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


‘Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope’


The Cross
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

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 (CAPHLife) pointed out that the law provides no penalties for those “who dispense, sell, distribute or use abortifacients” and yet punishes those who refuse to give information on
Manifesto / A6

Sans FOI, PH remains in ‘darkness’
By Roy Lagarde
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 government. The CBCP’s National Secretariat 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 serious 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 information, the people are kept in the dark. They remain unaware of the projects and contracts the national and local governments make for them,” said Pabillo. “Unfamiliarity and ignorance of government processes, contracts, activities and services, together with lack of formal education cause deprivation of

January 21 - February 3, 2013

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Php 20.00

WHAT are you afraid of?

rights and poverty,” he added. Pabillo recalled that the President had promised to push for the FOI bill during the presidential campaign in 2010, but had been dilly-dallying since he assumed office. As of press time, the lawmakers 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 currently pending on second reading at the Lower House. Lack of integrity Pabillo emphasized that Aquino’s commitment to combat graft and corruption in the government will remain questionable, sans action on the FOI bill. With the May 2013 elections just around the corner, the bishop 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 information, he said that the FOI will promote social justice by giving the opportunity for “social auditing” towards the pursuit of the common good.
FOI / A7

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 Archbishop Socrates Villegas stressed at a recent symposium 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 Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said during a symposium (left) Ms. Joy Candelario of Bukal ng Tipan and Fr. on the New Evangelization Renato De Guzman, SDB of Don Bosco Technical held at St. John Bosco Parish- Institute-Makati answer questions during a forum on New Evangelization last January 21 at St. John Makati on Jan. 21. Bosco Parish-Makati. Villegas said “New Evangelization is a Church in contemplation, a maintaining the status, or for one self, it fruit of discernment and coming from is for the life of the World. It is a call for above.” our conversion, so we must reach out to “It is for the sake of the Church and is those who have been alienated from the Evangelization / A7 neither a self-defense, nor for the sake of
Jandel Posion

Petitions vs RH Bill implementation multiplying
NOT even the nation’s president secretly signing into law a heavily opposed 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 Eduardo B. Olaguer together with Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines (CXAP), seeking to nullify the measure and halt its implementation, citing unconstitutionality 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 autonomous 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 Secretary Florencio Abad, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, and Education Secretary Armin Luistro. “Although petitioners are all Catholics who sincerely adhere to all the dogmatic 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, vicepresident 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 Development 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 lords continue to earn millions of pesos daily from the illegal numbers racket because the government 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. Malacañang 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 police and government officials. The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Cruz also lamented that jueteng is again gaining
Poll / A6

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 morality with immorality. Reacting to Malacañang’s call for reconciliation after the

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

Palace / A6

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 Centro Escolar University (CEU) in Manila on February 26.
Campuses / A7


Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Jueteng money used as poll funds – bishop

Archbishop rejects reconciliation with Palace over RH law

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 students of the Technological University 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 Archdiocese of Manila. Dubbed as “Faith Explored: Journeying in Faith with the Cardinal”, the campus tour coincides with the Church’s Year of Faith celebration, and aims at

Sammy Navaja

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 numbers in excess of 35,000 people, which packed Dublin’s city center in the largest 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 organized 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.

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She said that, “Fine Gael are pressing to legalize the direct and intentional 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 opportunity 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 Defence 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 promise 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 husband, 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

CBCP Monitor
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Irish rally to preserve pro-life legacy

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 something 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 abortion is legalized, was also launched at the Vigil. (CNA)

US states’ pro-life legislation in 2012 deemed historic 3 thousand cities hold
A NEW report finding “significant victories for life” in statelevel 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 president of state legislative action for Americans United for Life, “so we expect pro-life advances to replicate the high levels of success in the past couple of years across the country.” McConchie told CNA that he expects to see “continued interest in restraining abortion coverage” 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 according to their ongoing legal efforts to protect life. The 2013 list observed that the past year had seen “historic progress for life-affirming legislation” throughout the country. “Last year, at least 60 new lifeaffirming 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, president and CEO of the organization, said the state-level successes lay “the foundation for rolling back and reversing Roe v. Wade,” the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationally 40 years ago. She predicted that the coming year will see numerous bills “that also work to protect the First Amendment Freedom of all Americans 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, Oklahoma, 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 Protection Act,” which bans abortions after 20 weeks gestation based on medical evidence of the danger that such abortions pose to women’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 abortion-related legislation in 2012 were bans on government and insurance funding for abortion and restrictions on drugs that can induce early abortions. Ultrasound 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 endof-life measures. However, the group said, 2012 saw a nearly 50 percent decrease

Day of Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land
More than 3 thousand cities will mark the fifth day of intercession 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 celebrated 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 family, every religious community, in all people.” “I think — said the prelate — that all the means to

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 “manufacture” a constitutional “right” to abortion beyond what is federally recognized. Others have enacted 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 protections, especially informed consent and parental involvement,” said McConchie. “Women considering abortion deserve both information and support before they make a monumental decision 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, pregnant women as some states began allowing abortions, pregnancy centers developed 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 conceived to be born, but we want that child to be healthy and raised in a responsible way," she said. Ann Marie Bowen, director of Nebraskans United for Life, said her organization, which formed in 1973 to battle abortion 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 abortion unthinkable," he said. "The only way that's going to happen is with the practical support these centers provide." Many pregnancy centers also have expanded services, Foral said. EPS has branched out from free pregnancy 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)

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 Association 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 extraordinary 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. According 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

French, German bishops mark anniversary of Elysee Treaty
THE French and German bishops’ 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 between the two opposing nations after World War II on January 18, 2013. On July 8, 1962, both heads of state attended a Mass of reconciliation 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 understanding in facing Europe’s present and future. “Simultaneously, the Elysee Treaty,” the text reads, “was the height of the reconciliation between the two enemy nations 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 signing of the ‘Treaty of Friendship’. Today, Franco-German friendship seems obvious and neither politicians nor citizens have a feeling for the exceptional nature 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 irresponsible behavior in various areas and has sorely tested the solidarity between the European 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, Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle “symbolized the awareness 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 European Union has brought peace and prosperity to its countries. With the economic crisis, however, we see that contempt and mistrust between the European nations are reappearing: the rejection of foreigners, the absence 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 relationship with others or the demands of justice.” France and Germany “can and must return to the history 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 ensure 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 Elysee Treaty as “an opportunity to recall, particularly for the youngest generations, that reconciliation is not an empty word but an actual path.” (Zenit)

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 Pontiff’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 Italian 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
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 dedicated 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 important to follow Christ “not just in those moments when we need him,” but to “find room for him in our daily tasks” and throughout 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)

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. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a Catholic. The brief encounter came during the so-called “baciamano,” the moment when the pope offers a select group of prelates and special guests a brief handshake

Pope Benedict XVI

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 worship, a movement of lay Catholic organizations is poised to empower 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 educate voters “but it is not merely voter education, but voter formation 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 making decisions as to whom to vote for,” said Dr. Ricardo Boncan, spokesperson of Catholic Vote Philippines (CVP). CVP is a group of organizations that banded together to ensure a formidable voter base in the May 2013 congressional elections and subsequent local and national elections. “The Church in general and the CBCP in particular has written quite extensively on how Catholics can and should be involved in political life. In gist, we as Catholics 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 Churchbased 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 member-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 hierarchy 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 truly Catholic if the pastors do not agree with the mission and goal of that movement. The distinction 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 Representative Dennis Socrates, who expressed his hope in people eventually fighting for the protection life, marriage and family when it comes to legislation, which will start from electing 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 advocacies are contrary to our faith, to our culture” and that “we should not allow our government to be dominated by that kind of philosophy, 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 Columbus, Sangguniang Laiko

Alan Holdren / CNA

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

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

Boncan explained that it is Catholic formation that will empower Filipinos to arrive at sound choices during elections. “The basic premise here is that Catholic moral and ethical teachings are applicable in the secular sphere where politics is at work. Once we integrate Catholic formation 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 expressed 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 Vatican Council. The 21st World Day of the Sick will be celebrated 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 faithful to engage in prayer, to offer one’s sufferings “for the good of the Church” and to recognize in those who suffer “the Holy Face of Christ who, by suffering, 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’ parable “helps us to understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain.” The parable recounts how the Good Samaritan cared for a man who had been injured in an attack by thieves. The Pope said its concluding words, “Go and do likewise,” show how his disciples should behave 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.” Pope Benedict said this is true for everyone: pastoral workers, health care workers, and the sick themselves. He cited his 2007 encyclical “Spe Salvi,” which said healing is found not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering but rather by accepting it and “finding 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 encouraged Catholic health care workers and institutions, dioceses, religious congregations, 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 accepting 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 million 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 collaborator of the Pontifical Council 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 disseminated, a joy that is held by all believers.” Twitter is a social media service 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 message on his English-language account “Pontifex,” while over 33,000 did so for his Spanishlanguage 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 ourselves completely,” the Pope said on Twitter Jan. 9. “Anything else is not enough.” Anyone on Twitter may interact with any other user. Those who have replied to the Pope range from the devout, the appreciative and the inquisitive to the flippant, irreverent and even obscene. The Pope’s followers are numerous indeed. His Englishlanguage account has over 1.4 million subscribers, his Spanishlanguage account has 575,000 and his Italian-language account has 265,000. His tweets also go out in French, German, Polish, Portuguese and Arabic. His Arabiclanguage account is the least popular but still has a respectable 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 Twitter 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 following quickly surpassed Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who has 72,000 followers. (CNA/ EWTN News)




CBCP Monitor
January 21 - February 3, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 02

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.

Catholic Church Leaders in Mindanao Discuss the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro
“THE Role of the Catholic Church during the Period of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” was the theme of a Consultation on Jan. 9-11, 2013, in Davao City. The Episcopal Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called for this consultation with support from Catholic Relief Services. The consultations brought together eleven bishops and about thirty other representatives of Catholic universities, theology seminaries, radio stations, and peace centers from different parts of Mindanao. The main objective of the consultation was to clarify the provisions of the Framework 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

Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ

Pastoral Companion
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 Transitional 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

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 to Africa, 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-Synodal Apostolic 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 II (Redemptoris Missio, 37-38) the New Evangelization has to 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

(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 explained 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-

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

…and that’s the truth
DEATH is a sentence for national suicide. As many may be aware of, DEATH is an acronym that stands for Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, and Homosexual Marriage. 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 sucking 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 worrying 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 leaders are in the dark? I’d like to believe that our leaders who are

DEATH and the New Evangelization
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 magnetize will soon outgrow their misguided idealism. I’d like to think that our national piety— manifested in the millions attending religious festivities, the proliferation of televangelists, the mall chapels overflowing with Mass-goers—will sooner than later bring us to communion with the Living God. But that will not happen by turning our back on the lifegiving power of the cross of Christ. How far has 450 years of Christianity brought us toward embracing the mystery and wisdom of the cross? Our hope now hinges on the New Evangelization to spare our country from the tightening grip of secularization. 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 evangelized, beginning with our evangelizers. And that’s the truth.

Managing popular piety
WE have to give thanks to God, of the whopping 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 behind all this overwhelming manifestation of popular piety. How else can we explain the staggering turn-out of people for the procession and the Masses for this feast? And I must say that it’s not only in numbers 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

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
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 appropriate 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 actually 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

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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. Politicians 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 regulating 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 detracting from the legitimate human dimension. 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 success especially in the spiritual side. A lot of

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 02
January 21 - February 3, 2013

The Church’s stance visa-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 society in promoting the common good—especially in poverty alleviation, promotion of peace and good governance, and environmental protection. In doing so, the Church should not act as Messiah or liberator but as a genuine humble servant cooperating 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 especially in light of the fact that majority 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 faithful of the basic Christian doctrines, about the social and moral teachings of the Church. The teachings of the Church about marriage, sexuality, family, responsible parenthood, natural family planning method and the value of life should be inculcated in the schools, parishes and Basic Ecclesial Communities. An ongoing 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 denunciation 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 environmental protection—the Church must at all times maintain a critical stance. The Church will continue to denounce the government policies and laws that are contrary to common good, that promote the culture of death and that weaken the family. The negative effects of the RH Law need to be exposed and denounced. This includes exposing how billions of pesos of taxpayers’ money are spent on birth control and sex education, and less on actual poverty alleviation 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 government 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 movements and the Basic Ecclesial Communities.

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola

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 questionable. But what is clear is that the President and his allies have succeeded in passing a law which they claim can help solve the problem of poverty and ensure the “reproductive health” of women by providing free contraceptives 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 various options. The first is to keep silent and withdraw from engagement in the social and political 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 Western 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 “Catholic vote” a reality, campaigning against pro-RH politicians and supporting pro-life candidates. This implies becoming a powerbroker. Easier said than done. The Church cannot follow the act of the INK. The clergy cannot 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 teachings of the Church are a minority. 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 candidates who claim to be pro-life and yet have records of corruption, abuse of power, violence, human rights violation and destruction of the environment. The option which I find preferable is that of the humble servant and prophet. This means avoiding the image 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 environment. This also means promoting and defending the basic rights of all—including the right

Spaces of Hope More!
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 awakened church to its feet. It took our nation 14 years (i.e. 19721986) 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 families 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 believers 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 nonpartisan 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 university 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 someone assures us that “the problems of ageing in a more developed country are probably easier to tackle than those of rapid population 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

Gun ban will lessen worthless killings
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

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in Altum
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 request 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

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 condoms? Lord, please forbid this from happening; 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 birthday we celebrate on January 25. President Cory issued Proclamation No. 214 on February 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 Proclamation 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

Fr. Francis Ongkingco

THE entity my eyes caught was as recognizable as a glowing yellow McDonald’s ‘M’ in the horizon, or as the fiery buzzing 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, glowing or rotating. Like these street signs, it was enormous, but unlike them it was the dullest object on earth. Worn-out tires, grotesquely impaled 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 lifetime 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 conditioning 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 seconds, 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 shoulders only for a moment. Ed towered nearly six feet. As he stood up, he slowly revealed his true form and size. It was like watching 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 continue, a little soft voice from nowhere said, “Daddy, can I go

‘Heaven’s Gate’
to the bathroom?” There he was! It was a cute smiling blond blue-eyed boy tugging at Ed’s pants. The contrast was incredible! He was like Tinkerbelle trying to call the attention of a sleeping mammoth or a sluggish hippopotamus. “Oh, yeh. Sorry! I almost forgot,” 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 comment 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 watching 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 anniversary!” he said. “Don’t yeh remember, 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 baptized 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

CLEARLY making reference to the Year of Faith, Chairman of the CBCP – Episcopal Commission 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 percentage 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 Filipino youth belong to the poorest of the poor, Baylon acknowledged the Church needs to address socio-economic issues that hinder young Catholics from being active in youth ministry.

Local News
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 manner of speaking—comes to them. Describing his own diocese’s efforts, Baylon said youth ministry 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) 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 distribution of bibles to poor Filipino families. A multi-sectoral initiative, the Bible run is being organized by the Philippine Bible Society together with the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), National Council of Churches 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 Grandstand 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 information and trivia that will punctuate the racetracks that will be highlighted by colorful tableaus and floats featuring biblical scenes. “The participants will also get to interact and have photo opportunities 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 Filipinos,” Philippine Bible Society (PBS) said in a press statement. Dr. Natividad Pagadut, executive secretary of CBCP’s Epis-

CBCP Monitor
January 21 - February 3, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 02

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

Colorful tableaus, floats to highlight Bible run
copal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) said they are expecting 10,000 participantrunners 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 hoping that more Filipinos will support the cause on its 2nd year. Interested participants may contact the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate at (02) 527-4157 or PBS Secretariat at (02) 526-7777 loc. 631 or log-on to www.bible.org. ph. (Jandel Posion/Yen Ocampo)

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

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 support the ‘May they be One’ Bible campaign, which aims to give a
Manifesto / A1

free Bible to 5 million Filipinos, especially during the Year of Faith. The said campaign, spearheaded by the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate, has distributed 800,000 Bibles so far. In an interview, Manila Auxiliary 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 intense Biblical apostolate According to Bp. Pabillo, efforts are ongoing to intensify the Biblical apostolate in the grassroots level. “We are going to the par- Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle ishes and giving a lot of talks,” he said, add- dict XVI announced a Year of ing that other ways of raising Faith from October 12, 2012 to funds for the Biblical apostolate November 24, 2013, the Solemniare also being explored. ty of Christ the King. (Nirva’ana The Holy Father Pope Bene- Ella Delacruz)


artificial contraception and compels the conscientious objector to refer patients to another health care service provider who dispenses such services—otherwise, 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,
Poll / A1

and Bacolod Bishop and CAPH-Life honorary chairman Vicente Navarra. RA 10354 has opened a floodgate for the “unleashing of the vast resources of the state to develop a birth control 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 population 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 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 devises of birth control.” The group’s members 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 legislative bills in the pipeline “which are of the same spirit and orientation” such as the divorce bill, legalizing same-sex union, legalization of prostitution, euthanasia and others which CAPH-Life was prepared to oppose. After holding a press conference at the Bishop’s House, CAPHLife members and other supporters of the move walked to the San Sebastian Cathedral for a Eucharistic celebration. (CBCP for Life)

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 Villanueva claimed to be collecting cash for a supposed housing project for teachers and other charity works.
Spaces of Hope / A5


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 Auxiliary 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 organization,” he said. (CBCPNews)

more strength as the May 13 election draws closer. According to him, it is during election season that a huge portion of jueteng proceeds goes to campaign kitties of candidates from local to the national level who protects operators once they win.
Palace / A1

“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 winnable, 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 aspiring 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 expenses 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)

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 coerces a co-equal branch to vote against its conscience, this is corruption. 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
Pastoral Companion / A4

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 parenthood? 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?

“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 Aquino 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 (President 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 Herminio Coloma said that Aquino has been openly calling for reconciliation with the Catholic hierarchy. He, however, admitted that no meeting has taken place yet between the Palace and the Church. The prelate who has been very vocal against the RH law, which is
RH Bill / A1

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, Malacañang 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 before 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 proRH 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 reconcile with the government, we would be part of their inequity,” he said.

Mindanao and other parts of the country. In particular, he dwelt on the results of Konsult Mindanaw which focused on the need for Sincerity, Security, and Sensitivity 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. Sebastiano 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 practitioners of the dialogue of life and peacebuilding. From the Prelature 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 several 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 communities, and the general public • encouraging intra-faith dialogue 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

peacebuilding • creating a Mindanao Peace Committee involving bishops, universities, seminaries, media, and peace centers to continue the conversation and forge partnerships on peacebuilding Bishop Angelito Lampon, OMI, and Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, ECID chair and vice-chair respectively, were expected to continue this evolving network of Catholic peacebuilders in Mindanao. Despite the many challenges ahead, the participants in general 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.

“The Act introduces policies that negate and frustrate the foundational ideals and aspirations of the sovereign Filipino people as enshrined in the Constitution,” 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 using 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 substances 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 solidarity, 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 principle – Sec. 26, Article 6 – “as it carries two subjects, namely: ‘Responsible Parenthood’ 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 parenthood” 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 mislabeling 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 Orobased group composed of professionals 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 Constitution. 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 hazardous products; the prohibition against involuntary servitude; equal protection of the laws; freedom of speech and of expression; economic policy of the State; and unwarranted interference in education. These grounds are discussed in detail in our petition,” the lawyer explained. A petition for prohibition was reportedly 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
MORE than a hundred members of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Palo attended an Annual Clergy Ongoing Formation that focused on the issue of the priests’ Standard Living Allowance (SLA). Held last January 7-11 in Davao City, the five-day formation 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 system 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 aspiration on having an SLA. He said it had been a desire to establish a new system of decent remuneration for priests from the time of Archbishop Pedro Dean up to the time of Archbishop Jose Palma. Archbishop Du, Palo’s current prelate also wished that his clergy may realize and experience the good and beauty that this SLA will bring to all of them.
Evangelization / A1

Meanwhile, Fr. Elmo Borgueta, JCD, discussed about the Parish as Juridical person in the 1983 Code. Atty. Ruben Tenedero, archdiocesan accountant, presented 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 entrusted 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, culminated the clergy formation. (Jandel Posion) in New Evangelization as PriestReligious 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 connection with Christ as the foundation of all Evangelization. We must also have an end grace of all Evangelization for conversion or holiness and the Holy Spirit is the primary agent of New Evangelization,” De Guzman 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 intentionally planned and sustained,” De Guzman added. De Guzman furthered that the task of New Evangelization 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 women and lay people who are catechists and religious educators, the Synod on the New Evangelization was organized by the Don Bosco Center of Studies in Makati. The “Synod on the New Evangelization: A Filipino perspective” 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 Evangelization. (Jandel Posion)

Vigan opens cause for Verzosa’s beatification
ADDING to the list of possible Filipino saints, the Archdiocese 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, according to Manila ArchbishopEmeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, who headed the formal start of the diocesan process for the cause of Verzosa’s beatification. “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 explained. Praising the virtues of Bishop Verzosa, Cardinal Rosales stressed in his homily that Verzosa was truly a man of God, a zealous teacher, and someone who lived the Paschal mysteries. Heading the Verzosa beatification cause is its Postulator Fr.
FOI / A1

Palo clergy formation tackles priests’ living allowance

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 William 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 Verzosa be known to everybody,” Salgado added. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist followed the ceremony of the opening of the beatification process. In a separate interview, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said the opening of the diocesan 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 Superior 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 sanctification,’” 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 opening of the diocesan process for Verzosa’s beatification. Versoza’s legacy Born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Bishop Verzosa was the first Roman 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

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 congregation 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)

Unfortunate A huge network of organizations and individuals 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 transparency 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.
Duc in Altum / A5

More than 100 people from public-interest groups, organizations of print and broadcast journalists, environmental protection advocates, 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 positions could offer to voters whom they are now courting with more and newer promises of reforms,” they said. They added, “it would be most unfortunate” 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 taxpayers’ money,” they also said. Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. as main celebrant, and parish priest Fr. Jerome Cruz and assistant 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 Saturday Edition. Congratulations to Nikah Jasmin San Pedro on her Confirmation today at San Ildefonso de Navotas. I stand godmother to her.

purchase of abortifacient substances using taxpayers’ money, and thus violates the Constitutional provisions protecting life and health. RA 10354 violates right to religious freedom as it mandates health providers to provide reproductive services 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 canWhatever / A5

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 Nazarene 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 Navotas, 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 Pananampalataya 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 invited Mass celebrants/homilists. The Fiesta Mass is at 9 a.m. with

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 baptism 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 comply and leaned his full weight on the ornate alabaster baptismal font. Whether it was his weight or the centuries 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 before 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 moment– 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 whispered, “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?”

Church,” he said. Calling the attention of everyone, 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 Evangelization 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 believe” but hard to prove. While celebration without conversion is a cheap joy so we must take the importance of the call to conversion 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 encounter 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
Campuses / A1

Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ, JesCom executive director, admits that many young people have “biases” 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
Candidly Speaking / A4

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 ensues is a greater appreciation and understanding of our cherished faith,” he said. (CBCPNews)

Otherwise, only the secularizing forces can dominate the public consciousness. Obviously, relevant educational, social and cultural activities 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 determines the success of popular piety.

THERE would be lesser Filipinos who will participate in the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD) in Brazil than those who attended the event in Spain last 2011. This was after only 15 groups or 400 individual pilgrims expressed intention to join the WYD under the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth’s delegation, ECY-Philippines. Being the official country delegation, ECY-Philippines is considered to be the biggest Filipino contingent based on pilgrim numbers during the past WYDs. This year’s pilgrim statistics pales in comparison with the

People, Facts & Places
ECY-Philippines’ delegation to the WYD Madrid which consisted 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 Garganta, 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 YouthPinoy, 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 upcoming 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,” according to Garganta who attended the second international preparatory meeting with the WYD organizers last November 26 to 29 in the host city. (YouthPinoy)

CBCP Monitor

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 02

ECY notes decline in WYD 2013 pilgrim numbers

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.

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 direction. 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 copies 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 distribution 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 distributed 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 MTBO bibles are distributed to parishioners as of a book, but allow it to transshown in this file photo. form people as individuals, as “This is really a big challenge for us,” families, as communities of faith and as she said. a nation. Last November, Catholic priests “Profess the faith only in the Living Word. Let this Word come alive in us, and pastors from evangelical churches fellow disciples and apostles, and through played basketball with PBA icons at the us in the Philippines—let us set the rest of Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City to help raise funds for the campaign. Asia ablaze,” David furthered. The MTBO Bible campaign is a joint initiative of the PBS and the CBCP’s Bible campaign falls short of target Lucero said they are considering Episcopal Commission on Biblical many factors why the program fell short Apostolate (ECBA). Through the years, they said, the of its original target. “It has several components…. The campaign has become a symbol of coBible formation and of course we are operation between the ECBA, PBS, of working with the Churches to do that,” various parish and lay organizations involved in Bible apostolate and of Lucero said. “Second, of course the funding… to Christian churches. To further spread the Scripture raise the funds because the total printing cost and other expenses (for each especially to the youth, the PBS also Bible) is P150 but we make it available tried to reach out to the smartphone and tablet generation with the new only at P50,” she said. Due to the underlying circumstances, “audio Bible.” In 2006, the PBS released the “e-Bithe PBS has added the campaign with ble” which can be installed in laptops two more years or extended it to 2015. According to Lucero, they are also or personal computers. It also comes raising funds locally and international- in Tagalog, Cebuano, Bicol, Pangaly, adding that there are also Bible soci- sinan, Samarenyo and Hiligaynon. eties helping them from other countries. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)

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 Purissima 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 Marulas, 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 ‘Thomasian’ priests gear up for alumni homecoming spirituality
A SPIRITUALITY institute will conduct a seminar on the spirituality 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 Spirituality of San Pedro Calungsod” will be a lecture-presentation that looks into the life and times of Filipino martyr Pedro Calungsod and how his spirituality was shaped by his role as a young lay missionary-catechist. “In rediscovering the spirituality 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 invitation letter. Ms. Angela Blardony Ureta, aO.Carm. will be the speaker for the public lecture. She is a seasoned producer and writer of multi-awarded television and radio programs. ISA said that much of the materials to be used during the lecture will be based on documents and research data gathered in the course of the speaker’s experience as head writer and production consultant of ABS-CBCN documentary special “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 discussion 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 during 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 catechist 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 greatness 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) THE Alumni Priests Association (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 Antonio 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 focus 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, including retired ones, are Thomasians. The ALPA of UST is an organization 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)


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 2
January 21 - February 3, 2013

Pastoral Concerns


‘Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope’
(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 to emphasize in my 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 – is engaged in promoting 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. Faith and hope are inseparable 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, asylum seekers and refugees into 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 s e r v i c e s a l o n e ; t h e y a re 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 re f u g e e s c a n e x p e r i e n c e , 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, 2013)
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

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
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© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media


By Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
THE recent passage of the Reproductive Health Bill in Congress, 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

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 the Alleluia 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.
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is diligently imparted in their churches, schools and in other works entrusted to them in any manner (c.778). 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).

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
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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

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 2012 BENEDICTUS PP XVI

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 The Year of the nations…! Faith is a grace-filled opportunity to take this mission seriously.

Aside from the Code, of primordial importance are: John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi tradendae, 16.X.1979; General Catechetical Directory, 11.IV.1971; SCDF, Response regarding approval of catechisms, 7.VII.1983.

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 is a fitting occasion for intensifying the service 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.

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FIle Photo

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 2
January 21 - February 3, 2013

because this requires more time and training. (2) In any government orientation on family planning, the first topic should be Fertility Awareness. This entails an understanding of human sexuality and nature’s w a y o f re g u l a t i n g b i r t h s through the fertility cycle of the human body. After the module on Fertility Awareness, couples may then be able to decide whether to go natural or adopt contraceptives. Indeed, NFP methods are also called Fertility Awareness-Based 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. (3) Government should provide information on all modern, scientifically-tested NFP methods, including the simplified methods. These include the earlier-known Basal Body Temperature, Billings Cervical Mucus, Symptothermal, and Lactational 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 to their own circumstances. From our pastoral experience, SDM as a simplified, standardized method has attracted the most number of users, and has accelerated the widespread adoption of natural family 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 with the proper motivation – 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 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 kinds of contraceptives. The government’s RP-RH program targets the lower – income households in Philippine society. But it is precisely among these poorer sectors that a significant number of women suffer nutritional deficiency and are more susceptible to health risks arising from the indiscriminate adoption of contraceptive pills, IUDs, 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 – e.g., high blood pressure, dizziness, infections, heart palpitations, etc. Should certain kinds of contraceptives require a doctor ’s prescription or a warning label? Abortifacients as stated in the law should also be banned. (6) Government could set up a separate track for NFP 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 be sensitive to the religious and cultural traditions of Christian, Muslim, and indigenous people communities. In addition to Catholic parishes in Cagayan de Oro, pilot areas among Muslim, IP, and Protestant communities have elicited a convergent appreciation 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 training manuals, including the provision of SDM vertical beads. Along these lines, it would be advisable for the government to carry out its family planning 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. II. Faith-Based Organizations in NFP Promotion What then is the role of churches and faith-based organizations in NFP promotion? Again based 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: (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 in pre-Cana seminars to prepare 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-anderror 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 culturalreligious 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. (4) The goal for NFP promotion 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 children until the age of maturity. 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 an wholesome family life through 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, faithbased 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 from our archdiocesan ministries 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 program and pastoral guidelines. 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 o rg a n i z a t i o n s c a n e i t h e r 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, faithbased 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 program of church communities. 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.

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 a few days after the Reproductive 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 prolife and moral issue, while proRH proponents focused on the socio-economic circumstances of poverty-stricken families, maternal heath, and the lack of information on family planning methods. While respecting the 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 newlysigned 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, g o v e r n m e n t w o r k e r s a re 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

Pilgrimage to Galilee
By Archbishop Antonio J. 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 coworkers 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 motherin-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 must have also joined the Sabbath services and at one time solemnly announced that the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy of a Messiah 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

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. T h e N e o c a t e c h u m e n a t e Wa y 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 Neocatechumenal Way offers a novel, 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 rebirth 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 POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOODAND REPRODUCTIVE 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, while it belatedly accommodated 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 peaceful means under the Biblical maxim “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 ATTY. LYDON CAÑA 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 to be beside me to help me look at 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 blind?” 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 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 selfconfidence 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.)

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-challenged blind 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

May They Be One
Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home

No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign – 85 out of 86 Dioceses Bibles Distributed (Jan 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012): 260,974 copies Bibles Distributed by Languages - Bicol (5,484 cps.), Cebuano (49,614 cps.) English (54,364 cps.), Hiligaynon (12,691 cps.), Ilocano (8.875 cps.), Pampango (1,731 cps.), Pangasinan (3,888 cps.), Samarenyo (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 Distribution for 2013: 400,000 cps. Total Funds Needed for Printing and Transport of Bibles in 2013: P60M

Bible Campaign
Word Alive

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.

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.

To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call us at PBS 526-7777, ECBA 527-9386 or visit www.bible.org.ph and www.ecbacbcp.com. 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 (BPITayuman Branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card payments—go to PBS website (www.bible.org.ph)



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
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. 116118 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 reinvigorate 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 the 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 a 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 to study canon law but instead was told to study liturgy, he died again. He died fighting loneliness and nostalgia in Rome as a student, as a professor and as President of the Anselmianum. When it was time to wind up his mission as university rector and president, he willingly died and laid down his prestigious title and returned to his cell as a regular monk under obedience. He was so used to dying so that when he came home as a Filipino to his beloved native land, it became another call to die, Fr. Anscar Chupungco 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 the mandate. Living his life and dedicating himself to the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy, he was again asked to die to live in detachment far away from the glamour of the academe. He was a 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 by the clarity of his wisdom. He was crisp with his expressions. He 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 the 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 the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep”. Lord, are you sleeping? We see a rough sailing for the 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 is now orphaned and its founder is irreplaceable and “unclonable”. 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 to 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.

objectives: 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

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
Year of Faith / B7

A Righteous Path Demands FOI
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 local governments make for them. Our people 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 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 Social Action-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 the 14th Congress, or act with dispatch and muster the political will to bring to light a law that will empower citizens to participate directly in the drive for good governance and against corruption. Even without a certification from the President as to the necessity of the FOI bill’s immediate enactment, the House Committee on Rules, through the Majority Leader, is empowered to declare a bill urgent to facilitate its immediate passage. This is a clear option that the House leaders can take to fast-track the bill in the nine session days left from the resumption of session on January 21 to the next adjournment on Feb. 9, 2013. Rule X, Section 52, of the House Rules reads: “Urgent Bills and Resolutions. – The Committee on Rules, through the Majority Leader, may declare a bill or resolution urgent and consider it in accordance with a timetable. The timetable, prepared by the Committee on Rules, shall fix the date when the bill or resolution must be reported by the committee concerned, the number of days or hours to be allotted to the consideration of the bill or resolution in plenary session, and the date and hour debate must be concluded and final vote taken.” The FOI bill is a bill that unites all sectors of Philippine society. The right to information is every citizen’s human right, and the passage of the FOI bill for the effective operationalization of this human right is every citizen’s demand. As things stand, the FOI bill is just a few steps away from passing into law. It would be most unfortunate if, by sheer inaction of the House, the citizens will again be denied a legislation that is truly crucial to solidifying and institutionalizing governance reforms. The pending bill in the House, without the right-of-reply rider, is already a balanced bill. It adopts fully Malacañang’s inputs addressing the President’s concerns, and enjoys wide support from stakeholders. The opportunity costs of not passing the bill are clear. Non-passage means a waste of painstaking efforts, resources, and taxpayers’ money. The FOI bill will have to go through, yet again, the tortuous legislative process in the next Congress. Yet other than these cost concerns, the death of the FOI bill in the 15th Congress could well be an indictment on how some politicians eschew political reforms, particularly those that may diminish 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 positions could offer to voters whom they are now courting with more and newer promises of reforms. 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 FOI. We exhort Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to be a leader, and rally his colleagues to pass the FOI bill now. (Signed by 108 members of the Coalition) 18 January 2013


Ref lections

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 2
January 21 - February 3, 2013

The cause of the poor—central to the program of Jesus
An exegetical reflection on the Gospel of the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (Luke 4:1-4; 14-21) January 27, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
WHEN President Aquino made his inaugural speech at the Quirino Grandstand on June 30, 2010, he outlined the program of what he was about to set in motion during his tenure. Although most listeners would certainly have difficulty in remembering all the points that he had stressed, yet many remembered the catchy highlights: “Samahan ninyo ako sa matuwid na landas… Kayo ang boss ko, kaya hindi maaaring hindi ako makinig sa mg utos ninyo… There can be no reconciliation without justice… Kami ay narito para magsilbi, hindi para maghari… Sa tamang pamamahala, gaganda ang buhay ng lahat… Walang lamangan, walang padrino, at walang pagnanakaw. Walang wangwang, walang counterflow, walang tong…” For many people, these sayings were meant to define Aquino’s presidency, and they expected him to fulfill his manifesto. The second segment of today’s Gospel (Luke 4:14-21) fulfills a programmatic function for the Gospel and the Book of Acts, as it serves as a preface to Jesus’ public ministry, in which Jesus made his inaugural speech. What was Jesus trying to say? Since he was quoting from TritoIsaiah, which promised freedom to the Jewish exiles in Babylonia in 6th century BC, he was actually saying that the liberation of his people is being fulfilled in his person, in his talk and in his walk: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). Thus, Jesus assumed the role of a liberator of the underprivileged to which the downtrodden, the blind, the that is dominated by a ministry to the underprivileged. The poor are the losers in human history. They are cursed, dominated, taken advantaged of, fooled, degraded, not counted, oppressed, used, subjugated, pawned, forgotten, disenfranchised. In a human society where they are a majority, one wonders whether God can be happy about their lot. In the Old Testament, God takes the cause of the poor: “I have witnessed the affliction of my people… therefore I have come down to rescue them” (Exod 3:7-8). In a Christian community, greater honor is to be given to those from the underside of history. As Paul, in the 2nd Reading, puts it, “God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to the lowly members, that there be no dissention in the body, but all the members may be concerned for one another” (1 Cor 12:24-25). Clearly, if it is to continue the cause of Christ, the Church has no alternative but to take up the cause of the poor. She should be a Church of the poor, as John XXIII has already noted, a poor Church. As a Christian community, it is incumbent upon us to make an option for the poor in a situation in which the bulk of humanity is poor. As John Paul II said in Centesimus Annus, the Church “has become more aware of the fact that too many people live not in the prosperity of the Western world but in the poverty of the developing countries amid conditions which are still ‘a yoke little better than that of slavery itself”, he has felt and continues to feel obliged to denounce this fact with absolute clarity and frankness” (n 61). We do not only talk, we walk our talk. Jesus’ life was a witness to his cause: he was poor, he had nothing to lay his head on, he died poor, and in solidarity with the oppressed. The lifestyle of both clergy and laity ought to be a witness to poverty.

imprisoned debtors and the poor belong. Jesus’ cause is the liberation of the underprivileged. One wonders whether Philippine Presidents fulfill the promises they made at their inaugural speech, but Jesus really carried out his program, as can be seen from the rest of Luke’s Gospel. Though his friendship with some rich people, on scholarly grounds, could be put into question, there is not a single iota of doubt that his life was dominated by a ministry to the poor. His words of consolation, his preaching of the kingdom, his words of forgiveness, his healings and exorcisms, his table fellowship were almost without exception directed to those who belong

to the lower rungs of the Jewish society. While Presidents may not take seriously the pledged they have made during their inaugural speech (probably there being no intention to fulfill them), there is scarcely any question that Jesus was consistent with what he said in his programmatic talk: the poor was his cause. One major problem with the way we lived our Christianity in history is that instead of taking up again the cause of Christ, many of us have so made Jesus an icon that we have almost forgotten his cause. Of course, to make him an icon is reasonable enough. He was no ordinary man; he was really God, and early in the history of the Church, there were already

the rudimentary beginnings of the tradition of worshipping him. “Therefore God exalted him in the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11). But whether this should be the dominant feature of the life of Christianity, this could be a subject of debate. There should be celebration of Christian life, that can be easily conceded, but first and foremost, there ought to be a Christian life worth celebrating about, and that life could only be patterned after the life of Christ

A mission blueprinted in God’s Word
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, National Bible Sunday; January 27, 2013
see meaning in what was going on in their own lives and/or in the world around them. To all he opened wide the gates of the Kingdom, inviting them to enter and thus begin to experience the “year of favor from the Lord.” Jesus trained his disciples to be people with a mission, not just any mission (no matter how enticing), but that of sharing in his own, from beginning to end. And after having sent them on “mission to the world,” he empowered them with his Spirit that they might not fail. This is why, in spite of their many limitations, the apostles were able to extend the blessings of the Kingdom to numerous nations and to lead millions to the peace of that Kingdom. Their successors picked up from where the apostles had left off and continued through the centuries to make present and operative the Gospel of life and love proclaimed by Christ in words and deeds. We call these successors of the Apostles “Popes” and “Bishops.” They are our leaders because they have been chosen by the Lord Jesus to fulfill this role in the Church. They make Jesus present to us in a special manner. But sharing in the mission of Christ is not the privilege of bishops and

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
JESUS was a man with a mission, the most difficult and challenging mission, in fact—to save the whole of mankind! His mission had already been described by the prophet Isaiah when he spoke of the “Servant of the Lord” in the remarkable words that Jesus himself proclaimed in the synagogue of his hometown, Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,

to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners; to announce a year of favor from the Lord.” Jesus applied those prophetic words to himself and lived them out to the full. The whole of his “public life” was a proclamation of glad tidings to the poor, the afflicted, the marginalized, the despised, those who were losing or had already lost hope. He proclaimed and offered freedom to those who had been enslaved by the devil in so many different ways. He offered the sight of faith to those who could not

priests alone. It is the right and duty of all the baptized. It is the privilege of each of us. We, too, have our mission to accomplish within the wider mission of the Church, the collective “Servant of Yahweh.” The situation of the world in which we live is neither better nor much worse than what it was in the time of Christ and his apostles. Even now there are so many aberrations to be corrected, injustices to be rectified, abuses to be curbed. There are so many forms of man’s inhumanity to man. A certain “culture of death” seems to be expanding at unrelenting speed. This is why a “New Evangelization” is needed.

© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media

On the other hand, there is a “civilization of life and love” to be proposed as a visible manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth. This civilization has to be created and nurtured. People must be taught, once again, to appreciate life, respect, and promote it. We must teach them, by word and example, how to love the way Christ taught us. This is the final purpose of the “Year of Faith” that we are observing. These are the features of the Kingdom today. Much of the success of this all-important enterprise depends on how we accomplish our mission day by day.

Faithful to the end, faithful at all costs
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time February 3, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
PROPHETS are a strange breed of people. Often a torment to themselves and others, they are the “critical conscience” of God’s people and of all mankind. Endowed with a unique knowledge of God’s will and plan, they evaluate events and actions against the background of such knowledge, and then speak out. They shout even when others prefer to keep silent. True prophets are not after popularity, but after faithfulness to their mission. It is their strong faith in God and in the worth of their mission that keeps them going, in spite of everything. Even when others give up, they persevere. Even when many seem not to understand their message or question the opportuneness of raising thorny issues or taking a certain stance, the authentic prophets continue their mission undeterred. Their loyalty makes them people of courage and hope. They continue to hope and dare even though the situations and misbehavior they denounce appear to be humanly “hopeless.” Genuine prophets are always able to see beyond present crises and dark clouds. They perceive and outline the prospect of better days, provided the evildoers repent and return to the Lord. They believe in God’s justice and proclaim it, but they also exhort all to trust in His mercy. Although they may have to say unpleasant things about certain individuals or groups or nations, the prophets do so not out of hatred or bitterness, but only out of genuine concern for the salvation of those who have gone astray. They proclaim that God does not want the death of sinners but their conversion and salvation. (See Ez 18:23 and 33:11) A prophet shares in God’s concern for them and gives his/ her best to make God’s saving “strategy” succeed. It is this concern for the salvation of sinners that brought the very Son of God to come to earth on mission. Even before his earthly birth, God’s Son knew that he would be misunderstood, maligned, slandered, accused falsely and eventually put to death by crucifixion. But in spite of all those “deterrents,” he went on implementing the Father’s plan with a brave heart. He endured the rejection mounted by his own people
Faithful / B7

Bishop Pat Alo


Human ambitions
WHAT’S wrong with human ambitions? It’s something natural but when placed to excess may lead to many lapses or mistakes. Well, the word has acquired some negative connotations like seeking favor or honor, g reed for success, vainglory, etc. But put in the right or positive direction, it may serve the purposes of truth and noble service to humanity. But certainly, knowing innate weakness in man, this calls for having recourse to prayer and God’s grace. We remember Christ’s explanation to the disciples when they were perplexed by His statement: “It is easier for a camel to enter into the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 19:24). So Jesus explained the need for God’s assistance or grace here. Hence the answer of Jesus: “For men this is impossible but for God everything is possible” (Mt. 19:26). History has shown the examples of great men, saints and heroes who by God’s grace became entirely new persons, converted from a depraved life. You too can change, with God’s help while acknowledging in deep humility your need for help from above. As Jesus once remarked: “Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; but cut off from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5), just like saying ‘without me you can do nothing’. There is certainly hope for erring man when he humbly lifts his hands to God in quest for God’s assistance. Testimony to that is the numberless crowd of saints who surpassed their human vices and weaknesses by God’s Almighty grace that’s always open to the humble of heart who turn to God in humble prayer.

Bo Sanchez


How to start living in heaven now
I HAVE an announcement to make: You’re an immortal being. You will never die. This is a bit difficult to swallow because we seem to be dying already. We see its undeniable evidence whenever we look at the mirror. We see that a few parts of our body have started to die. Look at your hair. For some of us, they started dying many years ago. Denuded spots appeared very early and no amount of reforestation program has worked. Your theme song is Shine Jesus Shine. Lookatyourskin.Agrandmother had her 6-year old grandchild on her lap. The little girl touched her grandmother’s face and asked, “Did God make you, Lola?” “Yes, God made me,” the older woman said. The girl then touched her own face and asked, “Did God make me, Lola?” “Yes, God made you too,” grandmother said. The little girl thought hard and smiled, “You know what Grandma? I think God is getting better in making people.” Death is all around us. Our friends die. Our relatives die. And their bodies get burned in an oven or get eaten by worms. Either way, they bodies disappear from the face of the earth. But here’s our belief: A part of you does not die. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” Death isn’t a dead-end but a doorway. Death is simply relocation. Death is changing your soul’s address from one universe to another universe. Believe me, this powerful truth—if you truly grasp it—will dramatically impact the way you live every single day of your life. Rewarding ceremony One day, Jesus said, Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1) Jesus was saying, “Hey, don’t try to get all your rewards on earth. There are more rewards in Heaven.” I believe that there’s a Rewarding Ceremony on earth but the bigger Rewarding Ceremony is in Heaven. The Law of the Farm—that you harvest what you plant, and reap what you sow—doesn’t only apply today on earth but also tomorrow in Heaven. What you do in this
Soulfood / B7

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 2
January 21 - February 3, 2013

Social Concerns


Typhoon survivors ask for chainsaws to cut coconut trees
By Bong D. Fabe
IN an ironic twist of fate, survivors of Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) in the province of Davao Oriental have a hard time repairing their damaged houses despite the abundance of felled coconut trees which they can use as cocolumber to rebuild their homes. Chainsaws--badly needed to cut coconut trees so residents can utilize them as lumber to rebuild their homes--are something that they don’t have. Residents are urging humanitarian organizations and government agencies helping Baganga rise back from destruction to also provide the survivors with chainsaws. Pablo, which unleashed its deadly wrath on the hapless mining province of Compostela Valley and coconut-rich coastal towns of Boston, Cateel and Baganga in the province of Davao Oriental on December 4, 2012, destroyed coconut farms totalling 101,356.5 hectares planted with more than 10 million coconut trees in the two provinces. This municipality has a total land area of 1,177 square kilometres comprising of 18 barangays. And most of the coconut farms here were flattened by Pablo, with the evidence of thousands of felled coconut trees everywhere. “Our family owns about eight hectares of cocoland here in Ban-ao. But Pablo destroyed every tree, leaving only 16 trees standing or two trees per hectare,” 53-year-old Armando Escamillian told this reporter in the dialect. Escamillian, along with 59-year-old Emiliano Pontillas, are asking aid and humanitarian organizations to also provide the victims with chainsaws to cut the coconut trees. “We don’t have anything left. Everything we owned, especially
Faithful / B6

Survivors hit absence of disaster response organizations in Baganga
By Bong D. Fabe
SURVIVORS have noted the “conspicuous absence” of so-called disaster response and humanitarian expert organizations in the area that badly and urgently needed their services. Barangay Chairperson Mera A. Ching, who was among the survivors of Pablo’s wrath, said she has not heard nor seen anyone representing the United Nations’ many humanitarian organizations. She was referring to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), among others. “I have heard about UN-OCHA. But no, they are not here in Ban-ao or in Baganga,” she told this reporter. Ching said that only local and national organizations, civic groups and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arms of the three big television networks, and other volunteer groups have been doing the rounds of distributing aid to the survivors in Baganga. She also questioned why these so-called disaster response and humanitarian expert organizations are holding its cluster coordination meetings in 5-star hotels in far-away Davao City, some 6 hours drive away from this coastal village that bounded the municipalities of Cateel and Baganga in the province of Davao Oriental. According to a humanitarian/disaster response volunteer from the United Kingdom, “UN-OCHA claimed to have been on the ground since Day 1.” This volunteer had a meeting with UN-OCHA National Disaster Response Advisor Agnes Palacio in one of the rooms of the Cateel District Hospital on December 29, 2012. During that meeting, Palacio allegedly said that UN-OCHA’s focus is Cateel because they are based in Cateel. “Basically, what she told us in the meeting is that Baganga is on its own,” the volunteer said, adding: “I don’t care if they have been on the ground since Day 1 or even before that. What I care about is where is UNOCHA’s impact on the survivors? Why did the survivors never mention UN-OCHA? It is because it is basically unknown here because it has not made it presence known or felt.” “Also, UN-OCHA or even IOM [International Organization for Migration] are calling for cluster coordination meetings in a five-star hotel in Davao City. Why should they hold meetings in that place very far away? There is just no sense to that. They always use ‘security issues’ as an excuse. What do they fear here? There is no security threat here. I am a foreigner here but I am at home here with these Pablo-survivors,” the volunteer said. As of December 30, 2012, UN-OCHA has not yet operationalized its cluster system or cluster coordination in the municipal or provincial level. In fact, UN-OCHA was just setting up its temporary offices at the Cateel District Hospital grounds on December 29, 2012. The UN-OCHA adopted the cluster coordination strategy after the UN General Assembly issued Resolution 46/182 in December 1991. Fourteen years later, the Humanitarian Reform of 2005 introduced new elements to humanitarian responses to improve capacity, predictability, accountability, leadership and partnership, with cluster approach as its most visible aspect. “Clusters are groups of humanitarian organizations (UN and non-UN) working in the main sectors of humanitarian action, e.g. shelter and health. They are created when clear humanitarian needs exist within a sector, when there are numerous actors within sectors and when national authorities need coordination support. Clusters provide a clear point of contact and are accountable for adequate and appropriate humanitarian assistance. Clusters create partnerships between international humanitarian actors, national and local authorities, and civil society,” UN-OCHA said in its website. It also explained that coordination is vital in emergencies since good coordination “means less gaps and overlaps in humanitarian organizations’ work. It strives for a needsbased, rather than capacity-driven, response. It aims to ensure a coherent and complementary approach, identifying ways to work together for better collective results.” Laurencio Batang, 59, one of the first inhabitants of the first “Tent Community” set up here by the Balay Mindanaw Group of NGOS (BMG) and the Disaster Aid International (DAI), said that even government agencies are absent. “Where are they? They are badly and immediately needed here,” he told this reporter. Despite the absence of the so-called disaster response and humanitarian expert organizations, the village of Ban-ao is slowly getting back on its feet again with the assistance of the Cagayan de Oro City-based BMG and its partner on the ground, DAI.
© Bong D. Fabe / CBCP Media

these two boys of Barangay Ban-ao, Baganga, Davao oriental play on a felled coconut tree along the beach while their parents are worrying how to repair their damaged houses with the abundance of coconut trees felled by Pablo’s strong winds but without any chainsaws to cut the trees into usable lumber sizes.

our houses were destroyed. Even our coconut trees were felled… We urgently need chainsaws so we can immediately use some of these trees as lumber with which to rebuild our homes,” he said. Pontillas’ beach-front house made of light materials was flattened when three tall coconut trees fell on it. Only a few residents here owned chainsaws, and those who do also rent out what they have to others after sawing several trees to various sizes to repair their own homes. Survivor Jilibeth Alao, 32, who was able to purchase a chainsaw for rent to augment her meager income, said that chainsaws are urgently and badly needed here now. Alao bought the chainsaw from the income of her small sari-sari store, which she established with her savings from being a household help in Dubai for four years. She returned to Ban-

ao in October 2011 to focus on her business, which was totally erased by Pablo in December 2012. Aid and humanitarian groups in the area have noted the exorbitant prices chainsaw owners are asking renters per hour. “At P2,000 (US$49.32) per hour, plus gasoline, it will be very hard to finish the job of utilizing all these trees into lumber,” a chainsaw operator who asked not to be identified said. Charlito “Kaloy” Manlupig, head of the Balay Mindanaw Group of NGOs (BMG) which adopted and focused its resources in Barangay Ban-ao had earlier urged the Trade and Industry department to monitor prices in the area. He also urged the Public Works and Highways department to deploy its machineries to help clear the millions of debris left by Pablo in its wake. In his latest report to donors
Year of Faith / B5

and partners, Manlupig said that “rentals for chainsaw use and price for good lumbers despite the coconut logs around have gone very high that they [survivors] do not have money to pay or could no longer afford to pay.” National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) pegged the cost of destroyed coconut farms to reach an estimated P6 billion (US$147,947,400). But Davao Oriental accounts for the bulk of the damage to coconut farms at over P4 billion (US$98,631,600). Davao Oriental has a total land area of 516,446 hectares (5,164 square kilometres). Of its total 223,771 hectares of agricultural land, 160,434 hectares are devoted to coconut, making the province the leading producer of coconuts in the entire Philippines. It is also the leading coconut product exporter in the entire country.

at Nazareth without retaliating. He simply passed through their midst, leaving them unharmed to reflect on the gravity of the crime they had committed. And when the harrowing things that had been written in the books of the prophets about the Messiah came to pass, Jesus did not balk. He stood at his post, even when his whole body shivered and drops of perspiration turned to blood. In the midst of that torment, Jesus was also deserted by his disciples and betrayed by the one he trusted most. But he did not back off. He did not rebel. Rather, he sought his refuge in prayer not trying “to twist God’s arm,” but to receive from Him the strength he needed to remain faithful to the end. In his anguish, he did ask his Father that—if possible— he might be spared the coming tortures, as any of us who is not a masochist would have done. But his conclusion was: “your will, not mine, be done!” And so it happened. Jesus paid the hefty price of his obedience unto death with unflinching heart. He thereby left us a wonderful example of how we should accomplish our mission with generous faithfulness.
Soulfood / B6

II and the images of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria and St. Pedro Calungsod to all the parishes. The fourth is to align the results of the Pastoral Visits 2011-2012 with the essential dimensions of faith. In order to achieve this goal, we shall have the Quadricentennial Conventions from February to September this year. Other activities lined up are Pastoral Congress on Ecological Concerns and Mining, Vicarial Youth Congress, and Formation Sessions for Parish Staff. It is also my hope that our faith will be reflected and expressed in honest and orderly elections this coming May 2013. V. Conclusion We ask Mary to show us her son Jesus. “We want to see Jesus” (Jn 12:21). I bless you and you families as we begin this Year of Faith. + GILBERT A. GARCERA, D.D. Bishop of Daet January 1, 2013
Sick / B2

world are seeds that bear fruit even after you die. God is a gentleman The Law of the Farm means that YOU choose where you want to go—Heaven or Hell. Some people think that God brings good people to Heaven and bad people to Hell. Some people imagine God to be this celestial policeman that grabs us by the collar and throws us to the prison of Hell where we will languish in eternal pain. I beg to disagree. God is a Father. He created us to be one with Him forever. So Heaven is His choice for you. Always. But He won’t force you to go there if you don’t want to. The Bible says He knocks at the door of your heart. He won’t barge in. He won’t bulldoze His way in. He’s the perfect gentleman. One theologian said that people who go to Hell would not be forced to go there. There will be no guards to drag them there in chains, while they scream, “Noooooooo! Give me one last time!” They will go there on their own. Every person who goes to Hell will do so out of his own volition. Let me put it this way: When we die, there’ll be two signposts. One points to Heaven and the other points to Hell. Some people, because of the hatred in their hearts, will choose Hell. Your Afterlife Is A Mirror Of What’s In Your Heart When I was in high school, my friends and I went to Fiesta Carnival in Cubao. (During my time, that was the only place where you could ride a decent rollercoaster.) Let’s call my two classmates

Ulap and Apoy. Ulap loved rollercoasters. He couldn’t stop dreaming about it, he couldn’t stop talking about it, and he couldn’t stop riding it every chance he gets. But not Apoy. He feared it with every ounce of his body. But on that day, Ulap dared Apoy. He said, “Ride the rollercoaster or you’re one big chicken!” And Ulap, being a typical bully that he was, shouted, “Chicken! Chicken! Chicken!” a hundred times until Apoy finally agreed to ride the rollercoaster. Which was a big mistake. Because Apoy couldn’t even ride the Merry Go Round without throwing up. For Apoy, an escalator was already too exciting. So when Ulap and Apoy rode the rollercoaster, I heard them shrieking to the top of their voices. “Wheeeeeee!” and “Whaaaaaa!” both of them screamed. Except that Ulap was shrieking out of sheer delight. And Apoy was shrieking out of sheer terror. When both stepped out of the rollercoaster, Ulap was in Heaven and Apoy was in Hell. It was the same ride, but they had two very opposite experiences. My story is a very imperfect analogy. (Please don’t take my analogy literally.) But I share it to you to emphasize one simple point: I believe your afterlife will be a mirror of what is in your heart. A loving person will feel at home in Heaven. A loving person will feel at home with God. But a hateful, selfish, cruel person will feel tortured in Heaven because he can’t stand the presence of perfect love, that he’d rather go to Hell—away from that perfect love.

She does not lose hope in God’s victory over evil, pain and death, and she knows how to accept in one embrace of faith and love, the Son of God who was born in the stable of Bethlehem and died on the Cross. Her steadfast trust in the power of God was illuminated by Christ’s resurrection, which offers hope to the suffering and renews the certainty of the Lord’s closeness and consolation. 5. Lastly, I would like to offer a word of warm gratitude and encouragement to Catholic health care institutions and to civil society, to Dioceses and Christian communities, to religious congregations engaged in the pastoral care of the sick, to health care workers’ associations and to volunteers. May all realize ever more

fully that “the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick” (Christifideles Laici, 38). I entrust this Twenty-first World Day of the Sick to the intercession of Our Lady of Graces, venerated at Altötting, that she may always accompany those who suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope. May she assist all who are involved in the apostolate of mercy, so that they may become good Samaritans to their brothers and sisters afflicted by illness and suffering. To all I impart most willingly my Apostolic Blessing. From the Vatican, 2 January 2013 BENEDICTUS PP XVI


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SIXTY years before the events in the Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is recruited by Gandalf, the Grey (McKellen) into becoming the “burglar” for Thorin and his company of 12 dwarves as the latter set out to reclaim their kingdom, the Lonely Mountain f ro m t h e d r a g o n S m a u g . Bilbo at first is reluctant, but curiosity and desire for adventure takes over so he sets out and runs after the Company of Dwarves. On the way, they are attacked by trolls, meet the wizard Radagast, the Brown where they are hinted that the Necromancer has risen, chased by the Orcs and are almost killed by Azog, the Orc war-chief who lost his arm to Thorin in a previous battle. Bilbo also has an encounter with Gollum and manages to keep the ring of power after he wins in a game of riddles. The film ends with the group seeing Lonely Mountain in a distance and the dragon Smaug waking up. The Hobbit successfully recreates the visual tone of Lord of the Rings. This naturally means cinematography, art direction and special effects are stunning. (We watched the movie in 3D, hence there was this added quality of depth of detail and clarity of images). However, the animation, although still an outstanding feat was a bit

too sharp and felt more like a video game losing a little of its mystique. Story wise, it tried to be faithful to the details of the novel but catering more to the adult viewers instead of children readers as the author originally intended. Needless to say for non-Tolkien fans, the movie will feel too long stopping action without going over-the-top or drawing too much attention to it. The Hobbit is an epic experience visually and mentally but does feel a bit stretched too much for comfort. A tighter editing and trimming down of repetitive scenes are needed. There are several quotable
Moral Assessment

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 2

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Technical Assessment

 Abhorrent  Disturbing  Acceptable  Wholesome  exemplary

 Poor  Below average  Average  Above average  excellent

Title: the hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis Direction: Peter Jackson Genre: Fantasy Adventure Location: Middle earth Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Running Time: 169 minutes Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  CINEMA Rating : V14

and dragging with all the characters, encounters and exchanges of lengthy words. Jackson is still a superb story-teller because even for a heavy narrative-based film, he has intelligently inserted animated suspense and heart-

quotes which translates also into great moral reminders. For instance, Gandalf telling Bilbo that courage is not knowing when to take a life but when to spare one. This is a philosophy that needs to be emphasized these days when the value

of life is negated. Another quote and lesson is delivered by Bilbo as he returns to aid the Dwarves even though he could have turned back and returned home because he empathizes with them for losing theirs. Again, this is a

timely reminder for people to be heroes and saviors, especially to those who have lost so much or own so little. The challenge it to extend help when they can even if it inconveniences them. The values of teamwork,

courage and defending one’s self without killing are reiterated throughout the movie. T h e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s a re inspiring and redemptive emphasizing self-sacrifice, honor, kindness and bravery. T h e re a re s o m e v i o l e n t scenes, scary characters and intense battle sequences. Parents should be wary of ideas and scenes that refer to cannibalism, use of wizardry and magic, and mutilation.

WHEN their family-managed zoo in Pondicherry, India, is forced to close down due to poor business, Santosh Patel (Adi Hussein) decides to move his whole family—his wife Gita (Tabu), and sons Ravi (played at ages 7, 14 and 19 by Ayan Khan, Mohd Abbas Kahleeli and Vibish Sivakumar) and Pi (played at ages 5 and 11 by Gautam Belur and Ayoush Tandor)—along with the zoo animals to Canada. Here begins the story that is told in flashback over a home-cooked vegetarian meal by an adult Pi (Irfan Khan), now a professor of comparative religion in Montreal, Canada. Pi’s sole listener is a skeptic writer (Rafe Spall) who had heard from his uncle in India about Pi’s unusual ordeal at sea—a story, he is told, “that would make you believe in God.” As Pi narrates, the family’s sea voyage with a shipload of drugged animals is aborted by a terrible squall that sinks the whole ship in minutes, leaving only the 17-year old Pi (Suraj Sharma) on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a Bengal tiger. One by one the animals go, until there is only the tiger with Pi. How Pi manages to survive 227 days with a man-eating beast at sea forms the meat of the story. The best selling novel of Yan Martell, Life of Pi, has sold over seven million copies, been translated into several languages, and was in the New York Times bestseller list for over a year, but it was considered an un-filmable story. Now this Ang Lee directorial masterpiece for 20th Century Fox ought to put to rest all doubts as to the novel’s “filmability”, having seamlessly and amazingly interwoven the best of the best of CGI and flesh and blood footage of live action. Credit goes to Rhythm and Hues Visual Effects for the most work on special effects. It is hard to believe that the Pi character, first time actor Suraj Shama, was never actually filmed with a live tiger on the lifeboat. How could it have been faked when it looked so real?, one might ask, and the only explanation would be “computer magic”. Life of Pi is nothing short of magical, especially in the way it reveals the paradoxical marvels of the sea to the viewer: its rage swallows up Pi’s whole family, yet its bounty keeps him and the carnivore alive; it grips the boy gutless in fear for his life, yet its very emptiness fills his soul with hope for happier days. At night when all is lost in its pitch darkness it stuns Pi with phosphorescence from a million jellyfish, and dwarfs him with a luminescent whale leaping out of the unfathomable depths. Experiencing nature in Life of Pi as it may never have been experienced before by the viewer definitely adds enchantment to the film. It also ensures and justifies the viewer’s attention to the spiritual dimension of the story. Not many may appreciate, however, the movie’s cosmic outlook in matters relating to God. Having been born to Hinduism that introduced him to millions of

Title: life of Pi Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adi hussein, tabu, Gerard Depardieu Director: Ang lee Distributor: 20th Century Fox Location: India, taiwan, Canada Technical Assessment:  Moral Assessment:  ½ CINEMA Rating: PG 13 (May be viewed by children below 13 with parental guidance)

gods, the child Pi cannot make sense of a man crucified for other people’s sins, and yet admits to an obsession with The Son powerful enough to make him announce to his parents that he wants to be baptized (a Catholic). This aspect of the film is something that demands mature interpretation in and for the moviegoer. While Catholicism is sympathetically portrayed here—a priest (Andrea di Stefano) is shown slaking the boy’s actual thirst by giving him a glass of water, symbolic of the Living Water?—Life of Pi does not pretend to offer catechesis but merely demonstrates a young mind’s search for God. The boy eventually embraces three religions (the third being Islam), much to the chagrin of his rational father, but Pi’s naivete disarms everybody when he says he just wants “to love God”. A lover of God, a true follower of Christ, will not have a problem with Pi’s expression of the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love. Love of one’s enemy is evident in Pi’s regard for the tiger—he could have let him drown when the beast fell into the sea, but instead, he goes out of his way to get the animal back into the boat. He even fishes and collects rainwater for the animal to consume, hoping endlessly that the beast would one day recognize his goodwill. Pi’s faith in a Living God in time of darkness is made apparent as well, when at the end of his wits he tearfully rails at the sky, “I surrender… I’ve lost everything… what more do you want?” Thereisalsoalessoninunconditional love and detachment which Pi cannot seem to learn: love without expecting to be loved or to change the beloved to your liking. For 227 days he has bent over backward to keep the tiger alive, and yet in the end it remains a cold feline, leaving him behind without as much as a goodbye glance.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 01
January 21 - February 3, 2013


A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

KC joins Nuestra Señora Del Pilar’s Canonical Coronation
Hundreds of Brother Knights from different places in the country joined the Canonical Coronation of Nuestra Señora Del Pilar last December 3 led by His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle.
The participation of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines emphasized their camaraderie and support to the Roman Catholic Church, according to Retired Navy Commodore Amado Sanglay, I-31 District Deputy and Round Table of District Deputies Chairman in the Diocese of Imus. “His Holiness recognizes the Marian Image under a specific title being venerated in a certain locality, which is the Nuestra Señora Del Pilar here in Cavite, and the image is historically old and truly miraculous,” Sanglay explained of the occasion. He emphasized that the Canonical Coronation was also in recognition of the deep devotion the faithful has

Brother Knights in Cavite give an arrival honor procession to His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle during the Canonical Coronation of Nuestra Señora Del Pilar on December 3.

MACE Insurance Agency, Inc. settles KC Shield Protection Insurance
MACE Insurance Agency, Inc. through Federal Phoenix Assurance Company recently settled the death benefits of the widow Riva R. Camacho (right) after filing a claim on her husband Xerxes' death benefit. Xerxes B. Camacho was insured through the KC Shield of Protection Personal Accident Insurance Program, a partnership product between Federal Phoenix and Mace Insurance Agency, Inc., a wholly owned company of KCFAPI that serves the non-life insurance requirements of KC members and families. Xerxes Camacho's death benefit will go a long way to comfort the bereaved family he left behind, his wife and their three children. Bro. Eugenio C. Dolorzo is a KC member of UEP Council 5744 from Catarman, Northern Samar and also a Fraternal Counselor

KCFAPI, Mindanao Jurisdiction hold ‘bayanihan’ in ComVal
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI) together with the Mindanao J ur i s d i ct i on conducted a ‘bayanihan’ in Compostela Valley for the Typhoon Pablo victims. The KCFAPI initiated the move and the budget was taken from the funds intended supposedly for the Mindanao Fraternal Counselors’ Christmas party, according to Mindanao Deputy Balbino Fauni. “We visited the Compostela Valley together with the KCFAPI officers headed by our President Stanley Aying of Sarangani Bay Assembly ACN 1770 and Past Grand Knight Jaime Camus joined the dist r ib u t ion of financial assistance to the victims of typhoon Pablo in Monkayo, Compostela

of the Blessed Mother, especially in Cavite. Historically, the image of the Nuestra Señora Del Pilar was brought to the Philippines in 1623 by Father Martin Lumbreras y Peralta, OAR (Blessed Martin de San Nicolas, 15981632) before it was enshrined in the San Nicolas de Tolentino Church in Intramuros. On May 28, 1694 the image was moved to Imus, Cavite and enshrined at Imus Cathedral, also known as Our Lady of the Pillar Parish. (KC News)

What better way to express our love and concern for our family than to ensure their security and protection! KCFAPI Hon. Chairman Hilario G. Davide, Jr. did just that when he availed of KCFAPI insurance coverage for his family last Christmas. Inset is a photo of (L-R) FC Emma Nena Gumapac with KCFAPI Hon. Chairman Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and wife Virginia P. Davide during the issuance of Benefit Certificate. Their children Atty. Hilario P. Davide III, Joseph Bryan P. Davide, Sheryl Ann D. Ureta, Noreen D. Salas, and Delster Emmanuel P. Davide are also covered with KCFAPI Gold Assurance Plan.

MACE Soliciting Associate, Bro. Eugenio C. Dolorzo, handing over the P1 Million check to Sis. Riva R. Camacho.

of KCFAPI was the one who handed over the death benefit to Sis. Riva Camacho.

Guillermo Hernandez and Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group Gari San Sebastian last December 11, 2012. More than 200 assorted packs composed of foods and household needs were all given to the parish priest of Nabunturan Fr. Jun-jun Toyco and his Vicar priest,” Fauni said. He added that they decided to give the donations directly to Fr. Toyco to distribute to more than

500 families who were not able to receive any assistance from the government agencies since the time the typhoon devastated their area and up to the time they arrived. Moreover, last December 28, 2012 and January 6, 2013, Fauni together with Regional Deputy Jaime Bansuelo of Region XII, Grand Knight Remy Silvano of Co. 12608, Faithful Navigator

Valley. “There were more than 70 families who were members of St. Ignatius de Loyola Council 10507 who were affected. Aside from cash assistance we also gave relief goods and rice. The donations all came from the different councils in Mindanao Jurisdiction who answered our call

Bayanihan / C2

1st ordained priest in Iligan is KCFAPI scholar
ILIGAN Bishop Elenito Galido, DD led the priestly ordination of Fr. Jonald C. Apaon, a KC-priest scholar and the first ordained priest of San Roque Parish of Acmac, Iligan City held last December 6. The ordination was concelebrated by San Roque Parish Priest Fr. Dwight C. Calaor and supported by the Knights of Columbus Mindanao Jurisdiction led by Deputy Balbino Fauni. Council 8681 of San Roque was led by District Deputy Lito Casino while Past Grand Knight Rene Maceda, Grand Knight Avelino Sabandal, District Deputies of I27 Gerasta and District Deputy Depaur of I23 coordinated and helped the parish in the preparation of the ordination. There

(L-R) The newly ordained priest Rev. Fr. Jonald C. Apaon, Bishop Elenito Galid, and Mindanao Deputy Balbino Fauni.

Photo shows retired navy Commodore Amado A. Sanglay (4th from left), KCFAPI President Guillermo N. Hernandez (center), and Isagani B. Maghirang (4th from right), Master of the Fourth Degree of District V – Southern Tagalog Luzon Ferdinand Magellan Province together with the other Brother Knights during their Fourth Degree Exemplification closing program held at the Multipurpose hall, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Station Pascual Ledesma, Cavite City on December 22. (KC News)

were more than 41 diocesan and religious priests who attended the rites. “Members of the Fourth Degree of
Scholar / C2

Palmer Odviar

The Cross

Chairman’s Message
THE year 2012 was a year of overwhelming transcendental spiritual blessings which God the Father, through His only Son Jesus whose 2012th birth anniversary we celebrated with great joy, and in unity with the Holy Spirit, poured upon the Philippines without and beyond all measure. Almighty God gifted the Filipinos with the canonization of the second Filipino saint—San Pedro Calungsod—and with the elevation to the College of Cardinals by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI of the seventh Filipino Cardinal—His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, a K of C priest-scholar. These manifestations of God’s love for us Filipinos not only require of us the expression of profoundest everlasting gratitude to Him; they demand from us our unconditional fidelity to our Faith in the year 2013 by proclaiming and celebrating the Year of Faith and by being brave and courageous advocates and instruments of the New Evangelization. Thus, we must consider 2013 as a year of tremendous and arduous challenges for all of us. We should not only pray and work to make it peaceful and prosperous; we should make it a year of more spiritual harvests that would bring us much closer to God Almighty, to Jesus Christ in His Cross of Redemption, and to the Holy Spirit for the gifts of wisdom in order that we can be of selfless service to God’s people and of greater love to our countrymen. With all of these in mind, your Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) has adapted for the year 2013 the theme: Proclaiming and Celebrating Faith, with Faith becoming an acronym to mean: Fulfilling the Mission; Achieving the Vision; Innovating in a New Dimension; Transcending Challenges Beyond Expectations; Heightening Engagement and Satisfaction. Built into the theme are plans, programs and budgets that would lead the KCFAPI into the forefront as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ in proclaiming and celebrating Faith and in the task of the New Evangelization. May the New Year then further transform all of us in Faith, Hope and Love. VIVAT JESUS!

The Cross

CBCP Monitor
January 21 - February 3, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 01

Hilario G. Davide, Jr.

The Cause for the Beatification of Father George J. Willmann, SJ
EMULATING the virtues that bespeak of sanctity of a person, like Father George J. Willmann, is what we need today to draw us into a deeper living out of the fullest meaning of our Catholic Faith in the context of increasing secularism. Thus, we believe, is one of the most important objectives in initiating the Cause of the good Father George. As prescribed by the Congregation for Causes of Saints in Rome, a person may be elevated to the honors of the altar if he has lived up to a “heroic” degree of the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity, as well as the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. We believe that Father Willmann practiced them all to an exceptional degree. In order to establish and widen the fame of Sanctity of Father Willmann, may we call on all Brother Knights, their families and friends to respond to the following appeal: • Submission of testimonies on Fr. Willmann’s heroic virtues; • Recitation of Prayer for his Beatification in private and during K of C meetings and affairs; • Invocation of his intercession in our prayers; • Submission of Reports on answered prayers through the intercession of Father Willmann; • Visitation of his tomb in the Sacred Heart Novitiate Cemetery, Novaliches, Quezon City. • Membership to Fr. George J. Willmann Fellows. This is a challenge for all of us Knights of Columbus members, who dearly love Father George J. Willmann, SJ.

Prayer for the Beatification of Father George J. Willmann, SJ
LORD God, look down upon us, your children, who are trying to serve You with all our hearts, in our beloved land, the Philippines. Deign to raise Fr. George J. Willmann, of the Society of Jesus, to the honors of the altar. He is the wise, strong, cheerful, dauntless model that all of our Filipino men need in this new era, in this new millennium. He was your Knight, Your gentle warrior, especially in his ministry with the Knights of Columbus. A man leading other men, in the war of good against evil, in the war of the Gospel of Life against the Culture of Death. Make him the lamp on the lamp stand giving light to all in the house. Make him the city set on the mountain, which cannot be hid, so that all of us may learn from his courage, his integrity, his indomitable spirit in the struggle to lead men to God, and to bring God to man. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bayanihan / C1

Guillermo N. Hernandez

to share and to donate any amount or in kind to help our Brother Knights in Monkayo. Provincial Deputy Ludovico Abellar guided us in going to the area,” Fauni said. The latter added that the K of C officers and members in coordination with the parish priest of St. Ignatius De Loyola developed a rehabilitation program for Pablo’s victims. More assistance The Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction headed by Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap gave cash donations to the victims of Typhoon Pablo. “I was informed by our Mindanao K of C Office in Davao City that our Luzon Deputy Brother Boy Yap sent P100,000.00 as he promised during our KCFAPI Christmas Party in Manila last December 2012 and true

President’s Message
IT has been tough and getting even tougher for the Catholic Faith in the world. Anti life legislations had been passed in quite a number of countries, and the Philippines was not spared from this. Just before the year 2012 ended, the RH Bill was enacted into law amidst strong protests from pro-life groups, principally the Catholic Church and its allies. On the horizon now lies the Divorce Bill and possibly the Same Sex Marriage Bill too, both going against the very vein of the sanctity of the sacrament of matrimony. Indeed the world has changed a great deal and our Faith is confronted if not besieged with critical issues that could be legislated upon by the State to the detriment of what the Church has all along stood for. Yes, it is a time when our Faith is tested to its limits. As Pope Benedict XVI has said in his Apostolic letter Porta Fidei, “today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.” It is clear then that we have to rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life offered as sustenance for us. Let us not despair therefore for in the end we will shine with radiance… Never allowing ourselves as tasteless nor hidden as a saving light. True to our Faith, together as members of the Order of the Knights of Columbus and KCFAPI, we should take the lead in 2013 and beyond, and categorically declare to our Lord Jesus Christ to give our utmost for His best, our fullest for His Praise, and our highest for His Glory, in proclaiming and celebrating our Faith, Vivat Jesus!

Luzon celebrates State Chaplain’s 40th Sacerdotal Anniversary
MOST Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, Bishop of Cubao and State Chaplain of the Luzon Jurisdiction celebrated his 40th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood with a concelebrated mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao last December 8. The anniversary was witnessed by Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap and his wife Annie, State Secretary Joven B. Joaquin, State Advocate Justice Jose C. Reyes Jr., State Warden Pascual C. Carbero, Church Director Vicente Ortega and his wife Pearl, State Community Director Romulo Estrella and his wife Zeny, and State Laiko Representative Jose Lingao. Honor Guards from the P. Gomez Assembly and Maharlika Assembly headed by FN Danilo del Rosario gave color to the Mass. Lunch followed at the function room of the Obispado de Cubao, Lantana St., Cubao. Meanwhile, the Luzon Jurisdiction also held an Advent Recollection with Msgr. Joselito Asis, Secretary General of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) last December 7. Spiritual Formation Group head Luis Adriano, Jr. led the event. The one-day recollection was done at the KCFAPI Oratory and attended by State Auditor Raul Villanueva, State Culture of Life Chairman Teodulo Sandoval, Light Up For Christ Chairman Rolando Luciano and other Spiritual Formators. A Christmas party followed with Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap as special guest. t

to his words the said amount was deposited to our Mindanao account. And with this new development definitely our group will be back again to visit our brother knights in Monkayo and in New Bataan where more than 25 members of our Order were also victims of the typhoon. We are very glad and grateful to our generous brothers,” Fauni said. He furthered that the Monkayo in Compostela Valley was not mentioned in the early mass media reporting because the focus was given to Davao Oriental due to number of casualties and the parish priest was appealing to different NGO and government agencies and private companies to help them. The localities were calling on the national government to stop the illegal gold diggings in their vicinity.

“We gave financial assistance to the victims and some relief goods. These donations came from different councils in Mindanao which we have requested. We will be back again to Monkayo in January to give assistance to those who were not able to come due to their pressing work,” Fauni added. Many Brother Knights were victims of Typhoon Pablo and they needed assistance including the 73 members of Council 10507. “A lot of houses were damaged including their farms, coconut trees were uprooted and bananas cut in half. The late brother Heracleo Codilla passed away due to asthma because the roof of their house fell. He experienced severe coldness that led to his death. We gave financial assistance to the bereaved family through Brother Abellar,” Fauni said (MindaNews)

Council 1000 unveils ‘Monument of the Unborn’
THE Knights of Columbus Manila Council 1000 officially unveiled its symbolic monument declaring the Knights’ commitment to and reverence for life. With the battle cry “SPARE and PROTECT the UNBORN” the KCMC 1000 of Intramuros, Manila held the unveiling of the “Monument of the Unborn” last December 12. The event started with a mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Arnold Sta. Maria, OSA. The blessing of the monument and a short program and socialization followed at the Fraternal Lounge. The said project was made possible through the joint efforts and sponsorships of Grand Knight Antonio T. Hernandez and Pro-Life Director Patrio A. Guasa, respectively. The 4 x 8 metallic plate marker was conspicuously placed at the historical K of C Manila Council 1000 edifice located at Beaterio Sts, Intramuros, Manila. Meanwhile, a group of experts from National Historical Commission (NHC) headed by Architect Cris Lustre visited the Manila Council 1000 last December 2012. The visit was in relation with the request of Council 1000 for the inclusion of the KCMC 1000 building as a historical entity constructed inside Intramuros under the leadership of Fr. George Willmann, S.J. Worthy Grand Knight Antonio T. Hernandez together with Facilities Manager Bro. Jose A. Lakas, Jr and Past Grand Knight Florentino B. Rosario warmly welcomed the visitors. (KCMC 1000 Chronicle)

Oldest K of C Council sponsors SPED Scouts
A TOTAL of 15 Special Children (SPED) Scouts from various institutions in the City of Manila received sponsorship from Council 1000’s Past Grand Knights (PGKs) in the KID, KAB & SPED Scouts Manila Ocean Park Adventure Day Camp held last November 25, 2012 at Luneta, Manila. The project was implemented in partnership between Manila Council Boy Scouts of the Philippines and KCMC 1000 to promote awareness and exposure of the SPED Scouts in Manila. The PGKs who voluntarily offered financial assistance were Bro. Cesar S. Galang, Bro. Santiago L. Morante, Bro. Alonso L. Tan, Bro. Efren Edgard P. Dieta, Bro. Diosdado A. Sapo
Scholar / C1

and Grand Knight Bro. Antonio T. Hernandez. Youth Director Bro. Jermie Jose J. Trasga sincerely thanked the PGKs for the generosity and support extended to the youth. Moreover, the Manila Council 1000 also hosted its 1st Columbian Squires Friendly “DOTA” Tournament last November 25 at Minesky Infinity, Morayta, Manila with Circles 1000, 4488 and 5605 as competing teams. The said tournament was supervised by State Squires Area Chairman of the Archdiocese of Manila Bro. Jun S. Florendo together with Circle Counselors Brothers Jay P. Ballon, Jomari D. Baay, Jeric P. Ballon and Manuel Ashley Crisostomo. (KCMC 1000 Chronicle)

Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc., is an established mutual benefits association and a scientifically designed insurance system organized exclusively for the members of the Knights of Columbus and their immediate families. At present, the Association is looking for professionals in the field of: Customer Service • Real Estate • Audit • Accounting • Marketing & Sales • Management • Actuarial If you are dedicated, service-oriented, and have the promising potential to join us in our continuous drive to provide mutual aid, assistance and excellent service to our members. Kindly send your comprehensive resume’ thru fax number 527-2244 or hand-carry resume’ with a 2x2 photo and transcript of records to:

KC Family . . . Our Concern
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES INC. Gen. Luna cor. Sta. Potenciana Sts., Intramuros, Manila You may also call 527 – 2223 local 202 for queries and look for Ms. Ma. Kristianne Pascual or or Ms. Gladys Lovette Luis The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc., is an established and progressive mutual benefits association operating for 54 years, has been highly committed to provide mutual aid and assistance to its members and their immediate families. KCFAPI firmly believes that the continued progress and success of the association depends to a great extent on its human capital KCFAPI also believes that through training and a host of other benefits if coupled with hard work, will help employees and the association attain their goals and objectives. In our continuous drive to provide excellent service to our members, we are inviting individuals with promising potentials. He must be dedicated, service oriented, and willing to undergo training Our compensation and employee benefits are comparable, if not better than most companies of our same size and nature of business.

Manuel L. Quezon Assembly provided the honor guards to add color to the event. We had a chance to have a picture taken with Fr. Jonald and Bishop Galido and he was very much thankful for the support of the Knights of Columbus. In his thanksgiving message, Fr. Jonald shared his heartfelt

thanks and appreciation to the Knights of Columbus. Rev. Fr. Alberto De Lara, Rector of Inahan sa Kinabuhi College Seminary, Iligan City informed me that they will make a recommendation of sponsoring a scholarship for poor and deserving seminarians,” said Fauni. (KC News)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 01
January 21 - February 3, 2013

The Cross


Beyond questions of politics, abortion fundamentally remains a moral issue that Christians have a duty to oppose.
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
THIS month, we observe the 40th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. Of all the things that will be said about this court case in the days ahead, one thing remains beyond dispute: Abortion is the issue that will not go away. Indeed, 40 years after the Supreme Court handed down its decision, most Americans consider abortion to be morally wrong, and a large majority wants significant restrictions on its availability. As long as this is the case, Roe v. Wade cannot be considered as “settled.” There is another reason as well: The fundamental ruling of Roe v. Wade rests upon a falsehood, namely that we cannot tell when the life of a human being begins. Today, we know beyond doubt that a child in the womb is precisely that—a child. No constitutional system can rest secure when it is premised on what is widely believed by many to be a lie. And there is a third reason: No legal system can be truly committed to human rights if it supports the principle that it is acceptable to intentionally kill the innocent. Roe v. Wade not only accepts this principle, but elevates it to a constitutional right. During the recent U.S. elections, some pro-life candidates poorly articulated their position and lost, and some pro-abortion candidates embraced their position to an extreme and still won. For this reason, some have suggested that a candidate in the future cannot hope to be both pro-life and successful. The grand illusion regarding the abortion issue is that it can be treated exclusively in political terms. Because abortion is fundamentally a moral question, we should expect it to be resolved in accordance with philosophical and ethical principles. Certainly, many of those who voted in favor of abortion rights were acting according to their own principles. For nearly two centuries, philosophers of both the left and the right have laid the groundwork for society’s acceptance of abortion. In the 19th century, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels argued that the traditional family structure oppressed women. The only way women could gain true equality, they said, was to be “liberated” from the responsibilities of motherhood and family, and by finding employment outside the home. For these writers, the demands of family life made true equality impossible. On the other side, the libertarian philosopher John Stuart Mill likewise believed that the communal demands of family life made true individual freedom impossible. Whether socialist or libertarian, both sides saw family as the problem and agreed that the solution was for women to escape motherhood and family. And so today, on both the left and the right, we find those who maintain that “liberation” depends upon the absolute power to control fertility and therefore depends upon the availability of legal abortion. Within the Christian tradition, we understand that, in regard to the transmission of human life, we are called to cooperate with our Creator and that no person is entitled to claim absolute control over another human life already called into existence. The life of every human being is first and foremost a gift of the Creator. In these circumstances, the responsibility of Catholics remains clear: It is to articulate a clear, consistent understanding of Catholic social teaching in regard to the dignity of the human person, marriage and the family. It is our responsibility to

Our Moral Responsibility

do this in season and out of season, regardless of which political party may benefit. As Catholics, our course must be set by our Church’s moral compass and not by partisan political calculation or advantage. And what of the Knights of

Columbus? We are called to be what our name implies—to be faithful, to be steadfast, to come to the defense of those who cannot defend themselves and to remain on the field until the field is won. Vivat Jesus!

Luzon visits Missionaries of Charity and QC Jail
LUZON Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap State Program Director Bonifacio Martinez and State Membership Recruitment Chairman Conrado Dator, Jr. visited the Children’s Center of the Missionaries of Charity in Delpan, San Nicolas, Manila and donated some food and milk last December 17, 2012. Every Christmas, the Luzon Jurisdiction conducts some charitable works and mingle with the children aged 5 years and below of the said institution headed by Sister Gloriossia, MC. The Missionaries of Charity is an international religious family of pontifical right composed of active and contemplative branches with perpetual public vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and provides wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor. The Society was founded by Mother M. Teresa, M.C. in Calcutta, India, and now houses on every continent and in most of the countries of the world. Their particular mission is to labor for the salvation and the sanctification of the poorest of the poor all over the world. Meanwhile, Luzon State Chaplain and Cubao Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco, celebrated the 5th Novena Mass for Ch r i st ma s a t t h e Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology (Quezon City Jail) with Rev. Fr. Raul D. Buen, CM, Priest Coordinator for Ministry of Restorative Justice of the Diocese of Cubao last December 19, 2012. Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap attended the Mass together with State Church Director Vicente Ortega and Columbian Squires Chairman Jose Cuaresma. The Padre Gomez Assembly donated snacks for the inmates. Jail intelligence Officer Roberto Fernan-

KCFAPI Gift Giving Committee renders 2012 report
THE Gift Giving Committee of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) accomplished all its plans and programs to stimulate the objectives of the insurance arm of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines for the year 2012 through various activities that raised enough funds to help those in need. According to the Committee Chairperson Carmelita Ruiz, after the approval of the proposed activities last year, they were able to raise an estimated P10,000.00 which were donated to the victims of the earthquake in Negros Oriental through the Visayas Jurisdiction. “Last March 2012, we launched our “So that the world may know new hope” shirt. Each shirt entitles the buyer a chance to win in any of the five weekly raffle draws. Prizes were various KCFAPI and Fr. Willmann promo items and we raised about P26,000.00.” Ms. Ruiz added that in September, the KCFAPI Gift Giving Committee participated in the weeklong anniversary celebration by donating P10,000.00 for the medical mission of the KCFAPI Spiritual Committee, which include among chosen beneficiaries the young and old residents of Intramuros, Manila. They also put up a “Garage Sale” and raised an amount of P5,000.00. On the second week of October, the committee distributed some goods to the young cancer patients of Philippine General Hospital and by December last year, they had enough funds to donate to the Missionaries of Charity with the help of the other KCFAPI committees and employees and with the support of the Knights of Columbus and KCFAPI Officials like President Guillermo Hernandez and Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa Curia. “We received full support from our fellow employees throughout the year and we are hoping that it will continue this year. Being part of the Gift Giving Committee is a great accomplishment as a person… overwhelming and fulfilling… more than words can say,” MS. Ruiz ended. The 2012 KCFAPI Gift Giving Committee members were Ira Tee, Marianne Malabanan, Joan Apad, Rick Jason Mariano, Gerard Joseph Francisco, Resty Yanzon, Gloria Alegre, and Annalyn Malong. (KCFAPI News)

dez, a member of Sta. Teresita Quezon City Council 12308, said that although the facility is designed only for 1,500 inmates, it is actually housing 2,670 inmates, with the basketball court serving as sleeping area for the inmates at night. The inmates prepared the liturgy for the celebration, with the jail choir singing during the mass backed up by various musical instruments like electric guitars, drum set, and trumpet with sound system. (LuzonNews)

Council 11847 launches first K of C Compass in the Sky
THE Knights of Columbus in the Philippines - Council 11847 of the Mary Mother of Good Counsel Parish in Parañaque City inaugurated the First K of C Compass in the Sky last December 15. Instead of the North, South, East and West, the Points are the Virtues and Principles of Knights of Columbus - Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. It was installed 25 feet above the ground and on top of the K of C Gazebo, with the Philippine Flag placed on the summit. The occasion started with a concelebrated Holy Mass by the Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Francis Siguan Jr. and Rev. Fr. Lindon Lopez. The Council’s Honor Guards in their full regalia were in attendance during the Holy Mass and the Blessing of the K of C Gazebo. Past Faithful Navigator Manuel Jacela and President of the MGV Phase 4 Homeowners Association was the proponent of the project and said in his speech that he wanted to emphasize and remind the homeowners and whole community, mostly composed by the members of the Knights of Columbus, the Principles of the Order which is why in the Compass of Virtue, the arrow always point to Charity. Grand Knight Rolando Zabala, acknowledged all attendees and expressed his profound gratitude to the MGV Phase 4 Home Owners Association whose directors were all Brother Knights. The area is now known as K of C Compass in the Sky Park which is visible to all in the community. The celebrations also coincided with the Council Christmas party with the theme: “Pasko ng Pagkakaisa ay kay Saya,” which was attended by

more than 250 Brother Knights and their Families. Parañaque City local officials came to witness the inauguration and gave their warm Christmas Message to the congregation. (Frich Policarpio/KC News)

9 board passers receive academic excellence award

NINE board passers from different industries have received the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ. Award for Academic Excellence given by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) on December 16. The awarding ceremony was conducted during the ”2nd Knights of Columbus Couples’ Christmas Party” initiated by the Round table of District Deputies (RTDD) of Nueva Ecija and Aurora. Special guests during the event were KCFAPI Chairman Hilario Davide, Jr., KCFAPI President Guillermo Hernandez, and KC-

FAPI VP for Fraternal Benefits Group Gari San Sebastian. It was assisted by the Chairman Emeritus Reynaldo B. Odulio, RTDD of Nueva Ecija and Aurora together with RTDD of Nueva Ecija and Aurora Chairman Gil Dindo O. Berino (District C01) and KCFAPI Area Manager and Regional Membership Director Manuel L. Naldoza. The awardees were children of KC members in Nueva Ecija and Aurora namely Mariz Zheila C. Blanco, Nursing; Michael Ryle C. Blanco, Nursing; Nika Marie L. Cancer, Magna Cum Laude, Teachers Board Exams; Marlon Ronald S. Cubos,

Electronics Engineering; Christine Diane Q. Consolacion, Nursing; Gilbert T. Javier, Medical Technology; Kim Christopher R. Ladaban, Nursing; Doris Lilibell V. Oreta, Nursing; and Rowena G. Simon, Veterinarian. The Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ. Award for Academic Excellence is an incentive program of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. and is intended to encourage the members of the KofC and their families to achieve academic excellence which is an added element to building a strong Christian society. (Yen Ocampo)

Alan Holdren/CNA


The Cross

CBCP Monitor

January 21 - February 3, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 01

KCFAPI continues to be ISO Certified. KCFAPI Officers led by Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia with the Certification International Philippines' Managing Director and Lead Auditor, Mr. Renato V. Navarrete during the awarding of ISO Certification to KCFAPI for passing the recently held surveillance audit. The certification proves that KCFAPI's Quality Management System (QMS) is in conformance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008. (KCFAPI News)

2012 Food for families

Council 3504 joins ‘Pamasko Kong Dugo’
THE Knights of Columbus Council 3504 of Immaculate Conception Cathedral Parish of Cotabato City participated in the “Pamasko Kong Dugo” a Mobile Blood Donation Activity held last December 02. The project was organized by ShaHeCa Club (Group of Volunteers) in partnership with Rotary Club of Cotabato City - South, Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, Notre Dame Hospital and School of Midwifery, Office on Health Care Services of Cotabato City Laboratory Department, Tactical Operations Group - 12 Philippine Air Force, Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, 6th Infantry Division Philippine Army, and Kalasag Foundation held at NDHSM Function Hall, Rosary Heights 9, Cotabato City. Around 15 brother Knights donated their blood for the cause. (KC MindaNews)

THE Knights of Columbus Christ the King Council 12342 conducted a community food feeding program on December 22, 2012 for the indigent families of Relocation Site, Barangay GSIS, San Pedro, Laguna. The activity was implemented by the officers and members of KC Council

12342 led by its Grand Knight, Basil B. Occeno. Also, Columbian Squires members assisted in the orderly giving of food. Instead of the usual Christmas party, the council opted to use the funds to help the less fortunate families and bring joy to their hearts especially during Christmas season. (KC News)

EVP Ma. Theresa G. Curia is the new Vicarial Regent, Immaculate Conception, Diocese of Malolos

The Knights of Columbus in the Visayas Jurisdiction spent their District Deputies Mid-Year Evaluation with Provincial and Regional Deputies Conference on November 30 to December 2 at the Sta.Fe Resort and Convention Center in Bacolod City. Photo shows from L-R Program Director Noeni Nepomuceno, Former Chief Justice and KCFAPI Chairman Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (Guest Speaker), State Deputy Rudy Sorongon, Treasurer Jun Jo, Admin.assistant Atty.Allan Ouano, and Membership Director Vincent Flores. Also present was KCFAPI President Guillermo 'Boy' Hernandez. (VizNews)

Luzon Squires hold seminar, investiture in Isabela, Laguna
THE Columbian Squires of the Luzon Jurisdiction recently installed its new set of members and conducted seminars for Chief Counselors and Squires in two separate places. Luzon Squires Chairman Jose Cuaresma delivered an inspirational message to the 107 new members of Columbian Squires at the Roxas Astrodome, Roxas, Isabela last November 18. Composite Investiture Team from Calumpit Circles headed by Mark Lodrigito, Grand Knight and Squires Advancement Director came with the Squires Mancom to facilitate for the said event. Before the Investiture, candidates attended the Orientation Seminar based on the most recent version of Squires Ceremonial Manual conducted by Manuelito R. Putong, District Deputy of District I-36 from the Diocese of Imus and Squires Social Communications Director. Patrick Corpuz Villanueva, Diocesan Area Chairman from the Diocese of Cubao handled care of the registration of the candidates while Melanio Gapultos, Municipal Councilor of the Municipality of Roxas and the Diocesan Area Chairman of Diocese of Ilagan organized the event. Columbian Squires Luzon extended its gratitude and appreciation to the generosity of Roxas mayor Hon. Benedict C. Calderon, together with his Municipal Councilors in accommodating the team. Meanwhile, the Diocese of San Pablo Knights conducted a seminar for chief counselors and chief squires at Sta. Rosa Laguna on November 24. Among the speakers and organizers were State Squires Chairman Jose Cuaresma, Julius Cesar Espejo, executive secretary; Sherwin Mamaril, Squires training director, Jan Patrick Villanueva, Diocesan Area Chairman-Diocese of Cubao, Manuelito Putong, Social Media Director; and Kenneth Sevilla, Chief Counselor of Diego Silang Circle. (KC Laguna)

More than 300 members of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate International, Inc. – Diocese of Malolos witnessed the Induction and Oath Taking Ceremony for the new Vicarial Regents. KCFAPI Executive Vice President, Sis. Ma. Theresa G. Curia is the new Regent of the Vicariate of the Immaculate Conception. In picture also are the Regional Representatives, Sis. Flor Barcial and the Past Diocesan Regent, Sis. Violy Luna.

Luzon holds GK, FS seminars in Aparri, Catanduanes, Isabela
THE Luzon Jurisdiction of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines organized a Grand Knight and Financial Secretaries Seminars (GK, FS) in three different places –in Aparri, Catanduanes, and Isabela. The GK and FS Seminar on November 10 was held at the audio-visual auditorium of the Lyceum of Aparri, owned and operated by the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. The Lyceum of Aparri’s Executive Vice President is Fr. Joel M. Reyes who was a KC priest scholar. He was a participant in the last KC 9th National Convention held in Manila Hotel. Around 150 KC Officers from the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao and Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk participated in the seminar. Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap discussed the objectives of the Luzon Jurisdiction. He mentioned the various Supreme Council awards received by the Jurisdiction and the stand of the Order on the issue of the RH Bill. State Ceremonial Director Deogenes V. Francia discussed the duties and responsibilities of a Grand Knight, the Ceremonials and Protocols. Technical Assistant & Financial Secretary Ramon C. Sanchez talked about the duties and responsibilities of a Financial Secretary, online reporting system and reportorial forms. Columbian Squires Chairman Jose F. Cuaresma talked about the Columbian Squires, citing successful KC officials and members of the clergy who were former Columbian Squires. Regional Membership Chairman Armando C. Gonzales, Sr. organized and coordinated the events at Aparri. At the end of the seminar the Officers of Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk headed by District Deputy Jose Hortellano T-17 gave the Luzon Deputy an “Aliwa” as a token of appreciation. “Aliwa” or Isnag bolo is a symbol of life and death to the people of Apayao. Life, as it is used to till the Kaingin and Farmlands since time immemorial. Death, as it is used to defend themselves from the oppressors and those that would trample their rights and liberties. But nowadays it is used as token to symbolize friendship. On the same day, another GK, FS seminar was held in Virac, Catanduanes headed by State Program Director Bonifacio B. Martinez. The seminar was conducted with 24 attendees from the Diocese of Virac. The Luzon Goals and Objectives were discussed by Bro. Martinez while the duties of a Grand Knight were tackled by State Membership Recruitment Chairman Conrado S. Dator Jr. The duties of Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Trustee were discussed by New Council Development Chairman Efren V. Mendoza. They also had a workshop on how to file the necessary report forms. The following day, Luzon Deputy Yap went to Santiago, Isabela with his team (same group in Aparri) to conduct another GK, FS seminar at the hall of the National Food Authority (NFA) Regional Office. It was attended by 196 GKs, FSs and other senior officers from the Diocese of Ilagan. (LuzonNews)

A dental mission was conducted by the Knights of Columbus St.Joseph Co.11131 and St. Joseph Parish thru the help of their Chaplain Rev. Fr. Tom Delicana, Jr. held at the St.Joseph Prish Cultural hall last December. Donors and volunteers were: Drugstore Associations of the Phil. ILOILO-GUIMARAS Chapter thru the help of their Past Pres. Rosalyn Pasaporte (Medcore Pharmacy-Pototan), Dra. Rogelyn Talamera, Dra. Willa Pacificador, Dra.Casidsid, Dra.Paguntalan-Conde, and Dra.Peruja.Vivat Jesus. (VizNews)