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February 2 - 15, 2015




CBCP calls for independent
probe on Mamasapano clash
By Raymond A. Sebastián

DAGUPAN City, Pangasinan—
Despite calls for the President’s
resignation amid the outrage
caused by the “Mamasapano
mishap,” the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) underscores
the need for a truth commission
which will shed light on what really happened on Jan. 25, stressing the country’s prelates cannot
collectively back the clamor
without “all the facts.”
According to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, President
Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) resignation
is a judgment he must make, “after prayerful discernment, and in all humility and

In solidarity. Fr. Romeo Saniel, OMI, president of Notre Dame of Jolo College hugs PNP Special Action Force member PO3 Narcial S. Ismael, who is a native Tausug
and a Muslim after the priest’s Mass for the Fallen 44. Ismael asked the Oblate Missionary in his native Tausug: “Father, why is this happening to us? What is God’s
message for all of us?” The priest shared, “I was speechless. I have no answer. I just wept with him.” PHOTO FROM THE FACEBOOK ACCOUNT OF FR. SANIEL

MANILA— Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of
the Philippines (CBCP)
president and Lingayen
– Dagupan Archbishop
Socrates B. Villegas said
with the latest Supreme
Court ruling on the controversial Disbursement
Acceleration Program
(DAP), people hope
“those who knowingly
and deliberately misused
public funds in a manner
declared illegal should
now be investigated
In a one-page statement issued Wednesday
morning, Archbishop
Villegas said the CBCP
“renews its call for a government that truly serves
the nation and that truly
avoids all forms of corruption and deceit.”
He also called on legal academics and other
concerned citizens to
study the implications

of the latest Supreme
Court resolution on the
controversial DAP.
In a statement released
this morning, Villegas
said “some are disturbed
by the fact that the
Resolution apparently
lends its judicial fiat to
disbursments for unappropriated items or
He said “while it does
seem like the court has
maintained its initial
characterization of transfer of funds from one
branch of government
to another,” there are
still pertinent concerns.
He explained “under the
present constitutional
system, the Constitution is what the Supreme Court says its text
He called on everyone
to abide by the Rule of
Law by complying with
the latest Supreme Court

CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas. FILE PHOTO

“The CBCP itself will
conduct its own study
with the aid of consultants and experts,” he
added as he expressed
optimism to introduce

proposals for change, “if
these should be deemed
necessary, either by legislation or even by constitutional amendment.”
(Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)

Hashtags related to the papal visit to the Philippines were among the top trends on the
social media site Twitter. CLIFFORD KINTANAR

MANILA — What happens when
the world’s most influential man
visits the social media capital of
the world? Naturally, Pope Francis’
recent apostolic visit to the Philip-

pines became a trending topic on
social media, particularly on the
microblogging site Twitter, bringing
in his most retweeted tweet.
Tweet / A6

Launch / A7

Pontifical council to consider
challenges women face in
society, church, A3

Walk on rich in thanksgiving

CBCP Pastoral Exhortation in
the Year of Consecrated Life, B3

Probe / A6

Terminal fee adds burden to OFWs—bishop
BALANGA City, Bataan—Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos has
pointed out that the compulsory
Php 550 terminal fee proposed by
the Manila International Airport
Authority (MIAA)’s Memorandum
Circular No. 8 will be an added
burden, especially to Overseas
Filipino Workers (OFWs).
The prelate, who also chairs the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Migrants and
Itinerant People, (ECMI), shares
the sentiments of the OFW sector, whom grateful Filipinos look
up to as “modern-day heroes,”
stressing this memo goes against
the Migrant Workers Act of 1995
and Section 35 of the Republic Act
(R.A.) 10022 which exempt them
from paying airport terminal fees.
“This is a clear violation of the
Migrant Workers Act of 1995, as
well as of R.A. 10022. We owe
it to our hardworking OFWs to
make the sacrifice they make for
our country more bearable. They
have done so much for us. Let’s not
overburden them with terminal
fees,” Santos shared in an interview
Tuesday over Church-run Radyo
MIAA issued in Sept. 2014 the
circular, which seeks to integrate

Pope’s most retweeted tweet Grateful PH religious celebrate
was in Tagalog
‘Year of Consecrated Life’
QUEZON City—Stressing there
is much they have to thank God
for, members of the Association
of Major Religious Superiors in
the Philippines (AMRSP) have
placed gratitude at the heart of
their observance of the “Year of
Consecrated Life” themed “Prophetic Witnesses of the Gospel of
Joy among the Poor.”
“We remember the past with
gratitude. With joy that comes
from Christ (cf. Jn 15:11) and is
fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), we
thank God for the gift of Religious
life which He has filled with a rich
diversity of charisms for the life
and mission of the Church in and
for the world,” shares AMRSP in
a collective statement signed by
co-chairs Sr. Eden Panganiban,

MANILA— In celebration of the
Year of the Poor, the Alay Kapwa
(AK) Program is set to be launched
this February in the three major
island groups in the country.
Celebrating its 40th year anniversary, AK is the Lenten Evangelization-Action Program of
the Philippine Catholic Church
created in 1975 by the Catholic
Annually, Luzon, Visayas and
Mindanao celebrate the AK national launching.
The Diocese of Nueva Segovia

SSpS and Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF;
and co-executive secretaries Sr. Michaela Gaudelia Gotangco, FdCC
and Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM.
“We remember with joyful gratitude the day of our consecration,
when we entered into a special
covenant of love with God, turning us into prophets, missionaries,
and servants so that all “may have
life, and have it abundantly” (Jn
10:10). We also remember with
gratitude the generous and courageous consecrated women and
men who, in crucial moments of
the history of the Filipino people,
stood up for the Gospel as what
had happened in those turbulent
years of dictatorship, which was
put to an end through a peaceful

Consecrated / A6

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA)’s Memorandum Circular No. 8 proposes
that Php 500 be integrated into all ticket prices as payment for a compulsory terminal

the International Passenger Service
Charge (IPSC), commonly known
as airport terminal fee amounting
to Php 550, into the cost of plane
tickets, to address the congestion
in all Ninoy Aquino International
Airport (NAIA) terminals by trimming down the processing time of
Rather than pass on to ordinary
citizens its responsibility, the Balanga bishop has stressed MIAA
should first consider overhauling
the airport’s system and policies
in order to serve passengers better.
Santos also lambasted the seeming rush with which MIAA officials
are allegedly trying to implement

the terminal fee despite the temporary restraining order (TRO)
issued by the Pasay City Regional
Trial Court (RTC) which found it
“unenforceable” due to the lack of
publication required for its implementation, and a Senate hearing
scheduled on Feb. 9.
Based on data from the National
Statistics Office (NSO), there are
approximately 2.220 million Filipinos working abroad as of 2012,
and they contribute as much as
Php 165.6 billion annually to
national economy through their
remittances. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

Inmates seek God, realize value
of life, liberty

Illustration by Brothers Matias

CBCP head: Investigate
those guilty of DAP misuse

Conflicting accounts
“We do not yet have all the facts, however. In fact, we have been given conflicting accounts of what really happened,” he
shares in a written statement today, Feb.
4, in which he also calls on the public not
to blame the casualties because they only
received orders.
In the interest of truth, Villegas assures
the faithful CBCP approves the creation
of a fact-finding body.
He explains any inquiry by a police
body, no matter how veridical its findings,
“will be weighed down by lingering doubts
about its preparedness to point to liability,
no matter how high up the chain of command attribution must go.”
“Subordinate officers, whether in the
police or in the military, after all seldom
point accusingly at superiors! An investigation by Congress is likewise compromised
by the political allegiances of most of its

Alay Kapwa
launch set

being reformed under minimum,
medium, and maximum security
in the 26,000-hectare Prison and
Penal Farm of Ihawig learn to seek

God and find comfort in their
faith, a 60-year old convict shares.
Despite the difficult life in the
sprawling penal colony, Cesar FeLiberty / A6


Vatican Briefing
Pope to canon lawyers: Annulment process must be secure, prompt

In a speech delivered on Jan. 26 to participants in a conference on
how to handle causes of nullity, Pope Francis encouraged a marriage
process that is both sure of its judgements and prompt. The threeday conference is sponsored by the Pontifical Gregorian University,
and marks the 10th anniversary of Dignitas connubii, an instruction of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts to tribunals on
handling causes of the nullity of marriage. Pope Francis praised the
document in his Jan. 24 address as “a modest but useful handbook
that really takes the ministers of the tribunals by the hand toward
the implementation of a process that is both secure and prompt.”
“A secure process because it indicates and explains with clarity the
goal of the process itself, namely moral certainty: this requires that
any prudent, positive doubt of error be totally excluded, even if the
mere possibility of the contrary is not excluded. A prompt process
because – as common experience teaches—he who knows the path
to follow travels more quickly.” (CNA)

Pope says palliums will be given to new archbishops at home – not Rome

As a sign of “synodality” with local Churches, Pope Francis has decided that new metropolitan archbishops will officially be imposed
with the pallium in their home diocese, rather than the Vatican.
“The meaning of this change is to put more emphasis on the relationship of the metropolitan archbishops – the newly nominated
– with their local Church,” Mons. Guido Marini, Papal Master
of Ceremonies, told Vatican Radio Jan. 29. By having the official
imposition ceremony in the archbishop’s home diocese, more faithful and bishops in dioceses under the archbishop’s jurisdiction will
be able to attend the event, “which is so meaningful to them,” he
said. The pallium is a white wool vestment, adorned with six black
silk crosses. Dating back to at least the fifth century, the wearing
of the pallium by the Pope and metropolitan archbishops symbolizes authority as well as unity with the Holy See. Traditionally the
Pope bestows the stole to the new archbishops June 29 each year,
which is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The rite is a sign
of communion with the See of Peter. (CNA)

Coming soon to the Vatican: haircuts for Rome’s homeless

The Vatican’s continued efforts to help the homeless of Rome have
expanded beyond showers and bathrooms at St. Peter’s Square, with
a barber shop set to open soon. “Our primary concern is to give
people their dignity,” Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, head of the
Office of Papal Charities, told the Italian news agency ANSA. In
November, construction started on new showers and bathrooms
for the homeless under the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square. The
archbishop, who oversaw the project, set aside space for a barber. He
noted the difficulty that the homeless face in washing themselves,
which in turn helps cause others to reject them—or causes them
to fear rejection. The initiative will also help “the good of the city,”
since homeless people often take buses and the subway and come
into contact with others. (CNA)

Pope: Dialogue between religions key in countering violence

Pope Francis on Jan. 24 stressed the need for dialogue between
different faiths, saying that it is essential in preventing violence and
promoting peace. “Perhaps now more than ever such a need is felt,
because the most effective antidote against all forms of violence is
education towards the discovery and acceptance of differences,” he
said, according to Vatican Radio. The Pope spoke to members of
the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at an audience marking the 50th anniversary of the institute’s opening. He
praised the group’s efforts to promote Christian-Muslim dialogue,
emphasizing the importance of such dialogue in achieving peace.
“If it is assumed that we all belong to human nature, prejudices
and falsehoods can be overcome and an understanding of the other
according to a new perspective can begin,” he said. (CNA)

Pope Francis surprised by misunderstanding of his words on family

Pope Francis was surprised that his words on responsible parenthood were not widely taken in the sense that he intended them,
a Vatican official related in an interview on Jan. 24. Archbishop
Giovanni Becciu, Substitute at the Secretariat of State, also told
Avvenire, the Italian bishops’ publication, on Jan. 22 that the Pope
was saddened at the misunderstanding. “The Pope is truly sorry
that it created such disorientation. He absolutely did not want to
disregard the beauty and the value of large families,” Archbishop
Becciu stated. “Seeing the headlines, the Holy Father, with whom
I spoke yesterday, smiled and was a bit surprised that his words
were not fully contextualized with regards to a very clear passage
of Humanae vitae on responsible parenthood,” Archbishop Becciu
stated. (CNA)

Pope Francis decries Charlie Hebdo motivated attacks in Niger

Pope Francis condemned deadly protests in Niger during which
dozens of churches were torched over the weekend, stressing that
religious motives do not justify violence. “One cannot make war in
God’s name!” the Pope said during his weekly general audience on
Jan. 21. Ten people were killed and 45 churches were set on fire in
the riots erupted after the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo
published an image of Mohammed on the Jan. 14 front cover, an
act which many Muslims deem offensive. One week earlier, 12
people were killed on Jan. 7 when Islamic terrorists stormed Charlie
Hebdo headquarters in Paris. Pope Francis called for prayers for
the “beloved Niger,” where “brutalities were committed against
Christians, against children, against churches.” (CNA)

Pontifical council to consider challenges women face in society, church

Violence against women, cultural pressures regarding women’s physical appearance, attitudes that subjugate women or that ignore malefemale differences and the growing alienation of women from the
church in some parts of the world are themes the Pontifical Council
for Culture is set to explore. The council has chosen to discuss the
theme, “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference,” during its
plenary assembly Feb. 4-7 at the Vatican. A news conference was
scheduled for Feb. 2, but the council published its discussion document on the topic in late January. The document, drafted by a group
of women appointed by the council, looked at the continuing quest
to find balance in promoting women’s equality while valuing the
differences between women and men; the concrete and symbolic
aspects of women’s potential for motherhood; cultural attitudes
toward women’s bodies; and women and religion, including questions about their participation in church decision-making. (CNS)

Pope chooses Carmelite professor to lead Lenten retreat

Pope Francis has chosen an Italian Carmelite professor of spirituality to lead him and top members of the Roman Curia on their
Lenten retreat. Carmelite Father Bruno Secondin, though listed as
a “professor emeritus” at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University,
is still teaching in the university’s Institute of Spirituality. He is
the author of dozens of books, including a multivolume series of
guides for “lectio divina,” the prayerful reading of the books of the
New Testament and selected readings from the Old Testament. The
Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported Jan. 30 that
Father Secondin will preach on the theme, “Servants and Prophets
of the Living God.” Pope Francis and some 80 Vatican officials will
listen to Father Secondin and reflect on his words Feb. 22-27 at
the Pauline Fathers’ retreat and conference center in Ariccia, about
20 miles southeast of Rome. (CNS)

February 2 - 15, 2015, Vol. 19. No. 3

CBCP Monitor

Catholics join in marking 70th
anniversary of Auschwitz liberation
WARSAW, Poland, Jan. 27,
2015—Catholic leaders joined in
commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the
Auschwitz concentration camp,
where 1.2 million mostly Jewish
prisoners were killed by the Nazis
during World War II.
“When we ask how God was
present in the hell of Auschwitz,
we must remember God’s last
word is one of peace,” said Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow,
“Peace is a gift from God, for
which we have to ask him. This is
why we gather today to pray before
taking the next step—and we must
take that step, drawing conclusions
from the past and from the witness
of history.”
The cardinal preached at a Jan.
27 Mass in Auschwitz’s church-run
ecumenical Center for Dialogue
and Prayer. The Mass was concelebrated by the Vatican’s nuncio
to Poland, Archbishop Celestino
Migliore, and attended by Polish
President Bronislaw Komorowski
and around 150 former camp
Cardinal Dziwisz said questions still needed to be asked
about human responsibility
for Auschwitz atrocities, but
added that the camp’s liberation was also a reminder that
peace could be achieved by
human effort.
Holocaust survivor Hy Abrams,
90, holds a book in Brooklyn, N.Y.,

Holocaust survivor Hy Abrams, 90, holds a book in Brooklyn, N.Y., that documents all the different concentration camps he was held
in during World War II. Abrams was taken at age 20 by German Nazi soldiers and separated from his mother, father, brother and
three sisters. CNS/Reuters

that documents all the different
concentration camps he was held
in during World War II. Abrams
was taken at age 20 by German
Nazi soldiers and separated from
his mother, father, brother and
three sisters.
He said numerous great initiatives had been launched to ensure
future generations remembered the
past while “responsibly building
the future,” helped by survivors
who recalled “the cry of the victims
falling silent as they were brutally
Besides Jewish inmates, who

made up 90 percent of victims,
approximately 100,000 mostly
Catholic Poles were killed by German occupiers in Auschwitz’s gas
chambers and execution sites. The
Nazis also killed Roma, Russian
POWs and prisoners of other nationalities at the camp, located in
Oswiecim, Poland.
St. John Paul II visited Auschwitz in 1979, and Pope Benedict
XVI visited in 2006. Organizers of
World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow
expect Pope Francis to visit the
camp while he is in the country.
The anniversary of the camp’s

liberation by invading Soviet forces
was attended by heads of state and
government and official representatives from 40 countries and included interfaith prayers at the nearby
Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination
center and a wreath-laying at the
camp’s infamous Death Wall.
In a Jan. 27 Twitter message,
Pope Francis said, “Auschwitz
cries out with the pain of immense
suffering and pleads for a future
of respect, peace and encounter
among peoples.” (CNS)

World Congress of the Word of God in Chinese held in Taipei
TAIWAN, Jan. 30 2015—Over 300 faithful
from all over the world attended the Jan. 22
to 26 Congress themed,”Witnessing the Word
of God, a new Evangelization - Pour new wine
into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved
(Mt 9:17)”.
The participants of the Congress came
from Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China,
Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Japan, Philippines, Australia,
New Zealand, England, Italy, Germany and
The Congress took Pope Francis’ Apostolic
Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, as a reference
to “reflect, share, listen, celebrate, study and to

put oneself at the service of the Word of God
in the Church, in order to spread the Word of
God in the world, so that the Word of God
may always be the core of the life and mission
of the Church”.
The Congress proclaimed 2015 as the “Pastoral Year of the Sacred Scripture”.
Some important anniversaries concerning
the Church documents and scripture were remembered: the 50th anniversary of the closing
of the Second Vatican Council and the publication of the Conciliar Dogmatic Constitution
Dei Verbum; 40 years of the publication of
the Apostolic Exhortation of Blessed Pope
Paul VI Evangelii Nuntiandi; 15 years of the

canonization of the Chinese martyrs; 3 years
since the beatification of Fr. Gabriele Allegra,
who translated the entire Bible in Chinese; the
25th anniversary of the foundation of the Bible
Association in Chinese.
Based on these ecclesial events, the participants highlighted that the Word of God has
shaped the beauty of the many aspects of the
life and mission of the individual communities.
They also presented their pastoral and missionary work, and committed themselves to
spreading the word of God in the contemporary
world through new tools and new technologies,
like the internet and social networks. (Agenzia

U.S. bishops’ group travels to Iraq, meets with those who fled ISIS
AINKAWA, Iraq, Jan. 27, 2015—
One of Iraq’s Christians chased out
of her historic homeland quietly
prayed the rosary as a bishop who
traveled halfway around the world
to meet her and others displaced
celebrated Mass for them.
“It’s a journey of encountering
God, the poor and the dispossessed,” Bishop Oscar Cantu,
chairman of the Committee on
International Justice and Peace of
the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops, told the gathering in this
predominantly Christian enclave
in Irbil, capital of the northern
Kurdistan region.
Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., distributes Communion
to displaced Iraqi Christians during a visit to northern Kurdistan.
(CNS/Dale Gavlak)
Bishop Cantu traveled to northern Iraq with a USCCB delegation Jan. 16-20 to see the needs
of displaced Christians and other
religious minorities. The delegation
plans to share its findings and views
with policymakers on Capitol Hill.
The elderly woman, wearing a
traditional long robe, sat transfixed
during the homily, silent except for
the clicking of her rosary beads.
Tears welled up in her eyes as
she remembered having to escape
her mainly Christian village of
Qaraqosh in August after it was
brutally attacked by Islamic State
Now, she lives in poverty among
113 families in a tent camp erected
in a tiny park outside the St. Ellial
Chaldean Catholic Chapel. Deeply
traumatized, many feel lost.
All are dependent on church

assistance, and they wonder what
future awaits them. The Islamic
State onslaught forced them to
leave behind possessions in a quick
escape where the choice was conversion to Islam or death.
The Kurdish region is hosting
more than 800,000 Iraqi religious
minorities fleeing Islamic State
terror, according to the United
“It’s a journey of encountering
Christ, walking with him and falling in love with him,” said Bishop
Cantu, who heads the Diocese of
Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The words were reminiscent of
those spoken by another displaced
Iraqi Christian, who said that Jesus
told him to ‘”Come and follow
“Pray as we encounter the many
displaced and uprooted from their
land and for the many responding
to their needs in a beautiful way,”
said Bishop Cantu, referring to vast
Catholic charity work undertaken
by Iraq’s parishes and international
Catholic aid agencies.
“Continue to tell their stories as
an encounter with God,” Bishop
Cantu said.
That’s exactly what Stephen
Colecchi, who directs the USCCB
Office of International Justice and
Peace, and Kevin Appleby, director
of USCCB Office of Migration
Policy and Public Affairs, plan
to do with U.S. policymakers,
Catholic leaders, congregations
and supporters.
Here are a few of the stories they
may be sharing.
While Iraqi Catholics in Ainkawa recently celebrated three new

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., distributes Communion to displaced Iraqi
Christians during a visit to northern Kurdistan. CNS/Dale Gavlak

deacons set to enter the priesthood
as a sign of renewed hope for the
future, the area’s Chaldean Catholic archbishop expressed deep
Archbishop Bashar Warda of
Irbil estimated 60 Iraqi Christians,
many qualified professionals, are
fleeing the country daily in the
belief that “peace will not return.”
“Unless we do something for
those who are persecuted and forgotten, we are going to lose more
people,” he warned of the weakening Christian presence in their
ancestral land, one of the world’s
oldest Christian communities.
An elderly Christian man told
the group that one of his sons
recently traveled to Jordan in the
hopes of reuniting with another
son, who lives in Detroit.
The U.S. and other Western
embassies reportedly have said
that they do not expect to grant
resettlement to Iraqi Christians.
The displaced inside Iraq are not
considered refugees and may have

possibilities for work, although
those sheltering in remote villages lack such opportunities or the
needed transportation.
But those who have sought
shelter in one of Iraq’s neighboring
countries are refugees. And those
with direct family members in the
West may also apply for family
Given the Vatican’s position
urging Christians to remain in
the Middle East, Appleby said
the delegation would focus on
the “most vulnerable who are
impoverished with less resources
to stay.” In this case, the USCCB
would advocate for more direct
assistance from the U.S. Agency
for International Development
and other programs to help the
displaced inside Iraq.
“We are encouraging the government to increase humanitarian
assistance, provide the right kinds
of assistance through the proper
channels, so it actually gets to the
people,” said Colecchi. (CNS)

Missionary: Boko Haram behind attacks on churches, religious in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, Jan. 30, 2015—Boko Haram
is determined to take its jihadist campaign
beyond Nigeria. Its next targets include Niger,
where, as reported in an email message from
a woman religious working as a missionary
in the country, the group has proclaimed that
“Christians must die.”
Currently in hiding along with her fellow
missionaries in private homes in Niger’s capital
of Niamey, the sister wrote to international
Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
Last week’s violent protests in both Niamey
and the town of Zinder against the French
satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo—killing 10
and wounding 173 people—“were planned,”
she wrote, instigated by the Nigerian terrorist
“At Christmas time, Boko Haram had threatened to burn down all the churches in Niger
and burn us alive! But for some reason it did
not happen; no one knows quite why. It was by
coincidence that the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo
set the world on fire. ‘The Christians must die;

that way we will be able to go to paradise,’ say
the disciples of Boko Haram. It’s diabolical. But
we are not going to let ourselves be moved by
fear. Love is stronger than hatred,” wrote the
missionary, whose name is withheld for her
She continued: “It started in Zinder first
of all—with five deaths, four people inside a
church and one in a cafe. The French cultural
center was attacked and totally burned out, as
was a bank. The church, where the Missionaries of Africa live, was also set on fire, along
with the neighboring residence of the Sisters
of the Assumption, along with their cars and
the school—everything was on fire. They have
nothing left except their lives, and that alone is
something to be grateful for. They were able to
flee in time and took refuge on a military base.”
The sister described the violence in Niamey
as being “on a major scale.” A group of men
on motorcycles looted “the churches, one after
another,” then destroyed them.
“They took away everything they could use

and then set fire to them, with cans of petrol.
They also burned the Protestant and Evangelical churches—altogether around 40 churches;
it was incredible.”
Next bars, restaurants and gas stations—and
even orphanages: “Fortunately the caretakers
were able to take the children to police stations,
where they were safe, but the attackers stole all
the supplies of food,” the email message said.
Fortunately, the Sisters of Charity were at
least able to save their hospital, along with its
patients. The violent demonstrators were about
to set fire to the hospital, but the religious confronted the attackers: “Can we first of all take
out the patients before you set fire to it? These
words gave the rebels pause for thought and as
a result they did not touch the hospital, but
nevertheless they still burned down the church,”
the missionary reported.
The sister’s email concluded with a plea: “Pray
for us, for our people, for the world. So that the
Light of the Love of Christ may be able to shine
forth!” (CNA)

CBCP Monitor


February 2 - 15, 2015, Vol. 19. No. 3

Pontifical council to consider challenges
women face in society, church
VATICAN CITY, Jan. 30, 2015
-- Violence against women, cultural pressures regarding women’s
physical appearance, attitudes
that subjugate women or that
ignore male-female differences
and the growing alienation of
women from the church in some
parts of the world are themes the
Pontifical Council for Culture is
set to explore.
The council has chosen to discuss
the theme, “Women’s Cultures:
Equality and Difference,” during
its plenary assembly Feb. 4-7 at the
Vatican. A news conference was
scheduled for Feb. 2, but the council
published its discussion document
on the topic in late January.
The document, drafted by a
group of women appointed by the
council, looked at the continuing
quest to find balance in promoting
women’s equality while valuing the
differences between women and
men; the concrete and symbolic
aspects of women’s potential for
motherhood; cultural attitudes toward women’s bodies; and women
and religion, including questions
about their participation in church
While cautioning against generalizations, the document rejects
the notion that there are no differences between men and women,
and that each person “chooses and
builds his-her identity; owns himherself and answers primarily to
In preparing the document and
the plenary discussions, the council
sought input from women around

The Pontifical Commission for Culture is set to discuss its theme, “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference,” during its plenary assembly on Feb. 4-7, 2015 at the Vatican. CNA

the world. However, the process
was not without criticism, particularly for the English version of
a video featuring an Italian actress,
Nanci Brilli, asking women to send
in their experiences. Many women
felt the use of a heavily made-up
actress ran counter to the point

of seeking input about the real
lives of most women. The council
quickly took the English version
off YouTube.
In the section on women and the
church, the document described
“multifaceted discomfort” with
images of women that are no longer

relevant and with a Christian community that seems to value their
input even less than the world of
business and commerce does.
Many women, it said, “have
reached places of prestige within
society and the workplace, but have
no corresponding decisional role

Pope to dads: Play with your kids,
be strong, loving, moral role models
2015 -- When their lives are
all work and no play, men
turn their children into “orphans” who lack a father to
guide them, show them love
and teach them values, Pope
Francis said.
“They are orphans in a family
because their fathers are often
absent, also physically, from
home, but above all because
when they are home they don’t
act like fathers, they don’t
dialogue with their children,
they don’t fulfill their role
as educators, they don’t give
their children, by way of their
example and their words, those
principles, values and rules of
life that they need like bread,”
he said.
At his general audience Jan.
28, the pope continued a series
of talks on the family by focusing on the role of the father.
Speaking to some 7,000 people gathered in the Paul VI audience hall, the pope said that in
the past, fathers were sometimes
too authoritarian, treating their
children like “servants” and not
helping them take responsibility
for forging their own way in life.
“However, as often happens,

we have gone from one extreme
to another,” the pope said.
“The problem today does
not seem to be so much the
overbearing presence of fathers
as much as it is rather their
absence, their hiding” from
their responsibility as parents,
he said.
The world today, especially
in the West, seems like “a world
without fathers” where men
are so focused on their jobs or
personal fulfillment that they
neglect their families, he said.
The pope recalled how when
he served as archbishop of Buenos Aires he would often ask
fathers if they played with their
kids, “if they had the courage
of love to ‘waste’ their time
with their children. And their
answer was awful, you know.
The majority said, ‘Well, I can’t,
too much work.’”
Christian communities need
to be extra attentive to the crisis
of fatherhood in society today
and how so many young people
feel “orphaned” within their
own families, the pope said.
So many problems kids have,
some of them serious, stem
from them not having a decent
father figure -- a father who is

an authoritative, loving guide
and role model, he added.
In fact, the more a father
needs to work or be away from
home, the more important
it is he live up to his duty of
providing solid, quality guidance, he said.
Another problem, the pope
said, is sometimes fathers seem
lost or unsure of what role they
are supposed to play in the
family and “so, being in doubt,
they opt out, they withdraw
and neglect their responsibilities, perhaps hiding behind a
dubious relationship of ‘equal
footing’ with their children,”
he said.
While it is true fathers need
to accompany their kids, he
said, they must not forget they
must act like a parent, not a
best friend because “that is not
good for the child.”
Society has a paternal role
as well, he said; it must take
an active, responsible role
toward young people and not
leave them “orphans” without
prospects for a good education
and employment.
Young people who are “orphaned of ideals,” values and
hope, the pope said, will fill

that void with “idols” and be
driven by fleeting pleasures
and the illusion of “the god of
money,” robbing them of their
real treasures within.
Jesus, who promised he
would not leave anyone behind
as an orphan, is the teacher that
can guide families, he said. He
is “the hope that the world can
change, that love conquers
hatred and that there can be
a future of brotherhood and
peace for everyone.”
Toward the end of the audience, the pope said some
people might think his catechesis was “too negative” by
looking only at the failures
in fatherhood today.
But he promised the following week’s catechesis would
look at the beauty of fatherhood, echoing the audience’s
Gospel reading from John
3:17: “For God did not send his
Son into the world to condemn
the world, but that the world
might be saved through him.”
The pope said he wanted “to
start with the darkness in order
to arrive at the light so that the
Lord can help us understand
these things better.” (Carol
Glatz/Catholic News Service)

Bishop: pro-life means pro-poor
MANILA, Jan. 31, 2015 – Boosted by the
recent visit of Pope Francis, who issued his
strongest defense yet of Church teaching
against contraception, a Catholic bishop
calls on all the faithful, especially the laity,
“to stand for life, and to be champions of
the poor, the weak, and the innocent.”
As the nation observes Pro-life Month in
February, Daet Bishop Gilbert A. Garcera,
ad interim Chairman of the Episcopal
Commission on Family and Life of the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-ECFL) said: “We are waging
a spiritual war, and our laity should stand
at the forefront of our temporal realities
that help build the spiritual kingdom of
God – frontlines like politics, mass and
social media, commerce, and public service
should be filled with holy and knowledgeable Catholics in order for the Gospel to
be spread to everyone and every place and
Openness to life
The Pope, in his address before thousands of Filipino families at the Mall of
Asia Arena on Jan. 16, was firm in defending “openness to life” and the genuine
definition of the family by exhorting
Filipino families to “be sanctuaries of
respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness
of every human life from conception to
natural death.”
In the same vein, Garcera stressed, “The
defense of our deeply-held values of life,
family, and marriage is a worthwhile reason
for us Catholics to step up and make our
presence felt.”
The month of February is dedicated

to the preservation and respect for human life, and the
sanctity of marriage and the
Filipino family.
In line with this celebration, Pro-Life Philippines,
which has been at the spearheading Pro-life Month for
the past 37 years, is holding
activities, talks, and seminars
that are geared towards educating and training, especially
the laity to actively participate
in the pro-life advocacy.
Pro-life, pro-poor
This year’s theme is: “Combating Poverty and Saving
Lives: Mercy and Compassion
in the Year of the Poor.”
Garcera added, “Every effort must be undertaken in
order to keep the “throw away Daet Bishop Gilbert A. Garcera, ad interim Chairman of the
Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’
culture” (Evangelii Gaudium, Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-ECFL). FILE PHOTO
53) away from our nation. As
Pope Francis said that the breakdown of Feb. 22 at the Santisimo Rosario Parish
the family unit and how this leads to the at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) at
devaluation of the human person, and as 10:00 a.m. to conclude the month-long
such, the lack of regard we have for our celebration.
Pro-Life Philippines is inviting other
“A population that does not take care of pro-life and pro-family groups to organize
the elderly and of children and the young activities to promote the defense and care
has no future, because it abuses both its for all human life, such as prayer rallies,
memory and its promise,” Garcera ex- forums, contests and signature campaigns
plained, quoting the Holy Father.
in parishes, schools and communities.
To kick-off Pro-life Month, an opening
Interested parties may contact ProMass was held at Mt. Carmel Shrine, Dona Life Philippines at (02) 665-6202; text
Juana Rodriguez Avenue, New Manila, 09192337783 or email for better coQuezon City, on Feb. 1 at 7:15 a.m.
ordination. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/
A closing Mass will be celebrated on CBCPNews)

nor responsibility within ecclesial
Council members are not proposing a discussion of ordaining
women priests, the document
said and, in fact, statistics show
ordination “is not something that
women want.” However, it said, “if,

as Pope Francis says, women have
a central role in Christianity, this
role must find a counterpart also
in the ordinary life of the church.”
The vast majority of Catholic
women today do not want a
bishop’s “purple biretta,” it said,
but would like to see church doors
open “to women so that they can
offer their contribution in terms of
skills and also sensitivity, intuition,
passion, dedication, in full collaboration and integration” with men
in the church.
The preparatory document
looked at how much pressure
women face regarding their body
image and the way women’s bodies
are exploited in the media, even
to the point of provoking eating
disorders or recourse to unnecessary surgery.
“Plastic surgery that is not medico-therapeutic can be aggressive
toward the feminine identity,
showing a refusal of the body in as
much as it is a refusal of the ‘season’
that is being lived out,” it said.
The document also denounced
violence inflicted on women: “Selective abortion, infanticide, genital mutilation, crimes of honor,
forced marriages, trafficking of
women, sexual molestation, rape
--which in some parts of the world
are inflicted on a massive level and
along ethnic lines -- are some of
the deepest injuries inflicted daily
on the soul of the world, on the
bodies of women and of girls, who
become silent and invisible victims.” (Cindy Wooden/Catholic
News Service)

Coming soon to the Vatican:
haircuts for Rome’s homeless

Homeless people in Rome will soon enjoy free haircuts once a barber shop is set up under the colonnades
of St. Peter’s Square. CNA

VATICAN CITY, Jan. 30, 2015 -- The
Vatican’s continued efforts to help the
homeless of Rome have expanded beyond
showers and bathrooms at St. Peter’s
Square, with a barber shop set to open
“Our primary concern is to give people
their dignity,” Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, head of the Office of Papal Charities,
told the Italian news agency ANSA.
In November, construction started on
new showers and bathrooms for the homeless under the colonnades of St. Peter’s
Square. The archbishop, who oversaw the
project, set aside space for a barber.
He noted the difficulty that the homeless face in washing themselves, which in
turn helps cause others to reject them—or
causes them to fear rejection.
“A person needs to keep their hair and
facial hair tidy, also in order to prevent
diseases,” the archbishop said. “This is another service that homeless people do not
have easy access to. It is not easy for them
to enter a normal shop because there may

be a fear of customers catching something,
like scabies for example.”
The initiative will also help “the good
of the city,” since homeless people often
take buses and the subway and come into
contact with others.
The Poland-born Archbishop Krajewski
is the papal almoner, who conducts acts
of charity for the poor and raises money
to fund the charitable work. When the
archbishop was appointed, Pope Francis
urged him not to stay at his desk but
rather to be an active worker for the
benefit of the poor.
Many barbers have volunteered with
enthusiasm, including two barbers from
the national Italian organization that
transports the sick to Lourdes, France
and other international shrines. Other
volunteers are finishing their final year
in barber school.
The barber service will be open on
Mondays, when barber shops in Italy are
traditionally closed. It is scheduled to open
in several weeks. (CNA/EWTN News)

Back to school: Teacher turns catechist
BARCELONA, Sorsogon, Jan. 25, 2015
– A teacher,who retired in 2013 at the age
of 61, returned to the same school where
she taught for over three decades, this time
as a catechist.
In the same year she retired after 39 years
in classroom, Josefina F. Embile went back
to Barcelona National Comprehensive
High School (BNCHS) to help in the
formation of young, focusing more on
moral and spiritual formation.
Online temptations
Her passion to help every home, and
society through education, does not end
with the term of tenure set by the state,
Embile said.
She will help provide young students
with formative instructions as long as she
can, she promised.
According to Embile, she is alarmed by
the negative effects of media technology,
particularly the uncontrolled obscenity
online, which she said “assails the morals
of the young.”
She said the decadence peddled on the
web threatens to worsen the ongoing moral

Though not outspoken on political issues, she observed that Barcelona, a fifthclass coastal municipality, calls for more
able leaders.
The townsfolk, particularly young
people of voting age, are not active in the
exercise of their right to suffrage, she said.
Local bets, first-timers and veterans
make their way into public office through
vote-buying. Sadly, the townsfolk have
accepted it as normal, she revealed.
Kindest, most effective
Catechism is not new to the energetic
woman. In the early 1970s, when she was
a college student at a religious school in
Sorsogon, she also helped in the formation
of younger students.
As a teacher, she is known, not just as
the kindest, but as one of the most effective
mentors as well.
Embile had helped educate a large army
of future nation-builders, including an
alumni class that produced a telecommunication consultant, a sales manager,
a naval officer, a seafarer, a teacher, and a
journalist.(Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)


February 2 - 15, 2015, Vol. 19. No. 3

CBCP Monitor


SO many advertised meetings here and there. So many exuberant declarations through so many media outlets. So many ceremonial smiles,
clapping, self-congratulations. So many promises and proclamations
made. So much hope was raised for so many times. So many grandiose affirmations announced and so many loud proclamations made. So many
partisan political comrades applauded eagerly, repeatedly and loudly.
But angry groupings with this and that title remained in place and kept
making their fearful presence known. Bombings and murders took place
as a matter of course. Guns, bullets, and bombs were kept. Violence was
nonchalantly noted. The extremist remained as such and much greater
extremism was reported alive and well. People waited and hoped. Unity,
however, was nowhere confirmed and peace remained but a dream.
And recently, a good number of PNP SAF officers and men were
deployed in that danger zone – for one reason or another. But no one
supposedly responsible seemed to really know why. And for one reason
or another as well, many of them were done away with –- readily killed,
eventually gunned down if not gravely wounded. Now their families
are grieving. Their relatives are angry. Their friends are restless. People
in general are disgusted.
On one hand, honors are promised. Promotions are completed.
Money grants are even talked about. But the dead remain dead. The
wives remain widows. The children remain, sadly, fatherless, pitiful
orphans. On the other hand, those who personally know the what and
they why of the debacle are angry. They know some things are wrong
-– very wrong. What are they thinking, what are they planning? Only
they know what.
Explanations were made. Justifications were forwarded. Allegations
were voiced out. But just the same, big questions and serious doubts
remain. There are, however, some things that appear certain: The present
government is strange -– with strange ideas, with strange plans, with
strange options. It wallows in the belief that it is the gift of the gods to
the people. It considers itself as all-knowing, as well as almighty.
But more and more people are asking: Where is the present government going as it appears to be running around after its own tail? Why
are people taxed from birth to death and yet public service is at its
worst? What is now the stand of the government about Sabah? Why
is it ominously silent about it? How come statistics say that the socioeconomic development of the country is at its highest level, while
poverty is widespread on ground reality?
Hopefully, everything is all right and nothing at all is wrong. Hopefully,
unity and peace are still possible even in Mindanao. Hopefully, considering that so many things are down, they have no other way than to go up.
But as things are, it bears saying, “What now!” and asking, “Now what?”

Interreligious dialogue
AN attitude of openness in truth and in love must characterize the
dialogue with the followers of non-Christian religions, in spite of various obstacles and difficulties, especially forms of fundamentalism on
both sides. Interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in
the world, and so it is a duty for Christians as well as other religious
communities. This dialogue is in first place a conversation about human
existence or simply, as the bishops of India have put it, a matter of “being
open to them, sharing their joys and sorrows”. In this way we learn to
accept others and their different ways of living, thinking and speaking.
We can then join one another in taking up the duty of serving justice and
peace, which should become a basic principle of all our exchanges. A dialogue which seeks social peace and justice is in itself, beyond all merely
practical considerations, an ethical commitment which brings about a
new social situation. Efforts made in dealing with a specific theme can
become a process in which, by mutual listening, both parts can be purified and enriched. These efforts, therefore, can also express love for truth.
In this dialogue, ever friendly and sincere, attention must always be
paid to the essential bond between dialogue and proclamation, which
leads the Church to maintain and intensify her relationship with
non-Christians. A facile syncretism would ultimately be a totalitarian
gesture on the part of those who would ignore greater values of which
they are not the masters. True openness involves remaining steadfast
in one’s deepest convictions, clear and joyful in one’s own identity,
while at the same time being “open to understanding those of the
other party” and “knowing that dialogue can enrich each side”. What
is not helpful is a diplomatic openness which says “yes” to everything
in order to avoid problems, for this would be a way of deceiving others and denying them the good which we have been given to share
generously with others. Evangelization and interreligious dialogue,
far from being opposed, mutually support and nourish one another.
Our relationship with the followers of Islam has taken on great
importance, since they are now significantly present in many
traditionally Christian countries, where they can freely worship
and become fully a part of society. We must never forget that
they “profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us
they adore the one, merciful God, who will judge humanity on
the last day”. The sacred writings of Islam have retained some
Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old,
men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take
part in religious services. Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God.
They also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an
ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need.
In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for
all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded
in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of
others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light
on shared beliefs. We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope
and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I
ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to
worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam
should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and
the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Now what?

A Lenten Invitation from
Pope Francis

Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM
“Year of the Poor” Reflections

IN the first Lenten Message of his pontificate,
Pope Francis noted: “I would like to offer some
helpful thoughts on our path of conversion….
These insights are inspired by the words of
Saint Paul: ‘Remember how generous the Lord
Jesus was: he was rich, but he became poor for
your sake, to make you rich out of his poverty’
(2 Cor 8:9).”
This passage “shows us how God works. He
does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power
and wealth, but rather in weakness and poverty.”
Christ “chose to be poor; he came amongst us
and drew near to each of us; he set aside his
glory and emptied himself, so that he could be
like us in all things.” Indeed, “God’s becoming
man is a great mystery!”
Pope Francis explains Christ’s choice of poverty: “the reason for all this is his love, a love which
is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love
which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice
for the beloved. Charity … breaks down walls
and eliminates distances. God did this with us.”
Reflecting on Christ’s voluntary choice of
poverty, Pope Francis notes: “By making him-

self poor, Jesus did not seek poverty for its own
sake but, as Saint Paul says ‘that by his poverty
you might become rich.’ This is no mere play
on words or a catch phrase. Rather, it sums up
God’s logic, the logic of love, the logic of the
incarnation and the cross.”
Saint Paul states that we were set free, not by
Christ’s riches, but by his poverty. Thus, Pope
Francis asks: “what is this poverty by which
Christ frees us and enriches us? It is his way of
loving us, his way of being our neighbor, just
as the Good Samaritan was neighbor to the
man left half dead by the side of the road (cf.
Lk 10:25ff).”
“When Jesus asks us to take up his ‘yoke
which is easy,’ he asks us to be enriched by his
‘poverty which is rich’ and his ‘richness which
is poor,’ to share his filial and fraternal Spirit, to
become sons and daughters in the Son.” Pope
Francis concludes that “we could say that there is
only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ.”
Continuing his Lenten message, Pope Francis
asserts: “In imitation of our Master, we Chris-

And That’s The Truth

tians are called to confront the poverty of our
brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our
own and to take practical steps to alleviate it.
Destitution is not the same as poverty: destitution is poverty without faith, without support,
without hope…. Material destitution is what
is normally called poverty, and affects those living in conditions opposed to human dignity.”
“In response to this destitution, the Church
offers her help, her diakonia, in meeting these
needs and binding these wounds which disfigure
the face of humanity. In the poor and outcast
we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the
poor, we love and serve Christ.”
Concluding his 2014 Lenten message, Pope
Francis offers words of encouragement: “May
the Holy Spirit, through whom we are ‘as poor,
yet making many rich; as having nothing, and
yet possessing everything’ (2 Cor 6:10), sustain
us in our resolutions and increase our concern
and responsibility for human destitution, so that
we can become merciful and act with mercy.”
Pope Francis challenges us to engage in a fruitful
Lenten journey, particularly with God’s poor.

Truth and common sense

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

As of Feb. 4, 10 days after the tragedy, the so-called “Maguindanao
Massacre 2” and its increasingly
intriguing legal ramifications still
form the meat of the news.
The formation of several investigative bodies has been suggested—including a “Truth Commission”—but what “truths” will
any investigation yield? How pure
will the motives of the investigating
body be, how neutral its stand, how
committed to the pursuit of truth?
Through all the agitation resulting
from the mayhem that took 63 Filipino lives (44 + 19), certain truths
have surfaced that need no further
verification for reasons so obvious
that common sense suffices.

1. A suspended PNP chief is
still in control behind the scene;
he is on top of Oplan Wolverine.
(“Suspended na, nakikialam pa?
Bakeeeeet?” Only the president of
the republic can answer that).
2. The president of the republic
is the only other person to know
of the plan. (Pray tell, where else
on earth is a suspended national
police chief so trusted by a chief
3. The acting PNP chief and the
Local Government head are both
ignorant of the plan. (Why bypass
these two? Only the president can
explain why).
4. All of the above are from
Chief Superintendent Getulio

Some notes on poverty

--Evangelii Gaudium, #250-253, 2013


Living Mission

Napenas, admitted publicly and
repeated endlessly by media. He
was sacked soon after. (Because in
telling the truth he implicated the
country’s highest officer? Only the
president can answer that).
5. There is a $5 million reward
on the head of the quarry Marwan.
(Is this why Oplan Wolverine was
kept a secret? Maybe the president
knows the answer to that).
6. The suspended police chief
has fled to Saipan, a US commonwealth. Whatever the reason for
the choice of destination, the bad
timing and the president’s silence
on it invites suspicion. Is the US
involved in Oplan Wolverine? (Nobody seems willing to answer that).

The incident is never mentioned
in the international news—I find
that very strange. As I write this,
foreign television channels are all
agog to report bad news around
the world, including: the burning
to death of a Jordanian pilot; the
beheading of the a Japanese journalist by the ISIS; the stabbing of
some French cops in Nice; a train
collision in New York that killed
six people; renewed “catastrophic”
clashes in Ukraine; the hospitalization of Whitney Houston’s
daughter; the toy sales that boosted
Disney’s coffers; and the ubiquitous
football matches.
Do you not wonder why someAnd That’s The Truth / A5

Candidly Speaking
Fr. Roy Cimagala



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IT’S obvious that we have to do all we can to
combat bad poverty. That’s the poverty that
dehumanizes us, that undermines our dignity
as persons and as children of God. Anything
that stands in the way of what we ought to
be, both on the natural level and with respect
to our supernatural destination, should be
rooted out.
And in this Year of the Poor, it’s understandable that we are called upon first to do
something about the plight of the many people
suffering under some yoke of human misery
like hunger, unemployment, ignorance, injustice, and other forms of privation.
These in themselves are already a very formidable task that deserves our immediate action.
We need to pray and offer a lot of sacrifices for
these causes, sparing nothing to resolve them.
But our understanding of poverty would be
gravely deficient if we regard poverty exclusively in this light.
There’s a lot more to poverty than this common and most wonderful sense of empathy
and sympathy with our fellow citizens in dire
necessity. There’s a good poverty that is actually

a virtue to be desired and cultivated.
It’s the poverty that makes us more and more
human, and that fosters our relationship with
God and with others. It gives us the proper
attitude toward all earthly goods and our
temporal affairs, delineating how these ought
to be pursued, used and developed.
It’s not true that good and Christian poverty
is averse to possession of material things or to
involvement in business, politics, arts, fashion,
etc. Or that it has to be lived exclusively in the
original Franciscan style of austerity. If this was
the case, only the Franciscans who follow the
original charism would live Christian poverty.
Good and Christian poverty is very much
compatible with being a millionaire or billionaire, with a lot of possessions, but whose
heart is completely detached from them. He
only uses them exclusively for God’s glory and
for the good of all men.
He who lives good and Christian poverty,
even if he is a millionaire or a billionaire with
lots of possessions, would certainly stay away
from any form of ostentation, vanity, and
arrogance. He lives a simple life despite the

many things he owns. He avoids idleness and
ego-tripping. Rather he is always busy for God
and for others.
He knows that all earthly goods, whether
naturally endowed or acquired through human
labor, come from God and belong to God. He
knows that they are meant for God’s glory and
that they have a universal destination for the
good of all people.
He is not averse to exploiting these goods
to their maximum potentials, following God’s
command to our first parents to “subdue the
earth,” and doing this exploitation of the
earthly goods always in accordance to God’s
natural law and the law of love and justice.
Since he has a lot of possessions, he knows he
has to give a lot more. He knows he has to be
generous, sharing not only what is in excess of
his needs. He knows he has to give everything,
following that indication Christ gave to the
rich young man in the Gospel “to go sell what
you have…and come follow me.” (Mt 19, 21)
Good and Christian poverty therefore
knows how to use material things. We have to
Candidly Speaking / A7

CBCP Monitor


February 2 - 15, 2015, Vol. 19. No. 3

The Kapilya Pope

Spaces of Hope

Collection Box

Fr. James Secillano, MPA

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
I WAS there in the field near
the Tacloban airport where Pope
Francis celebrated that Mass of
many firsts.
I had woken up at 2 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 and, still half asleep,
boarded a vehicle with three other
priests to proceed to the Sacred
Heart Seminary. There we boarded
a shuttle bus with other priests.
The bus was about to depart
when I noticed something amiss:
my ID was missing! Without
it only dead-ends awaited me.
Thoughts quickly ran through my
head, each presenting a possible
solution to my predicament. I
decided to disembark to seek help.
Just outside the vehicle I met a
seminarian who asked why I was
leaving. After I told him my situation, he immediately said: “It’s on
your back.”
Much relieved, a big smile returned to my face. It was just the
wind after all! Meanwhile, the
adrenaline rush had left me wide
I had arrived by plane in Tacloban a day before. Other members
of my Dilaab team fetched me
at the airport. They had taken a
ro-ro ferry from Cebu to Ormoc
and had been the beneficiaries of
the kind hospitality of Monsignor
Dido Arroyo and Sr. Lolit Caballo

of The Mother of the Redeemer
Parish in Ormoc.
We spent the day reminiscing
about our experiences in the Archdiocese of Palo in the aftermath
of Typhoon Yolanda. There was
a feeling of quiet joy as we recognized familiar faces and when
we saw devastated places that had
since been reconstructed. This was
a happy reunion of sorts fueled by
shared memories, like my chat with
the Palo Chancellor, Fr. Ric Marpa.
Another highlight of the day was
a hearty lunch served at the Residence of Archbishop John Du. We
made sure we had pictures taken of
the hall where the Pope was to have
a meal with Yolanda and Bohol
earthquake survivors. We were
happy for the smiling volunteers
who were looking forward to meeting the Holy Father personally.
Little did we know how things
would actually turn out the following day.
PAG-ASA had forecasted the
threat of Typhoon Amang, the
first storm of the year. It was signal
number 2 on the morning of the
Pope’s visit. I paid scant attention
to it, overwhelmed by the thought
of seeing the Pope and hoping that
the storm would live up to its name
in Cebuano (i.e. “mute”). Many
others may have shared the same

The Slaughter of 44
“WHAT is happening in this country?” I cannot
help but ask the question as I read reports about
the encounter between the Special Action Force
(SAF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) and Bansangmoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
We condemn this slaughter of peacemakers.
The 44 SAF policemen who were slaughtered were human beings, they have families.
They are fathers, husbands, sons, brothers,
uncles, in-laws, fiancés, friends to their love
ones. They were not pawns in the game of the
generals. They were young men and among
the courageous and most principled in the elite
SAF. There was neither “mis-encounter” nor
“self-defense”. How can it be a “mis-encounter”
when the gun fire fights lasted for more than
12 hours? “Mis-encounter” can be determined
minutes after the initial shooting.
How can it be “self-defense” when SAF
members were shot at close range even when
they were already down and wounded? Is it
“self-defense” when they got and used the guns
of the SAF members to shoot those already
dead, or steal the SAF belongings like night
vision goggles and cell phones, or tear their
uniforms and undressed them? There was even
unconfirmed reports of incidence of beheading
and mutilations, and gunshot wounds at the
back of the soldiers, a traitorous act.
Why were there no reinforcements from the
military despite urgent calls from the battle field?
Why was there no interventions considering that
a cease fire is in effect? The poor SAF policemen
were actually “sitting ducks” in the battleground.
Who really called the shots in this operation?
Why was the Secretary Mar Roxas of DILG
(Department of Interior and Local Government),
to whom the PNP reports, never informed about
this mission to serve the warrant of arrest on
wanted terrorists Malaysian Marwan and Filipino
Usman at the MILF and BIFF lair? Was there
power play in the government hierarchy? Why?
There are so many questions that the investigators must look into. The blood of those 44
SAF policemen and 12 wounded are on the
hands of the culprits, whether they are MILF,

The first drops of rain came
around 4 a.m. Meanwhile I had
taken my seat at the concelebrants’
rows of chairs on the right of the
altar immediately below and in
front of it. The “amakan” (i.e.
woven bamboo) backdrop of the
templete (i.e. small temple housing
the altar) captured the simplicity in
spirit called for by Pope Francis.
A north-westerly wind began
blowing. Soon, despite our raincoats, we were soaking wet and
feeling the cold. Puddles of water
formed on the ground. Fingers
started to become numb and
gnarled, a sign of the onset of
hypothermia. The emcees then
led the crowds to pray the rosary.
This ended with the praying of
the “Oratio Imperata” against typhoons which included the line to
“bind its anger and cast it into the
depths of the sea.” I felt assured.
Though conditions were uncomfortable yet an imperturbable
aura of joyful hope permeated the
gathering. We were egged on by
youthful animators who danced to
the tune of two theme songs of the
papal visit, with the bilingual song
in English and Waray providing a
more vigorous beat.
Deep in me, I had the assurance
of the Pope making it despite the
weather. In the tranquil silence

Spaces of Hope, A7

Duc In Altum
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

BIFF or government officials. It is now the
duty of our dear Senators to seriously study
and review the BBL (Bansangmoro Basic Law)
before approving it. They should consider the
circumstances surrounding the Mamasapano
Massacre. There is only one PNP (Philippine
National Police) in the whole Philippines and
its rank does not need to ask permission from
the MILF or BIFF before they could implement
their mission in that area.
Our Senators should look into the sincerity of
all parties in the peace process. There is no need
to rush the passage of BBL. They should define
what “Bansangmoro Basic Law” means. Does it
mean the Constitution of the Bansangmoro? If
it would be their Constitution, is the Republic
surrendering its sovereignty over areas and
peoples covered by BBL? Why should it cover
provinces like Palawan, etc. where majority of
its residents are Christians? If the goal of this
government is to attain peace in the area, then,
it must think again, for it might be taking a
wooden club to strike its head.
At least this time, the senators should not
disappoint the Filipino people, especially the
family, friends and love ones of the slaughtered
44 SAF policemen and their 12 wounded colleagues. They should not let their death be in
vain. If there is a need to cross party lines in
making decision, then they must do so for the
sake of those massacred and wounded but courageous and gallant SAF policemen. They should
make reflection and discernment, study their
conscience before casting their vote on the BBL.
For once, they must show the Filipino people
that they are really our honorable, dependable
and courageous senators of the Republic. They
should not let us down at this crucial time in
our country’s history. We implore Divine assistance and guidance in their decision-making.
God bless the souls of those 44 SAF policemen
and grant them eternal rest. May the Lord give
strength to the 12 wounded SAF policemen.
God bless the love ones of the 44 slaughtered
and 12 wounded SAF policemen. God bless the
Philippines and the Filipino people.


of my heart, I prayed for all who
asked for my prayers and those who
needed my prayers. I saw their faces
in my mind.
“Viva Il Papa, Papa Francesco!”
we chanted as the Pope’s convoy
arrived behind the templete around
845 a.m. Tears were mingling with
the rain. The Mass was about to
begin. The wait was all worth it!
The Pope came out to the simple
rhythm of a piano playing single,
distinct notes woven into human
voices praising God. He had on
a light yellow raincoat over his
liturgical garb. He proceeded to
celebrate a much-abbreviated Mass
so to leave before the 3 p.m. landfall
of Amang. Communion was to be
received after Mass inside enclosed
communion stations.
Due to the high, pointed ceiling immediately above the main
altar that lets in rain, Mass was
celebrated using the credence
table (i.e. small table containing
wine and mass vessels). It looked
like a scene inside a kapilya. The
serene countenance of the main
celebrant convinced me that here
was a pastor who is no stranger to
such pastoral contingencies.
Later, when asked what he
learned from his visit to the
country, Pope Francis said, “The

Two weeks have passed since His Holiness
Pope Francis left the country after a very successful and peaceful visit but the Pope Francis
fever remains among the Filipinos.
There are some sidelights that are worth
mentioning. Pope Francis is known for his
unscheduled activities or stops. Right after the
Mass at the Manila Cathedral, he visited the
“Tulay ng Kabataan” (Bridge of the Youth)
where he met the street children who were saved
from begging, drugs and prostitution.
During the motorcade to the SM Mall of Asia
Arena for the encounter with families, he kissed
and blessed a baby carried to him by his security.
When the Pope mobile was about to enter the
Nunciature, two mothers made sign languages
to the Pope and pointed at the baby each was
carrying. The Pope reached out, carried the
baby one after another, kissed and blessed them.
At the Villamor Air Base before his flight to
Tacloban, instead of proceeding to the plane,
he walked towards the school kids and persons
in wheelchairs and blessed them. During the
motorcade to Palo Cathedral, he stopped at the
house of the victim of Typhoon Yolanda, prayed
for them, blessed them and gave rosaries to the
family members. Likewise, upon his arrival from
Tacloban, he greeted and had selfie shots with
the people waiting for him at Villamor Air Base.
It happened again. When Pope Francis get out
of the door of the Sri Lankan plane which brought
him to the Philippines, his skullcap was blown
away by the wind. For the second time, when Pope
Francis left Tacloban Airport, his skullcap was also
blown away by Typhoon Amang strong wind.
I would like to wish my youngest nephew
Romarico “Rome” Santiago, son of Roy and
Jinky Santiago Happy 1st Birthday; also Happy
Birthday to my niece Ria Edeliza Imperial,
daughter of Bobbie and Isa Imperial, and my
sister-in-law Nisa Santiago, wife of my brother
Benny Santiago. Happy Birthday also to Kalookan Diocese’s clergy: Fr. Rufino “Gigi” Yabut
(Oeconomus), Fr. Tim Guarin and Fr. Dennis
Salise and Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr.
Ofero Stephen Balana.

.05 Seconds of Grace

Fr. Francis Ongkingco

ONE could feel how serenely
tense the atmosphere was. Babies
carried by their mothers, toddlers,
teenagers, adults and the elderly
constantly trickled into the open
space and lined up layer upon layer
behind a metal barrier.
We anxiously waited…and
waited. We didn’t care how long.
We simply clung to the hope that
this was exactly the place to be: a
chance to see Pope Francis passing by!
The people spent the long hours
chatting, singing, praying, and others already prepared the food they
would have for lunch and dinner.
It was going to be a long wait, but
one worth the waiting for.
As the hours ticked by, closer to
the anticipated moment, a sudden
cheer would mysteriously burst
out from the crowd. This made us
forget our tired legs and feet as we
dashed and compressed towards
the now already crammed barrier.
Phones, cameras and what-haveyou gadgets aimed at a lucky shot
or video of the Pope.
The excitement subsided when
we realized that it was only a ruse.
But everyone was a good sport and
laughed at their own over excitement. Besides it was also one way to
practice positioning one’s gadget for
a good shot of the Papal moment.

That moment came! All eyes,
gadgets and strained muscles synchronized towards a yet unknown
point on the road. Even those who
may have lacked the stature to capture a better shot didn’t complain.
They eagerly stretched their physical limits to simply snap whatever
providence might allow.
The moment passed! Pope Francis was greeted with cheers and
flags. These were simultaneously
accompanied by waving hands and
steadily focused digital devices.
The Pope must have only passed
the spot where we stood for just
a second. But that second became
forever digitally framed.
When the excitement died
down, a young woman beside me
started crying.
“I saw him! I saw him!” She said.
Her companions huddled
around her and joyfully embraced
her. It seemed they also had been
able to snap an image of the grandfather (“Lolo Kiko”) Pope.
“…there…there…and now…
THERE HE IS!” She exclaimed
as they all relived the Pope passing
by their spot.
Perhaps, I reflected, the young
woman had only capture a second,
maybe even just half a second.
And yet that brief moment had
transmitted so many things to

her and had become a conversion
point for her.
I continued pondering, “If that
is what .05 seconds of grace could
do, what could 1 second…5 seconds… 60 seconds… and more
grace can work?”
The young lady was totally focused
on “seeing someone” but together
with this “visual contact” she was
fully disposed to receive the graces
that were channeled through the person of the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
This reminds us how Scripture
described people being cured by
just touching the fringe of our
Lord’s cloak. St. Thomas Aquinas
also taught how it would have been
sufficient for “just one drop of our
Lord’s precious blood” to save the
entire world of all its guilt.
In the end, it isn’t so much how
much grace we receive but how
disposed we are to receiving it.
Grace is God’s work, not of man’s.
Even if it comes in torrents or
trickles, the effect will depend on
the willingness of our heart, mind
and soul to be transformed by, in
and through it.
It is, therefore, no surprise to
overhear people saying that they
get bored with prayer, the Rosary
and even the Holy Mass. They say
nothing seems to change in them
through the days, months and

years of their pious practices or
Perhaps, they are right! But only
because they are capable of seeing
“only what want to see or hear”
but are not disposed to perceive or
listen to what God –in his Fatherly
love—is trying to make them realize what is for their goodness and
fruitfulness. Grace always works,
because it comes from God, but
its effects will depend on how one
embraces it.
Does this mean that we will have
to filter in every single second of
grace? Definitely not, especially
since this would be next to impossible. It would be enough to place
the proper channels to naturally
receive grace: prayer, sacrifice, Sacraments, constant spiritual and
corporal works of mercy, etc.
Most of all, we must keep ourselves constantly open to grace,
not only by keeping away from
sin, but awaiting God’s surprising
love. This surprise is hidden in our
daily work, while commuting and
malling, socializing, resting and
other ordinary engagements.
If we only have a constant desire
to meet Him, Christ will never
defraud us. He will surely pass by,
and this surprise of just .05 seconds
would be enough to transform our
day, ourselves and others.

Justice not Compromise
or Political Expediency
IT would be the height of arrogance and indifference if President
Aquino together with Teresita Deles and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer would
push for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), especially
in light of the massacre of the forty-four (44) SAF troopers whom
the entire nation now consider heroes and martyrs.
While prudence is a virtue that is lacking in many of us, it would be
best, in the interest of the bereaved families and the ordinary Filipinos,
for the government to prudently cease and desist for the meantime in
talking to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) about legalizing
their existence as the new leaders of Mindanao through the congressional approval of the BBL. The MILF is still technically a band of
outlaws that is considered a threat to our country’s internal security. If
the group can slaughter our uniformed personnel at a time when they
are supposed to be building trust and showing sincerity in the pursuit
of peace, what would prevent them from reigning with impunity in
Mindanao once their ascent to a position of power is legitimized?
Think of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
under Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
and more recently under the Ampatuan family. There was madness
in the region and no serious economic development happened. The
billions of pesos poured in by the central government were merely
pocketed by unscrupulous politicians supported and coddled by past
regimes. President Noynoy Aquino’s “bright” advisers claimed that
the ARMM is a “failed experiment”. While true, are they thinking
now that their novel idea, the BBL, will be a panacea of sorts to all
the problems in Mindanao?
Consider this, why would an internationally wanted terrorist, who
claimed the lives of so many people, not surrendered by the MILF to
the police or the military? May our government not be fooled if the
MILF will claim that they don’t know the existence of the guy in their
claimed territory. If our government will be so naïve as to accept that
excuse then pity us poor Filipinos for we are ruled by fools who are
easily swayed by mad people in Mindanao just so a “legacy of peace”
may be blindly established.
I am for peace in Mindanao. But we cannot just dismiss this day
of infamy in the history of our country when forty-four brave young
men died helplessly in the line of duty. Peace, in the words of the
Philippine bishops, “is not achieved by mere handshake”. It is built
on trust, honesty, truth and sincerity. As our bishops said yet again,
“it is also built on justice”.
The quest for justice should start. The government must investigate and go to the bottom of this carnage to find out who should
be held accountable. Our officials should leave no stone unturned
and punish the guilty if warranted. And if the MILF will be found
to violate all agreed forms of engagement, then the government is
morally bound to terminate all initial agreements with the group
in relation with the Bangsamoro Basic Law. If this BBL becomes
untenable in the light of this unfortunate event, government officials
should junk it and let it become a footnote in the history of our
country. We must not risk entrusting the future of Mindanaoans
to the hands of leaders whose rationality borders on insanity. We
must not sacrifice our policemen and armed forces yet again. If,
indeed, they are reasonable “Moros”, why would they publicize a
video of the dastardly manner the SAF troopers were killed? Such
treachery and barbarity reject every inch of sincerity and rationality
they constantly evoke, while forging peace with the government.
Peace is always a good prospect but the realities and circumstances
in Mindanao are hindering its achievement. Before our emotions get
the better of us, let us make this urgent plea to our beloved Pnoy,
“Not yet Mr. President”!
The young widow of one of the fallen 44 best expressed this sentiment for justice when she said, “All I ask right now is justice, not
only for my husband, but for everyone who fought and fell, please Sir
President, please help us”. We can only hope that this justice is based
on truth and not as a result of compromise and political expediency.
We must not allow the appeasement of the guilty just so the government’s project of peace in Mindanao will push through. What better
way to remind the President of this than a grieving widow pleading
to his face that true justice must be served.
The families of the 44 brave warriors are mourning and many others are crying but behind their grief and tears are the support of the
entire nation, the prayers and compassion of the Filipino people and
a collective desire for peace based on justice. When will this peace be
achieved? I do not know, but maybe when people become ready for
it. May the Prince of peace guide us in our pursuit of peace in our
home, community, Church and country!
And That’s The Truth / A4

thing as tragic as this Mindanao
clash that killed 63 Filipinos—happening in the middle of peace talks
and implicating the president and
his friend the suspended police
chief—is not getting even 10 seconds of footage on international
TV? Is the welfare of this poor
island nation of less importance
to their audiences than the life of
dead celebrity’s daughter?
You might find interesting what
I heard about foreign media’s silence from a friend—among that
rare breed of thinkers who wed
intellectual agility with sound
moral judgment: The big question
is this: “Either it isn’t newsworthy
enough ... or the US Embassy had
purchased the gag. In my humble
opinion the proof of US involvement is the silence of foreign media
on SAF44. It would be so easy for
modern investigative journalism
to dig up the facts and expose
another US blunder, at the end of
which chain would be ... well, by
command responsibility, Obama.
Those covert operators at USAID
and spin doctors in Dewey Boulevard are sweating bullets trying to
cover ass. Could the same not be
happening in Malacañan?”
He asks who authorized Purisima
to remote-control the operation,
and points out that the suspended
police chief ‘s training “was done
mainly in Uncle Sam’s turf ”… in
2011, 2010, 2004, 1987, 1986.
Who wouldn’t suspect that he had
been recruited somewhere along
the way? They had him in ‘86,
by my reckoning. Who wouldn’t
suspect that Alan Purisima’s unexplained wealth came not from
Filipino taxpayers, but American?
… Doesn’t it make you shudder to
think that the Philippine National
Police can be headed by an agent of
a foreign power? It’s a question of

loyalty and trust. Make no mistake
about it: Noynoy and Alan are
virtual American citizens, loyal to
the United States (and beyond that,
even Freemasonry).”
My friend continues: “But the
way facts are emerging, it seems that
Purisima was more than a consultant. And the whole operation went
way beyond Noynoy or his good
friend Alan. It has all the marks of
a behest political action op from the
US (under cover of USAID). The
objectives were not wrong. But the
execution was terribly flawed. They
have no permanent friends, these
guys, only permanent interests.
They bypassed Philippine government authorities and violated Philippine sovereignty, at the expense of
the lives of Filipino “pawns” about
whom they could not care less. As a
matter of partisan practice, Noynoy
was raring to gather the Nobel pogi
points for the capture of Marwan
and Usman. But then, pffft! Even
now, official explanations are being
spun to broadcast limited versions
of the whole truth.”
Much as I would not wish to
“unfriend” the country that has
been the home of so many of my
relatives, I cannot play deaf to my
friend’s incisive observations, for it
has been the strategy of world powers wanting to dominate a nation:
divide and conquer.
There are so many other facts
and facets to explore relating to
the Mamasapano incident, but for
now, we remember that the tragedy
snuffed the lives of not just 44 SAF
commandos but also of 19 rebels,
all Filipinos. Brother against
brother in a bloodbath—all for
what? Things are not always what
they seem to be. It’s about time
we Filipinos took a serious look
at world politics and see our puny
spot in it. And that’s the truth.


February 2 - 15, 2015, Vol. 19. No. 3

Kanlungan conducts
pain healing mission
for Dumagats

Kanlungan ni Maria priest-in-charge Fr. Dari Diquino (in a Mercy and Compassion shirt)
cheers with Dumagats at a chapel in a mountainous section of Tanay. KANLUNGAN NI MARIA

THE pain-healing mission team
organized by an Antipolo home
for the aged visited on Jan. 29 an
ethnic community thriving in a
mountainous section of Southern
Harnessing the natural and safe
curative power of magnesium,
Kanlungan ni Maria provided
free transdermal magnesium
therapy to 107 Dumagats in
Tanay, said Victoria BaterinaSolis, Kanlungan special project
The recipients included Dumagat seniors, teens, and children, who gathered at a chapel
to receive the free therapy and
bottles of magnesium, she said.
Magnesium deficiency
According to Kanlungan ni
Maria priest-in-charge Fr. Dari
Dioquino, the residents complained of muscle cramps, arthritis, back pain, frozen shoulder,
and gout, among others.
Unlike their recent pain healing missions in the Rizal towns
of Pililia, Jalajala, and Cainta,
Dumagat women were found
suffering from hyperacidity due
to chronic skipping of meals.
Most body pains are related to
magnesium deficiency, said Mary
Jean Netario Cruz, who is recognized by many as the country’s
leading magnesium advocate.
When the body is depleted of
magnesium due to poor diet and
an unhealthy lifestyle characterized by excessive caffeine and
alcohol intake, overwork, and extended pharmaceutical drug use,
pain sets in, explained Netario
Cruz, who is also Kanlungan’s
wellness program director.
Pain can be addressed by the
repletion of the mineral either

through the skin or orally, she
Since the Dumagats’ staples
are kamote (sweet potato) and
corn, the group brought the
community eight sacks of rice
and planting materials, shared
The tribe’s agriculture relies on
rainfall for water, she noted.
According to Baterina-Solis,
the Dumagats’ main sources
of livelihood are production of
sawali (woven bamboo splits),
livestock production, and processing tree branches into charcoal.
During the encounter, the
locals were also trained on livelihood and the protection of drinking water sources.
Mountrain trail
Netario Cruz, Baterina-Solis,
Nida Cabrera and Cupido Angeles, who is a care-giver at Kanlungan, conducted the transdermal
therapy themselves.
The pain-healing team, together with Berlito P. Bati Jr.
from the Tanay Mayor’s Office,
and Danilyn Cabrera traversed
a mountain trail for an hour to
reach the said community.
It was the first time the Dumagats in Tanay were visited
by an outreach team, revealed
Baterina-Solis. Previously, they
were always asked to go down the
mountain to receive free services
and goods downtown.
The Dumagats, who are Roman Catholics, celebrate Mass
with a priest only once in a year
during their fiesta, she said.
(Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor

‘Year of the Poor’ themed Night
Market set
A SEGUNDA Mana Night Market
for a cause, why not? The Diocese
of Tagum will be setting up a sale
of new and pre-loved items from
Feb. 19 to 20 at the Social Action
Center, Diocese of Tagum as part
of the activities lined up for the
Mindanao celebration of the 40th
Alay Kapwa (AK) anniversary and
the launching of the Year of the
“I appreciated much how the
‘Segunda Mana’ of Caritas-Manila
operates. And I wish to replicate it
here in our diocese. So, I am now
starting to go around within the
diocese to encourage people, especially in the middle class to donate
things which they no longer need,
yet, valuable to people in other
classes of the society,” said Fr. Emerson “EmEm” L. Luego, Director
of the Social Action Ministry of the
Diocese of Tagum.
The Social Action Center is
located at the back of the Parish of
Christ the Eucharistic King (PCEK
Parish or the old Cathedral), Rizal
Street, Tagum City
Local entrepreneurs
According to the priest, the
clergy are not exempt from donating items for sale, in fact, the
Tagum clergy have started to bring
out T-shirts, pants and shoes they
no longer use for the Night Market.
Luego shared that it is also his
hope that the event can provide local entrepreneurs an avenue to link
with consumers from other places
in Mindanao and even Manila due
to the presence of delegates and
guests coming in from these places
during the celebration.
With the help of the LGUs
within the diocese, especially the
T agum City government, all

the products produced as outputs
from their livelihood trainings
will also be displayed for sale.
The proceeds
o f t h e Ni g h t
Market will be
used to fund thematic programs
of social action
like projects for
disaster preparedness and relief;
justice and peace;
farmers’ welfare;
ecology; socioeconomic activities; and other
5 0 0 ye a r s o f
According to
Luego, the delegates will also
be encouraged to
visit Compostela
Valley that was
struck by super
typhoon Pablo
and where the
“Pabahay” project is.
“They will be
briefed how the
Diocese of Tagum through its organized Operation Tabang (OpTa)
was able to manage millions of pesos
coming from the different donors
here and abroad, that were intended
for rehabilitation,” Luego added.
Meanwhile, Tagum Bishop Wilfredo D. Manlapaz, D.D. encouraged all apostolates, Church leaders, and parishioners to join and

witness the launching of the Year
of the Poor on Feb 21, saying: “…
Every faithful Catholics must know
and discern the importance why
the Catholic Church declares 2015
as the Year of the Poor.”
“The CBCP continues in its
preparation for the 500 years of
Christianity by the year 2021,
apportions also the year 2015 as

the Year of the Poor. The Second
Plenary Council of the Philippines
says, No one is so poor as to have
nothing to give, and no one is so
rich as to have nothing to receive.
May our poor brothers and sisters
be given enough attention and
care so that they can get rid of
unfair hardship,” he added. (Yen

Pro-life group creates SAF44 ‘prayer-chain’

Consecrated / A1

exercise of People Power,” it adds.
Live present with passion
According to AMRSP, the religious are called to “live the
present with passion” in keeping
with the Holy Father’s reminder
that “Religious life is prophecy”
(Conversation with the USG, 29
Nov 2013, Rome).
“More precisely, it is prophecy
from the margins. We are called
to go to the places where the great
majority of our sisters and brothers
have been driven away from the
centers of power, wealth, and opportunities and from there – with
the marginalized – proclaim the
Gospel and act on its demands.
Passion for the Reign of God
means, first and foremost, focusing
single-heartedly on the ‘weightier
matters of the law: justice and
mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23),” the
group explains.
“In other words, we are urged
to join the victims of typhoons,
earthquakes, and floods, of injustices and corruptions, of neglect
of one’s social and personal responsibilities to be the prophetic
voice of the Spirit, who, deep in
the hearts of the marginalized and
abandoned, is crying for mercy,
justice, and compassion. Let our
words and actions be signs of assurance that a better life is possible
for those who have been pushed to

the social, economic, and political
peripheries,” it stresses.
AMRSP also underscores the
need for consecrated people to
“embrace the future with hope,”
viewing religious life as an “eschatological sign,” a constant and
living reminder of the mystery of
the Church as a Pilgrim People,
journeying towards the “new
heaven and new earth” (Is 66:27).”
Vital role
Keeping in mind their important role in the Church in
the Philippine’s own journey
to the ultimate future,” women
and men religious declare, “Our
consecration is a sign of total faith: the Reign of God is
worth abandoning everything
and dedicating one’s whole self
and entire life for its sake. Our
fraternal life in community is a
sign of inclusive love: the grand
design of God includes the communion of all peoples in their
According to the group, missionary life is a sign of “radical
hope” as they proclaim God’s
Word and work towards the complete transformation of society.
They note, “This is all because
we hope in the God of the Covenant, who promises fullness of
life and love for all peoples.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

Probe / A1

members,” the prelate laments.
Villegas adds committee members, especially PNoy appointees,
must be “endorsed by and acceptable to the public, recognized for
their probity, acknowledged for
their truthfulness and characterized
by their boldness.”
No secrecy
“The vocal advocates for the
passage of the draft Bangsamoro
Basic Law [BBL],” he explains,
“are not credible nominees because
they have made it exceedingly clear
that they would not like the sad
incident to derail the process of the
enactment of the BBL.”
The CBCP chief points out it is
also important that “the hearings of
the body be open to all, and that its
findings be available to all,” given
that “nothing is served by secrecy.”

Moreover, CBCP prays the
tragedy should teach PNoy that
transparency and forthrightness are
always expected of a leader.
“It will serve him well to listen
to sound advice and counsel from
truly wise, and not from those
eager to curry favor! He has been
roundly criticized for having absented himself at the arrival honors for the mortal remains of our
heroes. He will, in the future, we
hope, make better balanced choices
and conduct himself as his high office demands. We pray that in all
humility he would willingly accept
just criticism rather than have his
spokespersons concoct excuses at
every turn,” Villegas says.
“We entrust ourselves to God
who has promised to heal our land
if we turn back to him in prayer,
penance and supplication,” he adds.

Filipinos for Life member Rowena de Guzman prayed for Sr. Inspector Lover L. Inocencio, one of the Fallen

WITH the entire country still reeling from the
death of the police officers who are now known
as SAF44, a pro-life group sets up a virtual prayer
gathering for the slain Philippine National Police
(PNP)’s Special Action Force (SAF) members by
creating a prayer chain with one person committing to pray specifically for one officer.
“I thought about doing this for healing. We’ve
all been very emotional about what happened to
our SAF commandos and I thought we should
channel those emotions to something more spiritual,” said Aimee Cruz, a member of Filipinos for
Life, who initiated the prayer chain on Jan. 31.
Not just a statistic
So far, 44 pro-lifers have each committed to

Stef Patag, who is based in Hamilton, Ohio, said a prayer for
PO2 Roger C. Cordero. STEF PATAG

be a “prayer warrior” for one of the PNP-SAF
members; they will then light a candle and pray
for the commando assigned to them, take a
photo with the name of the officer and post it
in Filipinos for Life’s Facebook group.
“I wanted people to remember their names as
well…so that they don’t remain just a statistic,”
explained Cruz, who heard a Mass with her family for the intention of Senior Inspector Ryan
Pabalinas last Sunday.
According to the management information
systems analyst, once complete, the pictures
from the 44 prayer warriors will be collated
and published as “a sign of solidarity with the
bereaved families.”

Coming to terms
Cruz said she prayed most especially for Pabalinas’ widow, Erica, who gave a speech in front of
President Benigno Aquino III on Jan. 30 during
the necrological service for the 44 fallen officers.
“I wanted the family [Pabalinas] left behind
to come to terms with his untimely passing,” she
said, adding that she prayed for the eternal repose
of Pabalinas’ soul.
Forty-four members of the PNP-SAF were
killed in a clash with Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao
on Jan. 25 in what is said to be the biggest single
day loss for the police force in recent memory.
(Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz/CBCPNews)

Liberty / A1

lixia revealed, the years of isolation
from loved ones lead prisoners to
discover the meaning of life.
The tough years of being cut off
from free society help them fully
realize the value of human liberty,
he added.
No contact
“I have not seen the outside
world for the past 11 years after
they brought me here in 2004,”
Felixia said in Filipino. “I have not

heard from my family ever since.”
According to the inmate, prisoners only get the chance to go out
if they fall ill and are in need of
hospital confinement.
“Unfortunately, I have never
been sick since they brought me
here,” Felixia said chuckling.
Felixia serves his term of 17 years
under minimum security for taking
the life of a person who got into
a fight with his brother-in-law in
Quezon City in early 2000.

Previously, he had done two
years of his sentence in the New
Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
Reintegration into society
Inmates like him being reformed under minimum security
level are not confined in cells.
They walk freely within the the
vast penal colony, farming rice
fields, raising fish in ponds,
growing fr uits and tending

They are also trained in livelihood and employable skills in the
penitentiary in preparation for
their reintegration into society.
According to penitentiary supervisor Jacinto R. Regal, these
technical skills include handicraftmaking, soup-making, basic electrical courses, basic automotive
mechanics, animal raising, conventional farming, and organic
farming. (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

Tweet / A1

In fact, Pope Francis’ most retweeted tweet
via @Pontifex was his first post in Tagalog,
“Ang Pilipinas ay patunay ng kabataan at
kasiglahan ng Simbahan” (The Philippines
is witness to the youth and vitality of the
Church), which recorded 76,000 retweets and
over 90,000 favorites. According to a report
that Twitter shared through Smart Communications, Inc., that same tweet posted last Jan.
16 is also the Holy Father’s most retweeted
tweet to date from the @Pontifex account.
Pope Francis adopted the use of the @Pontifex Twitter account from his predecessor since
he rose to the papacy in March 2013 to continue
evangelization through social media.
With over 17 million followers across his nine
Twitter accounts in different languages, Pope
Francis is the second most followed world leader

on Twitter. And during his recent visit to the
Philippines, Pope Francis added over 365,000
new followers between Jan. 13 to 20.
While in the Philippines last month, Pope
Francis posted six tweets in Tagalog that centered on the vitality of the Church; the importance of the family; the essence of suffering;
and man’s identity as a child of God. In his last
Tagalog tweet, the Holy Father asked for the
faithful’s prayers as is his humble custom, saying
“Sa aking mga kaibigan sa Sri Lanka at Pilipinas:
Naway pagpalain kayo ng Diyos. Sana´y patuloy niyo akong ipagdasal (To my friends in Sri
Lanka and the Philippines: May God bless you
all! Please pray for me).”
According to Twitter, data generated on the
@Pontifex’s activity also showed that seven out
of the Pope’s top 10 most retweeted tweets are

related to his official visit to the Philippines and
his top 8 tweet is related to a call for prayer for
those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit
the Philippines in November 2013. It is also
worth noting that four of the top five most
retweeted tweets from @Pontifex account were
posted in the Filipino’s vernacular language.
Moreover, the hashtags #PapalVisitPH,
#PopeFrancisPH, #BlessedByThePope, #PopeTYSM, #PopeinPH, and #USTPapalVisit,
among others were among those trending during the Holy Father’s stay in the country.
According to the same report, overall, there
were more than 3.3 million tweets related to the
papal visit posted from Jan. 13 to 20. This trend
reached its peak on Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. when
the Pope arrived in Manila, with 3,664 tweets
posted per second. (CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor


February 2 - 15, 2015, Vol. 19. No. 3

Wanted: More pro-lifers— bishop
DAET, Camarines Norte—A high-ranking
member of the clergy has reiterated the
Church’s call for more men and women
who are ready to go out of their comfort
zones in order to take on the fight against
the “culture of death” in the country.
“We need more people to stand for
life, and to be champions of the poor, the
weak, and the innocent. We are waging a
spiritual war, and our laity should stand
at the forefront of our temporal realities
that help build the spiritual kingdom of
God—frontlines like politics, mass and

social media, commerce, and public service
should be filled with holy and knowledgeable Catholics in order for the Gospel to
be spread to everyone and every place and
institution,” shares Daet Bishop Gilbert A.
Garcera in a statement.
Pro-life Month
According to the prelate, who is concurrently the ad interim chair of Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on
Family and Life (ECFL), the defense of

our deeply-held values of life, family,
and marriage is a worthwhile reason
for Catholics to step up and make their
presence felt.
Themed “Combating Poverty and
Saving Lives: Mercy and Compassion
in the Year of the Poor,” February, “Prolife Month”, has been dedicated to the
preservation and respect for human life,
the sanctity of marriage, and the Filipino
family, the bishop notes.
In keeping with this annual observance,
Garcera invites the faithful, especially the

laity, to take part in the various activities,
talks, and seminars Pro-Life Philippines is
set to hold, which aim to educate and train
them in the pro-life cause.
‘Throwaway culture’
“Every effort must be undertaken in
order to keep the ‘throwaway culture’
(Evangelii Gaudium no. 53) away from
our nation,” he stresses.
Quoting Pope Francis, Garcera notes
that the breakdown of the family unit
and how this leads to the devaluation of

the human person and the lack of regard
people have for the vulnerable, saying,
“A population that does not take care of
the elderly and of children and the young
has no future, because it abuses both its
memory and it promise (Pope Francis,
47th Annual Social Service Week, September 2013).
“Let us pass on the light and work towards our dream of having a pro-life nation
and help Pro-Life Philippines with their
endeavors,” Garcera adds. (Raymond A.
Sebastián/CBCP News)

Tagum to hold Alay Lay speaker talks about teachers’ ‘vocation’
Kapwa-Year of the
Poor Fun Run
TAGUM City—The Diocese
of Tagum will mark the Mindanao celebration of the 40th
Alay Kapwa (AK) anniversary
and the launching of the Year of
the Poor on Feb. 19 to 21 with a
series of events to be held at the
Social Action Center, Diocese of
Tagum, including a Fun Run that
targets some 3,000 participants.
The Fun Run dubbed “Dagan
para sa Kabus, Dagan para kay
Hesus.” (Run for the poor, Run
for Jesus) aims to raise funds for
survivors of natural calamities in
the country.
“I believe that this activity…
could bring the message of concern for the poor to everybody;
their plight that reminds those
who are financially and spiritually
blessed to help as echoed by the

challenges of Pope Francis,” said
Fr. Emerson “EmEm” L. Luego,
Director of the Social Action
Ministry of the Diocese of Tagum.
He emphasized that the Fun
Run will assure the less fortunate,
especially those in places that
are still recovering from natural
calamities, that the Church is
always with them.
“This would also remind those
who are concerned not to forget
that they have marginalized
brothers and sisters who are waiting for help,” Luego stressed.
The Social Action Center, Diocese of Tagum is located at the
back of Parish of Christ the Eucharistic King (PCEK Parish or
the old Cathedral), Rizal Street,
Tagum City. (Yen Ocampo/

Parish funds schooling
of poor students
GUBAT, Sorsogon—One of
the three parishes in this third
most populous town in the
province is helping indigent
families send their children
to school.
St. Anthony de Padua parish, through its sponsors, will
help at least one child from
each family obtain a college
education, or take up vocational courses, said Fr. Sabino
M. Fulo, parish priest.
A place for everyone
The poor should not forget
there is always hope, and
everyone has a place in the
Church, he said.
Everyone is in need, even
those who have material possessions, Fulo explained.
“Even the poorest of the
poor have something to share
with others,” he stressed.
The parish will fund the
enrollment of 60 students,

but will start with 10 to 20
students initially, depending
on the parish’s ministry fund.
Church as instrument
The parishioners realize the
value of sharing, the priest
said, while the poor appreciate the charity, which renews
their hope.
According to the priest,
the Church is an instrument
to facilitate the sharing and
receiving of blessings from
charitable people to less fortunate brethren.
St. Anthony de Padua parish covers 29 of the 42 barangays of Gubat, a coastal
municipality in the eastern
part of the province.
The other two parishes in
the town are the parishes of
St. Nicolas of Tolentino and
the recently established St.
Augustine. (Oliver Samson/

Spaces of Hope, A5

gestures…under the rain, one of
the masters of ceremonies told me
that he was edified because those
who were serving in Tacloban,
under the rain, never lost the
smile. It’s the joy, not feigned joy.”

Yes, it was true joy and definitely
not plastic faces and gestures that
greeted the Vicar of Christ that
What a privilege it was to be
with the Kapilya Pope!

Candidly Speaking / A4

disabuse ourselves of a misconception of good poverty that links it
with a certain pettiness and smallmindedness.
An example of this is the suggestion that as much as possible,
the churches and the liturgical
celebrations should be using
the minimalist style—few or no
candles at all, few or no flowers,
altars, reredos, vestments and
vessels should be as bare as possible, etc.
While I can see a certain value
to this approach, it should not be
imposed on all of us, and especially with the insinuation that
the use of rich ornamentation
in churches and in the liturgical celebrations is per se against

Christian poverty.
All these things need not be
mere decorations that only tend
to show off. They can be the magnanimous efforts of a lover who
wants to show his love with material things to his Beloved who, in
this case, is God, Jesus Christ, our
Lady, all the saints.
Remember that Gospel episode
when a woman brought precious
oil to bathe the feet of Christ.
Someone murmured that it was
wasteful and that it could have
been used to help the poor. But
Christ corrected him.
For me, diamonds and precious
stones are better used in sacred
vessels than when they just dangle
on somebody’s neck or ear or nose.

Inspirational speaker Bro. Roberto “Obet” Cabrillas gives the keynote address for the 5th annual CEACAL Teachers’ Congress at the Unibersidad de Sta. Isabel (USI) Auditorium,
Jan. 9, 2015. Mylene Velasco

NAGA City—Before the “Pope
Francis fever”, there was joy and
zeal emanating from an educational encounter when an inspirational speaker reminded more
than 700 Catholic educators
about their calling to transform
young people into better versions
of themselves.
According to Bro. Roberto
“Obet” Cabrillas, who gave the
keynote address for the recent
5th annual CEACAL Teachers’
Congress at the Unibersidad de
Sta. Isabel (USI) Auditorium on
Jan. 9, educators are “phenomenal
In a the speech themed “The
Transformative Role of Catholic
Educators in a Changing World”,
Cabrillas, one of the most in
demand motivational speakers in

the country, said teachers’ remarkable contribution in the field of
Catholic education as “builders,
reformers and healers” cannot be
Better versions
Even Pope Francis cannot stress
the importance of quality education enough, said the speaker,
more popularly known as ‘Daddy
O’. Teaching means going out of
oneself and into the streets to teach,
to enlighten and to bring the joy of
the Gospel, said Cabrillas.
At the heart of the lay preacher’s
message is the ordinary word:
teacher. The author of Spell out
your Love and Tanong mo kay
Daddy O redefined the common
term, giving it a deeper and more
profound meaning. According to

spearhead the Mindanao launching on Feb. 19 to 21 to be held at
the Social Action Center, Diocese
of Tagum located at the back of
Parish of Christ the Eucharistic
King (PCEK Parish or the old Cathedral), Rizal Street, Tagum City.
The national launching is in
line with Alay Kapwa’s goals of
evangelization and intensification
of resource mobilization to raise
the faithful’s awareness about sharing their time, talent and treasure
to promote charity, justice and
peace for the common good. (Yen

Keep extending yourself
He said the noblest profession

is not a day-to-day job but is life
itself; life to the fullest. Hence, the
act of educating, Cabrillas stressed,
must be “life-giving.”
In addition, the speaker emphasized the need to focus and target
the six life quotients, not only in
transforming students but more
so in restoring and healing them.
These life quotients are the IQ (intelligent quotient); EQ (emotional
quotient); SQ (spiritual quotient);
AQ (adversity quotient); WQ
(wealth quotient); and PQ (physical quotient).
Cabrillas exhorted that “teachers [should] be agents” of a child’s
“A great teacher inspires and the
key is to keep extending yourself,”
he said. (Natalie Hazel Quimlat/

Dinagyang feast ‘Year of the Poor’-inspired
ILOILO CITY—In line with the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
declaration of 2015 as the “Year of the Poor”,
thousands of devotees that flocked to Iloilo
City on the occasion of the ‘Dinagyang’, were
reminded about the role of the Sto. Niño in
helping everyone live true poverty.
“The poor are not only those who are materially hard up; when we talk about the poor we
refer to those who are poor in spirit,” said Fr.
Czar Emanuel Alvarez, O.S.A., main celebrant
and homilist of a concelebrated high Mass
at the San Jose Parish Church on Dinagyang
Sunday 2015 with the theme “Sto. Niño: Hope
of the Poor”.
Turning to the Gospel, the priest said: “The
poor are those declared by Our Lord in the
Beatitudes as truly blessed.”
The key, being like a child
Alvarez, in the course of the homily, offered
the key to comprehending the Gospel’s understanding of “being poor” that is contrary to the
world’s standards.
“Look at the Sto. Niño, God who became a
child, and discover the essential characteristics
of children,” the Augustinian preacher told the
He said one quality of children is their simplicity in thinking, of desiring and of living.
“They can be made happy with simple gifts,
like a piece of candy,” Alvarez explained.
Spontaneity, transparency
Second is spontaneity. Children get along
very easily with other children, the priest said,
unlike adults who can be contaminated with
prejudices against other people.
“Third, is transparency and honesty, what you
see in children is what you get. They say what
is [on] their mind.”
The priest said another quality is humility.
“They are aware of their limitations, be it physi-

“Pope Francis” joins in the festivities of the recently-concluded Dinagyang festival in Iloilo. Fr. Mickey Cardenas

cal, intellectual or emotional and they are not
ashamed of it,” he explained.
Finally, said the priest, young ones have trust
and dependence on others. Children know
how to run to their parents and ask for help.
They know that they have to be provided for
their needs.
Alvarez made reference to the recent papal
visit to the country to illustrate how blessed it
is to be small like little children.
Imitating Jesus
“How close Pope Francis was to little children! He would even stop the pope mobile to
allow the kids to be brought to him,” he added.
The priest explained the timeliness of the Year
of the Poor for the faithful to be called to turn
and become like little children.
“Unfortunately, when we grow up,” he said,

“we lose the child-like traits that we need if we
want to enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
According to Alvarez there is no need to
despair since anyone can become like a child if
he allows himself to become poor.
“Imitate the example of Jesus Christ: he is
God but he humbled himself; he served such
as when he washed the feet of his apostles; he
taught not only with words but by example.”
“By learning from the Sto Niño we can recover our child-like characteristics and follow
Jesus Christ more closely, the Augustinian friar
In Iloilo City the festivities in honor of the
Sto Niño extend from the feast day on the third
Sunday of January until the Dinagyang on the
fourth Sunday of January, or right after the
Sinulog in Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo.
(Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)

‘Hubo’ Mass held in Cebu

Launch / A1

(Vigan) will be hosting the “Alay
Kapwa 40 National Launching at
Luzon Region” on Feb. 23 to25
to be held at the NSCC Hotel,
Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.
The Archdiocese of Cebu
through the Commission on
Service-Cebu Caritas, Inc. will
be leading the Visayas celebration on Feb. 16 to17 at the San
Pedro Calungsod Chapel, SM
Seaside Reclamation Project
(SRP), Cebu City with 500
participants expected from the
Visayas dioceses.
The Diocese of Tagum will

him, the word, TEACHER, is an
acronym that stands for the most
important characteristics an educator must have:
E-mpowers, and
Cabrillas explained that what
makes a teacher an agent of transformation is not his syllabus or
his lesson plans, but his attitude
towards his vocation as an educator, his ability to bring out “better
versions” of his students, while
being one with them.

Fr. Jonas Mejares, OSA, the Rector of the Basilica celebrates the “Hubo”
Mass at the Sto. Niño Basilica Pilgrim Center on Jan. 23, 2015. Emmanuel

CEBU City—The “Hubo” Mass is about
“undressing”, yes, but one of a more sacred kind. The Hubo Mass is the annual
tradition of changing the vestments of the
image of the Sto. Niño which happens
after the feast of the Holy Child in the
Archdiocese of Cebu and which this year
was held on Jan. 24.
Thousands of devotees, bringing with
them images of the baby Jesus, gathered
at the Sto. Niño Basilica Pilgrim Center
yesterday to attend this year’s Mass and
to witness the ritual.
Fr. Jonas Mejares, OSA, the Rector of
the Basilica, reminded the faithful that
the tradition is not only about changing
the clothes of the baby Jesus but about
“understanding our baptism better” as
each item being removed represents His
suffering and eventual death.

After the homily, the Sto. Niño’s
crown was removed, followed by the
orb, the scepter and the armlet, the
bands, cape, tunic, the inner garments
and boots.
The naked image of the Sto. Niño was
then immediately dipped in perfumed
water. This water was then given to the
faithful, as it is said to have cured sick
The Sto. Niño was dressed up again
while prayers were recited.
This ritual of vesting the Niño marks
the end of the Sinulog season, and signals
the preparation for the coming Lenten
season. The Holy Mass was broadcast
live over DYRF-Cebu, the official radio
station of the International Eucharistic
Congress (IEC) 2016. (Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD/CBCPNews)


February 2 - 15, 2015, Vol. 19. No. 3

‘Caviteño’ American priest
declared ‘venerable’
“ALL of us ‘children’ of Fr.
Al, not only here in the Philippines, but also in Mexico
and Korea, are very glad and
proud that we already have
our own venerable who will
become a saint in the future.”
This was what Rodolfo Rey
Openiano, Jr., an alumnus
of Sisters of Mary School in
Cavite, told CBCP News in

an interview in reaction to the
news from the Vatican confirming that the Americanborn Servant of God Fr. Aloysius Schwartz, also known as
Fr. Al, has been declared a
“Venerable,” putting him a
step closer to sainthood.
“All graduates of Sisters
of Mary schools are elated
that our prayers for the cause

of our beloved founder, the
Champion of the Poor, our
Hero, Fr. Al, has been heard,”
Openiano added.
According to a Vatican Radio report, the prefect of the
Congregation for the Causes
of Saints, Cardinal Angelo
Amato, had a meeting with
Pope Francis recently during
which the Holy Father autho-

rized the body to promulgate
the decree citing “Servant
of God Aloysius Schwartz,
American diocesan priest,
founder of the Sisters of Mary
of Banneux and the Brothers
of Christ (1930-1992),” for
his “Heroic Virtues.”
The decree dated Jan. 23
officially declares Servant
of God Aloysius Schwartz

a venerable of the Catholic
Ven. Aloysius Schwartz
died in March 16, 1992 of
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease),
and is buried at the Children’s
Village for Girls (Girlstown)
in Silang, Cavite, Philippines.
(Raymond A. Sebastián/
CBCP News)

Traditional Latin Mass for Fallen 44 set

CBCP Monitor

Year-round talk
series for laity set
OFFICIALLY, it’s the Year of
the Poor. But it doesn’t mean
the Year of the Laity ended.
The Lay Formation Center
(Layforce) recently gave the
first in a series of formation
talks for 2015 with the former Manila Auxiliary, now
Infanta Bishop Bernardino C.
Cortez giving a talk on “Discipleship and the Dignity of
the Human Person.”
In an interview, Rogie
Lecaroz of Layforce told
CBCP News that the talks
comprising what is dubbed
the “Katolikong Pinoy Formation Series” aim to empower the laity by making
them aware of and respond
to their unique roles and responsibilities in the Church.
Monthly talks
T h e m e d “ K a pw a k o ,
kasama ko sa pagsunod kay
Kristo,” the formation series
is now on its 11th year and
draws inspiration from Pope
Francis’ apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium”
(“Joy of the Gospel”).
The talks are held every
third Saturday of the month,
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the
Layforce Chapel, San Carlos
Pastoral Formation Complex,
Epifanio de los Santos Ave.,
Guadalupe, Makati City.
The schedule is as follows:
Feb. 21
Fenny Tatad
Act of Commitment to Human Solidarity
Mar. 21
Fr. Filemon Dela Cryz, O.P.
Need to Embrace the Sense
of Mission ( Lenten Recollection )

Ecclesia Dei Society of St. Joseph – Una Voce Philippines (SEDSI-UVP) promotes the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite or EF Mass in the Philippines. MAURICE ALMADRONES

“FOR the repose of the souls of the 44
commandos of the Special Action Force
of the Philippine National Police”, the
Ecclesia Dei Society of St. Joseph – Una
Voce Philippines (SEDSI-UVP) will
offer a Traditional Latin Mass according to the Missal of St. John XXIII on
Saturday, Feb. 7, 7:30PM, at the Holy
Family Parish Church at Roxas District,
Quezon City.
“We will offer the Traditional Mass
primarily so that the Lord may forgive
them [SAF 44] of their sins and receive
them into His presence, and secondly,
that justice may be served,” SEDSIUVP Chairman Gerald Cenir said in

an interview with CBCPNews, alluding
to the tragic circumstances surrounding
the deaths of the 44 police officers.
Cenir extends to the bereaved
loved ones of the 44 SAF officers the
Society’s pledge of prayer. He also
asks the public to join the Mass and
bring flowers and candles that will be
offered in memory of the slain policemen after the Eucharistic celebration.
SEDSI-UVP regularly sponsors the
celebration of the Traditional Latin
Mass now known as the Extraordinary
Form of the Roman Rite or EF Mass
as stipulated by the motu propio
Summorum Pontificum of Pope

Benedict XVI.
It is a movement of lay people
promoting the celebration of the EF
Mass. They also sponsor trainings of
seminarians, priests and laity. SEDSI
is under the Diocese of Cubao. It is
also a member and acknowledged
Philippine representative of the
Foederatio Internationale Una Voce
(FIUV), the international federation
of Una Voce movements around the
world promoting the EF Mass.
One of SEDSI’s members, Carlos
Antonio Palad, sits as Counsellor of
the International Council of FIUV.
The group held similar calls for

public prayers and Masses for important events of the country such as the
Novena of Traditional Latin Masses
for the success of the visit of Pope
Francis to the Philippines.
The group also held an EF Mass
of Reparation in reaction to the
sacrilegious art of Mideo Cruz at
the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). SEDSI-UVP likewise
celebrated Mass at the Center for
International Trade Expositions and
Missions (CITEM) in Pasay City after
which a procession of religious images
made its way to the CCP. (Rommel

Event to explore prayer as ‘dialogue of love’
QUEZON City—A “Congress on Prayer” being readied
for next month to mark the
500th birth anniversary of
one of the Catholic Church’s
great spiritual geniuses and
mystics, St. Teresa of Ávila,
is set to focus on prayer as a
dialogue of love and highlight
its value in the heart of the
Organized by the National
Commission for the Celebration of the 5th Birth
Centenary of St. Teresa of
Ávila, the day-long prayer
congress dubbed “Prayer, A
Dialogue of Love,” is scheduled on March 15, Sunday,
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the
Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena,
Pasay City, and aims to herald
prayer as an experience of
friendship, as well as a deep-

ening encounter with Christ.
Manila Archbishop Luís
Antonio Cardinal G. Tagle
will preside over the Holy
In her works, St. Teresa
consistently underscores that
the goal of contemplative life
is apostolic and ecclesial.
As the first female Doctor
of the Church, her perspective challenges the faithful to
see and discern what is happening in today’s increasingly
secularized and post-modern
world, with relativism prevalent in the West fast becoming a global reality.
According to her, if something should disturb Christians and trouble their consciences, it is because many
of them live with neither the
strength, the light, nor the

UST to hold Schillebeeckx
lecture series on
interreligious dialogue
THE University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Sacred Theology and
UST Theological Society will host
a lecture series on interreligious
dialogue inspired by theologian Fr.
Edward Cornelis Florentius Alfons
Schillebeeckx at the University of
Santo Tomas (UST) B.G. Paredes,
OP building on Feb. 5 from 9:30
a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The UST Faculty of Sacred
Theology and UST Theological Society has invited a foreign
speaker, Prof. Dr. Mathijs Lamberigts, dean of the Faculty of
Theology and Religious Studies at
KU Leuven, Belgium, to discuss
contemporary challenges faced
by interreligious dialogue and
religious freedom for the said
lecture series.
Lamberigts is also a professor
of KU Leuven in Belgium, which

was founded in 1425 by Pope
Martin V and is one of the oldest
existing Catholic universities in
the world.
The UST Faculty of Sacred
Theology and UST Theological
Society organized the said event
to celebrate the 50th anniversary
of the conclusion of the Second
Vatican Council. Pope Paul VI
closed the Second Vatican Council on Dec. 8, 1965 at St. Peter’s
Square in Rome.
Schillebeeckx is a renowned
theologian and Dominican priest
who authored several books such
as Christ the Sacrament of the
Encounter with God in 1963, Revelation and Theology in 1967, The
Eucharist in 1968 and Christ:The
Christian Experience in the Modern World in 1980. (Vanessa M.

consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ.
Moreover, Teresa’s vision
of the human person as the
dwelling place of God, open
to communion with Him
as a friend, able to welcome
Him at the center of the
Castle of people’s souls, will
enable them to look at human
dignity with fresh eyes despite
prevalent threats from today’s
While admission to the
event is free, interested parties
have to reserve MOA Arenaissued tickets and register
by contacting the following:
(02) 722-4667, (02) 7214252, (02) 710-2641, 09399207365, 0906-5732305; or
email: teresa500philippines@ (Raymond A.
Sebastián/CBCP News)


Buried. Kristel Padasas, a Catholic Relief Services (CRS) volunteer who
died on Jan. 17 after the papal Mass in Tacloban, was buried on Jan. 27
at the Heritage Park Mortuary and Crematory. The 27-year old was killed
when a scaffold that housed the papal Mass’ sound system collapsed on her.
Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, celebrated
a funeral Mass for Padasas at the Sto. Niño Parish Church in Taguig City
earlier that Tuesday.
Died. Msgr. Marcelino O. Reyes, a senior clergyman of the Archdiocese of
Manila passed away on Jan. 26, 2015. He was 80. Reyes was laid to rest
at the La Loma Cemetery, Kalookan City on Jan. 31, 2015. Reyes’ assignments in the Archdiocese of Manila were as follows: parish priest of Parish
of the Holy Spirit; DRBF Homes, Quezon City; Holy Family Parish, Roxas
District, Quezon City; Santo Niño Parish, Bago Bantay, Quezon City; and
Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Bacood, Sta. Mesa, Manila. As parochial vicar,
he served St. John the Baptist Parish (Quiapo Church) Manila; and was
assistant parish Priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Calamba St.,
Sampaloc, Manila and San Felipe Neri Parish, Mandaluyong City.

Apr. 18
Atty. Lorna Kapunan and
Sonia Roco
Goes Forth as a Community
of Evangelizers
(Characteristics of an Evangelizing Community)
May 16
Chichi Fajardo and Josefina
Achieving the Common
Good by Active Participation of the Lay
June 20
Sr. Maria Anicia Co, R.V.M.
and Lance Raymundo
Learning to Live the Lan-

guage of Love
July 18
30th Layforce Anniversary
Nurturing Gifts through
Nourishment of The Gospel
Aug. 15
Atty. Alex Lacson
Laity’s Involvement in the
Lives of Others
Sept. 19
Fr. Richard James Babao
Awareness to Evangelize and
Educate the Young
Oct. 17
Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio B. Cardinal
Rosales and Arnold Baldemor
Inner Transformation Prerequisite to Social transformation
Nov. 21
Manila Auxiliary Bishop
Broderick S. Pabillo
Key for Building a Just Society amidst the Challenges
of Today
Dec. 12
Fr. Gerard Reyes
Option for the Poor and
Joy, meaning
Paragraph 269 of Evangelii
Gaudium says: “Jesus himself
is the model of this method of
evangelization which brings
us to the very heart of his
people. How good it is for us
to contemplate the closeness
which he shows to everyone!”
It continues, “Moved by
his example, we want to
enter fully into the fabric of
society, sharing the lives of all,
listening to their concerns,
helping them materially and
spiritually in their needs,
rejoicing with those who
rejoice, weeping with those
who weep; arm in arm with
others, we are committed to
building a new world.”
According to the Holy
Father, people do so not from
a sense of obligation, not as a
burdensome duty, but as the
result of a personal decision
which brings joy and gives
life meaning.
Interested parties may call
the Layforce office at: (02)
895-88-55 local 300-301,
(02) 896-06-07; or email
at: slrlayforce_2008@yahoo.
com. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

‘Idolatry’ myth busted
in apologetics class

Catholic Faith Defenders-Quezon City (CFD-QC) holds its first training on
Jan. 25, 2015 at the Sta. Catalina Convent’s Mother Francisca Formation
Hall, Siena College Quezon City. RAYMOND A. SEBASTIÁN

THE Catholic Faith Defenders-Quezon City (CFD-QC)
held its first apologetics training class at the Sta. Catalina
Convent’s Mother Francisca
Formation Hall, Siena College Quezon City, Sunday,
Jan. 25, during which they
learned the proper context of
the Bbiblical prohibition on
idolatry, and shared pointers
on how to effectively debunk
one of the most common
Catholic myths of all time—
the alleged “worship” of images—citing Scripture.
With at least 60—mostly
college students and young
professionals—trainees wearing “Pope Francis shirts” attending, CFD-QC Chairman
Marwil N. Llasos exhausted
the Bible, enumerating the
many verses that not only
support, but endorse the
Catholic practice of the making, as well as the veneration
(dulia) of images for religious
A lawyer, Llasos warned
against the danger of individual private interpretation,
stressing how taking a book
as ancient and as complicated
as the Bible “too literally” and
out of its context have led
many to have biases against

the Catholic Church.
In doing this, the chairman
provided the correct historical and cultural background
of verses “Bible-alone” antiCatholics use to malign the
Church Jesus founded.
An open forum followed
the lecture, where questions
related to the topic were
raised and answered.
The first-ever CFD Quezon City Catholic apologetics training session was
consecrated to Mary, Untier
of Knots, the favorite Marian
title of Pope Francis who visited the Philippines recently.
Llasos entrusted CFD
Quezon City to the “maternal
protection of her who unties
the knots of evil, sin, malice
and all kinds of persecution
and difficulty.”
He said, “Before the
mighty name of Mary, Untier
of Knots, the forces of Satan
tremble: ‘O loving Mother,
before your mighty name the
forces of Satan tremble. You
are the lily of eternal valleys,
the sure path. Fill us with
your love, take us into your
comforting and loving arms,
let the light of your face shine
upon us.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

CBCP Monitor


February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3


UR Holy Father Pope Francis
has dedicated the year 2015 for
Consecrated Life. This special
Church event started on the First Sunday
of Advent and will end on February 2,
2016, the World Day of Consecrated Life.
The purpose of this event according to the
Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes
of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal Joao Braz De Aviz, is
to “make a grateful remembrance of the recent
past while embracing the future with hope.”
The year 2015 also marks the fiftieth anniversary of Perfectae Caritatis, the Vatican
II Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal
of Religious Life,
Concurrent with the aforementioned
events is our observance in the Philippine
Church of the Year of the Poor as part of
our nine-year preparation for the Great
Jubilee 2021. Thus, our observance of the
Year of Consecrated Life and the Year of the
Poor in 2015 serves as our ecclesial horizon
in our “grateful remembrance of the past and
hopeful embrace of the future”.
In the middle of our nine year preparation for the Great Jubilee 2021 celebrating
the first Mass and first baptism in the Philippines, we invite you to celebrate kaplag, the
discovery on April 29, 1565 of the image of
the Santo Niño in an abandoned house in
Cebu. The finding occurred just a day after
the arrival of the Legazpi-Urdaneta expedition inCebu, and was greeted as a marvelous
portent of the success of the missionary
endeavor. Effectively, this day marked the

and the Poor Clares (OFM), 1621.
Members of the Third Orders for women
of these congregations, now called the Lay
Orders, also formed their own institutions
of consecrated life in thePhilippines. In
order of their foundation, these were: the
beatas of Bolinao, 1659; the Dominican
Tertiaries (OP), 1682 and 1750; the beatas
de la Compañia, ancestors of the RVM
sisters, 1684; the beatas of Babuyanes,
1719; the Augustinian Recollect Tertiaries
(OAR), 1719; and the Augustinian Tertiaries, ancestor of the ASOLC sisters, 1740.
In the second half of the 19th century
came more congregations: the Vincentian
Fathers (CM) and Daughters of Charity (DC), 1862; the Augustinian Tertiary
Sisters from Barcelona (OSA), 1883; the
Capuchin Friars (OFM Cap), 1886; the
Assumption Sisters (RA), 1892; and the
Benedictines (OSB), 1895.
During this same time religious groups
of women were also formed: the Hermanitas de la Madre de Dios, Cebu, 1877; the
beatas de Balingasag, Misamis Oriental,
1880; and the beatas de Santa Maria Magdalena, La Paz, Iloilo, 1887.
The critical condition of the Philippine
Church at the beginning of the 20th century
in the light of the Philippine revolution
against Spain and the Philippine-American
War led the bishops to call for other congregations. First to respond were the Sisters
of St Paul of Chartres (SPC), 1904. From
here up to the convening of the First National Eucharistic Congress in Manila on
11-15 December 1929, there arrived the
Redemptorists (CSsR), 1906; the Mill Hill

Legate Cardinal Ildebrando Antoniutti
said,  “the Church devotes a grateful and
heartfelt thought, as does also the fatherland
which they helped to establish.”
Apart from the obvious apostolic work
such as catechizing, preaching, and building churches, these men and women lived
their religious lives in community.
The legacy of these religious congregations to Philippine life is staggering. Histories of peoples were written down or may
be gleaned through neatly kept canonical
books, records of income and expenses,
and inventories of church goods and
property, all of which were dutifully turned
over by every incoming and outgoing personnel and kept in archives and libraries.
Members of religious congregations were
sent as emissaries to foreign countries such
asJapan, China, Cambodia, and Siam.
They contributed to the defence of the
islands against pirates and slave-raiders,
helped in pacifying revolts, and extended
assistance during natural calamities such as
famines, wars, plagues, floods, earthquakes,
and typhoons.
The Promotion of Filipino Culture
The arts and sciences flourished under
their care. In terms of cultural heritage
alone, the country is the richer not just for
solid and artistic churches and conventos
but also schools, hospitals, orphanages,
leprosaria, dams, fortresses, watchtowers
streets, bridges, plazas, and even marketplaces like the market of Baclayon, Bohol
and town halls like the tribunal of Paoay,
Ilocos Norte.

machine for milling cane in 1872[ii].
Electricity and Edison’s phonograph were
introduced through the University of
Santo Tomas in 1880[iii]. Fr Felix Huerta
OFM facilitated the realization of the
water supply forManila in 1882.
Pope Francis in his homily at the Manila
Cathedral rightly said: “As the Church in
the Philippines looks to the fifth centenary
of its evangelization, we feel gratitude for
the legacy left by so many bishops, priests
and religious of past generations. They
labored not only to preach the Gospel
and build up the Church in this country,
but also to forge a society inspired by the
Gospel message of charity, forgiveness
and solidarity in the service of the common good.”
Hail Our Valiant Religious Men and Women
The commemoration of the discovery
of the Santo Niño leads us to embrace the
future with hope as we observe a truthful
review of the contribution of the religious
orders and congregations. We are called
forth to a renewed commitment of their
following of Christ through the evangelical
counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. May every religious be led to a joyful
response with the people of God in the
work of evangelization today!
First, a truthful review should be based
on historical evidence of the religious
groups who came to the Philippines,

preferential love for the poor, invites those
in consecrated life to a deeper integration
of how they embody this vow in fact and
in spirit as religious during this Year of the
Poor. The evangelical counsel of obedience
calls them to pattern their lives after Christ
who surrendered His whole life following
the will of the Father until death. Thus,
the evangelical counsels express not only
their public consecration in the Church,
but also form their identity, lifestyle and
mission as religious today.
A Joyful Response
Third, a joyful response with other
Church groups in the work of evangelization must characterize religious life.
Pope Francis observed that “wherever
there are consecrated people, seminarians,
men and women religious, young people,
there is joy, there is always joy! It is the joy
of freshness, the joy of following Jesus; the
joy that the Holy Spirit gives us, not the joy
of the world.”[v] This joy which sustained
our missionaries in the past continues to
this day as our religious participate in the
ministries of the various dioceses: schools,
parishes, orphanages, hospitals, youth centers, catechetical centers, etc. The religious
in our country are not only active in the
administration of the various spiritual and
corporal acts of mercy but are courageous
in defending human rights, as their predecessors did before them. Increasing number
of religious are now sent as missionaries
to other countries, including places where
their institutions were born in Europe and
the Americas.

CBCP Pastoral Exhortation in the Year of Consecrated Life


As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted
in him and built upon him and established in the faith as
you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Col 2:6-7)

formal beginning of the continuous proclamation of the Gospel to us Filipinos.
Pit Señor!
It must be noted that when the Santo
Niño was found, there were evidences
that it had been treated as an object of
veneration. Its original garments had
been replaced by local material; it had a
necklace of peculiar make, but with a cross
probably also from Magellan; flowers were
found before the image. The Cebuanos
had made sacrifices in front of the image
and had anointed it with oil. This image
of the Santo Niño is believed to be the
same one given by Magellan to the native
queen who was baptized Juana in 1521.
Thus seven years from now we shall be
celebrating the five hundredth anniversary
of the first recorded Mass and baptism in
the Philippines.
The First Missionaries
Our Christian faith was brought to our
shores by selfless men and women from
many countries. During the first three
centuries they came initially from Spain
and Mexico, but also from Italy, Germany,
and Central Europe. They were formed and
sent by religious Orders, which at that time
were the most organized to send missionaries. They braved the seas in ships, with each
batch or shipload called a barcada (whence
the popular name for our peer groups).
It pleases us to recall their institutions in
an honor roll, in their order of arrival:
In the first century of evangelization
these were: the Augustinians (OSA), 1565;
the Franciscans (OFM), 1578; the Jesuits
(SJ), 1581; the Dominicans (OP), 1587;
the Japanese beatas, 1602; the Augustinian
Recollects (OAR), 1606; the Hospitaller
Brothers of St. John of God (OH), 1611;

Missionaries (MHM), 1906; the Benedictine Sisters (OSB), 1906; the Fathers of the
Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), 1907;
the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC),
1908; the Divine Word Missionaries
(SVD), 1909; the Sisters of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary (ICM), 1910; the Brothers
of the Christian Schools (FSC), 1911; the
Franciscan Missionariers of Mary (FMM),
1912; the Religious of the Good Shepherd
(RGS), 1912; the Holy Spirit Sisters (SSpS),
1912; the Oblates of St Joseph (OSJ),
1915; the Pink Sisters (SSsPAP), 1923; the

Philippine languages were preserved in
grammars and dictionaries. Local plants
were documented and promoted for
their medicinal and economic value. The
Augustinians introduced the Europeanstyle weaving loom, and brought in trapiches from Mexico to extract sugar. As early
as 1669, the Franciscans had introduced
a hemp-stripping machine in Bacon,
Sorsogon which presaged Bicol’s abaca
Explorations of new territory were preserved in maps, duly printed in the presses

especially the friar orders of the Spanish
colonial period. The ghosts of the Black
Legend and even of our own Propaganda
Movement and its supporters have conditioned our thinking towards these friars,
with the backlash that the key to the
understanding of so many sources to our
history—our knowledge of the Spanish
language—has unfortunately deteriorated.
Unfamiliarity with primary sources has
led significant sectors of the Philippine
Church—hierarchy and seminary professors included—to regard the role of the

Our Christian faith was brought to our shores by selfless
men and women from many countries. They were formed
and sent by religious Orders, which at that time were the
most organized to send missionaries. They braved the seas
in ships, with each batch or shipload called a barcada.
Discalced Carmelite Nuns (OCD), 1923;
the Maryknoll Sisters (MM), 1925; the
Maryknoll Fathers (MM), 1926; the Columbans, 1929; and the Franciscan Sisters
of the Blessed Sacrament (now SFIC), 1929.
During this period another congregation
for local women was also established, the
Dominican Sisters of Molo (OP Molo),
1925. In the ensuing decades up to the present, many more congregations of men and
women, local and international, have come
to assist in the continuing evangelization of
the Church in the Philippines.
They Lived Christ and Shared Christ
To each and every one of these men and
women, “known or unknown,” the Papal

which the religious orders established. The
Villaverde Trail opened a route that connected Pangasinan with Nueva Vizcaya
via the Caraballo mountains (1890s). The
most famous Philippine map is that by
the Jesuit Pedro Murillo Velarde, printed
by Filipino engravers inManilain 1734.
The Dominicans established a printing
press in 1593, the present UST Publishing
House, possibly the second oldest running
publishing house in the world.
The Jesuit Meteorological Observatory
established in 1869 pioneered in predicting
tropical disturbances. In Minuluan (now
Talisay) Negros Occidental, Fr Fernando
Cuenca OAR promoted the sugar industry by inventing the hydraulic pressing

religious in the Spanish colonial chapter
of Philippine church history in a negative
light. Shadows there were aplenty, for sure,
but these seem to obscure the lights that
are so much more illuminating.
Second, the call to follow Christ through
the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience must be renewed and
deepened in religious life. As described in
the Essential Elements of Religious Life, living the evangelical counsel of chastity is
their testimony to hope since it is “a sign
of the future life and a source of abundant
fruitfulness in an undivided heart for the
Kingdom of God”.[iv]  The evangelical
counsel of poverty, in imitation of Christ
who lived a life of poverty and who showed

Fourthly, an important service of
consecrated people to the church is their
witness to the importance of Christ in our
life as based in the sacraments of baptism
and confirmation. May all the faithful be
challenged by the religious that Christ can
fill up our life with joy and he is the reason
of service to the world.
So as we remember with gratitude the
past and embrace the future with hope, we
look toward Mary, model of consecrated life
who remembered the great acts of salvation
and who always hoped in God’s gracious
providence in her heart. May she who gave
birth to the Holy Child Jesus (the Santo
Niño) in Bethlehem and who followed Jesus
to Calvary be the constant inspiration and
guide of our men and women in consecrated
life as they live out joyfully their religious
consecration in the Church today!
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
the Philippines,
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
CBCP President
January 22, 2015
[i] Fernandez 1979, Chapters 25, 26, and 27.
[ii] Simonena 1974.
[iii] Villarroel 1984, p.74. Electric lighting for the
Ateneo and the Escuela Normal also enhanced
the Golden Jubilee of Leo XIII in 1888. Another
Edison’s  grafófono was bought fromChicago and
introduced to the Ateneo in 1894 (de la Costa 1997).
[iv] Essential Elements in the Church’s Teaching on
Religious Life as Applied to Institutes dedicated to
Works of the Apostolate, Sacred Congregation for
Religious and for Secular Institutes, May 31, 1983).
[v] Pope Francis, Meeting with Seminarians and
Novices,Rome, 6 July 2013.

B2 Updates

February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

More than two weeks have passed
since our country was graced by the
presence of the Vicar of Christ.
Three heady days of sun, rain and
more of it, only to end on the sunniest of mornings, and what can
only be described as a triumphant
goodbye, more than making up for
the rather disappointing welcome.
As we catch our breath after such a
roller-coaster of emotions and weather conditions, it is time to serenely
look at what happened. Because
beyond the emotion and the excitement, we cannot forget that what we
experienced was a new Pentecost: the
Vicar of Christ had spoken, and he
touched on many things. And just
like Mary—who “seated herself at
the Lord’s feet and listened to his
word”, while her Ate Martha “was
busy about much serving”—we
may have soaked in every word that
had come out of the mouth of Pope
Francis (Lk.10, 38-39). What is
important now is that those words
do not slowly disappear with the
emotions, but rather reverberate in
our minds and in our hearts, as that
other Mary, Our Blessed Mother,
who “kept all these things carefully
in her heart”(Lk 2,51).
So in the next months, allow me
to deviate from my usual column
on Church Law—which some of
our readers may find a bit heavy
anyway—and help everybody
relive those days of grace when the
Pope was with us. May these lines,
through the following months, be
the echoes of Pope Francis.
A Hermeneutic Key to the Papal
In his first address in the Philip-

pines—spoken before President
Benigno Aquino III, the diplomatic corps and government
officials at the Malacañang Palace
the morning after his arrival—Pope
Francis stated clearly the nature
of his visit: “My visit is above all
pastoral. It comes as the Church
in this country is preparing to
celebrate the fifth centenary of the
first proclamation of the Gospel

discourses. In short, this was his
keynote address and we can summarize it in three theses:
1stThe Philippines is a Christian nation, imbued with a deep
Christian culture, which is the result of the effective evangelization
carried out by the missionaries of
300 years of our Spanish colonial
past: a work that has survived the
secularizing influence of the suc-

nity and aspirations of the Filipino
people. In short, this was first and
foremost a pastoral visit.
3rd Although he mentioned this
point towards the end of this first
address, the Pope wished to underscore “the oft-neglected yet real
contribution of Filipinos of the
diaspora to the life and welfare of
the societies in which they live”,
a contribution that they can give

of the last century—think of the
waves of Marxism, hedonism, liberalism foisted upon him by other
cultures—has remained staunchly
Christian. The fact that we are the
only Catholic country left without
a divorce law is not something to be
ashamed of—as some pro-choice
people have been repeating—but
is rather a badge of honor: France
might have been the primogenita

as an overflow of “the rich cultural
and religious heritage of which
your country is proud.”

(firstborn daughter of the Church),
but the Philippines might prove
itself to be the semper fidelis (always
faithful son of the Church). While
the erstwhile Catholic countries
of the Old World have fallen one
by one to the onslaught of the socalled post-Christian culture, the
Philippines remains strongly Marian, strongly pious to its Christian
traditions: not only the bulwark of
Catholicism in Asia and the Pacific,

The fact that we are
the only Catholic
country left without
a divorce law is
not something to be
ashamed of—as some
pro-choice people
have been repeating—
but is rather a badge
of honor.
of Jesus Christ on these shores.
The Christian message has had
an immense influence on Filipino
culture. It is my hope that this
important anniversary will point to
its continuing fruitfulness and its
potential to inspire a society worthy of the goodness, dignity and
aspirations of the Filipino people”
With those words, the Vicar of
Christ gave us a hermeneutic key to
properly reflect on his subsequent

Arjanmar H. Rebeta

by Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso

Trisha Remigio

Mining the Papal Visit

ceeding periods of American colonization, Japanese occupation, and
the ongoing influence of Western
2nd As Supreme Shepherd of the
Catholic Church, the Pope has
come to confirm the flock—following the mandate of Christ to
Peter (cf. Jn 21, 15-17)—so that
the Church in the Philippines
might continue to inspire a society worthy of the goodness, dig-

The Christian Roots of Philippine Society
The Christian roots of Philippine Society is proverbial. In fact,
the solidity of those roots is the
only explanation for the resilience
of the Filipino, who despite all
the negative influences especially

but increasingly a leaven of a new
evangelization in Europe and the
How did the Philippines acquire
such strong Catholic roots? Why
is it that among the nations of
Malayo-Polynesian stock, not to
mention those of Indo-Chinese
stock, who are our geographic
neighbors, only the Philippines is
predominantly Catholic and deeply so? The President’s speechwriter
was really off the mark in preparing that piece that was foisted on
the President as a response to the
Papal Keynote Address. That allusion to the alleged abuses of the
Spanish friars can be expected of
a Celdran or one of my Marxistoriented political science teachers
(I will not glorify them by calling
them professors) or nationalistic
history professors of pre-Martial
Law days at UP, but it should not
have come from the President of
the Republic, talking to the Pope
and the international community.
It just shows again that if a lie or
an error is repeated often enough,
quite a number of people can start
believing it.
This is not the time to debunk
the black propaganda that most
of the Spanish friars were abusive.
Common sense should make one
wonder how our ancestors could
have been so spineless and dumb
to have been brainwashed to be
devout Catholics if the Spanish
friars had not been—to a large
extent—quite amiable human beings. In fact, serious historians who
bother to go to primary sources
(and not just quote each other)
would show just how those friars
sacrificed the comfort of civilized
Europe to spend the rest of their
Mining / B3

Faculties to Absolve From Censures
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology
at the Regina Apostolorum university,
answers the following query:)

Q: I hear that some of the religious
orders are given the faculty to
absolve from censures. Is it true?
Which are the religious orders or
congregations that have this privilege? -- T.M., Shillong, India
A: This is true, but it is practically
impossible to give a list, since we
are in the area of privileges that are
often granted by particular decrees
from the Holy See and which are
not made public. The scope and
extension of such privileges can also
vary from place to place.
One such longstanding privilege
is that of the Jesuits and the mendicant orders such as the Franciscans,
Dominicans and Servites to lift
the censure attached to abortion.
Since this is a papal privilege, the

members of these religious orders,
providing they have regular faculties
to hear confession, retain it at all times
and places, even in those cases where
the local bishop has reserved lifting
the censure to himself or limited the
number of times that priests can raise
the censure before renewing the permission.
I remember a discussion regarding
this privilege about 25 years ago in
my last year before ordination, in a
forum held in the Apostolic Penitentiary, the office that deals with matters of conscience. A priest from a
mendicant order said that a bishop
tried to deny them this privilege. The
cardinal in charge answered that since
this privilege was universally known in
ecclesiastical circles, the onus fell upon
the bishop to prove that the privilege
did not exist and not upon the order
to prove that it held it.
Sometimes other privileges are
granted to the superiors general of
religious congregations so that they
may sub-delegate the same privilege
to a certain number of other members

of the congregation. In these cases the
scope and limits of the privilege are
clearly set forth in the decree granting
the privilege. Such privileges may be
permanent but are more often for a
set period of time, usually five years,
which may be renewed indefinitely.
Although the bishop’s permission is
not required to exercise the privilege,

cover publically declared censures nor
does it cover censures that are reserved
to the Holy See, such as sacrilegious
profanation of the Eucharist, violating the sacramental seal, absolving
the accomplice in an act against the
Sixth Commandment, ordaining or
accepting ordination as bishop without
the pontifical mandate, and physical

This class of privilege usually grants
to the priests who have received it the
faculty to absolve penitents from all
that have not been publically declared.
he should at least be informed as to its
existence and scope.
This class of privilege usually grants
to the priests who have received it the
faculty to absolve penitents from all
censures (excommunications, suspensions and interdicts) that have not
been publically declared. It does not

violence against the person of the
Holy Father.
Another privilege sometimes granted
is that of dispensing from private vows
or commuting it to some other virtuous act. Such vows are those made
privately by a member of the faithful
to do some good act -- for example, a

vow to abstain from alcohol permanently or for a period of time.
If for some good reason (say, for
medical purposes) keeping this vow
becomes burdensome, the priest
can dispense or commute it. It does
not apply to vows made in a public
manner, such as the profession of
the evangelical counsels of poverty,
chastity and obedience.
In short, the religious priest who
obtains this privilege obtains faculties similar to those that bishops
generally grant to certain priests of
the diocese, such as the penitential
canons of the cathedral chapter or
those who attend certain shrines
where confessions are frequent or
the faithful go seeking spiritual
The superior general who subdelegates such faculties that the
Holy See may grant to him would
probably take into account similar pastoral situations as would a
bishop and grant those faculties to
priests who would most likely have
need to use them.

Features B3

February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3


N his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation,
Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis
quotes this passage from the Philippine Catholic bishops’ 1988 pastoral letter, “What is Happening to our Beautiful
Land?”.It is part of his call for the Church
to protect the vulnerable creatures of this
world and for respecting the integrity of
creation (EG, 214).However, when Typhoon Sendong struck Cagayan de Oro
in December 2011, it was not only the top
soil that was carried out into the sea but
the vulnerable houses and lives of many
marginalized families living along the
river banks. Since then, every succeeding
year has brought about in various parts
of the country extreme weather conditions and destructive typhoons such as
Typhoons Pablo in Dec. 2012, Yolanda
in Nov. 2013, and recently Ruby in Dec.

I. Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council
It is within this context that the
Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council has been formed. The
CDORBMC was created during a MultiStakeholder Workshop on November 17,
2010, for the protection, rehabilitation
and management of the river basin. The
Cagayan de Oro River Basin comprises
137,934 hectares within eight tributary
watersheds. The area includes the city of
Cagayan de Oro and a portion of Iligan
City. The major upland area is found in
the three municipalities of Bukidnon:
Talakag, Baungon, and Libona.
The CDORB Management Council
is co-chaired at present by: Archbishop

Foundation of Liceo University; and (4)
Resource Management, headed by the
Research and Social Outreach Office of
Xavier University.
Steering the Council are a Board of
Stakeholders and an Executive Committee which meet more often. These include
the four co-chair convenors, the four
TWG chairpersons, the three municipal
mayors, and representatives of the eight
sectors. The Secretariat is serviced by the
RSO office of Xavier University, headed
by Dr. Hilly Quiaoit.
The CDORBMC was formed in Nov.
2010 in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy and the devastation experienced in
Marikina City by the sudden overflowing
of Marikina River. At that time, there
were already warnings that with a river
basin area three times larger than the
watershed of Marikina River, Cagayan de
Oro River posed a more ominous threat to
its city. Sadly, a year later on Dec. 16-17,
2011, Typhoon Sendong bore out these
dire predictions, resulting in the loss of
almost 1,000 lives and the dislocation of
more than 40,000 families.
Since its formation, over the past four
years, the Council has met more than
twelve times, with the Executive Committee and Board of Stakeholders meeting
more frequently. Among its activities
have been:
- Formulation of a draft Integrated
River Basin Management and Development Master Plan by the Center for
Environmental Studies and Management
- Workshop presentations of multigeohazard maps by Dr. Steeve Godilano


CBCP Monitor

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma attends the Ocean Security International Conference in Lima, Peru with other participants from the Philippines.

Climate Change: From Ridge to River to Reef
By Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ

“After a single night’s rain, look at the chocolate brown rivers in your locality and remember that
they are carrying the life blood of the land into the sea…”
tal experts, civil society organizations, and
foreign aid agencies to discuss common
issues and challenges.
Resource speakers from the countries
of Southeast and South Asia, Japan and
Australia shared their experiences and
ongoing projects in simultaneous panel
presentations. The topics included: flood
risk management; the role of rivers in
culture and heritage; biodiversity conservation in river revival; water partnership,
convergence, and governance; etc. The
Marikina Summit took place after the
first summit hosted by Iloilo in 2012.
The third summit will be hosted by
Cagayan de Oro in 2016. All three cities
have experienced in recent years the dire
consequences of severe flooding and loss
of lives and property due to river mismanagement.


II. National Interfaith Dialogue on
Climate Change

Antonio Ledesma (representing Civil
Society); DENR Region X Director Ruth
Tawantawan; DILG Region X Director
Rene Burdeos; and CDO Mayor Oscar
Moreno. Its vision is: A rehabilitated,
sustainably protected and preserved, and
well-managed CDO river basin by 2020.
Its mission is: To oversee and catalyze
multi-stakeholders for the rehabilitation,
protection, preservation, and management of the CDO river basin.
The Council has 89 registered members coming from eight sectors: national
government agencies, local government
units, non-government organizations,
indigenous people’s organizations, business companies, academic institutions,
religious organizations, and security
groups. It has been recognized by the
Mindanao Development Authority as a
model structure for multi-sectoral collaboration.
Four Technical Working Groups have
been formed: (1) Rehabilitation, headed
by DENR; (2) Local Governance, headed
by DILG; (3) Community Development, headed by Safer River, Lifesaver

for the river basin area, particularly the
municipalities of Talakag, Baungon, and
- Discussion of six environmental bills
filed by Cong. Rufus Rodriguez;
- Information on the National Greening Program (NGP) and its implementation in pilot areas;
- Proposal of a fish sanctuary in a downstream portion of the river;
- Initiation of the Payment for Environmental Services (PES) in the Mt.
Kalatungan range with MILALITRA, an
association of indigenous people communities.
Among its major calls, the CDORBMC
focuses on the following concerns:
- Protect and bring back the forests,
including mangrove areas.
- Resolve Ancestral Domain claims and
agrarian reform concerns.
- Undertake an information campaign
on Climate Change and Environmental
- Develop Climate Resilient Agriculture.

- Develop appropriate livelihood opportunities for upland farms and fishing
- Undertake massive disaster risk and
vulnerability assessment for communities.
- Develop community projects for
climate change adaptation and environmental protection.
- Advocate for a Presidential Proclamation declaring the CDO River Basin a
Protected Area.
Much work still needs to be done.
But with the organizational structure
in place, the various stakeholders can
hopefully share more easily information
and resources to address their common
The multi-sectoral nature of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management
Council was atopic of interest that I was
asked to present at the Second International River Summit held in Marikina
City on November 19-21, 2014. With
the theme, “Reviving Rivers, Rebuilding
Civilization,” the conference brought together government officials, environmen-

and “Mobilizing Faith-Based Communities to Address the Perils of Climate
Change.” Dr. Esteban Godilano, CCCP
resident scientist, presented the current
technical data on “Climate Change
Impacts: From Global to Local.” His
report highlighted the imminent danger
of global warming and the “greenhouse
effect” on all human settlements, particularly on island states like the Philippines.
Global warming was the focal point of
the United Nations’ 20th Conference of
Partners on Climate Change (COP20)
held in Lima, Peru, during the first two
weeks of December 2014. As a prelude
to this, several non-government organizations also held their advocacy conferences.
Bishop Tendero and I were invited to join
the Ocean Security International (OSI)
Conference on “Protecting the Oceans”
held in Lima on Nov. 30 – Dec. 1. Subtitled “A South-South Dialogue on Innovative Strategies and Good Practices to

Sadly, a year later on Dec. 16-17,
2011, Typhoon Sendong bore out these
dire predictions, resulting in the loss of
almost 1,000 lives and the dislocation
of more than 40,000 families.
River conservation is not only an environmental issue for LGU’s and government
agencies; it is also a moral issue. In this light,
the Climate Change Commission under the
leadership of Commissioner Heherson Alvarez initiated a series of interfaith dialogues
on climate change over the past ten months.
This was carried out in collaboration with
the Philippine Council for Evangelical
Churches led by Bishop Efraim Tendero;
the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines co-chaired by Atty. Christian Monsod
and myself; and the Philippine Council for
Islam and Democracy led by Ms. Amina
The day-long interfaith dialogue conferences were held in Malacañang (March
14); Cagayan de Oro (May 29); Tacloban on Typhoon Yolanda (Sept. 2) and
its follow-up in Quezon City (Oct. 8);
Marikina (Oct. 16); Bacolod on Bago
River (Nov. 4); Naga on Bicol River (Nov.
14); and again Malacañang for the summary session (Nov. 21).
At these interfaith dialogues, bishop
Tendero and I or our representatives discussed topics on “Stewards of Creation”

Address the Impacts of Climate Change,”
the OSI conference brought together
experts and academicians from the five
continents to discuss the impact of climate change on the oceans, the first – and
the last – depository of any form of pollution as well as the cradle of severe weather
conditions such as super-typhoons. One
significant and perhaps irreversible phenomenon of climate change has been the
gradual warming of the Arctic polar ice
cap—with its implications for sea level
rise endangering island states.
As religious leaders, Bishop Tendero
and I pointed out the moral dimensions of environmental degradation and
the role of faith-based communities in
awareness-building and mobilization for
climate change adaptation and mitigation. In the same manner that all religious
traditions condemn suicide, homicide
and genocide, so now, in a worst case
scenario, we are all challenged to work
against eco-cide, the killing of the environment itself—and with it, all life-forms
on our planet Earth, from upland ridge
to river tributary to coastal reef.

Mining / B2

lives in the tropics, civilizing the
natives in order to transmit to them
the Christian faith.
This is the explanation for the
solid Christian roots of Philippine
society. Alluding to the resilience
of the Yolanda-ravaged people of
Tacloban and other areas, Pope
Francis would point out that such
“example of solidarity in the work
of rebuilding teaches us an important lesson. Like a family, every society draws on its deepest resources
in order to face new challenges.
Today the Philippines, together
with many other countries in Asia,
faces the challenge of building on
solid foundations a modern society
– a society respectful of authentic
human values, protective of our
God-given human dignity and
rights, and ready to confront new
and complex political and ethical

The Pope came to confirm the
Filipinos in their Faith
Despite such a rich heritage
of faith, the Filipino Catholic of
today is faced with daunting odds.
Consider the corruption not only
in government but also in the
private sphere. Consider the daily
scandals reported in the mass media or social networks. Or consider
the scandal of grinding poverty
(especially among informal urban
settlers and the landless farmers),
natural calamities (especially in the
Visayas of late) and the uncertainties of the geopolitical environment
(especially in Mindanao). All these
would have been enough to make a
people of lesser spiritual fiber give
way to the lure of crime, violent
rebellion and anarchy, or resort to

the futile solace of drugs, hedonism
and indolence.
Instead we find our Churches
full, the seminaries and convents
filling up (since all-time lows in
the post-Conciliar years). And
most of all, the whole world saw
the thousands of typhoon-devastated pilgrims in Tacloban make
an all-night vigil under the rain
to celebrate Mass with the Holy
Father under storm signal number
2, and there was no sign of hopelessness or complaint to be seen,
but rather of joy to be with the
Vicar of Christ. For me that was
the defining moment of the whole
Papal Visit. It was a powerful image
of the equally powerful reality: the
barque of Peter cannot sink, the
gates of hell shall not prevail against
the Church, because that Church
is built on the solid Rock of Peter.

And Peter was here!
As the Holy Father would affirm
in Tacloban that fateful morning—
with the howling wind clearly
picked up by the microphone—“I
am here to be with you, a bit late,
but here I am!”
And the Filipino Catholics—
with typical shyness—did not
respond with words. They responded with deeds. So despite the
inclement weather, they trooped
six-million strong, many of them
staying a under the rain since the
evening before to be with their
Pope in a 3pm Mass. They spoke
with their tears mixed with rain:
“And we are here for you, Holy
Father, perhaps seeing you only
through a giant screen, kilometers
away from you, but here we are!
Because we believe, because we
hope, and because we love you!”

T h e F i l i p i n o L ay m e n a s a n
Agent of the New Evangelization
Last but not least, the Holy
Father wanted to confirm “the
oft-neglected yet real contribution
of Filipinos of the diaspora to the
life and welfare of the societies in
which they live.” This is the reality
of the millions of OFWs, who are
slowly but surely re-energizing the
communities where they are. It is
this great potential for evangelization and re-evangelization that the
Pope wants to protect and preserve,
in the face of all the forces of hell
trying to weaken and destroy it.
Thus he would conclude his Keynote Address once more calling
to the Filipino to be true to his
Catholic heritage:
“It is precisely in the light of the

rich cultural and religious heritage
of which your country is proud that
I leave you with a challenge and a
word of prayerful encouragement.
May the deepest spiritual values
of the Filipino people continue to
find expression in your efforts to
provide your fellow citizens with
an integral human development. In
this way, each person will be able
to fulfill his or her potential, and
thus contribute wisely and well to
the future of this country.
“In this way they will help preserve the rich human and natural
resources with which God has
blessed this country. Thus will
they be able to marshal the moral
resources needed to face the demands of the present, and to pass
on to coming generations a society
of authentic justice, solidarity and


February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

Was the Church Silent Under the Arroyo Administration?
A Response to the Welcome Address of
President Noynoy Aquino
By Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR

president said in a statement which he
issued jointly with three other bishops
and vocal administration critic, LingayenDagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz. Asked
by reporters later if he thought that
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was
corrupt, Lagdameo unhesitatingly said
“yes.” Asked if the President deserved
to be removed from power, he said “the
answer should come from the people who
see what’s happening in our country.”
Lagdameo told a press conference that the
statement, which called for “immediate
reforms,” was the product of “communal discernment” with Cruz, Masbate
Bishop Joel Baylon, Banga-Bataan Bishop
Socrates Villegas and Legazpi Bishop
Emeritus Jose Sorra. “In the past few
years up to today, we have watched how
corruption has become endemic, massive,
systemic and rampant in our politics.
Corruption is a social and moral cancer,”
said Lagdameo, who clarified that he was
making the statement as the archbishop of
Jaro and not as the CBCP president. “In
response to the global economic crisis and
the pitiful state of our country, the time to
rebuild our country economically, socially,
politically is now,” Lagdameo said. “The

National Broadband Network deal with
China’s ZTE Corp., the CBCP called
a special plenary meeting, but did not
ask for the President’s resignation. The
CBCP instead “strongly condemned the
culture of corruption from the top to the
bottom of our social and political order.”
It was not only the bishops who condemned the abuses and corruption of
the Arroyo administration. Priests and
religious also did so. The AMRSP (Association of Major Religious Superiors
of the Philippines) provided support
and sanctuary to Jun Lozada the whistleblower who exposed the corrupt deals of
President Gloria Arroyo. In my own, way
I also denounced the president. Here is a
GMA news report about my Bike-Tour
around the Philippines in April 2008:
“Redemptorist ‘biking priest’ Amado
“Picx” Picardal arrived in Manila Sunday
for the Manila and North Luzon legs of
his 56-day, 4,750-kilometer bike tour for
peace. The Catholic Bishops Conference
of the Philippines (CBCP) said Monday
that Picardal will deliver his letter of

because I know that it will be futile – she
will continue to cling to power at all cost,”
he said in his Web log in March. Also, he
said his letter will tell Arroyo she will face
the judgment of history and of God, and
her worst punishment will be to live the
rest of her life in shame and disgrace.”
These news reports cited here are just
some examples to show that President
Aquino rendered judgment on the Church
without an appreciation of the facts. He
bore false witness against the Church in
front of Pope Francis, the whole nation
and the whole world. He was not only
rude, he was also a liar. This is what made
his welcome address very offensive.
The Church was not silent during the
dark days of Martial law, the Church
was not silent during the Arroyo administration, and the Church is not silent
under Aquino’s administration. It is not
his hair—or lack of it—that has to be
admonished. It is what is lacking below
his hair. He follows the neo-malthusian
solution to the problem of poverty: more
free condoms and birth control pills. Sure,

“I am so glad that people have responded
positively to our call, and showed their
readiness to resist the threat of martial
law reimposition.”“I hope our actions
and statements here will be heard in the
national level, especially in Malacañang,
so they would know we are disgusted
with the way GMA runs our government
and country.” (
In 2008, the Philippine Daily Inquirer
reported denunciation from CBCP Presi-

time to start radical reforms is now. The
time for moral regeneration is now. The
time to conquer complacency, cynicism
and apathy and to prove that we have
matured from our political disappointments is now. “The time to prepare a new
government is now,” he said.
Villegas stressed that they were not
calling for another mass revolt. “We
are making this statement because we
believe that if we had been less corrupt
we would be better prepared to face the

concern to President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo in Malacañang on April 27.
“On April 27, on his way back from
Northern Luzon, he will bike around
Manila and deliver (his) letter to President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” the CBCP said
on its website Monday.
Picardal is expected to tour Northern
Luzon then make his Malacañang delivery
on his way back from the north, it said.
Earlier, Picardal said that while he does
not expect President Arroyo to receive him

some of his political enemies are already
in prison for corruption, but what about
his friends and allies. He continues to defend his PNP chief who has been charged
with corruption. Pope Francis’ comment
about corruption in government was in
reference to the present administration.
While talking about reforming the corrupt political system, President Aquino
defended patronage politics and the
corrupt pork-barrel system (PDAF and
DAP) until these were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. While
he has come up with a peace agreement
with the MILF, he has not shown any
interest in continuing the peace process
with the NDF. This administration has
not adequately responded to the disasters
caused by successive typhoons and other
calamities. The victims until now are
still waiting for the implementation of
rehabilitation program. He even snubbed
the anniversary of Yolanda in Tacloban
even if he was just nearby. He talks about
climate change and protection of the
environment while allowing mining and
the construction of more coal-fired power
plants. What I find lacking is his mercy
and compassion.
I supported his candidacy because I
thought he was a decent man who continued the legacy of his parents whom I admire
so much. I was mistaken. To my regret, he
has turned out to be a big disappointment
in the end. I wonder if his parents would be
proud of him. With all his good intentions,
he was not up to the challenge of becoming
a great leader like his parents. His welcome
address to the Pope in Malacañang was
pathetic and a monumental embarrassment to the nation. He was not just rude,
he also did not speak the truth. That was
un-presidential of him. This was the lowest,
ugliest moment of the papal visit.


IN his welcome address to Pope Francis in
Malacañang a week ago (Jan. 16, 2015),
President Benigno Aquino III paid tribute
to courage of the clergy during Martial
Law and for vividly living up to the vision of “the Church of the poor and the
oppressed” that “nourished compassion,
faith and courage of the Filipino people
… This allowed millions to come together
as a single community of faith and make
possible the miracle of the EDSA People
Power Revolution.” At the same time
he denounced the Church for being
silent in the face of the abuses under the
Macapagal-Arroyo administration:
“Hence, there was a true test of faith
when many members of the Church, once
advocates for the poor, the marginalized,
and the helpless, suddenly became silent
in the face of the previous administration’s abuses, which we are still trying to
rectify to this very day.In these attempts
at correcting the wrongs of the past, one
would think that the Church would be
our natural ally. In contrast to their previous silence, some members of the clergy

In the program, Navarra read his pastoral letter, the main message of which is
to “disturb the conscience of the leaders
of this land,” and calls on the people to
register their protests as Christians.
“Be more vigilant for truth, remain
steadfast witnesses of the truth, because
we are adrift in a turbulent sea of lies and
falsehoods,” Navarra urged the marchers.
“We have to make our voices heard as
we search for truth and for the redress of
our human dignity impaired by machinations of people with vested and partisan
interests—the very reason why as Church
and concerned citizens we strongly registered our protest against the imposition of
state of national emergency, albeit lifted
already,” Navarra also said.
After the bishop’s message, representatives of cause-oriented organizations,
civil society, media, lawyers and local
government units offered their respective
prayers, most of whom offered their call
for more vigilance, courage, righteousness,
and resoluteness in seeking the truth,
removal of GMA, and “liberating the
people.” Fr. Aniceto Buenafe, director for
social action of the Diocese of Bacolod,
elated by the big turnout of ralliers, said:

now seem to think that the way to be true
to the faith means finding something to
criticize, even to the extent that one prelate admonished me to do something about
my hair, as if it were a mortal sin. Is it any
wonder then, that they see the glass not as
half-full, or half-empty, but almost totally
empty. Judgment is rendered without an
appreciation of the facts.”
The president lamented that the clergy
who were silent during the previous
administration are now his critics in his
efforts to correct the wrongs of the past.
He accuses them of rendering judgment
“without an appreciation of the facts.”
Many netizens and journalists criticized the President for his inappropriate
remarks, lacking in delicadeza and good
manners, and out of touch with the occasion. Imagine, criticizing the host—the
Church in the Philippines—in front of the
Pope. Others, praised him for speaking
his mind and for telling the truth even
if it was not the proper occasion. That it
was inappropriate everybody can agree.
But was he speaking the truth? Was the
Church really silent under the Arroyo
There may have been some members
of the clergy, religious and faithful who
were silent. But there were also many
who spoke out against the abuses of the
previous administration. The facts speak
for themselves. Below are some excerpts
from news reports and their url links:
“On March 8, 2006 Bishop Navarra,
backed by dozens of clergy and leaders of religious congregations led more
than 10,000 marchers in a prayer rally
at the Bacolod public plaza to denounce
Macapagal-Arroyo’s state of national
emergency, threats of martial law reimposition, mining expansion, and Charter
change, among others.

The Church was not silent during the dark days of
Martial law, the Church was not silent during the
Arroyo administration, and the Church is not silent
under Aquino’s administration. It is not his hair—or lack
of it—that has to be admonished.
It is what is lacking below his hair.
dent Archbishop Angel Lagdameo’s condemnation of the Arroyo administration:
“The president of the Catholic Bishops’
Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
has disputed the Arroyo administration’s claim of economic progress and
condemned corruption in government.
“Twenty million hungry Filipinos will
disagree with the proclaimed “ramdam
ang kaunlaran (progress is felt)” with their
own experience: “Ramdam ang kahirapan, ramdam ang gutom (Poverty is felt,
hunger is felt),” Jaro Archbishop Angel
Lagdameo said Tuesday. “The benefits of
the much-proclaimed economic growth
are not felt by the masses,” the CBCP

impending global crisis. The problem of
the Philippines is not population, the
problem is corruption,” Villegas said.
“We are not social troublemakers, we are
soul troublemakers. We want to disturb
consciences… then the change that we
want in government and society will really come from within us,” he said. Cruz
said it was the “strongest statement” that
Lagdameo had made so far during his
incumbency, “the most straight language
written, as straight as it could be.” The
CBCP has been divided over directly
challenging Ms, Arroyo over allegations of
corruption. In February, at the height of
the scandal over the aborted $329-million

or his letter personally, he will make its
contents public once he formally submits
it to the Palace. He said his letter to Mrs
Arroyo will denounce her and her government for perpetuating a “culture of death.”
“Delivering a letter to Malacañang is just
a side trip and I don’t expect the President
to meet me or to read the letter – it is just
symbolic. I will make the contents of the
letter public – in it I will denounce the
President for perpetuating the culture
of death and corruption and for being
a hypocrite (she goes to Mass every day
and claims that it is God’s will that she is
president). Although I want her to resign,
I will not be demanding her resignation

CBCP Monitor


February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

From euphoria to reality to mission
Post Papal Visit Statement of the CBCP President

FROM euphoria to reality! This will
be the mood after the papal visit. How
long will the glow last? The media are
still in a religious-reflective mood; but
maybe not for long. Already there are
controversies simmering in the media
pot, the Malacañang-bishops tiff for
example, revived, they said by the
rather “inappropriate” reference of the
President to the bishops who criticized
him while keeping quiet about the past
administration’s questionable actions.
There is the all too trivial “bashing” of
the priest-emcee at the pre- and postMass event at the Luneta, who was
called a barker by netizens, when the

If we continue to act on his words, the
glow will ever remain in our hearts,
giving us the joy, the hope, the faith
and the peace that comes from Jesus,
our Lord, whom he brought to us in
those five glorious, grace-filled, joyful,
jubilant, and ecstatic days in January.

poor priest had been seen clearly
as merely performing the heroic
task of “ministering” to the waiting crowds, all on their toes and
later on pelted by the rain.
The focus is being turned towards the surface and not the
substance. As expected there were
much interest on what the Pope
ate; the type of chairs he sat on;
the vestments he wore; the vehicles
he rode in. Clearly the Holy Father was not paying attention to
all that. All he wanted was to be
nourished so he would have the
Euphoria / B7

Guide our feet into the way of peace (Lk. 1:79)
A Pastoral Statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines on the Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law

TO All People of Good Will:
Peace be with you! With
this greeting of peace we as
religious leaders share with you
our thoughts on the proposed
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

such as religious freedom and
property rights. Pope Francis
in his message at Malacanang
emphasized this when he said: “I
express my trust that the progress
made in bringing peace to the
south of the country will result in
just solutions in accord with the
nation’s founding principles and
respectful of the inalienable rights
of all, including the indigenous
peoples and religious minorities.”

Peace is God’s Gift
And this is the most fundamental religious teaching about
peace that we share with you.
Peace is God’s gift. It is given
to those “among whom his favour rests” (see Lk. 2:14). It is
“through the tender mercy of
God” that we are led to peace by
“the dawn from on high” (see Lk.
1:78=79). And Jesus himself said,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace
I give to you. I do not give to you
as the world gives” (Jn. 14:27).
Because peace is God’s gift, we
need constantly to pray for peace,
the peace that God desires for all
of us, the peace that reconciles
us with one another, with God,
and with all His creation. This
is the kind of peace that we wish
and pray for when we greet one
another: Peace be with you. Salaam. Shalom.

Government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer briefs military commanders at the Western Mindanao Command early last year. The briefing was part of the government’s
efforts to transmit information about the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).


What we receive we shall present
to officials concerned.
Our overriding concern is the
common good of all Filipinos.
We believe that concern for the
common good is also that of the
negotiating panels, MILF and
government. After so many years
of grave discussions replete with
turns and stops, they have finally
reached an agreement which they
believe is the basis of a just and
lasting peace.
We do not propose any specific
political or ideological blueprint
for peace. We are not political
negotiators or political officials.
We are not constitutionalists or
lawyers. We refrain from delving
into the constitutional issues
raised by many. We leave those
to constitutional experts to argue and to the Supreme Court
to decide.
Our mandate as religious leaders is altogether different. Ours
is to proclaim, as Jesus did (Eph.
2:16), “glad tidings of peace.”
Our specific concerns are the
religious and moral imperatives
of peace. That perspective is as
always our viewpoint as religious
and moral teachers.


Our Perspective as Religious Leaders
Our first stance is to listen and
discern. We will especially listen
to those who are directly affected
by the BBL, those living in the
Bangsamoro, the Muslim majority and non-Muslim minorities.
We will listen to those who support the BBL and to those who
oppose it. We will listen to those
who believe that there has been
a lack of consultation. Further,
we will listen to those outside
the proposed Bangsamoro territory—Muslims, Christians,
Indigenous Peoples, peoples of
other religious persuasions.

Peace is in and of the Heart, Peace
is Harmony
Peace is fundamentally in
the heart, of the heart. Peace is
harmony. Peace is unity. Peace is
reconciliation. Peace is mutual
forgiveness among peoples.
A peace agreement may be
signed between the government
and the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF). Armed conflicts

may cease. But if hatred or desire
for revenge or dislike or aversion consumes the heart, if deep
historic biases and prejudices
remain, the eruption of violent
conflict is simply simmering
below the surface of apparently
peaceful co-existence.
Peace Comes with Justice
Peace is not the fruit of a mere
handshake or an embrace. Peace

The reported rise
of shadowy civilian
militias for selfprotection recalls the
tragic past of “Ilagas”
and “Blackshirts”
in the 1970s. This is
totally unproductive
and ironic when we
understand the BBL as
a promise of peace and

comes with justice. Peace is the
assurance of respect for fundamental human dignity and human rights. For the Bangsamoro,
justice means the recognition of
their centuries-old aspiration for
self-determination, their right
to chart their own destiny in
dignity and freedom. For the
whole country justice requires
the acceptance of the overarching right of national sovereignty

and national territorial integrity.
For Indigenous Peoples in the
Bangsamoro, justice means respect for and protection of their
right to their ancestral domain
already officially recognized by
the Indigenous Peoples Right
Acts (IPRA). For non-Muslim
and non-indigenous inhabitants
in the Bangsamoro, justice is a
recognition and protection of
their fundamental human rights,

Some Concerns of Justice
Some of these rights may be
inadequately or inappropriately
articulated in the BBL. Many
believe, for instance, that a timefree 10% requirement to have
a referendum for inclusion into
the Bangsamoro will effectively
expand the Bangsamoro territory
through the years because of the
sheer force of population immigration. Others see the need for a
clear elaboration of the Bangsamoro exclusive right over education so as not to endanger the
nature and purpose of Christian
religious educational institutions.
Still others are concerned about
the ambiguous concept of contiguity by water, and see dangers
of a Bangsamoro territory slowly
expanding through time.
Many are also disturbed that
there is a lot of misinformation
and misinterpretation with regard
to certain provisions of the BBL,
as for instance, the provisions on
land. Presently attempts to grab
land or drive away their lawful
owners by force of arms and even
by murder, under the pretext of
ancestral domain, are creating
fear and tension, among certain
communities in the Bangsamoro.
The reported rise of shadowy civilian militias for self-protection
recalls the tragic past of “Ilagas”
and “Blackshirts” in the 1970s.
This is totally unproductive and
ironic when we understand the
BBL as a promise of peace and
Such concerns we bring to the
attention of MILF and government peace negotiators, as well as
of legislators who are tasked with
refining the draft BBL.
Peace Comes with Fairness and
We all desire that the provisions of the BBL express fairness
and equity. For this reason we
hope that the BBL will ensure
equal opportunity for integral
human development for all the
peoples in the Bangsamoro. We
desire a BBL that will respect various cultures, religious beliefs and
traditions. We wish to be assured
that the BBL will provide equal
access to educational, economic,
political benefits and resources.
It would be a travesty of fairness and equity if, for instance,
jobs are denied to capable persons simply because of ethnic,
cultural, religious or gender
considerations. Discrimination
would be a direct contradiction
to the fundamental Bangsamoro
Peace / B7


February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

Jesus’ way to solve the
mystery of suffering
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 1:29-39 (B)
Pro-Life Sunday, February 8, 2015
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

Reflection on the Theme
One does not need to be pessimistic to conclude that there is
so much suffering in the world.
It is a reality as old as mankind
itself; a reality as varied as the
gradations of gray . . . . We are
afflicted by moral, emotional,
spiritual, and physical suffering
. . . All these forms of suffering
make life miserable – a veritable

forms of suffering are still with
us, and for all we know, they are
here to stay, in ever-renewed and
baffling forms . . .
When he came to share our
human condition, Jesus accepted
suffering as a natural consequence
of the Incarnation and thereby
he showed that he was a human
being through and through. But
he was “a man with a mission”
-- the mission to redeem and
save every human being from
all that degrades, oppresses and

Reign of God has not yet come in
its fullness. It is only in the New
Jerusalem that “there shall be no
more death or mourning, crying
or pain . . . (Rv 21:4).
The healings performed by Jesus
are signs that the Reign of God has
already been inaugurated and that
the salvation that Jesus proclaims
will surely come in its fullness
when God’s Kingdom reaches its
As Christians, we are not only
people who have been mercifully

Guérison de dix lépreux

Suffering is still with us, even after the coming
of Jesus, as a perpetual reminder of the
frailty of the human condition in the world.
It is also a sign that the Reign of God
has not yet come in its fullness.

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time,
Mark 1:40-45 (B) February 15, 2015
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
Reflection on the Theme
\AIDS is the terror of so many
people these days. Those affected by
it are often avoided and condemned
to isolation. This rejection by society

were avoided by their own relatives.
They were forbidden to approach a
healthy person. If they ever tried to do
so, they were chased away with stones
. . . They had to live in caves and
ravines, away from ordinary human
settlements, cut off from any form of
social life. (See today’s First Reading.)

No progress in science or
technology can offer the cure. Only
Jesus can. We, the spiritual lepers
of our time, have only one hope:
The only cure is his
merciful LOVE and his GRACE.
makes the suffering of the AIDS victims even bitter. And one can only
wish that such a terrible illness never
existed . . .
In the time of Jesus, leprosy was one of
the most dreaded misfortunes that could
befall a person; it was the AIDS of those
days! While other types of patients
were pitied and attended to, lepers

Leprosy meant hell already in this
life. A person in an advanced state
of leprosy was a terrible sight. People
turned away their sight from them
in horror.
Jesus did not follow the prevailing
attitude toward lepers. He wanted
Leprosy / B7

SOME people read the newspaper
every morning.
And first thing in the morning,
they watch News on TV.
They fill their minds with the
latest exposes. The latest politician caught in graft. The latest
violence in the world.
While maneuvering through
traffic, they listen to the same bad
news on radio.
And during lunchtime, with
officemates, they become expert
political analysts. They discuss
who clown said what foolishness.
And everyday, they arrive at
the same conclusion: Our country
is going to the dogs.
After work, they go home and
unwind in front of the TV set.
What will they watch? A
review of the bad things they already know, blow-by-blow, in full
action, color, and sound effects.

healed by Jesus. We are also sharers in his mission as “the healer”
of humankind. As such, we, too,
are called to show concern for the
ailments afflicting mankind, and
to do our best to reduce them. It
is also our mission to cast out the
devil from our own lives and the
lives of others. This commitment
of ours will be one of the most
effective proclamations of the
Good News. It will be one of the
clear signs that the Kingdom of
God is ever more making inroads
in this pain-ridden world of ours.

Aiming to live a life of discipleship
Ash Wednesday, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (B)
Start of the Lenten Season, February 18, 2015
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
Reflection on the Theme
Lent should not be a season of sterile
mourning over an irredeemable past
characterized by sin and failure. Rather,
it should be a time for honest self-evaluation and discernment, a time for prayer,
and a time for action.
This Lent will necessarily include a
reflection on the futility of an aimless life
and of a life of sin. It will also include
a sincere meditation on the sufferings
which Jesus endured because of the sins
of mankind, which include our sins. But
our basic orientation must be a positive
one: a yearning for a fuller life of faith,
hope, and love, expressed in different forms
of service to God and neighbor.
If we find out that our life is to some
extent dis-oriented, we have to re-orient
it by redirecting it to God, without uncertainties and without delays. We are
expected to turn away from the dark paths
of spiritual death or ailment, and to start
walking the highway of a virtuous life.
In short, a life of vibrant and fruitful
Lent, therefore, is a call to both repentance and commitment. Probably, for
most of us, our “conversion” will be just
a matter of calling a halt to a life of lukewarmness, half-heartedness, or indifference
to religious and moral values. But it will
not be enough to focus our attention on
these shortcomings and seek to eliminate
them from our life. We are also expected
to commit ourselves to doing good as much
as we can, and with joy-filled enthusiasm.
Lent has a dynamic character, an upward orientation. Therefore, it is a call to

change for the better, but also to aim high
and soar higher. It is like an invitation
to join a pilgrimage to the sacred shrine
of God’s intimacy. It is like an Exodus:
our personal “rising” from the marshes
of mediocrity and the lack of spiritual
alertness, and to march forward toward
the promised land of the freedom of
God’s children.
Such an Exodus/Pilgrimage will
necessarily entail a “break away.” It will
demand self-denial, not for its own sake,
but for the sake of the greater good: the
holiness which we intend to attain.
God does not so much delight in our
sorrow, not even in our tears over our
past sins, Rather, He delights in our re-

Bo Sanchez


disfigures him or her. That was
why, part of his mission was to
relieve as many as he could from
any suffering, and especially the
one inflicted by demonic possessions. Jesus knew that the ultimate
cause of all suffering was the devil.
That was why, he cast out devils
as an integral part of his healing
and saving mission.
But suffering is still with us,
even after the coming of Jesus, as
a perpetual reminder of the frailty
of the human condition in the
world. It is also a sign that the

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino

Fighting all forms
of leprosy

“Way of the Cross”! Job had all
the reasons to complain. (See
today’s First Reading.)
Of all types of suffering, the
most striking is usually the
physical one. It is always a pitiful sight to see cripples, lepers,
persons devoured by cancer,
people who are blind, maimed,
or immobilized for life on their
beds or mats . . . In spite of all
the progress of modern medicine,
all those struck by sickness still
experience a feeling of helplessness and humiliation. The many

gained correct disposition and consequent
actions. He delights in the efforts we make
to remain faithful to our commitment to
Him, and in our refusal to revert to the sinful situation of the past. Such are demands
of a life of discipleship—a life characterized by the constant effort to follow in
the footsteps of the Divine Master.
Having this in mind, we shall proceed in our Lenten pilgrimage, moving
resolutely toward Easter, our final goal
and greatest aspiration. If we are faithful to such an ideal, we shall be given
the grace of experiencing, already now,
a foretaste of our “personal Easter”—a
joyous reflection and fruit of the Resurrection of Christ.

Bishop Pat Alo


Stop Complaining
And we wonder why we’re
And we wonder why we’re
getting sick.
And we wonder why we’re not

feeding our minds?
Every morning, I read a few
verses from the Bible.
I hear God tell me that He
loves me and has a wonderful

Complaining is useless. It’s a
total waste of energy, time, and
saliva. I’m too busy making this
country great by the little things
that I do everyday.
earning more money.
And we wonder why we can’t
start our own little business.
And we wonder why we’re not
growing spiritually.
May I suggest a new way of

plan for my life. I open myself
to the pacific ocean of blessings
all around me that day!
When I exercise, I listen to
inspirational teachings.
When I meet my friends, we

don’t complain about how bad
the country is. We do things
together! We build life-giving
communities in far-flung provinces. We create inspirational
media. We build homes for orphans and the abandoned elderly.
We reach out to the broken and
Personally, I also start tiny
businesses that create jobs, and
in the process, feed their families.
Because complaining is useless. It’s a total waste of energy,
time, and saliva. I’m too busy
making this country great by
the little things that I do everyday.
This country will be great not
by any politician. This country
will be great if you’ll make it
great. If everyone lights just one
little candle, what a bright world
this will be.

Violence begets violence

JESUS had said: “Do unto others what you want others do unto
you” (Mt. 7:12). This likewise implies: “Do not do unto others
what you do not want others do unto you.”
We know how some people threw bombs to kill others and
themselves too. What’s the result? The ensuing wars of revenge
or retaliation happened. And the countless casualties worldwide
may go beyond a million through the years.
Let us follow the peaceful attitude of the Lamb of God who
takes away the sins of the world—Jesus Christ—the Prince of
Peace. He rose from the dead three days after His crucifixion.
And now the world hails Him as the King of Kings and Lord of
Lords. He is truly the only solution to obtain peace in our world
because He teaches us by word and example to love our enemies
(cf. Mt. 5:38-48).
The only way is to “conquer evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). We
should not be overcome by the emotions of hatred and revenge
but just open our eyes to what’s happening in reality. You cannot
deny the facts of history (contra factum non valet argumentum).
Open our eyes, open our minds, to humbly and sincerely accept
the truth. “Blessed are the humble and patient, they shall possess
the land” (Mt. 5:3-7). Yes, those who love and cultivate peace
from their hearts and minds.

CBCP Monitor


February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

Fifty years ago, the Fathers of the
Second Vatican Council defined
clearly the primordial role of the
Catholic laity in establishing a
just society in which all, especially
the poor, share in the fruits of the
goods of the earth. In the “Decree
on the Apostolate of the Laity”, it
was clearly stated that “the apostolate in the social milieu, that is the
effort to infuse a Christian spirit
into the mentality, customs, laws,
and structures of the community
in which one lives, is so much the
duty and responsibility of the laity that it can never be performed
properly by others. In this area the
laity can exercise the apostolate of
like toward like. It is here that they
complement the testimony of life
with the testimony of the word. It
is here where they work or practice
their profession or study or reside
or spend their leisure time or have
their companionship that they
are more capable of helping their
Today, these words have been given more urgency and concreteness
by Pope Francis in the Apostolic
Exhortation entitled “The Gospel
of Joy.” I hope the Catholic laity
in the Philippines can demonstrate
to the Pope that they are actively
responding to his pleas to “include
the poor in society” when he visits
us for the first time next year. The
Pope will not accept any excuses:
“No one must say that they cannot
be close to the poor because their
own lifestyle demands more attention to other areas. This is an excuse commonly heard in academic,
business or professional and even
ecclesial circles. While it is quite
true that the essential vocation and
mission of the lay faithful is to
strive that earthly realities and all
human activity may be transformed
by the Gospel, none of us can think
we are exempt from concern for the
poor and for social justice: ‘Spiritual conversion, the intensity of the
love of God and neighbor, zeal for
justice and peace, the Gospel meaning of the poor and of poverty, are
required for everyone.’ “
This appeal is especially ad-


Including the Poor in Society

dressed to Catholic lay people who are
in politics, business, the academe and
nongovernmental organizations involved in the restructuring of economic society to make it more inclusive.
Professionals in these fields are the
ones who can respond most directly to
the following appeal of Pope Francis:
“The need to resolve the structural

are not radically resolved by rejecting
the absolute autonomy of markets and
financial speculation and by attacking
the structural causes of inequality, no
solution will be found for the world’s
problems or, for that matter, to any
problems. Inequality is the root of
social ills.” The Pope, who will travel
to Palo, Leyte in mid-January next

Leyte that are examples of “welfare
projects which meet certain urgent
need.” Among these are homes for
orphans and for the aging poor as
well as socialized housing for those
displaced by Typhoon Yolanda. He,
however, would like to be told a lot
more by the Catholic laity of Eastern
Visayas, which is a microcosm of the

The Pope will not be satisfied with stop-gap or band aid
solutions in resolving the scandalous poverty situation in
our country in which a fourth of the entire population live
in dehumanizing poverty.
causes of poverty cannot be delayed,
not only for the pragmatic reason of its
urgency for the good order of society,
but because society needs to be cured
of a sickness which is weakening and
frustrating it, and which can only lead
to new crises. Welfare projects, which
meet certain urgent needs, should be
considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor

year will not be satisfied with stop-gap
or band aid solutions in resolving the
scandalous poverty situation in our
country in which a fourth of the entire
population live in dehumanizing poverty. In fact, in some areas of Eastern
Visayas the poverty incidence can be
as high as 50 per cent.
I am sure the Pope will be very
happy to visit several projects in Palo,

entire Philippines. He would like
to see the national as well as local
government officials exerting more
effort and devoting more financial
resources to improving the quality of
basic education for the children of
the poor. He would like to see more
rural health clinics. He would like the
poor to have greater access to potable
water and electricity.
Real estate

companies should partner with the
Government to put up more affordable houses for the C, D, E homes,
some for rental and others for actual
purchase. The unemployed and underemployed, especially among the
fisher folks and coconut farmers,
should be given alternative skills
in construction and tourism, the
two sectors that are likely to grow
rapidly in the region in the next five
to ten years.
Most importantly, both national
and local governments should cooperate to endow the whole region
with more farm-to-market roads,
irrigation systems (especially in
the coconut areas to enable the
farmers to diversify into highvalue crops such as vegetables,
fruits and livestock), post-harvest
facilities and agricultural extension
services. Large agribusiness firms
should partner with cooperatives
and small farmers in increasing the
productivity of sugar farms and to
introduce such new crops as coffee,
cacao, cassava, palm oil and other
high-value plantation crops. To
achieve this transformation of the
rural areas in the region, there must
be more imaginative approaches
to agrarian reform that will make
possible nucleus estate farming
and other cooperative forms of
increasing the productivity of the
land. The Philippines is notorious
for having the lowest productivity in practically all agricultural
crops in Southeast Asia. All these
efforts to uplift the poor can be an
answer to the Pope’s plea in “The
Joy of the Gospel”: “It is vital that
government leaders and financial
leaders take heed and broaden their
horizons, working to ensure that
all citizens have dignified work,
education and healthcare. Why not
turn to God and ask him to inspire
their plans? I am firmly convinced
that openness to the transcendent
can bring about a new political and
economic mindset which would
help to break down the wall of
separation between the economy
and the common good of society.”
For comments, my email address is

Euphoria / B5

strength and energy for the
demands of the events, and to
have the proper transport for
his interaction with the people
lined up in the streets that he
passed by. He even wore a plastic raincoat over his vestments!
Of c o u r s e we a re g re a t l y
grateful for the media for a
very comprehensive coverage
of the Apostolic Visit of Pope
Francis, with many TV stations
preempting shows so that the
papal events could be shown
live. Their efforts to provide
in-depth and substantial commentary from Church ex-

perts were very commendable.
Throughout the five days of the
visit the media performed their
task with professionalism, and
in most cases, with enthusiasm
and heartfelt emotion.
We h a ve s e e n t h e p e o p l e
in the streets; everywhere the
Pope turned he saw multitudes
of people, the children, the elderly, the families, young men
and women, even the disabled.
They happily cheered, clapped
their hands, waved their handkerchiefs or bandanas, raised
their children, and shrieked,
and cried.

The Holy Father spoke to us
with his heart, in his beloved
language. In the following days
we will collate all these words
in very readable form and
send them out to all parishes,
schools and communities,
where, led by their pastors, the
faithful can reflect on them as a
community or with their families and friends. For example,
what does it mean to “cry”; to
be open to surprises; to love;
to dream; to have no words to
say; to be silent?
We will encourage that from
their reflection they come up

with “actions”. Pope Francis
was very emphatic, he would
often say, to priests at the Cathedral, and to the people in
other events, “act!” “Acts” are
important he said.
Our beloved Pope Francis
also constantly asked us,
“Pray for me.” We all promised to pray for him, but in
the days and weeks ahead we
will pray as the Church of
the Philippines, through this
prayer for Pope Francis, that
we will request to be prayed
in all Masses in all parishes,
shrines, chaplaincies, commu-

nities and schools. Individuals
can pray them by themselves
as their own fulfillment of
their promise of prayer for
Pope Francis.
The glow will fade slowly
in the media, especially in the
social media (where millions of
selfies have sprouted!). But if
we continue to reflect on the
words he left us, if we continue to etch in our memory
his loving smile, his tender
of selfies embrace for the
children, the sick, the elderly,
the destitute; if we continue
to act on his words, the glow

will ever remain in our hearts,
giving us the joy, the hope, the
faith and the peace that comes
from Jesus, our Lord, whom
he brought to us in those five
g l o r i o u s , g r a c e - f i l l e d , j oy ful, jubilant, ecstatic days in
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
CBCP President
January 22, 2015

Peace / B5

aspiration for self-determination that
responds to deep feelings of neglect and
Peace is Unity through Dialogue
Isaiah the Prophet spoke of a messianic
time when the Word of the Lord shall
come to the people. “They will beat their
swords into plowshares, their spears into
pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up
sword against nation, neither shall they
learn war anymore” (Is. 2:4).
We are at the cusp of a new Mindanao
history when arms of destruction are
replaced by productive tools for human
development, when men trained for
war are trained for wise and prudent
governance. In some countries innocent
civilians are persecuted or even killed,
their homes devastated, places of worship destroyed. May this not be so in
our country.
We, therefore, commend the consensus decision of both negotiating sides for
the decommissioning of military forces

and arms. We also pray that the form
of government in the Bangsamoro will
unite the different cultures together for
the common good. We appeal to emerging political parties that they effectively
remove the neglect and isolation of the
poor from decision-making and make
them active partners for their integral development. We ask legislators to ensure
that the provisions of the BBL as well as
their implementation will be forces of
solidarity and not of division.
We make a special appeal to all sectors, groups, and political movements
of the Bangsamoro to come together in
dialogue towards a consensus position
on the BBL.
Dialogue is the way to peace, not the
use of arms. This has been the experience
of successive negotiating panels on both
the MILF side and the government’s.
From hostility to openness, from aggressive one-sidedness to mutual respect
and understanding, from contestation to
trust and friendship – this is the road of

authentic dialogue. When the encounter
of persons from opposite sides is authentically human, it is the Spirit of the
Lord that draws them together finally
as friends. And friendship is an expression of love — “the common word” for
Muslims Christians, and peoples of other
Final Pastoral Observations and Recommendations
In the light of the above moral and
religious considerations:
1. We commend the perseverance of the
negotiating panels of both the government
and the MILF that, even with changes of
key personnel through the years, persevered in the peace process, changing the
nature of tense and troubled negotiations
into trustful dialogue for peace.
2. We commend the realism of the
MILF vision to dialogue towards selfdetermination while respecting and
preserving national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

3. We appeal to Congress to sift objectively and wisely through the results of
their Mindanao-wide consultation and
ensure that the fundamental Bangsamoro aspiration for self-determination
be effectively enshrined in the final
BBL, together with the twin national
principles of national sovereignty and
territorial integrity.
4. We strongly recommend that the
fundamental human rights and freedoms of the non-Muslim peoples in the
Bangsamoro—Christians, peoples of
other faiths, and Indigenous peoples—be
respected and promoted as already enshrined in existing laws, such as property
rights and the IP ancestral domain.
5. We recommend the inclusion
of a provision in the BBL that would
make it impossible in the future for
any radical extremist group to exploit
or change the democratic framework
of the Bangsamoro government so as to
deny both the doctrine and practice of
religious freedom.

6. We pray to our Lord God for
wisdom for our legislators so that they
would keep in mind the good of the
Bangsamoro and the common good of
all Filipinos.
We believe that regarding the centuries-old conflict in Mindanao we are,
with a significantly improved BBL,
truly at the threshold of a just and lasting peace.
We place our concerns of peace in the
hands of our Blessed Mother Mary, the
Queen of Peace, so that through her maternal
intercession her Son, Jesus who is himself our
“Peace” (Eph. 2: 14), may always be with us
“to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
For and on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
January 22, 2015

Leprosy / B6

everyone to have life, and life to
the full. (See Jn 10:10). He had
come in a special manner for
the sick and the outcast, and he
remained faithful to his mission.
Even when the most outcast of
all – the lepers – approached him,
he did not back off in horror.
Not only did he welcome them,
but even “stretched out his hand
and touched them.” (See today’s
Gospel.) The merciful love that
Jesus felt for the man featured in
today’s Gospel was stronger than
the horror which the purulent
limbs most likely arouse in him as
a man. Jesus’ power, pity, and love
had their day. Thanks to them, a
man was cured. A man was saved.
And he and all the others gave
praise to God.
Leprosy is no longer so widespread and dreaded in our time.
Modern medicine has done a lot
to curb and cure it. But another
type of leprosy—the spiritual leprosy called sin—is still with us. It af-

fects not only a few but all humans.
It affects all of us. Its effects in us
are even more destructive than
leprosy or AIDS.
Surprisingly—and sadly so—
many seem unaware of its devastating effects. Others simply
deny the existence of sin or call it
by other “sanitized” names. Pope
Pius XII lamented that one of the
tragedies of our times was the loss
of the “sense of sin.” But ignoring
or denying it does not prevent its
spread or its destructive effects. If
anything, it make things worse . . .
. Such is the “strategy” of the devil!
Who will save us from such a
plague? No progress in science
or technology can offer the cure.
Only Jesus can. We, the spiritual
lepers of our time, have only one
hope: JESUS. The only cure is his
merciful LOVE and his GRACE.
Our humble prayer is the one of
today’s Gospel: “Lord if you will
to do so, you can cure me!” (Mk


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Magsisimula ang pelikula
sa pagpapakitang nasasaksihan
ng batang Andres Bonifacio ang
paggarote kina Padre Gomez,
Burgos at Zamora (Gomburza)
na pinaparatangang nagrerebelde
sa mga Kastila. Matapos nito’y
makikitang itinatatag ang grupong
La Liga Filipina na naglalayong
pag-alabin ang damdamin ng mga
Pilipino laban sa pang-aapi ng
mga Kastila na siyang sumakop sa
Pilipinas sa loob ng 300 taon. Dito
magiging kaibigan ni Bonifacio
(Robin Padilla) si Dr. Jose Rizal
(Jericho Rosales) na magsasabi sa
kanya kung ano ang nararapat at
naaayong gawin ng mga Pilipino
upang makamit ang minimithing
kalayaan. May magkakanulo sa La
Liga Filipina at ito ay mabubuwag;
makukulong si Dr. Jose Rizal at
mahahatulan ng kamatayan. Matapos nito’y itatatag ni Bonifacio ang
Katipunan at magisisimula ang
armadong pakikipaglaban sa mga
Kastila. Susundan ng pelikula ang
buhay ni Bonifacio mula 1892
kung saan niya makikilala ang pangalawa niyang asawang si Gregoria
de Jesus (Vina Morales) hanggang
sa kanyang mga huling araw ng
paglilitis at kamatayan sa Cavite.
Maituturing ang Bonifacio: Unang Pangulo bilang pinakamalaking pelikula na tumalakay sa buhay
ng bayaning si Andres Bonifacio.
Pinagbuhusan ng husay at talino
ang pagkakagawa nito. Mula sa
disenyong pamproduksiyon, mga
kuha ng kamera, komposisyon, editing at kabuuang dating ay hindi
maitatangging tunay na tinustusan
ang pelikula. Hindi rin magpapahuli sa pag-arte ang mga pangunahin nitong tauhan na pinangungunahan nina Robin Padilla,
Vina Morales at Jericho Rosales.
Walang itulak-kabigin sa kanilang
husay at galing. Sayang nga lang

February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

Unang Pangulo
DIRECTOR: Enzo Williams
LEAD CAST: Robin Padilla,
Vina Morales, Daniel
Padilla, Eddie Garcia
SCREENWRITER: Enzo Williams, Carlo Obispo
PRODUCER: Rina Navarro,
EA Rocha
EDITOR: Manet Dayrit
GENRE: Drama, Biopic
DISTRIBUTOR: Philippians
LOCATION: Philippines
RUNNING TIME: 91 mins.
Technical Assessment:
Moral Assessment: 

at tila marami pa ring elemento ng
kuwento ni Bonifacio ang tila hindi
pa rin nasabi sa pelikula. Hindi
rin gaanong napapanindigan ang
mga sinisimulang kwento tulad ng
pag-iibigan nila Andres at Oryang
na tila napabayaan sa kalagitnaan
ng pelikula. Sadyang nakapanghihinayan na tila walang bagong
sinabi ang pelikula patungkol sa
pagkabayani ni Bonifacio maliban
sa dati nang ipinakita ng mga naunang palabas patungkol sa bayani.
Hindi naman gaanong nakatulong
ang paglalagay ng elemento ng mga
kabataan sa kasalukuyang panahon
dahil hindi naman tumatahi sa mga
ito ang kuwento ng bayani. Masasabing kahit wala sila sa pelikula ay
tatayo pa rin ito. Sa kabila nito’y
bibihira pa rin ang mga pelikulang
tulad ng Bonifacio: Ang Unang
Pangulo at karapat-dapat pa rin
itong bigyan ng pansin ng mga
Pilipinong manonood.
Tila isang malaking sampal sa

ating kasaysayan ang kwento ni
Bonifacio na sa bandang huli’y tila
ipinagkanulo at pinatay ng kapwa
Pilipino. Hindi ito magandang
imahen para ating karakter bilang
isang lahi. Ngunit sadyang marami
tayong matututunan sa kasaysayan
at ang isang madilim na bahagi na
ito ay nararapat nating pag-ukulan
ng masusing pag-aaral. “Hindi pa
tapos ang rebolusyon,” ika nga ng
awit ng pelikula. Si Bonifacio ay
buong tapang na lumaban sa mga
mananakop na Kastila. Ito ay sa
kabila ng nakaambang panganib sa
kaniyang buhay. Kung ganyang uri
ng pagmamahal sa bayan mayroon
ang bawat Pilipino, disinsana’y
walang naaapi at walang mahihirap. Ngunit lumilinaw na ang tunay na rebolusyon at pakikibaka, at
ang tunay na kalaban ng Pilipinas,
ay mismong mga Pilipino rin. Ang
tunay na rebolusyon ay nasa puso
ng bawat Pilipino. Kailangan malabanan at malagpasan ng bawat isa
sa atin ang kasakimaan, kabuktutan
at pagkauhaw sa kapangyarihan at
kayamanan. Kapag nagawa natin
ito, matututo na tayong unahin
ang kapakanan ng bawat isa, ang
kapakanan ng kapwa, at kapakanan ng bayan bago ang ating
sarili. Bagama’t hindi nakatulong
sa pag-usad ng kwento, ang mga
kabataan sa pelikula ay sumisimbolo na dapat patuloy na mag-alab
ang pusong bayani lalo na sa mga
kabataan na siyang kinabukasan ng
bayan. Marami ring matutunan sa
wagas na pag-iibigan nila Andres
at Oryang. Sa kabuuan ay isang
kaaya-ayang karanasan at siksik sa
pagpapahalagang moral ang Bonifacio: Unang Pangulo, kailangan
lamang na magabayan ang mga
batang manonood upang maipaliwanag nang husto at maayos ang
madilim na bahaging ito ng ating

Buhay San Miguel

Moral Assessment

 Abhorrent

 Disturbing
 Acceptable
 Wholesome

 Exemplary

Brothers Matias

CBCP Monitor
Technical Assessment

 Poor
 Below average

 Average

 Above average
 E

English only, please
DIRECTOR: Dan Villegas
LEAD CAST: Jennylyn Mercado, Derek Ramsay
SCREENWRITERS: Anj Pessumal & Antoinette Jadaone
GENRE: Romance, Comedy
PRODUCTION; Quantum Films, MJM Productions, Tuko
LOCATION: Philippines
Technical assessment:  ½
Moral assessment: 
CINEMA Rating: V 14

Buhay Parokya

Look for the image of Pope Francis,
Holy Rosary and Holy Candle.
(Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

Napili ni Julian Parker (Derek Ramsay) si Tere Madlangsaya (Jennilyn Mercado) sa ginawa niyang online search
para maging Filipino tutor sa pagbisita nya sa Pilipinas.
Layunin ni Julian sa kanyang byahe sa Pilipinas na hanapin
at harapin ang nang-iwang girlfriend na Filipina. Ang pangunahing trabaho ni Tere bilang tutor ay isalin sa Tagalog
ang inihandang sulat ni Julian sa English at maturuan
siyang maipahayag ang nakasulat at makapaglabas siya ng
galit na damdamin. Natuto naman si Julian kahit palagi
niyang pakiusap na kausapin siya sa English dahil di siya
lubos na makaintindi ng Tagalog. Samantalang pilit na
pinapanatili nilang dalawa ang pormal na relasyon nila
bilang tutor at estudyante ay di naiwasan na makagiliwan
nila ang isa’t isa. Kaya sa punto na namroblema si Tere sa
nobyo na maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw ang pangloloko
sa kanya ay kay Julian siya nakapaghinga ng sama ng loob.
Hanggang sa nagkasundo sila na tulungan ang isa’t isa
na makapag move on mula sa mga di naging magandang
relasyon sa pag-ibig.
Simple lamang ang daloy ng kwento ng pelikulang
English Only, Please. Hindi naman seryoso na tungkol
sa wikang Ingles o Filipino ang pelikula katulad ng sinasaad ng pamagat. Pero informative naman ang dating ng
diksyunaryo, bagamat hindi pormal na salita ang karamihan. Samantala sa kabila ng simpleng plot ay nagawa ng
direktor na maging kaaliw-aliw ang mga eksena. Pangunahin sa nagbigay kulay sa romantic comedy na ito ay ang
mahusay na pagganap lalo na si Mercado. Nabigyan nya ng
katarungan ang papel ni Tere na isang babaeng magaling sa
diskarte sa buhay at pagtulong sa pamilya pero aminadong
tanga sa pag-ibig. May dating ang paghahatid nya ng mga
linya lalo na ang mga patawa. Nasabayan naman ito ni
Ramsay. Yun nga lang, tila walang chemistry ang dalawa
sa screen. Nakita sa pelikula ang kaibahan ng pagkatao
ng ginampanan nilang dalawa. Maganda ang disenyo ng
produksyon gayon din ang make-up. Malinis ang editing
at walang naging problema sa pagpapalit ng mga eksena.
Akma ang mga inilapat na tunog at ilaw. Maliwanag ang
mga kuha ng camera na akma lamang para sa tema ng light
romance comedy. Naghatid din ng aliw ang inilapat na
musika tulad ng mga piling awitin na naitampok sa pelikula. Sa kabuuan ay halata na matipid ang produksyon
subalit naging malikhain ang mga responsable sa likod
ng mga teknikal na aspeto ng pelikula at naging maganda
ang kinalabasan.
Ipinakita sa pelikula na ang di magandang hangarin tulad
ng paghihiganti sa pamamagitan ng masasakit na salita ay
maaring mabago kapag nakadama ng tunay na pag-ibig.
Ang tao na totoong nagmamahal ay nakikita ang kagandahan ng puso at kalooban sa kabila ng sitwasyon na umiiral
ang katangahan at kawalan ng respeto sa sarili. Pinakita
din ng English Only, Please na may puwang ang pagbabago sa buhay ng isang tao. Samantala ang pagsuporta sa
pamilya ay likas sa mga Filipino. Katulad ng karakter ni
Tere na ginagawa ang lahat at nagsasakrispisyo na malayo
sa pamilya para makapagpadala ng ayuda at makapagpatayo
ng pangarap na bahay sa probinsya. Bagamat nagkakagustuhan ay naging malinis ang naging relasyon ng mga
karakter nina Tere at Julian bilang tutor at estudyante na
sa kalaunan ay naging magkaibigan bago nag-aminan na
pareho silang nararamdaman sa isa’t isa.
Di mapapasubalian na may mga positibong ipinakita ang
pelikula. Subalit tumalakay din mga sensitibong tema ang
pelikula katulad ng casual sex sa pagitan ng karakter ni
Tere at ng manlolokong nobyo, unprofessionalism bilang
tutor sa pananamit, di pagsuheto sa pakikipaglampungan
ng estudyante habang may tutorial lesson, at pagdadahilan
sa pagdating ng huli sa takdang oras. Nakakabahala din na
pinakita sa pelikula ang tila cheap na paraan ng kaibigan ni
Tere sa paghahanap ng boyfriend na lantarang ipinapakita
sa anak bilang katanggap-tanggap na sitwasyon. Ang pamilya naman na sinusuportahan ni Tere sa probinsya ay tila
di nagpapahalaga sa sakripisyo ng kapamilya at hinahayaan
lamang ito dahil sa paniwala ng sumusuporta na nagbabayad utang sya ng mabigo ang pamilya na makapagtapos
sya ng pag-aaral.

CBCP Monitor


February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

The News Supplement of
Couples for Christ

Love More! The 2015
CFC International Leaders’ Conference
By Aiza Garnica

THE Mall of Asia Arena became a sea of red last January
10 as thousands of members
of Couples for Christ, clad in
the red Love More shirts, filled
the venue to attend the community’s first major global activity
for 2015.  

Held annually during the second week
of January, the Leaders Conference, the
biggest gathering of CFC missionaries
from all over the world, had the theme
LOVE MORE, inspired by John 21:15-17.
To formally start the event, the PNPA
Marching Band played the CFC Theme to
accompany the Parade of Flags of 128 countries and 7 territories where CFC is active. 
Davis Abuel, SOLD Provincial Coordinator of Leyte, led the crowd in a
powerful opening worship. To help the
CFC community remember God's faithfulness, El Gamma Penumbra performed
an exceptionally moving shadow dance
depicting the victories and trials of the

Catch More By Loving More
By Aiza Garnica

Four hundred and nine
leaders of Couples for Christ
from 40 countries gathered
as one last January 9, 2015
(Friday) at SMX Convention
Center in Pasay City, Philippines.

To know more how to “Love More” was
the main focus of the 3rd CFC Global
Leaders Empowerment Convention, as it
is also the community’s theme for 2015.
The event officially started with the
celebration of the Holy Mass, with Fr.

Mario Sobrejuanite as main presider,
together with Fr. Mrutyunjay Digal of
India as concelebrant. During his final
blessing, Fr. Mario encouraged everyone
to “Go and truly shine brightly with the
light of Christ.”
After the Holy Mass, the CFC leaders
raised their hands in worship to thank the
Lord for a fruitful year that was and to ask
for God’s mercy to do more for this year.
The worship was led by Alex Gosianto,
National Director of CFC Indonesia.
George Campos, the CFC Executive
Director and Metro Manila Missions
Director, shared the CFC Global Report
for 2014 and challenged everyone to

not be afraid to go on mission and spread
the Good News to the ends of the earth.
He exhorted everyone to be mindful that
“What we have done, though impressive,
is still too little. We need to love more.”
Manny Garcia, Nonoy Dalman, Jimmy
Ilagan, Mannix Ocampo and James
Solano, continent overseers of Africa,
the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania, respectively, presented reports on
evangelization efforts in their continents,
highlighting breakthroughs, new areas and
territories and specific challenges encountered. All of them echoed one appeal -- for

previous years. 
Session 1, titled "Love", was delivered
by CFC Executive Director George Campos with sharers Cynthia Campos and
Rachel Arguelles who both inspired the
audience with their personal love stories
with the Lord. 
ANCOP Scholar Eugene Rubio thanked
the community for giving him the chance
to have a better future through the gift of
education. As a token of gratitude for the
community's generosity, he promised to
do well in school and make CFC proud
of having him as a scholar. 
CFC Chairman Joe Tale gave the community's marching orders in the second
session titled "Feed My Sheep." Picking
up from Campos’ bold statements that
to love more means we are to pray more,
study more, serve more, fellowship more,
and hunger more for the sacraments, Tale
shared that the true measure of loving our
God is when we fully commit to obey His
command and feed His sheep. 
Glenn Santayana, CFC USA serving in
South America, inspired the crowd to be
bold enough to say yes to the Lord despite

uncertainties, knowing fully that when
God calls, He equips. Aileen Serrano, wife
of the late Bob Serrano, leader of the 29
AD Band and core member of the national
music ministry, moved the audience with
a powerful insight called "finishing grace"
- dying in faith, dying with joy, and becoming everything that God wants you to be. 
The sessions ended with the members
of the International Council leading the
community in a Prayer of Empowerment, recognizing that CFC cannot move
forward as one and cannot accomplish
anything without the grace of God. This
was followed by a spirit-filled praisefest led
by young couple and KFC FTPWs Chino
and Gretchen Santos. 
The event concluded with the highest
form of worship, the Holy Mass, officiated
by Most Rev. Guillermo Afable, Bishop of
Digos, Davao del Sur, with CFC Spiritual
Director Msgr. Allen Aganon, Fr. Socrates
Mesiona of the Pontifical Missions Societies, and other brother priests who have
become partners with CFC in renewing
families and building generations of
Christian leaders. 

CFC Defines Mission to the
Poor at the BCOP Summit

GLEC 3 / C2

By Aiza Garnica

In the spirit of its twofold mission of Building
the Church of the Home
and Building the Church of
the Poor, Couples for Christ
held the BCOP Summit on
January 10, 2015 at the SMX
Convention Center. BCOP,
or Building the Church of

the Poor, is CFC’s umbrella
organization for its work
with the poor program.

Present in the event were BCOP
leaders, led by BCOP head and International Council member Jose Yamamoto,
and representatives from areas where
CFC actively serves. 
Jaycee Dela Cruz, BCOP fulltime
worker, opened the program with the


February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

The Pope’s Challenge to Love More

Joe Tale

The Real Meaning Of
Love More
When the IC emerged from our
September 2014 annual retreat with
a new theme – Love More - taken
from John 21:15-17, we did not
fully anticipate what the theme
would require from all of us in

We knew that Love More emerged from Jesus’
question to Peter: “Do you love me more than
these?” We knew that Jesus asked this same question three times and Peter’s reply of “Yes, Lord”
each time elicited Jesus’s response of “Feed my
sheep”. We knew that Jesus was giving Peter three
chances to negate the three instances of his betrayal.
What we didn’t know then was how far our own
understanding of “Feed my sheep” would take us
or how much would be expected of us.
As we began to internalize the theme “Love
More,” we realized all of us in community are being
asked by the Lord to do so much more than we ever
did in our entire 33 year history. It was humbling
to realize that even as we took pride in our many
accomplishments – 128 countries and 7 territories,
new programs and ministries, our Vatican recognition, testimonials from clergy all over the world –
we have actually not done enough. There are 195
countries in the world and we have presence in
only 128! There are hundreds of millions of people
who don’t know Christ in the world and we brag
about our million members. There are millions of
children everywhere who do not have the benefit
of education and we take pride in the thousands we
are sponsoring. There are ten million OFWs and
we have not even touched the tip of the iceberg in
terms of the families they have left behind.
We also realized that Jesus’ question to Peter:
“Do you love me more than these?” takes on special
significance when applied to our personal and community life. As we began to look at the implications
of this question in relation to loving more, we saw
that indeed, we needed to take a second and third
look at the obstacles to our service to the Lord.
These include our careers, our desires and dreams,
our friendships, our hobbies and interests, even
the sins and resentments we continue to harbor
in our hearts.
It was overwhelming to think about the ramifications of Love More. We thought that since all
of us in community are already geared to loving a
wider spectrum than simply our families, it would
be quite easy to expand our horizons and love more
people. We thought it simply meant expressing our
love more to those we already love. But God is
actually asking us to show that we love Him more
by sacrificing more, serving more, doing more,

loving even the unlovable.
More and more we realized that it wasn’t that
simple. It became clear that indeed, we have done
too little and we will continue to do little things in
little arenas if we do not ascribe to Loving More in
the very real sense that God intends for us.
We are awed and grateful that Pope Francis, at
the Mass he celebrated at the Manila Cathedral,
used the very same Bible verse that our theme is
anchored on – John 21:15-17 – as the Gospel
reading. We are humbled that our theme is attuned
to the spirit that moves in our Church leaders.
Indeed, Pope Francis’ entire papal visit had Love
More as recurring theme – when he stopped to kiss
the children, when he met with the poor, when he
embraced the old nuns and priests, when he refused
to back away from his commitment to go to Tacloban even in the face of the typhoon, donning a
yellow raincoat over his vestments in solidarity with
the hundreds of thousands who stood in the rain.
I salute all the CFC volunteers who, through
their very humble contributions, helped in the
preparations and conduct of this papal visit. There
were more than 22,000 CFC volunteers, some who
acted as human shield along the papal route, some
who labored for weeks prior to the event as part
of the CBCP organizing committees, some who
served in the media center, seeing nothing but their
computers all day long, knowing that they would
never even see the Pope in person. We are proud
of you and of the way you showed the true spirit
of volunteerism and servanthood.
On a somber note, I also salute the 44 Special
Action Force members of the Philippine National
Police who lost their lives in an encounter with
the MILF. They showed what love of country is all
about, what gallantry and nobility truly mean. It
is very sad to know that three of the Fallen 44 were
members of the Singles for Christ: Police Senior Inspector Ryan B. Pabalinas (who had gotten married
and whose wife spoke on behalf of all the widows
and families), Police Senior Inspector Gebnat G.
Tabdi, and Police Inspector Rennie Tayrus. One
of the 44, Russel B. Bilog, Police Officer 1, was
the brother of our CFC leader in Cuomo, Italy.
This incident has caused us to resolve to do more
for the men and women in uniform. CFC will
extend assistance to the families of our fallen brethren. But we will also intensify our efforts to bring
God’s message to the military schools and camps.
As we begin the second month of 2015, let our
resolve to love more grow stronger, even if we know
that loving more could lead to great sacrifices, a lot
of work and many difficult challenges ahead. With
our great God showing the way, we also know that
we can look forward to the great joy that loving
more will bring.

GLEC 3 / C1

The regular teaching
night of CFC, held on
Tuesday, January 20,
coming just a day after
Pope Francis ended his
five-day pastoral visit to
the Philippines, had an
apt topic—the lessons
the Pope imparted to his
Philippine flock.

Fr. Benedict Lagarde, Missionary
of Jesus, was the night’s speaker and
he began by emphasizing that the
Pope’s visit was all about the Lord
shepherding His people through
His vicar on earth. The theme of
the papal visit, after all, was “The
Shepherd in Sri Lanka and the
Philippines—the Challenge of
Shepherding Those in Leadership.”
Fr. Benedict called the Pope a
true shepherd because in spite of
his being 78 years old, having only
one functioning lung and facing
challenges from within and outside
the Church, he decided to go on
this trip even though he could have
opted not to. He made the grueling
trip in order to shepherd his flock.
“In Sri Lanka, it was to reassure the
flock, coming out of the ravages
of civil war, that he is mindful of
their situation as a minority. In the
Philippines, it was to reassure his
flock that he is mindful of them as
they are coming out of the ravages
of typhoon Yolanda.”
Fr. Benedict compared this
kind of shepherding to the kind of
service we as CFC leaders give our
members. He said, “This is what
shepherding is all about – your
flock need to be reassured of your
intimate presence during their moment of greatest need. There is no
excuse for not being there when
your flock needs you.”

He continued: “You are excused
if you are not around during their
moments of celebration and triumph. But you are not excused
when something bad happens to
the group you are leading and you
are not there. Do not make the
excuse that you are weak. The Pope
has only one lung. Do not say ‘I
am old.” The Pope is older. And
please do not use the excuse that
your member lives so far away. The
Pope traveled thousands of miles
just to be with us.”
Referring to the Manila Cathedral Mass that the Pope celebrated, Fr. Benedict said that “When
you in CFC heard the Pope use
John 21:15-17 as the Gospel
message, I am sure it sent shivers
down your spine, especially the
International Council. I am sure
they exclaimed in their hearts
“Oh my God! The Pope is using
the same Bible text that gave life
to the theme Love More!”
Fr. Benedict reiterated that Love
More is the Pope’s greatest challenge
to all of us. Placing Love More
within the context of Scripture, Fr.
Benedict said that despite Peter betraying and denying him, Jesus was
awesomely good in that he resurrected from the dead. Resurrection
had to happen so that his disciples
may be reconciled with him. If
he did not return from the grave,
reconciliation could never have
taken place. And mission, which is
a natural progression from reconciliation, could never have happened.
The Bible text describes that Jesus prepared a meal for his disciples
on the seashore. And he did this
right after he experienced betrayal,
abandonment, and death. “This is
what makes Jesus awesome – this
was a meal of reconciliation and
mission,” Fr. Benedict said.

Directly addressing the younger
CFC present, Fr. Benedict cautioned them “not to forget the
generation that came before you.
I hope you recognize the sacrifices
of those who served before you,
the contributions they gave that
makes CFC what it is now. Many
of the CFC who are now seniors
provided a steadying hand when
CFC went through severe storms
caused by the splits. Let us not
forget what they suffered – confusion, sorrow, lost sleep, tears,
broken relationships – but in spite
of all these, they still provided the
steadying hand. “
Moving on to the Pope’s homily during the Mass in the airport
in Tacloban, Leyte, Fr. Benedict
mentioned that Pope Francis’
message was “I have nothing to
tell you.” It is because it is God’s
Word that we should seek and
speak. Fr. Benedict stressed that
if there is one sin we all commit,
it is that we always think we have
an explanation for what is happening, that our followers, our flock
are always waiting for our word.
But they are not, because they are
waiting for the life giving word of
the Lord, not ours.
Concluding, Fr. Benedict exhorted CFC to “Just help the poor.
Don’t spend too much time defining who the poor are. Widows,
orphans, the sick, the landless and
sinners are the least, the last and
the lost. And it is exactly to the
last, lost and least that the Shepherd
was sent.”
Fr. Benedict invited everyone to:
First, go back to all the homilies
of the Pope; second, have a silent
moment and ponder on them, and
third, celebrate the coming of God
who shepherded us through the
coming of the Vicar of Christ.


more missionaries in their areas.
The call is now out for mission volunteers. Indeed, to
love more is to connect as one,
to move as one and to support
one another in our community’s
awesome task of bringing the
world to Christ.
During the afternoon worship, Michael Bay, Country
Head of CFC Malaysia exhorted, “Mission is not easy, it
is always full of crisis but we will
be empowered as long as we have
the courage to ask the Lord.”
Jun Uriarte, Chairman of
the CFC Institute, the new
subsidiary of CFC, introduced
CFCI, and how it aims to
educate, train, foster research
and innovation, manage and
share knowledge, so that leaders and missionaries may realize
the mission of CFC and the
Church in proclaiming Christ
to the world. Soon, the Institute
will develop and offer degree
and non-degree courses that
will serve and promote the mission and vision of CFC.
Afterwards, the participants
were grouped into different

workshops to further deepen their
understanding of the different programs of the community.
Mannix Ocampo, Ablaze Chairman, and Rommel Ancheta, Ablaze
President, encouraged everyone
to “Catch More Fish” using the
products and offerings of Ablaze.
George Campos and Jess Ferrer,
the Migrants Program Head, shared
during the Migrants Program
workshop the highlights of the 7th
World Congress on the Pastoral
Care for Migrants and Itinerant
people and emphasized that the program is also an evangelization tool.
Rouquel Ponte, Church Integration Office (CIO) Head
and Pastoral Formation Office
(PFO) Consultant, reminded
those who attended the CIO
workshop that “We are called to
holiness; for it is the very measure
of Christian living.” During this
workshop, Arnel Santos, PFO
Director, explained the CFC
culture and the different roles
of the PFO coordinators in the
sectors, provinces and countries.
Kirby Llaban, overall PFO Coordinator, expounded on the
leaders’ formation track.

Joe Tale, CFC Chairman
and International Missions
Director, gave the last session
for the day titled Daybreak.
He reminded everyone that
“We start the year with “Love
More”, but because of the
new opportunities that the
Lord is giving us, He is also
calling us to continuously
“Behold and Ponder.” So
let us always ask the Lord
in prayer to teach us to still
do more, give more, sacrifice
more and love more.”
The Chairman also conveyed
the Pope’s call for “spirit-filled
evangelizers” and concluded
his session by calling all those
who are fearlessly open to the
workings of the Holy Spirit to
proclaim the joy of the Gospel.
He exhorted everyone to be
bold in proclaiming the Gospel
in every time and place even in
the face of opposition.
During the prayer for empowerment, CFC declared,
“Almighty Father, take away
the words “No” and “fear” and
replace them with “Yes”, faith,
courage and love.”

morning worship. CFC ANCOP President and
member of the CFC International Council Jimmy
Ilagan welcomed the delegates. 
Session 1, titled "New Evangelization: Mission to
the Poor", was delivered by Archbishop Jose Palma of
Cebu who called Couples for Christ the joy and the
hope of the Church. His talk highlighted the community’s special call to serve the least, the last, and the lost. 
Jerry Pompong Jr. and Bernie Cueto shared their
stories of loving the poor and being loved as well. 
Session 2 followed with CFC ANCOP Chairman
Joe Yamamoto sharing the irreplaceable role of BCOP
in the realization of the mission and its directions for

2015, which also happens to be the Year of the Poor.
Inspired by “Mercy and Compassion”, the theme of
Pope Francis's visit to the Philippines, CFC, through
BCOP, is affirmed and challenged to help make the
country truly a nation of mercy and compassion. 
The audience was given the opportunity to voice out
their opinions in a panel discussion with Jimmy Ilagan
as the moderator and Arnel Santos, Joe Yamamoto,
and the Social Development Program Heads as the
panelists. Synthesis and final announcements were
given by Santos afterwards. 
Elmer Cadiz, who heads the CFC ANCOP operations,
closed the summit with a powerful worship.

CBCP Monitor


February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

CFC ANCOP Open Golf Year 4:
Faith, Fellowship, Fundraising

CFC Honors 3 PNP SAF
Troopers in MM MC Assembly

The Metro Manila Mission Core honored the Fallen 44, members of
the PNP Special Action Force who were killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25, 2015. Three of the troopers were active members of CFC Singles for Christ while they were cadets in the Philippine
National Police Academy--PSr. Insp. Ryan B. Pabalina (SFC 2006), PSr.
Insp. Rennie L. Tayrus and PInsp. Gednat Tabdi (SFC 2010).
According to Dong Tacocong of CFC Cavite, several couples, including himself, stood as foster
parents to some of these cadets while they were in the Academy. He recalled, "We would pick them up
during weekends and holidays when they were allowed to leave the Academy. We would bring them to
our homes, and take them along to SFC activities."
CFC salutes these brothers in Christ, and the community praises God for making CFC Singles for
Christ an instrument in planting the seed of renewed faith in these young men.
CFC will extend assistance to the families the troopers left behind. Please continue to pray for all the
Fallen 44 who gave their lives in pursuit of their sworn duty, truly examples of gallantry and nobility.

GPSI Finalists Experience
ANCOP for a Day
The DZMM World Caravan Global Pinoy Singing Idol finalists experienced ANCOP at the CFC ANCOP AVANAI Community in Visayas
Avenue, Quezon City last January 23, 2015. The immersion was part of
their duties as GPSI winners of their respective countries.

The five finalists, plus a guest performer from Indonesia, were given an orientation and actually helped
in the construction work ongoing in the community.
GPSI is a partnership between DZMM Teleradyo and CFC ANCOP for the benefit of the Child
Sponsorship Program and ANCOP Shelter. The World Caravan annually searches for Filipino singing
champions who are living abroad through a talent search competition in different countries. The winners are then brought to Manila to compete in the championship round.
This year's champion is Jing Wenghofer, a music teacher living in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Alessandra Joy
Morales, also from the USA, and Kristine Karremans of The Netherlands were runners-up. (Alma Alvarez)

Couples for Christ members, sponsor representatives, and ANCOP supporters all over Metro Manila and the provinces hit the greens last January
13, 2015 at the Villamor Golf Club for the Annual CFC ANCOP Open Golf
This is the fourth installment of the tournament which aims to raise funds for CFC ANCOP scholars under
its Child Sponsorship Program. The golf tournament supports 10 scholars to date. Funds raised this year will
be used for the current roster and to add new scholars.
Golfers enjoyed 18 holes of golf, a superb lunch and raffle prizes. ANCOP scholars Crisanto Clarino and
Pauline Enecillo shared their stories and expressed their gratitude to ANCOP during lunch.
The following took home the championship trophies:
Class C Champion: Eric Zuniga
Class B Champion: Robert Quiogie
Class A Champion: Vital Zabala
Individual Low Gross Champion: Rodney Catayong
CFC ANCOP Open Champion: Bong Catabay
CFC ANCOP Open Team Champion: CFC Pangasinan
The CFC ANCOP Golf Open was made possible through Event Sponsors GT Radial and KiG Glassware,
and hole sponsors Meralco Power, Birmingham Homeowners Dev't. Corp., Livestock Shelter Concepts, Sison
Tagayuna Construction and Development Corporation, CFC ANCOP KSA, CFC ANCOP QATAR and
The Child Sponsorship Program provides educational assistance for elementary, high school and college/
technical/vocational students.
CSP is a one-on-one-sponsorship by a donor partner to a poor child or youth, pre-qualified from the funded
communities of the ANCOP donor network and CFC ANCOP covered areas/ target groups. 
For more information about how the CFC ANCOP-Tekton Foundation is supporting poor students, visit (Romeo M. Medina)

The News Supplement
of Couples for Christ

George B. Campos
IC Oversight

Zenaida A. Gimenez

Deomar P. Oliveria
Layout Artist

Alma M. Alvarez
Associate Editor

Evangeline C. Mecedilla
Circulation Staff

The Ugnayan News Supplement is published by the Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc., with editorial
offices at 156 20th Avenue, 1109 Cubao, Quezon City.
Editorial trunk line: (+63 2) 709-4868 local 23
Direct line : (+63 2) 709-4856



February 2 - 15, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 3

Starting 2015 the CFC Way
For Couples for Christ, each year does not officially begin unless the members are rallied
towards the work of evangelization and the first fruits of of our toil are offered. Here are
some of the provinces and countries that have started 2015 the CFC way.

New Zealand



Lanao Del Norte

CBCP Monitor

Personal Testimony

Mercy and Compassion:
Real and Personal

By Karen Joy C. Alcober




Agusan Del Norte

The call to preach the
gospel in community

“When I saw from Rome
the catastrophe, I felt that
I had to be here. On those
very days, I decided to come
here. I’m here to be with
you. A little bit late, sad to
say, but I am here...” With
these words, Pope Francis
touched the hearts of the
estimated 200,000 pilgrims
from the Diocese of Palo and
other dioceses, schools, civic
groups and institutions who
attended the Mass he celebrated at the Tacloban airport
on January 17, 2015. Many
of them braved the elements
and walked for hours just to
be able to catch a glimpse of
the beloved Pontiff.

It has been 14 long months since super
typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc in Tacloban, Leyte and other nearby provinces,
resulting in thousands of deaths, hundreds
still missing and displacing hundreds of
thousands. Pope Francis, with his words of
comfort, assuaged the pain of the typhoon
victims and brought hope that indeed, the
Lord is present in our daily lives.
The airport was a sea of yellow as the
pilgrims took advantage of the government’s distribution of yellow raincoats.
Even the Pope was in a raincoat, showing
his solidarity with everyone.
The storm warning was upgraded to
signal number two on the very day of
the Pope’s visit but this did not deter the
pilgrims from converging at the airport
or from lining the streets of Tacloban and

Palo. Despite the pouring rain, no one
moved from places that had been staked
out hours before, all of them eager to
hear the Pope’s message of hope. Rain
mixed with tears on the faces of many,
awed at the very thought that before
them was truly Christ’s Vicar on earth.
The Pope’s eagerness to be with us
inspite of the typhoon moved me and
humbled me. His presence, for me, was
an affirmation of the very words he
shared during his homily: “Jesus is Lord.
And the Lord from the cross is there for
you…That is why we have a Lord who
cries with us and walks with us in the
most difficult moments of life.”
Even if I cannot claim to be a
genuine Leyteño yet, considering
that I just moved here from Manila a
month before Yolanda hit, I am proud
to be one with the Leytenos. The
common pain that we shared united
us, and our united faith showed our
resilience as a people. The help, support and prayers extended to us by
families, friends and even strangers
when we were at our most vulnerable
and when we had nothing to give in
return proved that love thrives even
in devastation—that mercy and compassion is real and personal.
Although Pope Francis’ apostolic
visit in Leyte was cut short because of
the worsening weather conditions, his
presence warmed the hearts of many
amidst the cold weather. Now, a few
weeks after, the streets of Tacloban
and Palo are back to their busy state,
everyone’s life is back to normal, and
I find myself doing my daily routines
again, but his messages continue to
bring warmth to my heart.

ANCOP Bets Win Big In GPSI
By the CFC Global Comm

Fr. Gerard Timoner, OP,
Provincial of the Dominican
Order in the Philippines,
gave a recollection to the
members of the Elders Assembly of CFC last January
11, 2015 at the SM Aura. Top
leaders from Metro Manila,
the provinces and overseas
came to listen to Fr. Gerard
talk about “The call to preach
the gospel in community”.

The entire recollection was centered on
the Gospel according to Matthew Chapter
10, which talks about the mission and
commissioning of the 12 apostles.

On Mission

Fr. Gerard highlighted the words "summoned" and "sent" – two different movements of Christ’s followers. According to
him, discipleship (the character of one
summoned) and apostleship (the character
of one sent) are interrelated but not the
same. Discipleship is the never-ending
process of being a student of Jesus. But
after learning, a disciple is sent by the Lord
to proclaim the Good News (apostleship).
Fr. Gerard also focused on the word
“and”, signifying the gesture of sending
missionaries in pairs, two by two, just as
CFC is sending couples on mission. Why
two by two? Because at the heart of the
Gospel is the Gospel of Love and thus the
pair are called to preach the Gospel and to
exemplify and witness to its truth through
the love they bear for each other.
“How can we preach love if we do not
live it?” Fr. Gerard asked.
He illustrated marriage as a sacrament,
a sign that points to the love of Christ for
the Church. In the Philippines, the marriage rite includes the ceremony of putting
the couple under one veil. This is uniquely

Filipino and highly symbolic. The veil is
a symbol of worship. Hence, a couple’s
conscious decision to live together in love
is an act of worship.
God’s call is personal, but all are also
called to community. To live together in
community, in love and fidelity, is an apostolate. The ideal community bonds together
not just for the mission. Being together is
already part of the mission—living together
in unanimity of mind and heart.
Fr. Gerard added, “Part of this is
obedience to God’s will. Disobedience
leads to disintegration.”
He further said that obedience is about
listening, and listening emanates from the
principle of unity. Listening also means to
hear what is not being said.
“When we listen attentively to one
another, we maintain unity. Otherwise,
division would ensue.” Fr. Gerard added,
“But more importantly, we need to develop
that capacity to listen even in silence. The
bottom line is, we ask ourselves: ‘Is it the
good of the entire community that I am
after, or is it my own personal goal that I
am seeking?’”
Fr. Gerard quoted an excerpt from
The Pearl of Great Price, CFC’s commemorative book on the occasion of
its 30th anniversary:
“When human wisdom would have
dictated a more aggressive, iron-fisted approach, the International Council asked
the global community to be still and to
pray. When corporate leaders would have
resorted immediately to sacking errant
leaders, the IC repeatedly sought dialogue
and reconciliation.
Against all human expectations, the quiet
prayerful approach proved to be more effective. The community, affirmed and guided
by the succeeding annual themes, chose to
love and then to move forward in Christ.”
As Fr. Gerard explained, this gesture not
only showed the capacity to listen to one
another, but more importantly, to listen
to Christ. It meant not following like a
slave, but having the capacity to listen to

one another. It is not listening to the
majority, but practicing unanimity.
“Truth and community are inseparable,” Fr. Gerard said. “We need to
possess that spirit—to listen to ideas
other than our own. The unity of the
community is the presence of Jesus. If
that unity is fractured, then we compromise the presence of Jesus in our midst.”

Fr. Gerard explained that the term
“Shake the dust off your feet…” from
the second part of the Gospel on the
commissioning of the 12, does not
mean, as is generally understood, to
walk away and have nothing further to
do with the ones we seek to evangelize.
Rather, it refers to the state of our own
hearts. As he said, when we evangelize,
we first have to get rid of our own painful and toxic memories, we first have
to learn to forgive because “if we are
carrying the Good News, bad news
has no place in the heart of the one who
carries the Good News.”
Fr. Gerard stressed, “That is why
Pope Francis reminds us to pay attention to the joy of the gospel. No to
sour-faced Christians; the gospel should
be alive and light up the room.”
Finally, Fr. Gerard reminded the
CFC Elders Assembly that a happy
community is a communion of good
“Your theme is love more. And when
we love, imperfections become perfect.”
Before the prayer for empowerment,
Fr. Gerard reminded everyone, “Do
not allow disagreements to distract you
from the good you do. Shake the dust
off your feet.” He added, “Is it easy to
do? No. That is why Jesus did it for
the 12. He took a basin and washed
the feet of the disciples. If we find it
difficult to shake off the dust, we go
to Jesus: ‘Please wash my feet. Again,
we can only forgive if we engage God’s
forgiveness within our own.’”

By ANCOP USA Communications

Two representatives of ANCOP USA garnered top spots
in the recently held Global
Pinoy Singing Idol contest.
The singing contest is an
annual global competition.
Since 2012, ANCOP USA has
partnered with ABS-CBN
DZMM in the conduct of
Global Pinoy Singing Idol
(GPSI) contests in the United

The 2014 GPSI championship was held
in Market Market Mall in Taguig City on
January 24, 2015 and was aired live on
Jing Quitain Wenghofer of ANCOP
Illinois (Chicago) was declared 2014 GPSI
Champion, winning $2,500 and a championship trophy while Alessja Morales
of ANCOP California (San Diego) won
$1,500 plus a runner-up trophy.
Celebrating her win, Wenghofer said,
“Last weekend was a very memorable one
for me. I thank the Lord for blessing me
with this great opportunity. Thanks to my
family and my relatives and neighbors in
Dalipit who came to support me. Thanks
to Isabelle and Kevin Wenghofer for the
unending love, support and encourage-

ment. And special thanks to CFC
to Ahwel Paz, Ms. Weng, Ms. May, Ms.
Mara, Kenneth Joy Carino, voice coach
Ms. Annie Quintos, Yu Von Ryan, and
Ramona Buizon.”
Alessja, on the other hand, said “This
contest was one of the best experiences
of my life. Being able to serve God's
people, physically as well as musically,
was truly a blessing. Thank you CFC
ANCOP and DZMM for such a wonderful experience.”
Other ANCOP singers who participated in the championship event were:
Kristine Sagad Karremans (Amsterdam);
Isabelle Llanzare (The Netherlands) and
Michael Sherwin Vaflor (Indonesia). 
GPSI USA is a fund-raising event for
the benefit of ANCOP USA”s Child
Sponsorship Program (scholarship for
poor Filipino children).
At present, there are a total of 7,000
ANCOP scholars throughout the Philippines, of which 800 are sponsored by
The Child Sponsorship Program
(CSP) is one of the programs of ANCOP. Other projects are: Community
Development Program (free housing
for poorest families); Medical/Surgical
Mission; Cornerstone (child development education) and Disaster Relief.