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Pope urges conversion in face of modern temptations
‘I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome’
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
Conclave may take place earlier than expected
THE Vatican’s spokesman on Feb. 16 announced that the coming conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor might be convened in shorter order than previously thought. “It is possible that church authorities can prepare a proposal to be taken up by the cardinals on the first day after the papal vacancy,” Holy See Press Office director Fr. Federico Lombardi told the press on Feb. 16. Church law currently prescribes that from the moment a Pope dies or renounces the pontificate “the Cardinal electors who are
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 04
Conclave / A6
Pope Benedict XVI: ‘Pray for me and pray for the next Pope’
Pope Benedict XVI
ON February 17, Pope Benedict XVI greeted an estimated 100,000 pilgrims who gathered for the midday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father before he resigns from the papacy Feb. 28. Many displayed their affection for him with signs that read “We Will Miss You” and shouting ‘Viva il Papa’ (Long live the Pope). The 85-year-old Pontiff thanked the faithful for their continuing prayer and support. Recalling the start of Lent, which began with the traditional distribution of ashes, Pope Benedict reminded the faithful that the Holy Season is a time of conversion and preparation for Easter. “The Church, who is mother
Pray / A7
© Marianne Medlin / CNA
Bishops hail Pope’sChurch leaders humility Benedict XVI’s resignation could ‘set tone’ for
brought sadness to us. We felt like children clinging to a father who bids them farewell,” said Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle. “But sadness gives way to admiration for the Holy Father’s humility, honesty, courage and sincerity. His paramount desire is to promote the greater good of the Church,” he said. The cardinal stressed that the papal ministry is not an easy task “so we thanked” the pope “for selflessly guiding the Church these past eight years with his teaching, simplicity and gentleness.” Papal nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto said the pope’s resignation for health reasons takes effect from February 28. Until that date, he said, the pope will continue to exercise his office with full authority. “Thereafter, the See of Rome will be vacant until the election of a new pope by the Cardinal electors,” Pinto said. Setting the tone The pope’s unprecedented move to abdicate may ‘set the tone’ for other leaders of the Church, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said. According to him, for Pope Benedict XVI to resign because of advanced age and for good of the Church is like a defining moment for modern Catholicism. “I feel that the resignation of the Holy Father for reasons of health and old age sets a tone for other cardinals, bishops and even priests,” Lagdameo said. “What we in the clergy should really think about is the good of the Church even to the point of comparing or even considering who can serve the Church better,” he said. Benedict XVI, 85, whose papacy began in April 2005, cited health issues as the reason behind his resignation and felt it was proper time to relinquish the post. It is the first time a pontiff has resigned in nearly 600 years. “It’s historical,” said the former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). He added that the pontiff made a “very humble move and an act of freedom on his part”. “It’s really a kind of an example that may be used by the hierarchy… because it’s not only the Holy Father that goes old and become sick but his very concern is really service of the church,” he said. ‘Serious crisis’ For Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, the pope’s resignation came as a “shock to many
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Dilaab Movement convenor Fr. Carmelo Diola launch the “I Vote Good” campaign in Cebu City on February 15. The campaign encourages voters to value their vote and “recognize that every individual vote matters”.
By Roy Lagarde
FILIPINO cardinals, archbishops and bishops expressed their gratitude for the service of Pope Benedict XVI, who surprised the world with his decision to resign this month.
Although surprised and saddened, the church leaders said the pontiff’s decision displays extraordinary humility that could even ‘set the tone’ for all bishops and priests. “The announcement also
Catholics” as he called on the faithful to pray for the Church “who suffers this serious crisis.” He went on to say that Benedict XVI, who was elected Pope at the age of 78 in April 2005 and declared the Year of Faith this liturgical year as “more relevant for us as now.” In Mindanao, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said he was sad upon learning the news because he always thought popes would lead the Church until death. “[Although] there have been instances when elected popes have opted to leave the papacy,” said Bagaforo.
Humility / A7
Asian cardinal ‘unlikely’ to become next pope
AS the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation from papacy sank in the consciousness of Catholics worldwide, names of those who could possibly succeed the pope have began to crop up. But some Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines said an Asian cardinal has a slim chance of becoming the next pontiff. This, in reaction to a good number of social media enthusiasts in the country who believe the widely-popular Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Gokim Cardinal Tagle has good chances of succeeding his fellow theologian. Fr. Romeo J. Intengan, SJ, a Doctor of Medicine who joined the Jesuits and later became its Philippine Province Superior, said an Asian, an African or a North American as Successor of Peter is not impossible “but quite unlikely.” He said Catholic Christians in Asia are a minority except in the Philippines and Timor Leste. “Cardinal Tagle is very junior in the hierarchy and has just been appointed to the Archdiocese of Manila in 2012,” Intengan said, adding that Tagle, should he be elected would probably be reigning too long “which some electors might find disquieting.” An African may come from a minority and in some countries where Catholics are a majority or with a strong plurality, either the local Church is too small or difficult social problems might affect the potential Pope.
Asian / A6
Political dynasty, vote buying top electoral summit agenda
POLITICAL dynasty and vote buying will be top of the agenda in an upcoming summit to address election issues organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu. The one-day “Summit on Credible Elections 2013: Addressing the Most Challenging Election Issues” will be held at the Mariners’ Court in Cebu City on February 23.
Summit / A6
Catholics venerate the heart relic of St. Camillus de Lellis, patron of the sick, doctors, nurses and other health workers, inside the Our Lady of La Paz Parish Church in Makati City, Feb. 18, 2013. See related story on page A8.
Catholic schools discuss possible enrollment drop in 2017 Fasting is more than diet– Cardinal
AFTER implementing the Kindergarten to 12 (K to12) basic education program this school year, administrators of Catholic schools nationwide are discussing how to temper the effect of the paradigm shift in their enrollment statistics. Over 600 school heads, administrators and faculty of memberschools of Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) from Luzon have gathered for a conference on K to 12 Transition last January 21 and 22. The Visayas leg of the conference was held last February 11 to 12 at the Sarabia Manor Hotel in Iloilo and the Mindanaoan leg will be held on February 21 to 22 at the Ateneo de Davao University (Jacinto Campus). According to CEAP, the series of conferences was organized to address critical issues of the coming K to 12 transition: the labor and legal implications, and
Enrollment / A6
Photo courtesy of OSC
Fr. Gregorio Bañaga
LOSING some extra padding through “fasting” may please some people, but if that’s all they get, what a waste. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that fasting, an obligatory practice for Catholics during Lent is not a matter of diet but same with abstinence are virtuous acts, which require that
Fasting / A6
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
people grow in charity. “Other people are happy during fasting because they want to reduce (weight). It is not like that,” Tagle said. “This is not to go on a diet and have old clothes fit you.” In his homily during a Mass to celebrate Ash Wednesday at the Archdiocese of Ma-
© Sammy Navaja
WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 14, 2013—The US bishops’ conference has released a brief manual with liturgical and musical resources to assist dioceses, parishes, and other groups in prayer for Benedict XVI and for the Church as a new pope is elected and takes office. Monsignor Richard Hilgartner, executive director of the USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship, writes in the introduction that the Church received the news of the Pope’s resignation “with great surprise tinged with sadness.” “During his reign, he has been a faithful witness to Christ, and
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 04
Bishops of Nicaragua announce 40 hours of prayer for Pope
MANAGUA, Nicaragua, Feb. 14, 2013—The bishops of Nicaragua are inviting Catholics in the country and around the world to join together in 40 hours of prayer for Pope Benedict XVI as he retires from the papacy. The prayer campaign will ask for grace for the Holy Father as he ends his ministry, as well as “for whoever will be his successor according to the will of the Holy Spirit.” “We are inviting the people of God, and specifically the Catholic people of Nicaragua, to unite in this network of prayer,” said Bishop Socrates Rene Sandigo, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Nicaragua. The prayer initiative will ask that the Holy Spirit will guide the cardinals, “as always,” in the process of electing the new pontiff, he explained. On Feb. 11, the Holy Father announced that he will be retiring at the end of the month, due to his advanced age and waning strength. During a press conference on Feb. 12, Bishop Sandigo said that Pope Benedict “steps down as head of the Church with a great sense of honesty with himself.” “I think very few people have that courage, that capacity to look into their conscience and make such a decision,” he continued. The bishop added that the Holy Father “will go down in history as a Pope who, out of humility and courage, acknowledged that he no longer had his physical strength” and chose to retire for the good of the Church. Recalling his own encounter with Pope Benedict three months ago, Bishop Sandigo said that the Holy Father displayed “supernatural strength” in continuing his service to Christ despite his fatigue. The bishops of Nicaragua have called the pontiff’s decision to resign a gesture of humility, interior freedom and courage, he said. (CNA)
US bishops offer prayer resources for Benedict XVI, conclave
in this decision, he teaches us with his integrity and humility, putting the needs of the Church first,” Monsignor Hilgartner said. “Such a message is most appropriate as we embark once again on the pilgrimage of Lent.” The resources offered by the bishops, he added, are to “pray for Pope Benedict XVI, to give thanks for his pontificate, and to pray for the Church as we look to the future and the election of a new Pope.” The manual includes liturgical prayers for the Pope, as well as for the time of the election, and for the new Bishop of Rome. (Zenit)
Archbishops decry military gay benefits plan
WASHINGTON D.C., Feb. 15, 2013— Two U.S. archbishops involved in defense of marriage efforts and the military spoke out against a new Pentagon policy giving gay couples many of the benefits of military spouses. “This new policy under the guise of ‘equal benefits’ undermines marriage as the union of one man and one woman because it treats two persons of the same sex as spouses,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services. In a statement released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Feb. 15, Archbishop Broglio voiced concern over a new military policy treating same-sex partners as if they were married. He was joined by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, who is the chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. The archbishops responded to a Feb. 11 announcement by the Department of Defense on a policy change that will soon allow gay domestic partners of armed service members on active duty to receive many of the same benefits as military spouses, including legal assistance and counseling, ID cards and recreational privileges. Some benefits, such as health care and housing allowances, are banned under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union
Spanish laywoman could be made saint
VATICAN City, Feb. 16, 2013—A Spanish laywoman born over a hundred years ago could be made saint after the results of an investigation to have her beatified were submitted Feb. 15 at the Vatican. “She was important because she was a woman, a lay woman and a pioneer of consecrated laity,” who anticipated “the Second Vatican Council’s universal call for sainthood,” said Pina Milana, director of Instituto Secular Operarias Parroquiales Magdalena Aulina. Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach of Barcelona closed the diocesan process for the canonization of Magdalena Aulina on Feb. 9. On Feb. 15, the documents from the diocesan phase were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican. Milana explained to CNA that this means her canonization process is now entering a second phase, known as “the Roman phase,” which will involve her life and heroic virtues being studied in greater depth. The investigation process for her beatification initially began over six years ago on Nov. 3, 2006. “We completely trust God and in the wisdom of the Holy Church that Magdalena Aulina will be presented as a model of daily holiness for the diocesan and universal Church,” Milana stated. “The strength of prayer of the whole Institute and of the Aulina family will be our support and hope in this new phase,” she said. Magdalena Aulina Saurina was born in 1897 in Bañolas, a Catalan town in northern Spain, to a wool and coal merchant and a woman of deep religious beliefs. At the age of 15 she read the biography of Saint Gemma Galgani, known for her imitation of the passion of Christ and for receiving his wounds, and was inspired to follow her lifestyle. “She was determined and clairvoyant woman of faith and hope with a boundless love for Christ, his Church and the human person, regardless of their social class or religious idea,” said Milana. In 1916, Magdalena organized a month devoted to Mary with the children of Bañolas. She felt she had a religious vocation but she also wanted to live like St. Magdalena Aulina. (Photo courtesy of Instituto Secular G e m m a , Operarias Parroquiales who was a Magdalena Aulina.) secular. In 1921 she fell ill with problems in her heart and head, which worsened two years later. She prayed a novena to St. Gemma and was healed. Her doctors said her healing could not be explained. Magdalena then had mystical visions of the saint that led her to promote her veneration and the building of a fountain in Bañolas dedicated to the saint, who was at the time being beatified. She founded an association in Banyoles in 1922, which combined promoting religious life with Christian education for children. It offered a place of retreat and recreation for girls who did not attend school, as well as literacy classes and vocational training. “Her new way of living complete consecration to God in the midst of the world, among people, to be leaven in the dough, attracted a multitude of people,” said the director of the Institute promoting her canonization. “And thanks to her faith, today her “Instituto Secular Operarias Parroquiales” is present in Spain, Italy, France, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She moved in together with other girls who shared her mission in 1931 and went on to make vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Magdalena Aulina died in Barcelona on May 15, 1956. (CNA)
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone
of one man and one woman for federal purposes. However, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said these benefits will also be expanded to include same-sex couples if the Supreme Court rules against the Defense of Marriage Act in an upcoming case this summer. In his State of the Union address on Feb. 12, President Barack Obama referenced the policy change, saying that he plans to “ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.” However, Archbishop Broglio argued that the policy undermines the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still the law of the land, despite Obama’s 2011 announcement that his administration would no longer defend it in courts. Furthermore, the archbishop warned, the policy change threatens the freedom
of conscience and religious liberty of members of the armed services. “Could a JAG officer choose, out of religious or moral convictions, not to give legal advice on marital and family issues to same-sex ‘partners’ without being subject to discipline?” he asked. “Forcing the officer to violate his conscience would not be fair.” Archbishop Cordileone echoed these concerns and stressed the institutions of marriage and family. “There is no question that all service members should be treated equally,” he said, “but it is not discrimination to treat different things differently.” The archbishop explained that because only “a man and a woman can bring children into the world,” marriage “as the foundation of the family” is unique from other adult relationships and must be reserved for opposite-sex partners. The new policy, he added, actually discriminates because it designates only “two people of the same sex in a sexual relationship for special consideration,” treating other types of adult relationships differently. “More importantly,” Archbishop Cordileone added, “children, who are our future, have a right to be raised by their mother and father together.” “For the sake of our nation, and especially for the sake of our children, marriage should be promoted and protected at every opportunity, never undermined,” he said. (CNA)
India: A day of thanks for Pope Benedict XVI and his Pontificate
MUMBAI, Feb. 14, 2013—On February 22, Christians from all over India will spend the day with Benedict XVI and his pontificate. The initiative is being launched by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), who chose the feast of the Chair of St. Peter to express the deep gratitude of the Church in India to the Holy Father. That day, at 18:30, every Christian institution, convent and monastery will dedicate an hour of adoration to the pope. In these eight years of his pontificate, Benedict XVI addressed on several occasions and in different ways issues dear to India and Asia. For example in the encyclicals Deus Caritas Est, Spe Salvi and Caritas in Veritate, which identify some of the most significant challenges of the continent. “In addition to the dialogue between cultures, with the poor and with other religions — said the cardinal, who is secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) — Benedict XVI stressed the need to implement the Church’s social doctrine to the realities of today: the economy, globalization, the gap between rich and poor, ecology, fundamentalism.” Thus, he stressed, “development is at the heart of human actions, and globalization and progress can serve humanity.” The pope’s attention to the Asian world was manifested not only through his documents. “Asia — noted Cardinal Gracias — is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, and the repeated attempts of Benedict XVI to communicate with Muslims was a really important challenge. With intellectual clarity and academic brilliance he has created the basis to understand their differences and call for a united front against secularization.” The archbishop of Mumbai, says “the last two days of world peace” were fundamental. In 2011, “Religious freedom, the path of peace,” the pope said that “religious freedom is an authentic weapon for peace that can change the world and make it better.” In his message for 2012, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Benedict XVI said that “peace is not merely the absence of war,” but more importantly, reiterates Indian cardinal, “it is the universal experience of justice and love, which contrasts with the personal and structural evils of greed, inequality and violence.” (AsiaNews)
Vatican Bank gets new president as papal coverage continues
US couple’s elopement results in 80 years of marriage
HARTFORD, Conn., Feb. 16, 2013— John and Ann Betar, a Fairfield, Conn. couple who eloped to escape an arranged marriage 80 years ago, have been honored as the longest-married couple in the U.S. by an organization dedicated to strengthening marriage. “John and Ann really exemplify people who are committed to a longterm marriage,” Dick Baumbach, a coordinator of Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s Lifelong Marriage Project, told CNA Feb. 15. “They didn’t really see their achievement as that much, except as two people who have been very much in love and have been for a few years.” “Long marriages can exist in this country,” Baumbach said. The Betars grew up in a Syrian emigrant community in Bridgeport, Conn. John, who is about four years older than Ann, used to drive her to school in his Ford Roadster. Ann was supposed to marry a man 20 years older in a marriage arranged by her father. Instead, the couple decided to elope to Harrison, N.Y. to be married. She was 17. He was 21. “Some people said it would never last. We showed them,” John said. John is now 101 years old and Ann is 97. They have had five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. They celebrated their 80th anniversary on Nov. 25, 2012. Ann said she and her husband are “very fortunate.” “It is unconditional love and understanding. We have had that. We consider it a blessing,” she told ABC News in November. “I fell for her right away,” John said. “Gradually she liked me and we got together.” They have a picture of themselves in wedding clothes that was actually taken six months after their wedding. Ann borrowed a wedding dress from a friend. After marrying, Ann became a housewife who raised the children. John had sold newspapers in the 1920s for two cents per issue. He became a fruit peddler before opening his own grocery store in 1938. He retired in 1964. The couple are founding members of their Antiochian Orthodox church. John bought a six-acre plot of land for the church next to his grocery store for $42,000 out of his own pocket. The two have had some sadness in their life. Two of their children have died. The couple recently survived Hurricane Sandy and had to move in with their granddaughter while their home was repaired. They are again living on their own at their home on the beach. In his remarks to ABC, John gave some advice for a lasting marriage. “Get along. Compromise. Live within your means and be content,” he said. “And let your wife be the boss.” “We don’t have bosses,” Ann objected, recommending that spouses don’t hold grudges and live by their commitments. Worldwide Marriage Encounter picked the Betars out of the many nominations it received from Oct. 15, 2012 to Jan. 10, 2013. It is possible there are U.S. couples who have been married longer, but their family and friends did
The drama surrounding the Pope's resignation did not prevent the Vatican from moving ahead with filling the top post at its main financial institution. The Institute for the Works of Religion, frequently called the Vatican Bank, announced Feb. 15 that Ernst von Freyberg will be the new president of the institute’s supervisory board. The process to select the best candidate took six months and involved 40 potential candidates that were presented by an independent hiring agency, according to Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. The Commission of Cardinals presented their preferred candidate to the board of the institute on Feb. 14 and von Freyberg was agreed upon. (CNA)
Archbishop Ganswein plans to remain prefect of Papal Household
(L-R) John and Ann Betar, 2013 Longest Married Couple Project winners with Diane and Dick Baumbach, coordinators of the WWME project. (Credit: WWME)
Archbishop Georg Ganswein will move with Pope Benedict XVI when he retires on Feb. 28, but he also intends to retain his role as head of the Papal Household. “The Pope will be accompanied to Castel Gandolfo and also to the monastery by Archbishop Georg and the Memores Domini, because this is the fundamental nuclear group of the pontifical family,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the press on Feb. 14. “He will also remain the head of the Papal Household. And the future, the future is in God’s hands.” The Memores Domini are four consecrated women in the Communion and Liberation movement who assist in running the Papal Household. (CNA)
Credit cards welcome again at Vatican
not nominate them. Baumbach with his wife and project coordinator Diane honored the Betar at their granddaughters’ home in Fairfield, Conn. on Feb. 9. The Baumbachs presented the couple with three framed certificates: one from the marriage encounter group, an official statement from Conn. Governor Daniel Malloy, and a statement of recognition from Congress. Baumbach said the award shows that long-married couples “can be a light to the world for what they accomplish.” The Betars will also receive several presents whose delivery was delayed by the winter storms in the northeast. Worldwide Marriage Encounter was founded by a Spanish priest in 1952. It has offered faith-based weekend marriage enrichment retreats for 44 years. Its present programs include evening and half-day programs presented at parishes and other church venues. The organization has a presence in almost 100 countries. (CNA)
After more than six weeks of not being able to accept credit- and debitcard payments in the Vatican Museums and shops, the Vatican announced Feb. 13 that it had begun accepting plastic again. The Vatican said Feb. 13 it had signed an agreement with the Switzerland-based Aduno Group, a company that issues credit cards and handles online payments, as well as offering point-of-sale services to businesses wanting to accept credit- and debit-cards. The Vatican was forced to stop accepting cards Jan. 1 after Italy's central bank denied permission to Deutsche Bank Italia to continue offering the service. The central bank claimed the Vatican's banking and financial laws were not stringent enough to prevent money laundering. (CNS)
On Ash Wednesday, pope preaches on humility, Christian unity
Celebrating what was expected to be the last public liturgy of his pontificate two weeks before his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI preached on the virtues of humility and Christian unity and heard his highest-ranking aide pay tribute to his service to the church. Jesus "denounces religious hypocrisy, behavior that wants to show off, attitudes that seek applause and approval," the pope said in his homily during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 13. "The true disciple does not serve himself or the 'public,' but his Lord, in simplicity and generosity." Coming two days after Pope Benedict announced that he would be the first pope in 600 years to resign, the Mass inevitably took on a valedictory tone. (CNS)
Vol. 17 No. 04
February 18 - March 3, 2013
“The temptation to set aside their faith is always present, and conversion becomes a response to God which must be confirmed several times in life,” he told the thousands of pilgrims in Paul VI Hall. In a change from his series of reflections on faith that coincided with today’s start of Lent, Benedict XVI based his teachings on the temptation of Jesus in the desert. “What is at the core of the three temptations that Jesus suffered?” he asked. It is the proposal to manipulate God, to use him for your own interests, for your own glory and success, the Pope said. “Everyone should then ask: what is the role God in my life? And is he the Lord or am I? Pope Benedict’s words took on a particular significance since he appeared to follow his own advice in stepping down from the papacy. He noted that every Christian must undergo the “journey” of overcoming the temptation “to place God in submission to oneself and one’s own interests or to put Him in a corner.” “Conversion,” he explained, “means following Jesus in so that his Gospel is a real life guide, it means allowing God transform us, no longer thinking that we are the only protagonists of our existence, recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, His love, and that only by ‘losing’ our life in Him can we truly have it.” “This means making our choices in the light of the Word of God,” he emphasized. “Today we can no longer be Christians as a simple consequence of the fact that we live in a society that has Christian roots: even those born to a Christian family and formed in the faith must, each and every day, renew the choice to be a Christian, to give God first place, before the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, before the criticism of many of our contemporaries.” Pope Benedict concluded his second to last general audience by calling on everyone to renew their commitment
Pope urges conversion in face of modern temptations
VATICAN City, Feb. 13, 2013—After thanking everyone for their love and prayers since he announced his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on how modern culture frequently offers people the temptation to set aside their faith. “The tests which modern society subjects the Christians, in fact, are many, and affect the personal and social life,” the Pope said during his Wednesday general audience Feb. 13. “It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, practice mercy in everyday life, leave space for prayer and inner silence, it is not easy to publicly oppose choices that many take for granted, such as abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to prevent hereditary diseases.
Pope: media helped spread misinterpretations of Vatican II Physicians, citizen pro-lifers file 8th petition vs RH law
VATICAN City, Feb. 14, 2013— Pope Benedict XVI said that many of the misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council were caused by the media promoting its own version. “The world interpreted the council through the eyes of the media instead of seeing the true council of the fathers and their key vision of faith,” said Pope Benedict at Paul VI Hall Feb. 14. “Fifty years later, the strength of the real council has been revealed, and it is our task for the Year of Faith to bring the real Second Vatican Council to life,” he told the priests gathered to meet him. Pope Benedict spoke with the priests of the Rome diocese in an unscripted speech on the Second Vatican Council, which he first attended as a special advisor to Cardinal Frings of Cologne and later on as a theological expert. “The immediate impression of the council that got through to the people, was that of the media, not that of the Fathers,” he explained. “The council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics … a hermeneutic of politics,” added Pope Benedict. The pontiff, who will give up office on Feb. 28, is one of the few remaining witnesses of the council. “The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church,” he recalled. “But it was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world.” In his view, there were those who sought a decentralization of the Church. “There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and then the power of all ... popular sovereignty and naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help,” said the Pope. He also said that this was the case for the liturgy with no interest in it as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, “similar to a community activity, something profane.” “We know that this council of the media was accessible to all,” he said. “So, dominant and more efficient, this council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery. In reality, seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy was trivialized ... and the true council has struggled to materialize, to be realized,” he stated. In his analysis, Pope Benedict said that the virtual council was stronger than the real council, but the real strength of the council was present. “It has slowly emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church,” he said. “It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this virtual council is breaking down, getting lost and the true council is emerging with all its spiritual strength,” he observed to his priests. “And it is our task to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and the Church is really renewed,” he emphasized. Pope Benedict said it was a “special and providential gift” to be able to meet with Roman clergy before leaving the papacy in two weeks. “It’s always a great joy to see how the Church lives, and how in Rome, the Church is alive because there are pastors who in the spirit of the supreme Shepherd, guide the flock of Christ,” he said. “It is a truly Catholic and universal clergy and it is part of the essence of the Church of Rome itself, to reflect the universality, the catholicity of all nations, of all races, of all cultures,” he declared. (CNA/EWTN News)
during Lent and the Year of Faith to “the process of conversion, to overcome the tendency to close in on ourselves” and to “make room for God.” (CNA/ EWTN News)
From left: Dr. Rey Echavez of Doctors for Life, Atty. Howard Calleja and Anthony James Perez of Filipinos for Life file 8th petition against the RH Bill at the Supreme Court.
In hindsight, Pope Benedict’s resignation seems almost predictable
VATICAN City, Feb. 11, 2013—As much as he astonished the world when he announced his resignation Feb. 11, Pope Benedict XVI’s decision seems almost predictable in hindsight. Given his previous statements on the subject and his recent signs of aging, one might say that people should have seen it coming. The real mystery now is not why Pope Benedict chose to step down, it is how this almost-unprecedented action will affect the papacy and the church. In 2010, Pope Benedict told the German journalist Peter Seewald that “if a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.” The signs of fatigue and difficulty walking that have struck most papal observers in recent months led him to conclude, as he told an assembly of cardinals two days before Ash Wednesday, that “strength of mind and body ... has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” Many people today associate unexpected resignations with scandal or crisis. In the immediate aftermath of Pope Benedict’s announcement there was predictable speculation that he might be stepping down under pressure of some grave problem in the church, perhaps one yet to be revealed. But if Pope Benedict declined to resign at the height of the controversy over clerical sex abuse in late winter and early spring of 2010, when some accused him of personally mishandling cases of pedophile priests in Germany and the U.S., it is hard to imagine what sort of crisis he might deem disturbing enough to resign over now. As he told Seewald later that same year: “When the danger is great one must not run away. For that reason, now is certainly not the time to resign. Precisely at a time like this one must stand fast and endure the difficult situation. That is my view. One can resign at a peaceful moment or when one simply cannot go on. But one must not run away from danger and say that someone else should do it.” Pope Benedict may have judged the eve of Lent a particularly good moment to announce his resignation since, as the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters at a briefing shortly afterward, the timing practically ensures that the church will have a new pope by Easter. It is probably no coincidence, and certainly fitting, that Pope Benedict waited to resign until after he had observed the 50th anniversary of the opening of Second Vatican Council, last October. If his papacy has had a single unifying project, it has been his effort to correct interpretations of Vatican II as a radical break with the past, in favor of readings that stress the continuity of the council’s teachings with the church’s millennial traditions. Now, Pope Benedict has made his own dramatic innovation in church tradition. Of the several men, perhaps as many as 10, who have resigned the papacy in the history of the office, only one other did so freely: Pope Celestine V, in 1294.Given how much the papacy and the world have changed in the seven centuries since, there is practically no precedent for Pope Benedict’s new role. Father Lombardi told reporters that Pope Benedict will retire to a monastery inside the walls of Vatican City, where he will dedicate himself to study and prayer. The Vatican spokesman said he expected the former professor and prolific author to continue writing and communicating with the outside world. Asked whether the presence of a living former pope would present any danger of division within the church, Father Lombardi replied that it would be entirely out of character for Pope Benedict to say or do anything that might undermine his successor.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi announces in the Vatican Press Office on February 11 the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
That assumption seems more than fair, but Pope Benedict’s humility and discretion may be beside the point. In the age of the Internet, it is not hard to imagine critics excitedly claiming, on the authority of anonymous sources, that the former pope privately disapproves of this or that among his successor’s decisions. Father Lombardi might find himself busy debunking such assertions, and even soliciting the occasional disclaimer from Pope Benedict himself. Even if the presence of a living former pope poses no threat to the new pope’s leadership or teaching authority, it will add complexity to the emotional and spiritual bonds that millions of Catholics enjoy with the successor of Peter. After all, the special devotion that many of the faithful feel for Pope Benedict today will surely not cease the moment a new pope is elected. That attachment would be a liability for Pope Benedict’s successor, if the papacy were a secular political office. By the lights of faith, however, the prayers of a former pope and all those united with him ought to make the papacy that much stronger. (CNS)
Pro-life issues, crucial in May elections—lawyer
MANDALUYONG City, Feb. 11, 2012—Not only will Filipino voters be forced to consider the polarizing pro-life question in the coming mid-term polls, it is “the” issue of the May elections, according to a member of Ang Prolife party list. “This is the first time, I think, in so many recent years that the issues of family and life have become so crucial and so much in the consciousness of people and that probably is an indication of how crucial it is,” said Atty. Jeremy Gatdula, who is also an Ateneo Law School professor. Strong opinions were expressed with particular rabidity, especially over social networks, in the months of the RH bill debates and even now with a divorce bill pending for the next Congress. According to Gatdula, what has been the bone of contention for many a Twitter hashtag points to something more fundamental. Family, primary institution He said due importance should be given to family liferelated issues, since they have overarching implications on all aspects of civic life — economic, social and political. “(F)or some reason, the one true and best institution created for education, for welfare, even actually even for the economy is actually the family. All the other institutions that are around are merely meant and can only be, at best, to be a supplement…to that family institution,” Gatdula explained further. Gatdula, explained, politicians and legislators always give issues like the tax rate system, the reform of governance, and trade a lot of focus, but if the primary institution of the family is destroyed, no government intervention will suffice. Backlash, difficult to reverse Hardly a theoretical possibility, Gatdula explained how countries that have enforced anti-life legislation are experiencing a backlash difficult to reverse. He talked about how publications like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times cited studies about the exponential increase of depression among women in the U.S., in direct relation with contraceptive use. Gatdula also mentioned findings that children from broken families perform poorly in school and eventually, are less productive in the work place. Also contrary to the claims of contraception advocates, he said, contraceptive use has not decreased abortion rates, but have, in fact, increased them. “So we know that [poor family life] translates to a lot of things. We just have to look at the other countries,” he added, saying the Philippines does not need to have the same experience. Others with Ang Prolife party list include James Imbong, general counsel of the St. Thomas More Society Philippines; Lorna Melegrito, executive director of Pro-life Philippines Foundation; Lareina Manalang-Garcia, a teacher; and Edgardo Joven Tirona, an advocate for poverty alleviation and social development. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
MANILA, Feb. 14, 2013–Two organizations representing medical doctors and citizen prolifers trooped to the Supreme Court Thursday morning to file the eighth petition against the new “reproductive health” (RH) law, branding the measure unconstitutional and “ultimately detrimental to our society.” The petition, filed jointly by Doctors for Life and Filipinos for Life (F4L), seeks to declare Republic Act (RA) 10354, or “The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012,” unconstitutional, as well as to stop its implementation and the release of government funds. It also seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction. The groups, represented by Atty. Howard Calleja, debunked the mantra of the pro-RH lobby that increased contraception will improve the lives of Filipinos, aside from discouraging abortions. “[A]ctual experience proves the contrary. A study conducted in Spain shows that despite the use of condoms and birth control pills by two-thousand (2,000) women over the span of ten (10) years, the incidence of elective abortions doubled,” the petition read. “There can only be one explanation for this. The overdependence of individuals on contraceptives promotes irresponsible, reckless and imprudent sexual behavior. In the event of failure or misuse of the contraceptive method, unwanted pregnancies occur, forcing women to turn to elective abortion to terminate such unwanted pregnancies.” The petition presented six arguments. First, RA 10354 violates the Doctrine of Benevolent Neutrality under the Freedom of Religion Clause, which is safeguarded by the Bill of Rights. “Although no law should establish or promote any religion, the law should also accommodate the religious beliefs of individuals and not force them to act against their beliefs. R.A. 10354 completely disregards the fact that majority of the Filipino people are devout Roman Catholics, who firmly believe in procreation and do not subscribe to the belief that pregnancies should be controlled or prevented,” it said. The RH law also violates the constitutionally protected right against involuntary servitude “by mandating that health care services cannot be denied to any person and in case of refusal due to religious beliefs or ethics, the health care provider must refer the patient to another health care provider.” Moreover, the title of the law embraces more than one subject
– Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health, another constitutional violation. The constitutional right to life is also violated by the RH law’s aim of promoting artificial contraceptives that work to prevent conception. “The Constitution itself says that the right of the individual is protected from the moment of conception. Expert embryologists and scientists agree that conception begins at the moment of fertilization (Alcorn 2007). Thus, medicines such as hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and even birth control pills, which prevent or impair fertilization are considered abortifacient,” the petition read. The petitioners also attacked the law because it would allow the state to control the private education sector and medical industry, for instance by making it mandatory for reproductive health to be part of every school’s curriculum. “Lastly, R.A. 10354 encourages the establishment on monopolies, which is not only unconstitutional but stunts the growth of the manufacturers and service providers in the Medical Industry. R.A. 10354 makes hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies essential drugs, and thus producers of these products are already given an advantage over all others, thereby contributing to the uneven distribution of wealth in our Country,” the petition read. Anthony James Perez, F4L president, said: “The high tribunal must carefully scrutinize the RH law considering it was rammed through Congress by the Aquino administration to please the well-oiled pro-RH lobby.” Named respondents were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. “What we are presenting here are medical and legal arguments against the RH law. We believe the Supreme Court will listen to us and correct this grave error imposed by the executive and legislative branches on faithful and freedom-loving Filipinos,” said Dr. Rey Echavez, ad-hoc chairman of Doctors for Life, a group whose members include professionals holding doctoral degrees including doctors of medicine, doctors of jurisprudence, doctors of philosophy and doctors of theology. (CBCP for Life)
Stephen Driscoll / CNA
CBCP for Life
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 04
The wisdom of Pope Benedict XVI
THE wisdom of resigning from the Petrine ministry will take sometime to settle in the minds of canonists, ecclesiologists and theologians. The last pope to resign over six hundred years ago is too remote to establish a plausible precedence although, on hindsight, observers are now looking back to the 2009 third visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the tomb of Pope Celestine V in Aquila, Italy where he prayed and placed his pallium over it as symbolic, if foreboding gesture. Pope Celestine V abdicated the papacy in 1294. Centuries later, Pope Paul VI wrote why Celestine resigned: “After a few months he understood that he was being deceived by people around him who were profiting from his inexperience….As he had accepted the supreme pontificate out of duty, so out of duty he renounced it—not out of cowardice, as Dante wrote, but out of heroic virtue, out of a sense of duty.” (cf. Joseph A. Komonchak, Benedict’s Act of Humility). This, of course, does not allude to the supreme sacrifice of Pope Benedict XVI who explicitly pointed out age and poor health: “…I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advance age, are not longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry…in order to govern the bark of Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” Admittedly, there is an ecclesiological significance to this pontifical act. It may be that the greatest contribution of Pope Benedict to ecclesiology is the yielding of his person to the office that he has “humanized” in the process. It may not be too un-ecclesiological to say that his retirement is some kind of magisterial teaching that trail-blazes a strand of pontificate that seriously considers the humanity of the Papacy and the existential demands of history. Be that as it may, but according to Jaro archbishop Angel Lagdameo Benedict’s resignation sets a tone to church leaders. He says: “I feel that the resignation of the Holy Father for reasons of health and old age sets a tone for other cardinals, bishops and even priests…What we in the clergy should really think about is the good of the Church even to the point of comparing or even considering who can serve the church better.” Or as a comment in social media puts it: “The papacy can perhaps in the minds of a billion Catholics and all others become a ministry rather than a kind of monarchy.”
Resignation of bishops
JUST for the record and in order to avoid unnecessary questions as well as irrelevant speculations, it is good and proper to address the matter of the resignation of Bishops—be they Prelates, Archbishops or Cardinals all of whom are considered by the law of the Church as “Bishops”. There are indications to the effect that when a bishop resigns from his episcopal office, inquiries are made, doubts are formed. It is right to assume that many Catholics do not know—as they do not really need to know—the many, detailed as well as complicated laws of the Church contained in her rather voluminous and intricate “Code of Canon Law.” It is good to know and to note that of the Seven Sacraments in the Church, there is but one Sacrament that is plural in its constituent contents and pursuant expression, viz., the “Sacrament of Holy Orders.” Reason: There are three (3) Sacred Orders in the Church, i.e., the Order of Deacons, the Order of Priests,
Oscar. V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
age; 2. That the resignation of a Bishop may also be for any serious reasons that make him already incapacitated or unsuited for the Office; 3. That the resignation is requested, not really imposed nor mandated; 4. That it belongs to the Pope to accept or deny the submitted resignation. The law further provides that once the resignation of a Bishop is accepted, he then acquires the title of “Emeritus”. From the above law and observations made thereon, it is rather clear that the Church has not only supernatural but also natural anchorage, works premised on both divine and human elements, draws her strength from faith and reason. All these say that the Church is neither merely super naturalistic nor naturalistic, neither simply divine nor humanistic, neither only credulous nor rationalistic. Thus wherefore stands a Church that is now more than two thousand years old!
Lay Participation in Social Change
FOR the past few months now, we have noted a mounting call for “moral regeneration” in our country. Not only do we welcome this; we your pastors are encouraged by the fact that this call has been coming mainly from the laity. You know that we have sounded this call too many times already in the past. Perhaps because this task is expected of us, there has been a tendency to take it for granted that we are also to carry it out by ourselves. One journalist wrote in a commentary recently, “The task of moral regeneration is too big to entrust to religious leaders alone.” We couldn’t agree more. As your pastors, we exercise spiritual and moral leadership as regards our communal and ecclesial life in our parishes and dioceses throughout the country. But we cannot just extend that leadership into the spheres of politics and governance, in business and economics, in the sciences and the mass media, etc., without running the risk of being misconstrued as engaging in power-play or over-extending our sphere of influence beyond our offices. The participation of the laity in moral leadership pertaining to every specific discipline and institution in the Philippine society is most essential, if we want the Gospel and the social teachings of the Church to have a tangible and positive impact at all on our life as a nation. We challenge our Catholic laity, in particular, to take the lead in the task of moral renewal towards a deeper and more lasting change in the Philippine society. We challenge all lay people involved in politics to renounce corruption and bond together in the task of evangelizing politics for effective governance and the pursuit of the common good. We challenge the laity involved in legislation to unite themselves and consciously allow their actions to be guided by the truth of the Gospel and the Christian faith. We urge the Catholic lay people involved in legitimate business to organize themselves and consciously practice their trade with a strong sense of corporate social responsibility informed by the social teachings of the Church. We enjoin all Catholic law enforcers to form associations among themselves that consciously renounce violence, respect basic human rights, and truly work for the preservation of peace and social order. We call upon the Catholic laity involved in social communications and the modern mass media to form networks among themselves that can articulate a genuinely Christian ethics in their practice of their profession. We urge every Catholic lay person to give a concrete expression to Christian discipleship through responsible citizenship.
— A Pastoral Exhortation on the Year of the Two Hearts for Peace Building and Lay Participation for Social Change, 2009
and the Order of Bishops—with the last (Bishops) drawn the former (Priests) who in turn are drawn from the last (Deacons). And it is from the rank of Bishops that not only the Cardinals but also the Pope—or Supreme Pontiff who comes from the rank of the Cardinals. “A diocesan Bishop who has completed his seventy-fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from the Office, to the Supreme Pontiff, who, after taking all circumstances into account, will make the pursuant provision. A diocesan Bishop, who, because of illness or some other grave reasons, has become unsuited for the fulfillment of his Office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation from Office.” (Code of Canon Law: 401, par. 1 and par. 2) From the letter and spirit of the above-cited canonical provision, the following are the more significant and relevant observations: 1. That the resignation applies to a Bishop when he completes his seventy five years of
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Along The Way
BEFORE he was elected pope, Benedict XVI already envisioned a Church that would act as creative minority, appropriating the idea of the historian Arnold Toynbee: “Here we must agree with Toynbee that the fate of a society always depends on its creative minorities. Christian believers should look upon themselves as just such a creative minority, and help Europe to reclaim what is best in its heritage and to thereby place itself at the service of all humankind.” (Ratzinger & Pera, Without Roots). This idea was already present in his book (Faith and the Future, 1971), when he chose the image of a mustard seed for the Church: “Perhaps the time has come to say farewell to the idea of traditionally Catholic cultures. Maybe we are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the Church’s history, where Christianity will again be characterized more by the mustard seed, where it will exist in small, insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intensive struggle against evil and bring the good into the world—that let God in.” He again referred to this term during an interview as he was on his way to Prague in 2009 for a papal visit: “it is the creative minorities that determine the future, and in this sense the Catholic Church must understand itself as a creative minority that has a heritage of values that are not things of the past, but a very living and relevant reality. The Church must actualize, be present in the public debate, in our struggle for a true concept of liberty and peace.” The pope used this term as a prognosis for how the Church whose membership has become a minority in Europe should act in face of secularism and de-Christianization. The clergy,
BECs as creative minorities
lay organizations and renewal movements would have an important role in this. In his broad historical study of major civilizations, Arnold Toynbee observed that the growth and transformation of many societies depend on creative minorities whom the majority eventually follows. This is similar to Vilfredo Pareto’s 20-80 principle or the law of the vital few: the 20 percent of any group or institution account for 80 percent of the effect. Thus, 80 percent of our efforts should be focused on the 20 percent that can make a difference. This is how the Church should function according to Benedict XVI. While this can be applied for the Church in Europe, is this also applicable for the Philippines where Catholics make up the majority? I believe that the concept of “Creative Minorities” is relevant in our country. Although 81 percent of the population are Catholics, the majority are either nominal or seasonal Catholics. There is a tiny minority—around 15 percent—that are active. There is no need to despair as long as the small percent of those who are active act as “creative minorities.” This means that they live as genuine disciples of Christ in community. Having undergone conversion and filled with dynamism they actively participate in the Church’s prophetic, evangelizing mission, in the work for justice, peace and social transformation, and give witness by their holiness of life. The lay organizations, renewal movements and Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) have a vital role to play as creative minorities in the midst of a Christian
Along the Way / A7
Internet freedom and responsibility
I HAVE come to believe, each time more strongly, that the more freedom one has, the more responsibility he should also exercise. The two cannot and should not be separated. Freedom is such a tremendous gift that it gives us power to be anything or anywhere we want to be, including to be in the gutter—or worse, in hell. That’s why, it has to be directed and conformed to a law that is meant to be good for all of us. That’s not a limitation of freedom. That actually enhances freedom, since that makes freedom to get engaged with its proper purpose. That’s when freedom would truly serve us for our own good and the good of everyone else. And that good is none other than ultimately to love God and others in the truth. The Internet, especially its very popular social networking services, has opened a wide, new and apparently endless and borderless avenue for us to exercise our freedom of expression. It has brought about a quantum leap of benefits and advantages unknown before.
Fr. Roy Cimagala
it is not only about who makes sense or more sense that matters, but rather the ultimate goal and requirements of charity have to be reached and met. We need to examine ourselves more deeply if we are using the Internet and its social network services properly. While it’s true that these technologies can be used to further facilitate our ordinary communications, we also need to make sure that they are not used to foster inanities, vanities, waste of time, obsessions or worse, to commit big sins and crimes. Nowadays, pornography is a common stuff in this environment. Also phishing and trolling. And all sorts of fraud and forms of indignities are committed. We definitely need to check ourselves frequently to see if our use of these powerful means is on the right track toward our proper goal, if we truly are facilitating authentic communication, if we are all becoming better persons, understanding and loving each other more, aside from understanding
Candidly Speaking / A6
Pedro C. Quitorio
Ronalyn R. Regino
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940
In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, the digital social networks are creating “a new ‘agora,’ an open public square in which people share ideas, information and opinions, and in which new relationships and forms of community can come into being.” He went to the extent of saying that the spaces created by this new technology, if properly handled, can make the exchange of information into true communication, the links can ripen into friendship, and connections can facilitate communion. That’s why, according to the Pope, all those who make use of them must exert great effort to be “authentic since, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves.” That’s a statement worth meditating on, if only to make into a strong conviction the truth that in any communication, it is not merely ideas that are exchanged, but ultimately a person-to-person interrelationship is taking place. Great care therefore has to be done. And it should be made clear that in these exchanges,
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Vol. 17 No. 04
February 18 - March 3, 2013
cardinals in a farewell meeting and after February 28 his ring of office, used to seal official documents, would be destroyed just as if he had died. *** The great contribution of Pope Benedict to the Filipino people was when he appointed 9 archbishops and 22 bishops in 7 years. The archbishops are composed of Archbishops Antonio Ledesma, S.J. of Cagayan de Oro, Jose Palma of Cebu, Romulo Valles of Davao, Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao, Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of Manila, Jose Advincula of Capiz, John Du of Palo and Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres. Pope Benedict elevated to the rank of Archbishop Bernardito Auza, as the apostolic nuncio to Haiti. Blessed John Paul II appointed three other Filipinos as nuncios—Archbishops Adolfo Tito Yllana (Congo), and brothers Francisco Padilla (Tanzania) and Osvaldo Padilla (South Korea and Mongolia). *** To all officers and members of Archdiocesan and Diocesan Councils of the Laity, Parish Pastoral Councils, mandated organizations and BEC’s (Basic Ecclesial Communities) as well as officers and members of national lay organizations, you are all invited to attend the consultation conference about the coming May elections on February 23, 2013 at El Shaddai’s AMVEL Center, Parañaque City, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be the launching of the Lay Solidarity Coalition for the Preservation of the Filipino Family. There will be free meals; no registration fee. We must protect our sacred right to vote. It is our responsibility to make sure that there is clean, honest and credible election. Automated election can be a cause of widespread cheating, as the mock elections conducted by the COMELEC had proven. The COMELEC must be transparent and should correct the defects in the PCOS machines to assure the citizenry that there is no reason to fear that the result of the elections is already a foregone conclusion even before the people vote. *** Happy Birthday to Fr. Romy Tuazon, our co-anchor at Veritas 846 Hello Father 911 Saturday Edition, Diocese of Kalookan Chancery Office staff Marie Masangkay and Bea Lim; also Rafael and Kenneth de Lara, children of Gigi de Lara.
Fr. Russell A. Bantiles
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
SEDE Vacante, the Holy See, the See of Rome is vacant! The whole world was shocked and saddened with the announcement by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, of his resignation as Pope due to health reasons, effective 20:00 o’clock of February 28, 2013. The Pope “invites the Church to entrust herself with confidence to the Holy Spirit and to a new Successor of Peter. x x x Continue to pray for me, for the Church and for the future Pope.” He will retire to a convent inside the Vatican, exchanging his 16th century Apostolic Palace for a sober modern residence. This is the first time in the modern era that a Pope resigns; but can the Pope resign? History said that in 12th century, Fr. Pietro Angelerio was elected Pope and carried the name Pope Celestine V. Five months after he was elected Pope, he issued a decree stating that a Pope can resign. In 1296, Pope Celestine V resigned. Records show that on April 29, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI visited the tomb of St. Celestine V. He left his pallium, the symbol of his own episcopal authority as Bishop of Rome, at the top of the tomb. Then, on July 4, 2010, Pope Benedict visited and prayed before the relics of St. Celestine V in the Cathedral of Sulmona, near Rome. Like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI resigned. The Vatican announced that a conclave to elect the Pope’s successor would start sometime between March 15 and March 19, in keeping with Church rules about filling up the vacancy 20 days after. The Vatican could not give an exact date yet because the cardinals will determine it. Under the rules, the conclave must achieve a two-thirds majority to elect the new pope. Our very own, His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, was included by the Vatican observers in the shortlist of papabili (possible Papal candidates) Some 115 cardinals under the age of 80, including His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, will be eligible to enter a secret conclave to elect his successor. Only the cardinals who are below the age of 80 can participate in the conclave, which means that Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, 80, and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, 82, can no longer vote. On his last day in office, Pope Benedict who called himself the “humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord”, would receive
Cogito Pope resigns!
POPE Benedict XVI’s resignation on February 11 came like a thunderbolt. For the first time in almost 600 years, a reigning pope resigns! The last to resign was Pope Gregory XII in 1415. The actual Pope’s resignation takes effect on February 28 at 8 p.m. (March 1, 2 a.m. local time). Immediately, the pope’s move has caused wide panoply of reactions from all fronts. From the Catholic Church, a general feeling of dismay and sadness has swept the faithful. Everybody is invited to pray for the Pope and for the next pontiff to be elected soon. Yet, expectedly, together with the dismay of the Catholic faithful is a wide array of comments from detractors and critics of the Catholic Church. Respectable world leaders who have personally met the Pope during his visits to states and countries generally receive the pontiff’s move with utmost respect. Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the head of the Anglican Church, for instance, received “with a heavy heart but complete understanding” the news of the Pope’s resignation. German President Joachim Gauck, a Protestant pastor, affirmed that the pope’s decision required “great courage and self-reflection, both of which deserve our respect”. Even Hans Kung, a Swiss theologian, Catholic priest and known to be Ratzinger’s greatest adversary, has noted that the Pope’s decision deserves respect as it is “understandable for many reasons”. Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor and a daughter of a Protestant pastor, thanked the Pope and said that his decision to resign must be given “the absolute highest respect”. Lord Sacks, Britain’s chief rabbi, hailed the Pope as “a man of gentleness, of quiet and of calm”. However, some not-so-well-meaning individuals view this development as a rare opportunity to advance their devious attack against the Catholic Church. Critics like Terry Sanderson, the president of the National Secular Society, only show shortsightedness, meanness and obstinate refusal to see goodness where it is flagrant. In his acid-tongued blogspot, Sanderson writes: “Under Ratzinger the Vatican has become despised and resented throughout the world”. Not to mention Richard Dawkins’ tweet, which just shows how very animalistic his view of life and human beings is, these criticisms fail to see deeply what transpired in the Pope’s action. Now, I would like to highlight three points in the Pope’s declaration that manifest the depth of his decision and the difficult spiritual journey he went through before arriving at such a painful decision. First, he emphasized that he “repeatedly examined my conscience before God”. We can imagine the Pope praying over and over this thought and taking it as material during his daily conversations with God. It is not something that he just arrived at over a cup of coffee with a friend. Or a decision that he chose over the many options that his counselors or spiritual directors have presented to him. Rather, it is something about which he has consulted God for the past few months. The cardinals who were present during the announcement could hardly believe their ears. It struck them as a complete surprise for no one—not even the Pope’s private secretary and aides—knows about his thoughts. Only the Pope’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, who shortly after the announcement, told the German media that he had been informed of the Pope’s plans some months ago. Georg described the decision as a “part of the natural process”. “My brother would like to have more rest in his old age”, he said. Secondly, the Pope clearly stated: “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering”. What comes first to my mind, upon reading this line, are the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, who when asked of the possibility of renouncing the papacy, told the media: “I will not step down, because Jesus did not step down from the cross!” One might easily contrast the actual Pope’s resignation to his predecessor’s heroism. In fact, one could easily see how the latter stands out when seen against the background of the former. But, all comparison is hateful. Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges the heroism of the late Pope John Paul II. He is perfectly aware that the Petrine ministry, being spiritual in nature, must be carried out even to the extreme of reducing it only to prayer and suffering, as the Polish pope did during his last years. The German pope understands that, somehow, the Polish pope’s heroic stay in the papacy until his death was part of the latter’s papal vocation. But it does not mean that Ratzinger has the same vocation, hence, must also follow suit. After all, each of us has his own calling in life. Was it not Cardinal Ratzinger who said in one of his books, “There are as many vocations as there are human persons”? Thus, nothing hinders the actual Pope to see in his decision—after having examined rigorously his conscience before God—the finger of God. Lastly, the Pope said: “However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me”. Pope Benedict XVI saw two contrasting scenarios: on one hand, the real demands of today’s secularized world for a pope with enough physical and mental strength; on the other hand, the Pope’s awareness of his own real limitations. It takes remarkable courage for an 85-year-old man to tell himself: “This is already beyond my capacity”. Most old people find it hard to accept the reality that at advanced age, only the spirit is willing but the body is already weak. The Pope recognizes both and is courageous and humble enough to accept it. Truly, as Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi commented during the press conference, a few hours after the Pope’s announcement, “the Pope took his decision aware of the great problems the Church faces today… (His decision) showed great courage and determination”. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of the Catholic Church of England and Wales expressed confidence that the Pope’s decision is made “of great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action”. A Mexican prelate, Msgr. Oscar Sanchez Barba from Guadalajara (Mexico), described the scenario during the pronouncement in these words: “We were all in the Sala del Consistorio in the third loggia of the Apostolic Palace. After giving the date for the canonization, the 12th of May, the Pope took a sheet of paper and read from it. He just said that he was resigning… The cardinals were looking at one another. Then, the Pope got up, gave his benediction and left. It was so simple; the simplest thing imaginable. Extraordinary. Nobody expected it. Then, we all left in silence. There was absolute silence…” With great respect at the Pope’s decision and with utmost trust in “the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ”, as the Pope said, why not take the Marian stance of “keeping everything in our heart” in silence and prayer? (Quotations are from Paul Owen, “Pope Benedict XVI announces resignation –live reaction”, in The Guardian «www.guardian.co.uk/ world/2013/feb/11/pope-resigns-live-reaction», accessed on February 11, 2013.)
Our humble Pope
WITH Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise announcement that he is stepping down, people have been sharing their favorite papal memories. I was privileged to be among the media crew covering his April 2008 apostolic voyage to the United States, when Shepherd One flew into Andrews Air Force Base and he was met by President Bush. Standing in the bleachers by the airstrip, I saw Bush greet the Holy Father on the tarmac and stride proudly beside him toward a secure area, his chest bursting from his shirt. At that moment, it looked like the president was ready to convert to Catholicism. There were memorable Masses in National Stadium in Washington, D.C., and Yankee Stadium in Bronx, N.Y. Everyone was struck by the calm and mild demeanor of Benedict, his welcoming smile and his lively eyes. He looked like a boy seeing the world anew, with hope and wonder. Yet his homilies were filled with deep and engaging thoughts, both personal and professorial in style. It was evident that he was a popular figure with a strong message, unlike so many stars of our day. Of course, as a Knight of Columbus, I was especially pleased when Pope Benedict spoke of the Order’s founder, Venerable
surprised and embarrassed to be the object of such attention and adulation. He repeatedly motioned for people to sit down, but no one budged; they kept standing and clapping and waving and leaping for joy. Benedict looked bewildered over what to do with such a large, uncooperative crowd. Finally, an aide walked over to him and whispered in his ear. I am sure he said something like, “Holy Father, they will not settle down before you sit down.” A look of “aha!” came over the Pope’s face and he made his way to the papal chair, whereupon the gracious crowd of thousands sat down in groups on their beach chairs, blankets and mats. I thought of the Sermon on the Mount. As he vacates the Chair of Peter, it is evident that Benedict XVI has lost little of that simplicity and humility. He is a man surprised by his own celebrity, content to step aside from history’s most ancient and durable office to commence a quiet retirement of prayer and study. Personally, I think he is stepping down because he thinks that another, younger pope will serve the Church better. In time, we will realize what a deep and enduring gift he has left the Church, the world and every Catholic. Ad multos annos!
Father Michael McGivney, in his homily at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Noting the rapid growth of the Catholic Church in the United States, due to the heroic work and zeal of missionaries, priests and laypeople, the pope said, “We need but think of the remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus, or of the legacy of the generations of religious and priests who quietly devoted their lives to serving the People of God in countless schools, hospitals and parishes.” The Holy Father had just declared Father McGivney as Venerable a month earlier, recognizing his heroic virtue. Probably the most moving moment of his trip came in the meeting with young people and seminarians at St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie), Yonkers, N.Y. After meeting with disabled young people in the chapel, he toured the spacious seminary grounds in an open vehicle, waving and smiling as the faithful flocked to the railings to get a photo and a closer look. As he walked on to the stage, the crowd let out a thunderous cheer. Benedict waved for a few moments then motioned for everyone to sit down. In his innocence and simplicity, he looked
Fr. Francis Ongkingco
A CUTTING silence filled the dining room as everyone found it difficult to swallow and process the news: ‘Benedict XVI has tendered his resignation!’ This was mentally more difficult to masticate than the tough tenderloin steak I was slicing. The tension relaxed a bit when someone asked, “Aren’t Popes supposed to die with their boots on?” This only managed a half-smile from a few of us. Then others started discussing the whys, whats, and the hows of such a unique event. Some capped it with an apocalyptic tone that signaled the end of days following St. Malachy’s prophecy. The resignation of a Pope is an allowable option when difficult and reasonable circumstances impede him from carrying out his ministry. It is, however, something very rare and unique in the Church’s history. In the early centuries many Popes died as martyrs and most lived to serve the Church and its faithful until death. Only a few have decided to step down. Meanwhile, I imagined how the media would (and already is) enjoy twisting Benedict XVI’s decision. They would re-conjure countless conspiracy theories and many more suspicions in an attempt to deface or discredit this 2000-year-old Church and Her ministers. But such a predictable and boring cacophony is not worth our attention. I believe it’s more interesting to learn from this ‘Popeful moment.’ Personally, I see this event pulsating with many human and spiritual lessons. It is like a fresh breeze nourishing and enkindling the fire of our faith and opening for us unsuspecting avenues for personal conversion and optimism. In the first place, resigning from his post is a humble acceptance of what he can no longer carry out efficiently. But it is also the wisdom to foresee and allow—while one has still a reserve of strength and lucidity—a smooth transition and guarantee continuity in the pastoral care of the Church. Benedict XVI’s ‘popeful decision’ is also a gift to all of us: something that he had intensely prayed about for some years, and even going to the extent of asking some light from his predecessor—Pope Celestine V—who had likewise opted to resign from the Papal mission in the 13th century. It is a gift that strengthens our faith in the Church because it reveals how She remains to be the same ‘boat of Christ’, which continues to grow and bear fruit in Her earthly journey towards Heaven. Mysteriously, the Church’s splendor in the midst of the world’s turmoil and trials is a result of the interplay of God’s continuing trust in the correspondence of man (despite his weaknesses and infidelities) to His grace. Secondly, the Holy Father paves the way for all men to
realize that they also have similar ‘popeful moments.’ These moments are not extraordinary ones, but numerous small and insignificant personal decisions. Benedict XVI had made very important decisions, but like us he also makes common daily resolutions. The only difference is that even his smallest decisions may come to the light of the public eye because of his public office. We can say that a ‘popeful moment’ is distinguished by the following traits: they are personally made in the intimate presence of God, they are not meant to please men but God alone, and one embraces the possibility of not being understood or accepted by others when we take a position to uphold God’s will. Thus, we also make similar ‘popeful decisions’ when we choose the road which pleases God most and fulfills His will best. Even if these choices often seem very trivial, they are in God’s eyes always a humble and obedient demonstration of our love and trust. Here are some examples of such resolutions: when we are not ashamed to make the sign of the Cross in public as we say our personal prayers (i.e. the Angelus or the blessing before and after meals), when we struggle to contain the urge to read or send a casual text in the middle of a homily, when we step on our ego in order to forgive or understand another, when we put aside uncharitable or judgmental thoughts about our neighbors, etc. There are also more serious decisions that may go unseen by men. For example, that of detaching ourselves from occasions of sin that makes us unfaithful to our commitments to marriage or community, the resolve to be more sincere and upright in our professional commitments, to also abandon a lucrative post because it is something that is no longer coherent with our being Christian, etc. In these examples are imbedded perennial lessons of humility and obedience when we choose to do something that others may not understand. One, however, decides that it would be more important to ‘please God, rather than men.’ Is this not a profound act of faith and abandonment, and also of hope and optimism that God will take care of everything? “Do not be afraid, it is I!” In these remaining days of February may we closely accompany our beloved Pope Benedict XVI with our constant prayers and sacrifices. Although these may not amount to so much, they are still an expression of our gratitude to him for his fidelity, for being a humble channel of grace as our shepherd; and also for giving us a lesson— both old and new, human and supernatural—that will reverberate into a ‘popeful symphony’ throughout the entire Church and the world.
CBCP head downplays ‘last pope’ prophecy
CONTRARY to prophecies of doom, the Catholic Church will continue for many more years, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said there is nothing to fear about the “last pope” scenario as prophesied by St. Malachy O’ Morgair following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. “Even if the Pope resigns or in times of succession, the Church is always in the hands of God,” Palma said. “The Church has been here for the past 2 thousand years and we’re here and we’re increasing.” The Irish archbishop who was canonized in 1190 supposedly predicted that the next pontiff would be the last and the Judgment Day will follow.
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In his prediction, dated 1139, Malachy claimed that there would be 112 more popes from his time to the Apocalypse. Benedict is supposedly the 111th pope. Archbishop Palma said that Benedict XVI will be missed but the Church will endure and will continue its mission. He stressed that Benedict XVI’s resignation should not be viewed as something negative because the pontiff did it for the good of the universal church. “There are big challenges and while we feel that it’s a great loss in the sense that he is a great pope, still to us we are challenged to believe that the Church is in the hands of God,” said Palma. (CBCPNews) IN his Lenten message, the head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church called on the faithful to help other people, especially the needy. In a pastoral letter for Alay Kapwa 2013, Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that Lent is a liturgical period of charity and solidarity. “The Year of Faith invites us to listen to the deep cries and aspirations of the people and societies of our time so that we can proclaim Jesus Christ to them with new methods, new expressions, and new fervor,” Tagle said. In line with this, the Manila archdiocese will hold a second offertory collection during Sunday Masses for an emergency and relief funds during disasters and other crises affecting the country. The fund is specifically intended for the archdiocese’s Alay Kapwa program and its social services and programs for the poor. It will also be held in the archdiocese’s suffragan dioceses— Antipolo, Cubao, Imus, Kalookan, Malolos, Novaliches, Parañaque, Pasig, San Pablo, and the apostolic vicariates of Puerto Princesa and Taytay in Palawan. “As we have done in the past few years… we will again implement a special second collection for six Sundays, from February 17 to March 24, 201,” Tagle said. The fund gathered during these six Sundays, he said, will again be used as emergency funds for calamities both natural and manmade all over the country like what happened in the recent calamities. Alay Kapwa is the Lenten evangelization-action program since 1975 to raise social consciousness about the plight of the poor. It is also the time of the year designated to raise funds for the
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 04
Cardinal: Lent is time to help others
Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
social services and programs of the Church for the poor, specifically for its disaster risk reduction and management program. With the P7 million funds raised in last year’s Alay Kapwa, the Church was quick to respond
to help the victims of recent calamities for a total assistance of P14.4 million in cash and in kind. Caritas Manila also assisted four dioceses affected by Typhoon Pablo in-cash and in-kind totalling P8 million. (CBCPNews)
Catholics urged to vote according to morals
organizations. Archdiocesan Discernment Group convenor Msgr. Romualdo Kintanar said the spectral agenda workshop will have farmers, fisherfolk, urban poor, workers, women, youth, elderly and persons with disabilities as participants. “To prepare for the summit, some law schools in Cebu are studying the said election issues and will propose policy reforms,” Kintanar said. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has earlier reiterated its position against the “widening practice” of political dynasties in the country and the lack of measure to address it. In a pastoral statement, the CBCP wants the political dynasties to disappear in Philippine politics, saying that it exacerbates the problem on corruption. “Political dynasties breed corruption and ineptitude,” reads part of the statement signed by Palma, CBCP president. (CBCPNews) THE crusade against the proliferation of anti-life measures is far from being over, especially now that the midterm elections are fast approaching. Catholic lay organizations called on Filipinos to vote according to morals, saying the next set of political leaders may greatly influence the moral stability of the Philippines as a predominantly Catholic nation. Dr. Ricardo Boncan, spokesperson of Catholic Vote Philippines (CVP) and secretary of Defensores Fidei Foundation, said Filipinos must vote for politicians with “uncompromising moral principles” derived from the divine law. Boncan, one of two speakers at a forum dubbed “Advocating Catholics to vote as Catholics: Voting in defense of life, marriage and family” held in Greenhills, San Juan, noted that the corruption of morals is the worst that could ever happen to a nation as it turns people to the crooked path of sinfulness. “Corruption at its highest level is not the corruption of money. Yes, graft and corruption, malversation of funds, and stealing—masama lahat ‘yan. But the greatest of all is moral corruption. If you can corrupt a person and distort his end, anything is doable. Stealing becomes nothing,” Boncan said. “You are free to choose [the candidates you will vote] and the best gauge is what they uphold as their moral principle. If they can give you moral principle, they can give you anything. If moral principle can be bought, it is easy to buy everything else,” he added He urged Filipinos to look after the integrity of public officials, stressing that those who will win in the polls will be more involved in enacting laws that may not contribute to the common good of the society.
Candidly Speaking / A4
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the gathering in partnership with the Commission on Elections and the Department of Education seeks to come up with concrete actions for electoral reforms. “[The summit] will endeavor to forge maximum unity in embracing electoral advocacy and in implementing the needed concrete strategies for electoral reforms,” Palma said. Other issues to be tackled during the summit include electoral rules violation and irregularities, and sectoral agenda. Aside from Palma, other speakers of the summit are Visayas Clergy Discernment Group Head Convenor Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, DepEd Sec. Armin Luistro, and Comelec 7 Director Temie Lambino. Around 1,000 participants are expected to attend in this conference including representatives from the academe, NGOs, youth leaders, law enforcers, local government units, political parties, businessmen, and faith-based
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“Morality is absolute. It is either something you ought to do or something you ought not to do,” Boncan pointed out, explaining morality as a concept with predefined standards not meant to be subjected to man’s conditional beliefs. Church’s right and duty to provide moral judgment He called out the population control aspect of the RH bill and said that it is not the solution for the high poverty incidence in the country. “Why are they always fighting about the issue of promoting contraception use among the poor? Why don’t they educate them, give them jobs, or put them to vocational trainings?” he said. Boncan also answered criticism repeatedly thrown against the Church specifically that which asserted that it must not meddle with the current political affairs of the State. “The Church has the right and duty to provide moral judgment to the temporal man whenever it is required by faith. It is our duty. You cannot tell us to keep quiet or to mind our own business because we oversee the greater good and end of man,” he said. He said that despite being misjudged as intruders to the political life, the Church strives to make the lives of lay Catholics—especially those running for public office—morally coherent. “You could not claim [to be] a Catholic and act opposite to its morals. There can never be two parallel [kinds of] existence of the spiritual and secular life,” he said. Boncan urged the public to go back to prayer and fight the predominance of moral corruption hounding the country. “We need to do a lot of prayer and soulsearching. This culture of decadence is exactly what’s destroying our conscience,” he said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza) such confusion of languages that the people could not understand one another anymore. We need to be most responsible in enjoying the tremendous freedom afforded by the Internet and its very popular social networks. When we use them, are we clearly driven by love for God and for the common good, or are we just allowing our merely human and temporal impulses free play?
Dr. Ricardo Boncan, spokesperson of Catholic Vote Philippines, urges Filipino electorates to vote for politicians who are morally upright.
present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent.” In Blessed John Paul II’s 1996 document, the Apostolic Consitution titled “Universi Dominici Gregis,” cardinals are decreed to commence the voting process behind closed doors no sooner than 15 days, but no later than 20 into the “sede vacante” period. Given the unprecedented circumstances of the Pope’s planned resignation on Feb. 28, however, Fr. Lombardi stated that the date could be moved forward. “In the Constitution, it says between 15 and 20 days, but, this period is to ‘wait,’ that is to give those who need it the time necessary to reach the Vatican. In the eventuality that the cardinals were already all here, the Constitution could be interpreted in a different way,” said the press office director. Fr. Lombardi said it would be in
Fasting / A1
the hands of the College of Cardinals, led by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, to decide. He also revealed that Pope Benedict XVI will likely be spending two months at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo following his resignation. He will be waiting there for renovations to be completed on Mater Ecclesiae monastery. Joining him at the property within the Vatican gardens will be his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, and members of his current household staff. Meanwhile, preparations continue for the final papal general audience on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Vatican Radio reported that thousands will be “flocking” to St. Peter’s Square, where they will be able to attend Pope Benedict XVI’s “last great appointment with the People of God.” (CNA/EWTN News)
Money-dangling in Congress Boncan said that prior to the present administration’s swift passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) law, the Church and life advocates were confident that it would not get the needed support from lawmakers since many opposed its anti-life provisions. However, what happened in reality was the opposite as the bill gained the needed support for it to be successfully passed late last year. “In 2011, we knew they were not going to pass this bill. That is how many lawmakers are opposed to it, but unfortunately they figured out how to get the lawmakers, which is through dangling money,” he said. Boncan also noted the high pervasiveness of moral corruption in the country, adding that voting according to Catholic virtues is an attempt to “reclaim the moral landscape of the society.” He bemoaned the plurality of morals practiced by many lawmakers, especially when they take morality as a personalistic concept that is subjected under one’s freedom to choose.
issues more deeply, etc. The digital world should improve our capacity for tolerance to an ever-increasing range of diversity, but it should also sharpen our love for one another and our understanding and appreciation of opinions as well as absolute truths. These should be the standard and criteria to assess the quality of our use of these means. We cannot remain cavalier in
Enrollment / A1
this regard, because these new technologies, while giving us great good, can also cause big and even almost irreparable damage to us. We also need to understand that there has to be an effort to use these technologies for the ultimate purpose of communication. And that is evangelization, spreading the Good News about God and ourselves with respect to our ultimate end.
The Pope spells this out quite clearly. “The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive,” he said. That means these networks should include God and should be open to all. Otherwise, these powerful means can be likened to the Tower of Babel that was built for the purpose of reaching heaven merely by human effort. God destroyed it and made it to cause
CBCP for Life
nila’s chapel, the cardinal said that fasting during Lent, if used for the wrong intention, is useless. “Fasting is also not to save money since you will only have one meal for the day. It is to be done in purity of intention, purity of heart,” he said. According to him, fasting and abstinence should be aimed to endure sacrifices in order to root out the sinful pleasures. “This season of faith is beAsian / A1
coming a desert. But while it is uncomfortable in the desert, a desert experience brings out the essentials,” Tagle added. “Just like these 40 days of desert experience, may we be able to join Jesus in His passion and also Resurrection,” he said. In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lenten season or the 40-day liturgical period of prayer, penance and reflection. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews) For his part, San Fernando de Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said the coming conclave is “all up to the Holy Spirit” and the “discernment of the present group of cardinals.” Asked if he has personal choices who he considers frontrunners, the auxiliary bishops said “Your guess is as good as mine.” Fr. Gerry Orbos, one of the most visible SVD missionaries in the Philippines said, he sees a big chance for anybody from North or South America and even an Asian to become Pope as “majority of the Catholic population are in these places today.” Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo said there’s a slim chance for a nonEuropean to become the next
the senior high school (SHS) curriculum. During the Luzon conference, CEAP legal counsel Atty. Ada Abad discussed the potential scenarios facing CEAP schools during the transition and possible courses of action to deal with the legal and practical questions presented by manpower displacements. CEAP president and Adamson University president Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, C.M. said private school administrators are strategizing together on how to address the financial challenges that their school will face given the expected decrease of enrollees starting 2017. He said college enrollment in private Catholic schools is expected to decline by as much as 50 percent. Bañaga said the conferences aimed at getting feedback and suggestions from the Successor of Peter, although “it is possible.” Asked of his preference, Bishop Bagaforo said he goes for the Archbishop of New York, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said there’s a good chance for Asia and Africa though the trend is non-Italian. “We’ve had a Polish national and a German (though both were Europeans) recently,” he said. He added the Churches in Africa and Asia have become progressive as there are good “materials” referred to as “papabile.” Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert C. Vergara said while he has nobody in mind, he simply said “Anybody from the College of Cardinals could be the next pope as the Holy Spirit would guide them all.
school administrators on how to maintain and compensate their teaching staff despite the expected drop in freshman admissions as a result of the implementation of K to 12 basic education program. Under the government-enforced K to 12 system, students can already forego going to college after undergoing two more years in senior high school. Technical and vocational skills will already be taught to students to help them land a job or engage in entrepreneurial endeavors after graduating high school. Since pursuing a college degree will remain an option for selected students who still want specialized education and training, freshmen enrollment is expected to generally
decrease—with the drop more felt by private schools than state universities because of the difference in tuition costs. “After the conferences, we expect to come up with a list of our suggestions to remedy the foreseen threat and present it to the Department of Education as proposal,” Bañaga said. With the decrease in enrollment, Bañaga said private colleges and universities stand to lose revenue and be forced to layoff professors just to maintain their operations. But all of CEAP’s 1,345 member-schools nationwide are still supporting the shift from the previous 10-year basic education program to the new 12-year curriculum. (KB/YouthPinoy) whose lives he has touched, in prayer and sympathy.” He also wished Pope Benedict XVI would “find respite from his physical challenges, and peace and contentment in the seclusion of his retirement.” Lacierda described the decision as historic and “in keeping with humility and pastoral approach” as the core of his service as Pope. “We pause in human sympathy with Pope Benedict XVI in his acknowledgment of the great physical burden of his office,” he added. He also recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s prayers and comforting words of encouragement in times of calamity and challenge, including the recent canonization of the country’s second saint, San Pedro Calungsod. (Melo M. Acuna/CBCPNews)
Intengan said an American pope would make the Church vulnerable to prejudices of many Muslims and other groups who dislike or suspect the First World, especially the United States, and it may make the Vatican an “American tool.” He added there’s no outstanding Canadian member of the hierarchy who may fit the Shoes of the Fisherman. A non-European pope is unlikely, continued Intengan, because Europeans are likely to dominate the choices as European cardinals are familiar with each other and the Roman Curia. But for some Latin Americans who have respectable prospects with large local churches and partly European culture, Roman experience and contacts, it is a bit less unlikely than before.
Phl Officials praise pope’s decision Meanwhile, Philippine government officials joined world leaders in praising the Pope’s humility for his decision to step down and wished him good health. In a statement, Vice President Jejomar Binay recalled having had an audience with the pontiff thrice and “never saw any outward sign that he was in frail health.” He said Filipinos have in their hearts a special place for the Holy Father “who offered us his prayers and succor during the calamities that afflicted thousands of Filipinos.” He added it was Pope Benedict XVI who “lifted our spirits with the elevation of Cardinal Luis Tagle and the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod.” He called on the Filipino people to
continuously pray for the Holy Father’s health. Meanwhile, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III’s spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda said all peoples and nations of goodwill are filled with “great regret” on the news of Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement from the Petrine Ministry at the end of February. Lacierda said this was the first time in several centuries that the papacy will be vacated by means of resignation. “It is a momentous time for the Catholic Church and all those with whom that Church has interacted,” he further said. He added at the very moment when the Pope has announced the physical challenges he faces make it difficult to continue bearing the burdens of his office, “we join the Catholic world and all
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vol. 17 No. 04
February 18 - March 3, 2013
archbishop endorsed the Ang Kapatiran bets. In the 2010 presidential elections, Arguelles and some five other bishops openly endorsed delos Reyes who was then the party’s standardbearer. Delos Reyes, however, lost to President Benigno Aquino III and placed last among the nine presidential candidates. All of the eight Ang Kapatiran’s senatorial candidates also lost in the general elections. Asked about the chances of winning of the three senatorial bets this coming May elections, Arguelles said their fate still lies at the hands of the voters. “If the people will be convinced to vote for the good of their children and future generations, these good people will win handily,” he said. (CBCPNews)
tions would be ordered against the Task Force Kitaco, and that a court martial will proceed in two weeks time. Kitaco is a special task force created under the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade assigned to oversee the secure areas where SMI-Xstrata’s mining project operates. Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat, chair of the committee on national cultural communities of the House of Representatives has scheduled a congressional hearing to be held in General Santos to hear about the problems of human rights and extra judicial killings from community leaders themselves. Baguilat condemned the killing of IP members and the continued threat of violations against them. “In our planned Congressional Inquiry this coming February 21, my colleagues in Congress and I will study the different cases and put forward concrete actions to the government offices concerned,” Baguilat said. Peliño said that he looks forwards to the Congressional Inquiry but also asks for immediate action from the government. “We strongly call on PNoy to carefully examine whose interest is promoted and protected here but with a clear bias to the least, especially of the IP communities, not just the foreign investment and to command the pull out of military deployment in the area or at the minimum order the cessation of all military activities and violence in the areas affected by the Tampakan mining project. We ask for fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution for self-determination and the right to defend their ancestral land,” Peliño furthered. Militarization of Tampakan Mining Site Tribal communities and their support groups fear the increasing presence of militias as investment defense forces is due to the entry of SMI-Xstrata in pursuit of the Tampakan mining project. The SMI-Xstrata Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) for the Tampakan Gold-Copper Mining Project cover 23, 571 hectares in four provinces namely, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, and Saranggani. The permit overlaps four ancestral domains including CADT 102, CADT 108, CADT 72 and CADC 74. A pre-requisite before actual operations is the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous communities who will be affected by the development project. But the B’laans and other tribes have not issued their approval/FPIC for the project that will take their ancestral lands from them. The military`s presence in the area brought tensions among members of the indigenous communities since they are prevented by the mining company from conducting any activity. (Jandel Posion)
Archbishop endorses 3 senatorial bets Gov’t asked to investigate killing
LIPA City—Breaking tradition on nonpartisanship, a Catholic archbishop has called on the faithful to vote for specific candidates. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles asked the people to vote for the three Ang Kapatiran’s senatorial candidates, John Carlos ‘JC’ delos Reyes, Lito David and Atty. Marwil Llasos. He made the call during the Pro-Life Congress on Batangueño Catholic Vote held right at the archdiocese’s St. Francis de Sales Minor Seminary in Lipa City on February 15. The archbishop said that the political party founded on principles of Catholic social doctrine might provide the trigger for political change. “Yes (I endorse them) very much because they are the only ones who are committed to promote what is good, true and Godly,” Arguelles said.
of tribe member in Mindanao
MARBEL, S. Cotabato—The social arm of a Catholic diocese in Mindanao has asked for the government`s immediate action on the death of tribe members in alleged military operations in South Cotabato. The Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel (SAC-Marbel) has sought the intervention of the government particularly the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to look into the incident. Fr. Joy Peliño, SCA-Marbel coordinator condemned the killing on both sides of indigenous peoples and military. “This is too much already for the community, which is why we are calling on the president to command the government agencies to investigate and resolve this situation,” Peliño said. He added that they need the intervention of the CHR together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police in their region to investigate the situation in the mountains. “We are aware that there is an increasing deployment of military forces in the area, but we believe that there is no concrete reason for them being there other than looking after the mine area. Thereby, threatening the rights of the indigenous communities living there,” Peliño added. He believes the presence of military forces and militias alarms the communities and pushes them to fight against them because of fear and to defend their ancestral land. Incidents call for investigation The call for investigation arose after another alleged encounter between members of a tribal community in Tampakan versus military forces. In a report gathered by SAC-Marbel, on January 29, Kitari, a member of the B’laan Tribe was going to Sitio Bong Mal when he saw military men identified as members of the Task Force Kitaco. Fearing for the safety of his family, he ran back to his home in Nakultana and told his wife and children to leave and stay at their relatives’ place. But Kitari what shot twice in an encounter that took place afterwards. He was brought to a hospital in Koronadal City where he underwent operations from sustained gunshot wounds but was declared dead after two hours. On January 30, another shoot-out happened in Bong Mal which wounded a relative of Daguil Capion, a tribal defense warrior opposing the entry of mining companies in their ancestral domain. In a dialogue with Church officials, representatives from the Bong Mal communities, Police and Military officials last February 3, the military assured the communities that they can go back safely to their place. Military officials on the other hand promised the people that more restric-
Archbishop Ramon Arguelles
“They stand not for self interests but for the total good of all. In short, they are no ‘trapos (traditional politicians),’” he said. This is not the first time that the
Provincial gov’t passes environment code to protect ecology
ROMBLON, Romblon—In a bid to further protect the province’s rich biodiversity, the provincial council of Romblon approved an Environment and Resources Code on February 11, laying down policies against destructive industries. The provincial code aims to pass measures that will protect and conserve its environment and natural resources, specifically on destructive industries such as mining and logging. Romblon Gov. Eduardo Firmalo hailed the provincial code even as he affirmed staunchly the commitment of local residents to protect the environment. “Finally, the Environment Code is passed! We are firm with our decision that Romblon is a special province, with beautiful resources that we should not forgo because of its promised development. As caretakers of our province, we agree that to protect the environment and natural resources is one of our important roles,” he said. Romblon provincial board
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member Felix Ylagan, the principal author of the environment code, lauded the timely approval of the ordinance “to correct the errors made against the environment.” “The people have spoken very clearly, let there be liberality, it has been said time and again to ‘apply the law not by the letters that killeth but by the spirit that giveth life’; the leg- Rich in natural resources, Romblon island is also known for its pristine environment and lush biodiversity. islation has far reaching benefits which will Council to decide on the legislation challenges local protect us now and those fate of the people towards government units to inteof our children’s children,” a genuine environmental grate climate change action Ylagan said. stewardship,” the group said and disaster risk reduction The Romblon Ecumeni- in a statement. management plans in their cal Forum Against Mining REFAM further said that development programs. (REFAM) led by Msgr. Er- the approval of the environ“The path to sustainable nie Fetalino of the Roman ment code is a significant gift development has been laid Catholic Church and Bishop to Romblomanons as they down and the decisionRonelio Fabriquer of the commemorate on February makers must implement Philippine Independent 14 the province’s biggest programs which will not Church also welcomed the anti-mining rally held two worsen the effects of the approval of the provincial years ago. climate crisis—conservation, ordinance. In reaction to the recent protection and rehabilitation “Indeed the strong will passage of the ordinance, of the environment are top of the people reigned after the Sibuyan Islands Sentinels priorities as well,” Sibuyan many years—it is the moral League for Environment ISLE director Rodne Galicha, obligation of the Provincial (Sibuyan ISLE) also said, the said.. (CBCPNews)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
and teacher, calls all of her members to renew themselves spiritually, to reorient themselves toward God, renouncing pride and egoism to live in love,” the Pope said. “In this Year of Faith, Easter is a favorable time to rediscover faith in God as a basic criterion for our life and the life of the Church. This always means a struggle, a spiritual combat, because the evil spirit naturally opposes our sanctification and seeks to turn us away from the path to God. That is why each year on the first Sunday of Lent the Gospel narrative of Jesus’ temptation in the desert is proclaimed.” Continuing his address on Sunday’s Gospel, Pope Benedict stated that the temptations by the devil were necessary for Christ to “unmask and reject the false images of the Messiah that the tempter proposed to him.” The Holy Father went on to say that the three temptations of Christ were also false images of man that are disguised as suitable, and “even good proposals.” “The nucleus of these temptations always consists in instrumentalizing God for our own interests, giving more importance to success or to material goods,” the Holy Father said. “The
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tempter is clever: he does not direct us immediately toward evil but toward a false good; making us believe that power and things that satiate primary needs are what is most real.” “In this manner,” he continued, “God becomes secondary; he is reduced to a means, he becomes unreal, he no longer counts, he disappears. In the final analysis, faith is what is at stake in temptations because God is at stake. In the decisive moments of life and, in fact, in every moment of life, we are faced with a choice: do we want to follow the ‘I’ or God? Do we want to follow individual interest or rather the true Good, that which is really good?” Recalling the teachings of the Fathers of the Church, Pope Benedict stated that temptations in the desert are the manifestation of Jesus’ decent in our human condition, a descent that Jesus followed to the point of death. The Holy Father encouraged the faithful to not only be afraid to fight against the devil’s temptation, but more importantly, to do it with Christ, “the Victor” and to turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary and “invoke her with filial confidence in the hour of trial.”
Prayers for Next Pope After the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Benedict greeted the pilgrims in various languages expressing his gratitude for expressions of support and love since he announced on Monday his intention to resign from the See of St. Peter. Addressing the Spanish-speaking pilgrims, the Supreme Pontiff asked for continuing prayers for himself and for his successor. “I ask that you continue to pray for me and for the next Pope, as well as for the Spiritual Exercises, which I will begin this evening along with members of the Roman Curia,” the Pope said. “Full of faith and hope, we entrust the Church to the maternal protection of the Most Holy [Virgin] Mary.” In English, the Holy Father thanked the faithful “for the prayers and support you have shown me in these days.” Pope Benedict’s next public appearance will be on Sunday, Feb. 24. This week the Holy Father, along with the Roman Curia, will attend the Lenten Spiritual exercises which will be led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. (Zenit) of the moment because it falls to the cardinals to determine it. A total of 117 cardinals, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, will be eligible to elect the successor of Benedict XVI. Only the cardinals who are below the age of 80 can participate in the conclave, which means that Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, 80, and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, 82, can no longer vote. Under the rules, the conclave must achieve a twothirds majority to elect the new pope. (with reports from Melo M. Acuña)
Camp to deepen youth’s journey with God
MANDALUYONG City—An overnight camp culminated the school year for members of the Institucion Teresiana (IT) Youth Philippines’ journey with God on Feb.16 and 17 at the Saint Pedro Poveda College. The camp seeks to prepare the youth for their commitment to continue the formation in the IT Youth Philippines and become youth minister, and to strengthen camaraderie through formation encounter and fellowship. Around 100 youth participants attended the camp as they reflected on theme, “Keeping the Fire Burning”. (Jandel Posion)
PPCRV calls for May poll volunteers
Bagaforo said he can only admire the pope’s deep humility in his decision to leave the Holy See for health reasons and finding himself incapable of leading the Church considering his age. He further said he is grateful for Pope Benedict for his good examples and teachings. “With his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI showed everyone that the ‘office’ is much bigger than the person,” said Bagaforo. Appeal for prayer Isabela de Basilan prelate Martin Jumoad invited the
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faithful to pray for the pope and for the cardinals who will elect a new pope in the coming conclave. “We should not be discouraged. Instead let us pray for cardinals and bishops that we may continue to be one and able to unite our people,” Jumoad said. Lagdameo also said that the pope will spend the rest of his life praying for the church “which is most needed.” “It was an act of humility for the pope to resign for reasons of health and needs of the church,” the archbishop said. “With Pope Benedict XVI
praying for the church, the new pope will be greatly helped to bring the church to the mysterious stage to which God is calling the church,” he said. Lone Filipino cardinal-elector Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said that the conclave to elect the next pope could start between March 15 and 19. “If everything goes normally, it could be envisioned that the conclave begins between 15 and 19 March,” Lombardi said. The Vatican official said he could not give an exact date as
MANILA—The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting is calling for volunteers to help monitor the conduct of the May 2013 local and national elections. Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV national chairperson, said they need more precinct poll watchers and technical assistance watchdogs. She said they would put up desks in all Catholic parishes across the country to accept applications of those who want to help the PPCRV, the accredited citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections. Precinct poll watchers, de Villa said, “must always be non-partisan and should not take sides with any candidate.” (CBCPNews)
ECY to attend youth meeting for peace in Myanmar
MANILA—Being the only group invited from the Philippines, the CBCP – Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) will be sending its executive secretary to attend an interfaith youth meeting on peace issues in Yangon, Myanmar on February 21 and 22. ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta said the Religions for Peace Asia and the Pacific Interfaith Youth Network Regional Pre-Assembly Meeting will help Philippine youth ministry gain a wider perspective on long-standing issues in the country like the peace problem in Mindanao. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Summit on child rights and welfare held
majority who are mostly nominal and who need to be evangelized. Since 1991, the PCP II and the CBCP have promoted the growth of BECs all over the Philippines. In most of the dioceses and parishes in the country, there are already BECs. The parishes are becoming networks of small Christian communities or BECs. The percentage of Catholics actively involved in the BECs is still small but they function as creative minorities—as light, leaven and salt, or as the mustard seed. In them, the ordinary lay-faithful, including the poor members actively participate in the life and mission of the Church.
Over the decades the BECs have made a difference in making the Church fully alive and contributing to the transformation of society. These communities have been engaged in renewed evangelization in the neighborhood communities and villages. Many of these have introduced programs to alleviate poverty (sustainable agriculture, livelihood projects, cooperatives, micro-finance, etc.). In response to the armed conflict, there have been BECs involved in peace advocacy—in the establishment of peace zones or spaces for peace. There are BECs that have defended the environment through their efforts to stop logging, mining
and coal-fired power-plants. There are also BECs involved in campaign for good-governance and political education. Other BECs are involved in pro-life campaign and introducing Natural Family Planning methods and responsible parenthood. Their numbers may not be significant yet but they are growing and are already making a difference. Thus, in the BECs, Benedict XVI’s vision of the Church as a creative minority is being realized at the grassroots, in the neighborhood and the barangay. As we say good-bye to our beloved pope, we will remember his ecclesial vision of the creative minority as one of his legacies.
ZAMBOANGA City—A summit focusing on the rights and welfare of children was held in this city on Feb. 15. Organized by the government’s youth arm, the National Youth Commission, around 200 young people from ages 11-14 who are in schools, out-of-school, with special needs/disabilities and those who belong to indigenous communities convened for the summit. The summit discussed various issues affecting children in Mindanao including human trafficking. (Jandel Posion)
Pro-life issues are youth’s concerns— lawyer
MANDALUYONG City—The ones who will be living long enough to reap the effects of anti-life legislation are young people and this is exactly why pro-life issues are youth issues, a lawyer said. “70% of the population is 30 years and down and that’s a huge demographic. The point here is that pretty soon, perhaps in a decade’s time this essentially is their country,” Atty. Jeremy Gatdula from Ang Prolife party list said. Gatdula explained that the coming elections are especially crucial because its outcome will have profound effects, not just on young people’s professional lives, but on their family lives. “If these measures, which are deemed anti-life and anti-family, come into fruition…they will be the ones actually left to suffer for it,” he added. Gatdula made obvious references to the newly minted RH Law and a divorce bill in the works. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
FILIPINO delegates who are looking forward to seeing Pope Benedict XVI in July for the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD) are saddened by the Holy Father’s retirement at the end of the month, but they are looking forward to having a glimpse of the new Pontiff by the time of the global youth gathering. Marlon Antolin of Kadang Dominiko in San Juan said his first encounter with the outgoing Pope was during the WYD 2005 in Cologne, Germany. The rare opportunity to see the Holy Father in the flesh happened again for Antolin during the WYD 2011 in Madrid, Spain. Although Antolin, together with his fellow Kadang Dominiko friends are expecting to see Pope Benedict XVI again in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the next WYD, he said he understood the Holy Father’s decision to vacate the top post in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy. “I always look up to him with respect and love especially
People, Facts & Places
when he was able to step out of the shadows of his predecessor John Paul II with his writings and directions. I feel sorry for his resignation but do understand his choice,” he said. But Antolin hopes that the new Pope will be chosen before the WYD, hopefully soon before Easter. “I just pray that we can all together cry out ‘Habemus Papam’ by Easter. Who knows, the next pope may be from Asia,” he said. Like Antolin, Dani Villanueva, the youth coordinator of the Diocese of Antipolo met Pope Benedict XVI during the WYD 2009 in Sydney, Australia and in Madrid, Spain later in 2011. “I am happy for the opportunity to see him (during the past WYDs),” Villanueva said. Villanueva also said the decision of the Holy Father to resign from his post is “the fruit of his prayers and discernment guided by the Holy Spirit.” “I know everything is according to the mysterious plan of God. Mysterious as it may seem, I know that the Lord will give us the gift of understanding. (For now), I’m praying for his good physical, mental and emotional health,” he added. Church’s best interest For his part, Lourd Ronald Bocboc, leader of the WYD delegates from the diocese of Butuan, said that although he was amazed with the Holy Father’s decision, he would “welcome with the same enthusiasm whoever will replace him.” “It’s hard to believe but if that’s for the better, I can only contribute my prayer, compassion and work in communion with the Church. I know that the Holy Spirit is continually working with us,” said Bocboc, who was a lay volunteer during the WYD in Spain. Meanwhile, Fr. Hendrix Alar, who heads the WYD pilgrims from the Diocese of Dumaguete, described the Pope’s retirement as a father’s parting from his children. But despite the sadness that the Pope’s decision caused the global Catholic community, Alar said it was made for the best interest of the Church. “I feel his love for the Church and his sincerity; he wants the ministerial role of the Church not to be dragged by his failing health condition. He wants the Church to be effective in doing the new way of evangelization with a new Pope, which makes me more hopeful for the WYD in Brazil,” the priest said. San Juan’s Kadang Dominiko and the WYD pilgrims from the dioceses of Antipolo, Butuan and Dumaguete are among the various groups who joined the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth-Philippines (EYCPhilippines) Delegation to the WYD 2013 in Brazil. As of press time, 15 groups or 400 individual pilgrims have signified interest to be part of the ECY-Philippines delegation to the WYD. Application to be part of the delegation is ongoing until the end of February.
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 04
Benedict XVI will be sorely missed on WYD—Pinoy pilgrims
Filipino pilgrims await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI at Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos Airport in this WYD 2011 photo.
Being the official country delegation, ECY-Philippines is considered as the biggest Filipino contingent based on pilgrim numbers during the past WYDs. The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro is the host of the upcom-
ing WYD slated on July 23 to 28. However, WYD pilgrims are also given a chance to participate in the Missionary Week from July 17 to 20 in other different dioceses throughout Brazil. (KB/ YouthPinoy)
Church remembers migrant workers in nationwide celebration
OVERSEAS Filipino workers and their families were remembered in a national celebration as the Catholic Church in the Philippines marked National Migrants Sunday on February 17, the first Sunday of Lent. Themed “Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope”, this year’s 27th National Migrants Sunday was celebrated in the context of the Church’s worldwide observance of the Year of Faith. The annual event not only paid tribute to millions of OFWs and their families left behind but also highlighted the Church’s effort to help them cope with the effects of labor migration on their lives. ECMI executive secretary Fr. Edwin Corros, CS, said the continued migrations of Filipinos have greatly affected their social, cultural, political and religious rights, which has become a greater concern for the Church. “The Church cannot merely address their spiritual needs without also thinking how they are affected by the way the Philippines and their receiving countries are being administered, because the primary reason why they go abroad is simply to find means of livelihood,” he said in a press release. Aware of the great social costs that come with migration, the CBCP agency assured OFWs and their families of the Church’s continuing support, even as it warns families not to be taken up by the remittances they receive. “While they are in this precarious situation, the Church assures them of an accompaniment to hope for the better. The Church wishes to caution them of the other possible disadvantages that come along with migration and not merely focus on the usual material benefits that they are envisioning and hope to achieve. Organized by CBCP Episcopal Commission on Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), the national celebration was hosted by the diocese of Balanga in Bataan, with a 7 a.m. Mass presided by Bishop Ruperto Santos. Fr. Edwin Corros gave an inspirational talk while solidarity messages were given by guests. Simultaneous activities were also celebrated in different dioceses around the country. The celebration of National Migrants Sunday also served as a reminder for OFWs that their situation is a temporary one and should stop when the country could finally provide them better opportunities. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)
Caritas advocates organic farming
A SUSTAINABLE agriculture program using organic farming of the Caritas Philippines has introduced farmers to alternative and improved methods of caring for the earth. With the help of Caritas Española, the agency had been advocating for a switch to organic farming from the conventional method that encourages heavy use of chemical fertilizers for increasing farm outputs. Caritas Philippines, also known as the National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa), have been training farmers in bio-farming techniques to increase productivity, conserve the environment and reduce poverty. Ronelio Barsatan, Nassa’s Sustainable National Program coordinator, said they are hoping that the program will be communicated to farmers throughout the country. Nassa’s sustainable agriculture program has been ongoing in at least four municipalities in the Diocese of Iba, in Zambales province. Iba Diocesan Social Action Program Coordinator Luis Arueza said that the program is also alternative in the highly commercialized farming system. “We are very eager to do away with chemicals (conventional farming) which negate soil fertility and pollute land,” Arueza said. “At the same time, natural farming will not only reduce costs but will also ensure the safety of food and prevent the adverse effects of chemicals on farms,” he said. (CBCPNews)
St. Camillus relic visits PHL
THE Relic of the Heart of St. Camillus de Lellis, patron of the sick and hospitals, has arrived in the Philippines for a series of pilgrimages from February 18 until March 10. The national pilgrimage schedule started on February 18 with mass and ceremonies at the Our Lady of La Paz Parish, Makati City at 6 p.m. The relic remained in the parish until 3 p.m. the following day. On February 23, it will travel to San Fenando De Dilao Parish Church, in Paco for a mass for the sick at 8:30 a.m. On the same day at 5 p.m., the relic will be brought to St. Camilllus College Seminary Chapel in Marikina City. The pilgrimage will officially end with closing ceremonies on March 10, 4 p.m. at the St. Camillus and San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel, Quezon City. Throughout this period, the Order of the Ministers of the Infirm or the Camillians, founded by St. Camillus, will arrange the relic’s visit to various chapels and parishes in Cebu, Baguio, Pangasinan, Davao, Calbayog and Mati City. 400th death anniversary The Philippine pilgrimage is just one leg in the relic’s worldwide pilgrimage, which is the Camillians’ preparation for the 400th death anniversary celebration of its founder who helped ignite a ministry for the poor and the sick that continued hundreds of years after his
ECY partners with PPCRV for May polls
THE Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines teamed up with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) to promote an Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections (HOPE) for May 2013 elections and beyond. Ms. Ginny de Villa of PPCRV discussed with Fr. Conegundo Garganta, the executive secretary of ECY possible collaboration for May elections and succeeding polls. Garganta said ECY Philippines is committed in its mission to partner with any initiatives that would engage and involve the youth in the coming election by promoting the cause of HOPE. “The commission is aware that we do not only help prepare our young people in the selection of leaders during election period [but that] knowledge, experiences, and the significance of using the right to vote or elect a government leader will be embedded in the consciousness of our young,” Garganta said. The priest also said that both offices can share materials to educate voters, especially the youth. Garganta said a formation module called “Kabataang bayani” is intended to prepare young people for elections. He also mentioned the “Candle for hope”, an activity that encourages young people to participate in prayer vigils. “This activity is a short prayer vigil asking the youth and the community to really prepare and pray that the election will be an honest, orderly ECY staff and PPCRV’s Ginny de Villa seal a partnership that seeks the and peaceful one,” he youth’s participation to ensure honest, orderly and peaceful elections for added. May and beyond. A Memorandum ECY is looking forward from dioceses or parishes. of Agreement (MOA) “What the commission will to collaborate with the poll will soon seal the partnership between the two organiza- do is to remind the youth watchdog and to continue ministry offices in the region the partnership up to 2016 tions, Garganta said. “Once the MOA is ap- or dioceses to be involved by National Elections and beproved, we can share the becoming local volunteers. yond. The partnership is a rematerials available within There is also a concrete acthe realm of PPCRV like tivity of parallel count in the minder that the youth has voter’s education module, National Headquarters, so a very special role to play the youthful version of a the ECY will help them by during elections and their comic type voter’s educa- reminding and endorsing involvement provides strong tion in our websites and the request of PPCRV to be support in the cause for youth ministry offices, he able to gather 3,000 volun- change and transformation. Garganta furthered that teers for a period of three also added. When asked about physi- weeks which will probably the youth must become a cal collaboration, the priest come from NCR dioceses, catalyst of change by casting said they were able to come Federation of National Youth their vote and helping realup with module to educate Organizations (FNYO) or ize an Honest, Orderly, and voters but as regards to phys- youth movements,” Gar- Peaceful Elections. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews) ical support, it will come ganta explained.
Photo courtesy of ECY
Relic of the heart of St. Camillus de Lellis is now in the Philippines for a series of pilgrimage that would cover several provinces from Northern Luzon to Southern Mindanao.
death in 1614. The relic is protected by a crystal glass, in the shape of the heart. There are four Doric pillars at the base of the reliquary that support the dome, on top of which is a cross, the symbol of the Order of the Ministers of the Infirm. The Camillians, who were established in the Philippines in 1974, are involved in community-based health care, HIV/ AIDS ministry, hospital chaplaincy and pastoral formation of health care workers and providers in the country. For more information about the pilgrimage, contact (02) 929-6213/926-3506 or email email@example.com (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Interfaith communities celebrate Harmony Week
VARIOUS religious communities, interfaith organizations and peace advocates came together in spirit of unity and solidarity to culminate the celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, last February 7. Quiapo Church rector Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, in a message stressed that there is a need to engage everyone in a deeper understanding on the true nature of peace. Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, an Italian Missionary for Peace in Mindanao and founder of Silsilah Dialogue Movement in Zamboanga City, for his part, said it is important to look on the positive aspects that can help bring peace. “It is time to discover positive points among Christians and Muslims, and together of living faiths move towards other religions and culture as partners in building a new world, a new humanity. This means, we people of the book are living in harmony with one another and being reminded that God is working in us and in the society in many ways,” D’Ambra added. Various activities were organized in solidarity with the global celebration, to foster friendship and advance common action between and among the interfaith communities, and to promote awareness on the challenges and aspirations of the World Interfaith Harmony Week. Organizers noted the significance of the interfaith harmony week celebration as it brought to the public’s attention the importance and the need for harmony between and among various faith groups. Members of the Quiapo Parish Youth Ministry performed an interpretative dance of harmony, while the Buddhist youth performed an intermission number based on the theme of the Interfaith Harmony Week. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim gave a message of commitment for peace emphasizing the need of love for all and the commitment to work for the interfaith week in the city yearly. Guests and representatives from various religious groups also gave short messages followed by the signing of covenant and the releasing of white dove as a symbol of unity, harmony and peace. The annual event, held every first week of February, was organized by UNI Harmony Partners Manila. Organizers partnered with religious communities and interfaith organizations such as Aksyon para sa Kapayapaan at Katarungan-Center for Active Non-Violence, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue, Catholic Media Network, Dominican Justice, Peace and Care for Creation Commission, EDSA People Power Commission, Focolare Movement, and Miriam College Center for Peace Education. (Jandel Posion with reports from Aldamir Abdulkahal)
Concert to support formation of seminarians
THE San Jose Seminary is staging a concert to celebrate the year of faith and raise funds to support the formation of seminarians. Titled “No Mas Amor” the concert will feature the Musician Friends of the Jesuits, the San Jose seminarians and the Ateneo Chamber Singers together with two respected Jesuit liturgical song composers, Fr. Manoling Francisco, S.J. and Fr. Arnel Aquino, S.J. “The [audience] can look forward to a night of sacred music, a prayerful experience to say the least,” said Fr. Silvino Borres, S.J., seminary Rector and head of the concert organizing team. Borres said the concert has three-fold objectives: “first, to celebrate the Year of the Faith, featuring Eucharistic and Marian songs that have been intimately linked with the history of San Jose Seminary and its seminarians, nourishing their vocations and sustaining them in their ministry; second, to introduce San Jose Seminary to a larger community, thereby expanding its network of benefactors; and third, to raise funds for the needs of the seminary.” While admission is free, the organizers hope to gather more friends who are willing to support the formation of San Jose Seminarians. Borres urged supporters and collaborators to help in the formation of future church leaders. Asked about the significance of helping form future Josefino ministers, Borres said, “San Jose alumni, both lay and ordained, distinguish themselves in their respective ministries as leaders and formators in whatever community they are assigned to. On a more personal note, our graduates leave San Jose with a certain ‘at homeness’ and familiarity with God, a certain ‘at homeness’ with their own humanity and a deep love for the Church.” The concert is slated on February 23, at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Gesu inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus. The CD Album “No Mas Amor,” a collection of well-loved prayerful songs arranged in chamber music will also be launched on that evening. Established in 1601, San Jose Seminary is a national seminary under the
care of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. The 411-year-old institution continues to form men in virtue, learning, spirit, and service. (Edmel Raagas/CBCPNews)
Marta Jimenez Ibañez / CNA
Vol. 17 No. 4
February 18 - March 3, 2013
‘I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome’
(A declaration of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the consistory on February 11, 2013)
DEAR Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are n3ecessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 BENEDICTUS PP XVI
Address of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the Clergy of Rome
Given extemporaneously on February 14, 2013, at the Paul VI Audience Hall
that the Church might once again be a force for tomorrow and a force for today. And we knew that the relationship between the Church and the modern period, right from the outset, had been slightly fraught, beginning with the Church’s error in the case of Galileo Galilei; we were looking to correct this mistaken start and to rediscover the union between the Church and the best forces of the world, so as to open up humanity’s future, to open up true progress. Thus we were full of hope, full of enthusiasm, and also eager to play our own part in this process. I remember that subject. Then, it was necessary to postpone the elections, because the Fathers themselves wanted to begin to get to know each other, they wanted to prepare the lists themselves. And so it was. Cardinal Liénart of Lille and Cardinal Frings of Cologne had said publicly: no, not this way. We want to make our own lists and elect our own candidates. It was not a revolutionary act, but an act of conscience, an act of responsibility on the part of the Council Fathers. And so began an intense period of actively getting to know our counterparts, something which YOUR Eminence, Dear Brother Bishops and Priests, For me it is a particular gift of Providence that, before leaving the Petrine ministry, I can once more see my clergy, the clergy of Rome. It is always a great joy to see the living Church, to see how the Church in Rome is alive; there are shepherds here who guide the Lord’s flock in the spirit of the supreme Shepherd. It is a body of clergy that is truly Catholic, universal, in accordance with the essence of the Church of Rome: to bear within itself the universality, the catholicity of all nations, all races, all cultures. At the same time, I am very grateful to the Cardinal Vicar who helps to reawaken, to rediscover vocations in Rome itself, because if Rome, on the one hand, has to be the city of universality, it must also be a city with a strong and robust faith of its own, from which vocations are also born. And I am convinced that, with the Lord’s help, we can find the vocations that he himself gives us, we can guide them, help them to mature, so as to be of service for work in the Lord’s vineyard. Today you have professed the Creed before the tomb of Saint Peter: in the Year of Faith, this seems to me to be a most appropriate act, a necessary one, perhaps, that the clergy of Rome should gather around the tomb of the Apostle to whom the Lord said: “To you I entrust my Church. Upon you I will build my Church” (cf. Mt 16:18-19). Before the Lord, together with Peter, you have professed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). Thus the Church grows: together with Peter, professing Christ, following Christ. And we do this always. I am very grateful for your prayers, which I have sensed, as I said on Wednesday – almost palpably. And although I am about to withdraw, I remain close to all of you in prayer, and I am sure that you too will be close to me, even if I am hidden from the world. For today, given the conditions brought on by my age, I have not been able to prepare an extended discourse, as might have been expected; but rather what I have in mind are a few thoughts on the Second Vatican Council, as I saw it. I shall begin with an anecdote: in 1959 I was appointed a professor at the University of Bonn, where the students included the seminarians of the diocese of Cologne and the other dioceses in the area. Thus I came into contact with the Cardinal Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Frings. Cardinal Siri of Genoa, in 1961 if I remember rightly, had organized a series of talks on the Council given by various European Cardinals, and he had invited the Archbishop of Cologne to give one of them, entitled: the Council and the world of modern thought. The Cardinal asked me—the youngest of the professors—to write a draft for him. He liked the draft, and to the people in Genoa he delivered the text just as I had written it. Soon afterwards, Pope John invited him to come and see him, and the Cardinal was anxious that he might have said something incorrect, something false, and that he was being summoned for a rebuke, perhaps even to be deprived of the cardinalate. who pointed out the path; then the activity rapidly broadened, and everyone took part more and more in the creativity of the Council. The French and the Germans had various interests in common, albeit with quite different nuances. The first, initial, simple—or apparently simple—intention was the reform of the liturgy, which had begun with Pius XII, who had already reformed the Holy Week liturgy; the second was ecclesiology; the third was the word of God, revelation; and finally ecumenism. The French, much more than the Germans, were also keen to explore the question of the should form one single liturgy, an active participation, such that the riches reach the people. And in this way, the liturgy was rediscovered and renewed. I find now, looking back, that it was a very good idea to begin with the liturgy, because in this way the primacy of God could appear, the primacy of adoration. “Operi Dei nihil praeponatur”: this phrase from the Rule of Saint Benedict (cf. 43:3) thus emerges as the supreme rule of the Council. Some have made the criticism that the Council spoke of many things, but not of God. It did speak of God! And this was the first thing that it did, that substantial speaking of God and opening up all the people, the whole of God’s holy people, to the adoration of God, in the common celebration of the liturgy of the Body and Blood of Christ. In this sense, over and above the practical factors that advised against beginning straight away with controversial topics, it was, let us say, truly an act of Providence that at the beginning of the Council was the liturgy, God, adoration. Here and now I do not intend to go into the details of the discussion, but it is worth while to keep going back, over and above the practical outcomes, to the Council itself, to its profundity and to its essential ideas. I would say that there were several of these: above all, the Paschal Mystery as the centre of what it is to be Christian—and therefore of the Christian life, the Christian year, the Christian seasons, expressed in Eastertide and on Sunday which is always the day of the Resurrection. Again and again we begin our time with the Resurrection, our encounter with the Risen one, and from that encounter with the Risen one we go out into the world. In this sense, it is a pity that these days Sunday has been transformed into the weekend, although it is actually the first day, it is the beginning; we must remind ourselves of this: it is the beginning, the beginning of Creation and the beginning of re-Creation in the Church, it is an encounter with the Creator and with the Risen Christ. This dual content of Sunday is important: it is the first day, that is, the feast of Creation, we are standing on the foundation of Creation, we believe in God the Creator; and it is an encounter with the Risen One who renews Creation; his true purpose is to create a world that is a response to the love of God. Then there were the principles: intelligibility, instead of being locked up in an unknown language that is no longer spoken, and also active participation. Unfortunately, these principles
© Ann Hartney / CNA
Pope Benedict XVI speaks to the priests of the Diocese of Rome on February 14 at Paul VI Hall in Vatican.
Indeed, when his secretary vested him for the audience, the Cardinal said: “Perhaps I am now wearing these robes for the last time”. Then he went in, Pope John came to meet him, embraced him, and said: “Thank you, Your Eminence, you said the very things I wanted to say myself, but I could not find the words”. So the Cardinal knew that he was on the right track and he invited me to go with him to the Council, firstly as his personal advisor; and then, during the first session—I think it was in November 1962—I was also named an official peritus of the Council. So off we went to the Council not just with joy but with enthusiasm. There was an incredible sense of expectation. We were hoping that all would be renewed, that there would truly be a new Pentecost, a new era of the Church, because the Church was still fairly robust at that time – Sunday Mass attendance was still good, vocations to the priesthood and to religious life were already slightly reduced, but still sufficient. However, there was a feeling that the Church was not moving forward, that it was declining, that it seemed more a thing of the past and not the herald of the future. And at that moment, we were hoping that this relation would be renewed, that it would change;
the Roman Synod was thought of as a negative model. It was said—I don’t know whether this was true—that they had read out prepared texts in the Basilica of Saint John, and that the members of the Synod had acclaimed, approved with applause, and that the Synod had been conducted thus. The bishops said: no, let’s not do that. We are bishops, we ourselves are the subject of the Synod; we do not simply want to approve what has already been done, but we ourselves want to be the subject, the protagonists of the Council. So too Cardinal Frings, who was famous for his absolute fidelity—almost to the point of scrupulosity—to the Holy Father, said in this case: we are here in a different role. The Pope has called us together to be like Fathers, to be an Ecumenical Council, a subject that renews the Church. So we want to assume this new role of ours. The first occasion when this attitude was demonstrated was on the very first day. On the programme for this first day were the elections of the Commissions, and lists of names had been prepared, in what was intended to be an impartial manner, and these lists were put to the vote. But straight away the Fathers said: No, we do not simply want to vote for pre-prepared lists. We are the
did not happen by chance. At the Collegio dell’Anima, where I was staying, we had many visits: the Cardinal was very well known, and we saw cardinals from all over the world. I well remember the tall slim figure of Monsignor Etchegaray, the Secretary of the French Episcopal Conference, I remember meetings with Cardinals, and so on. And this continued throughout the Council: small-scale meetings with peers from other countries. Thus I came to know great figures like Father de Lubac, Daniélou, Congar, and so on. We came to know various bishops; I remember particularly Bishop Elchinger of Strasbourg, and so on. And this was already an experience of the universality of the Church and of the concrete reality of the Church, which does not simply receive instructions from on high, but grows together and moves forward, always under the guidance—naturally—of the Successor of Peter. Everyone, as I said, came with great expectations; there had never been a Council on such a scale, but not everyone knew what to do. The most prepared, let us say, those with the clearest ideas, were the French, German, Belgian and Dutch episcopates, the socalled “Rhine alliance”. And in the first part of the Council it was they
relationship between the Church and the world. Let us begin with the first theme. After the First World War, Central and Western Europe had seen the growth of the liturgical movement, a rediscovery of the richness and depth of the liturgy, which until then had remained, as it were, locked within the priest’s Roman Missal, while the people prayed with their own prayer books, prepared in accordance with the heart of the people, seeking to translate the lofty content, the elevated language of classical liturgy into more emotional words, closer to the hearts of the people. But it was as if there were two parallel liturgies: the priest with the altarservers, who celebrated Mass according to the Missal, and the laity, who prayed during Mass using their own prayer books, at the same time, while knowing substantially what was happening on the altar. But now there was a rediscovery of the beauty, the profundity, the historical, human, and spiritual riches of the Missal and it became clear that it should not be merely a representative of the people, a young altar-server, saying “Et cum spiritu tuo”, and so on, but that there should truly be a dialogue between priest and people: truly the liturgy of the altar and the liturgy of the people
© Stephen Driscoll / CNA
When the Holy See is vacant
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: After Feb. 28, and before the election of a new pope, do we continue to name Benedict in the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass? My opinion is that we do what we do when the pope dies: Say no name but continue on to the bishop. — E.R., Keimoes, South Africa A: Our reader’s opinion is correct. Even though Pope Benedict XVI will be thankfully still alive, the Holy See will be vacant as of 8 p.m. Rome time. With respect to naming the pope most of the recent liturgical manuals don’t go into such detail, but manuals from before the Second Vatican Council can still be found that touch on the more arcane aspects of liturgy. In this case the pope’s name, and the entire phrase referring to the pope, is omitted from the Eucharistic Prayer during the period of the “sede vacante.” Mention is made only of the local bishop and the clergy according to the literary form of each prayer. For example, in Eucharistic Prayer II it would be: “Together with … N. our bishop, and all the clergy.” In the Diocese of Rome: “Together with …. all the clergy.” Even though the cardinal vicar of Rome and the auxiliary bishops remain in their functions, their collective mention is optional. An analogous procedure is followed in each diocese following the death or retirement of the local ordinary. During a time of vacancy of the episcopal see, the clause “N., our Bishop” is also simply omitted. The name of an apostolic administrator is mentioned but not that of a temporary diocesan administrator. In the case where both diocese and the Holy See are currently vacant, the priests would follow the same practice as in Rome, omitting both names.
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 4
Addressing the plight of the OFWs (Part II)
Towards a Jurisdictional Structure for the Pastoral Care of Filipino Migrant Workers.
actual resources available. In this regard, the principle of organizational elasticity should be kept in mind. Perhaps it was this that Paul VI alluded to when he affirmed that to the present (human) mobility should respond the pastoral mobility of the Church.3 In any case, this principle in no way proposes a specific solution; on the contrary what it militates against is the exclusion of any possibility, adjusting it to the pastoral necessities. 5. Principle of Service. Underpinning all the aforementioned principles is the most basic of pastoral principles, which gives the ministerial priesthood its name: service. In effect, the clear consciousness of this principle by the Pastors is what should enable them to effectively put into practice the other principles, in order to fully satisfy the fundamental rights of the emigrants. It is neither a matter of mere moral value, nor much less of pure rhetoric; on the contrary, stemming from the foundational will of Christ, this principle has important juridic consequences. In fact, it The application of this principle to the case of the OFWs can lead to quite interesting consequences, especially when we bear in mind the unique situation of the Philippine Church where quite a high percentage of the laity are in fact involved in many lay movements and covenanted communities (e.g., Couples for Christ, Christian Family Movement and El Shaddai to name a few). B. The Problem with the Present Set-up At this point, it is timely to make an important observation regarding all the pastoral initiatives in favor of the OFWs. It is simply that all of them, insofar as they are initiatives by the Philippine Hierarchy, are nevertheless all non-hierarchical in nature. The reason is equally simple: because in none of them has the principle of personal jurisdiction been invoked, such that in all of them, the OFWs deployed in foreign lands are neither hierarchically connected with a territorial ecclesiastical circumscription (either because
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
IN the first part of this article, we defined the problem we wish to address—i.e., the pastoral care of the 5.5 million OFWs, unstably migrated in areas of either a Catholic minority or a thinly established Catholic hierarchy. Typical of this mass of OFWs are those in the Middle East and certain countries of East and Southeast Asia (e.g., Taiwan, Japan, China, Singapore). Now we shall focus on the adequate pastoral care of migrants. In the third and final part of this article, we shall focus on the possible structures for the adequate pastoral care of OFWs. A. Organizational Parameters Keeping in mind the aforementioned ecclesiological principles, we can zero in on the organization of the pastoral care of the OFWs. But before that, we can briefly discuss the desired characteristics of such a pastoral care: (1) specialization, (2) ministerial availability, (3) personal jurisdiction, (4) organizational elasticity, (5) service and (6) empowerment of the laity. 1. Specialization. The need for specialization is at the very foundation of all the efforts to organize the pastoral care of migrants. As can be expected—as Exsul Familia already pointed out and various authors reiterated— the best pastoral specialization consists in entrusting groups of migrants to priests of the same nationality.1 Applied to the OFWs, this simply means entrusting them to Filipino priests. 2. Ministerial Availability. This does not imply a juridic duty of the sacred minister (in the sense that the priest can be obliged to emigrate), but it rather implies a certain attitude on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities in the Church of origin (since they share in the responsibility to care for the emigrants) which fosters this availability, together with the obligation of facilitating matters for those priests who are disposed to accompany the emigrants. Again, applying this to the OFWs, this simply means that the different dioceses in the Philippines should be generous in allowing those members of their respective clergy, who may feel themselves so inclined, to minister to the pastoral needs of the OFWs in their respective places of deployment. The actual canonical norms regarding the mobility of the clergy, their freedom to opt for adscription in a given ecclesiastical circumscription (other than that of their incardination), and even the possibility of changing their incardination all facilitate the practical application of this principle.2 3. Personal Jurisdiction. Closely related to the need of fitting the pastoral structures to the spiritual needs of the migrants is the principle of personality (vs. territoriality) in the determination of jurisdiction. We have to keep in mind that once the chaplains from the dioceses in the Philippines leave Philippine territory, strictly speaking the juridic bonds with the Philippine hierarchy is broken and they are more or less on their own; that they actually maintain discipline as regards the orientations of the Episcopal Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People in their pastoral work with the OFWs is purely out of good will. Following the same principle of territorial jurisdiction, the OFWs themselves are not subjects of the Philippine hierarchy and whatever pastoral efforts the CBCP might do—through the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People—would lack the force of the sacra potestas that can only be exercised through a proper jurisdiction. 4. Organizational Elasticity. There are no unique pastoral solutions or absolute panaceas for the organization of the pastoral care of emigrants. Everything will depend on the concrete needs and
are indeed to enjoy maximally the means of salvation, in equal terms with the rest of the Catholic faithful in the Philippine Church, they must form part of an ecclesiastical circumscription, in much the same way as the other Filipino Catholics back home do. The only way they can do that, given the difficulty of their forming part of a territorial ecclesiastical circumscription where they are (either because such does not exist or cultural differences make such inclusion impractical), is for them to form part of a personal ecclesiastical circumscription set up specifically for them. Perhaps of even greater import—due to its grave consequences—is the absence of hierarchical jurisdiction over the chaplains deployed outside the Philippines to care for the OFWs. Because for the most part they are not incardinated or even ascribed to the Church ad quam—either because such a Church does not exist or is thinly constituted—the Filipino chaplains are pretty much left
Women as Masters of Ceremonies
Q: There seems to be a trend in some U.S. dioceses to appoint female laity as masters of ceremonies. Is this liturgically correct? The Ceremonial of Bishops, under the section entitled “Offices and Ministries in the Liturgy of Bishops,” speaks in paragraphs 34, 35 and 36 as pertaining only to the masculine gender, stating that “he (the master of ceremonies) shall be responsible for or should do this or that.” In contrast, the next section, on the sacristan, speaks as “he or she should do this or that”—clearly allowing for the use of either gender. Please comment on the legitimate use of female laity in the role of masters of ceremonies. — G.F., New Orleans, Louisiana A: I will address this question from the point of view of interpretation of liturgical law as I believe it now stands. It must be admitted, though, that the law as such is not perfectly clear. As our reader points out, the Ceremonial of Bishops refers to a male in referring to the master of ceremonies and clearly makes a distinction when it comes to the sacristan. The question is: Does this reflect a legislative intent or does it simply presume the reality at the time of publication? My personal opinion is that the Ceremonial of Bishops did not have a specific intention of excluding women but simply reflected the law in force at its publication in 1984. This law precluded services at the altar being carried out by women. Likewise, the Ceremonial also likely presumed that this task would be carried out by the bishop’s secretary or another cleric designated to accompany the bishop on his visits in the diocese. In fact, in the previous legislation the bishop’s master of ceremonies was necessarily a priest at least 25 years old. The law said that all those involved in the celebration should be attentive and obey him without discussion. During the celebration he was director and not a server. Assistant masters of ceremonies could be subdeacons or even younger. If an ordained master of ceremonies was lacking, then he could be substituted by another minister. But the law indicated that in this case he should not give orders to ordained ministers. The present Ceremonial of Bishops makes no mention of obedience to the master of ceremonies nor specifically requires him to be a priest. In fact, No. 35 says that during the celebration “he should exercise the greatest discretion: he is not to speak more than is necessary, nor replace the deacons or assistants at the side of the celebrant. The master of ceremonies should carry out his responsibilities with reverence, patience, and careful attention.” The use of “he or she” when referring to the sacristan also reflects the reality on the ground, as women have often served as sacristans in churches and convents. Therefore, I would say that the use of distinctive pronouns in the Ceremonial simply reflects the fact that the possibility of a female master of ceremonies was probably never even imagined. Since this is insufficient to answer the question regarding the present legality of female masters of ceremonies, we must look elsewhere for the reply. In 1994 the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts published an interpretation of Canon 230.2 of the Code of Canon Law. This canon states that “Lay persons can fulfill the function of lector in liturgical actions by temporary designation. All lay persons can also perform the functions of commentator or cantor, or other functions, according to the norm of law.” The same pontifical council was asked if the liturgical functions which, according to the above canon, can be entrusted to the lay faithful, may be carried out equally by men and women, and if serving at the altar may be included among those functions, on a par with the others indicated by the canon. The council replied affirmatively, according to the instructions given by the Holy See. This interpretation specifically addressed the question of female altar servers, but the criteria used would logically appear to cover the case of a female master of ceremonies among the “other functions” mentioned by the canon. Therefore, I would say that, lacking any specific instructions to the contrary from the Holy See, a female master of ceremonies is possible from the point of view of liturgical law. It should be remembered that Canon 230.2 has a permissive, and not a preceptive, character. There is no right on the part of the faithful to aspire to this function. Also, permissions given in this regard by some bishops can in no way be considered as binding on other bishops. In fact, it is the competence of each bishop to make a prudential judgment on what to do, with a view to the ordered development of liturgical life in his own diocese.
can be said that this principle constitutes a hermeneutic key for the proper understanding of all the other principles present in the doctrinal and normative texts regarding the pastoral care of migrants. 6. Empowerment of the Laity. Finally, as a unique contribution of the recent Erga migrantes, we can point out the recognition of the active role that the laity is called to take in the pastoral care of migrants. Thus, in Art.2 of Chapter 1: The Lay Faithful, it states: “§1.The faithful who decide to live with another people should strive to (…) contribute to its common good and to spread the faith especially by the example of Christian life.” Then “§2. The lay faithful who are culturally better prepared and spiritually more available should furthermore be urged and trained to take on a specific service as pastoral workers in close collaboration with the chaplains/missionaries.”4 This indeed is a novelty in the whole doctrine and canonical regulation of this phenomenon, in that for the first time, there is a call to the real empowerment of the lay migrants—to “be urged and trained”—to take an active part in the pastoral care of migrants.
such a host Church doesn’t exist where they are, or the language and cultural barrier prevents their being integrated to such Church at the moment), nor with their Church of origin in the Philippines (simply because they are not in Philippine territory at the moment). Now then, no matter how zealous the chaplains/ missionaries for migrants may be, or how dedicated to the apostolate with the OFWs the lay members of the covenanted communities might be, it would not suffice for the full delivery of the Church’s spiritual wealth (the Word of God and the sacraments) necessary for the OFWs to fully actualize their universal vocation to holiness. For that to happen, the hierarchical relationship sacred minister — faithful must be in place. Another way of understanding this is to remember that for the Church to effectively exist, the interplay between the ministerial priesthood of the clerics (ultimately stemming from the sacra potestas invested on the sacred Pastors because of apostolic succession) and the royal priesthood of the laity must exist. In other words, if the OFWs
on their own. While they are expected to minister to the needs of the OFWs, who outnumber them overwhelmingly, there is very little provision for their own spiritual nourishment. How can they infuse zeal to the OFWs if they themselves are not adequately supported to maintain their zeal at a high level? [To be concluded.] An updated version of a series of articles on the subject that appeared in this column in May 2010. Cf. Apost. Const. Exsul Familia, Title II, Chap.IV, n.33. Cf. CIC, cc.265-272. Paul VI, Address to the European Congress on the Pastoral Care of Emigrants, 17.X.1973, in AAS, 65 (1973), p.591. Erga migrantes, Part II: Juridical Pastoral Regulations.
(Endnotes) 1 Cf. Apost. Const. Exsul Familia, Title II, Chap.IV, n.33. 2 Cf. CIC, cc.265-272. 3 Paul VI, Address to the European Congress on the Pastoral Care of Emigrants, 17.X.1973, in AAS, 65 (1973), p.591. 4 Erga migrantes, Part II: Juridical Pastoral Regulations.
Vol. 17 No. 4
February 18 - March 3, 2013
YOUR Holiness, beloved and revered Successor of Peter, Your moving message has resounded in this room like a lightning bolt in a calm sky. We’ve listened to you with a sense of shock, rather in total disbelief. In your words we noticed the great affection that you have always had for the Holy Church of God, for this Church that you have loved so much. Allow me to tell you, in the name of this apostolic cenacle— the College of Cardinals—in the name of your dear collaborators, let me tell you that we are closer to you than ever before, just as we have been in these eight luminous years of your pontificate. On 19 April 2005, if I remember right, at the end of the Conclave I asked you, with trembling voice after all our years together, “Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?” And you
Response of Cardinal-Dean Angelo Sodano to the resignation address of Pope Benedict XVI
did not take long — albeit with trepidation — to respond by saying that you accepted with trust in the Lord and in the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church. With Mary, that day you gave your “yes,” and so began your luminous pontificate with the plow of continuity, that continuity of which you have spoken to us so often in the history of the Church—continuity with your 265 predecessors in the Chair of Peter, in the course of two thousand years of history, from the Apostle Peter, humble fisherman of Galilee, right through to the great popes of the last century, from St. Pius X to Blessed John Paul II. Holy Father, before February 28—the day which, as you have said, you seek to put the word ‘fine’ [the end] over your service as pontiff, one given with so much love, with humility – before February 28, we will have a way to better express our feelings, so will many pastors and faithful throughout the world, as will so many people of good will along with the authorities of many countries. In this month to come, too, we will have the joy of hearing your shepherd’s voice on Ash Wednesday, then on Thursday, with the clergy of Rome, in the Angelus of these Sundays, at the Wednesday audiences; there will thus be many opportunities still to hear your fatherly voice.... Even beyond these, your mission will continue onward: you have said that you will always be close to us with your witness and your prayers. Sure as the stars in the sky always continue to shine, so the star of your pontificate will always shine in our midst. We are close to you, Holy Father – bless us.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano addresses the Consistory of Cardinals Feb. 11, 2013 where Pope Benedict announced his retirement.
Statement of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State and the Cardinal Camerlengo, on the Pope’s resignation
MOST Holy Father, with feelings of great emotion and profound respect, not only the Church, but the whole world, has heard the news of your decision to give up the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, Successor of the Apostle Peter. We would not be honest, Your Holiness, if we said that this evening there is not a hint of sadness in our hearts. In recent years, your teaching has been a window open onto the Church and the world, which let in the rays of truth and love of God, to enlighten and warm our journey, even and especially at times when clouds gathered in the sky. All of us have realized that it is precisely the deep love that Your Holiness has for God and the Church that prompted you to make this act, revealing that purity of mind, that strong and demanding faith, that strength of humility and meekness, along with great courage, that have marked every step of your life and your ministry, and that can only come from being with God, from standing in the light of the word of God, from continuously going up the mountain of encounter with Him to descend again into the City of men. Holy Father, a few days ago with the seminarians of your Diocese of Rome, you said that as Christians we know that the future is ours, the future belongs to God, and that the tree of the Church grows ever anew. The Church is always renewed, always reborn. Serving the Church in the firm knowledge that it is not ours, but God’s, that it is not we who build it but He; being able to say in truth: “We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty “(Lk 17:10), trusting completely in the Lord, is a great lesson that you, also with this difficult decision, have given not only to us, the Pastors of the Church, but to the entire People of God. The Eucharist is a thanksgiving to God. Tonight, we want to thank the Lord for the path that the whole Church has walked under the guidance of Your Holiness and we want to tell you from the depths of our heart, with great affection, emotion and admiration: thank you for giving us the shining example of a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord, a worker, however, who knew at all times how to do that which is most important: to bring God to men and to bring men to God.
Statement of Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Vicar of Rome, in the wake of the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI as Bishop of Rome
BELOVED priests and faithful of Rome, This morning during the ordinary public consistory for some canonizations, our beloved Bishop, Pope Benedict XVI, announced his decision to resign from the ministry of Successor of Peter. The news was received by those cardinals of us who were present with profound emotion and astonishment. Many sentiments crowd my mind and my heart. First of all, we receive with faith the will of the Holy Father which, as he has told us, matured in him in prayer and stemmed from his love of Christ and of the Church and of his fear of not being able to continue to serve as he desired. To Pope Benedict XVI, who spent himself with all his strength for the Church with exemplary dedication and has guided our dioceses with paternal solicitude—we still have in our heart his recent visit last Friday to the Roman Seminary and the lectio divina held with the seminarians on the occasion of the feast of the Madonna of Confidence—we express from now on our great affection for the many gifts we have received from him: the testimony of a life entirely given to Christ and to the Church, his passion for the proclamation of the Gospel, his love for man and for his dignity, the care of the poor that he has always defended and helped. Together with the Vice-Director and Auxiliary Bishops, at this moment, I wish to assure the Holy Father of our filial affection and the prayer of the whole diocesan community, may the Lord grant him the serenity and joy to see the fruits of his ministry and long years to serve the Holy Church of God in prayer. Beloved, may the certainty that Christ the Good Shepherd continues to guide his people support us in the days ahead.
Statement of Cardinal John Tong, Bishop of Hong Kong, on the Pope’s resignation
HEARTFELT Thanks to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of St. Peter and head of the Apostles, has always loved the Church, putting all his heart and energy into the pastoral service of the People of God. As the Bishop of Hong Kong, I am especially thankful for his loving concern for the Church in China. In 2007 he issued a Letter to the Catholics in China and established the Commission for the Catholic Church in China. At the end of every meeting of that Commission, he came to see the members in person and encouraged us. On February 10, one day before he announced his decision to resign, he extended special greetings and a blessing to people celebrating the Lunar New Year throughout the world, especially Chinese people everywhere.
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In his words and deeds, the Holy Father has fittingly mirrored the exchange between the Risen Jesus and Simon Peter: “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others do?” “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” “Feed my sheep.” (cf. John 21:15-17) The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, is a man of fervent prayer. In his statement announcing his resignation from the Petrine Ministry due to his advanced age, he pointed out that he had finally made this serious decision after a long period of prayer and extended reflection. He is deeply aware that in order to fulfill his papal duties, he cannot rely on word and deed alone, but also needs prayer. He entrusts the future of the Church to the Lord Jesus and to our Blessed Mother. After he resigns, he will serve the Church wholeheartedly through prayer. We express our heartfelt thanks
to the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, for his guidance and good example, and we will always pray for him. We have profound faith that both the resignation of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, and the selection of his successor, are in the wise hands of Divine Providence. May all of us Catholics in Hong Kong pray for the smooth election of the next Pope. We firmly believe that the incoming Pope will lead the Church according to the holy will of the Lord Jesus and ecclesial tradition, and that he will continue the proclamation of the Gospel, to bring salvation to the whole human race. This is also the objective of the Year of Faith which we are now celebrating. +Cardinal John TONG Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong February 12, 2013
Message of Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, on Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation
DEAR Brothers and Sisters, Pope Benedict XVI’s renunciation of the ministry as Bishop of Rome on February 11, 2013 came as a surprise. The announcement also brought sadness to us. We felt like children clinging to a father who bids them farewell. But sadness gives way to admiration for the Holy Father’s humility, honesty, courage and sincerity. His paramount desire is to promote the greater good of the Church. We know that the Papal ministry is not an easy task. So we thank Pope Benedict XVI, who was elected Pope at the rather advanced age of 78, for selflessly guiding the Church these past eight years with his teaching, simplicity and gentleness. I am inviting all of you to pray for Pope Benedict XVI especially as he devotes the coming years at the service of the Church through a life of prayer. Let us also pray for the Cardinal Fathers who will elect a new Pope in the coming conclave. In this Year of Faith, let us fix our eyes on Jesus the Good Shepherd. With Him and the Life-giving Spirit, we will journey towards the Father and the Kingdom of God with much hope and love. +LUIS ANTONIO G. CARDINAL TAGLE Archbishop of Manila
have also been misunderstood. Intelligibility does not mean banality, because the great texts of the liturgy—even when, thanks be to God, they are spoken in our mother tongue—are not easily intelligible, they demand ongoing formation on the part of the Christian if he is to grow and enter ever more deeply into the mystery and so arrive at understanding. And also the word of God—when I think of the daily sequence of Old Testament readings, and of the Pauline Epistles, the Gospels: who could say that he understands immediately, simply because the language is his own? Only ongoing formation of hearts and minds can truly create intelligibility and participation that is something more than external activity, but rather the entry of the person, of my being, into the communion of the Church and thus into communion with Christ.
And now the second topic: the Church. We know that the First Vatican Council was interrupted because of the Franco-Prussian War, and so it remained somewhat one-sided, incomplete, because the doctrine on the primacy— defined, thanks be to God, in that historical moment for the Church, and very necessary for the period that followed—was just a single element in a broader ecclesiology, already envisaged and prepared. So we were left with a fragment. And one might say: as long as it remains a fragment, we tend towards a one-sided vision where the Church would be just the primacy. So all along, the intention was to complete the ecclesiology of Vatican I, at a date to be determined, for the sake of a complete ecclesiology. Here too the time seemed ripe because, after the First World War, the sense of the Church was reborn in a
new way. As Romano Guardini said: “The Church is starting to reawaken in people’s souls”, and a Protestant bishop spoke of the “era of the Church”. Above all, there was a rediscovery of the concept that Vatican I had also envisaged, namely that of the Mystical Body of Christ. People were beginning to realize that the Church is not simply an organization, something structured, juridical, institutional—it is that too—but rather an organism, a living reality that penetrates my soul, in such a way that I myself, with my own believing soul, am a building block of the Church as such. In this sense, Pius XII wrote the Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi as a step towards completing the ecclesiology of Vatican I. I would say that theological discussion in the 1930’s and 1940’s, even in the 1920’s, was
entirely conducted under the heading Mystici Corporis. It was a discovery that brought so much joy at that time, and within this context emerged the formula: We are the Church, the Church is not a structure; we Christians, all together, we are all the living body of the Church. And naturally, this obtains in the sense that we, the true “we” of believers, together with the “I” of Christ, are the Church; every single one of us, not a particular “we”, a single group that calls itself Church. No: this “we are Church” requires me to take my place within the great “we” of believers of all times and places. Therefore, the primary idea was to complete ecclesiology in a theological way, but also in a structural way, that is to say: besides the succession of Peter, and his unique function, to define more clearly also the function of the bishops, the corpus of bishops.
And in order to do this, the word “collegiality” was adopted, a word that has been much discussed, sometimes acrimoniously, I would say, and also in somewhat exaggerated terms. But this word – maybe another could have been found, but this one worked – expressed the fact that the bishops collectively are the continuation of the Twelve, of the corpus of Apostles. We said: only one bishop, the Bishop of Rome, is the successor of a particular Apostle, namely Peter. All the others become successors of the Apostles by entering into the corpus that continues the corpus of the Apostles. Hence it is the corpus of bishops, the college, that is the continuation of the corpus of the Twelve, and thus it has its intrinsic necessity, its function, its rights and duties. To many this seemed like a power struggle, and maybe some were thinking
of their power, but substantially it was not about power, but about the complementarity of the different elements and about the completeness of the corpus of the Church with the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, as structural elements; and each of them is a structural element of the Church within this great corpus. These, let us say, were the two basic elements—and in the meantime, in the quest for a complete theological vision of ecclesiology, a certain amount of criticism arose after the 1940’s, in the 1950’s, concerning the concept of the Body of Christ: the word “mystical” was thought to be too spiritual, too exclusive; the concept “People of God” then began to come into play. The Council rightly accepted this element, which in the Fathers is regarded as an expression of
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February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 4
‘Building-BackBetter’, A Coastal response
By Sr. Marietta Alo
“BUILDING Back Better” or BBB has become a byline in the efforts of the Government and Church-related and other Non-Government Organizations (NGO) in responding to the crying needs of the gravely devastated areas of the coastal towns of Cateel, Baganga and Boston, now over two months after the deadly pangs of the Super-typhoon Pablo. BBB was coined by Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon during one of the Central Command Post meetings at the Capitol a month ago in early January to call attention to the heavy task of wholesale rehabilitation, and the concept likewise coincided with the all-out active multi-social and relief support displayed by Church-related sectors and different agencies aligning with the Diocesan Coordinating Committee (DCC) or its Local counterpart, the LCC. After the initial and ongoing services of: Relief and Rehabilitation, Health, Shelter, Psycho-social and spiritual intervention, and Livelihood, the DCC has lately been utilizing the grants from local and foreign donors for building-back-better the Shelter and Livelihood programs with some government tie-up, letting the survivors themselves work permanent storm-proof homes (after the temporary bunkhouses) and on the 250 BEC or GKK chapels, with slow attempts to restore original agricultural sites by planting palay, vegetables, root crops, and abaca, without neglecting the seedlings for a long-term future of full-grown coconuts, the main source of livelihood for the more than 47,000 affected residents dependent on agriculture. Caritas Pilipinas, the aid and relief services of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have been the enduring partners of the Diocese in its BBB efforts, while CRS personnel have been closely working on field with the Microfinance Ad Jesum Development Foundation Inc. (AJDFI) staff to survey, consolidate data, plan, and reach out to the identified families in the remotest areas, particularly in Baganga and Cateel, where hundreds of clients, mostly farmers, had lost their homes and means of livelihood and are now working on Shelter and Livelihood Recovery with the aid of CRS and the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC). According to Sr. Bernadette Dollete, CSJ, AJDFI executive directress, the Livelihood Recovery is also being undertaken by the Ad Jesum workers in the neighboring Compostela Valley Province (Comval) particularly in the affected towns of Moncayo, Montevista, Nabunturan, and New Bataan, not only for their distressed clients, but for everyone else in need, as in all their areas of coverage—in 5 provinces and 4 cities, with over 30,000 poor clients, mostly women. Meantime in Mati City, the remaining 17 evacueefamilies or 79 individuals, mostly fishermen from Baganga, temporarily housed at the Milagrosa Formation Center, opted to stay in Mati and recently transferred to the new homes they themselves built in the coastal area freely allotted to them by the local community of Barangay Dahican where they could make a living once again from their fishing craft.
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By Sandro Magister
ON the evening of an unremarkable Thursday in Lent, at 8 p.m. on February 28, Joseph Ratzinger will take the step that none of his predecessors had dared to take. He will place upon the throne of Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Which another will be called to take up. There is the power of a revolution in this action that has no equal even in centuries long ago. From that point on, the Church enters into unknown territory. It will have to elect a new pope while his predecessor is still alive, his words still resounding, his orders still binding, his agenda still waiting to be implemented. Those cardinals who on the morning of Monday, February 11 were convoked in the hall of the consistory for the canonization of the eight hundred Christians of Otranto martyred by the Turks six centuries ago were stunned at hearing Benedict XVI, at the end of the ceremony, announce in Latin his resignation of the pontificate. It will be up to them, in the middle of Lent, to choose his successor. On Palm Sunday, March 24, the newly elect will celebrate his first Mass in St. Peter’s Square, on the day of the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, acclaimed as the “blessed one who comes in the name of the Lord.” THERE will be 117 cardinals who in the middle of March will close themselves up in conclave, the same number as those who eight years ago elected pope Joseph Ratzinger at the fourth scrutiny with more than two thirds of the votes, in one of the most rapid and least contentious elections in history. But this time it will be completely different. The announcement of the resignation has taken them by surprise like a thief in the night, without a long twilight of the pontificate as had happened with John Paul II, allowing them to arrive at the conclave with sufficiently vetted options already in place. In 2005, the candidacy of Ratzinger did not emerge all of a sudden; it had already matured for at least a couple of years, and all of the alternative candidacies had fallen one after another. Today this is certainly far from the case. And to the difficulty of identifying candidates is added the unprecedented overshadowing of the retired pope. The conclave is an electoral mechanism unique in the world that, refined over time, has succeeded in the last century in producing astonishing results, elevating as pope men of decisively higher quality than the average level of the college of cardinals that has voted for them. To cite the most remarkable case, the election in 1978 of Karol Wojtyla was a master stroke that will remain forever in the history books. And the appointment of Ratzinger in 2005 was no less so, as confirmed by the almost eight years of his pontificate, marked by an unbridgeable distance between the greatness of the elect and the mediocrity of so many of his electors. Moreover, the conclaves have often been characterized by the capacity of the college
of cardinals to set new lines of action for the papacy. The sequence of the most recent popes in this regard as well. It is not a long, gray, repetitive and boring queue. It is a succession of men and events, each marked by powerful originality. The unexpected announcement of the council made by Pope John XXIII to a group of cardinals gathered at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls was certainly no less surprising and revolutionary than the announcement of the resignation made by Benedict XVI to another group of stupefied cardinals a few days ago. But in the upcoming weeks, something will happen that has never been seen before. The cardinals will have to evaluate what to confirm or innovate with respect to the previous pontiff, with him still alive. Everyone recalls and admires the respect with which Ratzinger dealt even with those who disagreed with him: for Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the most authoritative of his opponents, he always manifested a profound and sincere admiration. But in spite of his promise to retire in prayer and study, almost in cloister, it is difficult to imagine that his presence, as silent as it may be, would not weigh upon the cardinals called to conclave, and then upon the newly elect. It is inevitably easier to debate with freedom and frankness about a pope in heaven than about a former pope on earth. UNTIL February 28, the agenda of Benedict XVI will not undergo any modifications. After the rite of Ash Wednesday and with a “lectio” to the priests of Rome on Vatican Council II, he will face the Sunday Angelus, hold the Wednesday general audience, attend the spiritual exercises and listen to the preaching of Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, receive on their “ad limina” visit the bishops of Liguria led by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, and then those of Lombardy, headed by Cardinal Angelo Scola. Fate would have it that precisely in one of these two cardinals, he could be greeting the future pope. In Italy, in Europe, and in North America the Church is going through difficult years, of general decline. But here and there with real awakenings of vitality and of public influence, even unexpectedly, as has recently happened in France. Once again, therefore, the cardinal electors could focus on candidates from this area, which in any case continues to hold the theological and cultural leadership over the whole Church. And Italy itself might be back in the race, after two pontificates that have gone to a Pole and a German. Among the Italian candidates, Scola, 71, appears the most solid. He was trained as a theologian in the cenacle of “Communio,” the international magazine that had Ratzinger among its founders. He was the disciple of Fr. Luigi Giussani, the founder of Communion and Liberation. He was rector of the Lateranense, the university of the Church of Rome. He was the patriarch of Venice, where he demonstrated effective managerial abilities and created a theological and cultural center, the Marcianum, reaching out with the magazine “Oasis” toward the confrontation between the West and the East, Christian and Islamic. For almost two years he has been archbishop of Milan. And here he has
introduced a pastoral style very attentive to the “far away,” with invitations to the Masses in the cathedral distributed on street corners and in subway stations, and with special care for the divorced and remarried, who are encouraged to approach the altar to receive not communion but a special blessing. In addition to Scola, another entry for the list of candidates could be Cardinal Bagnasco, 70, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian episcopal conference. Not to mention the current patriarch of Venice, Francesco Moraglia, 60, a rising star of the Italian episcopate, a pastor of strong spiritual life and very much beloved by the faithful. His limitation is that he is not a cardinal. Nothing prohibits the election of someone who is not part of the sacred college, but even the highly credentialed Giovanni Battista Montini, although projected as pope in1958 after the death of Pius XII, had to wait until he received the scarlet before he was elected in 1963 with the name of Paul VI. Outside of Italy, the college of cardinals seems to be focusing on North America. Here, one candidate who could meet the expectations is the Canadian Marc Ouellet, 69, multilingual, he as well trained theologically in the cenacle of “Communion,” for many years a missionary in Latin America, then archbishop of Québec, one of the most secularized regions of the planet, and today the prefect of the Vatican congregation that selects the new bishops all over the world. Apart from Ouellet, two North Americans who elicit appreciation in the college of cardinals are Timothy Dolan, 63, the dynamic archbishop of New York and president of the episcopal conference of the United States, and Sean O’Malley, 69, the archbishop of Boston. But nothing prevents the next conclave from deciding to abandon the old world and open up to the other continents. If from Latin America and Africa, where indeed the majority of the world’s Catholics live, there do not seem to emerge prominent personalities capable of attracting votes, the same is not true of Asia. On this continent, soon to become the new axis of the world, the Catholic Church also is wagering its future. In the Philippines, which is the only nation in Asia where Catholics are in the majority, there shines a young and cultured cardinal, archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle, the focus of growing attention. As a theologian and Church historian, Tagle was one of the authors of the monumental history of Vatican Council II published by the progressive “school of Bologna.” But as a pastor, he has demonstrated a balance of vision and a doctrinal correctness that Benedict XVI himself has highly appreciated. Especially striking is the style with which the bishop acts, living simply and mingling among the humblest people, with a great passion for mission and for charity. One of his limitations could be the fact that he is 56, one year younger than the age at which pope Wojtyla was elected. But here the novelty of Benedict XVI’s resignation again comes into play. After this action of his, youth will no longer be an obstacle to being elected pope. (Source: http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it) much more extensive. There appeared with great urgency the issue of today’s world, the modern age, and the Church; and with it, the issues of responsibility for the building up of this world, of society, responsibility for the future of this world and eschatological hope, the ethical responsibility of Christians and where we look for guidance; and then religious freedom, progress, and relations with other religions. At this moment, all the parties of the Council really entered into the discussion, not just America, the United States, with its powerful interest in religious freedom. In the third session the Americans told the Pope: we cannot go home without bringing a declaration on religious freedom voted by the Council. The Pope, however, had the firmness and the decision, the patience, to take the text to the fourth session, for the sake of greater discernment and the fuller consent of the Council Fathers. I mean: it was not only the Americans who intervened forcefully in the unfolding of the Council, but also Latin America, well aware of the extreme poverty of its people, on a Catholic continent, and the responsibility of the faith for the situation of these people. Likewise, Africa and Asia saw the need for interreligious dialogue; problems arose which we Germans—I have to admit— had not foreseen. I cannot describe all of this now. The great document Gaudium et Spes analyzed very well the issue of Christian eschatology and worldly progress, and that of responsibility for the society of the future and the responsibility of Christians before eternity, and in this
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the continuity between the Old and the New Testaments. In the text of the New Testament, the phrase Laos tou Theou, corresponding to the Old Testament texts, means—with only two exceptions, I believe—the ancient People of God, the Jews, who among the world’s peoples, goim, are “the” People of God. The others, we pagans, are not per se God’s People: we become sons of Abraham and thus the People of God by entering into communion with Christ, the one seed of Abraham. By entering into communion with him, by being one with him, we too become God’s People. In a word: the concept of “the People of God” implies the continuity of the Testaments, continuity in God’s history with the world, with mankind, but it also implies the Christological element. Only through Christology do we become the People of God, and thus the two concepts are combined. The Council chose to elaborate a Trinitarian ecclesiology: People of God the Father, Body of Christ, Temple of the Holy Spirit. Yet only after the Council did an element come to light—which can also be found, albeit in a hidden way, in the Council itself—namely this: the link between People of God and Body of Christ is precisely communion with Christ in Eucharistic fellowship. This is where we become the Body of Christ: the relationship between People of God and Body of Christ creates a new reality – communion. After the Council it became clear, I would say, that the Council really discovered and pointed to this concept: communion as the central concept. I
would say that, philologically, it is not yet fully developed in the Council, yet it is as a result of the Council that the concept of communion came more and more to be the expression of the Church’s essence, communion in its different dimensions: communion with the Trinitarian God— who is himself communion between Father, Son and Holy Spirit – sacramental communion, and concrete communion in the episcopate and in the life of the Church. Even more hotly debated was the problem of Revelation. At stake here was the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, and it was the exegetes above all who were anxious for greater freedom; they felt themselves somewhat—shall we say—in a position of inferiority with regard to the Protestants, who were making the great discoveries, whereas Catholics felt somewhat “handicapped” by the need to submit to the Magisterium. So a very concrete struggle was in play here: what sort of freedom do exegetes have? How does one properly read Scripture? What is the meaning of Tradition? It was a multifaceted struggle which I cannot go into now, but the important thing, for sure, is that Scripture is the word of God and that the Church is under Scripture, the Church obeys God’s word and does not stand above Scripture. Yet at the same time Scripture is Scripture only because there is the living Church, its living subject; without the living subject of the Church, Scripture is only a book, open to different interpretations and lacking ultimate clarity. Here the battle—as I said—was
difficult, and an intervention of Pope Paul VI proved decisive. This intervention shows all the delicacy of a father, his responsibility for the progress of the Council, but also his great respect for the Council. The idea had arisen that Scripture is complete; everything is found there; consequently there is no need for Tradition, and so the Magisterium has nothing to say. At that point the Pope transmitted to the Council, I believe, fourteen formulae for a phrase to be inserted into the text on Revelation and he gave us, the Council Fathers, the freedom to choose one of the fourteen formulae, but he said that one of them needed to be chosen in order to complete the text. I remember more or less the formula “non omnis certitudo de veritatibus fidei potest sumi ex Sacra Scriptura”, in other words, the Church’s certainty about her faith is not born only of an isolated book, but has need of the Church herself as a subject enlightened and guided by the Holy Spirit. Only then does the Scripture speak with all its authority. This phrase, which we selected in the Doctrinal Commission from the fourteen formulae, is decisive, I would say, for showing the Church’s absolute necessity, and thus understanding the meaning of Tradition, the living body in which this word draws life from the outset and from which it receives its light, in which it is born. The fact of the canon of Scripture is already an ecclesial fact: that these writings are Scripture is the result of an illumination of the Church, who discovered in herself this canon of Scripture; she discovered it, she did not create it; and always and only
in this communion of the living Church can one really understand and read the Scripture as the word of God, as a word which guides us in life and in death. As I have said, this was a rather difficult debate, but thanks to the Pope and thanks, we may say, to the light of the Holy Spirit who was present in the Council, there emerged a document which is one of the finest and most innovative of the entire Council, and still needs to be studied more deeply. Because today too, exegesis tends to read Scripture apart from the Church, apart from faith, only in the so-called spirit of the historical-critical method, a method which is important, but never to the extent of being able to offer solutions with ultimate certitude. Only if we believe that these are not human words, but God’s words, and only if there is that living subject to which God spoke and speaks, can we interpret sacred Scripture properly. And here – as I said in the foreword of my book on Jesus (cf. Part One) – much remains to be done in order to arrive at an interpretation that is truly in the spirit of the Council. Here the application of the Council is not yet complete, more needs to be done. Finally, ecumenism. I do not want to enter now into these problems, but it was obvious—especially after the “passions” suffered by Christians in the Nazi era— that Christians could find unity, or at least seek unity, yet it was also clear that God alone can bestow unity. And we are still following this path. Now, with these themes, the “Rhine alliance”—so to speak—had completed its work. The second part of the Council was
Who Will Take Up the Keys of Peter?
Vol. 17 No. 4
February 18 - March 3, 2013
(Given at St. Peter’s Basilica 2 days after his resignation announcement)
merciful, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, ready to repent of evil” (v. 13). The return to the Lord is possible as a ‘grace’, because it is the work of God and the fruit of that faith that we place in His mercy. But this return to God becomes a reality in our lives only when the grace of God penetrates to our inmost being and shakes it, giving us the power to “rend our hearts.” The same prophet causes these words from God to resonate: “Rend your hearts and not your garments” (v. 13). In fact, even today, many are ready to “rend their garments” before scandals and injustices - of course, made by others but few seem willing to act on their own “heart”, on their own conscience and their own intentions, letting the Lord transform, renew and convert. That “return to me with all your heart,” then, is a reminder that involves not only the individual, but the community. We have heard, also in the first reading: “Play the horn in Zion, proclaim a solemn fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, convoke a solemn assembly, call the old, gather the children and the infants at the breast; let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her bridal chamber”(vv.15-16). The community dimension is an essential element in faith and Christian life. Christ came “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (cfr. Jn 11:52). The “we” of the Church is the community in which Jesus brings us together (cf. Jn 12:32): faith is necessarily ecclesial. And this is important to remember and to live in this time of Lent: each person is aware that he or she does not face the penitential journey alone, but together with many brothers and sisters in the Church. Finally, the prophet focuses on the prayers of the priests, who, with tears
Homily of Pope Benedict XVI at Ash Wednesday Mass
VENERABLE Brothers, Dear Brothers and Sisters! Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin a new Lenten journey, a journey that extends for forty days and leads us to the joy of Easter, the victory of Life over death. Following the ancient Roman tradition of Lenten stationes, we have gathered for the celebration of the Eucharist. The tradition says that the first statio should take place in the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. The circumstances have suggested that we gather in St. Peter’s Basilica. Tonight we are great in number around the tomb of the Apostle Peter, also to request his intercession for the Church’s journey at this particular, renewing our faith in the Supreme Pastor, Christ the Lord. For me it is a time good opportunity to thank everyone, especially the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, as I prepare to conclude my Petrine ministry, and ask for a special remembrance in prayer. The readings that have been proclaimed provide us with ideas that, with the grace of God, we are called to make concrete attitudes and behaviors during this Lent. The Church proposes to us, first, the strong appeal that the prophet Joel addressed to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (2:12). Please note the phrase “with all my heart,” which means from the center of our thoughts and feelings, from the roots of our decisions, choices and actions, with a gesture of total and radical freedom. But is this return to God possible? Yes, because there is a force that does not reside in our hearts, but that emanates from the heart of God. It is the power of his mercy. The prophet says, further: “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and
in their eyes, turn to God, saying: “Do not expose your heritage to the reproach and derision of the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ “(v.17). This prayer makes us reflect on the importance of the testimony of faith and Christian life of each of us and our community to show the face of the Church and how that face is sometimes disfigured. I am thinking in particular about sins against the unity of the Church, the divisions in the ecclesial body. Living Lent in a more intense and evident ecclesial communion, overcoming individualism and rivalry, is a humble and precious sign for those who are far from the faith or indifferent. “Behold, now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor
6:2). The words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians of Corinth resonate for us, too, with an urgency that does not allow omission or inaction. The word “now” repeated several times says that we cannot let this time pass us by, it is offered to us as a unique opportunity. And the Apostle’s gaze focuses on the sharing that Christ chose to characterize his life, taking on everything human to the point of bearing the very burden of men’s sins. The phrase St. Paul uses is very strong: “God made him sin for our sake.” Jesus, the innocent one, the Holy One, “He who knew no sin” (2 Cor 5:21), bears the burden of sin, sharing with humanity its outcome of death, and death on the cross. The reconciliation offered to us has cost a high price, that of the cross raised on
Golgotha, on which was hung the Son of God made man. In this immersion of God in human suffering and in the abyss of evil lies the root of our justification. The “return to God with all your heart” in our Lenten journey passes through the cross, following Christ on the road to Calvary, the total gift of self. It is a way on which to learn every day to come out more and more from our selfishness and our closures, to make room for God who opens and transforms the heart. And St. Paul recalls how the announcement of the Cross resounds to us through the preaching of the Word, of which the Apostle himself is an ambassador; it is a call for us to make this Lenten journey characterized by a more careful and assiduous listening to the Word of
Ash / B7
Tubbataha Reefs Incident: Destruction of the Beauty of God’s Creation
“And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered he called Seas. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:9-10).
THE sea’s creation was good. It was not only good but beautiful, exquisitely beautiful that in 1993, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated it as a World Heritage Site. Today it is nominated in the seven new wonders of nature. But alas, on January 17 its beauty was destroyed by the USS Guardian, a United States Navy minesweeper. More than 4,000 square meters of the 97,030 square meters of its corals were damaged. Experts say that it would take one year for every millimeter of hard corals to grow and another 250 years for one meter of hard corals to mature in the Tubbataha Reef. Accordingly ‘the United States Embassy in Manila said the US government has vowed to extend the “appropriate compensation” to the Tubbataha Reef that was damaged when its mine countermeasure ship USS Guardian ran aground on the precious World Heritage Site on January 17.’ As long as the ship is not pulled out of the reef, the damage will continue to widen. The faster it is removed, the better for the reef, for the environment, for the Filipino people, for the US and for the world. The damage done is bad enough. Worse is the reason why that war ship ever got there. Being a World Heritage Site the reef was supposed to be a protected area, and no ship, domestic or foreign, is allowed to enter it unless permitted. The US knows that. US Ambassador to the Philippines was reported to have said that the US recognized “the legitimate concerns over the damage caused to a unique and precious wonder of nature, internationally recognized for its beauty and biological diversity.” And he called the incident “an unfortunate accident.” According to reports, “the US Navy said possible errors in the ship’s navigational system caused them to stray into the nonavigation zone or the navigational map misplaced the Tubbataha Reef.” This explanation is hard to believe given the sophisticated technology of the U.S. Human error on the part of the ship’s captain could be a better explanation. But the question remains: why and how it got there in the first place. One report said that “Before leaving after a port visit in the Subic Bay, the USS Guardian cancelled a scheduled fuel stop at Puerto Princesa City. It departed Olongapo City en route to Indonesia and was transiting the Sulu Sea when (it) ran aground at about 2:25 a.m. Thursday.” The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Parks authorities, upon seeing the ship entering a protected area, issued warnings to it, but the USS Guardian simply ignored them. Later the US Navy claimed that the ship’s refuelling at the Subic Bay in Olongapo City was part of their privilege under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Senator Loren Legarda is calling for an inquiry into the grounding of the USS Guardian and the extent of the damage it has caused the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. We believe that the inquiry should not be limited to the “unfortunate accident” per se, but should also look into the attitude of the US military forces and the US government towards the Philippine sovereignty is being compromised with the VFA. The question of Mai Uichanco, secretary general of the League of Filipino Students, to President Aquino is valid: “How does he plan on penalizing the USS Guardian’s crew when the VFA exempts US troops in the country from Philippine laws?” She noted that port calls are sanctioned under the VFA. (Davao Today, Tuesday, February 5, 2013). The Ecumenical Bishops Forum calls on the Aquino administration and the Filipino people to: 1. Determine the full accountability of the United States for the damage done to the Tubbataha Reefs, and let it pay
Catholic Batangas Red for Love; Red for Life!
WE, Batangueño Catholics, believe that every person has the right and duty to live his faith and, according to that faith commit to love his country. We believe that there should be no discrimination, most specially on the part of government, in crafting laws. We believe that the new RH law is prejudicial to the Catholic Faith, deliberately by limiting the exercise of religious freedom. WE believe that as Batangueño Catholics we must support all valid efforts to alleviate poverty. We believe, however, that population control especially through massive government promotion of contraceptives does not at all help the poor. WE believe that underhanded methods have been vastly employed to force the passage of the law and that many congressmen have been subjected to all kinds of pressure from the executive branch to pass the bill and that the so-called “conscience vote” on RH insisted on by the leaders was mere charade. WE denounce the promotion of population control under the pretext of family planning. WE believe that love and concern for the poor are not genuinely fostered by the distribution of contraceptives. WE believe that tearing down the structure of glaring poverty, offering higher education and concentrating on job-creation are the sure steps toward poverty alleviation. WE believe that by passing RA 10354, this government enacted a law that contradicts the beliefs of the majority, enriching further the rich and pushing still the poor to worse degradation and loss of dignity. THEREFORE, we denounce R.A. 10354, better known as AN ACT PROVIDING FOR NATIONAL POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, formerly termed as the RH Bill. WE, Catholic Batangueños, are sending out a strong and unequivocal message to our leaders that we will continue to oppose this evil policy, uniting ourselves against all who legislate against life, Christian morality and age-old Filipino values. We will support those who stand for the true and the honorable; we will fight those who stand for ideologies and policies contrary to our morality as Filipino Catholics. With other brothers and sisters all over the land, like the RA 10354 protesters in Bacolod led by Bishop Vicente Navarra last January, we reinforce the outcry of so many people. This is just a beginning. We will name names; we will expose shameless deeds so people in this nation will begin to know who deserve our votes and support. WE appeal to all Catholic leaders to take seriously their faith and profess that faith with courage in their thoughts, words and actions. We will not be afraid to stand up for what is right, to do what must be done, for God and for this country. We exhort our brothers and sisters of other faiths to join us in this great reform project. WE call on all Batangueño Filipinos to be united in these efforts especially in this “Year of Faith”. As we turn away from all sins, let us all rediscover the beauty of Catholic Faith and Tradition and work together to ensure that our laws and government policies respect the sanctity of life, marriage and the values and ideals that have been the mainstay and strength of the Filipino Family and people. Given this 15th day of February, in the Year of Faith 2013, at St. Francis de Sales Minor Seminary Gym, on the occasion of the Pro-Life Forum, convened by the Commission on Family and Life Ministries of the Archdiocese of Lipa. For the People of God in the Archdiocese of Lipa, +RAMON C. ARGUELLES, D.D. Archbishop of Lipa
Philippines as a sovereign state by imploring the provisions of the VFA. The VFA itself should be reviewed because this had become a convenient excuse for American military forces to abuse the Filipino people. We will remember the rape of a young Filipina “Nicole” by Daniel Smith, a “visiting” American soldier, which was tried by the Philippine Court and found him guilty, but was released to the US government. The culprit was able to run away with it. Sightings of direct involvement of US troops in battles in Mindanao were reported every now and then, but the US and Philippine officials would not admit to it. There are also suspicions that US ships that come to refuel or other purposes carry nuclear weapon which is against our constitution. Last week the nuclear attack submarine USS Cheyenne docked at Subic. On February 5 the USS Stockdale, an Arleigh Burkeclass guided missile destroyer, also arrived at Subic Bay (PDI, 2/5/13, p. A11). Three warships in three weeks are too much!
accordingly. Enlist the help of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to assess the actual and potential damage, and suggestions on restoring the reef. 2. Support the move of Senator Loren Lagarda for a Senate investigation “in order to strengthen existing mechanisms for protecting the World Heritage Site. 3. Review and Abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement. Its one-sided provisions in favour of the US are too glaring as seen in the abuses committed by US troops who get away with their criminal acts. Issued and signed this 8th day of February, 2013. MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S. IñIGUEz, JR., D.D. Co-Chairperson, Ecumenical Bishops Forum BISHOP FELIXBERTO L. CALANG, IFI Co-chairperson, Ecumenical Bishops Forum
Photo courtesy of AFP
© Stephen Driscoll / CNA
the content of the conversation between Jesus, Moses and Elijah: “They appeared in glory, and spoke of his passage which he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:21). To understand what Luke means by this, it may be recalled that earlier on, Jesus asked his disciples who did crowds say he was. It appears that they had come to uncover the reality of what he was through the public confession of Peter who addressed him as the “Messiah of God.” But when Peter used this title to describe him, there is scarcely any doubt that he understood this title in the Jewish sense of an expected Messiah, the anointed one, sent by God in the Davidic, kingly or political tradition. He would be a political figure identified with the “Messiah of Israel” (1QS 9:11) in the Qumran community. In effect, having seen how Jesus healed and performed miracles, Peter thought that Jesus was really God’s anointed to restore the kingdom of Israel to its former glory. It is for this reason that Jesus tried to explain to them the meaning of his messiahship by means of the prediction of his passion: “The Son of Man,” he said, “must first endure many sufferings, be rejected by the elders, the high priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and then be raised up on the third day” (Luke 9:22). And to make sure that his disciples, who frequently misunderstood him and his teaching, fully realized the implication of his words for those who wished to follow him, he continued his instruction on discipleship: “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day and follow in my steps” (Luke 9:24). We do not know how, according to Luke, the disciples
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 4
Transfiguration: Glory through suffering and death
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 2nd Sunday of Lent; Year C, Luke 9:28-36, February 24, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
TODAY’S gospel focuses on Luke’s narrative on the transfiguration of Jesus. Readers of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) will easily recall that the transfiguration story tells of an event that took place near the end of Jesus’ public ministry in which his external appearance changed. In the presence of Peter, James and John atop a mountain, Jesus’ clothing became dazzlingly white, and with him appeared Moses and Elijah who spoke with him. Peter was so overwhelmed by what took place that he suggested that three tents be made: one for Jesus, one for Moses and another for Elijah. Then after a cloud overshadowed them, a voice was heard identifying Jesus as his Son, who must be listened to. Then Jesus and his three disciples went down the mountain to be with the people. Noting that the event offered the disciples an experience of the true identity of Jesus, many preachers follow a line of interpretation that stresses the need to follow up our “experience of the divine” with the practical aspect of spirituality, which is service to the people we meet every day. They say that we cannot just contemplate on the divine; for that would be empty if divorced from action on behalf of the poor. While such line of preaching has something to commend it, yet it fails to take into account that each evangelist has a different way of understanding the event. If we look at the version of Luke, we find that he has some theological insights that are not shared by other evangelists, and one of them relates to reacted to Jesus’ teaching, for Luke records none of it, unlike in Mark where we find Peter remonstrating with the Lord (Mark 8:33). But one could make the educated guess that his declaration would have proved a disappointment to them, assuming they understood it. After all, even after Jesus’ death, the disciples, according to Luke, thought that Jesus would free Israel from the Romans and restore its political and economic glory (Luke 24:21). The story of transfiguration, therefore, functions as a corrective of Peter’s faith in Jesus’ messiahship and confirms what Jesus said in the prediction of his passion. The presence of Moses and Elijah, who would have fulfilled the requirement for witnessing in Luke’s theology (cf Simeon and Anna in the Infancy Narrative of Luke), serves to indicate that the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah) testify to the identity of Jesus as the suffering Messiah. Understandably enough, Luke—and no other synoptic evangelist—says that the two heavenly figures “spoke of his passage, which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31). In the Greek Bible, the term translated in English as “passage” is exodos, which could also mean departure, the Exodus. Since the use of the word no doubt echoes the Exodus of Israel from Egypt to the land of milk and honey, what Jesus would accomplish in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31) was a new redeeming action for his people. That is to say, just as the Exodus of old freed the people from slavery to Egypt, the new Exodus in Jerusalem would free the people from slavery to sin. The Exodus then refers not only to Jesus’ passion and death, as some
Transfiguration / B7
Transfiguration: A lesson on the power of prayer
2nd Sunday of Lent, February 24, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
THE remark that Jesus was praying while “his face changed in appearance and his clothes became dazzling white” (Lk 9:29) is often glossed over as if it were an unimportant detail, possibly because it is only Luke who mentions it. This “detail,” however, is an important feature of the whole event. Prayer meant so much to Jesus. It was an essential dimension of his life. The Gospels contain numerous references to Jesus’ praying in seclusion or waking up before everybody else to pray in some quiet place. Every prayerful encounter with his Father brought out the best in Jesus. Three of his disciples – Peter, James and John – witnessed this outpouring of the best in their Master in the episode we call the “Transfiguration.” That was an unforgettable visible manifestation not only of Jesus’ divinity and of the forthcoming glory of the Resurrection, but also of the transforming power which prayer had on Jesus as a human being. There are good reasons to believe that such a “transformation” did not take place only on that occasion. It is much more probable, instead, that Jesus was transfigured every time he prayed. The only difference, on Mount Tabor, was that the event had eyewitnesses who could just marvel and rejoice in what they were seeing. So overjoyed were they, that they grew speechless, and all they could mutter was the desire that it should last as long as possible: “Let us build three tents,” proposed Peter, “one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” There was a time, however, in the earthly life of Jesus, on another mountain—the Mount of Olives—when the loving dialogue of prayer turned into a monologue of distress. The usual “Partner”—the Father—seemed absent. He appeared to have turned a deaf ear to what Jesus was saying. Nor did He talk to His pleading Son. It was as if God had “hidden His face” from Jesus. Fortunately, on that occasion, too, Jesus closed his conversation in the way he had taught his disciples to pray: “Your will be done!” Then an angel appeared to console him in his distress. That, too, produced in him a transfiguration of sorts. The presence of the angel showed that prayer had “worked.” Jesus’ Partner had been listening, after all. His full answer would come at the Resurrection, the “permanent transfiguration,” which Jesus has been enjoying ever since and which he will enjoy for ever. Of that “eternal transfiguration” the one undergone by Jesus on Mount Tabor was only a preview. It was a “foretaste,” meant to tell the astonished disciples to set their hearts on what really matters: their relationship with God, their filial conversation with Him. Such is also the lesson for us, as we reflect on the transfiguration of Jesus while he was at prayer (see Lk 9:29). If we understand this point clearly, prayer will never be “boring” or “routine” or a monotonous “monologue.” It may happen that we, too, find ourselves praying fervently, crying our hearts out, but apparently to no effect, for God seems not to be listening . . . . In such situations we may be tempted to conclude that God does not care anymore about us . . . . But we know that God is always there. He is always listening even when we can’t see Him and we can’t hear his voice, then and there. His answer will come at the proper time—in His time—which is always the best time.
The call to conversion and fruitfulness
3rd Sunday of Lent, March 3, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
FIG trees planted in vineyards receive preferential treatment— well-tilled soil, good manure, protection from vandals and animals. If for one year they do not bear fruit, they are without excuse. The decision of the owner of the vineyard in today’s Gospel passage to have the barren fig tree cut down is more than justified. Its poor performance over three years had definitely been very disappointing. (See Lk 13:7.) But barrenness is not a defect that can be found only in trees. It can also be found in people. Spiritual and moral barrenness means the absence of those dispositions and actions which God has a right to expect from us. In spite of the much care and love we have received from Him, our response is often disappointing. In most cases, it is not a matter of laziness. We are very active. We do many things. We may even give the impression that we are achieving a lot . . . . Many of our actions, however, are just like pompous leaves which suck most of our vital energies. We are constantly in danger of forgetting that what matters is not how many things we do, but rather, WHAT we do, HOW and WHY we do it. We are expected to bear fruits of holiness by doing our duty to the best of our ability and out of love for God. The Lord, of course, is usually patient. But His patience should not be taken to mean that He is either indifferent to what we do, or that He has become unable to check our misbehavior. It simply means that, in His love, and thanks to the intercession of Jesus, He gives us another chance. But a day will come when we will have to account even for these additional signs of love. These are days of grace in the Year of Faith. They are days for an honest evaluation of our performance in the light of God’s generosity and of His expectation. If we discover that our life is so full of “leaves” but lacks the fruits of piety, gratitude, honesty, generosity, purity, sense of responsibility, faith, hope, love.... we have only one thing to do: UNDERGO CONVERSION and REFORM. In the first part of today’s Gospel, Jesus uses this word twice, both as an exhortation and as a warning. (See vv. 3 and 5.) But he does more than just exhort and warn us. He also intercedes for us with the Father, and offers us his help that we may become “fruitful trees.” His teaching, his example, and his grace will produce the miracle, if only we allow him to work in us and cooperate with him. This might be our last chance to finally start producing the long-awaited fruits, which will delight our divine Master.
Bishop Pat Alo
Brotherhood among bishops
IT was on the occasion of the super-typhoon ‘Pablo’ which struck several north-eastern coastal towns of Davao Oriental on December 4, 2012. I did not issue any public appeal for support during the Philippine Catholic Bishops Conference on Jan. 26-28, 2013. I was greatly surprised that a good number of Filipino Catholic Bishops offered much help in cash or kind to alleviate the sufferings of our people who underwent difficulties due to lack of food and housing since the super-typhoon ‘Pablo’ of December 4 greatly affected the material needs of the people whose houses were destroyed and blown away, and their major crops and plants devastated. I understand much of the information on the tragic happening had been disseminated through the media and news channels in radio, television and newspapers. I just had the feeling that there must really be that attitude of brotherhood among our Catholic Bishops since many spontaneously offered their sympathy and help for our people and our Diocese of Mati, Davao Oriental even if we are situated quite far in the southeastern end of the Philippine Islands. Surely this must be in accord with what the Holy Bible states in Mt. 12:46, quoting the words of Jesus: “He was still speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers appeared; they were standing outside and anxious to have a word with him. But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother’.” That’s the feeling we get when we honestly seek to do God’s will as shown and proclaimed by our Lord Jesus. There comes that strong bond of love among us. Yes, we become one big family caring for one another.
Wise exchange, anyone?
YESTERDAY, I read a beautiful story. One day, a little girl named Jenny was with her mother in the grocery store. She saw a toy pearl bracelet worth P20. She became giddy with excitement and asked her mother to buy it for her. “Are you sure you like it?” her mother asked. “Yes, Mommy! Please, please, please buy it for me!” So the mother bought the toy pearls for little Jenny. Jenny’s father, who loved her very much, read a bedtime story to Jenny each night. One night, after reading to her, he asked her, “Jenny, do you love me?” “Of course I love you, Daddy,” she said. “Can you give me your pearl bracelet?” he asked. Little Jenny pouted. “You can have my princess doll, Daddy, but not my pearl bracelet. That’s my favorite.” Daddy smiled, “That’s okay Jenny, I love you.” He kissed her good night. Seven days later, after another reading session, the father asked again, “Jenny, do you love me?’ “Daddy, you know that I love you,” the little girl said. “Can you give me your pearl bracelet?” he smiled. “No Daddy, please. You can have my brush, my violet pen, and my red hair band. But not my pearl bracelet!” He chuckled. “That’s okay, hon. I love you,” and kissed her goodnight. But a few days later, a tearyeyed Jenny came to her father and said, “Daddy, I love you very much,” and placed in his hand her toy pearl bracelet. Her father gave her a big hug and said, “I have a very special gift for you, little girl.” He pulled out from his pocket a beautiful velvet case with gold lining. He opened it, showing to her a genuine pearl bracelet. “This is yours. No more toy pearl bracelet for you, my princess. You deserve the real one.” Friends, this is the kind of wise exchange that God wants to give to us. Not foolish exchanges that the “Jacobs” and the “Red Stews” in our lives are offering to us. Instead, God wants to take what is cheap and fake in our lives (our addictions), so that He could give us something much, much better (our holy ambitions). Give up your addiction. Give up what is counterfeit. Give up what destroys you. Give up what pulls you away from God and life and happiness. Like Jenny, you deserve better.
Vol. 17 No. 4
February 18 - March 3, 2013
NASSA to hold seminar on social action work
Caritas Española backs dev’t programs in PHL
THE Caritas Española has been supporting developmental projects in the Philippines most specifically in the countryside since 2001 through the National Secretariat for Social Action/ Caritas Philippines of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Four municipalities in the province of Zambales became beneficiaries of the development programs that were funded by Caritas Española. Sustainable Agriculture National Program Coordinator Ronelio Barsatan and Program Officer Cheryll E. Manuel, both staff of NASSA conducted a monitoring of project implementation in four municipalities of Zambales province last February 2 and 3. The project is called Basic Ecclesiastical Community (BEC)Based Integral and Sustainable Development Program. Components of the program are Lusog-Sigla, Buhay-Sagana (focused on health, nutrition and livelihood), Sustainable Agriculture, and Good Governance. Organic farming, hygiene and health are parts of the sustainable development program funded by Caritas Española, according to Evelyn ‘Belen’ Limpo, Sustainable Agriculture Project Officer, Social Action Center of Zambales. “Zambales was one of the selected provinces of NASSA and the Diocese of Iba chose only four municipalities to implement the program. These are Santa Cruz, Masinloc, Iba, and San Felipe,” said Limpo She added that the local residents in the chosen areas are poor, yet their BECs are strong and well organized. Meanwhile, Diocesan Social Action Program Coordinator Luis Arueza said the Sustainable Development Program aimed to educate the local farmers to switch to organic farming. “Very eager tayo na maalis ang chemical dahil ang lupa natin ay wala nang sustansya at the same
Clergy / B4
Children who participated in the 12-day feeding project of NASSA are seen in photo with their mothers.
time hindi gagastos ng malaki ang mga farmers at hindi pa masisira ang environment. Two to five years doing organic farming ay siguradong babalik ang sigla ng lupa,” said Arueza. The one year program funded by the Caritas Española and implemented by the NASSA in the country was launched on March 8, 2012 and will end on April this year. “The project will end but the BEC and the beneficiaries will continue. Binigyan sila ng mga farming equipment and tools pati livelihood programs andyan ang baboy, baka, kambing at kalabaw. Makakatulong ang lahat ng ito upang maiangat ang kabuhayan ng mga simpleng mamamayan sa aming probinsya,” Arueza added. Feeding program Meanwhile, more than 30 children in Brgy. Sindol, San Felipe, Zambales completed the 12-Day feeding project under NASSA’s “Lusog-Sigla, BuhaySagana” on February 3. Emma M. Tombaga, Luzviminda Pancho, and Florizza Minas, all mothers and residents of Santa Cruz, Zambales testified that their children from being malnourished had achieved the normal weight after the
12-day feeding program. They also learned how to use herbal medicines and apply personal hygiene practices, among others. “The objective of this program is to educate the mothers on the value of nutritious food— that simple vegetables like ‘malunggay’ may give the nutrition their children need,” said Lady Bird Mores, BEC Animator of St. Michael Parish in Zambales. The beneficiaries of the Sustainable Development Program were very thankful and asked for more projects in the future. They also acknowledged the collective efforts of the diocesan social action center of Zambales, Parish Office, BEC members, and Barangay Councils. “Nangangailangan talaga kami ng makakatuwang dito sa Sitio Tambak. Ang aming pangngailangan ay unti unting natutugunan sa pamamagitan ng social action center. Ang mga mamamayan dito ay madaling mahikayat dahil kahit kami sa konseho ng barangay ay sumusuporta. Gusto naming na matutunan lahat at makuha ang programang makakatulong sa amin. Sana po ay wag magsawa ang social action center of Zambales, ang NASSA, at ang Caritas Española
gayundin ang ibang organisasyon na tumutulong sa amin,” said Brgy. Capt. Francisco Aldea, Brgy. Palanginan, Iba. “Malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa BEC at sa social action center dahil nabigyan pansin ang isang lugar katulad nitong Sitio Tambak. Lalo kaming magsisikap at palalaguin namin ang mga naitulong nila,” said Kagawad Jose de los Reyes, Iba. Other individuals who helped in the program were BEC animators Leony Dullas and Socorro Farañal; BEC leader Marieta Reyes Feria; Apolinar Cruzado, head of trial farm in Masinloc, Zambales; and local resident Ponciano Tolentino, Jr. The CBCP-NASSA will also hold a seminar on good governance in Zambales on March 11-13. Caritas Española supports the vulnerable and marginalized people, the poor and needy, immigrants and young people in difficulty, among others. It supports research into the causes of poverty and regularly produces publications on related issues. They collaborate with partners in humanitarian and development programs in different countries of Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. (SocialActionNews)
THE National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace/ Caritas Philippines is holding a Basic Orientation Seminar on Social Action Work (BOSSAW) for directors and staff of Diocesan Social Action Centers, on March 4 to 8 at the CBCP BEC Development Center, Tagaytay City. For this year, NASSA has invited selected speakers from their Social Action Networks (SAN) and partner agencies to join the BOSSAW team in conducting the seminar, according to Yuri R. Munsayac, Coordinator of Program Services and Resource Mobilization Unit of NASSA. “Aside from learning the Church’s Social Teachings and its relation to social action work, you will get to know more about NASSA, its structure, function, services and current programs. There will be sharing of experiences from longserving Social Action Centers’ directors and staff, and from our program and advocacy partners. Also, a session on project planning, development and management such as financial management,” Munsayac added. He furthered that the BOSSAW is ideally intended for the new Social Action Directors and staff. However, they are also inviting the old directors who would like to have a refresher or who would like to send their new personnel. The orientation-seminar, according to Social Action Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez, aims to (a) deepen understanding on the Social Teachings of the Church in relation to social action works, so as to encourage the new directors to beef up their involvement and commitment to the promotion of justice and social transformation for total human development; (b) acquaint the new directors with the Social Action Network, and the structures and functions of the National Secretariat for Social Action, in order to strengthen partnership and cooperation within the network; (c) foster solidarity among the new directors and formally welcome them to the social action network; and (d) provide basic information on program planning, management and development and financial management. Each Diocesan Social Action Centers can send a maximum of two participants for the seminar. The food and accommodation during the week-long event will be covered by NASSA. However, the participants will have to cover their travel expenses to and from the venue including plane tickets, bus or taxi going to Tagaytay along with PhP500.00 registration fee for the supplies, materials and other expenses in the seminar. Interested parties may contact Yuri R. Munsayac at telephone number (02) 527-4163 or email at admin@nassa. org / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com. (SocialActionNews)
Ash / B5
way it also renewed a Christian ethics, the foundations of ethics. But—let us say unexpectedly—alongside this great document there arose another document which responded in a more synthetic and more concrete way to the challenges of the times, and this was the Declaration Nostra Aetate. From the beginning our Jewish friends were present, and they said, primarily to us Germans, but not to us alone, that after the tragic events of the Nazi period, the Nazi decade, the Catholic Church had to say something about the Old Testament, about the Jewish people. They said: even if it is clear that the Catholic Church is not responsible for the Shoah, it was Christians for the most part who committed those crimes; we need to deepen and renew Christian awareness of this, even though we know full well that true believers have always resisted these things. Thus it was clear that our relationship with the world of the ancient People of God needed to be an object of reflection. Understandably, too, the Arab countries—the bishops of the Arab countries—were unhappy about this: they feared somewhat a glorification of the State of Israel, which naturally they did not want. They said: fine, a truly theological statement about the Jewish people is good, it is necessary, but if you speak about that, speak of Islam too; only then will there be a balance; Islam too is a great challenge and the Church also needs to clarify her relationship with Islam. This was something that, at the time, we did not much understand: a little, but not much. Today we know how necessary it was. When we began to work also on Islam, we were told that there were also other world religions: the whole of Asia! Think of Buddhism, Hinduism…. And so, instead of a declaration as initially
Transfiguration / B6
conceived, concerning only the People of God in the Old Testament, a text was created on interreligious dialogue, anticipating what only 30 years later would be demonstrated in all its intensity and importance. I cannot enter now into this theme, but if one reads the text, one sees that it is very dense and prepared truly by people who were familiar with the realities, and it indicates briefly, in a few words, what is essential. Likewise it indicates the foundation of dialogue, in difference, in diversity, in faith, on the unicity of Christ, who is one, and it is not possible for a believer to think that religions are all variations on a single theme. No, there is one reality of the living God, who has spoken, and there is one God, one incarnate God, thus one word of God, that is truly God’s word. But there is religious experience, with a certain human light from creation, and therefore it is necessary and possible to enter into dialogue, and thus to become open to one another and to open everyone to the peace of God, the peace of all his sons and daughters, the peace of his entire family. Therefore, these two documents, on religious freedom and Nostra Aetate, linked to Gaudium et Spes, make a very important trilogy whose importance has been demonstrated only after decades, and we are still working to understand better the interlinked realities of the unicity of God’s revelation, the unicity of the one God incarnate in Christ, and the multiplicity of religions, by which we seek peace and also hearts that are open to the light of the Holy Spirit, who illumines and leads to Christ. I would now like to add yet a third point: there was the Council of the Fathers – the real Council – but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council apart, and the world
perceived the Council through the latter, through the media. Thus, the Council that reached the people with immediate effect was that of the media, not that of the Fathers. And while the Council of the Fathers was conducted within the faith – it was a Council of faith seeking intellectus, seeking to understand itself and seeking to understand the signs of God at that time, seeking to respond to the challenge of God at that time and to find in the word of God a word for today and tomorrow – while all the Council, as I said, moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of the journalists, naturally, was not conducted within the faith, but within the categories of today’s media, namely apart from faith, with a different hermeneutic. It was a political hermeneutic: for the media, the Council was a political struggle, a power struggle between different trends in the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of those who seemed to them more closely allied with their world. There were those who sought the decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the expression “People of God”, power for the people, the laity. There was this threefold question: the power of the Pope, which was then transferred to the power of the bishops and the power of all – popular sovereignty. Naturally, for them, this was the part to be approved, to be promulgated, to be favoured. So too with the liturgy: there was no interest in liturgy as an act of faith, but as something where comprehensible things are done, a matter of community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a tendency, not without a certain historical basis, to say: sacrality is a pagan thing, perhaps also a thing of the Old Testament. In the New Testament it matters only that
Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, in the profane world. Sacrality must therefore be abolished, and profanity now spreads to worship: worship is no longer worship, but a community act, with communal participation: participation understood as activity. These translations, trivializations of the idea of the Council, were virulent in the process of putting the liturgical reform into practice; they were born from a vision of the Council detached from its proper key, that of faith. And the same applies to the question of Scripture: Scripture is a book, it is historical, to be treated historically and only historically, and so on. We know that this Council of the media was accessible to everyone. Therefore, this was the dominant one, the more effective one, and it created so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering: seminaries closed, convents closed, banal liturgy … and the real Council had difficulty establishing itself and taking shape; the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real force of the Council was present and, slowly but surely, established itself more and more and became the true force which is also the true reform, the true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that, 50 years after the Council, we see that this virtual Council is broken, is lost, and there now appears the true Council with all its spiritual force. And it is our task, especially in this Year of Faith, on the basis of this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council, with its power of the Holy Spirit, be accomplished and the Church be truly renewed. Let us hope that that the Lord will assist us. I myself, secluded in prayer, will always be with you and together let us go forward with the Lord in the certainty that the Lord will conquer. Thank you!
© Yen ocampo / CBCP Media
God, the light that illuminates our steps. In the Gospel of Matthew, to which belongs the so-called Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to three fundamental practices required by Mosaic Law: almsgiving, prayer and fasting; they are also traditional indications in the Lenten journey to respond to the invitation to “return to God with all your heart.” But Jesus emphasizes that it is both the quality and the truth of the relationship with God that determines the authenticity of each religious gesture. For this reason He denounces religious hypocrisy, the behavior that wants to be seen, attitudes seeking applause and approval. The true disciple does not serve himself or the “public”, but his Lord, in simplicity and generosity: “And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Mt 6:4.6.18). Our witness, then, will always be more effective the less we seek our own glory, and we will know that the reward of the righteous is God himself, being united to Him, here below, on the journey of faith, and, at the end of life, in the peace and light of coming face to face with Him forever (cf. 1 Cor 13:12). Dear brothers and sisters, we begin our Lenten journey, trusting and joyful. May the invitation to conversion resonate strongly in us, to “return to God with all your heart”, accepting His grace that makes us new men, with the surprising novelty that is sharing in the very life of Jesus. Let none of us, therefore, be deaf to this appeal, that is addressed to us also in the austere rite, so simple and yet so beautiful, of the imposition of ashes, which we will perform shortly. May the Virgin Mary accompany us in this time, the Mother of the Church and model of every true disciple of the Lord. Amen!
writers tend to think, but also to his resurrection and ascension, as all these events took place in Jerusalem. Since the passage that Moses and Elijah spoke of includes the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the transfiguration serves also to correct the impression that Jesus was only a suffering Messiah. For Luke, he is also the Messiah of glory. Which is why unlike other synoptic writers, Luke says that the disciples had a glimpse of the glory of Jesus (Luke 9:32). Of course, the term “glory” in Luke is to be connected to the risen status of Jesus, his being the Son of God. His identity as Son of God that the disciples had a glimpse of was made explicit by the voice from the clouds, declaring him
as God’s Son, his Chosen One (Luke 9:35). Luke’s understanding of the transfiguration should be obvious. If the disciples saw Jesus in his glory as God’s Son, it is to affirm that Jesus, far from being a Messiah in the political tradition of his day, is one who enters into glory through suffering, death and resurrection in the holy city (see Luke 24:26). (In that sense, Luke shares John’s view that death and glorification is a single event, though, as Schweizer notes, Luke stresses the death aspect of the event, while John emphasizes the glorification.) The disciple of Jesus, who must listen to him and him alone, is to share and follow the same passage—death and glorification.
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February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 4
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome exemplary
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GANSGTER Squad is set in postwar Los Angeles, USA, 1949. A truly vile gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) wants complete control of the city, owning perennial money pots—the dope and sex trades. To turn LA into his private empire, Cohen has got half of LA’s cops by the balls, so to speak, plus a couple of contacts in high places. The police chief, William Parker (Nick Nolte) is hot on dousing cold water on Cohen’s fire, by all means. So he taps another Cohen-hater, the intensely idealistic World War II veteran Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) after he proves himself incorruptible. O’Mara handpicks the “gangster squad” who will work under the radar to bring Cohen down: fellow war veteran Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling); sharpshooter Max Kennard (Robert Patrick) and his sidekick Navidad Ramirez (Michael Pena); AfroAmerican tough cop Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie); and wiretapper Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi). Although off to a cartoonish start, the mystery team scores success after
success in sabotaging Cohen’s establishments, getting enough media mileage to provoke Cohen into waging a full blown war against his secret, unidentified saboteurs. Things get sticky when the slickster Wooters seduces Cohen’s babe Grace Faraday (Emma Stone)—and the two fall in love, trysting right under Cohen’s nose. The trailer may be promising due to its stylish veneer, but don’t let that fool you. Gangster Squad opens with Cohen’s rival chained in all fours to two cars that run off in opposite directions, tearing the guy in two, like a frog in a science lab. Eeeeeeoow! Expect more gore and guts spilling in most of the 113 minutes of slick killing and amusing vintage car chases. You can’t ask anything more from a cast that features two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn (whose sterling performance, by the way, should elicit visceral reactions from the audience); three Oscar nominees (Brolin, Gosling and Nolte); and one of the sizzling-est stars in Hollywood these days, Emma Stone. Stone’s character is thinlydrawn, though, making her look like a high school kid in homemade
TITLE: Gangster squad CAST: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick DIRECTOR: Ruben Fleischer RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes LOCATION: United States DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. TEChNICAL ASSESSMENT: ½ MORAL ASSESSMENT: CINEMA Rating: A 18 MTRCB Rating: R 13
Laureen Bacall gowns. Gangster Squad is fast paced, well shot, well written and should appeal to movie fans of that genre. You have to be a hopeless or an idealistic fool to want to be part of a vigilante squad like this one. As always with this kind of story where do-gooders are tunnel-visioned about their targeted villain, the question is: does the end justify the means? Are their ways moral? Legal? Is justice served? If you must watch it, watch it with prudence and discernment. Immature audience will surely get lost in its tangled (un)ethical web.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
A CENTURY ago, during the 2nd Opium War, the Brits invaded Summer Palace in China and stole most of their precious artefacts and national treasure; included were the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals bronze heads. In the present times, MP Corporation sells replicas of these precious collections to the highest bidder and commissions JC (Chan) to recover the remaining bronze heads. JC and his team travel to France where two of the bronze heads are said to have been found. He meets and eventually teams up with Coco (Tong), an idealistic C h i n e s e w o m a n working to return lost antiquities to her native land and Katherine ( W e i s s becker), the naïve French great great granddaughter of the invaders of the Summer Palace. In the beginning JC sees his mission as another job that will earn him a lot of money. But eventually, he realizes the importance of respecting his nation’s treasures and risks his life to save both the artefacts and the people he cares about. Chinese Zodiac is nothing more than a vanity project for Jackie Chan. He simply cannot handle all the creative and technical demands of a decent movie and should have been advised to just simply be the lead cast. (The Guinness Book of Records named Chan MOST CREDITS IN ONE MOVIE) In fact for his stature, Chan should be more selective of the roles he accepts. Definitely not one that showcases his limited thespian skill and his aging agility. Between the exhausted and prolonged chase sequences that viewers have seen in older Chan films and the dull pontifications about the industrialized nations pillaging the weaker ones, the movie falls shamelessly on its face with confusing language switches from Chinese to English to French,
Title: Chinese Zodiac Cast: Jackie Chan, Kwom Sangwoo, Liao Fan, Yao Xing Tong, Laura Weissbecker Director: Jackie Chan Genre: Action Comedy Running Time: 123 minutes Location: France Distributor: Star Cinema Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: V14 MTRCB Rating: PG 13
Look for the image of Pope Benedict XVI, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and the Holy Bible. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
a miscued framing, artistically challenged camera works, so-so scoring and a really dreadful storytelling. The gadgets are impressive but are obviously imitations of those in James Bond or Mission Impossible films. Save for the opening rollerblade chase and the ending skydiving sequences, there isn’t really much signature Chan moves the viewers can expect. Ultimately, the movie is irredeemably boring and badly made. Respect for culture and history are romanticized yet consistently overlooked in modern times. More often, culture and history are remembered for the media opportunity and their profitability as tourist attractions. The real deep-rooted love for heritage is lost—Chinese Zodiac had the intention of getting this message across until it was eaten in the confused creative and technical work of Chan.
Vol. 17 No. 04
February 18 - March 3, 2013
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
KCFAPI, KC Phl laud Pope's humility, courage
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to step down is in no way a surrendering to the scandals and vital issues that have hounded the Church in recent years but a humble and unselfish acceptance of his own mortal incapacities brought about by advancing age and ailments, said Guillermo N. Hernandez, president of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI).
“This [Pope’s resignation] took a lot of courage, humility, and strength for him to do so and go against centuriesold practices and tradition on the term
FBG appoints new Area Managers
of Office of the Pope,” Hernandez said in a statement released on February 18. He added that the Pope did it for what he believed will redound to the best interest of the Catholic Church and its 1.1 billion faithful. He urged the various entities under the KCFAPI umbrella, its management and employees and support staff, its Area Managers and Fraternal Counselors, and its Stakeholders particularly the Benefit Certificate Holders to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance especially during the Conclave when a new pope is elected. “In behalf of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. we would like to convey our unequivocal support to His Holiness’ decision and wish and pray that he recovers
soon from the physical frailties afflicting him. Let us join our hands and prayer for the new Pope that he may lead the Catholic Church towards renewal as demanded by the new Evangelization,” Hernandez furthered. Meanwhile, the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines expressed support to the call of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson to say a prayer for Pope Benedict, for the Church, and for the future Pope. “The Knights of Columbus-Luzon Jurisdiction was saddened by the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to resign from the Papal Office effective February 28. We would like to express our trust and respect for this decision because of his failing strength due to an advanced age,” said Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap.
The latter encouraged every councils in Luzon to conduct vigils and pray for Pope Benedict XVI’s good health and sound mind as he spend the rest of his life in solitude. “We would like to enjoin all councils to conduct their activities focusing on Pope Benedict XVI and remind their members to offer their individual prayers and sacrifices in support of his decision to leave the papacy,” Yap added. The Visayas Jurisdiction also expressed support to the decision of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to retire as Head of the Catholic Church. “He has been kind and compassionate to the Knights of Columbus and to its advocacies. His friendship with the Order has gained greater impact to the
members of the Knights of Columbus in the grassroots level. As we face another milestone in our Church history, we join in prayer and solidarity with the entire Catholic Community as we prepare for the election of a new Pope who will lead our Church in this challenging time,” said Visayas Deputy Rodrigo N. Sorongon. The 435,000 strong members and families of the Knights of Columbus in the Mindanao Jurisdiction join the whole world in sorrow on the decision of the Pontiff to step down as head of the Catholic Church. “The Knights of Mindanao expressed admiration and gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for his humility, courage, sincerity and heroic act in resigning to
Pope / C2
FBG holds Luzon AMs Meeting
Proclaiming and Celebrating Faith. Officials of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) headed by its President, Guillermo N. Hernandez together with the Area Managers in Luzon during their meeting held at the Heritage Hotel in Manila last January 16 – 17, 2013.
LAST January 22, the Fraternal Benefits Group announced the appointment of new Area Managers: Florencio M. Laparan of Metro Manila Blazers (MMB1) covering the cities of Pasig, Pateros and Taguig; Danilo T. Carungay of Metro Manila Excellence
(MME1) covering Marikina City and the whole province of Rizal; and Hans Joseph T. Hernandez of Southwestern Mindanao Los Caballeros (SWM1) covering the city of Zamboanga and the province of Zamboanga Sibugay. The Fraternal Benefits Group
also assigned new area code and alpha code to all fraternal counselors. VP - FBG Gari M. San Sebastian urged fellow brother knights to support and extend cooperation onto their new Area Managers. (FBG News)
THE Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) led the Luzon Area Managers’ Meeting themed “Proclaiming and Celebrating Faith” on January 16 and 17 at the Heritage Hotel in Manila. FBG Vice President Gari M. San Sebastian guided the par-
ticipants on Sales Performance and Productivity, Evaluation, Analysis and Monitoring while Fraternal Benefits Services Department Manager Michael Cabra presented the plans and programs such as the recruitment, training, and eventual licensing of Fraternal Counselors. Strategic action per area, ori-
entation of incentive programs, summary and submission of reports, and signing of AMs contract were also discussed during the meeting. Also present during the meeting were KCFAPI President Guillermo N. Hernandez and KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia. (FBG News)
Lay Catholics voice gratitude for 'inspired' Pope
PROMINENT lay Catholics reacted with surprise and sorrow to Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he will resign the papacy, but they praised his Christian life and service to the Catholic Church. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus underscored Catholics' Supreme Knight Carl Anderson thoughts and prayers are with Pope Benedict in his entrusted.” remaining days in office. On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict an“We wish him all the best nounced that he would resign in his retirement,” Anderson from his duties on Feb. 28, citing said. “In addition, we pray for “advanced age” and deterioratall those cardinals who will ing strength. The consistory of take part in the conclave, and cardinals he had convoked will for his successor, that God may serve as a papal conclave. inspire them as they carry out Anderson said the Pope Gratitude / C3 the mission with which they are
KCFAPI FBS Manager
MR. Michael P. Cabra or Migz as he is fondly called, graduated from Don Bosco Seminary College with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education major in English and Literature minor in Values Education and Library Science. Prior to joining the Association, he already has with him 1 year of work experience in the field of Human Resource, 8 years in the field of Training and 20 years of work experience in the Academe field. As a Fraternal Benefits Manager, he is in-charge of overseeing marketing sup-
KCFAPI Legal Manager
ATTY. Neil Jerome A. Rapatan or Xenon as he is fondly called, graduated from University of the Philippines – Tacloban with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences major in Psychology. He finished his Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of San Carlos in 2009. He was admitted to the Philippine Bar on April 29, 2010 after his first take of Bar Examination in 2009. He is married to Sandra Mae C. Rapatan and is blessed with a five-year old son. As an experienced lawyer, he has knowledge in different aspects of legal work such as corporate, litigation, pleading and civil service.
port services provided to the sales force which include FC recruitment and accreditation, FC sales training and development, FC incentives and promotions, and new product development.
As the new Legal Manager, he is responsible in providing support primarily legal and para-legal services to the Association, the Board of Trustees and the majority and whollyowned companies.
THE theme of The Cross for February 2013 is focused on the significance of the month and on Valentine, the Saint of Lovers, a martyr for our Faith in the third century in Rome. The long and short of it is that the second month of the year is the month of Love and, therefore, for lovers. That Love goes beyond its popular identification with what is romantic. It is the love that St. Valentine courageously fought and blessed for the man and the woman who wished to unite in married love despite the prohibition imposed by the Government in his time. Love is God's most special gift. Our Lord Jesus Christ says in his faith, hope and love discourse (1 Corinthians 13): “At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three. But the greatest of this is Love.” It is the most precious gift because as He begins this discourse He pronounces: “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.” God is Love and love in marriage is God-ordained for it establishes a covenant with the couples to be God's partners in the beauty of creation as He forms in the womb His child. In this regard, any anti-life policy, such as the RH Bill, violates this covenant. The Valentine’s Day then in 2013 poses to us greater challenges. For, first, the fight against the anti-life provisions of the RH law must not stop. Second, our protection and defense of marriage as an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family as mandated by Section 2 of Article XV of our Constitution must be unrelenting because the forces against it are getting uglier. We should never forget that under Section 1 of this Article, the Filipino family is the foundation of the nation and the State is mandated to strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. Break the marriage and the family will be broken; break the family and the nation will fall. Only love can maintain marriage and the family and, ultimately, the nation. Third, we are now in our journey in the Year of Faith and in the New Evangelization. Only love under the guidance of the Holy Spirit can sustain us without tiring or weakening in the journey. Only love can make us brothers and families in the Knights of Columbus in the three Jurisdictions in the Philippines authentic advocates and instruments of the Year of Faith and of the New Evangelization. Remember: “Some love lasts a lifetime. True love lasts forever.” Happy Valentine's Day of Two Zero One Three. VIVAT JESUS.
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 04
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.
Luzon holds 2 Charter Presentations in Commonwealth Ave. Q.C.
Guillermo N. Hernandez
RARELY does it happen that Ash Wednesday would fall on the eve of Valentine’s day. Although this may on the surface appear incongruent in the manner and mood of celebration, the 2 events are actually in solidarity in the Spirit of Love. Valentine’s is a fitting occasion to manifest the love of a couple for each other, and Ash Wednesday which marks the start of the season of Lent covers the Greatest Love Story of all --- our Lord Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for mankind. The latter in fact should be the very basis of a person’s love… always seeking what is good for the other without expecting anything in return, and ready to make the sacrifice. It is easier said than done though given the temporal things that surround us in our daily lives. That is why we need to have the Lord at the very center of our relationship with our respective spouses to be able to succeed in marriage. Some call it love triangle or a love offering where the relationship is and will always be “with the Lord”. Brother Knights, for this beautiful month of Love, let us all greet one another especially “ang mga kabiyak natin sa puso pati na ang mga anak at mahal sa buhay ng isang mainit at nag-uumapaw na Mahal Kita sa ngalan at pag-ibig ng Ating Panginoon”. Vivat Jesus!
Charter Presentations of Kristong Hari Council 15481 (left) and Mabuting Pastol Council 15554 (right).
THE Luzon Jurisdiction of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines conducted a simultaneous Charter Presentation in 2 areas in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City last January 13. Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap presented the Charter Certificate of Kristong Hari Council 15481 at the NGC (National Government Center) Commonwealth, Quezon City to its Charter Grand Knight Wilson B. Umbac in a simple ceremony
held before the start of the regular parish community Mass at the Kristong Hari Parish. The presentation was participated in by the Parish Priest and Council Chaplain Fr. James Netollama. On the same day, the Luzon Deputy also presented the Charter Certificate of the Mabuting Pastol Council 15554 in Commonwealth, Quezon City to Charter Grand Knight Henry G. Pacon in a simple
ceremony held at the Mabuting Pastol Parish in Barangay Commonwealth. The presentation was participated in by Parish Priest and Council Chaplain Fr. Pedrito M. Penaranda, CICM. The Luzon Jurisdiction acknowledged State Community Director Romulo B. Estrella and District Deputy Manuel R. Cabungcal of District N35 as organizers of Council 15481 and Council 15554, respectively. (LuzonNews)
KCMC 1000 holds Movie Festival 2013
Enjoy a movie and support a project.
THE Knights of Columbus Manila Council 1000 is organizing a movie festival to raise funds for church-related projects. Headed by Grand Knight Antonio T. Hernandez, the movie festival is slated on weekends of the whole month of February. According to Council 1000
Chancellor Jun Florendo, the project aims to raise funds for their church activities. “All movies are PG 13 and movie goers may get their tickets at the KCMC 1000 Office in Intramuros, Manila,” Florendo said. Shown last February 2 were “The Notebook” (free admission
3 pm -4:30 pm) and “The Rite” (5 pm-6:30 pm); February 9, “500 Days of Summer” (3 pm-4:30 pm) and “Serendipity” (5 pm-6:30 pm); February 16, “Love Actually” (3 pm-4:30 pm) and “Before the Sunset” (5 pm-6:30 pm). On the last day of the movie festival, February 23, movie go-
ers may watch “The Blind Side” at 3 pm-4:30 pm and “Juno” at 5 pm-6:30 pm. Ticket cost is only P 20.00/ per movie. A discounted price of P30.00 will be given for those who wish to avail of 2 movie screenings on the same date. (KC News)
Last January 26, Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan presented the Charter Certificate of Nuestra Senora de la Leche Council 15549 Bulihan, Silang, Cavite to its Charter Grand Knight Bibiano T. Serwelas in a ceremony held after the Fraternal Mass at the Nuestra Senora de la Leche Parish Church. The presentation was participated in by Parish Priest and Council Chaplain Fr. Ariel A. delos Reyes, State New Council Development Chairman Efren V. Mendoza and Regional Membership Chairman Nonilon Ayon. FDD Modesto P. Marayag developed the council and District Deputy Gilbert G. Amadure of I-39 led the installation of the officers. (LuzonNews)
NCR holds District Deputies’ Meeting
FIFTY-SEVEN District Deputies from the National Capital Region (Diocese of Imus, Malolos and San Pablo, Laguna) attended the District Deputies’ Meeting last January 24. Twelve State Officers were also present during the meeting. State Treasurer Joseph P. Teodoro started the program with a welcome remarks and opening prayer. State Program Director Bonifacio B. Martinez on the other hand discussed the Annual Walk for Life scheduled on March 16, 2013
Pope / C1
First Degree Exemplification
and received pledges of 3,000 attendees from 10 Dioceses. He also discussed the details of Renewal of Marriage Vows/Valentine’s party at that time. There were 291 pledges to attend the Luzon State Convention on April 27 at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel. “The District Deputies were also reminded to donate P500 per council for the Disaster Relief Operation,” said Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap. Meanwhile, State Membership Recruit-
ment Chairman Conrado Dator, Jr. made a report on membership status. He also reminded the District Deputies about the reports that are due for submission. State New Council Development Chairman Efren Mendoza made an update on new councils and talked about the status of council reactivation. State Spiritual Formation Chairman Luis Adriano Jr. reminded the DDs to use the Year of Faith CD given last Midyear Meeting. (LuzonNews)
The K of C Council 15139 held their 1st Degree Exemplification (CY-1213) last January 6 at the Co. 15139 Chamber, Maywood Village 2, KM 18 Parañaque City. Eleven members were exemplified by the council headed by Grand Knight Walter Barrios. (KCNews)
give other Cardinals a chance to become Pope. We rally the Mindanao Knights to pray fervently for Benedict XVI and the Cardinal Fathers who will elect a new Pope in the coming conclave,” said Mindanao Deputy Balbino Fauni. The Knights of Columbus orderwide has launched a prayer campaign during Papal transition on February 15. The prayer was written by the Knights of Columbus Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and it reads… "O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of Your Church,
we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI and the selfless care with which he has led us as Successor of Peter, and Your Vicar on earth. Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church on the rock of Peter's faith and have never left Your flock untended, look with love upon us now, and sustain Your Church in faith, hope, and charity. Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love
for us, a new Pope for Your Church who will please You by his holiness and lead us faithfully to You, who are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen." "Until a new pope is elected, we ask Catholics worldwide to pledge to say this prayer daily for Pope Benedict, for the church, and for our future pope, and to encourage their friends and families to do the same," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. (KC News)
Vol. 17 No. 04
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Encountering the Living Christ
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
LAST December, the Knights of Columbus was privileged to join the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in sponsoring a historic meeting at the Vatican. Held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops for America, the meeting brought together participants from throughout North and South America to address questions concerning the future of the Catholic Church in our hemisphere. Blessed Pope John Paul II had called for the 1997 synod to address “the problems of the new evangelization” under the theme “Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ: The Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America.” Two years later, the pope issued his apostolic exhortation, Ecclesia in America, in order to integrate the work of the synod more fully into his pastoral ministry and magisterial teaching. The document provided a blueprint for the new evangelization as the Church approached the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. In my address on the opening day of the meeting in December, I stated that to carry out the work of the new evangelization we must acknowledge that we confront a new situation in our hemisphere: Although great majorities of people still consider themselves Christian, many who profess a familiarity with Christ are at the same time ignorant of him. This often results in a mischaracterization of Christ and of the Church’s mission. In his address to the meeting Dec. 9, Pope Benedict XVI took up this very issue by stressing the continued importance of the synod’s theme—the encounter with the living Jesus Christ—to the variety of problems confronting us today. “All these important questions require careful study,” he said. “Yet in addition to their technical evaluation, the Catholic Church is convinced that the light for an adequate solution can only come from the encounter with the living Christ, which gives rise to attitudes and ways of acting based on love and truth. This is the decisive force which will transform the American continent.” In Christifideles Laici, the 1988 apostolic exhortation on the mission of the laity, Blessed John Paul II wrote that the laity has an “essential and irreplaceable role” (7) in the work of the new evangelization. As members of the Knights of Columbus—a Catholic fraternal organization whose first two principles are charity and unity—we must ask what this means for us. In Ecclesia in America, Blessed John Paul II recalled the words of his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, at the close of the Second Vatican Council: “On the face of every human being, especially when marked by tears and sufferings, we can and we must see the face of Christ” (12, cf. Mt 25:40). We should add that every human being, especially when marked by suffering, must be able to see the caring face of Christ in his followers. This Gospel mandate of charity is the inescapable prerequisite of the new evangelization. It is our challenge today as Knights of Columbus. In his recent document On the Service of Charity, Pope Benedict reminded us that charity is “a constitutive element of the Church’s mission and an indispensable expression of her very being.” All believers, he said, have a duty to devote themselves to charity. And as the pope has so often said, the method that speaks strongest of Christ is love. As Knights, we should be prepared to let charity be our measure of the new evangelization. In this way we can truly promote “a charity that evangelizes.”
Only an encounter with Jesus can inspire authentic Christian witness in a spirit of charity and unity
As Catholics we are well positioned, because of the leadership of our popes and our bishops, to offer concrete solutions to the problems of our hemisphere. No other institution has proposed a single vision that can transcend cultures and languages. This vision is not a political vision, but a vision of humanity encountering Christ. Achieving this unity, though,
can only be done by a hopeful, loving Christian witness. Such an authentic Catholic identity must be formed and strengthened by the sacraments and lived in total faithfulness to the Church and in commitment to Jesus Christ. If we are able to do all this in the work of the new evangelization, then as Knights of Columbus we may truly say, Vivat Jesus!
Spiritual Formation training held in Cabanatuan
Atty. Neil Jerome A. Rapatan
Law in Layman’s Term
“Marriage, the foundation of family life”
may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code. (Article 1) While marriage is a result of mutual understanding and agreement of the contracting parties, its existence and consequences is governed by law. This means that, by entering in a contract of marriage, the parties also agree to abide with the laws governing this special contract. This includes the obligations of the parties to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support. (Article 68, Family Code). These obligations are only natural consequence of agreeing to live together under one roof. In a larger sense, being natural obligations, these do not even need to be required by law, but is expected of us as human beings who are capable of entering into a meaningful relationship. Moreover, it has been repeatedly stressed that marriage is not just an ordinary agreement or contract, but an institution. It is the foundation of family; while the family is the foundation of the nation. In layman’s term, every couple who enters the contract of marriage is expected to contribute to nation building. This may only be achieved by being responsible husbands and wives to each other, and responsible parents to their children. Similar to the family as an institution, whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, marriage may only be entered into in accordance with, and within the bounds of the law. Thus, under the law, marriage may only be entered into by “a man and a woman”. As the law is written, marriage cannot be entered into by parties who are both men, or both women. With these sacred aspirations of family life and nation building enshrined in our Constitution, our lawmakers deemed it necessary that the state, or the government, does not only have interest in this important social institution, but an obligation to protect the same.
Brother Knights in Cabanatuan listen attentively to the speakers during the spiritual formation training held on January 26.
THE State Spiritual Formation Team held a Spiritual Formation training in Cabanatuan last January 26. The Formation Team was headed by Chairman Luis A. Adriano Jr. together with State Culture of Life Director Ted Sandoval, Regional Membership Chairman Aurelio Caparas and Past Grand Knight Ruben Cruz.
Around 45 aspiring KC spiritual formators from the Dioceses of Cabanatuan, San Jose, Prelature of Infanta and Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan participated in the spiritual formation training. The team was hosted by Regional Membership Chairman Manuel Naldoza and District Deputy Gil Dindo Berrino. (KC News)
PPCRV issues guidelines for responsible voting
MANILA— The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting has released guidelines to Catholic voters on how they should choose their candidates in the May 2013 automated elections. The Catholic Church-backed poll watchdog said the guidelines aim to help voters choose the right candidates who will lead the nation. The 10 Commandments for Responsible Voting is contained in the booklet entitled “Pinoy Big Voter”, a voter’s education manual made by the PPCRV. The manual also contains the Church’s social teachings, compilation of various pastoral statements of the Catholic hierarchy on elections, and information about the automated election system. 10 Commandments for Responsible Voting 1. Vote according to the dictates of your conscience. 2. Respect the decision of others in choosing their candidates. 3. Seek to know the moral integrity, capabilities, and other personal qualities of the candidates you will vote for. 4. Strive to understand the issues, platform, and programs of candidates and parties campaigning for your vote. 5. Do not sell your vote. 6. Do not vote for candidates using guns, goons, gold, and glitter. 7. Do not vote for candidates tainted with graft and corruption. 8. Do not vote for candidates simply because of “utang na loob”, popularity, good looks, or pakikisama. 9. Do not vote for candidates living an immoral life. 10. Always put the welfare of the country as top priority in choosing the candidate you will vote for. (WebRep)
IN every romantic relationship, it is inescapable that couples would dream to spend life together. As a realization of this dream, couples marry each other and begin to start a family life. While it is by mutual agreement that couples marry each other, it is more than an ordinary contract wherein parties can dictate or negotiate its terms and conditions. It is a special contract wherein the terms, conditions, and obligations are clearly defined by law. Our Constitution declares that marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State. (Article XV, Section 2).The Family Code further defines marriage as a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements
Council 9636 donates P50k for Luzon’s relief operation
FORMER District Deputy Rodolfo Salanga of Council 9636 of Philamlife Village, Las Pinas City together with their Council Officers donated P50,000 to the Luzon Jurisdiction for the Typhoon Relief Operations last January 10, 2013. Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap personally received the check brought by FDD Salanga. The Luzon Jurisdiction already sent last December 2012 a total amount of P100,000 cash donations to the Mindanao Jurisdiction for their typhoon “Pablo” relief operations. A list of other donors will be summarized in a separate report, according to the Luzon Jurisdiction. (KCNews)
NORTHERN and Western Samar held a joint Provincial Conference in Catarman, Samar last January 18. It was attended by 52 registered delegates, mostly District Deputies, Council Officers, and members. A brief GK and FS training were held as part of the program. On the following day, the Central and Northern Samar held the same event in Salcedo, Samar which was attended by 102 registered delegates mostly, District Deputies, Council Officers, and members. In both Provincial Conferences, Visayas Deputy Rodrigo N. Sorongon and State Secretary Anthony P. Nazario graced the affair. Gratitude / C1
KC News Briefs
THE Knights of Columbus Visayas Jurisdiction finalized the holding of the Visayas State Convention. It will be held in Bohol Tropics Resort, Tagbilaran, Bohol on May 18-19, 2013. The State Officers will be expecting some visitors from the Supreme Office, from the KCFAPI and other State Officers from Luzon and Mindanao. THE annual Walk for Life will be held on March 16. All Brother Knights and their families are encouraged to participate on the annual rally for life. THE Manila Council 1000’s “Renewal of Marriage Vows 2013” was held last February 17, at 8:00 am at the KCMC Gymnasium, Intramuros, Manila.
THE St. Joseph Co.11131 of the Knights of Columbus-Visayas Jurisdiction had a “Daygon” in Pototan. Proceeds were donated to the victims of Typhoon Pablo in Comptostela Valley in Mindanao. THE Knights of Columbus Council 10964 built a marker/monument for the Unborn Child in Mogpog, Marinduque led by Grand Knight Lino Los Baños. OUR Lady of Miraculous Medal Circle is a newly established youth counterpart of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Council 13538. Deputy Grand Knight Jun Lais encouraged the local youth to join the circle.
STATE Culture of Life Chairman Teodulo C. Sandoval represented the K of C Luzon Jurisdiction in the launching of Catholic Vote Philippines held at Makati Sports Club, Makati City. Various NGO’s/Catholic Lay Organizations have bonded together to pledge their support to “Catholic Vote” which aims to promote more active participation of Catholic people in politics which includes but is not limited to membership in election watchdogs groups such as NAMFREL and PPCRV. State Liason Officer Albino Sy and State Church Director Vicente Ortega and his wife Pearl also attended the said event. (KCNews)
K of C Luzon State Formators Alfredo Ocampo, Tim Acedo, and Jordan Villanueva conducted a prison evangelization program at Taguig City Jail on February 4 which was followed by a feeding program for the inmates. Photo above shows the Spiritual Formators with their respective Certificates of Appreciation given by the Taguig City Jail Administration. (KCNews)
“worked so hard in leading the Church” and has always been “such a good friend” to the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal charitable order with over 1.8 million members worldwide. John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America, said the Washington, D.C. university is “surprised and saddened.” He called the Pope “a faithful, charitable and inspired leader of the Church” and “a lover of Jesus Christ.” “He has been a public figure of considerable importance, reminding the world of the inviolable dignity of the human person, and the call of the Gospel to charity.” Garvey said the Pope helped deepen Catholics' understanding of Catholic education and the role of the Catholic educator. He said the university will particularly treasure his April 17, 2008 visit to the campus. “We will continue to reflect with gratitude on his papacy which has been a gift to The Catholic University of America, to the church, and to the world,” Garvey added. Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy advisor with the D.C.-based group The Catholic Association, reflected that the Pope is stepping down “out of love for the Church and
her needs.” “Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered as a profound theologian who encouraged a love for the person of Jesus Christ, and as a reformer who confronted scandal head on and has left the Church with the strongest child protection policies of any institution in the United States,” she said. Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, voiced gratitude for Pope Benedict’s leadership and his “profound commitment to Christ and the Church.” She said the resignation is “an act of great humility.” “Benedict XVI will be remembered as a profound theologian who strengthened Christianity worldwide especially in the West, and as a great reformer who appointed faithful and courageous shepherds who will continue his legacy.” Charles Coulombe, a Catholic historian and writer from Los Angeles, told CNA he was “very unhappy” about the resignation. “I think he’s been the best Pope in my lifetime. And I think that there’s a great loss to us all on levels,” he said Feb. 11. “On the other hand, looking at what he faces, I can understand why he did it.”
He noted the stresses of overseeing ordinary life of the Church, as in the “very strenuous” upcoming Holy Week celebrations. On the political front, there are looming clashes with the U.S., French and Irish governments over religious freedom, the redefinition of marriage and abortion. The Holy See also continues to seek peace amid turmoil in the Middle East. Coulombe said news of the resignation for him felt like “a kick in the head.” “But as the hours have gone by, and I let myself think about it, I have to believe he knows what he’s doing.” He said Pope Benedict had “a very ambitious program for the Church,” especially in working towards Church unity. The historian reflected on how the pontiff “faced a great deal of opposition within the ranks” on some initiatives, like the apostolic letter “Summorum Pontificum” that allowed wider celebration of the Latin-language Tridentine Mass. “He opened the door for a lot of really, really good things. And I suspect he’s hoping his successor will have the vigor and the strength to push them through,” Coulombe said. (CNA/EWTN News)
Alan Holdren / CNA
February 18 - March 3, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 04
KCFAPI Officials visit RTDD of Nueva Ecija, Aurora. Brother Knights from Prelature of Infanta together with their families pose with KCFAPI Chairman Hilario G. Davide, Jr., KCFAPI President Guillermo N. Hernandez, KCFAPI VP – FBG Gari M. San Sebastian, Chairman Emeritus Reynaldo B. Odulio, RTDD Chairman Gil Dindo Berino, and KCFAPI Area Manager Manuel Naldoza during the visit of KCFAPI Officials to the Round Table of District Deputies of Nueva Ecija. (KCFAPI News)
Brotherhood of former DDs holds convention in Malolos
THE Brotherhood of Former District Deputies in the Diocese of Malolos organized by State Diocesan Council Chairman Joven P. Dy held its first convention at the DJ Paradise Resort, Malolos City last January 5. Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan and Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro G. Yap were given recognitions in resolutions approved by Chairman Joven P. Dy, Vice Chairman Jaime H. Maniego, and Secretary George P. Linda. State Secretary Joven B. Joaquin and State Warden Pascual C. Carbero former District Deputies of the diocese also attended the event. State Program Director Bonifacio B. Martinez was also present in the convention. (LuzonNews)
Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan (extreme right) received a plaque of recognition.
Knights Run Against Cancer
THE Knights of Columbus Padre Crisostomo Council 6000 underscored its drive for life by co-sponsoring a fun run to raise funds for a person sick of cancer. Grand Knight Amado Cortez identified the intended beneficiary as Honorata Mateo Sumaway, a resident of Cabanatuan City. According to Deputy Grand Knight Larry Santos, the Knights of Columbus Council 6000, as a service organization under the jurisdiction of St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in Cabanatuan City, is advocating life, as well as life's integrity and quality. “…besides active campaign on prevention of illnesses, Council 6000 stands by the Church on its fight against attacks on life,” Santos said. Called Run Against Cancer, the activity was held in Valle Cruz, Cabanatuan City last January 27, 2013. Participants included soldiers from the Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division, City Government of Cabanatuan, Department of Education as well as non-government organizations such as Levites, Clear Water Station and Soul Runner. Among brother knights who joined the cause were Past Grand Knight Jonjon Pagdanganan, Chancellor Herminio Ambrocio, Youth Director Larnie James Santos and Michael Barney Mauricio, Min Combe Mauricio and Squires Kenneth Sumaway and Ian Sumaway. (LuzonNews)
KCFAPI President Guillermo N. Hernandez, flanked by Hotel Centro General Manager, Ms. Kharla Mae Luneta (seated left) and KCFAPI Executive Vice President, Ma. Theresa G. Curia (seated right) during the contract signing for the official venue of the 36th Fr. George J. Willmann SJ Annual Family Service Awards, the Hotel Centro in Palawan. Also in photo standing from left is VP- Information & BC Holders’ Services, Ronulfo Antero G. Infante, Hotel Centro Sales Manager, Tess M. Baylosis and VP – Fraternal Benefits Group, Gari M. San Sebastian.
KC Philippines Foundation, Inc conducts scholarship qualifying exam
Visayas Jurisdiction sends aid to 3 provinces
WITH the help of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), the K of C Visayas Jurisdiction distributed relief goods to the victims of Typhoon Quinta in 3 provinces in Visayas last January 5-6, 2013. “Led by State Deputy Rodrigo N. Sorongon, we distributed relief goods to brother knights, their family members and individuals who were affected by the flash floods brought about by Typhoon Quinta that hit the Panay Island on the last week of December 2012,” said State Secretary Anthony Nazario. He added that the KCFAPI donated P25,000 while the Visayas Jurisdiction was able to solicit P70,000 from various councils. “The Jurisdiction was able to distribute 620 packs of relief goods to the three provinces, namely: Iloilo, Aklan and Roxas,” Nazario added. Visayas Fraternal Benefits Manager Rudolph Gerard M. Elizaga said that “a portion of the amount collected was used to buy sacks of rice, noodles and canned goods. The goods were then repacked with the help of Ave Maria Council 5019 headed by Grand Knight Gil P. Sorongon. A portion of the amount was sent to the provinces of Capiz and Aklan with instruction from Visayas Deputy that it will be used to purchase goods to be distributed to the victims of typhoon Quinta in
Examinees with KCFAPI HRCC Assistant Gladys Lovette C. Luis.
Brother Knights join fun run to benefit a cancer victim
THE Knights of Columbus Philippines Foundation, Inc. recently administered the scholarship qualifying examination to fourth year high school students from all over the Philippines. The examination was conducted simultaneously at KCFAPI Main Office in Intramuros, Manila and Service Offices in Cabanatuan, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan
de Oro, Davao, and Zamboanga City. The scholarship is open to all graduating high school students with 85% and above general weighted average and whose father is a member of the Knights of Columbus in good standing. Examination results will be released in March. (KCNews)
Visayas Deputy Rodrigo Sorongon, Director for Philippine Affairs Eduardo G. Laczi, State Officers and some members of St. Joseph Co.11131 in Pototan, Iloilo during their relief operation for Typhoon Quinta victims.
their respective provinces,” Mr. Elizaga said. The Knights visited the seven affected towns namely Bungco, Barotac Nuevo, Polut-an, Pototan, Pototan proper, San Enrique, Passi City, and Calinog. Some of the goods were given through the Council officers in the affected areas. Likewise, State Treasurer Jun Jo shared
that after distributing relief goods in some areas in Central, Ilo-ilo, their group proceeded to San Enrique, Passi City, Calinog and finally in Lambunao where 100 bags of relief goods were distributed to the flood victims with the help of Program Director Lando Natividad together with the other members of St. Joseph Co. 11131 in Pototan, Ilo-ilo. (VizNews)
Mace Insurance holds sales rally and product orientation
MORE than 70 soliciting associates participated in the sales rally and product orientation conducted by the Mace Insurance Agency, Inc., the wholly-owned company of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI) last February 5 held at the KCFAPI main office in Intramuros, Manila. Mace President Antonio T. Yulo delivered the welcome remarks. He underlined the additional increase in commission on fire and compulsory third party liability insurance. Basil Occeño, Manager of Mace said the agency represents the commercial non-life insurance companies such as the Philippine British Assurance Company that sponsored the recently held sales rally and Company to the top 3 producers of super care products namely Edelberto Fernandez, Juan Castillo, Jr., and Dionisio Marasigan. The resource speakers from the Philippine British Assurance were Fil Real, Assistant Vice President for claim, Erick Daquiaog, Manager for Customer development; Allan Sta. Ana, Head, Casualty Underwriter. Also present was the President of the Philippine British Assurance Company, Rosario W. Cuyegkeng. Mace Insurance Agency Inc. provides fraternal protection through non-life insurance. Its products and services to members of Knights of Columbus and their immediate families comprise 90% of their policy holders. (KCFAPI News)
Bayanihan sa Zamboanga. Council 15409 led by the local Grand Knights conducted a “Tulong 2x, Bayanihan” to build the house of God at Quasai, San Pedro, Mempang in Zamboanga City. Rev. Father Rene Tubio, Parish Priest, SK Bentoy and Grand Knights of said council were also present during the activity. (MindaNews)
President of Mace Insurance Antonio T. Yulo (extreme right) and Philippine British Assurance Manager for Customer Development Erick Daquiaog (extreme left) together with the top three producers of super care products.
product orientation. He added that they are offering incentives to soliciting associates who have displayed creditable accomplishment in
soliciting business, promoting and marketing its products. Meanwhile, certificates of appreciation were given by the Philippine British Assurance
PDEA, KC join force towards drug free Jurisdictions. PDEA Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr. together with the 3 State Deputies - Arsenio Isidro G. Yap, Balbino C. Fauni, and Rodrigo N. Sorongon during the recently MOA signing towards a drug free nation held at the PDEA Conference Room, NIA Northside Road, National Government Center, Quezon City. (KC News)
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