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Corruption is worse than sin because heart hardens to God, pope says

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CBCP Pastoral Exhortation on the Celebration of the National Consecration of Our People

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The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Ugnayan

Priests, nuns criticize Aquino gov’t
AN influential alliance of religious groups criticized President Benigno Aquino III for his supposed failure to punish the corrupt and resolve cases of human rights abuses. In a statement, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) threw a barrage of criticisms and expressed dissatisfaction against the three-year old Aquino administration. Titled “Where does Daang Matuwid lead our people?” the statement touched on several aspects: ecology, human rights, agrarian reform and something that is close to their
Criticize / A7

Bishop backs manual count
By Roy Lagarde

April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 09

Php 20.00

ALARMED over the lack of security features of the automated elections, a Catholic bishop suggested a manual count of all votes cast for senator, congressman, governor and other local positions.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that conducting a manual count is the only way that the result of the May 13 polls can be validated “beyond the shadow of any doubt.” “To restore the credibility of our electoral procedure with all the above limitations and shortcomings, we call for a parallel manual count to be done in all precincts,” Pabillo said. Joined by around a dozen poll watchdog groups, the bishop challenged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to institute manual count “if it has nothing to hide”. “This manual count will check whether what have been transmitted is the same result as those found in the precincts,” Pabillo said. Doing so, according to him, will prove that the automated system using the Precinct Count Optical Machines (PCOS) and its present software are reliable. “Let not the Comelec say that there is no time for this, or that logistics have not been prepared.
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Church sets date, theme for Int’l Eucharistic Congress
THE Archdiocese of Cebu has set the date for an international assembly of Catholic pilgrims, lay people, and Church leaders in Cebu City. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the International Eucharistic Congress (IEU) will be held on May 23 to 29, 2016. Thousands of delegates from different countries are expected to attend the occasion with the theme “Christ in You: Our Hope of Glory”. Palma said that meetings of the country’s theologians have been on going to prepare the topics that will be dis cussed in the historical event. The archbishop has just arrived in the Philippines after attending the meeting of the committee of the IEU in Rome. In the meeting, Palma also relayed to the committee their invitation for Pope Francis to come to Cebu City for the Congress. If the papal visit pushes through, Francis will be the third pope to visit the Philippines after Pope Paul VI in
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Demonstrators in red shirts wave streamers and shout slogans during a rally against the Reproductive Health (RH) law in Bacolod City, April 27, 2013. Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra (inset) joined the thousands of protesters and pledged the diocese’s support for senatorial candidates who opposed the controversial contraceptive law in Congress and the rejection of its supporters in the May 13 elections.

Conference on vocation focuses on key issues
Filipino vocation The first talk, “A Historical Per spective – Vocation Promotion to the Diocesan Priesthood in the Philippines and the CBCP Commission on Vocations” was given by Fr. Jose Vera Cruz Quilonguilong, SJ, rector of the Loyola House of Studies. An in-depth look at vocations in the Philippines was given by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara during the second talk on “An Overview – The State of Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood Today – Growing or Dying? – The Factors at Work.” Fr. Patricio Donnie Aborde, Jr. discussed the present structures and processes of vocation promotion in the diocesan setting during the third talk. An online denizen himself, Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC, production and training specialist of the Communication Foundation for Asia, gave a talk on “New Ways and Techniques of Vocation Promotions in the Digital World.” Image of Filipino clergy Even the homilies of the Holy Masses during the event featured specific conVocation / A7
Photo courtesy of Nirva’ana Dela Cruz

Tagle to laity: Be active evangelizers
WITH only a few weeks left before the country’s midterm elections, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminded the faithful to be active and honest evangelizers of the Gospel and make governance and the exercise of democracy in the country bear the message of Christ. In his talk at the Katolikong Pinoy recollection held at the San Carlos Seminary Layforce chapel last April 20, he noted the importance of living by the teachings of the Church in achieving a well-governed society. “Sana ngayong eleksyon hanggang pagkatapos ng eleksyon, ang governance at exercise of democracy sa ating bansa ay maging saksi na si Hesus—ang siyang buhay at daan sa Ama—ay makita at maranasan sa ating buhay,” Tagle added. He said that progress can only be achieved in a society if change would start from individuals up to the larger units of the social order. “Para ang pananampalataya ay ating maipahayag, simulan natin ito sa sarili, sa pamilya, sa trabaho, at sa ating mga pang araw-araw na pinagkakaabalahan,” he said. Spiritual richness over earthly success Noting the behavior of politicians who get enslaved by earthly success, Tagle emphasized that there is a great difference be tween worldly power acquired from mun dane means and spiriManila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle reminds faithful of tual nourishment that their role to be witnesses of the Gospel message where comes from the Holy ever they are. Spirit. He said that people should not be affected by the blinding of worldly power. Kapag dumating ang glimmer of earthly success as what re- kapangyarihan ng Espiritu Santo, ang ally matters in the end is the power that papel mo ay isang saksi,” Tagle said. springs from the Divine. “Hindi maka-mundong kapang - Christ’s missionaries yarihan [ang importante] kung hindi The prelate also reminded the faithful kapangyarihan mula sa langit. At kapag to be active missionaries of the Church dumating na iyon, hindi ka magiging in light of the nearing celebration of JeActive / A6 pinakamalapit sa Panginoon in terms

Arvin Navarro / I Oppose the RH bill Facebook page

Kalibo Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc discusses perceptions about the modern Filipino priest and how these influence vocations.

GATHERING vocation directors from dioceses all over the Philippines, the Diocesan Vocation Directors’ Conference trained the spotlight on key issues that shape the modern prospects for vocations in the diocesan setting. The conference, attended by some 40 diocesan vocation directors, featured discussions and topics on the modern perception of the Filipino clergy, the state of vocations to the diocesan priesthood, as well as how the calling to the priestly life can be promoted in the digital age.

Sans source code, poll results doubtful – bishop
THE Commission on Elections should be held liable for failure to secure the source code of the voting machines to be used in the May 13 polls, a Catholic bishop said. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that election law mandates that a source code must be available for review by any interested parties. “It will affect the credibility of the elections. Should we not follow the law? Comelec should be held liable because last election they also failed to follow the law,” Pabillo said. “We warned them about this before but they did not listen,” added the head of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action. Election watchdog Kontra Daya also hit the statement of Comelec chairman review for lack of time. It said that such review is a requirement by the automation law and a minimum safeguard to ensure the credibility of election results. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes has said they are already giving up on their efforts to secure the source code claiming it is already rendered useless since there is no more time to review it. “The source code review is a requirement under the (poll automation) law. It’s not optional nor subject to the sole discretion of the Comelec chair,” said Fr. Joe Dizon, Kontra Daya spokesperson. The Dominion has been refusing to give its permission for SLI Global Solutions, the Comelec’s third party reviewer, to release the source code
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Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Mining industry needs sustainable framework, lawyer says
THE country’s mineral wealth has not been used significantly to benefit the Filipino people, and in fact, “mining has the highest poverty incidence of any sector in the country,” a lawyer said. Atty. Christian Monsod, co-convenor of the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines said he and the mining industry are in agreement that investments need a framework that is fair, transparent and stable. “Clearly, the present framework does not work—after more than 50 years of mining, there is no significant industrialization based on our mineral wealth and there is an imbalance in the distribution of the costs and benefits, to the great disadvantage of the Filipino people,” Monsod added. In his arguments before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality
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Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. talks with Bishop Broderick Pabillo after discussing the automated election system with the members of the CBCP during January 28, 2013 plenary assembly at the Pius XII Center, Manila.

Sixto Brillantes that he is no longer interested in pursuing the source code

Jennifer Orillaza

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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., April 25, 2013—The Holy See’s apostolic nuncio to the United Nations has called for more action to prevent “heinous acts” of sexual violence in war and other forms of conflict. “This violent domination of a human being constitutes an egregious form of degradation of their dignity, but also of the aggressor, who, in so doing, disfigures himself as a human person,” Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt said in New York City April 17. “Such heinous crimes are yet an other consequence of the destructive power of war and thus all states and the international community must do their utmost to stop these barbarous acts that have been properly labeled as an outrage to the conscience of mankind.” The archbishop spoke during the U.N. Security Council’s open debate on women, peace and security. He said it is “frustrating and saddening” to read the U.N. SecretaryGeneral’s report on sexual violence in conflict. The archbishop denounced

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rape, forced sterilization, sex-related abduction and sexual slavery as “egregious acts of violence against women,” acknowledging that men and boys are also sometimes victims. While acknowledging there are many underlying reasons for sexual violence, Archbishop Chullikatt called it “disappointing” that the report did not highlight attacks on victims based on their religious beliefs, saying such attacks are persistent in “nearly every region of the world.” Resolving crises through peaceful means would help prevent sexual violence in times of conflict, he suggested, adding that greater discipline among armed forces and awareness campaigns respectful of women would also help in prevention efforts. The archbishop urged the adoption and implementation of plans and legislation to protect sexual violence victims and to hold perpetrators accountable. Stressing that it is “essential” for victims to “be afforded every assistance,” he lamented that victims of sexual assault are sometimes ostracized or forced to live with their aggressors as wives, a practice he called “particularly disturbing.” Archbishop Chullikatt also criticized the U.N.’s endorsement of abortion for pregnant rape victims, promoted in a recent report as “access to safe pregnancy termination services.” “Here, concealed by a veil of words, lies the stark reality of the suppression of human life, the death of the innocent unborn child—which only visits further violence on a woman already in difficulty,” he said. Instead, he explained, women who are pregnant as a result of rape should be offered “care, support, education and assistance” to meet their material, social and spiritual needs before and after the pregnancy, including adoption assistance. The archbishop affirmed that women have an important role to play in preventing violence. He commended the international community’s efforts to increase women’s roles in making decisions about

CBCP Monitor
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 08

Archbishop denounces sexual violence in war

Security Council members vote during a session on April 25, 2013.

conflict prevention and resolution. The Holy See’s delegation to the U.N. believes there is “ample room” for greater involvement of women in preventing war and in post-war reconcili-

ation and reconstruction, Archbishop Chullikatt said. “Women can and should play greater roles as allies of peace,” he emphasized. (CNA/EWTN News)

Mexican bishops urge Supreme Court to defend life
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, April 25, 2013—The bishops of Mexico have called on the Supreme Court to resist pressure from abortion supporters seeking to overturn 18 state laws protecting the right to life from the moment of conception. A statement from the Mexican bishops’ conference referred to three lawsuits aimed at fighting the state laws. The full court is expected to rule on the lawsuits in the coming days. The bishops reminded the Mexican justices that their principal mission is to defend the “most basic of all rights, the right to life,” upon which “the present and future of our nation depends.” “The fundamental right to life does not depend on the moral character of the person who defends it, nor is it based exclusively on religious motives, which in any case also have a place in an authentic secular state that does not discriminate against any citizen because of their religious beliefs,” the bishops said. They also observed that after a reform of country’s laws in 2002, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Mexico’s constitution “protects human life and similarly protects the product of conception, in so much as it is a manifestation of human life, regardless of its biological stage of development.” For this reason, the bishops continued, “If progress means moving forward positively, then we Mexicans must continue ahead in the recognition, promotion and defense of the rights of all persons, aware that a society can only be democratic, live in peace and have a future if it respects the fundamental right to life from the moment of conception.” “For all these reasons, the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico hopes that, for the good of all Mexican citizens, the Supreme Court, in accord with what it has already ruled in this area, will confirm the power of states to freely legislate within the bounds of their sovereignty, as befits a Federal Republic,” the bishops said. (CNA/EWTN News)

South Korean bishops: New Martyrs and the fight against pedophilia, priorities for 2013
SEOUL, April 26, 2013—New Martyrs, the fight against pedophilia and reconciliation with North: these were the main issues under discussion at the recent General Assembly of the Korean Bishops’ Con ference. Among the priorities established for the coming year is greater attention to the situation in North Korea, with the decision to submit to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints a cause of beatification for the bishop of Pyongyang and his companions, the other is the implementation of the guidelines against pedophilia presented by the Doctrine of the Faith to the Bishops of the whole world. In the final document, the bishops drew up a “road map” for the Church’s activities for the current year. “After discussing it—the text reads—the bishops decided to ask the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to open a cause for the beatification for Bishop Francis Borgia Hong Yong-ho and his 80 companions.” He was the bishop of Pyongyang, indeed he is still listed as the titular bishop of the diocese in the Papal Yearbook although referred to as “disappeared.” It is the second request for a beatification cause to be sent to Rome for Catholics in the North after that of the Abbot Boniface Sauer and his 36 companions. The bishops also chose to start a cause for the beatification of “John the Baptist Byeok Yi and his 132 companions” following their martyrdom in 800 for their witness to the Gospel. However, ample space was given during the discussion to reconciliation between the two Koreas. The bishops have in fact reviewed and approved the official plan for the “Month of Prayer for the reconciliation and unity of the Korean people,” organized by the Episcopal Commission for Korean Reconciliation presided over by Msgr. Peter Lee Ki-heon, which aims to “change the rigid perception of the people of North Korea.” The attempt to organize a Joint Congress (North-South) of the Religions for Peace was also approved. Finally, the Bishops’ Conference has approved the decision to prepare the guidelines inside the country against clerical child sex abuse. It is a response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith request that — at the behest of Pope Benedict XVI — was sent to the bishops around the world to drew up policies that combat abuses on minors while calling for it to be implemented on a “national level” and put it into practice. The General Secretariat of the CBCK was commissioned to prepare the text to be sent to Rome for final approval. (AsiaNews)

Law must be based in truth, archbishop tells judges
MIAMI, Fla., April 26, 2013—Discussing the push for same-sex “marriage,” Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami told judges and lawyers at the city’s 2013 Red Mass that freedom and law must be based on reality and objective truth. “When a democracy bases itself on moral relativism and when it considers every ethical principle or value to be negotiable … it is already, and in spite of its formal rules, on its way to totalitarianism,” Archbishop Wenski preached during his homily on April 24. “The might of right quickly becomes might makes right.” The Red Mass is traditionally an annual Mass of the Holy Spirit for the sake of legal professionals. The Mass preceded a reception of the Miami Catholic Lawyers Guild, in which Judge Beatrice Butchko received the “Lex Christi, Lex Amoris,” or “Law of Christ, Law of Love” award. Archbishop Wenski opened his homily by quoting Abraham Lincoln, who noted that even “if you call a tail a leg,” a cow still has only four legs, “because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.” The archbishop noted that same-sex “marriage” has been pushed as “a cause for equality,” and that withholding benefits from homosexual couples given to married heterosexual couples is “alleged to be discriminatory.” “Of course, as fair-minded citizens we do hold that no one should be denied a job or a house; no one should be subjected to harassment or bullying because of one’s apparent sexual orientation. We should oppose any and all unjust discrimination,” he clarified. However, to “recognize and favor” the marriage of straight couples “as a natural fact rooted in procreation and sexual difference the proponents of so-called same-sex ‘marriage’ would now redefine marriage for all as existing solely for the gratification of two (and why just two?) consenting adults,” he pointed out. The archbishop continued, showing that American jurisprudence has gone from an acknowledgement of self-evident truths and unalienable rights based on the Creator to a belief in a supposed “right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” That line was part of the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, co-authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, on the “right to abortion.” Archbishop Wenski called this an “endorsement of moral relativism,” which determines truth “by one’s own will” rather than “the nature of things.” Same sex marriage, he said, is the “most current poster child” for this viewpoint. On the other hand, the view held by Christianity, and the Founding Fathers, is one that believes “men and women are not self-creators but creatures. Truth is not constructed, but received, and it must reflect the reality of things.” Without objective truth based on natural law, society will reach a “dead end,” the archbishop said. “And our pluralistic society has reached this dead end when it seems to be based precisely on a common agreement to set aside truth claims about the good and to adopt instead relativism governed by majority rule as the foundation of democracy.” Such a society loses the true understanding of justice, and is ruled only by the untempered will of the majority, he explained. (CNA/EWTN News)
ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO / Florida Catholic

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches the homily at the annual Red Mass for the Miami Catholic Lawyers Guild.

is in no way unjust to homosexual couples any more than it is unjust to heterosexual couples who cohabitate without the legal benefits and protections of a civil marriage.” The state justly favors stable heterosexual relationships because they serve the common good, he said, just as only businesses which create more jobs in an area receive tax breaks, and military veterans receive benefits that others do not. Government recognition of marriages exists to “encourage and support … the optimal conditions for the raising of future generations of its citizens,” he explained. Archbishop Wenski said the legalization of “gay marriage” will “fundamentally change this,” opening a Pandora’s Box of “unforeseen, and to be sure, unintended consequences.” He noted that the adoption of no-fault divorce 40 years ago has similarly had unintended but devastating consequences on society. “Rather than see the institution of marriage as expressive of the complementarity of sexual difference between a man and a woman, ordered for the raising of children,

Vatican Briefing
Gloria Estefan says Christ's teachings are key to peace

Beatification cause for bishop of Pyongyang, martyr of a decimated Church
SEOUL, April 26, 2013—The bishops of South Korea have asked the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to open the beatification process for the bishop of Pyongyang Msgr. Francis Borgia Hong Yong-ho and his 80 companions, martyrs of the persecution carried out by the Stalinist regime of Kim Il-sung immediately after the division of the Korean peninsula in 1948. This is an important step towards the recognition of the suffering of the Catholic community in the north, decimated by the ideological hatred of the Kim regime. Ordained May 25, 1933, he was appointed vicar apostolic of Pyongyang and titular bishop of Auzia March 24, 1944 by Pope Pius XII. The following June 29, he was consecrated by Archbishop Bonifatius Sauer, co-consecrating Bishop Hayasaka Irenæus, Archbishop Paul Marie Kinama-ro. On March 10, 1962 Pope John XXIII decided to elevate the vicariate of Pyongyang to diocese, also in protest against the policies of the North Korean regime, and appointed as its first bishop, Msgr. Hong, who has becomes a symbol of persecution against Catholics in North Korea and in general in the communist regimes. Although, if he were alive he would be well over one hundred, in the Vatican they say it “cannot be excluded that he may still be a prisoner in some re-education camp”. The Pontifical Yearbook still lists Msgr. Francis Hong Yong-ho as bishop of Pyongyang. Although he disappeared on March 10, 1962, he has never been officially declared dead. At present, the Catholic Church in North Korea is in appalling conditions. Since the end of the civil war in 1953, the three local ecclesiastical jurisdictions and the whole Catholic community have been brutally wiped out by the Stalinist regime. Not a single local priest has been left alive and all foreign clergymen have been expelled. In the early years of persecution by Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s first dictator, an estimated 300,000 Catholics have vanished. Despite this, the Pope has kept alive the clergy assigning sedi vacanti et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis to some South Korean ordinaries. At present, in addition to Cardinal Cheong, who administers the diocese of Pyongyang, there are Msgr. John Chan Yik, bishop of Chuncheon and administrator of Hamhung, and Fr. Simon Peter Ri Hyeong-u, abbot of the Benedictine Monastery of Waegwan and administrator of Tokwon. The result is that today there are no Church institutions nor resident priests in North Korea. Still there are some Christians. However, following the inauguration of the first Orthodox church last August in the North Korean capital, the remaining Catholics are the only com munity without a minister to celebrate their faith. According to credible sources, actual Catholics number 800, far fewer than the 3,000 recently acknowledged by the government. The so-called North Korean Catholic Association, an organization created and run by the regime, claims to represent local Catholics. The Holy See has always discouraged visits by its leaders to Rome since there are still serious doubts about their legal and canonical status. There are strong suggestions that they are Communist Party officials, not Catholics. In North Korea only the personality cult of leader Kim Jong-Il and his late father Kim Il-Sung is allowed. The regime has always tried to prevent any religious activity, especially by Buddhists and Christians. It has forced believers to register with organizations controlled by the party. The authorities in Pyong yang have claimed that the constitution guarantees reli gious freedom. According to official figures, there are an estimated 10,000 Buddhists, 10,000 Protestants and 3,000 Catholics registered with officially sanctioned religious organizations. In Pyongyang itself, there are three churches: two Protestant and one Catholic. According to 2004 Report on Religious Freedom by Aid To The Church In Need, religious worship in such churches is less than traditional. The ‘Dear Leader’ is worshipped like a semi-god. In the capital’s one Catholic church, religious practice involves a once-a-week collective prayer but with no priest. In reality, these places of worship are nothing but show pieces for the odd tourist who manages to visit the country. The Christian community is subjected to harsh repression by the authorities. A Christian is doubly unpopular: accused of disloyalty to the regime and suspected of ties with the West. The majority of the faithful have been forced to express their faith in secret. In a communist country, being “discovered” while attending a mass in an unauthorized location may result in imprisonment and, at worst, torture and even capital punishment. Even the mere fact of possessing a Bible is a crime that can carry the death penalty. On 16 June 2009, a 33 year old Christian, Ri Hyon-ok, was sentenced to death and executed “for putting Bibles into circulation.” (AsiaNews)

Visiting the Vatican to participate in the recent TEDx conference on religious freedom, Cuban singer Gloria Estefan said that the teachings of Jesus Christ are central to ensuring peace in the world. In an interview with CNA, Estefan said she believes it is important that “the basic teachings of Jesus Christ” be passed on to young people. “It’s about treating other human beings like you want to be treated, and if we did that, there would be no conflicts or difficulties in life,” she said. (CNA)
Former NBA player visits Swiss Guard basketball team

The former Los Angeles Lakers player Vlade Divac was thrilled to meet with the Swiss Guard to discuss sports and learn about their work at the Vatican. “I was very excited to be here, and they have a basketball team here with very tall people,” the 7-foot, 1-inch Divac joked in the Swiss Guard's barracks. “I also told them that if they need a coach, I can help them out,” he told CNA April 18. It was the first time the world-famous player met with members of the Pope's protective force. He came with his wife, Ana, and a small group of participants from the TEDx Conference on Religious Freedom, which is what brought him to town. (CNA)
Pope urges Christians to remember final judgment

Christians should not be frightened of the final judgment but should let it affect how they live, Pope Francis told the 100,000 pilgrims who filled St. Peter’s Square. "Human history begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with the final judgment of Christ. We often forget these two poles of history, and above all faith in the return of Christ and the final judgment is sometimes not so clear and strong in the hearts of Christians,” Pope Francis said April 24. The crowd that turned out for the Wednesday audience was one of the largest yet, with the attendance reportedly surpassing expectations by about 25,000 people. (CNA)
Pope's plans for encyclical, travel disclosed

Pope Francis could issue his first encyclical this year and so far is only planning one international trip in 2013, according to Vatican press office director Father Federico Lombardi. Fr. Lombardi said that he "would not exclude" the possibility of Pope Francis issuing his first encyclical "within this year," Vatican Radio reported April 25. The Vatican spokesman explained that Benedict XVI had already laid the groundwork for an encyclical on the virtue of faith in late 2012 and that Pope Francis could easily revise it and add his own insights to the text. The encyclical was planned for release in early 2013 but the resignation of Benedict XVI caused the timeline to be adjusted. (CNA)

UN Photo / JC McIlwaine

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 09
April 29 - May 12, 2013

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giveness, he said. “From there, the power of God can come in.” People who are corrupt, on the other hand, have become blind to the transcendent, replacing God with their own powers and abilities, he said. “A sinner expects forgiveness. The corrupt, on the contrary, don’t because they don’t feel they have sinned. They have prevailed,” he said. One who is corrupt is “so holed up in the satisfaction of his own self-sufficiency” that his bloated self-esteem refuses to face the reality of his fraudulent and opportunistic behavior, he said. “He has the face of someone trying to say, ‘It wasn’t me!’ or as my grandmother would say, ‘The face of a darling little angel,’” he said. The ability of the corrupt to disguise their true self should qualify them for an honorary degree in “social cosmetology,” he said. They hide their thirst for power by making their ambitions seem frivolous and socially acceptable. With “shameless priggishness,” they adhere to “severe rules of a Victorian tint,” he wrote. “It’s a cult of good manners that cover up bad habits,” he said. get caught up in and accustomed to without realizing it. Priests and religious are not immune to corruption, he said; in fact, “Corruptio optimi, pessima” (“The corruption of the best is the worst of all.”) The path to corruption for them may begin with a painful situation, which “always demoralizes.” “Experiencing defeat leads the human heart to get used to it,” he said. People get used to the status quo and feel they shouldn’t be surprised or continue to suffer in the face of further defeat. “The heart doesn’t want any problems,” and religious men and women might become afraid that God is going to “send us off on a voyage that we can’t control.” The subtle process of cor ruption in a religious man or woman produces a spirituality that becomes either mediocre or lukewarm. A corrupted consecrated life may be used as a vehicle to find satisfaction in “the products offered by the supermarket of religious consumerism,” such as satisfaction in professional skills, in the outcome of their projects or in the esteem associated with

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their position. Others may try to fill the emptiness in their lives with “an intense social life: They love going out, vacationing with ‘friends,’ huge meals and celebrations,” and make sure they get invited to every occasion. Women and men who have become corrupt in their religious life are afflicted with “spiritual worldliness,” he said, which is “like paganism in ecclesiastical clothing.” In confession, they ask forgiveness for other sins and never “show the Lord the state of their soul’s discouragement. It’s a slow, but definitive sclerosis of the heart.” However, “God never tires of calling us: ‘Be not afraid,’” the future pope said, “Do not fear hope and the hope that does not disappoint.” He said the booklet was meant to help people understand the “the danger of personal and social collapse that nests inside corruption,” which doesn’t happen overnight, but is a long slippery slide that takes a long time to take root. He called for “our constant vigilance because a condition of daily complicity with sin can lead us to corruption.” (CNS)

Corruption is worse than sin because heart hardens to God, pope says
VATICAN City, April 26, 2013— Corruption is worse than any sin because it hardens the heart against feeling shame or guilt and hearing God’s call for conversion, Pope Francis said. “Situations of sin and the state of corruption are two distinct realities, even if they are intimately linked to one another,” he said when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The future pope’s comments come from a small booklet that was originally published in 2005. Titled “Corruption and Sin: Reflections on the Theme of Corruption,” the booklet was based on an article he wrote in 1991 in the wake of a scandal in which local authorities in Argentina tried to whitewash the death of a teenage girl because the murderers’ fathers were linked to local politicians and the governor. In the booklet’s introduction, the future pope said he wanted to republish the article because the problem of corruption had become so widespread a decade later that people began to almost expect it as a normal part of life. While many sins can lead to corruption, sinners recognize their own weakness and are aware of the possibility of for-

Church must evangelize humbly, Pope Francis reflects
VATICAN City, April 25, 2013—Christians are called to do the great work of evangelizing to the ends of the world in a spirit of humility rather than an attitude of conquering, Pope Francis said. “Today we ask the Lord to become missionaries in the Church, apostles in the Church but in this spirit: a great magnanimity and also a great humility,” he said in his April 25 homily at Mass for members of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops at Casa Santa Marta. Also present at the Mass were Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and police from the Vatican Gendarmerie, Vatican Radio reported. To travel the world preaching the gospel is “the mission of the Church,” Pope Francis said. “But she does not go forth alone: she goes forth with Jesus...the Lord works with all those who preach the Gospel.

The future pope referred to many biblical passages to offer concrete examples. Most notably, the corrupt, like the scribes and the Pharisees who criticized Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, launch “a reign of terror” to discredit, attack or eliminate anyone who tries to criticize, question or contradict them. “They’re afraid of the light because their souls have taken on the attributes of an earthworm: in the shadows and underground.” Corruption, however, can

never remain hidden forever; evidence of it eventually oozes or bursts forth like all things that are forced to stay closed in or wrapped up too tightly within themselves, he said. But the corrupt don’t notice the stench; “It’s like bad breath. Rarely the person with bad breath realizes it. It’s others who notice it and they have to point it out for him.” But “the amount of built-up resistance is enormous.” Corruption isn’t an instance of one singular act but represents a state of being, a culture that an individual or whole society can

Catholic vote can influence midterm polls, says election lawyer
MANILA, April 23, 2013— Amidst dissenting opinions of various groups that the Catholic vote does not exist, an election lawyer on Saturday said the unified vote of the Catholic electorate may greatly influence the turnout of the upcoming midterm polls. In his talk at the Katolikong Pinoy recollection held at the San Carlos Seminary Lay Formation Center Chapel, Atty. Romulo Macalintal said unity among Catholic voters can change the traditional and personality politics ruling the country. “Ang mga kandidatong hindi marunong sumunod sa pinaguutos ng Diyos ay dapat nating iwasan sapagkat sila ang sisira sa moralidad ng kabataan,” Macalintal said. “Panahon na upang maipadama natin sa lahat na mayroong Catholic vote na ang ibig sabihin ay karamihan sa ating mga Katoliko ay nagkakasundo sa mga panuntunan ng simbahan kung sino ang dapat nating iboto.” The lawyer added that Catholic lay parishioners must actively campaign the stand of the Church on social issues that threaten the moral uprightness of the people. “Dapat nating ipadama ang suporta natin sa ating Simbahan upang lalo nating mapagtibay sa lahat na ang Catholic vote ay buhay na buhay lalung-lalo na ngayong ang mga issues na ipinaglalaban ng Simbahan ay pilit winawasak o winasak na ng mga pulitiko,” he pointed out. “Panahon na upang tayo ay magkaisa at madama ng lahat na ang Catholic vote ay mayroong paninidigan,” he said, noting that this can be achieved as Catholics comprise majority of the country’s population. Vote conscientiously He called on people to scrutinize the character and campaign platform of running politicians so they may not be easily swayed by the latter’s campaign rhetoric. “Marapat lamang na pagaralan natin mabuti ang mga katangian ng mga kandidatong lumalapit sa atin. Hindi sariling kabutihan ang dapat pairalin sa ating pagpili ng iboboto kundi dapat lamang na ang mga ihahalal natin ay iyong mga taong tunay na may damdamin para sa bayan at sa mga kababayan,” Macalintal said. He criticized the promises uttered by candidates during campaign sorties, saying that most of what they say are nothing but empty and hollow messages that leave false promises to people. “Yung tuition na halos ipinangangalandakan ng mga pulitiko ay pera din po natin. Hindi naman nila pera yan para sabihin nilang ‘bibigyan ko kayo ng scholarship.’ Ang dapat sinasabi nila ay, ‘ibabalik ko po sa inyo kung ano ang ibinigay ninyo sa amin’,” he said. SWS survey not accurate The election lawyer also chided the recent Social Weather Stations survey results that showed one out of 11 Filipino Catholics consider leaving the Church. It also allegedly revealed that Catholics are gradually becoming less devout and less active in attending church services. “Hindi ako makapaniwala sa resulta ng survey. Hindi ko alam kung sino ang nagpasurvey, ngunit para sa akin, nariyan pa rin ang mga Pilipino na patuloy sa pagsisimba,” he said, adding that parishes draw the most number of church goers every Sunday. Pointing out the inaccuracies of the survey, Macalintal said the survey should have asked the respondents a more specific question. “Siguro ay mali din na ang naging tanong lamang ay kung ikaw ba ay nagsisimba pa. Dapat ito ay naging mas specific— ikaw ba ay nagsisimba pa kapag Linggo? Dapat ganoon dahil bilang Katoliko, ang itinuro sa ating obligasyon ay magsimba tuwing Linggo,” he said.

This is the magnanimity that Christians should have.” A timid, or “pusillanimous” Christian, he added, “is incomprehensible: this magnanimity is part of the Christian vocation: always more and more, more and more, more and more, always onwards.” Preaching the gospel, said the pontiff, requires “humility, service, charity, brotherly love.” To approach evangelization with an imperialism, or attitude of conquering “doesn’t work.” Rather,

Christians evangelize by their witness. “The Christian must not be like soldiers who when they win the battle make a clean sweep of everything.” Pope Francis addressed the tension between magnanimity, or greatness of spirit, and humility in which Christians are called to live. “When we go forth with this magnanimity and humility, when we are not scared by the great things, by the horizon, but also take on board the little things – humility, daily charity – the Lord confirms the Word.” “This is divine – it is like a tension between the great and the small,” he said, noting that “Christian missionary activity” proceeds “along this path.” During his remarks, the Pope also discussed the tension between suffering and Christian triumph. “The triumph of the Church is the Resurrection of Jesus, but there is first the Cross.” (CNA/ EWTN News)

Church is driven by Holy Spirit, not officials or militants, pope says
VATICAN City, April 24, 2013—The church is driven by the Holy Spirit and God’s love, not by bureaucrats or militants, Pope Francis said in his morning homily. He also warned against letting the church’s mission get lost in a tangle of bureaucracy, saying the church administration is necessary only so long as it supports the wider mission of love. The pope celebrated Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, April 24 with employees from the Vatican bank. He reflected on the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles in which “the word of God continued to spread and grow,” and the Holy Spirit descended upon Barnabas and Saul sending them on to a new evangelizing mission. “What is the church? Our church? Because it seems that it is not a human enterprise,” the pope said in his homily. The church “is something else,” he said; it’s not the disciples who make the church because they are the messengers, sent by Jesus who, in turn, was sent by God. “And so, one sees that the church begins there, in the heart of the Father” who loved the world enough to send his only son. “He began this story of love, this love story that has gone on over time for so long and is still not over,” the pope said. “We, women and men of the church, are in the midst of a love story (where) each one of us is a link in this chain of love,” he said. “If we don’t understand this, we won’t understand anything about what the church is.” He recalled the famous story of a head of state asking how big the pope’s army is. The church, however, doesn’t grow “with soldiers, but with the strength of the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said. The church doesn’t grow because of “human strength,” and Christians in the past who created armies and waged religious wars took the wrong path; “some Christians made mistakes for historical reasons,” he said. “We, too, learn from our mistakes about how this love story goes,” he said, since it grows silently, quietly, like the mustard seed, like yeast in the dough. The church grows the same way, “slowly from the bottom,” Pope Francis said. “When the church wants to flaunt its size, build organizations, make departments and become a bit bureaucratic, the church loses its main essence and runs into danger of turning itself into an NGO,” he said. He then spoke directly to his au dience—employees of the Vatican bank—saying “excuse me, everything is necessary, offices are necessary ... but they’re necessary up to a certain point: as an aid to this story of love.” “But when the organization takes precedence, love drops away and the church, poor thing, becomes an NGO; this is not the way,” he said. The church is a mother, he said, and no real mother would let herself be called a “domestic administrator” but would insist on being called a mother. The church and its story of love are propelled “by the strength of the Holy Spirit, and all of us together, we are a family in the church who is our mother.” (CNS)

Stephen Driscoll / CNA

Separating Church from the State Responding to criticism that the Church has been intervening too much in state affairs, Macalintal said this was simply a normal reaction for people who could not accept the fact that contraception, same-sex “marriage”, pre-marital sex, and abortion are unacceptable to the teachings of the Church. “Maraming mga tao ngayon ang tutol sa pagpapalaganap ng Simbahan sa kanyang posisyon. Iyong iba ay nagagalit sa pagtutol na ito at sinasabing masyado daw ang pakikialam ng Simbahan, na sobra ang kautusan ng Simbahan. Sa madaling salita, hindi nila matanggap na ang mga nais nilang gawin ay hindi katanggap-tanggap sa mata ng Diyos,” he explained. He added that this is the truth every individual is bound to face, especially in a world where threats of secularization are looming. “Hindi natin maaaring talikdan ang katotohanang ito dahil anuman ang ating mga balakid sa buhay, nasa atin ang Panginoon. Ang pag-asa ng lahat ay kaya nating balikatin hangga’t nariyan ang Panginoon na ating patnubay,” he said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

Movement does not impose, but encourages voters to elect pro-life candidates
MANILA, April 18, 2013—Despite its open endorsement of candidates in the coming May elections, the White Vote movement said it does not impose on Filipino voters, but encourages them to follow its lead. The White Vote movement, a coalition of various lay organizations in the Catholic Church, is endorsing senatorial candidates who are pro-life, pro family and uphold the sacredness of marriage, and encourages Filipino voters to do the same. Atty. Aurora Santiago, president of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas and convenor of the movement, clarified during a forum that the endorsement is not a mandate and should not be considered as a bloc voting. “This is just an endorsement and a guide for voters, we are not imposing. We respect the freedom of our fellow Filipino voters and their freedom of conscience,” Santiago, who also serves as executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, added. Santiago pointed out that young people are also part of the movement such as the Family Rosary Crusade Youth and the CFC-Youth for Family and Life. “Currently, our facebook page is being managed by the youth. And our endorsed senatorial candidates can also be candidates of our youth voters. We are telling them to review the track record of a certain candidate and they must vote for those who are for life, family and sacredness of marriage,” she added “What we are avoiding now are the so called death bills which are divorce, euthanasia, abortion, population control and same sex,” Santiago furthered. The endorsed candidates signed a covenant stating that they will not support the passing of any “death bills”. Aside from senatorial candidates, the movement is also eyeing for partylists

www.intermirifica.net

El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde leads various lay Catholic leaders during the launching of the “White Vote” movement which seeks to tap millions of their followers to vote for “pro-life and pro-family” candidates in the May 13 elections.

Workers call on gov’t for stable opportunities
MANILA, April 21, 2013—In a forum held for workers at the Institute of Preaching in Sto. Domingo Church, participants presented a 10-point agenda urging government to provide stable opportunity for the country’s labor force. Mr. Elmer Labog, co-chairperson of the Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS) called on government to give priority on the 10-point program for workers that include high wages; end of contractualization and upholding workers security of tenure; defense of worker’s right to form unions; strike and collective bargaining; safer working conditions; full provision of social protection for workers; decent jobs; end to neo-liberal policies; increase in government spending for social services; urban poor rights to housing and livelihood; and promotion of women workers’ right. “Having a wage increase will help have safer working conditions by ensuring that standards on occupational health and safety are observed in workplaces. And with full provision of social protection to workers and complete granting of benefits specified by the law like SSS and PhilHealth, workers and the government will have a good serving relationship,” Labog added. He stressed that generating decent jobs through crafting and implementing a program for national industrialization and land reform will be of great help to them. Workers also need an increase in government spending for social services like health, education, and housing. More than a hundred lay leaders, members of workers’ community, Church people including religious nun and other Churches attended the workers forum organized by CWS in preparation for the Labor Day event on May 1. (Jandel Posion/Czarinah Chavez)

Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, OP, rector of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Central Seminary gives his opening remarks during the Church Workers Forum, April 19.

bring current wage levels closer to the living wage. For years, the prices of basic goods and services have soared while wages were given major adjustments. Wages must be made to catch up with soaring prices. This will help in having a stable income,” he explained. “With an end in contractualization, it will help workers to feel safe because their tenure is secure. Workers need to

who voted against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill before it was enacted as a law. Meanwhile, Novaliches bishopemeritus Teodoro Bacani is pleased that there is a white vote movement. “The establishment of this kind of movement is putting the decree of the 2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) into life which is [about] lay men and women involvement in politics; lay people should actively participate in political affairs. It is through the lay that the Church is involved,” Bacani said. Bacani stressed that lay people can promote those candidates that are responsible, who are God-fearing, prolife, family and sacredness of marriage. “Coming together, praying together, discuss reason together and act to gether, that’s what people in the white vote movement are doing. They are not limited in endorsing candidates but they can also propose, and proposing is not imposing. I think lay people should [not] limit themselves in announcing because they have a right to propose,” Bacani furthered. (Jandel Posion/John Florence Granado)

Pio Antonio Bellen

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

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EDITORIAL

Opinion
Appalling value system

CBCP Monitor
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 08

IT was evident and distinct that the country needed the “Magna Carta for the Poor considering the persisting poverty among millions of Filipinos, notwithstanding all loud claims to the opposite—courtesy of Malacañang plus repeated social surveys supposedly saying in the country about 81% of poor Filipinos are “satisfied” with their poverty! Such a claim is not simply suspect but markedly incredible. This is precisely why the matter of health needs, the requirement of education, the issue of housing, the increasing rate of joblessness—all these are pervasive, distinct, and evident needs of the huge number of poor people in the Philippines. Both Houses of Congress decidedly looked into the worsening poverty among the Filipinos and had their pursuant deliberations thereon until they both approved the “Magna Carta for the Poor” as something that is not only obvious but also imperative in the materially and ethically poor country. All dutifully, the Bill was sent to Malacañang for the much expected approval of the President who repeatedly and gleefully expresses his predilection and preoccupation for the poor who are his proclaimed “Boss”. The Bill, of course, was seen by Malacañang as preposterous basically due to its big funding requirement—something however that is only simply justified but actually imperative on account of the long standing enormous and pervasive needs of the poor in the country. The Bill was even perceived as a threat to the legal standing of the Malacañang occupant in the event that it would not be brought to total reality—or something the like. So it was that the Bill was vetoed by no one else but someone holding the highest public office in the land, supposedly for the highest public service to the people. In more common language, the bill was considered “garbage” and to the “garbage can” it was nonchalantly thrown in. Unlike the infamous RH Bill that was certified as “urgent”, that was approved after much lobbying and much accompanying funding as well—and that was even signed in the silence of the night. But why the veto? Because there is no money available. Because the annual budget cannot accommodate the expenses. Because another Bill can be easily drawn, considered and passed by the Legislative Department. But then, why is it that the huge amount of money required in the implementation of the expensive Population Control Legislation is readily available? Why is it that there is always much money disposable for presidential trips here and there? Why is there money always available for the building and promoting of casinos? At first blush this may all seem to be an appalling value system by those in the corridors of power. But is it really? Because if it were, how does one add up “matuwid na daan”? Or could it be something tactical? The slip accidentally manifested when Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan released the statistics from the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) that proved that poverty statistics had remained virtually the same from 2006 to the first half of 2012—that nothing has improved! The government data furthered showed that in the first two years of the Aquino administration there was hardly any dent in poverty—28 out of every 100 Filipinos still lived below the poverty line, with the 10% in extreme poverty. This is not to say, really, that the battery of SWS surveys hailing this administration to high heavens is part of the spin. And neither are its obvious but subtle attacks against the Catholic Church and its church-goers. So too is the persistent campaigning of the President of the Republic for his beloved senatorial candidates that denudes his being a statesman if only to be reduced to a gutter politician. But would the victory of the President’s party redefine the “matuwid na daan” spin despite the obvious realities?
Illustration by Bladimer Usi

I am a believer!
CHRISTIAN faith needs both creeds (concise summaries of truths and beliefs) and deeds (Christ-like acts of service) to express its full meaning. A true story from an African missionary shows how generous service communicates faith. As I narrate the experience, try to imagine the African scene, as the missioner rides down the dusty provincial road in his old pick-up truck. So, the faithstory begins…. A woman, probably 30 or so, flagged me down for a ride as I was returning home from one of my rounds of visiting the mission outstations. I didn’t recognize her, but, she told me that she was one of our catechumens preparing for baptism. “I am a believer, Padre!” she said after we drove quietly for a while. “What started you as a believer?” I asked. This is her story. My brother was a teacher. He was baptized a Catholic at Teacher’s Training School. There are no other Christians in our fam-

Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM

“Year of Faith” Reflections
ily. My brother became sick, he tried local medicines, then spent all of his money in different hospitals. I went to visit him. A nurse told me: “Take your brother home. Take care of him. Wash him. Don’t be afraid! You will not get his disease. We cannot help him; nobody can.” Then I realized that my brother’s sickness was most probably AIDS. I took him home. Nobody would see him or come near him. Everyone was afraid. I loved my brother. We came from the same womb. I took care of him, cooked his food, ate with him. I didn’t care if I got his sickness. I was ready to die with him. I loved my brother. One day my brother told me: “My sister! You are a good person. You are the only one who helps me. You must become a believer and be baptized.” He told me: “Please go to the next town. The Padres have a mission outstation and clinic there. Ask the Christians to pray for me.” And so, I went there the next Sunday when they pray together. I told them about my brother. That same week a group of Catholics came to visit my brother. They brought food. They visited with him. They prayed with him. They came every week. They were with him as he died. When he died, not one of our family came to bury my brother. No one in our village came. They were all afraid. The Christians washed his body and buried him. Then, with deep emotion, the woman said: “I want to be one of them, Padre! I am now a believer!” As we hear this experience of faith, we note that living the Christian life is to be an evangelizer, whether on the streets of Manila or in our homes, schools, and offices. Would our life-style ever lead someone to the faith and cause them to say: I want to be one of them! I saw their deeds! I am now a believer!

Living Mission

Conversion to new values
THE most basic pastoral action needed is conversion to new values. This should be the aim of catechesis on politics. There will be no radical change in our political situation unless we all undergo a change of heart—conversion, therefore—in our priorities, in our values. In our society a high premium is put on power and money. Compromises are made, truth is subverted, principles are abandoned, elections are rigged, frauds are perpetrated, politicians perpetuate themselves in power, their families are placed in positions of authority, “options are kept open”—simply because of power and money, the prime values of our present political culture. That is why financial supporters invest tremendous amounts of money on candidates and the candidates themselves spend so much to be elected—not because of what they vaguely invoke as “the people’s will” or “the common good”—but because of the power and the easy money they seek. Let us not be fools. We know that expenses are recouped, gargantuan profits are made once political victory is achieved. The conscienceless remark of a politician years ago wanting to take advantage of power remains operative even to this day: “What are we in power for?” We need to change all this. Conversion to new values is the most basic of pastoral action. Again this points to the need for, as a first step, catechesis on politics, the need for political re-education at all levels of society and the Church, laity, religious, priests and bishops. It is noteworthy that at the level of grassroots Basic Ecclesial Communities, such a political re-education is taking place quite effectively. At the level of Church leaders—whether clerical or lay—conversion is also imperative. By accepting special gifts and privileges from so-called trapos, by allowing them or their immediate relatives to take positions of authority in religious organizations, we are abetting their deeds of dishonesty and fraud, graft and corruption, and helping them maintain their power. By such conduct we allow our prophetic denunciation of political evils to lose its sharpness and credibility. We need to change our ways and be true prophets in our day. — Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, 1997

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

…and that’s the truth
OUT of a humble and respectful concern over the New Evangelization in our country, may this column suggest that lay people be elucidated on what saints are made of? Whatever we ordinary mortals have learned from our colonized past we seem to think saints are people who were brought up with eyes cast downward and mumbling prayers non-stop. We commonly like to equate sanctity with sinlessness, forgetting the forgiveness part of being Christian. We have this saying in Pilipino, “hindi makabasag-pinggan” which aptly describes our perception of saints, thus when the homilist asks “Who among you wants to be a saint?” nobody raises a hand. One saint the laypeople can easily relate to is St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church. The word “human” suits her to a T. She was born in 1515, in Avila, Spain, at a time when women were raised to become perfect homemakers, but she grew (up) to be a passionate and Christ-centered reformer of the Carmelite Order. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI himself calls St. Teresa of Avila as the perfect model for the New Evangelization. She wrote “Way of Perfection”, but would shamelessly admit in detail why she was far from perfect. People who have difficulty praying may be surprised to find encouragement from this great Saint and Teacher of Prayer. Although famous for her supernatural mystical experiences and her writings on mystical prayer and the spiritual, St. Teresa of Avila spent 18 years struggling to pray. She would write: “Over a period of several years, I was more occupied in wishing my hour of prayer were over, and in listening whenever the clock struck, than in thinking of things that were good. Again and again I would rather have done any severe penance that might have been given me than practice recollection as a preliminary to prayer. Whenever I entered the oratory I used to feel so depressed that I had to summon up all my courage to make myself pray at all.” As a child, her rich imagination would sometimes get her

Who wants to be a saint?
into trouble. Before she even turned seven, the little Teresa was curious to see God. She had heard from pious elders that martyrs go to heaven, and therefore see God, and one way to become a martyr was to be beheaded by the Moors. So she prevailed upon her younger brother Rodrigo to join her in her childish quest for martyrdom—they ran away from home to go to the land of the Moors to offer their necks. Missing the children, their mother set up a search party, and as the siblings barely left Avila’s walls, an uncle found them and brought them back to their anxious parents. With her plan thwarted, Teresa settled for a less drastic way to see God: she again engaged her brother in another activity, this time to become “hermits” instead. They gathered stones in the garden and piled them up to build quaint “hermitages” where they could pray all they wanted. As a teenager, Teresa was very much like our teenagers today. Her mother died when she was barely 14; despite her sorrow over her great loss, Teresa grew into a charming teenager with a magnetic personality. At 15, she was vivacious, pretty, fond of clothes, jewelry and perfume. She adored romantic novels of knights and chivalry—so like many young women today who follow telenovelas with gusto. She liked people who liked her, one of them an older female cousin who was fond of gossip and vanities. This cousin’s influence would sooner than later get Teresa involved in a flirtation which sent the town abuzz with gossip, and caused her father sleepless nights. Convinced that the budding woman would not be safe without some female watchdog tethered to her, her father sent Teresa off to a nearby Augustinian convent that ran a kind of finishing school where young women of her class were being educated—on social graces, home arts, and things like embroidery, cooking, child care, etc.—and really being prepared for a devout domestic life. Teresa was to write later, however, that while she feared marriage, she also asked God not to make her a nun. (To be continued)

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Fidelity in an age of promiscuity
Pedro C. Quitorio
Editor-in-Chief

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
it is active and dynamic. We can only be faithful if we work for it consciously, keeping the right priorities that should be set out by the objective laws that govern us as persons, members of the community in all aspects—social, economic, political, cultural, etc.—and ultimately as children of God. Our main problem is that we often take this duty to know who we really are and the laws that properly govern us for granted. We often allow ourselves to be led mainly by the unreliable swings of our emotions and passions, the social and ideological trends, and the changing economic and political weathers, etc. These are never absolute guides. At best,
Candidly Speaking / A7

Ronalyn R. Regino
Layout Artist

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate Editor

Gloria Fernando
Marketing Supervisor

Roy Q. Lagarde
News Editor

Ernani M. Ramos
Circulation Manager

Kris Bayos
Features Editor

Marcelita Dominguez
Comptroller

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

THE title may refer more immediately to married couples who are committed to their spouses for a lifetime of love. But it can actually be applied to all of us also, single or married, young or old, healthy or not, etc. That’s because in the end we all have to be faithful to something or someone who, if I have to say things bluntly, is none other than God, our Creator and Father. Some people may choose to be faithful only to their own selves, but that’s another story that we can take up some other time. We cannot help but live some degree of fidelity because by nature we are a relational being. We are always connected to someone and there is always some kind of hierarchy in this network of relations in which we live. And one task we have to do is to find the

place that properly belongs to us. This is the context of fidelity. We need to be more aware of our duty to be faithful, especially in our present times when forms of promiscuity are increasing and often in a most subtle way. We need to know what is involved in this duty to be faithful. We also need to know how to distinguish promiscuity from the legitimate attitude that respects and even fosters tolerance of an increasingly diversified world, or more, even taking advantage of such diversity. We are in tricky times. And so we have to be discerning as we pursue the real and ultimate goals of our life, and everything in it. Here lies the seed of the secret of fidelity. It’s never a passive, laid-back virtue. Rather,

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 09
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Opinion
Our sacred right to vote
senatorial candidates for the May 13 election—Competence, Conscience and Commitment . Competence—servant leader ship, experience or track record, aptitude. Conscience—personal integrity, transparency and accountability, respect for human rights, especially the funda mental right to life and security, freedom of speech, the press, assembly and religion, etc. as recognized by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Commitment to act on a Catholic vision on: family and life, environment, justice, peace and order (illegal drugs and gambling), authentic human development (poverty alleviation), education. Like the first 6 endorsees, they signed the Covenant with the White Vote Movement wherein they promised to reject and oppose all D.E.A.T.H. bills (Divorce, Euthanasia or mercy killing, Abortion, Total population control, Homosexual or same sex union), anti-family, anti-life, anti-Church and anti-Religion bills which had been filed and may be filed in Congress. *** Cebu Archbishop and CBCP President Jose Palma announced that the International Eucharistic Congress (IEU) will be held on May 23 to 29, 2016 in the Archdiocese of Cebu. With the theme “Christ in You: Our Hope of Glory”, it is expected that thousands of delegates from different countries will attend the event. Archbishop Palma invited Pope Francis to come to Cebu City for the Congress. If Pope Francis would come to the Philippines, he will be the third pope to visit the country after Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995. The International Eucharistic Congress is held every four years. The last time the Philippines hosted the IEC was in 1937 in Manila during the time of Pope Pius XI. The Congress aims to “promote awareness of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, to improve under standing and celebration of the liturgy, and to draw to the social dimension of the Eucharist.” *** Congratulations to my niece Ria Edeliza S. Imperial who graduated from my Alma Mater the University of the Philip pines, Diliman, Quezon City with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology, Magna Cum Laude . Graduation in college happens only once, but graduating as Magna Cum Laude happens to only a few gifted persons. She also passed the entrance exam and the panel interview at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in Padre Faura, Manila and hopes to become a Doctor of Medicine. Congratulations also to Batch 2013 graduates. May all of you be successful in your journey in the new chapter of your life. Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law Bobbie Imperial, the proud Daddy of Ria and the husband of my sister Flordeliza Santiago. Happy Birthday also to Fr. Jun Bartolome of the Diocese of Kalookan.

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Fr. Carmelo O. Diola

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in Altum
THE CBCP, through its Pastoral Exhortation, announced June 8, 2013 as a “day of a nation-wide National Consecration by our Catholic Faithful and our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The CBCP has directed and urged all our dioceses and parishes, schools and other institutions, even all our families, of course,—to offer solemnly a joint public act of entrustment to the Blessed Mother, Mother of our people and our country.” “Pueblo Amante de Maria”: Isang Bayang Sumisinta Kay Maria. There will be a simultaneous National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, at 10:00 in the morning in all Cathedrals, Parish Churches, Shrines and Chapels led by the Bishops in their respective Arch/Dioceses, Prelatures and Apostolic Vicariates, all over the country. The entrustment and consecration is part of the Year of Faith observance and the nine-year (“novena”) preparation for the 2021 celebration of the coming of the Christian Faith to the country in 1521 – 500 hundred years ago. The CBCP recommended the “adjoint practices of (1) the Mass and Communion of Reparation on the First Saturday of each month, and (2) Prayer and Penance, in our daily lives offered also by us, in union with Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.” It also encouraged the faithful to pray the Rosary daily. *** The May 13 election is almost two weeks away. Let us exercise our sacred right to vote. Let us all go out and vote. Let us not sell our vote. Let us elect and put into office only those who vow to protect life from womb to its natural end. Let us vote only those who preserve the Filipino Family. Let the culture of life, not the culture of death, prevail in the May 13 election. In the process, let us be diligent to make sure that our sacred vote is counted. Let us see to it that the PCOS machine will really and actually register and tally our votes. Watch out for notorious persons who are out to thwart the will of the people. Let us remember, the voice of the people is the voice of God. *** As earlier reported in this column, the White Vote Movement, a coalition of 41 national lay organizations and archdiocesan/diocesan councils of the laity, endorsed the first 6 senatoriables who stood firm in the faith by rejecting the passage of Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill). Endorsing them is an act to show them our gratitude when they stood by us when we needed them most. They are Mitos Magsaysay, JV EjercitoEstrada, Gregorio Honasan, Coco Pimentel, Sonny Trillanes and Cynthia Villar. Again, last weekend, the White Vote Movement en dorsed 3 senatoriables who are committed to protect and preserve the Filipino Family and Life. They are Nancy Binay, Dick Gordon and Migs Zubiri. All of them passed the CBCP criteria (during the 2004 election) which the White Vote Movement adopted in endorsing the

Spaces of Hope Solidarity vote
“GOD saved the best for the last.” This was my thought as I wrapped up a half-day road trip to visit all 12 precincts of Cebu City to meet the station chiefs last Tuesday 16 April. My team and I met the station commanders, if they happened to be around, to invite participation to our summer youth outreach. We requested help in scouting for young people with leadership potentials and are open to formation. We also brought materials for the I Vote Good campaign. Earlier, I had been able to connect with the Police Community Relations (PCR) office regarding the Vote Good campaign and pointed out that this was non-partisan and will contribute to the peace since vote buying is the source of many disturbances of the peace. There was a meeting of minds. So here I was distributing materials with a campaign assistant. At dusk, we were at our last precinct. The station commander was in his blue athletic uniform when we arrived. A bit rotund, he exhibited a very warm, engaging smile as he asked us to take our seats. “We have been expecting you and we are glad to inform you that we have taken the initiative to photocopy your materials and distribute them to motorists who pass through our check point as well as to pedestrians who pass or drop by our station,” he excitedly pointed out. “Wow,” I said to him, “that is very good. Thank you.” Then we proceeded to share some stickers with him and pointed out that we have a website for them to download other materials. He then called in his PCR assistant who generously volunteered to email us copies of pictures of their activities. By this time, I had recalled the station commander as being one of the active participants of an S-Leadership (God-centered leadership) seminar we organized in Cebu City about three years ago. The seeds sown had started to sprout. *** Yet, even as seeds of life begin to grow, threats to life and family continue. In a Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial of April 15, 2013 approving of the position of a certain religious leader on political endorsements, the piece ended with: “Euthanasia, to offer only one example, may be the most Christian option for a family whose dying member wants to leave this vale of tears with dignity. Asking for a categorical position does not reflect that moral struggle.” I could not believe my eyes. Now the onslaught against life is taking on another turn. And, like the issues of samesex marriage, it presents itself as a progressive, benign, and compassionate stance against what is portrayed as unfeeling moral absolutes of the Church. Opinions like that of PDI soon becomes intolerant of other views which it will accuse of bigotry and backwardness. This is the strategy of secular humanists and their elite collaborators who control media, infiltrate the academe, and dominate business circles. This is how the issue of same sex marriage seems to have gained the upper hand in the public discourse of the so-called developed West. What is essentially an issue of biology and the rights of children has been transformed into an issue of human rights of and societal tolerance for two consenting adults. I do not relish another parliament of the streets that certain circles within the church rely upon. It is a waste of time. The battle is in the hearts and minds of voters. This is where a recent development called the Solidarity Vote comes into play. This initiative recognizes an important need to complement the Church’s usual engagement during elections—which are providing guidelines in choosing candidates, voter’s education and poll watching—with a lay-led effort from different dioceses to provide communal discernment that identify candidates who are worthy (or unworthy) of people’s trust and votes. The CBCP does not endorse candidates because “the Church, by reason of her role and competence, is not identified in any way with the political community nor bound to any political system” (Church in the Modern World, Vatican II, Sec 76). It merely issues general criteria and guidelines on how to choose candidates. But too often, many Catholic voters get confused or lost in choosing the best candidates, despite the criteria, perhaps precisely because they are couched in general terms. Thus, many voters too often choose only on the basis of name recall and popularity. To properly guide Catholic voters, the SV feels an important need to put names and faces to the criteria being issued by CBCP on how to choose candidates. There is a need to provide a sense of collective leadership to Catholic voters through a collective discernment, either by the leaders of various lay groups in the national level or by circles of discernment from dioceses nationwide. Solidarity Vote, being a lay initiative, is a means to provide this much needed collective leadership via collective discernment by listening to voices from local churches. The SV could become a grassroots support for the Church in pushing for certain crucial issues like the promotion of the common good, morality in politics, the protection of human life and dignity, especially in the light of recent attacks like the RH Law, the proposed divorce, same sex marriage, among others. This support can push for good governance, in electing servant leaders for our people, as well as in defeating political dynasties starting at the national level. *** Solidarity Vote, composed of laity organized as circles of discernment, utilizes the LASER test in its collective discernment of senatorial candidates. The CBCP criteria of conscience, competence, and commitment are embedded in the said test. The following are questions pertaining to each letter of the acronym. This is after a knock-out portion involving life and family issues as well as other issues which circles of discernment in that local church includes, like dynasty or mining. The questions for Lifestyle, Action, Supporters, Election conduct, and Reputation are the following: a) Lifestyle (covers Conscience & Commitment to a Catholic vision): 1. Attends Mass / Church regularly? 2. Has Church involvement? 3. Member of a Church group or renewal community? 4. Has no vices (Drinking, Gambling, Drug Addiction, etc) 5. Simple or modest lifestyle? 6. Not separated from spouse? 7. Has no mistress or another family? 8. Has no child or children outside of marriage? b) Action (covers Conscience & Competence): 9. Has record of community involvements (advocacies) or public service? 10. Respectful of the rights of others (respect for human rights)? 11. Has mechanisms for Transparency & Accountability? 12. In favor of Full Disclosure Policy in all government transactions? 13. In favor of Total Gun Ban in public places except for officers on duty in uniform? 14. Against Pork Barrel? 15. Against Political Dynasty? 16. In favor of genuine Land Reform? 17. Against Jueteng? 18. In favor of Freedom for Information (FOI) Bill? 19. In favor of Total Ban in Logging? 20 Against Mining? 21. Against Plastics? c) Supporters (covers Conscience & Commitment to a Catholic vision): 22. Good Supporters, Advisers? 23. Does not receive Donations from jueteng sources, other corrupt sources? 24. Does not belong to a / Against Political dynasty? 25. Not a member of a Trapo Political Party?
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The piano tuner
THE piano tuner’s visit to the music room was uniquely noticeable and appreciated. Mom habitually served him coffee and some merienda. I recall that those were the rare occasions when mom’s piano room absorbed the combination of assorted tunes from classical to jazz, suspended dust from the dismantled pianos mixed with the continuous thick mantle of cigarette smoke. Wasn’t smoking bad for the health? However, I never said this out to mom. I simply admired the man who could dismantle a piano and worked on every beam, string and spring. Yes! It was a wonderful sight to see the musical innards of the percussion instrument. And best of all, we didn’t have piano lessons for a while! Mom admired the tuner. She would say that it was a difficult job because one had to know every string’s tune and tension. Thus, Mr. Rick Alcordo, managed to simultaneously smoke a tightly lip-held cigarette while both hands precisely adjusted each string’s tension. He interrupted this almost endless mechanical procedure with occasional sips of his now lukewarm coffee. Mom, however, was attentive to re-heat coffee and re-fill his cup regularly. The best part came when Mr. Alcordo began playing musical scales and melodies on

Fr. Francis Ongkingco

Whatever
become as rare as piano tuners. Their numbers are not so many, not because there are few trained priests and lay faithful—although the Lord is the one who decides how many are needed to care for His Vineyard,— but because their function as directors or spiritual mentor-coaches is no longer fully appreciated at present. In a world that is deeply immersed and dependent on techno-material things, people become less sensitive to spiritual and moral realities. Although there is an apparent search for some ‘inner soul’ fulfillment, these are still ‘materially infected,’ most seeking that which will make one feel good and abstractly inspired. Moreover, people who have become so materially dependent no longer feel the need to be guided in life. They believe they can do pretty well with little or no aid at all. So why should they even bother asking anyone or someone regarding a reality that has little or no relevance to their life and possessions? Thus, spiritual directors are becoming a rare breed of people today. Even though there seems to be a growing belief that one ought not to place too much premium on one’s personal spiritual growth, it cannot be denied that the ‘spiritual
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the instrument. Once in a while he abruptly stopped to further fine tune a string or two, lit another cigarette and continued pedaling his way from the base to the higher notes. Satisfied, he then asked mom to try out the piano for herself. By this stage we lamented that piano lessons would soon resume. *** Mom was always grateful for the tuner’s perfectionist touch on her two pianos. She would always comment that tuners were getting harder to come by every year. The more people resorted to electronic keyboards, plus the general lack of interest in music as children fiddled with the then primitive gizmos of the 80s, announced the impending doom for the guild of piano tuners in our country. I was told, however, that in some countries like Korea, the growing interest for music was good seeding ground for want-to-be tuners. In fact, they didn’t only go from house to house. Within the piano factory’s assembly line, there was a section for numerous tuners to work on pianos. Even though their skills were not as fine-tuned as mom’s tuner, in time most of them would acquire the art. *** In a similar way, spiritual directors have

Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD

By the Roadside
IN the Philippines politics attracts and casts a spell on so many diverse types of people perhaps because it is a bit of many things. It is an aphrodisiac to the already moneyed but do not have much in looks (or sex appeal, says my kibitzing sacristan). It is a source of popularity and prestige to successful lawyers, businessmen, professionals or celebrities who want to make either a name or more name for themselves after having made money through their career or craft. It is a way to some form of royal identity among elite families with immense amounts of money, influence, land, property or the gift of what I call ‘people smarts’ (translation: the ability to organize loyal following and goons through gold and guns without seeming too obvious) in a particular region, province, city, town or barangay. Hence, our many political dynasties. But, naturally, the most unassailable draw to our politics is its being a way to wealth and more wealth as political power increases, greater political power being the key to more wealth and to all that money can buy, votes included. This last explains the cynicism among ordinary Filipinos who take their country’s plight seriously though not the abuse in our politics of true representative democracy. A case in point was an answer by a farmer to a priest’s icebreaking question: “Kumusta ka, Mano Gorio? May ka na mga kandidato nga napili? (How are you, Mano Gorio? Have you made up your mind on your candidates?)” Said the farmer: “Padre, basta di la nira pagbutan it pagsirang hit’ adlaw ngan pagturo hit’ uran, diri ko hira seseryosohon yana (Father, as long as they do not control the rising of the sun and the falling of the rain, I won’t really take them seriously for now).” ‘For now’ is a phrase that indicates things may change come election day when money to buy votes abound like unholy manna. A rather sad commentary on the effect of political power on ordinary people. Political power is the obsession of politicians while that of ordinary Filipinos is daily survival or how to make life better for themselves and their families, however little. When politicians seem to be of help to this simple goal, then they assume a larger than life status in people’s eyes. Otherwise, political power is just

Political power and the Lordship of Jesus Christ
a distant giant ogre that needs to be pacified or be made to lay the silver egg on election day. What most Filipinos forget, and I’m speaking at least of the eighty percent Catholic population, is that separation of Church and state does not mean they cease being Christian when confronting politics. Unfortunately the reverse distortion is what prevails especially “in the fields of political exercise”. But let me go back to the farmer’s answer. It strikes me how his cynicism suddenly brings up to me Paul’s teaching on the Lordship of Jesus if only because it contrasts with mere political power. In his letter to the Colossians (Col 1:12-20) Paul unwraps the Lordship of Jesus not as a distant rumbling of a powerful but mostly apathetic ogre but as an all-encompassing dominion over the cosmos. Of course, it includes the farmer, the politicians, you and me. It includes even “the rising of the sun” and “the falling of the rain” but, much more than these, the whole of creation and everything that goes on in it. “In him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible” (verse 15). It is a Lordship that means sustenance to all creatures: “In him everything continues in being” (verse 17). It is a Lordship that has brought about the incarnation (“It pleased God to make absolute fullness reside in him”, verse 19), redemption and reconciliation of the whole universe (“and by means of him to reconcile everything in his person…both on earth and in the heavens”, verse 20). It is a Lordship that means primacy over the Church (“it is he who head of his body, the Church”, verse 18) and dominion over life, death and history (“He is before all else that is”, “the beginning”, “the first-born of the dead”, verses 17, 18). But—and this is so signifi cant—it is a Lordship that chooses the path of humble submission to suffering and sacrifice (“making peace through the blood of his cross”, verse 20). Of course, this last point is spiced by Mark the evangelist (his gospel being very important because it is the first to have been written) with Jesus’ famous declaration to James, John (the first “family dynasty pretenders”, please excuse the phraseology) and the other apostles, repreBy the Roadside / A6

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BARELY few weeks before the 2013 midterm polls, the Davao Association of Catholic School, Inc. (DACS) launched the “Operation e-CHAMP” in response to the call of Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles to put up a citizen arm group that will involve young people in the coming elections. Aimed at achieving a Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful eldctions in the local level, the launch was held on April 20 at the Dacs center in collaboration with the Commission on Election (Comelec), Davao City Police Office, Department of Education, the

Local News
National Movement for Free Election (Namfrel), the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao Chapter. According to Fr. Archimedes Lachica, project coordinator of e-Champ, the project was realized because of the urgency to help and assist the people in educating voters. The program is a new strategy taken by DACSs wherein parishes will be responsible for educating the voters while young people from Catholic schools will be doing the voting, sighting part. Lachica also said that parishes under the archdiocese through its Social Action Ministry would give education to voters while the e-Champ or the Catholic schools would lead in poll watching. The program involves poll watching, giving assistance to voters especially the first time voters, the elderly and the people with disabilities (PWDs), and collecting the election returns. There are 1,162 clustered precincts and 261 voting centers where the expected 2,900 volunteers will be deployed. Volunteers will be stationed as precincts poll watchers, roving poll watchers, food brigade, mobile volunteers and the like for the coming May 13 election. They will be given kits which would contain the checklist of the things to do, t-shirts, and identification cards. Lachica stressed that the program is not just created for the 2013 election but also for elections in the near future such as the 2016 national elections. Young people interested in volunteering for e-Champ can register at the DACS office or at the Holy Cross of Davao College for District 1, Assump-

CBCP Monitor
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 08

Davao launches citizen’s youth arm for May polls
tion College of Davao for District 2 while District 3 volunteers may sign up at St. Peter’s College of Toril, Holy Cross College of Calinan and Holy Cross College of Mintal. Registrants are also accepted at St. Mary’s College of Tagum in Tagum City, Davao del Norte; Holy Cross College of Bansalan and Holy Cross of Malita in Davao del Sur. The launching was attended by representatives from collaborators and youth leaders from different member-Catholic schools of DACS. (Jandel Posion/Ritzchild John Cariaga)

Iloilo, Bangued conduct election catechism
THE dioceses of Iloilo and Bangued conducted three formation modules of election catechism on April 21. Some 60 to 70 youth gath ered at the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Bangued for the Kabataang Bayani election catechism, which was facilitated by Melanie Santos, a volunteer staff of the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate (NSYA), implementing arm of the Episcopal Commission on Youth. Whilssy Candelaria, another NSYA volunteer staff, facilitated the Iloilo run of Kabataang Bayani, which was held at the Archbishop’s Palace in Jaro, Iloilo on the same day. Feelings to action The formation comprises three modules with the first module encouraging young people to explore their feelings about their past electoral choices and how feelings should eventually be translated to concrete actions. For example, if a young voter
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not, other people are affected by what you do),” said Santos, explaining the gist of the second module, which seeks to show young people how each individual’s choices have ripple effects on society and political life. Vote Ko ‘to The last module titled “Vote Ko ‘To” asks the youth to explore what they believe an ideal society should be and what kind of people should be in public office to achieve this kind of society. According to Santos, the third module tries to simulate election day by having a chart posted, one which lists actual candi dates’ stands on key issues like RH, mining, FOI (freedom of information) bill, among others. Young people are then asked to cast their votes as they would come May 13. For groups or schools interested to have Kabataang Bayani facilitated in your area, emailecynsya@gmail.com (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Photo courtesy of Nirva’na Dela Cruz

No ‘Team Patay’ list in Leyte but…
THE Catholic hierarchy in Leyte is not coming out with a list of candidates whom its 1.2 million members should support or not vote for in the May 13 elections. Lay individuals and or ganizations, however, were encouraged to get involved in partisan politics even if it means coming out with their own list of candi dates. “There’s no plan [in the] Archdiocese of Palo to make a list of candidates, whom the faithful would vote or not,” said Fr. Amadeo Alvero, the archdiocese’s media coordinator. “But the lay faithful or group of lay faithful are free to make their own list of candidates,” he said in an article posted at the archdiocese’s website. At least three dioceses have come up with the “Team Patay (Death)” posters, containing names of senatorial candidates who supported the passage of a contraceptives law, a measure opposed by the Church. They also put up tarpaulins for “Team Buhay (Life)” senatorial bets that rejected the bill. “In our archdiocese, the faithful are asked to vote according to their informed conscience,” Alvero said. “The faithful knew that the Church has openly opposed the Reproductive Health law. It’s now up to them if they would not vote the proponents of the RH law,” the priest added. While only few dioceses have so far release a list of “Team Patay” candidates, several archbishops and bishops called on the faithful not to vote politicians who support the RH law. (CBCPNews)

The first run of Kabataang Bayani was for the DSWD-NCR Youth last year.

feels regret and disappointment because of the disappointing performance of government officials he has elected, this regret should not remain a feeling, but should be translated into a more vigilant and more carefully discerned choice of candidates in the coming May elections.

“Kung ano man ang nang yayari sa lipunan, affected ka doon kasi bahagi ka ng society. Aware ka man o hindi, naaapektuhan ng ginagawa mo ‘yung ibang tao (Whatever happens in society, you are affected by it because you are part of society. Whether you are aware or

senting us the Church: “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations lord it over them and their great men make their importance felt. It cannot be like that among you. Whoever would be great among you must be your servant. And whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all” (Mk 10:42-44). Then Jesus delivers the punch-line we all recall when we seek leadership but seldom remember when we lead: “For the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for the many” (Mk 10:45). Politicians, especially those who still consider themselves Catholic, do best to see the Lordship of Jesus as partly God’s statement on how to use power. Despite the infinite imMining / A6

mensity of his power, the way of Jesus is not the way of self-glorification, self-promotion and aggrandizement. It is the way of sacrifice, of humble, self-giving service, not by way of political sloganeering but by genuine personal witness. After all, He is the Son of Man who truly came to truly serve, giving himself as our ransom from sin and death. I also find the gospel of Luke worth looking into for no other reason than that it takes pains to portray further the flip side of this Lordship of Jesus. In his Passion account read last Palm Sunday for Year C Luke portrays this Lordship not only in the sweeping manner of a ‘cosmocrator’ (universal ruler) but in a very personal, intimate way. To the weeping women he offers very personal words of comfort and warning: “Women of Jerusalem, weep not for me. Weep

rather for yourselves and your children” (Lk 23:28). To the crowd, many of whom wanted his crucifixion, he offered personally his forgiving prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk 23:34). But the most dramatic is his very personal assurance to the Good Thief who undergoes conversion and humbly prays, “Remember me when you enter into your reign” (Lk 23:42). Jesus replies with the absolute confidence of an absolutely powerful King: “I assure you, this day you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43). We, politicians and voters, must take our cue from the Good Thief and be converted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, bringing him to our politics so we could anticipate in our islands a view of his Paradise.

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The PCOS results should be validated by a parallel manual count in all precincts,” Pabillo said. “The stakes are too great for Comelec not to do all in its power to prove the reliability and trustworthiness of the present automated system,” he added. Pabillo chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). RMA is ‘enough’ The poll body, however, was quick to reject the bishop’s call that would require teachers and election inspectors at the precinct level to manually count all votes. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the random manual audit (RMA), the only legally sanctioned mechanism for validating PCOS count, is enough to determine the accuracy of the voting machines. “We think what will be done in the Random Manual Audit is
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enough for that purpose. RMA is effective anyway. We don’t need the 100 percent parallel count. It will just cause confusion,” Jimenez said. Violations Pabillo said the credibility of the automated polls has suffered because the Comelec removed many of the safeguards that were initially set in place: digital signature, ultra violet scanner, voter verification and source code review. “If the Comelec continues with the elections in this situation, it would violate the automated election law…,” he said. The bishop also said they did not wish to taint the elections, but they wanted to help prove its ability to deliver credible elections by having the manual count. “We have been doing that all these years and it will not take much time of counting. That would somehow give us as surance that the tally is right,” Pabillo said.

of two sections of the Mining Act of 1995, Monsod explained he and the other petitioners did not come to argue that mining should be banned, “not only because that position finds to traction in the Constitution that allows it but also because the value of our mineral wealth is huge at $ 840 billion or about P 40 trillion.” He added that “although mining has never been a driver of our development, not even during the mining boom of the seventies, we cannot discount its potential and must try to find ways to realize that potential.” Monsod said the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement and the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement have not been in favor of the Philippine government and its people. He said a number of countries have began to reconsider existing laws as UNCTAD’s World
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Investment Report of 2012 underscored the need for a “new generation of policies” according to its findings that investment agreements, specifically on extractive industries, “have been found wanting in two major aspects.” He went on to describe these as the failure to take into account requirements to make sustainable development and inclusive growth a reality. He said governments are at a disadvantage due to an imbalance in the benefits and costs shouldered by the government and investors. Monsod said the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 described inclusive growth as “growth that creates jobs, draws majority into the economic and social mainstream and continuously reduces mass poverty.” He underscored the inequitable distribution of environmental, social and economic costs because mining is carried

out in rural and mountainous areas affecting farmlands, rivers and shorelines where the poorest of the poor are engaged in livelihood activities. He cited reports which re vealed taxes, fees and royalties collected from mining was 7.3% relative to the total value of mineral production from 1997-2011 though the average was up to 10.5% from 2005-2011. There’s a need to create an additional of four million jobs until 2016 to alleviate poverty through tourism, business process outsourcing, agribusiness and manufacturing. While it requires P 200,000 to create a single job, mining is an industry where investment to job ratio is high as “exemplified by its biggest proposed investment in Tampacan, Mindanao the investment-job-to is P120,000,000 per job. He added the average contribution to GDP from 2000 to 2010

was pegged at 0.945% with an average share to total employment was 0.387%. “Mining has the highest poverty incidence (48.7%) of any sector of the country and it is the only sector where poverty incidence increased between 1988–2009,” he further said. He particularly cited the case of Bataraza in Palawan where Rio Tuba is located for the past 30 years with a poverty inci dence double of the national rate (53% vs. 26%) “These date do not establish causality but they do show an association between mining and poverty that at least raises questions on the claim of mining that is substantially improves life in their communities,” Monsod said. Monsod called on the Court to look into explicit provisions on what to do with the revenues from mining. (MA/CBCPNews)

ingredient’ in man’s existence is something undeniably indispensable. Religion and its tenets are not only a ‘mental patch’ for the unanswerable queries of life (i.e. its origins, purpose, suffering and death), but man’s restless soul is only naturally fulfilled by this dimension. A piano, as any stringed instrument, left on its own will eventually start to go off tune. No matter how one may try to ‘widow’ the proper pitch of each string, it will eventually lose its original note. Logically, one will resort to someone who possesses the expertise and the tools to make the instrument sound as it should.
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St. Augustine using the analogy of the lyre says: “‘Whosoever wants to be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ Let him not set down his psaltery, let him not set down his timbrel, let him stretch himself out on the wood, and be dried from the lust of the flesh. (St. Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 149) Our life is stretched into the proper spiritual tone when it submits itself to the discipline of prayer, sacrifice and also with the proper guide and demands placed by a prudent director. This instrument of God will tune the chords of our virtues, refine the melody of our prayer and tighten our resolutions in our personal

examination. Augustine continues, “The more the strings are stretched, the more sharply do they sound. The Apostle Paul then, in order that his psaltery might sound sharply, what said he? ‘Stretching forth unto those things which are before,’ etc. He stretched himself: Christ touched him; and the sweetness of truth sounded. (Ibid.)” When we dispose our souls to the guidance of a ‘spiritual tuner’, he then sets us in the presence of the Lord who will bring out a beautiful daily harmony from the virtues of faith, hope and love and thus allow us to constantly give glory to God, the Church and all souls.

sus Christ’s ascension to heaven. Tagle said that the ascension, which occurs every 40 days after Christ’s resurrection, is the manifestation of the Lord’s undying presence on earth and the actualization of human salvation. “The ascension of Jesus is not a separation from us. It is not the end or termination of His mission. Sa kanyang pag-akyat sa langit sa piling ng Ama, lalo siyang naging present sa atin,” he said. “Sa piling ng kanyang Ama, tuloy ang kanyang mi syon, tuloy ang kanyang pagmamahal sa atin.” He added that the period of ascension signifies the “descending of evangelizers” to the world, further reminding the faithful of their responsibility to act as missionaries of Christ. “Yung pagkakasakatuparan ng ating pagiging misyonero ay
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ang patuloy na pananahan sa atin ni Hesus. Through us and in the power of the spirit, Jesus will continue preaching the word of God’s love,” the prelate said. According to him, physical separation does not affect the connection between humans and the Divine as closeness with the Lord transcends all earthly boundaries. “Kapag ikaw ay nasa piling ng Diyos, hindi ka malalayo sa piling ng kapwa. He who is present with God is fully present and is most present in the world and in history,” Tagle said. The prelate added that the mystery of the life of Christ cleansed the sinfulness of humanity by giving hope towards possessing a renewed life. “Tayong mga makasalanan ay kailangang isumpa. Salamat na lamang sa muling pagkabuhay ni Hesus at may pag-asa tayo,” he said. (Jennifer Orillaza)

d) Election Conduct (covers Conscience & Commitment to a Catholic vision): 26. Does not use Guns, Goons, Gold (excessive money) during campaign 27. Does not use or engage in Vote-buying 28. Does not resort to lies, black propaganda, manipulation? 29. Follow election laws 30. Treat opposing candidates fairly and with respect 31. Does not use government properties during campaign e) Reputation (Competence, Conscience & Commitment to a

Catholic vision): 32. Has Education & Talent for the position 33. Has Training or Experience for the position 34. Has good track record of service 35. No criminal cases 36. No unexplained wealth 37. No major personal, family controversies 38. Has no association with dark, questionable personalities within/outside of politics 39. Has not done anything against the interests of a community or the Filipino people 40. Always pursues the common good over his personal

interests 41. A person of word of honor 42. Known to be honest / not corrupt 43. Known to fight for the Truth & what is Right; and 44. General public perception is that he/she is a Good Filipino. The challenge, of course, is securing good and verifiable information for the circles to base their judgment. Sources of information include media, advocacy groups, church network, etc. Circles of discernment need to assess the veracity of reports and allega-

tions. This requires the capacity to suspend judgment and raise further questions. Participants must learn to disagree agreeably. This is a tedious process of conscience formation in the context of shared discernment. Consensus building is not easy. But there is no other way in a democracy. For the sake of the country and church, let us come together to change ourselves and the Philippines one step at a time. (For more info on SV pls. visit (www. solidarityvote.com).

certification to the poll body amid the former’s continued legal dispute with Smartmatic International. This had prompted Brillantes to initiate tripartite negotiations with Smartmatic and Dominion to resolve the problem. The source code is defined as the human readable instructions that define what the computer equipment will do. Dizon blames no other but Comelec since it insisted the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines anew like in 2010.

“The problem with the source code review could have been avoided had the Comelec disallowed private and foreign corporations to run the Philippine elections,” he said. The group, then, renewed its call on the public to remain vigilant in the wake of the incapability of the Comelec to ensure the credibility of the elections. Kontra Daya also said the public must continue pressuring the Comelec to ensure that the minimum safeguards to protect the integrity of the automated elections. (CBCPNews)

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April 29 - May 12, 2013

Diocesan News
and back to the grandstand, where the awarding will be held,” he told YouthPinoy in an interview. “Whatever will be raised from the runway benefit run will be used to fund the participation cost of the three delegates from the parish here in Fernando Air Base,” he added. As per ECY-Philippines delegation secretariat, each WYD delegate have to shell out $465 as registration cost and participation cost for the Missionary Week and the WYD week, which will be held from July 17 to 28 in Brazil. This is apart from the cost to travel from Manila to Rio de Jainero, which is estimated to cost $2,300 to $3,000 each pilgrim. “We are confident that the proceeds of our activity will be able to cover our participation cost but not the fare. We will have to organize other fundraising activity such as merchandising and solicitations for the transportation cost,” Garcia added. Apart from the runway benefit run, the MOP subgroup also started selling t-shirts, mugs and religious articles at parishes in military camps to help raise funds for its members’ pilgrimage. In Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Jonathan Florino launched “Pondo for Youth,” a fundraising project that entails the merchandising of mugs worth P150 and t-shirts priced at P280 each. Florino leads a group of seven delegates from the MOP who will go to the WYD in July under the ECY-Philippines delegation. Their sub-group consists of a priest, four young people from the Lipa Air Base in Batangas and two from Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. “Merchandising was actually my idea. Selling those items is one of our options (to raise funds for our pilgrimage),” he said. “Our diocese will not be able to support us finan cially so we need to raise the amount required (by ourselves),” he added. Florino shared that he initially planned on selling the mugs and t-shirts to different military camps in Metro Manila but was constrained due to limited manpower. “I started merchandising at the Shrine of St. Therese in Villamor where I am based. I started last Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The sale is surprisingly ok,” he said. Florino advised other WYD pilgrims to try merchandising and other cre ative ways to raise funds for their pilgrimage. “Time really flies so fast and it’s only three months to go before the WYD. We need to work double time in raising our funds so we should seriously study possible fundraising means,” he added. He also encouraged pil grims whose spirits are dampened because of unsuccessful fundraising projects to continue their effort. “It is normal to feel discouraged because of unsuccessful efforts. I also feel that sometimes but I cling to prayers and my faith in God, knowing that He will always provide what we need in His time,” he said. “If your fundraising doesn’t succeed, there will be a reason for it. At least we have tried and did what we could do,” Florino added. As of press time, only 16 groups or 211 individual pilgrims expressed intention to join the WYD under the ECY-Philippines delegation. Being the official country delegation, ECY-Philippines delegation is considered to be the biggest Filipino contingent based on pilgrim numbers during the past WYDs. (YouthPinoy)

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Fundraising WYD delegates organize ‘runway’ benefit race
LIPA CITY, Batangas—Deviating from the normal fun runs held along major thoroughfares, expressways or highways, a group of World Youth Day (WYD) delegates from this city has organized a benefit race along an airport runway to help fund their pilgrimage. Members of the Military Ordinariate of the Philip pines (MOP) WYD delegation have conducted their fundraising race along the runway of the Fernando Air Base in this city on April 28, in a bid to generate interest among race enthusiasts and eventually generate funds to cover the cost of their WYD participation. The MOP is a subgroup under the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY)Philippines delegation to the WYD. MOP subgroup assistant leader Dion Garcia said the registration for 1-kilometer only cost P150, 3-kilometer for P250, 5-kilometer for P350, and 10-kilometer for P450. “The race will start along the airport runway. Since the runway is short, run ners will run the rest of the race along designated routes passing by military offices, the grandstand, the housing village of military personnel

Briefing
San Carlos diocese holds regional youth day

Parish lay leaders running for May election need not resign, Laguna Bishop says
SAN PABLO City— Laguna Bishop Buenaventura Famadico told parish priests, religious and members of the Laguna Clergy to allow their parish lay leaders to run for elective positions this coming May 13 elections without asking them to file their courtesy resignations. Speaking before the Clergy during their monthly assembly last April 15 in this city, Famadico said the domain of partisan politics rightly belongs to the laity hence there is nothing wrong if they run for office even if they are actively holding positions in the Church. He told about 200 priests and religious that the Church as an institution encourages Catholics who have leadership potentials to run for office in government but he warns them not to campaign while performing their Church functions inside the Church premises. The bishop, however, cautions those Catholics running for office and campaigning for the coming elections not to join the Church-backed Parish Pastoral Council For Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and NAMFREL (National
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Movement for Free Election), to protect the impartiality and objectivity of the organization. There are more than 80 parishes in the Diocese of San Pablo Laguna and more than 2.6 million Catholic constituencies, according to the latest Catholic Directory of the Philippines. The prelate also warned parish priests and religious to avoid being partisan. Their role during the elections is to provide moral guidance to voter church-goers, to for worthy candidates using their consciences with freedom from coercion. Famadico told priests to refrain from openly naming names to endorse candidates as this constitutes partisanship and this is not good for the Church, which is an institution that symbolizes unity in society. Meanwhile, the bishop in a pastoral letter read on April 21 (Good Shepherd Sunday) in all Churches all over Laguna has formulated GUIDELINES to electorates in choosing candidates during the elections. He coined the word BAYANI as an acronym for steps in selecting candidates:

B- means Bumoto ayon sa dikta ng konsensiya na hinubog ayon sa turo ng Diyos at Simbahan (Vote according to the dictates of conscience based on the teachings of God and the Church); A- means Alamin at Kilatisin ang kandidatong dapat ihalal ayon sa kakayahan, paninindigan at pananampalataya (know and scrutinize candidates according to their capabilities, moral stand and religion); Y- means Yakapin ang mga kandidatong naninindigan para sa buhay, kasal, pamilya at kalikasan (prefer candidates who commits to protect life, Sacrament of Marriage, family and environment); A- means Alagaan ang kabanalan ng iyong boto (protect the sanctity of your own vote); N- means Nawa ay ipanalangin natin ang isang malinis, mapayapa at maayos na eleksyon (pray for the clean, peaceful and orderly elections); and finally I- means Ikaw at ako ang BAGONG BAYANI na magtataguyod na mga ito (You and me are the new heroes who will fulfill all these). (Fr. Romy Ponte)

SAN CARLOS City— San Carlos diocese played host to the regional youth day held from April 15 to 18, which was attended by participants from dioceses in Western Visayas and Romblon. Themed “Youth: People of Hope, One in Faith Serving in Love, through the Eucharist”, the event aimed to deepen the participants’ understanding on the virtues of hope, faith and love and in appreciating the essence of the Eucharist as the central sacrament of the Catholic Church and the core of its public worship. The occasion also served as an occasion to gather the youth as one body united in a journey towards intimacy with Christ and the church’s response to sustain the needs of the youth, to foster solidarity and collaboration among them and the youth and ministers within the region. (Adsum Bacolod)
21st CLSP National Convention held in Bacolod

BACOLOD City—The 21st National Convention for the Canon Law Society of the Philippines (CLSP) was held at the Planta Centro Bacolod Hotel and Restaurant, Bacolod City from April 8 to 11. Around 80 Canon Lawyers and representatives from all over the Philippines attended the convention centered on the theme “Keeping the faith in the Year of Faith”. CLSP is an association of Canon lawyers, mostly priests but not exclusively. Its membership admits those who have knowledge, practice and interest in canon law and may be classified as principal, associate or honorary members. (Adsum Bacolod)
Youth empowerment camp focuses on Faith

hearts—whistleblowers. “So much needs to be done. Let not our hope be shattered and our dreams turned into nightmares,” the AMRSP said. “We are now in the third year of Aquino’s term and it is time we ask ourselves so many questions: Akin to the question, “Which way Lord?”, we ask those in authority: Where is this government leading us?” it said. It is so far the strongest statement of the AMRSP, which has been at the forefront in all the political upheavals in the country since the Martial Law years, against the Aquino administration. The only positive remark the organization had for the government is the effort of some agencies in fighting corruption, like the departments of Public Works and Highways, Education, Justice, and others. “[But] we were saddened with the news of continuing corruption and abuse on the use of public funds by some congressmen and senators,” the statement further read. “We hold him to his promise of change. While it is true that there has been headway in the fight against corruption, much more remains to be done.”
Vocation / A1

“No big fish has been convicted since 2010 and with the way the tentacles of the corrupt have stymied the judicial process, PNoy’s term might be over and the cases will still languish at the courts,” it added. While Malacañang flaunts a supposed robust economy, the AMRSP also scored the “grinding poverty, agrarian unrest, assaults of integrity of creation, the trafficking of our women and children”. They reminded the government that governance is not only a fight against corruption but also the delivery of basic services especially to the poor. Violence, impunity The religious noted that while they are thankful that some laws on human rights have been passed, they are saddened by the continuing of violence and impunity. According to them, day by day in so many places, unabated killings take place “as if it were the most normal thing to happen in a civilized and Christian country like ours.” “We raise our voices with the victims of extrajudicial killings whose numbers are on the rise each day,” the AMRSP said. “What do these killings

mean? Is there still a rule of law? Are we back to the former days of anarchy— when the law of guns, influence and money ruled? Is this what Daang Matuwid means? Where is this government leading us? Where are we going?” it also said. DAR leadership revamp Denouncing the slow implementation of the Com prehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the AMRSP called on the government to re vamp the leadership of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). More than 80 bishops earlier appealed to Aquino to replace DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes for his alleged dismal performance to implement CARP. “Together with the farmers, we doubt the effectiveness of the leadership in the Department of Agrarian Reform,” they said. “We enjoin, therefore, the Administration to listen to the plea of the farmers and the CBCP that the DAR leadership be replaced to ensure effective implementation of the most important social justice program of governance, which is agrarian reform and land distribution.” “If ‘daang matuwid’ is sincere in fulfilling its promise;

then, the PNoy government must give out the lands now, including his family’s very own Hacienda Luisita,” they stressed. Aquino’s indifference The AMRSP is known for providing sanctuary to whistleblowers like Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, star witness in the aborted $329-million national broadband network deal with China’s ZTE Corp. Lozada is currently facing graft charges for allegedly granting leasehold rights over public lands to his brother and to a private firm with connections to him and his wife when he was head of the Philippine Forest Corp. in 2007. “We are saddened, by the way the PNoy administration is treating the case of Jun Lozada. It is unthinkable to imagine that Jun’s heroic act that has put him and his family, not only in danger, but in a state of continuous dislocation would be in vain,” according to the AMRSP. “We cannot go back to “business as usual” simply because “higher-up” officials want to get back at Jun. We cannot understand the indifference that the PNoy government is showing about Jun Lozada,” they lamented. (RL/CBCPNews)

SAN PABLO City—Still in line with the celebration of the Year of Faith, the commission on youth of San Pablo diocese in Laguna will hold its 10th edition of the Youth Empowerment Summer (YES) camp aimed at helping young people of the diocese to deepen their appreciation and understanding of the Catholic faith on May 2 to 5. Themed “FIDES: One God, One Faith, One Diocese,” the camp will apply the module of FIDES— the Latin word for faith and stands for Fidelity of Christ, Integrity of Christ, Divinity of Christ, Ecclesiology of Christ and Soteriology of Christ. The module comprises sessions, talks and activities that would help participants re-affirm their Catholic beliefs. Hosted by the district 4 youth commission, the event will be held at the St. Peter of Alcantara Parish in Pakil, Laguna with Liceo de Pakil as its main Catechetical site. (Jandel Posion)
Pasig organizes cycling activity for CHAMP elections

PASIG City—To ensure a Clean, Honest, Accountable, Meaningful and Peaceful (CHAMP) midterm poll, the diocese of Pasig initiated a diocesan event to remind the faithful to vote wisely in the forthcoming election. Titled “Bike for CHAMP 2013 Election,” the May 1 event was also part of their voters’ education campaign on the road carrying the slogan “I Choose God, I Vote Good!” The cycling event started at 5am in front of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Pasig en route to Pasig, Pateros and Taguig and ended at the Pasig Catholic College with a Mass led by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara. (Jandel Posion)
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1970 and Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995. Like the Olympic Games, the International Eucharistic Congress is only held every four years. The Congress aims to promote awareness of the Eucharist in the life
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and mission of the Church, to improve understanding and celebration of the liturgy, and to draw to the social dimension of the Eucharist. The last time the Philippines hosted the IEC was in 1937 in Manila during the time of Pope Pius XI. (CBCPNews)

cerns in the area of vocation promotion in the country. The Holy Mass on the first day, April 8, was celebrated by Kalibo Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc, who talked about “The Image of the Filipino Diocesan Clergy Today.” Antique Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo, on the other hand, explained “The Relevance of the Year of Faith to the Philippine Catholic Church.”

To wrap the conference up, the last homily on April 10 fittingly featured the “Conclusions and Rec ommendations of the Conference and the Call of the Year of Faith to Arch/Diocesan Vocation Directors”, given by new Imus Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista. The participants were also given time to discuss the challenges they have personally encountered in their

respective arch/dioceses in a small group workshop facilitated by Directors of Vocations in the Philippines (DVP) National Coordinator Fr. Rochester Charles Resuello and DVP National Secretary for Religious Men, Fr. Alfredo Maglangit, Jr. The conference was held from April 8–11 in Casa Pilar Beach Re sort, Malay, Aklan. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

they give some light and impulse, and they can condition and exert some influence on the different aspects of our life, but they are in need to be rooted on an absolute, permanent ground—the terra firma who is God. Fidelity requires of us nothing less than the genuine impulse of love, the love that ultimately comes from God, the author, pattern and end of love. It requires an intimate relation with God. When a couple’s love refuses to conform itself to this love, and prefers to linger on the bodily aspects of love, or some other considerations only, fidelity may survive more of an accident than by intention. Same with those engaged in other fields of human endeavors—business, politics, academics, culture, philosophy, theology, etc. If their main inspiration is not God, but something or someone else, they will go wayward sooner or later. This love of God is something we can always have, if we are open to it in the first place, and then work hard to keep it. There will be difficulties, of course, but none that could not be overcome if

we just keep our faith and love for God. This love of God is expressed first when springing from our faith in God we obey his commandments, even if such commandments may give us temporary difficulties. It is developed by having recourse to God in the sacraments themselves and in abiding prayer. This matter about prayer should be understood well, because many misconceptions distort its real character. Prayer is simply keeping our mind and heart in God’s presence, allowing them to act and interact with God according the circumstances of the moment. This is how we can keep ourselves vitally strong and dynamic, giving us a good vision of things and the capacity to discern what God really wants of us, especially when we are faced with many so-called legitimate but competing choices, tempting us to be promiscuous. This is how can be truly faithful, enjoying a sense of meaning and direction in our life, a sense of confidence and security amid the many vagaries of life. We need to cultivate and spread this lifestyle and culture.

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THE art of listening is essential for one’s faith to deepen and grow, a bishop told thousands of young people gathered for a pilgrimage last April 18-20. “Faith grows if only you listen attentively without judgment,” Cabanatuan bishop Sofronio Bancud said during his homily at the opening of the 7th Central Luzon Youth Pilgrimage (CLYP). Almost 2,000 young people from the archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga and the dioceses of Balanga in Bataan, Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, Iba in Zambales, Malolos in Bulacan, San Jose in Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac, attended the youth pilgrimage which was held at the Nueva Ecija Col leges Gymnasium and College of Immaculate ConceptionCabanatuan (CIC). Bancud reminded young people to listen to each other’s stories and refrain from passing any judgment on one another. “If we only learn to listen at-

People, Facts & Places
tentively without any judgment, listen to each other’s story, there we can see that these stories resonates with our own personal stories which is the longing of the heart. It will also [serve] as a way of growing in our faith,” Bancud said. Pilgrimage activities On the first day of the event, some members of the Union of Marian Devotees and a host of the Radyo Veritas program Kateks shared topics on how to deepen the devotion to Mother Mary and defend the Catholic faith. Aside from talks, sessions and workshops, outreach programs— such as feeding programs, clean-up drives, aca demic tutorials, catechism and others—also took place during the event. A pilgrimage walk was or ganized from Cabanatuan City Hall to the College of Immaculate Conception grounds on the second day. Taize prayer was Referring to the pilgrimage theme “Go and Make Disciples of All Nations,” Mallari stressed that before the youth can propagate their task, each one should go and make disciples of all nations with the Holy Spirit with them. At the end of the event, it was announced that the Archdiocese of San Fernando in Pampanga will host the 8thCLYP event. A symbolic passing of the Regional Youth Cross by young people of Cabanatuan to the youth of the San Fernando was done. Foster families Pilgrims were accommodated by host parishes where they were welcomed by their foster families who accommodated them during the youth pilgrimage. Yolanda del Rosario from Cabanatuan City said she agreed to be a foster parent because she and her twin granddaughters are the only ones living in their household since her

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April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 09

Listen without judgment, bishop reminds youth
children is working in Manila and abroad. “I’m delighted that I can accommodate young people even for only two days. It was like having two new daughters that I can take care of and offer to them what I have,” del Rosario said. Marrashane Quiambao of Tarlac and Jemicah Rivera of San Fernando were the foster children of del Rosario. “We are happy and even if we just have been with her for two days, we felt that we were like her real daughters. In return, we also treated her as our mother. With just two days, we learned to respect each other and we will never ever forget her,” Quiambao and Rivera said. The Central Luzon Youth Pilgrimage was initiated on 1997 and held every two years to gather young people in the region for a meaningful and passionate encounter with Christ and also with their fellow youth. (Jandel Posion/Ryan Rayos)

Young people praise and worship God during a pilgrimage hosted by the Diocese of Cabanatuan last April 18-20.

also held followed by the cultural night. The cultural night titled “Gabi ng Gitnang Luzon” at the CIC Magnificat Center showcased the participants’ cultural and festival presentations of their respective provinces/ dioceses.

Culmination mass The event culminated with a mass celebrated by San Jose, Nueva Ecija bishop Roberto Mallari who urged pilgrims to accept the Holy Spirit. “If the Holy Spirit is with each one of us, we can be united with our differences,” Mallari said.

Int’l volunteers get ‘spiritually fit’ for WYD
WITH three months to go before the World Youth Day in Brazil, the first agenda for WYD international volunteers from the Philippines is to prepare spiritually for a journey that will not only take them thousands of miles away from home, but also nearer their own hearts. According to Lea Dasigan, a member of the Episcopal Commission on Youth–Delegation Secretariat in charge of the international volunteers, the formation of the volunteers, which started last April 14, aims to help the volunteers attune themselves more to God’s will for them individually. “Yung iba klaro na (For some, it is clear) what they are looking for, ‘yung iba aminado na (some admit) they are still searching about the plan of God for them…Hopefully the WYD will help them realize what they are looking for,” Dasigan explained. Last April 14, eight official international volunteers from Batangas, Manila and Pasig attended the first formation session, which included Lectio Divina and faith sharing on John 1:35-39, the passage where Jesus invites some of the disciples to “come and see” where He lived. Dasigan explained how the sharing also revealed more about the reality of being part of WYD. “It is not by chance that they are the volunteers of WYD. It is actually God inviting them to ‘come and see’,” she added. The WYD organizers in Brazil have officially recognized some 135 international volunteers from the Philippines. (Nirva'ana Ella Delacruz)

Dominican Youth hold lectures on Year of Faith, leadership training
MORE than 150 members of the Dominican Network (DomNet) Youth Group celebrated the first week of Easter with a summer camp, highlighting lectures on the Year of Faith and leadership training seminars. Held from April 3 to 7 at the Angelicum School in Iloilo, the annual affair was participated by 29 Dominican schools from across the country. In an interview, Fr. Christopher Jeffrey Aytona, OP, national adviser of the DomNet Youth Group, said the event aimed to introduce guiding principles in the decision-making of young leaders, especially in these crucial times when state policies, such as the Reproductive Health Law, are directed to challenge life. “More than just telling them what is right and what is wrong, we want to equip the youth with the perspective they need to decide for themselves conscientiously,” the adviser said. Aytona, who delivered two lectures during the camp, stressed that sins against life derail a person from the path of being truly happy. “We can only be happy if we are graced by God, and life is one of His graces,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Fr. Christopher Jeffrey Aytona, OP

The Dominican Network youth group comprising 29 Dominican schools in the country held their annual summer camp in Iloilo last April 3-7.

Weekly pilgrimage to ‘Tambayan ni Pedro’ launched
EVERY Friday, as a weekly pilgrimage, Cebuano youth will spend time in the same place St. Pedro Calungsod loved so much – the church, serving in the Holy Mass. Youth from eight districts of the Archdiocese will gather weekly every 6 o’clock at the San Pedro Calungsod Youth Center (SPCYC) right beside Youth listen to a speaker during one of the Friday gatherings the Cebu Metropolitan at the ‘Tambayan ni Pedro’. Cathedral for a “youthful celebration centered on the Holy Eucha- dinal Vidal also named the SPCYC as rist in honor of San Pedro Calungsod.” the new ‘tambayan’ of the ‘Barkada ni According to Marlito Cabigas, Pedro’, an online community that aims member of the Cebu Commission on to promote intercessory prayer, based Youth (COY) core group, it is called on a love and service of others as shown ‘Tambayan ni Pedro’ because San by St. Pedro’s example. Cabigas, one of the organizers of Pedro Calungsod’s favourite hangout was the Holy Mass, since he the event, encouraged all the faithful was asacristan (altar boy) for much to take part in the weekly gathering, saying, “All the devotees of San Pedro of his life. An initiative of the COY, the pilgrim- Calungsod, both young ones and once age aims to encourage young Catholics young, are very welcome to participate to have the same love for the Eucharist in this pilgrimage. ‘Barkada ni Pedro’ (www.facebook. as the young Calungsod did. com/barkadanipedro) is also open for the prayer requests of those living outOnline prayer requests Archbishop-Emeritus Ricardo Car- side Cebu. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Photo courtesy of Nirva’ana Delacruz

Meanwhile, this year’s leadership training was facilitated with the help of the Catalyst, the outreach, advocacy, and leadership organization of the University of Asia and the Pacific. The DomNet Youth Group was established in 1995, soon after Dominican schools in the country started cooperation in the same year to facilitate in the sharing of resources and expertise in the different fields of endeavors.

CLYP 2013 Docu Team

Since the formation of the youth group, an annual national gathering has been held in different locations in the country to plan activities and to train leaders in accordance to the group’s vision-mission, which is focused on “the passion for truth, compassion for humanity, and devotion to the Word of God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the Rosary.” (CBCPNews)

Student movement elects new council leaders
WITH the election of the Archdiocesan Council of the Student Catholic Action (SCA) recently held, leaders from its units in the Archdiocese of Manila are hopeful about the future of the 77year old student movement. According to the Cyril Ryan Lituañas, who spoke in behalf of the SCAP Na tional Secretariat, “The election is timely, since this is the first time for many years that a good number of units are pres ent in a gathering.” On April 21, the following council members were elected: Philippine Normal University (PNU) as Chairperson, De La Salle University (DLSU) as Vice Chairperson, College of the Holy Spirit Manila (CHSM) as Secretary, San Beda College (SBC) as Treasurer, and Centro Escolar University (CEU) as Public Relations Officer (PRO). The SCAP Opera tions Manual explains that the council “represents the movement to their respective Arch/diocesan Youth Commission.” SCAns see this new movement as indicative of a new spirit that will energize an organization that has seen flagging enthusiasm because of a lack of coordination among college units. Paolo Pastrana of PNU said shortly after the election, “I hope for the unity of all SCA units in Manila, that we may feel the movement under one banner, Christ.” The council’s role re mains crucial as it “determines the particular thrust of SCA for a given year, gather reports on the state of the various units, help plan and evaluate special projects in the arch/dioc esan level.” The election was done on the last day of a three-day summer training held April 19–21, which was attended by different college unit leaders, as well as a representative from the public high school units. SCA leaders also presented their unit plans for the school year 2013-2014 during the threeday gathering. Facilitated by the SCAPhilippines (SCAP) National Secretariat, the Basic Orientation Workshop is the third phase before becoming a full-fledged SCA member. The training was held at the Bahay-SCAn Forma tion Center, Tagaytay City. (Mark Vertido/Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

9th JP2 confab focuses on youth as agents of New Evangelization
THE CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) is urging youth ministers and catechists in the parishes, campuses and various movements and organizations to attend the 9th John Paul II Catechetics and Youth Ministry Conference organized by the Salesians of Don Bosco next month. Themed “New Evangelization with the Young at Home and in Social Media,” the conference scheduled on May 15 to 17 at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City aims to promote the youth as agents of New Evangelization. “The Conference has chosen to situate the New Evangelization with the young in these two contexts because the youth are born in the family that resides in the digital world today. The young are both home members and digital natives. Both home and social media are primary places for the young to learn and experience relationships. At home they learn to value privacy; in social media they learn to live in public. Catechists and youth ministers in New Evangelization have to be up to the challenges today’s young offer them as the latter are influenced much by the values prevailing at home and communicated in subtle ways in social media,” the organizers said. Organizers hope that participants of the conference will imbibe the spirit of New Evangelization, which Blessed John Paul II already expressed in 1983 when he asked the Bishops of Latin America to commit themselves “not to re-evangelization, but to a new evangelization, new in ardor, methods, and expression.” “The theme also looks at the young in the important contexts of their life: their family (homes) and the digital world (social media). Hence this 9th JP II CYM Conference has the following specific issues to study, reflect, pray, and celebrate: new evangelization (NE), the young as evangelizers of NE, and the family and social media as the primary contexts of the young in the NE,” the organizers said. For information about the conference and cost of registration, interested participants are enjoined to visit http:// www.blessedjp2cymc.com/. For the CBCP-ECY’s part, Fr. Conegundo Garganta thanked Salesians of Don Bosco for organizing a formative occasion for pastoral workers and youth ministers to deepen their faith and to enhance their capacity for the ministry. “The ECY is grateful to the Salesians for organizing this for the benefit of our Church workers, especially those in youth ministry,” he said. “We trust that you will take this opportunity, and that you will also share this information and invitation to your networks for their benefit,” Garganta said in a letter of invitation sent to diocesan youth directors, coordinators and leaders, and organizations belonging to the Federation of National Youth Organizations, and youth or campus ministers. (YouthPinoy)

Vicariate youth leaders gather for leadership workshop
FIFTY youth leaders from five parishes of the Our Lady of Lourdes Vicariate Youth Ministry in the diocese of Novaliches gathered for a leadership workshop at the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Camarin, Caloocan City on April 20. Organized by the iLead program of the Commission on Youth of Novaliches (COY Nova) and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) Leadership Journey Alumni, the activity helped youth leaders train as a model leader, strengthen camaraderie among them and animate the vicariate youth ministry. Dubbed “iLead, iLove, Leadership Workshop for Youths in the Church” and themed “A Call to Leadership is a Call to Love,” the whole day activity had games, small group discussion, plenary reporting, and big group sharing. The workshop sessions focused on topics such as “what a journey it has been, God loves me, sharing God’s love, and moving forward.” Speakers were Joy Critica, Yssa Lagrama, and Rachel Santos, all graduates of NCAF Leadership Journey. Alloy Peralta, iLead program coordinator explained that the conferences, particularly session one focused on a game that was modified into “pera o bayong”, the goal of which was for participants to realize their roles as children, friend, student, youth and Church server. Session 2 talked about the reflection point during the first small group discussion which focused on their experiences such as good or bad roles with the common denominator—that of participants affirming they feel God is with them always. Part 2 of the same session had a unique twist where youth participants wrote a letter to God and after, nailed it to the diocesan youth cross with a brief prayer. Session 3 discussed about God’s love where the speaker, Rachel Santos shared her own experience of God’s love operating in her life that led her to volunteer as a youth missionary for six months. In the last small group discussion and activity, participants wrote on ribbons provided, the things and ways they can share God’s love to others, which afterwards they tied to the cross. The activity culminated with a vicariate planning where youth leaders discussed concrete ways on how to share God’s love within the vicariate, particularly to the young people. Participating parishes were the Epiphany of the Lord Parish, Mary Mother of the Church Parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, and Saint Agnes Parish. (Jandel Posion)

Dominicans hold confab on preaching
THE Dominican Province of the Philippines held a threeday conference on the conventional and new preaching methods geared to respond to the Church’s call for new evangelization. Called “Praedicare,” the three-day conference was held from April 30 to May 2 at the Institute of Preaching, in Sto. Domingo Compound, Quezon City. The summit was high lighted with the conferment of the Domingo de Salazar Preaching Award to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle who pre sided the event’s opening Mass. The Domingo de Salazar Preaching Award is given in honor of the first bishop of Manila in 1579 to an outstanding non-Domin ican preacher. Tagle was the first recipient of the award. Speakers for the three-day confab were Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC, a Hall-of-Famer in the Catholic Mass Media Awards for best website; inspirational speaker and bestselling author Michael Angelo Lobrin; Sr. Mary Epifania Brasil, OP, superior of the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii; youth pastor Ryan Tan; and distinguished Filipino preacher Fr. Enrico Gonzales, OP. Representatives from the Light of Jesus Community and the Philippine Educational Theater Association also facilitated sessions on preaching “the feast way” and in theater, respectively. (Fr. Christopher Jeffrey Aytona)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 9
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Pastoral Concerns

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CBCP Pastoral Exhortation on the Celebration of the National Consecration of our People and our Beloved Land as ‘Isang Bayang Sumisinta kay Maria’ on June 8, 2013, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Beloved People of God in the Philippines: A few months ago, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) with the Pastoral Message, “Live Christ, Share Christ!, Looking Forward to our Fifth Century of the Coming of Christianity,” set in motion our observance of the “Year of Faith” (YF) in the Church in our country, as well as fostering of “The New Evangelization” (NE) proclaimed by the Holy See. Our past months have been marked by the joyous canonization (21 October 2012) of San Pedro Calungsod; by the October 2012 Bishops’ Synod held in Rome on the New Evangelization (NE), and—just now—the recent election of Pope Francis to succeed Pope Benedict XVI who—out of his loving and noble concern for the greater good of the Church resigned for reasons of age and failing health. Tied up with this succession of remarkable events, we have noted a notable increase in interest and even enthusiasm regarding “what’s new in the life of the Church” among our Catholic people. We take all this as also a sign of the Holy Spirit’s inspiring of our communities, and it adds greatly to our sense of Easter joy. As a notable event in our own Year of Faith, we have already announced that the CBCP has marked 8 June 2013 as a day of a nationwide National Consecration by our Catholic Faithful of our people and our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The CBCP has directed and urged all our dioceses and parishes, schools and other institutions, even all our families, of course, – to offer solemnly a joint public act of entrustment to the Blessed Mother, Mother of our people and our country. We wish to do this as truly one people, “from Aparri to Jolo”: formally re-affirming that our country is indeed “pueblo amante de Maria” – bayang sumisinta kay Maria: a people truly loving Mary the Mother of Jesus the Lord, a people in a true sense “made one” by this love and devotion which we bear, by God’s great gift, to the Mother of God. This solemn act of entrustment and consecration, we have said, is part of our Year of Faith observance, and part of the nineyear (“novena”) preparation for the 2021 celebration of the coming of the Christian Faith to our land in 1521 – five hundred years ago. But we hold in our minds and hearts even deeper grounds for this significant forthcoming event. Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary We have before us the acts of entrustment of the world, of all its peoples and nations, by Popes of our time, from Pope Pius XII in 1942, to Blessed Pope John Paul II, who five times during his long pontificate made and renewed this placing of all of humankind under the mantle of the Blessed Mother, consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This entrustment was inspired by Our blessed Lady’s words to the children of Fatima and the enduring message of Our Lady, still truly relevant for our time. (Pope Benedict XVI). Our Lady promised that this consecration, freely and firmly offered, would bring grace for conversion from sin and of sinners, protection from the “menace of evil and war; from sins against life and the dignity of God’s children; from every kind of injustice and trampling of God’s commandments; from “the sin of the world, sin in all its manifestations ...” (John Paul II’s prayer, 1984) Memorably for us, our Philippine Bishops, representing all of us Catholics in our land—all joined Pope John Paul II—who in Rome, before an image of Our Lady of Fatima—and with him all the Catholic Bishops of the world in their own dioceses, offered the world-wide Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 25 March 1984. D u r i n g an entire “Bimillennium Marian Year”, beginning 8 December 1984 and culminating on same date in 1985, we begged our Blessed Mother’s intercession to bring us true freedom and peace, at a time when our people were undergoing great stress and suffering and near-hopelessness under the dictatorship. The “peaceful People Power Revolution” of February 1986 came as God’s answer to our prayers and longings—so we are convinced— through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Memorably again, on 3 December 1987, as an act of joyous thanksgiving, we renewed our Consecration to the Two Hearts, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and his Mother’s Immaculate Heart, led in our name by Cardinals Jaime Sin and Ricardo Vidal. More recently, our Bishops, responding to our Filipino lay Catholics’ initiative, opened (on 19 June 2009) a “Year of Renewal, of Consecration and Commitment offered to the Two Hearts,” and ended it solemnly with an Act of Consecration to the Heart of Jesus and also to the Heart of Mary, 11 June 2010. We are certain much protection from harm, distress and evil were given to us through the graciousness of the “Two Hearts”. Peaceful elections were held in May 2010, and a new administration installed, with peaceful and orderly transition. Looking at our Present Context As the Year of Faith moves forward, we know that there are several situations of trouble and conflict in our part of the world. It suffices to name some areas: the “two Koreas”, Sabah, and the West Philippine Sea. Within our nation, we know also that there are positive gains: the widely recognized present economic upturn under our present government’s policies and programs; equally recognized improvements and progress in governance, in health care, in anti-poverty and proeducation endeavors; sincere efforts at diminishing corruption, and more. We are told by surveys also that genuine hopes for a better future have recently risen among our people. Yes, there is new hope. Yet, just as truly, there remain not a few dark and shadow areas too, like the ongoing violence and conflicts in Mindanao; also the ongoing decades-old Communist-led revolutionary movement; the persistent joblessness that daily sends hundreds, even thousands, of our countrymen abroad in search of employment, the unabated wanton destruction of remaining natural resources. There are also the recent bitter controversies regarding legislation on “reproductive health”; the threat of more bills in Congress to legalize practices which our Catholic moral doctrine holds as contrary to divine law; the manifestations of a spreading relativistic mindset in some sectors of our society (the “dictatorship of relativism” reaching even us) and its effects in our own changing lifestyles. And of course, next May, we will have the coming national and local elections. We all know that amongst us, election-periods
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‘Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization.’
(Papal Message for the 47th World Communications Day, May 12, 2013)
DEAR Brothers and Sisters, As the 2013 World Communications Day draws near, I would like to offer you some reflections on an increasingly important reality regarding the way in which people today communicate among themselves. I wish to consider the development of digital social networks which are helping to create 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. These spaces, when engaged in a wise and balanced way, help to foster forms of dialogue and debate which, if conducted respectfully and with concern for privacy, responsibility and truthfulness, can reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family. The exchange of information can become true communication, links ripen into friendships, and connections facilitate communion. If the networks are called to realize this great potential, the people involved in them must make an effort to be authentic since, in these spaces, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves. The development of social networks calls for commitment: people are engaged in building relationships and making friends, in looking for answers to their questions and being entertained, but also in finding intellectual stimulation and sharing knowledge and know-how. The networks are increasingly becoming part of the very fabric of society, inasmuch as they bring people together on the basis of these fundamental needs. Social networks are thus nourished by aspirations rooted in the human heart.
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By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
I HAVE observed that there seems to be no standard posture and gesture for the congregation and concelebrants during the praying or singing of the Our Father at Mass. I am particularly disturbed by the practice of holding hands, especially when I am forced to do so due to unfriendly stares when I refuse. When I asked our parish priest about this, he told me that there has been a clarification from the Commission on Liturgy of the CBCP that “there has been no directive from the bishops that bans this practice among priests and lay people during the celebration of the Mass.” Can you clarify this matter please? At the outset, we have to make it clear that neither the Episcopal Conference nor the individual bishop is the final arbiter as regards the Liturgy, especially as regards the Sacraments and more especially the most august sacrament of the Eucharist. For that, the Supreme Authority of the Vicar of Christ is the final word, and that Supreme Authority had already pronounced on this matter in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal and more recently—by way of reminder to the bishops to implement what had previously been laid down— in the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum. On the other hand, it stands to reason that the CBCP cannot possibly ban all illicit or indecorous behavior in the liturgy, especially if such matters have already been regulated by the universal law of the Church— i.e., by the norms emanating from the Holy See. Nevertheless, from the previous article, quoting the relevant numbers of Redemptionis Sacramentum, we see that the Instruction did not touch the question of the proper posture for the recitation or singing of the Our Father. It would seem like the practice of holding hands—or any other deviation from the traditional posture—is not sufficiently widespread as to make it necessary to include it
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Updates
in an Instruction directed to the Universal Church. Nevertheless, it is not a totally unregulated matter. Postures and Gestures established by Liturgical Law The most comprehensive source of norms for the celebration of the Holy Mass is the latest (3rd) edition of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (I.G.M.R.)— promulgated in 2000—whose Roman Rite and to what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice. A common posture, to be observed by all participants, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the Sacred Liturgy: it both expresses and fosters the intention and spiritual attitude of the participants. Offertory is taking place; and, as circumstances allow, they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise. With a view to a uniformity the acclamation Quia tuum est regnum (For yours is the kingdom). 154. Then the priest, with hands extended, says aloud the prayer, Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti (Lord Jesus Christ, you said). After this prayer is concluded, extending and then joining his hands, he gives the greeting of peace while facing the people and saying, Pax Domini sit simper vobiscum (The peace of the Lord be with you always). The people answer, Et cum spiritu tuo (And with your spirit). Afterwards, when appropriate, the priest adds, Offerte vobis pacem (Let us offer each other the sign of peace). [Authority to Introduce Variations of Postures and Gestures] 390. It is up to the Conferences of Bishops to decide on the adaptations indicated in this General Instruction and in the Order of Mass and, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See, to introduce them into the Missal itself. These adaptations include • The gestures and posture of the faithful (cf. no. 43 above); • The gestures of veneration toward the altar and the Book of the Gospels (cf. no. 273above); • The form of the gesture of peace (cf. no. 82 above); Conclusions From the foregoing norms, we can make the following conclusions as regards the proper posture and gesture for the Our Father. 1) For the congregation, the G.I.R.M. only stipulates a standing posture, without saying anything about gestures. Thus, following the general principle of not introducing things in the liturgy without due authorization—in this case from the Bishops’ Conference and with posterior recognitio from the Holy See—it would seem like holding hands— which has no tradition in the Church whatsoever— may not be the most appropriate thing. Nevertheless, were it to occur spontaneously in a congregation, with due decorum and without detriment to the sensibilities of

CBCP Monitor
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 9

Proper posture and gesture in the Our Father
the faithful, perhaps it would not be altogether wrong. In this case, however, care should be taken so as not to violate the other general principle (ref. n.42) of commonality in the postures and gestures of the congregation— i.e., it would be disconcerting to see some of the faithful holding hands while others refrain from doing so. In any case, since precisely nothing has been said about it in the liturgical books and documents, it would also be a violation of the rights of the faithful if the priest were to impose holding hands at the Our Father on a congregation, without the due authorization from the CBCP and the recognitio of the Holy See. 2) For the Priest celebrant, however, the G.I.R.M. clearly stipulates the posture for the Our Father: with hands extended—i.e., in the so-called orans (praying) position, with forearms and hands pointed upwards in supplication. This position is incompatible with holding hands with anybody (either with concelebrants and other ministers or with laypersons). Thus, we can safely say that the celebrant is not allowed to hold hands with anybody during the Our Father. The CBCP need not ban this posture; the G.I.R.M. already does. Perhaps we can conclude with some words in an interview of Inside the Vatican Magazine with Card. Arinze, then the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments: “Therefore, the most important area is faith and fidelity to that faith, and a faithful reading of the original texts, and their faithful translations, so that people celebrate knowing that the liturgy is the public prayer of the Church…. [The liturgy] is not the property of one individual, therefore an individual does not tinker with it, but makes the effort to celebrate it as Holy Mother Church wants. When that happens, the people are happy, they feel nourished. Their faith grows, their faith is strengthened. They go home happy and willing to come back next Sunday.”

English translation, General Instruction of the Roman Missal (G.I.R.M.), was published in 2002. The relevant norms are as follows: [General Principles.] 42. The gestures and posture of the priest, the deacon, and the ministers, as well as those of the people, ought to contribute to making the entire celebration resplendent with beauty and noble simplicity, so that the true and full meaning of the different parts of the celebration is evident and that the participation of all is fostered. Therefore, attention should be paid to what is determined by this General Instruction and the traditional practice of the

[When to Kneel, Stand and Sit.] 43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fraters (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below. They should, however, sit while the readings before the Gospel and the responsorial Psalm are proclaimed and for the homily and while the Preparation of the Gifts at the

in gestures and postures during one and the same celebration, the faithful should follow the directions which the deacon, lay minister, or priest gives according to whatever is indicated in the Missal. [Posture and Gesture during the Our Father.] 152. After the Eucharistic Prayer is concluded, the priest, with hands joined, says the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer. With hands extended, he then says this prayer together with the people. 153. After the Lord’s Prayer is concluded, the priest alone, with hands extended, says the embolism Libera nos (Deliver us). At the end, the people make

© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

are so often “trouble periods—and even crisis-times”—with guns, goons and gold pursuing their destructive doings. Deeper than all the foregoing, a genuine “return to God and turning truly to the Gospel” and the more authentic living of our faith, these call us and challenge us, in pursuing our vocation to be truly God’s People, to be Christ’s Body in our land. A “practical atheism” (as emeritus Pope Benedict so-often refers to it), secularism and forgetfulness of God and of the Gospel spread more and more in our de facto culture; the wrong elements of so-called “post-modernism and globalization” increasingly affect our minds and mindsets, our moral conduct and our lives, above all the lives of our young people. On Ash Wednesday we are told, “Repent and be converted to the Gospel!”: The Year of Faith reminds us of this mandate, renews its summons to true Christian fidelity. What We Resolve To Do Without developing further the issues we must face, the tasks we must undertake as the demanding labors of the New Evangelization for us, the Church in our country, we see why our leaders, ordained and lay, our Bishops
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first of all, are urging us to renew once again—more earnestly, more deeply, with greater preparation—our Consecration and Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as well as—necessarily accompanying it—our renewal of consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. As part of our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart, there are also the adjoint practices of (1) the Mass and Communion of Reparation on the First Saturday of each month, and (2) Prayer and Penance, in our daily lives offered also by us, in union with Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. As much as possible, the daily recitation of the Rosary will be the ongoing-practice of prayer asked of us. We are reminded that the Fatima message teaches the “immense power of the Rosary” for faith-life in the world of grace. With this Pastoral Exhortation we send out to you a booklet prepared for us, which sets down (1) the specific pastoral activities and programs which can be followed and activated in each diocese, parish, local school or other institutions and which (2) develops briefly and clearly, we hope, some theological reflection on the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart and accompanying practices of spirituality and devotion.

We are also sending out the poster visually representing and fostering the program of these events, an image of the “Madonna and her motherly mantle” (the Schutzmantel Madonna), an icon of Mary known and loved in Europe from long ago, but locally “inculturated” for us. Fr. Armand Tangi, SSP, the wellknown Pauline priest and religious artist has created this image for us, from his heart and hand, as a labor of love. Mary of the Immaculate Heart, Mother of Christ and our Mother, here holds our Filipino people under and within her loving and caring mantle—all of us, men, women and children, of every region of our land; of every age, gender, color of skin and sector of society; Christians and people of other religions, churches and faith communities, all Filipinos of good will—all of us who make one people, one nation, one. Our Lady’s love and care, received by us, have brought and can bring us together and make us one. We repeat as we end this message: we will hold a simultaneous National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, at 10:00 in the morning in all Cathedrals, Parish Churches, Shrines and Chapels led by the Bishops in their respective Arch/Dioceses, Prelatures and Apostolic Vicariates, all over the country.

“Pueblo Amante de Maria”: Isang Bayang Sumisinta Kay Maria This is the purpose of our Act of Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, that she the Mother of us all really help us to become more truly one. Bayang sumisinta kay Maria, isang bayan, isang bansa. In our past history, in times of trouble and need, of darkness and loss of hope, whenever we prayed to her, she always came to be with us and raise us up. Ina of Peñafrancia in Bikol Region, Nuestra Señora de Guia of Ermita (Manila), Virgen de la Paz y Buenviaje in Antipolo, Virgen del Santissimo Rosario of La Naval in Manila and Manaoag, Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan, Our Lady of Caysasay in Taal (Batangas), Virgin of Miraculous Medal of Sucat, Parañaque and San Marcelino in Ermita (Manila), Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe of Makati and Cebu, Our Lady of Lourdes of Santa Mesa Heights (Quezon City), Nuestra Señora de Candelaria of Jaro (Iloilo), Nuestra Señora del Pilar of Zamboanga … this is just the beginning of a litany, a much longer litany, wherein almost every corner of our land will finally add its name. As the late Jaime Cardinal Sin wrote of our people during our Marian Year of

1988: “When our land was not yet one land, and our people not yet a nation, ... it was she, the Mother of Jesus the Incarnate Son, who became our first bonding tongue, the first common language of our hearts, the symbol of a new race to whom oneness and peace would come in time, as a gift of the Father in heaven, but as a gift which would reach us through her loving hands.” We change his last lines a little. “This Year of Faith, of our Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, will be a firm renewal of our unshakeable trust in her, of our filial love for her—she who is now, as ever in our past, our Queen and our Mother of mercy—vita, dulcedo et spes nostra: yes, of all our people, our life, our sweetness and our hope. Let the bells ring throughout the land, singing our people’s hymn to Mary. They shall be bells which celebrate our hope.” Amen. For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, + JOSE S. PALMA, D.D. Archbishop of Cebu President, CBCP April 15, 2013

The culture of social networks and the changes in the means and styles of communication pose demanding challenges to those who want to speak about truth and values. Often, as is also the case with other means of social communication, the significance and effectiveness of the various forms of expression appear to be determined more by their popularity than by their intrinsic importance and value. Popularity, for its part, is often linked to celebrity or to strategies of persuasion rather than to the logic of argumentation. At times the gentle voice of reason can be overwhelmed by the din of excessive information and it fails to attract attention which is given instead to those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner. The social media thus need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation; of people who strive to cultivate forms of discourse and expression which appeal to the noblest aspirations of those engaged in the communication process.

Dialogue and debate can also flourish and grow when we converse with and take seriously people whose ideas are different from our own. “Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful” (Address at the Meeting with the World of Culture, Bélem, Lisbon, 12 May 2010). The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which his teaching promotes. Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important. The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young. Social networks are the

result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there. The ability to employ the new languages is required, not just to keep up with the times, but precisely in order to enable the infinite richness of the Gospel to find forms of expression capable of reaching the minds and hearts of all. In the digital environment the written word is often accompanied by images and sounds. Effective communication, as in the parables of Jesus, must involve the imagination and the affectivity of those we wish to invite to an encounter with the mystery of God’s love. Besides, we know that Christian tradition has always been rich in signs and symbols: I think for example of the Cross, icons, images of the Virgin Mary, Christmas cribs, stained-glass windows and pictures in our churches. A significant part of mankind’s artistic heritage has been created

by artists and musicians who sought to express the truths of the faith. In social networks, believers show their authenticity by sharing the profound source of their hope and joy: faith in the merciful and loving God revealed in Christ Jesus. This sharing consists not only in the explicit expression of their faith, but also in their witness, in the way in which they communicate “choices, preferences and judgments that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically” (Message for the 2011 World Communications Day). A particularly significant way of offering such witness will be through a willingness to give oneself to others by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence. The growing dialogue in social networks about faith and belief confirms the importance and relevance of religion in public debate and in the life of society. For those who have accepted

the gift of faith with an open heart, the most radical response to mankind’s questions about love, truth and the meaning of life—questions certainly not absent from social networks— are found in the person of Jesus Christ. It is natural for those who have faith to desire to share it, respectfully and tactfully, with those they meet in the digital forum. Ultimately, however, if our efforts to share the Gospel bring forth good fruit, it is always because of the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts. Trust in the power of God’s work must always be greater than any confidence we place in human means. In the digital environment, too, where it is easy for heated and divisive voices to be raised and where sensationalism can at times prevail, we are called to attentive discernment. Let us recall in this regard that Elijah recognized the voice of God not in the great and strong wind, not in the earthquake or the fire, but in “a still, small voice” (1 Kg 19:11-12). We need to trust

in the fact that the basic human desire to love and to be loved, and to find meaning and truth—a desire which God himself has placed in the heart of every man and woman—keeps our contemporaries ever open to what Blessed Cardinal Newman called the “kindly light” of faith. Social networks, as well as being a means of evangelization, can also be a factor in human development. As an example, in some geographical and cultural contexts where Christians feel isolated, social networks can reinforce their sense of real unity with the worldwide community of believers. The networks facilitate the sharing of spiritual and liturgical resources, helping people to pray with a greater sense of closeness to those who share the same faith. An authentic and interactive engagement with the questions and the doubts of those who are distant from the faith should make us feel the need to nourish, by prayer and reflection, our faith in the presence of God as well as our practical charity: “If I speak in
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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 9
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Features

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Excerpts of the Catechism on the Church and Politics
(In view of the forthcoming Elections, we are reprinting excerpts of this document that was issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in 1997—Eds)
What moral and religious principles guide politics? The Bishops of the Philippines enumerated the following truths to guide politics (see Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, CBCP): (a) human dignity and solidarity as the first principle of politics; (b) the common good as the goal of political activity; (c) authority and power as a divine trust for service; (d) autonomy and mutual collaboration between the Church and the political community.   What is the basis for the Church’s mission in politics?  The main reasons why the Church has a mission in politics are the following: First, because politics has a moral dimension. Politics is a human activity. It may hurt or benefit people. It can lead to grace or to sin; Second, because the Gospel and the Kingdom of God call the Church to political involvement. To proclaim the gospel to all creation necessarily includes evangelizing the political world. Moreover, at the center of Jesus’ mission is the proclaiming of the Kingdom of God. But the Kingdom of God calls us to repentance and renewal (Mk. 1:15). This call to renewal is addressed likewise to the political field; Third, because the mission of the Church of integral salvation involves the political sphere. Integral salvation is the salvation of the total person, soul and body, spiritual and temporal. This is why Jesus not only forgave sins but also healed people from sickness. The Church must likewise bring the healing grace of salvation to the temporal, including political, sphere.   Are there other reasons why the Church must be involved in politics? Yes, there are. Another reason is because salvation of the human person is from personal and social sin. We know that in the political field, social sins unfortunately abound, such as graft and corruption, “dirty politics” of “guns, goons, and gold”, deceit and unprincipled compromises, “politics of greed”. In the mind of the Church, systems where such social sins have been imbedded through constant practice are “structures of sin or structures of injustice.” Still another reason is because the Church has an Option for the Poor. In the Philippines, politics is heavily tilted against the poor. The poor often become in a real sense voiceless and powerless. Laws are often passed that merely support vested interests rather than promote the common good of all. Finally, because John Paul II said that the concrete human being living in history is “the way for the Church” (RH, 14; CA, 53-54). The temporal and spiritual development of the total human person is the way by which the Church accomplishes the mission to proclaim the Gospel. We know very well that politics can dehumanize the human person and entrap the person in sinful behavior or structures. In short, politics cannot claim to be above or outside the natural law and the moral law. Politics has moral and religious dimensions. Therefore, the Church has to be involved in the political world.   Is not the Church’s involvement in politics “political interference”? “Political interference” takes place when the Church involves itself in politics in a way that is not justified by her mission or when such involvement is against the Constitution. But the mission of the Church requires her, for instance, to denounce political attitudes, behavior and structures that run counter to the Gospel and to the Reign of God or that militate against the common good and the integral salvation of the human person, especially of the poor. Also in accord with her mission is for the Church to issue moral guidelines regarding the qualifications of political candidates. It would be “political interference” if the Church were to be involved in way that is not in keeping with her mission to evangelize, or if the Church were to violate the Constitutional mandate of “separation of Church and State.”   What does “separation of Church and State” mean? Separation of Church and State is strictly defined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution to refer to two points: (1) that no religion may be established as the official religion of the State; and (2) that the State may not favor one religion over others. At the same time, the State shall forever allow the free exercise and enjoyment of religion and shall not require any religious test for the exercise of civil or political rights (see 1987 Philippine Constitution).  The first point above is called the “non-establishment” clause. To be noted is the fact that nowhere does the Constitution prohibit Clergy and Religious from partisan politics. What prohibits them from active involvement in partisan politics is the Church’s own laws and traditional wisdom.   But should not Church and State collaborate with each other? Yes, because Church and State both work for the common good and for the good of every person. They have to respect each other’s legitimate independence or autonomy and each other’s way of achieving the common good and the total development of every human person. Precisely because of this unity of mission, Church and State have to collaborate with each other. What is the mission of the Church regarding the political order? The Church has the duty of proclaiming the Gospel “to all creation” (Mk. 16:15) and “to restore all things under Christ” (Eph. 1:10). This means that the Gospel must “influence every phase of life, every stratum of society” (PEPP, p. 26), including the political sphere. In fact it is the duty of every Christian – to transform politics by the Gospel. The relationship of the Church to the State has been described by the Philippine Bishops as one of “critical collaboration” or “critical solidarity”.   What is the meaning of “critical collaboration” or “critical solidarity”? Critical collaboration or critical solidarity means that the Church is one with the State in promoting the common good. Cooperation, solidarity – positive support – has to be given by the Church to whatever the State may be doing for the common good in accordance with the Gospel. But the church must have a critical sense in providing such collaboration. It should denounce whatever is not in accord with the Gospel.    Must citizens obey political authority? Every human community needs involve themselves in partisan politics. In practice, religious men and women are also included in this prohibition” (PCP-II, 340). But certainly lay people “have competence in active and direct partisan politics” (PCP-II, 341). This general rule is certainly not rigid, because lay people themselves have a teaching role regarding politics, especially in their witnessing to gospel values in the world of politics. Concretely, priests, religious men and women, and lay people, i.e., the Church “must be involved in the area of politics when Gospel values are at stake” (PCP-II, 344). Why should priests, religious men and women refrain from involvement in partisan politics? As we have seen, the prohibition is not because of any Philippine constitutional provision. But the Church prohibits Clergy and Religious from involvement in partisan politics because they are considered the symbols of unity in the Church community. For them to take an active part in partisan politics, with its wheeling and dealing, compromises, confrontational and adversarial positions, would be to weaken their teaching authority and destroy the unity they represent and protect. Still, it must be admitted that sometimes even the teaching of moral principles is actually interpreted by some as partisan politics, because of actual circumstances (PCP-II, 343-344). An example was the Bishops’ post-election statement in 1986 when they taught that a government that has assumed power by fraud had no moral right to govern. This teaching was considered partisan for the opposition presidential candidate and against the winner proclaimed by a subservient values that are intimately connected with political activity itself, such as liberty and justice, solidarity, faithful and unselfish dedication for the good of all, a simple lifestyle, and a preferential love for the poor and the least” (CL, 42). Are there so called “Catholic candidates” or is there a “Catholic vote”? The Gospel does not prescribe only one way of being political or only one way of political governing (such as monarchical, presidential, parliamentary, etc.), much less only one political party or even one slate of candidates. No one political option can fully carry out the Gospel mandate of renewing the political order or of serving the common good. No one political party or platform or set of candidates can exclusively claim the name Catholic. Hence to Catholics there are many political options that the Gospel does not prohibit. Therefore, there is generally no such thing as a “Catholic vote” or “the Bishops’ candidates”. This is simply a myth. The Bishops do not endorse any particular candidate or party but leave to the laity to vote according to their enlightened and formed consciences in accordance with the Gospel.   Is there any case when the Bishops can authoritatively order the lay faithful to vote for one particular and concrete option? Yes, there is, and the case would certainly be extraordinary. This happens when a political option is clearly the only one demanded by the Gospel. An example is when a presidential candidate is clearly bent to destroy the Church and its mission of salvation and has all the resources to win, while hiding his Why has the Church been so actively involved in politics in the Philippines? The main reason, the Bishops themselves said, is the following fact: “Philippine politics—the way it is practiced—has been the most hurtful of us as a people. It is possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving full development” (Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, CBCP). PCPII summed up our kind of politics in this way: “Perhaps an even more fundamental aspect of our kahirapan is that poverty and inequality joined to the absence of reliable social services seem to be part of a self-perpetuating social system and political culture” (PCP-II Appendix 1, pp. 278-79)   Is it alright to accept money as long as one votes according to one’s conscience? No, it is not alright. If the source of the money is clean, accepting it without voting for the candidate who gave it makes you a liar.  And if you vote for the candidate, you have actually sold your vote. If the source of the money is not clean, then you become a cooperator in evil because you accept it. By accepting any money from candidates, no matter from what source and with what intention, you are perpetuating a form of dirty politics which encourages graft and corruption, for today’s vote buyers are tomorrow’s grafters.   Are there no signs of hope that politics can change for the better? There are many signs of change. We had the brightest example of how people acted as one to protest against the widespread fraud in the 1986 Snap Election. We saw the courage of men and women walking out of their jobs as computer personnel so that they would not be accomplices in the manipulation of election results. We saw many lay volunteers, priests, and religious men and women who guarded the polls at the risk of their lives in the 1984 and 1986 elections. And, of course, there was the 1986 People Power revolution at EDSA that successfully expelled a dictatorship and restored democratic freedoms. Since then, non-government organizations and peoples’ organizations have sprouted in great numbers to express the peoples’ desire for participation and solidarity in the socio-economic and political fields.   What qualifications should we look for in political candidates? In many previous statements, the Bishops have insisted on certain qualifications that candidates must have. Among these are the following: Those seeking public office must be pro-God (maka-Diyos) rather than materialistic and secularistic; pro-people (maka-tao) rather than pro-self; pronation (maka-bayan); pro-common good rather than pro-special groups; and proenvironment (maka-kalikasan) rather than ecologically insensitive. Other qualifications are those that have been enumerated by PCP-II, namely: they must be persons who truly pursue the common good, defend and promote justice, have a spirit of service, love of preference for the poor, and are eager to empower people (see PCP-II, 351). All these have to be verified from their past histories and records. In their pastoral exhortation on the 1998 elections, the bishops underlined the following qualifications: competence and integrity. They said that competence is the ability to do the expected work well and not necessarily to be able to speak well nor to be popular. They said that integrity means respect for the human rights of others, honesty in public office and fidelity to marital commitment (to wife or husband), and to family commitments (the loving care of the family). This means that a good moral character is fundamentally necessary in aspiring for public office. To be trusted in politics and entrusted by people with the common good, one has to be trustworthy in the moral and religious fields. These are intimately and inseparably interwined.   Since politics is seen as “dirty”, should not Catholic leaders stay away from politics? No, on the contrary they should involve themselves directly in partisan politics so that they can renew it and make it work for the common good. PCP-II itself has encouraged such participation (see PCP-II, 348-50). It urged the following: “Catholics in politics have to work in favor of legislation that is imbued with these [Christian] principles. Knowing that the wrong behavior and values are often rewarded or left unpunished, Catholic politicians have to put teeth to good legislation by making certain that the correct system of rewards and punishment be strictly enforced in public life” (PCP-II, 352). Examples of criminal actions often remaining unpunished are those that are committed by powerful people, including politicians themselves.*

authority to govern it. It is necessary for the common good and the unity of the State. It is required by the moral order and comes from God. When legitimately constituted authority is exercised within the limits of its competence and in accord with the moral law, it must be respected and obeyed (PEPP, p. 37). This is why the Scriptures enjoin obedience to political authority. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom. 13:1-2; cf. Pt. 2: 13-17).   What does the church expect of politics in view of integral development? For the integral development of the human person and of all persons, the Church expects politics to create structures of “participation and shared responsibility” (CA, 46), where the basic freedoms and aspirations of individuals are given full scope to develop and grow. For example, the Church would expect the political community to remove or at least reduce excessive socio-economic inequalities among its citizens. The Church would also expect that electoral processes be truly democratic and fair. Politics must, therefore, not be a tool for the advancement of only a privileged few. What are the roles of Clergy, Religious and laity with regard to “partisan politics”? Traditional wisdom and general common sense, with support from Canon Law (or the Law of the Church), assign specific roles for different members of the Church. PCP-II pointed out these roles. “The Church’s competence in passing moral judgments even in matters political has been traditionally interpreted as pertaining to the clergy. Negatively put, the clergy can teach moral doctrines covering politics but cannot actively

parliament. What is the specific mission of the laity in politics? The mission of the laity is the same as that of the entire Church, which is to renew the political order according to Gospel principles and values. But such renewal by the laity is through active and partisan political involvement, a role generally not allowed to priests and religious men and women. This is the reason that PCP-II urges the lay faithful not to be passive regarding political involvement but to take a leading role. In fact, PCP-II states:  “In the Philippines today, given the general perception that politics has become an obstacle to integral development, the urgent necessity is for the lay faithful to participate more actively, with singular competence and integrity, in political affairs” (PCP-II, 348). Moreover, the laity must “help form the civic conscience of the voting population and work to explicitly promote the election of leaders of true integrity to public office” (PCP-II, Art. 8, #1). What truths should guide the laity’s political involvement? PCP-II underlined the following principles to guide political participation of Catholics: That the basic standard for participation be the pursuit of the common good; That participation be characterized by a defence and promotion of justice; That participation be inspired and guided by the spirit of service; That it be imbued with a love of preference for the poor; and That empowering people be carried out both as a process and as a goal of political activity. (PCP-II, 351). But more than just political involvement is the primary importance of the lay faithful being witnesses to the Gospel. John Paul II said: “The lay faithful must bear witness to those human and Gospel

malevolent intentions behind political promises. In this case the Church may authoritatively demand the faithful, even under pain of sin, to vote against this particular candidate. But such situations are understandably very rare.   How does the Church fulfill its mission on renewing or evangelizing politics?  by catechesis or Christian education in politics in order to evangelize our political culture which is characterized by a separation between faith and politics; by issuing guidelines on properly choosing political officials, so that the people may have a properly formed conscience in their electoral choices; by helping keep elections honest, clean, peaceful, and orderly through various church organizations, cooperating with non-government organizations; by pushing for structural changes as a goal of pastoral action in the political field, such as urging for reforms in the electoral processes in order to avoid delays and ensure integrity throughout the entire electoral process from voting, to counting, to reporting, and finally to proclaiming the winners; by political advocacy such as lobbying for legislation that promote the common good and against bills that promote the vested interests of the few;   by getting involved in a movement of civil society (civic organizations, peoples’ organizations, non-government organizations, associations of lay people and religious, school associations, etc.) to change politics for the better; by organizing her own network of parishes and organizations, pastoral and social centers, etc., such as NASSA VOTECARE and PPC-RV, to help keep elections clean, honest, peaceful and orderly. by the living witness of all the Catholic faithful to Christ and to the values of the Gospel.  This is the most important contribution of the Church to the evangelization of politics.

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

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Principled Partisan Politics: Three Ways of Involvement
Pastoral Letter addressed To the People of God in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro
ELECTIONS are a time for choice and decision-making. Voters are expected to follow their conscience in choosing public officials that will serve the common good, and help in the development of their community. On election day itself, every voter becomes “partisan”—in the sense that he or she takes sides and chooses the candidates deemed most qualified for public office. And yet, to be partisan in Philippine politics does not necessarily mean to side with one party only – even as political parties are beginning to articulate their principles and party platforms. Personalities, with their qualifications, are still crucial in determining principles and platforms. Thus, as we scrutinize the qualifications of various candidates, the Catholic bishops have encouraged Christian citizens to engage in “principled partisan politics.” But how do we engage in principled partisan politics? Three modes come to mind. The first way, paradoxically, is to be non-partisan in favoring this or that candidate. On the other hand, it means to be partisan or to take sides for the democratic process itself to prevail. This is the role of watchdog citizens’ arms like the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL). As in past elections, we encourage our parishioners, particularly the youth and religious lay organizations, to volunteer their services in these activities to ensure Clean, Honest, Accountable, Meaningful, and Peaceful (CHAMP) elections. Our archdiocesan social action team can help coordinate both PPCRV and NAMFREL activities at the local levels to ensure complementarity of roles. We also commend the initiative of the Xavier University High School alumni in organizing Crusaders for Honest, Orderly, and Peaceful Elections (HOPE) in the 62 polling precincts of Cagayan de Oro City. During this period before election day, Voters’ Education will require much effort—not only in the proper utilization of the PCOS machines, but more so in choosing worthwhile candidates. It is in this context that voters can become Transpartisan—i.e., in choosing the most qualified candidates across political parties. In their Pastoral Statement of Jan. 2013, the Catholic bishops “commend and support lay initiatives to form circles of discernment to choose worthy candidates . . . in order to bring values of God’s kingdom in the public discourse.” As in previous elections, I have recommended that voters choose candidates with the five C’s – that they be men and women of Character, Conscience, Competence, Compassion, and Commitment. Other characteristics have been suggested: that candidates be maka-Diyos, maka-Tao, maka-Buhay, maka-Bayan, and maka-Kalikasan. The Circles of Discernment for Elections (CIDE) seminar organized by the Dilaab Team in the Archdiocese of Cebu has further refined this selection process through its LASER test. Informal groups of voters are asked to evaluate candidates according to Lifestyle, Action/Accomplishments, Supporters, Election Conduct, and Reputation. I would highly encourage our Basic Ecclesial Communities as well as multi-sectoral and inter-faith groups to adopt this discernment process in order to arrive at a collective choice of worthwhile candidates. Dilaab has also introduced a third mode of partisanship. This is called Pan-Partisanship (“i.e., reaching out to all political affiliations”). Prior to the formal campaign period, candidates from all political parties as well as those individuals still discerning whether to run for public office or not were invited to a “discernment integrity recollection”. This focused on what Pope Benedict XVI calls “evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment of a new generation of Catholics working in politics.” Prospective candidates were invited to pray over their own understanding and motivations for entering the sphere of public service. They were also asked to answer the LASER questions for themselves as candidates. In addition to this inclusive invitation to all candidates to develop a form of spirituality in public office, I would include three issues of concern of pan- or supra-partisan significance (which all political parties should espouse). In the archdiocese, we have launched a campaign: “Our Votes are Not for Sale.” It is a direct call to all traditional politicians (trapos) against the practice of rampant vote-buying (which is considered a criminal offense.) More profoundly, vote-buying as well as vote-selling are offenses against the dignity of the voter himself who “exchanges” his reasoning and freedom for a fleeting sum of money. A second issue of concern has been brought up by the CBCP Pastoral Statement: “the widening practice of political dynasties.” Along with other dioceses and organizations, we have launched in the archdiocese the Movement Against Dynasties (MAD). Recent studies by research centers have pointed out the correlation of political dynasties with corruption, poverty, and violence in various provinces throughout the country. The provision against political dynasties has already been inscribed in the Philippine Constitution of 1987. The CBCP statement adds: “As monopolies in business, monopolies in politics limit the entry that can bring in new ideas and better services. Political dynasties breed corruption and ineptitude.” A related advocacy is the campaign against pork barrel allocations— which impels political dynasties to expand to control the largesse of public funds. A third issue of concern, especially for us in Cagayan de Oro, is the care and conservation of the environment. Typhoon Sendong has taught us the bitter lessons from the wanton degradation of our watershed areas surrounding Cagayan de Oro River and other tributaries. The continued bleeding of Iponan River from hydraulic flush mining also has to be stopped. The rehabilitation and protection of our environment should be a pan-partisan concern of all candidates for public office. This then is the challenge of Responsible Citizenship as we approach election day. While church leaders themselves have to remain non-partisan in electoral contests for the sake of transcendent Gospel values that they uphold, it is good to keep in mind the three calls of CBCP for all Christian citizens: 1) To form circles of discernment; 2) For the laity to exercise their right and duty to support candidates who are qualified and public service minded; and 3) To engage in principled partisan politics. +ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J. Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro 16 April 2013

Features

CBCP Monitor
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 9

TO the People of God in the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao: In union with the priests of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao I address you as your Pastor particularly on matters pertaining to the May 2013 Election. The Church is the Conscience of society and therefore with St. Paul we “proclaim the word with persistence whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” ( ). Elections are essential to the common good. Leaders are thereby selected to provide the conditions that allow each person to fulfill his or her vocation. Whether or not a society is just depends in considerable measure on its leaders, and so justice and the common good are at stake in these elections. That is why the Church has the competence to speak, and must speak, or else be remiss in her duties to God and Country.

A Pastoral Letter on the 2013 Elections
and their names surface at each election. The Constitution rejects political dynasties and the Church characterizes them as evil because it breeds ineptitude and corruption. Fair equality of opportunity is a fundamental demand of justice. This demand is frustrated when a family that occupies different positions in government at the same time and succeeds each other in the same position builds its bailiwick of followers and has in readiness a war-chest of campaign funds amassed, many times through dishonest means. 3. New candidates often have to resort to the methods, styles and approaches of Traditional Politics: winning their way to office by distributing money, promising positions to their followers and maligning their political opponents. The use of the four G’s: gold, guns, goons, girls (entertainment and entertainers) still seems to be the only way to win an election. 4. As a result of the above, well-meaning persons who are otherwise competent and are willing to serve are discouraged from seeking public office because they do not have money, nor the tolerance for this kind of “dirty” politics, thereby depriving the citizenry of service-minded public officials. 5. Efforts at educating voters often end up for naught since the choice of leaders is seldom based on Gospel principles. Our people themselves often are to be blamed for this sad state of affairs because they are known to vote for the highest bidder, or on the basis of popularity, and on a misplaced sense of loyalty and gratitude for undeserved favors. The Local Church and Politics We, your pastors, are aware of our failings and admit that we also are partly to be blamed for this ugly situation. We have sought the patronage of politicians for favors either for ourselves or for our projects. We have not always spoken with consistency, resoluteness and sufficient clarity. Our Resolve After a period of prayerful discernment with my priests, I have come to a resolve to lay the following guidelines for the pastoral instruction of our faithful: 1. To counteract the culture of Patronage Politics which breeds dependency and silence, it is hereby prohibited for any priest, religious sister, lay leader, and any religious or churchrelated organization to solicit donations from any politician before, during or after elections. In case unsolicited donations are received by any of the abovementioned groups, the donation must be discretely returned if this can be practically and prudently done, but if not, the donation may be kept, but the name of the donor must never be acknowledged publicly and the amount must be faithfully accounted for according to the strictest accounting procedures obtaining in our Archdiocese. 2. Political Dynasties must be vigorously rejected. It does not serve the common good to vote for a candidate seeking to replace a family member (spouse, parent, children or sibling) for the same elective position. The Catholic voter will reject such candidates. This also means rejecting candidates whose only claim for the votes of the citizens comes from well-placed relatives who are already in power. 3. F u r t h e r m o r e , r e j e c t likewise those candidates who have taken positions contrary to the fundamental teachings of the Church, like those who support the RH Law. Do not vote for those who are in the forefront of destructive mining and logging activities, those profiting from

Politics in Cagayan Sad to say, politics in Cagayan is UGLY and DIRTY. It reflects what the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said in 1997 that “Philippine Politics—the way it is practiced— has been most hurtful to our people. It is possibly the biggest BANE to our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our full development” (Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics). 1. Patronage Politics is alive and all-pervading. Political leaders have their patrons so that the result of the elections depends often not so much on the capability of the candidate but on his patron. Employment in government, as in the police force, department of education and other offices—the entire machinery of government, in fact, depends on patronage. 2. Political Dynasties have all but cornered public offices in Cagayan for some time now,

illegal gambling especially jueteng, and from trafficking of dangerous drugs. Reject those engaged in smuggling, in the sex trade, and those known to be harboring weapons arsenals and private armies. 4. We encourage our lay people, including lay ministers, to run for public office. However, if it is found out that a certain lay minister resorts to the immoral methods of Traditional Politics to win votes, that particular lay minister should immediately resign, or if he doesn’t, he should be relieved of his church responsibilities. 5. L a y p e o p l e a n d l a y organizations may engage in partisan politics, and may even draw up a list of candidates whom they may campaign vig or ou sly for , a nd ma y campaign aggressively against those candidates mentioned in items 2 and 3 above. When they engage in partisan politics, however, they are not to speak either in the name of the parish or of the Archdiocese. As Clergy, we do not endorse any party or any candidate. But as disciples of Christ and as your Pastors, must respond to His call in all we do, and so our participation in the elections is part of our service in the Kingdom of God. Like Jesus, the Good Shepherd we declare these to the people entrusted to our care so “that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10, 10). Given this 21st day of April 2013, Good Shepherd Sunday, at the Archdiocesan Chancery, Arzobispado na Tuguegarao, Tuguegarao City. +SERGIO L. UTLEG Archbishop of Tuguegarao Attested: Fr. DANILO ULEP President, Priests’ Assembly

Pastoral Statement of the Diocese of Kidapawan on the May 2013 Elections
MY dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Last April 8, 2013, the priests of the Diocese of Kidapawan and I met and agreed to come out with a pastoral statement clarifying what our position is on the so- called “Catholic Vote,” which has since been re-named by the lay organizers as Solidarity Vote Movement (SVM). Similar to the movements in Manila, Cebu and other parts of the country, our lay leaders are in the process of planning and discerning, for the May 13 elections and to come up with a list of candidates, on the national level who are closest to our criteria of being pro - God, pro - Life and pro – Family.The Lay Initiative for Elections 2013 or LIFE 2013 in Cebu have come up with their own list of senatorial and party-list candidates that they are endorsing. El Shaddai Manila as well as Solidarity Vote Movement Manila, have done likewise. Those are all lay initiatives, and we as Church leaders have no objections to the efforts that endeavor to provide informative guidance based on Catholic, Christian principles. We are happy that our laity today are putting into concrete actions their responsibilities as baptized Christians and Members of the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ. Their efforts at objectively measuring local and national candidates according to the standards of the Gospel, and the moral principles taught by the Church, together with Filipino values that respect life, family and the environment, deserve not our objection but our endorsement.

Hence, we support our lay leaders’ decision to seek the election of those candidates who are closest to the Catholic and Christian ideals of leadership. We hope the public declaration of our lay leaders’ choices will result in more votes cast this coming election, will stand of God, for life and for family and environment. This movement can act as an enabling facility to judge candidates based on objective Christian criteria, not on the often- abused criteria of friendship and relationship with candidates by virtue of blood and affection. This movement likewise provides the concrete opportunity to communally examine each incumbent candidate’s record of accomplishments and performance history.

Needless to say, this movement provides a concrete way of examining who, among those running for office have and will truly serve the people. Let us always respect each other’s freedom to vote. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit does not cease to enlighten our conscience. Let us strive to hold an election that is clean, orderly and peaceful. Truly Yours in Christ Jesus, MOST REV. ROMULO T. DELA CRUZ, D.D. Bishop of Kidapawan May 5. 2013

Photo courtesy of Ed Chavez

Photo courtesy of Eboy Yabo

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 9
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Statements

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Caring for the earth, saving our Mindanao environment
A Pastoral Statement of KIDMADICO Bishops on Earth Day (Dioceses of Kidapawan, Marbel, Digos and Archdiocese of Cotabato)
Introduction At the beginning of time God created “the heavens and the earth….. And God saw everything that he had made, and, indeed it was very good” (Gen. 1:27,31). On 22 April 2013, Earth Day, we ask the crucial question: Are we as human beings created in God’s image properly taking care of the earth that God has made for us? In truth we are deeply disturbed by the present condition of our earth. We are especially concerned with our own Mindanao environment and its rapid degradation. Mindanao Ecological Status Climate change and global warming have highlighted the devastating effects of environmental degradation in Mindanao. They are causing extreme weather changes. Droughts and floods, unusual frequent heavy rains, typhoons Sendong and Pablo as well as earlier typhoons in Mindanao in the past decade are not simply the usual happenings of nature. They are effects of environmental degradation, the work mostly of human hands. Developed countries are mainly responsible for the emission of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere that causes climate change and global warming. But the degradation of our Mindanao environment that worsens the effects of climate change and global warming is mainly due to human factor. Environmental issues are legion. Among them are: irresponsible logging and fishing; mining; poor waste management; massive landslide and continuing soil erosion; pollution of our air, rivers, lakes and seas; lack of comprehensive rehabilitation and development of river basins; indiscriminate and inappropriate land use; inadequate energy sources and irresponsible consumption; questionable government policies and their implementation; violation of human rights; and corruption. We bring all these forcefully to the attention of our political leaders. Moral and Political Imperatives We are all, indeed, stewards of the environment. It is to all of us that God the Creator of all things addressed the command to care for the earth and everything in it (see Gen. 1:28, Gen. 2:15, Ps. 8:6). Fundamental, moral and social principles that must guide and direct our behavior and action flow from the primordial biblical principle. In the use of biotechnology, in the application of the advances of science and technology to exploit our natural resources, human rights must always be protected, health must be safeguarded, and the common good must be promoted (see Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 2004, Chapter X, “Safeguarding the Environment,” nos. 451-87). These are the moral and social principles in considering the many environmental issues in Mindanao. From these we make a judgment on some burning issues that now confront us. 1. All forms of mining, logging, fishing, farming, agri-business (such as plantations), and biotechnology, that do not safeguard the environment, do not protect health and human rights are, objectively, social sins; 2. Unless we are given incontrovertible proof that open pit mining is not destructive of the environment, does not endanger health and water resources, and is respectful of ancestral domains and human rights, we shall continue to condemn and ban it as inimical to the integrity of God’s creation and to the rights of future generations. We commend local government officials who stand by this ban despite political and economic pressures; 3. We urge government to ban all logging in watersheds and other protected areas in Mindanao; 4. We urge capable NGOs and concerned government agencies to make a definitive and undisputed study and testing on GMOs and on the use of herbicides and pesticides in small time

agriculture and in big agri-business enterprises as well as on their long-term effects on health, soil, water, and air; 5. We urge the concerned government agencies to design and implement master plans on the rehabilitation and development of river basins in Mindanao with short term and long term solutions to the problems of soil erosion, the degradation of our waterways, flooding, the destruction of lives and properties; 6. We call upon all government leaders and agencies, as political stewards of the environment, to review and revise, if necessary, all laws and regulations that are not in accord with moral and

social principles, and rigidly strict in their implementation; 7. Aware that doing small things have cumulative and significant results, we commit ourselves to do our own share in caring for the integrity of God’s creation through doable means available to us, such as proper waste management, responsible use of water resources, energy conservation, tree planting, and raising the consciousness of parishioners regarding the environment. May our appeal be heard and our actions blessed by the Lord of all creation through the intercession of Mary our Mother.

Signed: MOST REV. GUILLERMO V. AFABLE, DD, Bishop of Digos MOST REV. JOSE COLIN M. BAGAFORO, DD, Auxiliary Bishop, Cotabato MOST REV. ROMULO T. DE LA CRUZ, DD, Bishop of Kidapawan MOST REV. DINUALDO D. GUTIERREZ, DD, Bishop of Marbel MOST REV. ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, OMI, DD, Archbishop of Cotabato 15 April 2013 City of Digos, Davao del Sur

What is happening to our beautiful land? Where Does Daang Matuwid Lead Our People?
(AMRSP’s Reflection on the Current Situation of the Philippines under the PNoy Regime)
humane life for those who have the least. It is the realization of Hope, it is a dream turned into reality. And yet today we still witness grinding poverty, agrarian unrest, violations of human rights, assaults on the integrity of creation, the trafficking of our women and children. So much needs to be done. Let not our Hope be shattered and our dreams turned into nightmares. We are now in the third year of PNoy’s term and it is time we ask ourselves and tremendously. Fisher folks are complaining that their fish catches are shrinking in the wake of the extensive destruction of coral reefs and mangrove forests. The emerging picture is bleak. The attack on the natural resources of the country, which benefit very few Filipinos, is rapidly whittling away at the very base of our natural world, leaving a gloomy and dark prospect to future generations. As we reflect on what is happening with our beautiful employs for it says it will control and regulate mining and logging operations on the one hand, then it issues permits on the other, a policy that benefits only the few, the powerful and the elite while neglecting the interest of the tribal communities and the poor; at the same time, destroying the integrity of creation. We have seen enough deaths caused by the devastation of nature. This has to stop! We need more action on the side of the government to ensure rotating brownouts due to power shortage. Until when would they suffer? We are simply asking. We are simply wondering. Daang Matuwid—is this the way that truly leads to a better future of the people? Or is it simply the old scheme with a new popular name? Human rights While we are thankful that some laws on human rights have been passed, we are saddened by the continuing culture of violence and impunity. We raise our voices with the victims of extrajudicial killings whose numbers are on the rise each day. We are indignant at the massacre of the family members of a B’laan tribe leader who opposed the entry of Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) in their ancestral domain area. These innocent people were killed during a raid conducted by the military at their farm house. Three (3) members of the Capion family died while the youngest daughter was wounded. We mourn for the many cases of unresolved killings, including that of our own, Fr. Tentorio, and the many nameless leaders of peoples’ organizations. Day by day in so many places, unabated killings take place as if it were the most normal thing to happen in a civilized and Christian country like ours. We cannot simply be silent with this show of impunity for aside from the fact that the victims were defenseless; their only sin was to stand for what they believed is truthful and just! What do these killings mean? Is there still a rule of law? Are we back to the former days of anarchy—when the law of guns, influence and money ruled? Is this what Daang Matuwid means? Where is this government leading us? Where are we going? We are saddened by the fact that the labor policy in this country continues to favor capital over labor rights. The many unresolved labor disputes show that injustice is still prevalent. We denounce continuing labor lock-out and union busting that Introduction In the past years we have experienced political instability brought about by massive corruption, economic turmoil, escalating social unrest and distrust under the Arroyo regime. Every day the broadcast and the print media would highlight one of these problems. Until one day hope suddenly glimmered when the people put their trust in a man who embodied righteousness and advocated anti-corruption through his slogan—Matuwid na Daan (Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap). The rise to the presidency of Noynoy Aquino brought so much hope. He made us believe that change is possible, that corruption could be curtailed, and that public service is, indeed, a public trust. In the first months of his reign, he relentlessly pursued those who were perceived to be guilty of corruption, and we were all aware of the drama that unfolded on national television when the former first family was stopped from running away from the wheels of justice. Days, months, three years have passed. We hold him to his promise of change. While it is true that there has been headway in the fight against corruption much more remains to be done. NO big fish has been convicted since 2010 and with the way the tentacles of the corrupt have stymied the judicial process, PNoy’s term might be over and the cases will still languish at the courts. While we acknowledged the effort of some government institutions in carving out corruption, like the DPWH, DepED, DOJ and others, we were saddened with the news of continuing corruption and abuse on the use of public funds by some congressmen and Senators (the much controversial MOOE fund distribution). These showed that still much needs to be done. We believe that Governance is not only a fight against corruption; it is the delivery of a better and far more leads to arrests and killings of labor leaders in the frontlines of struggle. We are anxious about the continuing departure of so many Filipinos to find a greener pasture in other foreign lands simply because our country can’t offer them anything better. We watch with grief the separation of families and of loved ones who have to battle the pains of loneliness, neglect and abuse in other countries just to ensure that they can feed their families at home. Obviously, this continues to be what Daang Matuwid means to many Filipinos working abroad. Almost on a daily basis, we hear in the news and receive frantic calls from so many poor communities about demolitions that are sometimes accompanied by violence. The continuing struggle of the urban poor is too much to bear. We have witnessed how people are driven out of their homes and shelters, how helpless and powerless they are, like dogs and pigs. While we understand that they have to be relocated to a safer ground, the government must also ensure that their rights will be protected and not harmed; their jobs have to be ensured. We recall with pain the brutal demolition that the government effected in the communities of Corazon de Jesus in San Juan, Silverio compound in Parañaque, San Roque and BIR Road in Quezon City. We watched with horror the use of excessive force on helpless civilians. Moreover, we are very troubled thinking about what would happen to the hundreds of thousands of homes that will soon be demolished in the Coastal area leading to Cavite. We used to believe in Daang Matuwid; yet, with what we have seen and experienced, we are raising our voices with tens of thousands of informal settlers. Where are we going? Where is this government bringing us? Agrarian Reform The farmers, whom we believe
AMRSP / B7

so many questions: Akin to the question, “Which way Lord?”, we ask those in authority: Where is this government leading us? On the state of Philippine ecology When a series of typhoons (Sendong, Pablo, etc.) hit us the past years, bringing devastation beyond our imagination, we need not be an expert to see what is happening and to be profoundly troubled by it. Brown, bare and eroded hills have replaced luxuriant forests in almost all parts of the country. The unabated logging and mining operations made hell out of our mountains, dried up river beds, and poisoned our fields, causing the yield from the croplands to fall substantially

land, we are convinced that this assault on creation is also an assault on our faith. God intended this land for us, His special creatures, not for us to destroy and turn it into a wasteland, but for us to care for it, protect its fruitfulness and prevent it from being devastated (Ge. 1:28, 9:12). He appointed us as stewards of His creation yet we allow such blatant disregard of the sanctity of creation by not conscientiously doing enough to stop illegal logging and mining operations perpetrated by the few and influential elite. The granting of the environmental clearance certificate to Sagittarius Mines in Tampakan showed the insincerity and the double standard scheme that the Aquino Administration

that our mountains, seas, rivers and plains or what is left of them will be protected and preserved. Otherwise, we will begin to wonder about what really is the agenda of the Aquino administration pertaining to the environment. Does the government really care for its preservation? Why is it bent on allowing big mining industries to continue with their operations? Why is it allowing the APECO project? Is it really for the good of all or is the same old system of corruption at work, for clearly the ones who are the beneficiaries are those close to people in power? Look at Mindanao, the impact of ecological devastation affected the source of energy so much so that people there had to suffer

Photo courtesy of Veejay Villafranca / Oxfam

Photo courtesy of LRCKsK FoE Phils

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Ref lections

CBCP Monitor
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 9

The Holy Spirit as the Church’s guarantee of continuity of Jesus’ cause
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C; John 14:23-29, May 5, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
THAT with the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, there was a struggle between the left wing and right wing over the control of China, the former advocating the continuation of revolutionary mass mobilization, the latter the overhauling of Chinese economy—this quite illustrates a normal feature in the transition periods. One of the problems that a country, community, company or movement faces in the process of institutionalization is the prospect of the death of the founder. Sometimes it happens that the original vision of the founder is lost once a new one is installed. What he said and did is barely recalled and hardly influences the direction the community takes in a new situation. In China, the Gang of Four suffered defeat, while the reformers under Deng Xiaoping prevailed. Usually, though, this does not happen to a democratic nation, because the Supreme Court is there to interpret the original vision enshrined in the constitution, but this does not prevent the new leader from revising the constitution. But this cannot happen in the Christian community that Jesus founded or it would be divided and lose it continuity with the divine source. Today’s Gospel shows us how it cannot. Like the previous Sunday’s, today’s Gospel forms part of Jesus’ farewell discourses placed by John in the context of the last supper. Though, historically, these discourses could be understood in a situation wherein the community of John was expelled from the synagogue, yet they are meant to answer the problems spawned by Jesus’ physical departure from the disciples. Once Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven, who will continue his teaching and work? Like any other historical person, Jesus could not have taught everything to his disciples, nor could he have, considering the circumstances of his death, done it completely. And even without adverting to Mark’s portrait of the disciples who frequently misunderstood Jesus, it was simply impossible for them, as historical persons, to understand everything he taught them. And there are other related problems. For instance, who will sustain the disciples in the aftermath of the shattering experience of Jesus’ death? Will his departure spell the end of the community? It is on account of these problems that in John the supper discourses look beyond Jesus’ death to the resurrection. After his physical departure, Jesus will remain with the community of disciples through his spiritual presence: “I will ask the Father to give you another Paraclete—to be with you always” (John 14:16). The Spirit is thus none other than the spiritual presence of Jesus. Jesus is the first paraclete, and the Holy Spirit is another. Jesus and the Spirit resemble each other: both are sent by the Father (3:17, 4:26) both remain with the disciples (14:20; 14:17), and both guide them (14:16; 16:13). Moreover, even if the world of men and sin hates the community, they are assured of not falling into the lie and the devil, because the Spirit is a Spirit of Truth (14:17), who will guide them into all truth (16:13). Of the functions of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel mentions two of them: to teach all things, and to bring remembrance: “The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will instruct you in everything, and remind you of all that I told you” (14:26). Since Jesus is the once-andfor-all revelation of God (Heb 1:1), the Holy Spirit will not make any new revelations. That is not his work. Nothing is to be added to what has been revealed by God in the life and person of Jesus. Rather, it belongs to him to help—Paraclete means helper—the community understands the meaning of the words and actions of Jesus that up to the time of his death were obscure to the disciples. Thus, for example, it was only after the resurrection that they were able to understand the saying, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (1:19). In addition, what Jesus spoke of implicitly, the Spirit will make it explicit. He will enable the community to perceive the deeper meaning of Jesus’ teaching. Moreover, he will unfold new interpretations of what the early Jesus revealed to the community. However, the Spirit uncovers not only new understanding and interpretation, but even application of God’s revelation in Jesus. In the community’s encounter with new problems that arise when faith is confronted with various situations, the Spirit will make a creative application of the gospel. That way, the community perceives the relevance of Jesus’ teaching to
Holy Spirit / B7

Bishop Pat Alo

ENCOUNTERS

Good vs. Evil

Jesus’ Ascension as an assurance of our participation in His heavenly glory
An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Year C; Luke 24,40-53, May 12, 2013
the seven spheres of heaven with their gates, hostile spirits and other obstacles. But the Christian understanding of the ascension of Jesus is quite different. In Luke, for example, it signifies the end of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and his earthly ministry, a beginning of his exaltation, and a new way of his presence among us. To stress that the ascension marks the end of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and of his earthly ministry, it may be noted that with his account of Jesus’ ascension (Luke 24:50-53), Luke’s narrative on the journey to Jerusalem comes to a close. In Luke 9:51, Jesus, whom

(The eternal battle Rev. 12:7-17)
WE cannot avoid it, sooner or later we will realize that in the world, within us or outside ourselves, there is the battle between good and evil, truth and falsehood. But naturally we must be on the side of goodness and truth since this is the way that leads us to the eternal reward. The devil is the tempter, a main protagonist of evil that works hard to bring the most he could to the fires of hell. Since he has been eternally punished by God because he wanted to be above God and rebelled against God’s commands, out of jealousy he wants to tempt as many humans as he could so they may also undergo a similar fate as he, Satan or Lucifer and his company of devils, the eternally condemned. Jesus tells us in Jn. 8:44, “the devil is a murderer and the father of lies.” “And now war broke out in heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven. The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived all the world, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him. Then I heard a voice shout from heaven, ‘Victory and power and empire forever have been won by our God, and all authority for his Christ, now that the persecutor, who accused our brothers day and night before our God, has been brought down. They have triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the witness of their martyrdom, because even in the face of death they would not cling to life. Let the heavens rejoice and all who live there; but for you, earth and sea trouble is coming because the devil has gone down to you in a rage, knowing that his days are numbered… Then the dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, that is, all who obey God’s commandments and bear witness for Jesus” (Rev. 12:7-17. Such is the battle raging in our present world—ever since time immemorial.

www.intermirifica.net

By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
IN Old Testament and Intertestamental Literature, voyage from earth to heaven is a widespread motif. The journey of Enoch, Moses, Elijah, Baruch, and Abraham easily comes to mind. The Book of Enoch, for instance, recounts how this son of Jared was taken up into the heavens, and was appointed guardian of heavenly treasures, chief of the archangels, and attendant upon God’s celestial throne. Of course, in ancient religions, we even find a detailed account of the voyage through

the Samaritans did not welcome, resolutely determined to journey to the city, where the ultimate rejection awaited him. Here in the farewell scene, that journey is completed, as Jesus blesses his disciples. At the same time, this sets the end of Luke’s account of the story of Jesus, for just as it began in Jerusalem, with Zechariah unable to bless the people gathered in the temple (Luke 1:21-22), so it ends in Jerusalem, with the disciples praising God in the temple, after Jesus blessed them (Luke 24:52). The ascension, therefore, marks the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In ascending, Jesus

Ascension / B7

The power that transforms earth into heaven
6th Sunday of Easter, May 5, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
IT is a matter of consistency— those who claim to believe in Christ and love him have to prove it through their actions. Jesus is not satisfied with verbal protestations of love and faithfulness. He wants action. Already at the beginning of his public life he had warned his disciples, “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who DO the will of my Father” (Mt 7:21). Later on, he proclaimed that he considers as his closest relative whoever DOES God’s will. (See Mk 3:35.) In his discourse at the Last Supper, the test of love is even more personal: “Anyone who loves me will be true to my word” (Jn 14:23). Conversely, failure to be true to his word signifies a lack of love for him. (See v. 24.) To be true to Jesus’ word means to accept it in faith and to value it as the most precious treasure; to take it as one’s own highest inspiration in life; and to live by it, no matter what the cost. Such a cost may sometimes be very high indeed. But the reward is higher still. God will bless with His continuous presence the believers who have learned how to live by the word of Christ. Then their lives will take on a new dimension – the dimension of communion with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit of Love. They will enjoy the essence of heaven, already in this life. This will be just a foretaste, of course, since the fullness of heaven lies beyond time and space. But it will be a real foretaste, nonetheless, which fills the soul of the “genuine believer” with divine splendor, insight, and peace. It is the splendor coming from the glory of the Father. (See Rv 21:23.) It is the insight deriving from the presence of the Spirit. (See Jn 14:26.) It is the peace produced in our hearts by the self-gift of the Son. (See Jn 14:27.) All this spells a unique dignity for every human being. Man is great on account of his intelligence, his moral and artistic achievements, and for the call to be with God forever. But every human being is especially great because he/she can be the temple of the Blessed Trinity already in this life. The condition to actualize this potential is threefold, as it is spelled out by Jesus himself: to open one’s heart to him in humble faith, to love him tenderly, and to be true to his word. Then heaven dawns on earth and the hearts of human beings become the most precious shrines in which Father, Son, and Spirit love to dwell.

Bo Sanchez

SOULFOOD

Accept your weaknesses
THIS will be short. Let me begin with one of my favorite stories… On her way home, a woman was walking on the sidewalk. She saw a parrot in a pet shop window. Upon seeing her, the parrot said, “Lady, you are really ugly!” Shocked, the woman walked away in a huff. The next day, she walked again on the same road. She saw again the parrot peering through the pet shop window. And sure enough, when the parrot saw her, it said, “Lady, you are really ugly!” The woman couldn’t take it anymore… She barged in the pet shop and told the owner, “Your bird outside has been telling me that I’m ugly. You better do something about that parrot. When I walk here tomorrow, and that bird says the same thing about me, I’ll sue you!” The owner was very apologetic and said, “It won’t happen again, Ma’am.” The next day, she walked home on that same road. Once again, she sees the parrot, and the parrot sees her. She stopped and with an icy stare asked, “Yes?” The bird, strutting back and forth, cocked, “You know.”

Ascension of Our Lord, May 12, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
GOD is perfect justice. He cannot contradict himself. He could not leave Christ’s innocence unvindicated. He could not leave His Son’s total trust unrewarded. Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension are acts of the Father’s justice and faithfulness to His promises. He owed the glorification of Jesus not only to Himself and His Son, but also to all men. We too, in fact, need to know with certainty that the just Man who was humiliated in so many ways, to the point of being numbered among the wicked and evildoers (see Is 53:9, together with Mt 27:37 and parallels), has not only been raised from the dead, but has actually been exalted “high above every principality, power, virtue and domination, and every name that can be given in this age or the age to come.” (Eph 1:21. See also Phil 1:9-11.) This is the meaning of the event we commemorate today. The Ascension, then, is for all of us a source of reassurance about God’s justice and the triumph of good over evil. Christ has done his part in bringing about the salvation of mankind by giving his life in atonement for the sins of all men. God the Father has done His part in allowing His dearest Only Son to die for the salvation of all sinners and in raising him from death as a proof of all the values he stood for. The Holy Spirit has been doing His part in applying to all the merits earned by Jesus through his life and especially His bitter passion. It is now our turn to do our share. We show our gratitude by expressing our gratitude to the Blessed Trinity for the gifts of creation, redemption, and the furtherance of His plan through the centuries. We do that when we respond positively to the call of God to fight evil in whatever form and promote good in ourselves and around ourselves. This means working for the spread of God’s Kingdom by treasuring and upholding its values of truth, justice, peace, love, faith, hope, forgiveness, generosity, purity, fairness, respect for others, honesty, and concern for the greater good of all. The Kingdom is like a seed entrusted to us by God’s love. It is our duty to LET the seed grow in ourselves and around ourselves, for that seed has a tremendous power to develop and envelop the entire universe. It is our duty to MAKE the seed grow by positively working for its development and affirmation through our labor of love and our brave stand against the forces that oppose the Kingdom and constantly try to suppress and conquer it. This is the challenge addressed to us by Jesus’ ascension: a job for which we may feel inadequate and unworthy of. It is precisely because of this that the Lord does not leave us orphans. He promised to give us the Holy Spirit to be our Consoler, Friend, Inspiration, Guide, and Strength. But all this can be accepted and perceived only through faith, for what we see with our eyes can seem very different. Rooted in our faith, like the disciples and the apostles after the Ascension, we await his coming in prayer that widens our hearts in hope. With him, no mission will be impossible. In his power we will conquer.

Each one doing one’s share

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 9
April 29 - May 12, 2013

Social Concerns
three months after, proof of the magnitude of its impact on the economy of the province. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the PhilippinesNASSA/Caritas Philippines, compelled by the love of God

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and in response to this need, developed and spearheaded a rehabilitation project to restore their faith in God and give hope for a new beginning to the survivors. Caritas Philippines aims to build at least 800 Caritas

By NASSA Staff

Caritas Shelters rise in Davao Oriental

BISHOP Patricio H. Alo of the Diocese of Mati, Davao Oriental, led three groundbreaking ceremonies in the municipalities of Cateel and Boston for the construction of transitional shelters on April 12 and 13, 2013. Around 128 families will benefit from Caritas Shelter units in Barangay Aragon, 65 in Barangay Poblacion and 50 in Barangay Sibajay, Boston which were among the most devastated areas by Typhoon Pablo last December 2012. The said events, organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines–National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA)/ Caritas Philippines, and the diocesan program staff, were wellattended by representatives of the local government units (LGUs), the military and members of the communities. They also witnessed the signing of Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) between the Diocese of Mati and the landowners for the free use of their land for a new settlement and the donation of fallen coconut trees as material for the construction. In the same event, Fr. Dan Fuentes, the Diocesan Social Action Center Director, encouraged the communities to adopt sustainable agriculture as alternative livelihood to protect the environment and to minimize the adverse impacts of disasters like this on the communities. Josephine Ignacio and Harvey Luistro of Caritas Philippines, explained the rationale of the project—to bring back hope to those whose lives were devastated by the typhoon and give them
AMRSP / B5

a fresh start for the future. The efforts of the community organizers under the able supervision of Cesaria Hugue, the Diocesan Program Coordinator, were also given recognition in the same event. CBCP-NASSA/Caritas Philippines had demonstrated Catholic charity. Historically, the Philippines is visited by more than twenty typhoons each year; some bringing strong wind, others heavy rains and still others both wind and rain, but all bring destruction and devastation. Pablo, one of the most destructive typhoons in 2012, ravaged Davao Oriental last December, killing over a thousand people and leaving some 800,000 homeless. Destruction was not confined to their residences but also affected their livelihood. Coconut trees fell and still littered the landscape present regime. The land distribution promised to them remains just that…a promise; as always, a broken promise. Together with the farmers, we doubt the effectiveness of the leadership in the Department of Agrarian Reform. We enjoin, therefore, the Administration to listen to the plea of the farmers and the Catholic Bishops Conference that the DAR leadership be replaced to ensure effective implementation of the most important social justice program of governance, which is Agrarian reform and land distribution. If Daang Matuwid is sincere in fulfilling its promise; then, the PNoy government must give out the lands now, including his family’s very own Hacienda Luisita! Truth-tellers and whistle blowers We thank God for having been given the rare privilege of taking an active part in the triumph of truth over lies in a culture of fear and moral bankruptcy. Jun Lozada, Heidi Mendoza, George Rabusa, Lorena Baylon, Nagamura Moner, etc. were, for us, true prophetic voices who wanted to challenge the thundering sounds of the Goliaths in this mountain of lies known as the government. As they upheld the truth, we began to realize with growing horror and increasing indignation the extent of corruption that is systemic in our government bureaucracy then and even now. We see its toll on our suffering people who could actually live in abundance if the resources of the country were truly used for their good. We are saddened by the way the PNoy administration is treating the case of Jun Lozada. It is unthinkable to imagine that Jun’s heroic act that has put him and his family, not only in danger, but in a state of continuous dislocation would be in vain. We cannot go back to “business as usual” simply because “higher-up” officials want to get back at Jun. We cannot understand the indifference that the PNoy government is showing about Jun Lozada. Jun Lozada experienced his own “kairos” which led him to become a truthteller. Under the Arroyo government he lived the life of a fugitive – tormented and hunted by those he angered with his expose’. Is it too much to ask that we allow him to live a normal life free from harassment as gratitude for his heroic acts? We are fully aware that the law is blind and spares no one but the God we know is a compassionate God, the God we worship is a God of justice and love. Let Jun Lozada and all truth tellers be given the chance to live in peace and rebuild their lives. So many questions, so few answers Almost three years under PNoy, we ask so many questions: for ourselves, for our people, for our leaders. We ask these
Social Media / B2

Shelter units in the whole diocese. With funds from the government of New Zealand, Caritas New ZealandandCaritasInternationalis, the Caritas Philippines adopted the design of the model shelter unit being used by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in their own rehabilitation programs. These transitional shelters were designed to be typhoon resilient and are made of coco-lumber. It may be noted that the primary product of the province is coconut and that the typhoon destroyed a large area of the coconut plantation leaving behind broken trees that must be cleared fast to prevent a rhino beetle outbreakthatmayinfectanddestroy healthy trees that survived the disaster. Somehow, it is a blessing in disguise that these fallen coconut trees are now found to be productive as raw material for the construction of transitional houses.

are the backbone of this country, are the biggest victims and losers of the development agenda of PNoy’s Daang Matuwid. In the countryside, they are threatened by the continuing development aggressions perpetrated by the powerful landlords. Looking back, we witnessed the courageous stand of the Anti-Apeco tribal and farmers’ leaders who marched from Aurora to Manila to denounce what they perceived to be a threat to their lives and livelihood; yet, their cries fell on deaf ears. The President pretended to listen to them; but it seems it was only meant to have good media photo-ops and not really to respond to the needs and anguish of the farmers. This same thing happened to the Hacienda Luisita farmers and the farmers belonging to the Task Force Mapalad. A hope-filled promise was given to them; however, its fulfillment is yet to be seen. The farmers are now restless and angry for they feel they are being taken for a ride by the
Ascension / B6

questions that we may be constantly reminded of our purpose: to serve God and His people. For ourselves: what else we must do to effect change in Church and society? For our people: until when should we close our eyes to the reality that too little had changed in our society, and what else we should do to effect true change? For our leaders: are you happy living in illusion that the lives of our people improved while in truth nothing significant happened to them? We have so many questions in our minds, questions that we want to be answered, questions that perhaps cannot be answered. But one thing is certain. We cannot be stopped from our obligation to be the voice of the voiceless and be in solidarity with the poor, the neglected, and the abandoned. For Reference: Fr. Marlon Lacal, O.Carm Executive Secretary

Holy Spirit / B6

All photos are courtesy of CBCP NASSA

entered into God’s presence. This is the essential meaning of “going up” or “ascending far above all heavens” (Eph 4:10). This, of course, is only one side of the coin. The other is that it signifies the beginning of Jesus’ exaltation: “God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every other name” (Phil 2:9). “God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior” (Acts 5:30a). It also indicates the start of his glorification and his enthronement at God’s right hand: “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26); “Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him” (1 Pet 3:21c-22). As a high priest, he passed through the heavens (Heb 4:14) and entered the heavenly sanctuary (9:24). These images and meanings are, of course, related to Jesus’ coming into God’s presence. But what about his relationship to us? Since Jesus is now an exalted and glorified Lord, the mode of his presence changed. Jesus entered into a new form of presence with his disciples, with us, and in the world. He is present to his disciples on earth in a spiritual way. With us, he is especially present in his signs—in his word, in his minister, in the assembly, in the Eucharist and the sacraments, and among others, among the poor. But his presence among us and in the world is the beginning of the parousia. This has been initiated into the world, but in a hidden form. For this reason, ascension serves as a principle of hope, an anticipation of glory for those who proclaim his death and resurrection in their lives. His invisible presence in his signs will be disclosed definitively

in his return in glory. The preface proper to the feast puts it this way: “Mediator between God and man, judge of the world and Lord of hosts, he ascended, not to distance himself from our lowly state, but that we, his members, might be confident of following where he, our Head and Founder, has gone before.” What does this mean in simple language? That Jesus must ascend—this brought sorrow to his disciples. But they were assured of his presence of another kind. Of course, life is a series of arrivals and departures. After graduating from high school, one goes to college. One says good-bye to bachelorhood when he enters into marriage. But the transition from one term to another is never easy. Some individuals get married, but their mentality remains that of a bachelor. Yet, one cannot appreciate the stage of life one enters unless there is a change in mind-set. Some parents find it difficult to realize that their sons and daughters are no longer children: they simply cannot let go. The same may be said of faith. That Jesus is seated at the right hand and no longer present to us in the way he was physically present to his disciples during the public ministry—this is not necessary a disadvantage for us. On the contrary, we must ever rejoice because of it, even as the disciples were filled with joy as they witnessed the ascension. Today, his presence to us who believe in his power is no less real than his presence to his disciples. And that experience of his presence is the beginning of the parousia. If we have an intimate relationship with him, we are assured of the final revelation of that participation when he returns in glory. The final transition will occur, and what Jesus is, we will experience and share.

contemporary life. When the early Church, as related in the 1st Reading (Acts 7:55-60), faced the problem of circumcision vis-à-vis the admission of the Gentiles to the community, the resolution reached by the disputing parties at the Council of Jerusalem reflects the workings of the Holy Spirit: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit, and ours, too, not to lay on you any burden beyond that which is strictly necessary” (Acts 15:28). As a great Johannine commentator, Hoskyns, puts it, “the Spirit’s work is more than a reminiscence of the ipsissima verba of the Son of God; it is a living representation of all that he had spoken to his disciples, a creative exploitation of the gospel.” By fulfilling his teaching

function, the Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus: “When the Paraclete comes… he will bear witness on my behalf” (John 15:26). He ensures, in other words, that, even if conditions and circumstances change, the identity and continuity of the truth that Jesus revealed to the first community is assured. What Jesus said, the Holy Spirit recreates and perpetuates. Hence, when the Church speaks on such issues as militarization, globalization, migration, etc. from ethical and doctrinal perspectives, one is assured that it is the same truth the disciples had heard that is being preached today. Through the Holy Spirit, the Church is guaranteed with the continuity of Jesus words and works, even without his physical presence.

the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1). In the digital world there are social networks which offer our contemporaries opportunities for prayer, meditation and sharing the word of God. But these networks can also open the door to other dimensions of faith. Many people are actually discovering, precisely thanks to a contact initially made online, the importance of direct encounters, experiences of community and even pilgrimage, elements which are always important in the journey of faith. In our effort to make the Gospel present in the digital world, we can invite people to come together for prayer or liturgical celebrations in specific places such as churches

and chapels. There should be no lack of coherence or unity in the expression of our faith and witness to the Gospel in whatever reality we are called to live, whether physical or digital. When we are present to others, in any way at all, we are called to make known the love of God to the furthest ends of the earth. I pray that God’s Spirit will accompany you and enlighten you always, and I cordially impart my blessing to all of you, that you may be true heralds and witnesses of the Gospel. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15). From the Vatican, 24 January 2013, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales. BENEDICTUS XVI

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B8
The ‘Ten Commandments’ for Responsible Voting
By PPCRV
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.

Features ‘Laser Test’ for Voters
By Dilaab Movement
LIFESTYLE Does the candidate strive to live a modest lifestyle in accordance with the Philippine Constitution? Does the candidate have unexplained wealth (i.e. “out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income” -RA #3010, Section 8)? ACTION Does the candidate have a track record of competence and servant-leadership (common good without vested interests) in the private sector or government? Does the candidate have (or plan to set-up) mechanisms or systems in managing the government’s treasury for it to be transparent and accountable to the public? Does the candidate have sincere concern for the protection of life and the Filipino family? SUPPORTERS Who are the candidate’s election supporters and where is his/her campaign money coming from? How does the candidate choose and deal with his/ her election supporters, especially those providing funds, so that his/her journey t o w a r d s i n t e g r i t y for t he common good would not be compromised? Is the candidate’s family supportive of his/her journey towards integrity for the common good? ELECTION CONDUCT Does the candidate try to observe election laws in the area of vote-buying or any of its variants especially donations and overspending on media ads, respecting the rights of voters and political rivals, use of government properties, political posters, etc? REPUTATION Has the candidate ever been involved in issues, controversies, and/or legal cases against him? Aside from attending mass or prayer service, is there any other basis for saying that the candidate is truly God-fearing or morally upright?

CBCP Monitor

April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 9

Prayer for the Vote Good Campaign
O GOOD and just God, we come before you rejoicing that you have made us in your image and likeness. You have given us the capacity to know you and to share your life. We thank you for the dignity we have as Christians and as citizens. As we face yet another election, help us to overcome cynicism with hope by remembering that our votes matter because we are precious in your eyes. Give us boldness to recognize that our vote is a voice. Together our voices promote change for what is really good, not just for our household but for our families, neighborhood, parish, city, but also for our country. Together we are less prone to the illusion of empty promises, and the threats of violence and allure of purchase. Together we say no to vote buying and its variations. Let our votes be the fruit of a communal process of discernment so when we cast them we help bring to government the right people for the task. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Peacekeepers and Election Officials
LORD, Author of order, you have called people to exercise authority to ensure good order in our human activities. May these men and women joyfully take on their roles as your chosen stewards in keeping the peace. We thank you Lord and we ask your blessing, guidance, and protection for Comelec officials, police and military personnel, teachers, and other government officials tasked to ensure the common good during elections. May they do the bidding of conscience and follow the rule of law despite difficulties. We pray for those who may be tempted or have given in to narrow economic or political interests. Let them always remember that a good name is the best legacy they leave to their families and to the nation. Grant them the gift of conversion. Lord, it is you who call us to love. Your love conquers all. We ask these in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Prayers composed by Fr. Carmelo O. Diola of the Dilaab Movement)

Moral Assessment

Technical Assessment

 Abhorrent  Disturbing  Acceptable  Wholesome  Exemplary

 Poor  Below average  Average  Above average  E xcellent

It is Year 2077. Sixty years ago, evil invaders called “Scavengers” destroyed the moon and attempted to capture Earth. Mankind fought off the aggressors but Earth was left uninhabitable due to the moon’s fragmentation and worldwide combat. Now humans are still being evacuated to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, and they await their turn to depart while on board a spacecraft that hovers just above Earth’s atmosphere. Trained technician Jack (Tom Cruise) and a navigator, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) have been dispatched to supervise the operations of the machines that continue to harvest what is left of Earth’s natural resources, particularly the water from its oceans, for use of the people living on Titan. Jack and Victoria are professionally and romantically linked, but Jack is disturbed by the image of a beautiful woman recurring in his dreams. The couple’s idyllic partnership is given an unexpected twist when the beautiful woman in Jack’s dreams turns up to be a real person, Julia (Olga Kurylenko), whom Jack finds in a hypersleep chamber crash-landing from an unknown spaceship. Sweeping vistas of outer
Title: Spiders Lead cast: William Hope, Christa Campbell, Patrick Muldoon, Sydney Sweeney Direction: Tibor Takas Screenplay: Joseph Farragia, Tibor Takas, Boaz Davidson Running Time: 89 minutes Location: New York Genre: Sci-fi/thriller Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment:  CINEMA Rating: V14 MTRCB Rating: PG13

space, fabulous machines and dwellings that could only exist in one’s fantasies seem to be the strongest attractions of Oblivion. Through this impeccably created eye candy the viewer’s mind is teased into suspending disbelief to get carried away by the plot. But, alas, the plot lacks the viscosity to sustain the viewer’s interest, much less to mesmerize him into embracing Oblivion as a probability in the not-so-distant Oblivion’s ambitious future. storytelling, evocative of Cloud Atlas though not as grand, is supported by the strong presence of Morgan Freeman as Beech, the chief of the guerilla freedom fighters. Freeman, as usual, delivers, and Cruise seems to sincerely believe in his character; that’s just about the nicest thing to be said about the acting. Other technical aspects are as “okay” as “okay” goes. Oblivion attempts to delve into the question of identity (the relationship between physical and spiritual identities in particular) but abandons the question to pose some more—much like a toddler who, growing impatient with a toy, distracts himself with other toys. Pursuing this analogy, Oblivion strikes the viewer as something

Title: Oblivion Cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj CosterWaldau, Melissa Leo Director: Joseph Kosinski Screenplay: Joseph Kosinski and Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt Distributor: Universal Pictures Genre: Science fiction/action Running Length: 126 minutes Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  ½ CINEMA rating: V 18 MTRCB rating: PG 13

like building a spaceship with Lego blocks. Good sci-fi is coherent and logical despite a bold hypothesis; it connects its elements until they all click into place, revealing the creation, albeit a Lego spaceship, as a masterpiece. Oblivion does not “click.” The film offers enough to appeal to teenagers but because CINEMA believes movies are not just supposed to be eye candy or dubious entertainment, Oblivion is given a V 18 rating. Due to the nature of the movie’s theme, mature viewers may still winnow something worth a thought from the loosely glued elements.

In a usual busy day in New York, a piece of Russian spacecraft crashes into the subway tunnel putting into halt the rush hour operations. Transit supervisor Jason Cole (Patrick Muldoon) and his team work to put the train back on track until one of the transit employees mysteriously dies supposedly of electrocution. As Cole investigates further, the government teams up with a Russian scientist to recover the queen spider egg that came with the spacecraft. Apparently, the Russians developed a military weapon by cultivating mutant indestructible spiders that grow up to 60 feet long. Overnight, the spiders mutate and become giant creatures destroying the city while the US military unleash

a deadly virus story to cover up their intentions of gaining control of the queen spider. While all of these are happening Jason and his estranged wife Rachel (Christa Campbell) fight their way to rescue their 12 year old daughter and rekindle their love for each other. There are many things wrong with this movie. First, it starts off interestingly until the real plot unfolds and everything falls apart because audiences discover the very thin plot jammed between very poor performances. The storyline is too cliché and predictable. The protagonists are irritating with Muldoon’s cardboard acting and Campbell’s constant wailing. While the improved and modern effects give the movie a sense of realism and the surprisingly well-crafted scoring make viewers believe the film is engrossing, it still falls short of being entertaining after the first 10 minutes. Sadly, it tries to add drama and empathy to the father-daughter and husband-wife relationships but these are delivered too poorly to be appreciated.

The biggest saving grace of Spiders is its efforts to show how the worst of situations bring out the best in people. Jason and Rachel’s love for their daughter and of each other taught them to set aside their professional and personal conflicts and work together to survive. There is a very subtle hint of keeping the marriage intact and valuing the family above everything. If only the movie was better presented then these messages could have had the desired impact. However, several scenes that are too violent, gory and unsuitable for very young children will be better remembered than the underlying message. Hence, CINEMA thinks Spiders is for older bored young adults.
Title: Vamps Lead Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Stevens, Wallace Screenwriter: Amy Heckerling Genre: Comedy, Romance, Horror Running Time: 92 minutes Distributor: Anchor Bay Films Technical Assessment:  Moral Assessment:  ½ CINEMA rating: V14 MTRCB rating: R 13

rodents. The BFFs “are addicted to the night life, clubbing, and always looking for the next thrill, all the while keeping their big secret. But even with lifetimes of dating experience behind them, the duo realizes they still have a lot to learn about love.” Stacy falls in love with Joey (Dan Stevens), the son of a vampire hunter, Dr. Van Helsing (Wallace Shawn), and Goody runs into the man of her dreams, Danny (Richard Lewis), from the 60s. “With their destinies at stake, the girls are faced with a difficult choice; give up their eternal youth for a chance at love, or continue to live their uncomplicated fabulously single lives forever.” Vamps reunites Alicia Silverstone with director Amy Heckerling both of

The success of Twilight and other vampire films reveals our fascination with the undead and there is no sign of it stopping. The latest is simply called Vamps starring Alicia Silverstone (Goody) and Krysten Ritter (Stacy) as modern-day vampires in New York City. Goody and Stacy prefer to call themselves ELFs (Eternal Life Form) instead of vampires and have sworn off human blood with their ELF help group “Sanguines Anonymous” who survive on the blood of animals, particularly

Clueless fame and boasts of a finely assembled cast. You realize from the outset that this is not your usual vampire story of horror and drama. Neither is it just a chick flick or rom com movie. While most vampire movies main focus is on humans, Heckerling succeeds in presenting vampires as creatures who have supernatural powers and yet need to face the challenges of the 21st century. There are funny and charming moments, and the film explores current issues like aging, keeping up with the times and trends, loneliness and dependence on technology. Through Goody, she chides us for using Facebook, Twitter, SMS and texting instead of talking to each other, but says it in a tone that shows the film is out of touch as the 19th century vampire. Though vampires remain eternally young, Vamps succumbs to the cult of youth and beauty. Goody hides her real age to Stacy to keep their friendship, and she also wants to appear young and attractive forever, revealing woman’s fear of old age. Heckerling tries to make it Vamps in the City (cute and charming) but doesn’t quite succeed, despite the lead actors and supporting cast. It sometimes appears as a TV sitcom with cheap sets and uninspired lines. In trying to appeal both to teenagers and Cher’s contemporaries in Clueless, Heckerling’s recent opus ends up an adequate but forgettable movie. The violence here is mostly comical and there are some sexual references and strong language, plus some intimate scenes. Hence CINEMA gives this movie a V14 rating.

Vol. 17 No. 9

CBCP Monitor

April 29 - May 12, 2013

C1

The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

HOLD Icon 2013: All for LOVE!
evangelization being the mission of the Church, and the New Evangelization. In the last session for the day (We Are the Church), Dory Sarmiento expounded on the role of CFC HOLD as part of the global Couples for Christ family in the work of evangelization, especially in the Year of Faith as declared by Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI. She reiterated the five crucial points from the recently concluded Synod of Bishops that are relevant to the work of CFC in personal transformation and evangelization. These propositions were: • Proposition 9 on New Evangelization and Initial Proclamation • Proposition 21 on Migrants • Proposition 22 On Personal and Communal Conversion • Proposition 31 on New Evangelization and Preferential Option for the Poor • Proposition 45 on the Role of the Lay Faithful in the New Evangelization In this session, sharers from different countries where there has been a decline in morality and faith talked about their experiences and struggles in evangelization. They talked about how they have risked their lives and have become creative in spreading the Gospel, especially multi-cultural evangelization. As a fitting end, the Global Praise followed, where HOLD leaders from North America, Europe, Oceania, and Africa led the closing worship via songs translated in their native languages as a symbol of unity in the work of evangelization despite diversity in culture. The final Session titled All for Love was given by Didi Galsim on Sunday, after the Mass. In the talk, she focused on God’s call for CFC and CFC HOLD for this year—Obey and Witness—and how the Handmaids can live this out faithfully this year and the years to come, all for love of Jesus. After all, it was Christ who loved man first, thus enabling each person to love God back, to love himself, and to love others as Jesus emphasized in Matthew 22: 37 to 39. To obey and witness all for love does not demand grand gestures. As evangelizers and missionaries, Galsim encouraged each Handmaid to D.R.A.W., or to perform Daily Random Acts of Witnessing. A witness to Christ, she underscored, is one who stands in His place so that others may see what He is really like. Handmaids were encouraged to witness through their daily tasks and roles as mothers, working women, sisters, daughters, leaders and members. Finally, as a symbol of obeying and witnessing all for love,

heart-shaped pendants were given to the participants. Session 5 ended with a festive celebration of the Lord of love, with praising and dancing while showers of balloons and confetti rained on an ocean of pink-clad Handmaids. To cap the conference, Bernie Cuevas led the praisefest. The Handmaids laughed and cried all throughout the conference. There was much hugging and smiling and saying, “God loves you, I love you, God has healed you!” And once again, God had manifested His love to His beloved Handmaids.

By Alma Alvarez
April 26 to 28 may have been an ordinary, hot summer weekend for many, but for almost 6,000 women from CFC Handmaids of the Lord, the weekend was something they had been looking forward to, as it was the weekend of the 20th HOLD International Conference. Dubbed All for Love, the HOLD ICon opened Friday with the celebration of the Holy Mass. Bishop Gabriel Reyes, DD of the Diocese of Antipolo, together with Msgr. Allen Aganon and Rev. Fr. Joselito Santos, concelebrated the Mass. After dinner, everyone got ready for Emerald Night, an evening of celebrating HOLD@20, where the ladies worshipped God, danced, sang and had fun while reconnecting with sisters and meeting new friends from the various provinces and countries. The Saturday gathering started with the celebration of the Mass, followed by Session 1, Upon this Rock, given by Marite Tanjangco. In the talk, HOLD was reminded about the 12 apostles of Jesus—their being chosen despite their weaknesses, and how they were able to share the Word rapidly, covering vast territories and witnessing to their love for Christ.

Kids for Christ—‘Following Jesus’ at the IKV

In Session 2, Signs of the Times, Grace Buntag walked the participants through Church History and how, despite the apostles’ warnings against the sins of the flesh, early Christians failed to obey God and love one another, thus putting the Church in a precarious situation. Heresies, persecution, controversies, abuses, corruption and conflicts beset the Church at that time, but it was at this time that God raised up good men and women to stand up for the Church, some of them becoming saints. After the afternoon worship, Jo Dano of HOLD Davao delivered the third talk titled Church Alive, where she discussed Vatican II and how it became the Church’s instrument to bring in reforms and open the Church to the modern world. It was a new SPRINGTIME for the Catholic Church—a renewal that brought the Church closer to the people through the translation of the Eucharistic celebration in various languages, the sharing of the clergy and laity in priestly and prophetic functions, promotion of unity among all Christians, inspiration of the youth, the fight against moral degradation, witness of saints, deeper devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, integration of the social teachings of the Church,

Handmaids from the Philippines and abroad, worshipping and proudly showing off their love pendants—the symbol of God’s perfect love.

By Euan Tabuena
Sydney, Australia was the host of the CFC Kids for Christ 16th International Kids Village (IKV) last April 19-21, 2013. The conference was held in Merroo, an hour’s drive from Sydney. There were more than 550 delegates from 6 countries around the world (New Zealand, Malaysia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United States, Philippines and Australia) as well as delegates from major cities: Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra. The theme for the weekend was “Follow Jesus,” in keeping with Couples for Christ theme for 2013, “Obey and Witness,” both anchored on John 2:5, “Do whatever He tells you.” The Kids for Christ were taught the importance of prayer and reading the Bible, their “Power Book,” to listen and understand God’s will, and to be inspired to follow Jesus through understanding the significant events in the life of Jesus. The first day of IKV was a fun-filled event, starting off with praise and worship, kid’s style, full of joyous songs and dances led by Kids for Christ program head for Sydney Australia and R.O.C.K. facilitator, Justin Ocsan, and with the singing of the Australian National Anthem performed by the Kids for Christ

Sydney. The delegations were welcomed by Nonoy Albano, Head of Event in Sydney, after which the conference was formally opened by Nic Escalona, International Coordinator for CFC KFC. The first day featured awesome production numbers showcasing the culture and sounds of Australia, performances from the different CFC family ministries, the Praise Parade, the “Power Play,” a short play depicting how a family discovers the “Power Book” and learns powerful lessons from the stories found in the book. The first day was capped with another exuberant Kids Praise, this time led by Chino Santos,

fulltime pastoral worker from the Philippines. He revealed that the Power book is actually the Holy Bible, important to all because it contains God’s Word. The second day of the IKV was filled with adventure and excitement from the kids, beginning with the four workshops in the morning. In the first workshop, the kids were taught the significant events in the life of Jesus through a race challenge that highlighted the four Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. The second workshop emphasized the importance of reading the Bible, through five Bible stories depicting Jesus’ miracle of generosity, obedience, faith, forgiveness

and love. The third workshop created awareness on how the kids can further mirror their faith through their actions. The key elements in this workshop were simple acts of love and random acts of kindness. The last workshop of the morning introduced the kids to seven exemplary saints who followed Jesus in their own way at a young age. In the afternoon, the kids engaged in the Sports competitions and the Family Creative competitions including singing, dancing, acoustic band, preach, artwork and writing competitions. While the kids were enjoying their activities and workshops, the parents had their own work-

shops, highlighting the role of mothers as the light of the family and the role of fathers as provider, protector and pastor. The night concluded with a powerful Kids praise, exhorting the kids to obey and follow Jesus, followed by the Champions Night where some of the winners of the family competitions performed. The third day featured another vibrant Kids Praise, the last session of the Power play about kids becoming good examples to others and a powerful exhortation from Nic Escalona. He encouraged the kids to know Jesus more and to follow Him and to be inspired by Mama

Mary’s love for God. The final mass of the conference was celebrated by the Most Rev Julian Porteous, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney. In his homily on that Good Shepherd Sunday, he spoke about the different characteristics of the Good Shepherd and the reasons the sheep follow His voice. He pointed out that to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the children need to learn to listen to God’s voice through prayer and the Holy Bible. The conference ended with the kids along with their parents and the other delegates praising and worshiping God through songs and dances they had learned throughout the weekend.

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Joe Yamamoto

Ugnayan

CBCP Monitor
April 29 - May 12, 2014

Vol. 17 No. 9

Springtime in the Church
In many places in the world, this is the season of springtime. The earth becomes radiant with symphony of colors. The cold and gloom of winter is replaced with flourishing evidence of life making spring a symbol of new life and new growth. In the Philippines, where the tropical climate limits the experience of seasonal change to summer and rainy season, the notion of springtime is also known in reference to a fresh beginning. One of the most popular and well known celebrations of Spring happens in Japan where just the casual mention of haru ( spring season) evokes images of flowering Sakura (cherry blossoms) and cool refreshing weather. Anticipation and enjoyment of the sight of the Sakura blossoms is not only a traditional heritage and national pastime but is ingrained in the life and culture of the people. Hanami, the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of the flowers, especially Sakura, is more than a thousand years old, but it remains very popular even today. Even though the blossoms last only for a week or two, usually from March to April, still the excitement and anticipation of their beauty are sufficient for the Japanese people to celebrate and continue to hope and look forward to such occurrence year after year. Spring has a religious significance for some religions. This is the time for the religious observance of the Passover by the Jews. For the whole Christendom, particularly in Rome, the seat of Catholicism, the traditional Holy Week observance and ceremonies occur in spring. Even the election of Pope Francis, which came about as a result of the unprecedented and unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, is seen as symbolic of springtime in the Church. The fresh approach and the amiable personality of the new Pope come as a new springtime to the Vatican and to the rest of the Catholic faithful around the world. The election of Pope Francis I, as the new Shepherd of the Catholic Church, is very much an existential springtime. In many ways, the Church is experiencing a fresh beginning. The new Pope is an unexpected break from the usual mold as he is from the New World (the Americas, specifically Argentina). He prefers the touch of ordinary life. Pope Francis takes on the governance and spiritual leadership of 1.2 billion Catholics around the globe even as he was not even in the list of the most possible papabiles prior to the Conclave. Hours before the conclave that elected the new pope, the future Pope, then Cardinal Jaime Mario Bergoglio, stated that he would want to see the Church ‘not to be eschewed with self-absorption’ and focus its energies outward. The future Pope also warned against the dangers of stagnation, stating that “when the Church does not emerge from itself to evangelize, it becomes self-referential and therefore becomes sick.” Pope Francis, not knowing that he would be elected, said he expected the top pastor of the Church of Rome to be “a man who, from the contemplation of Jesus Christ, helps the Church to emerge from itself to arrive at the existential limits.” (from Catholic Conclave blog, based on a document given to Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana by then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio). The full text of that document allows us to take a look into the heart and mind of Pope Francis I. Some salient points are described below: 1. Evangelizing supposes apostolic zeal. Evangelizing implies that the Church should speak candidly, coming out of herself. The Church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only in the geographical sense but also to go to the existential peripheries: those of the mysteries of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and of religious indifference, of thought, of all misery. 2. When the Church does not come out of itself to evangelize, it becomes self-referential and then gets sick. The evils that, over time, occur in ecclesiastical institutions have roots in referentiality, a sort of theological narcissism. In Revelation, Jesus says he is at the door and knocks. Obviously the text refers to hitting from outside the door to enter … But think of the times when Jesus knocks from within to let himself out. The self-referential Church seeks Jesus Christ within and does not let him out. 3. When the Church is selfreferential, unwittingly believed to have its own light, it is no longer the mysterium lunae and leads to the evil that is so serious: spiritual worldliness (according to de Lubac, the worst evil that can befall the Church). Put simply, there are two images of the Church: the evangelizing Church taking leave of itself which religiously hears the Word of God and faithfully proclaims it or the worldly Church living in itself, of itself, for itself. This should shed light on the possible changes and reforms that must be done for the salvation of souls. Pope Francis has introduced new and personal ways of performing the responsibilities of the papacy, such as asking the faithful whom he faced from the Vatican balcony for the first time to pray for him instead of simply praying for them. It was not lost on the faithful who saw and heard him that first day that the new Pope brings so much refreshing simplicity and humility into the seat of Peter. It is as enlivening as the cool fresh wind of spring time to read about the simple lifestyle of Pope Francis, preferring to live in austere community conditions with his fellow cardinals in the Vatican Residence and riding with them in the cardinals’ bus after the conclave that elected him pope. News reports show an emerging picture of a pope who is accessible and approachable. He sought out and mingled with the faithful after his first papal mass and he has continued this practice, much to the chagrin of his security people. The picture of well-worn black shoes the new Pontiff wore during his first audiences rather than the customized red shoes of his predecessors, speaks volumes about his simplicity. These are simple yet significant images and impressions of the Pope who found his commitment for the poor at the heart of his papacy. The choice of the name Francis connects him to St. Francis of Assisi, his role model for holiness, poverty in spirit, simplicity, humility and obedience. The relationality that Pope Francis brings into his pontificate bodes well for the Catholic Church. We now look forward to a church that will be more open and sensitive to the needs of the faithful, especially the poor. There is a building up of optimism that the task of evangelization and bringing the gospel to the limits of ‘existential outskirts’ will be the welcome fresh wind of springtime in the Church. To the over one billion Catholics around the world, the message of Evangelii Nuntiandi, the encyclical written by Pope Paul VI, will find depth, meaning and relevance regarding the need of the Church for more ‘witnesses’. Pope Francis I will lead the way.

China Bank supports CFC ANCOP Calamity Program

ANCOP Global Walk 2013 launched at the CFC Mission Core
By Lance Fernandez
The journey to the ANCOP Global Walk has started. Last April 16, during the Mission Core Teaching Night at Christ the King Parish in Greenmeadows, the 2013 ANCOP Global Walk was launched. Child Sponsorship Program scholars from various CFC ANCOP sites in North A greeted the CFC members as they entered the venue, giving out “Thank You” cards as a token of gratitude for the education benefit they are experiencing through the selfless commitment of the members to support this program. After the teaching, the excitement about the Global Walk was shared by CFC BCOP Deputy Director & CFC ANCOP President Eric de los Reyes who challenged the Mission Core Group to walk the talk and participate in this event to send poor children to school. He also related this effort to the community’s theme of “Obey and Witness” wherein Jesus is telling every Christian to do something for the “least of our brethren” as well as our community asking every CFC to “build the church of the poor.” Chito de la Cruz of CFC

Last April 7, China Bank donated a significant cash donation to CFC ANCOP to aid Mindanao typhoon victims. This was formalized during the Mission Core Group Assembly, held in the Ateneo High School Gym. The donation will support the CFC ANCOP calamity program for typhoon Pablo victims. Chinabank was represented by First Vice President II Alex Escucha and Malabon Branch Manager Nenette Baradi. Receiving the donation were CFC ANCOP Chairman Joe Yamamoto & wife Mila, President Eric de los Reyes and Marketing Director Chito dela Cruz.

ANCOP Scholars greet the Mission Core Members during the launch

CFC ANCOP Forges Partnership with Federal Land

ANCOP Marketing revealed that 80,000 walkers participated in the 2012 walk. This year, the event aims to gather 150,000. He encouraged the Mission Core Group to promote the event to the clergy, parishes, schools and students as well as the corporations. The 2013 ANCOP Global Walk will be on August 25, 2013 at the Quirino Grandstand. Festivities will start with

a dawn Mass at 4:30 AM. The registration fee is Php 280 for those who will be registering on or before the 32nd CFC Anniversary celebration on June 22. As a promotional tie-up, registrants have a chance to win a three-day accommodation at Alta Vista de Boracay. For those who will be registering after the Anniversary in June, registration fee will be Php 300.

Central Luzon CANA Weekend: ‘Do whatever He tells you’
Right after the talk, an atmosphere of prayerful spirit was experienced by all participants during the blessing and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by the celebration of the Lord’s Day. The night was capped with the different presentations of the Area Governance Team (AGT) members of each province. The fourth talk was about the “Radical Transformation: from Water to Wine” delivered by Bong Arjonillo, sector head of MM Central A. According to him “this miracle makes us realize how our human efforts, combined with His divine actions, can make a radical change in our personal lives, in our families, in the society, and in the world.” The fifth talk “Witness! God’s Glory Revealed” by Mannix Ocampo challenged everyone to continue to stand as witnesses to Christ’s miracle of transformation and to live in righteousness according to Christ’s teachings and examples. The event culminated with the praise fest led by Dixie Banzon, Provincial Area Director (PAD) of Bataan followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the most awaited renewal of marriage vows of all couples.

CFC ANCOP recently gained a new partner in Federal Land, with the signing of a MOA between the two parties. In compliance with the Board of Investment’s provision on socialized housing, Federal Land donated a significant amount for the construction of ten initial houses in the CFC ANCOP – Federal Land community in Caloocan City. Handing over the donation on behalf of Federal Land is Atty. Michael Luciano P. Aranas, Assistant Manager of the company’s Legal Department. On the other hand, receiving in behalf of CFC ANCOP are President Eric de los Reyes and Operations Director Rizal Ting. Federal Land is a real estate firm under the Metrobank Group of Com-

panies. Originally known as Federal Homes, it now manages properties such as the GT Tower International, Bayview International Towers, Bay Garden Club and Residences and the Oriental Garden Makati. In 2007, the company won the Developer of the Year award from the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA). CFC Ancop (Answering the Cry of the Poor) is the institutional foundation for the work with the poor of Couples for Christ. CFC Ancop programs include Education, Health & Community Development (i.e. Shelter & Livelihood) which aims to holistically transform the lives of the poor, both materially and spiritually.

By Bella Panlilio
The annual weekend retreat of CFC Central Luzon was held at Baguio Convention Center, Baguio City on March 9-10, 2013 with the theme “Do whatever He tells you,” an echo of the conference, dubbed “Cana Weekend” held at the same venue in the first week of January for the CFC leaders of Metro Manila. The venue was filled with approximately 1,200 delegates representing the provinces of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales. The activity was hosted by the service team of Pampanga province headed by Ten Limson. The first day started with the celebration of the Holy Mass officiated by Msgr. Allen Aganon followed by the morning worship led by Lito Saturnino, AGT member of Nueva Ecija, accompanied by the CFC Pampanga Band. The first talk entitled “The Wedding Feast in Cana ” was delivered by Lito Tayag, PAH (Davao), who explained both the spiritual and traditional secular views on marriage.

CFC Health Professionals Gather for a Cause
The Give Kare (Gkare) Health Foundation arranged a series of fellowship and lectures for all health professionals in CFC. This is the first of a series of gatherings to spearhead the implementation of the ANCOP Health Programs. The activity was led by Dr. Jose Yamamoto, BCOP Head (Building the Church of the Poor). The GKare and ANCOP programs are part of BCOP. The affair marks the start of a better coordinated working relationship between CFC health professionals already actively managing the health concerns of ANCOP communities, and those who still have to be fully integrated in the work with the poor. Dr. Noe Babilonia, the ANCOP Health Program Director enlisted the help of the entire GKare Board and staff to organize the occasion held at the Aventura Hall of the Philippine Heart Center last Thursday, April 18, 2013. The event is envisioned to be the start of a regular get-together aimed at coordinating and strengthening the participation of the health professionals in the expanding work of CFC and ANCOP.

The second talk “Do Whatever He tells You” by Jun Uriarte, member of the International Council (IC), tackled the following lessons from the verses of John 2:3-5: a) Mary teaches us how to pray; b) Jesus prepares the way for the revelation of Mary’s new mission; and c) Mary tells us to obey Jesus unconditionally. The third talk “Empty Jars, Filled to the Brim” was lifted from the gospel of John 2:6-7. The speaker, Joe Tale, IC member, based his reflections on the events when Jesus acted upon the intercession of His mother.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 9
April 29 - May 12, 2014

Ugnayan
whole-day TOB seminar for CFC, SFC, and HOLD leaders consisting of five talks covering the eight cycles of the TOB. This was held in North Cathedral. Before the first session began, we met Fr. Joel’s translator, Martha, who was a friend of an SFC member who was majoring in English at the university. Martha, we learned that day, had just finished translating to Chinese two English reference materials on love, sexuality, and marriage which were intended for the youth. As we browsed through their English versions, we realized that these included the Theology of the Body! Thus, Martha, in translating these materials, was unknowingly already preparing herself for the translation work she would do for CFC during this mission trip. We also met Jenny again at this TOB seminar and we later learned from her that the TOB material in Chinese which she had shown me in the Philippines was now a published book available in Hong Kong! This meant the participants could order a copy to use as their reference material for further study after the seminar. Thus it was clear: God had been preparing everything for His message to reach His people. He had chosen and prepared the best translator for us (after all, this was a crucial ingredient), made sure there would be available material for further study, and most of all, he had prepared the hearts of His people. It was evident from the way everyone eagerly listened, took notes, asked questions, and later shared their reactions, that the seeds were being planted. The same held true for the succeeding sessions: a two-hour talk to CFC, SFC, and HOLD members at the South Cathedral, an intimate one-hour session with English Mass servants (a small multi-racial group consisting of one American, one Chinese, one Colombian, and a few Filipinos), and lastly, a session with 40 seminarians from Beijing Seminary. Wherever it is brought, the Theology of the Body never fails to stir and capture people’s hearts regardless of their race, language, and background. Bring TOB to China? Yes, by God’s grace TOB is officially in China. We pray that the Lord water and nurture the seeds that have been planted in His own perfect way, in His own unmistakably perfect time. (Aldy and Joy Katigbak are the Couple Coordinator for CFC Gift of Life.)

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DZMM GPSI in Hawaii concludes with two Singing Idols

Theology of the Body goes to China

Fr. Joel Jason (left) giving tha Thelogy of the Body course.

By Joy B. Katigbak
It all started with a prompting. It came unexpected, brief and direct to the point: Bring TOB (Theology of the Body) to China. TOB is Theology of the Body, a series of teachings by Blessed John Paul II on what it means to be human, on why God created us male and female, His design for sex and marriage, and what all these have to do with our destiny. It was difficult to imagine how we could bring this very dense body of teaching to China given the language barrier, and the strict control of the government on religion and on families. But when God commands, we follow, for we know He will always have great things in store. In March 2012, I was asked to give a talk on the Theology of the Body to the Chinese trainees who were in the Philippines for a month to undergo the Chinese Leadership Acceleration Program (CLAP). This was a program that would immerse and train our Chinese CFC and Family Ministry leaders on CFC’s culture and programs so that they could implement these in China. It was there that I met Jenny, an SFC trainee, who translated for me during my talk. After the session, Jenny shared with me how she had come across the

TOB in China through a foreign nun who was serving in a center for women in pregnancy crisis. Jenny had gone there to bring a friend who was contemplating abortion and the nun had given her a paperbound photocopy of a material entitled “Theology of the Body” by Christopher West written in Chinese! She had read it and her interest was aroused and so when she heard there would be a talk on TOB during their training, she volunteered to translate. It was then that I realized that TOB was already slowly inching its way to China. The date for the mission trip was finally set last April 1823, 2013. Fr. Joel Jason, our main TOB teacher in CFC, would be traveling to Beijing to conduct the teaching. Fr. Joel has been patiently conducting Theology of the Body courses for us in CFC since 2011 and has been our spiritual guide in asking the Lord for this work to grow. My husband Aldy and I were to accompany him to share about how TOB has affected us as individuals and as a couple, and to see how we could proceed in the future. The first official activity of the mission trip was a

CFC leaders Jack Macalalad, Eric Villanueva, with winners Jona Peralta and Katrina Lopez, and ANCOP USA President Roger Santos

By ANCOP USA Communications
HONOLULU, HI - In a demonstration of partnership and cooperation with various Filipino groups in the Aloha State, ABS-CBN (DZMM Teleradyo) and ANCOP USA successfully conducted the 2013 Global Pinoy Singing Idol (GPSI) contest last April 6 at Ala Moana Hotel in this city.  Ahwel Paz of DZMM Teleradyo announced at the conclusion of the singing competition that of the 13 contestants, two came out as winners. They are Katrina Lopez (Hawaii) and Jona Peralta (California). Katrina’s winning piece was “Cabaret,” while Jona’s was “What Kind of Fool Am I.” The two received $1,000.00 each as 1st place prize and free round trip tickets to the Philippines, plus a free weeklong stay in Manila where both will represent the USA in the 2013 GPSI Grand Finals next January. The Board of Judges was composed of: Mrs. Mahra Capuyan, ABS CBN DZMM Station Manager; Joel Mangahis of Cebuana Lhuillier and Mrs Bella Tomas, formerly Mrs Hawaii and 3rd runner up in an earlier Mrs America beauty pageant held in Fort Worth, Texas. Three leaders of CFC ANCOP USA graced the event --Eric Villanueva, CFC USA National Council Director & ANCOP USA President; Roger Santos, CFC and ANCOP USA Director and ANCOP USA Executive Director, and Jack Macalalad, CFC and ANCOP USA Director. In addition to Paz, ABS-CBN was represented by Mrs. Mahra Capuyan, DZMM Station Manager and actors Gaby Concepcion and Melissa Ricks.  Like last year, the 2013 GPSI in the United States is sponsored by ABS-CBN (DZMM Teleradyo) in partnership with ANCOP USA. Proceeds from this event will be used to sustain the projects of ANCOP USA for the poor people in the Philippines.  The World Caravan Global Pinoy Singing Idol (GPSI) is a global search for talented overseas Pinoys (short for Filipinos). Spearheaded by Philippine media giant ABS-CBN and DZMM, the World Caravan aims to promote the Philippines and DZMM’s unparalleled reach worldwide. The talent search was started in 2009 and has been widely participated in by Pinoys in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, the Middle East, Singapore and Hongkong.  CFC ANCOP USA and ABS-CBN’s DZMM acknowledged with thanks and appreciation the cooperation of the following (in Honolulu) whose selfless partnership contributed immensely to the success of GPSI 2013 in Hawaii: Program and Emcee Lead Anne Romaguera of Nix Performance Arts Center; Ed Nix owner of Nix Performance Arts; Emmie Anderson, President and Owner KPHI 96.7 FM, Art De Guzman of 3 Star Gourmet Restaurant; Leth Evangelista of Muzic Drive Entertainment; Danny Villaruz, President of the Ilocos Surian Asociation of Hawaii; Councilman Joey Manahan, lead representative of the local government officials; Philippine Consulate in Honolulu; and Olelo Community Media. The following were the finalists who participated during the contest: Randy Leano; Mgayan Navarrette; Jona Peralta - What Kind of Fool Am I; Rickie Ulin Aranas - You’ll be in My Heart; Steven Giongson – Lady; Israel Savellano – My Way; Vanessa – Hopelessly Devoted to You; Katrina Lopez - Cabaret; Victoria – Inseparable; Almirah Tumameng - Don’t Cry Out Loud; Almalyn Abante – Isang Lahi; Michael Arucan – Go the Distance; and Jesibel Leano - One Moment in Time. Two important activities were announced during the singing event, namely: ANCOP Global Walk in Hawaii to be held on August 31, 2013 and launching of the DZMM TLC Book reading by Ahwel Paz, Gabby Concepcion and Melissa Ricks. The 2014 USA GPSI will be held in Orlando, Florida.

By Elle Los Baños

CFC UAE Conducts Retreat on Deepening Prayer Life

AT least 174 members of CFC-UAE Mission Core Group attended the retreat on “Deepening our Prayer Life” held at Carlton Hotel, Sharjah, UAE last March 15. The whole day event was led by CFC Church Integration Office Head Rouquel Ponte and his wife, Nina. They came to equip the MCG members to have a deeper connection with God through prayers and in the process know themselves better. The Pontes drew their theme from St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross who had the same message: “One who takes prayer seriously becomes a better, more mature person, who is more empowered to face reality of life’s tempest by doing God’s will.” Ramuel Garcia, National Director of CFC-UAE said the Spiritual Deepening Retreat helped to strengthen the faith of the leaders. “We really cannot give what we do not have. So we continue to pray deeply, reading and knowing the scriptures more deeply, learning how to pray to God in a way that it will be heard by Him always,” Ramuel explained. He added that the retreat is an important CFC activity which can guide and empower the leaders to do greater things. Youth for Christ-Dubai Area Coordinator, Roger “Bogs” Garcia, described his retreat experience as ‘feeling closer to God.’ He further shared that it was very nurturing spiritually and that it prepared the participants to be still in the midst of so many problems, knowing God is with them. Elvie Maliorca, wife of one of Sharjah’s CFC chapter heads, on the other hand, looks forward to share with her members what she

has learned. At the end of the deeper prayer workshop, participants committed to be true and devoted Apostles of Prayer by every day praying, reading and praying the Scriptures, reflecting/meditating on the Scriptures frequently, doing contemplative prayer for at least 15 minutes regularly and maintaining a journal on Scriptural readings.

CFC participates in the 1st CBCP National Social Communication and Media Summit
the church in their different areas of service. The activity started with an inspiring opening remark by Fr Francis Lucas, of the CBCP Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media, which was then followed by a video message from His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. The first session was delivered by Edwin Lopez, the International Marketing Manager for Asia-Pacific, Australia and New-Zealand of EWTN. His talk on the Realities in Today’s Communication reminded everyone how crucial faith is in the realm of Catholic media, wherein the key message should be the language of the cross. In the second session, Living One’s Faith in Today’s Media, GMA 7’s Mike Enriquez, gave a talk on the challenges of remaining true to the Catholic faith and principles in media. He further inspired everyone with the message that “living one’s faith is a deliberate undertaking. It may be difficult but one should always strive for honesty, credibility and being true to one’s core values.” In the next session, Dr. Riza Bondal of the University of Asia and the Pacific explained clearly the essence of the Catholic Vote— a church advocacy for Catholics to vote as Catholics—taking into account their knowledge of doctrines and morals. Finally, in the last session, Atty. Rene Sarmiento talked about Politics and Moral Law, wherein he discussed what the Bible said about these two interrelated and indivisible principles, quoting scripture from Deuteronomy 17:14-20, 1 Samuel 12:1-4, Daniel 1:21, 10:1, 2:14-23, Nehemaiah 5:14-18, Micah 6:8, and Acts 20:32-37. Attendees were then divided into three workshop groups. The breakout sessions were facilitated by Mariz Umali-Tima of GMA, Jasmine Romero of ABS-CBN and Justine Marasigan. The workshop allowed the participants to share their personal challenges and ideas on how each one can support one another in the shared goals and effort of promoting our Catholic faith in media. After the reporting per group, Dr. Jose Maria Mariano, President of UA&P, delivered the closing remarks.

CFC Goes on Mission to Seychelles

By Samantha Catabas Manuel
Various Catholic groups, religious and secular media practitioners gathered last April 23, 2013 for the 1st National Social Communication and Media Summit at the University of Asia and the Pacific. The event was initiated by the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media in cooperation with the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P). This is in line with the celebration of the Year of Faith and the 47th World Communications Sunday. With the theme, Living Our Faith in the Realm of Media and Politics, the event sought to help the participants understand deeper the challenges that confront Catholic Communicators and come up with effective resolutions in strengthening the faith in the midst of the realities faced. Lay missionaries of CFC and its Family Ministries participated in this event in order to discover more ways to support the New Evangelization work of

CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca (seated, 4th from left), together with top CFC leaders from the Philippines, recently went on mission to Seychelles. They met with the CFC Clergy at Domus (priest house), Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Victoria Mahe last April 15. The Mission Team also paid a courtesy call to His Eminence Bishop Denis Wiehe C.S.Sp. (seated, 5th from left), last April 11.

The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
The Ugnayan News Supplement is published by the Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc., with editorial offices at 156 20th Avenue, 1109 Cubao, Quezon City. Editorial trunk line: (+63 2) 709-4868 local 23 l Direct line : (+63 2) 709-4856 www.couplesforchristglobal.org l cfcmultimedia@couplesforchristglobal.org Melo Villaroman, Jr. IC Oversight Zenaida Gimenez Editor-in-Chief Samantha Manuel Associate Editor Alma Alvarez Layout Artist Vangie Mecedilla Circulation Staff Marivie Dalman Managing Editor

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Ugnayan
El Gamma Penumbra and was followed by a very charismatic Fr. Dave Concepcion who gave his talk entitled “More than Enough.” Fr. Dave indicated that personal emptiness can only be filled with humility, obedience and service. Session 3 entitled “Turning Water into Wine” incorporated a skit about a boy named Tommy who must face different dilemmas in his life. Gelo Saludo, a full-time pastoral worker assigned in Canada, was the speaker for this session. He emphasized that people are made for something greater than themselves and it involves living for others. Session 3 ended with the participants asked to make their own personal vow to the Lord. Dillon Naicker from South Africa, currently training to become a full-time pastoral worker, shared his own personal vow and how he decided to give up the life of being a local celebrity for missionary work . He then led one of the most passionate Praisefest ever in the history of the YFC. The entire Marikina Sports Park was illuminated as each participant held on to their own candle to signify the light of Christ within themselves. The last day of the ILC began with a Holy Mass. Julius Comia, full-time pastoral worker assigned in Eastern Visayas, delivered the last session entitled “Livin’ It Up.” This talk highlighted how YFCs are called to witness Christ to others and how this creates a ripple effect so that more people can be touched by Jesus. The reflection activity for this session required the participants to write their own Jesus Exposition story on a piece of paper which they then folded into a paper airplane. About 9000 paper airplanes exploded into the sky as the YFCs released their Jesus Expo stories. Kevin Muico, another full-time pasto-

CBCP Monitor

April 29 - May 12, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 9

JESUS EXPO—The 20th YFC International Leaders Conference

ral worker in training, took to the stage for the final Praisefest before the end of the ILC. The delegates were definitely empowered to continue the YFC mission to bring Christ wherever they are. The International Leader’s Conference was not only a celebration of the YFC’s longevity in enduring 20 strong years but it was also a hallmark of the victories that are yet to be won.
YFC week-long event highlights, clockwise from far left: visiting the Manila Boys Town; the Marikina Sports Complex teeming with young people despite the summer heat; a YFC highschool-based program leader pepping up the crowd; Goi Villegas leading the powerful worship;Msgr. Allen Aganon blessing YFC leaders and coordinators during the Mass.

By YFC Docu Team
“Mary then said to the servants, ‘Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.’” John 2:5 The success of this year’s International Leaders Conference of the CFC Youth for Christ is an unquestionable affirmation that Jesus is with the youth. Over 9000 participants from all over the world gathered at the Marikina Sports Complex with over 13000 online delegates joining in all the activities of the much-awaited conference. For its 20th ILC, the YFC returned to the heart of the mission, Metro Manila. Breaking the tradition of the usual three-day conference, this year’s ILC struck new ground with a week-long Jesus Expo that lasted from April 1-7, 2013. These events had the objective of encouraging the young people to obey and witness the calling of the Lord. A benefit concert called “RAK the World!” which featured local artists and bands was the kick-starter of the seven-day conference. This was held at the Eastwood Central Plaza. The second day highlighted one of YFC’s newest advocacies, the A+. Participants were invited to go to the Manila Boys Town where they got the chance to get to know and teach children who are less fortunate. The Young Leader’s Forum for

Good Governance was also held on that same day. The third day featured the Gproject, conducted in coordination with ABS-CBN Inc. In this activity, YFCs were brought to Estero de Pandacan, a tributary of the Pasig River, where they faced the arduous yet rewarding task of cleaning the river. The fourth and last day of the pre-ILC activities consisted of the four program conferences: High school-based; Campusbased; ROCK, TORCH and Community-based integrated into one and the YCOM conference. The Ultimate Reunion was held on the night of the fourth day. This reunion party welcomed YFC alumni and introduced them to the newer generations of YFC. The fifth day of the ILC, which marked the start of the conference proper, was greeted by waves of participants coming in from all across the globe. Different creative and sports competitions were held on this day along with the Church Integration Congress. However, the most awaited part of that day was the Liveloud concert held in the evening. The Liveloud concert introduced four new songs written by YFC’s own mission volunteers and full time pastoral workers. It also stood as the first session of the ILC. The second to the last day of

the ILC was the most pastorallynourishing day of the ILC conference. It consisted of whole day workshops for the youth and one for the couple coordinators as well. In the evening, session 2 began with a performance from

Go Fish: The SOLD and CFC Men’s Conference
on leadership training conducted by Mannix Ocampo, IC member, and one for forum on emotional response. The regular Haka competition, an allstar football and an allstar beach volleyball, capped the afternoon events laying the ground for the celebration of the Lord’s Day. After another seafood festival filled the physical longings of all, the spiritual nourishment continued with Willy Padida, SOLD NCG member recapping how “Surviving the Challenge” strengthened more the attendees’ resolve in being faithful to God’s calling. The night ended with Joemar Salumbides, SOLD International Coordinator, exhorting everyone to “Do Whatever He Tells You To Do” in the concluding session. The final day of the confab commenced with a powerful worship led by Mike Bucuhan, after which Joemar officially gave the sending-off blessings and empowerment to all the brothers (and sisters as well) to make themselves true fishers of men. Awards and tokens of appreciation were given to various delegations and winners of competitions preceding the praisefest led by the CFC GenSan governance team which capped the 3-day annual event.

CFC HOLD Global Leaders Meet for the Foreign Missions Summit

By Alma Alvarez
Prior to the CFC HOLD ICon, the 205 delegates from Africa, Asia, The Americas, the Middle East, and Oceania gathered for the 2013 HOLD Foreign Missions Summit held in the morning of April 26, 2013 at the First Pacific Leadership Academy in Antipolo City. After the opening worship led by Yvonne Lim of Singapore, Couples for Christ Chairman Ricky Cuenca welcomed the foreign delegates, reminding all the participants how special CFC HOLD is, being the heart of the CFC Family Ministries, and how the ministry has become an inspiration because of its vibrancy and rapid growth in the different parts of the world. Cuenca likewise encouraged HOLD to live out this year’s ICon theme, All for Love, by sharing God’s love to those who have not experienced the love of Christ. A brief honoring of Sis Julia of HOLD Singapore, who had recently succumbed to cancer, was given, a fitting tribute to a sister who continued to serve the Lord through HOLD despite her failing health. The sharing of best practices and experiences on the conduct of various HOLD pastoral and BCOP programs such as the Handmaids Enrichment Retreat 4 on Contemplative Prayer, HOLD Adopt-A-Scholar Program, ANCOP fund-raising strategies, Moral Values Re-orientation and the Migrants Retreat, as well as the formation of the HOLD Core in each country and evangelization updates on each region became the highlight of the summit. Mannix Ocampo, CFC Director for Family Ministries, likewise spoke to

By Bobbee Mella
“Magandang Gen San po!” These words reverberated within this city beyond the sea last March 22-24 as almost 400 men and women joined the 12th CFC SOLD Men’s International Conference held at London Beach Resort in General Santos City. The “Home of the Champions” became home and host to true men and women championing the cause and mission of God for three scorching days inspired by the theme for this year, “Go F.I.S.H. – Faithful In Serving Him.” Undaunted by the heat wave as well as the recurring Mindanao blackouts, the annual conference opened Friday night with a blazing worship led by Ricky Rico, member of the SOLD NCG, immediately after an afternoon mass and a sumptuous luau/dinner/tuna festival courtesy of the hosts. A spectacular program showcasing the native cultural dances of the region ensued followed by the welcome of the petite but energetic mayor of the “City by the Bay,” Ms. Darlene Antonino. The first session then followed, with Manny Garcia, IC member and SOLD NCG member, reminding the pack about the “Lessons From the Master.” The breaking of dawn by the sea was the fitting backdrop for the Iron Man Doubles Competition (swimming, running and kayaking) ushering in the much awaited Saturday morning events. Another mass was celebrated after this dawn activity, then the next session, aptly called “Survivor Gensan” followed which saw team competitions that enabled brothers and sisters to unite their wits and will in hurdling the various challenges, yet finishing the races with determination and grit as true men and women of God! After another lavish lunch, the next session started, “Ready to do Your Will” where the participants were divided into two separate workshops: one for a forum

the HOLD global leaders, acknowledging HOLD as an effective instrument in responding to migration, answering the cry of the poor, new evangelization, and pastoral formation. Ocampo inspired the HOLD foreign leaders to commit themselves in doing random acts of kindness, which could become triggers to evangelization, and to contemplate on Psalm 23 as their guide to planning in their respective areas by looking at themselves as coshepherd of the Good Shepherd. He likewise urged the sisters to reflect on Luke 2, pondering on the family life of Jesus, their personal holiness, their own family life and their service in HOLD. “As we bring God closer to the people and vice versa, via what we do, in our connectivity, let us not forget to strengthen our foundation,” Ocampo added. Hyacinta Wong of HOLD Sarawak closed the morning’s summit with a prayer before the participants prepared for the HOLD ICon that afternoon.

Yvonne Lim of HOLD Singapore

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