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Pope will succeed in reforming Roman Curia, cardinal expects

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Pair apology with actions, Aquino told
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III must accompany his apology to typhoon ‘Yolanda’ victims with restitution, Catholic bishops said. The most important way to prove, they said, that the government is truly sorry for its highly-criticized efforts in the aftermath of the typhoon is to ensure that the hurtful action is not repeated. Nevertheless, albeit it is “too late”, the bishops lauded the Chief Executive for his courage to apologize over his administraEfforts / A7

Bishops to Aquino: Stop Tampakan mining
By Roy Lagarde
This time, after their previous appeals fell on deaf ears, Church leaders in Mindanao reiterated their plea to stop the gold and copper mining project in South Cotabato by writing a letter to Aquino. The letter, praying for Aquino’s “God-enlightened decision”, was signed by 23 archbishops and bishops in Mindanao. Although it can significantly contribute to the economy, the bishops said, the project by global miner Xstrata Plc’s Philippines unit will harm the local community and destroy the environment. “The cost, Mr. President, will far outweigh the benefits to government and the Filipino people,” part the letter read. Operated by Sagittarius Mines Inc., the project will explore 13.5 million metric tons of copper and 15.8 million ounces of gold, which can provide P134 billion to the Philippine economy each year. Despite appeals by various sectors to halt the project, the government issued an environmental compliance certificate to Sagittarius, a unit of Xstrata, in February last year. Moral grounds Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel, who has jurisdiction over South

March 17 - 30, 2014

Vol. 18 No. 6

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PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III lauded Cardinal Orlando Quevedo as protector of the poor, but will he listen to the prelate’s appeal to stop the $5.9 billion Tampakan mining project?

Mining / A7

DOUBLE TIME. Workers repair the main door of the Manila Cathedral, which is set to reopen in time for the Holy Week. The cathedral, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, has been closed to the public since February 2012 to make way for major repairs and renovation.

40 houses for Yolanda victims in 40 Lenten days

7 million expected in Rome Pope’s “silence” on prolife issues is strategic – for double canonization Vatican expert
A SENIOR Vatican analyst’s fearless forecast is that the upcoming double canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will draw an extraordinarily huge crowd of 6-7 million people to Rome, Italy on April 27. “From a TV point of view, this is going to be an oceanic crowd. It The last most significant canonization for Filipinos was the canonization of St. Pedro Calungsod, along with 6 others in 2012, which drew thousands could easily sur- of Filipinos to Rome, Italy, pass the total turn out for John Paul talking 6 or 7 million [for Allen, Jr. in a press conferII’s funeral mass in 2005, the double canonization],” ence at the Divine Word which was conservatively said former senior corre- Seminary recently. estimated to be 5 million spondent for the National According to Allen, who people, so you could be Catholic Reporter John Canonization / A6 ACCORDING to Rolling Stone magazine, which put Pope Francis on its cover a few weeks ago, “Times are a’changin’” in the Catholic Church. But apparently, not much will change in the Church’s stand on pro-life issues, despite the rarity of the Holy Father’s According to CNN Vatican correspondent John public statements Allen, Pope Francis is undoubtedly a “robustly on gay marriage, pro-life Pope.” abortion and divorce, which, “I don’t think there’s any says a senior Vatican analyst, retreat from the Church’s deStrategic / A6 is probably strategic.
Pinky Barrientos, FSP

Illustration by Brothers Matias

CONSTRUCTION of new permanent shelters for typhoon ‘Yolanda’ victims is underway as part of the Archdiocese of Palo’s 40 houses in 40 Lenten days project. Palo Archbishop John Du said, the project started on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, and is expected to be finished on Eastern Sunday, which marks the end of the celebration. The project, he said, is a special initiative in lieu of the 40-day preparation for the Holy Week, aside from the Church’s long-term involve-

ment in the rehabilitation work. “We can come up with 40 houses that is orderly and fit for their (victims) dwelling. We are targeting to finish this within the season of Lent,” Archbishop Du told Church-run Radio Veritas. Archbishop Du said the Church’s efforts have been ongoing to help victims cope with the recent tragedy. The archbishop, however, lamented how the surge in prices of basic commodities and construction materials continue to
Lenten / A6

YouthPinoy

Months after ‘Yolanda’, survivor still homeless, hopeful
‘YOLANDA’ survivor Lenny Sabañao fled Samar for the safety of Metro Manila, thankful that at least she and her family were not among the casualties. After all, her birthplace of Basey, a sleepy farming town known better for its handcrafted
Survivor / A6

MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will receive an honorary doctorate degree from Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York, on March 28 for his contributions in the field of Humanities both in the local and global scale. Tagle will be conferred the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa during a ceremony, which will

be held at the Keating First Auditorium of Fordham’s Rose Hill Campus in Bronx, New York. “Fordham’s ties to the people of the Philippines are deep and longstanding,” Fordham University president Joseph McShane, S.J., was quoted as saying in an article posted in thefilam.net.
Doctorate / A6

Housewife Lenny Sabañao finds herself with her daughter in Manila, miles away from her hometown of Basey, Samar where she and her family survived the wrath of ‘Yolanda’ in 2013. Although she had lost almost everything to the typhoon, Sabañao still looks forward to a future full of hope.

Raymond Sebastián

Tagle to receive honorary doctorate degree from Fordham University

Roy Lagarde

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World News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

Ukrainian Catholics fear ‘new oppression’ after Russian takeover
OXFORD, England, Mar 12, 2014—A Ukrainian Catholic priest in Crimea said church members are alarmed and frightened by the Russian military occupation and fear their communities might be outlawed again if Russian rule becomes permanent. Father Mykhailo Milchakovskyi, a pastor in Kerch, Ukraine, described the atmosphere as tense because many residents of the town located in the eastern part of Crimea were unsure of their future. “No one knows what will happen. Many people are trying to sell their homes and move to other parts of Ukraine,” Father Milchakovskyi told Catholic News Service March 12. “Our church has no legal status in the Russian Federation, so it’s uncertain which laws will be applied if Crimea is annexed. We fear our churches will be confiscated and our clergy arrested,” the priest said amid tensions over a planned March 16 referendum on whether the autonomous territory should join Russia or remain in Ukraine. Father Milchakovskyi said the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s leader, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, had pledged “prayers and support” if fellowCatholics “found themselves in danger.” However, he added that his church feared Russian rule would inflict a “new oppression” on Ukrainian Catholics, whose five communities traditionally make up about 10 percent of Crimean peninsula’s 2 million inhabitants. “Many have already stopped coming to church, after being branded nationalists and fascists by local provocateurs,” Father Milchakovskyi said. “The Orthodox have always insisted they’re dominant here and done everything to make life unpleasant for us. If they’re now given a free hand, we don’t know whether they’ll behave like Christians or follow the same unfriendly policy,” he said. Under Soviet rule, from 1946 to 1989, the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church was outlawed. The strongest members lived their faith clandestinely, while others attended an Orthodox church or no church at all. The government confiscated all church property, giving some buildings to the Orthodox and putting other buildings to secular uses. In January, Archbishop Shevchuk said Ukraine’s nowousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, had threatened to ban the Ukrainian Catholic Church because of its support for pro-Western opposition protests. However, Leonid Novokhatko, Ukraine’s former culture minister, denied that Yanukovych planned Outside of Ukraine’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral parishioners protest the to ban the church. presence of Russian soliders on Ukrainian soil. Father Milchakovskyi said he 24 percent and mostly Muslim Tartars about had been allowed, as a military chaplain, to 12 percent. visit Catholics serving with the Ukrainian In a March 12 statement on his diocesan naval infantry in Kerch, after their base in website, Bishop Bronislaw Bernacki of Odesthe eastern port was blockaded by Russian- sa-Simferopol criticized the international backed forces. community for not taking action against He reported that Russian troops were Russian President Vladimir Putin. “controlling who and what gets through,” “The world talks, criticizes Russia and and said young recruits now lacked food does exactly what Putin expects -- nothing,” and medicines. said Bishop Bernacki. “Everyone says the results of the referHe predicted the Crimea referendum, endum are already known, although many which has been rejected as illegal by most would vote to remain in Ukraine, or to retain foreign governments, would “prove 80 Crimea’s autonomous status,” the priest percent support” for the region’s annexation told CNS. by Russia and reflected a “wider policy by “The referendum will have no legal status, Putin,” as revealed in a 2008 military camand we don’t even know who’ll conduct it paign against Georgia. and count the votes. But we’re deeply anx“Cutting off Crimea is only the beginious it will be used as a pretext to act against ning—it will then be time for Ukraine’s us,” he added. eastern and southern counties, and then Two days earlier, in a separate CNS inter- perhaps the whole country,” the bishop view, Father Milchakovskyi said Catholics said. would likely not vote in the referendum. The president of Ukraine’s Latin-rite “They say that it’s not legal. They will not bishops’ conference, Archbishop Miectake part in it and that it is just illegal,” he zyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, told Poland’s said using his wife, Alexandra, as an inter- Catholic information agency, KAI, March preter. Eastern clergy may be married prior 12 the bishops would hold their March 19to priestly ordination. 21 plenary in the eastern city of Kharkhov, Ethnic Russians make up 58 percent of “to be closer to those in greatest danger.” the Crimean population, with Ukrainians (CNS)

Vatican Briefing
Bishops laud Pope’s humility, care for poor on anniversary

Leonhard Foeger, Reuters

In a statement released on the occasion of the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate, US bishops praised the pontiff for his example, and encouraged the faithful to offer continued prayers on his behalf. “The members of the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have noted with thanksgiving the first anniversary of the election of His Holiness Pope Francis as the 266th successor of the Apostle Peter,” the bishops expressed in their March 11 statement. Currently gathered in Washington D.C. for their annual March meeting, the USCCB observed how during his first year “Pope Francis has consistently called upon Catholics to look again at the fundamental values of the Gospel.” “He has encouraged us to be a Church of the poor and for the poor, reaching out to the marginalized and being present to those on the periphery of society.” (CNA)
Personal notes underscore John Paul II’s Marian devotion

In private letters of Bl. John Paul II, which have been published by his former secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the pontiff reflects on the three theological virtues, emphasizing that Mary is the highest example of each. “Nothing can be dangerous for us; neither Satan nor the world, nor sin—if there is in us the power of Christ in the Marian way,” Bl. John Paul II wrote in one of his personal notes. Entitled “I am so much in God’s hands: Personal records 1962-2003,” the book containing the Pope’s letters was published by Krakow-based publisher Znak on Feb. 12, and contains 639 pages of meditations and some photos and scans of the pages from two of his notebooks, one beginning in 1962 and the other in 1985, which were both published in Italy by the Archdiocese of Milan. Reflecting on the virtues of faith, hope and love, the blessed expressed his thoughts regarding their nature, observing how each is brought to full fruition in the life and example of the Mother of God. (CNA)
Papal gardens of Castel Gandolfo now open to public

Known as the Barberini Gardens, the historic area of Castel Gandalfo has been declared open to the general public by Pope Francis, with tours available for those who are interested. Located roughly 20 miles south of Rome in the Alban Hills, the gardens surround the Papal Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo and include the remnants of a Roman Villa, a 62-acre farm, and the ancient papal palace. According to a March 4 article published on Vatican Radio, director of the Vatican Museums Antonio Paolucci explained that it was the Pope himself who made the decision to open the gardens of the Pontifical Villa, “where the splendor of art and the glory of nature co-exist in admirable equilibrium.” Having officially opened on March 1, the gardens lay on an ancient Villa built by Emperor Domitian, who was both the third and last ruler during the Flavian dynasty. (CNA)
Vatican confirms papal visit to South Korea

Whole Diocese in South Sudan Abandoned
ROME, Mar 14, 2014—Entire swathes of a region in South Sudan have been abandoned by the local people who – according to their Church leader – have fled for their lives following a brutal attack carried out during a so-called ceasefire. Monsignor Roko Taban, apostolic administrator of Malakal, told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that a mass evacuation had been carried out across parts of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei States in the wake of violence involving rebel forces under Riek Machar, South Sudan’s former vice president. Mgr. Taban reported that all his diocesan priests and women religious had fled south and were desperate to escape the violence which he stressed had continued despite last January’s ceasefire between the rebels and South Sudan government forces. Describing how much of his diocese had been “completely destroyed,” the prelate said: “We have lost everything – all our possessions. Many of our churches, homes and so on have been razed to the ground – and everything has been looted.” He said that the last four priests in the Malakal Diocese were hoping to be evacuated, possibly today, depending on the availability of transport. Mgr. Taban, who alongside his priests is temporarily accommodated in a Catholic seminary in Juba, highlighted his concern for his faithful in Malakal. He said they had fled “to the bush,” with many seeking refuge in remote villages which were now completely overwhelmed by the number of new arrivals. Catholic Church sources have reported that the population of 250,000 in Malakal City are in desperate need, with many of them seeking help from a nearby UN displacement camp. Mgr. Taban said: “Nobody [is] in Malakal. They ran for their lives. It was not possible for anybody to stay. The diocese is completely empty.We have lost everything as a diocese. We are in Juba with nothing. All documents have gone. No vehicles. There is absolutely nothing left.” The Church leader said his priests needed a “food allowance for six months” as well as basic prayer books and vestments for Mass, all of which they had been forced to leave behind in Malakal. Church leaders across the country urged help for people in the region whose entire livelihoods have been destroyed. Mgr. Taban said: “[We] need special attention of solidarity and love. We are miserable. Kindly remember us in your prayers.” Having also escaped Malakal for Juba, Comboni missionary Sister Elena Balatti said: “Malakal… is completely deserted, although our safety was guaranteed. Staying there would have been completely useless because we would not have had anyone to assist. The rebels are the only ones present.” In her message, sent to Catholic news agency Fides, Sisterr Elena said that Malakal had been attacked three times by the rebel forces—on Christmas Eve, on Jan. 14 and on Feb. 18. She said that each attack had prompted a wave of migration from Malakal. Nearly two weeks ago, the UN sounded the alarm about South Sudan, warning that the country could collapse before the end of the year and adding that nearly 900,000 had been displaced since the conflict erupted in mid-December. March 20 is the scheduled date for the resumption of peace talks between Mr. Machar’s rebels and the government of South Sudan. Both sides accuse each other of breaking the Jan. 23 ceasefire. (Zenit)

In a statement released March 10, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed Pope Francis’ apostolic trip to the Republic of Korea, which is slated to occur in August of this year. “Welcoming the invitation from the President of the Republic and the Korean bishops,” Fr. Lombardi announced in his March 10 statement, “His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Voyage to the Republic of Korea from 14 to 18 August 2014, on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day, to be held in the diocese of Daejeon.” This visit will mark the first time in 25 years that a Pope has visited the Korean peninsula, the last visit occurring when Bl. John Paul II came in Oct. of 1989, following a 1984 trip where he canonized 103 Korean martyrs. (CNA)
Pope names secretary general for new economy dicastery

Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Alfred Xuereb March 3 as prelate secretary general for the Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy, which will oversee economic and administrative affairs in the city state. Msgr. Xuereb, 55, is from Malta’s Diocese of Gozo, and has served as Pope Francis’ personal secretary. He served on Benedict XVI’s staff as a personal secretary beginning in September 2007, a post he held until he was transferred to Pope Francis’ staff shortly after his election. The Secretariat for the Economy is headed by a prefect, Cardinal George Pell, who was appointed Feb. 24 when the dicastery was created. As prelate secretary general, Msgr. Xuereb will serve as Cardinal Pell’s deputy at the secretariat. (CNA)
Cardinal calls to maintain, yet reinterpret, doctrine to help families

Indian diocese welcomes convictions over rape of nun
BHUBANESWAR, India, Mar 14, 2014—In a decison praised by the local Church, a judge in India sentenced three persons Friday for the 2008 rape of a nun during mob violence against Christians in the state of Odisha. Riots in Odisha’s Kandhamal district began Aug. 24, 2008, after a Hindu religious leader, Laxmananada Saraswati, was killed. While Maoist rebels claimed responsibility for the assassination, Hindu extremists blamed the local Christian community. During rioting the next day, a nun was beaten, raped, and paraded semi-naked in Baliguda, a town in Kandhamal. She has said she was dragged from the home of a Hindu where she had taken shelter, along with a priest, the BBC reports. Nine persons were arrested in connection with her rape, and three of these were found guilty March 14. “Justice is partially delivered to the nun, and the diocese welcomes the judgement delivered by the District Session Court of Cuttack,” Fr. Santosh Kumar Digal, press officer of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, where Kandhamal is located, told CNA March 14. He added, however, that in “several cases” related to the 2008 violence, “significant delays have led people to lose hope” in the justice system. Many accused in the Kandhamal riots have been acquitted due to laxity in prosecution, lack of evidence, or witnesses’ fear of prosecution, fear, or coercion. Fr. Digal said the judgement in this case “would send positive signals and revive people’s faith in the judiciary and law of the land.” The Catholic community is urging greater tion with the rape were acquitted for lack of evidence, and one more suspect is still being sought by police. Patnaik was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and Digal and Bahdei to 26 months. According to the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese, the two months of violence in 2008 left 93 dead; 6,500 homes burned and looted; and 350 churches and 45 health and educational centers destroyed. The BBC reports that more than 25,000 Christians were rendered homeless by the riots; the archdiocese still continues to rebuild homes and institutions in Kandhamal. Hindu extremists in Kandhamal accused Christians of bribing poor and low-caste Hindus to convert, while Christians have said low-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape the caste system. According to Fr. Digal, “allegations of forced conversions are baseless.” A local catechist told CNA there has been “ignorance and insensitive hatred,” without understanding or knowledge of Christians. There is an “identity crisis” in Odisha— also known as Orissa—and many people there believe that all who read the Bible or attend church are indistinguishable, the catechist reported. This generalization, without going into a person’s causes for converting, leads to accusations of false conversions to Christianity. More than 94 percent of Odisha’s population is Hindu; Christians and Muslims both account for some 2 percent, and the remaining 2 percent are Sikhs, Buddhists, or Jains. In the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Catholics account for 0.5 percent of the population. (AsiaNews)

Aid to the Church in Need

In its approach to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, the Catholic Church needs to find a middle ground that does not destroy or abandon doctrine, but offers a “renewed” interpretation of church teaching in order to help those whose marriages have failed, Cardinal Walter Kasper said. “I propose a path that goes beyond strictness and leniency,” the German cardinal and theologian told Vatican Radio March 10. An approach that avoids the two extremes “isn’t against morality, it isn’t against doctrine, but rather, (is meant) to support a realistic application of doctrine to the current situation of the great majority of people and to contribute to people’s happiness,” he said, speaking in Italian. The cardinal was referring to a lengthy talk he had given to introduce a Feb. 20-21 discussion by the College of Cardinals on family life. The talk, titled “Gospel of the Family,” was to be published in March in German and Italian by private publishing houses. (CNS)
Pope asks prayers for Ukraine; archbishop says country in danger

Christian families displaced by violence in Odisha in 2008.

collaboration with the local government in providing security and in empowering human development in the area; nearly half of Odisha’s residents live below the poverty line, and the figure is three-quarters in Kandhamal. “The fundamental rights, freedom enshrined under the constitution shall be protected and guaranteed equal justice to all its citizens, retold Fr. Santosh. “We are thankful to all who sustained their support—especially to the women support-group lawyers, NGOs, police, and the people who stood with us in our difficult time.” Fr. Digal added that he has spoken to the nun several times, and she has stood strong in faith “and has forgiven the perpetrators” of the crime against her. Cuttack District Sessions court judge Gyana Ranjan Purohit convicted Santosh Patnaik of rape, and Gajendra Digal and Saroj Bahdei of molestation. The six other persons arrested in connec-

As uncertainty reigned in Ukraine and Russian troops appeared to have control of the Crimean peninsula, Pope Francis again asked the world’s Christians to pray for Ukraine and urged the parties involved in the conflict to engage in dialogue. “I ask you again to pray for Ukraine, which is in a very delicate situation,” Pope Francis told tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the midday recitation of the Angelus March 2. “While I hope that all sectors of the country will endeavor to overcome misunderstandings and build the future of the nation together,” the pope said, “I make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to support every initiative in favor of dialogue and harmony.” (CNS)
Archdiocese announces dates for 2015 public display of Shroud of Turin

The Archdiocese of Turin, custodian of the Shroud of Turin, has announced that the shroud, venerated by many as the burial cloth of Christ, will be on public display April 19-June 24, 2015. The archdiocese said the 67-day display will be the longest period of time that the 14-foot-by-4-foot linen cloth has ever been available for public viewing; providing a window of more than two months not only will allow more faithful to see it, but also will make it easier for Pope Francis to schedule the visit he has said he wants to make. At the same time, the Turin announcement said, the public display will coincide with several events in Turin for young Catholics arriving to mark the 200th anniversary in 2015 of the birth of St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesians. (CNS)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

News Features

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‘I need the people of God to sustain me,’ Pope says in interview

Pope will succeed in reforming Roman Curia, cardinal expects
Photo courtesy of Kyle Burkhart / CNA

Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square during the Wednesday general audience on Nov. 27, 2013

VATICAN, March 15, 2014 During a recent radio interview given to a station in a slum of Argentina, Pope Francis explained his frequent request for prayers, and praised the work of the many priests who minister among the poor. When asked why he so frequently requests prayer from those he encounters, the Pope simply stated that “I need it. I need the people of God to sustain me.” The interview was given to Argentinian radio station Bajo Flores, which broadcasts from the slum called the “Villa 1-11-14” in Buenos Aires, and which is close to the San Lorenzo soccer stadium, where Pope Francis’ favorite team plays. Entitled “El Papa de los villeros,” or “Pope of the slums,” the interview contains 12 questions regarding the presence of the Church among the poor and marginalized. Broadcast on Thursday March 13, coinciding with the pontiff’s one year anniversary as Bishop of Rome, the interview was originally filmed two weeks prior in the Pope’s residence at the Vatican’s Saint Martha house, and was shown on a large screen in the slum’s gymnasium, with hundreds flocking to see the message, Zenit news reports. Speaking also of the involvement of the “slum priests” of Buenos Aires in the lives of the poor, the pontiff expressed that their work “is not ideological, it’s apostolic, and therefore forms part of the same Church.” “Those who think that it’s another Church don’t understand how they work in the slums. The important thing is the work.” While still living in Buenos Aires before being elected Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis was also very involved in the Argentinian slums, assigning priests to parishes around the city’s capitol, and gaining popularity among the marginalized, especially during the

country’s military dictatorships in the 1960s and 70s. Pope Francis was also asked for his thoughts on Fr. Carlos Mugica, who was labeled a communist subversive, but who spoke out against armed revolution before he was murdered in 1974. Referring to Fr. Mugica, as well as other members of Argentina’s Movement for Third World Priests, which is a branch of liberation theology, the Pope stated that “They were not communists. They were great priests who fought for life.” Also giving special comments regarding education, those in prison and the media, the pontiff asserted the importance of a good education, stating that “one has to accompany young people in their growth.” On the topic of prisoners, Pope Francis questioned “Why is he imprisoned and not me?” adding that “they are making their path of life, completing their penance, but they are people of flesh and bone, like you and like me.” In regards to the media, the pontiff explained that it is a “warm and disinterested way of communicating reality and life.” When asked what was the thing he liked least about his role as Pope, the pontiff stated “paperwork” and “officework,” noting that it is something he has never been good with. Before the Pope’s interview was shown, a special Mass was celebrated in his honor by the slum’s parish priest, Fr. Gustavo Carrara, who stated that “We are going to dedicate this Mass to our Pope Francis, who knows the neighborhood,” which has a “little place in his heart,” Spanish paper Sociedad reports. The altar used for the ceremony was a school bench, the paper noted, adding that above the altar there were two candles, an image of the Pope, a chalice, a ciborium, and the Missal. (CNA/EWTN News)

VATICAN, March 13, 2014—Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has discussed the reform of the Roman Curia being carried out by Pope Francis, saying he trusts that it will be completed effectively. “It is a difficult journey, but I believe that Pope Francis is a man of decision, and so I believe he will succeed,” Cardinal Bertone, emeritus secretary of state, told CNA March 7. He served as the Vatican’s secretary of state under Benedict XVI from 2006, and briefly resumed as Pope Francis’ secretary of state until his retirement Oct. 15, 2013. A longtime collaborator of Benedict, he had also served as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for seven years while Ratzinger was its prefect. While he was head of the congregation, Ratzinger perfected a collegial method which he had taken directly from the Second Vatican Council and which he also applied as Pope, according to Cardinal Bertone. “Benedict is the last Pope who directly participated in the Second Vatican Council, so I would say that he has drunk the spirit of col-

Pope Francis greets Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone during his farewell ceremony at the Vatican, Oct. 15, 2013.

legiality that was proper to the Council, and wanted to bring—and brought—this spirit of collegiality to the Roman Curia, even to the governance of the universal Church.” “Let us remember, also,” Cardinal Bertone continued, “that Francis wishes to focus on collegiality: in this there is a connection, a continuity, a perfect continuity, between the two Popes.” As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger’s method was one “of par-

ticipation, a method of involvement, and this is how he wanted the other departments to work,” according to Cardinal Bertone. “He focused heavily on unity, on the collaboration of all the departments toward shared objectives; that they wouldn’t work in watertight compartments. It is a difficult job, this.” Cardinal Bertone then added, “Pope Francis is thinking of reforming the Curia, of reducing the ministries. Certainly the departments have grown

… think of every Pope, think of the departments created by John Paul II … but even Pope Benedict created a department specifically in relation to that for which Pope Francis has called—going out of the Church into the peripheries: the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.” Benedict XVI also “tried to unify the activities of the ministries; with some difficulty, as we know, because every department has its mission, its purpose,” he

reflected. “Each department wants to offer its goals in the documents that will remain in history, and this increases the variety of documents, and increases the difficulty of the reception of the documents of the Holy See, in the central government of the Church.” “These are problems that Pope Benedict dealt with, and Pope Francis is trying to deal with.” According to Cardinal Bertone, Pope Francis is treading the path of collegiality as well. “In one of his first acts, Pope Francis created the council of eight cardinals to support him. In the end, just as in every department the ultimate decision rests with the prefect, in the universal Church the ultimate decision rests with the Pope and falls on his shoulders. But he shares, he is supported in his decisions, by the assistance of the cardinals.” While these problems must weigh on him, Cardinal Bertone believes that Pope Francis will succeed in achieving a reform, even if “it is a long job, a job that requires thought, requires comparison, requires consultation.” (CNA/EWTN News)

Top 10 things most people don’t know about Pope Francis
VATICAN, March 13, 2014— When Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran walked onto the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, telling the crowds in Latin: “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope!” not many people recognized the name of then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Now, just one year since his March 13, 2013, election, there are still many things most people do not know about the 265th successor of Peter. Here is a list of 10 things people should know about Pope Francis. He: 1. Has a way with birds: Pope Francis expertly handled a white dove and a green parrot during different general audiences in St. Peter’s Square. According to the pope’s sister, Maria Elena Bergoglio, the future pope had a parrot when he was in the seminary. And because he loved to play jokes, she said, “I wouldn’t put it past him that he taught the little beast a swear word or two instead of how to pray.” 2. Has colorful work experience on his resume: In addition to having worked sweeping floors in a factory and running tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager, the pope also used to work as a bouncer. Later, when he was no longer kicking troublemakers out of clubs, he taught high school literature and psychology, which, he said, helped him discover the secret to bringing people back … to church. 3. Was a Jesuit Oskar Schindler: When then-Father Bergoglio was head of the Jesuit province in Argentina, he ran a clandestine network that sheltered or shuttled to safety people whose lives were in danger during the nation’s murderous military-backed dictatorship. According to witnesses, the future pope never let on to anyone what he was doing, and those who were helping him find rides or temporary housing for “guests” never realized they had been part of his secret strategy until years later. 4. Is a homebody with missionary zeal: Even though he has traveled extensively, the future pope considers himself “a homebody” who easily gets homesick. However, he wanted to join the Society of Jesus because of its image as being “on the frontlines” for the church and its work in mission lands. He wanted to serve as a missionary in Japan, but he said his superiors wouldn’t let him because they were concerned about his past health problems. 5. Has an achy back: When the pope was 21, the upper half of his right lung was removed after cysts caused a severe lung infection. While that episode never caused him further health problems, he said his current complaint is sciatica. The worst thing to happen in his first month as pope was “an attack of sciatica,” he said. “I was sitting in an armchair to do interviews and it hurt. Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don’t wish it on anyone!” 6. Was the strongest contender behind then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 conclave. If the Argentine had been elected pontiff then, he would have chosen the name John after Blessed John XXIII and taken his inspiration from “the Good Pope,” according to Italian Cardinal Francesco Marchisano. However, during the 2013 conclave, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes told the newly elected pope, “Don’t forget the poor,” and that, the pope said, is when it struck him to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi, “the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation.” 7. Starts his day at 4:30 a.m. “I pray the breviary every morning. I like to pray with the psalms. Then, later, I celebrate Mass. I pray the rosary,” he has said. His workday includes reading letters, cards, documents and reports as well as meet- Pope Francis tries on an alpine hat given by someone in ing cardinals, the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. bishops, priests Peter's Square at the Vatican March 5. the priest said. and laypeople. 9. Travels light: When he boardHe eats lunch between noon and 1 p.m., then rests for about 30 minutes ed the papal plane for Brazil last July, people were stunned the pope before returning to work. But his favorite part of the day was carting around his own carryis eucharistic adoration in the eve- on bag. What’s inside? “It wasn’t ning, when he often falls asleep in the key for the atom bomb,” he told prayer. “Between 7 and 8 o’clock, journalists. “There was a razor, a I stay in front of the Blessed Sacra- breviary, an appointment book, a ment for an hour in adoration. But book to read, I brought one about I pray mentally even when I am St. Therese, to whom I have a devowaiting at the dentist or at other tion. I have always taken a bag with me when traveling—it’s normal.” times of the day,” he said. 10. Had his “Hog” help the 8. Can juggle a lot of plates: Jesuit Father Juan Carlos Scannone, the homeless: Pope Francis briefly pope’s friend and former professor of owned what became the most Greek and literature, said the pope is expensive 21st-century Harley“a one-man band” who can juggle Davidson motorbike in the world. many different tasks at the same time. Though he prefers walking and “Once I saw him writing an ar- cheaper car models, Harley-Davidticle on the typewriter, then go do son gave him a brand new Dyna his laundry, then received someone Super Glide in June that the pope who needed spiritual guidance. autographed and put up for aucSpiritual work, a technician and a tion, raising a hefty $326,000 for a manual laborer all at the same time Rome soup kitchen and homeless and with the same high quality,” shelter. (CNS)

Photo courtesy of ANSA / OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Church adapts 4Ps approach vs. human trafficking

Catholic nuns join the candle lighting ceremony in commemoration of the International Day Against Human Trafficking in Manila last year.

CBCPNews

MANILA, March 9, 2014—In countries like Germany and Austria, Filipino Catholics are forced to abandon their religion to avoid paying “Church tax” through their income tax, a priest said. Msgr. Joselito Asis, former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines secretary general, said it is a way out for those who do not want more deductions from their hard-earned income. “It’s in their Constitution that there is religious tax. So, Germany and Austria, having religious tax force people to declare having no religion so they can evade religious tax,” Asis said. “I said it is about 10 or 8 percent. Imagine, for the sake of avoiding paying for religious tax, you abandon your religion. It’s sad,” he said. Asis clarified that in the said countries, church tax is not only limited to the Catholic Church, but also

includes other religious denominations. Germany and Austria normally inform the dioceses in the Philippines when Filipino Catholics there have left the Church. “The process is the Church will have to inform the place of your baptism that this person has abandoned the Catholic faith and then it will be noted in their baptismal (certificate),” he said. Asis, however, said that many of these Filipinos who “abandoned” their religion are “resuming” their faith upon their return to the Philippines. “Actually, when these people go back to the Philippines, they again practice their religion. That’s how we know that they only did it to evade tax there,” he noted. Records show that there are about 19,000 Filipinos in Germany and 30,000 in Austria. (CBCPNews)

Malaysian Catholic blasts religious discrimination
MANILA, March 13, 2014—A Roman Catholic native from the Malaysian state of Sarawak cries foul over what he sees as the discriminatory attitude of their government and fellow nationals towards Christians in the predominantly Muslim country. In an exclusive interview with the CBCPNews, Earl Roscoe, a fifth-generation Catholic from the Bidayuh ethnic group in the city of Kuching, minced no words in condemning this pervasive undercurrent of “anti-Christianity”. Malaysian Christians, who make up a small but vibrant religious minority group in this Southeast Asian nation (9.2% of the 2010 population) where Islam is the state religion, allegedly face prejudice and hostility from their Muslim compatriots. “Compared to their Muslim counterparts, Christian Malaysians applying for high positions, especially in the civil service, do not stand a chance of being employed only because they are professing what in the government’s view is the wrong religion,” Roscoe explained. The 24-year old botanist lamented the hostility being leveled by many Muslim Malays against Christians of any denomination. A Christian will most likely be rebuked, even harassed, for wearing a cross in public, Roscoe pointed out. He recounted that there are cases of hooligans destroying Church property. These include arson and vandalism. Malaysia is home to hundreds of indigenous ethno-linguistic groups of which Malays are the most dominant politically and economically. But a criterion in the Malaysian law is clear on what particular people should be considered “Malays”. Article 160 of their Constitution defines “Malay” as “a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language; conforms to Malay custom.” This makes it difficult for Malays to convert from Islam into another religion like Christianity. Likewise, a non-Malay Malaysian who converts to Islam can lay claim to privileges commonly enjoyed by Malays, provided the person meets certain conditions. Roscoe told CBCPNews that many Malays are “closet Christians” who cannot openly practice their new religion. “They fear that their families would disown them… They might even lose their jobs,” Roscoe shared. The native “non-Malay” Malaysians, who live mostly in the Bornean states of Sarawak and Sabah, consist of the Melanau, Dusun, Iban, Bidayuh, Bajau, and others. Living apart from mainstream Malay society, most of these groups have never been “Islamized”, remaining animists until their introduction to Christianity in the 1800s. Roscoe’s great, great grandfather was the first to be baptized in his family who was converted into the faith by the MillHill missionaries from the Netherlands. The city of Kuching where the Roscoes live has 185,027 Catholics. Its own archdiocese counts 11 parishes, but only has 22 priests, each of whom on the average serves about 8,410 souls. Its head, Archbishop John Ha, is a Malaysian of Chinese descent. Roscoe, who is a frequent visitor to the Philippines, sees himself as a “Pinoy at heart”. He also shared that because of how Christians are being treated in Malaysia, he might one day move to the Philippines and adopt Filipino citizenship. “I could be a free Catholic here,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

Photo courtesy of CNS / Paul Haring

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EDITORIAL

Opinion
Pope Francis, one year after

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

FROM day one of his assumption to the Petrine ministry, the world would see an emerging ecclesiology in Pope Francis—or at least how the Catholic Church was going to face the world that had been so critical of a battery of problems ranging wide from clergy abuses to the fiscal mismanagement in the Vatican. The new pope’s lifestyle of simplicity and real-life witness in poverty immediately and spontaneously enamored the world, even among non-Christians. Stories of him paying his own bills; staying at the dorm instead of the apostolic palace; using a second hand car instead of the pope’s limousine; carrying his own bag as he goes up the plane; making and answering his own phone calls; reaching out to the marginalized, the sinful and the disfigured are some of Francis’ routines that captivated people, including netizens in social media, even as they followed his tweets and daily homilies at the small chapel of Domus Santae Marthae. Obviously, the mind of Pope Francis is loud and clear in his two formal documents: his encyclical Luman Fidei of June 2013 and his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of November 2013. But, curiously enough, his thoughts were louder and clearer for most people in homilies that were uploaded in real time, his messages, weekly audiences and in his frequent media interviews. His interview with the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, SJ, had become viral more than his formal pastoral statements, which was principally because of his candid, crisp and sharp answers to various issues— even personal ones. When he was asked in this interview who Jorge Mario Bergoglio was, his curt and honest answers was: “I do not know what might be the most fitting description… I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.” When asked about what the Church needs today, he answers: “I see clearly that the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal the wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the Church as a field hospital after a battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…And you have to start from the ground up.” He continues: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the Church, for that matter is clear and I am a son of the Church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time…The dogmatic and moral teachings of the Church are not all equivalent. The Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.” It is not farfetched to explore that the “new springtime of Christian life” that Pope Pope John Paul II prophetically mentioned in his apostolic letter “Tertio Millennio Adveniente” may not be too far off after the first year of Pope Francis.

The Joy of the Gospel in the Sant’Egidio Community
“THE power of the Gospel, love for the poor and love for peace: in this triple service there is the possibility of making this world a better one.” With these words, Prof. Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, summed up the key characteristics of this movement of more than 60,000 lay members now spread out in more than 70 countries around the world. The Community was started in Rome in 1968 by Riccardi and his secondary school companions who came together for daily evening prayer in the little church of Sant’Egidio. As the numbers grew, the community moved to the nearby Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. It was in Sant’Egidio’s conference hall behind the basilica that the 16th International Meeting of more than a hundred bishopfriends of Sant’Egidio was held last February 5-8, 2014. The meeting carried the title, “The Joy of the Gospel,” echoing Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. The majority of participants came from Africa. Other participants came from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. A few bishops represented Western Europe and North America. Indeed, the bishops coming mostly from developing countries with challenges posed by poverty and war personified the underlying theme of the meeting: “Christians and Pastors for a Church of Tomorrow.” I . The Surprise of Pope Francis On the morning of the first day, our opening activity was

Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ

Pastoral Companion
a Eucharistic Liturgy at the Apostle Peter’s tomb, located one level below the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica. After the Mass, we joined the outdoor Wednesday general audience of the Holy Father. Despite the intermittent drizzle and wintry air, we could see the festive air of the crowd that nearly filled St. Peter’s square. When Pope Francis came around to greet the line of bishops, he jovially asked us, “Are you all Catholics?”, not realizing perhaps that indeed we had in our group some bishops from the Orthodox and Protestant churches. In the afternoon, Riccardi gave his keynote address entitled, “The Surprise of Pope Francis.” Riccardi first pointed out how only a year ago, the Church seemed to have fallen into “a crisis of her center” with the world’s media focusing on pedophilia scandals and bureaucratic in-fighting. But all this changed with the surprise election of Pope Francis. Riccardi underlined first the reaction of the people: they were attracted to this Pope; they started filling St. Peter’s Square; they wanted to listen to him. In the last Christmas lunch traditionally prepared by the Sant’Egidio community for the poor, Riccardi noted that one third more than in the past volunteered to help. An Italian sociologist observed that people were caught up by a current of “papafrancescanesimo”, that is a desire of doing something for others. “We went from a sense of decadence,” Riccardi remarked, “to a sense of spring.”
Pastoral Companion / A7

Laity: called to social transformation
A FOURTH aspect of Church life that explains the life and role of the laity, especially in today’s situation, is the liberational and redemptive thrust. Whether rich or poor, whether employed or unemployed, professional or non-professional, whatever their social rank, all the lay faithful are called to heal and transform society, to prepare the temporal order for the final establishment of the Kingdom of God. They have to depend on one another, they must carry one another’s burden. They have to read the “signs of the times” in the light of the Gospel and the magisterium of the Church. Especially in today’s situation, they are called to reconcile and heal, to promote integral liberation both in the temporal and spiritual dimensions. They will achieve this if, impelled by Christian love, they contribute to the task their experiences as Christians and their expertise in their respective areas of competence. Farmers, fishermen, factory workers and laborers, migrant workers, the rural and urban poor, professionals and politicians must become subjects as well as objects of social transformation in their respective fields of work. The old and the disabled must likewise be motivated to become apostolic in the meaningful and hope-filled acceptance of their condition. When they are accorded their rightful freedom, initiative and responsibility in the Church, the laity will be inspired to become more active in their respective apostolate. “If the role of the hierarchy is to teach and to interpret authentically the norms of morality to be followed… it belongs to the laymen, without waiting passively for order and directives, to take the initiative freely and infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws and structures of the community in which they live.” (Populorum Progressio, 81; Gaudium et Spes, 43) (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 435-438) —Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991

Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM

“Year of the Laity” Reflections
THE Church has always depended upon its laity. Stated simply, without them, the Church would not exist! It is reported that when Cardinal Newman was asked something like “Who are the laity?”, he replied that the Church would look rather foolish without them! Recent decades, especially in the light of Vatican II, have seen the growth of a more adequate theology and pastoral practice of the laity. A “modern laity” is emerging; they are skilled and educated lay people, able to express themselves, and are fully dedicated to the Church. This renewed vision of the laity in the Church owes much to the innovative insights of Dominican theologian Yves Congar (19041995). He published in French his groundbreaking work Lay People in the Church in 1953. Congar, who served on the preparatory committee for Vatican II, possessed a remarkable combination of brilliance, loyalty to the Church, and personal holiness. Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) had a more traditional approach and focused the role of laity on the organization known as Catholic Ac-

Living Mission

Exploring Our Theology of the Laity
derives from their Christian vocation and the Church can never be without it” (AA 1). In light of the Council documents, various different fields or levels of the lay apostolate can be identified. On a personal level, one sees the apostolate of the laity in the home, in social contacts, at work, and through normal civic and political responsibilities. Christians are to be holy apostles in all they do. In addition, Christians can form organized associations for various temporal activities. Again, the laity may come together for work in various religious fields through multiple works of mercy. Finally, some laity will engage directly in various Church ministries. In the Church, its many members continually serve to deepen the unity of the Body of Christ. When Vatican II formally proclaimed the “laity” document in 1965, Filipino Jose Maria Hernandez, an official lay observer at Vatican II, was chosen as one of the six lay persons to receive a copy; this was the first time ever that any lay person was permitted to ascend the Papal Rostrum in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

tion, identifying the “lay apostolate” with a “participation in the hierarchy’s apostolate.” This perspective saw laity in a subordinate role, viewing the basis for their apostolate as a kind of “delegated” or “secondary” authorization. Vatican II, however, will stress that all Christians receive their “apostolic mandate” through their baptism; all the baptized are fundamentally equal and are called to missionary discipleship. The role of the laity in the Church is treated in several Council documents, most specifically in Apostolicam Actuositatem, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. This document was approved on November 18, 1965 with 2,305 positive votes and only two negative votes. Initially, the Preparatory Commission for the Lay Apostolate presented a first draft in 1962, the opening year of the Council. The second (1963) and third (1964) drafts resulted in the final document (fourth draft), overwhelmingly approved in 1965. It is significant that the document begins directly with the laity, not with the hierarchy, noting that “the apostolate of the laity

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Management a function of charity
THAT’S right. Managing people is actually a matter of loving them, and loving them all the way. While we have to be most thankful for the tremendous light we have gained from the many management theories so far articulated, we have to be very clear that no theory takes off the ground, let alone, flourishes unless it is infused with the living substance of charity. Managing people, for sure, is not merely a matter of technique, though techniques and methods, with their corresponding tools and instruments, would always be helpful and necessary. In this regard, let’s hope and pray that the effort to refine these techniques and methods, and to improve the tools and instruments, would continue. There’s still a lot of room for improvement in this area. But we should avoid falling into the thinking that management is just a matter of playing up these elements in some clever manner. The reason is that people are not mere objects. They are persons, and as persons they need to be dealt with properly by entering into their mind and heart, giving them the indispensable motives that should also go beyond the material -worldly values and standards. Their innate dignity as persons and children of God should not be put in brackets at any given moment. They simply cannot and should

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
not be managed to achieve a purely economic, social or political goal. The criteria to measure their efficiency and effectiveness should not just be in purely worldly terms, like profit, popularity, etc. Charity always has to be the moving spirit behind every management task. It should be a constant, and not only to be seen as the principle or as the result of the management process. It should not be regarded as something that can be turned on and off in certain instances. It has to be on all the time. No one can actually ignore the requirement of charity for long. While some immediate benefits can be reaped with a mere application of techniques and methods, the same cannot go far unless the demands of charity are truly met. The human need for charity in the management process will always find a way to be felt. That’s the reason why there are always changes, dialogues, problems in any management environment. When badly understood and handled, this need can explode into violence. And even when well-handled, this need will always seek betterment. We need to understand that this charity is the charity that comes from God. It should not just be a product of our own making, no matter how wellintentioned. Through time we have seen many caricatures
Candidly Speaking / A6

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

Opinion
Called to be Saints
genuine disciples. It is to live a renewed life – constantly dying to sin and being born anew. This requires ongoing personal conversion. It implies living in communion—in loving union— with the Triune God and with our fellow believers. It is to constantly listen to the Word of God, to allow ourselves to be evangelized and transformed by the Word, to proclaim and give witness to the Word wherever we are—at home, in the neighborhood community, in the workplace. Being a saint means setting aside time to pray and worship God, to actively participate in the liturgy and sacraments—especially the Eucharist. It means loving service to others—to struggle against sin and evil within ourselves and in society, to work for justice and peace and for the defense of life and the environment—so that the kingdom of God will become a reality on earth. It means caring for the poor, to love the poor and to live a simple lifestyle, rejecting the idolatry of wealth and power. To become holy, it is not necessary to withdraw from the world, but to penetrate all areas of life—economic, political, social, cultural. According to Vatican II, holiness means living the Christian life to the full and the perfection of charity—to live in love. To be a saint requires living the Christian life to a heroic degree—to have the courage to be good and to do good. We might not have the opportunity to give up our life or to die for our faith, but what matters is to dedicate our life to God and in the service of our neighbor. The canonized saints are our models. We are called to imitate them, not just venerate them or ask favors from them. It is providential that the first Filipino saints are lay people—San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod. Not all of us may be recognized and canonized by the Church like them. There won’t be fiestas in our honor, no statues of us. But what matter most is that we strive to be saints even if we will only be recognized as such by those whose lives we touch and ultimately by God who will someday welcome us to His kingdom.

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

Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD

Along The Way
MANY of us, especially the laity, think that becoming a saint is an impossible dream—a remote possibility. We can’t imagine ourselves being canonized someday by the Pope or devotees celebrating fiesta in our honor, or having statues and images of ourselves venerated in churches and chapels. Many would say: “I won’t qualify to be a saint, I have so many sins, I am not good enough, I can’t perform miracles, I don’t pray often.” Yet, the recent CBCP Pastoral Letter insists that the laity are “called to be saints.” What is the basis for this and what does this mean? Vatican II emphasized the universal call to holiness. All the baptized members of the Church—that includes the laity—are therefore called to live a life of holiness, to become saints. This is not a new idea. Jesus tells his disciples to be holy and that unless their holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, they will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus does not want his followers to be minimalists—to simply do the minimum. He expects them to live up to the highest standard of morality. He expects them to strive for perfection, to actualize their potentials and to become the best version of themselves. He wants them to become saints. The Christians during the earliest period of the Church were referred to as the holy ones, the saints—with a small 's'. The Latin term “Communio Sanctorum” (Communion of Saints) was originally associated with the Church whose members (both living and in heaven) are in communion with the Triune God and with one another. One of the marks of the Church is that she is holy—one holy, Catholic and apostolic—and all the members, even if sinful, are called to holiness of life. What does it mean to be holy? What does it mean to be a saint in our time? Being holy does not mean being sinless. Rather it means recognizing our sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. It means allowing God to transform us from sinner to saint. Holiness means having deep faith in Jesus and living as His

By the Roadside A lingering Lenten memory of an unlikely hero
HE was Albert Einstein’s namesake. Admittedly, I thought he was no less a hero than the genius whose name he bore. But to anybody who was somebody in my hometown, Albert was a nobody. I would have been deeply honored had he been someone I knew. But when I did meet him it was too late. He was already in a coffin, waiting to be buried. It all started when I came home to the rectory from two Sunday Masses and two sick calls. I just wanted to take a nap and forget the world for a while. But I heard some gentle knocking on my door. I wanted to say, “Please leave me alone for a while. I have to get some rest.” But I found myself dragging my feet to the door. It was then that I saw this lady who behaved rather strangely. She left her slippers at the bottom of the rectory stairs. I realized it was a gesture of courtesy. Simple barrio courtesy. “It’s just about Albert, Padre,” she said. “Please allow us to bury him today. We couldn’t afford to have him embalmed for the nine-day wake (as is the local custom). Neighbors contributed pieces of wood and slab for his coffin. Please, Padre. We only have two hundred pesos. May we have a Mass for him, please?” “Of course,” I said. Actually I just wanted to get back to my siesta. “Bring him at two o’ clock this afternoon.” Then she haltingly started to tell a story that woke me up for the rest of the day. Albert was her fourteen-year-old nephew from Barangay San Mateo. He was the eldest of five children. His father, a rice farmer, didn’t come up with much in this year’s harvest. And while his mother also does other jobs, such as washing laundry and selling vegetables, the family income was not enough. So he did what he thought best. He stopped schooling and got himself a job at the local bakery. He ended up mostly by the firewood-fed oven. It was tough and the heat could sometimes be unbearable. But he couldn’t and wouldn’t complain. He was glad he could work and help the family. But his body was not Superman’s. Recently he ran a fever and felt weak. He asked to be excused. But his employer threatened to dismiss him if he missed work, especially that it was two or three days before the month’s end. Albert naturally didn’t want to lose his job and decided to go on working. He made it to payday. He brought all his money home and having given it to his mother, said: “Now I just want to rest and sleep…” Albert never woke up again. As I presided over his funeral, I was both angry and depressed. “How could any human being threaten someone not even qualified yet to work to fire him just because he was sick?” But other deeper questions were raging in my mind. How could a young man with such obvious love for his family, a young man with such promise fall into a fate as cruel as Albert’s? How could his parents be powerless to even consider seeking for justice? I searched the faces of Albert’s mother and father. I saw in them anything but protest. Both have now accepted Albert’s fate as inevitable. Both now eyed me with profound gratitude for refusing their two hundred pesos, but nonetheless giving Albert a sung funeral Mass. “It’s the least I could do, Albert,” I said under my breath. “What I did is nothing compared to what you did.” Never had I felt more depressed over a funeral of someone I was not related to. But I found myself continuing my homily. “Albert expresses, oh yes, Albert continues the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. And we are all witnesses to this. The world, let alone his country, has no idea that he did. But we do. God does. And it’s all that matters. Albert has made it clearer to us what the sacrifice we celebrate during Lent is all about. May his sacrifice bear fruit in a better life for his family the way the sacrifice of Jesus brought us a sharing in the life of God.” I glanced at the faces of Albert’s brothers and sisters. They appeared calm and taking my words in. But one thing bothered me. Their eyes also seemed to say to me: “Father, we know Lent. When do we know Easter?”

Kalookan Launches the Year of the Laity
THE Diocese of Kalookan officially launched the Year of the Laity in the diocese last March 15, through its Commission on Education and Lay Formation. The launch began with a motorcade from the 5 Vicariates of the diocese: Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Grace, San Bartolome, San Jose and San Roque. The motorcade merged and eventually ended at San Roque Cathedral where formation talks and a celebration of the Holy Eucharist were held. As the immediate past president of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, I delivered the welcome remarks and inspirational talk. Particularly, I encouraged the laity, saying “As lay faithful, we are called to transform ourselves, our homes and the places where we work according to the plan of God. May the example of holiness and heroism of San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod be our inspiration to be loyal witnesses of God and effective agents of change in transforming society and in building the Body of Christ.” I also called upon the laity to choose to be brave in their thoughts, actions and deeds in defending the Mother Church and its teachings. Rev. Fr. Francis Gustilo of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission talked about the “Empowerment of the Laity in the Catholic Church”. According to him, Pope Benedict called the Synod on the New Evangelization in 2012; Pope Francis calls for a Special Synod on the Family in October 2014. He said, there is a need to re-evangelize the Filipino family in preparation for the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021. He said, “The Synod will undoubtedly address the breakdown in family life in much of the developed world and the decline in respect for the family based on marriage. The Pope has also called for discussion of how the Church should address the pastoral needs of Catholics who have divorced and remarried.” Fr. Francis challenged the laity to be brave enough to reach out to at least

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in Altum
*** Another year is added. I sincerely thank the Lord for the blessing of life. I thank Him for the blessing of loving parents, family and friends. I thank Him for all the blessings He bestowed on me. I thank Him for what He made of me. I hope that what I am doing is in accordance with His will. I pray that He gives me good health to continue serving Him through my apostolate. *** I wish my niece, Raiza Elmira S. Imperial, a very happy birthday. I wish her good health, safety and success in her studies and thesis preparation. Lara, as we call her, is a third year student in the College of Chemistry of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. She is an exchange student of U.P. and will be going to Case Western University, Cleveland, Ohio this summer. *** The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines) or Laiko is inviting everyone to join the Pilgrimage to the Canonization of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII in the Year of the Laity. The canonization will take place on April 27, 2014 (Divine Mercy Sunday) at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican. The pilgrimage will include visits to different pilgrimage sites, historical monuments and scenic vistas of eastern Europe from April 24 to May 08, 2014. The pilgrimage chaplain is Rev. Fr. Rico Ayo of the Diocese of Parańaque. Please contact Joseph or Kate at 527-5388 or telefax 527-3124 or mobile numbers 0919-863-4218 or email address laiko_phils@ yahoo.com.ph for more information. *** I wish to greet Fr. Adrian Magnait, Fr. Jun de Guzman, Fr. Constantino Conti, Fr. Jerome Cruz, Fr. Boyet Pedroso, Fr. Dandi Bermejo, Fr. Jojo Aguas a happy sacerdotal anniversary. Also, I send out birthday greetings to Fr. Patrick Hiwatig O.P. and Fr. Mamerto Garcia OMI, all of the Diocese of Kalookan.

6 people whom they know have stopped going to Church. The second talk was given by Jepoy Meneses, national coordinator of CFC Singles for Family and Life, a lay missionary. He gave a talk titled “We are Saints”. He quoted 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be Holy, for I am Holy.” He said, we can be holy by observing the following: H - have confidence in who you are; O - obey God’s command; L - let God fill your heart; and Y -yield to God’s will everyday. In being holy, one can follow Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” The celebration culminated with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Rev. Msgr Alex V. Amandy, Vicar General and Moderator Curia of the Diocese of Kalookan, and concelebrated by the diocesan clergy. Congratulations to Fr. Constantino Conti, Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Affairs, Fr. Junjun de Guzman, Director of Commission on Education and Lay Formation (CELF), Fr. Ken Neral, CELF Assistant Priest Minister, Bro. Karlo Lara, Lay Coordinator, and Josie Rivera. *** I got the surprise of my life when I received an email from Sr. Pinky Barrientos, FSP; she said that effective March 15, 2014, she will no longer be connected with the CBCP Media Office as associate editor of CBCP Monitor, CBCP News and Impact Magazine. Sr. Pinky has been doing media work for 8 years now. She is leaving the office to fulfill a new assignment her provincial superior has entrusted to her. She thanks the Lord for giving her the opportunity to serve Him through media; she also thanks us for being co-partners in the work of evangelization in the Church. The virtue of obedience to the superior is best exemplified by Sr. Pinky. I wish her success in the next chapter of her journey in life. I pray that Sr. Pinky will also be happy in her next post. (Though she told me where, I do not want to pre-empt her by announcing it.)

Fr. Francis Ongkingco

Whatever
YOU would be shocked if, instead of “worm” the last word would read PORN! But that is just the truth of the matter. Today, children as early as 2nd Grade—and sometimes younger—are easy prey to the tidal wave of indecent materials through print-ads, digital media and especially the internet, constantly threatening them within the seemingly safe confines of their home. Alfred Kinsey, the infamous father of the sexual revolution, would have been delighted with the internet. He would have employed it as another ‘proof’ of his absurd claim that children are born sexual. The sad fact about this is that the hundreds of children studied by Kinsey were the helpless victims of pseudo sex-scientists. These ‘experts’ were composed of pedophiles and abusive parents trained by Kinsey. Under the pretext of scientific license, they recorded in detail their subject’s reactions— that is, their own children—whom they sexually abused. Up to this day, Kinsey and his companions’ deviant methods have not been prosecuted for their unscientific and vicious research. Many of the then young victims constantly remain under the vile nightmare of their childhood abuse. If it were not for the persistent and heroic research by anti-porn advocates such as Judith Reisman, little would have been known about the true motivation behind Kinsey’s distorted ideas on human sexuality and its devastating effects on society then and until now. Reisman and others reveal how such early exposure to abuse has tremendous effects on children’s emotional, psychological and social development. Today, this often occurs because parents may no longer spend much time with their children. Parental presence is virtually substituted by digital media that open unsuspecting children to dangerous realities. Unsupervised, children can surf into seemingly innocent sites, but find themselves ensnared by trigger contents that can stimulate their curiosity towards many disorders. Leaving a child alone with a tablet, plus with internet access would be like giving him a Swiss army knife to play with. The consequences can be dreadful. This is why presence, supervision and a creative approach to children’s free time and recreation is important. Prior knowledge of websites and their content is also necessary to help our children steer a straight course towards virtue. A recent list called the “Dirty Dozen” may help. This list includes individuals, websites and corporations that host the spread of pornography and other vices. Some of these listed groups have responded to the protest of ‘Netamaritans’, good Samaritans in the Net, by trying to curb pornographic content in their respective spheres of competence. But Netamaritans claim they are not yet doing enough! Here is 2014’s shocking “Dirty Dozen List” (source: http:// www.pornharms.com): • Attorney General Eric Holder. Mr. Holder refuses to enforce existing federal obscenity laws against hardcore adult pornography, despite the fact that these laws have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and have been effectively enforced by previous attorneys general. • Verizon. Verizon push -

Early Bird Gets the…?
es porn into our homes now through hardcore pay-per-view movies on FIOS, smart-phones, and tablets and as an Internet Service Provider with insufficient filtering options. • Sex Week. Yale and other colleges and universities repeatedly offer Sex Week on campus. Porn stars are routinely invited to lecture and pornography that glamorizes “fantasy rape” is screened. • Google. Google’s empire thrives on porn. Porn is easily available -- even to children— through YouTube, GooglePlay, Google Images and Google Ads. • Tumblr. This popular social media blogging site bombards users with porn. Users must only be 13 and the filters do not work. • 50 Shades of Grey. This bestselling book series and upcoming movie are normalizing sexual violence, domination, and torture of women. Oprah Winfrey Network, Broadway and other mainstream outlets have even promoted this abusive lifestyle. • Facebook. Facebook has become a top place to for sexual exploitation and to trade pornography, child pornography. Facebook’s guidelines prohibit such behavior, but the company is doing little to enforce them. • Barnes & Noble. This Fortune 500 Company is a major supplier of adult pornography and child erotica. They regularly put pornography near the children’s sections in their stores and provide free, unfiltered porn publications on their Nook e-reader. • Hilton. This hotel chain, like Hyatt, Starwood and many other top hotel chains, provides hardcore pornography movie choices. Porn channels are often the first advertisement on their in-room TVs. • Playstation. PlayStation’s live-streaming abilities are filling thousands of homes with live porn and the PlayStation Store sells hundreds of pornographic and sexually violent games. • American Library Association. The ALA encourages public libraries to keep their computers unfiltered and allow patrons, including children, to access pornography. • Cosmopolitan Magazine. The magazine is a full-on pornographic, “how-to” sex guide, encouraging women to accept the pornified culture around them. They specifically market this content to teen girls. *** Perhaps, not everything on the list may apply to our cultural setting, but react we must. With prayer, a lot can be done, especially praying for the conversion of those promoting such immodest and inhuman content, as well as their victims. Furthermore, a reasonable and serene vigilance is required of parents and guardians. This is, above all, through their good example in their temperate use of gadgets, social networks and media, while striving to make their homes always cheerfully wholesome and productive. Finally, getting involved in your own little way will count in a big way! Write/email letters of complaint to magazine publishers, advertisers, T.V. stations, etc. React, calmly and charitably! Never give up, because as long as we keep this noble fight for decency, modesty and true love in our families and communities, we shall prevail! *** “There is need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and undo the savage work of those who think that man is a beast. And that crusade is a matter for you. (St. Josemaría, The Way, no. 121)”

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Local News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

DOH Aids strategy doomed to fail – bishop
HANDING out condoms, as part of the government strategy to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, will continue to be a failure, a Catholic bishop reiterated recently. Church officials, who preach fidelity and abstinence, said, the practice only worsened the problem. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said, teaching responsible sexual behavior is the only realistic solution to the health crisis. “It’s not [about] condoms, but change of lifestyle— abstinence and fidelity. They have not learned from the experience of Africa,” Pabillo said. The bishop was reacting to the Department of Health’s (DOH) plan to “flood” Metro Manila with condoms to address the rise of HIV/AIDS cases in the region. DOH data showed that every two hours, a Filipino becomes infected with HIV—a total of 13 new cases daily, with Metro Manila accounting for 50 percent of the total HIV cases in the country. The agency added that a total of 7, 843 cases have been recorded from 1984 up to this year. The DOH claimed that condom use is the only effective tool available in the prevention and control of the virus. Fr. Melvin Castro of the CBCP Commission on Family and Life, however, defended the Church’s position against condoms, saying it has been ineffective in curbing the spread of the disease. “They (DOH) started this in February 2010, did HIV/AIDS cases decrease?” Castro said. “Is the condom the solution or a lifestyle that is according to God’s will?” (CBCPNews)

Catholic apologists help others deepen understanding of faith
A GROUP of Roman Catholic businessmen and professionals who underwent intensive study to defend the Catholic doctrine offers to facilitate profound understanding for church members who wish to be more grounded in faith. Active members of Defensores Fidei Foundation (DFF), a group of Filipino apologists (defenders of the faith) hold that an average Catholic can be easily swayed to leave or transfer to another church as a result of superficial grasp of doctrine, DFF co-founder and chair Henry Siy said. The average Catholic, who probably cannot explain each of the seven sacraments, can be easily lured by preachers who are able to build a church out of their own personal interpretation of the Bible and their silver tongue, he said. The same preachers do not even agree with each other’s personal interpretations of the Bible, whom Siy likened to lawmakers who have their own contradicting interpretations of a particular law. A Catholic should not only have a heart for his faith, but also a profound understanding of Catholicism, Siy said. A shallow understanding of one’s faith may lead him to flee the Church or find another. A Catholic who cannot rise above a particular challenge or cannot answer a definite question may also leave the Church due to his inability to expound on his faith, he said. Some denominations raise the issue on images, Siy said, but Catholics do not worship images. “Image only represents,” Siy said. The “Arc of the Covenant” in the Old Testament is an image. The “staff” of Moses is also an image. The Church is right for having
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Pro-life groups in the country have a longstanding disapproval of the promotion of condoms as a sustainable health solution.

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tion’s shortcomings. “It’s good that he apologized even if it’s too late. I hope that this admission will be followed with reform,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said. Over four months after ‘Yolanda’ devasStrategic / A1

tated several areas in Visayas, Aquino personally apologized to some highschool students for the government’s slow response to Yolanda. Pabillo said, the government should improve the delivery of relief assistance to af-

fected areas and its rehabilitation efforts. In Palo, Leyte, truckloads of spoiled relief goods reportedly ended up in a dumpsite recently. For Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Iloilo, whose jurisdicion was also struck by Yolanda,

said the President’s apology “should be well taken”. According to him, there are factors that may have contributed to the slow response of the government. “But as in the case of the ship, the captain takes all the blame

because of command responsibility,” Lagdameo said. “The best thing to do is make up for his shortcomings. What does he intend to do concretely? Many people are still suffering,” said Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco. (CBCPNews)

fense of the Gospel of life. I do think there’s a change in strategy about how you make the case for life,” said former senior Vatican analyst for CNN John Allen, Jr. at a press conference at the Divine Word Seminary last Wednesday. Politics to the Gospel According to Allen, being relatively mum on such hotbutton issues as same sex marriage and divorce shows a shift of focus from “politics to the Gospel message.” “[Pope Francis believes that] we have to start with the Gospel. If people don’t know that we are sons and daughters of a loving God who has a plan for their happiness, then they’re not going to be receptive about what should or should not be legal,” he
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explained further. Allen, who has covered the Vatican for the past two decades, went as far as to say that then Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, head of the Argentinian Bishops’ Conference, learned this lesson rather painfully in 2010 when the Church took a hard line on the legalization of gay marriage in the country— and lost. “[The Pope’s] conviction is, if the Church talks about [the Gospel], and if it seems credible about that, then its position on the life issues stand a better chance,” he added. ‘Robustly pro-life’ Allen, who is also a former correspondent of the National Catholic Reporter, noted how the Holy Father’s outspokenness on other issues like social

justice, but his reticence on issues like contraception and abortion have given the impression, especially to staunchly pro-life Catholics that this Pope is wishy-washy on prolife issues. “ Th e r e ar e some p e op l e around the world who believe—because Francis has said, ‘I’m not going to talk so much about abortion and gay marriage’—that somehow he’s running up the white flag of surrender,” he said. The observation, Allen said, could not be further from the truth. “I can assure you this is a robustly pro-life Pope,” he said, describing how Pope Francis’ speech to a group of Italian medical professionals in September of last year was “the toughest pro-life speech you’ll

ever hear a Pope give”. The Holy Father, according to Allen, also publicly supported a pro-life rally in Italy, as well as the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., tweeting about it, using the official Papal Twitter account, @pontifex. Last March 12, Allen gave a talk on how Pope Francis has affected popular culture and media since assuming office a year ago. Allen, who is now associate editor of The Boston Globe, has also authored books like “The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church” and “The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution”. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

the seven sacraments, he said. The Orthodox Catholic Church, which is the second largest Christian church, has also seven. The goal of Siy’s group is to strengthen average Catholics both in heart and in understanding. Catholics are plenty, he said. But the number of teachers of the doctrine is relatively small. His group offers to help. Catholics can seek DFF for a deeper understanding of the faith. In an effort to defend the Catholic faith, the foundation developed a course on apologetics, which contains 10 to 13 classes, he said. The course starts in October with a weekly session on Saturdays that culminates in a graduation in December. The DFF was founded in the Philippines in the late 1990s by 9 men, including Siy, and a female who were strongly inclined to defend the doctrine of the Church. The ten include businessmen, a landscape consultant, a dentist, a banker, and one involved in stage show. Siy himself, whose father is a Buddhist, studied to defend the Catholic faith under well-respected apologists in the United States, including Stephen (Steve) K. Ray, during his years in California. Ray is a Catholic author, speaker, film-maker and certified guide to the Holy Land. He was a Protestant since the 1950s and joined a Baptist church. In 1994, he converted to Catholicism and became a defender of the Catholic faith. He wrote the book “Crossing the Tiber”, an account of his conversion. Other well-known apologists within the Roman Catholic Church include Dr. Scott Hahn, Karl Keating, G.K. Chesterton, Ronald Knox and Peter Kreeft. (Oliver Samson)

FILE PHOTO

mats, was not as hard-hit as the Southern towns of Leyte. But it had its share of the dead and the injured and was leveled just the same, never mind their humble hut and their small plot of land where they process copra. God has a way of replacing these material possessions in time, she reasoned. Yes, they are stunned, demoralized. But what matters to them more than anything else is that they are all alive. She just comforts herself with the thought that everything, including the monster that was ‘Yolanda’, happens because the Lord wills it. “Bahala na (Let it be),” Sabañao would often be caught muttering like a powerful, ancient mantra. But little did this 44-year old mother of four know that she would end up having to face more tragedy in the Big City than what she had left behind in Samar for. Only this time—sadly—the tragedy is man-made. “Hanggang ngayon wala kaming natatanggap na tulong mula sa gobyerno” (“Until now, we haven’t received any assistance from the government”), Sabañao explained in Tagalog with a thick Visayan accent. “Karamihan sa amin wala pa ring
Doctorate / A1

matinong bahay na matirhan. Wala ring mapagkukunan ng hanapbuhay dahil lahat halos ng puno ng niyog pinadapa ni ‘Yolanda’” (“Most of us still have no decent dwellings to live in. Also, we have no earnings because ‘Yolanda’ felled almost all the coconut trees”). Fed up with waiting for the government to do its part, Sabañao along with fellow survivors, came to Manila recently to petition the Aquino administration to make good on his promise to Warays. Through the help of People Surge, an alliance of non-government organizations (NGOs) for ‘Yolanda’ survivors, they were able to find their way to the gates of Malacañang Palace on February. There, they voiced out all their grievances to PNoy—but to no avail. Topmost of their grievances is the earmarked P40,000 monthly financial aid each ‘Yolanda’-affected family should be receiving. The survivors also complain of the “No Build” zone policy in coastal areas. They believe this policy favors only big investors at the expense of local fisherfolks, and amounts to stealing their livelihood. Another complaint involves relief. Saba-

ñao said, relief efforts are to be stopped by the end of March. But the survivors would have none of it. They demand that relief work be extended until such time that they can already stand on their own feet. Sabañao currently stays at a shelter run by a religious congregation in Cubao with her youngest child, a girl of four, and other survivors. Her grownup kids arrived ahead of her there, while her husband opted to remain in Basey to look after what little they have left. The eldest child already has his own family. Beginning in Baclaran, the survivors tour the churches of Metro Manila to raise awareness about their struggle and about what is really happening back in the areas destroyed by ‘Yolanda’. People Surge organizes an exhibit of photographs, showing the everyday battle each survivor has to go through just to keep body and soul together. In spite of their disappointments, Sabañao still hopes that everything will be as it was before ‘Yolanda’. Like many survivors, she looks forward to going back to Basey, to pick up where she had left off, and start life all over again. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

has been covering the Vatican for two decades, the Italian cult following of John XXIII could easily draw in 1 million “screaming Italians”, while devotees of John Paul II could reach 2 to 3 million people, many of them Polish, coming to Rome for the April 27 canonization. Aside from these, the author of several books like “Conclave: The Politics, Personalities, and Process of the Next Papal Election” and “Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith” said, the fact that regular crowds at St. Peter’s Square during Pope Francis’ reign have become three times bigger than they were during Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s time will definitely add up to make
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6-7 million people a reasonable estimate. “Just for me from a visual point of view, it’s going to be a tidal wave of humanity… The turnout will be staggering,” Allen, who is now associate editor of the Boston Globe, emphasized. Allen gave a symposium on “The Pope Francis Effect” last March 12 at the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City. He also had a dialogue with Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as part of a fund-raising dinner for mission last March 13 at the Eaton Centris in Quezon City. He is a Vatican analyst for CNN and writes a regular column titled “All Things Catholic.” (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

hinder the region’s recovery. He called on the government to address the problem that had beset the region after the onslaught of the typhoon. “Prices are high that’s why hopefully the government can control it. They resolve the price of those [goods] that are quite high,” Archbishop Du added. The Department of Trade
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and Industry (DTI) earlier urged businessmen to adhere to a prevailing price freeze for basic commodities in typhoonstricken areas. In Tacloban City, the agency also set up a “Diskwento Depot” where goods and supplies will be stored. The depot operations started last January and is expected to end in June. (CBCPNews)

“Likewise, the Society of Jesus has a distinguished history in the Philippines. Therefore, it is with delight compounded that we celebrate today our ties to, and history with, the people of the Philippines. When Cardinal Tagle accepts his honorary degree, he may be assured that the honor is ours,” McShane said. In the conferment ceremonies, Tagle, who is a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council on the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People, will discuss the plight of immigrants and refugees in the present-day context. The Philippines alone deployed a total of 1,802,031 overseas workers in 2012, a sharp increase as compared to 1975 when only 36,035 Filipinos left the country to work overseas, according to the 2013

Country Migration Report (CMR) of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). On March 29, a Eucharistic celebration will be officiated by Tagle at the University Church in Fordham’s Rose Hill Campus. A special collection will be done during the mass to raise funds for the aid of victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ (international name: Haiyan) that battered Central Philippines last November. During the mass, Tagle will bless a memorial to Fordham alumnus Fr. John F. Hurley, SJ, who was among the first Jesuits to serve the Philippines in 1921. Hurley was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1946 for his heroic deeds during the Japanese occupation in the country. Tagle is an alumnus of the

Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola School of Theology, and San Jose Seminary (Philosophy and M.A. in Theology). He obtained his Licentiate and Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C, in 1987 and 1991, respectively. The honorary degree to be conferred by Fordham Un i v e r s i t y i s T a g l e ’ s f i r s t honoris causa coming from a US university. He has been conferred with three honorary doctorate degrees in Humanities from three universities in the country: Far Eastern University, San Beda College, and De La Salle University – Dasmariñas. Tagle, who was born in Manila in 1957, was raised in a devoutly Catholic environment with a strong influence

from the Jesuits. He was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the International Theological Commission, where he served from 1997 until 2002. In 2012, he was appointed Vice-President of the Commission for the Message of the XIII General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. He was also appointed member of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People the following year. Established in 1841 by the Archdiocese of New York, Fordham University is the first Catholic institution for higher education in the northeastern United States. It was first established by then New York Archbishop John Hughes as St. John’s College. (Jennifer Orillaza)

of charity that only have the name and appearance of charity, but not the substance. They don’t work for long. This is the charity expressed by Christ who said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” It is the charity that is actually being given to us in an abiding way through His grace. It’s not just an idea, a policy, a slogan, or a mere sentiment. It’s a living and effective thing that embodies all virtues proper to us. It certainly includes justice, prudence, mercy, affection, compassion, and creativity. Remember St. Paul describing it as something that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13,7)? We have to disabuse ourselves from the fear that charity would just put us in a weak position in our management activities, or that it would do away with penal justice altogether, or that it would lead us to be easily taken advantage of. Charity, in fact, would prod

us to face certain inconvenient truths and situations bravely and would guide us in tackling difficult decisions to be made. But it certainly starts with affection, understanding, compassion and patience. It tells us to think well of the others even if they have done some wrong for which justice also has to be served. It is the charity of God who is “slow to anger and quick to forgive.” It knows how to reinvent itself as often as necessary -- all the way to death. This is the charity that will be sustained by prayer and sacrifice, by constant recourse to the sacraments, without neglecting the human need to attain the competence we need in our management activities, which means continuing study and formation. Charity makes use of both human and spiritual means, human and supernatural means. Only then can our management duties be carried out properly.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

Diocesan News
declared this 2014 as “Year of the Laity.” “Since 98 percent of school personnel and formators are lay, the number of religious and clergy is not enough to attend to the demand,” Santos said. The regular gathering of Christian formators aims to strengthen the bonds and communion of catechists and campus ministers in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church and to plan school activities to celebrate the Year of the Laity. It has also served as a venue for the cascading of the K to 12 Christian Formation Curriculum. The Galilee Day events are also used to have academic discussion on Church documents. Santos likewise reminded campus ministers to attend the 3rdNational Assembly of CEAP Campus Ministers which will be held on July 29-31at the Betania Retreat House in Cebu City. (CBCPNews)

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Go where the youth are, catechists, campus ministers, formators urged
PASIG City—If young people can go crazy over hit television series and their showbiz idols, it is possible for them to getexcited about Christ and their faith experiences too. But how to portray Christ that would elicit a euphoric experience among the youth is something that catechists, campus ministers and pastoral formators should strategize on doing. Msgr. Gerardo Santos of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Catechism and Catholic Education (ECCCE) has called on youth formators to be creative in bringing Christ to the youth that will generate the same or an even greater effect than watching their idols on television. “How to bring Christ to the young with the same effect is a great challenge for all formators, but not impossible,” he told the 230 catechists, campus ministers and Christian formators who attended the reMining / A1

cent Galilee Day of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) National Capital Region held at the Pasig Catholic College last Feb. 21. Santos showed the delegates a video of a concert of the hit television series Glee. He said, young people were ecstatic over the performance of the stars during the concert and said achieving the same in catechesis is a possible but great challenge to all formators. The chairman of the National Christian Formation Commission (NCFC) and Regional Trustee of CEAP NCR also highlighted the imporance of going where the young people are and reaching out to them using all available means. According to the CEAP NCR, the first Galilee Day for 2014 adopted the theme “Choose to be Brave” to stress the role of the laity in the Church. The CBCP has earlier

CBCP officially recognizes new Marian group
MUNTINLUPA City— A Marian group dedicated to spreading the consecration to the Blessed Virgin was one of the first organizations to be officially recognized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) this year. “This Year of the Laity, I think it is no accident that your recognition as a lay association would be one step towards recognizing [that you are] following the Lord’s will,” Episcopal Commission on the Laity (ECL) chairman Bishop Jesse Mercado said during a thanksgiving dinner last Feb. 24 for the recognition of the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace as a new member organization of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines). Bishop Mercado, who also heads the Diocese of Parañaque, praised the group for being “rooted in Mary, Our Mother and in Jesus, who is the Son of Mary.” The ECL awarded the Confraternity official status as a member of Laiko last Jan. 24. Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of AllGrace president Brenda Padilla expressed a lot of hopes for the future. “May the Confraternity thrive and may it live and may it spread to the whole world… May the world be consecrated to Mary, so that we can all be warriors for our Lord Jesus,” Padilla said during the dinner celebration at
Photo courtesy of Chita Araw

The Confraternity of Mediatrix of All-Grace promotes total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. A recent activity was a consecration of hundreds of grade schoolers and highschool students to the Blessed Virgin.

the Padilla residence with Bishop Mercado, Fr. Enrico Emmanuel Ayo, Fr. Melvin Castro, as well as several Confraternity members. In closing, Bishop Mercado encouraged the group to continue with its apostolate after hearing about its

having facilitated the consecration of grade school students to the Blessed Virgin earlier that day. “I think the little miracles that you have been sharing a while are signs that you are on the right road,” he said.

Aside from promoting total consecration to the Blessed Virgin as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort, the Confraternity also aims to spread devotion to Our Lady under the title Mary Mediatrix of AllGrace. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

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Cotabato, lamented that Aquino ignored the petition of more than 100,000 people calling for the scrapping of the mining project. The Church leaders stressed that their opposition against the project is based on “moral grounds”. They cited the following reasons: • “the destruction of almost 4,000 hectares of forested and agricultural land and biodiversity is against the integrity of God’s creation” • “the dislocation of almost 6,000 surface dwellers, mostly B’laans, from their ancestral land is against human rights” • “the threat to food security and human life through the use of cyanide and heavy metals for processing ores is very real” • “the past killings and future violence as the B’laans will defend their ancestral land – source of food, building material, burial grounds of their ancestors and place of living will adversely affect peace and harmony” The bishops added: “Up to now SMI has not given any proof that open pit mining preserves the integrity of God’s creation”. No response This is not the first time that the Church tried to bring the issue to Malacañang’s doorstep. In November 2011, some bishops asked for an audience to discuss the matter with Aquino, but they did not receive any reply to the request. Gutierrez said, he and some other bishops wrote another letter to the President in 2012 and 2013 “but to no avail.” “I don’t know why, but the President never replied to any of our letters to him, not even once,” he lamented. This time, Gutierrez is hoping that their concern will get Aquino’s attention, adding that the region can survive without mining, contrary to government’s claim of economic

growth. For the communities near the mining site, the project does not guarantee a share of the wealth—it means environmental damage, loss of land and human rights abuses. “It will help the businessmen of course, but how can the destruction help the local communities in the long run? The truth about mining, he stressed, is that the local communities are the ones who suffer from the negative impacts of mining and not the operators and their backers in the government. “If the government only wants to earn millions, they must think first of the destruction and the people,” Gutierrez said. Aside from Quevedo and Gutierrez, other signatories of the letter include Archbishops Romulo Valles of Davao, Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro, Jesus Dosado of Osamiz, Bishops Guillermo Afable of Digos, Patricio Alo of Mati, Emmanuel Cabajar of Pagadian, Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay, Romulo de la Cruz of Kidapawan, Edwin de la Peña of Marawi, Elenito Galido of Iligan, Martin Jumoad of Basilan and Angelito Lampon of Jolo. Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, Bishops Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao, Jose Manguiran of Dipolog, Wilfredo Manlapaz of Tagum, Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan, Julius Tonel of Ipil, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo and Davao Auxiliary Bishop George Rimando also signed the letter. Aquino just met with the Catholic community in Mindanao on March 11 when he attended the thanksgiving mass for Quevedo’s75th birthday, 50th ordination anniversary and elevation to the cardinalate. The President lauded the first cardinal from Mindanao for his peace-building efforts, adding that Quevedo’s examples are worth emulating.

How did this happen? Riccardi points out some factors. Pope Francis gave witness that a man can start from himself—by his own actions and lifestyle. “With Pope Francis,” Riccardi mentions, “passion and kindness are coming back in the life of the Church”—recalling how the Second Vatican Council itself was described as “the Council of the Church’s empathy.” Sympathy and embracing others enable us to be free from “self-referentiality”—a term used by Pope Francis and explained by Riccardi to mean “living in the comfortable perimeter of one’s own Christian environment that is often ecclesiastical or of devout lay people.” Pope Francis’ core message in Evangelii Gaudium is “to get out” and to reach out with sympathy and friendliness towards the many poor and wounded thirsting for the Word of God. Riccardi quotes Pope Francis at length on this: “We cannot insist only on moral questions; this is not possible. I haven’t spoken much about these things and people rebuked me, but when one speaks about these things the issue must be addressed in a context. People know the opinion of the Church; I am a son of the Church, but it is not necessary to speak about it continuously. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the Church are not all on the same level; a missionary pastoral is not obsessed by the disarticulated transmission of a multitude of doctrines.” II. The Suffering Church in Africa For Pope Francis, a “missionary pastoral” puts the poor at the heart of the Church. In our meeting, the African bishops cited numerous instances in their concern for the poor. In Tanzania, the poor still remain oftentimes, as objects, even as the Church strives to remove any form of exclusion. Zambia is rich in resources,

yet 80% of its population are poor. In Swaziland, one-third of families are afflicted with AIDS, leaving behind many orphans. In many African countries like Ghana, poverty is exacerbated by corruption, while in South Africa, the contrast between the poor and affluent has been heightened by the uneven development of the nation. “War is the mother of poverty,” was a refrain repeated by many of the bishops. Chad and Gabon have experienced a flood of refugees fleeing armed conflicts in neighboring countries. The bishops of Rwanda and Burundi organized a march for peace to highlight the 20th anniversary of the genocidal massacre of Tutsis. During the last week of January, neighboring bishops held their conference in Juba in a solidarity visit to counter the outbreak of civil war in the newly-created country of South Sudan. III. Inter-religious Dialogue and Peace-building Tensions between Christians and Muslims have added another destabilizing factor to the socio-political situation of several countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In Nigeria, religious leaders have engaged in inter-religious dialogue to counter violence and the inroads of radicals. Aleppo in Syria was “a city with a fantastic coexistence among Christians of different traditions and Muslims,” observed Riccardi, “now, it is a besieged city.” Riccardi also asked for prayers for two kidnapped bishops of Aleppo: Mar Gregorios Ibrahim, Syro-Orthodox bishop, and Paul Yazigi, GreekOrthodox bishop. Both have been held prisoners by a Syrian terrorist group since last year. From Iraq, Bishop Georges Casmoussa, a French-speaking missionary, recounted his own experience of being held for twenty hours by extremists. At

one point, one of the kidnappers held a knife at his throat, eliciting his only response, “I offer my life for peace in Iraq”. In recent years, five priests have been killed in Mosul. From Pakistan, we listened to a special guest, Mr. Paul Bhatt, who recounted the extraordinary vocation of his elder brother, Shahbaz. As Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz was the only Catholic member of the Muslim-dominated cabinet in the Pakistani government. He lobbied for the rights of minorities and against the abuses connected with the “blasphemy law” of the country. Tragically, Shahbaz was ambushed and killed by extremists in March 2011. A year before his death, Archbishop Fernando Capalla and I had met then Minister Shahbaz Bhatt, who acted as our host in Islamabad. We were part of a small Philippine delegation of bishops and ulama who were invited by the Pakistani government to share our experiences with the Bishops-Ulama Conference in Mindanao. At the Sant’Egidio meeting, I shared some learning points from our BUC inter-religious dialogue meetings: (1) joint statements from religious leaders have a moderating effect against violence; (2) common activities, like the Mindanao Week of Peace can widen a peace constituency; (3) the outbreak of communal violence has markedly diminished with the formation of peace-and-dialogue centers in strategic areas of Mindanao; and (4) there is a growing need for intra-faith dialogue to remove the biases among Christians towards Muslims or indigenous people. On another topic, I was also gratified to hear that several bishops from Africa and Asia were interested to know more about our All-Natural Family Planning program in the archdiocese of Cagayan

de Oro. This was seen as a concrete way of reaching out to Christian and Muslim families. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for Family, and moderator of several sessions of the assembly, also gave his nod to this program. IV. Ecumenism and the Spirit of the Sant’Egidio Community On a more positive note, Riccardi recalled how 50 years ago in January 1964, Pope Paul VI and Athenagoras of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople met in Jerusalem in a historic embrace that ended the long separation of the pope and patriarch since 1437. At the Sant’Egidio gathering, the spirit of ecumenism among Christians lives on in the inclusion of Lutheran and Orthodox bishops as brothers in Christ. The Sant’Egidio Community has been known to many of us principally because of its peace-building efforts in several countries – notably in Mozambique, where the final peace agreement was signed at the Sant’Egidio headquarters in Rome in 1992, but also in other conflict areas like Algeria, the Balkans, the Congo, and parts of Asia, including Mindanao. These then are the hallmarks of the spirit of the Sant’Egidio community, as summarized in their own flyer: Prayer as essential to the life of the community; Communicating the Gospel to those who seek for meaning in their life; Solidarity with the poor, expressed in concrete actions such as feeding programs, sending of relief goods to disaster sites (including areas affected by ‘Yolanda’), and visiting prisoners and the elderly; Ecumenism in friendship and prayer for Christian unity; and Dialogue as the path to peace. All these constitute a school of spirituality and an action program that reflect—and even antedate—Pope Francis’ Joy of the Gospel.

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People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 6

March 17 - 30, 2014

Divine Word Seminary marks 50 years
AROUND 300 priestalumni of the Divine Word Seminary packed the Divine Word Seminary chapel in Tagaytay during the Eucharistic Mass presided over by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle in celebration of the seminary’s golden jubilee of foundation last March 12. The two-day celebration also honored outstanding alumni who have distinguished themselves in various capacities through their significant contributions in the Church and the country. In his homily, Tagle recalled with fondness his many years of teaching in DWST, and noted how his teaching ministry impacted his life as a priest. He expounded on the theme of thanksgiving for the overflowing grace received in the past 50 years, sprinkling his reflection with anecdotes about his teaching ministry that drew laughter among clergy and the faithful. In conclusion, the cardinal expressed hopes that the community that gathered to celebrate in thanksgiving “would become like a body that is a living sacrifice of praise offered to God, pleasing sacrifice because it is a body of faith, of love, of mission.” Alumni bishops Erected in 1963, DWST has since produced thousands of alumni among SVD and other religious congregations and dioceses in the country, twelve of whom have become bishops. They are Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD of Sorsogon; Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi; Bishop Edwin dela Peña , MSP of Marawi; Archbishop John Du of Palo, Leyte; Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of San Pablo; Archbishop John Hung, SVD of Taipei, Taiwan; Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD of Bangued; Bishop Antonio Palang of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Bishop Oscar Solis of Los Angeles, California; Bishop

Knights of Columbus to rally against RH law

Pinky Barrientos, FSP

Members of the Knights of Columbus, their family and friends will again fill the streets in protest against the RH Law.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle presides over the Eucharistic celebration of the semi-centennial of the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay, March 12.

Crispin Varquez of Borongan. Two other bishops, Vicente Manuel and Artemio Rillera, both SVDs have already died. Keynote speaker The semi-centennial celebration was graced by special guest John Allen, Jr., a senior Vatican analyst of CNN who keynoted a speech

during a symposium for the alumni on the same day. Allen spoke extensively about the papacy of Pope Francis and noted how his life and communication style give the Church a new image. He pointed out three things that he said are keys to understanding the person of the

pope—leadership as service, social gospel and the practice of mercy. The Vatican journalist also discussed hot button issues confronting the Church in the 21st century, such as the reform of the curia, the sex abuse scandal in the Church, and the role of women, among other things. (CBCPNews)

Pope names De la Cruz as Zamboanga archbishop
POPE Francis has named Kidapawan Bishop Romulo de la Cruz as the new Archbishop of Zamboanga. De la Cruz, 66, will be taking over after Archbishop Romulo Valles was appointed to head the Archdiocese of Davao in February 2012. The new appointment was officially announced in Rome at 12:00 noon (7:00pm, Manila time) last March 15. Last September, Zamboanga City was devastated by a standoff between the government forces and members of the Moro National Liberation Front. To date, the area is still reeling from the effects of the siege in which displaced families continue to languish in evacuation centers. Born on June 24, 1947 in Balasan, Iloilo, the archbishop-elect was ordained a priest on December 8, 1972. Among his early assignments was as a parish priest in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, before becoming the rector of Notre Dame Archdiocesan Seminary in Sharif Kabunsuan. Fifteen years later after his ordination to the priesthood, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Isabela in Basilan. In January 1989, Dela Cruz became the bishop of Isabela by succession and then later, he headed the Diocese of San Jose de Antique. In May 2008, then Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to the Diocese of Kidapawan. De la Cruz speaks English, Tagalog, Ilonggo and Chavacano. No date has been set for the canonical installation of the new Zamboanga archbishop. (CBCPNews)

Committed to defending the right to life of every human being, the Knights of Columbus will again take to the streets to demonstrate their opposition against the RH Law. Now on its 7th year, the KofC’s “Walk for Life” is a simultaneous rally nationwide on March 22 to raise their indignation against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law and other antilife measures. In Luzon, thousands of Knights and their families will take part in the march with the theme “We Value Life” from Intramuros to San Andres gym in Malate, Manila. “This is a fight against the sinister laws being proposed in Congress such as same sex marriage, abortion, divorce and euthanasia,” said Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap. “The current RH law is not

just against our faith, but also in human nature. These are the ultimate goals of the RH law,” he said. The RH law that provides state funding for contraceptives has not been implemented yet due to a restraining order issued by the Supreme Court. The KofC and other critics of the law have repeatedly warned that it was just cleverly packaged as a “health measure” when it is clearly about population control. In Northern Luzon, members of the KofC are marching their way to Manila from Laoag City since March 8. They are expected to arrive in Manila in time for the Walk for Life. “This is unbelievable act of faith. Imagine, from Laoag to Manila and about two to three towns a day. Two weeks of walking just to attend the annual walk for life,” Yap said. (KC News)

Photo exhibit opens people’s eyes on ‘Yolanda’ problem

THE Education Foundation, Inc. (EFI), a group of laypeople whose apostolate centers on edifying Catholics through education, is putting up public libraries known us “Bahay Karunungan” (House of Knowledge) in depressed communities in Metro Manila and in the provinces to motivate and support learning among the less fortunate through reading, EFI President Naomi A. David said in a recent interview. “We set up public libraries in poor communities,” she told CBCPNews. “It’s part of our advocacy for reading, to provide the urban poor and the grassroots across the country with reading materials and encourage them to imbibe knowledge.” Like the typical libraries, Bahay Karunungan is furnished with mainstream books, religious volumes, magazines, newspapers, other manuscripts; and even personal computers to provide the indigents with as much as the apostolate of EFI can dispense. What makes it distinct from the usual libraries is the formative thrust of the foundation, which is administered by laypeople, and who run the libraries in the same manner religious people manage a treasure trove of reading materials. The EFI undertakes this project in collaboration with partners who back its advocacy for helping educate people,

Reopening of Manila Cathedral moved to Holy Week
opened by Holy Week,” Cerbo said. He, however, clarified that it remains indefinite as the project manager for the repair and restoration project is yet to make an assessment. “Right now, I can’t tell you (anything definite) because the project manager is still assessing and they are asking me for another week so they could tell me if it is possible to open by the Holy Week,” said Cerbo. Workers renovate the Manila Cathedral, October 2013. Last year, Manila Archbishop ON the third attempt, the Manila CaLuis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said thedral is set to reopen its doors in time that earlier plan was to reopen the prime for the Holy Week next month, a church basilica of the Philippines by December. official said. There was another plan to reopen it Monsignor Nestor Cerbo, its rector, by March 25, but Cerbo said, there were said the target is to reopen the cathedral more damaged parts found recently. for churchgoers starting on Palm Sunday, “We cannot open it until everything has April 13 after two years of repair. been fixed already,” Cerbo said. “As much as possible, we want it According to him, the restoration
Roy Lagarde

especially the poor. They assisted the foundation in priming the site and acquiring reading materials and tools before putting up the library. The fund for setting up the library and acquisition of books and other library resources is provided by individuals and groups “who have a heart for learning,” David said. “But the soft program and how the library will be ran come from the foundation itself,” she said. “This is not the usual library that we grew up in. It serves as a reading and learning center for the community.” Books, magazines, and other reading materials are reviewed first before admission into the library, David said. The foundation does not allow obscene reading materials to get into the library. It will tamper with the thrust of the foundation to spare young people from the moral collapse of society. Unlike conventional libraries, Bahay Karunungan does not follow the standard office hours of 8am to 5am. It opens from 11am until early evening to accommodate students after school and other people after work. The underprivileged student, whose home has no space conducive to learning or has poor lighting, can go to Bahay Karunungan and do his homework, David said. People can visit the library,

which is situated walking distance from the community, if they wish to read a book, a magazine, or a newspaper after a day’s work. A librarian who comes from the community itself does storytelling for children. She also facilitates comprehension and formation of children into young people who are aware of the things around them. Other activities in the library include watching wholesome TV shows, screening of films that promote moral values and virtues, and discussions on issues affecting people. The foundation had already proven that not only people in the higher strata of society have a passion for reading, even the less fortunate do. A mother visited the library after washing clothes, picked up a book and perused, David said. Her daughter looked for her until she found her mother gripped by a good story. The foundation has already set up a number of libraries in poor communities in Metro Manila and the provinces. The project is also gaining new supporters. Individuals and groups, who have the same advocacy, may join the foundation and its sponsors in holding the torch for the less fortunate, so that they may see the right path, and walk stronger in faith. (Oliver Samson)

Tindog People’s Network volunteers Senen Buban, Jr. (second from left) and Aldrein Silanga (third from left) with ‘Yolanda’ survivors .

work on the cathedral will continue, but the plan is to reopen the cathedral next month. “For the first phase, we really planned on fixing the interior first and then open. For the outside part, we can still do the repair even while the church is opened,” said Cerbo. The Manila Cathedral, known formally as the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, was closed in February 2012 after questions of its structural integrity surfaced. Cerbo said, they have already spent P120 million for the renovation work on the 54-year old structure. Since the renovation started, the cathedral had been closed to masses, baptisms, weddings and other services. The Manila Cathedral was originally built in 1581 but has since been destroyed and rebuilt several times due to fire, earthquakes, typhoons and bombings in World War II. (CBCPNews)

IN response to what they see as the PH government’s inaction on the Yolanda rehabilitation issue, a church-backed non-government organization (NGO) is raising public awareness on what is really happening in areas devastated by the super typhoon through a photo exhibit it is organizing in the churches of Metro Manila. In an interview, volunteer Aldrein Silanga of the NGO Tindog People’s Network told the CBCPNews that they are mounting the photo exhibit to educate the Filipino public about the present situation of ‘Yolanda’ survivors. He stressed that even four months after Yolanda’s onslaught, thousands of Warays are still “homeless and starving”. On display at the mini exhibit are photographs of the Warays of Samar and Leyte struggling to get by in life after they lost everything to what turned out to be “history’s most destructive typhoon”. The exhibit was made possible through the cooperation of People Surge, a Tacloban-based NGO that helps ‘Yolanda’ survivors, which loaned the photos, and the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Redemptorist Church) Social Mission office which provides the venue. In between Masses at the Redemptorist Church, a ‘Yolanda’ survivor would be given about five minutes to speak before the assembled devotees and share with them their first-hand experience of ‘Yolanda’, and how they are coping months after the deluge. Last January 25, nearly 13,700 ‘Yolanda’ survivors, representing the different provinces of Eastern Visayas took to the streets of Tacloban to demand from the government the assistance it promised, Silanga said. Failing to get any attention, on February, the 100th day after ‘Yolanda’, supporters marched to Malacañang to personally hand over to President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) a petition signed by 17,585 typhoon survivors.

The petition lists down three demands: First, that the PNoy government honor the P40,000 cash relief which covers two months’ worth of food, transportation, and other contingent expenses for each Yolandaaffected family; second, to junk the “No Build Zone” policy which only puts a toll on the survivors; and lastly, to continue the relief efforts until the survivors are stable enough to get on their feet. “Isinasagawa namin itong exhibit upang kalampagin ang tao at ang gobyerno sa tunay na nangyayari sa Eastern Visayas… Paraan din namin ito para maipakalat ang mga impormasyon hinggil sa mga ‘Yolanda’ survivors sa kabila ng nangyayaring media blockage,” [We are holding this exhibit to alert the ordinary people and those in power about what is actually transpiring in Eastern Visayas…This is also our way to disseminate information on the fate of ‘Yolanda’ survivors despite the media blockage,”] Silanga explained in Filipino. Many of the survivors who had left the affected regions currently live in temporary shelters in various Metro Manila cities, unsure of what the government has in store for them. In spite of this, they still look forward to returning to their hometowns and build their lives from scratch. The more fortunate survivors had been taken in by relatives, friends, fellow Warays, and even charitable strangers, and have decided to stay here for good. They reason that they have nowhere else to go. Director Senen Buban, Jr. of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, an NGO that also assists survivors, wondered about what has been stopping the Aquino government from fulfilling its mandated duties. Buban lambasted PNoy for his incapability to efficiently respond to the survivors’ needs. Besides the exhibit, the allied NGOs will also be conducting forums nationwide. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

Raymond Sebastián

Foundation builds public libraries in poor communities nationwide

FILE PHOTO

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

Pastoral Concerns

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We fight poverty with poverty
(Talk of Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo on the occasion of the National Convention of the Crusaders of the Holy Face of Jesus held in San Fernando, Pampanga on March 16, 2014)

By Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
MY plan in this talk is to try to summarize the three recent pastoral exhortations of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) signed by our CBCP president, Archbishop Socrates Villegas. First, the pastoral exhortation of December 4, 2013 titled “The Filipino Catholic Laity: Called to be Saints…sent forth as Heroes!” It introduces 2014 as the Year of the Laity. Second, that of January 27, 2014 entitled “To bring Glad Tidings to the Poor” (Lk 4:18). Third, that of March 5, 2014 entitled “Do Justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). This Pastoral Exhortation speaks about “Poverty that Dehumanizes; Poverty that Sanctifies.” It is CBCP’s Lenten Message for 2014. As you can see all three Pastoral Exhortations in the Year of the Laity leads us to a positive and salutary understanding of Christ’s invitation “to leave all things in order to follow him.” Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his Lenten Message

the level of income needed for a family to meet its minimum food and non-food requirements.” “In its survey on poverty for the last quarter of 2013, the Social Weather Station (SWS) reports that 55% of respondents actually consider themselves poor.” Clearly, many people see themselves as being excluded from opportunities to live a decent life.” (CBCP Lenten Message 2014 p. 1-2) “We cannot help but admit with Pope Francis that 28% of our people still are barely living from day to day.” (CBCP Jan 27, p. 2). Add to the above statistics the 12 million Filipinos who have gone to foreign countries in search for adequate income to support their families, because our government cannot adequately support them with employment and salary. In the CBCP’s Dec. 4 exhortation, after reminding the Filipino Catholic laity the greatness of their dignity derived from God’s unmerited choice of the Filipino to belong to God’s holy people, the CBCP also reminds the Filipino laity that they “are not second class members of the people of God,” compared to any pope, bishop, priest and religious, because

power of the few. The second casualty is the sacrifice of the common good, versus the vested interests of individuals, families and economic and political groups, leading evidently to the development of political dynasties. A more harmful effect, the third casualty, according to the CBCP, is the separation of faith from life. “It is certainly a shameful proof of our failure to evangelize our country that our churches are filled with people, our religious festivities are fervent, our Catholic schools are many, but our country is mired in poverty and in corruption. Many of the corrupt people in politics and in business are graduates of our own Catholic schools and

spiritual problem. In the light of this reality, we are invited by Pope Francis to turn away from our sadness, discouragement and despair, and instead to accept and be filled by “the joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) and the joy of Evangelization” (CBCP Jan 27, 2014, p. 1). As the Pope says in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, “I invite all Christians, everywhere at this very moment to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I as all of you to do this unfailingly each day.” (EG no. 3). “It is (our) fundamental encounter with Jesus that must guide our response to the

personal responsibility for it in our individual lives and shared cultures, and return to Jesus” (CBCP Jan 27, p. 2). The occasion reminds us of the memorable words of the 1971 Synod of Bishops (no. 6): “Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appears to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.” (cf. CBCP Jan 27, p. 3). “Christian love of neighbor and justice cannot be separated” (#34). As we stated in our Pastoral Exhortation “there is

‘leftovers’”. What does an economy of exclusion mean for us in the Philippines? “It is an economy which pampers the wealthy with mansions, multiple cars, yachts, helicopters, exotic food, outstanding education, stateof-the-art gadgetry, influence and power, but excludes others, especially the poor, from regular jobs that generate more than subsistence, from liberating education, minimum health care, decent and safe housing and modern modes of communications. It concentrates decision making in the wills of an entrenched elite, and reduces participation of the poor in these decisions to empty formalities.” (CBCP Jan. 27, 2014, p. 3).

Jesus defeats poverty by practicing another kind of poverty, namely, the poverty that humanizes or makes one fully human, the poverty that sanctifies or conforms one to the likeness of God.
draws inspiration from St. Paul writing about Our Lord, Jesus Christ: “He chose to become poor, so that by his poverty you (we) might become rich.” (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). It means that for Christ, for Christianity, the only way to enrich others is to become poor. It is both a joyful and frightening thought! We can say this in another way: that those who enrich only themselves are likely to cause the poverty of others. It means that the good of the community, the common good, will have to come from “shared riches and shared poverty.” That is how I would like to interpret “paradox of poverty and abundance,” which the CBCP mentions in its December 4 Pastoral Exhortation (p. 1). According to Fr. Horacio de la Costa, SJ, even the Filipino poor has some jewels or treasure to share. Poverty is not a hindrance to charity and sharing. According to the National Statistics Coordinating Board (NSCB), over 20% is the poverty rate of the Philippines, i.e., “one in every five Filipinos is in households earning less than “the greatest in the kingdom of God are not the ministers, but the saints” (CBCP Dec. 4, p. 2). The Bishops likewise tell the laity “You share in Christ’s dignity and mission with all others who are likewise united to him by the Holy Spirit.” The laity’s “particular mission is the sanctification and transformation of the world from within,” as salt of the earth and light of the world. “Poverty is a social and spiritual problem in our country.” Economically, over the past years, the same percentage of our people has remained poor. The wealth of our country has remained woefully maldistributed. Our politics, as in the past and up to now, continues to be riddled with graft and corruption. Likewise, “corruption in business leads to the further impoverishment of the poor and the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor.” (CBCP Dec. 4, p. 8) Greed for money leads to greed for power and vice versa. The first casualty of this twin— greed is the sacrifice of truth: lies, cheating and deceit attract more money and build up greater

are or claim to be “practicing” Catholics (CBCP Dec. 4, p. 6). To f i g h t t h i s s y s t e m i c corruption, the CBCP urges us “to unite in groups which through prayers, discernment and concerted action will renew the social and political fabric of our country. Individual goodness is not sufficient anymore. The good individual will only be swallowed up by the evil system. While individual witness is important, it is in unity that good Christian people will get their strength and attain victory.” (CBCP Dec. 4, p. 6). Poverty, we said, is not only a social problem, but also a

poor…The poor are not just the unlettered, the unwashed, the uninitiated, the uneducated, the unhealthy, the naked, the exploited, the trafficked, and the infirm gazing into our eyes for human recognition. They are those about whom Jesus said, “Whatever you have done or not done to one of these least of my brothers and sister that you have done to me.” (cf. Mt. 25:40), (CBCP Jan 27, 2014, p. 2). Christ visibly identifies Himself with the poor. We cannot just blame the government for the poverty of the Filipino. “We also need to understand our role in it, our

no Christianity without love. There is no love without justice. There is no integral proclamation of Christianity without effective action for justice.” (CBCP Jan 27, p. 3). NO TO AN ECONOMY OF EXCLUSION. Pope Francis forbids an “economy of exclusion.” Such an economy, the Pope said, kills (cf. Evangelii Gaudium , no. 53). In this economy of exclusion “masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape” (EG no. 53). “The excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the

NO TO IDOLATRY OF MONEY. According to the the CBCP: “The worship of the ancient golden calf (Ex. 32:135) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose” (EG no. 55). “Money has become an idol. Before this idol, both humanity and divinity are sacrificed.” (CBCP Jan. 27, p. 4). Again, the CBCP reiterates what Pope Francis says: “Money is a means. It is not an end. It is certainly not God. Avarice is idolatry” (p. 4). “It is not
Poverty / B4

CBCPNews

CBCPNews

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Updates

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

On General Absolution without Individual Confession [Part II]
(The Wrong Application of c.961 of the Code of Canon Law)

By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
I HAVE dealt with this matter on more than two occasions in the past (ref. CBCP Monitor, April 2005), but the problem seems to persist. Of late, a priest friend of mine brought to my attention what could be the source of the confusion and I would like to tackle this very serious error once more. Before going to this, allow me to remit the reader to what was tackled in Part I of this article, which extensively quoted a Response (Prot.No. 5309/96) of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, dated 8.XI.1996 (cf. Communicationes, 28 [1996] 177-181), which fully answered this question. The Source of the Confusion In 1995, the Faculty of Canon Law of the University of Santo Tomas (Manila) published a book by Fr. Florencio Testera, O.P. titled Canon Law Digest of the Philippine Catholic Church (3rd Ed.), with the lengthy subtitle: A Systematic Compilation of the Norms and Decisions Approved and Promulgated by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for Implementation in the Local Church with Supplementary Readings and Documentation. In effect, to date it is the single most authoritative source of Local Legislation for the Catholic Church in the Philippines, making such legislation readily available not only to canonists, but to all interested parties. Well then, in the matter of Absolutions (p.10), the book printed in full the CBCP Legislation— which allegedly received the recognitio by the then Sacred Congregation for Bishops through a Decree of 27.IX.1985, Prot.No.35/84. Following is the CBCP Legislation (as quoted by Testera and which I quote in italics in full, adding underscoring to highlight the source of confusion): CBCP Norms for General Absolution 1. General Absolution can be given outside the danger of death, whenever there exists great necessity, that is given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors available to properly hear the individual confessions at a given time, so that, without fault of their own, the penitents are deprived of the sacramental grace of Holy Communion for a lengthy period of time. These conditions may be verified in the cases that follow, according to the judgment of the diocesan bishop: a) When priests go once a year or very seldom during the year, to remote barrios or islets, or to other places where there is a serious difficulty in the access of the sacrament of confession on the part of the faithful on account of distance or geographical or climatological reasons; b) On Christmas, Paschal Triduum, local religious fiestas, popular missions and school graduation; whenever the conditions set above exist. 2. On these occasions the priests may be granted to give the General Absolution,

only after having undertaken all means to give opportunity to the penitents to make their individual confessions. For example, making a schedule for individual confessions during some fixed hours during the Mass, in such a way that the priests who are available can help one another in hearing individual confession and when the time for Mass comes, still many penitents have not made yet their individual confession, and so, are being deprived of the sacramental grace of Holy Communion. The priests, before giving General Absolution, shall help the penitents to be properly disposed to receive it, by making a sincere act of contrition, and to remind the penitents of their option to confess each of the grave sins which cannot for the moment be thus confessed, as soon as possible, when the opportunity occurs, before receiving another General Absolution, unless a just reason intervenes, as prescribed in cc.962 and 963. What is wrong with the above text? From an Exception to a Faculty We need to emphasize that the universal norm is carefully phrased to make general absolution without individual confession an exception— as is obvious from the tenor of c.961 of the CIC which starts: §1 Absolution cannot be imparted in a general manner to a number of penitents at once without previous individual confession unless…. [underscoring mine]. This point is of paramount importance because of the general principle, stated by c.18 of the CIC, that laws that…contain an exception to a law should be interpreted strictly. As previously stated, John Paul II had expressly underscored this exceptional character: The reconciliation of several penitents through general confession and absolution, hold an exceptional nature and hence, cannot be left to free choice, but should be regulated by norms instituted for this purpose (Apost. Exhort. Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, AAS, LXXVII, 1985, p.267). The CBCP norm, on the other hand, is redacted in a way that instead of making general absolution an exception, it gives the faculty to impart general absolution, to wit: General Absolution can be given outside the danger of death, whenever there exists great necessity… This constitutes a Copernican revolution to the general norm, because of yet another general principle in canonistic doctrine that laws granting faculties should be interpreted amply. In other words, by redacting the norm in the positive—General Absolution can be given outside the danger of death—the CBCP legislation, in effect, is granting a faculty to all priests to give general absolution without individual confession whenever the situations that are enumerated are verified, and is even open to the interpretation latu sensu (wide sense) extending such a faculty to similar situations. Importance of the Negative Formulation of the Norm on General Absolution It was precisely to obviate the possible

abuse of such a faculty to impart general absolutions that the original canon of the CIC was redacted in the negative. This can be gleaned from a study of the actae published in the journal Communicationes, which chronicled the process of redaction of the new Code of Canon Law. Emblematic in this respect is the transition from an initial formula that positively provided for the possibility of general absolution to a formula that, on the contrary, directly prohibits general absolution, foreseeing it solely as an exception. In the schema De Sacramentis of 1975, the present c.961—which then figured as c.132, §1—was formulated in a positive form: “Observing what is prescribed in c.133, the simultaneous absolution of several penitents, without previous individual confession, can be—or even should be—imparted in a general way…” Such possibility of collective absolution, formulated in such positive form remained unchanged even after the examination of the observations made in the first consultation (cf. Communicationes 9, 1978, pp.52-54), and appeared in the same form in the Schema CIC of 1980, as c.915, §1. The change was introduced following the observations made to the Schema of 1980 by the Fathers of the Commission, as a result of the published account of this work, which I quote in full below: 1. “Regarding §1:1. It is preferred that §1 be redacted thus: The simultaneous absolution of several penitents, without previous individual confession, should not be imparted in a general way, unless…” (One Father) 2. “Let it say: The simultaneous absolution…cannot be imparted: 1) unless the danger of death is imminent… 2) unless there is the gravest necessity… The negative formulation, the suppression of the words or should and the substitution of grave with gravest are altogether necessary to avoid abuses, which in fact are occurring. (Another Father) 3. “The formula proposed in the text causes great harm to the spiritual life of the faithful and to vocations, since the faithful would never confess their sins.” (Third Father) Resolution: “Let the text of §1 be: The simultaneous absolution…cannot be imparted: l) unless the danger of death is imminent… 2) when there is grave necessity…” (Relatio complectens Synthesim Animadversionum …, in Communicationes, 15, 1983, p.205). In the Schema novissimum of 1982, c.961 was redacted in the negative form, and this is the form that eventually found its way in the CIC of 1983. Laxity of the Published CBCP Norm for General Absolution As I pointed out earlier, the first situation envisioned in c.961,§1,1º ( imminent danger of death ) presents no problem in interpretation. It is the second situation, c.961, §1, 1º (grave necessity) that the Pontifical Council for

the Interpretation of Legislative Texts authoritatively interpreted in the abovementioned Response in the following terms: “In order for such serious necessity to exist, two elements must concur: first, a scarcity of priests and a great number of penitents; secondly, that the faithful do not have or have not had the possibility of confessing beforehand or immediately afterwards. In practice, they should not be responsible, through negligence, of their actual loss of the state of grace or of the impossibility of receiving Holy Communion (sine propria culpa) and that such situation is expected to be prolonged.” Careful reading of the authentic interpretation shows that there are actually three conditions that must concur for such serious necessity to exist: (1) a scarcity of priests, (2) a great number of penitents, and (3) the faithful have not had nor have the possibility of confessing individually beforehand or immediately afterwards. Furthermore, the same canonical norm (c.961, §1, 2º) is quick to clarify that it is not considered a sufficient necessity if confessors cannot be readily available only because of the great number of penitents as can occur on the occasion of some great feast or pilgrimage. In contrast, the published CBCP norm gives the impression that grave necessity exists in all of a series of cases, by stating that “These conditions may be verified in the cases that follow, according to the judgment of the diocesan bishop: a) When priests go once a year or very seldom during the year, to remote barrios or islets, or to other places where there is a serious difficulty in the access of the sacrament of confession on the part of the faithful on account of distance or geographical or climatological reasons; b) On Christmas, Paschal Triduum, local religious fiestas, popular missions and school graduation; whenever the conditions set above exist.” In the case of b), the ambiguity of “the conditions set above” (Where? Which?) leads to further laxity of interpretation. It is to the credit of Fr. Testera, as a good canonist, that despite quoting the CBCP Norm in full, in his commentary (op.cit., p.11) to the same text, he would state—completely negating the CBCP Norm—that: “It is not considered a case of necessity if confessors cannot be readily available only because of the great number of penitents as can occur on the occasion of some great feast or pilgrimage. Neither is the religious felt need of the penitents to receive Holy Communion during the important festivities like Christmas, Aguinaldo Masses, the Paschal Triduum, local religious fiestas, academic graduations and popular missions a sufficient reason to impart general absolution if there are confessors available or if the faithful can avail themselves of the Sacrament of Holy Communion in another place and occasion within a reasonable period of time.”

Unfortunately, while the quoted CBCP Norm is in bold print in Testera’s book, his commentary to it follows in regular print on the following page. A Case of Canonical Gobbledygook Finally, just to complete the confusion, the published CBCP norm on General Absolution states: 2. On these occasions the priests may be granted to give the General Absolution, only after having undertaken all means to give opportunity to the penitents to make their individual confessions. For example, making a schedule for individual confessions during some fixed hours during the Mass, in such a way that the priests who are available can help one another in hearing individual confession and when the time for Mass comes, still many penitents have not made yet their individual confession, and so, are being deprived of the sacramental grace of Holy Communion. The tenor of the norm shows that the mind of the legislator is that only the Bishop shall grant the faculty, ad casum, to a priest to impart general absolution when the conditions stated are verified. This is canonically correct. The problem arises with the way the conditions are stated, which is a veritable legal gobbledygook: 1) Making a schedule of individual confessions during some fixed hours during the Mass…— How can a schedule of some fixed hours be made during the Mass (when most of the time the Mass is less than an hour)? 2) …in such a way that the priests who are available can help one another in hearing individual confession… — If other priests were really available during Mass, shouldn’t they be helping administer Holy Communion? The fact that we hardly see this puts a doubt on the practicability of this provision. 3) …and when the time for Mass comes, still many penitents have not made yet their individual confession, and so, are being deprived of the sacramental grace of Holy Communion. — Obviously there is a misprint here, and it should read “and when the time for Holy Communion comes”. But this would mean that the condition can only be verified in actu, i.e., in the actual moment when the time for Holy Communion comes and there are still many penitents unable left for individual confession. Is the CBCP Norm then giving the priests the faculty to decide at that moment—on their own initiative and without the Bishop—to impart general absolution? Conclusion From the aforementioned discussion, it seems that here indeed is the source of the confusion that has resulted in the repeated reports of general absolution being imparted in situations that are obviously outside the exception envisioned by Canon Law. Perhaps it is time for the Pastors to rectify the aforementioned legislation, for the good of souls, which—in the end—is the supreme law.

Kate Palana

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humanity that serves money, but money that serves humanity.” (p. 4). For this season of Lent, the CBCP invites us again to reflect on the negative and positive forms of poverty. (CBCP March 5, 2014). We must reject and avoid the MATERIAL DESTITUTION or poverty the degrades and dehumanizes, because it excludes individuals and families from the basic needs of life, most especially from food, education and employment. The scandal of materials poverty, the CBCP states, can be seen in various faces of the “economy of exclusion: * Exclusion from gainful livelihood * Exclusion from sufficient shelter

* Exclusion from rural development * Exclusion from adequate health care * Exclusion from quality education There are other faces of poverty …for example the ones caused by typhoons, floods, droughts and earthquakes, or caused by the ravages of war, the destruction of the environment due to illegal logging and due to large and small scare mining. The ones who are affected most by these are the poor. We must reject that poverty that is caused by MORAL DESTITUTION. In the individual level, dehumanizing poverty is expressed or seen as a slavery to vice or sin, such as for example,

slavery to alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography. On the other societal level, moral poverty is expressed or seen as the malady or cancer of corruption in business and government. On the global level, we experience moral poverty or destitution through various forms of inequality. We must likewise reject the poverty that is caused by SPIRITUAL DESTITUTION, a form of poverty that threatens the core of our relationship with God. On the individual level, this spiritual destitution is experienced as loneliness and hopelessness and the feeling of being unloved. On the societal level, this spiritual poverty is seen in religious

intolerance, against which Pope Francis has spoken adamantly. On the global level, this spiritual destitution appears as relativism and the loss of a sense of transcendence. Pope Francis says: “There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth” (cf. CBCP March 5, 2014, p. 4). W E F I G H T P O V E RT Y W I T H POVERTY, the CBCP states, because Christ has shown us the way. “Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and

was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members” (EG, 186). Jesus defeats poverty by practicing another kind of poverty, namely, the poverty that humanizes or makes one fully human, the poverty that sanctifies or conforms one to the likeness of God. We fight poverty with material poverty that is experienced in simplicity of life, marked by a consistent and liberating detachment from worldly good as material possessions, resources, power and social status. We fight poverty with moral poverty

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Ref lections

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The call to open our hearts to Jesus
3rd Sunday of Lent, Jn. 4:5-42(A) March 23, 2014
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
WATER is an indispensable commodity in life. When it is scarce or lacking altogether, the desert advances with its deadly mantle of arid sand and barrenness... In desert areas, people dig deep wells in search of water, or walk for miles to fetch a jar of the precious liquid. A simple glass of water makes a thirsty man experience moments of sheer bliss. There is in each of us a deeper thirst, which no amount of material water can quench. It is the thirst for acceptance, appreciation, life, love – a thirst for God, the wellspring of life and happiness. And there is in God a thirst for us, human beings, an eagerness to give Himself to us, fully and for ever. It was this divine urge in Him which made God a weary wanderer roaming the parched paths of this planet to lead all humans to God, the Source of living water. On a torrid Palestinian noon, this thirsty God engaged in a lively dialogue with a thirsty Samaritan woman. He quickly went to the heart of the matter. The water of the well of Jacob had been only a pretext, a “jumping board that was soon forgotten, and the lady and the entire Samaritan villagers drank avidly at the font of God’s Word dispensed abundantly by the itinerant Rabbi. At the root of it all was Jesus’ self-revelation as the awaited Messiah. The desert of their lives bloomed with faith in Jesus, “the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:42). And from that day on, their lives were different. The Samaritans invited Jesus to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. (See v. 40.) That was a sign of mutual appreciation, acceptance and respect. Those were days of blessings for the Samaritans who began to experience in advance the refreshing presence of the Spirit in their hearts. They were days of peace and satisfaction for Jesus, who frequently experienced rejection. We are even more fortunate than those Samaritans. Most of us have quenched our thirst at the fountain of the Spirit since our babyhood. Yet, sometimes, we have repeated the mistake committed by the Israelites who forgot God, the source of living water and dug for themselves broken cisterns. (See Jer 2:13.) Today our “thirsty God” sits by the dried up wells of our lives and asks for a drink. It is a “provocation” meant to make us realize our spiritual dryness. It is a reminder that He alone can quench the thirst of our heart. From Him, the fountain of our salvation, we will draw water. And in Him, the fountainhead of our life, we shall rejoice!

JoshuaCr

Bishop Pat Alo

ENCOUNTERS

4th Sunday of Lent, Jn. 9:1-41 (A) March 30, 2014
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
BLINDNESS is always an immense tragedy. A blind person is unable to enjoy the splendor of light, the endless gradation of colors, the beauty of the scenery around him. He lives enveloped in a deep, endless night! Blindness makes a person totally dependent, insecure, exposed to insult or any sort of danger. Jesus was aware of all this and, in His mercy and power, He restored the sight to several people. (See Mt 9:27-30; 12:22; 20:30). To the man born blind featured in today’s Gospel He gave two gifts: the gift of sight, and the much more precious gift of faith, the spiritual enlightenment which enables a person to “see” far beyond what human eyes can see. Restoring sight to the blind was an aspect of the Messiah’s saving mission itself. (See Is 42:7 and Lk 4:18.) As He himself solemnly declared, Jesus is “the light of the world,” that “real light which enlightens every man” and which no darkness will ever overcome. (See Jn 9:5.9.) Yet, even Jesus’ brightness remains impotent in front of the “blindness of the heart,” the blindness of those who—like his enemies—refuse to see God’s presence and action in him. Their pride and prejudice blind them to the truth and, as long as they persist in their negative attitude, they will never be able to see the light. At all times and places there have been people who are “spiritually blind.” They lack the sight of faith, and therefore, are unable to recognize God’s presence and action within and around themselves. They stop at the surface of events and things. For as long as they persist in their attitude, they will never be able to penetrate the depth of meaning that God places in all that happens in us and

Christ, the light of our life

Brevity of human life
WE do have ambitions for a long life. Yet counting from the very first centuries of human existence, we know and we should realize how short the human life span is. Sixty or seventy would be the average age or even eighty for the stronger ones. God wants us to remember that our life on earth is fleeting and temporary. It would be better to make sure we live lives according to God’s will, so we may deserve the reward God has prepared for us in His kingdom. Yes, most surely we should not be shortsighted and narrowed down to the material and fleshly allurements and risk losing our eternal rewards that God prepares for those who are faithful to Him and keep His commands of love and justice. True indeed, as you can observe, life is short and passing away. Let’s be after true greatness which only consists in our constant quest to fulfill God’s will in our lives. In Chapter 26 of the gospel of St. Matthew in verse 42, Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father in this way: “My Father, if this cup cannot pass by without my drinking it, Your will be done!” (Mt. 26:42). Doing God’s will should be our only and constant aim in life. In the Bible’s book of Psalms chapter 90 verse 9, thus God’s word describes human existence: “Our days dwindle under your wrath, our lives are over in a breath – our life lasts for seventy years, eighty with good health” (Ps. 90:9).

Bo Sanchez

SouLFooD

A tiny human being in my arms

around us. As for us, who have enjoyed the supernatural vision of faith since our childhood, we should be endlessly grateful to God for such a gift. “Christ, our light!” proclaims the deacon during the Easter Vigil. And we reply, “Thanks be to God!” – a proclamation of the faith of the Church and a firm manifestation of our gratitude for such a gift. We should treasure it as one of the most precious assets in life. We should treasure it even more jealously than we treasure our physical eyesight. But this is not all. In today’s passage in his Letter to the faithful of Ephesus, the apostle Paul uses two “explosive” sentences: “You were once darkness” and “Now you are light

in the world.” The two expression stand for two contrasting ways of being and behaving. Paul has in mind the darkness of sin – the sins of reflection of God, of immorality, dishonesty, and pride . . . The darkness of that form of godless behavior is so deep as to make the whole person “darkness” itself. God’s gift of faith changed all that drastically. In place of those attitudes and actions that it is even shameful to mention them, there came “every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth”—a life lived as “children of light.” And so punctuating and bright is the splendor of such faith-inspired behavior, that the whole person becomes “light”! This is wonderful truth to be reflected upon; a transforming truth to be lived out.

“MY son.”   These two words didn’t roll off my tongue easily.  The first time I said it, it felt awkward.  As if something didn’t fit. “My son.” It felt strange.  As though I was reading a script of a play.  I had to practice saying it many, many times. “My son… My son… My son…” I started saying it the day I found out that I had a baby boy through my wife’s ultrasound test, and I kept saying it to myself daily. Finally, one historic morning, my son was born. The nurse came out of the delivery room, holding a tiny human being wrapped in a white sheet, his chubby face screaming to the entire world, his small hands and delicate fingers shaking nervously.  “Baby Sanchez?” the lady in the green surgical robe asked, looking at the room full of expectant fathers. I stood up, holding my breath. She showed me my baby.   “My son,” I whispered—the line I’ve been rehearsing for months now.   The little guy screamed, “Waaaaaaaaaah!”   But in my heart, I heard him cry out, “Daaaaaaaaaad!”   I’m sure that everyone in that room will swear to their graves that they didn’t hear my baby say that.  But I don’t care.  I called him, “my son,” and he called me “Dad”, and that’s that.  End of story.   People ask me, “What did you feel at that precise moment?” and I cannot even begin to answer.  I’m supposed to be a writer and therefore, a master of words—yet I grope with my adjectives.  More than that, I grope with my emotions.   “Joyful” isn’t powerful enough.   “Bliss” isn’t sweet enough.   “Peaceful” isn’t calm enough.   “Happy” isn’t intense enough.   After my baby was whisked away to the nursery, I got back to my seat in the waiting room.  I shut my eyes.  But tears escaped them anyway.   And then out of the blue, my eighty-year old father lumbered in. As we always do, we embraced. “Dad,” I whispered.   “My son,” I heard his heart say to mine. And suddenly, the past years of my life folded up into the present and I was now the baby bundled in white, and my father was standing over me.   “My son,” he said. “Daaaaaaaaaaaad!” I cried my little lungs out.   At that point, for some reason, I knew I was going to be a great father.

Called from darkness to light
4th Sunday of Lent
By Fr. Joseph Pellegrino
A man had just sat down at his desk to begin the working day when one of his associates came storming into his office. “You won’t believe this,” he said. “I was just almost killed outside. I had just walked out of the deli where I buy my egg sandwich every morning. Suddenly a police car came down the street with its lights flashing and sirens blaring. The police were chasing another car. The other car stopped right in front of me. The guys jumped out and began shooting at the police. I hit the ground and could hear bullets buzzing over my head. I’m telling you, I’m lucky to be alive.” After a moment of silence the first man said: “You eat an egg sandwich every morning?” The point of the story, and believe it or not there is one, is that we can become so involved in our own narrow interests that we miss the obvious. This Sunday’s Gospel illustrates the destructiveness of such narrowness. Jesus had just healed a blind man, “to let God’s work shine forth.” But by doing this, He threatened the comfortable ordered life of the Jewish leaders. How could God possibly be working through someone other than them? If people were to claim God’s work outside of their structure, then their authority was being threatened. They missed the fact that God was indeed working. They were more concerned with the minor part. He was working, but not through them. They focused on the egg sandwich instead of the whole picture of what was taking place. So, these leaders sought some way to discredit what He had done. They condemned Jesus for working and Pharisees were too concerned with themselves to do this. They were not going to have some commoner from Nazareth upset their lifestyle. We are all tempted to do the same thing ourselves. We may be pretty settled in our family when we suddenly realize that our spouse or one of the children has a big problem. Our spouse, or one push us to make unchristian choices. We know that we could take a courageous stand and say “That is just not right” or even, “That is not my style,” but this would make for further conflict. We don’t see the whole picture. This is our opportunity to really stand up for Christ. So, instead of making life difficult for ourselves, we go along with the crowd, in conversation if not also in deed. We end up being blind to God’s presence calling us to give witness to the power of Christ in the world. God’s reality and our human perception of things do not necessarily match. Neither Jesse nor Samuel the prophet thought that the future king of Israel would be the most insignificant of Jesse’s sons. No one expected the Messiah to be a commoner from Nazareth. When we focus on our perceptions of what God should be like or how He should act, we miss His presence in our lives. Even in times of sickness, we expect God to heal us, when, actually, our sickness might be the very way that we draw closer to Him. We expect God to solve our problems when these problems help us to keep a perspective on what really is important in life. By demanding how God should act, as the Pharisees did, we become blind to His presence among us. Today, we pray for the grace to take steps from darkness into light.

on the Sabbath. Even though it was a sign of the presence of the Messiah that sight would be given to the blind, and even though the man’s parents testified that he was indeed born blind, they refused to see the presence of God among them. By the end of the reading it is clear that they are blind. The Fourth Gospel, the Gospel of John, presents this intricate little drama in its ninth chapter as a call for us all to allow the Lord to open our eyes. The temple leaders

of our older children, college age, is drinking way too much for it not to be a problem. But it is so easy to close our eyes to this—maybe it will go away. We act as though it is asking too much for us to give of ourselves to solve the problem. We refuse to see the Lord calling out to us in others. We don’t see the whole picture. We are blind to his presence. As another example, perhaps at work or in school we are confronted with, is when people

Courtney Carmody

Midiman

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

Social Concerns
Orphaned, destitute children in the Philippines face new danger from human traffickers
sheer savagery of typhoon ‘Haiyan’, known locally as ‘Yolanda’. After this super storm hit the Philippines last November, bringing winds of up to 150 miles an hour, torrential rain, flooding and landslides, I flew to visit the northern towns on Cebu Island to assess the damage with two Preda staff members. Our goals were to deliver aid directly to the people who most needed it and, equally important, to protect orphaned children from would-be abductors and traffickers posing as relatives. Horrible as the prospect of such exploitation is, it has been a cruel reality in times of natural disasters, and ‘Haiyan’ was the most devastating typhoon known to humankind: as many as 6,500 or more were killed, countless injured and made homeless. And the orphaned children remain the most vulnerable. Their towns and villages and homes are gone and their parents are dead. They
Ira Gelb

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After the storm: trafficking innocence
By Shay Cullen, SSC
SOCIAL worker Marlyn received a message that a 14-year-old girl named “Princess” had been trafficked and sold to a sex bar here in the Philippines. Marlyn alerted me and we began planning to rescue the child, just one of thousands of children trafficked for sexual abuse each year in the Philippines. In the wake of the devastation of typhoon ‘Haiyan’, we fear many more will fall victim to sexual predators. Marlyn, who herself was rescued from sex-trade traffickers, works with me in a Philippine-based organization I helped found 40 years ago called Preda that actively responds to and rescues victims, and then helps them get an education and start new lives of dignity. This time, we organized a police raid on the sex bar, called the Crowbar, and rescued Princess and five other underage girls who had been entrapped there through debts and fear of retaliation against their families. The operator of the sex bar, a U.S. national, was arrested, and during his arraignment, Princess whispered to her social worker: “I never thought this could happen; he’s rich and well-connected. I can’t believe we got
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out.” Princess is safe with us at the Preda Home for Children, at least for now. Over the years we have rescued thousands of children and youths from the scourge of “sex tourism,” even as the sex industry continues to spread

and grow with impunity. This has all been exacerbated by the recent natural disasters in the Philippines. I have been through ferocious typhoons during my 44 years in this Southeast Asian nation, but never have I seen anything like the

face the threat of hunger, malnutrition, abduction and forced degradation in the sex trade and slave labor. These children need our attention and direct intervention to rescue them from child traffickers and pedophiles. Under the pretext of saving the children, traffickers abduct them and sell them as “brides” to pedophiles, or earn hundreds of thousands of dollars by providing these children for illegal adoption, organ transplants, sexual abuse and exploitation in brothels and for forced labor. Poverty often makes exploitation easy. Reggie is a clear example. The 17-yearold jobless youth and his family lived on the edge of severe poverty even before typhoon ‘Haiyan’, the disaster eventually pushed them into absolute poverty and left them with nothing. In the midst of the chaos and destruction, human traffickers forced him and six other youth from Cebu into labor on a fishing boat, only to abandon them hungry and unpaid. Then, Reggie’s freedom and human rights were taken from him when local authorities jailed him for being a vagrant. He was recently rescued from illegal imprisonment and is recovering and rebuilding his life at the Preda Boys’ home.

expressed as a commitment to the Good, the Just and the True. We fight poverty with spiritual poverty expressed as surrender to God, trust in the Lord as the sole source of salvation. (cf. CBCP March 5, 2104, p. 4). In this Year of the Laity, we are being challenged and invited to embrace and follow Christ, “who though he was rich, became poor in order that all might become rich.” (Cf. 2 Cor. 8:9). There seems to be no change: there will still be rich, there will still be poor. But of what will the change consist? We call this CONVERSION. What will conversion consist of? We have said it in the beginning: This conversion will consist of “sharing riches and sharing out of poverty.” This is precisely what the Philippines today needs. I would like to quote Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, former Superior General of the Jesuits: “The terrible human

problems which agonize our contemporaries will not find solutions in laws or in reforms of structures unless the human hearts change before hand. As a matter of fact, it is people who create the structures and the various economic systems. Consequently, if people do not change interiorly, the new structures and new financial system will be as bad, or worse, than the preceding ones” (Pedro Arrupe. Essential Writings 2004, p. 135). This is the challenge that we give in this Year of the Laity: that there may be more and more “change of hearts” or “interior change”, more sharing of time, talent and treasure, event to the point of sharing out of one’s poverty. “Called to be Saints… sent forth as Heroes,” we fight poverty with poverty itself. This is how or why the heroes in their following of Jesus Christ become also saints.

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Entertainment

CBCP Monitor

March 17 - 30, 2014

Vol. 18 No. 6

Papal visit to Visayas, possible— CBCP exec tips gov’t
THE Aquino Administration should consider speeding up rehabilitation programs in the areas devastated by super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last year as it is highly possible that Pope Francis would drop by the Visayan Region after visiting Korea for the Asian Youth Day (AYD) this August. News of the Holy Father’s intention to visit Eastern Visayas have been floating around until his envoy, Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum said it during his trip to Leyte late last January. He announced the Pope’s plan during a mass he celebrated in a Church in Palo that was severely damaged by the calamity that hit the province last November. If the Papal visit pushes through, Fr. Conegundo Garganta said it would pose a great challenge to the government, as the country will be again placed in the limelight through international media coverage. “Perhaps the presence of the Pope can pressure the government and many other sectors to really rise up from the demands and responsibilities to provide change or uplift the condition of the survivors,” he said. Garganta, who is the executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth and the leader of the Filipino delegation to the upcoming 6th AYD, added that “the government would not want to be placed in a difficult situation” if the Pope himself would witness how slow aid is being provided to the affected residents. “The Pope’s visit would be a blessing to challenge the government and our leaders because the presence of international media may push people to do positive change to the lives of the victims of the typhoon,” he added. Blessed John Paul II was the last Pontiff to visit the Philippines, twice during his papacy. During his last visit, John Paul II celebrated mass with the participants of the 1995 World Youth Day in Manila. The event was noted in history for gathering the largest papal crowd ever, with at least five million people in attendance. Garganta said it would be a real blessing for the Filipinos if Pope Francis would take time to visit the country during his first trip to Asia. “We can only hope but if it happens, it will be a blessing for our people to see the Vicar of Christ, especially those who are still in pain and sorrow because of the typhoon and because not much improvement has taken place since the calamity struck,” he pointed out. The priest also said the Papal visit would give the much-needed “boost in the spirit of the people and in the morale of those who are trying to provide help to the survivors in their little ways.” According to the most recent government data, at least 6,166 people perished during the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda last November 8 while several thousands more were left displaced and homeless. At least four million families were reported affected from the 44 out of the total 81 provinces in the country. In a rare chance, the President apologized for the government’s shortcomings in responding and addressing to the needs of the survivors. Catholic leaders urged the Chief Executive to accompany his apology with restitution and called on government to make up for its shortcomings. (YouthPinoy)

Hug therapy: How Tacloban kids are getting over ‘Yolanda’ trauma
SOMETIMES, the comfort of human touch can heal as much as traditional therapy and counseling as the experience of some Tacloban kids are showing. “I embraced him and hugged him. It broke my heart,” said Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation (PnPCFI) vice president Ambassador Henrietta De Villa, describing her interaction with a young boy, one of the 100 children who participated in a stress debriefing program in Tacloban as part of the “Pag-asa ng Pilipino Project”. Hug sessions In an interview, De Villa recounted how after distributing cookies to the kids during one of their breaks at Our Lady of the Assumption Academy, one boy in particular refused to eat. “I thought, ‘Maybe he has someone he wants to give the cookie to.’ So I said, ‘Do you want one more?’ But then, he raised up his arms [asking to be held]… It really moved me to
Ambassador De Villa of the “Pag-asa ng Pilipino” project gets emotional after spending some time with the young survivors of super typhoon “Yolanda.”

and coach training; psychoemotional assessment and creative therapy for the children. The next batch of children for psycho-emotional processing in Palo and Tolosa will be having their sessions by June. In it for the long-term To address the long-term needs for Tacloban’s recovery, the “Pag-asa ng Pilipino Project has three components: Katatagan (Stability), Kaalaman (Knowledge), and Kabuhayan (Livelihood). The Katatagan component addresses the need for psychological and emotional recovery of ‘Yolanda’ survivors. According to De Villa, the (RCW) Foundation will be having debriefing sessions with adults, as well, in the near future. To help repair at least 4 damaged schools in Tanauan, Dulag, Tolosa and Palo, the Kaalaman component of the project will award P1.5 million to each school. The “Pag-asa ng Pilipino Project” is in partnership with the Visayan bloc of congressmen. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

Buhay san Miguel

Brothers Matias

tears afterwards,” she said. According to De Villa, 50 children from Tanauan and 50 children from Dulag, aged 5-8 years old underwent traumatic stress debriefing and counseling from March 3 to 6, but many of them just want to be physically reassured. “There was one group that just wanted to be hugged, just hugging. Like for 30 minutes,” added De Villa, who also noted observations of The Reintegration for Care and Wholeness (RCW) Foundation, the group primarily tapped to facilitate psychological first aid, debriefing, counseling

Moral Assessment

Technical Assessment

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

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

Based on the book by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter published in 2009 and entitled Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, The Monuments Men opens with Adolf Hitler building the grand Fuhrer Museum to be filled with great art works stolen from all over Europe by the Nazi soldiers. Hitler has, however, issued orders to destroy everything should the Reich fall and he die. To find and retrieve the stolen art works and return them to their rightful owners, Harvard professor Frank Stokes (George Clooney) recruits a team of seven men, most of whom are past their prime with hardly any preparation for a mission that will them expose to real war. His team includes medievalist James Granger (Matt Damon), architect Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), sculptor Walter Garfield (John Goodman), Jewish art dealer Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), British scholar Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville), Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban), and a young Germanspeaking recruit, Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas). A woman, Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett), helps out the team, since as a former secretary of a high ranking Nazi officer, it was her job to log the whereabouts of the stolen artworks. The title The Monuments Men is the pet name of Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program, a group of art historians and experts formed in 1943 to trace and rescue the cultural treasures stolen and

stashed away by the Nazis during their occupation of most of Europe. It is said that in reality there were 350 “monuments men”. The film’s main attraction is naturally its visual contents, and it must be said that in this department, The Monuments Men has redeemed itself with the exquisite reproductions of great art. They appear so real that it won’t be a surprise to hear the audience gasp in horror as the paintings are torched by Hitler’s troops. While the art works look real, the story lacks dramatic momentum due to its episodic treatment which prevents the narrative from cohering and the characters from growing into the flesh and blood men who in reality had great pride in their mission. The Monuments Men is refreshing in that, at the end of the day the viewer realizes it is a war film that is not focused on blood and violence, not on destruction of human lives, but on the preservation of the life of a civilization. The moral question may be, Is it worth risking your life to save art works? The film takes the viewer by the hand and poses another equally important question: Why are art works so important? Works of art not only reflect the artists’ perception of their reality but also mirror an entire civilization’s state of soul. Paintings and sculptures are in themselves teachers of history. Towards the end of the film children of the current generation are shown viewing the artworks restored to their rightful places in the museum. CINEMA asks, on the side, if the film’s focus

TITLE: The Monuments Men DIRECTOR: George Clooney LEAD CAST: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Cate Blanchett SCREENWRITER: George Clooney & Grant Heslov PRODUCER: George Clooney & Grant Heslov EDITOR: Stephen Mirrione MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Alexandre Desplat GENRE: Action, Drama & Adventure CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phedon Papamichael DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Picture & 20th Century Fox LOCATION: United States, Germany RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  CINEMA rating: V 14

on two works of art—a multipaneled painting carted away from a Belgian cathedral (which majestically opens the movie), and a Michelangelo sculpture of Mary and the child Jesus (which would demand the life of one of the monuments men protecting it)—is actually a veiled statement about the value and indelible presence of Christianity in the development of civilization in Europe? It will be remembered that some years back there began a move to erase Christianity from history books, to which Blessed Pope John Paul II remarked that if Christianity were removed from European civilization, then nothing would remain.

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Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

CBCP Monitor

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The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Couples for Christ at EWTN
He said that through ANCOP’s Child Sponsorship Program, St. Catherine can continue to welcome students who normally cannot afford to go to a Catholic school. The third episode talked about CFC as a missionary community, and its oneness with the Catholic Church. Eric Villanueva, CFC USA National Director, along with his wife Pat, and Deacon John Coe and wife Veronica from Forth Worth, Texas, talked about the missionary work of CFC in spreading the gospel of Christ throughout the world. Deacon Coe talked about how he became part of CFC while he was serving in Egypt, and the condition of the life of the faithful in that part of the world. Veronica described how hungry people are for the word of God, and how CFC provided the spiritual support necessary to sustain those who are living far away from their families. Pat mentioned that CFC believes everyone is called for mission, that all are called to share God’s love through one’s life. Because of this, in essence, everyone is considered a missionary. When Fr. Joseph asked how CFC looks at the “New Evangelization,” Eric was quick to point out that CFC believes that the New Evangelization is vital in its Godgiven mission in renewing the face of the earth. The importance of re-evangelizing those who are already evangelized is crucial in bringing people into a closer relationship with the Lord. Eric continued, “Learning more about what we believe in will give us a better understanding and appreciation of our Catholic faith.” He likewise pointed out the fact that CFC is going on its third year having a Marian theme-the “Magnificat” in 2012, “Obey and Witness” (Wedding at Cana) in 2013, and “Behold and Ponder” for 2014, the scene of Jesus at the cross with the Blessed Mother and St. John. Eric mentioned how these Marian themes bring more awareness and better appreciation of the role of the Blessed Mother in the lives of those in CFC. These three episodes will not only highlight the work of Couples for Christ as a religious movement and the many favorable things that it can offer to the individual, to the family, to the church, and to the poor, but guided by the Holy Spirit, through its mission in “Building the Church of the Home” and “Building the Church of the Poor,” it will also lead the community into humility, giving back the praise to God for allowing CFC to be an instrument in extending God’s love, joy, and compassion to His people.

CFC USA leaders headed by Eric and Pat Villanueva, members of the clergy and CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca with wife Irma while in Birmingham, Alabama, USA

By Eric and Pat Villanueva
FEbrUarY 27, 2014 was a day of rejoicing for the Lord has granted favor on Couples for Christ (CFC)! The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), a renowned Catholic television network watched by around 250 million households throughout the world, recorded three episodes dedicated to CFC for its soon-to-be-released series called The Church Universal. Fr. Joseph Mary, host of the new series, interviewed not just members of CFC, but also members of the clergy who are involved in the community. The Church Universal series will air later this year and all three episodes featuring CFC will be televised thereafter. The first episode will be fea-

turing Ricky Cuenca, CFC Chairman, and his wife Irma, along with Len and Marie Solomon from Kitchener, Canada. They talked about what CFC and its Family Ministries are all about. They highlighted the mission of CFC (“Building the Church of the Home”), where they drew attention to how God, through CFC, made them a better person and the beauty it had brought into their relationship as husband and wife, thereby strengthening their family. The second episode will focus on CFC’s mission in “Building the Church of the Poor.” Ricky Cuenca talked about CFC’s work for the poor through Answering the Cry of the Poor (ANCOP) and its programs. In this episode, he was joined by two priests, Fr. Michael McHugh

from Hamilton, Canada, who got involved in ANCOP’s Community Development Program, and Fr. Paul Griesgraber of Los Angeles, California, who oversees the St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic school located in Reseda, California. With them was a nun from the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, Sr. Sheila McNiff, principal of the said school. Fr. Michael talked about how he was inspired by what ANCOP has been doing to build homes for those who are homeless. Fr. Paul, on the other hand, was very thankful for how CFC added vibrancy and spirituality in his school through the members of CFC who are a big help in running the school. Fr. Paul also talked about how Jesus welcomes all the little children and does not turn them away.

Fr. Paul Griesgraber, Sr. Shiela McNiff, Fr. Michael McHugh, and Ricky Cuenca getting ready for the interview with Fr. Joseph Mary of EWTN.

Journey to Jesus Through Mary

A triple celebration for Cotabato’s ‘Cardinal of Peace’

By Fernando Academia Jr.
An estimated 6,500 Singles for Christ members trooped to Cagayan de Oro City last February 14-16 as they participated in their 21st International Conference. The conference, titled “Journey Beyond”, celebrated the ministry’s 20 years of milestones, paving way to a hope-filled 21st year and joyfully anticipating the years to come. This annual gathering brought together members from near and far to enjoy their unity in faith amid diversity of culture and race. Love tanks filled The City of Golden Friendship was truly an ideal venue for the conference as it added a different touch to the celebration of the Valentine’s day. While others may be out on dinner dates, the SFC members celebrated the day of love by sharing much love among brothers and sisters in the community. The men expressed their love to all SFC sisters by giving them roses. While love songs played and everyone was enjoying each oth-

ers’ company, every single person was asked to write love notes to one another—whether words of encouragement, or a kind compliment. Affirmations of love and friendship flowed through the hearts of each individual, thus preparing the assembly to receive much more through the talks that followed. Back to square one The international conference was also a venue for learning and relearning the basics of the Catholic faith, leveling up both in terms of knowledge and skill on how to be better Catholics, taking up the daily mission of sharing God’s love. Workshops on Defending Mary, Financial Stewardship, Emotional First Aid, and Personality Development were conducted, among many others. SFC Programs, avenues where SFCs are able to share God’s love, were also reintroduced. Party Hard Those who might think the Catholic Christian life is boring had to rethink and shift perspective after experiencing the biggest night party in CDO on February 15—the SFC Club Praise. Even the SFC members who weren’t

able to come partied through live streaming. “Grabe, ramdam ang saya ng party kahit online!” (This is great! We can feel the party vibe even if we’re just watching online.) Club music played by DJ Issa sent the crowd dancing and enjoying every bit of the party. Neon paint splashed on everyone’s shirts and glow sticks given away to everyone added to the party vibe. Journey Beyond The weekend was capped with the assurance that Jesus will accompany SFC to and through any challenge and that each person must find the joy that goes with life’s daily crosses. “When we carry our cross, rejoice! We are given the privilege to share in the glory of God,” Noli Manuel, SFC International Coordinator, said. The SFCs were also reminded that the Catholic’s “devotion to Mary is always about Jesus”, and that they continue their journey to Jesus, through Mary”. “In your journey, you cannot choose a better companion than Mary.”

ThE CFC International Council came to celebrate with His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo as he celebrated his 75th birthday last March 11, 2014. Aside from celebrating his birthday, His Eminence also commemorated the 50th year of his priestly ordination and his 34th year as bishop. The highlight of his celebration was the Mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotabato City. A testimonial dinner followed at the Southseas Mall.

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Ricky Cuenca

Ugnayan
Mission

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 6
March 17 - 30, 2014

CFC-UAE top leaders ‘rub elbows’, re-discover one another All of Us are Called to
Last February 6, my wife Irma and I arrived in Toronto, Canada for a month-long mission trip. It was snowing heavily when we arrived, and many say it was the worst winter not only in Canada, but the whole of North America. However, the extreme weather conditions did not take my mind off why we were there in the first place. And so the next day, I reported to the CFC ANCOP office, met with the fulltime workers and staff and gave them an update of the latest developments, like what happened during the Leaders Conference at the Araneta, the Global Leaders Empowerment Convention, the BCOP Total Experience in Pampanga and Bataan, and the Beloved Weekend in Baguio. I also gave everyone there a pep talk to make them excited about all that is happening in CFC and how the Lord has been blessing our community. On the 8th, I gave a talk on “Behold” at the Toronto Leaders Assembly, giving emphasis on the roadmap and the IC priorities for the next 2 years, as a direction setting and for the leaders in Toronto to appreciate our marching orders for the rest of the year. February 9 was a Sunday, and was very special as it was my granddaughter Aria’s baptism. It was a small celebration, just us family, but very spirit-filled. As a new lolo, I am truly very excited, masarap pala! But I will talk about my 2 apos in another time. On the 10th, I again reported for work at the CFC ANCOP office, and every day since then. Somehow, I was trying to get a feel of how it would be like when I come back to Toronto after my term as CFC Chairman ends this June. Honestly, I can ‘feel’ Canada again as I began acclimatizing myself to the weather (although extreme), the snow… except the shoveling, which I do not like anymore. February 13, on the other hand, was spent meeting with the Governance Team of Toronto, and a dinner-fellowship later. February 14, despite being Valentine’s Day, I had to go to Halifax, Nova Scotia without Irma, as I had to give an Orientation talk there. But I promised her a post-Valentine’s Day date when I returned. The extreme winter weather did not deter me from pushing through the trip, as Irma and I know that doing God’s work is our priority. The highlight of this mission trip was we were able to invite Ambrose Pereira, the Vice President for Operations of Chalice Canada, and his wife Sandra to attend the CLP Orientation. Fr. Pat, a Canadian priest, was also there and through the Orientation, he was able to understand the nature and importance of CFC, and he has committed to promote CFC in the Diocese. What’s more, Chalice Canada’s desire to sponsor children through ANCOP’s Child Sponsorship Program was rekindled, and they have also committed to partner with ANCOP to build houses for Yolanda victims! Isn’t God great? Of course, true to my promise, when I came back, Irma and I spent the best post-Valentine’s date together. On February 18, we again had a CLP Orientation in Toronto, where this time, we were able to invite Michael Consul and his wife. Michael is a volunteer parent chaperone for the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), which has been sending student leaders, teachers and parents to the Philippines through the Catholic schools’ annual community leadership immersion program. These students volunteer their time, talent and treasure, raising fund in Canada in order to buy plane tickets, fly to the Philippines and volunteer for ANCOP Shelter. We held the Orientation in the Consul’s home, and they were able to invite 4 other couples to attend the CLP. The following day, I met with the ExCom of ANCOP Canada and kept them abreast of what’s happening, especially in the Building the Church of the Poor (BCOP) Programs. On February 21, we flew to the United States, specifically Nashville, Tennessee. I gave a talk in their General Assembly about “Behold & Ponder”, and it was truly encouraging to see how excited CFC is there. I also met a parish priest from India, and upon learning about the expansion of the work of CFC in his home country, he made a promise to tell his family and friends about the community. On the 22nd, we drove to Memphis, home of the great Elvis Presley. I wanted to go to Graceland and see all the Elvis paraphernalia, but mission first before pleasure. Anyway, Graceland will always be there. The next day, we drove to Jackson, Mississippi to give a talk in their General Assembly. In the afternoon, we were off to Alabama, Georgia for another talk. The 24th, it was Warner Robbins, also in Georgia for another General Assembly, to keep every one on fire! The next day, we were in Atlanta to pay a courtesy visit to Bishop Gregory Wilton, and update him about our work in evangelization and strengthening of marriage and family. He was very happy to hear about Couples for Christ and how we are able to help the clergy in evangelization and in loving the poor. February 26 was an extraordinary day, and I believe is the highlight of our USA mission. That day, we entered the Eternal Word Television Network or EWTN Compound, where we were interviewed by Fr. Joseph Mary for a new series called The Church Universal. I believe Eric Villanueva talked about it in his article (see page 1), but in a nutshell, the experience was quite exciting and overwhelming, and most of all humbling, as Couples for Christ was being recognized as one of the Catholic groups all over the world doing great work in evangelization, work with the poor, strengthening of marriages and of families, and how the community is creating an impact in the lives of thousands of families worldwide. On the 28th, we flew back to Toronto and arrived there at 6:30 PM. However, I had to go to Cristo Rey for another Orientation talk. On March 1, we were off to Scarborough for yet another Orientation session, this time for Senator Enverga and his wife. They were our guests during the CFC Leaders Conference in Araneta Coliseum last January, and together with 3 other couples, they will be attending the CLP. Brothers and sisters, my schedule in Canada and the USA may look like a marathon mission. But I realized, there is no reason why we cannot evangelize, or make our presence felt, to be bold and courageous as Pope Francis exhorts us. After all, this is all part of his call to New Evangelization. Truly, if we pray and fast, there is no reason why we cannot do our mission of evangelization. God is good, all the time! This mission trip has shown truly me how the Lord is blessing me and my family, and He is truly using each one of us mightily to do His work.

By Bads & Agnes Ellica
On January 31, the members of the UAE National Council and Area Governance Teams of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates set aside both their domestic and pastoral portfolio and drove away from home to an isolated place in the quiet outskirts of Al Ain, Abu Dhabi,UAE. Headed by the National Director, Ramuel Garcia, these well-meaning individuals invested an entire day on activities that deliberately focused on establishing themselves as a unified team anointed to shepherd 8,000 warm bodies of CFC members as well as oversee 18 UAE-assisted mission countries in the regions of Africa, Central Asia and South Asia. A good number of them are newly installed members of the governance, although everyone is familiar with one another as each member has been in the community for at least 15 to 21 years. They underwent structured exercises where they shared common discoveries on how little they know one another and surprisingly found revelations of new aspects of their spouses’ personalities. Most of the exercises led them to ‘rub elbows’ with one another in enlightening group work. Every member was energeti-

cally engaged that the outcome exploded into joyful and hearty laughter, devoid of pretenses or any forms of deceptive charade. The candid participation of all reaped several profound insights about themselves and the nature of teamwork. To mention a few, the group learned that each member enriches the group whatever skills/talents he possesses; that trust is essential in teamwork; doubts hurt or destroy community; communication is the hallmark of a team; openness, respect and obedience are jewels to teamwork; selfimage, self-knowledge and self-awareness raise self-value, among others. The group ended up with visible closeness and fondness for one another. The manifestation of oneness seem to reflect a group that Jesus prayed for—His 12 apostles—so that they will be united, a team. Considering that mission work is fundamentally a teamwork centering on Christ as the Head, the atmosphere of solidarity radiated by this group ushered in a new sense of confidence and integrity. With the grace of God and the passion and enthusiasm of each one to serve, CFC-UAE anticipates a victorious 2014 Evangelization and Mission effort, giving glory and honor to His name.

Mission Lebanon

By Ernie Uson
It was a cloudy and cold afternoon when the mission team from the UAE headed by Ernie & Mini Uson, CFC-Lebanon Country Coordinator, Hernan & Marivic Fuentes, CFCYemen Country Coordinator with daughters, Apple and Mitch, all landed at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut. They were met by Jun Iriola, Country Head of CFCLebanon, and Eppie Ballouz, HOLD-Lebanon Coordinator. The mission group went directly to St. Joseph’s Church for a courtesy call to Fr. Martin McDermott, CFC-Lebanon Spiritual Director, who eagerly welcomed them. Afterwards, they met with YFC-Lebanon leaders. The group then went off to Our Lady of Lebanon, located at mount Harissa, 20 km North of Beirut and 650 meters above sea level. The following day, the team visited the place of St. Elise and St. Charbel Makhluf, a Maronite

Metro Manila West C Gathers for the Beloved Weekend

monk and priest during the late 1800’s. Both saints are well known for their gift of healing. Later in the evening, the 2-day simultaneous teachings for CFC and YFC started with the celebration of the Holy Mass. A combination of 60 CFCs, SFCs, and HOLD members and 9 YFCs ttended the teaching. Healing sessions were conducted by Marivic Fuentes for brothers and sisters who are suffering from physical, emotional and spiritual sickness. The CFC-Lebanon core group met after the 2-day teaching to discuss plans and identified the structure for the governance team. Ernie Uson & Hernan Fuentes explained the 2014 goals and the CFC structure. After which, the group identified brothers and sisters who will be handling certain responsibilities as part of the governance team. The following day, the mission team attended a French Mass and met with Fr. Theo at the Jesuit residence before heading off the airport and back to the UAE.

CFC ANCOP, DLS-CSB Partnership Welcomes 15 New Scholars
By Efren Tompong
CFC ANCOP, on its 3rd year of fruitful partnership with
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLSCSB), is sending 15 new high school graduates to study in one of the premier Catholic colleges in the country, bringing the number of ANCOP Lasallian students to 36. For the past two (2) years, all but one of the 35 qualified students endorsed by ANCOP hurdled the entrance examination at DLS-CSB. The number of Dean’s Listers from among the scholars is growing and the overall academic performance of the current 21 scholars has been exemplary. By mid-2015, the first batch of 6 students are expected to finish college and obtain degrees in Human Resource Management and Development, Consular and Diplomatic Affairs and Information Technology. The Lasallian education, according to the ANCOP scholars, is a blessing and privilege. Through this gift, every one is committed to persevere and pursue their dreams with patience, vigor and positive attitude.

IC members James Solano and Manny Garcia gave powerful talks during the West C Beloved Weekend; Sector Head Steve Maningat led the praisefest to close the weekend retreat

By Marla Rances
Last Friday, February 28, all roads led to Baguio City for leaders and members of Couples for Christ Metro Manila West C Sector. West C had a fantastic time last Friday during the Fellowship Night, the theme for this special night being Flashback Friday. All six clusters had prepared presentations representing the era assigned to them, from the Rolling 60s to the present decade, 2010s. It was an opportunity for the different clusters to show their best through the usual contest criteria and audience vote. For the “Best Ka-look-alike” contest, audience vote determined the winner. The next two days commenced with the recitation of the Holy Rosary. A Holy Mass and worship were held before the Prologue delivered by Mandy Constantino, one of the members of West C’s Sector Governance Team. Joel Dayao, Provincial Area Head of Capiz, tackled talk 1 titled Ponder, The Family of Love. Two more talks were given in the afternoon, one by James Solano,

a member of the International Council, and Rommel Ancheta of ABLAZE Communications. As always, there were testimonies by brothers and sisters to highlight and underscore the message of the talks. The Saturday program was ended with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a way of honouring the Holy Eucharist by exposing it in proper solemnity so the faithful could pay homage and devotion to it. Though tired and hungry from a day-long activity, everyone went home to their respective accommodations spiritually fulfilled. Though sleepy from the fellowship that happened in the various cottages the night before, everyone trooped to Teachers’ Camp for the last day of the conference and the Holy Mass. The fourth and last talk was given by Manny Garcia, another member of the International Council with a heart rending sharing from his wife Ditas Just like previous conferences, the Beloved Weekend ended with a rousing praise fest led by West C Sector Head, Steve Maningat and the announcement of the winners.

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March 17 - 30, 2014

Ugnayan
120 Days After Typhoon Yolanda
Table 1. Summary of funds received for relief and rehabilitation

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MARCH 8, 2014 marked the 120th day after Typhoon Yolanda (International name: Haiyan) made landfall in Central Philippines. Metereologists said this was probably the strongest storm in history to hit land anywhere in the world. Haiyan’s windspeeds were recorded as high as 315 kph (195 mph) with gusts as fierce as 380 kph (235 mph) when it hit. More than 16 million people were affected in nine regions including over four million who were displaced from their homes. Across the Philppines, half a million people were evacuated from their homes and now most of them have no home to return to. After the initial relief operations, several international communities and NGOs rallied to support rehabilitation efforts for Haiyan

victims. Couples for Christ, through our work with the poor, ANCOP (ANswering the Cry Of the Poor) with its members, donors and partners around the world responded to this call through its relief, rehabilitation and rebuilding programs. Rebuilding efforts started as early as December 2013 with then ANCOP President Eric Delos Reyes, together with Shelter Director Mark Tagalag. They surveyed and met with local CFC, ANCOP volunteers, LGU and Parishes the affected areas in Leyte. On the other hand, ANCOP Operations Director Rizal Ting, along with Disater Response Director Ethel Balenton scouted Bantayan Island and Bogo, Cebu for possible sites for CFC ANCOP Communities. Local CFC ANCOP Leaders and volunteers were tasked to conduct follow-up

activities with the LGU, Dioceses and lot donors to finalize agreement and plans. Other partners have likewise given their donations specifically for the building of homes for Yolanda survivors, among them PIRA – Php1.2M for 12 houses in Palo, Leyte; IMS – gave US$50,000 for building houses in Yolanda striken areas; JX Shipping – Medical Mission support of Php250T-300T/mission for 3 areas. CFC ANCOP has likewise received commitments from Chalice Canada (200 houses), ANCOP USA, Canada, UAE and the Bermuda; Cross Catholic Outreach ($125,000); Chinabank (Php 1M); and Charis or Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (30 houses).

Livelihood assistance in Basey
Rizal Ting of CFC ANCOP, together with Rico Alconcel and Ben Cabahug, Provincial Area Head of Western Samar, went to Basey to see samples of fishing boats for the fishermen of Western Samar who lost their boats due to typhoon Yolanda. The team discussed boat specifications and gears that will go with the boats that will be distributed to local fishermen in Basey. The budget for each boat with gears is pegged at Php 12,000. ANCOP has already released the funds for the first 6 fishing boats for livelihood in Western Samar.

ANCOP USA Spends 6 Days at Iloilo Medical Mission
By Nathaniel Gomez
aroUnd 30 medical volunteers from ANCOP USA arrived at dawn of February 7, 2014 for a 6-day medical and dental mission in the Province of Iloilo, one of the areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda. The team, led by Beth Macaraeg, headed for Mina, Iloilo (34 kms from Iloilo City) almost immediately after landing at the Iloilo Airport. Day 1 of the mission, the team was able to serve at least 1,300 patients. Aside from medical assistance, the group also prepared simple snacks for the waiting patients. Taytay sa Kauswagan (TSKI) donated bottled water for the team and the patients in Mina. On day 2, the group went to Dumangas for a two-day medical and dental mission. 1,133 patients registered for the free medical and dental check up. Aside from the medical mission, the team also worked with the local YFC members for the packing of goods that were brought to Gigantes Islands. The team likewise turned over a portable ECG machine to Mayor Rolly Distura. After 2 days in Dumangas, the medical volunteers were brought to Barotac Viejo, a municipality in the northern part of Iloilo, where close to 800 patients were treated. Day 5, the medical team found themselves serving in Concepcion, Iloilo where they were able to serve close to 500 patients. On the 6th day, the ANCOP USA team boarded the Philippine Naval ship which took them to Isla Gigantes Sur, Carles, Western Visayas. The Gigantes Islands are located 18 kms from the main Panay Island where Iloilo is located. According to unofficial reports, 90% of the houses in the islands were destroyed during the super typhoon. 700 patients were given medical assistance and relief goods in Gigantes Sur. On the 7th day, the medical mission team made a courtesy call to Governor Arthur D. Defensor, Sr., who in turn, hosted a luncheon to thank the ANCOP USA team. The trip was a mixture of hard work, fellowship and an outpouring of love from the ANCOP USA team who were merely extensions of the generosity of donors from the United States. The Local Government medical counterparts, particularly the nurses and other health workers, played a significant role in pre-screening the patients in each municipality. The CFC and ANCOP leaders and members likewise did an excellent job in coordinating the entire medical mission.

ANCOP, Leyte Clergy Sign MOA for ANCOP site
On FEbrUarY 22, 2014, Rizal Ting of CFC ANCOP, Raymond Bucu, Provincial Area Head for Leyte, and CFC IC Manny Garcia went to Tanauan, Leyte for the CFC Evangelization Rally and MOA Signing with Bishop John Du and Msgr. Pantin for the Palo ANCOP Site. During the Evangelization Rally, Manny Garcia and Raymund Bucu inspired CFC to “Behold and Ponder”. Bishop John Du, Msgr. Pantin and 2 other priests concelebrated the Mass after the rally. The MOA signing for the Palo site followed.

CROSS Catholic Outreach, CFC ANCOP Sign Agreement for Shelter Project in Palo, Leyte
In a simple ceremony last February 18, 2014, CFC ANCOP and Cross Catholic Outreach signed the Memorandum of Agreement for the construction of houses for the ANCOP Community in Palo, Leyte. Davis Adams, Vice President for Missions, and Sarah Jeske Litchie, Accountability and Capacity Strengthening Officer, represented Cross Catholic, while Rudy Gaspillo, CFC ANCOP President, and Jimmy Ilagan of the CFC International Council represented CFC ANCOP.

Love Mission: Possible!
By Alvin Ricafort
On FEbrUarY 13, 2014, the Metro Manila West C Medical and Dental Mission team flew to Tacloban, Leyte, excited to spend Valentine’s Day with brethren in Yolanda-stricken Basey. In the attempt to bring love to the 600+ patients, it was they who received the most beautiful love of all. The Medical and Dental mission started at 9am in Basey District I office. Aside from the usual medical and dental procedures, de-worming and Vitamin A supplementation were also provided in Basey, Samar and Palo, Leyte. While the Medical and Dental mission is ongoing, a separate Team went to Basiao Elementary School and distributed 78 new books for Nursery, K1 and K2 students. Assorted old books were also donated, like encyclopedias and other reading materials. Most of the funds for the new books were sponsored by NASDAQ OMX Manila Site. Another Team proceeded to Marabut for ocular inspection of a possible relocation and ANCOP site. With the help of the local CFC chapter in Samar, there were around 40 CFC member families who are profiled to receive construction materials as well. February 16th, the whole volunteer team was able to attend the 6 am Warayanon Mass. At around 9 am, the team traveled back to San Agustin in Palo, Leyte, where 150 medical and 31 dental patients were treated, and reading glasses were given away. Before returning to Manila, the team paid a courtesy visit to His Excellency John Forrosuelo Du of the Archdiocese of Palo in his residence.

Toronto Catholic School Board sends volunteers for immersion

By Vida Cuares
ThE Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) partnered for the 3rd time with CFC ANCOP for the schools’ annual community leadership immersion program. The 2-week event headed by Michael Consul, TCDSB Team Head, happened last December 28, 2013 up to January 8, 2014, and participated by 13 student leaders and 4 teachers from the different Catholic schools of Toronto, Canada. The immersion sites were the ANCOP communities of Ang Kapatid Community (ANCOP-AKC) in Caloocan, Our Lady of Banneux, at San Mateo and AVANAI, Quezon City. The students participated in the actual shelter build, tree planting and various community interaction activities with the children and the home partners.

Bogo City Rehabilitation Set
Last February 15, 2014, Bogo City in Cebu held the groundbreaking ceremonies for the 1.1 hectares Bgy. Cayang site for the relocation of those displaced by Typhoon Yolanda. Through the Adopt-A-Barangay program, Bogo City was adopted by 2 NGOs—the Light of Jesus Community and CFC ANCOP. Each is given 5,000 sq. m. to build at least 60 houses.

New Year’s day was spent meeting and interacting with the ANCOP scholars of Bahayan at Yaman ni San Martin Orphanage in Tondo. On the same day, the group experienced a one hour guided walk tour towards the breakwater of Smokey Mountain, passing through the shanties, mountains of garbage and the non-stop charcoal processing activities in Tondo. The students described the tour as a life-changing experience and that they can do a lot of things to help the poor. On the last day, a short program was mounted to culminate the immersion program. Michael Consul of TCDSB presented tokens to the people whom they closely worked with and each student shared his personal experiences of the whole program. The event ended with the good news of a possible sponsorship of 2 children.

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in South Asia especially in India if you just open yourself to Me and allow Me to work in your life”. A team building activity was conducted after the worship to get the delegates to personally know each other more. In the talk The CFC Global Operations, Ilagan explained that CFC still holds the distinction of being the only lay organization in Asia with Vatican recognition. He also said that the recognition of an association by the Vatican constitutes a declaration of the ecclesiastical authority stating that the association is really in the Church, and that everything in it is in agreement with the nature of the Church. And based on the Pontifical Council of the Laity’s International Associations of the Faithful Directory, Ilagan further shared that the canonical recognition that the community officially received from the Church authorities confirms the validity of what CFC offers the faithful as a genuine means of moving forward towards the holiness of personal and community life. Ilagan further elaborated that as a global family, CFC adheres to four principles, namely unity, uniformity, interdependence and accountability. After his talk, a workshop questionnaire was handed to the delegates to accomplish. George and Cynthia Campos, and Vince led the group in some action songs before the third talk. The third talk, which was also given by Ilagan, he exhorted the delegates that despite the obvious challenges of language, culture, geography, religion,

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CFC South Asia 4th Regional Conference held in Kerala, India
security and fundamentalism of some religious adherents, there is great potential for evangelization in the region since Christianity is a minority religion. Catholics form only 1.64% of the region’s estimated population of 1.6 billion. However, there are great opportunities for CFC’s family life renewal ministry even with just the Catholic population of 20.0 million. India alone, he said, has more than 17 million Catholics. He continued that in this region, CFC’s 3 approaches on the new evangelization, namely inter-religious dialogue, inculturation and socio-economic involvement can really be applied and leaders should be creative and proactive in evangelization efforts together with the local Church. Santiago, in the last talk, shared some specific strategies to move the vision and mission of the community in the region. The talk was followed by a workshop by the different leaders of the countries in the region. After the final talk, the group had a mission sending ceremony led by Fr. Peter and assisted by Campos nd Ilagan. Fr. Peter prayed a mission sending prayer and each of the delegates were given the cross of Christ as a reminder that they bring Christ with them in their mission and that Jesus is always with them in the challenges that they will face in mission. Gyan Rai, CFC Nepal Country Head, led the mini-praise fest to end the regional conference. A fellowship dinner and a very entertaining cultural show organized by CFC Kochi ended the day-long activities.

By Ramon Santiago
ThE 4th Regional Conference of CFC South Asia on February 22nd opened with a powerful worship led by Hector Poppen, followed with the celebration of the Holy Mass officiated by Fr. Peter Chandayagad, who in his homily, officially welcomed the conference participants. Fr. Peter said that the Mass readings of the day were very appropriate for the two-day conference as the Lord wanted to remind all his followers to be holy and perfect as the heavenly Father is holy and perfect. Furthermore, he said that as the top leaders of CFC in South Asia, it is very important to witness to

others a life of holiness in our personal and community life. There were four talks in the regional conference—Talk 1 - CFC and the New Evangelization delivered by George Campos; Talk 2 - The CFC Global Operations, and Talk 3 - CFC South Asia— Challenges & Opportunities in the New Evangelization were given by Jimmy Ilagan; and Talk 4 - CFC as a Missionary Community—Way Forward in South Asia, was presented by Mon Santiago, CFC South Asia Regional Coordinator. In the first talk of the conference, Campos shared the evangelization strategies of great missionaries in Asia, such as St. Francis Xavier and the lessons that are relevant to CFC’s global evangeliza-

tion directions. He explained that CFC’s approach to new evangelization can be coursed through three dialogues, namely, a dialogue with religions (interreligious dialogue), a dialogue with culture (inculturation), and, a dialogue with the poor (socio-economic involvement). However, Campos emphasized and exhorted the South Asian CFC leaders that the first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian life as expounded by Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi. Vince Lisboa, CFC Sri Lanka Country Coordinator, led a very powerful afternoon worship wherein the Holy Spirit used Tita Santiago to prophesy that “great and mighty things will happen

CFC UAE Echoes ‘Behold & Ponder’ ILC

Victorious simultaneous “Beloved Weekend” Conferences held in ME
By Bads Ellica
God’s majestic presence in the Middle East’s Synchronized Beloved Weekend was indeed awesome in the face of much challenges and trials. To begin with, the mission teams experienced maximum harassment because something spectacular was to take place. Amazingly, the entire mission concluded at noontime March 8, 2014 with CFC Oman joining their CFC brethren in Qatar and UAE. The trip to UAE, Qatar and Oman was the first visit to the region as missionaries for eight of the mission team members from the Philippines as they responded to God’s call to the CFC Philippines Mission to be more involved in CFC’s international mission work. At least 2,000 implanted Filipino members of CFC being used by the Lord in His call for New Evangelization have been enlightened and emboldened by the powerful talks, inspiring testimony, and personal sacrifice of missionaries coming from the Philippines. The talks from the Beloved Weekend leading to the new spirituality of CFC, that of the Beloved Son, will continue to echo across the region in the weeks to come. A couple of thousand hands, feet, ears, and mouths will re-tell the story of Jesus with new ardor, methods, and new thrusts, in line with the Church’s call for Redemptoris Missio in a region which used to be the center of the faith.

CFC IC member and Metro Manila Missions Director Arnel Santos giving a talk during the Leaders Conference

By Bal & Lourdes Quiambao
ThE CFC UAE echo of the “Behold & Ponder” Leaders Conference was a resounding victory for the Lord. More than two hundred members of the Mission Core and top leaders of CFC, SOLD, HOLD, and SFC Ministries gathered last March 1, 2014 at the Saadiyat Ballroom of Grand Millennium Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Despite having to come from the CFC UAE Beloved Weekend the day before, this did not prevent the leaders from having another magnificent encounter with the Lord in the Leaders Conference. The first talk, “Ponder”, was given by Arnel Santos, CFC International Council member, who also shared his personal

transformation story. The UAE leaders were equally inspired and encouraged to hear Santos’ personal testimonies of their own challenges in service and personal life with wife, Bing, and their eventual victories in overcoming them. Rita Verdolaga added her own powerful and life changing experience when she had to really ponder on God’s will for her and her family. The second talk (“Behold”) was delivered by CFC Executive Director, George Campos. The CFC UAE leaders were truly blessed to hear the Lord’s message through the talk as Campos led them to relive the past thirty three years of the CFC International Community along with its Family Ministries. Similarly inspiring were the testimonies of Romy Alfaro, Country Coordi-

nator of CFC UAE and Regional Coordinator for the Middle East, and Cynthia Campos, who both shared about their life in community and Building the Church of the Home. Mar Santos, CFC UAE NC member, and Danny Abutas, CFC Sharjah and Northern Emirates Area Director, shared their personal insights and experiences when they joined the BCOP experience last January in San Fernando. Pampanga and Bani, Bataan. The conference was concluded with a pray over of the CFC UAE leaders by the CFC Elders and CFC UAE National Council Members for the local leader’s continuing zeal, passion, and mission readiness to go wherever the Lord is taking them to serve Him.

CFC Chair, USA Leaders Visit Atlanta Archbishop
CFC USA presents itself to Archbishop of Oklahoma
COuples for Christ (CFC) Chairman, Ricky Cuenca and wife Irma, together with Roy and Claire Reynes, CFC Area Servant Leader of the State of Georgia and Gilbert and Gail Banzon, CFC Unit Servant Leaders of East Georgia had a surprise and short notice invitation to meet the Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta last February 25, 2014 at the Archdiocese main office in Smyrna, Georgia. The meeting was very blissful and casual, where Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, after the exchange of cordial greetings, opened the conversation about his Doctorate studies with Bishop Anscar Chupungco as his mentor, the Filipino Benedictine Monk and a Faculty of Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome. He also indicated that he went to the Philippines in January 1995 in the campaign against proliferation of pornography around the world.

Bishop Kariyil of India Welcomes CFC Top Leaders
Prior to the CFC South Asia 4th Regional Conference and the CFC India National Conference last February 21-23, 2014 at the Diocesan Alpha Pastoral Centre at Edakochi, Kochin, the delegates, led by CFC Executive Director, George Campos with wife Cynthia, and CFC Continent Overseer for West Asia, Jimmy Ilagan and wife Lorna, paid a courtesy call to the Bishop of the Diocese of Kochi, Bishop Joseph Kariyil at the historic Bishop’s house that was built in 1506.

CFC Calgary Meets with Bishop Frederick Henry
CFC National Director Eric Villanueva, Tat Reyes, His Excellency Archbishop Paul Stagg Coakley of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma, Roger Santos and Dr. Carol Brown, Director of New Evangilization for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma pose for posterity after a courtesy call.

USA receives 3 new clergy recognitions

Since January of this year, the CFC community in the United States has been given three additional clergy recognitions from various Dioceses. The first one was from the Diocese of Austin, Texas, through Bishop Joe Vàsquez, and Lupe Garcia, Director for Family and Life Counseling. In New Jersey, CFC was granted recognition by Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski of the Diocese of Matuchen last February 7. The most recent recognition was received early this month from the Most Reverend Joseph Kurtz, D.D., Archbishop of Louiseville, Kentucky. These recognitions granted by the American Catholic clergy to the CFC community continue to inspire brethren from the USA to reach new heights in “building the Church of the home and the poor” in all 50 states.

CFC Manitoba Call On Archbishop Gagnon
Last Thursday, February 13, 2014, CFC Canada had the privilege of having an audience with the new Archbishop of Winnipeg, His Grace, Richard Gagnon. Arnel Simbulan, Central Regional Head, Ador Cabrera, Area Head of Manitoba, John Acosta, Full-time Pastoral Worker for CFC-Singles for Christ, Kyle Beley, Full-time Pastoral Worker for CFC-Youth, and Francis Lucas, Church Integration Office Coordinator were at the meeting.

On FebruarY 20th 2014, CFC Calgary met with His Excellency, Bishop Frederick Henry. CFC Country Coordinator Eric and Delos Reyes, and his wife Carina, were also present. Bishop Henry welcomed CFC warmly and expressed his appreciation for the community and its efforts towards evangelization, more specifically the aspect of ‘Family Renewal’. Delos Reyes shared with Bishop Henry all the new and exciting initiatives that CFC as a global family, is undertaking, including CFC’s eagerness to connect and work with the Archdioceses in the respective areas. He was also able to share God’s victories with regards to CFC’s work with the poor through ANCOP. Evony Evangelista, Youth fulltime worker, mentioned the various programs that CFC-Youth has to offer. She likewise expressed her desire to connect with Mary Ann Donaleshan, the Youth and Young-Adults Ministry Director for the Archdiocese. Bishop Frederick Henry expressed his full support of CFC and looks forward to the continued partnership and efforts to share Christ’s message and love.

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Cardinal Quevedo vows to rally for peace, fight ‘injustice’ in Mindanao
By Jennifer Orillaza
“My insight into the culture of the Bangsamoro…is that there was an injustice committed to the Bangsamoro—to their self-identity, to their sovereignty, and to their territory,” Quevedo said in a television interview Friday. “(Muslims) had the sovereignty overall of Mindanao…They had sultanates, they hold political structures, and the territory was theirs. The change in demography in Mindanao came about after the Spanish time,” he said. “The demography changed so that waves and waves of Christian migration went to the Promised Land. The Muslims, more or less…became a minority in the land which they were dominant. And I thought that was injustice,” he added. He said, a deeper understanding of the history of the Bangsamoro will help mend ties and strengthen peace among Filipinos of different religious denominations. Quevedo noted that part of his mission will focus on educating Christians about the roots of the Bangsamoro to lessen, if not totally eradicate, the prejudice and bias perceived by the public. “A part of my mission would be to help educate our own fellow Christians about the history and culture of the Bangsamoro so that less and less, the prejudices and biases against each other will be there in the social light and cultural exchanges…so there will be less prejudice and less bias,” he said. “The reason I say this is they had all of Mindanao before the Spanish came. They had their own identity. They might have been fighting against each

COTABATO Archbishop Orlando Quevedo vowed to fight the “injustice” prevailing in conflict-stricken Mindanao, noting that his term as cardinal will focus on strengthening ties between Christians and Muslims in the country.

Pope Francis (1st from left) spends light moment with Filipino Cardinals Orlando Quevedo (2nd) and Luis Antonio Tagle (3rd) during a meeting of cardinals in Vatican City in February.

other, but when there was a common enemy, they would bond together. (It was) self-identity based on the idea that they were Muslims,” he noted. Filled with ‘trepidation’ Quevedo admitted feeling anxious over his new appointment, saying that working as an adviser to the Supreme Pontiff fills him with “great inadequacy.” He was formally elevated to the College of Cardinals through a consistory officiated by Pope Francis last February 22. “I feel very insecure. I have always been self-confident, but this one fills me with trepidation, a sense of great inadequacy.

CBCP Statement on the country’s new Cardinal
THE CBCP is elated to receive the news that Pope Francis has named the Archbishop of Cotabato, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI as a member of the College of Cardinals. Cardinal-elect Quevedo is a senior member of the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines. He is known in the CBCP for his mental clarity and intellectual brilliance. He is an archbishop who is truly passionate for the formation of basic ecclesial communities. He has been a pastor up north in Ilocos Sur and down south in Cotabato. He is an intellectual giant with a very simple lifestyle and very warm fraternal manners. He is a blessing for the Church. As a member of the

Not only because I am being raised on a new title and new authority as an adviser to the Pope. But how can one advise the Pope with others who are much older and much more experienced?” he said. The prelate further noted that to act both as an adviser to the Pope and as a cardinal in Mindanao is a big task that forces him to be more cautious in giving opinions about social issues. “To be some kind of an unofficial spokesman for the bishops in Mindanao, for the Church in Mindanao… From now on, if I speak, I cannot say that I speak of my own name. I have to know the issues, I have to know

the opinions of my fellow brother bishops about certain burning issues on peace, political, or social so it fills me with a sense of inadequacy,” Quevedo said. However, he noted that the “sense of inadequacy” that fills him is good “for it strengthens the idea of being humble.” “The call by God through the Pope, to be a cardinal, is a humbling experience for me,” Quevedo said. Resigning as archbishop In the same television interview, he also announced that he would resign as Archbishop of Cotabato by the time

he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75. “On March 11, I will be 75. I will be writing my letter of resignation to the Holy Father as Archbishop of Cotabato,” Quevedo said. According to the Code of Canon Law, Catholic bishops are required to tender their resignation on their 75th birth anniversary. Asked whether he sees hope for a Filipino cardinal to be chosen as Pope in the future, Quevedo said: “I will leave that to the other cardinal (Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle). He is young, he has several chances. But for me, that chance is gone.”

Statement of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle on the elevation to the College of Cardinals of Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevado

New Filipino cardinal set to visit hometown
“THE Favored Son of Sarrat” is how the Diocese of Laoag calls Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, who is set to visit his hometown in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte this March 30, 2014. According to a circular letter issued by Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba, the Diocese invited Cardinal Quevedo for a special fête to honor him for being elevated to the College of Cardinals, together with 15 other prelates, by Pope Francis last February 22 in Rome, Italy. Arriving in Laoag City on March 29, Cardinal Quevedo will preside the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the St. William’s Cathedral the following day, March 30 at 10:30 in the morning. Afterwards, he will proceed to Sarrat, the place of his birth, for a special reception prepared by the diocese. Notably, Sarrat is also the hometown of the Marcos family. Cardinal Quevedo was born in Laoag City on March 11, 1939. After finishing his third grade in Laoag, the Quevedo family transferred to Marbel, South Cotabato. In 1956, he en-

College of Cardinals he will be able to assist the Pope in reaching out to the marginalized in Mindanao. A Cardinal from Mindanao is a papal tribute to the strength of the Catholic faith in that region of our country. It is a proof that the Catholic faith in Mindanao is now bearing rich fruits; Cardinal Quevedo is its living testimony. +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS, DD CBCP President

IN the name of the Archdiocese of Manila, I congratulate Cardinalelect Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, and the Archdiocese of Cotabato. The Church in the Philippines and Asia has been greatly blessed these past decades by the service and leadership of Archbishop Quevedo. Now,

this blessing extends to the whole Church. I thank Pope Francis for associating Archbishop Quevedo and the Church in Mindanao to his Petrine ministry and solicitude for all the churches. We promise to pray for Archbishop Quevedo. I am extremely happy to have him as a con-

frere in the College of Cardinals where our collaboration and friendship nurtured these past 30 years will continue on another level. Mabuhay ka, dear Cardinal Orly! +LUIS ANTONIO G. CARDINAL TAGLE Archbishop of Manila

FILE PHOTO

tered the Novitiate of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). He was ordained a priest on June 5, 1964 at Washington, DC, USA. He was ordained Bishop of Kidapawan on October 28, 1980 and held the position until 1986. In 1986, he was appointed the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia (Vigan) until his eventual appointment as Archbishop of Cotabato in 1998. (Mark Vertido)

Photo courtesy of © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk for News.va

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Homily of Pope Francis during the Muslim Women Welcome Quevedo Ordinary Public Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals
St. Peter’s Basilica, 22 February 2014
selves might have to endure. Unlike the disciples in those days, we know that Jesus has won, and that we need not fear the Cross; indeed, the Cross is our hope. And yet, we are all too human, sinners, tempted to think as men do, not as God does. And once we follow the thinking of the world, what happens? The Gospel tells us: “When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John” (Mk 10:41). They were indignant. Whenever a worldly mentality predominates, the result is rivalry, jealousy, factions… And so the word which Jesus speaks to us today is most salutary. It purifies us inwardly, it enlightens our consciences and helps us to unite ourselves fully with Jesus, and to do so together, at this time when the College of Cardinals is enlarged by the entrance of new members. “And Jesus called them to himself…” (Mk 10:42). Here is the other action of Jesus. Along the way, he is aware that he needs to speak to the Twelve; he stops and calls them to himself. Brothers, let us allow Jesus to call us to himself! Let us be “con-voked” by him. And let us listen to him, with the joy that comes from receiving his word together, from letting ourselves be taught by that word and by the Holy Spirit, and to become ever more of one heart and soul, gathered around him. And as we are thus “convoked”, “called to himself” by our one Teacher, I will tell you what the Church needs: she needs you, your coopera-

“Jesus was walking ahead of them…” (Mk 10:32).
AT this moment too, Jesus is walking ahead of us. He is always before us. He goes ahead of us and leads the way… This is the source of our confidence and our joy: to be his disciples, to remain with him, to walk behind him, to follow him… When with the Cardinals we concelebrated the first Mass in the Sistine Chapel, the first word which the Lord proposed to us was “to walk”, to journey with him: to journey, and then to build and to profess. Today this same word is repeated, but now as an action, an action of Jesus which is ongoing: “Jesus was walking…”. This is something striking about the Gospels: Jesus is often walking and he teaches his disciples along the way. This is important. Jesus did not come to teach a philosophy, an ideology… but rather “a way”, a journey to be undertaken with him, and we learn the way as we go, by walking. Yes, dear brothers, this is our joy: to walk with Jesus. And this is not easy, or comfortable, because the way that Jesus chooses is the way of the Cross. As they journey together, he speaks to his disciples about what will happen in Jerusalem: he foretells his passion, death and resurrection. And they are “shocked” and “full of fear”. They were shocked, certainly, because for them going up to Jerusalem meant sharing in the triumph of the Messiah, in his victory—we see this in the request made by James and John. But they were also full of fear for what was about to happen to Jesus, and for what they themtion, and even more your communion, with me and among yourselves. The Church needs your courage, to proclaim the Gospel at all times, both in season and out of season, and to bear witness to the truth. The Church needs your prayer for the progress of Christ’s flock, that prayer—let us not forget this!—which, along with the proclamation of the Word, is the primary task of the Bishop. The Church needs your compassion, especially at this time of pain and suffering for so many countries throughout the world. Let us together express our spiritual closeness to the ecclesial communities and to all Christians suffering from discrimination and persecution. We must fight every form of discrimination! The Church needs our prayer for them, that they may be firm in faith and capable of responding to evil with good. And this prayer of ours extends to every man and women suffering injustice on account of their religious convictions. The Church needs us also to be peacemakers, building peace by our words, our hopes and our prayers. Building peace! Being peacemakers! Let us therefore invoke peace and reconciliation for those peoples presently experiencing violence, exclusion and war. Thank you, dear Brothers! Thank you! Let us walk together behind the Lord, and let us always be called together by him, in the midst of his faithful people, the holy People of God, holy Mother the Church. Thank you!
Photo courtesy of Joel Cadelina

His Eminence, Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, is welcomed by Muslim Women upon his arrival at the Cotabato Airport last March 3, after attending a Consistory in Rome where he was elevated to the Cardinalate. On March 11, 2014, Cardinal Quevedo presided over a solemn thanksgiving mass at the Cotabato Cathedral where he will be joined by Philippine bishops, national and city government officials and the residents of Cotabato that is predominantly Muslim; it will also be a celebration of his 75th birthday.

Aquino greets Cardinal Quevedo

President Benigno Aquino III greets Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, after the thanksgiving Mass for the cardinal’s 75th birthday and 50th anniversary of his ordination to priesthood at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotabato City, March 11, 2014

Photo courtesy of Fr. Rogelio Nim

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