You are on page 1of 20
• A2 Everyone, even atheists, • B1 ‘Migrations: Pilgrimage of • C1 The Cross has
• A2 Everyone, even atheists, • B1 ‘Migrations: Pilgrimage of • C1 The Cross has
Everyone, even atheists,
• B1
Pilgrimage of
The Cross
has human desire to know
Faith and Hope’
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI
who God is, pope says
the Order of the Knights of Columbus
who God is, pope says the Order of the Knights of Columbus January 21 - February
who God is, pope says the Order of the Knights of Columbus January 21 - February

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 02

Php 20. 00

Negros-based group issues manifesto vs RH Bill

MORE life advocates have demonstrated yet another show of force against Republic Act (RA) 10354 as members of Negros-based group issued a strongly worded manifesto rejecting the law, with thousands gathering for a Eucharistic celebration Sunday. Calling the RH law a “grand deception,” the manifesto issued by the Citizens’ Action for the Protection of Human Life (CAPH- Life) pointed out that the law provides no penalties for those “who dispense, sell, distribute or use abortifacients” and yet pun- ishes those who refuse to give information on

Manifesto / A6

Sans FOI, PH remains in ‘darkness’

By Roy Lagarde

WHAT are you afraid of?

Catholic bishops raised the question to President Benigno Aquino III as they demanded the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill even with the limited time of the remaining Congress sessions. The Church’s social action arm criticized Aquino’s seeming apathy towards the bill, which seeks to promote transparency and fight corruption in the gov- ernment. The CBCP’s National Secre- tariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) said that if Malacañang and its allies in Congress are not doing anything wrong, the FOI is definitely not something to be afraid of. “This is so surprising since he espouses good governance and transparency. Is he seri- ous in his ‘daang matuwid’, or is it just another slogan?” said Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Nassa national director. “What is he afraid of? That the people may know what [the] government is doing?” he said. “Without access to informa- tion, the people are kept in the dark. They remain unaware of the projects and contracts the national and local govern- ments make for them,” said Pabillo. “Unfamiliarity and ignorance of government processes, con- tracts, activities and services, together with lack of formal education cause deprivation of

rights and poverty,” he added. Pabillo recalled that the Presi- dent had promised to push for the FOI bill during the presi- dential campaign in 2010, but had been dilly-dallying since he assumed office. As of press time, the lawmak- ers only have remaining seven remaining session days before the 15th Congress ends. Last December, the Senate already passed its version of the FOI bill. The measure is cur- rently pending on second read- ing at the Lower House.

Lack of integrity Pabillo emphasized that Aqui- no’s commitment to combat graft and corruption in the govern- ment will remain questionable, sans action on the FOI bill. With the May 2013 elections just around the corner, the bish- op said that Aquino and his allies will aspire to seek fresh mandate with their much-touted campaign for good governance and transparency. “This assertion would indeed lack credibility if the FOI Act will remain a pipe dream for us Filipinos,” he said. The prelate reiterated that the passage and enforcement of FOI would be a great service to the Filipinos, especially the poor. With a new tool of informa- tion, he said that the FOI will promote social justice by giving the opportunity for “social audit- ing” towards the pursuit of the common good.

FOI / A7

Sammy Navaja
Sammy Navaja

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, blesses a baby at the end of a Mass celebrated on the occasion of the feast of Holy Child of Jesus outside the Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño in Cebu City, 20 Jan. 2013. In his homily, Palma took note of the Reproductive Health Law and said that in the upcoming May elections it is important that the faithful choose the candidates who will best lead the country.

New Evangelization a call for conversion — archbishop

LINGAYEN-Dagupan Arch- bishop Socrates Villegas stressed at a recent sympo- sium the need for conversion for all people and to reach out to those who are far away from the Church. “New Evangelization is a call for our conversion,” he said during a symposium on the New Evangelization held at St. John Bosco Parish- Makati on Jan. 21.

Villegas said “New Evange- lization is a Church in contemplation, a fruit of discernment and coming from above.” “It is for the sake of the Church and is neither a self-defense, nor for the sake of

Jandel Posion
Jandel Posion

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, (left) Ms. Joy Candelario of Bukal ng Tipan and Fr. Renato De Guzman, SDB of Don Bosco Technical Institute-Makati answer questions during a forum on New Evangelization last January 21 at St. John Bosco Parish-Makati.

maintaining the status, or for one self, it is for the life of the World. It is a call for our conversion, so we must reach out to those who have been alienated from the

Evangelization / A7

Petitions vs RH Bill implementation multiplying

NOT even the nation’s president se- cretly signing into law a heavily op- posed measure is stopping the Filipino people from taking concrete steps to fight Republic Act (RA) 10354, or the reproductive health (RH) law, with the latest of several petitions against its implementation filed with the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The sixth petition was filed by Edu- ardo B. Olaguer together with Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines (CXAP), seeking to nullify the measure and halt its implementation, citing un- constitutionality of certain provisions. The petition pointed out two other policies or directives which the law violates besides the 1987 Philippine Constitution, namely Presidential Decree (PD) 603 and Section 2 of RA 10354 itself.

Art. 5 of PD 603 – or The Child and Youth Welfare Code – states, “The civil personality of the child shall commence from the time of his conception, for all purposes favorable to him, subject to the requirements of Article 41 of the Civil Code.” Sec. 2 of RA 10354, on the other hand, states that “Pursuant to the declaration of State policies under Sec. 12, Art. of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it is the duty of the State to protect and strengthen the family as a basic au- tonomous social institution and equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.” Named respondents in the petition are Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director Suzette Lazo, Budget Secre- tary Florencio Abad, Interior Secretary

Manuel Roxas II, and Education Secre- tary Armin Luistro. “Although petitioners are all Catho- lics who sincerely adhere to all the dog- matic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, all the facts and arguments presented in this petition are based on strictly secular grounds,” stated Olaguer, vice- president and co-founder of CXAP, in the 11-page petition. The first to file a petition against the coercive measure were lawyers James and Lovely Ann Imbong joined by Catholic School Magnificat Child De- velopment Center, Inc. The husband and wife trooped to the Supreme Court on January 2, less than two weeks after President Benigno Aquino III signed the measure into law.

RH Bill / A6

Jueteng money used as poll funds – bishop

JUETENG lords continue to earn millions of pesos daily from the illegal numbers racket because the govern- ment is not keen in stopping their operations. Anti-gambling crusader and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said the underground lottery will not proliferate in the country if the Aquino administration is serious in stopping it. “Jueteng cannot be stopped in the country because the authorities concerned want jueteng to be operational,” said Cruz, founder of the

Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng. “We have been fighting jueteng for so many years, for practically two decades and nothing happens. Malaca- ñang is really not intent in getting rid of jueteng. Why? I don’t know,” he said. He reiterated that jueteng will not flourish if it does not enjoy the protection of the po- lice and government officials. The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Con- ference of the Philippines (CBCP), Cruz also lamented that jueteng is again gaining

Poll / A6

Archbishop rejects reconciliation with Palace over RH law


Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles speaks during recent forum on the RH law in Manila.

FOR Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, there is no way that the he will ‘reconcile” the moral- ity with immorality. Reacting to Malacañang’s call for reconciliation after the

Palace / A6

dispute over the controversial Reproductive Health Law, Ar- guelles said there is no way that the Church can accept the measure.

Cardinal Tagle brings faith to campuses

FROM the pulpit, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is bringing the Catholic faith to the school campuses to reach out more young people. The cardinal started his campus visits last Jan.16 where he held a no-holds barred dialogue with the stu- dents of the Technological Uni- versity of the Philippines (TUP). The event was supposedly the first of a series of visitations by the cardinal to various colleges and universities within the Arch- diocese of Manila. Dubbed as “Faith Explored:

Journeying in Faith with the Cardinal”, the campus tour co- incides with the Church’s Year of Faith celebration, and aims at

Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Illustration by Bladimer Usi

helping the youth reflect on their Catholic faith. As an extension of Tagle’s Sunday TV program, The Word Exposed, the campus tour is being organized by the Jesuit Communications with the help of the Campus Ministry of the Manila archdiocese. According to the JesCom, the cardinal’s next stop is at the Cen- tro Escolar University (CEU) in Manila on February 26.

Campuses / A7


World News

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 02

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Irish rally to preserve pro-life legacy

ORGANIzERS of a massive pro-life vigil said that Fine Gael, the majority party in the Irish coalition government, will have “awoken a sleeping giant” if they move to legalize abortion. Unofficial observers estimated num- bers in excess of 35,000 people, which

packed Dublin’s city center in the larg- est pro-life rally ever seen in Ireland to oppose government plans to legalize abortion. The government has said it will move to introduce abortion on suicide grounds, sparking widespread concern and protests from the strongly pro-life nation. The Vigil for Life, which was orga- nized in just three weeks saw tens of thousands of people converge from all over Ireland, into Dublin’s Merrion Square, with police estimates at 30,000 while unofficial tallies suggest some 50,000 attended. Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute,

a key organizer of the Vigil, said that “the government had no mandate to legalize abortion, or to ignore the expert evidence which tells them that abortion

is never a treatment for suicide.” She reminded the huge crowd that

Fine Gael had given a commitment not

to legalize abortion in Election 2011.

She said that, “Fine Gael are press- ing to legalize the direct and in- tentional killing of children on the grounds of suicide” and that “we are here to remind them that votes are transferable things—because on the issue of abortion the people are not for turning.” “If Fine Gael don’t protect life, they will truly have awoken a sleeping giant. They will have crossed the line for the pro-life majority. And today we pledge to Fine Gael that if they break their pro-life promise they will never get our votes again,” she said to applause and cheering. The pro-life spokeswoman told the crowd that the British David Steele, who is described as the architect of the British Abortion Act recently said, “I never envisaged there would be so many abortions.” “Is that what Fine Gael want? To be the party that looks back and says, ‘We never envisaged there would be so many abortions’?” she asked. She urged Fine Gael to take the oppor- tunity to do the right thing. “To stand with the people, to stand for mothers and babies, to have the courage to stand on the world stage, and be leaders in protecting human life.”

Youth Defence, one of Ireland leading pro-life groups, called the Taoiseach’s (Prime Minister) constituency office live from the Vigil. The massive pro-life event went quiet as Dr Eoghan de Faoite of Youth De- fence called an Taoiseach’s constituency office, and Enda’s voice could be heard asking the caller to leave a message. “Hello an Taoiseach, this is the Vigil for Life, and I have 30,000 people here to give you a reminder of the pro-life prom- ise you made in 2011,” said Dr de Faoite. To which the 30,000 strong crowd chorused “Enda, Keep Your Promise.” The phone call followed more than an hour of speakers, crowd participation, and pro-life messaging at the Vigil. The Vigil heard from one of Ireland’s leading sports figures, Tyrone Gaelic Athletic Association county manager, Mickey Harte who said “I speak to you as an ordinary person, a citizen, a hus- band, a father. I come from a sporting background, as you know, and I am proud of our sporting traditions.” “But there is no tradition of which I am prouder than the respect for both women and their unborn children that has been the hallmark of our medical services in Ireland,” he said. “Ireland, without abortion, is one of the safest

countries in the world for a woman to be pregnant.” “There is no issue more important than the protection of human life. There’s no point saving an economy if a child’s right to life is compromised or forgotten,” said the popular sports manager. “The Vigil has been a tremendously powerful and historic event, and the voice of the majority has been heard for the protection of both mother and baby,” said Eoghan de Faoite. “We’ve reminded Fine Gael that abor-

tion is not a treatment for suicide, and that the government needs to look at the evidence given before the Oireachtas Committee which confirms that fact,” the Youth Defence spokesman said. He added that the ban on abortion had made Ireland a safe place for both mothers and babies and that was some- thing worth protecting. A pro-life pledge which aims to sign up 100,000 people who say they will never vote for Fine Gael again if abor- tion is legalized, was also launched at the Vigil. (CNA)

US states’ pro-life legislation in 2012 deemed historic

A NEW report finding “sig-

nificant victories for life” in state- level legislation during 2012 has left a leading U.S. pro-life group hopeful about the coming year. “More than half of states have pro-life governors and pro-life

majorities in their legislatures,” said Dan McConchie, vice presi- dent of state legislative action for Americans United for Life, “so we expect pro-life advances to replicate the high levels of suc- cess in the past couple of years across the country.” McConchie told CNA that he expects to see “continued inter- est in restraining abortion cover- age” in the new health care law throughout 2013, as well as “late term abortion bans, regulation of abortion-inducing drugs, and clinic regulations.” On Jan. 16, Americans United for Life released its annual “Life List,” ranking all 50 states ac- cording to their ongoing legal efforts to protect life. The 2013 list observed that the past year had seen “historic progress for life-affirming legis- lation” throughout the country. “Last year, at least 60 new life- affirming laws, including at least 38 measures related to abortion, were enacted,” the report said.

“Additionally, 16 pro-life state resolutions were adopted.” Americans United for Life has worked for years to model and help enact language for pro-life legislation in states throughout the country. Dr. Charmaine Yoest, presi- dent and CEO of the organiza- tion, said the state-level suc- cesses lay “the foundation for rolling back and reversing Roe v. Wade,” the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nation- ally 40 years ago. She predicted that the com- ing year will see numerous bills “that also work to protect the First Amendment Freedom of all Ameri- cans who do not want to be forced into business with Big Abortion.” The “Life List” found that the most legislatively pro-life states in America are Louisiana, Okla- homa, Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Arizona, while Washington state, California, New York, Vermont and New Jersey are the least protective of life. Most improved in 2012 was Arizona, which rose to number 5 on the list from number 14 the previous year. This was partly due to the adoption of the “Women’s Health Protec- tion Act,” which bans abortions

after 20 weeks gestation based on medical ev- idence of the danger that such abortions pose to wom- en’s health, as well as the

unborn child’s capacity to feel pain. In addition, South Carolina became the eighth state to pass legislation banning insurance plans that cover abortion from participating in any exchanges operating in the state under the health care reform law. Among the most popular abor- tion-related legislation in 2012 were bans on government and insurance funding for abortion and restrictions on drugs that can induce early abortions. Ul- trasound requirements, abortion clinic regulations and informed consent laws were also common. Americans United for Life also noted a nearly 40 percent rise in the number of measures initiated to protect freedom of conscience in healthcare, as well as a significant increase in end- of-life measures. However, the group said, 2012 saw a nearly 50 percent decrease

in biotechnology measures from the previous year, with only two states considering bans on embryo-destroying research and none initiating bans on human cloning. The report observed that many of the least pro-life states on the list have had a state court “manu- facture” a constitutional “right” to abortion beyond what is feder- ally recognized. Others have en- acted legislation that effectively blocks laws and regulations that would protect women and unborn children from abortion. “For those states that have the least protective laws, the priority really should be the basic protec- tions, especially informed con- sent and parental involvement,” said McConchie. “Women con- sidering abortion deserve both information and support before they make a monumental deci- sion of this nature.” (CNA)

Pregnancy centers play key role in fight for life

ESSENTIAL Pregnancy Services (EPS) in Omaha opened its doors 40 years ago as a direct response to legalized abortion, said Nancy Foral, the center's executive director. And it was not alone. Thousands of pregnancy centers opened all over the country after the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the United States. First established in the 1960s to help provide resources for struggling, preg- nant women as some states began allow- ing abortions, pregnancy centers devel- oped quickly in all 50 states after Roe v. Wade. The number of small, faith-based maternity homes also grew. Foral said that as she reflects on the tragic impact of the Supreme Court's decision 40 years ago, she also thinks about the good that has come from EPS and other pregnancy centers, including educational opportunities for women

seeking medical, parenting and other information. "We not only want every child con- ceived to be born, but we want that child to be healthy and raised in a responsible way," she said. Ann Marie Bowen, director of Nebras- kans United for Life, said her organiza- tion, which formed in 1973 to battle abor- tion on the political front, broadened its services in 1999 to help women through its NuLife Pregnancy Resource Center, which provides free tests for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, peer counseling, parenting classes and baby items. Other centers such as Birthright, an international pro-life organization with offices in Columbus and Norfolk, also give practical assistance, including free pregnancy tests and baby items. Greg Schleppenbach, state director of the Bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities, said pregnancy centers play

a key role in reaching the ultimate goal - making abortion not only illegal, but not even contemplated as an option. "I think they really represent the heart of the pro-life movement because they are a key part of our effort to make abor- tion unthinkable," he said. "The only way that's going to happen is with the practi- cal support these centers provide." Many pregnancy centers also have expanded services, Foral said. EPS has branched out from free preg- nancy tests and information to free health clinics, ultrasounds, adoption counseling, parenting classes, high school diploma services, nutrition programs, emergency food assistance and parenting supplies, she said. "We see people come in here and they're scared and they don't think they can do this," Foral said. "But we're kind to them, supportive and provide answers and options. They don't feel like they're doing it alone." (CNA)

French, German bishops mark anniversary of Elysee Treaty

THE French and German bish- ops’ conferences published a joint declaration marking the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, signed Jan. 22, 1963, by General Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, to seal the reconciliation be- tween the two opposing nations after World War II on January 18, 2013. On July 8, 1962, both heads of state attended a Mass of recon-

ciliation in the French cathedral

of Rheims.

Today’s declaration stressed the friendship between the two peoples and, reflecting on the peace gained at such a high price, extended a call for un- derstanding in facing Europe’s present and future. “Simultaneously, the Elysee Treaty,” the text reads, “was the height of the reconciliation between the two enemy na- tions and the starting point

for the deepening of friendly relations through political and social contact at all levels. As bishops, we warmly embrace everything gained in the sign- ing of the ‘Treaty of Friendship’. Today, Franco-German friend- ship seems obvious and neither politicians nor citizens have a feeling for the exceptional na- ture of these relations. And yet, the friendship between our two countries and peoples is now more important than ever for

overcoming the current crisis and for shaping the future of Europe. …” “The crisis has revealed ir- responsible behavior in various areas and has sorely tested the solidarity between the Euro- pean countries. Solidarity and responsibility must be more closely connected to the future of Europe. In this regard, the Franco-German reconciliation remains an example of political

responsibility and solidarity.” At the Mass of reconciliation in the cathedral of Rheims, Kon- rad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle “symbolized the aware- ness that politics is built upon foundations that it cannot build itself. Love for one’s enemies is a strong Gospel demand that the two statesmen were capable of carrying out. Since then, the Eu- ropean Union has brought peace and prosperity to its countries. With the economic crisis, how- ever, we see that contempt and mistrust between the European nations are reappearing: the rejection of foreigners, the ab- sence of solidarity. The global economy and the cultural and religious mixture have given rise to other enemies. All over Europe, populist movements advocating withdrawal into self interests are flourishing. The economic crisis reveals a moral crisis, where the meaning of life

no longer forms part of relation- ship with others or the demands of justice.” France and Germany “can and must return to the his- tory of their reconciliation and friendship in order to face the consequences of our current problems. We can also draw inspiration from the past in order to help the European Union establish long-term, solid political structures and an authentic social market economy. We must act to en- sure that the respect for human dignity, the common good, and the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity always guide European integration.” The Church also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Ely- see Treaty as “an opportunity to recall, particularly for the youngest generations, that rec- onciliation is not an empty word but an actual path.” (Zenit)

3 thousand cities hold Day of Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land

More than 3 thou- sand cities will mark the fifth day of interces- sion for peace in the Holy Land, to be held January 27, 2013. An extra 500 communities have joined since 2012. Worldwide priests, religious and laity ensure a chain of 24 hours of prayer. Since 2008, the Day is cel- ebrated on the last Sunday of the month of January and this year coincides with the “International Holocaust Remembrance Day.” It is celebrated on the day of the liberation of the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27 January 1945. In his talk on January 1, World Day of Peace, Msgr. Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said: “Peace between peoples can be born and grow only if it is first in every person, every fam- ily, every religious community, in all people.” “I think — said the prelate — that all the means to

achieve peace must pass through justice and dialogue, and never through violence. The path is full of pitfalls, but hope guides us and the song of the angels assures us.” The main promoters of the Day of Prayer for the Holy Land are: the National Asso- ciation of Italian Papaboys, the Apostolate of the “Youth for Life”, the chapels of perpetual adoration throughout Italy and the world, groups of Eucharistic Adoration, the Association for the promotion of the extraordi- nary prayer of all Churches for Reconciliation, Unity and Peace. (AsiaNews)

Vatican Briefing

Pope’s former butler given hospital job

Paolo Gabriele, the Pope’s former butler who was released from prison just before Christmas, has a new job working for an extension of the Vatican hospital Bambino Gesu. Ac- cording to the German Catholic agency KNA, Gabriele has been offered a job doing clerical work for a new branch of the hospital near the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. He will also receive assistance with housing, since his wife and three children must move out of their current Vatican apartment. The former butler was sentenced Oct. 6, 2012 to 18 months in prison for leaking sensitive papal documents to the media. (CNA)

Pope creates eparchy in London for Ukrainian Catholics

Benedict XVI has elevated the Ukrainian apostolic exarchate in Great Britain to the rank of eparchy (diocese). The new eparchy has the title: Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London. Bishop Hlib Borys Sviatoslav Lonchyna, until now apostolic exarch there, was named the first eparchial bishop. An apostolic exarchate in the Eastern Catholic Church is similar to an apostolic vicariate in the Latin Rite Catholic Church. It is headed by a titular bishop as its ordinary with the title of exarch. (Zenit)

John Paul II’s canonization thought to be imminent

The retired prefect of the Congregation for Bishops says Blessed John Paul II will likely be canonized this year or next. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re offered this prediction during a presentation this week of “Il Papa e il Poeta” (The Pope and the Poet), written by Vatican expert Mimmo Muol. “If it’s not this year it will be next,” said the cardinal, explaining that as more than one miracle has been attributed to the Polish Pon- tiff’s intercession, “surely there is at least a valid one for his canonization.” Experts of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes are reviewing the alleged miracles. (Zenit)

Vatican official surprised by Italian bank’s credit card halt

The Bank of Italy’s decision to not accept credit cards from foreign banks anymore at the Vatican has stunned a Vatican official, who reiterated the Holy See’s financial transparency. As of Jan. 1, the Vatican’s main operator, Deutsche Bank Ital- ian unit, has not been authorized to transact foreign credit cards in the tiny state – a move that could affect the millions of tourists who visit each year. The Vatican underwent a third financial evaluation by the Moneyval Committee of the Council of Europe in July, passing nine of 16 “core and key recommendations,” which Brülhart called a “good report card.” (CNA)

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 02

January 21 - February 3, 2013

News Features


Everyone, even atheists, has human desire to know who God is, pope says

VATICAN City, Jan. 17, 2013— The desire to see and know

God is innate in everyone, even

nonbelievers, Pope Benedict

XVI said.

But it’s especially important

that people don’t just seek God

when they need him but make room for him throughout their busy lives, he said during his weekly general audience in the

Vatican’s Paul VI hall Jan. 16. At the end of the audience, the pope also greeted U.S. De- fense Secretary Leon Panetta, a Catholic. The brief encounter came dur-

ing the so-called “baciamano,”

the moment when the pope of- fers a select group of prelates and special guests a brief handshake

one-by-one rather than a private audience. The pope spoke at length with the former CIA director, who was smiling and gently holding both of the pope’s hands, and gave him one of the medallions reserved for special guests. Panetta said later that the pope told him, “Thank you for helping to protect the world.” Panetta said he replied, “Pray for me.” Panetta, who was stepping down as Pentagon chief, was in Rome as part of a Europe-wide tour to meet with European defense ministers to discuss the conflicts in Afghanistan and Mali. During his catechesis dedi-

Alan Holdren / CNA
Alan Holdren / CNA

Pope Benedict XVI

cated to the Year of Faith, the pope said, “The desire to really know God, that is, to see the face of God, exists in everyone, even atheists.” It can even be an unconscious desire simply to know “who is he, what is he for us?” the pope said. That yearning finds fulfillment in Christ, he said; as Jesus told his disciples, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” The pope said it was impor- tant to follow Christ “not just in those moments when we need him,” but to “find room for him in our daily tasks” and through- out one’s life. “The splendor of the divine countenance is the source of life,

it’s what lets one see reality” and its light is a sure guide in life, he said. At the end of his catechesis, the pope made an appeal for people to join the observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Jan. 18-25. The theme for this year’s week is “What does God require of us?” “I invite everyone to pray, ceaselessly asking God for the great gift of unity among the disciples of the Lord. May the inexhaustible power of the Holy Spirit encourage us in a sincere commitment to the search for unity, so that together we may all profess that Jesus is the Savior of the world,” he said. (CNS)

Pinoys’ empowerment via voter formation

MANILA, Jan. 11, 2013—If some

hold the belief that seriously practicing one’s faith is confined to Sundays inside places of wor- ship, a movement of lay Catholic organizations is poised to em- power Filipinos by educating them on applying their Catholic faith in daily life, including decision-making on the electoral process. There is a great need to edu-

cate voters “but it is not merely

voter education, but voter for- mation that is needed. What we mean by this is we need to reach the Catholic grassroots and form them in Catholic morals and ethics in a way that can easily be understood as it pertains to mak- ing decisions as to whom to vote for,” said Dr. Ricardo Boncan, spokesperson of Catholic Vote Philippines (CVP). CVP is a group of organiza- tions that banded together to ensure a formidable voter base in the May 2013 congressional elec- tions and subsequent local and national elections. “The Church in general and the CBCP in particular has written

quite extensively on how Catho- lics can and should be involved in

political life. In gist, we as Catho- lics must not lead a dualistic life, that is, separate professional and personal lives as it refers to our Catholic faith,” Boncan explained. CVP was launched officially

in December and has among its

primary signatories Couples for Christ, Knights of Columbus, and Catholic Women’s League—all are long-time Catholic Church- based institutions with officers and members nationwide.

Group’s lay character Catholic Vote Philippines

may initially be regarded as

a “Church thing” due to the

group’s name, though its mem-

ber-organizations are composed

of lay men and women. Boncan,

however, is not surprised by the initial association with the clergy. “Many people, associate the word ‘Catholic’ with the hier- archy of the Church and rightly so, because they are the ordained pastors of the Catholic Church. These pastors, the Bishops and

the priests under them, are the teachers of the Church who, as we have seen, also lead the fight for life,” he pointed out. The word “Catholic,” on the other hand, can also apply to lay organizations working within

the Church, Boncan said, and it is in this context that CVP came about—a lay initiative within the Catholic Church. “We need the support of the hierarchy simply because a movement within the Church cannot function faithfully as tru- ly Catholic if the pastors do not agree with the mission and goal of that movement. The distinc-

tion between lay- initiated and

hierarchy-initiated can be seen in who comprises the convenors of

the movement—they are all lay. The need for ‘Catholics to vote as Catholics” was expressed late last year by Palawan Represen- tative Dennis Socrates, who expressed his hope in people eventually fighting for the pro- tection life, marriage and family when it comes to legislation, which will start from electing

when it comes to legislation, which will start from electing the right people into office. “I

the right people into office. “I think there has to be a Catholic vote, although of course the Catholic Church… does not have ‘commands.” People are free. It’s a religion of freedom and love, because love is not possible without freedom. It has to be free, it’s never compelled,” Socrates said in an interview. The lawmaker pointed out that it is essential for Filipinos to know political candidates “whose values, whose advoca- cies are contrary to our faith, to our culture” and that “we should not allow our government to be dominated by that kind of phi- losophy, that kind of culture.” “If they’re going to use their position to compel everybody to contracept, cheapen the marital act, devalue the family, devalue life, then we should not vote for them,” he continued, adding that this is where a campaign such as Catholic Vote Philippines may come in. Among the organizations that are part of Catholic Vote Philippines are Knights of Co- lumbus, Sangguniang Laiko

Catholic lay organizations band together to make a difference in the forthcoming May elections.

ng Pilipinas, Dominican Net- work, Institute of preaching Lay Missionaries, Federation of National Youth Organiza- tions, Youth Pinoy, National Youth Ministry, St Thomas More Association, Catholic Women’s League, Couples For Christ, Educhild Philippines, Families Against RH Bill, Fili- pinos for Life, Doctors for Life, Alliance for the Family Inc., Pro-Life Philippines, Jericho Community, and Defensores Fidei Foundation.

Boncan explained that it is Cath- olic formation that will empower Filipinos to arrive at sound choices during elections. “The basic premise here is that Catholic moral and ethical teach- ings are applicable in the secular sphere where politics is at work. Once we integrate Catholic for- mation and teaching with our lives in the secular world, then we will start seeing changes in the way politicians are elected and, in turn, the way government is run.” (CBCP for Life)

‘You are not alone,’ Pope tells those suffering from sickness

VATICAN City, Jan. 9, 2013—Ahead of the World Day of the Sick, Pope Benedict XVI ex- pressed his closeness to those with illnesses and reaffirmed that Jesus Christ’s sufferings give meaning to their own. “You are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image,” said the Pope, quoting Pope Paul VI’s words from the Second Vati- can Council. The 21st World Day of the Sick will be cel- ebrated Feb. 11 on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Pope Benedict released his message for the day on Jan. 8. The Pope said the observance is a day for the sick, health care workers and the faith- ful to engage in prayer, to offer one’s sufferings “for the good of the Church” and to rec- ognize in those who

suffer “the Holy Face of Christ who, by suf- fering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind.” The Pope used the parable of the Good Samaritan as a point of reflection. Jesus’ par- able “helps us to un- derstand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain.” The parable recounts how the Good Samari- tan cared for a man who had been injured in an attack by thieves. The Pope said its conclud- ing words, “Go and do likewise,” show how his disciples should behave towards oth- ers, especially those in need. “We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the

Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and how- ever poor they may be.” Pope Benedict said this is true for every- one: pastoral workers, health care workers, and the sick themselves. He cited his 2007 en- cyclical “Spe Salvi,” which said healing is found not by sidestep- ping or fleeing from suffering but rather by accepting it and “find- ing meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.” The Pope noted that many Church Fathers saw Jesus in the Good Samaritan. In the man who fell among thieves and was injured, they saw the wounded and disoriented humanity of sinful Adam. Jesus, he said, “does not jealously guard his equality with God but, filled with compassion,

he looks into the abyss of human suffering so as to pour out the oil of consolation and the wine of hope.” Pope Benedict en- couraged Catholic health care workers and institutions, dio- ceses, religious congre- gations, and all those involved in the pastoral care of the sick. “May all realize ever more fully that ‘the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accept- ing every human being, especially those who are weak and sick,’” he said. The World Day of the Sick will be observed at the Marian Shrine of Altotting in Germany. The Pope asked that the Virgin Mary help health care workers and “always accompany those who suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope. (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope’s Twitter success praised as evangelization breakthrough

VATICAN City, Jan. 11, 2013— Pope Benedict’s mass of 2.5 mil- lion followers in eight languages during his first month on Twitter has one Vatican priest calling the pontiff’s online presence “a new frontier” of evangelization. Father Paolo Padrini, a col- laborator of the Pontifical Coun- cil for Social Communications, said it is good that the Pope has so many followers, but it even more important that the Pope “seeks to co-exist and share on Twitter.” “Being present in social media is evangelizing, if just for the fact that he is present with his words,” he told CNA Jan. 11. “It’s a great joy to see the Pope’s words being dissemi- nated, a joy that is held by all believers.” Twitter is a social media ser- vice that allows users to send out 140-character messages, called “tweets,” to other users who follow their accounts. Followers and others may then share these tweets with their own followers with a “re-tweet.”

The Pope’s first tweet on his personal account went out on Dec. 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Over 64,000 people retweeted his introductory mes- sage on his English-language account “Pontifex,” while over 33,000 did so for his Spanish- language account “Pontifex_es.” As of Jan. 11, he has sent out only 21 tweets. He has shared his favorite memory of Christmas, asked for prayers for an end to the Syria conflict and exhorted others to look to Jesus Christ. “Following Christ’s example, we have to learn to give our- selves completely,” the Pope said on Twitter Jan. 9. “Anything else is not enough.” Anyone on Twitter may inter- act with any other user. Those who have replied to the Pope range from the devout, the ap- preciative and the inquisitive to the flippant, irreverent and even obscene. The Pope’s followers are nu- merous indeed. His English- language account has over 1.4 million subscribers, his Spanish-

language account has 575,000 and his Italian-language account has 265,000. His tweets also go out in French, German, Polish, Portu- guese and Arabic. His Arabic- language account is the least popular but still has a respect- able 18,000 followers. By comparison, President Barack Obama has acquired 25 million followers in almost five years. The Dalai Lama has about six million followers on Twitter. U.S. religious figures on Twit- ter include Christian speaker and author Joyce Meyer with over 1.6 million followers; Texas televangelist Pastor Joel Osteen with over 1.2 million followers; the California-based evangelical Pastor Rick Warren with 840,000 followers; and non-denominational Texas Pastor T.D. Jakes with 790,000 followers. The Pope’s Twitter follow- ing quickly surpassed Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who has 72,000 followers. (CNA/ EWTN News)



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 02

January 21 - February 3, 2013



THERE is no mistaking that while someone must be good for something, not everyone however is fit for marriage intents and purposes. This is a down-to-earth reality that is squarely premised on the inherent nature of and obligations intrinsic to marriage—such as the requirements of mental composition, emotional constitution and physical make-up of the concrete man or woman concerned. One thing is the plain desire of getting married but definitely something else is to have the fitness, the capacity or aptitude for getting married.

It is understandable wherefore that more and more couples

do not get married at all—but simply unite and separate at will. In fact, more and more married men and women get married and eventually come to part ways at will—with or without having children. Thus it is too that more and more children from “broken families” become confused, angry or

bitter even as they grow in years and realize their predicament

of growing without the parenting presence of their fathers

and mothers.

And yet, there are individuals who even want to introduce and legalize divorce in the country—as if the fact of divorce and the divorce mentality would promote the right understanding and

proper living of the reality of marriage. The truth of the matter

is that divorce promotes divorce just as the possibility of divorce

already weakens the resolve to get married for a lifetime—in accord with their own human dignity and pursuant to the inherent rights of the children born of their union.

Divorce is not merely a direct contradiction to the standard Marriage Vows, but also a standing contradiction of the Family Code of the Philippines and a blatant contradiction of the Constitution of the Philippines. Hence, Filipinos who want

divorce introduced and legalized in the country, say but one and the same thing: Change the working of the Marriage Vows! Change the Philippine Constitution! Change the Family Code

of the Philippines.

Thus it is that in the context of those pushing for the legislation

of divorce, the constitutional principle of the “sanctity of family

life” becomes but a big joke. That the constitutional resolve

to “protect and strengthen the family” is simply a big lie. And

that the equally constitutional consideration of the family as

a “basic autonomous social institution” is but a blatant farce.

Perhaps there is really a need to brace up for what looks like a looming disaster.

Three faces of evangelization

TO better understand the New Evangelization, let us first place

it within the comprehensive context of the Church’s mission of

Evangelization. “In its precise sense, Evangelization is the missio ad gentes directed to those who do not know Christ. In a wider sense, it is used to describe ordinary pastoral work, while the phrase ‘New Evangelization’ designates pastoral outreach to those who no longer practice the Christian faith” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects

of Evangelization, December 3, 2007, 12).

The New Evangelization, therefore, is primarily addressed to the baptized in the Christian West “who are experiencing a new

existential and cultural situation, which, in fact, has imperiled their faith and their witness.” This is a situation which Pope Benedict XVI has described as an ‘interior desert’ which “has virtually eliminated any question of God” (XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Instrumentum Laboris, 86).

It is a crisis “bearing in itself traces of the exclusion of God

from people’s lives, or a generalized indifference toward the Christian faith itself, to the point of attempting to marginalize it from public life” (Benedict XVI, Address to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, May 30, 2011).

But in fact the cultural situation so described applies as well

to certain parts of Africa, Asia-Oceania, and South America.

Referring toAfrica, Pope Benedict XVI observed that the situation

in the continent call Christians “to reawaken their enthusiasm

for being members of the Church…to live the Good News as individuals, in their families and in society and to proclaim it with fresh zeal to persons near and far” (Post-SynodalApostolic Exhortation Africae Munus 160, 2011).

While the Christian West must deal with the challenge of secularism, materialism, and relativism leading to the

abandonment of faith, the same problem to a lesser degree

is posed to the “younger Churches,” especially those sectors

that are highly influenced by great social and cultural changes. These, too, are “fertile ground for the New Evangelization” (Instrumentum Laboris 89).

More specifically, following the lead of Blessed Pope John Paul


(Redemptoris Missio, 37-38) the New Evangelization has


be directed to the cultural, social, political, economic civic,

scientific and technological, communications and religious dimensions of life. All these have been deeply influenced by the globalizing secularist and materialist culture.

The pastoral situation calls on the whole Church, the faithful,

to participate in “overcoming the separation of the Gospel from

life and reconstructing, in the everyday activities of the home, work and society, the unity of life which finds its inspiration in the Gospel and, in the same Gospel, the strength to realize it fully” (cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici 30, 1988).

Live Christ, Share Christ, CBCP Pastoral Exhortation on the Era of the New Evangelization, 2012 Pedro C. Quitorio Ronalyn R. Regino Editor-in-Chief Layout Artist
Pedro C. Quitorio
Ronalyn R. Regino
Layout Artist
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Gloria Fernando
Marketing Supervisor
Associate Editor
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
News Editor
Circulation Manager
Kris Bayos
Marcelita Dominguez
Features Editor
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communica-
tions Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices
at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO.
Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Catholic Church Leaders in Mindanao Discuss the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ Pastoral Companion
Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ
Pastoral Companion

“THE Role of the Catholic Church during the Period of the GPH-MILF Framework Agree- ment on the Bangsamoro” was the theme of a Consultation on Jan. 9-11, 2013, in Davao City. The Episcopal Commission for Inter- religious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called for this consultation with support from Catholic Relief Services. The consultations brought to- gether eleven bishops and about thirty other representatives of Catholic universities, the- ology seminaries, radio stations, and peace centers from different parts of Mindanao. The main objective of the consultation was to clarify the provisions of the Frame- work Agreement which was signed by the GPH and MILF panels in Malacañang on Oct. 15, 2012. The participants appreciated the presence of the two panel chairpersons themselves: Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer

(who took over from Dean Marvic Leonen) for the government panel, and Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, assisted by Mr. Abhoud Syed Linga, for the MILF panel. In separate sessions, the speakers ex- plained the key provisions of the Framework Agreement. The polyvalent meaning of the term, “Bangsamoro,” was pointed out

– e.g., as a new political entity, a people, or a territory. The Framework Agreement presents a road map – i.e., the formation of

a Transition Commission, the drafting of a

Basic Law that has to be passed by Congress

and ratified by a plebiscite, the creation of a Transition Authority, and finally elections for officials of the Bangsamoro by the year

2016. The Bangsamoro entity would have

a ministerial form of government and have

an asymmetric relationship with the central government. The territory of the Bangsam-

oro was also presented to the participants by means of comparative maps indicating its reduced coverage when compared with the thirteen provinces claimed by the MNLF in 1996 and the area proposed for referendum in the MOA-AD of 2008. The speakers dwelt on four annexes that still need to be completed as works-in-progress. These are the annexes on Power Sharing, Wealth Sharing, Normalization, and Tran- sitional Arrangements. Several continuing challenges were also frankly admitted such as the status of the earlier peace agreement with the MNLF, the situation of the indigenous people communities, and the proliferation of arms in the area. The third resource person, Fr. Albert Alejo, S.J., described the findings of several consultations among various communities in

Pastoral Companion / A6

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS …and that’s the truth
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth

DEATH and the New Evangelization

DEATH is a sentence for national suicide. As many may be aware of, DEATH is an acronym that stands for Divorce, Euthana- sia, Abortion, Total Population Control, and Homosexual Mar- riage. A nation that sees nothing wrong in legislating these things is sowing the seeds of its own extinction. What do the champions of DEATH have in common? They deny the cross, they defy Christ. They refuse to see the meaning of suffering. “What’s the point of staying married when you no longer love each other? Divorce will make you live happily ever after.” “Our hearts bleed to see our

loved ones suffering so much— therefore, out of mercy, let’s kill them and hasten their trip to heaven.” “Why let a fertilized egg ruin your future? It’s just blood clot in your system, a parasite suck- ing the life out of you! If you don’t kill it, it will kill you!” “You are poor because you are overpopulated! You can have a satisfying sex life without wor- rying about another mouth to feed.” “I’m a human being, too, why deprive me of the right to choose whom to marry regardless of race, religion or sex?” Is a nation lost when its lead- ers are in the dark? I’d like to believe that our leaders who are

Managing popular piety

rooting for “modernization” by legislating DEATH are simply suffering a mild and temporary case of insanity. I’d like to hope that the young people they mag- netize will soon outgrow their misguided idealism. I’d like to think that our national piety— manifested in the millions at- tending religious festivities, the proliferation of televangelists, the mall chapels overflowing with Mass-goers—will sooner than later bring us to commu- nion with the Living God. But that will not happen by turning our back on the life- giving power of the cross of Christ. How far has 450 years of Christianity brought us toward embracing the mystery and wis-

dom of the cross? Our hope now hinges on the New Evangeliza- tion to spare our country from the tightening grip of seculariza- tion. It has often been said that the Filipinos, the only Christian people in Asia, are “baptized, but not evangelized”. We have heard the call of Christ, taken steps to follow Him, but have yet to muster the courage to follow Him all the way to the cross. We need the New Evangelization as it is an invitation to refresh and deepen our friendship with Christ and with one another—and for it to bear fruit, we must humbly admit to our need to be evange- lized, beginning with our evan- gelizers. And that’s the truth.

Fr. Roy Cimagala Candidly Speaking
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Candidly Speaking

WE have to give thanks to God, of the whop- ping kind, for the tremendous devotion Cebuanos and many others have toward the Sto. Nino, the child Jesus dressed as king for indeed he is king of the universe. This devotion has not waned one bit. On the contrary, it has grown through the years in spite of the trials and difficulties not only in terms of economics and politics but also in terms of the faith, what with all the scandals also swamping the Church in recent years. It is obvious that the hand of God is be- hind all this overwhelming manifestation of popular piety. How else can we explain the staggering turn-out of people for the proces- sion and the Masses for this feast? And I must say that it’s not only in num- bers that are breath-taking. It’s more the very clear external manifestations of piety that truly show what the people have inside their hearts. This is no mass hysteria. Just look at the dancing and all the gestures! We have to show our deep gratitude by feeling the grave responsibility of taking care of this vast popular piety. We have to understand that this is a continuing task. We can never rest in this. We have to be wary of our tendency to be taken in by a sense of euphoria, very understandable, that can deaden our sense of duty. We have to make sure that the religious dimension is always preserved as the main

animating element of the celebration. We need to strengthen it, and equip it with the appropriate “antidote” against foreign elements that can also be expected to come. Popular piety can attract all sorts of things. It’s like a pie or a cake in the open air. Politi- cians will take advantage of it. For good or evil, we cannot determine for now. So, some regulating indications have to be made. Business people, the big ones and the small ones, obviously will also do some milking and killing of the big event. This is all very understandable. Again, some effective regu- lating provisions have to be made. Different people from different fields will use it from their respective interests. There has to be a way of determining which is compatible with the over-all celebration and which is not. People from the fields of culture, education, sports and entertainment, etc. will all have a field day. The Church leaders have to be most active and persistent in underlining the spiritual and supernatural dimension without de- tracting from the legitimate human dimen- sion. This is not an easy task. Often, the way to go is by trial and error, and errors will surely come. But as long as the concern remains, and the people involved have the proper dispositions and competence, then we can only expect suc- cess especially in the spiritual side. A lot of

coordination is inevitable. For sure, a lot of catechesis given in ways very much adapted to the different mentalities of the people is a must. Priests, nuns and others can expect a more receptive attitude from the people given the general atmosphere. Homilies and other forms of preaching have to be very well prepared. As much as possible, we avoid improvised preaching that either turns off people or spoil them in their ignorance, confusion and other forms of deficiencies. By now, Church leaders should have a good idea of what to tell the people, how to motivate and inspire them. This idea should be well articulated and developed in appro- priate modules and preaching plans that can make use of modern technologies like the social media. With the vast popularity of this devotion, Church leaders should acquire the skills of using the mass media properly. They are the new pulpit, the new Areopagus. And actu- ally there are a lot of things to say, to preach, to clarify and explain, to correct, etc. People have to be gradually introduced to the intricacies of theology and philosophy and the other sciences that deal with our faith and devotions. We should never be afraid to do these, since these are necessary.

Candidly Speaking / A7

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 02

January 21 - February 3, 2013



Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD Along The Way
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Along The Way

IN the minds of many people,

the passage of the RH bill was

a defeat for the Church—a sign

of the declining influence of the Church in the political arena, a failure of the Church to assert her moral and political power. This assessment is question- able. But what is clear is that the President and his allies have suc- ceeded in passing a law which they claim can help solve the problem of poverty and ensure the “reproductive health” of women by providing free con- traceptives and compulsory sex education. The question is what should the Church’s stance be vis-à-vis the present government in view of this recent development? In my opinion, there are vari- ous options. The first is to keep silent and withdraw from en- gagement in the social and po- litical arena. Let things be, focus on the spiritual and religious matters. This means being in the sidelines and not “meddling” in politics. This is probably what the government and elements of civil society influenced by West- ern liberal-secular agenda would like. This would be an abdication of the Church’s social mission. Another option is to build up and re-assert the Church’s influence in the political sphere. In view of the coming election, this means making the “Catho- lic vote” a reality, campaigning against pro-RH politicians and supporting pro-life candidates. This implies becoming a power- broker. Easier said than done. The Church cannot follow the act of the INK. The clergy can- not tell the faithful who to vote

for. The lay leaders coming from mandated organizations

and movements do not have the capability of creating a critical mass. Catholics may constitute the majority of the population, but those who follow the teach- ings of the Church are a minor- ity. The majority are nominal Catholics who do not listen to the clergy—especially when it comes to political matters. Campaigning on a single issue (RH law) could put the Church on the side of politicians who may not be paragons of good governance. It would be too much to expect the electorate to vote on the basis of a single issue. Being pro-life should not be the only criteria for voting candidates into office. It would be inappropriate to vote for can- didates who claim to be pro-life and yet have records of corrup- tion, abuse of power, violence, human rights violation and destruction of the environment. The option which I find prefer- able is that of the humble servant and prophet. This means avoiding the im- age of the Church as a powerful institution trying to throw her weight around or imposing her will in the political arena, acting like a bully. The Church will continue to function as a humble servant continuing the various programs and initiatives that concretely manifest her care for the poor, the sick and the weak. This means working for justice and for peace, defending the integrity of creation—the envi- ronment. This also means pro- moting and defending the basic rights of all—including the right

Gun ban will lessen worthless killings

The Church’s stance vis- a-vis the present regime

to life of everyone, especially the unborn. Thus, the Church needs to embrace a consistent ethic of life that integrates these various concerns. The Church should be willing to engage and collaborate with the government and civil soci- ety in promoting the common good—especially in poverty alleviation, promotion of peace and good governance, and en- vironmental protection. In doing so, the Church should not act as Messiah or liberator but as a genuine humble servant cooper- ating with other people of good will. Thus, the Church must live up to her identity as Church of the Poor. As a prophetic community, the Church has two-fold function: to announce and denounce. Prophetic annunciation means proclaiming the Gospel message and Christian values. This is the task of new evangelization espe- cially in light of the fact that ma- jority of the people are nominal Christians, many of whom do not accept and live the Church’s teachings. This is also the task of renewed catechesis. There is much to be done to deepen the understanding of the faith- ful of the basic Christian doc- trines, about the social and moral teachings of the Church. The teachings of the Church about marriage, sexuality, family, re- sponsible parenthood, natural family planning method and the value of life should be inculcated in the schools, parishes and Basic Ecclesial Communities. An on- going political education based on social teachings of the Church should lead the members to vote

wisely and to participate in the crusade for good governance. The task of prophetic denun- ciation includes the exercise of the Church’s role as conscience of society. This means struggling against the culture of death and corruption. While collaborating with the government in initiatives that promote common good—such as poverty alleviation, good governance, peace and environ- mental protection—the Church must at all times maintain a critical stance. The Church will continue to denounce the gov- ernment policies and laws that are contrary to common good, that promote the culture of death and that weaken the fam- ily. The negative effects of the RH Law need to be exposed and denounced. This includes ex- posing how billions of pesos of taxpayers’ money are spent on birth control and sex education, and less on actual poverty alle- viation programs, better health care and affordable quality education for all, especially the poor. The Church should not hesitate to exercise the critical function when the govern- ment fails to alleviate poverty, to protect the environment, achieve just and lasting peace, to implement genuine agrarian reform, to eradicate graft and corruption at all levels. This servant and prophetic mission of the Church should be carried out not just by the bishops, priests and religious, but also the lay faithful as well, especially by the renewal move- ments and the Basic Ecclesial Communities.

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago Duc in Altum
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum

THE tri-media have been covering news reports about heinous crime, mass murders, rubout, merciless and trigger-happy killings; they have nothing in common but worthless killing. The most popular is the killing of the child Nicole who was hit by a stray bullet fired from the gun of a police officer? The other incident is the Atimonan massacre;

investigators are still probing if it was a shoot out or a rubout. The re-enactment showed one of the victims already raised both his hands as sign of surrender and yet, the police officer still fired at him. In a few months, the campaign period for the May Election will start. History shows that politicians and their followers always resort to guns, goons and gold, in order to win. If the votes they want could not be obtained through their dole-outs, they use guns and goons to terrorize the voters either

to vote for them or not to vote at all if the vote

would only go to their opponents. What is being done by the government

authority to give justice to the victims? What

is being done to prevent these killings? All

probes but no clear cut measures on how to minimize, if not stop, the unnecessary killings? More than anybody else, the Comelec must initiate and strictly implement the gun ban so as to avoid killing innocent people

during the campaign season. There should be no exception to the rule. Studies had shown that a gun-carrying person will use it to show his power and influence on others. What more if these people are backed by powerful politicians? The culture of death is devastating the country; is it because of the passage of the RH Law, when the lawmakers themselves decided to pre-empt the birth of a child through the use of contraceptives and con- doms? Lord, please forbid this from happen- ing; God save the Philippines! *** Unlike her son who endorsed the passage of RH Law, it is a fitting tribute to the late President Corazon C. Aquino, whose birth- day we celebrate on January 25. President Cory issued Proclamation No. 214 on Febru- ary 03, 1988 which declares the 2nd week of February 1988, and every year thereafter, as “Respect and Care for Life Week”. As we stated two years ago in this column “The late President based the Proclama- tion on the United Nations Declaration on Rights of the Child which provides that “the child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after death.” “She likewise based the Proclamation

on Section 12, Art. II of the Constitution of the Philippines, which provides that “it is the policy of the State to protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.” “The Proclamation acknowledged that ‘available statistics detail the frightening losses of innocent human lives by abortion’. “Thus, the promulgation purports ‘to instil the value and sacredness of human life, in the minds and hearts of the Filipino people and thereby help reverse the above statistical trend; it becomes imperative to set aside a period of time for them to ponder; and focus attention on their moral and constitutional obligations to protect human life or one’s inherent right to life.’” *** On January 09, 2012, the Feast of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, ALFI or the Alliance for the Family Foundation (Philippines), Inc., an NGO dedicated to preserving the sanctity of life & family, filed at the Supreme Court, a Petition for Prohibition, with re- quest for a TRO/Preliminary Injunction against Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10354, The Responsible Parenthood & Reproductive Health Act of 2012, on the grounds that it allows the use of abortifacient devices such as the intrauterine device (IUD), and the

Duc in Altum / A7

Fr. Francis Ongkingco Whatever
Fr. Francis Ongkingco

‘Heaven’s Gate’

THE entity my eyes caught was as recognizable as a glowing yellow McDonald’s ‘M’ in the horizon, or as the fiery buzz- ing orange letters of Jollibee or the warm and attractive colors of 7-11 outlets dotting street corners in the city. What I saw, however, wasn’t flashing, glow- ing or rotating. Like these street signs, it was enormous, but unlike them it was the dullest object on earth. Worn-out tires, grotesquely im- paled as advertising signage by makeshift vulcanizing shops, are even more appealing compared to what I was contemplating. It was Ed, my journalist friend. He covered almost two entire seats. Four, if we included his baggage which literally life- time corporeal extensions of his combined mass and weight. These contain his equipment as a field journalist reporting for prominent papers in the U.S. and Europe. I have to admit that even though he can sometimes throw his weight around, his articles on hot eco-political issues are very well written, objective and amusingly informative. “Ed!” I wanted to surprise

him by patting him from behind. Despite the freezing air condi- tioning units in the departure area, I realized that he was still profusely sweating. His sweat seemed to have glued my palms to his shoulders. For a few sec- onds, I felt like a fly helplessly trapped on an elephant wearing fly paper all over its body. “zat yuh, Fathu?” his low and strong voice echoed in the room as he turned his head around to check who it was. “Yeah, Ed…, I guess you caught me there,” I managed to free my hands from his shoul- ders only for a moment. Ed tow- ered nearly six feet. As he stood up, he slowly revealed his true form and size. It was like watch- ing a World War I blimp being inflated to life. I wondered how long it took his brain to signal to his legs and feet to get up. He extended his hand to greet me. I was doomed! “Funny meetin’ here again, Fathu?” It was useless to free my trapped and jellied fingers from the bear trap clamped on them. Even before Ed could con- tinue, a little soft voice from nowhere said, “Daddy, can I go

to the bathroom?” There he was! It was a cute smiling blond blue-eyed boy tugging at Ed’s pants. The con- trast was incredible! He was like Tinkerbelle trying to call the at- tention of a sleeping mammoth or a sluggish hippopotamus. “Oh, yeh. Sorry! I almost for- got,” Ed scratched his balding head. “Okay, but first go and get Father’s blessing, Daniel.” The boy let go of Ed’s pants, and obediently went to me. I felt his hand gently taking my right hand and making his forehead touch it. “Wow, Ed! You really taught Daniel here some good spiritual habits.” “Nah!” Ed brushed the com- ment aside. “It’s the wife, yeh know, Father. Women are pretty good at that stuff.” “Let’s just say it’s because of the parents,” I reminded him. “But I can see that there’s more of Denise’s genes in him, am I not right?” “I’ll argue about that later. Oh, Fathu…, yeh don’t mind watch- ing my stuff while I accompany Daniel here to the boy’s room?” “Not at all, in fact I would be delighted. It isn’t the first time

I run a flea market you know.” * * * “So I guess you’re not here for work, since the kids are with you?” “Well, yeh can say that I’m here for both work and leisure. ‘Sides Denise said we could celebrate my anniversary here as well.” “Wedding…?” “No, my baptism anniver- sary!” he said. “Don’t yeh re- member, Fathu?” “I must be getting on in years, Ed. I totally forgot.” “How could yuh? You even taught that basic Christian thingy that Fathu Bob patiently continued back in the U.S.” “Okay, I’ll take note of it. Happy anniversary just the same, Ed!” “And you know anothu thing, Fathu?” “What?” “Daniel here was also bap- tized on this very same day!” “Is that so? That’s really great. Happy anniversary too, Daniel,” I traced a sign of the cross on the boy’s forehead. “Thank you Father,” he said

Whatever / A7

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola Spaces of Hope
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Spaces of Hope


AN unmistakable spirit of gloating possessed many of those who had actively championed what is now known as Republic Act 10354, formerly the RH bill. This triumphalism assumes that the Church is a spent force, out of touch with the modern

world. What they fail to see is that the approval of the bill is not a defeat for the Church but for faith, reason, and responsible freedom. The Church still stands, even after being subjected to heresies, persecution, revilement, and political pressures all through the centuries. After all, its founder had promised that he will be with his church “always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). As one congressman said before casting his vote:

This is also an act of solidarity with my Church as it has come under attack as regressive, as archaic, and as antiquated. But its past and its present belie this slander. This is the Church that fought against tyranny, ousted a dictatorship, struggled against repression, and defended human rights. This is the Church which continues to educate our young, heal our sick, shelter our homeless, and comfort our poor. This is a Church that treats people as the most important resource of a community. Unlike those pushing for this bill who treat them as liability. Let us never forget that the most precious capital of all is HUMAN CAPITAL. This is the Church whose teachings form our social glue, provide our moral anchor, and whose celebrations, including Christmas, strengthen our bond as a community. So pray, tell me my friends, with this heritage and record how can I vote against it? Those who led the charge of this thinly-disguised effort at population control may have inadvertently helped an awak- ened church to its feet. It took our nation 14 years (i.e. 1972- 1986) to do something about a political dictatorship; perhaps this time, a lay-led effort, facilitated by the clergy, will grapple with the dictatorship of relativism that asserts there are no moral absolutes and that truth is relative to one’s vantage point. The Church was not meddling in politics when it made its voice heard about the bill. Nor will its voice be muted with regards to the provisions that go counter to human dignity.

It is only trying to define moral boundaries without which

political action would be ultimately harmful.

* * *

Just before Christmas last year, I found myself celebrating mass

at a makeshift shelter consisting of a thin wooden beam straddling

between two flimsy wooden poles with a tarpaulin for a roof.

A six year old street kid named Reyboy had been run over by a

truck, his frail body inside a small wooden coffin flanked by two

electrical lights from a funeral parlor. The boy had joined us for a Christmas gathering for street kids two days before the accident. We used a low table for a makeshift altar and a 3-legged chair for the presider. A few neighbors milled around us. After mass, I talked with the mother, father, and siblings of the victim, one of eight children. I looked at them and in the silence of my heart asked myself with all the honesty I could muster: “Will this new law really help these people?” I could not, for the life of me, see any rhyme or reason how contraceptives would uplift their lives. Access to health services, better educational opportunities, housing, and feeding services certainly would! So would values formation starting with the conviction that man is created in the image and likeness of God, the only sure basis for human dignity and human community.

* * *

“Corruption” can either mean a “broken heart” or “to break down together.” Man finds ultimate meaning in life and dignity of existence only in communion with God since our hearts are meant for God. To sever this connection is corruption in the deepest sense of the term. This, in turn, leads to a breakdown of family and other ties. Corruption is a psycho-emotional and spiritual reality, rooted in the human heart, before it is a socio-economic and political reality. For nearly 13 years now, I have been trying to do something about corruption. At first, this concerned the breakup of fami- lies due to the pressures of having to find jobs abroad. Then, in 2001, another advocacy emerged, this time on the corruption caused by illegal drugs and the use of drug profits. Finally, in 2004, there was a third advocacy: an organized effort against graft and corruption in government. We have had our share of sweat, difficulties, and sacrifices in these advocacies. Yes, we have grappled with our own personal brokenness. We have also seen the struggles of OFW families, addicts, and victims, even perpetrators, of corruption up close.

We have seen its corroding and dividing effects on persons, families, and groups. We have made our voice heard in public and have developed and proposed ways wherein Christian be- lievers can make their contributions towards a better Philippines. Soon we realized we were only dealing with symptoms. A closer look reveals the original sin of graft and corruption to be the way we conduct our elections. Bloated budgets and the need to bring “investors” on board due to vote buying and selling, and their equivalents, are responsible for much of the graft and corruption resulting to “payback” time after elections. Hence, the beyond-the-usual engagement during elections so to help emerge and support good (i.e. truly God-fearing, service oriented and with tested integrity) candidates in a non- partisan manner. It is difficult, but very possible.

* * *

When Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal asked me to represent the Archdiocese of Cebu in a forum on the RH bill in a local uni- versity in Cebu in 2008, I was forced to take a closer look on this issue. Soon I realized the bill was a Trojan horse opening

the doors for a contraceptive deluge and, in its wake, abortion. It seduces the unwary by feeding upon people’s anger and despair especially with regards maternal mortality. Recently, I had a chat with a former local elected official who was part

of the RH bill network when he was still in office. The bill was

attractive with its call for justice for women, especially mothers.

It also afforded members of the network a chance to travel and

attend international gatherings. When he noticed that the network had ties with International Planned Parenthood, the world’s biggest provider of abortion, he expressed his discomfort to his network contact. The response was curt: “Just because we tie up with them does not mean we will provide abortion.” He was puzzled. Why would they even link up with this group if abortion is not part of their agenda? Republic Act 10354 carries the seeds of demographic and cultural death, and has the imprint of a foreign, racist ideology that feeds on anger and despair. Not really founded on truth, it

relied on the pork barrel to “convince” legislators. The specter of

a demographic winter refuses to go away not even when some-

one assures us that “the problems of ageing in a more developed country are probably easier to tackle than those of rapid popula- tion growth in a poor country. And because the vprospect is still so distant for the Philippines, there is ample time to prepare for it and learn from the best practices adopted by advanced societies.” This U.P. professor should have interviewed Lee Kwan Yew, the grand old man of Singapore and his travails over his rapidly-aging nation. The supposed “ample time to prepare” is best used in learning from the mistakes of these developed

Spaces of Hope / A6


Local News

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 02

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Youth ministry, ready to go beyond the ‘30%’

CLEARLY making reference to the Year of Faith, Chairman of the CBCP – Episcopal Commis- sion on Youth, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said youth ministry in the Philippines is ready to reach out to the 70% of Filipino youth, who for one reason or another, are far from the Church.

Inward-looking no more “The Church—we had been saying—[is] so inward looking, looking at what is already there, the 30%. We tend to take care of this alone,” Bishop Baylon said in an interview, explaining how youth ministry’s current

programs have mostly been to sustain and nurture the percent- age of young Catholics who are already active in the Church. “It is about time that we looked outside of this 30% and this is what this Year of faith is all about,” Baylon, who also heads the diocese of Legazpi in Bicol, added. With a recent Social Weather Station survey saying 89% of Fili- pino youth belong to the poorest of the poor, Baylon acknowl- edged the Church needs to ad- dress socio-economic issues that hinder young Catholics from being active in youth ministry.


Bishop Joel Baylon

BECs, micro-finance He said it is about time the Church reaches out to young people who grew up Catholic, but whose faith experience and

development were not sustained “simply because there are no programs.” To address this, diocesan youth ministries, for example, are intensifying BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), so that if young people cannot come to Church, the Church—in a man- ner of speaking—comes to them. Describing his own diocese’s efforts, Baylon said youth min- istry also has a micro-finance program to assist in the real socio-economic concerns of young Catholics, who are mostly from class D and E. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

God’s Word, integral to ‘Year of Faith’

AT the heart of the Year of Faith is the Word of God. This is according to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who stressed the importance of the biblical apostolate in the Church’s celebration of the ‘Year of the Faith.’ “The Word of God is central. How can we reach the people without the Bible?” Cardinal Tagle said. During the orientation of the Archdiocese of Manila on the Year of Faith, he called on lay leaders and vicariates to sup- port the ‘May they be One’ Bible campaign, which aims to give a

free Bible to 5 million Filipinos, especially during the Year of Faith. The said campaign, spear- headed by the Episcopal Com- mission on Biblical Apostolate, has distributed 800,000 Bibles so far. In an interview, Manila Aux- iliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo explained why a lot of activities for the ‘Year of Faith’ will have a focus on Scripture and studying God’s Word. “What is faith based on? It is based on the Word of God and our faith is guided by the Word of God,” he said in the vernacular.

A more in- tense Biblical apostolate According to Bp. Pabillo, efforts are on- going to inten- sify the Biblical apostolate in the grassroots level. “We are go- ing to the par-

ishes and giv- ing a lot of talks,” he said, add- ing that other ways of raising funds for the Biblical apostolate are also being explored. The Holy Father Pope Bene-


Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

dict XVI announced a Year of Faith from October 12, 2012 to November 24, 2013, the Solemni- ty of Christ the King. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

Colorful tableaus, floats to highlight Bible run

AFTER a successful initial run last year, a second Bible run is set to take off in March to raise funds for the printing and distri- bution of bibles to poor Filipino families. A multi-sectoral initiative, the Bible run is being organized by the PhilippineBibleSocietytogetherwith

the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), National Council of Church- es in the Philippines (NCCP) and other partner institutions. Called “May They Be One Bible Run 2”, the event on March 9 will start at the Quirino Grand- stand in Manila around 5 a.m. The event is designed to help participants learn more about and engage with God’s Word through scripture verses, biblical informa- tion and trivia that will punctuate the racetracks that will be high- lighted by colorful tableaus and floats featuring biblical scenes. “The participants will also get

to interact and have photo oppor-

tunities with the Bible characters

that will make the run more fun and exciting even as they help raise funds for the printing of Bibles for under privileged Fili- pinos,” Philippine Bible Society (PBS) said in a press statement. Dr. Natividad Pagadut, execu- tive secretary of CBCP’s Epis-

copal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) said they are expecting 10,000 participant- runners particularly the youth. Pagadut is encouraging young people to participate and give some assistance to those who cannot afford to buy a Bible by joining the fun run. She said the run will not just benefit the beneficiaries but also runners to commit to a healthy lifestyle while dedicating it for a good cause. This year’s run will have a 10 km category aside from the 3km and 5km. Fees for adults are P350 for 3km and 5km and P500 for 10km. Meanwhile, students can avail the special rate of P250 for all categories and may claim NSTP credit certificate when they join the advocacy run. Last year, the 1st MTBO Bible run reached almost 6,000 runners where proceeds from it enabled PBS to distribute 5,000 copies of the Bible to poor families.

PBS and CBCP-ECBA are hop- ing that more Filipinos will sup- port the cause on its 2nd year. Interested participants may contact the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apos- tolate at (02) 527-4157 or PBS Secretariat at (02) 526-7777 loc. 631 or log-on to ph. (Jandel Posion/Yen Ocampo)

Manifesto / A1

artificial contraception and compels the con- scientious objector to refer patients to another health care service pro- vider who dispenses such services—oth- erwise, it is a fine or imprisonment or both for the conscientious objector. “It is nothing but an insincere, dishonest, and political lip service

to the sanctity of human

life… In other words, in terms of pretending to protect human life, the RH Law is a big joke,” stated the manifesto, which was signed by CAPH-Life chairman Atty. Lyndon Caña,

and Bacolod Bishop and CAPH-Life honor- ary chairman Vicente Navarra. RA 10354 has opened a floodgate for the “un- leashing of the vast re- sources of the state to develop a birth con- trol mentality in the land,” the manifesto continued, adding that the law “masquerades as a ‘health’ measure,

when, in truth, it is a device to control popu- lation growth so that this world will only be a habitat for the rich and not for the poor.” The manifesto also pointed out that rather than pouring billions

into education and job generation “which are the sure antidotes to poverty, the law sur- rendered to the lobby money of foreign drug companies which are now assured of a steady income by the purchase of the Philippine gov- ernment of pills and other artificial methods and devises of birth control.” The group’s mem- bers consider it “our moral duty to oppose or undo this law by lawful or Constitutional and peaceful means under the Biblical maxim ‘we must obey God rather than men.’”

The group also said that they are aware of several more legisla- tive bills in the pipeline “which are of the same spirit and orientation” such as the divorce bill, legalizing same-sex union, legalization of prostitution, euthana- sia and others which CAPH-Life was pre- pared to oppose. After holding a press conference at the Bish- op’s House, CAPH- Life members and other supporters of the move walked to the San Se- bastian Cathedral for a Eucharistic celebration. (CBCP for Life)

Poll / A1

more strength as the May 13 election draws closer. According to him, it is during election sea- son that a huge por- tion of jueteng proceeds goes to campaign kitties of candidates from lo- cal to the national level who protects operators once they win.

“The money is for their election expenses. If you are a foreseen winner, they will be the ones to offer so that if you win your mouth is shut. If you’re not win- nable, they’ll give you also,” said Cruz. Asked about the amount that these jueteng lords give to

candidates, Cruz said this depends on how big the jueteng lord is as well as the position that a candidate is as- piring for. “Now, how much exactly? It will depend on the income of the jueteng lord and his agreement with the candidate,” he said.

He said the jueteng money for election ex- penses of politicians is different from the payola that some public officials receive on a regular basis. “This is different from the payola because that is regular while this is occasional,” Cruz said. (CBCPNews)

Palace / A1

“If they want reconciliation, then they should debunk the law. It should be removed,” Arguelles said. The archbishop stressed that they have nothing personal against President Benigno Aqui-

no III for approving the RH law.

It is just that, he said, they have to

impose what the Church teaches. “We are not mad at him (Presi- dent Benigno Aquino III). But if to reconcile means we would approve what they are doing, it cannot be,” Arguelles said. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Her- minio Coloma said that Aquinohas been openly calling for reconcili- ation with the Catholic hierarchy. He, however, admitted that no meeting has taken place yet be- tween the Palace and the Church. The prelate who has been very vocal against the RH law, which is

now facing legal challenges before the Supreme Court, emphasized that reconciliation is not feasible for as long as the law is in effect. Arguelles claimed that during debates in Congress, Malaca- ñang and RH lobby groups used all methods possible including

money, pressure and cheating to ensure the passage of the measure. He also believed that the dirty tactics used by the pro-RH groups including smear campaign over social media networks before would be utilized again now that the law has taken effect. “They resorted to tricks be- fore and now they want us to accept (the RH Law), cannot be,” he added. “I know this is illegal, what they are doing is immoral.” “We pity them because they fought what they think was right. We do not need recon-

ciliation if it means we approve of what they are doing. This is against the teachings of the Lord,” he said. Arguelles also said they do not hold a grudge against pro- RH groups who lobbied for the population control measure and the lawmakers who voted for it. “We are not angry at them but it is as if we were knocked down, and now they want to make friends. After beating us up, now they want to befriend us,” he also said. “For us, it does not matter that we were mauled but we still think that this would not be beneficial to the people, to the country. We do not regret that we were treated very badly, but we regret that if we would rec- oncile with the government, we would be part of their inequity,” he said.

government, we would be part of their inequity,” he said. Caritas Philippines warns of potential scam

Caritas Philippines warns of potential scam

THE Catholic Church’s social action arm is warning the public of a scam in the name of Caritas Philippines. So far, one complainant has come into the Church agency from Masambong High School in Quezon City. In the said case, a person identified as certain Cecille Vil- lanueva claimed to be collecting cash for a supposed housing project for teachers and other charity works.

The suspect was also able to get donations from two other schools: Roxas High School and San Bartolomeo High School— both in Quezon City. “We have no such employee as Cecille Villanueva and that she is not at all connected with Caritas Philippines,” said Manila Aux- iliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Caritas Philippines national director. “Therefore, we are warning you to refuse any such solicita-

tions she is doing in behalf of our good name, for your own safety and protection,” he said. Pabillo reminded the public that anyone who is legitimately collecting donations for a charity will have proper identification. ‘If ever our good office makes appeals and solicitations for our programs and emergency response, it is duly signed by the National Director and / or the Executive Secretary of our orga- nization,” he said. (CBCPNews)

Spaces of Hope / A5

countries—like an aggressive and irreversible population-control program preventing God’s gift of people. When the mind is blinded by an ideology, there is corruption. When an executive branch co- erces a co-equal branch to vote against its conscience, this is cor- ruption. When the poor are used as poster boys to promote the agenda of international funding and population-control agencies, this too is corruption. All these mar God’s image in man. But it is not enough to merely

condemn the new law. A Dilaab survey done in 2009 in 30 mostly church-based groups all over the country regarding qualities voters seek in candidates, “God-fearing” stood at number one while being “pro-life” was only number five. The passage of the bill may even be an opportunity for new evangelization for the Church that faces a nation with many disconnects. Only a faith rooted in God’s Word can connect this broken world. As Christians we can do more. How can we make our preaching and catechesis

more effective? How can our life witnessing and governance in church be more authentic? How can outreach to the poor be more organized and sustained? How effectively do we promote moral means of responsible parent- hood? Can Christian presence be more joyful and sensitive to the youth? How can Catholic schools go back to the basics of faith and be less concerned with worldly success? What can we do to help emerge and support truly God-fearing candidates? Need we say more?

Pastoral Companion / A4

Mindanao and other parts of the country. In particular, he dwelt on the results of Konsult Mindan- aw which focused on the need for Sincerity, Security, and Sensitiv- ity to address people’s distrust, fears, and layers of hurts. More positively, the consultation also brought out the dimensions of Solidarity, Spirituality, and Sustainability to highlight the spirit of volunteerism, the role of religious leaders, and the need for institutionalizing social changes. The final speaker, Fr. Sebas- tiano D’Ambra, P.I.M.E., shared his own experiences in setting up the dialogue center, Silsilah, which has helped form over the past quarter century hundreds of Christian and Muslim practi- tioners of the dialogue of life and peacebuilding. From the Prela- ture of Isabela, a Silsilah-formed couple, Mr. and Mrs. Joel and January zanoria, shared their experience in helping transform

a situation of conflict between

a Christian and several Muslim

barangays into one of dialogue and a common search for peace and development. During the planning period by

sub-regions and then by sectors, the participants arrived at sev- eral recommendations. Among these were:

• the preparation of a primer

on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro to dispel misconceptions

• the formation of a speakers’

bureau to extensively explain the

FAB to students, church com-

munities, and the general public

• encouraging intra-faith dia-

logue to overcome prejudices

• sponsoring radio programs

and peace forums to disseminate the FAB

• integrating peace education

in the curriculum of schools • sponsoring a retreat on reconciliation and forgiveness as the Christian approach to


• creating a Mindanao Peace Committee involving bishops, universities, seminaries, media, and peace centers to continue the conversation and forge partner- ships on peacebuilding Bishop Angelito Lampon, OMI, and Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, ECID chair and

vice-chair respectively, were ex- pected to continue this evolving network of Catholic peacebuild- ers in Mindanao.

Despite the many challenges ahead, the participants in gen- eral ended the consultation with “vigilant optimism” and a

more realistic assessment of the Framework Agreement. They

also expressed hope for a shared peace in Mindanao that would depend not so much on the peace

panels alone but more so on the continuing participation of all sectors, including communities and organizations of the Catholic Church.

RH Bill / A1

“The Act introduces policies that negate and frustrate the foundational ideals and aspirations of the sovereign Filipino people as enshrined in the Con- stitution,” the petition stated.

“This case will present the illegality of the Act as it mocks the nation’s Filipino culture–noble and lofty in its values and holdings on life, motherhood and family life–now the fragile lifeblood of

a treasured culture that today stands

solitary but proud in contrast to other nations,” it continued. The petition embodies an effort to “reclaim our moral culture–a culture that all other countries have begun to lose way ahead of us. And anybody can join us in this new battle,” Atty. James Imbong said after filing the petition. The second petition, filed by the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. (ALFI) a week later, cited the measure’s promotion of the use of abortifacient devices such as

intra-uterine devices (IUDs) and its mandate to purchase abortifacients us- ing taxpayers’ money, thereby violating Constitutional provisions protecting life and health. RA 10354 has “opened the floodgates to an attack against the right to life. While it gives a semblance of respect for life by generously using the words “non-abortifacient” and “do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum,” it allows the use of abortifacient devices such as the intrauterine device (IUD), and the purchase of abortifacient sub- stances using taxpayer’s money,” the petition stated. ALFI, represented by Atty. Ma. Concepcion Noche, who is also the group’s president, is a multi-sectoral, nationwide organization committed to fostering and defending the sanctity of marriage, promoting family solidar- ity, and protecting life in all stages of development.

Days later, groups from Visayas and Mindanao filed petitions as well, with Task Force for Family and Life Visayas, Inc. pointing out that even the law’s name violates a Constitutional prin- ciple – Sec. 26, Article 6 – “as it carries two subjects, namely: ‘Responsible Par- enthood’ and ‘Reproductive Health.’” Sec. 26, Article 6 of the Constitution provides that “Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.” The inclusion of “responsible parent- hood” as one of the two topics in the title but without any provision in the law itself which could be considered as germane to responsible parenthood “is clearly misleading. The mislabel- ing of the essence of the Act, which is contraception to that of “Responsible Parenthood” must have paved the way to the passage of the bill into law,” the petition further stated.

In seeking the declaration of RA 10354 as unconstitutional, Task Force Family and Life Visayas, Inc., represented by Atty. Valeriano S. Avila, also cited as grounds the law’s violation of its own guiding principles, of the State’s duty to respect the sanctity of the family and to strengthen the family as an autonomous institution, and the interference of the State with parents’ primary right and duty in molding their children’s moral character. The petition also cited the RH law’s violation of the freedom to exercise one’s religion. The petitioners from Mindanao – Serve Life CDO, a Cagayan de Oro- based group composed of profession- als including doctors, businessmen, lawyers and sociologists, and Rosevale Foundation, an educational institution in the same city – are represented by Atty. Earl Anthony Gambe, who said that “All petitions are the same with

respect to the main issue: whether or not the RH Law violates the Constitu- tion. In our petition we have cited seven grounds, rights, policies, and directives enshrined in our Constitution.” “The RH Law violates the right to life; right to protection against hazard- ous products; the prohibition against involuntary servitude; equal protec- tion of the laws; freedom of speech and of expression; economic policy of the State; and unwarranted interfer- ence in education. These grounds are discussed in detail in our petition,” the lawyer explained. A petition for prohibition was report- edly filed by former Vice-President and Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr. It will be noted that the elder Guingona’s son, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, voted for the passage of the measure in December. RA 10354 began implementation on January 17. (Diana Uichanco)

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 02

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Diocesan News


Vigan opens cause for Verzosa’s beatification

ADDING to the list of possible Filipino saints, the Archdio- cese of Nueva Segovia recently started its official bid for the beatification and canonization of former Lipa Bishop Alfredo F. Verzosa in a ceremony held at the Conversion of St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral.

A man of God Bishop Verzosa changed the religious, spiritual, and moral portrait of Southern Luzon, ac- cording to Manila Archbishop- Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, who headed the formal start of the diocesan process for the cause of Verzosa’s beatifica- tion. “We need to live the paschal mystery like Bishop Verzosa, that is, suffering for God, dying to one’s self, and finally, being raised up in the Lord,” he ex- plained. Praising the virtues of Bish- op Verzosa, Cardinal Rosales stressed in his homily that Ver- zosa was truly a man of God, a zealous teacher, and someone who lived the Paschal mysteries. Heading the Verzosa beatifi- cation cause is its Postulator Fr.

Samson S. Silloriquez OAR, who is also the Postulator General of Augustinian Recollects, with Msgr. Gary Noel S. Formoso as Vice-Postulator. Auxiliary Bishop David Wil- liam Antonio was appointed Chairperson for the Theological Committee, while Fr. Ericson M.

Josué, the biographer of Verzosa, was named Chairperson for the Historical Committee. Citing the importance of the cause, Archbishop Salgado said that it serves as a challenge to Ilocanos and to all Filipinos “to keep our faith and to strengthen

it by the grace of God, especially

in the Year of Faith.”

“Help us in letting Bishop Ver- zosa be known to everybody,” Salgado added. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist followed the ceremony

of the opening of the beatifica- tion process. In a separate interview, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said the opening of the dioc- esan process this year shows that “God and the Church expect the Philippines to play

a big role in Asia and in the whole world.”

Sainthood for all In a speech, MCHS Supe- rior Mo. Julie Micosa said that Bishop Verzosa should inspire all people, especially Ilocanos, to aspire for sainthood. “Bishop Verzosa once said, ‘All men should aspire to be saints; yes, all without exception, because God invites us to the banquet of eternal salvation… The will of God is your sanctifi- cation,’” Sr. Micosa quoted. Archbishop Arguelles further said that his predecessor’s eventual beatification has a big role to play especially in this Year of Faith.

Aside from Arguelles, other

bishops present were Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias, and Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba. Nueva Segovia Archbishop Ernesto A. Salgado led the open- ing of the diocesan process for Verzosa’s beatification.

Versoza’s legacy Born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Bishop Verzosa was the first Ro- man Catholic bishop to hail from Ilocos. He was the first Filipino bishop to lead the Diocese of

Lipa on 20 January 1917. He famously survived the

Diocese of Lipa on 20 January 1917. He famously survived the Bishop Alfredo F. Verzosa massacre

Bishop Alfredo F. Verzosa

massacre of the Japanese in Lipa during the liberation of Batangas at the end of World War II. In 1923, he founded the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart (MCHS), a diocesan congrega- tion for women. Later, he witnessed a miracle during the apparition of Mary, Mediatrix of all Grace in the Carmelite Monastery of Lipa from 1948 to 1950. After the apparitions in Lipa, he was forced to retire and then spent the remaining years of his life in Vigan. He died in Vigan on June 27, 1954. (Aaron James Veloso/ Mark Vertido)

FOI / A1

Unfortunate A huge network of organizations and indi- viduals from various sectors that have long been campaigning for the passage of the FOI bill urged the House of Representatives to pass the measure. In a statement, the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition reiterated their call for the passage of a genuine measure for transpar- ency and accountability in the government. “We challenge the members of the House of Representatives who continue to resist the passage of the FOI bill to cast their personal fears aside and take a stand for the FOI,” they said.

More than 100 people from public-interest groups, organizations of print and broadcast journalists, environmental protection advo- cates, farmers’ organizations and support groups, women’s organizations, private and public sector labor unions, migrant workers, businessmen, lawyers, academics, student and youth organizations, and concerned individuals signed the statement. The coalition further said that should the FOI bill die in the 15th Congress that would be “indictment” on how legislators treat proposed measures that could affect their “perks and prerogatives.” “The death of the FOI bill would be the

supreme irony that politicians in the House seeking reelection or election to new posi- tions could offer to voters whom they are now courting with more and newer promises of reforms,” they said. They added, “it would be most unfortu- nate” if inaction of the House will lead to the death of the bill because the citizens “will again be denied a legislation that is truly crucial to solidifying and institutionalizing governance reforms.” “The opportunity costs of not passing the bill are clear. Non-passage means a waste of painstaking efforts, resources, and taxpay- ers’ money,” they also said.

Duc in Altum / A5

purchase of abortifacient sub- stances using taxpayers’ money, and thus violates the Constitu- tional provisions protecting life and health. RA 10354 violates right to religious freedom as it mandates health providers to provide reproductive ser- vices even if against religious convictions. The petitioners mentioned are the members of ALFI Board of Trustees, friends, their spouses, children and grandchildren, Let us support and pray for ALFI and husband and wife Attys. James and Lovely-Ann Imbong in their fight for life and religious freedom. It is our constitutional right to vote can-

didates who value life and reject those who promote the culture of death.

*** May is not the only month where fiestas are celebrated; January has its share too. Fiesta of the Black Naza- rene in Quiapo where millions of devotees never fail to join the procession from Luneta Grandstand to all the streets of Quiapo. The Feast of Sto. Niňo is celebrated in Tondo and Pandacan, Manila; through the Sinulog Festival in Cebu; and Ati-Atihan in Aklan. It is also the feast day of San Roque de Navotas Parish! January 23 is the Feast of our

Parish, San Ildefonso de Navo- tas, and its 20th Foundation Anniversary (also the feast of the Parish of San Ildefonso in Makati and Bulacan). The main theme of our parish celebration is “Ang Parokya ni San Ildefonso de Navotas: Dalawang Dekadang Patuloy na Nagsasabuhay ng Pa- nanampalataya kay Hesukristo.” (The Parish of San Ildefonso de Navotas: Two Decades of Continuous Living the Faith for Jesus Christ). In the Year of Faith, the theme of the daily Novena Masses is the Apostle’s Creed, dissected and analyzed part by part during the homily by the in- vited Mass celebrants/homilists. The Fiesta Mass is at 9 a.m. with

Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. as main celebrant, and parish priest Fr. Jerome Cruz and as- sistant priest Fr. Syl Mutia and the clergy of Kalookan Diocese as concelebrants. *** Happy Birthday to Fr. Adrian Magnait, Chancellor and Media Coordinator of the Diocese of Kalookan, Fr. Reu Jose Galoy, OFM; also Happy Birthday and Sacerdotal Anniversary of Fr. Mike Mata, former co-anchor of Veritas’ Hello Father 911 Sat- urday Edition. Congratulations to Nikah Jasmin San Pedro on her Confirmation today at San Ildefonso de Navotas. I stand godmother to her.

Whatever / A5

with a wide smile unveiling his missing two front teeth. “So do you know why baptism is so important?” “Yes! Because it’s the door to heaven!” Daniel promptly replied. “That’s a pretty good answer, Dan.” I was impressed. “Father, is it true dad was baptized already big?” he asked. “Yes, didn’t he tell you about it?” “Noooo…,” Daniel’s eyes were brimming with curiosity. “Weh a minute… Yer not gonna tell the boy that story!” Ed interrupted us. “Why not?” “’Coz…,” he looked like Cookie Monster as he rolled his eyes. “Think about what good it would do for him,” Ed didn’t say anything. He simply shrugged his shoulders as if to say, ‘you win!’ “Now, Daniel…,” I said calling the boy’s attention. “Do you know that daddy’s bap- tism was super special?” “Why so?” “’Coz it was a baptism that helped other people get baptized!” “How so?”

* * * I do not wish to detain the reader with further twists and turns. But what follows is

a brief narration of Ed’s baptism in a small village Church. He chose it because he said his ancestor’s (after some research) were also baptized there. He was baptized at the age of 43 into the Catholic faith. He declared he was going to make up for the rest that he hadn’t really lived quite well as God’s son. This simple event was celebrated in the presence of his wife Denise, his children and his siblings who were not Catholics then. Everything went smoothly in the rite until the part where the priest pours water three times on Ed’s head. Father Ben asked the colossal Titan of a catechumen to bend forward so he could easily pour the water. Ed, of course, was more than eager to com- ply and leaned his full weight on the ornate alabaster baptismal font. Whether it was his weight or the centu- ries that the font had endured of hundreds of baptisms, I cannot say. But as Ed bent forward, the font gave a thunderous groan and crashed into many chunks and pieces beyond repair. And this also did not spare Fr. Ben’s ankle and feet which luckily were still pieced together. This sudden seismic activity caught Ed’s terrified relatives unprepared. One lady cousin tried catching Ed from falling and instead fell on top of him and broke her hip. In this tragic gymnastic exchange she let go

of the candle she was holding. The untamed flame could have easily devoured a nearby hanging liturgical tapestry and with this the entire chapel. Fortunately, Ed’s brother heroically put it off but burned his iPhone and iPad (don’t ask me how), tuxedo and five fingers in the process. But all that started not-so-well ended well. The poor chaplain still managed to scoop some water to complete the rite be- fore being rushed to the hospital with the other casualties. And a month later Ed’s brother and cousins –perhaps, dazzled by such a catastrophic but providential mo- ment– were also received into the Catholic faith.

* * * “Wow, daddy’s my hero!” Daniel cheered. “Of course he is, and that’s quite a lot of hero there,” I winked at Ed who finally sighed with relief to hear the end of it. Then Daniel tugged my hand and whis- pered, “Father, can I ask you something?” “Yeah, what is it?” “Will daddy go to heaven?” “Of course, you know you will if you are

good. And I think you’re pretty lucky to have

a dad like him.” “Yeah, but I’m thinking…,” Daniel wore

a worried look. “What?” “Can he fit through the gate of heaven?”

Palo clergy formation tackles priests’ living allowance

MORE than a hundred mem- bers of the clergy of the Arch- diocese of Palo attended an An- nual Clergy Ongoing Formation that focused on the issue of the priests’ Standard Living Allow- ance (SLA). Held last January 7-11 in Davao City, the five-day forma- tion program geared towards having a systematized financial system for the clergy of Palo. According to Fr. Amadeo Alvero, the media liaison of the archdiocese, Palo Archbishop John Du and the clergy wanted to systematize the financial sys- tem of the archdiocese so that the priests will have a decent and just remuneration or allowance. Msgr. Bernardo Pantin gave the history of the clergy’s aspira- tion on having an SLA. He said it had been a desire to establish a new system of decent remunera- tion for priests from the time of Archbishop Pedro Dean up to the time of Archbishop Jose Palma. Archbishop Du, Palo’s cur- rent prelate also wished that his clergy may realize and experi- ence the good and beauty that this SLA will bring to all of them.

Meanwhile, Fr. Elmo Borgue- ta, JCD, discussed about the Par- ish as Juridical person in the 1983 Code. Atty. Ruben Tenedero, archdiocesan accountant, pre- sented the Proposed Financial System for the archdiocese. Fr. Edgar Macalalag, the present Oeconomous discussed about the Proposed Implementation of SLA for the archdiocese. “Archbishop Du assures us, his clergy that this SLA will enhance our brotherhood and indeed will establish a stronger relationship as we work together as one to care for the faithful en- trusted to us,” Alvero furthered. Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles also shared his experience on SLA and the great good it will bring to the Church, the clergy and faithful. Aside from Valles, two priests from the diocese of Kidapawan, a former and recent Oeconomous, also shared their experiences on the topic of SLA in their diocese. A tour around Davao City and its tourist destinations such as the Eden Nature Park, cul- minated the clergy formation. (Jandel Posion)

Evangelization / A1

Church,” he said. Calling the attention of every- one, the prelate said the youth should not be told to wait for tomorrow to become relevant and important. “We, the clergy, religious, lay catechists and educators should listen to what they tweet and what they blog. We just need to be like Jesus for and with them as we bare the task of evangelizing them,” Villegas added. He stressed three points to ponder on doing New Evangeli- zation which are Imitation before worship, Conversion before celebration and Listening before proclaiming. “It is necessary to allow Christ to disturb our value system because it is easy to say “I be- lieve” but hard to prove. While celebration without conversion is a cheap joy so we must take the importance of the call to conver- sion as essential. And we must be a contemplative Church who is sitting by the feet of the Lord and listening to Him in order for us to be like Jesus,” Villegas furthered. Ms. Joy Candelario of Bukal ng Tipan on the other hand shared the context of the New Evangelization as a lay person on the framework of a Samaritan woman. She emphasized that the lay people must live their faith in a more sincere way and to encoun- ter Jesus not just by following Him but by loving Him in one another. Meanwhile, Salesian priest Fr. Renato De Guzman, SDB, gave his insights on the sharing with the Bishops on the Synod

in New Evangelization as Priest- Religious and a Catechist. “The New Evangelization is continuing to go into the faith and proclaim the Gospel with reverence, courage in the Spirit of Jesus and the Apostles. We must have a personal connec- tion with Christ as the founda- tion of all Evangelization. We must also have an end grace of all Evangelization for conver- sion or holiness and the Holy Spirit is the primary agent of New Evangelization,” De Guz- man said. “Priests must be formed to think and feel with the Church, while consecrated life needs to live their identity radically with joy and remain as true witnesses of life. And lastly, catechists must have personal encounter with Christ and should be inten- tionally planned and sustained,” De Guzman added. De Guzman furthered that the task of New Evangeliza- tion is the transmission of the Christian faith not just for those un-churched but also to those who are already in the Church. Attended by almost 1,000 priests, religious men and wom- en and lay people who are cat- echists and religious educators, the Synod on the New Evange- lization was organized by the Don Bosco Center of Studies in Makati. The “Synod on the New Evangelization: A Filipino per- spective” symposium pave the way for three Catholic speakers to share their reflections during the Synod of Bishop’s last year in Vatican for the new Evangeliza- tion. (Jandel Posion)

Campuses / A1

Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ, JesCom executive director, admits that many young people have “bi- ases” against the Church but stressed that they continue to look at the youth as the “hope of the future.” “What is therefore needed is Openness to one another, and Dialogue,” Alfonso said. He also revealed that the campus tour is the idea of Tagle himself to reach out to as many

sectors as possible especially the youth “whose energy, vitality and creativity can animate the Church.” During the two to three-hour dialogue at the TUP, he said that the cardinal and the students talked, debated and reflected on the faith. “And in the process, what en- sues is a greater appreciation and understanding of our cherished faith,” he said. (CBCPNews)

Candidly Speaking / A4

Otherwise, only the secularizing forces can dominate the public consciousness. Obviously, relevant educa- tional, social and cultural ac- tivities should also be pursued. Seminars in schools and other venues, exhibits, etc. can be promoted. Underlying all these efforts

should be intense prayer and sacrifice, mostly personal and hidden, though these can also be made collective. We need to review how each one of us is taking care of our life of prayer and sacrifice. With God’s grace, this is what deter- mines the success of popular piety.

care of our life of prayer and sacrifice. With God’s grace, this is what deter- mines



A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 02 January 21 - February 3,

People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 02

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Monitor Vol. 17 No. 02 January 21 - February 3, 2013 ECY notes decline in WYD
Monitor Vol. 17 No. 02 January 21 - February 3, 2013 ECY notes decline in WYD

ECY notes decline in WYD 2013 pilgrim numbers

THERE would be lesser Filipi- nos who will participate in the upcoming World Youth Day

(WYD) in Brazil than those who attended the event in Spain last


This was after only 15 groups or 400 individual pilgrims ex- pressed intention to join the WYD under the CBCP Episcopal Com- mission on Youth’s delegation, ECY-Philippines. Being the official country del- egation, ECY-Philippines is con- sidered to be the biggest Filipino contingent based on pilgrim numbers during the past WYDs. This year’s pilgrim statistics pales in comparison with the

ECY-Philippines’ delegation to the WYD Madrid which consist- ed of at least 40 subgroups, with more than 1,000 initial applicants that were trimmed down to 400 actual pilgrims. According to ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Gar- ganta, the decrease in the pilgrim number could be attributed to different factors, with the financial consideration on top of the list. In an interview with Youth- Pinoy, Garganta said that while the Manila-Madrid-Manila trip of the WYD delegates cost at least $1,500, the Manila-Rio de Janeiro-Manila trip roughly costs $3,000. He added that the

fare could be reduced only up to $2,500 for a missionary rate. “There are many practical considerations. And we know for a fact that nobody can travel for free or without cost,” he said. ECY-Philippines delegation head added that the number of pilgrim-applicants can still increase or decrease with the up- coming deadline of submission of the required credentials to be part of the delegation on January 31. Garganta said young Filipinos interested to participate in the WYD still have time to contact their parochial or diocesan youth coordinators and the ECY on how to join.

“For those of you who feel the urge to join the WYD, the ECY is still offering subgroup orientation for WYD 2013,” he added. The 27th WYD is slated on July 17 to 28 in Brazil with the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro as the host diocese. Details on the venue and schedule of the different events of the WYD and the pilgrims’ transportation, accommodation, security and meals are on the “process of polishing,” accord- ing to Garganta who attended the second international prepa- ratory meeting with the WYD organizers last November 26 to 29 in the host city. (YouthPinoy)

Interfaith org highlights Bible’s impact on people’s lives

AN official of an interfaith organization has stressed the significance of the Bible in daily life, saying the public must understand its value as a compass to guide a person in daily life. Dr. Nora Lucero of Philippine Bible Society said the Bible, as word of God gives every person the strength that is needed in life. “The Bible will help us understand what is good and bad and teaches us the right path in our day to day life,” Lucero said. She urged Church leaders to intensify teaching the Bible to the public. “It gives us moral and spiritual di- rection. Sometimes, when we are busy, we tend to forget that we have a God and His Words teaches us to [tread] the right path in life. So, as a Christian community that read the Word of God, think about it and share it to others in our daily life; we will become a true Christian nation in thought, words and deeds,” she added. Lucero mentioned that during a survey done in 2005, it was found out that 60% of Filipinos do not have or own a Bible. She explained that the ecumenical

campaign of distributing 5 million cop- ies of the Bible to 5 million poor Filipino families within 5 years is still ongoing. Known as the May They Be One (MTBO) Bible Campaign, the advocacy started in 2008 but due to several factors affecting the production and distribu- tion of the Bibles, the program fell short of its original target prompting them

to add two more years until 2015 to

complete the program. MTBO Bibles are currently distrib- uted to parishes and Basic Ecclesial communities at a low price of P50.00.

“If there’s no Bible, it means that they cannot read one. And if we are a Christian nation, what will be the basis of our Faith when we cannot read the Bible. We need to proclaim the Word and profess our Faith,” Lucero furthered. Meanwhile, San Fernando, Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David in a message urged the public not just to proclaim the Word as lifeless lines from the pages of a book, but allow it to trans-

form people as individuals, as families, as communities of faith and as a nation. “Profess the faith only in the Living Word. Let this Word come alive in us, fellow disciples and apostles, and through us in the Philippines—let us set the rest of Asia ablaze,” David furthered.

us set the rest of Asia ablaze,” David furthered. MTBO bibles are distributed to parishioners as

MTBO bibles are distributed to parishioners as shown in this file photo.

“This is really a big challenge for us,” she said. Last November, Catholic priests and pastors from evangelical churches played basketball with PBA icons at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City to help raise funds for the campaign. The MTBO Bible campaign is a joint initiative of the PBS and the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA). Through the years, they said, the campaign has become a symbol of co- operation between the ECBA, PBS, of various parish and lay organizations involved in Bible apostolate and of Christian churches. To further spread the Scripture especially to the youth, the PBS also tried to reach out to the smartphone and tablet generation with the new “audio Bible.” In 2006, the PBS released the “e-Bi- ble” which can be installed in laptops or personal computers. It also comes in Tagalog, Cebuano, Bicol, Panga- sinan, Samarenyo and Hiligaynon. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)

Bible campaign falls short of target Lucero said they are considering many factors why the program fell short of its original target. “It has several components…. The Bible formation and of course we are working with the Churches to do that,” Lucero said. “Second, of course the funding… to raise the funds because the total print- ing cost and other expenses (for each Bible) is P150 but we make it available only at P50,” she said. Due to the underlying circumstances, the PBS has added the campaign with two more years or extended it to 2015. According to Lucero, they are also raising funds locally and international- ly, adding that there are also Bible soci- eties helping them from other countries.

also Bible soci- eties helping them from other countries. File photo shows Chairman of the Episcopal

File photo shows Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon giving orientation to pilgrims for WYD 2011 in Malaybalay, Bukidon.

Markings INSTALLED. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Louie Galbines as Vicar General of the Diocese of Bacolod


INSTALLED. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Louie Galbines as Vicar General of the Diocese of Bacolod during a Mass of the Feast of Epiphany at the San Sebastian Cathedral. Also rector of the Sacred Heart Seminary, Msgr. Galbines assumed his duties as Vicar General on January 6. As Vicar General, he is tasked to assist the bishop in his various pastoral duties and governance of the whole diocese.

INSTALLED. Rev. Msgr. Jose Antonio Galvez, current parish priest of La Puris- sima Parish in Sta. Maria, Bulacan and Episcopal Vicar to the Eastern District was raised to Honorary Prelate from being a papal chaplain. Eight others were installed Chaplains of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (Papal Chaplains): Msgr. Adalberto G. Vergara, PC, Parish priest of Sto. Niño Parish in Bustos, Bulacan and Episcopal Vicar to the Northern District; Msgr. Luciano C. Balagtas, PC, Parish Priest of National Shrine of St. Anne Parish in Hagonoy, Bulacan and Episcopal Vicar to the Western District; Msgr. Ranilo Trillana, PC, Parish Priest of Sto. Cristo Parish, Marulas, Valenzuela City and Episcopal Vicar to the Southern District; Msgr. Bartolome Santos, PC, Parish Priest of National Shrine Our Lady of Fatima in Maru- las, Valenzuela; Msgr. Pablo Legaspi, PC, Rector of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Minor Basilica in Malolos City and Chancellor of the Diocese; Msgr. Mario DJ Arenas, PC, Parish Priest of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Marilao, Bulacan and head of the Commission on Temporal Goods; Msgr. Alberto Suatengco, PC, Parish Priest of Nuestra Señora dela Asuncion Parish in Bulkan, Bulacan and head of the Commission on Clergy; and Msgr. Vicente Manlapig, PC, Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Maysan, Valenzuela.

ORDAINED. Rev. Maynard B. Balofiños, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Barotac Nuevo,

Iloilo; Rev. Arthur B. Flores, St. John the Baptist Parish, Sara, Iloilo; Rev. Rex John

N. Palmos, St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, Miag-ao, Iloilo; Rev. Charles Jiscel S.

Sta. Cruz, Our Lady of Salvation Parish, Lawigan, San Joaquin, Iloilo; to the Sacred Order of Deacons. Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo ordained the new deacons on December 13, 2012, at the St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary Chapel, Iloilo City.

CONFERRED. The Holy See granted Papal awards on the following for their exemplary works rendered to the Church: Atty. Manuel B. Gaite, Dr. Virgilio R. Villacorte, Jorge Allan R. Tengco, Atty. Jose Maria R. Arcinas, Dr. Edgar S. Yanga, Engr. Virgilio B. Columna, Engr. Reynaldo D. Valerio and Herminio S. Esguerra, with the Cavaliero dell’Ordine di San Gregorio Magno (Knighthood of the Order of St. Gregory, the Great); Francisco J. Fernando, Cesar S. Dulay, Nestor F. Dela Rosa, Sr., Pedro E. Joaquin, Cesar R. Paglinawan, Oscar D. del Rosario, Pablo E. Ramos, Engr. Francisco H. Duran, Carmelo V. Cortez, and Johnny N. dela Cruz, with the Cavaliero dell’Ordine di San Silvestro Papa (Knighthood of the Order of St. Sylvester); Amelita R. Tengco and Fortunata B. O’Santos, with the Dame dell’Ordine di San Silvestro Papa (Dame of the Order of St. Sylvester); Amelia S. Germino, Felicitas C. Bautista, Josefina R. Contreras, Cecilia S. Buhain, Marilou

D. Enriquez, Carmelita SM. Raymundo, Maria Valentina DG. Glorioso, Lucita M.

Villanueva, Judith C. Baretto, Benita C. de Leon, Evelyn P. Rillera, Josefina M. Dela Cruz, Dr. Celia M. Mendoza, Rosario M. Pengson, Mercedes A. Gregorio, Lolita M. Viudez, Priscilla C. Bulaong, Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez, Amelia

E. Santos, Vicenta S. Valerio, Nenita M. San Diego, and Teresita R. Cruz, with

La Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (The Cross for the Church and Pontiff). The Diocese of Malolos bestowed the awards in a ceremony held recently.

Center to conduct lecture on Calungsod’s spirituality

A SPIRITUALITY institute will

conduct a seminar on the spiri- tuality of the 2ndFilipino teen saint San Pedro Calungsod this coming January 25 at the Titus Brandsma Center, 24 Acacia Street, New Manila, Quezon City. Organized by the Institute of Spirituality in Asia (ISA), the public lecture dubbed “The Spir- ituality of San Pedro Calungsod” will be a lecture-presentation that looks into the life and times of Filipino martyr Pedro Calung- sod and how his spirituality was shaped by his role as a young lay missionary-catechist. “In rediscovering the spiritual- ity that formed and transformed San Pedro Calungsod, we shall

examine the events of his life through the limited historical data available and through the socio-cultural influence of the time,” ISA said in their invita- tion letter. Ms. Angela Blardony Ureta, aO.Carm. will be the speaker for the public lecture. She is a seasoned producer and writer of multi-awardedtelevisionandradio programs. ISA said that much of the mate- rials to be used during the lecture will be based on documents and re- search data gathered in the course of the speaker’s experience as head writer and production consultant of ABS-CBCN documentary spe- cial “San Pedro Calungsod”, as well as from actual interviews from

historians, theologians and church leaders from Cebu, Manila and Guam, who are considered expert sources on the young saint and his journey to sainthood. Portions of the documentary that are relevant to the discus- sion will also be shown. Around 30 individuals have already reserved a slot for the talk but according to ISA, they are still expecting walk-ins dur- ing the day of the lecture. Pedro Calungsod, a teenage boy from the Visayas, joined the mission to the Marianas Islands in 1667 when he was about 14 years old. On April 2, 1672, he was killed while accompanying Spanish Jesuit Diego Luis de San Vitores, head of mission and considered

the “first apostle to the Marianas”. Forgotten and ignored for over 300 years, Calungsod quickly rose to prominence after the 1985 beatification of Fr. Sanvitores, in whose defense the young cat- echist gave up his life. Since the diocesan process for his own beatification was opened in 1994, many academic, church and cultural historians have worked on putting together the bits and pieces of what could have been the life of this simple Visayan boy who rose to great- ness because of his exemplary courage and faith. Calungsod was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI last October 21, 2012 together with six others in Vatican City. (Jandel Posion)

‘Thomasian’ priests gear up for alumni homecoming

THE Alumni Priests Associa- tion (ALPA) of the University of Santo Tomas will hold its 78th alumni homecoming at the UST on Jan. 28-30. The activity will formally start with a Mass at 7 p.m. to be presided by Manila Archbishop Luis Anto- nio Cardinal Tagle at the Santisimo Rosario Parish on January 28. After the liturgical celebration, a dinner program as tribute for Jubilarians hosted by UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy follows at the Central Seminary Gym. Five cleric alumni— three golden jubilarians and two silver jubilarians— will be honored for their services to the Church. This year’s gathering will fo- cus on the theme “Celebrating Life and Ministry with Steadfast

Faith” – a celebration of their priesthood in the Year of Faith. “We, alumni bishops and priests, will come together once again for fellowship, reflection and renewal in our beloved University of Santo Tomas,” Fr. Jesus Melvyn Bufete, UST-ALPA president, said. It is said that majority of the country’s Catholic bishops, includ- ing retired ones, are Thomasians. The ALPA of UST is an orga- nization composed of alumni priests, that is, graduates of the UST who are ordained into the clerical order of the Catholic Church. Interested alumni priests should contact the UST-ALPA at telephone number 731-0558 or 711-7732. (CBCPNews)

Church. Interested alumni priests should contact the UST-ALPA at telephone number 731-0558 or 711-7732. (CBCPNews)
CBCP Monitor Pastoral Concerns B1 Vol. 17 No. 2 January 21 - February 3, 2013
CBCP Monitor
Pastoral Concerns
Vol. 17 No. 2
January 21 - February 3, 2013
Pilgrimage of
Faith and Hope’
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media

(Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the 99th World Day of Migrants and Refugees celebrated on January 13, 2013)

DEAR Brothers and Sisters! T h e S e c o n d Va t i c a n Ecumenical Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, recalled that “the Church goes forward together with humanity” (No. 40); therefore “the joys and the hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts” (ibid., 1). The Servant of God Paul VI echoed these words when he called the Church an “expert in humanity” (Populorum Progressio, 13), as did Blessed John Paul II when he stated that the human person is “the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling

her mission

the way traced out

by Christ himself” (Centesimus Annus, 53). In the footsteps of my predecessors, I sought t o e m p h a s i z e i n m y Encyclical Caritas in Veritate that “the whole Church, in all her being and acting – when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity–isengagedinpromoting integral human development” (No. 11). I was thinking also of the millions of men and women who, for various reasons, have known the experience of migration. Migration is in fact “a striking phenomenon because of the sheer numbers of people involved, the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community” (ibid.,62), for “every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance” (ibid.). For this reason, I have chosen to dedicate the 2013 World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme “Migrations: pilgrimage of faith and hope”, in conjunction with the celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia, and at a time when the whole Church is celebrating the Year of Faith, taking up with enthusiasm the challenge of the new evangelization. Faithandhopeareinseparable in the hearts of many migrants, who deeply desire a better life and not infrequently try to leave behind the “hopelessness” of

an unpromising future. During their journey many of them are sustained by the deep trust that God never abandons his children; this certainty makes the pain of their uprooting and separation more tolerable and even gives them the hope of eventually returning to their country of origin. Faith and hope are often among the possessions which emigrants carry with them, knowing that with them, “we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey” (Spe Salvi, 1). In the vast sector of migration, the Church shows her maternal concern in a variety of ways. On the one hand, she witnesses the immense poverty and suffering entailed in migration, leading often to painful and tragic situations. This inspires the creation of programmes aimed at meeting emergencies through the generous help of individuals and groups, volunteer associations and movements, parochial and diocesan organizations in cooperation with all people of good will. The Church also works to highlight the positive aspects, the potential and the resources which migrations offer. Along these lines, programmes and centres of welcome have been established to help and sustain the full integration of migrants, asylumseekersandrefugeesinto a new social and cultural context, without neglecting the religious dimension, fundamental for every person’s life. Indeed, it is to this dimension that the Church, by virtue of the mission entrusted to her by Christ, must devote special attention and care: this is her most important and specific task. For Christians coming from various parts of the world, attention to the religious dimension also entails ecumenical dialogue and the care of new communities, while for the Catholic faithful it involves, among other things, establishing new pastoral structures and showing esteem for the various rites, so as to foster full participation in the life of the local ecclesial community. Human promotion goes side by side with spiritual communion, which opens the way “to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the only Saviour of the world” (Porta Fidei, 6). The Church always offers a precious gift

when she guides people to an encounter with Christ, which opens the way to a stable and trustworthy hope. Where migrants and refugees are concerned, the Church and her various agencies ought to avoid offering charitable services alone; they are also called to promote real

integration in a society where all are active members and responsible for one another’s welfare, generously offering

a creative contribution and

rightfully sharing in the same rights and duties. Emigrants bring with them a sense of trust and hope which has inspired and sustained their search for better opportunities in life. Yet they do not seek simply to improve their financial, social

and political condition. It is true that the experience of migration often begins in fear, especially when persecutions and violence are its cause, and in the trauma

of having to leave behind family

and possessions which had in

some way ensured survival. But suffering, great losses and

at times a sense of disorientation

before an uncertain future do not destroy the dream of being able

to build, with hope and courage,

a new life in a new country. Indeed, migrants trust that they will encounter acceptance, solidarity and help, that they will meet people who sympathize with the distress and tragedy experienced by others, recognize the values and resources the latter have to offer, and are open to sharing humanly and materially with the needy and disadvantaged. It is important to realize that “the reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty” (Caritas in

Veritate, 43). Migrants and refugees can experience, along with difficulties, new, welcoming relationships which enable them to enrich their new countries with their professional skills, their social and cultural heritage and, not infrequently, their witness of faith, which can bring new energy and life to communities of ancient Christian tradition, and invite others to encounter Christ and to come to know the Church. Certainly every state has the right to regulate migration and to enact policies dictated by the general requirements of the common good, albeit always in safeguarding respect for the dignity of each human person. The right of persons to migrate – as the Council’s Constitution Gaudium et Spes, No. 65, recalled – is numbered among the fundamental human

rights, allowing persons to settle wherever they consider best for the realization of their abilities, aspirations and plans. In the current social and political context, however, even before the right to migrate, there is need to reaffirm the right not to emigrate, that is, to remain in one’s homeland; as Blessed John Paul II stated: “It is a basic human right to live in one’s own country. However this rights become effective only if

the factors that urge people to emigrate are constantly kept under control” (Address to the Fourth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, 9 October 1998). Today in fact we can see that many migrations are the result of economic instability, the lack of essential goods, natural disasters, wars and social unrest. Instead of a pilgrimage filled with trust, faith and hope, migration then

becomes an ordeal undertaken for the sake of survival, where men and women appear more as victims than as agents

responsible for the decision to migrate. As a result, while some migrants attain a satisfactory

social status and a dignified level of life through proper integration into their new social setting, many others are living at the margins, frequently exploited and deprived of their fundamental rights, or engaged in forms of behaviour harmful to their host society. The process of integration entails rights and duties, attention and concern for the dignified existence of migrants; it also calls for attention on the part of migrants to the values offered by the society to which they now belong. In this regard, we must not overlook the question of irregular migration, an issue all the more pressing when it takes the form of human trafficking and exploitation, particularly of women and children. These crimes must be clearly condemned and prosecuted, while an orderly migration policy which does not end up in a hermetic sealing of borders, more severe sanctions against irregular migrants and the adoption of measures meant to discourage new entries, could at least limit for many migrants the danger of falling prey to such forms of human trafficking. There is an urgent need for structured multilateral interventions for the development of the countries of departure, effective countermeasures aimed at

Migration/ B2

‘Go and do likewise’ (Lk 10:37)

(Holy Father’s Message for the 21st World Day of the Sick which will be celebrated on February 11,


DEAR Brothers and Sisters, 1. On 11 February 2013, the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Twenty-first World Day of the Sick will be solemnly celebrated at the Marian Shrine of Altötting. This day represents for the sick, for health care workers, for the faithful and for all people of goodwill “a privileged time of prayer, of sharing, of offering one’s sufferings for the good of the Church, and a call for all to recognize in the features of their suffering brothers and sisters the Holy Face of Christ, who, by suffering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind” (John Paul II, Letter for the Institution of the World Day of the Sick, 13 May 1992, 3). On this occasion I feel especially close to you, dear friends, who in health care centres or at home, are undergoing a time of trial due to illness and suffering. May all of you be sustained by the comforting words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: “You are

© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM
© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been

called by Christ and are his living and transparent image” (Message to the Poor, the Sick and the Suffering).

2. So as to keep you company on the spiritual pilgrimage

that leads us from Lourdes, a place which symbolizes hope and grace, to the Shrine of Altötting, I would like to propose for your reflection the exemplary figure of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37). The Gospel parable recounted by Saint Luke is part of a series of scenes and events taken from daily life by which Jesus helps us to understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain. With the concluding words of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37), the Lord also indicates the attitude that each of his disciples should have towards others, especially those in need. We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan,

for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be. This is true, not only for pastoral or health care workers, but for everyone, even for the sick themselves, who can experience this condition from a perspective of faith: “It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love” (Spe Salvi, 37).

3. Various Fathers of the Church saw Jesus himself in the

Good Samaritan; and in the man who fell among thieves they

Sick/ B2



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 2

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Catechesis in the Year of the Faith

Singing of the Alleluia at the Ambo

(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:)

Q: Could you please explain why the cantor should not sing the Alleluia before the Gospel at the ambo? -- L.C., Fortaleza, Brazil

A: The topic of the ambo and the Alleluia, which is an

acclamation of praise to God coming from the Hebrew, is dealt with in several places. Most notably in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) and in the introduction to the lectionary:

The GIRM states:

“309. The dignity of the word of God requires that the church have a place that is suitable for the proclamation of the word and toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns during the Liturgy of the Word …. “From the ambo only the readings, the responsorial Psalm, and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) are to be proclaimed;

it may be used also for giving the homily and for announcing

the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. The dignity of the ambo requires that only a minister of the word should go up to it …. “62. After the reading that immediately precedes the Gospel, the Alleluia or another chant indicated by the rubrics is sung, as required by the liturgical season. An acclamation of this kind constitutes a rite or act in itself, by which the assembly of the faithful welcomes and greets the Lord who is about to speak to them in the Gospel and professes their faith by means of the chant. It is sung by all while standing and is led by the choir or a cantor, being repeated if this is appropriate. The verse, however, is sung either by the choir or by the cantor. “a) The Alleluia is sung in every season other than Lent. The verses are taken from the Lectionary or the Graduale. “b) During Lent, in place of the Alleluia, the verse before the Gospel is sung, as indicated in the Lectionary. It is also permissible to sing another psalm or tract, as found in the Graduale. “63. When there is only one reading before the Gospel:

“a) During a season when the Alleluia is to be said, either the Alleluia Psalm or the responsorial Psalm followed by the Alleluia with its verse may be used; “b) During the season when the Alleluia is not to be said, either the psalm and the verse before the Gospel or the psalm alone may be used; “c) The Alleluia or verse before the Gospel may be omitted if they are not sung. “64. The Sequence, which is optional except on Easter Sunday and on Pentecost Day, is sung before the Alleluia.” From the introduction to the lectionary:

“56. The psalmist, or cantor of the psalm, is responsible for singing, responsorially or directly, the chants between the readings—the psalm or other biblical canticle, the gradual and Alleluia, or other chant. The psalmist may, as occasion requires, intone the Alleluia and verse.” From these documents we can take the following elements in order to answer our question. There is no rule whatsoever that says that the Alleluia may not be sung from the ambo. It is true that it is not included among the situations mentioned in GIRM 309, but this could well be because the Alleluia can be sung from another place while the other readings must be proclaimed from the ambo. The introduction to the lectionary implies this possibility by foreseeing that the psalmist may also intone the Alleluia and verse. In Masses with only one reading it would be absurd that the psalmist leave the ambo in order to intone the Alleluia. It must also be remembered that the Alleluia text is included in the lectionary itself, and the liturgical books do not presume that everybody has a hand missal or a copy of the text at hand. Again, liturgical logic would be that the Alleluia may be sung from the ambo. Therefore we can say that the liturgy, rather than prohibiting

a use of the ambo, foresees several possible places and modes

for singing the Alleluia, as seen above in No. 62. The psalmist or another cantor can intone the Alleluia and sing the verse

from the ambo or some other suitable place. Finally, although theAlleluia is rightly seen as pertaining to the whole assembly, I would be of the opinion that, on special occasions, it is still possible to use some of the Gregorian chant Alleluias for major feasts even though most of these require a trained choir for proper execution.

Migration / B1

eliminating human trafficking, comprehensive programmes regulating legal entry, and a greater openness to considering individual cases calling for humanitarian protection more than political asylum. In addition to suitable legislation, there is a need for a patient and persevering effort to form minds and consciences. In all this, it is important to strengthen and develop understanding and cooperation between ecclesial and other institutions devoted to promoting the integral development of the human person. In the Christian vision, social and humanitarian commitment draws its strength from fidelity to the Gospel, in the knowledge that “to follow Christ, the perfect man, is to become more human oneself” (Gaudium et Spes, 41). Dear brothers and sisters who yourselves are migrants, may this World Day help you renew your trust and hope in the Lord who is always at our side! Take every opportunity to encounter him and to see his face in the acts of kindness you receive

during your pilgrimage of migration. Rejoice, for the Lord is near, and with him you will be able to overcome obstacles and difficulties, treasuring the experiences of openness and acceptance that many people offer you. For “life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by—people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way” (Spe Salvi, 49). I entrust each of you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, sign of sure hope and consolation, our “guiding star”, who with her maternal presence is close to us at every moment of our life. To all I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 12 October



By Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.

THE recent passage of the ReproductiveHealthBillinCongress, and its signing into law post-haste by the President of the Philippines, undoubtedly caused quite a bit of consternation among conscientious Catholics. It shocked many that

their Congressmen and Senators voted such a nefarious bill into law, effectively making the spread of contraception and the contraceptive mentality a public good. However,

a deeper analysis would show that

the anti-RH battle was not lost in Congress; the legislators’ final vote tally only represented the way the general public viewed the issue. If the RH Bill passed in Congress, it is because in the mind of the majority of Filipinos—perhaps the majority of them Catholics—there

is nothing intrinsically wrong with

contraception. Widening the discussion, the

same can be said about the increasing number of live-in Catholic couples, without the benefit of sacramental marriage; or the related phenomenon

of the growing numbers of separated

and remarried Catholic (remarried civilly of course). Finally, one cannot

discovers his initial conversion and educates it towards maturity. We shall consider the aspects of catechesis with greater juridic relevance—i.e., content, subjects and catechetical materials. The Church has always considered it a sacred right and duty to transmit the teachings of Christ and not just the doctrine of any teacher. Thus, it is never licit for anyone, on his own initiative, to make a selection of the deposit of the faith for catechetical instruction; rather, everyone must faithfully follow

the directives of the Magisterium of the Church, whether solemn or ordinary. In general, the following have constituted the central topics for catechetical instruction since the first centuries of Christianity:

the Creed, the Decalogue, the Sacraments and the Lord’s

Prayer. Specifically, c.777 of the Code establishes that: In accord with the norms established by the diocesan bishop, the pastor is to make particular provision:

1° that suitable catechesis is given for the celebration of the

sacraments; 2° that children are properly prepared for the first reception of

has an institutional character, and the pastors are publicly responsible for its organization and adequate provision. Such Catechesis is intimately bound with the pastoral life and functions of the Church. The reason for this is because not only her geographical extension and numerical increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with God’s plan depend essentially on catecheses. As such, catechesis is bound to the other pastoral functions while not losing its specific character. b) Unofficial catechesis— is that which does not have an institutional character, but rather depend on the free action of the faithful and which is only under the general supervision of the pastors. It arises because the faithful do not require any mandate or any authorization from the hierarchy to catechize. No less than John Paul II had pointed out the danger of parochial catechesis tending to “monopolize” and “homogenize” the multi-faceted catechetical task. 2)All Catholics are Catechists. Under the supervision of legitimate

is diligently imparted in their churches, schools and in other works entrusted to them in any manner


5° Local Ordinary:

It is the responsibility of the diocesan bishop to issue norms concerning catechetics and to make provisions that suitable instruments for catechetics are available by fostering and coordinating catechetical endeavors (c.775, §1).

3) Catechetical Materials. The catechism is a synthesis of all the fundamental truths of the Catholic faith, expressed in an elementary, organic and systematic way, with specific and unequivocal formulas. Canon Law regulates catechisms and catechetical texts in the following terms:

1° Universal level (e.g. text of the catechism for universal use): Norms depend on the Holy See. 1

2° National level: National catechisms should be approved by the pertinent Episcopal Conference, not just by an organism dependent on it (even if the Episcopal Conference may make use of such organism for the preparation of the catechism).

FIle Photo
FIle Photo

be blind to the increasing incidence of pre-marital relations among the youth, and extra-marital relations among their elders. There is a common root for all of these phenomena: lack of doctrine— specifically the lack of doctrine regarding the moral teachings of the Church. If these Filipino Catholics are doing what they are doing, it must be because they find nothing seriously wrong with such behavior. The question that immediately arises is: How come? My grandmother used to tell us that when she was a child, their parish priest used to gather the children of their town on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to teach them the Catholic faith. It was from him—in those lively sessions—that she learned the Creed and the Ten Commandments, and got her first notions of the Sacraments. Nowadays, it seems, catechetical instruction is quite low in the priorities of the parish. In contrast, the Born-again Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other sects are quite aggressive in their proselytism— even conducting house-to-house visits. Does the law of the Church establish anything in this regard?

Catechesis is the Answer The answer to the above question is summed up in one word: Catechesis. Catechesis is the teaching of Christian doctrine generally given in an organic and systematic manner, directed towards initiation into the Catholic faith and

the growth and fullness of Christian life. Its function is to develop in men a living, explicit and active faith, enlightened by doctrine. It is therefore

a process during which one

the sacraments of penance and Most Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of confirmation by means of a catechetical formation given over an appropriate period of time; 3° that children are more fruitfully and deeply instructed through catechetical formation after the reception of First Communion; 5° that the faith of young people and adults be fortified, enlightened and developed through various means and endeavors.

The Agents for Catechetical Instruction The most precious gift that the Church can offer to the confused and restless world of today is to form convinced Christians through an organic program of thorough catechesis. As Blessed John Paul affirmed in his time:

“To evangelize is the proper grace and vocation of the Church, its most profound identity. The Church exists for evangelizing, which means preaching and teaching”. And this is a service rendered not only to the Christian community, but to the entire society. However, the diversity of participants leads to catecheses of different natures and different levels of authority. While all catechesis is an ecclesiastical action and consequently will always depend on the pastors to some extent, it is no less clear that all the faithful have the right to catechize. Thus, it is important to make the following fundamental distinction. 1) Official vs. Unofficial Catechesis a) Official catechesis—is that which depends on and receives public recognition from

the authorities who direct it. It

ecclesiastical authority, this concern for catechesis pertains to all the members of the Church in proportion to each one’s role (c.774, §1). In the words of the 1977 Synod of Bishops, catechesis is a shared responsibility that rests on the shoulders of all the members of the Church. Everyone must therefore shoulder this commitment according to one’s possibilities and the particular gifts or charisms one has received. Nevertheless, the Code makes specific mention of the following subjects:

1° Parents: Parents above others are obliged to form their children in the faith and practice of the Christian life by word and example (c.774, §2). This is a primary right-duty of parents, for which they may count on the help of the catechesis organized by the pastors but only as a subsidiary measure. On the other hand, the Code itself establishes that the pastor is to promote and foster the role of parents in the family catechesis (c.776, in fine). 2° Godparents and Guardians: Godparents and those who take the place of parents are bound by an equivalent obligation (c.774, §2). Thus, this is also a right-duty. 3° Pastors of souls (i.e., parish priests and chaplains):

There is a proper and serious duty, especially on the part of pastors of souls, to provide for the catechesis of the Christian people so that the faith of the faithful becomes living, explicit and productive through formation in doctrine and the experience of Christian living (c.773). 4° Religious superiors:

Superiors of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life are to see to it that catechetical formation

The reason for this is that such organisms do not have any normative capacity, and the normative capacity of the Episcopal Conference in this matter cannot be delegated. In any case, these catechisms need approval (recognitio) of the Holy See.

3° Particular level: The diocesan bishop can approve and establish catechisms for use in the catechesis officially carried out in his jurisdiction, even if a duly approved national catechism exists. 4° Non-official level: The Catholic faithful, in the free exercise of their right-duty to do catechetical work, can seek approval for the use of other catechism and catechetical texts. In this case, the ecclesiastical authority is truly obliged to give approval if the contents of such materials are in accord with Catholic faith and morals and the universal catechetical norms.

Conclusion To end, perhaps we can just say that catechesis has not lost its importance, neither in the Law of the Church nor in its pastoral programs. It cannot be otherwise, since it comes ahead in Christ’s mandate to the Apostles just before his glorious Ascension to Heaven: Go and preach to all nations…! The Year of the Faith is a grace-filled opportunity to take this mission seriously.


1 Aside from the Code, of primordial im- portance are: John Paul II, Apostol- ic Exhortation Catechesi tradendae, 16.X.1979; General Catechetical Direc- tory, 11.IV.1971; SCDF, Response regard- ing approval of catechisms, 7.VII.1983.

Sick / B1

saw Adam, our very humanity wounded and disoriented on account of its sins (cf. Origen, Homily on the Gospel of Luke XXXIV,1-9; Ambrose, Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke, 71-84;Augustine, Sermon

171). Jesus is the Son of God, the one who makes present the Father’s love, a love which

is faithful, eternal and without boundaries.

But Jesus is also the one who sheds the garment of his divinity, who leaves his divine condition to assume the likeness of men (cf. Phil 2:6-8), drawing near to human suffering, even to the point of descending into hell, as we recite in the Creed, in order to bring hope and light. He does not jealously

guard his equality with God (cf. Phil 2:6) but, filled with compassion, he looks into the abyss of human suffering so as to pour out the oil of consolation and the wine of hope. 4. The Year of Faith which we are celebrating


of charity in our ecclesial communities, so

that each one of us can be a good Samaritan for others, for those close to us. Here I would like to recall the innumerable figures in the history of the Church who helped the sick to appreciate the human and spiritual value of their suffering, so that they might serve as an example and an encouragement. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, “an expert in the scientia amoris” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 42), was able to experience “in deep union with the Passion of Jesus” the illness that brought her “to death through great suffering” (Address at General Audience, 6 April 2011). The Venerable Luigi Novarese, who still lives in the memory of many, throughout his ministry realized the special importance of praying for and with the sick and suffering, and he would often accompany them to Marian shrines, especially to the Grotto of Lourdes. Raoul Follereau, moved by love of neighbour, dedicated his life to caring for

people afflicted by Hansen’s disease, even at the world’s farthest reaches, promoting, among other initiatives, World Leprosy Day. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta would always begin her day with an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and then she would go out into the streets, rosary in hand, to find and serve the Lord in the sick, especially in those “unwanted, unloved, uncared for”. Saint Anna Schäffer of Mindelstetten, too, was able to unite in an exemplary way her sufferings to those of Christ: “her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel” (Canonization Homily, 21 October 2012). In the Gospel the Blessed Virgin Mary stands out as one who follows her suffering Son to the supreme sacrifice on Golgotha.

Sick/ B7

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 2

January 21 - February 3, 2013



Promoting Natural Family Planning – Whose Move?

By Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ

IN a recent survey among television viewers regarding their choice of family planning methods, seven out of ten viewers chose Natural Family Planning. However, further questions need to be raised for these viewers. What are the NFP methods that they know? Are these “traditional” or modern NFP methods? Do they have adequate information regarding modern scientific methods of NFP? The TV survey was carried out afewdaysaftertheReproductive Health Bill was passed by both houses of Congress, ending a protracted period of oftentimes acrimonious debates between pro-RH and anti-RH advocates. Catholic Church leaders in their anti-RH stand stressed the pro- life and moral issue, while pro- RH proponents focused on the socio-economic circumstances of poverty-stricken families, maternal heath, and the lack of information on family planning methods. W h i l e re s p e c t i n g t h e principled stand of either side, both pro- and anti-RH advocates share some common ground: that NFP, particularly if preferred by the majority of couples, should be included in the information, education, and communication drive of the RH program. How can this be done for the newly- signed law titled, “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act,” particularly while its Implementing Rules and Regulations are still being crafted?

I. Government in NFP Promotion Based on our pastoral experience in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, which includes engaging with local government units and national government agencies over the past six years, some recommendations come to mind for the government’s RP-RH program. (1) Government, in promoting informed choice, should include NFP in its RP-RH program. This will give couples a genuine freedom of choice. Instead of just giving lip service, equal time and resources should be allotted for NFP promotion as for contraceptives. At present, government workers are designated as FP providers – i.e., they simply provide pills, condoms, or other contraceptive services. Very little or no information at all is given regarding NFP, presumably

because this requires more time and training. (2) In any government o r i e n t a t i o n o n f a m i l y planning, the first topic should be Fertility Awareness. This entails an understanding of

injections, etc. This is borne out by the sharing of participants in our NFP seminars. Many of them have readily shifted to NFP because of the adverse effects they have experienced in the use of contraceptives

human sexuality and nature’s

e.g., high blood pressure,

way of regulating births through the fertility cycle of the human body. After the

dizziness, infections, heart palpitations, etc. Should certain kinds of contraceptives require

module on Fertility Awareness,


doctor’s prescription or a

couples may then be able to

warning label? Abortifacients

decide whether to go natural or


stated in the law should also

adopt contraceptives. Indeed, NFP methods are also called


banned. (6) Government could set

Fertility Awareness-Based

up a separate track for NFP

methods. In our NFP seminars, many women according to our family life workers are not even aware that they have a natural cycle of fertile and infertile periods.

promotion and provide support for faith-based organizations and their affiliated groups in promoting the values and methods of NFP. The RP-RH program of government should

(3) Government should


sensitive to the religious and

provide information on all

cultural traditions of Christian,

modern, scientifically-tested NFP methods, including the simplified methods. These include the earlier-known Basal Body Temperature, Billings Cervical Mucus, Sympto-

Muslim, and indigenous people communities. In addition to Catholic parishes in Cagayan de Oro, pilot areas among Muslim, IP, and Protestant communities have elicited

thermal, and Lactational


convergent appreciation

Amenorrhea methods. The list however should also include the more recently-developed simplified Standard Days and TwoDay methods. This All-NFP approach will enable couples to choose their method according totheirowncircumstances.From

for the natural methods of family planning. Indeed, local government agencies have acknowledged their own inadequacy with regard to NFP information and have requested our archdiocesan trainors for seminars on NFP and the use of

our pastoral experience, SDM as a simplified, standardized method has attracted the most number of users, and has accelerated the widespread

our training manuals, including the provision of SDM vertical beads. Along these lines, it would be advisable for the government

adoption of natural family


carry out its family planning

planning. (4) NFP promotion requires values formation. For NFP couples who wish to avoid pregnancy for the time being, abstinence during the fertile period has to be accompanied withthepropermotivation–e.g., mutual respect, interpersonal communication, avoidance of health risks, religious teachings, etc. Specially-trained NFP workers are needed who could counsel couples along these lines. NFP, after all, is not only

program following two parallel tracks – one for artificial contraceptives and the other for NFP promotion. The NFP program could have its own implementors, including faith-based organizations. Government funding in this regard can be allocated to church organizations in the same way that government supports indirectly private schools through its Educational Service Contracting for students and parents.

a matter of methods, but more so, a way of life. (5) In its concern for maternal health, government should give adequate information regarding the health risks of various

II. Faith-Based Organizations in NFP Promotion Whatthenistheroleofchurches and faith-based organizations in NFP promotion? Again based

kinds of contraceptives. The government’s RP-RH program targets the lower – income households in Philippine society. But it is precisely

on our pastoral experience over the past decade in the Prelature of Ipil and the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, several observations can be made:

among these poorer sectors that a significant number of women suffer nutritional deficiency and are more susceptible to health risks arising from the

(1) Church programs should promote NFP in a systematic way, with an outreach to more remote areas. Practically all dioceses include a topic on NFP

indiscriminate adoption of


pre-Cana seminars to prepare

contraceptive pills, IUDs,

couples for marriage. However

the one or two hours allotted are not sufficient to enable couples to understand, much less, adopt NFP as a way of family life. Furthermore, setting up

one NFP center for the whole diocese or in the poblacion is not

enough to reach out to more remote barangays. Hundreds may be trained in the center, but thousands more are waiting

to be reached in remote areas.

What would be needed are structured modules in the local language and training manuals with visual aids to replicate seminars. Resident volunteer counselors coming from surrounding barangays

could also be trained so that NFP could be more widely shared even in the most remote areas. The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro through initial trial-and- error sessions has developed

a training manual with the

help of other family-oriented NGOs. We have also followed

a six-step program that now

reaches more than 7,500 NFP couple-acceptors.

(2) NFP promotion should provide information on all scientifically-based methods, including modern simplified methods. As science progresses, more NFP methods are being developed. The efficacy of earlier methods based on daily charting of body temperature or cervical mucus secretions has been time-tested, but many potential adopters have expressed difficulty in following the daily requirements. On

the other hand, the Standard Days Method, as a simplified improvement of the earlier calendar rhythm method, has gained much wider acceptability. The TwoDay Method as a simplified method of mucus

observation has also gained adherents. In the final analysis, couples should be given the freedom to choose the kind of NFP method most suitable to them. (3) With their cultural- religious traditions, faith-based organizations can offer a more wholistic values formation for NFP adoption. Motivation for adopting NFP is crucial for its sustainability. This entails an appreciation of human sexuality, indeed a “theology of the body.”

It also involves mutual respect

between spouses, openness to life, and acknowledgement of God’s procreative plan for human society. NFP as well as the government’s RP-RH program touches on some of the most sacred aspects of human living – i.e., marriage and family, procreation of new life,

and God’s loving providence. These are best presented to

aspiring couples by faith-based organizations.


is Responsible Parenthood. Parents are in the final analysis responsible for the number and welfare of their children. Responsible family planning is a goal endorsed by churches as well as the government in the RP-RH law. Through

the exercise of responsible parenthood, the population issue, if any, can be addressed in a person- and family-oriented way. Responsible parenthood not only includes respect for human life from the moment of conception but also extends to the entire period of rearing childrenuntiltheageofmaturity. In this sense, included in the values formation for faith-based groups should be the prevention of irresponsible parenthood.

(5) Faith-based organizations should make available information on NFP to the

poorer sectors of society. Church communities include the poorer sectors of society. In many senses, the promotion of NFP is a pro-poor measure. NFP methods are cost-free once the method has been learned. It is sustainable; mothers can pass on the practice of NFP to their daughters. NFP is devoid of health risks. NFP also promotes anwholesomefamilylifethrough better communication between spouses, sexual discipline and self-control that flow into the rearing of children. National demographic studies indicate that the lower income quintiles of families express on the average a higher number of desired children but also have a higher incidence of unwanted pregnancies that may lead to abortions. The poorest quintile want 3.3 children on the average but actually end up with 5.2 children, thus having 1.9 children that are unexpected or unwanted. The second poorest quintile want

2.9 children, but actually have

4.2 children, thus having 1.3 unwanted pregnancies. In

contrast the richest quintile of families on the average desire

1.6 children and actually have

1.9 children, an excess of only 0.3 child (cf. National Demographic and Health Survey of 2008).

Helping poor families achieve through NFP their desired number of children can be a first step in alleviating their poverty situation while at the same time enabling them to become truly responsible parents. (6) In NFP promotion, faith- based organizations can engage with government agencies to reach out to more couples and to provide an alternative

program. The RP-RH Law states that government should also support Natural Family Planning according to the needs and preferences of couples themselves. From our pastoral experience, many local government units at the provincial, municipal, and city levels as well as national government agencies are ready and willing to promote NFP. They can set aside funding and personnel for this purpose. They have also asked for assistance fromourarchdiocesanministries on Family Life and All-NFP in terms of values formation seminars and modules on NFP methods. They have set aside budgets for the NFP training of their Barangay Health Workers as well as local communities. Relating to government in this way is not for us collaboration, with the connotation that the church is working under the government’s program. We rather call it engagement, in that the church maintains its autonomy with its own NFP programandpastoralguidelines. Through engagement, the local church is also able to dialogue with government workers, many of whom are Catholic, about the higher goals of NFP advocacy. In a worst case situation, public funds set aside by government agencies for NFP promotion are used instead for more contraceptive programs in the absence of any organization that is willing and capable of teaching NFP in the locality. While maintaining their principled stand, faith-based organizations can either promote NFP by themselves or enter into a positive, yet critical, engagement with government in promoting Natural Family Planning. This form of engagement can more effectively address the three felt needs of couples today – namely, (1) they want to plan their families; (2) they prefer NFP; and (3) they want to choose among NFP methods. Moreover, a fourth need can be addressed: couples appreciate the values formation of church communities. In the final analysis, faith- based organizations can work with government to promote NFP on a wider scale and to give couples an alternative to contraceptives. On the other hand, NFP is not an exclusive programofchurchcommunities. Natural Family Planning is after all the right and responsibility of all family-oriented and women’s groups, including government and NGOs, to promote as a valid, viable, and vital option for many couples today.

Pilgrimage to Galilee


Ledesma, SJ




HIC Verbum Caro Factum Est.” (Here the Word became flesh.) Inscribed in front of the altar at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, this message reminds the pilgrim of the historic event of the Incarnation – of Jesus Christ being conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the moment of her fiat to the archangel’s message. The house of Mary in Nazareth was part of the pilgrimage I joined to the Holy Land on November 6-12, 2012. The pilgrimage was actually a “Convivence for Bishops of Asia” organized by the Neocatechumenal Way. We were about 130 bishops from various countries of Asia – from India, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, Mongolia, etc. Together with us were several priests and lay co- workers of the Neocatechumenal Way. We all stayed at the Domus Galilaeae, the Neocatechumenate’s formation center, built on the Mount of Beatitudes and overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The setting of the mount and the lake where Jesus spent two-thirds of his public ministry was an ideal venue for reflecting on the Word, proclaimed and personified in the discourses and actions of our Lord. During one early morning, we were all seated outdoors listening to Matthew’s account of the Mount – much in the same way that the hungry crowds first came to listen to Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom. In Capernaum, along the lakeshore, we celebrated Mass in the church built over the house of Simon Peter, where Jesus stayed as his base in the course of his Galilaean ministry. It was here and nearby that he called the first apostles, cured the sick, including Peter’s mother- in-law, and proclaimed the Good News, the Kerygma of the Kingdom of God.

Nearby, we visited the well-preserved ruins of a Jewish synagogue, where Jesus musthavealsojoinedtheSabbathservices and at one time solemnly announced that theprophetIsaiah’sprophecyofaMessiah was fulfilled in him. The Neocatechumenal Way was explained to us by Francisco Arguello, one of the Initiators. Together with him on the side were Carmen Hernandez and Fr. Mario Pezzi, the other initiators. Kiko shared the beginnings of the Way in the gypsy shanty town in Madrid in the early 1960s until the final approval of its statutes by Pope Benedict XVI in June 2008. After nearly half a century, the Way has spread to nearly 100 countries. In forming post-baptismal Catholics, its threefold focus on the Word, the Eucharist, and the Community has markedly transformed the lives of many ordinary Christians. Thus, in addition to the Word, the convivence of bishops also had extended moments of concelebrating the Eucharist. The lively singing with guitar notes, the unhurried sharing of personal reflections, and the solemn partaking of the unleavened bread and cup of consecrated wine were all part of the liturgical celebration. This was climaxed by our celebration of the Eucharist where it was first instituted – at the Cenacle in Jerusalem, where Our Lord had the Last Supper with his apostles. In this chamber, where the apostles were also ordained as the first priests of the New Covenant, we Asian bishops were privileged to concelebrate an evening Mass. The Cenacle was the place for the Last Supper as well as for the appearance of the Resurrected Christ. But it was in Tabgha, along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, that Jesus again wrought the miraculous catch of fish and invited some of the apostles to their first breakfast with him after the Resurrection. In the little Church of the Primacy of Peter, the rock that was used as a table for this breakfast

Peter, the rock that was used as a table for this breakfast Archbishop ledesma with the

Archbishop ledesma with the Filipino bishops during the pilgrimage.

is now part of the altar. On this site, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” And three times Peter made his profession of love – reiterating the only qualification needed in the following of Christ and feeding his sheep. The Neocatechumenate Way continues to grow in the formation of small communities that come together twice a week around the Word and the Eucharist. In Cagayan de Oro, there are communities in the three parishes of the Cathedral, Nazareno, and Carmen.

The Way has also been a source of priestly vocations. Its 95 Redemptoris Mater seminaries in various countries have formed many pastors for the dioceses where they are located. Neocatechumenate families have also volunteered to spend several years of mission work in other countries through a new pastoral program, “Missio ad Gentes.” During this Year of Faith and the challenge of the New Evangelization to reach out to “ordinary” Christians

and the “unchurched poor,” the NeocatechumenalWayoffersanovel,yet also profoundly traditional, approach to sharing the Good News with the men and women of our times. On departure day, the Philippine bishops made a final stop at Bethlehem – where we celebrated Mass once more and offered prayers for the re- birth of Christ in our hearts and in our communities. In this Year of Faith, may we welcome the birth of Jesus Christ in our homes.



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 2

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Citizens’ Alliance for Protection of Human (CAPH) – Life


Congress just passed Republic Act No. 10354, otherwise known as AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL



HEALTH, earlier known as the RH Bill. The President signed this measure into law last December 21, 2012. This law, which, at first, appears to have accommodated numerous objections to the then RH Bill, is a grand deception, which makes the law even more dangerous. First,whileitbelatedlyaccommodated

the guarantee of protection of the life of the unborn at conception, and expressly provides that access to abortifacients are excluded from the definition of “reproductive health rights” (Section 4, s), NOWHERE DOES THE LAW PROVIDE ANY PENALTY for those who dispense, sell, distribute or use abortifacients or prevent the implantation of the zygote into the uterus. In other words, it is nothing but an insincere, dishonest, and political LIP SERVICE to the sanctity of human life, a “consuelo de bobo” to those who originally “objected” but who were carried away in the final vote by the lobby money and perks of the administration. In other words, in terms of pretending to protect human life, the RH Law is a BIG JOKE. The fact of lip service and insincerity

is most graphically expressed in the last

paragraph of Section 2 (Declaration of Policy) where it provides that the “The State shall also PROMOTE ‘openness

to life; PROVIDED, That parents bring forth to the world only those children whom they can raise in a truly humane way.” What in the world is “openness to life”? If you are open, can you also close it, if the conceiving or pregnant woman cannot assure that she can raise

the child “in a truly humane way”? This

is nothing but sheer and simple mockery.

It tramples on freedom of conscience by punishing those who refuse to give information on artificial methods of birth control (Sec. 23, a. of the law) and compelling the conscientious objector to refer the patient to another health care service provider who dispenses such services, otherwise the conscientious objector will be either

fined or imprisoned (par. 3 of Sec. 23). The RH Law now opens the floodgate for the unleashing of the vast resources of the state to develop a birth control mentality in the land. It masquerades as

a “health” measure, when, in truth, it is

a device to control population growth so that this world will only be a habitat for the rich and not for the poor. Instead of directing billions of funds for education and job generation which are the sure antidotes to poverty, the law surrendered to the lobby money of foreign drug companies which are now assured of a steady income by the purchase of the Philippine government of pills and other artificial methods and devices of birth control. Pregnancy and children, which used to be viewed as blessings, are now treated as a danger and a disease under

the law if it is the poor that conceives or gets pregnant. It threatens to reduce our greatest resource, which is our people, by population control. For the real reason of poverty are social injustice, corruption and foreign domination. kyWe, members of the CAPH-LIFE, who believe in God, now consider it our moral duty to oppose or undo this law by lawful or Constitutional and peacefulmeansundertheBiblicalmaxim “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We also hereby manifest that we know that there are several more bills in the pipeline which are of the same spirit and orientation, among others, the divorce bill, same-sex marriage, legalization of prostitution, death with dignity or mercy killing, and others, which we now are preparing to oppose. We declare that, as God gives us the courage and the strength, we shall fight to protect and preserve human life, especially of the unborn at conception, as well as the family, marriage, faith, and morals of the people against all insidious and sneak attacks such as this RH Law. So help us God! January 15, 2013, in Bacolod City, Philippines.

MOST REV. VICENTE M. NAVARRA, DD Bishop, Diocese of Bacolod Honorary Chairman


How Braille changed my life and brought me success

By Analynne Baulita

I STILL remember the day

when Braille came into my life. Learning to produce Braille dots with the slate and stylus was like playing a game — it was so amazing and exciting. It was totally different from the way I used to write with the pen. It did

not occur to me then that Braille could have any importance in my life. Although I was born with low vision, it was a real struggle for me during my years in school. While I could read and write in

large print, the textbooks and the examination questions were not legible to me even with the use of magnifying lenses. When it came to learning mathematics, I could not see what was written on the board as the teacher gave the lesson. Thus, a reader always had


be beside me to help me look


the examination questions.

My visual disability filled me with frustrations and limitations—I was powerless to do anything. I suffered from discrimination because other

students under-estimated my abilities. I sank into self-pity and

I began to ask myself, “Is this

my fate as a visually impaired person? Do I deserve to be born


In 2002, I became totally blind. Life was turning for the worst

and I felt a sense of hopelessness. I remained in this sorry state for

a period of two months. It was

at this darkest moment in my life when I was introduced to Braille—the hour when I was

most in need of a way out. Braille led me out of the darkness and brought me into the light. Braille gave me the courage to go on living in spite of my blindness. Since childhood, I had dreamt

of becoming involved in church

work. In 2003, I discovered

a religious group which was

willing to accept me and to give me the chance to prove that I was capable of becoming a nun. Indeed, it was Braille that helped to make everything easy as I lived in the convent. One of my assignments was to set the dining table every morning. Of course, identifying who owned the cups by the colours or designs was not possible for me. So I hit upon a plan—I would put Braille labels on the bottom of each cup instead. For instance,

I would put one dot to indicate

my superior’s cup and two dots to indicate my formator’s cup. Thus, I was able to set the breakfast table every morning and I could do it independently. Braille labels also made it easy to select books, CD’s or DVD’s. With the help of the Braille

Bible, Braille prayerbook and Braille songbook, I was able to participate in the daily devotions, community prayer and other activities involving reading and writing. Truly, Braille made it possible for me to live in the convent as independently as I

could. The sisters treated me

like a normal person, they gave me the space to grow, and I felt

a sense of empowerment. At first I helped out in the school for sighted pre-schoolers.

I read stories to the children

and they were amazed as they watched my fingers skimming over the Braille dots. It was so different from the way the sighted would read from the printed page. At their young

age, they were beginning to learn about the capabilities of the blind. Later, I joined the mission of the nuns to help the blind.

I had to teach Braille to the

mentally-challengedblind which broadened my understanding of suffering and showed me what

perseverance meant. I realized that I was an instrument being used by God to bring assistance and joy to other blind people. Another great experience for

me in serving God was the opportunity to present the Reading during the Mass. The congregation marveled at my ability to read so fluently by just touching the Braille dots However, two days before my entrance as postulant, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions in my life. After agonizing over the

matter for some time, I finally decided to leave the convent. This had nothing to do with my blindness—I just felt that

I needed more discernment. Although I have left the convent, I can still say that I had succeeded. Being in the convent was the best thing that had ever happened to me. During my stay there, life became meaningful because I could give to others with the help of Braille. I became aware that blindness need not be a hindrance to living—it did not hinder me in my desire to become involved in the church. I am certain that if I were meant for the church vocation, it will be fulfilled. With the help of Braille, I took up a Massage course and I passed the licensure examination. I became a licensed Masseur and

received many congratulations from relatives and friends. If I had to choose between my life

then as a low vision person or my life now as a totally blind person, I would definitely choose the latter. In everything that I wanted to do before, my nagging thought was, “I couldn’t”. Now, without fear or doubt in my heart, I know “I could”. With Braille, I had a weapon to deal with the challenges of life. Braille helped me fight the fear of total darkness and forge a path to the sources of light. Braille restored my self- confidence and gave me the strength and courage to show the world that I am not limited by my blindness. Braille has taught me not to be afraid of what I am and it has enabled me to accept blindness as a blessing, thereby strengthening my faith in God. Yes indeed, I am blind no more and no less; I am able, not unable.

I am like everybody else except

that I do things differently. Braille has made it possible for me to live a normal and independent life.

I could not imagine another life

without Braille. I thank God for everything, especially for giving us Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille system.

(This piece won the grand prize in three categories in an essay contest organized by the World Blind Union, a global organization representing the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted.)

May They Be One

Bible Campaign

Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home

One Bible Campaign Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home Word Alive Marilyn Ramirez, 41,

Word Alive

Marilyn Ramirez, 41, became a recipient of the May They Be One Bible during Bible distribution at her parish, our lady of Guadalupe, Marikina. Reading and meditating on God’s Word gave Marilyn self control in the use of her tongue. She has since stopped being a gossip and has become more discreet in her conversations. Marilyn also gained self control with her temper. these changes brought a turnaround in relationships at home. In place of the former conflicts, peace and kindness now reign in Marilyn’s family. In September 2012, Marilyn experienced signs and wonders in her walk with God. An asthmatic attack left her dead on arrival at hospital where she was rushed. But her parish priest, Fr. emanuele Borelli spiritually fought for her and asked parish members to pray for her. he then prayed over her with an anointing of oil. God answered miraculously and brought her back to life! Now in grateful love for the lord, Marilyn wakes up every 3 a.m. to read his Word and continues to encourage 50 women divided into 5 Bible study groups to love Jesus and his Word.

No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign – 85 out of 86 Dioceses

Bibles Distributed (Jan 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012): 260,974 copies

Bibles Distributed by Lan- guages - Bicol (5,484 cps.), Cebuano (49,614 cps.) Eng- lish (54,364 cps.), Hiligaynon (12,691 cps.), Ilocano (8.875 cps.), Pampango (1,731 cps.), Pangasinan (3,888 cps.), Sa- marenyo (5,640 cps.), Tagalog (117,824 cps.)

Parishes/Communities served as of 2012: 1,334

Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009 - Dec 2012): 794,805 cps.

Target No. of Bibles for Distri- bution for 2013: 400,000 cps.

Total Funds Needed for Print- ing and Transport of Bibles in 2013: P60M

Members of the MTBO Advisory Committee: Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo DD, Fr. Oscar A. Alunday, Mr. Rod G. Cornejo, Mr. Rene E. Cristobal Sr., Dr. Philip C. Flores, Mr. Dante M. Lanorio, Fr. Antonio B. Navarrete, Dr. Natividad B. Pagadut, Mr. Albert S. Tanlimco and Atty. Jose Tale.

Praise God for the more than 794,000 Filipino households have received Bibles so far under the May They Be One Bible campaign.

Pray for the faithful attendance of MTBO Bible recipients in formation classes.

Let’s also pray for the participation of many individuals, parishes and organizations in the celebration of the National Bible Week on Jan 21 – 27, for a joyous feasting on God’s Word on a nationwide level.

To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call us at PBS 526-7777, ECBA 527-9386 or visit and www.ecba- Donations can be made by making a deposit to the following bank accounts: PBS-MTBO Account #3903-0649-34 (BPI Sta. Mesa Branch) Fax deposit slip to 521-5803 or ECBA-CBCP Account #0251-021376 (BPI- Tayuman Branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card payments—go to PBS website (

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 2

January 21 - February 3, 2013



‘We want to see Jesus’ (Jn 12:21)

A Pastoral Letter of Bishop Gilbert Garcera on the Year of Faith

Letter of Bishop Gilbert Garcera on the Year of Faith objectives: The first is to celebrate


The first is to celebrate the Year of Faith in Jesus, “who invites us to believe in Him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within Him” (Cf. Jn. 4:14; Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei, no. 3). We will open this year-long celebration with

a symposium on January 19,

2013 at the Agro Sports Center. I invite everybody to publicly express your catholic faith by attending the closing mass of the symposium at 3:00 in the afternoon. Similarly, among other notable expressions of our celebrations are the following activities: Diocesan and Parish Confirmations, Marriage Validations, Marian Congress, Pilgrimages and Granting of Indulgences. The second is to rediscover the

I. Greetings Happy New Year! This is the usual greeting of the day. As your Bishop, I greet you all with joy in my heart and filled with gratitude as we celebrate today the motherhood of Mary.

II. Importance of the Year of Faith Our Catholic faith is one of the distinguishing marks of our lives. Through the years, our faith has helped us find meaning in life and has become the source of our strength in trying and difficult times. Yet it is also true that today, more than ever, there is an urgent need to renew our Catholic faith. The Catechism for Filipino Catholics no. 116- 118 observes that “…today it is common to hear Filipino Catholics acknowledging how little they know of their Christian Faith. Many admit they take their Christian Faith for granted… It is a faith of traditional pious practices and sometimes even of superstitions…Such a faith is dangerously open to proselytizing by other religious sects of all kinds, or corrupted by the attractions of worldly secularism”. PCP-II no 13 explains the reasons behind this sorry state: “…[for] most of our people today the faith is centered on the practice of rites of popular piety. Not on the Word of God, doctrines, sacramental worship. Not on community. Not on building up our world unto the image of the Kingdom. And we say it is because the ‘unchurched,’ the vast majority of our people, greatly lack knowledge of and formation in the faith.” I urge you then my brothers and sisters in Christ to welcome Pope Benedict’s proclamation of the Year of Faith as a tremendous blessing, on the one hand, and a huge task, on the other hand. It

is a timely gift because it gives us occasion to reflect on our faith especially as to how it has shaped our lives. It is an urgent responsibility calling all of us to assess, strengthen and re- invigorate our faith.

III. Mary and the Shepherds as

models of faith Let us celebrate the Year of Faith by turning to Mary as our guide and model. Mary’s life is a well from which we can draw insights as to how we can practice our faith. Her faith is like a fire that can ignite our desire to see Jesus (Jn. 12:21). Her prayers are powers that can help our faith to be more fervent and fruitful. Rolled into one, we turn to Mary in order to “…seek in her faith support for [our] own” (Redemptoris Mater, no 27). The shepherds too in Saint Luke’s narrative of the birth of Jesus provide inspirations. After listening to and reflecting on the Good News brought by the angel, the shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus (Lk. 2:16). Like the shepherds, may we also grow in our desire to see Jesus. Mary will help us nurture this longing for God. Note carefully how Mary reacted to all these events. Saint Luke reports that Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart (rf. Lk 2:17-19).The Year of Faith is an occasion to reflect on the present condition of our faith.And as the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, (Lk 2:20), may we also learn to glorify and thank God for guiding our Diocese and ourselves this Year of Faith.

IV. Objectives of the Diocesan

celebration of the Year of Faith and some pastoral activities We celebrate the Year of Faith guided by the following


Ready but not ready

(Message of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, CBCP Vice President, at the funeral mass of Fr. Anscar Chupungco on January 17, 2013 at the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat where a Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal was awarded posthumously)

EVERYBODY who knew Father Anscar was shocked about the

news we heard about him in the morning of January 9. Everybody except Father Anscar! He lived believing the words of Paul to


Thessalonians “For you yourselves know full well that the

day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” There

were no signs of struggle when Sister Death came to fetch him. Sister Death came to embrace Father Anscar and Father Anscar

returned the embrace with fondness and joy and peace like best friends forever. Death was not a thief. Death was a friend for Father Anscar. Father Anscar was always ready to die. He was so used to dying all these years as a priest, as a monk, as

teacher, as a Filipino. Father Anscar was always ready to die. He was called by God “Come follow me…come die with me!” Like John and Peter, Andrew and James, Jose Herminio Chupungco heard the call “Follow me.” He died when he left home and family and loved ones in order to enter the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat. He died in the novitiate many times over and over. He died


in his cell in prayer and solitude and sacrifice for an infinite number of times. He died many times in the chapter room of the abbey submitting himself in blind humble obedience to the discernment of his abbot and prior. When he wanted


but instead was told


died again. He died fighting loneliness and nostalgia in Rome as a student, as a professor and

study liturgy, he

study canon law

as President of the

A n s e l m i a n u m .

When it was time to

wind up his mission


and president, he willingly died and laid down his

prestigious title and returned to his cell


under obedience.

He was so used to dying so that when he came home as


Filipino to his

a regular monk

university rector

beloved native land, it became another call to die,

Filipino to his a regular monk university rector beloved native land, it became another call to

Fr. Anscar Chupungco

Year of Faith / B7

to let go, to carry the cross and follow the Lord. Becoming President of San Beda disturbed his monastic discipline but he said Amen to


mandate. Living his life and dedicating himself to the Paul


Institute of Liturgy, he was again asked to die to live in

detachment far away from the glamour of the academe. He was

guru in prayer. He was a master of liturgical inculturation. He was Christ for everyone who came to sit by his feet to be awed



the clarity of his wisdom. He was crisp with his expressions.


was clear in his explanations. He was witty and funny but

ever respectable and respectful. He has died a thousand times. Dying was his friend. Sacrifice

was his twin. He had mastered the art of happiness in darkness. He repaid with heroic charity those who ignored him and suspected him and sent him to the dust bin. He could sing his Salve Regina in the storm and shout aloud his alleluia through


dark nights of his soul.

Father Anscar was ready to die. Anytime! Anywhere! Every chance to die he embraced with faith and smile. But we, we were not ready to let him die. We were not ready to let him go. Our throats choke. Our chests are heavy. Our eyes

are blurred by tears because we are not ready to let him go. The shock of January 9 has turned to sorrow and grief. The sorrow is turning into question “My God my God why have you forsaken us?” “And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that


boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself

was asleep”. Lord, are you sleeping? We see a rough sailing for


PIL in Malaybalay and for liturgical formation in the Church

without our guru Father Anscar. His death makes us afraid. The work is not done. Much more remains to be done than

what we have actually succeeded in doing. The schedule is full for the various liturgical formation seminars for priests and religious and catechists. The Paul VI Institute of Liturgy


now orphaned and its founder is irreplaceable and “un-

clonable”. There are still many retreats to be preached and more conferences to give and more books to write. We are not ready. Father Anscar was ready and we are not.

The final lesson of Father Anscar’s life is not liturgical after all. His final and last teaching act was paschal—to be ready


die and to die a thousand times! Liturgy is the memorial

of the dying and rising of Christ. It is not about rubrics and new missals. It is not about historical overviews or linguistic masteries. It is not ordinary or extraordinary forms. Liturgy is Christ and real liturgy must make all of us friends of Christ. You are my friends says the Lord. The real liturgist must be ready to share in the dying of Christ. The liturgist is a friend of Sister Death and Brother New Life. It is when liturgy is sharing in the dying of Jesus that liturgy becomes life giving. The life of the liturgy is Jesus himself. Father Anscar lived by that lesson. Father Anscar, you were always ready to die. Teach us the same lesson of courage and faith and hope. We will never be ready to see you go. It is hard but we continue to live in Christ. Your dying is our dying. Pray for us to God to make us ready when death comes to embrace us for you have taught us last January 9 that death is not a thief but a friend. Rest now good and faithful priest of God! Rest in God. Rest with God.

content of faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, (Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei, no. 9) and to assess the faith condition of individual catholic and the Diocese as a whole. To achieve this aim, we will conduct a Faith Assessment Seminar-Workshop the output of which will be used

in faith assessment sessions for seminarians, catechists, religion teachers, and pastoral council members. The third is to be strengthened and confirmed in our Catholic Faith through prayerful study and reflection of three models of faith for our modern times: first is the Blessed Virgin Mary; second is Blessed John Paul II; and third is St. Pedro Calungsod. This goal is the rationale behind the Visit of the relic of Blessed John Paul

A Righteous Path Demands FOI

then eventually tend to develop distrust in government institutions and activities. The passage and enforcement of FOI would be a great service to the people. It will empower the people, especially the poor, with a new tool of information, which will promote social justice by giving the opportunity for social auditing towards the pursuit of the common good. It thus saddens many of us that the 15th Congress is about to finish its term, but the FOI bill remains as it has been in previous Congresses: a mere promise. We did not expect the FOI bill to go this familiar route at the start of the term of President Aquino. While the composition of the 15th Congress is practically the same as that of the 14th Congress that killed the FOI bill, advocates had looked to the President as the game changer for FOI. His promise as a candidate for president that the passage of the FOI bill will be among his legislative priorities was a source of hope that the FOI bill will finally become law. President Aquino, however, upon his assumption into office, has sent mixed signals on the FOI. It took him awhile to endorse amendments to address a number of concerns on the bill that he has raised, but that endorsement has not carried with it the same stamp of urgency that has characterized other measures that he has supported vigorously. Even now, with few session days left in the 15th Congress when his certification can truly make a difference, he has refused to give the FOI bill the prioritization that it needs. This is so surprising since he espouses good

THERE is something very wrong when a proposed legislation that will do right to the people does not get the determined support of government leaders who are sworn to protect the people’s interest. All sectors support, and demand, the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. This is rightly so. In entrusting to our government officials the power to govern, the people have the right to protect themselves against all forms of abuses by the use of governmental power. The Social Action arm of the Catholic Church, the National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (NASSA), takes special interest in the fate that will befall the FOI bill in the 15th Congress. More than a general right, there is a strong justice aspect in FOI. Lack of access to public information systematically subjects our marginalized sectors—farmers, fisherfolks, Indigenous peoples, workers and rural and urban poor, particularly the Basic Ecclesial Communities—to become vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation by bad elements in our society. Unfamiliarity and ignorance of government processes, contracts, activities and services, together with lack of formal education cause deprivation of rights and poverty. Our people then become mere objects of government policies rather than active participants in their own development. Without access to information, the people are kept in the dark. They remain unaware of the projects and contracts the national and localgovernmentsmake for them. Our people

governance and transparency. Is he serious in his daang matuwid, or is it just another slogan? What is he afraid of? That the people may know what government is doing? Still, there is time, and we join the different sectors who continue to push for the passage of the FOI bill. In the spirit of truth and justice, CBCP-NASSA calls upon the House of Representatives, with or without the certification of urgency from President Aquino, to act on the FOI bill. Needless to say, President Aquino can choose to make a difference by certifying the urgency of the FOI bill. In calling for the FOI to become a law, we are asking for nothing else than to fulfill the mandate of our constitution. If citizens do not fulfill the law they are penalized. But if lawmakers do not fulfill the highest law of the land, what is to be done to them? The May 2013 election is just around the corner. Once again, the President and his candidates under his Liberal Party-led coalition will aspire to seek a fresh mandate, emphasizing that his coalition symbolizes good governance, accountability and transparency. But this assertion would indeed lack credibility if the FOI Act will remain a pipe dream for us Filipinos.

+ BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D. National Director CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc. National Secretariat for SocialAction-Justice and Peace 18 January 2013

Right-to-Know-Right-Now Coalition Statement

JUST as it happened in the 14th Congress, the Senate of the 15th Congress has delivered yet again and passed on third and final reading the long-awaited Freedom of Information Act. And just as it happened in the 14th Congress, the FOI bill once again teeters on the brink of death in the House of Representatives of the 15th Congress. The leaders of the House have two choices: Kill the FOI bill by extended inaction, as their counterparts did in t