideological prejudices and, on the other hand, pride, which is one of the most serious sins.” “The bishops, in particular, have sworn fidelity to the pontiff; may they be coherent and faithful to their commitment,” he said. The older rite of the Mass is almost entirely in Latin. Latin was generally abandoned after 1965 by bishops and clergy who claimed to be following the mandate of the Second Vatican Council. Many Catholics found the state of the Church since the council to have been confused by “trendy innovations” in both Catholic moral teaching and the liturgy. Father Richard McBrien, a Notre Dame professor considered a leading dissenter on Catholic sexual ethics and abortion, wrote on the Tridentine Mass controversy in the diocesan newspaper of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, The Tidings. He criticized young Catholics who favored the old rite, saying “it is a mystery how one can be nostalgic for something one had never experienced.” He also praised “liturgical scholars” who “have published articles which carefully pick apart the reasoning behind the papal document.” Damian Thompson, writing for the Daily Telegraph, defended the papal motu proprio. “By failing to welcome the latest papal initiatives or even to display any interest in them, beyond the narrow question of how their power is affected, the bishops of England and Wales have confirmed Benedict’s low opinion of them.” (CNA)

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith

Japan faces population implosion
TOKYO, Japan, November 19, 2007—The dwindling population of Japan will threaten the “foundation of communities,”—police, fire, and other basic services—an impending white paper by the Japanese government will report. Japan’s population peaked in 2005 at 127 million people. Current projections forecast a decline of thirty percent by 2050 to 89 million people. On average Japanese women have only one child. The birth rate must average 2.1 children per woman to maintain the population. At the same time, Japan’s population is among the oldest in the world, averaging 43 years of age. By the year 2050, the average Japanese person is predicted to be 61 years old. During Japan’s 2007 Children’s Day, the government noted that the number of children in Japan had declined for the 26th consecutive year. Two thousand junior and senior high schools have closed due to lack of children, and some of these buildings are being converted into senior care centers. Pediatricians are changing their specialty to geriatric care, while some lonely seniors pretend child-like robot dolls are substitute grandchildren. Brian Clowes, writing for Human Life International, declares “if a government promotes “family planning” for decades, if it drills into the people’s heads the idea that children are messy, noisy, expensive, and bad for the environment, once it has promoted and funded millions and millions of abortions, there is really no way back.” He cites as most problematic young Japanese women’s aversion to marriage. Seventy percent of young single women say they have no intention of getting married. “The only solution to the plague of depopulation is to rekindle the love of God and children in the people’s hearts. The Japanese must undo three decades of antinatalist propaganda with an intensive program of teaching the people the value of family, the beauty and joy that children provide, and the satisfaction of fidelity to a husband or a wife until death,” Clowes writes. (CNA)

LONDON, England, November 23, 2007—A Vatican official has criticized some bishops’ actions as prejudiced and proud for obstructing Pope Benedict XVI’s recent reform liberalizing the use of the Tridentine Mass. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments blasted as “disobedience” the reaction of many bishops to the Pope’s motu proprio document Summorum Pontificum , which lifted the restrictions of the older “extraordinary rite” of the Mass. The document instructs bishops that priests who wish to follow the older rite must be allowed to do so without asking permission, and says that congregations who request the Tridentine Mass must be provided it. Archbishop Ranjith decried the action “and even rebellion” of many bishops who are trying to limit access to the older Mass. “On the part of some dioceses, there have been interpretive documents that inexplicably aim to limit the ‘motu proprio’ of the pope,” he said earlier this month. The archbishop’s comments come in response to “interpretations” of the motu proprio supported by the bishops of England and Wales. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor provoked outrage from some Catholics after his commentary on the document claimed that priests still needed to ask permission from their bishops to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor also said that

Pope calls Christians to protect planet, says rich nations shouldn’t abuse resources of poor countries
VATICAN CITY, November 27, 2007—Benedict XVI says a “moral awakening” in favor of the environment is needed, and rich countries should not abuse the resources of developing nations. This exhortation forms part of the message sent in the Pope’s name by Archbishop Fernando Filoni, “sostituto” of the Vatican Secretariat of State, to the 92nd Social Weeks of France, celebrated in and around Paris from Nov. 16 to 18. The pontifical message affirmed, “It is necessary to rejoice at the fact that our contemporaries recognize more and more the need for a lasting development in order to leave to future generations a truly inhabitable planet, in the perspective offered by the Creator.” The text voiced fears of men and women of today, such as “exhausting the resources of the planet, the rapid thawing of the glaciers, the increase of the greenhouse effect, the increase of natural disasters, excessive emission of carbon dioxide.” “These are some of the warning signs that call for a moral awakening in favor of the earth,” the Pope asserted. “Once again, poorer countries will have to suffer the most serious consequences provoked by the attitude of the industrialized world and the trust—sometimes excessive—in scientific and technical progress.” Benedict XVI said that God gave man his Spirit so that, with the use of reason, humans may design projects “oriented toward permitting a better distribution of the natural resources and of the goods of the earth,” including a restrained use of forests and biological reserves. “The richest nations are called not to abuse improperly the resources of the developing countries without returning to them the revenue derived from the resources of their land and underground,” he affirmed. “It is a matter of the elemental principles of justice and equity and the universal destination of the goods of the earth. Besides, it is a work system about which it is necessary to reflect.” The Pope asked that each Christian “adopt new behaviors in order to serve as guardians of nature and the environment. Human intelligence has many possibilities for stimulating a new, lasting development.”


Moral revolution

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

THE call for moral revolution is nothing new, says the CBCP President. But the resolve is. He says, “As a response to the state of moral bankruptcy in public life, of probably irremediable loss of credibility and trust, a call has been made for ‘moral revolution’. If only to stop our country from continuing to become a ‘social volcano’ (Heaven help us!), we support the ideal of a ‘moral revolution’—moral transformation, moral renewal, moral reform. The CBCP has proposed it before in many ways through the years.” But of course the Filipino is generally moral. Here and abroad, the Pinoy exudes the values of goodness in a much better degree than his global contemporaries. What is verging on moral bankruptcy, if not indeed has already fallen headlong, is Philippine politics—which is the art of governance and public service. Sadly, politics in this country has degenerated into a convenient arena of graft and corruption. The system of governance is so made up through and through with opportunities for corruption, influence-peddling, buyout of personal or institutional loyalties and the indiscriminate use of public funds for partisan or personal purposes. If we are what we are today, says an earlier CBCP statement—a country with a very great number of poor and powerless people—one reason is the way we have allowed politics to be debased and prostituted to the low level it is now. While public office is a public trust that is meant for the good of civil society, politicians look at it as a means of enrichment and a source of influence and power for self and family enlargement. It has become customary for public office to be considered and treated as some sort of private property to be passed on from one generation to another in the manner of “family dynasties” where distinctions are not made between public funds and family or private resources. Immediately, one shoots the question: why should this be so in a nation where the vast majority of the people are Catholics and Christians? Strangely enough, Philippine politics is largely impervious to the Gospel—it denies, to everybody’s shame, the proud claim to the name Christian. The call for moral revolution is a tall order, indeed. But it is in order. The immorality of contemporary governance has bludgeoned into endemic and cultural proportions to invite a deeper and more massive revolution—indeed more radical than the euphoric past EDSAs. The tall order is to unite in a common resolve to clean up and to renew the most harmful aspect of national life— today’s kind of politics. “Let us do it,” says CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. “To start this moral revolution, I must cease to be dishonest, unjust and unfair to my fellow Filipinos. I will tell and act on the truth that I confess or affirm. I will return what I have unjustly and deceitfully acquired. Only then can I ask pardon from God and the people I have wronged.” And, come to think of it, this is the moral fiber from which reconciliations, which is the unceasing call of the present dispensation though gaily unheeded, are made of.

Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD

IN the workshops, during the last Mindano-Sulu Pastoral Conference XIII held in Surigao City last October 22-26, two strands coming from the recommendations of the delegates on restoring moral values through the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) were the following: 1) “Restoring moral values through sustained gradated integral faith formation among BECs (addressing concerns on family, environment, good governance…etc”). 2) “Developing a spirituality of BEC that gives focus on Simplicity, Truthfulness and Honesty (witnessing the life of Christ).” Surely, the foregoing recommendations seek the attainment of a mature faith and adult faith that give a strong and clear witness to Christian living that shall be a “light to the world and the salt of the earth.” With such kind of faith, every individual Christian and Christian community will become an effective transformative agent able and willing to contribute in turning around the tide of moral deterioration in all levels of Philippine society. The late John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (2001) dwelt on the pastoral revitalization the Church needs to undertake in the third millennium which he himself said needs pastoral planning. First and foremost among these pastoral priority is on holiness. Reflecting on holiness, he brings up this conviction about baptism. “Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through the incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit. It would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity.” And he continued to say, “It is high time to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Chris-

Restoring the postbaptismal catechumenate
It is clear to me that the above described itinerary of Christian initiation for adults preparing for baptism which the catechumenate provides, can serve as a model for the re-initiation of our adult Catholics. The catechumenate can also become a model for the post-baptismal catechumenate of baptized infants and children. Is this not perhaps something that local churches in Mindanao-Sulu should seriously consider as they seek to plan out the pastoral initiatives necessary to attain the integral spirituality and moral ascendancy of BECs? Earlier, I recalled that the late John Paul II made specific reference of new forms of assistance towards holiness which have been offered by “associations and movements recognized by the Church.” Many times, these new associations and movements have not been received well enough by local Churches despite the official declarations to precisely welcome, encourage, support these new realities in the Church (PCP II, 612) because they have been raised up by the Holy Spirit to renew the local Church. (PCP II, 611) One such group, among others, present in Daditama, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Basilan, Marawi, that is really worth looking into are the Neo Catechumenal Communities. I personally, have welcomed them in the Diocese of Digos. I am convinced, after having been able to journey with them, that we have much that we can learn and possibly adapt from them that would be most useful for our BECs. They too have much to offer our adult faithful towards maturing in faith. Other ecclesial communities and movements recognized by the Church, I am sure are also gifts to the Church. This is precisely why John Paul II tells us to welcome and integrate their support.

A call to respect and defend life
AT this point in the history of our country it is crucial that people motivated by religious faith develop a deep appreciation for the fragility of our islands’ life-systems and take steps to defend the Earth. It is a matter of life and death. We are aware of this threat to life when it comes to nuclear weapons. We know that a nuclear war would turn the whole earth into a fireball and render the planet inhospitable to life. We tend to forget that the constant, cumulative destruction of life-forms and different habitats will, in the long term, have the same effect. Faced with these challenges, where the future of life is at stake, Christian men and women are called to take a stand on the side of life. We, the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines, ask Christians and all people of goodwill in the country to reflect with us on the beauty of the Philippine land and seas which nourish and sustain our lives. As we thank God for the many ways He has gifted our land we must also resolve to cherish and protect what remains of this bounty for this and future generations of Filipinos. We are well aware that, for the vast majority of Filipinos, the scars on nature, which increasingly we see all around us, mean less nutritious food, poorer health and an uncertain future. This will inevitably lead to an increase in political and social unrest.
(What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land: A Pastoral Letter on Ecology, 1988)

tian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction.” (NMI, 31) How can we form ordinary Christians towards this “high standard of ordinary Christian living”? In the same chapter, the late John Paul II tells us of the necessary program to follow in the pursuit of holiness. He says, “training in holiness” must integrate the resources offered to everyone with both the traditional forms of individual and group assistance as well as the more recent forms of support offered in associations and movements recognized by the Church.” (NMI, 31) He speaks, therefore, of reclaiming and rediscovering the traditional helps to spiritual development as well as taking cognizance of the new forms of support that the new ecclesial movements and communities offer to the Church and have undoubtedly born much fruit in a vibrant living of communion and mission in the Church. The foregoing considerations led me to revisit and reconsider closely the Vatican II mandated restoration of the Catechumenate for adults (SC 64-66, AG 14) as a pastoral model towards attaining the much needed moral revolution. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the process of becoming a Christian as a “journey and initiation in several stages” (#1229). The first centuries of the Church saw the practice of the long period of the catechumenate for adults (#1230). But when infant baptism becomes the usual practice, this would require the postbaptismal catechumenate. (#1231) In #1612 of the Catechism for Filipino Catholics, it says that the catechumenate is “a dynamic process of Christian faith formation which involves the whole community in a variety of ministries that focus on the Word of God and dominant Christian symbols.

Update on the National Rural Congress
AT the beginning of this year during our CBCP Plenary Assembly, we issued a pastoral statement on “The Dignity of the Rural Poor,” which called for a National Rural Congress to commemorate the first one held forty years ago in 1967. In July 2007, the organizational structure and process for NRC II were approved by our Plenary Assembly. Two parallel secretariats were set up for local consultations at the diocesan and sub-regional levels. The Media and Research Offices were also activated to help the NRC Executive Committee. To give more time for preparations, the timetable of the NRC phases has been moved. Phase One consisting of local consultations will take place mostly in January–March 2008. Phase Two which consists of the national-level congress (or congresses in four clusters) is being planned to take place some time in May or July 2008. Here are the recent developments:

Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD

Pastoral Companion
ocesan and sub-regional consultations will have to depend on local resources in case outside support is lacking. 7) In line with our consultations on agrarian reform and rural poverty, NRC Execom members (Bishop Pabillo and myself) have been following up with DAR and Malacañang current land issues raised by PARRDS, UNORKA, and the Sumilao farmers. (The Higaonon Sumilao farmers are currently on a long march from Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, to Manila to reclaim the land denied them more than a decade ago under a land conversion scheme that was never carried out.) 8)Members of the CBCP Permanent Council (incoming and outgoing) and all other bishops are invited to a special forum on “Agrarian Reform and the Church: A CARP Briefing and Reflections.” This will be held on Nov. 28 at 1:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Pius XII Center, U.N. Avenue, Manila.
Much interest has been generated in NRC II from church circles and the general public, including government agencies. Any further inquiries can be coursed through any of the two NRC secretariats, or the CBCP secretariat or the NRC II website.

ISSN 1908-2940

CBCP Monitor
P r o ta g o n i s t of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace

Pedro C. Quitorio

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate Editor

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Feature Editor

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Managing Editor

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Marketing Supervisor

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On-Line Editor

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Layout by Denz Dayao

The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business of fices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. Email: cbcpmonitor@cbcpworld.net Website: www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor

1) The ad intra secretariat (NASSA/BEC/ ECIP) has already distributed a standard format for the diocesan consultations on the role of BECs in rural development. This will be further explained at the National Social Action General Assembly in Roxas City on Nov. 28-30.

2) The ad extra secretariat (PMP/AMRSP/ RPS) has finalized its schedule of 13 subregional consultations on rural issues. The ZAMBASULI sub-region will have its consultation in mid-November while the rest will take place during the first quarter of 2008. 3) The CBCP Research Office has convened two meetings of research institutes on rural poverty issues. On Oct. 12th, four government agencies (DAR, DA, DENR, and NAPC) were also invited to share their research findings on agrarian reform and rural development. 4) A working group has met twice at the Loyola School of Theology to help prepare a summary of the Social Teachings of the Church for reference in the NRC consultations. Other groups have also taken the initiative of compiling a summary of CST principles. 5) The CBCP Media office has been working out plans for the wider dissemination of NRC proceedings. A website on the internet has recently been installed to share available research findings and NRC updates. The website is: www.cbcponline.net/nrc2 6) Ongoing efforts are being made to access funding for NRC activities. However, in the spirit of self-reliance, the di-

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

Intensifying Pro-life in parish programs
is dead or alive.” It is hard to imagine how many men are harboring so much negative spirit because healing has not begun in their life—men who are the source of so much violence and destruction in our society now. Project Elizabeth—with Mary who visited her cousin Elizabeth, both of them pregnant, these volunteers teach sexuality and fertility in the context of Christian values and not for population control. These dedicated women, and some men, go to the rural and urban poor areas with their visual aids, charts, pencil and paper to encourage our couples to live the natural family planning way and avoid artificial contraception or ligation. Project Jacob—is for responsible fatherhood. We pray for more men to rise up to their promises made on their wedding day and be shining examples of manhood to the young boys surrounded by many temptations towards pornography, sexual addictions, drug and alcohol abuse, laziness and irresponsibility. And finally, Project Joshua – the Prayer Warriors. Joshua is Hebrew for Jesus, Savior. All who have attended our Pro-life seminars know by now who “Baby Joshua” is. This is the name we have given to the model of a three monthold fetus we use to demonstrate that the unborn baby is not just a mass of blood and tissue but fully formed at that stage. We then invite everybody to pray for a baby in danger of abortion. I am sure we have saved thousands of babies and mothers from abortion because of our “Spiritual Prayer of Adoption for the Unborn”. There is room for everyone in the pro-life movement. All can participate in their own way—speaker, counselor, researcher, writer, organizer of seminars, service crew during seminars, donor or benefactor, subscriber to the pro-life magazine, or prayer warrior—YOU are needed. Please get involved and stop this senseless killing of our babies, destruction of the moral values of our youth, and the breaking up of our families. To join or to invite Pro-life to your parish, diocese or school, contact our office at (632)9112911 or my cellphone 0920-945-5494.

Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
DO you know that many years ago, there was an Episcopal Commission on Pro-life separate from the Commission on Family and Life? That was about three decades ago, and the only bishop I recall who chaired it was Bishop Qurexeta of Jolo. I don’t know why that commission on pro-life was stopped. All I can remember is that when the Chair of ECFL, Bishop Jesus Varela, was about to retire, his commission was changed to Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, with Archbishop Paciano Aniceto as the present Chair. In the meantime, a new commission was formed— the Episcopal Commission on Bioethics, right now being headed by Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos. Although Pro-life Philippines is an interfaith, non-government organization, I am often invited to help in the training of diocesan and parish family and life workers. We are recognized as a resource organization for books, video tapes, training manuals and brochures on issues involving respect and care for life from conception to natural death. We are at the forefront in the lobby to stop the legalization of abortion, contraception, euthanasia, divorce and homosexual unions. Lately, we have had to confront the aggressive implementation of the so-called “safe sex” programs in schools that teach the youth to use contraceptives and different ways of engaging in sexual pleasure to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases—a deliberate lie. Our staff and volunteers are engaged in various pro-life programs under these Biblical names: Project Gabriel—those who “announce the good news of love, life, marriage, family, sexuality and fertility. These are through forums, conferences, training seminars, the radio, television, the internet and even the cell phones. Project Michael—those who “defend us in battle” against Satan and his devils who are promoting destruction of Life and Family through senate and house bills, local government ordinances and policies, private organizations and international funding agencies for abortion, contraception and euthanasia.

Tidbits Marriage tribunal, the judge, and the cross
LODGED in the center of the Church matrimonial court is the judge. Off hand one may portray him as a cold individual, withdrawn, stern, detached, unyielding. For after all, he is sworn to ferret the truth out of conflicting issues and to hand down objective judgment among the contending parties. So, he must be a serious individual, forbidding in stature. But that is an unfair picture of the most important person in the ecclesiastical court of justice. For if it is true to aver that the judge must be impartial and fair, it is as well true to say that any good judge worth his salt must be humane, possessing that sensitivity of a person who understands well what it is to be human and therefore has a good grasp of how fallen human nature expresses itself in its behavior. Deciding what justice, mercy and compassion demand is the primary work of the judge. It is no easy task, rarely pleasant, to have to pass judgment on issues wherein the interests of one must give way to the rights of another. And yet that is the burden placed on the shoulder of those who exercise judicial power in the Church. It is a burden that should be felt no less in marriage cases than in other judicial or extra-judicial matters a tribunal is asked to address. Indeed, in marriage cases the burden should be felt even more intensely, as here people’s lives and their faith are affected in powerful ways. The judge cannot set aside his responsibility to judge, to choose, to balance, solely because he is afraid that his decisions might adversely affect the lives of those who come to the Church tribunal for answers. In law, the judge has to be faithful to the canonical procedures. This is a modus operandi demanded from one who exercises the judicial power, a series of activities that is to be carried out by the judge in accordance with the procedures laid down by the legislator. They are not arbitrary rulings or mere formalisms, but the fruit of proven experience that will shield him from subjective acts or decisions prejudicial to the parties involved. On the other hand, in his struggle to reach a fair judgment in concrete cases as he faithfully observes the rigor and demands of procedural law, he is at the same time asked to dig deep into his core, touching base with his wisdom born from continuous study of the law and his vast experience. After all he is dealing with the complexity of human persons who are breathing realities with feelings and all. For that he should ever be aware that each concrete case demands a treatment that goes beyond the mere interpretation of the law or its rigid application. Process presupposes a judge who meticulously weighs all circumstances of the case and reaches a decision that is just in the concrete case. It is a mental act, subjective in essence, but in the assessment of the concrete case it takes equity foremost in the mind. This truly is an act of a wise man. The judge is therefore placed in a delicate task of mediating between the canonical system and persons submitted to its action; between the majesty of the law and the concrete individuals who are contending that their rights be granted; between the matrimonial bond that is defined by law as indissoluble and the spouses who contest that from the start there was no such bond. A grave task it is for any judge. But Mother Church comes to his help. She proposes that he should consider well the personalist objective as presented by John Paul II in his Address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, 27 January 1997. Here, the Holy Father observed that the Second Vatican Council’s vision of marriage and family contains personalist aspects. As this view of marriage has entered in the codification of 1983 Code of Canon Law, the Holy Father has been asking what would be the juridical consequences that would necessarily flow from these personalist aspects of marriage and family. His answer is to place the persons at the center of the civility of love. For him this approach will not exclude the law. In fact “it demands it, leading to a rediscovery of law as an interpersonal reality and to a vision of juridical institutions that highlights their constitutive link with persons themselves, which is so essential in the case of marriage and the family” (Address of John Paul II, 27 January 1997, 3). It means that correct interpretation of the law and its application can only happen when the person involved is considered in all his/her reality and duly appreciated. Law is an interpersonal reality; juridical institutions demand the constitutive link with persons themselves. Hence, there is no conflict between law and the interpersonal aspects of marriage. Take for instance the “relations between the spouses, in fact, like those between parents and children, are constitutively relations of justice, and for that reason have in themselves juridical significance. Married and parent-child love is not merely an instinctive inclination, nor an arbitrary and reversible choice, but is rather a love that is due” (op. cit.). In the same breath the judge, assuming a personalist approach in handling matrimonial cases, should also be aware that making decisions about other people’s lives is to take up a heavy cross. We cannot avoid this burden by removing from the judicial processes those parts which are particularly difficult and those instances where our decisions are likely to be unpopular or unpleasant to the parties in question. To lay down this cross, that is, to attempt to avoid the pain that attends the decision making process is to remove from our deliberations, from the workings of our tribunals, the very thing that makes all that we do human and holy. It is to remove the very thing that connects us with the people we are serving. On the other hand, to bear this cross must lead to some suffering on the part of the judge who helps in making decisions about people’s lives. But this cross also leads to a recapturing of the life and excitement that comes from the working with the law and the facts, and with the human experience grounding those facts. This cross illuminates the dignity in the judge’s work.

Project Veronica—in the spirit of St. Veronica who wiped the bleeding face of Jesus on the road to Calvary, are the counselors who see the face of Jesus in the wounded and distressed girls, women and men seeking guidance and referrals through our telephone hotlines or in our crisis centers. They also go to the maternity wards in hospitals to bring God’s forgiveness and healing to those who have just aborted or lost their babies in miscarriages or still birth. Project Rachel members are the women who have experienced abortion, contraception or sterilization. They have reconciled themselves to their babies and to God, and are now ready to volunteer for pro-life activities. They are excellent counselors to pregnant women contemplating abortion. They accompany women who have just aborted to the Tomb for Aborted Babies in La Loma and encourage them to go to confession and have Mass offered for their baby. Many of them bravely speak out in conferences and radio programs to express their regret that they were not properly advised at the time they were in crisis, having made the wrong decision to abort, and having to go through many years of depression, guilt, anger, and other dysfunctions. They meet regularly, praying especially the Rosary for Life to stop all abortion. Project Raphael—on the other hand, are the men involved in the abortion, contraception, sterilization (of themselves or of their wife), domestic violence or sexual abuse. Angel Raphael, who cured the blind Tobias, is their patron. These men have come to realize that in an abortion, they surrender their role as provider and protector of the most vulnerable person that God has given them—their own son or daughter. Many of them, like the Rachels, also undergo post abortion trauma— turning to more violence, anger, distrust of women, or to homosexuality in order to avoid responsibility for their sexual exploits. But unlike Project Rachel, this Project Raphael does not have many members yet. Most men are in denial of the severe effects of abortion in their life. And so we challenge them with these words—”A father is a father, whether the baby

Jose B. Lugay

Kidney transplant— magnet for medical tourism
“RP hosts international medical tourism meet in November” (M.B., Oct. 5, 2007)—This news headline bannered the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) drive to corner $2 billion worth of earnings per year from the various services offered in its emerging medical tourism industry. This is a $20 billion worth of offshore healthcare services offered by Asian Countries like Thailand, India and Singapore to clients in industrialized countries who pay as much as ten times what they would pay in these countries. Filipino doctors, who are trained specialists in the best medical schools in the U.S. and U.K. are recognized internationally for their skills – from simple non-invasive medical procedures and other post treatment recovery to the most complicated vascular and transplant surgery – organ transplant, bone marrow and stem cell transplant. Realizing that our competitors India and Thailand were much ahead in experience, the DOT’s strategy is to “focus on key services which we are exceptionally good at”. Former Trade Secretary Rizalino S. Navarro added further that “the Philippines may still be lagging in terms of invasive medical procedures such as heart by-pass surgery and kidney transplants, given the limited appropriation for health care services.” Mr. Navarro is not updated. The National Kidney and Transplant Institute has a record of 99% + success rate in kidney transplantation and this is recognized by the countries who have sent their patients here like Israel, Australia, Canada, United Arab Republic, etc. However, the number of foreign kidney transplant patients has been limited only to 10% since the balance of 90% should be donated to Filipinos according to the guidelines of the National Ethics Committee. With the holding of the International Medical Tourism Conference here in Manila (November 21 to 23), promoter agencies for clients in the U.S., Canada, South Korea, KSA and Gulf States (UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar) Australia, Germany, etc., were DOT— sponsored guests with subsidized air-fare and hotel accommodations and free sampling of body massage in wellness spas. While the promoter agencies earn much from tourists patronizing Manila’s wellness spas and its brand of “Filipino hilot”, and from plastic surgery and eye laser treatments in about 100 medical clinics in Metro Manila, the promoter agencies want to earn more, much more! Their target is the 10 to 15% commission that they would earn from kidney transplantation about $4,000 per transplant patient. With the connivance of doctors and middlemen, living non-related donors (LNRD) had been exploited from the poor communities around Rizal Park, Bacoor, Baseco, Novaliches, Addition Hills, Batasan, etc. With Philippine media’s exposure, the Department of Health (DOH), in 2002, established the Philippine Organ Donation Program (PODP). This defined the process of how living volunteer donors may be accepted as kidney donors. The Administration Order created a National Ethics Committee on living organ donors and an accreditation body to approve hospitals where transplantation surgery may be performed. The Order also stipulates that foreign patients may be allowed to receive kidneys from Filipino patients but limited to not more than 10% of the total transplants performed in a particular institution, and only if a Filipino recipient is not available. This was written when medical tourism was not yet known. Now the “business-minded” hospitals are questioning what is the basis of the 10% limit. The DOH has stated strongly that “All health and health-related facilities and professionals shall not allow the trade of kidney vendors. Violators shall be penalized through cancellation of licenses and other sanctions.” Without the medical tour-

Laiko Lampstand
ism drive, it was difficult for each hospital with “conscience” to ward off the temptation to earn millions out of kidney transplantation on foreigners. With the present medical tourism drive, the temptation becomes more difficult to resist. After all, the DOH can not just revoke a hospital’s license without an outcry from all the other patients who will lose needed medical services for them. We quote an article entitled “ORGAN (KIDNEYS) FOR A FEE OR FOR FREE:” “For a vendor, the income (from donating a kidney) may open a chance to improve life. Of the 237 in our survey, 120 thought that financial need was a good reason to sell; 69 claimed they themselves would sell if they have no other option to raise money for their needs. Of the 10 original donors at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) Program, 4 retracted consent when they found a job. Where wealth and general opportunity, is drastically unequal, the poor with little or nothing else to depend on, are anxious to sell. It appears heartless to remove this option and make their range of options even less and their position worse.” “According to the 12 vendors interviewed, two used the money to help a sick relative, four started a business (taxi, tricycle, billiard hall, sari-sari store), one built a house and one paid a debt. Still it is acknowledged that many of the poor are ignorant of how to invest money or they are saddled by poor values and bad habits... A volunteer may be psychologically, spiritually or financially harmed if prevented from donating especially if he sees good reason for doing so.” The regulation to prevent the sale of kidneys is there. The implementation is difficult. If DOH is in a quandary what to do, may be it is time for the Church to intervene in this looming embarrassing national problem—that is, the Philippines will become the kidney market of the world!

Melo M. Acuña

Issues and Concerns
THERE’S no doubt able-bodied and strongwilled Filipinos would seek greener pastures elsewhere. Of course, there would be the benefits of overseas employment, say in Italy, where I dropped by almost a month ago. One wouldn’t feel alone for there would always be company during days off. There would always be associations such as Bicolnon, prayer communities including El Shaddai and fraternities such as the Alpha Phi Omega with Brigg Birjuega in Milan and other European countries. During this writer’s limited stay in Italy, I had the chance to see the Philippine Consulate in Milan and the Embassies of the Republic of the Philippines in Rome and the Holy See. These embassies do represent Philippine government and authorities. They can be considered the Filipinos’ homes away from home. They do seek refuge in embassies when Filipi-


A home away from home
Philippe J. Lhuillier (reported to be out of his post most of the time). It is at the Philippine Embassy in Rome that I saw the Philippine flag hanging from a wire though tied to a pole, which every Boy Scout knows and would never allow. Any businessman who may be interested in doing business with the Philippines may not feel the warmth of our famous hospitality should he opt to drop by the Philippine Embassy in Rome. This writer does not subscribe to feng shui but such an arrangement or office layout would deter better diplomatic or business relations. A Filipina who came from Florence was tearyeyed when employees began serving her and other clients at 10:30 A.M. instead of the regular and prescribed office hours at 9:00 A.M. Courtesy is expected from Philippine embassy employees. However, for one or two or more reasons, this Filipino swore she was not ac-

nos run away from cruel employers as in embassies situated in the Middle East. Filipinos look upon embassies as their sanctuaries, where they would feel safe and cared for. It is in these embassies that Filipinos renew their passports. It is in the embassies where they seek consular assistance. Our ambassadors are expected to be in their assigned posts most of the time, unless they’re summoned back home for consultations or brief vacations. From November 5 to 8, this writer regularly shuttled between our embassies in Rome and the Holy See (Vatican). At the Philippine Embassy in Rome, an eerie feeling would greet Filipinos on their first visit. Instead of having a compatriot to greet you, one would see collection booths of PhilHealth, OWWA and other agencies even before one reaches consular windows. I never caught a glimpse of Ambassador

corded basic courtesies and prompt service. Maybe Ambassador Lhuillier’s absence could have led to such practices. This corner also learned there were no flag-raising ceremonies every Monday. This could probably explain why nobody cares for the tricolor. It’s pathetic! It is time for Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo to request his close friends and relatives abroad to visit Philippine embassies and consulates in cognito, just to find out how our ambassadors, consuls general and staff attend to diplomatic and consular concerns. It is in his powers to recommend to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to recall non-performing diplomats and replace them with career officials. These embassies are expected to assist the country’s newest heroes, our overseas Filipino workers. No wonder, Filipino migrants feel bad about some embassies and consulates. The Philippine Embassy to the Holy See under Ambassador Leonida L. Vera has a staff attending to Filipinos and foreigners on official and personal business. I noticed foreign religious women regularly drop by Ambassador Vera’s office for consular assistance. The Philippine Embassy to the Holy See is a stark contrast to Ambassador Lhuillier’s post. Filipinos ought to be welcome in their embassies. They have a right to legitimate services from our embassies and consuls because they’re Filipinos.


Local News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

Poverty ‘worsening’ in RP

Clemency to prisoners can’t be for political ends, says church group
THE Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights said that while they are not against pardoning convicts, granting such right should not be at the expense of political maneuvering. The church-based group made the statement in reaction to the recent release of Pablo Martinez, one of the convicted killers of the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. Fr. Joe Dizon, group convenor, urged Arroyo for transparency and made public the list of those who are candidates for pardon. He claimed the presidential pardon given to Martinez including that of former President Joseph Estrada was made for the administration’s political ends. “If it is really not a political maneuver, then it should produce a list of those prisoners, celebrated cases or not,” said Fr. Joe Dizon. The priest called on Arroyo to use her executive privilege in pardoning convicts not for her own “political inconvenience” but in serving the “interest of justice.” He said there are a lot of prisoners who are more qualified for pardon but remain languishing behind bars. The priest also added that the country’s system of granting pardon to convicts has been slowpaced for “common” inmates. “That is why it is not surprising that the Martinez pardon was seen as a political move from Malacañang instead of it being a humanitarian act,” Dizon said. An executive secretary of the CBCP prison commission earlier said that Martinez was pardoned so that the government could justify its decision for pardoning Estrada. This, according to Rodolfo Diamante, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, was to create only an impression Arroyo is standing by its policy in granting pardon to prisoners reaching the age of 70, “But the former president had never entered the jail whereas other people have been staying in prison for over 20 years already,” said Diamante. (Roy Lagarde)

A CATHOLIC Church official has warned that poverty in the country, particularly in rural areas, is getting worse. The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, said rural folks are losing the momentum to fight poverty and that they risk being overwhelmed by having no access to education and health services. He said that Filipinos don’t have to remain poor, but difficult decisions had to be made, to restart economic growth and make sure the benefits of that were more equally shared. Lagdameo made the comment recently

during a local consultation meeting in their archdiocese for the second national rural congress that the CBCP is organizing for next year. The meeting gathered around 200 leaders representing various organizations of farmers, fishermen, rural women, rural youth, indigenous peoples and basic ecclesiastical communities. “The main problems, including lack of housing, education and access to health services, have worsened,” said Lagdameo. It is shocking to hear of rural folk reaching only up to Grade IV because schools in their

areas do not offer higher grades According to the prelate, “these problems have persisted and even worsened despite the passing of laws, such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and those on indigenous peoples.” “We also hear of many villages without doctors and nurses and health centers that do not have medicines or ones with expired drugs,” he further lamented. “Poverty and lack of opportunities, especially in the countryside, are pushing many to migrate to the cities or abroad,” he said. (CBCPNews)

‘Ours is a religion of peace,’ Bishop Gutierrez
MARBEL Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said the appropriate response to violence is love, mercy and justice for Christianity is a religion of peace and never of violence. He said while the Old Testament espoused “an eye for an eye,” the New Testament challenges every faithful to do his share in nation-building. In an interview with Veritas 846, Bishop Gutierrez said he condemns the bombing at the House of Representatives last Tuesday night which caused the death of four persons including Basilan Congressman Wahab Akbar. He said people tend to react to incidents of this magnitude but have never been pro-active to prevent violent incidents. “We could have been pro-active and moved to prevent such an incident,” the prelate added. Gutierrez said everyone should do what he could to contribute to the common good. A person has to take care of himself physically and mentally, to internalize the Gospel values of truth, justice, love and freedom. Citing Pope John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris, Bishop Gutierrez said government officials should be sincere, not simply concerned with skin-deep and superficial programs complete with propaganda and slogans. “They should be sincere in improving the country’s situation, with special emphasis on poverty alleviation and the development of a civilization of love and peace,” he further said. Gutierrez said NASSA and the Department of Agriculture have already forged partnerships geared to develop the countryside for sustainable agriculture. “We’re simply getting down to work as we will launch this partnership nationwide by November 28 and 29 in Roxas City,” the prelate said. He said too much politics and politicians neglectful of their duties would bring the country and people nowhere. “Everyone has his own duty to perform as I call on everyone to reflect and think of things that could be done to help others,” Gutierrez concluded. (Melo Acuña)

Lagdameo: Moral transformation is a must
CBCP President and Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said that more than mere words moral transformation is vital if people have to feel the benefits of economic growth. “The call for moral transformation is imperative,” Archbishop Lagdameo said. Moral revolution is an important message of Advent, he added. He said that while everyone looks at Christmas as a season of joy, “we should also take the opportunity to reflect on the root causes of poverty and the needs of our brethren, especially those who need hope.” As Catholics, he said, “everyone should exert efforts to help not only our families but our communities.” He said it is most appropriate for everyone to take time and read the Bible, “at least a chapter a day” and reflect how we could contribute to lessen poverty in our society. Speaking over Catholic-run Veritas 846 , Archbishop Lagdameo said he knows different people with different beliefs can work together on how to resolve the country’s problems. He added what is important is everyone recognizes the existence of real social problems and do something to help change the situation. (Melo Acuña)

Basilan prelate seeks justice for death of lawmaker
STILL upset by the death of Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar, a Catholic prelate challenged the police to act forcefully on the blast that rocked Batasang Pambansa complex. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said police must double its efforts to bring justice to Akbar and all the other victims. “I appeal to the men in uniform to be honest and committed in solving crimes,” he said. Jumoad said the increasing number of unsolved crimes in the country will cause more public distrust to the law enforcers. He added that police authorities could bring back their credibility by showing commitment and dedication to their duties. “The government must have the teeth in solving crimes and prove that no one is above the law,” he said. Bishop Jumoad condemned the bombing incident and urged the authorities to expedite their probe, nab the killers and unmask the masterminds and bring them to justice. The prelate said the people of Basilan are mourning the lawmaker’s death. “We have a good relationship. Whenever he (Akbar) had problems, he would always ask my opinion,” said Jumoad. “He was a man of sincerity, courageous to his convictions, and approachable. We condole with his family and pray for a speedy solution of his killing,” he said. (Roy Lagarde)

‘Running priest’ goes on fasting anew
ACTIVIST priest Father Robert Reyes demonstrated his outrage against the Arroyo government through a “personal sacrifice.” Reyes, also known as the “running priest” for jogging in support of social causes, “fasted” on November 16 along with a militant group which he himself founded. His group set up a tent at the People Power Monument along EDSA from 3:00 p.m., until 4:00 p.m., of the next day. Kubol Pag-asa convenor Dr. Ruby Alcantara said the move was to protest several issues storming the Arroyo presidency. The group cited the “cash gift” controversy and alleged human rights violations committed under the Arroyo government as some of the issues, they said, people should deplore. “To combat abuse, we will employ the weapon of self-sacCBCP Commission / A1

Group light candles for House blast victims
AN interfaith group has paid tribute to all the victims of the deadly blast at the House of Representatives. Members of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) lit candles at St. Peter’s Church in Quezon City last Nov. 14, as they cry for justice for the victims of the explosion. They also called on for an independent probe, saying they don’t trust the ongoing police investigation. What has been more doubtful, they said, are the conflicting and “incredible” statements given by the authorities about the incident.
CBCP head / A1 Cruz / A1

The group said investigators should examine all possible angles beyond the police theory that Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar, one of the fatalities, was the main target of the bombing. “We cannot simply believe what they claim on the Batasan bombing,” the PCPR said. Before this, an explosion rocked the Glorietta 2 mall in Makati City last October 19, killing 11 lives and injured over 100 people but investigators declared it was an accident The Batasan and Glorietta blasts occurred while the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is facing clamors for a
CBCP to / A1

full-blown probe over allegations of corruption and bribery scams. “We warn Malacañang and its agencies against cooking a scenario towards a declaration of Pakistan-style emergency rule or whatever form of political repression on the pretext of these bombings,” they said. The group vowed that they will continue the fight in pursuing the truth, justice and accountability in all the unresolved issues under the Arroyo government. The PCPR is an organization composed of over 100 religious congregations from the Catholic Church and other Christian groups. (Roy Lagarde)
Holy / A1

rifice. To combat material greed, we will fast and go hungry. To thwart political noise, we will seek the core of silence,” said Alcantara. They also lamented the seeming “lack of outrage” with the “cynicism and helplessness” of many people to fight alleged irregularities in the government. This, according to Alcantara, has made many of those in power, “more brazen” and “without shame.” “We must nurture our passion for anger at these evils and wake ourselves from the slumber of complacency and hopelessness,” he also said. “We may not have instant results but those in power will sit up and take notice as we begin to fortify our inner spiritual forces together against the lies, and perversion of truth which they have foisted upon the nation,” he added. (CBCPNews)
Cardinals / A1

He said the country is no longer looking for a band-aid solution but a total solution that must be applied seriously. The Church, he said, is calling for character change because it is aware that there are values, which already have deteriorated and must be healed, revitalized or renewed. “We are consoled by the fact that some of our public officials and different sectors of civil society are seeing such a need for moral revolution,” Lagdameo said. “May this attitude prevail… may the number of good-willed people increase. Not only investigations one after another.” (Roy Lagarde)
TV / A1

“Media is the cutting edge of evangelization, in our day. It is the pulpit of our modern world,” he said. Behind TV Maria operations are auxiliary bishop of Manila Bernardino C. Cortez , president; Fr. James Reuter, vice-president; Msgr. Jose Clemente F. Ignacio Director and finance officer and Fr. Joselito L. Buenafe, Assistant director. (Santosh Digal)

not off the hook on the incident that claimed at least three lives and injured several others. “While everybody should be on the lookout, the government has the bigger responsibility of using its intelligence funds well and not for political purposes,” he said. Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, meanwhile, asked the public to avoid making speculations on the deadly explosion. He said it’s bad enough that some lives were lost, and making baseless accusations would only affect the ongoing investigation. “Making premature reactions can agitate actions. Until the truth comes out, everything remains to be just mere speculations,” he said. (CBCPNews)
Dev’t projects / A1

roads, water and electricity.” “They are now into multipronged approach and we have shared our observations with government authorities who were responsible enough to come up with relevant programs,” he further said. (Melo Acuña)

their respective areas. “The assembly hopes to give the 240 delegates the opportunity to share and learn from their experiences in jail and prison work,” he said. The meeting, he stressed, will also serve as an opportunity for participants to assess, recommit and evolve a plan for the prison ministry; and give theological and pastoral updating. The ECPPC also lined-up several activities for the threeday event. Jesuit priest Fr. Manoling Franciso will speak on the theme of the assembly while Sr. Hazel Suarez, R.C., will talk on Dialogic and Team Ministry. There will also be workshops on various topics including Restorative Justice, Caring for the Caregivers, Children in Conflict with the Law and International Instruments affecting the field of Corrections. The gathering will open with a Mass to be led by Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes. Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo, ECPPC chairman, will preside the concluding Mass. (CBCPNews)

cyclical by Pope Benedict XVI, will be presented on Friday, November 30th. The presentation of the document, the second of his pontificate after “Deus Caritas Est”, will be overseen by Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, and by Cardinal Albert Vanhoye S.J., professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. Yesterday the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, confirmed the stories that were published in the Italian press about the publication of the pontifical document. During an ecclesial event which took place Thursday, the cardinal indicated that the encyclical would be signed on November 30th, the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. “ Spe Salvi” was inspired by the letter of St. Paul to the Romans and will be about Christian hope. (CNA)

Aquino Jr. Rodolfo Diamante, CBCPECPPC executive secretary, said more prisoners also deserve to have that same privilege. “It should not only be Martinez that should be given the executive clemency because there are other prisoners who have been there for more than 20 years,” he said. “Regardless of age, those prisoners have suffered long in their stay there and in effect they have been rehabilitated so why do they have to suffer that long,” he said. Diamante believes that convicted criminals could still change if only they will be given that piece of chance to transform their lives. He said that the country has been criticized for having very long jail term punishment. “We should at least repair the damage caused by their incarceration by letting them out and start a new life also,” said Diamante. “If we can give it to very influential people then why should we deny it to these ordinary people,” he added. (CBCPNews)

- Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Peter’s in the V atican, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City and president of the Fabric of St. Peter’s. - Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. - Archbishop Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church. - Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente of Valencia, Spain. - Archbishop Sean Baptist Brady of Armagh, Ireland. - Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain. - Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, France. - Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, Italy. - Archbishop Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal. - Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India. - Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega of Monterrey, Mexico. - Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, U.S.A. - Archbishop Odilio Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo, Brazil. - Archbishop John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007



World Meetings of Families to encourage embattled family, says Cardinal Trujillo
VATICAN CITY, November 23, 2007—”World Family Day” is an opportunity to respond to the multiple attack against the family and encourage married Christian couples and bishops, this according to Alfonso Cardinal López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who hosted a meeting with reporters about the upcoming World Meetings of Families scheduled for January 16-19 in Mexico City, which the Pope wants to attend himself. The title of the gathering is The Family: Educator in Human and Christian Values. It will be preceded by a pastoral theological congress that should see some 20,000 delegates attend, said Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City. Work is already underway to choose topics, logo, hymn and organization, he noted, in the certainty that “that the future of our world and civilization depends on the family.” “Even though there has been no confirmation, let us hope that the Pope may make the pilgrimage to [Our Lady of] Guadalupe. There are his wish [to come] and the Mexican people’s desire to welcome him,” he added. Cardinal Trujillo also announced that the next assembly of his dicastery, set for the first week of April, will address the issue of grandparents’ role in the family. “The Pope recommended we think through the role they can play today,” he said. “To us it is something very important for passing on the faith.” First of all, World Meetings, said the current Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bologna Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, are “moments of great importance in the journey of the Church.” They are venues that “encourage bishops and married Christian couples, who need a lot of courage nowadays.” Secondly, “we bear witness.” This is important, “especially in the West where we are blurring what was obvious in the beginning like marriage between a man and woman.” Finally, we bear witness that the Church not only announce the Gospel but also uphold what is “good for marriage.” Antonio Cañizares Llovera, archbishop of Toledo and cardinal designate, warns against the dangers that loom over the family in Spain as a result of recent legislation like the divorce law which now allows the two parties to end their union without citing reasons. In Spain he said, “divorces have risen by 75 per cent and abortions by 90 per cent.” It is “the country in the world where the definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman has disappeared.” Nonetheless, after last year’s World Family Day during which the truth about the family was reasserted, believers have become more aware of the problems the family and couples preparing for a religious marriage are facing. (AsiaNews)

Alfonso Cardinal López Trujillo

Pontiff: Time has come to eliminate hunger
Addresses U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
mon good of humanity,” said the Pontiff. Speaking in English, the Holy Father highlighted “the relentless spread of poverty in a world that is also experiencing unprecedented prosperity, not only in the economic sphere but also in the rapidly developing fields of science and technology.” Obstacles such as “armed conflicts, outbreaks of disease, adverse atmospheric and environmental conditions and the massive forced displacement of peoples,” said the Pope, “should serve as a motivation to redouble our efforts to provide each person with his or her daily bread.” Benedict XVI continued, saying, “Today more than ever, the human family needs to find the tools and strategies capable of overcoming the conflicts caused by social differences, ethnic rivalries, and the gross disparity in levels of economic development.” and rights of the human person.” He added: “The united effort of the international community to eliminate malnutrition and promote genuine development necessarily calls for clear structures of management and supervision, and a realistic assessment of the resources needed to address a wide range of different situations. “It requires the contribution of every member of society—individuals, volunteer organizations, businesses, and local and national governments—always with due regard for those ethical and moral principles which are the common patrimony of all people and the foundation of all social life.”

New book responds to “Golden Compass”

Beyond progress
The Pontiff told the FAO delegates: “Technical progress, important as it is, is not everything. Progress must be placed within the wider context of the integral good of the human person. It must constantly draw nourishment from the common patrimony of values, which can inspire concrete initiatives aimed at a more equitable distribution of spiritual and material goods. “Religion, as a potent spiritual force for healing the wounds of conflict and division, has its own distinctive contribution to make in this regard, especially through the work of forming minds and hearts in accordance with a vision of the human person.” “FAO’s outstanding activity on behalf of development and food security clearly points to the correlation between the spread of poverty and the denial of basic human rights, beginning with the fundamental right to adequate nutrition,” the Pope concluded. “Peace, prosperity, and respect for human rights are inseparably linked.” (Zenit)

VATICAN CITY, November 22, 2007—The time has come to ensure, for the sake of peace, that no man, woman or child will ever be hungry again, says Benedict XVI. The Pope said this today when receiving in audience participants in the 34th general conference of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), headquartered in Rome. “All forms of discrimination, and particularly those that thwart agricultural development, must be rejected since they constitute a violation of the basic right of every person to be ‘free from hunger.’ These convictions are in fact demanded by the very nature of your work on behalf of the com-

Technical solutions
“For her part,” the Pope explained, “the Church is convinced that the quest for more effective technical solutions in an everchanging and expanding world calls for farsighted programs embodying enduring values grounded in the inalienable dignity

Jesuit who works with gang members named one of most caring Americans
WASHINGTON, USA, November 19, 2007—A priest known to former gang members in East Los Angeles as “G-Dog” was among five adults and six young people honored by the Washingtonbased Caring Institute as the most caring people in America for 2007. Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle, who founded Homeboy Industries in 1988 to provide “hope, not jail” for former gang members who want to turn their lives around, received one of the 2007 National Caring Awards at a Nov. 16 ceremony in Washington. As chairman of the institute’s board of trustees, former U.S. Sen. Robert J. Dole of Kansas, who was a Republican presidential candidate in 1996, described the 2007 winners as “wonderful role models and the very personification of caring.” Father Boyle’s programs help an estimated 1,000 young people from nearly 600 different gangs each month. Beginning with a jobs program and a bakery, Homeboy Industries now includes a cafe as well as businesses that offer silk-screening and home maintenance services and sell merchandise with the Homeboy logo. (CNS)

Fr. Gregory Boyle

HOLLYWOOD, USA, November 19, 2007—Both supporters and critics have described the upcoming children’s fantasy movie “The Golden Compass” as the “antiNarnia.” It is based on Philip Pullman’s controversial “His Dark Materials” trilogy, a series which has been criticized for promoting atheism to children and attacking Christianity. A new book has been published to assist concerned parents and readers everywhere in responding to Pullman’s vision. Titled “Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children’s Fantasy”, by Sandra Miesel and Peter Vere, the book examines the truth about Pullman and his books. It explores his beliefs about God, religion, Christianity, the Catholic Church, and atheism as well as how he tries to advance his opinions through his written work. The authors also explain Pullman’s strong disdain for

Christian fantasy writers like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, while comparing his work to that of other children’s and fantasy literature. The authors bring notable qualifications to their critique. Sandra Miesel, a co-author of the best-selling book “The Da Vinci Hoax”, has master’s degrees in both biochemistry and medieval history from the University of Illinois. A writer, critic, and editor of fiction, she has worked with many well-known fantasy and science fiction authors. Her co-author Peter Vere, a canon lawyer and Catholic journalist, has previously written about Pullman’s work for several publications, including The Washington Times and This Rock magazine. “Pied Piper of Atheism” will address the many objectionable aspects of Pullman’s books in a nonsensational, fair, but firm manner. (CNA)

Take the bus, urge Taiwan’s bishops
TAIPEI, Taiwan, November 27, 2007—Bishops in Taiwan are urging the faithful to make better use of public transportation and “go green” to safeguard the environment. In their pastoral letter from last Wednesday, the Social Development Commission of the Chinese Regional Bishops Conference in Taiwan said that at the beginning of 21st century, the spirit of reconciliation with nature has yet to be fully implemented, and the situation of the planet is worsening. The bishops said that Christians should act as good stewards to safeguard creation, reducing domestic waste, minimizing the use of water and electricity, and making better use of public transportation. They said that Catholics, as citizens, should actively care for the environment. The bishops advised the faithful not to be influenced by consumerism and the “fast food” culture. They criticized the search for unlimited economic development, citing it as a cause of pollution. The bishops’ appeal echoes repeated calls from Benedict XVI on protecting the environment. Most recently, in a letter sent to the 92nd Social Weeks of France, the Pope asked that each Christian “adopt new behaviors in order to serve as guardians of nature and the environment.” (Zenit)

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People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

International Film nd Critic to conduct 2 Film and Faith Seminar
IN the cinema industry, every successful film spawns a sequel. After its well-attended Film and Faith Seminar in January 2007, the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA) is organizing the return of Fr. Peter Malone, MSC, for “Film and Faith 2”. The two-day seminar, which will be held on January 12-13, 2008 at the Communication Foundation for Asia auditorium in Sta. Mesa, Manila, features Fr. Malone as resource person and lecturer on the use of contemporary film and faith for evangelization and values education. The objectives of Film and Faith 2 are: 1) to enrich pastoral work through a better understanding of contemporary film form and language; 2) to develop a critical appreciation of the use of film for reflection on moral and spiritual issues. The seminar will be based on the material from two of Fr. Malone’s latest books: Can Movies Be a Moral Compass? (2005) and Lights...Camera...Faith! The Ten Commandments (2006). Discussions are expected to focus on such topics as: Moral Values and the Spiritual Compass, Moral Dilemmas and the Ten Commandments, Sci-Fi and the Ethics of Modern Science, Movie Angels and Devils, the Heroic Legend, Priests as Heroes and Anti-Heroes. In his book Can Movies Be a Moral Compass, Fr Malone stressed the importance of film literacy and ministry today. “Millions are buying tickets to enjoy and reflect on films,” he said. “They signal an unequivocal message that an imagination trained in an audiovisual culture will need a different and new kind of evangelization, instruction or catechesis today.” Fr. Peter Malone is an Australian Missionary of the Sacred Heart, renowned media educator, published film critic and internationally-known speaker, as well as a consultant to CFA. He is an International Consultant to the Bishops’ Committee for Film in the Philippines and was President of the International Organization for the Cinema (OCIC) and SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication) until 2005. His vast knowledge of film lore and passion for media use in evangelization turned the first Film and Faith seminar at CFA into what many of the 116 participants considered to be a “memorable journey of faith”. There are also plans for another seminar with Fr. Malone in Cebu on January 15-16, which would

Fr. Peter Malone (center) discusses seminar plans with Terry Hermano, CFA Executive Director (left) and Fr. Fil Pelingon, CFA President (right).

reprise the contents of the first Film and Faith seminar held at CFA earlier this year. The topics would include The Jesus Films, Christ Figures and Symbols, and Mvies for Evangelization. The seminars are open to all

media educators, communication students and professionals, formators, catechists and the general film-loving public. Any interested participant may call the CFA Training Department at 7132972, 713-2732, 713-2981 loc 803

or send an e-mail to training@cfamedia.org or to cfamedia_training@yahoo.com. They may also check www.cfamedia.org for more information about CFA. (Aubrey Albo)

Talks on Christian formation series slated
A LECTURE aimed to deepen the faith formation of Catholics on the aspects of devotion and worship is slated on December 5 and 6 to be held at San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex of the San Carlos Seminary and San Beda College, Alabang, respectively. Now on its third series, the lecture will have Advent Recollection as topic, in time for the Church’s new liturgical season about to begin. Resource speakers for the lecture are Fr. Angelo S. Legal, OSB, Director of General Administrative and Services of San Beda College, Alabang and Dr. Josefina Manabat, SLD, Dean of Graduate School of Liturgy of San Beda College, Mendiola. The speakers will discuss the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle and expound on popular practices like the lighting of the Advent wreath and mounting of a Belen. Organizers hope to draw participants to understand more deeply “how the celebration of the Christmas mystery can be a transforming experience of Christ’s presence and action in our present history as it was in the past.” The seminar will conclude with a short advent prayer service. The lecture is organized by San Beda College, through its Office of Christian Formation, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Liturgical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila. Started in September this year the first lecture tackled the topic on the Blessed Virgin Mary. The second dwelt on the celebration of “Todos Los Santos.” Both lectures were given by Father Genaro Diwa of the Ministry of Liturgical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila and Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (CBCP). San Beda College Office of Christian Formation says the lecture series will go on till 2008. Already scheduled in its calendar are lectures on Sto. Niño slated in January and another one for the Lenten season. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

CBCP Vocations office to hold series of seminars
THE Directors of Vocations in the Philippines will hold a series of seminars aimed at enhancing the skills of vocation promoters in assisting potential candidates in discerning their true calling in life. A seminar on family relations in vocation promotion (Phase III) is slated on December 10-14, 2007 at St. Augustine Major Seminary in Tagaytay City. Covering various aspects, the seminar will discuss the content, nature and rationale of family relations in the context of vocation accompaniment. Likewise, it will tackle the profile and dynamics of members within a family system. The workshop will also explain to participants how to effectively guide the candidates in vocation discernment through interview and assessment of family dynamics. Another seminar, Phase IV of the series, is scheduled from January 14-18, 2008. To be held in the same venue, the seminar this time will deal on the topic of human sexuality in the vocation journey. (CBCPNews)

Social action directors to attend 34th NASAGA
SOCIAL action directors from various archdioceses, dioceses and prelatures will be attending the 34th National Social Action General Assembly (NASAGA) in Roxas City, November 27-30. Hosted by the Archdiocese of Capiz and Social Action Director Fr. Aris Pedrajas, this year’s theme is “Towards Environmental Justice, Peace Building and Political Transformation”. Marbel Bishop and outgoing Episcopal Commission on Social Action Chairman Dinualdo Gutierrez will talk about mining in the country while Dr. Mohhamad Musa, CARE Asia Regional Director will discuss the CARENASSA partnership. Manila Auxiliary Bishop and incoming ECSA Chairman Broderick S. Pabillo will talk about the “Theological Perspective of Environmental Justice, Peace Building and Political Transformation.” A turn-over ceremony will be held Wednesday at the Sta. Monica Parish. Aside from Bishops Gutierrez and Pabillo, Tandag Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar, Surigao Bishop Antonieto Cabajog, San Jose de Antique Bishop Romulo dela Cruz, Kalibo Bishop Jose Romeo O. Lazo, Malaybalay Bishop Honesto Ch. Pacana, S.J., Romblon Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc and Bacolod Bishop Vicente M. Navarra are expected to attend the assembly. NASSA Executive Secretary Sr. Rosanne B. Malillin, SPC will update the Social Action directors on existing programs. She will also present issues about climate change. A series of meetings of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action’s executive committee will be held during the four-day assembly. (Melo Acuña)

Markings Markings
CELEBRATED. 800 th Birth Anniversary of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Franciscan Saint; at a concelebrated Mass at Saint Anthony Shrine, Sampaloc, Manila, November 17, 2007. The Eucharistic Celebration was presided by Fr. Baltazar Obico, OFM Minister Provincial together with other OFM priests from the Shrine; Fr. Cielo Almazan, OFM, Rector of the Shrine; Fr. Arman Obal, OFM, SFO National Spiritual Assist ant; and Fr. Lito Salazar, OFM, FMU Director. Many members of the Secular Franciscan Order in Manila and from Nueva Viscaya, headed by the two SFIC Sisters as SFO Spiritual Assist ants, joined the said celebration. A procession followed right after the Mass attended by the Franciscans, other devotees and parishioners of the Shrine. All the activities were spearheaded by Bro. Antonio Maghirang, SFO National Minister together with the Worship Committee of Saint Anthony of Padua Shrine, Sampaloc, Manila. CULMINATED. CENTENNIAL CELEBRA TION OF THE CONGREGATIO IMMACULATI CORDIS MARIAE (CICM), November 28, 2007 in a solemn mass at the Manila Cathedral presided by CICM General Superior, Fr. Edward Tsimba. The CICM congregation in the Philippines opened its centennial celebration last year with the theme Remembrance and Revitalization, looking back with gratitude on the 100 years of the congregation’s missionary presence in the country. There are more than a hundred Filipino CICM at present, several of whom hold position of leadership in the Church, (Most Rev. Carlito Cenzon is the current bishop of Baguio while Most Rev. Prudencio Andaya is the Apostolic V icar of Tabuk); in the administration of the province and in the formation of younger members. To date, more than 60 Filipino CICM are working in missions abroad. They are all spread out in Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Senegal, Singapore, Taiwan, the USA and Zambia. CELEBRATING. SISTERS OF THE HOLY FAMILY OF NAZARETH, 25th anniversary of foundation in the Philippines; December 8, 2007. An international congregation founded in Rome, Italy in 1875 by Blessed Frances Siedliska, the congregation now has nearly 1,500 members with sisters serving in 13 countries. The first sisters arrived in the Archdiocese of Manila from the United States on December 9, 1982. The first house, which later on became the regional house, was established in Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City. Since then, the community has reached out in ministry to the Dioceses of Alaminos, Antipolo, Cubao, Parañaque, and Tagbilaran, to the Archdiocese of Lipa and to the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan. Their ministries include family ministry, education, pastoral care, health care, catechizing, campus ministry, childcare, parish and social work. Through their community life and ministries the sisters seek to extend the kingdom of God’s love among themselves and others, especially within families, by living the spirit of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, whose lives were centered in the love of God and one another. A Eucharistic liturgy will be celebrated at Santuario de San Jose, Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City on December 8. CELEBRATING. MOST REV. BRODERICK S. PABILLO, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila, 25th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination; December 8, 2007. A native of Negros Oriental, Bishop Pabillo was trained early on by the Salesians of Don Bosco. He did his seminary training at Don Bosco Seminary in Laguna, studied Theology at the University of Sto. Tomas; and was ordained priest on December 8, 1982. He went for his Post Graduate studies at the Biblicum in Rome and in 1986, obtained his Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures. He was immediately assigned as part of the seminary staff of Don Bosco Seminary College after his ordination. His pastoral ministries include being Assistant Parish Priest of San Ildefonso Parish in Bangkal, Makati from 1986-1988; Procurator and Professor of Salesian Theologate in Parañaque from 1988-1996; Rector of Salesian Theologate in Parañaque from 1996-1999; and Parish Priest of St. Ezequiel Moreno Parish, Macarascas, Puerto Princesa City from 1999 until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Manila in May 24, 2006. ORDAINED. REV. MARVIN TABION, REV. RANDY DOROMAL AND REV. RAFAEL LUIS CLAVEL, to the Order of Presbyters at our Lady of the Candles Parish, St. Elizabeth Metropolitan Cathedral, Iloilo, November 5, 2007.

Pink Sisters to hold 20 th Eucharistic Congress
A CONGRESS on the Eucharist centered on the theme “Reflection on the Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father: Sacramentum Caritatis” is slated on December 1 at the Convent of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (Pink Sisters) in New Manila, Quezon City. The whole-day Eucharistic Congress, already in its 20 th year, is organized by the Eucharistic Adorer’s League, headed by Mrs. Monalisa Lacanlale and the Pink Sisters. Distinguished speakers will expound on the theme of the day. In the morning, Fr. Apolinario Ty, SSS will talk about “The Eucharist, A Mystery to be Celebrated, while Fr. Luis Nicasio, SVD will dwell on “The Eucharist, A Mystery to be Believed.” Steeped in prayerful atmosphere, the whole-day congress will have time for the Liturgy of the hours as well as prayers and reflections. In the afternoon, Fr. Raul Caga, SVD with the Arnoldus Company will lead the participants in prayers and songs before the Blessed Sacrament. The final talk will be given by Bishop Pablo David, of the archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, who will speak on “The Eucharist, A Mystery to be Lived.” The whole-day affair will conclude with a mass to be presided by Bishop Pablo David. The Pink Sisters said the congress on the Eucharist had been initiated 20 years ago to spread the devotion to the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Love. Since last year’s congress the Sisters started to hand over certificate of recognition to the people who have rendered selfless service to the community. This year, awards will be given to three people in appreciation for their services provided to the community through the years: Dr. Benito Purugganan, a surgeon; Ms. Resurreccion Morillo, a music teacher, who has been servicing the community for 21 years; and Dr. Angela Garcia, an acupuncturist . (CBCPNews)

Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, receives a token from CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo during the testimonial dinner tendered in his honor by the CBCP Permanent Council at the CBCP Headquarters in Intramuros on November 26, 2007.

© Denz Dayao / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24 B2 Updates
The season of Advent
November 26 - December 9, 2007

B4 Commissions
CBCP COmmission on Women: A decade later

B5 Statements

‘Your task is a silent and deep commitment to evangelization’

B6 Reflections
Somebody in the eyes of God

B7 Social Concern
Love to feed, feed to love

B3 Diocese

Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan

Pastoral Concerns


Mother of Life Center 40 years and moving on, in the Spirit! 40 years and moving on, in the Spirit!
By Maria Isabel T. Araña
THE Mother of Life Center (MOL), a formation center for religious educators/catechists, celebrates forty years in the service of the Church this year with the convention theme Becoming Friends of the Spirit. The choice of the theme was inspired by the life and teaching of Fr. Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus (Henri Grialou), Carmelite, who died 40 years ago, barely three months before MOL opened in 1967. Fr. Marie-Eugène, author of the spiritual masterpiece I Want to See God, Where the Spirit Breathes, and Under the Torrent of His Love: Therese of Lisieux, A Spiritual Genius, among others, is the founder of Notre Dame de Vie (NDV) Secular Institute. He is the visionary behind the establishment of Mother of Life Center, founded by Ms. Mathilde Beckers, together with some of the first NDV members in the Philippines. To mark this milestone year, MOL held three regional conventions for its alumni, better known as MOLians, starting in Luzon at the Center in Novaliches, Quezon City, on April 23-25, which was attended even by MOLians based abroad and elsewhere in the country. Next, on May 23-25, the MOL staff flew and met with Mindanao MOLians at the Carmelite Retreat House in Malaubang, Ozamiz City. Lastly, on October 27-29, the St. Elizabeth Retreat House in Tigbao, Tacloban City, played host to the Visayas MOLians (together with a few from Luzon and Mindanao), who readily savored the truly ‘delectable’ Leyteño hospitality. What better way to observe this 40th year, than with a set of sessions on Fr. Marie-Eugène, who called the Spirit his Friend? In all three regional conventions, NDV members from the three branches (Lay Men, Women and Priests) shared on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the prophetic NDV founder, on proclaiming the Good News in the light of his teachings and, finally, a challenge to MOLians to walk in the Spirit as Mary, Mother of Life, did. In a spirit of camaraderie and fraternal joy, MOLians gathered with old (literally and figuratively!) classmates, recalled cherished MOL memories, reunited with former professors and formators, and celebrated the Holy Eucharist led by bishops, friend priests and yes, alumni-priests! Not to be missed are the moments of silent prayer, which MOLians have treasured and have sustained them in their ministry through the years. For many of those who came—even non-MOLians—it was like a homecoming, a little Pentecost, with the refreshing and revitalizing breath of the Spirit, our Friend and Helper, sending them back with a greater commitment to their ministries. Mother of Life Center was founded in June 1967. Much earlier, in 1932, Fr. Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus, OCD, established the secular institute Notre Dame de Vie in France. Together with Ms. Marie Pila and two other members, he established the foundation of Notre Dame de Vie in the Philippines on December 25, 1954, in Infanta, Quezon. In 1963, he sent Ms. Mathilde Beckers to Manila to begin the work of catechesis. Later, he wrote to her, “The more I reflect, the more it seems to me that the establishment of a catechetical center in Novaliches is based on realistic grounds and is willed by God. That means we have to work for its realization.” And Ms. Beckers did work! Rallying the support of her townsfolk in her native Aachen, in Germany, she collected enough money to start laying down the foundations of a catechetical center in the same compound procured by the NDV for its Philippine House of Solitude in San Agustin, Novaliches. Providentially, the main building and the necessary facilities were completed, enabling MOL to admit its first batch of students in time for the opening of classes in June 1967. In March of the following year, the Mother of Life Center building was solemnly blessed, alongside the NDV’s newly-completed House of Formation and Solitude, by then Manila Archbishop Rufino Cardinal J. Santos. Fr. Marie-Eugène would have liked to attend the event, but he had already been called back by his Divine Master a year before, on Easter Monday. Before he died, he left a guiding directive for all NDV members assigned in MOL: “Form catechists; provide them not only with the necessary theological and pedagogical knowledge but also with the opportunity to experience a deep contact with God, a contact with the spiritual realities which allow them to transmit their knowledge of God and to form those entrusted to them for the spiritual life.” MOL aspires to offer a holistic formation to its student-catechists by developing the spiritual, communal and intellectual dimensions of their person during the Live-in Formation Year (LIF). On the second year, the Supervised Pastoral Year (SPY), they are sent out on mission to different parishes, public and private schools—with corresponding remuneration. Regular returns to the Center are obligatory for course/workshop attendance,
Mother / B6

Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista, DD
Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista was appointed third bishop of Boac in December 11, 2004 and was installed in February 22, 2005. In this issue of CBCP Monitor, Bishop Evangelista speaks about the implementation of the social concern programs of the diocese; the proactive approach the diocese applies in educating the people on the evil effects of mining; how the local Church responds to the threat of materialism that affects the lifestyle and values of families, especially the young; the increase of vocations entering the diocesan seminary; and the ongoing formation of the diocesan clergy. How does the diocese implement its social concern programs? We implement our social concern programs through our Diocesan Social Action Commission (DSAC). I am so thankful to God for a very active and efficient Director and Staff, maintaining the programs of our diocese for our people especially the poor. We have equally dedicated field workers monitoring the implementation of our plans. Our diocese celebrated the 25th Anniversary of our Basic Christian Community-Community Organizing (BCCCO) Program last May 7, 2007. Out of 218 barangays of our diocese or the whole province of Marinduque, we have 141 barangays with communities we call Batayang Pamayanang Kristiyano (BPK). We reach out to our BPK’s by helping them in their spiritual, social, and temporal needs especially through livelihood programs. The Diocese established a cooperative called Marinduque Social Action Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MASAMCO) which facilitates financial assistance to our people. We also assist our people in their health problems. We have Community-Based Health Program (CBHP) under which we have Community Health Workers (CHWs) who go to the barangays to teach the people proper hygiene and basic health care, herbal medicine; and who also coordinate our medical mission programs. After the typhoon “Reming”, we launched a housing program for the whole diocese and as of October 2007, we were able to build 350 houses in remote barangays with the help of donations from other dioceses and generous individuals. This is also our response to the Synodal Decree # 70 of our diocese which says, “That livelihood and housing programs for those who are in need be given due attention and implementation.” Much is still to be accomplished but we are confident that God will assist us in all our needs especially for our poor people. What is the diocese’s stand on the Priority Mining Act of the government? Even before my installation as bishop of the Diocese of Boac on February 22, 2005, the diocese has already maintained her stand against mining especially because of the mining disaster brought about by Marcopper. The diocese strongly opposed the Priority Mining Act of the government. I personally conveyed to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo our stand against mining in Marinduque. We appealed to the government to delist Marinduque from the 24 Priority Mining Projects because after more than ten years of the mine tailings spill incident, there were still no concrete actions taken to rehabilitate Boac and Mogpog Rivers. There were no compensation given to cover the damages caused by the incident in 1996. The government finally delisted our province from its Priority Mining Projects. How does the diocese address the havoc caused by irresponsible mining on people’s lives and the environment? The diocese is very active in the formation of our people regarding the evil effects of mining and other environmental issues. Through the consistent vigilance of the diocese and education of our people, the Provincial Government of Marinduque passed a resolution for a 50-year Moratorium on Mining in the province. The Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC), a non-government organization (NGO) which is under our Diocesan Social Action Commission, is continuously giving conferences and fora to different sectors of our province and our diocese regarding environment. MACEC is also actively involved in providing livelihood to our poor people as alternative to mining. What is your take on the threat of materialism creeping into our lifestyle and affecting our sense of values, especially the young? Globalization has tremendously influenced the economy of the world and lifestyle of our people. Because of the influx of different commodities in the national and local markets brought about by free enterprise and liberalization, people have easier access to almost anything they see on television or other forms of advertisements. Even children and teenagers now tend to be demanding or choosy in the food they eat or in the things they buy. Many people tend to confuse needs and wants. Consumerism has affected our people’s sense of values, especially the young. The young are hooked to cellular phones, beauty accessories, DVDs, signature items or even imitations or pirated items just to satisfy their wants or to catch up with what others have. The spiritual values of the young are somewhat clouded by consumerism. Even family values like respect, modesty, and simplicity are slowly eroded by so many materials to be bought in the malls, in the markets, and even during travel. The Church especially through the parishes, families and schools, should properly educate the faithful on the threat of materialism. How does the family and life apostolate in your diocese respond to this challenge? Our Diocesan Family and Life Commission (DFLC) is constantly
7 Questions / B2
© www.flickr.com

Interview with Archbishop Claudio Celli on

Digital Evangelization
having means of communication. We already live in a digital culture, in the context of a digital culture. In his book, Cardinal Carlo Martini helps us realize that the digital reality is the daily air we breathe. Therefore, on the one hand, it is a challenge, because it presents us with a reality we have to understand and serve, that we have to love. And, therefore, we have to be present—the Red Informática de la Iglesia en América Latina [RIIAL] is a response to the problem. That’s why in Honduras, I spoke about the “diaconía” of the digital culture. Is this digital culture new mission territory? The continental meeting I attended was the first after the 5th general conference of the bishops of Latin America in Aparecida, and the document of Aparecida asked all disciples of Jesus Christ to be missionaries. I translated this missionary dimension with the expression “‘diaconía’ of the digital culture,” which emphasizes the attitude of service. This is the challenge. It’s a challenge we have to confront at the places where man lives in this context. At the same time, the means of social communication are a great opportunity to find help in spreading the Gospel. There is a statement from Pius XII, in which the Pope refers to the means of communication of his time, defining them as “a gift of God.” Imagine if he lived today. It is undeniable that these means place many possibilities at the disposal of one who wants to be a missionary. Therefore, we see they are a gift, a fantastic opportunity, and at the same time a challenge. This is the fact at the base of our problems. In Latin America, I am content be-

ARCHBISHOP Claudio Celli, 66, appointed last June as President of the Pontifical Communications Council, said in an interview with Zenit that the digital age is a blessing and a challenge for those interested in preaching the Gospel. Here he comments on the continental meeting of media professionals in Latin America, and on the challenges of evangelizing a digital culture. Your first mission was to preside over the continental meeting of Latin American Catholic journalists. What was your experience? For me it was a very positive experience. I am especially bound to Honduras. My first post with the Holy See was related to Honduras. Beginning in 1970, I was a secretary of the apostolic nunciature. Now, providence desired that my first mission as president of the council would be in Honduras, for a Latin American meeting. It was the 10th meeting of the Red Informática de la Iglesia en América Latina [Information Network of the Church in Latin America]. I left very happy with the experience. I saw an impressive technical competence, but above all, a deep sense of Church. That is to say, I seemed to discover in all the addresses the consciousness of being members of the Church and working in the Church and with the Church, for the good of the people who walk in those lands. And for me this has been positive. What is the main challenge for the Church in our current digital era? It is something very strange. The means of social communication are a challenge, because we’re no longer dealing with having or not

cause there already exists a living, working reality that does not cover only this or that country. Those present came from countries ranging from Mexico to Brazil. Certainly this is not the case in other continents. But I confess that while I was in Latin America and observed this richness and potential, it made me ask myself about Africa, for example. Basically, I would like to look to the future. I think the council should dedicate much attention to Africa. Because it is a continent lagging behind. It is true that there are various Africas, because South Africa is one thing and the other countries, where there are serious problems, are another. But there is a difficulty: While the RIIAL in

Latin America can act easily, and can carry out its service, because they use two languages—only Brazil speaks Portuguese—Africa has three major languages, we can call them international languages— French, English and Portuguese— but then there are numerous other languages, and this is undeniably a difficulty for the development of certain services. Pope John Paul II was very farsighted in defining the title of RIIAL: He spoke of the Information Network of the Church in Latin America as a way of indicating that one day this same information network of the Church ought to be present in other countries. And we are already thinking
Digital / B8


The Winter Interstice Advent is celebrated during the winter interstice in the northern hemisphere. This indicates a change of seasons and a moment of rest in many spheres of human endeavor. Popular piety is extremely sensitive to the vital cycle of nature. While the winter interstice is celebrated, the seed lays in the ground waiting for the light and heat of the sun, which begins its ascent with the Winter solstice, and eventually causes it to germinate. In those areas where popular piety has given rise to the celebration of the changing season, such expressions should be conserved and used as a time to pray the Lord, to reflect on the meaning of human work, which is a collaboration with the creative work of God, a self-realization of the person, service to the common good, and an actualization of the plan of redemption. The Blessed Virgin Mary and Advent The Liturgy frequently celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary in an exemplary way during the season of Advent. It recalls the women of the Old Testament who prefigured and prophesied her mission; it exalts her faith and the humility with which she promptly and totally submitted to God’s plan of salvation; it highlights her presence in the events of grace preceding the birth of the Savior. Popular piety also devotes particular attention to the Blessed Virgin Mary during Advent, as is evident from the many pious exercised practiced at this time, especially the novena of the Immaculate Conception and of Christmas. However, the significance of Advent, “that time which is particularly apt for the cult of the Mother of God”, is such that it cannot be represented merely as a “Marian month”. In the calendars of the Oriental Churches, the period of preparation for the celebration of the manifestation (Advent) of divine salvation (Theophany) in the mysteries of Christmas-Epiphany of the Only Son of God, is markedly Marian in character. Attention is concentrated on preparation for the Lord’s coming in the Deipara. For the Orientals, all Marian mysteries are Christological mysteries since they refer to the mystery of our salvation in Christ. In the Coptic rite, the Lauds of the Virgin Mary are sung in the Theotokia. Among the Syrians, Advent is referred to as the Subbara or Annunciation, so as to

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

The season of Advent
ADVENT is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope: waiting-memory of the first, humble coming of the Lord in our mortal flesh; waiting-supplication for his final, glorious coming as Lord of History and universal Judge; conversion, to which the Liturgy at this time often refers quoting the prophets, especially John the Baptist, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 3, 2); joyful hope that the salvation already accomplished by Christ (cf. Rm. 8, 24-25) and the reality of grace in the world, will mature and reach their fullness, thereby granting us what is promised by faith, and “we shall become like him for we shall see him as he really is” (John 3, 2). Popular piety is particularly sensitive to Advent, especially when seen as the memory of the preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The Christian people are deeply conscious of the long period of expectation that preceded the birth of our Savior. The faithful know that God sustained Israel’s hope in the coming of the Messiah by the prophets. Popular piety is not unaware of this extraordinary event. Indeed, it is awestruck at the prospect of the God of glory taking flesh in the womb of the humble and lowly Virgin Mary. The faithful are particularly sensitive to the difficulties faced by the Virgin Mary during her pregnancy, and are deeply moved by the fact that there was no room at the inn for Joseph and Mary, just as she was about to give birth to the Christ child (cf. Lk. 2,7). Various expressions of popular piety connected with Advent have emerged throughout the centuries. These have sustained the faith of the people, and from one generation to the next, they have conserved many valuable aspects of the liturgical season of Advent. The Advent Wreath Placing four candles on green fronds has become a symbol of Advent in many Christian home, especially in the Germanic countries and in North America. The Advent wreath, with the progressive lighting of its four candles, Sunday after Sunday, until the Solemnity of Christmas, is a recollection of the various stages of salvation history prior to Christ’s coming and a symbol of the prophetic light gradually illuminating the long night prior to the rising of the Sun of justice (cf. Ml. 3,20; Lk. 1,78). Advent processions In many regions, various kinds of processions are held in Advent, publicly to announce the imminent birth of the Savior (the “day star” in some Italian processions), or to represent the journey to Bethlehem of Joseph and Mary and their search for a place in which Jesus would be born (the posadas in the Hispanic and Latin American tradition).

Ownership of graves and niches in a Catholic cemetery
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.

I am a small real estate developer in Mindanao, engaged in developing mini-memorial parks in suburban and rural areas, to give simple folk the chance to enjoy decent burial of their loved ones at affordable rates. I have been approached by the parish priest in a town regarding the possible re-development of the dilapidated and congested Catholic cemetery adjoining the Parish church to a mini-memorial park. The idea was to construct new burial plots and niches in an adjoining property, transfer the present remains buried in the existing cemetery and re-develop the latter. A problem arose when some of the families with deceased relatives buried in the latter objected, saying that they bought the plots and niches where their loved ones are buried. Though there seems to be no written record of such sale in the Diocesan Curia, we nevertheless wonder if there could be any basis for their claim. Does Canon Law have any provision regarding this?
THIS seems to be a case for a civil lawyer: any sale of real estate— whether a plot of land or a niche—will have to be recorded in the civil registry of deeds and the appropriate real estate transfer taxes paid. In any case, nobody can claim ownership of any real estate property without a title or at least the receipts for the payment of real estate taxes to prove it. Hence, the above-mentioned claimants of burial plots and niches in the Catholic cemetery will have to prove their ownership. What seems to be more plausible is that they have a certain lease or right to use such plots and niches for a certain period of time. The Catholic cemetery is a real estate property of the Church—the Diocese in this case—which leases out burial plots or niches for a certain sum and for a given period of time, or even sells the rights to use plots or niches in perpetuity. As in any contract of lease or rent, there should be terms regarding possible termination of lease, unless the lease is in perpetuity. This is a matter of civil law and is best consulted with a civil lawyer—especially one knowledgeable in real estate laws. Nevertheless, in what pertains to Canon Law, the following can be said. Catholic cemeteries The Code of Canon Law clearly states the need to establish burial places owned by the Church in c.1240, §1: The Church is to have its own cemeteries wherever this can be done, or at least spaces in civil cemeteries destined for the faithful departed and properly blessed. In other words, because of the need to bless the place where the mortal remains of the Catholic faithful are kept, it has always been desirable that at least some such places be owned and maintained by the Church itself, thus assuring that they keep their sacred character. Such cemeteries form part of the ecclesiastical patrimony—i.e., they are ecclesiastical properties—and cannot be sold or disposed of without observing the prescriptions of Canon Law. Alienation of Ecclesiastical property If the above-mentioned claimants were right, the sale of the burial plots or niches to them would be a clear case of alienation (disposition and not just use) of ecclesiastical goods. Now Canon Law has very clear guidelines regarding such an act of extraordinary administration: Can.1290—Whatever general and specific regulations on contracts and payments are determined in civil law for a given territory are to be observed in canon law with the same effects in a matter which is subject to the governing power of the Church, unless the civil regulations are contrary to divine law or canon law makes some other provision, with due regard for the prescription of c.1547. In other words, if the above-mentioned claimants were right, then there should be a deed of sale and the appropriate transfer taxes registered somewhere in the registry of deeds in the appropriate government office. Can.1291—The permission of the competent authority according to the norm of law is required in order to validly alienate the goods which through lawful designation constitute the stable patrimony of a public juridic person and whose value exceeds the sum determined by law. Can.1292 — §1. With due regard for the prescription of c.638, §3, when the value of the goods whose alienation is proposed is within the range of the minimum and maximum amounts which are to be determined by the conference of bishops for its region, the competent authority is determined in the group’s own statutes when it is a question of juridic persons who are not subject to the diocesan bishop; otherwise, the competent authority is the diocesan bishop with the consent of the finance council, the college of consultors and the parties concerned. The diocesan bishop also needs their consent to alienate the good of the diocese. §2. The permission of the Holy See is also required for valid alienation when it is a case of goods whose value exceeds the maximum amount, goods donated to the Church through a vow or goods which are especially valuable due to their artistic or historical value. In other words, if the above-mentioned claimants were right, then there should be due record of such alienation of Church property registered in the Diocesan Curia (offices), since the parish priests by himself is not authorized to sell such Church property and would require the permission from a superior authority—i.e., either the Diocesan Bishop or, if the amount is over a certain limit, even the Holy See—as we shall see below. Alienation Norms for the Philippines In accord with the Code of Canon Law, the CBCP has set the following norms for alienation of ecclesiastical property in the Philippines: 1. Whenever the value of the transaction exceeds US$100,000, or in alienation of something that had been given to the Church by reason of a vow, or objects which are precious by reason of their artistic or historical significance, the permission of the Holy See is required for the validity of the alienation. 2. Whenever the value of the goods to be alienated is between US$20,000 and US$100,000 or its Peso equivalent, the permission of the diocesan bishop, acting with the consent of the finance council, the board of consultors and interested parties is needed. 3. If the value of the goods is between US$10,000 and US$20,000 or its Peso equivalent, the diocesan bishop should hear the finance council and the board of consultors for a valid transaction. Conclusion Unless the above-mentioned claimants can produce a deed of sale—or at least show official receipts for the real estate transfer tax—it seems far-fetched that cemetery plots or niches were outrightly sold to individuals, since that would have involved the alienation of ecclesiastical property, which would have required the permission of Diocesan Bishop or even the Holy See as pointed out above.

highlight its Marian character. The Byzantine Rite prepares for Christmas with a whole series of Marian feasts and rituals. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is profoundly influential among the faithful, is an occasion for many displays of popular piety and especially for the novena of the Immaculate Conception. There can be no doubt that the feast of the pure and sinless Conception of the Virgin Mary, which is a fundamental preparation for the Lord’s coming into the world, harmonizes perfectly with many of the salient themes of Advent. This feast also makes reference to the long messianic waiting for the Savior’s birth and recalls events and prophecies from the Old Testament, which are also used in the Liturgy of Advent. The novena of the Immaculate Conception, wherever it is celebrated, should highlight the prophetical texts which begin with Genesis 3,15, and end in Gabriel’s salutation of the one who is “full of grace” (Lk. 1, 31-33). The approach of Christmas is celebrated throughout the American continent with many displays of popular piety, centered on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (12 December), which dispose the faithful to receive the Savior at his birth. Mary, who was “intimately united with the birth of the Church in America, became the radiant Star illuminating the proclamation of Christ the Savior to the sons of these nations.” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy. Principles and Guidelines—Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments)

Readings on a Feast of the Lord
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following question:) Q: When a feast of the Lord, which may or normally does occur on Sunday, is celebrated on a weekday, how many readings are used at Mass in addition to the Gospel? Examples would be the Baptism of the Lord, the Transfiguration, and the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. The default taken by readers, because there are two readings in the lectionary and no indication of what to do, is to read both. I am inclined to say that since the proper number of readings on a feast is one, only one need be read. This would be in conformity with all the other changes made for these feasts when they occur on a weekday: no Creed, no first vespers, etc. Next, if I am correct, is the Old Testament or the New Testament reading to be taken? Or is it a choice of the celebrant?— A.T., Charlottesville, Virginia
7 Questions / B1

A: This question is probably best answered by referring to the general principles found in the calendar. Two things must be considered: 1) the table of precedence that determines which feasts are celebrated whenever two celebrations coincide, and 2) the elements proper to each class. A feast is distinguished from an ordinary day or the memorial of a saint by its proper formulas and by adding the Gloria. It has the same number of readings as other weekdays (two, including the Gospel) but these are almost always specifically chosen to reflect the feast. If a feast, for example, the Visitation of Our Lady or the feast of an apostle or the Evangelist Luke, happens to coincide with a Sunday, then it is omitted for that year because Sunday has precedence.

However, when a feast of the Lord, such as the Presentation, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and the other examples given above, coincide with a Sunday of ordinary time, it has precedence and is celebrated instead of the corresponding Sunday. When this happens, however, all of Sunday’s specific liturgical elements, such as the two readings and the Gospel and the profession of faith, are conserved. This is why the lectionary provides two readings (rather than one) plus the Gospel for these feasts. When the feast of the Lord falls on a weekday it reverts to the normal liturgical elements proper to a feast and has only one reading and the Gospel. The celebrant can freely choose which of the two first readings is to be read, along with the prescribed

Gospel text. This freedom of choice is not always specified in the lectionaries. But it is clearly stated in official guides and calendars published by many bishops’ conferences such as the one published by the Latium ecclesiastical province that includes Rome. If two readings and the Gospel were to be read, then we would then have three rather than two classes of festive celebrations: solemnities, feasts, and feasts of the Lord, a distinction not contemplated in any liturgical document. Finally, the dedication of St. John Lateran is counted as a feast of the Lord because Rome’s cathedral was first of all dedicated to “the Most Holy Savior” while the dedication to Sts. John the Baptist and the Evangelist were added at a later date. (Zenit)

giving inputs to parish coordinators regarding family values and the threat of materialism. Our DFLC is deeply involved in the formation of families especially on five primordial concerns: 1) love of life; 2) healing and restoring the family; 3) defending the family; 4) Christian parenting; and 5) family spirituality. The DFLC goes to different parishes throughout the year to give inputs to couples who are also engaged in Pre-Cana seminars and family apostolate. The Diocesan Staff meets every first Tuesday of the month to evaluate and improve their concern for the families especially on sense of values. The Couples for Christ (CFC) in our diocese are also very active in giving Christian Life Program (CLP). They are also giving formation to our young people through Singles for Christ and other youth activities. Does the diocese have enough vocations? Our diocese is blessed with many voca-

tions to the priesthood and religious life. We have 29 seminarians this year and seven of them are in the Theology Department. I already ordained eight new priests for the diocese since my arrival in 2005. Our seminarians conducted a vocation campaign in the whole diocese last semestral vacation, and we are expecting an increase in the number of our seminarians next academic year. The ordination of eight new priests for our diocese in less than three years is a proof of a high percentage of those persevering to the priesthood. Does the diocese have an ongoing formation program for the clergy? Yes, we have a continuing program for the Clergy. We divided our priests into three groups: Senior Clergy, Middle Clergy, and the Young Clergy. We have our Annual Retreat and regular monthly recollections and all the priests attend the activity. Our recollection starts with a Holy

Hour at 6:00 p.m. every second Monday of the month followed by a sharing on the topic after dinner according to life groups. The recollection and assembly lasts until the following day after lunch. We also sent 2 of our priests to Intensified Renewal Program (IRP) under the CBCP Commission on Clergy last February-March 2007 and we will continue sending our priests to the different programs being offered now at the Galilee Center in Tagaytay City. I love my priests very much. They are very spontaneous with me and I can relate with them as a father, a brother, and as a friend. Just recently, I put up a Priests’ Room at the Sacred Heart Pastoral Center where I stay and my priests are very happy for what I offered them. I pray for my priests everyday, because that is my obligation as their bishop. I strongly believe that the holiness of my priests and their perseverance in their priestly vocation are the best gifts that we can offer to God and our people.

© Annie Engel/zefa/Corbis

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

nila with 250 Spaniards and 2,250 Filipinos. Having surprised Limahong’s armada, they captured one of the fortresses which he had built. For four months, Limahong was beleaguered but during this time, he secretly built some boats by which he managed to escape with some of his soldiers, passing through a section of the Agno called Banaoang which flowed through Souguian, and all the way out into the open sea. Since then, Limahong was never heard of again. The Spaniards set up garrison in Lingayen to avert future attacks on Luzon. corded came to convert the Pangasinenses. Some Franciscan friars, notably Fr. Juan Bautista Pisaro and Sebastian de Baeza also attempted to evangelize the province. Their efforts were all futile. Unable to withstand the ferocious Pangasinan like their Augustinians predecessors, they abandoned this “barren and ungrateful land”. To the Dominicans belong the glory and the honor of converting Pangasinan where they stayed until the early years of the Revolution in 1898. Like the parable in the Gospel, it was they who waties, resistance of the natives eventually broke down in the face of constant prayer and the good example set by the friars. The first small group of converts eventually though slowly swelled into a mass conversion of people who rushed to the redeeming waters of Baptism. So thorough was the work of conversion that towns and parishes emerged successively and within a few years; almost the entire population had come to embrace the Faith. By the year 1612, they were already at least 10,000 baptized Christians in Pangasinan.

3 towns of Zambales) was separated from the mother diocese. Most Rev. Rev. Cesar Maria Guerrero became the first bishop of the new diocese. He was shortly succeeded by the Most Rev. Mariano Madriaga. Since 1928, the episcopal seat of the new diocese was Lingayen. But on May 11, 1954, it was moved to Dagupan because of the destruction wrought by World War II. It took only 25 years for Pangasinan to become an Archdiocese. On February 16, 1963, Pope Paul VI reconstituted the diocese of Lingayen into an archdiocese compris-

By Msgr. Rafael S. Magno Jr.

The evangelization of Pangasinan The first Spanish expedition to Pangasinan was made by the Maestre de Campo Martin de Goiti around the middle of 1571. Advancing northwards after conquering Pampanga, he placed many towns along his route under Spanish sovereignty until he reached the Gulf of Lingayen. On May 20 of the following year, another expedition was sent to

The Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
The wrath of men and the rage of nature did not deter the intrepid Dominicans to resettle and found one town after another; Binalatongan (now San Carlos in 1588; Gabon (now Calasiao) in 1588; Mangaldan in 1600; Manaoag in 1608; Lingayen in 1614; Bayambang in 1619; Binmaley in 1627; San Jacinto in 1643; Malasique in 1677; San Bartalome de Agno in 1688; Asingan in 1698; San Fabian in 1718; Salasa in 1720; Maliongliong in 1739; Santa Barbara in 1743; Labrador in 1755; Pandayocan (now Villasis) in 1763; Aguilar in 1810; Mangatarem in 1837; Sual in 1837, Binalonan in 1841; Tayug in 1841; San Nicolas in 1849; Urbiztundo in 1855; Urdaneta in 1863; San Manuel in 1878; Pozorrubio in 1881; Alcala in 1881; Santa Maria in 1890 and Alava (now Sison) in 1896. Meanwhile, the western towns of Pangasinan which formed a part of the Zambales mission were administered by the Augustinian Recollects. Already from 1609, we could trace their missionary activities in Bolinao, Alaminos, Bani; Dasol; Anda, Burgos, and Infanta respectively according to the date of their founding. ing the whole civil province of Pangasinan. The towns from Tarlac and Nueva Ecija were returned to their respective civil provinces to form two independent dioceses each as suffragans of the new Metropolitan See. The Most Rev. Mariano Madriaga was eventually elevated to the rank of Archbishop. In 1970, the diocese of La Union was created and separated from Nueva Segovia becoming another suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. After governing the diocese for more than 35 years, Msgr. Madriaga was succeeded by the Most Rev. Federico Limon. On January 12, 1985, the western part of Pangasinan was made into the Diocese of Alaminos, and the eastern part, the Diocese of Urdaneta, both dioceses becoming suffragans of LingayenDagupan along with the dioceses of Cabanatuan, San Jose (Nueva Ecija) and San Fernando, La Union. On July 15, 1991, a new Archbishop was appointed in the person of Most Reverend Oscar V. Cruz, JCD. Catholic Institutions The archdiocese has 26 parishes. Catholic institutions include 2 seminaries: a college and a minor, 27 Catholic schools, a Lay Formation Center; a social action center, a Caritas center, a Biblical Center, a Family and Life Center, a youth center, and a catechetical center. A printing press is also located conveniently in the college seminary. Pastoral Programs Pastoral activities are concentrated on worship; Catholic education; youth apostolate, social action and pastoral work with the family. A noteworthy innovation is the attention given to worship. The archdiocese is achieving progress in making the liturgy the framework of worship. Devotions remain popular but adequate success has been achieved to integrate these with liturgy. Thus, devotions to saints, who are local favorites, have been weaned off the novena syndrome and integrated with the celebration of the mass. On social action, Archbishop Cruz established the Caritas Dagupan, the primary objective of which is to help the poor of Christ help themselves through livelihood and health projects. The Archdiocesan Commission on Social Action and Allied Services initiates programs that encourage entrepreneurship among the rural communities. The Commission grants financial assistance to rural folks so they can put up smallscale industries, or organize cooperatives to eventually improve their standard of living. Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan Since Archbishop Cruz assumed office; one of his main preoccupations has been the formulation of an Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan. After much reflection and deliberation, the Plan was finally finished. The Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan is based on the integrated advisory observations made by the clergy and the laity who had been constantly consulted by the Archbishop on the matter. The plan is on a short term basis of three years, after which evaluations are made and necessary adjustments adopted; and then the renewed Pastoral Plan is launched for another three years. Subsequently the plan will go through the same evaluation; adoptive and renewal processes. The plan itself starts with the situation of broken and sinful unbelievers; ignorant and indifferent, notwithstanding the call to be healed, to be whole, to be holy, to be believers. The vision is the Living Body of Christ through a witnessing; worshipping; serving and evangelizing community. The mission is renewed and intensive evangelization; renewed and intense living of gospel values; development of the spirit, charisms, and capabilities of the presbyterium; promotion, encouragement and maximization of the ecclesial participation of the laity. Programs have been devised to particularize the mission component of the Pastoral plan. In particular, these programs involve the clergy, the laity, and the community apostolates.

Archbishop ………..…..…….... 1 Auxiliary Bishop ………….…. 1 Priests: Diocesan …………..……... 59 Religious …………..……... 12 Sisters: Filipinos ……………...…… 25 Foreigners …………..……. 5 Seminaries: High school ………......…... 1 College …………………..... 1 Seminarians: Theologate ………….....…. 18 Collegiate …………….….. 31 High school ……….……... 98

TOP: St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral, Dagupan City. LOWER LEFT: Mary Help of Christians College Seminary, Bonuan, Gueset, Dagupan City. LOWER RIGHT: Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Pangasinan, this time under the command of no less than Capitan Juan de Salcedo, who, after surveying its shores, placed almost the entire territory under Spanish rule. Pangasinan[1], or Caboloan[2], as it was known then embraced a territory which included the northern half of Zambales, the northern half of Tarlac, the northern half of Nueva Ecija, the southern half of Nueva Vizcaya and the greater part of La Union. With this vast territory, one can hardly expect the conquest and pacification of Pangasinan in so short a time. In fact, it was not until the term of acting Governor General Diego de Ronquillo (1583-1584) that a relative pacification of the province was achieved. Although the pacification of Pangasinan became an accomplished fact only in later years, the work of evangelization in the province had begun much earlier. As early as 1575, we find a handful of Augustinians who were laboriously trying to preach the faith among the early Pangasinenses. The Spaniards marched out slowly according to their schedule of expansion, but the early arrival of these missionaries was occasioned only by a very important event. This was a military expedition in hot pursuit of Lim-Ahonq or Lim Feng. This notorious Chinese corsair is said to have had the bold illusion of seizing the Philippines and make it its kingdom. So, in early November 1574, he set out from Mariveles with a powerful squadron of 62 battleships and 3,000 men and a great number of women with whom he hoped to found the capital of his imagined kingdom. He attacked Manila twice but every time, he was repelled by the Spanish forces. Failing in his sieges, Limahong left Manila Bay and retreated northward until he and his party reached an island near the mouth of the Agno River (between what is now Salasa and Lingayen) where he established his headquarters and began to rule the province in tyranny. The Spanish authorities knowing the intentions of Limahong organized an expedition to pursue and destroy him. This expedition under the command of Juan de Salcedo, accompanied by his lieutenants Pedro de Chaves and Gabriel de Rivera, set out from Ma-

The early missionaries Accompanying the forces under Juan Salcedo were some Augustinian missionaries, among them was the famous Martin de Rada and Pedro Holgado. As soon as Limahong was suppressed, these missionaries took the opportunity to spread the Faith in the province. Thus, they became the first wave of apostles who attempted the conversion of Pangasinan. Upon disembarking on Pangasinan soil, they erected a small chapel on the bank of the Toboang creek,

tered the tiny mustard seed of Faith which their predecessors had sown and watched it grow into a mighty tree. The province indeed is to be counted among the many places which were set on fire by the “torch” which has always characterized the mission of their founder St. Dominic. The first Dominican missionaries who came to Pangasinan were Fathers Bernardo de Santa Catalina (who acted as the superior of the small group), Gregorio Ochoa, Juan de Castro; Pedro de Soto, Marcos de San Antonio and Juan de la Cruz. Arriving in the province in

The growth of the Christian community The union of Church and State in general and the Patronato Real in particular greatly helped in the propagation of the Faith during the Spanish period. As the process of evangelization went on for almost four centuries, the Christian community in the province continued to grow and to flourish. In 1898, when the Dominicans gave up the work of the Church in Pangasinan there were 293,111 souls under the care of 35 priests distributed over 29 towns. After the Revolution, the native clergy took over the care of the vacated parishes. Owing to the scarcity of priests however, many parishes were without resident pastors and in many cases a pastor took care of the spiritual needs of several parishes at the same time. After the independence from Spain a strong spirit of nationalism prevailed which gave rise to criticism, prejudices and false accusations against the friars, and the Spanish regime as a whole; by Filipinos who were totally ignorant of history. The rank and file of the clergy was not spared by this passion so much so that several of them wanted to be independent even from Rome. This led to the founding of the Philippine Independent Church by a Filipino priest, Gregorio Aglipay, from Ilocos Norte who attracted many followers including some from Pangasinan. Since the Spanish regime, all the par-

not far from the place which the present town of San lsidro (Labrador) now occupies. It was the very first house of Christian worship to be built on the land of a people who had known no religion but paganism with all its idolatry and superstitious beliefs. Very unhappy indeed, due to the resistance that the idolatrous natives offered to an attempt of conversion, the Augustinians were unable to make much headway for the Faith. After establishing the missions of Lingayen, Bagnotan (now Dagupan) and Santa Monica (now Manaoag), they left Pangasinan with heavy hearts and proceeded to the Ilocos provinces. After the Augustinians, a group of secular priests whose history is not re-

September 1587, they established themselves in Binalatongan where they were first accommodated in a humble dwelling “made of branches and leaves,” which then Spanish encomendero of Binalatongan named Jimenez del Pino had provided them. In this place they lost no time in erecting a small chapel which they placed under the patronage of St. Dominic. Binalatongan then became the center where from the light of Faith rose like a blazing sun over Pangasinan, dispelling the darkness of idolatry and error. As the Dominicans embarked on their noble task of conversion, they did not find the situation any better than what their predecessors did but after three years of initial difficul-

ishes of Pangasinan fell within the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Nueva Segovia who had jurisdiction over the whole of northern Luzon. Up to 1776 when the parochial system was adopted in the Philippines, they were not subject to canonical visitation as provided for by the Laws of the Indies. They were not parishes in the actual sense of the word but vicariates; they were mission parishes ad-ministered by the Vicars of the Dominican Provincial. The Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan On May 19, 1928, the Diocese of Lingayen (comprising the whole civil province of Pangasinan, 11 towns of Tarlac and 10 towns of Nueva Ecija, and

CBCP Office on Women


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

‘Strengthening the Formation of Women as Builders of Family, Church, and Society’
By Ma. Fenny C. Tatad
Magisterium on Women and Womanhood On November 18, 1965, Pope Paul VI promulgated the Decree on the Apostolate of Laity , Apostolicam Actuositatem. In this document the Pope recognized that “women are taking on an increasingly active share in the whole life of society; it is very important that they participate more widely in the various fields of the Church’s apostolate.” “If the witness of the Apostles founds the Church, the witness of women contributes greatly towards nourishing the faith of Christian communities,” says Paul VI. In Christifideles Laici (CL, December,1988), the Apostolic Exhortation on The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World, John Paul II acknowledged “the indispensable contribution of women to the building up of the Church and the development of society.” The Pope spoke of the “active and responsible participation of women in the life and mission of the Church as well as in social and public life.” He strongly affirmed “the urgency to defend and to promote the personal dignity of woman, and consequently, her equality with man… Only through openly acknowledging the personal dignity of women is the first step taken to promote the full participation of women in Church life as well as in social and public life.” Earlier, in August of 1988, John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, declared that “The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way…A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting…The ‘perfect woman’ becomes an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of her spirit. These ‘perfect women’ are owed much by their families, and sometimes by whole nations.” The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in its July 1995 Pastoral Statement on Women declared that “the true Filipina, cognizant of her God-given mission, is able to successfully combine her role as mother, wife and co-provider of the family with her own desire for selffulfillment. Rather than being unjustly influenced by the thoughts of secularized industrial societies, the Filipina has much to teach on the authentic empowerment of women.” leading to the authentic development and advancement of Christian womanhood; 3. It shall work for the establishment of support systems for the promotion of the culture of life, inclusive of structures specifically designed to look after the needs of women, children and families in crisis; 4. It shall assist in the formative dissemination of the Church teaching on the correct practice of responsible parenthood especially on the part of women; 5. It shall help in the enactment of just laws, sound programs and policies that affirm and enhance the dignity of life, women, family and marriage, and instill and sustain a true Christian social environment; 6. It shall serve as the coordinating and implementing office of the Conference in liaison with Church-based and/or Churchrelated Movements, Organizations and similar groups, on matters pertaining to women. 7. It shall monitor the programs and policies of Government and non-government Organizations and similar entities, and promote the Catholic teaching on the formulation of their plans, programs and projects that affect women and girls; and, 8. It shall attend to more particular duties and tasks thereto occasionally assigned by the conference. CBCP-OW implements its mandate Faithfully implementing its mandate, the Committee on Women promptly got together thirty women heads of various organizations to form the ad-hoc Board of CBCP-OW. Together, they organized the first National Congress on Women to address urgent issues on women and womanhood. This was in November of 1997 and the Congress theme was The Woman of Faith Today, Shaping the Nation’s Future. In March 1999, another international inter-faith conference on The Family at the Center of Human Development was convened by the Office on Women in Manila in collaboration with the United States-based World Congress of Families (WCF). World-renowned family experts and scholars formed the core of foreign speakers. The proceedings of the first two
Decade / B7

A decade later

All this had been said by the Catholic Church long before the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995 in Beijing took up equality, development and peace as its theme. Beijing triggers the creation of CBCP Office on Women It would turn out that the Beijing conference had a far more radical and insidious social reform agenda aimed at creating a new social order that would seek to restructure established cultural, scientific, political and social norms all over the world. Rosalinda Valenzona, a CBCP consultant on life and family, saw certain erroneous feminist goals in the conceptual framework of the Beijing conference agenda, namely: 1) that the gender ideology surrounding marriage and family is merely a social construct; 2) that marriage and the family is responsible for subordinating women to men; and 3) that breaking away from the gender role of wife and mother is a necessary condition for women’s development. (Valenzona, 1995). However, the most revolutionary in the feminist agenda at Beijing, to my mind, were: 1) the move to legalize abortion globally; 2) the redefinition of the family as a

way of introducing new family forms based on sexual orientation of men and women; and, 3) the redefinition of gender which deviates sharply from its traditional biological definition. With the Philippine government delegates assuming major roles at the conference, all of us should have been very proud. With great disappointment, however, we saw our official delegation taking positions on sexual and reproductive rights that were patently unconstitutional and morally offensive to our people. With great conviction, Undersecretary Carmencita Reodica defended sexual rights, which included abortion rights in the context of the conference. At the closing ceremony, Senator Leticia Shahani declared her full support for “women’s control over their bodies and sexuality… though it did not mean condoning or promoting abortion because it is against our laws and constitution.” The CBCP delegation uncovered all this in the course of the conference, particularly in the meetings where the Beijing documents where being negotiated for implementation among the member states of the United Nations. The Holy See had previously gotten wind of the feminist design for the Beijing con-

ference during the preparatory meetings in the different regions of the world, and had come prepared to deal with it. In all the proceedings, the Holy See delegation actively intervened. It was unfailingly constructive in its approach to every issue, precise in its language and clear in its articulation of the Church’s position. In the final document however, the feminists simply steamrolled “the right of women to full control over their bodies,” or to do whatever they wish with their bodies, including “the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.” (World Health Organization, 1996) CBCP Office on Women was born In January 1995, the CBCP Permanent Council created the Ad Hoc Committee on Women under the office of the CBCP President, Archbishop Carmelo D.F. Morelos, D.D. The Permanent Council then appointed me Secretary General, with Linda Valenzona and Sr. Pilar Verzosa as members of the core group whose immediate task was to prepare a delegation for Beijing. After Beijing, the Ad Hoc Committee became an Office on Women in the office of the CBCP President. Its mission was to address women issues, and, life and family issues as they relate to women in the life of

the Church in the Philippines. This was in 1996, and Archbishop Oscar Cruz, the CBCP President then, asked me to become its Executive Secretary, with Bishop Crisostomo Yalung as Pastoral Director and Bishop Chairman. We were given ample office space at the CBCP which I immediately made functional. In 2000, upon confirmation of the CBCP statutes by the Holy See, the Office on Women became a regular office within the CBCP structure. Bishop Emilio Marquez of Lucena now chairs the office with Dr. Zeny Rotea as Executive Secretary. The mandate Section 20 of the CBCP Statutes defines the mandate of the Office, as follows: 1. It shall promote the teaching of the Church on womanhood, marriage and family life through personal witnessing, public apostolate and professional service, inclusive of advocacy through the mass media, and thereby assist in strengthening the formation of women as builders of family, Church and society; 2. It shall tackle women issues in a Catholic perspective, initiate and animate activities that foster greater solidarity among women

Fr. Luis Supan

The Question Box
1. What does the phrase “Canon of the Bible” mean? The term “canon” comes from the Greek kanon and the Hebrew kaneh, which was a reed used as an instrument of measure. It has acquired analogous meanings in ecclesiastical language. Thus, we speak of Canon Law and Biblical Canon. What is common in these expressions is the notion of measure or rule: Canon Law regulates the life of the members of the Church, “Canon of the Bible” refers to the official list of the books of the Old and New Testaments which form the Holy Bible, and held by the whole Church as containing God’s revelation of Himself. 2. How did the Jewish Biblical canon (The Old Testament) evolve before the Christian era? Around three centuries before the birth of Our Savior, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament was made in Alexandria for the benefit of the Greek-speaking Jews outside Palestine. That translation has always been known as the Septuagint. (This name is derived from Septuaginta (“Seventy”), the approximate number of translators. It is designated as LXX in biblical studies.) It differed from the Palestinian or Hebrew Bible (whose “canon” was fixed much later, in the second century A.D.) in the number of books: the Hebrew Bible contained 24 books, while the Septuagint canon had 7 books more, plus additional parts in the books of Daniel and Esther. These books are now called deuterocanonical books, to distinguish them from the 24 books of the Pales-

Questions on the Holy Bible
tury, the Septuagint was unanimously accepted. The Council of Florence (1441) reaffirmed what the previous Synods of Hippo and Carthage in the fourth century had defined as the official canon — that is, the Alexandrian. During the time of the Protestant Reformation, when the desire to return to the primitive faith was in the air, the deuterocanonical books were rejected, and only those contained in the Hebrew canon were retained. So, one of the first decisions made by the Council of Trent was to define the sources of Revelation, and the definitive canon of the Old Testament was declared in its session on 8 April 1546. This canon is composed of 46 books, which includes the deuterocanonical books—the two books of the Maccabees, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch. Thus, the question was finally resolved for Catholics. It was also in the 16th-century Reformation when the term protocanonical was first used, to refer to the books in the Hebrew canon (protos means “first”). It should be noted at this point that what Catholics call “deuterocanonical,” the Protestants call “apocrypha”; what Catholics call “apocryphal,” are called “pseudepigrapha” by Protestants. In the German translation of the Bible made by Luther, the deuterocanonical books were added as appendix, and he called them “apocrypha.” (From the Greek apocryphos: obscure, of dubious origin). 4.HowdidtheNewTestamentcanonevolve? The most ancient list of books used by Christians in the apostolic times is the socalled Muratorian canon, written in the second half of the second century. The canon was written in a document discovered in 1740 by G. A. Muratori. It is attributed to St. Hippolitus, and written in Rome. The document, also known as the Muratorian fragment, mentioned the books held by all Christians as sacred, distinguishing them from books which were only for private reading and from the books not accepted by the Church, such as the apocryphal ones (e.g., the recently super-hyped “Gospel of Judas” among them). From that period, the history of the declarations on the New Testament can be reconstructed. The books of the New Testament were written between the years 50 and 100. The “first generation Christians” unanimously defended their sacred character (“canonicity”). From the end of the first century up to the end of the second, the canon gradually took shape: the main elements were the four Gospels and at least ten epistles of St. Paul. In the West, from the year 200 A.D., the following books were accepted as inspired: the 4 gospels, the 13 epistles of St. Paul (the letter to the Hebrews was included in the canon only in 380 A.D.), the first letter of St. Peter and of St. John. The second letters of St. Peter and of St. John were cited, but not the third letter of St. John and the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse). The epistle of St. James was already widely used since the second century. The New Testament canon of 27 books was fixed in the Synod of Hippo (393 A.D.) and in the two Synods of Carthage held in the years 397 A.D. and 419 A.D. Church documents such as the letter of Pope Innocent I (405 A.D.) attest to the acceptance of this canon. In the East, agreement on the canon was reached only towards the end of the seventh century. Origen (d. 255) had some reservations on the letter to the Hebrews, second letter of St. Peter, and the second and third letters of St. John, even though in principle he did not doubt the inspired character of the entire New Testament. In a letter of St. Athanasius (367 A.D.) the complete list of 27 books was mentioned. In Antioch and Syria, it was not until the sixth century that the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse) and four of the Catholic epistles were included in the canon. (These are known as the deuterocanonical books of the New Testament.) The gradualness of the canon’s formation could be attributed to the slow communication among Christian communities. Add to that the fact that some epistles were addressed to individuals or to Christians living in a particular city. Finally, what made the process of discernment more complicated was the circulation of the apocryphal writings (the “information spam” of those times). A period of calm over the question of canonicity lasted for several centuries, to be broken only in the sixteenth century, with the advent of Protestant Reformation. Luther excluded from the New Testament canon the books of the Letter to the Hebrews, Apocalypse, James, and Jude; Zwingli rejected only the Apocalypse. The other Protestant Churches did not dispute the canon. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, the Lutherans returned to the traditional canon. The Council of Trent, in the session of 8 April 1546, solemnly defined the following canon of the New Testament, a total of 27 books: Four gospels, Acts of the Apostles by St. Luke, 14 Epistles of St. Paul, 2 Letters of St. Peter, 3 Letters of St. John, Letter of St. James, Letter of St. Jude, Revelation (Apocalypse) of St. John the Apostle.

tinian canon. (In Greek, deuteros means “second”; thus, deuterocanonical refers to the books which were included in the Bible at a later period.) In the Hebrew Bible, the number of books comes out to be 24 because the Palestinian Jews counted the 12 books of the Minor Prophets as one book. In the first century A.D., Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, wrote about the existence of 22 books which were held sacred by the Jews. This time the discrepancy is due to the counting of Judges and Ruth, Jeremiah and Lamentations as single books. Thus, the Hebrew canon contained the same number of books as the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The Jews did not find the need to formally define a canon until the Christian era, about 100 A.D., in a Jewish Synod at Jamnia in Palestine. And it seems that this was at least partially motivated by the desire “not to be contaminated” by the Christian “sect,” many of whom were of Greek origin, that had made extensive use of the Septuagint. 3. How was the Old Testament Canon received in the Christian Church? Probably because Greek was the common language of the Mediterranean lands, the Septuagint (i.e., with the deuterocanonical books) was the Old Testament used by the early Christians. As proof of this, we can cite the fact that of the 350 quotations of the Old Testament found in the New Testament, about 300 are from the Septuagint. Following this tradition, the Church has always defended the canonicity of all the books in the Septuagint. Some Fathers of the fourth century returned to using only the Hebrew canon, but by the sixth cen-

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007



“Your task is a silent and deep commitment to evangelization”
Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Members of “The New Families Movement” Clementine Hall, Saturday, 3 November 2007
DEAR Brothers and Sisters, Welcome and thank you for coming to visit me. You come from the five continents and belong to The New Families Movement which came into being 40 years ago in the context of the Focolare Movement. You are thus a branch of Focolare and today form a network of at least 800,000 families working in 182 nations, all committed to making their home a “focolare” [hearth] which radiates in the world the witness of a Gospel-style family life. I offer each one of you my most cordial greeting, which I extend also to those who have wished to accompany you at our meeting. I greet in a special way your leaders who have conveyed your common sentiments and described to me your Movement’s working methods as well as its goals. I thank you for the greetings you have brought me from Chiara Lubich, to whom I send my warm good wishes, thanking her because she continues to guide the large family of the Focolare with wisdom and unswerving attachment to the Church. As has just been recalled, it is precisely in the context of this vast and praiseworthy institution that you, dear married couples, place yourselves at the service of the world of families with an important and ever timely pastoral action that has four orientations: spirituality, education, sociability and solidarity. Your task is effectively a silent and deep commitment to evangelization with the goal of testifying that only family unity, a gift of God-Love, can make the family a true nest of love, a home that welcomes life and a school of virtue and Christian values for children. As you confront the many social and economic, cultural and religious issues that challenge contemporary society in every part of the world, your work, truly providential, is a sign of hope and an encouragement for Christian families to be a privileged “space” where the beauty of making Jesus Christ the focus and of faithfully following his Gospel is proclaimed in everyday life, sometimes despite many difficulties. Indeed, your meeting’s theme: “A house built on the rock — the Gospel lived, a response to the problems of families today”, emphasizes the importance of this ascetical and pastoral itinerary. The secret is precisely to live the Gospel! Rightly, therefore, in the work of the assembly during these days, in addition to contributions that illustrate the situation of today’s families in the different cultural contexts, you have planned to deepen your knowledge of the Word of God and to hear the testimonies that show how the Holy Spirit acts in hearts and in family life, even in complex and difficult situations. Only think of the uncertainties of engaged couples as they face definitive decisions for the future, of the crisis of couples, of separations and divorces as well as irregular unions, of the condition of widows, of families in difficulty and of welcoming abandoned minors. I warmly hope that also thanks to your commitment, pastoral strategies may be identified to cope with the increasing needs of families today and the multiple challenges that face them, so that they will not fail in their special mission in the Church and in society. In this regard, in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Christifideles Laici,” my venerable and beloved Predecessor John Paul II noted that the Church maintains that for the faithful, “the first and basic expression of the social dimension... is the married couple and the family” (n. 40). To bring this vocation to fruition, the family, aware that it is the primary cell of society, must not forget that it can find strength in a Sacrament desired by Christ to reinforce the love between man and woman: a love understood as a gift of self, reciprocal and profound. As John Paul II likewise observed: “The family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church, his Bride” (“Familiaris Consortio ,” n. 17). Thus, according to the divine plan, the family is a sacred and sanctifying place and the Church, which has always been close to the family, supports it in this mission, especially today when the internal and external threats to it are so numerous. In order not to succumb to discouragement, divine help is essential; thus, every Christian family must look with trust to the Holy Family, the original “domestic Church” in which “through God’s mysterious design, it was in that family that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families” (ibid., n. 45). Dear brothers and sisters, the humble and holy Family of Nazareth, the icon and model of every human family, will not let you go without its heavenly support. Nonetheless, your ceaseless recourse to prayer, to listening to the Word of God and to an intense sacramental life is indispensable, together with a constant effort to live Christ’s commandment of love and forgiveness. Love does not seek its own interests, it does not harbor rancor for evil received but rejoices in truth. Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (I Cor 13: 57). Dear brothers and sisters, continue your journey and be witnesses of this Love which will make you increasingly the “heart” and “leaven” of the entire New Families Movement. I assure you of my remembrance in prayer for each one of you, for your activities and all those you meet in your apostolate, and with affection I now impart to you all the Apostolic Blessing.

Moral revolution? Do it
GOD help us! God have mercy on the Filipino people. The list of unresolved cases of social, economic and political concerns keeps piling up. Suicides and homicides have been committed because of extreme unresolved poverty—and these at a time when the peso is claimed to be gaining ground. How long have the poor to wait? And then the murder of a COMELEC official—at a time when COMELEC is facing renewal of its institution. The alleged bribery of government officials, the deaths resulting from the explosion at the Glorietta and more rece3sntly the bomb explosion at the Batasan Pambansa: these are the social concerns and nagging issues that are crying our for solution and closure. Add to this list the multi-million peso projects sprawling like white elephants because of substandard qualities and questionable arrangements. These are not purely socio-economic issues. The Church’s social doctrine (Compendium 330-331) insists on their moral connotations. The relationship between morality and economics and poverty is necessary, intrinsic and reciprocal. On the one hand, it will be unfair to the victims if the real and ultimate culprits are not investigated and made to answer for their actions. On the other hand, each case carries a strong statement about the different levels of leadership as well as about the national state of affairs. As a response to the state of moral bankruptcy in public life, of probably irremediable loss of credibility and trust, a call has been made for “moral revolution”. If only to stop our country from continuing to become a “social volcano” (Heaven help us!), we support the ideal of a “moral revolution”—moral transformation, moral renewal, moral reform. The CBCP has proposed it before in many ways through the years. And we would like to say it again. Nothing new, but the resolve may be. We are consoled by the fact that some of our public officials and different sectors of civil society are seeing such a need for “moral revolution”. Sana magpatuloy ito…sana dumami pa ang bilang nila. May this attitude prevail…may the number of good-willed people increase. Not only investigations one after another. In our country where 57% are not affected by the gained power of the peso, where graft and corruption by the mighty in power and influence still hold sway, we are in search for people who would be humble, courageous and decided enough to do a Zacchaeus “Here and now I give half of my possession to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” (Lk 19:8). This is the only violent revolution worthy of the name—it “kills” selfishness. Let us do it. “To start this moral revolution, I must cease to be dishonest, unjust and unfair to my fellow Filipinos. I will tell and act on the truth that I confess or affirm. I will return what I have unjustly and deceitfully acquired. Only then can I ask pardon from God and the people I have wronged.” Speaking of reconciliation? This is! +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO Archbishop of Jaro CBCP President November 20, 2007

3rd Western Visayas Congress on Family and Life
October 21 - 22, 2007, St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary, Jaro, Iloilo City
Theme: A common stand towards a culture of Life
THE Gospel of Life is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture (Evangelium Vitae, 1) and in our time, at this “moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family,” (Familiaris Consortio,3) we the people of God in Western Visayas, delegates to the 3rd WV Congress on Human Life, having perceived and having been convinced “in a more urgent and compelling way” (FC) our “ mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, (FC, 3) hereby affirm not only our adherence to the following principles and realizations but also our resolve to proclaim them: 1. Human life and the dignity of human life is beyond the commerce of man; we respect the right of the unborn, the right to be born, and to be born healthy. 2. The first and primary source of moral instruction is the family, a basic block of civilization made up of a father married to a mother, plus a child or children; 3. Giving children an adequate preparation for adult life demands education in the Christian meaning of sexuality and the sanctity of human life. Sex education without morality is a subtle attack on the family and life and promotes the culture of DEATHS (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, Homosexual Marriages, Sex Education) 4. Abortion intentionally done is not only a violation of the right to life, but also a crime against humanity. It undermines the foundation of the family as it seeks to destroy its weakest member, the unborn. It must be unflinchingly condemned in the strongest terms available to man. The population problem, if there is one, is not about the control of birth through abortion, but about the control and distribution of wealth in God’ creation; 5. Responsible Christian parenthood is the foundation of family stability and solidarity. No amount of success outside of the family can make up for the failure in the family; 6. The authentic rights of the family, founded on Christian principles, are basic and inherent human rights that must be respected and protected by the State; 7. The curriculum of the educational system must reflect, propagate and strengthen the values of a people, and not be an instrument in the hegemonic designs of the vested well funded interest groups; 8. Gender equality and equity as understood in the Christian context are essential to integral human development. Both man and woman have respective complementary roles in this development. Marriage is part of the plan of God and motherhood, or fatherhood, is, has never been a form of discrimination; We, the delegates, are aware of the subtle attacks now being made against the family and life, hence, we hereby resolve, as we have resolved in the 2nd Western Visayas Congress on Family and Life in February this year, to live by these principles and continue not only to search for truth but also to expose all of those treacherous, and orchestrated effort to destroy the family and undermine the sanctity of life. We resolve to be vigilant because these subtle attacks can come like the thief in the night (Job 24:14). We will watch the local government, the educational system, and the halls of Congress. Above all, we must not only watch but also pray. (Mark 13:33)

Committee on Women, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
Philippine Province of the Good Shepherd, 1043 Aurora Boulevard, 1108 Quezon City
GATHERED in our Province Assembly in Quezon City from November 12-14, 2007, we, the undersigned Good Shepherd Sisters, coming from different parts of the country decry the recent bombing of Batasan Pambansa causing the loss of lives and severe injury to many. This recent event, added to the long list of suspicious events and scandalous deals and scams allegedly attributed to the present national administration. Inspired and challenged by our mission to continue to be “Life-bearers with and for the Poor” and called to heed Micah 6:8 “to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God”, we believe that the common good and well being and security of the Filipino people should be a great concern of the national leadership. The fact is the majority of Filipinos are insecure and fearful in the face of grinding poverty they suffer from. Who will deny that the national government has lost the moral ascendancy to govern this country? We don’t! Therefore, we strongly ask the Chief Executive Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to step down. Signatories: Eighty Two (82) Good Shepherd Sisters (For Reference: Sr. Maureen Catabian, RGS – Chairperson of the W-JPIC Committee of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (Philippines. Telephone: 913 64 07 Email : maurgs@yahoo.com)

© Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis


2nd Sunday of Advent (Mt. 3:1-12)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

Somebody in the eyes of God

Go Son!
By John Jay C. Magpusao, OSC
WE were on our last day of listening about the Anchoritic, Cenobitic, Eremitic, Canon Regulars, Mendicant Orders, Clerics Regular, and more. This was a modular class on the History of the Christian Form of Consecrated Life given to us Novices and Postulants of Baguio. The previous two days, I was an ideal Novice—I slept or drew sketches on scratch papers! This day, thanks to Sharon, a Novice from a female congregation who brought with her a September 2006 issue of Reader’s Digest, I read. It’s better to read than to sleep, I resolved. Well, I was just confident because we already had taken up this subject in our Theology of Consecrated Life subject back in college. I began with the short, simple, and easy to digest articles on You Said It, Everyday Heroes, Unseen Asia, and All In A Day’s Work. From time to time, to give due respect to the lecturer, who happened to be our Novice Master, I took a break to pretend I was with him. He was already then talking about the Pauperistic Movements. Back to my own created world, I was inspired to read on further because my heart was fired up by the article entitled “They Said I Couldn’t.” Five stories of people who wouldn’t give up. Number one in it was Reese Witherspoon, Actress. Her picture was marked NO TALENT, CAN’T SING. Second was Adam Zimmerman, Professional Athlete: TOO DUMB. Third was Jane Goodall, Anthropologist: DREAMER. Fourth was Randy Kraus, Injured Police Officer: WILL NEVER WALK AGAIN. Last was Bobby Moresco, Screenwriter: UNBANKABLE. Reese was an adolescent girl joining a drama summer camp when she was told by her coaches at the end of the camp to forget about singing and suggested she think about another career. She took their word to heart. After all, why shouldn’t she believe the professionals? But having a mother, a paediatric nurse who is funny, happy, upbeat person, and a father who is a physician, she was not let herself mope and was encouraged to achieve in school. Reese then learned to play to her strength and focused on what she is good at. “Celebrate yourself,” she said. Thus, last March 2006, Reese Witherspoon walked up on the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and accepted her Academy Award for Best Actress for her heartbreaking, heartwarming singing role as June Carter Cash in the movie Walk the Line. Adam was a dyslexic kid and was told by his primary school teacher, “Too dumb. You’ll never graduate from high school.” However, this cutting comment changed his life. “Just because one person says something, don’t take their word,” his mother told him. “Go out and prove them wrong. It’s not about the disability; it’s what you do about it.” Adam was driven to succeed. May last year, the dumb kid who was too short graduated with a degree in sports management and marketing. “I thank her for saying that. It’s unbelievable how a person’s words can stick in the back of your mind and push you to be more than what they say you can be,” said Adam when he thinks back to that primary school teacher. The school’s career counselor was “horrified” at Jane’s impractical idea when as a 16 years old schoolgirl she dreamed of a profession studying wildlife in Africa. The counselor thought taking pictures of people’s pets would really “make a nice little career.” “If you really want something, you work hard enough, you take advantage of opportunities, you never give up and you will find a way,” her mother told her. Now, Dr. Jane Goodall became known around the world. Her research documented the complex social behavior of chimpanzees—animals that greet one another with a kiss or a hug, and make and use tools. She changed the way we think about these remarkable creatures, all by going ahead with the impractical. “You may never walk again. Maybe you won’t even be able to talk,” the therapist told the paralyzed (left side was useless) Randy. Once strong and able, due to Parkinson’s disease and a stroke during brain operation that led to paralysis, now, he felt he was nothing. He felt he had nothing to live for. Since his right hand was good enough, he lifted a barrel of a .38 to his temple. Yet upon feeling the cold metal on his skin, he began to consider not his pain, but the pain he would cause his wife, daughters, and grandchildren. He didn’t pull the trigger. “But as long as you are alive, you have the ability to get better,” Andrew Garud, exercise physiologist, told Randy. The pace was slow; the pain was real. So when Randy was able to stand and was able to take three steps, he sat down and cried like a baby. One step, as they say, led to another. Randy can now manage a short walk along the edge of a boxing ring in the health club where they worked out. It was the hardest fight of Randy’s life. He can now brush his teeth and shave himself, get around the house with a walker. Little triumphs only the paralyzed can fully understand. With my God-given talents, skills, and some kind of intelligence, I always try to do my best in everything that I do even how little it is. However, my spirit and self-confidence are lowered down if I am bombarded with criticisms which sometimes become very discriminating. Due to the hurt, I sometimes bring myself into complacency and mediocrity compromising my natural goodness. But like the stories I retell above, I have a loving mother who always tells me to take these criticisms as a challenge. “Be brave. Be strong, son. We believe in you,” she would say. (John Jay C. Magpusao, OSC, is a Novice of the Order of St. Camillus, Philippine Province with novitiate in Baguio City. The Order of St. Camillus is a congregation of religious priests and brothers who dedicate their life in the service to the sick. He may be reached at www.orderofsaintcamillus.org.)

By Bishop Emilio L. Bataclan, DD
ADVENT is a time for preparation… a time for WELCOMING… a time of joy. Ad venire… VENIRE AD… to come for; not just come for the GENERAL PUBLIC, but to come for you. You are someone in the eyes of GOD. That is the message of advent! And because He comes for you… you prepare the way, you prepare your home, you prepare yourself: your mind, your heart. You own your shortcomings, you confess your sins and you do all these because the Lord is coming to your life. “If anyone loves me… my Father and I, will dwell in his/her heart.” Thus preparing for HIS COMING gives us joy, hope. With Elizabeth who was visited by Mary we could ask ourselves: WHO am I

that you visit me.” Being visited humbles us and being visited gives us the sense of being loved. Thus we are challenged to show good fruits as evidence of our preparing HIS WAY. Corporal or spiritual works of mercy are signs of repentance, we are dared to bear fruits and we are dared never to take pride in the pedigree, in the lineage of our family; to bask only in the name of our family is but to show emptiness in our life that should have been fruitful. Success is better if this is earned; it reeks and smells rat when it is handed down. With gratitude let us thank God for our family but let us stand tall by using the talents the Lord had given us. Let us not be honored, elected, and showered with accolades because of our family names. That is nepotism; that is po-

litical dynasty. Let us not say “we have ABRAHAM as our Father.” Let us be men and women of our own making, being aware that God had given us talents to grow up with; God had endowed us with gifts to be developed and used for His glory and ultimately for our sanity and good of our fellow men. Let us not be only heirs but EARNERS as well; let us not be just donee only but DONORS as well. Let us be doers not merely inheritors. Yes, the Savior is coming! Lord Jesus let me welcome You into my life and let my life show the joy of your presence in me. With joy in my voice, in my eyes let me tell the world that you are coming. Let my ordinary life announce that you are about to be with me!

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

Enriching our human formation
PASSING by a local seminary the other day, I noticed that an office for the director of human formation for the seminarians was being constructed. Apparently the bishops’ conference has indicated that this aspect of the seminarians’ formation be given serious attention. I was, of course, very happy to learn about this. For quite some time now, I together with many others have worried about what appears to be a deterioration of the human tone of priests and seminarians. Basic good manners and proper conduct seem to be missing, as we now see a few priests improperly dressed, lacking proper sense of where to be and to go, adapting adolescent speech and lifestyle, and a long disturbing etcetera. This concern for human formation is, of course, necessary for everyone, not just for priests and seminarians. Human correctness as manifested in one’s external appearance and behavior can reveal what is inside one’s heart and soul. One’s spiritual life and all other aspects of one’s life depend to a large extent on how well one lives this indispensable human aspect of his life. Our human condition is the basic ground on which all the other developments take place. We’ll always be human, never angels nor brutes. Let’s remember that our supernatural calling is not meant to suppress our human condition, but rather to purify, enrich and elevate it. In fact, without this spiritual and supernatural dimension, our human condition simply degenerates. How can one be expected to be prayerful and self-sacrificing if he is lazy, disorderly, still held captive by earthly allurements? How can one be socially attuned and pastorally effective if he is self-absorbed, narrow-minded, and tactless? A town mayor once told me he mistook a priest for a houseboy in a town fiesta, simply because the priest dressed, talked and behaved like a houseboy. Obviously that priest must have thought he scored high in following our Lord’s command to be truly humble by being a servant. But on the other hand, the priest should know there are basic rules that govern his public activity. Lest I be accused of just dishing out my unsolicited opinion on this matter, I would like to transmit the relevant indication issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy. In no. 75 of the “Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests,” the following is said: “This human formation is extremely important in today’s world, as it always has been. The priest must never forget that he is a man chosen among men to be at the service of men. “To sanctify himself and carry out his priestly mission, he must present himself with an abundance of human virtues which render him worthy of esteem by those around him. “In particular he must practice goodness of heart, patience, kindness, strength of soul, love for justice, even-mindedness, truthfulness to his word, coherence in the duties freely assumed, etc. “It is likewise important that human virtues be reflected in the priest’s social conduct, correctness in the various forms of human relations, friendships, courtesy, etc.” We have to help one another in this area, profusely giving good example to others, constantly giving reminders, making suggestions and even resorting to fraternal corrections. In this regard, the lay faithful should not hesitate to help those in the clergy and in the religious state, by promptly giving those timely reminders, appropriate suggestions and necessary corrections. I wish to reassure them that they will be doing a great service to the Church if they do these duties. Doing them will reduce useless gossiping, and never mean a lack of respect for priests, but rather genuine care for them. A high standard of human tone should be established and kept, starting with the leaders and officials who ought to be the concrete models of human correctness. They should see to it that priests pass muster in this regard. This does not mean that we lapse into showy, extravagant, and artificial ways, or rigid and invariable forms. Human correctness can always adapt to any circumstance, whether one is rich or poor, in public or alone, etc.

Bo Sanchez

Find God in everyplace, in everything, in everyone
I LOVE St. Francis of Assisi. But even if he has been my idol for my whole life, I’ve lived long enough on this planet to realize how different my life is from his. One of my favorite stories of Francis was when he was walking through a field of flowers and he ended up screaming, “Stop talking to me! Stop talking to me!” He later explained that he was so overwhelmed by what each flower was declaring to him: “God made us bloom because He knew you were going to pass by.” Wow. I mean, Wow! When I walk through a field of flowers, all I end up screaming is, “Stop giving me allergies!” and about seventeen Haaaachooooos per minute. St. Francis was the same guy who called everything “brother” and “sister”. I don’t mind calling the sun “brother sun” and the moon “sister moon”. But I think calling rats “brother mice” and roaches “sister cockroaches” is going a little bit too far. I just squash those crawling things without any permission from God. He was also the man who kissed lepers and embraced them. Simply because he saw God in each of them. Honestly, the first time I met a leper, I didn’t know whether to simply wave “Hi!” or pretend I was Japanese and clasp my hands in my chest and give him a reverent bow—just so that I wouldn’t touch him. You and I need lessons from St. Francis who saw God in everyplace, in everything, in everyone. I’m learning. One day, after giving a talk to a thousand people that I thought to be extraordinarily inspiring, I stepped off the stage feeling very proud of myself. I was immediately greeted by a female participant, and expecting the usual praise like, “Your words bless me so much!” or “You are terrific!” I bent down towards her so that I could hear her adulation above the deafening applause. Her words had impact. She said solemnly, “Your zipper is open.” After overcoming my desire to die that instant and after mentally selecting what remote island I could hide for a few hundred years, I began to laugh. Because, I actually began to see God in the situation. I may have missed Him speaking to me in the field of flowers, and I may not have seen Him in rats and roaches (I still don’t), and I may have missed him in the first time I met the leper (I embrace them now!), but I didn’t miss Him in this humiliating experience. He was telling me, “You’re just my mouthpiece, kid. Humble yourself and loosen up.” Oh yes, I believe He also wanted me to zip up.

Mother / B1

research work, spiritual enhancement, consultation with mentors and evaluation. The students qualify for the last phase of formation, the Summer Integration Course (SIC), based on their SPY performance and recommendation of MOL and local mentors. During this six-week live-in period, all the experiences in the two years of formation are discussed, reflected upon, synthesized and integrated in the form of a catechetical module, which the students produce together. From its humble beginnings until today, MOL has received unfailing financial support from MISSIO-Aachen, Germany. Local benefactors and counterpart sponsors of students also lend a hand in keeping the Center afloat. Forty years have gone, and MOL has produced catechists who are now serving 80 local dioceses, in parishes, public and private schools, and in both government and private offices. A number of graduates who have migrated abroad keep their commitment to the task of evangelization. MOL continues to admit college graduates from all over the archipelago, desirous of helping in the growth and maturation of the faith of the Filipinos. To educate this faith so that the Philippines may truly be the light of the Orient, a springboard from where the Word of God can be spread to other Asian lands – such was Fr. Marie-Eugène’s vision. And to such task all Mother of Life catechists are committed. Together with him, we surrender everything to the grace of God. Traditus gratiae Dei!

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

Social Concern
ficient food intake (hunger) and repeated infectious diseases. Undernutrition includes being underweight for one’s age, too short for one’s age (stunted), dangerously thin (wasted), and deficient in vitamins and minerals (micronutrient malnutrition).” In the Philippines, the 6th National Nutrition Survey shows that 30.6 percent of the children aged ten below are underweight and 31.4 percent are underheight. In raw numbers, this means that there are 7.5 million undernourished children here. Of these, 1.5 million are wasting. Because lack of food can stunt growth, slow thinking, sap energy, hinder fetal development and contribute to mental retardation, these 7.5 million undernourished children will grow up to be unproductive and lacking a sense of hope and overall well-being. This will have alarming economic implications in the future. In addition, persistent securing of food depletes valuable time and energy of poor people, allowing less time for work and earning income. Third world countries like the Philippines often lack social safety nets that first world countries enjoy, such as soup kitchens and food stamps. When a family that lives in a poor country cannot earn enough in one day to buy food, there is nowhere to turn for help. Socially, the lack of food feeds shame so that those most in need of support are often least able to cry for it. Occasionally, the daily news tells of stories of mothers going crazy and killing their own children because of extreme hunger. No to extreme hunger and malnutrition Brad Pitt and other Hollywood stars have put extreme poverty in the limelight. By establishing The One Campaign, they aim to make hunger and poverty history one by one by raising public awareness, discussing issues relating to poverty, and affecting policy formation in the process (www.one.org). In our country, we don’t have a Brad Pitt to do this but we do have many NGOs and parish-based groups trying to end hunger and poverty one community at a time. One example is The John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues’ (ICSI) Sagip-Bata Feeding program. Sagip Bata Feeding Program, formerly known as the Payatas Supplemental Milk Feeding Program,started in 1990 as part Fr. John J. Carroll’s personal apostolate. Fr. Jack, as Fr. Carroll is more commonly known, may very well be the Brad Pitt of Payatas, albeit a more hands-on one. Fr. Jack was able to gather financial assistance from friends and, after some time, through word of mouth, news of the program spread and it began receiving contributions of people from different parts of the world. With Ms. Marcelina Concepcion, a resident there, Fr. Jack oversaw the weighing of the children and the distribution of milk to the mothers. In 2005, a new strategy was implemented: from merely distributing the milk to running a daily supplemental feeding program. The staff grew from one to four with some of the children’s mothers volunteering daily to help prepare food for the participants of the program. Sagip-Bata is currently assisting 36 children ages one and a half to six years old. The children are provided morning snacks of milk and biscuits around 9.30 a.m. and lunch at 11.30 a.m. from Mondays to Fridays. In between meals, they are taught to pray, sing, write, draw and ers are gathered to join the program’s annual cooking contest to practice what they have learned. Contestants are grouped and tasked to come up with delicious nutritious and affordable dishes for the whole family. This is indeed a fun way to engage the mothers in friendly competition while learning more. The winning team then competes in the annual Inter-feeding Program Cooking Contest to represent the Sagip-Bata Feeding Program. Last October 11 and 20, parents of Sagip-Bata kids were also invited People send donations, and some even do so monthly. Last October, for example, the grade four class of St. Aloysius College Junior School in New South Wales, Australia chose Sagip-Bata to be their pet project for their school’s Arrupe Outreach Program. The students walked around their neighborhoods to look for rubbish which were not disposed correctly. They raised $900 in the process. These children a continent away simply hoped that the money they have raised will be able to help the

spires goodness and love grows exponentially. Eating with Jesus At this point we are reminded of a painting by Joey Velasco called Hapag ng Pag-asa where he portrays Jesus sharing the last supper with very hungry children. In a corresponding book that features the painter’s search for his models and his subsequent healing and transformation, he shares an anecdote wherein he was talking with a mentally deranged woman who took a photo of the painting from him and

FOOD is any substance that a person partakes for nutrition or pleasure. God created food with the intention to bless us. Just as God poured Himself into incarnation and dying on the cross, he also pours Himself into His creation. The recognition of God’s presence in every food we eat can give us not only a sense of being nourished in body but also being nourished in spirit. Since Bread and Body are both expressions of God’s Love, it is not surprising that it is in eating together or breaking bread that we feel nurtured, comforted and fulfilled. It is in eating and the relationships cultivated at the dining table that we learn to accept and share God’s abundant love, that is, that we become in “communion” with Him and with others. But what happens when people do not get by enough to partake of the wonders of food? What if eating merely becomes a mechanical biological imperative in order to not feel pain and survive? What if, in order to get food for the day, parents and even children are forced to work long hours or just steal? What happens when even if people do eat, they remain undernourished because of inadequate nutrition? The evils of hunger In the Philippines, we only have to look around to see faces of hunger. Street children dot our side streets and main thoroughfares begging for alms. We hear stories of people having to live on just kaninbaw daily—a mixture of rice and soup made from scrap meat and bones. At night, we see people scavenging for leftover food from the garbage dumps near fast food chains in the metro. In the rural areas, we meet people who eat just salt or soy sauce with their rice. We are so used to seeing hungry people that we have become desensitized of them. To most of us, the hungry are but permanent fixtures in our national landscape. According to The Bread of the World Institute’s 2004 Hunger Report, 854 million people across the world are hungry. Hunger incidence is most high in South Asia, Africa and East Asia and the Pacific and parts of Latin America. If you’ve experienced being truly physically hungry, you would know that hunger is a serious matter as it can be a great source of evil. When one is hungry, one becomes irritable, angry, lethargic, unproductive and even violent. More than that, hunger is fatal and children are the most susceptible. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That’s one child every five seconds! When we read these facts, we imagine extremely skinny children unable to move due to disease or absurdly low food intake. Unfortunately, those scenarios do happen. But hunger also manifests itself in ways other than starvation and famine. Most poor people who battle hunger deal with chronic undernourishment. UNICEF defines the term undernutrition, as “the outcome of insufDecade / B4

Love to feed, feed to love
By Diana Jean V. Moraleda

dance. The children are also given vitamins and undergo regular medical check-ups at the Payatas Health Center. They are dewormed every six months. Most of the children in the program stay about three to six months depending on when they are able to achieve normal body weight based on their age. Some stay longer than the others because they are treated for diseases like primary complex (tuberculosis) which is very prevalent in the area because it is very near the garbage dumpsite. To really help the undernourished, feeding them is not enough. Certain activities must also be done to empower families to improve their health and childcare practices. Since 2006, the Sagip Bata Feeding Program has been using the Pabasa sa Nutrisyon modules drafted by the National Nutrition Council to train mothers on health and proper nutrition. The Pabasa sa Nutrisyon seminars have already trained two batches of mothers and have inspired other feeding programs in Payatas to conduct similar activities. After Pabasa sa Nutrisyon, moth-

to attend the Children’s Rights and Positive Discipline Workshop. The seminar was facilitated by Ms. Melanie Ramos-Llana of ICSI and is a part of the campaign against the use of corporal punishment at home. Instead, parents were taught more positive methods in disciplining their children. Spreading hope After seventeen years, it is amazing how the Sagip-Bata Feeding Program keeps running and improving each day. Now, Sagip-Bata has evolved from being a stand-alone project to being part of a whole family program in Payatas called the Pag-Asa ng Pamilya (PnP) Program. Aside from feeding the children, PnP also has the Tahanan Natural Family Planning program that teaches parents to plan their families using modern natural family planning and the Landas ng Pag-asa Scholarship program which provides educational assistance to poor and deserving students. For the most part, the program is made possible because of generous people who are kind enough to share their time, effort and money.

Payatas kids get a delicious and healthy meal. Aside from donors, the program is also sustained by the volunteer mothers and staff in Payatas who never tire of working each day to feed the children. For them, seeing the children get better and happier is enough to keep them going. Aside from increase in weight, volunteers and staff report increased stamina, attentiveness and liveliness among children who are enrolled in the program. The Sagip-Bata program is only one of the many programs that help undernourished children in our country. If we put the number of children it helps to the statistic on world hunger and undernutrition, it would seem that our efforts are but a drop in a vast area of parched land. But every drop of water counts. If many people or groups are stirred into contributing tiny drops of water too, then perhaps, life can actually bloom and be able to sustain itself. As Jingle Mira, a Sagip-Bata volunteer once said, “If people outside of Payatas can help us, why can’t we in Payatas help each other?” Indeed, goodness in-

observed, “You know my friend, they are actually not poor… they have Jesus.” Indeed, food does not only feed the body. It also feeds the spirit. Sharing God’s blessings, in effect, introduces Jesus to those whose faith is the least of their priorities because they have to struggle daily to survive. Sharing God’s blessings also makes known Jesus to the giver who is stirred enough to be able to share himself in love and humbled enough by the outpouring of support from his fellow men to be able to sustain that love. For the Sagip-Bata Program staff and volunteers, and countless others who are involved in the same activity the world over, it is in loving that they are able to feed, and feeding that they are able to love like Jesus does. (The Sagip Bata Feeding Program accepts cash, milk or rice donations. You may send these to the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues, 2/F Benigno Mayo Hall, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights. Q.C. Cash donations may also be sent to John J. Carroll, S.J. through BPI Account no. 3085-8066-36.)

conferences have since been published, and are available in hardcover and paperback. In January of 2007, the CBCP-OW, through Bishop Emilio Marquez, collaborated with CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP Commission on Family and Life Chair Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, CBCP Commission on the Laity Chair Bishop Gabriel Reyes, and CBCP Office on Bioethics Chair Bishop Jose Oliveros in organizing the International Conference on Bioethics and the Family in Manila. This conference brought in internationally known experts from all over the world, including the Holy See’s top bioethicist, Pontifical Academy for Life President Bp. Elio Sgreccia. Members of the CBCP-OW board have actively engaged the legislative and executive branches of government as well as the academe and non-governmental organizations on the various issues relevant to its mandate.

The Office sought to establish diocesan Women’s desks in various dioceses in the country to provide the support systems for a culture of life, and to look after the needs of women, children and families in crisis. And, by way of formative dissemination of Church teachings on womanhood, the Office collaborates with seminaries through the CBCP Commission on Seminaries in order to integrate the same in the curriculum for seminaries. In order to promote greater women solidarity, the Office hosted conferences of Asian women in collaboration with the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference and participated in the celebration of International Women’s Day and the Asia Pacific Conferences of Women for Peace. Other advocacies Archbishop Oscar Cruz gave the Office on Women the added task of evaluating movies and certain television programs to

guide the Catholic viewing public. Named CINEMA, for Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation, this initiative was meant to address the exploitation of women in media, notably in the movie industry. Eventually, it assumed the function of rating and classifying movies to guide educators and parents in particular, and the public in general in assessing movies. A CINEMA bulletin is published weekly. This has been going on for the past six years. The Office has also undertaken mission appeals called M.A.S.S. to support deserving theology seminarians. To help CBCP raise funds, the CBCP-OW also produced Tribute to Pope John Paul II, a play written and directed by Nestor Torre, a Filipino playwright; in 2005. It generated Php 1,397,302.64 for CBCP. More pressing challenges ahead Because the challenge continues to grow,

the Office on Women needs to do more to meet this growing challenge. It must stay on course. It must keep its focus. These are some of the most pressing challenges: A) Tackle women issues from a Catholic perspective; B) Help in the enactment of just laws, sound programs and policies that affirm and enhance the dignity of life, women, family and marriage; C) Monitor the programs and policies of Government in all levels and non-government organizations and similar entities, and promote the Catholic teaching on the formulation of their plans, programs and projects that affect women and girls; D) Serve as the coordinating and implementing office of the Conference in liaison with Church-based and/or Churchrelated movements, organizations and similar groups, on matters pertaining to women. The gender feminists and allies thus far have succeeded in implementing carefully designed programs according to the Beijing action plan within a strictly observed timetable. For example: 1) They have persistently, without let-up, put the reproductive health and rights for adults, adolescents and children, gender and same-sex unions issues, divorce, population control, and other legislative initiatives meant to undermine the dignity of women, the family and the rights of parents over their children and the promotion of an individualistic, hedonistic and sexually liberated society in the national legislative agenda; 2) Failing to pass a national law (thus far) that will legislate the above, the national government has allowed local governments to pass gender and development codes in at least 40 local government units with reproductive health provisions which include abortion rights language

in United Nations documents; 3) With the Vice-Governors and Vice-Mayors, who chair local government legislative councils, now organized for the purpose of legislating gender and reproductive health and rights in more specific terms to include items in number one above, the government, which President Gloria Arroyo labels as pro-life, is poised to aggressively push what they have failed to do so far in Congress; 4) The government and some well-funded NGOs have now embarked on an aggressive ligation and vasectomy campaign without much fanfare, apart from their usual population control programs, and is virtually unchecked by Church workers, family-oriented groups, women organizations, parishes and dioceses; 5) The Department of Education has now integrated population control, reproductive health and rights and informed choice in its curriculum without too many people noticing. All of the above needs the full and undivided attention of the Office which was created precisely to address these issues. We cannot afford to be distracted from any of these concerns. We do not have an abundance of time or resources in our hands. In a private meeting with John Paul II in his personal library following a private mass in the Papal apartments before departing for the Beijing conference, I had the privilege of joining five other women of various nationalities whom the Holy Father asked to join him at table. He told me then, “You women of the Philippines must be strong women—Mulieris Fortes!!!” He said it with great emphasis, apparently seeing what lies ahead for the Philippines, which in one of his addresses in Manila he described as “the Light of Asia and the World.” The CBCP Office on Women must never forget those words if it is to achieve its mission for the Church, the nation and the world.


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Moral Assessment Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

Technical Assessment Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent

Title: We Own the Night Running Time: 118 min. Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall, Eva Mendez, Moni Mochonov, Alex Veadov Director: James Gray Producers: Marc Butan, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Nick Wechsler Screenwriter: James Gray Music: Wojciech Kilar Editor: John Axelrad Genre: Drama/ Crime/ Action Cinematography: Joaquin Baca-Asay Distributor: Warner Brothers Location: New York, USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

BOBBY Green (Joaquin Phoenix) manages a nightclub, El Caribe, in Brooklyn circa 1988. The nightclub is owned by a Russian mafia headed by Marat (Moni Mochonov) who suspiciously conducts drug business in the club along with Vadim Nezhinski (Alex Veadov). Bobby has somewhat become attached to Marat’s family and the company that he keeps in El Caribe. Unknown to them, Bobby’s father is a legendary New York City police
Title: Lions for Lambs Running Time: 98 min. Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Andrew Garfield, Derek Luke, Michael Peña, Kevin Dunn Peter Berg Director: Robert Redford Producers: Robert Redford, Matthew Michael Carnahan, Andrew Hauptman, Tracy Falco Screenwriter: Matthew Michael Carnahan Music: Mark Isham Editor: Joe Hutshing Genre: Action/ Drama Cinematography: Phillippe Rousselot A/FC/ASC Distributor: United Artists Location: Washington DC, California, USA; Afganistan Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

chief, Burt Grusinsky (Robert Duvall), and his brother is a decorated police captain, Joseph Grusinsky (Mark Wahlberg). On a night of family gathering, Bobby learns that Joseph heads a new narcotics unit whose main target is Vadim Nezhinski. Burt and Joseph want Bobby to be an informant of Vadim’s drug dealing activities in El Caribe so they could catch him but Bobby refuses. Joseph proceeds with his assignment any-

way which intensifies further the conflict between him and Bobby who are on the opposite sides of the law. But the turn of events will put Bobby’s familial loyalty to a test. The movie starts with a familiar yet interesting premise: brothers who took opposite paths which has turned them into enemies. But what seems to be a warpath between brothers has suddenly turned into a cliché of vengeance melodrama. Even if the characterization seems flat, the actors are able to deliver well which has made the characters pass as multi-dimensional. Although they (Phoenix and Wahlberg) mumble almost half of the time that dialogues are hardly audible and understood. The screenplay is quite wordy for an action-drama and pacing is a bit slow and dragging. This could be the director’s way of highlighting emotional moments that escalate from one scene to the next. Such approach is actually effec-

tive in bringing out the baggage of guilt, insecurities and anger. Blood is thicker than water. The movie revolves around this adage that leads to a greater moral dilemma. Bobby is the black sheep in the family but later on becomes a hero driven not by his moral stand for good but by his desire for revenge. Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sex, and gambling are nightclubs’ order of the day (or night?) but it is a different story once your family gets involved. So the film says. Although it does not glorify criminals, the film somehow portrays such acts as amoral if not totally desirable. But then, W e Own the Night is clear in its stand when it comes to valuing relationships. It is consistent with its message of love, forgiveness, selflessness, loyalty and obedience to the law. Such values can be a rarity in a world where money rules and vanity reigns, especially during the night.

THREE separate events are going on at the same time. In Washington D.C., Janine Roth (Meryl Streep), a veteran journalist has a one-on-one interview with Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise) who wants her to air an exclusive news material he is passing on to her. Around

the same time in a California University, professor Dr. Stephen Malley (Robert Redford) is seriously confronting his student Todd Hayes (Andrew Garfield) about his frequent absences from his class and is given a severe reprimand. Also around this time, a small band of U.S. soldiers is taken by helicopter to a strategic point in the Afghanistan mountains to prevent the Talibans from advancing into the territory. Among the soldiers in the air lift are two students of Dr. Malley: Arlan (Derek Luke) and Ernest (Michael Peña) friends and idealistic students. The three lead actors and actress are very convincing in their roles. Though they handled mostly talky parts, they clearly delivered what their verbal interchange is all about, that include effective body language and facial expressions. The three different events are so effectively paced, edicted and directed that these could be easily put ogether in relation to each other for the viewers to see and get the central idea of Lions for Lambs. In the one-on-one interview Janine sees that she is to write about the administration having a “new plan” to end the deadlock in Afghanistan by sending small military groups to secure their

positions before a real battle begins. When would this “plan” be put into action; Irving informs her, “ten minutes ago” as they were talking. The journalist realizes that she had helped the government on occasions to spread its propaganda, before this meeting, which has been a costly and tragic mistake. She is now reluctant to do what Irving wants her to do. Still she has her editor to bring her dilemma to. In Afghanistan, the two buddies, who were Dr. Malley’s idealistic students and who still had faith in the way things are in their country, became “the sacrificial lambs that fed the pride of the lions”. Political ambition and pride lead to the idea that winning is what matters whatever the cost. The media may thus be used for that purpose: preserving the image of power and party interest. Roth struggles with her conscience, and pragmatism: she wants to write the truth but not at the cost of losing her job. Arlan and Ernest were brave enough to follow their conscience, while Todd lacked commitment and does not have a direction in his life. Dr. Malley is such a competent and conscientious professor that he could light up one’s idealism and remove apathy from his students. Lions for Lambs pagsisikap na buuin ang kwento ng bawat isang tauhan, tila naman namadali ang pagtatapos ng pelikula at pagsasara ng kasaysayan ng mga tauhan. Katwiran ba ang kahirapan upang isantabi muna ang kabutihang asal? Tama nga ba na ipagpalit ang prinsipiyo para sa sikmurang kumakalam? Malinaw ang mensahe ng pelikula at babala sa mga taong ginagawang dahilan ang hirap ng buhay para gumawa ng taliwas… ang kahirapan ay isang daan upang palakasin ang pagkatao, pagtibayin ang pananampalataya at pagkakataon upang ipakita na ang tao ay sadyang kawangis ng Maykapal. Sa gitna ng hirap at pagsubok ang unang napakadaling gawin ay ang iligtas ang sikmura gasino na lang kung sino ang masagasaan o masaktan o itapon ang prinsipiyo at dangal. Subalit sa huli, ang mga taong pumili ng landas na ito ay lalong nababaon sa kahirapan ng buhay, sa ismid ng lipunan at dagok ng kapalaran. Lalong napapasama ang taong nagsasamantala o nagpapasamantala kapalit ng kaunting barya. Sa kabilang dako, kung gaanong napakadali isantabi ang Diyos sa oras ng tagumpay at pagpapasasa, gayun din kadaling kalimutan siya kapag nahihirapan na sa buhay, upang madaling bigyan ng katwiran ang paggawa ng masama at magbingi-bingihan sa tawag ng konsensya. Kaya nga lang, anumang talikod ng isang tao sa Diyos, anumang pilit niyang itanggi ang katotohanan ng Diyos, sa Kanya pa rin ang takbuhan ng tao sa huli. May mga usapan, eksena at temang hindi angkop sa mga bata at makabubuting kasama ang mga magulang o nakatatanda sa panunuod ng pelikula upang magbigay gabay.


QUOTES IN QUIZ Booklets available at BOOKSALE stores in SM, Robinsons and selected malls in Manila. For mail order text 09192803036.

Title: Ataul for Rent Running Time: 94 min Cast: Joel Torre, Jacklyn Jose, Irma Adlawan, Noni Buencamino, Ronnie Lazaro, Pen Medina Director: Neal Tan Producer: Anthony Gedang Screenwriter: Anthony Gedang, Neal Tan Music: Nonong Buencamino Editor: Rocky Ko Genre: Drama Cinematography: Renato de Vera Distributor: Artiste Entertainment works International Location: Slums of Metro Manila Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Digital / B1

about this. Therefore, I look with great hope to what we are doing right now in Latin America. I very much appreciate how RIIAL works in close collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Latin American episcopate. The president of the committee for the means of communication of the Latin American episcopal council was there, and, in this week of working together, we reached a deep mutual understanding. I think that this understanding will be useful for new possibilities of work. We are only beginning, and such a deep understanding between the two organizations is truly a precursor of abundant future fruits. Today there is a new challenge for social justice: the marginalization of those without access to new technology. In your discussion in Honduras, you spoke about “info-poverty.” Could you comment on this? It is a reality. The illiteracy of before, which is a tragic consequence of socioeconomic poverty, today shows itself as well with the face of

“info-poverty.” The council cannot solve everything. But what the council can do together with the Church in Latin America—and there are RIIAL projects in this regard—is find contributions to overcome the new barriers arising. Because the more we keep a great number of people isolated, the poorer the world will be. Tomorrow, these people, having been adequately helped and educated in using means of communication, will be able to enrich humanity’s path. What are the future projects for the council? At present we are still thinking on the short term, that is, in the first six months of next year, among other reasons, because we just have moved offices to Vía de la Conciliación 5, in Rome. In these months I have spoken with many people. The encounter in Honduras was valuable in this sense; but also here in Rome, I have had the opportunity of meeting with representatives of the episcopates and people committed to these problems. And it seemed im-

portant to have a meeting with the faculties of social communication of the Roman ecclesiastical universities. […] We decided to see each other regularly, because on one level I think the pontifical council needs to be accompanied and assisted by a deep academic reflection, since the council desires to work in service, in this “diaconía” of the culture. I can announce that after Easter, we will try to organize a world congress of the faculties of social communication of Catholic universities, spread throughout the world, because we have to rediscover the meaning of this presence. There are certainties, there are positive achievements, but I think one of the biggest challenges we have to face together is looking at the future, and seeing how the academic world, especially that with a Catholic inspiration, is able to contribute positively. Therefore I think that, after Easter, before summer, we will organize this congress; we are already working on it, consulting those who are already on the playing field. (Zenit)

ANG pelikula ay makatotohanang tumatalakay sa mga buhay ng mga nakatira sa “Kalyehong Walang Lagusan”, isang makipot, masikip at miserableng kalyehon sa loob ng squatters area. Masusundan ang kwento sa pagsasalaysay ng taong grasang si Batul (Ronnie Lazaro), isang tila nasiraan na ng bait sa gutom at kahirapan ngunit tanging taong may natitirang delikadesa at moralidad. Sa lugar na ito ay talamak ang lasenggo, sugarol, adik, pusher, prostitute, magnanakaw, isnatcher at lahat na yata ng uri ng kasamaan ng lipunan. Tila ba ang mga taong naninirahan dito ay naubusan na ng kabutihang asal at walang takot na lumabag sa batas, ibenta ang sarili o makasakit sa kapwa. Pangunahing tauhan si Guido (Joel Torre), isang embalsamador at nagpapaupa ng mga ataul, at ang kanyang asawang si Pining (Jacklyn Jose), na nagsisilbing make-up artist ng mga patay at buhay at kubrador ng jueteng. Walang pagdadalawang isip si Guido na maningil ng mataas at humingi na paunang bayad kahit kapos na kapos na ang namatayan at halos wala nang ipagpalibing. Magkakasunod ang patay sa kanilang lugar: si Tale, isang shabuuser at nanay ng lasenggo, si

Moises, isang magnanakaw na pinatay ng pulis, si Andoy, isang pusher at kapatid ng call boy na si Danny. Dahil ang kalyehon ay nagiging lungga ng mga salot ng lipunan at masasamang loob, pwersahan silang pinaalis ng pamahalaan upang mabigyan daan ang pagpapatayo ng isang simbahang tila bagang magbibigay ng panibagong pagasa. Sa kabuuan, sulit na sulit ang panunuuod ng Ataul for Rent. May kurot sa puso ang pelikula dahil sa makatotohanang pagganap ng mga tauhan, masining na disenyong produksyong at mahigpit at pulidong pagsusunod-sunod ng eksena. Mahusay ang sinematograpiya at nahuli ang mismong damdamin ng miserableng buhay sa loob ng kalyehon. Magaling ang pagsasalaysay ng sinematiko sa pelikula dahil napagsama-sama nito ang masasalimuot na kwento ng bawat isang tauhan na hindi nagiging masalimuot ang mismo takbo ng kwento. Kaya nga lamang, may kahinaan ang pagtatapos ng pelikula, medyo pilit tuloy ang gustong paratingin na leksyon ng may-akda. Kung paanong nagbuhos ng panahon at

Vol. 116 No.2007 August - 19, 24

CBCP Monitor Monitor CBCPNo. 16 Vol. 11


November 26 - December 9, 2007

A Catechetical Publication of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education Vol. XXVI No. 119

Next ACCCRE meeting slated January next year
THE 2008 General Membership Meeting of the Association of Catechetical Centers and Colleges with Religious Education (ACCCRE) is set to convene on January 16 to 18, 2008 at the Capuchin Retreat Center, Lipa City. The Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) secretariat said the event will also include a seminar on “How to Teach the New National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines” and the proposed Catechetical Basic Formation Program. “In the context of prayer and fellowship, this meeting will help us upgrade our standards in the formation of our catechists and religion teachers,” they added. It will be recalled that the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education has organized ACCCRE for the purpose of forming collaboration among catechetical centers and colleges offering courses in religious education. Expectedly ACCCRE is the group that will bring together catechists to exchange “best practices” in religious education. Bataan Bishop Socrates Villegas, ECCCE chairman, is an ex-officio member of the group’s Board of Trustees. The ECCCE said another goal of the group is to promote continuing improvement in the religious education capability of member institutions. This can be done through formation programs, faculty development and systems improvement particularly in the area of catechesis. The group also seeks to promote and implement self-accreditation among its members as a process towards continuing improvement in the quality of religious education. The group is also mandated to provide assistance in monitoring and assisting catechetical centers and colleges which may have problems and special concerns as well as in looking into the possibility of establishing new catechetical centers. Still, the ACCCRE will likewise advocate on behalf of member schools on issues involving governmental or Church policies which concern catechesis. (ECCCE / CBCPNews)

ECCCE to organize National Gathering of Priests
THE Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education is organizing a nationwide gathering of priests on April 14 to 19, 2008. Dubbed as “Summer Catechetical Institute for Priests,” the occasion will be held at the Sta. Catalina Spirituality Center in the country’s summer capital, Baguio City. The ECCCE said the event is intended for the priests who are engaged in the catechetical ministry with the end in view of increasing their appreciation of catechetics. It also seeks to hone their management skills and clarify some issues and concerns that affect their ministry in the diocese. “This will be an orientation for the new directors and an updating for those who have been in the ministry for some years now,” the ECCCE said. (CBCPNews)

Annual meeting of catechetical ministries to be held in Gensan
THE Annual Meeting of Catechetical Ministries will be held at the Mother Francisca Spirituality Center in Lagao, General Santos City on July 8-11, 2008. According to the ECCCE, the meeting will feature a seminar-workshop that could help catechetical directors in facing the challenges in their ministry. “It will also be a good occasion to share with one another the best practices in the catechetical ministry nationwide in view of constantly upgrading our standards of service,” the ECCCE also said. Various diocesan catechetical directors and coordinators as well as the heads of catechetical centers in the country are expected to attend the yearly occasion. (ECCCE)

The Youth and the Eucharist
Youth Ministry in Asia: Reliving the Emmaus Story
(Spiritual reflection delivered by Bishop Socrates B. Villegas of the Diocese of Balanga in the Philippines at the Second Bishops’ Institute For Lay Apostolate (BILA) on November 12, 2007 in Johor, Malaysia.) Video start until screen of many faces of youth WE are all familiar with the story of the disciples of Emmaus who unknowingly encountered the Risen Christ along the road. It is a reading we hear in Masses after the Holy Week. But before the Emmaus scene were more dramatic events in the Gospel, starting off with the first celebration of the Eucharist by our Lord, Jesus Christ on Holy Thursday and culminating with His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. We reflect on these central themes in our faith on the holiest of weeks in our liturgical season. Allow me to take you back to that time and to ask you this question: Who was responsible for the murder of Jesus? There could be many answers to that question depending on the perspective of the crime. Should we follow culpability, command responsibility, direct injury, or as forensics would say COD or Cause of Death? Then some will say it is the Jewish elders and priests. Others will argue that the Romans killed him. There will be those who point the finger at Herod or Pontius Pilate, or at the traitor, Judas, who, after all, set the ball rolling with his betrayal of Jesus. Then again it could be the agitators, the unruly mob who cried out for blood. “Crucify him! Crucify him,” they shouted unrelentingly. Whoever is accused, there is one thing that surfaces clearly and without doubt—no young person can be accused of being responsible for the death of Jesus. No young person! Elders? Maybe. Priests? Maybe. Mob? Maybe. Judas? Maybe. The youth? Surely, it was not one of them. This fact alone shows that Jesus loves the youth very much. When that rich young man came to him with his troubled questions, Jesus looked at him tenderly, with love. John, who is considered by Christian tradition as the youngest among the twelve, is also referred to as the “apostle whom Jesus loved”. Sadly, however, while none of the youth could be counted as one of Jesus’

Laoag diocese launches NNCDP

THE Diocese of Laoag opened September as the month of “Catechesis and Catholic Education” with the launching of the New National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines. More than 140 catechists, religious sisters, lay workers, seminarians and priests attended the event held at Milder Hall of the St. Arnold Janssen Pastoral Center last Sept.7. Part of the celebration was a Mass presided by Laoag Bishop Sergio Utleg, where he urged the catechists to appreciate their ministry of catechesis. Dr. Linda Tacorda of the Archdiocese of Jaro and of the CBCP-ECCCE Advisory Board served as the resource speaker. “It is my first time to encounter its publications, its content and its use; congratulations for the book,” one participant said. Another participant said, “Dr. Tacorda gave us a deeper understanding of the NNCDP. It’s my first time to attend a seminar on NNCDP and I was touched by how it is considered in the ministry of catechesis. I hope that another seminar will be organized in the future.” (ECCCE)

accusers and tormentors, most of the young peoplethat the Gospel refers to as those whom Jesus loved abandoned him. They deserted him. They ran away from him. The rich young man walked away sad because he had many possessions. The young lad in the garden of agony ran away naked into the darkness of the night choosing security and safety rather than staying by the Lord throughout his holy passion. Today we are also confronted with a similar dilemma. How do we make the youth, our young people stay with Jesus? That objective lies at the root of the youth ministry, and is one of the unexpressed reasons for this seminar workshop on the youth ministry in the Asian context. In fact, it is not only our objective, but our mission, not only to bring Jesus to the youth but to have the youth stay with him. Without Jesus in their lives, without Jesus by their side, our young people will have nothing, and our ministry will not only be in vain, but also pointless and meaningless. How can we draw the youth of Asia to the Eucharistic table, as Jesus drew the disciples at Emmaus? How can we make them stay by with Him so they will follow Him to fullness of life?

Our first task as elders in the Church, as ministers for the youth, is to know them, and in knowing them, open them to the wonder and beauty of the friendship with Jesus Christ. Video until image of Jesus with children We must know that in the youth is found the seed of contemplation. The youth are natural contemplatives. The thirst of the youth for the meaning of life is the best disposition for growth in contemplation. That thirst in the heart of the youth for the spiritual and the sublime can only be satisfied in loving communion with the Lord. Didn’t the disciples recognize the Lord at the breaking of the bread? The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life. The Eucharist will draw the youth through their core which yearns for food not to nourish their body but their spirit. The youth will see Jesus their friend in the bread that is broken and eaten, the “body that is given up for you?” It is a love so deep, so sublime, so pure that the young people with their untainted idealism and desire for the ultimate good, will reach out for. The Eucharist makes present to them the Love of Jesus. It is the prayer that will satisfy their thirsty souls. In the Eucharist, the

youth not only listens and talks to God, they are embraced by Him, enfolded in His loving care and protection. In the Eucharist God is one with His children. This is the Eucharist. It is communion in the most intimate manner that no human intimacy can ever equal. In the Emmaus story we are shown a facet that the youth can readily identify with and enjoy the most—staying together. “Stay with us,” the disciples invited the Lord. “Stay with me,” the Lord invites us all. This interplay of presence is prayer in its deepest form. It is contemplative prayer. Prayer is not just listening to and speaking with God. It is staying with God. Is this not what the youth wish all the time? They want to stay together, or as they say in modern lingo, “hanging out” together, sharing happy and sad stories, sharing food and drink, sharing their hearts and minds. Even when they break up each to their own way, they will get in touch as soon as they can, by phone, by internet. And after they have ended their get-together, the first thing they do is get to the phone or the internet to keep in touch and stay
Youth / C2



CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

A series of modules on the

New National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines (NNCDP)
THEOLOGY / CATECHESIS Methods the most advanced and sophisticated methods of scientific study; latest theories and hypotheses touching on all aspects of the Word of God the sacred and human sciences to Effectively communicate the essentials of the Christian message Goals a scientific, critical understanding of the Good News in the world of today an effective proclamation and instruction in the faith, leading the Christian community toward a fuller, more mature and proper commitment to, and life in, Jesus Christ Criteria test of rigorous scientific study of the Word of God within the total current academic, cultural and socio-religious environment triple fidelity: • to God’s Word, • to the Christian community, the Church, and • to the concrete people who are being catechized NATUREANDGOALSOFCATECHESIS Catechesis as Part of the Church’s Ministry of the Word [114-116] “catechism” is a book or manual for catechizing “catechetics” is the study or science with its goals, sources methods, etc. “catechesis ” is a form of ministry of the Word whose purpose is “to make men’s faith become living, conscious, and active, through the light of Instruction.” Two insights: First, catechesis can never be identified merely with classroom instruction. Secondly, instruction in catechesis, especially the teaching of Christian doctrine, is central, directed not only to children and youth but also to adults. General Goal and Objectives of Catechesis [120-122] The general goal of catechesis toward which many fundamental catechetical tasks are directed isdeveloping a personal relationship with Jesus. Specific Goals and Tasks of Catechesis {124-131] • understanding of the truths of the Faith, Catholic doctrine, or promoting knowledge of the faith • educating in Christian morality, in following Christ in lov ing service — moral formation • instructing on the Church’s liturgy, worship and prayer • developing the sense of belonging in the Church commu nity and sharing in its mission through committed service • developing in the catechized the two-way skill of • incarnating their Christian Faith in attitudes and values of daily life, while at the same time • interpreting their daily life in the light of the Gospel. SOURCES and CONTENT of CATECHESIS Primary Sources: Scripture and Tradition {133-139] Catechesis draws from Scripture those texts, events personalities themes and symbols that present the essential of the Faith, The catechist is not involved in the scientific studies of Scripture, but makes use of the results of these studies in so far as they help in communicating the essential Gospel message on the particular level of those to be catechized. Thus, catechists take the initiative and apply their creativity in choosing the methods and approaches that are needed to make the Scriptures “come alive” for the catechized at the various stages of their Christian formation. Traditional Developed Sources [144-154) Originating in the apostolic experience, Christians have always tried to make sense of their concrete life-experience if the light of Scriptures. Out of this unceasing dynamic interplay of the Gospel and of the human person’s concrete life, both personal and social” the Church has formed its faith in terms of: creedal truths and doctrines, morall values and precepts, and personal and sacramental worship • Thus, from this unified primary source of Scripture and Tra dition flow the three traditional developed sources and nor mative criteria of catechesis: the doctrine of the Church [Doctrine], Catholic morality [Morals], and the life of worship and prayer [Worship]. Secondary Sources: Christian Witness and Filipino Culture [155-157) Another basic source for catechesis is the concrete witness of countless Simple Filipino Catholic women and men, whose lives of generous service and sacrifice provide indispensable examples and living “proofs” of authentic, mature Christian faith. A final source for catechesis is simply the created realities and culture of our Filipino people. “The Church ... has utilized the resources of different cultures in its preaching to spread and explain the message of Christ, to examine and understand it more deeply, and to express it more perfectly in the liturgy and in various aspects of the life of the faithful.” The most beautiful homilies have no words. “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when he was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” On the Emmaus road, the heart spoke to hearts and how their hearts burned with fervor. The gospel of love can only be proclaimed by the language of love. How is Asia to be evangelized? We need to proclaim. We must bear witness. We must engage in dialogue. This is the whole lesson of the Emmaus story. The journey may be long but we are fellow travelers on this road that leads to God’s Kingdom. Let us walk hand in hand with the youth, allowing the seeds of contemplation within them to flourish and grow towards knowing Jesus and loving him, directing the compassion in their hearts towards the weak and the destitute, and encouraging their skills for communication to boldly proclaim the Good News. Let us stay with our youth throughout their journey, that they may be companions to the youth they will themselves encounter in life. In my heart I know the youth of Asia have the will, the virtues and talents, to walk with Jesus, to listen to Him and to recognize Him. Youth of Asia, stay with Jesus. Youth of Asia, give us Jesus. Youth of Asia, show us Jesus. Video until the end Amen!

• • •

Chapter I Our Philippine Context [16-18] the Socio-Economic-Political Profile and Education; the Socio-Cultural-Religious Profile (Kalooban, Kalinangan, Kasaysayan ) and New Media; and the Filipino Family, Youth, School Religious Instruction, and family Values.

The Socio-economic-political profile • demography, • economics, • politics, and • education In relation to populationCatechesis as First Priority [22] In relation to economicsCatechesis on Social Teachings of the Church [25-26] In relation to political context- Catechesis can help in the for mation of a Christian political conscience among Filipino Catholics In relation to EducationChallenge to Catechesis as Lifelong Education in the Faith [32] Socio-cultural-religious profile [34-35] • Kalooban (identity) • Kalinangan (culture) • Kasaysayan (history) 1. KALOOBAN (IDENTITY) [36-43] Implications to the Catechetical MinistryCatechesis should develop authentic Christian values and attitudes that will help diminish the negative, defensive selfcenteredness of the Filipino values and their related mechanisms. 2. KALINANGAN (CULTURE) Implications to the Catechetical MinistryCatechesis:On basic Christian truths, values and attitudes among the poor and marginalized, that is down-to-earth that is better integrated and more deeply inculturated in Filipino cultural values that grounded, purified and transformed by the Gospel message 3. KASAYSAYAN (HISTORY) [53-57] Implications to the Catechetical MinistryCatechetical methodology must help catechesis to take cognizance of the social problematic brought about by the new cultural situation not only express the Gospel in traditional Filipino culture but also in the elements of the emerging postmodern culture, and at the same time transform and purify the unchristian beliefs and values of this new culture, prevalent among the young people. The Filipino Family: Context and Setting of Catechesis The Family: A Core Value for Filipinos [63-66]Close Family Ties [67-70] Implications to the Catechetical MinistryFamily catechesis become more difficult but not impossible in this situation; more of an on-going daily unstructured witnessing Children in the Filipino Family [74-75]- Children as recipient of catechesis [81-82] Implications to the Catechetical MinistryMost Filipino children learn the rudiments of faith at home, but There is a growing number of baptized children who are not adequately catechized. Today parents find no more time to catechize their children do not feel sufficiently equipped to instruct them in their faith more than ever need continuing adult catechesis The Filipino Youth [76-79] Implications to the Catechetical MinistryThe urgent need to radically improve the manner of communicating the essential truths of faith educate the youth in basic Christian teachings adapt a new strategy for evangelization of the youth. Catechetical Response and Summary 1985 -Maturing in Christ Faith, the National Catechetical Direc tory for the Philippines an official publication of CBCP’s Episcopal 1990 To Form Filipino Christians Mature in their Faith A pasto ral Letter of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Phil ippines Announcing 1990 as National Catechetical year The celebration of the National Catechetical Year 1991 -The Second plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) which declared catechesis as the first priority and the most basic are of renewal (PCP II, 183); 1997 Catechism for Filipino Catholics (CFC), an adult national catechism 1998 A Companion to CFC and a “Speakers”Bureau” of a re source persons to conduct seminar-workshops throughout the country on how to use the CFC/KPK 2000 Katesismo para sa mga Pilipinong (KPK), a Filipino trans lation of CFC 1992 -The Catechists’ Basic Formation Program (CBCP) -a “Religion Teachers’ Basic Formation Manual” (RTBFM), being prepared 199? -The Basic Contents for Faith Formation or “Essential Ele ments of Minimum Learning Competencies” in Religion. To conclude, Chapter I challenges Philippine catechesis to radical efforts of renewal, including [95] • Improved family catechesis, • Stress on student-learning methodologies, • Better catechist formation programs, and • Initiating a “life-long process” of catechesis for Filipino Catholics.
Youth / C1

• • •

Chapter II Catechesis: Its Nature, Goals and Sources the relationship of evangelization with catechesis and the ology; (art.100-113) the nature and goals of catechesis; (art.114 -131) the primary sources and content of catechesis, namely Tra dition and Scripture; its traditional derived or secondary sources developed by the Magisterium and expressed in her doctrine; morals and Worship as well as Christian witness and Filipino culture; and the need to integrate them for effective renewal of our catechetical programs. (art.132 - 157)

Catechesis and Evangelization [100 -109] Evangelization, the pastoral and missionary activity of the Church, is a complex, dynamic and ongoing process “‘by which the Church, moved by the Spirit, brings, proclaims dearly, and pread the Gospel. On the other hand, catechesis, an essential “moment” and an integral part in the process of evangelization, • is a fundamental service of the Church and refers to all the efforts within the Church • to make disciples and help people believe that Jesus is the Son of God, so that believing they might have life in his name (Jn. 20:31), And • to help our faith mature at the initial stage through the light of instruction; and • to educate us to become true disciples of Christ and build up the Body of Christ by a deeper and more systematic knowl edge of the person and message of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Through catechesis we are “not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy with Jesus Christ, who alone can lead us to the love of the Father and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.” The stress on the Trinitarian Christocentricity of all authentic catechesis is emphasized more than ever, balancing the new ernphasis on inculturation and contextualization. The place of catechesis in the mission of the Church is envisioned today in this way: the Church exists to carry on the mission of Christ; the mission of Christ is to bring salvation to the world; salvation consists in sharing the life of the Risen Christ, being sanctified in Christ; through the process of evangelization this mission of salvation is announced and offered; what has been announced and offered is further clarified, articulated, described, structured in catechesis;catechesis, a form of the ministry of the Word, draws its content from the Sacred Scripture and by the Sacred Tradition; faith is the acceptance of God’s offer in Scripture and Tradition through evangelization andcatechesis; through faith we entrust ourselves to God and live according to God’s teaching. The major work of catechesis in the Philippines is still at the teaching and maturing stage. All the baptized Filipino Catholics are urged to consider catechesis as both absolutely basic and relevant to them. Catechesis and Theology [110-113] The ministry of the Word takes on many forms or functions: • primary proclamation or “called together to faith”; • catechetical or “initiaI and continuous education in the faith”; • liturgical, realized as “an integral part of the sacramental action”; and • theological or “faith seeking understanding.

with one another. “Stay with us!” “Let’s stay together!” It is both a longing of the youth for a presence in their lives and for a communion that affirms their humanity. This natural thirst for staying together and keeping in touch can only be satisfied by Jesus, friend of the young. If only every young person in Asia will invite Jesus to “stay with me” there is going to be all over this continent the “cloud of God’s presence at daytime and a pillar of fire at nighttime”. The contemplative youth of Asia has the power to change the face of this continent. Video until end of the song There is often the tendency to regard young people as flippant and apathetic, unresponsive even. Often it is a mask for their search— which sometimes can be torturous and confusing—for the meaning of life beyond themselves. It is this search which can most fruitfully lead them to a life of Christ-like compassion. Where else can we learn compassion but from the one who had great compassion on the hungry multitude? The One who, out of compassion, allowed Himself to be the Lamb offered so that sins may be forgiven? He is the same Lord we offer at the table of the Eucharist. He is the Lord of compassion. Why did the disciples of Emmaus invite the Lord to stay with them? Surely they were beguiled by the wisdom that Jesus expressed with eloquence such that their

hearts were afire, but also because they were moved by compassion for this stranger. “The night comes quickly. The day is almost over. Stay with us.” At about that time Jesus was still a stranger to them. They had only exchanged stories but they did not know his name. He was an unknown wayfarer, a road companion. Yet their kind hearts prompted the disciples of Emmaus to look out for the welfare of this co-traveler. Without the light of day, danger lurks in the road; He could be pounced upon by robbers and ne’er doers. “Stay with us, and be safe,” was the meaning of their invitation. Compassion is not a just feeling. It is love from within brought out into action. The greatest measure of love is to love without measure. The perfect symbol of love is not Cupid with his arrow but Christ hanging on the cross. The real day of love is not Valentine’s Day but bloody Good Friday when they crucified Love Himself. You all know that the most frequently used word by the youth is “love”. If the youth of Asia is to become the catalyst for the transformation of this continent, we must harness the immense capacity of the Asian youth for true love, not romantic or sensual love but self-sacrificing love. Let me share with you another story of Jesus that happened in our country. A priest was assigned by his bishop to

take photographs of the soup kitchen sponsored by the cathedral. Two hundred food stubs were distributed to poor people living near the church. Not far from the food distribution table, there were four children who had no food stubs but who wanted some food for themselves. The eldest of the four joined the line even if he had no food stub. When he got to the table, there was no food left except a piece of banana. The lay leader in charge of the distribution gave the banana to the little girl who immediately rushed to her three waiting siblings. There was brilliance in the eyes of the four children as they made a sign of the cross and prayed before eating the small banana. The eldest peeled the banana and divided it into three parts for her three siblings. What was left for the eldest was the banana peel. As her three siblings enjoyed one third of the banana, the eldest satisfied herself with scraping with her teeth the inside of the banana peel. The priest told me he wanted to take a photo of the beautiful scene of love but he could not because he was crying. My priest friend was sure that if he would peep through his camera, he would see the face of Jesus. In the face of this young Asian girl, the compassionate face of God glowed. She is the youth that Jesus stays with. She is the youth that stays with Jesus. As ministers for these young people we

are challenged to nurture the compassion that resides in their tender hearts. It is likewise our responsibility to not allow that this compassion be shackled by bad influences, cruelty, ignorance and violence, especially from the society or community that should look after their proper growth and well-being. Video until the screen “Prepare” Finally, the youth are the best communicators for proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world. They have so much energy and vigor; so much creativity and enthusiasm. Our world must listen to the Gospel according to the youth. The youth are the best in the arena of mass media not only because they consume so much of it, but because it is a way for them to express their identity. With their zeal and fire, they are a powerhouse for communicating the Gospel to the rest of Asia. The Eucharist burns the hearts of the youth, as the disciples of Emmaus experienced because the Eucharist is true and authentic communication. There is no middleman. The medium is the message. And the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, bread that is broken and shared. The Youth of Asia will burn with the fire of the love expressed in the Eucharist. It is the Father communicating His love for us in accepting the self offering of Jesus His Son so that sins may be forgiven. “I am your friend,” in the Eucharist Jesus tells the youth. “Stay with me.”

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007

By Most Rev. Leonardo Legaspi, OP, DD
(First of Two Parts) 1 INTRODUCTION The Scope and Purpose of this Report While this brief report attempts to relate the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) to the Catechesis of the local Churches in Asia in general, it draws principally on the catechetical situation and experience of the Church in the Philippines, and more specifically on its on-going project of and overcoming major religious and cultural obstacles; and h) the formation of effective pastoral workers. This formidable number and marked complexity of elements involved in any inculturated catechesis become even more complex in the light of other aspects and details presented by the SCC’s Lineamenta regarding the use of the CCC in local inculturated catechesis. Explicitly brought out are the differences of catechetical level and ages (33), different groups (36), different pastoral occasions (37), different catechetical programs (38), etc. creation of local catechisms in Asian churches. The stress will be on what are the concrete, specific measures involved—in the national catechesis, Catechetical Directories, and Catechisms. 2. THE CCC: ITS DEVELOPMENT AND PRACTICE 2.1 Part One: The Catechism Itself 2.1.1 The Process and Spirit of Drafting the CCC The Apostolic Constitution, “Fidei Depositum,” (reprinted as the Introduction to the CCC) describes how the project of drawing up a compendium of all Catholic doctrine, regarding both faith

is ever completed. (Catechetical 5-yr. plans rarely survive for more than half of that time span). Experience drawn from work on the National Catechism for the Philippines, the Catholic Faith Catechism (CFC) has shown that a small group of experts is needed to push the project through to the end. No single text will ever please everyone. So, in the face of endless objections and suggested revisions, a small group must have the authority to carry the project to completion. The CCC will help local catechetical leaders to realize that nothing is gained unless projects creating

Sacred Scripture

Soul of Theology
By Dr. Ma. Lucia C. Natividad
(First of three parts) VATICAN Council II stresses the value of Scripture in theology. It asserts that Theology relies on the written Word of God and hence the ‘study of the sacred page’ should be the very soul of Theology” (DV 24). Scripture, together with Tradition, are the sources in Theology. Scripture as the “soul of theology” means that it is the animating or life force for all theological methodology. As the norm of Christian faith Scripture guides and nourishes the faith. The knowledge of faith is constantly challenged, extended and transformed by this authoritative text. Although for some people the Sacred Scripture is not inspiring and relevant in their lives since they think they already know everything about it from the bible stories they have heard and read in the past, in contrast there is an increased yearning among people especially the youth to know the Scriptures as seen in the growing number of them involved in various Bible studies. Observations show that there are two extreme divergent and limited ways of reading and interpreting the Scriptures. On one hand there is the relativist approach that can be described in varied ways. The approach may be influenced either by a private religious interpretation or an ideological bias which has doubtful public truth value. It can also be characterized as a fundamentalist approach which takes the Scripture text literally and rejects a critical study of Scripture. Interpretation relies completely on the faith commitment and evangelical fervor of the believer. This approach to Scripture leads to pious emotional excesses and grounds all conceivable personal devotions. Conversely, there is the erudite study of Scripture that becomes overly technical and abstract apart from the religious dimension of Scripture. While the scientific historical study of the context has much secular and informational value, it has little to do with the basic nature and purpose of Sacred Scripture. As such it has little impact on the faith life of readers who are yearning for spiritual nourishment, conversion and redemption. For example, a perusal of all the books of the Old and New Testaments books and the year these books were written provides much historical data but has little religious significance. These situations call for an effective and a more holistic approach to Scripture that will help people, especially students in Theology. An interpretation of Scripture has to bring the students to a growth toward an accurate understanding and esteem for what Scripture actually is, and what it is supposed to do. The Sacred Scripture is the “Good News,” which aims at fostering Christian living. As the life giving word, Scripture nourishes the faith of people and motivates them to have faith so that through this faith in Jesus the Son of God, they may have life in his name (Jn. 20:31). This paper discusses first the nature of Scripture as an inspired, living, sacramental, book of the Church and work of art. This is followed by the purposes and traditional senses of Scripture in view of the three dimensions of Christian faith. Finally, it presents interpretation to Scripture that aims to shed light on the believer’s interpersonal life of faith. Nature and Purpose of Scripture Inspired Word of God Scripture is the inspired word of God. Biblical inspiration was not like a dictation from God to some human secretary. Nor was it a division of labor between God and the writer where God wrote some parts of the work and other parts were left to the human author. Inspiration was not a means of forcing writers against their will to record what God wanted them to record. Primarily this means God guided the human authors to compose the written accounts of His revelation to His people. He gave them a special grace called divine inspiration. Divine inspiration was the directing influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit under which the sacred writers wrote all that God wanted them to write and only what God wanted them to write (DV 11, Catechism for Filipino Catholics (CFC) 85). Therefore, both God and human beings were the real authors of the whole of Scripture. The locus of the doctrine of scriptural inspiration is Paul’s letter to Timothy, “all Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). While God stirred the minds of the human authors in their writings, they remained the true authors of Scripture. God did not change the human writer’s background and personality. He took the human authors as they were. These human authors wrote freely in their own way making use of their abilities and background putting a stamp of their own individuality in their work. Being a divinely inspired book, Scripture enjoys inerrancy. This means that Scripture teaches firmly, faithfully and without error that truth, which God wants, put into the sacred writings for the sake of the salvation of all. Details about age, dates and order of events and the like are not necessarily accurate. They are not the salvific truth that God is making known. The religious message in Scripture is inerrant because it contains “that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation” (DV 11). Scripture communicates the truth that God invites all to share in His divine life through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. The account on the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4:4-42) gives a clear insight on the nature of Scripture as inspiring. Jesus passes through Samaria, where, at Shechem, tired and hungry from his journey Jesus rests at noon next to a well. A woman fetched water at the well that was deep containing flowing, living and running water. Jesus speaks of himself as the fountain of water welling up to eternal life that surpasses the water of the well. Jesus’ knowledge of the woman’s private life moves her to faith (Jn. 4: 19). She puts before Jesus a problem that was dear to the prophets of Israel, namely a true worship of God. Jesus replies, “Yet the hour is coming, and is already here, when authentic worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:23). He reveals to her his identity as the Christ.” “I who speak to you am he” (Jn. 4:26). Once the woman believes that Jesus is the Messiah she leaves her jar and goes off to the town and proclaims the good news to her people and brings them to Jesus. Leaving her water jar symbolizes the transformation she experienced after her encounter with the Lord. She is no longer an anonymous water carrier in an obscure Samaritan village and becomes a herald to her townspeople preparing the way of the Lord. The Samaritans invited Jesus to stay with them and he stayed there for two days. In the process the Samaritans discovered Jesus for themselves and enabled them to confess that Jesus is the Savior of the world. The inspired Word of God is provoking and animating because the word of God uplifts and rouses people to faith. The Good News of salvation in Scripture is not kept to oneself but is shared to others. Scripture challenges, nourishes and guides people’s faith. The Living Word of God Scriptural narratives make known a God who is neither silent, nor distant from His people but on the contrary, is utterly concerned with his creatures. He speaks in many and various ways. God creates all things by His word: “In the beginning was the

The Catechism of the Catholic The Catechism of the Catholic Church and Local Catechesis Church and Local Catechesis

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creating a National Catechism. The Asian context is defined by two overwhelming realities: the dehumanizing poverty of the masses which is in sharp contrast to the extravagance of the opulent few and the presence of religious pluralism, dominated by the great Eastern religions of Buddhism, Islamism, and Hinduism. There have been slight changes in the poverty picture with the new economics of globalization, industrialization, and trade. But religious pluralism remains firmly in place, with few signs of any radical change forthcoming in the foreseeable future. With the notable exception of the Philippines, Christians in Asia represent a very small minority. Yet the vitality of most local Catholic Churches in Asia compensates to some extent for their small numbers. This Asian situation of religious pluralism highlights the overriding importance of an evangelizing catechesis of faith’s relation to culture (cf. SCC’s Lineamenta 2829; NCDP 1971). Especially since Vatican II, this relationship between faith and culture has been stressed as a major theme for contemporary catechesis. The new focus is “Inculturation”, already the subject of intensive study of COINCAT and the major challenge of current evangelizing catechesis in Asia. (cf. The standard sources cited in Lineamenta 17, namely, the General Catechetical Directory; Evangelii Nuntiandi 20, 45, 53, 63; Catechesi Tradendae 55; Redemptoris Missio 52f) Hence, the topic of this report— how the CCC may be used in the catechesis and the production of the catechism of local churches in Asia—basically becomes a question of how the CCC can contribute to an inculturated catechesis has revealed an extraordinary number of relevant factors that have to be considered. Among them are: a) the very nature of inculturation itself, as distinguished from acculturation, enculturation, contextualization, etc.; b) basic principles about its finality, complexity of objectives, and operative indicators; c) correct pastoral practice regarding content, method, and process; d) expressive language, different modes of communication (verbal, non-verbal, the use of signs, symbols); e) local religious values systems and popular religiosity; f) the use of modern mass media; g) proper criteria for discernment;

Moreover, the CCC is not to be used as an immediate, direct text, but its use in local catechesis is rather to be mediated through National Catechisms (27, 34, 38, 129). Therefore this brief report chooses a much more modest and limited focus, namely, simply to concentrate on the CCC itself and ask how it can be effectively used in the particular experience of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, and specifically in its ongoing project of creating a National Catechism (the Catholic Faith Catechism, CFC) This report refers mainly to adult catechesis, without entering into all the above differences, nor describing in detail the different addressees (cf. Lineamenta 7-10). Within these severely limited bounds, there is no attempt at a comprehensive treatment of the topic. The aim is to focus on the actual groups, persons, and activities that are involved with the CCC in local catechesis. The intent is to present some typical, significant factors that enter into the actual, practical contribution which the CCC can provide for local Asian catechesis. Two elements are primarily for any inculturated catechesis: a) A deep and accurate grasps and love of the Christian Faith itself – which is precisely where the Catechism of the Catholic Church can make a significant contribution. b) An adequate knowledge and appreciation of the local culture (or Cultures) in question. In what follows, this second factor will be touched only in practical terms, since the focus is on the use of the CCC in local catechesis, not on the inculturation of the local pastoral leaders and catechetical coordinators. This report, then, does not enter into criteria for judging the socio-cultural and ecclesial context or global listing of pedagogical applications (cf. Lineamenta 51). The National Plenary Council and/or pastoral Plan offer more specific and concrete data in this regard. One more matter to consider: Outside of the Philippines, a major priority for Asian Catholics is dialogue, and working together with Asians of other religions. Catholic Philippines does not share this concern, but even Filipino Catholics can profit from such inter-religious dialogue and get a better understanding of the depths of their own Asian culture and situation. In summary, therefore, the focus of this report is on the CCC, precisely as operative in the context of local catechesis and in the

and morals was initiated and carried through to a successful outcome. Four points are especially significant for current Asian catechesis. a) The CCC’s origin in Vatican II, which directed that the deposit of faith must be presented in a manner more accessible to the Christian faithful so as to show forth the strength and beauty of the doctrines of the Faith. The CCC is actually presented as the third step in implementing Vatican II, following the renewal of the liturgy, and the revision of the Code of Canon Law. This explicit link of the CCC with Vatican II is very salutary. For the actual situation is that Vatican II has yet to penetrate and be creatively implemented in much of current catechesis. Catechetical leaders can often become over-preoccupied with the most recent “popular” trend, and lose sight of the basic goal of making Vatican II operative at every level of the Church’s life, and precisely as the concrete basis for the “new evangelization” called for today. b) The extensive and well-organized collaboration in the actual drafting of the CCC. In a project of this size, it is truly an extraordinary accomplishment to have so many labor for so long on a single common work. Mention is made in the Lineamenta (15f, 21, 38) of the Principle of subsidiary related to the Holy See, the National Episcopal Conferences, and the CCC’s mediation through national catechisms. Unfortunately, catechetical work in the Philippines is often marked by the opposite – by the practical inability of different catechetical groups, offices, or coordinators to work together on any common project. This results in a lack of continuity in basic catechesis, a proliferation of catechetical materials usually of poor quality, and the needless repetition of the same work (forever “starting anew from zero”). The on-going study and innovative use of the CCC offers a new incentive and a real opportunity for greater common collaborative efforts among local catechetical agencies. c) The spirit of perseverance to the end. Creating the CCC took six years of intensive work, with revisions producing nine successful drafts. This stick-toit purposefulness is the necessary complement to wider collaboration. Without it, nothing

common catechisms are carried through to completion and personal preferences are sacrificed, with everyone practicing an open willingness to submit to, accept, and work with the officially approved final text. d) An effective promulgation and follow-up. The launching of the CCC was heralded by worldwide publicity, continuing for more than a year, and prior to the date of publication. Much of this was undoubtedly due to the previous wide collaboration sought from all the bishops. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the CCC, the Catholic Church’s first new catechism since Trent’s, over 400 years ago, was so widely publicized that it could scarcely have escaped the notice of anyone in the field of catechetics. The SCC’s Lineamenta sketches the elaborate, Church-wide follow-up that is now being planned. This contrasts sharply with the local catechetical situation which is most often characterized by an extreme difficulty, particularly on the grass roots level, in the effective promulgation and follow-up of official Church pronouncements and materials. For instance, the National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines (NCDP), eleven years after its first publication, still remains unknown to many catechists. Local catechetical institutions, groups, and coordinators are often so “localized” in their work that they are effectively cut-off from any other group, and even from Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE). The underlying difficulty, it must be pointed out emphatically, is not just the lack of effective communication, but also of the needed breadth of Faith, vision and of creative ministerial work. Complacency in doing things the familiar “local” way is a perennial problem among grass roots catechetical coordinators and workers. There is little interest in what the others in the total faith community involved in similar work and situations might be doing. There is no welcoming attitude towards new possibilities and creative options. Through its very notoriety and the interest thus engendered among those involved in catechesis, the CCC can inspire catechetical leaders to take greater personal interest in the larger catechetical picture. (To be continued)

C4 C4
“THE Philippine nation is deserving of particular honor since from the beginning of its Christianization ... all through the centuries, its people have remained true to the Christian faith ... [they] have successfully blended and have shaped ... a clear nationality identity that is unmistakenly Filipino and truly Christian.” Catechesis embraces all the Church’s effort to bring people to “believe that Jesus is the Son of God, so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life and thus build up the Body of Christ.” Catechesis in the Philippines is thus the ecclesial effort to communicate, instruct and foster life in the full “mystery of Christ” in all its dimensions to our Filipino Catholics today. Thus, the New National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines (NNCDP) is offered as an inculturated and effective pastoral guide and unifying vision

Commissions DOCETE
§ John Paul II’s Catechesis in our Time (1979), § the documents of Puebla and of the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) and the CBCP statement on ‘Evangelization and Development’ (1973). Ø Consequently, many Catholic national hierarchies have been updating and revising their national catechetical directories. Ø So too our own Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) began the work of updating the original NCDP. Ø This work of revision was given a further impetus when the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in January 2001 convened the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal and made as top priority among its pastoral concerns “integral faith formation.” This work of revision is the result of the consultation and participation of as Specifically, NNCDP aims at answering the following questions: - What is the context where catechesis in the Church in the Philippines is situated? - Within this particular context, what is catechesis? - What are its foundations and goals; why catechesis? - What to communicate in catechesis? - And how to catechize effectively? Its Characteristics are: First: focused on Philippine catechesis’ total local context and on our national catechetical scene; situating the universal catechetical guidelines provided by the Magisterium within our specific Filipino context ¯ within our cultural and religious traditions and current context. Second: being eminently “practical” Third: consistent attempt at a certain conciseness or brevity. Overview of the Whole Directory [13]

CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 24
November 26 - December 9, 2007 November 26 - Dec. 9, 2007

Vol. 11 No. 24

Overview of the NNCDP
By Rev. Fr. Renato de Guzman, SDB
for the catechetical ministry in the Philippines. Background of the NNCDP (11, 4, 5) The General Catechetical Directory (1971) provided basic principles and guidelines for the catechetical ministry of the universal Church. It tasked the national bishops’ conferences to publish their own national catechetical directories. Building on the GCD, ECCCE produced the original NCDP, entitled Maturing in Christian Faith, in 1982 as the official guide for the catechetical work of the Church in the Philippines. Since the 1982 NCDP was published, many new advances and initiative have arisen which substantially affect our catechetical ministry. § The publication of the CCC (1994). § The revision of the 1971 GDC and publication of the GCD (1997) § The promulgation of the Acts and Decrees of the 2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines (1992) § The publication of the Catechism for Filipino Catholics (1997) § The teachings in these documents have guided the Church in the Philippines in understanding the new experiences she gained from the renewed efforts in the catechetical ministry over the past twenty years. The four new major sources cited (PCP II, CCC, CFC, and GDC) build on the doctrines expounded in earlier magisterial documents. These included the 1971 General Catechetical Directory, § Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975), § the 1977 Synod on ‘Catechetics in our Time’, many catechetical personnel as possible. The work of revision took three years to be completed. Aims, Objectives and Characteristics of the NNCDP (2-9) Ø NNCDP aims at actively and creatively fostering within our Philippine context the universal catechetical goals proposed by John Paul II: § to strengthen the solidity of the faith and of Christian living; § to give fresh vigor to the initiatives in hand; § to stimulate creativity¯with required vigilance; and § to help spread among the [Christian] communities the joy of bringing the mystery of Christ to the world.” Ø It focuses on catechesis in the Philippines carried out mainly by Filipino Catholics among their fellow Filipino under the guidance and leadership of their Bishops in accordance with the attitudes, values, and ways of their Filipino culture and society. Ø It provides “those fundamental theological-pastoral principles which are capable of orienting and coordinating catechesis” and practical guidance on the numerous aspects of communicating the Good News of our lord Jesus Christ to all those engaged in catechizing and teaching religion throughout the Philippines. Ø In short, its overall aim is to present in a clear, practical and concise form, principles and guidelines for an updated, integrated and inculturated catechetical ministry in the Philippines. Ø The revised Directory contains a Preface and six chapters. The Preface introduces the background, aim, objectives and characteristics of the revised Directory; its overview, audience, language; and publisher. Ø Chapter I provides an overview of the concrete context of Philippine catechesis—its social, economic, political, cultural and religious dimensions—which constitute the total actual situation in which the Good News of Jesus Christ is being communicated in the catechetical ministry in the Philippines. Ø Chapter II presents an updated clarification of “Catechesis: Its “Nature, Goals, and Sources”. Ø Chapter III in like manner updates the exposition of the “Foundations of Catechesis: Revelation, Faith and the Church”. Ø Chapter IV focuses on the “Basic Content of the Church’s Catechesis” including brief separate descriptions of Catholic Doctrine (Creed), Catholic Morality (Commandments, Beatitudes), and Catholic Prayer and Worship (Sacraments) respectively. These three dimensions of the Faith form a unified Christian faith that is essentially threefold yet integrated in a dynamic and experiential way. But for a detailed exposition of this content, this revised Directory refers to the CFC, our national catechism, just like the GDC refers to the CCC for detailed exposition of the Christian message. Ø The purpose of Chapter IV of the revised NCDP, then, is neither to summarize CFC’s contents nor to explain it as the instrument of the Philippine Church’s Magisterium, but rather to facilitate a better understanding and use of the CFC in catechetical practice. Ø Chapter V takes up the complex topic of catechetical methodology; Ø And the final chapter, Chapter VI, covers catechetical organization, personnel and resources. Ø Audience and Language [14] . The NNCDP is written for all who are involved in catechesis and Christian education in the Philippines: parents, catechists, catechetical coordinators, religious, (bishops) and the clergy, writers and publishers of catechisms and religion texts and other religious groups such as transparochial pastoral workers, as well as people in the BECs, Catholic schools, catechetical centers and seminaries. The NNCDP and the Catechist [9] This directory cannot possibly accomplish its limited goals unless it is reflected, studied, explained, discussed and criticized, at every level and in every context, both individually and in groups. A Directory is successful to the extent that it becomes a familiar, handy reference book, in constant use and undergoing numerous adaptations. This NNCDP both invites and requires the indispensable initiative and creativity of the catechist for which no possible proposed set of general principles or guidelines can substitute.
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The catechist is required to first select which points are relevant and needed before “applying” them to the actual catechesis at hand. Publisher [10] This updated NNCDP is published by the Episcopal Commission for Catechesis and Catholic Education, (ECCCE) of the CBCP. Conclusion The NNCDP is another Instrument of the catechetical ministry of the Church in the Philippines in the ‘continuing endeavor to support and guide concrete catechetical programs and projects’ [in the dioceses], the composition of the new local catechisms, religion textbooks, and [instructional materials], and the development of relevant catechistformation programs in the Philippines. Finally, it attempts to inspire [all those involved in catechesis “to respond effectively] to the God-given call and challenge to bring Christ’s Good News to contemporary Filipino Christian communities. May the presence of the Holy Spirit, through the prayers of Mary, [and the intercession of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Pedro Calungsod], grant the Church in the Philippines unprecedented enthusiasm in the catechetical work that is essential for her.” And may this new Directory contribute in some modest way toward this mission given her by her Teacher: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”

Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him and without him nothing came to be” (Jn 1:1-3). “He spoke to us through a son whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe” (Heb. 1:2b). God reveals Himself in the historical events and in covenant relationship with His people, Israel, and most uniquely in His Incarnate Son Jesus Christ, the mediator and the fullness of God’s revelation. God speaks most perfectly through the Word who has ‘come into the world’ through the power of the Holy Spirit who continues to abide and dwell in the life of the Church and in the hearts of the faithful and in the world today. God is the living God and as such is not constrained by time. His speech is not simply a voice of the past but is living and active and speaks to each generation living in the present and until the end of time. Addressing people today, as much as the people in the past, God’s voice in Scripture is always contemporary. The psalmist exhorts all to listen and to respond to God’s word, “That today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Ps 95:7-8). God’s “today” is everyday. The word of God is living and powerful. It is “effective, sharper than any twoedged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). God constantly speaks to all people through His written word to reveal Himself and His plan of salvation for all humanity fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Scripture as the living word of God is powerful and authoritative for authentic Christian living. Sacramental Nature of Sacred Scripture Scripture is sacramental. Scripture is not to be confused as one of the seven sacraments. A sacrament is a tangible material reality signifying and bringing about the presence of a spiritual reality— God’s Self-Revelation. God’s Self-communication is manifested in human language in the divinely inspired book. This nature of Scripture is likened to the Incarnation of the Divine Word. “Indeed the words of God, expressed in the words of human, are in every way like human language, just as the Word of the eternal Father, when he took on himself

the flesh of human weakness became like us” (DV 13). Origen, the great Church Father, explained the sacramental nature of Scripture by stressing the presence of the Lord that dwells in, and is proclaimed through the inspired Scriptural narratives. The divine presence in Scripture is a real and active presence, whose primary purpose is to communicate with its actual hearers. Like all sacramental realities, reading and interpreting Scripture is “a dynamic and relational liturgical action through which the divine and human encounters” call for personal conversion and transformation (Shin 1999, 399). Isaiah prophesied that a Servant was spurned and avoided by men. He was a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned. He was held with no esteem, and was pierced and crushed for others’ offenses and sins. Upon this servant was the chastisement that makes people whole, by his stripes people were healed. Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth. He was like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers. He was silent and opened not his mouth (Is. 52:13-53:12). The deeper and fuller meaning of this prophecy is seen in the light of Jesus’ messianic mission. He identified himself as the Suffering Servant who had to suffer, be rejected, be put to death and rise after three days (Mk. 8:31). This radical new idea of a messiah was not understood even by Jesus’ chosen twelve, despite his warnings. On the day of the resurrection, the Risen Christ joined two of His disciples who were on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The Lord had to explain the true meaning of the Messiah’s mission. “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Lk. 24:26). Jesus invites his disciple to take the same path of self-emptying love in order to find life. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”(Mk. 8:36-38). (To be continued)
(Dr. Ma. Lucia C. Natividad is the Director of the Formation Institute for Religion Educators [FIRE], Ateneo de Manila University)

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