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Page 5 A Tooth for an Eye: The Final Equition in Lebanon
Page 10 But Why Love the Poor?
Page 13 A Joint Pastoral Letter on Jueteng and STL
Vol. 10 No. 10
The 8-11 August 28, 2006
Tragedy in Guimaras
Bishop Wants “Selfdetermination” for IPs
CBCP Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP) chair, Bishop Sergio Utleg, said the Commission aims at helping the unfortunate state of tribal minorities living in the country today by developing the value of “self-determination”. Said component, according to Utleg, is the basis for all their effort,
Bishop Wants / P4
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace August 28, 2006 Vol. 10 No. 10 Php 16.00
By Maria Lourdes Ebilane
CBCP Head not Surprised by the Junking of Impeachment
ARCHBISHOP Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the outcome of the recent bid to impeach Mrs. Arroyo did not come as a surprise. In an interview, Lagdameo said that the Catholic bishops were already foreseeing that the impeachment proCBCP Head / P4
Lagdameo Appeals Aid for Oil Spill Victims
AS the oil spill reaching other parts of Iloilo, the Archdiocese of Jaro has called on the faithful to continue sending aid for the people of the affected communities. Jaro Archbishop Angel “As one ‘Body of Christ’, the Lagdameo said that though “we can- tragedy suffered by one part is felt not be responsible” for the accident, too by the entire body,” said “we can reach out immediately to the Lagdameo who is concurrently presiaffected families of the affected dent of the Catholic Bishops’ Conbarangays in terms of material help, ference of the Philippines (CBCP). because they have lost their liveliThe oil spill started August 11, when a tanker sunk south of hood.” “Let us be in solidarity with them Guimaras Island, about 312 miles through whatever organized help we southeast of Manila as it was transporting more than 500,000 gallons of can extend to them,” he said. The Archdiocese of Jaro cov- bunker oil of Petron Corporation. ers Iloilo and Guimaras, where 92 The province was immediately percent of 2.7 million people are put under a “state of calamity” following what authorities called as the Catholics. Lagdameo said that his archdio- country’s worst spill. cese has already taken up steps in “The causes of this tragedy the relief effort led by the Diocesan need to be fully and honestly invesSocial Action Center (JASAC) and tigated in order that justice may be Jaro Archdiocesan Pastoral Secre- served,” said Lagdameo. Lagdameo Appeals / P4 tariat (JAPS).
Total Log Ban in Davao Oriental Urged
MATI, Davao Oriental—Catholic Church leaders are spearheading a signature campaign urging the government to impose a total log ban in this province following the death of nine people in Cateel town due to illegal-logging operations. Immediately after the accident, a group composed of religious organizations and civil society groups gathered together at the St. James the Apostle Parish in Cateel and unanimously agreed to come out with the said decision. In a statement, they lambasted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for its “incapacity and organization constraints” to protect and regulate natural resources and biodiversity of the province. “With the increasing and magnifying effects of natural and man-made disasters in the province, elsewhere in the country and globally, we strongly proposed and recommended that a total log ban be implemented in Davao Oriental,” said the statement. Sr. Melvin Manligoy of the Diocesan Social Action Center said they will send the position paper to Ms Arroyo and Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes after gathering enough signatures. She said the right time has come that people should put all efforts together and take a common stand against all forms of environmental destructions. “Before, we only act when something happened and nothing can be heard after. That should not be the case,” said Manligoy. The group lamented the apathy of logging companies, buyers and processors to manifest its socio-ecological corporate responsibility.
Total Log / P4
Fr. Cortes Dies at 64
FATHER Regino Cortes, the only Filipino and Asian member of the Vatican Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC), died August 28 of heart attack. Cortes, 64, had just finished giving a retreat to students of the College of Fine Arts and Design, where he was a regent, when he reportedly collapsed in his room at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Father’s Residence. He was rushed to the UST Hospital but the doctors pronounced him dead-on-arrival. A respected professor of Sacred Scripture at the Faculty of Sacred Theology, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 2001 as member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission for a term of five years. He was awarded the degree of Licentiate in Sacred Scripture by the PBC after passing the examen praevium and the lectio magistratis in 1970 (cum mentione).
MALOLOS Bishop Jose Oliveros has condemned the operation of Small-Town-Lottery (STL) in his diocese saying that the promise it could offer to the people is an “illusory hope of progress.” “Whatever form of gambling, legal or illegal, is clearly not the answer and solution to the spreading poverty in our midst,” said Oliveros. The government believes the revival of STL will provide jobs to displaced “jueteng” workers and additional revenue for the government. Oliveros however said that the recovery from poverty can in no way be addressed by the promotion, be it legal, of STL and other forms of gambling.
“Let us not add another problem to our present crisis,” he said. He said that what the country needs are effective programs that will uplift the people from poverty through dignified living and upright means of livelihood. “What the country needs is a noble government imbued with commitment for dignified public service,” the bishop added. Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando, Pampanga, Bishops Socrates Villegas of Balanga, Bataan, Sofronio Bancud of Cabanatuan and Mylo Hubert Vergara of San Jose, also issued statements saying they didn’t want the numbers game anywhere in their jurisdictions. (CBCP News)
© Gavin Newman/Greenpeace
Lipa Pilgrimage to Draw Big Crowd
A big crowd is expected to gather at the Carmelite Monastery in Lipa City on September 12 for a pilgrimage and mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As a spiritual preparation, hundreds of delegates from several vicariates in the Archdiocese will troop to Lipa for a triduum to be held at the San Sebastian Cathedral on September 9-11. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said that on the final day, September 12, it is expected to attract several thousands of devotees from all over the country including bishops and priests. Last year, more than 20,000 pilgrims attended the event. “We would like to continue this new but laudable marian tradition and engage as many faithful as possible, inviting them to pray and make reparation,” said Arguelles. The National Movement for Mary Mediatrix of All Grace has extended invitations to all the arch/ dioceses to attend this event, which Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) head Archbishop An-
Cardinal Asks De Castro to Aid Families in ‘Toxic Site’
MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales urged Vice-president Noli De Castro to help railway families living adjacent to a dumpsite in Laguna province. In a letter sent to De Castro, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Rosales said the evictees, who have been relocated to the Southville Housing Project Cabuyao, Laguna province, are suffering under “inhuman conditions” and face “health and environmental hazards” by living next to a dumpsite. “It appears to me that the current relocation program in Cabuyao, Laguna fails to take into consideration the health and environmental hazards that living next to a mixed waste dump might cause to the relocates,” he said.
Cardinal Asks / P4
Fr. Cortes / P4
Lipa Pilgrimage / P4
CASTELGANDOLFO, Aug. 28, 2006—Troubled families today can receive great comfort from the lives of St. Monica and her son St. Augustine, said Pope Benedict XVI yesterday, prior to the Angelus. Sunday was the memorial for St. Monica; today is the memorial for St. Augustine. Monica (333-387), born of a Christian family, lived her life as a wife and a mother in an exemplary way, helping her husband to discover the beauty of the Christian faith and the strength of Gospel love, said the Pope. After her husband’s death, she dedicated herself even more fully to her three children. Augustine caused her great suffering with his rebellious character. But Augustine (354-430) would later say that his mother bore him twice. The second time was after a long spiritual labor, consisting of prayers and tears, but in the end filled with the joy of seeing him not only embrace the faith and receive baptism, but dedicate his whole life to the service of Christ, the Pope said. “How many difficulties are there in families even today and how many mothers are distressed because their children are taking the wrong paths!” the Pope exclaimed. “Monica, a woman who is wise and solid in the faith, invites them not to be discouraged but to persevere in their mission as wives and mothers, maintaining a firm faith in God and holding on to prayer.” As for Augustine, his whole existence was a passionate search for truth, the Pope continued. In the end, not without a long interior struggle,
he discovered in Christ the full and ultimate meaning of his life and of all of human history. In adolescence, attracted by worldly goods and beauty, his actions were guided by egoism and possessiveness. His actions would cause great pain to his mother. But along his journey, and thanks to the grace of his mother’s prayers, he continued to open himself up more to the fullness of truth and love to the point of conversion, the Pope recounted. Augustine’s ultimate conversion took place in Milan under the guidance of St. Ambrose, then bishop of the northern Italian city. Augustine remains today a witness, for all people, of the journey toward God, supreme Truth and Goodness, the Pope stated. “Late have I loved you,” Augustine would write of his love for God in his famous autobiography, The Confessions. The Pope prayed, “for all the young people who, thirsty for happiness, are seeking it by following the wrong paths and losing themselves in blind alleys,” asking for St. Augustine’s intercession. The Pope closed by entrusting to Mother Mary all Christian parents so that they, like St. Monica, will accompany their children with good examples and prayers. He also entrusted to her all young people so that they, like Augustine, will journey always toward the fullness of Truth and Love, which is Christ. “Only Christ can satisfy the profound desires of the human heart,” he concluded. (CNA) CHINA, Aug. 26, 2006 - A bishop of China's underground Catholic Church has been released after more than 10 years in prison, the US-based Cardinal Kung Foundation reports. Bishop An Shuxin, an auxiliary of the Baoding diocese in Hebei province, was set free on August 24. He had been arrested in May 1996, in a government raid on the Baoding seminary, where he was rector. Since that time his whereabouts had been unknown. In what could be a significant step forward for Catholics in China, Bishop An reportedly has received the government's recognition as a bishop, and permission to do pastoral work. The AsiaNews service reports that he accepted the government's recognition, but refused to register with the government-sponsored Catholic Patriotic Association. The Patriotic Association, which is affiliated with the Communist Party, has sought to establish a Chinese Catholic Church independent of the Holy See. The underground Catholic Church, which maintains loyalty to Rome, has been treated as an illegal organization, and harassment by government forces has been most severe in the Hebei diocese, where the underground Catholic presence is strongest. The AsiaNews service reports, however, that the stance taken by Bishop An-- accepting the government's recognition but refusing to join forces with the Patriotic Association-- was a solution proposed by Vatican officials in informal talks with the Chinese government. AsiaNews has reported mounting tensions between the Patriotic Association and the Beijing government this year, with the government eventually pressing the Patriotic Association to stop its illicit appointment of new Catholic bishops without Vatican approval. In reporting Bishop An's release, Joseph Kung of the Cardinal Kung Foundation said that he hoped the move "is not an isolated case, but rather the beginning of the release of many dozens of other Roman Catholic bishops, priests, and faithful." A much broader release of Catholic prisoners of conscience, he said, would "show China’s sincerity about improving its relationships with the Vatican and its
Vol. 10 No. 10
August 28, 2006
Saints Monica, Augustine offer hope to troubled families, says Pope
China releases underground bishop after decade in prison
human-rights policy.” There are six other Catholic bishops of the underground Church in Hebei province still in Chinese prisons; in some cases the faithful are not sure whether the prelates are still alive. Bishop Su Zhimin of the Baoding diocese, where Bishop An served, was arrested in 1997 and his current condition and location are unknown. Bishop Han Dingsiang of Yong Nian, also in the Hebei province, was arrested in 1999 and his current condition and location are unknown. Bishop Jian Zhiguo of Zhengding, Hebei, was arrested in June of this year; he has been arrested 9 other times in the past three years. His current status is unknown. Bishop Shi Enxiang of Yixian, Hebei, was arrested in 2001; his current condition and location are unknown. Bishop Yao Liang, an auxiliary of the Xiwanzi diocese in Hebei, was arrested in July of this year, and is being held in Zhangjiakou. Bishop Zhao Zhendong of Xuanhua as arrested in December 2004; his current condition and location are unknown. (CWNews.com)
Religious men lead peace rally in Manipur
IMPHAL, India, August 24,2006—Religious leaders led a rally of protest in the capital of northeastern state of Manipur on Wednesday against government apathy towards the excesses carried by the army and linguistic marginalization. Thousands of people marched through the streets of Imphal, protesting the recent grenade attack on the ISKCON temple. Religious leaders belonging to various faiths said people in Manipur are denied peace and justice. “We are treated like second class citizens. The Army personnel attack the poor people here, bombs go off in religious places of worship. There is a total breakdown of civil rights in Manipur,” said Christian leader E. Johnson, secretary general of International Peace and Social Advancement. He said people in Manipur have been denied all human rights. “No investigation takes place here against bomb attacks on people and religious places of worship,” Johnson said. Hundreds of students, rights activists and religious leaders cut across faiths joined the protest march. The rally, organised by All Manipur Joint Action Committee for Prevention of Terrorism, said the grenade attack on the temple while devotees were engrossed in a Ras Lila performance on Janmasthami was targeted against the basic faith of the people. Five persons were killed and 50 others were wounded in the attack. The victims included two children. The rally that went through the city culminated at the Thangmeibandh Athletics Sports ground. Speakers during the rally condemned the attack and called for a united stand against “acts of terrorism”. A delegation of the All Manipur Joint Action Committee for Prevention of Terrorism met Ibobi Singh after the rally and submitted a memorandum to the government. The Apunba Lup, the spearhead of the campaign against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, showed solidarity with the protesters against terrorism. “The international community should condemn the attack on a holy place where vulnerable people like women and children were present,” said Phulindro Konsam, a leader of the Committee On Human Rights. (ICNS)
Vatican urges balanced approach to tourism
VATICAN, Aug. 25—The Pontifical Council for Migrants has issued a statement for the World Day of Tourism, encouraging travel but criticizing the financial organization of the tourism industry. The World Day of Tourism will be observed on September 27. In the past the Vatican has released a message for that day signed by the Pope. But this year the message is signed by Cardinal Renato Martino (bio news) and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto: the president and secretary, respectively, of the Pontifical Council for Tourism. The scope of international tourism is steadily growing, the Vatican document observes. But it goes on to say that there are two very distinct approaches to the industry: some see tourism as a source of wealth and entertainment; others see it as an opportunity to become better acquainted with other cultures and with nature. The perception of tourism as a source of capital wealth tends to aggravate economic inequality, the document says. The real wealth to be gained, the Pontifical Council says, lies in the appreciation of other places and other cultures. The document speaks of "the richness offered on the face of each brother and sister, a permanent and perennial gift from God." Last year Pope Benedict signed a statement for the 26th World Day of Tourism, following the pattern set by Pope John Paul II. This year he did not sign the Vatican statement. No explanation was offered for the evident policy shift. (CWNews.com)
Hong Kong: mainland China mothers abandon babies with abnormalities
HONG KONG,August 28, 2006– Lack of prenatal care among expectant mothers from mainland China is becoming a problem in Hong Kong, as revealed by an increasing number of babies with abnormalities abandoned in the Territory. More and more women seek to deliver their babies in hospitals in the ex-British colony and many abandon them after they are born: they are unaware that most paediatric medical problems are easily resolved. These “tourist mothers” migrate to Hong Kong because their children will immediately be granted local citizenship by virtue of being born in the Territory. According to the Census and Statistics Department, 11,716 babies, or about 20% of all births in Hong Kong from mid-2005 to mid-2006, were to parents who were both non-Hong Kong residents. “Since there is no prenatal care in China, this can put pregnancies in high risk," said Cheung Kam-lau, consultant paediatrician at Prince of Wales Hospital's neonatal care unit. "Most of these mothers expect healthy, chubby babies, but things just don't always happen ideally." He continued: “Many mothers are not prepared for abnormal births or congenital diseases, such as Down's syndrome and so they abandon them.” Cheung said many mothers-to-be admitted themselves to hospital at a very late stage of pregnancy, something that created further problems in monitoring the foetus. Often they felt revulsion for babies born with defects that could be dealt with. The doctor recalled how “about three months ago, we took care of a boy whose ears and jaw were deformed. The parents already had two healthy girls and were shocked. I explained to them that with surgery, the boy would be able to hear normally but they abandoned him.” He added: “"We all feel very sad about the baby's future. There is one more orphan in this world.” In another case, a non-resident couple was about to abandon their son who had Down’s Syndrome. The doctor said: “Many ‘tourists’ don’t know what kind of treatment we offer here in Hong Kong. In this case, we convinced the parents that the son could enjoy a decent quality of life and we managed to persuade them not to abandon him.” (AsiaNews/SCMP)
Karachi: solemn funeral mass for Archbishop Pereira, “modern Moses”
KARACHI, Pakistan, August 28, 2006– The archbishop emeritus of Karachi was “one of the best shepherds of the country, a modern Moses”, whose work “contributed to strengthening the faith of local Catholics” said Fr Robert D’Silva. He was speaking at the start of the funeral mass of Mgr Simeon Anthony Pereira, which took place yesterday in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi. The cathedral was crowded with thousands of believers who came from all across the country for the mass. The bishops of Hyderabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Quetta and Islamabad were present at the ceremony as was the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio in Pakistan, Mgr Adolfo Yllana, who read a message of condolence from the Holy See. Over 20 religious orders of the diocese attended the ceremony. The bishop’s coffin was carried on the shoulders of six scouts and was blessed by Mgr Evarist Pinto, current archbishop of Karachi, who described his predecessor as a “man who chose to serve God with his life and who made respect for life his mission.” He added: “His death saddens all who knew him. We have lost an excellent shepherd.” During the mass, youth from the diocese sang the choruses in Urdu and English: one of the main objectives of the deceased bishop was precisely to create a liturgy in the traditional language of Pakistan to help youth approach the Gospel. At the end of the funeral, the bishop’s coffin was laid to rest next to Archbishop Joseph Cordeiro, who was the first cardinal of Pakistan; Bishop Pereira had been his pupil and friend. The archbishop emeritus passed away on 21 August aged 78 after he suffered a heart attack. He retired in 2002 but remained very active in diocesan pastoral work. (AsiaNews/DT)
Jaffna Catholics tell government: tell us “truth” about missing priest
ALLAIPIDDY, Sri Lanka, August 25, 2006—Catholics in northern Sri Lanka are calling for the truth about a priest’s disappearance in Jaffna to be revealed “without delay”. As the authorities keep silent, the community can only continue to pray. Thirty-four-year-old Fr Jim Brown was last seen by a fellow priest on 20 August at a military checkpoint at Allaipiddy. Accompanied by Vimalathas, a father of five children, he was waiting to go to his parish church, destroyed days before in clashes between the army and rebel Tamil Tigers. Both men have disappeared without trace. While the diocese of Jaffna anxiously awaits news of their fate, another Christian priest has been reported missing in Jaffna since 11August: Fr Vincent Vinodharaja of the Christian Church of the Apostle. On 24 August, priests, religious and lay people flocked to an adoration service held at St John’s church in Jaffna for Fr Jim and Vimalathas. The service was followed by a silent march to the office of the local Government Agent [highest government representative at district level]. Fr M. Savundaranayagam, Dean of Jaffna Ecclesiastical District, addressed the church gathering, stressing that “our government has the responsibility to give a truthful and reasonable answer to this serious problem. “We cannot understand how a priest in his full priestly uniform along with his pillion rider, riding a red coloured motorcycle could have mysteriously vanished during daylight hours in an area where there is a concentration of security forces,” he said. “We request that the truth about this matter be revealed to us without delay.” Fr Savundaranayagam tempered his direct appeal by thanking the security forces for the “respect” they usually showed priests, even allowing them to travel for essential services during curfew hours sometimes. But this time, the forces are unable, or unwilling, to help. All requests to the authorities and efforts by the church to discover the whereabouts of Fr Jim and Vimalathas have proved fruitless. Fr Savundaranayagam said he went in person to Allaipiddy to search for Fr Jim and Vimalathas on 22 August, and the following day, he accompanied the bishop of Jaffna, Thomas Savundaranayagam, to St Philip Neri Church there. “Unfortunately we were unable to get any new information about them,” he said. While waiting and hoping Fr Jim is safe, his friends are recalling his selfless service. “Fr Jim did his best to help the Allaipiddy people, risking his own life to face a barrage of shells,” said Fr Savundaranayagam, referring to an attack on St Philip Neri church during crossfire on 12 August. The people of the neighbouring diocese of Mannar, where the priest worked for two years, also held prayers and a march for Fr Jim today. (AsiaNews)
Vol. 10 No. 10
August 28, 2006
The local church at the moment is vigorously campaigning for help in terms of rice, dry goods and cash for the victims of this tragedy. Our work on this is coursed through the parish priests of Sibunag and Nueva Valencia. Our parish priests in these two municipalities are instructed to coordinate with the local chief executives to maximize the fruitfulness of relief efforts. This coming Monday, 4 September, we will engage two oceanographers from U.P. Visayas to be better informed about the situation and forecasts that will be needed in the rehabilitation program that we intend to do. Meanwhile, any help you want to extend please give to your parish priest, who would be responsible in bringing it to the social action center or you may also directly bring your donation to the office of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center, Jaro Cathedral Compound, Jaro, Iloilo City and do not forget to ask for an official receipt for proper accounting. Let me end with the words of Gov. JC Rahman A. Nava, MD: “We can only hope that this incident will bring out the best in the Guimarasnon spirit, and together with your support, see us through, scarred perhaps, but better persons, better communities, better people.” In solidarity with the people of Guimaras, let us not only PRAY for them but also BE GENEROUS to them, remembering that God cannot be outdone in generosity! Let us extend our undying support to the Guimarasnons!
Msgr Melito Oso, is the Director, Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Jaro in Iloilo.
MT Solar I, carrying more or less 2 million liters of bunker fuel, sank 21 km. off the southern coast of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. The good governor of Guimaras, the Honorable JC Rahman A. Nava, MD, calls it the “8-11 tragedy.” His report to the joint Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) and Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) meeting said: “Then came the tragic incident of 8-11. No, we did not have planes hitting our landmarks as what happened in 9-11. We were knocked off our feet and got the scare of our lives with the sinking of MT Solar I. All of a sudden our clear waters were blotted with ugly, messy, and smelly sludge, as part of the 2 million liters of bunker fuel leaked out of Solar I’s cargo hold . . . we can only watch in horror how oil spill can undo in a few days, our initiatives which have taken decades to implement.” The report likewise said that “more than 4,000 families largely dependent on fishing have been displaced, comprising about 26,000 individuals. Some 220 kilometers of coastline have been ravished, with thick, black slimy oil slick as mute witness to the tragedy. In addition, 454 hectares of mangroves have been devastated. These included our prized mangrove forests in the TINMAR area, the natural mangrove plantation that frame the Inampologan island resort as well as our numerous mangrove reforestation projects scattered in the barangays mentioned. Also 58 hectares of productive seaweed plantation, some of which are ready for harvest, have been attacked, with its profitability down to almost nil.” The official report of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as of 24 August says that 27 Barangays in 3 municipalities of the province of Guimaras are affected by the oil spill. The families affected in these Barangays total to 3,487 or approximately 17,435 individuals if each family has average of five members. The Philippine Coast Guard reports that the oil spill threatens 45 municipalities in the provinces of Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros occidental. The effect of the oil spill to the livelihood of the people is pictured out vividly by the report of the Governor: “In only 4 days, about 14% of the province’s population has lost its main source of income—fishing. Sustenance fishermen who eke a living from the bounties of the coasts now have nowhere to fish, and no fish to catch, their gears rendered useless by the oil spill. The fish and mollusks were either gone, have diminished in number, or if collected, were too unpalatable to even find their way to the kitchen sink. Even those who sell fish (panting) woke up to find no fish to sell, or those who have, found no buyers.” The provincial government immediately created Task Force Sunrise to coordinate relief works. Communities in the coastal Barangays were encouraged to make improvised spill booms to prevent bunker fuel oil from damaging the shorelines. Medical assistance and relief goods were immediately provided. Surveys of household affected were made, tests on water and fish were facilitated and right information was provided. As of this writing, relief operations are still going on. The local provincial government of Guimaras recommends the following: 1. Retrieval of the sunken tanker. 2. Protocol of waste disposal. 3. Integrated damage and needs assessment as basis for relief, rehabilitation and recovery efforts. I was talking to an oceanographer from U.P. Visayas, and he impressed upon me the urgency of retrieving the tanker the fastest possible time. Estimates of the oil spill
The 8-11 Tragedy in Guimaras
Msgr. Melito Oso
runs to as many as 200,000 to 300,000 liters which means that there are still more or less 1,700,000 liters of bunker fuel oil under the sea. The oceanographer I was talking with talked about the pressure under the sea on the tanker, thus before it creates more damage the tanker must be retrieved. I do not know what is taking Petron so long to do this. It would seem to me that Petron does not understand the URGENCY. Some political leaders have already even suggested that we boycott Petron. I have! Waste disposal is another big problem. Residents of two Barangays from Nueva Valencia living within 100 meters from the shore were already evacuated to the nearby school buildings upon order of the National Disaster Coordinating Council. And the reason for the evacuation is the presence of the oil waste. Again Petron should do something about this waste IMMEDIATELY! Civil society groups are doing an integrated damage and needs assessment. This will become the basis for the ongoing relief work they are facilitating at the moment and of the eventual rehabilitation. Coordination and sharing of data on this matter is needed for a more effective relief and rehabilitation work.
Religious Superiors Launch Info Drive Against Human Rights Abuses
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
IN the light of the worsening social crisis brought about, among others, by extrajudicial killings of political activists and journalists, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) is spearheading an information and education drive to bring to people’s greater awareness the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. Aside from the extrajudicial killings of journalists and political activists, AMRSP also pointed out other activities sanctioned by the government which impinged on the rights of citizens, such as: ordinary citizens being forced to obtain cedulas as a means of identification, curfew hours enforced on certain areas, setting up of military detachments besides schools and churches, and inside barangay halls. The religious superiors also rebuked MacapagalArroyo in her declaration an all-out-war against CPPNDF-NPA. AMRSP believes that a militarist solution goes against the teachings of the Catholic faith and will not resolve the principal causes of insurgency. In a letter addressed to fellow religious and friends, the AMRSP reiterated its call to remain vigilant in the light of the country’s aggravating human rights’ condition and to oppose all kinds of violence. “We in the AMRSP cannot and will not stand idly by and accept this situation as God’s will. It goes against every tenet of the Christian faith we believe in. We are pro-life and not for death and destruction. We are for peace and not for violence. We are for the common good and not the rule of the few. We are for love, compassion and grace and not for hate, division and sin,” the letter said. AMRSP urges fellow religious and mission partners to live up to their prophetic calling, saying that it is now the time “to stand with the meek and deprived, to join hands with the oppressed and dehumanized – to proclaim the good news of salvation.” The association is spearheading several activities in this month of September to highlight their campaign for peace and human rights. A Caravan for Peace and Human Rights and Hope is scheduled for September 22, which will traverse the dioceses of Malolos, Cabanatuan and San Jose, Nueva Ecija. Prior to the caravan an International Day of Peace vigil will be held at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani on September 20 and 21. In their recent separate annual assemblies, both women and men religious superiors of the Philippines called on the government to put an end to extra-judicial killings that are being perpetrated against journalists and political activists in the country, and to uplift the lives of suffering Filipinos.
The Association of Major Religious Superiors of Men and Women in the Philippines take their pose during their 2006 Biennial Convention.
Total Log / from p1
sources.” Fr Darwey Clark, Saint James the Apostle parish priest, said that there had been previous efforts to manifest their sentiments about illegal logging that even put their lives at risk, but to no avail. “Nothing happened. I remember there was even a time that we have been threatened by those hit by our crusade and pressured us to retract,” he said. The priest described the Davao Oriental now as “open” to all for logging operations—be it legal or illegal. He urged the government to give attention to their place and said that Maliwagwag accident must serve as a lesson for everyone. Based on an initial report gathered by the local police, the truck owner was identified as a certain Proping, while the driver was known as Gaga Alba who immediately fled after the accident. The recovered logs were reportedly to be transported to Campostela Valley. At press time, the Cateel police are still waiting for a certification coming from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) that would reveal the real identity of the truck owner. He admitted that illegal logging really exists in the towns of Cateel, and illegal loggers are using different systems in their operation. Common knowledge “The never ending recurrence of and intensification of illegal logging operations in the province have indeed been a public knowledge,” the statement read. “Its existence has breed anarchy, alienation and ruin ecosystems due to indiscriminate, exploitation and irresponsible utilization of natural reNot in favor But not all agree to the total log ban proposed by the Church. Salvador Malbog, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office head, said logging should not be totally ceased because it could cause the collapse of growing wood-industry of the province particularly in the towns of Baganga, Cateel and Caraga. He also belied reports of illegal logging operations in the province despite the fact that the recovered logs in the said accident have been confirmed “illegal” by the local police and Cateel Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO). The provincial government pursued to strengthen the social forestry program through the CommunityBased Forest Management Program (CBFMP). Another program implemented was the Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA), which invites investors to infuse capital on forest management, development and utilization. To date, at least three logging companies—La Fortuna Mahogany, Baganga Plywood Corporation, and Matuginao Integrated Wood Products Corp.—are operating in the province in large scale. These companies were given permits along with the terms and conditions that they have to comply with, said Malbog. A report sent to the CBCP Monitor by the PENRO showed how towns are generating extra income outside the internal revenue allotment (IRA) they receive. The report showed that DENR Davao Oriental generated total collections of P6,126,309 in 2005 from the proceeds in the utilization and development of national wealth. Ninety-five percent of this amount is collected from the three towns. The local government units concerned then receive a 40-percent share distributed to the provincial, municipal and barangay at 20-45-35 percent sharing. In terms of job generation, the industry has reportedly generated jobs for the harvesting, hauling and processing of trees. Baganga Plywood Corporation is listed as the province’s top employer in September 2004, based on SSS contributions. Salvador said they cannot just stop the logging operations unless there is an alternative livelihood opportunities for the people. Prominent officials Manyaon, who has been constant in her anti-logging stand, said she was saddened by the Aliwagwag tragedy and wants the culprit be put behind bars. It can be recalled that Manlayaon made the call at the Lower House to cease cutting trees in his province after receiving reports that some politicians
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They also cried foul over the “capitalization” of the impoverished and marginalized sector as fronts of illegal logging operations. Davao Oriental first district representative Corazon Malanyaon and Almario Mayo of the second district are also being urged to support the campaign. The recent bridge collapse that killed 9 lives and left three others critically injured aboard a ten wheeler truck, with plate no. XGD-535, has stirred concerns among the residents. The accident that occurred August 20 in Cateel was believed to have been caused by the overloading 30, 000 tons of “illegally cut” logs mostly identified as red lawaan. The weight capacity of the Aliwagwag Bridge is only 10,000 tons. Suspects Cateel Police Chief Sr. Inspector Rodolfo Delos Reyes vowed to file appropriate charges to those who will be proved responsible.
were financing illegal logging activities in some towns. The report coincided with the media stories linking public officials to illegal logging. Environment officials and at least two “prominent” provincial government officials are being linked to rampant illegal logging, Delos Reyes said.. He, however, refused to identify who the officials are. Meanwhile, Governor Maria Elena Gil also admitted reports of illegal logging activities in her jurisdiction. She confronted the DENR about the issue, but the agency has been consistent in denying the allegations. She said the truck owner should be held responsible and must shoulder the expenses for the rehabilitation of Aliwagwag Bridge. Priceless The indigenous peoples earlier also came out with a statement vehemently opposing logging and mining operations and other forms of environmental destruction. Fr Bert Ombon, the Indigenous Peoples (IP) Apostolate Diocesan Coordinator, claims that peoples’ lives are not improved because of logging given the high social and environmental cost. “There is really no place anywhere in the world that prospers because of such activity. True, logging companies might have given employment to some people, but this (environmental catastrophe) is in exchange of what they have done and will do to our natural resources”. He stressed that nothing can pay for whatever damage brought by environmental destruction. (Roy Lagarde, Neela Duallo)
Lagdameo Appeals / from p1
Greenpeace, a known international environment organization, said the government must hold Petron and its partners accountable for damages to marine and coastal ecosystems and for their rehabilitation. “The scale of this oil spill may turn to be even larger than the Semirara oil spill last year and threatens at least three marine reserves in Visayas,” said Greenpeace. Father Maloney Gotera, parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras and Vicar Forane of St. Bartholomew Vicariate, said most of his parishioners volunteered in the clean-up drive for fear of losing their livelihood. “Food is the biggest problem now because they are not allowed to go fishing,” he said. He said that various individuals and groups have started to generously respond to the tragedy that may cause long-term and possibly lasting damage to the environment and livelihoods of the people. Lagdameo met with residents of the most affected areas particularly in La Paz and saw fisher folks scrapping the shore of oily sand and putting them in sacks. As of August 20, a report from the Jaro archdiocese showed 11 villages already affected by the oil spill. These include: La Paz, San Roque, Dolores, Tando, Lucmayan, Cabalagnan, Panobolon, Canhawan, Igdarapdap, San Antonio and Guiwanon.
Fr. Cortes / from p1
He took his philosophy and theology at the UST with licentiate degrees in both disciplines. He had a post-graduate studies in Sacred Scripture at the prestigious Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Francaise (EBAF) in Jerusalem and earned the degree of Eleve Titulaire d’Ecole Biblique. He also studied Arabic at the American University of Cairo and Islamology at the Instotut Dominicain d’ Etudes Orientale (IDEO) also in Cairo, Egypt. Born in 1942 in Batan, Aklan, Cortes was ordained priest in 1966 and was immediately sent to Rome and Jerusalem to pursue further studies in Sacred Scripture. From 1974 to 1978, he was Dean of the Institute of Religion at UST and from 1980 to 1986 rector of both Letran College in Intramuros, Manila and Letran College in Calamba, Laguna. He became socius to the provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines from 1992 to 1996 and diffinitor at the General Chapter of the Dominican Order in Caleruega, Spain in 1995. Cortes has written a number of books and articles in the Philippiniana Sacra, Life Today, ‘Emeth, and the Boletin Eclesiastico de Filipinas especially the section on Homiletics and Homilies. (Ma. Lourdes Ebilane)
Lipa Pilgrimage / from p1
gel Lagdameo dubbed as “Pilgrimage of Faith.” “It will be a Day of Prayer for our country, for the sanctification of our Clergy, of us Bishops and Priests and of the leaders of our nation,” Lagdameo said. He said that prayers should be complemented with conversion, life-offering and reparation. The final day of the triduum will start with a procession at 4:30 in the morning from San Sebastian Cathedral to the Carmelite Monastery. A Marian conference will be held at 8:00 am to 3:30 pm and will be followed immediately with a concelebrated mass to be presided by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. In the Pastoral letter “Renewing Our Public Life Through Moral Values”, the CBCP have also dedicated this year as the “Year of Social Concerns” under the auspices of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The reason, the bishops said, is because history shows that our human social concerns are also our Blessed Mother’s concern. “We have always turned to Mary in times of difficulties, tragedies, crises and of seeming hopelessness,” the bishops said. “Mary knows what our country is going through at this point in time—in the political, social and economic order.” The bishops also urged the faithful never to lose sight of devotion to Mary because of the present plight of many Filipinos who “live lives unworthy of human beings.” It was on September 12, 1948, when the Blessed Mother reportedly appeared in Lipa for the first time to Sister Teresing Castillo, a Carmelite postulant. Asked who she was when she appeared again, Mary told Teresing: “I am thy Mother, my little one.” Sister Teresing also said that on September 16, 1948, the Blessed Mother told her that a statue be placed where she appeared. On September 26, she declared that she was “Mary Mediatrix of All Grace.” September 12, the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, has been declared national day prayer by the CBCP and most recently by the national government. (Roy Lagarde)
Bishop Wants / from p1
patience and prayers in the IP apostolate. ECIP earlier reported that major issues that continue to confront IPs today are loss or uncertainty of ownership and control of ancestral domain, displacement due to the intrusion of megaprojects into their ancestral domain and lack of basic social services as health, education and infrastructure. IP rights advocates observe that the welfare of IPs is sacrificed in the guise of economic progress. The commission identified “building blocks” of self-determination as: fullness of life as human beings with dignity based on justice, peace and love; firm possession of their ancestral domains; unity with one another and living a healthy, peaceful life; freedom to proclaim their faith in their own cultural context; and ability to struggle with others against threats to their achieving a propeople and pro-God Filipino community. Utleg said each component has a story of its own and is not easy in fighting towards its attainment. “Many among us can show scars that came from fighting for their realization. The struggle continues,” he said. (CBCP News)
CBCP Head / from p1
cess would not yield truth unless guided by no other motive but genuine concern for the common good. “It appears that number was the guiding force in the process itself. And therefore, the process lost by sheer number,” he said. In a pastoral letter issued last July, the bishops declared that the present impeachment process would be an “unproductive political exercise” in seeking for the truth. The bishops, however, clarified that they favored the search for truth behind allegations behind Mrs Arroyo saying that they respect “the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth.” The charges against the President include cheating in the 2004 election, graft and corruption, and abuse of authority that led to political killings. Mrs Arroyo has denied she cheated in the last presidential election. “We had foreseen that (junking of the impeachment) and we had already expressed our doubt about it,” said Lagdameo. “Although in our pastoral letter we expressed that it was the constitutional way of doing it but the extreme partisanship was very apparent in the process,” he added. (CBCP News)
Cardinal Asks / from p1
More than 7, 000 families residing along railroads in Metro Manila have been relocated to Southville to give way to the implementation of a major railroad modernization project. Rosales is worried about the health risks posed by the dump to residents, especially the children, women and elderly. Dumps, cautioned Rosales, are sources of harmful toxins that are capable of damaging human bodies, contaminating the food supply and polluting the surroundings, including air, soil and surface groundwater. He said the “inhuman conditions further exacerbate the unhappiness and grief being experienced by the evictees after losing their homes.” Ecological Waste Coalition and the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), meanwhile, also expressed concern about the negative effects of daily exposure to airborne contaminants as well as pollutants from leachate and surface run off that are dispersed by floodwaters. “We hope that the Vice President will heed the plea of our beloved Cardinal and act with urgency to protect the health of the relocates from toxic pollution,” Ecowaste Coalition’s Task Force said. “The Southville residents have long suffered from the health problems that they believe are caused by the leachate and the toxins in their drinking water coming from the shallow wells built next to a dumpsite,” the UPA said. This is the second time that Rosales wrote to De Castro on the railway eviction issue. Last May, the Cardinal asked De Castro, to find alternative in-city relocation for displaced families and to work towards improving the living conditions in Cabuyao relocation site. (CBCP News)
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Aside from being a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for two consecutive terms (1987-1991), Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi’s episcopal task over the Archdiocese of Caceres is impressively complemented with his other ecclesiastical responsibilities. He is a member both of Vatican’s Permanent Council of the Synod of Bishops for the Laity and the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy. He is likewise a member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (Hong Kong) and also of the International Study Group on Bioethics (Amsterdam). None the least, too, he was the President of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II). Much sought for his ingenious views on Church issues and concerns, Archbishop Legaspi recently talked to CBCP Monitor about the role and participation of the laity in the Church, the perception of secular media about the Church and CBCP, and his archdiocese’s social concern, vocation, and family life programs.
A Tooth for An Eye:
The Final Equation in Lebanon
By Fr. Henry P. Bocala
THE age-old dictum that “history repeats itself” describes squarely the case of the war-ravaged Lebanon. For one, the recent turmoil was a replay of the 1982 Israeli invasion; but more importantly because, as in the past, Lebanon is the ultimate loser in this conflict.
7 QUESTIONS for Abp. LEONARDO Z. LEGASPI, DD
So much has been written about the bloodletting in this tiny Middle East nation, almost always seen through the prism of superpower politics. With few exceptions, the media have explained the crisis mainly as a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas. But journalists gloss over the sad fact that Lebanon’s neighbors have chosen to fight in the country’s back yard. When the dust has settled, what will happen to Lebanon? Who is going to rebuild its bombed-out infrastructure? What will happen to the delicate demographic balance between Christians and Muslims? Will another vicious civil war break out? Israel is not the only nation whose existence is in the balance. Wishy-washy Diplomacy Rome briefly seized the spotlight at the height of the conflict with the holding of peace conference meant to silence the guns. But no concrete agreement was forged. The Holy See, along with some European and Arab states, clamored for the immediate cessation of hostilities. But the talks only betrayed the morally tenuous posture of Israel and its US ally, that of protracting the military campaign to debilitate Hezbollah. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, was skeptical of attempts to halt the fighting without prior guarantee of a more lasting truce. In other words, “Keep firing ‘til I say stop,’” that’s the US sententia and everybody else should either take it or leave it. The tactical wisdom of this strategy, if any, is not an excuse to kill innocent civilians. Vatican argued that ceasefire was “possible” and “therefore necessary.” Conditions for a more enduring peace must indeed be created, but not necessarily at the expense of non-combatants. If the peace confab made some headway, it was by way of heightening the awareness of the international community on the plight of Lebanon, and drawing commitments to offer immediate humanitarian aid as well as long term support for the country to rise from the ashes when the time comes. Still, the world now could not just stand as a passive spectator, resigned to the prevalence of political pragmatism done at the expense of basic human rights. Meanwhile, the United Nations seemed to be as impotent and ineffective as ever in its role to re-establish international peace and order, overshadowed as it was by Washington policies. The international body kowtowed once again to US pressures. Relief and humanitarian aid could not even be delivered by the UN as Israel cut off the access roads and imposed a no-drive zone in areas where people are trapped. The most that the Rome Conference could achieve was a call for Israel to exercise self-restraint, which is a virtual green light for more military offensives. A long overdue UN Resolution (Resolution 1701) was finally passed on August 9 calling for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon, and the deployment of a 15,000 strong international force. But Lebanon doubted whether the UN document would be effectively implemented. It is a fragile truce that breaks apart at the slightest provocation. To be sure, the US-Israel tandem is not the sole culprit of the war wreckage, let alone human casual-
ties. Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, condemned Hezbollah’s scheme to use civilians as human shields, much as he denounced Israel’s deadly bombings. Like any other society, Israel has the right to security and self-preservation. But as in the past, it tends to overkill, banking on its military might and the US support. Worse, it has summarily ignored countless UN Resolutions. Caught in the Crossfire Beyond the tragedy of the civilians caught in the cross-fire between Israel and Hezbollah lies the fundamental issue of national sovereignty. Lebanon is no stranger to foreign occupation. Its strategic location and commercial potential have lured surrounding giants from as far back as Xerxes and Alexander the Great. Over the last 2000 years Lebanon has been ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Muslim Arabs, Crusaders, Mameluks, Mongols, and Ottoman Turks. After the First World War Lebanon became part of the French mandate under the tutelage of the League of Nations. World War II saw it in the clutches of the Vichy regime, until it was liberated by Allied forces and obtained political independence on January 1, 1944. The last three decades have been particularly turbulent. The civil war that broke out in April 1975 was closely linked to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Multitudes of Palestinians expelled from Jordan in 1970 fled to Lebanon, sharply augmenting the number of refugees who had earlier poured into the country during the previous Israeli-Arab wars. It became the new base of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), converting the country into a frequent target of Israeli gunfire. The influx of Palestinians could hardly be absorbed by Lebanon’s fragile economy; it had no natural resources and relied largely on finance, trade and tourism. Moreover, there was a rapid demographic tilt away from the Christians and towards the Muslims. The growing Muslim community, reinforced by the Palestinian refugees, were poised to take control of the leadership and establish a confessional state. This, together with other factors, polarized Lebanon between Phalangists and other Christians and the leftists—a motley collection of Marxists, Arab nationalists, young Shiites, lay reformists and left-wing Christians—who joined forces with the Palestinians. Until then, Lebanon had a model of harmony among its diverse religious, cultural and ethnic groups. It was famed as the Switzerland of the Middle East. Its diversity was—and still is—reflected in a unique government power sharing, consolidated through a charter of national reconciliation known as the Taif Accord of 1989. Traditionally the president has been a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of parliament a Shi’ite Muslim. Christians and Muslims also have the same number of seats in the National Assembly. But the conflict which began in 1975 opened up deep rifts. Peace was elusive, largely because Syria sent 40,000 troops to support the PLO cause and to counterbalance the presence of Israeli forces in Lebanon. Israel had formed the Southern Lebanese Army (SLA) as early as 1975. The
A Tooth / P12
The secular—or mainstream, so to speak—media are obviously more aggressive than before in reporting about the workings or dynamics of and in the Church. What do you think is the perception of the secular media about the Church? My impression is that the media, of course, while they are respecting the Church and religion, are not dictated on what they have to do because of religion or Church’s precepts. I think the main concern of the media is for them to be able to fulfill their mission or job as they perceive it. Is there a bias against the Catholic Church? Well, I don’t consider it a bias, but yes their interest would come to play especially in questions that are controversial or, for instance, on any news that will imply division between the Church and the government. Apparently, the media are particularly lacking in understanding how bishops are thinking or acting. Do you mean to say that the media may be pitching the wrong notions about the Church or about the CBCP? Yes, I think, there is a great ignorance on the part of the media in general regarding the dynamics of the CBCP. They do not really understand, I think, the dynamics or operation of the CBCP. They think that the president of the CBCP dictates everything. No, that’s not how we operate. CBCP is not a governing body, it’s a coordinating body. Every diocese or archdiocese remains free to do what it wants according to what their faith tells them. So a statement of one bishop is not necessarily a statement of everybody. These are things that should be known by the media. When I was president (of CBCP), I try to educate the media on this score by explaining to them the table of organization and responsibilities of CBCP, even giving them pictures of the officers and members of the permanent council. But I was not very successful when Cardinal Sin was still around. They (the people and media) think Cardinal Sin was the one speaking for the Church. Of course, that’s not true. Cardinal Sin was a very respected archbishop of Manila. And, yes, because he was in Manila, his words have national implications. But certainly he was not the one dictating for the other bishops. Let’s move on to the subject of lay empowerment in the Church. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines or PCP II, which you erstwhile headed, underscored the greater participation of the laity or lay empowerment in the Church. What is your view on this? Yes, I was the president of PCP II. But, you know, I have probably a peculiar way of approaching this question of lay empowerment. I’m not very keen in encouraging the laity to be “inward looking” or simply focused on helping the parish. Of
course, they can help. But we would like to emphasize rather their larger involvement in the secular world where, I think, they are more adept with. That is what Lumen Gentium, the Vatican document asked the laity. The reason why we have problems in the Philippines regarding socio-political situations and the involvement of the Church is that the laity seem always to depend on what the Bishop or the priest would say in any given critical situation in society. But the ideas and the thrust of Vatican II is that the laity, the secular world, the realm of politics, or the social arena are the areas that are competently appropriate for the laity, and I think that’s what we should do or what I want to emphasize. While I welcome the laity helping the parishes like being members of lay religious organizations, they seem to be “inward looking” in being so. They should not stop there at joining parish-based organizations. They should think of working or participating in the secular field where they can effectively enliven or evangelize the secular world. You’ve been the archbishop of Caceres for the past 22 years. What’s the status of priestly vocations in your area? Well, we have 277 priests for a population of 1 million and 300 thousand. We have an average of 8 new priests every year for the past 20 years or so. We have 3 seminaries. In general, our vocation system and program of priestly formation are practically working very well. In fact, we have our own mission program, called Caceres Mission Aid Program (CMAP), where we choose the real poor and needy dioceses in foreign countries to send some of our priests for missionary work. By far, we have 9 volunteer priests presently working in overseas missions in selected dioceses in Papua New Guinea, the Caribbean, and in the northern part of Australia. What about the Family Life program in your archdiocese? It’s our main concern, actually. It’s our principal thrust. All other ministries have to be linked towards family ministry. We do have our Caceres Family Life Ministry, which is not exclusively focused on fighting the government regarding abortion, contraceptives, etc., but primarily grounded on strengthening families. I believe, defense of the right of the families, while it’s indeed important, is only a secondary area—it follows after strengthening the family. It’s the principal thrust of our apostolate. With CBCP’s declaration of 2006 as Year of Social Concerns, how is the agenda of social concerns being implemented in your archdiocese? Primarily, it is a response to the environment. The main thrust or front program is in relation to Mt. Isarog.
7 Questions / p10
© Lynsey Addario/Corbis
Vol. 10 No. 10
August 28, 2006
“HOW can one proclaim the commandment of love without promoting the true and authentic advancement of man, in justice and in truth.” (Paul VI, Evangelium Nuntiandi, No. 31) This signal pronouncement in the sphere of the social doctrine of the church simply means that the work of charity includes the pursuit of justice in the context of truth. Injustice and deceit are key vices that demean human dignity. Disregard human rights, belittle human life. During these times specifically in this country, one of the most errant social realities is precisely the marked absence of real and genuine human promotion. On the contrary, structural cheating, lying and stealing are made standard practices. Even human persons are perceived as export materials for dollar remittances. Exploitation of women and children happens as a matter of course. Public funds abound for an all-out-war against perceived enemies of the government— yet sorely wanting for the cause of education. These are some of the standing facts in the country that cry for the advocacy of social justice and the work for the reign of truth—all in accord with the demands and spirit of love for neighbor. There is the prevailing but pitiful belief that love of neighbor simply means feeding the hungry and giving medicine to the sick, clothing the naked and sheltering the homeless. All these are great but they form but a part of loving one’s neighbor. The other complementary part is looking into who and what precisely make people hungry and sick, naked and houseless. Denouncing unjust governance, oppressive potentates, exploitative structures and organizations—these and similar agenda are essential features of the commandment of neighborly love. And these are admittedly difficult and even dangerous ventures. It is much easier to give food and medicine, to provide clothes and shelter—which are all good deeds— but not enough. When one sees his neighbor unjustly treated, exploited, oppressed and does nothing about these atrocities, it is ridiculous for him to claim love of neighbor. When someone is cheated, hurt, violated, the commandment of love of neighbor is ignored. When one pretends to see nothing, he wherefore does exactly nothing as well. Again: There can be no real love, no genuine charity in a country where injustice prevails and deceit reigns.
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season
THIS coming month of September has been declared by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as National Peace Consciousness Month. To usher it, we in the church were requested to ring the bells on September 1. We in Iloilo will not ring the church bells, not because we don’t want peace, but because every January first for the last thirty years, we have been praying for peace. In Iloilo, bell is “linganay,” which means “linga-anay”—”listen first.” Bells are rung for a reason; if church bells are rung out of the expected time, it is interpreted either as alarm for an ongoing fire, or some great visitor arrived or somebody is being brought to the cemetery, depending on the way the bells are rung. We do not know how to ring bells to announce peace. But we certainly welcome the pros-
Peace is the Fruit of Truth
lightly, continuously seeking scapegoats in other people, and seeking justification in the environment, on structures and in relationships, is to live in deception (CSD 120). Peace is founded on truth, the truth of God who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and the truth about oneself and fellow human beings. In this light, the church teaches that true peace is made possible also through forgiveness and reconciliation. Reconciliation is both with God and neighbor and oneself, not simply with only one of them. In the absence of truth, forgiveness and reconciliation are not possible. Peace, secondly, is the fruit of justice, “opus justitiae pax” (Pope Pius XII, Cf. Is. 32/17). As a constitutive dimension of preaching and living the Gospel, justice is violated by forms of greed and
In and Out / P12
pect of National Peace Consciousness Month, and hope that it will not only be confined in September but will go on indefinitely. And that we will not confine the celebration in our consciousness, but it will really be concretized in deeds and life. Concretizing peace is a tall order. There have been so many laudable peace projects, peace processes, peace efforts and peace dialogues, some of which are on-going, some are stalled. I want to go beyond the articulated reasons for the declaration of National Peace Consciousness Month. What does the Social Doctrine of the Church teach about Peace? How does it enrich our consciousness about peace? To live in peace, first and foremost, is to live in the light of moral truth. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jo. 1/8). To remain in guilt and to take guilt
Jose B. Lugay
Laiko Laiko Lampstand
THE great Pope John Paul II saw the critical importance of the role of the family in the church and in the future of the world and he expressed it clearly in these two prophetic statements: “It is through the family that the history of salvation of the Church is wrought.” “The future of evangelization rests in great part on this Church in the Home.” Honoring the Christian Family this year, are two anniversary events—the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the Christian Family Movement of the Philippines this October 21st & 22nd and the 25th Anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio on November 19. Both events are close to my heart. Recalling our tenure, with me and my late wife Lina, as President-Couple of the Christian Family Movement in 1990 – 1991, it was at this time that CFM received a donation from a CFM couple, who would rather remain anonymous, a 420 sq.m. property at No. 6A Horseshoe Village, San Juan, where now stands the CFM Nazareth Home. This is a 3-storey building with 21 air-conditioned bedrooms ideal for weekend marriage encounter retreats, with a chapel on the
Honoring the Christian Family
we had the responsibility to produce meeting guidebooks based on the Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, entitled Unity and Renewal I and II. After PCP II, as head of the Education Committee of LAIKO, my first assignment was producing a new guidebook with the help of couples from different family life organizations—a more thorough treatment of the whole Papal exhortation. This guidebook is entitled. “Understanding Familiaris Consortio”. The late Antonio delos Reyes, the president of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines at that time, was given financial support by Ayala Foundation to print 5000 copies of this guidebook. In 22 Unit meetings, family life groups other than CFM, are immersed in doctrines on the family using this guidebook and are directed on activities towards helping other families. In essence, Familiaris Consortio teaches us the sanctity of marriage, the duty to transmit and serve life, the education of the children, the care of the elderly, the family’s ecclesial role, i.e., it’s service to the mission of the church, and its participation in the development of society. The family, being the domestic church, in all its activities, should be guided by
Laiko Lampstand / P12
Protagonist of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace
Pedro C. Quitorio
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Baltazar R. Acebedo
Marcelo T. Dalanon
Dennis B. Dayao
Ma. Lourdes G. Ebilane
Roy Q. Lagarde
Layout by Mark Front
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor
ground floor and a large session hall on the second floor. Very soon the Nazareth Institute of Family Formation will be inaugurated which will conduct formation courses for family life workers in Nazareth Home. The Christian Family Movement (CFM) was introduced in the Philippines by Pat and Patty Crowley of Chicago in February 1956. Tony and Teresa Nieva were the first President-Couple followed by Sito and Sony Sison, then Joe and Annie Meilly. As pioneers of the movement they established the family evangelization process—a regular meeting every other week of the CFM Unit composed of about 8 couples. During these meetings they use a CFM inquiry guidebook on family evangelization. While the initial guidebooks came from the U.S., several years later, until the present time, the guidebooks have been written by CFM couples. The Solo Parents write their own. The methodology used is the “Observe-Judge-Act” process that is most appropriate for social action. When Vatican issues new encyclicals or apostolic exhortations, new meeting guidebooks are written by professional CFM couples. In our tenure as President Couple,
Vol. 10 No. 10
August 28, 2006
Poverty and Governance
Over the past few years, Filipino journalists have been “silenced” by determined killers. Progressives and causeoriented groups’ leaders and members have also taken the brunt of violence. While some quarters say the Left has also committed its part in the spate of killings, it is the government’s duty to maintain peace and order and prevent killings. This is different from what Secretary Ignacio Bunye said of the Arroyo administration’s sincerity in getting the culprits behind bars, with the creation of Task Force Usig and the so-called Melo Commission. Sad to say, in the Philippines, the poor may no longer have access to the Courts as filing fees have increased to almost unimaginable heights. Some believe the legislative and the executive agreed to give the judiciary their needed break with increased perks at the expense of the hapless, helpless and at times hopeless citizens. When people can no longer seek redress of grievances through legitimate means, where would they turn to? They will need more than bread. They will ask for Justice. Will good governance become a reality in our lifetime? (For comments, email me at: email@example.com)
Melo M. Acuna
Issues and Concerns
LAST August 27, the Archdiocese of Recife in Brazil remembered the 16th death anniversary of Dom Helder Pessoa Camara, considered one of the great Catholic figures of the 20th century. His theology was said to be too ordinary compared with acknowledged liberation theologians like Guztavo Gutierrez but was outstanding for his uncompromising commitment to the poor. “When I give to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, the call me a communist,” Archbishop Camara once said. A television show in the 1980s, Sic O’Clock News said “In the Philippines, there are only two pressing problems: “the rich worrying of their wealth and the poor worrying of their poverty.” Poverty is simply defined as an economic condition of want for both money and basic necessities needed to successfully and humanely live—as food, water, education and shelter. However, as economists and sociologists debate on poverty’s exact definition, a great number of people may not have income security, economic stability and capacity to project and predict his continuous means to meet his and his family’s basic needs. Many different factors have been considered reasons why poverty exists,
Fring ringes From the Fringes
i.e. lack of infrastructures, state discrimination and corruption, abuse of public power, competition instead of cooperation, lack of social skills, education and excessive materialism. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, the former Deputy Defense Secretary of the United States, was up in arms against poverty. He was reportedly preparing to use pragmatic and result-oriented policies that would put anti-corruption initiatives and increase private sector investment in underdeveloped nations. Far from waging wars against terrorists and some “enemies of the state”, Mr. Wolfowitz opted to focus on the evils of poverty. He may have his hands full considering the number of poor people worldwide that has grown in numbers. What caught my attention was his emphasis on the need for good governance, requisites of which include transparency, accountability and responsibility. He said good governance is crucial in eradicating poverty. World Bank was reported to be expanding its anti-corruption work at the country level with special emphasis on judicial reform and civil service reforms, media and freedom of information. It is said a connection exists between press freedom and economic development.
Relationship and Learning
DESPITE modern communications growing in leaps and bounds, the need to find human connection and feel that one belongs are greater today than yesterday. It is ironic to see growing 'disconnectedness' taking place at home and in work places because we are more connected now electronically than ever before. 'Connectedness' requires more than just transmission of data. It requires genuine concern for one another—a concern that is best expressed face-to-face. Interpersonal communications allow parties to communicate from their heart zones where mutual trust, cooperation, and learning can prosper. In her book, "A Framework for Understanding Poverty", Dr. Ruby Payne asserts that teaching occurs outside the head while learning occurs inside the head. It is obvious that rote learning and passive exams can never achieve this kind of learning—the kind fostered by genuine human 'connectedness'. Genuine human 'connectedness' that emanates from respect and trust for the other brings about a magical relationship, between teachers and students or parents and children that makes learning possible. As we examine our achievements, it is the relationship that we remember. Indeed, it is true that no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship. As we look back, we remember people who set aside time as if we were all that mattered. They looked at us directly in the eye, intently listened to us, without any hint of impatience to interrupt. They leave us with a better sense of self worth. Somehow, they served as role models that propelled us in becoming better persons. As we look back, we vividly remember the teacher who, instead of forcing our obedience to his opinions, won us over by his personal example. The manner with which he 'connected' with us diffused our biases and prejudices and allowed learning to take place inside our heads. I remember being drawn away from my Catholic faith when I was in high school. My father died when I was only seven years old. He was only 37 years old and at the prime of his career. Without the financial means after his demise, our mother had to seek help from relatives who took care of my eldest brother, sister, and me. Unfortunately, this kind of dysfunctional arrangement left my formation to chance more than choice. I strayed and left the Catholic faith to embrace another religion—temporarily. What brought me back to the Catholic fold was not the eloquence of the priests at school but their simple yet consistent kindness. The afternoons they spent in the football field, ping pong tables, basketball courts and the long hours they devoted tutoring poor boys like us after school made them speak to our hearts. They eloquently preached with their lives. They were the living and breathing Gospel in our midst. A relationship founded on respect and trust encourages us not just to absorb intellectual virtues such as intelligence, wisdom, and science. It helps us acquire, thru repeated practice, justice, courage, self control, generosity helpfulness and other moral virtues that help form the habits of character. Repeated practice is hard work. Repeated practice is a choice. Repeated practice can be encouraged thru the personal example of a coach or a mentor who showers us with respect and trust. Human 'connectedness' founded on respect and trust is probably the most significant motivator for young people to pursue learning with renewed enthusiasm. It is probably high time that schools, homes, and work settings, provide more opportunities for building relationships and find ways to establish human connections. We have concentrated our resources on "achievement" and "effective teaching methods". Yet the most important part of learning seems to be related to relationship— a parent, teacher, mentor, or coach who took a genuine interest in us as persons. Are there boundaries to the relationship? Definitely! But to honor someone as a unique individual worthy of respect and trust is to establish a relationship that will provide for enhanced learning.
CHURCH law categorically forbids clerics from assuming any public office whenever this means having a share in the exercise of civil power (Canon 285 Par. 3 CIC). This is universal church law. This prohibition applies to all deacons, priests and bishops of the Catholic Church in all four corners of the globe. It is an expressed and formal mandate in the negative that is applicable to all clerics, irrespective of their race and color—as the deacons, priests and bishops in the Philippines. The law is quite strict and rigid such that any cleric, who entertains a definite and defined contrary option, should terminally leave the clerical state. The so called “Melo Commission” is definitely neither a purely private nor a civil body. As designed and constituted
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
iews Points Views and Points
and desire to have a presence therein. Thus it is not only the fundamental law of the land that indirectly provides the separation of the church and state. That the universal law of the church also affirms its separation from the state is inherently for church ministry—definitely not for government service. It is strange that the present administration fervently invokes the principle of the separation of church and state whenever clerics denounce the unethical contents of its political options and actions. Yet the same is rather fast in enlisting no less than bishops for membership in the said commission that is envisioned precisely to investigate and resolve political killings in the country. What a self-contradiction!
by no less than the highest executive office holder in the land, it is incongruous to even think that it has nothing to do with the exercise of civil power in its executive expression. In other words, all clerics in the country are forbidden by church law from membership in the said commission as such. Hopefully, this canonical prohibition would assuage the apparent paranoidal preoccupation of the present administration that clerics in the country like to take over its tenure of power, intent to assume its public office and pursuant prerogatives. Would that the said church law put to rest the seemingly progressive selfagitation of Malacañang that the local Pilipino church hierarchy is interested in changing its occupant due to its design
Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa
Fir ire Faith and Fire
I remember Fr. Catalino Arevalo, the Jesuit with a beautiful mind and an even more beautiful heart, telling us in one of the Lenten Retreats at the Loyola School of Theology that people take their examples not from books but from lives, that people listen to stories more than they do to lectures. Recently while sipping a cup of tea with some friends I was enthralled at their stories, especially at those from the menfolk, because stories revealing faith and entrustment don’t come so easily from them. There was Tony—a successful business man—recalling an episode when he was 18 years old visiting the insides of a gold mine in Benguet. Before going down the mine tunnels, he and his two companions were given “hard hats” and were told to put these on all the time that they were there. The tunnels were so low and narrow, he had to literally walk bent down. It didn’t help any that every now and then they had to rush to the sides to give way to unmanned “cars of gold” automatically finding their path on the rail tracks. One of his companions behind, while dodging the cars, must have bumped the overhead shaft that he heard a swishing sound. Tony rested his two hands on his knees to help ease a bit the discomfort of walking bent down. At one
Life Stories and the hand of God
“sayang.” But after about 10 seconds, still with his eyes closed, he felt nothing. So he slowly opened his eyes. In disbelief he saw that he was already standing on the side of the road. He looked to his right and saw the taillights of the speeding car. Jimmy said, “I was just waiting for the car to hit me. I didn’t move—I was dead. Up to now I can’t figure it out. All I know is it was God. From that moment on he owned my life.” Another Jimmy—a noted lawyer from Singapore. He was not “born” a Catholic. He started out as a Buddhist, then an animist, then an Anglican. Still he felt an emptiness, a lack of meaning. He continued searching for the religion that would bring him closest to the truth. He started reading the Bible as thoroughly as he was reading his law books. Little by little he came to know about God, to be amazed in the Lord Jesus Christ. And as he progressed in his stature as a “Senior” lawyer, he also progressed in his faith. “I became convinced that the Catholic Church offers the purest religion.” He was baptized before he turned 40. Flushed by passion for his newfound God, Jimmy visited on his father the wonderment of being claimed by the Lord. Then on her deathbed, his mother was gifted with the grace of conversion. And Jimmy said: “From thereon
Faith and Fire / P12
point his shoulders were so painful that he raised his left hand and was about to hold on to the overhead shaft when one of the cars came shuffling by. In a minute they were on a wider higher platform. It was only then, when an engineer was explaining to them the mining operations that Tony learned the overhead shaft carried a load of 2500 volts of electricity—the reason for wearing a hard hat to protect them from being electrocuted in case they accidentally bumped the overhead shaft (the swishing sound from his friend’s bump). The 2500 volts was also the powerful push to the heavy cars of gold automatically finding their way on the rail tracks. Tony went limp—just five minutes ago he was less than an inch from holding the overhead shaft. He said, “It could only be God who kept me from being an instant burnt chicken.” Every now and then, in the highs and lows of his life, Tony remembers the overhead shaft and God. Then there was Jimmy—a renowned ophthalmologist—and his story. Eight years back, he was crossing a dark provincial road and didn’t see the speeding car coming in from a curve. In an instant he knew it was too late to either move back or run forward. The car’s headlights were in front of him. He just closed his eyes and whispered in his breath
Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE)
Vol. 10 No. 10
August 28, 2006
which concern and affect religious education. 2. The Identification of The Four Directional Thrusts of Catechesis And Religious Education The following four directional thrusts are the result of a strategic planning of the ECCCE Advisory Board members and the CEAP Religious Education Commission members held last January 9 – 11, 2006 in Bataan. • To cultivate and strengthen the Spirituality of Catechists and Religious Educators characterized by prayer, communion, service and ministry and creation and social transformation. • To provide a common direction in the various Catechetical and Religious Education programs: a. in service training program of catechists and supervisors, b. assessment of religious education programs in Catholic Educational Institutions, c. the proper and correct use of church documents such as the GDC, CCC, CFC and the long awaited NCDP, d. and intensification of the program of research in the field of catechesis and religious education. • To forge strategic alliances with church institutions and other organizations in order to promote the ministry of Catechesis and Catholic Education i.e. the joint publication of the research–journal PERSPECTIVE – DOCETE. • To undertake advocacy programs in the service of catechetical instruction and catholic education. 3. The Approval of the Self Survey Instrument for the Process of Certification/Recognition for Catechetical Centers and the continuous drive of the CBCP for Catholic Schools to undergo a voluntary certification program of religious education. After a series of deliberation, the self survey instrument for catechetical centers was approved in principle by the CBCP. The tool or instrument enables the diocesan catechetical office and catechetical center or religious education department to commit themselves in assuring quality formation of catechists and religious educators. The recognition or certification is a voluntary process through which a diocesan catechetical center/religious–congregation catechetical center or religious education department of a tertiary level institution is able to measure the quality of its programs and services against recognized standards set by the church. 4. The continuous support of our CEAP member schools in the PhilCARE fund and the support of PhilCARE in the various catechetical programs in Nueva Vizcaya, Baguio – Benguet and the Northern Luzon Regional Catechetical Council. PhilCare has provided assistance to realize the formation programs in the following ecclesial jurisdictions. The Diocesan Catechetical Apostolate of Bayombong has successfully facilitated the First Diocesan Quarterly Training Seminar Workshop last January 30–February 2, 2006. There were 108 participants who attended. The Diocese of Baguio Benguet sponsored a training program for religion teachers and catechists last April 3–7 and July 3– 7. PHILCare. The Northern Luzon Regional Catechetical Council has a regular on - going training for diocesan directors and coordinators. 5. The theme of the 2006 National Catechetical – Religious Education Month (September) is “Share the Secret” – cascading the “Year of Social Concerns” initiated by the CBCP.
The Vicariate Catechetical Program of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi organized a congress on April 5-8, 2006 in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. Participants were 58 catechists from different parishes and mission stations.
THIS Commission began to exist in 1945 as one of the “departments of the Catholic Welfare Organization, the forerunner of the CBCP, under the name Episcopal Commission on Education and Religious Instruction (ECERI). Alongside this Commission, the bishops had also set up a Commission on Catechetical Texts which was placed under the leadership of Archbishop Jose Ma. Cuenco from 1945 to 1950. In 1966 this Commission was integrated into the ECERI. In 1984, the Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Philippines approved the establishment of the National Catechetical Office of the Philippines (NCOP) as a branch of ECERI in charge of its researches and publications. In 1988, the name of the Commission was changed to Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE). This change was prompted by the desire to lay greater emphasis on catechesis, one of the two areas of responsibility of the Commission. The second area is education, espe-
cially Catholic education. As the central catechetical agency on the national level the ECCCE is assisted by the Advisory Council for the Ministry of Catechesis (ACMC) comprised of representatives from various regions and from selected catechetical centers. Functions The work of ECCCE, in addition to its responsibility regarding Catholic formal education, is to assist and
“The Past 25 Years”
Among the main activities of the ECCCE in the past twenty years were: • The preparation and publication of “Maturing in Christian Faith,” the National Catechetical Directory containing principles and guidelines for the catechetical ministry in the Philippines (1979-83). • The holding of a national survey on the implementation of the constitutional provision on religious instruction in public schools (1988); • The organization of the National Catechetical Year which culminated in the convening of the National Catechetical Congress (1990); • The preparation of the Catechists’ Basic Formation Program (1991); • The holding of a national survey on the catechetical situation in the public schools (1992); • The holding of several national catechetical conventions in Manila and other cities throughout the country; • The preparation and publication of a National Catechism under the titles “Catechism for Filipino Catholics” and “Katesismo para sa mga Pilipinong Katoliko,” both in complete and abridged editions (1984-2000); • The publication of the Philippine edition of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (1994); • The publication of the quarterly catechetical review Docete, the official information and formation organ of the ECCCE; • The organization and launching of the Phil-CARE Foundation, an institution that aims to provide catechetical materials as well as logistic and moral assistance to all Catechists and religion Teachers, especially those who teach in public schools. • Since 2002, the Office is vigorously advocating for the passage of House Bill 137, an "Act to Rationalize the Teaching of Religion in Public Schools." When passed into law, this will make Religious Instruction mandatory in all public schools, in line with our Philippine Constitution. • The revision of the NCDP was necessary since the approval of the Catechism for Filipino Catholics by the Congregation for the Clergy and the promulgation of the General Directory for Catechesis by the same Roman Congregation. In 2000 ECCCE has taken the first concrete steps toward implementing this revision. Early this year (2006) the Congregation for the Clergy sent its comments and suggestions to the Office. Corresponding corrections and improvement were done and submitted back to Rome. The Office is waiting for the Vatican’s final approval of the NCDP. With the creation of a Research Desk on February 2004, ECCCE was able to create an official website (www.eccceonline.org) in coordination with CBCPWorld under the supervision of Msgr. Pedro Quitorio. The commission's formal entry into the worldwide web on April 2, 2004 signals its commitment to more effectively link together all those who work for the ministries of catechesis and catholic education, by providing all the information and communication tools they need to perform their mission with more ease and greater knowledge. The strategic planning of ECCCE Advisory Board Members and CEAP Religious Education Commission Members on January 2006 produced Four Directional Thrusts for Catechesis and Catholic Education. They are as follows: I. To cultivate and to strengthen the Spirituality of Catechists and Religious Educators; II. To provide a common direction in the various Catechetical and Religious Education Programs; III. To forge strategic alliances with Church institutions and other organizations in order to promote the ministry of Catechesis and Catholic Education; and IV. To undertake advocacy programs in the service of catechetical instruction and Catholic Education towards the program of holiness. The heads of Catechetical Formation Centers and of the various Catholic colleges and universities offering Religious Education gathered for a national assembly on May 22–25, 2006. The Association of Catechetical Centers and Colleges with Religious Education (ACCCRE) was created as a venue for sharing and support of best practices and training ground for trainers of catechists, campus ministers and pastoral workers. The Accreditation Instrument called Self-Survey Instrument for the Process of Certification/ Recognition for Catechetical Centers was presented during the national assembly on May 22-25, 2006. It will be a symbol that the catechetical center and ECCCE are committed to providing high-quality service in forming catechists for the church and that the center has demonstrated its commitment by measuring up to ECCCE’s standard, while ECCCE coordinates and lends assistance.
serve the dioceses regarding all aspects of the catechetical ministry nationwide, including new trends, new programs and materials, improved training programs, etc. (GDC 269) ECCCE maintains listings of the current catechetical institutes nationwide and is involved in evaluating catechetical materials and religious education textbooks and various catechetical projects. Most present catechetical research is carried on in view of graduate schools’ academic requirements, and hence must be adapted for responding creatively to the pastoral needs of the Christian communities throughout the Philippines. (Rev. NCDP, 477). The ECCCE supervises the National Catechetical Office of the Philippines (NCOP), which is responsible for catechetical publications, and makes studies and recommendations for the promotion of an effective Campus Ministry. Annual Report Of Programs (2005-2006) There are four major programs accomplished last year 2005 – 2006 in the ECCCE – PhilCARE priority concerns: 1. The Establishment Of The Association Of Catechetical Centers And Colleges With Religious Education (ACCCRE) The heads of catechetical formation centers and the various Catholic colleges and universities offering religious education gathered for an assembly last May 22 – 25, 2006 in Bataan. Under the leadership of the ECCCE Chairman, Bishop Socrates Villegas, the ACCCRE was created. Its objectives are: a. provide a continuing forum for “best practices” in catechetical and religious education training, b. promote continuing improvement in the religious education capability of member schools through formation programs, faculty development and systems improvement, c. promote and implement self–accreditation among member schools as a process towards continuing improvement of quality religious education and d. advocate on behalf of member schools on issues involving governmental and ecclesiastical policies
Vol. 10 No. 10
August 28, 2006
Diocese of Bacolod (Dioecesis Bacolodensis):
THE Diocese of Bacolod, a suffragan of Jaro, was created on July 15, 1932 and erected on May 16, 1933. Presently, it comprises the central territory of the province of Negros Occidental from the municipalities of Hinigaran in the south to Victorias City in the north. Bacolod Diocese witnessed to the establishment of two new dioceses on March 30, 1987, namely: Kabankalan with ten municipalities taken from the Diocese in the southern part of Negros Occidental, and San Carlos, the territory of which is comprised of cities and municipalities that previously were part of the Dioceses of Bacolod and Dumaguete. For almost three-quarter of a century since its creation and erection as a diocese, Bacolod has been shepherded by strong-principled, courageous and unshakable bishops, embracing Jesus’ spirituality as shown in their preferential care for the poor. The first bishop of Bacolod, Bishop Casimiro M. Lladoc, DD (September 16, 1933 to September 22, 1951), guided by his motto “Duc in altum”, attended to the rebuilding of many parishes devastated by war, expansion of more Catholic educational institutions and invited religious congregations to help in the religious formation of the faithful. He opened the doors of the Bishop’s House so that it became the people’s refuge during the war. Bishop Manuel Yap, DD (May 15, 1952 to October 16, 1966) succeeded Bishop Lladoc and inspired the Diocese with his motto, “Pro Christo legatione fungimar”—“For Christ, we are ambassadors”, which implied that as ambassadors, we have to keep, share and live faithfully the original message of the Divine Master. Catholic movements were organized and Catholic Action became widespread which brought about the re-evangelization of both the upper and the lower classes of the Church. He convoked the first Diocesan Synod on March 14-18, 1960 with only the clergy as participants. Bishop Antonio Y. Fortich’s time, (February 24, 1967 to January 31, 1989) was considered a time of great ferment in the world, in the country and in the Church. During his episcopal ordination, the papal nuncio told him, “The Holy Father appointed you bishop of Bacolod so that you will do something for the poor”. With his slogan “Insta” – “Proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it”—he worked fearlessly amid massive attacks against his person and his clergy. Being a “man of God” and an ardent advocate for peace, he extended help to everyone without discrimination. Preferential option for the poor guided the pastoral work of the Diocese. Social action programs flourished, Basic Christian Communities or BBCs were established, the poor started to assume leadership in various church ministries, and the lay felt empowered. The liturgy became alive, active and participated in by all sectors. On August 11, 1988 he retired after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. Bishop Camilo D. Gregorio, DD (July 22, 1989 to September 2, 2000) took over the See of Bacolod in 1989 as the fourth bishop with the motto “Servire in caritate” (“To serve in love”). His time witnessed the great flourishing of faith communities and renewal movements. There was an impressive increase of religious congregations in the Diocese, both of men and women. The pastoral ministry was deepened and expanded, focusing mainly on caring and strengthening the “domestic Church” which is the home, the young people, the migrants and other sectors of society. The Diocese’s concern and dedication to its catechetical and educational ministry was intensified. The liturgy, being “the source and summit of the
From “Duc in altum” to “Adsum”
By Rev. Fr. Ruel S. Jundos
life and ministry of the Church”, became an experience of truly “being Church”, and active participation in the liturgical and eucharistic assemblies and celebrations was stressed. The last and remaining years of his episcopacy was a journey of “looking back at the past with gratitude, living the present with enthusiasm and moving towards the future with hope.” Now, the fifth bishop of Bacolod, Bishop Vicente M. Navarra, DD (July 19, 2001 – present), already on his fifth year of episcopal administration, has since adopted the motto “Adsum” (“Here I am, send me”) to guide his pastoral agenda for the Diocese. Unfazed by challenges and struggles, he relentlessly pursues the task of leading his flock according to the direction set forth by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines and the Nine Pastoral Priorities of the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal: as an authentic “Community of Disciples”, we become the “Church of the Poor”. Moved by the need for renewal towards the fulfillment of this vision, Bishop Navarra called for the Second Diocesan Synod to consult the clergy and the lay faithful on how the Diocese could become more of a Church of the Poor in terms of worship, doctrine, organization and pastoral concerns. Acts and decrees were promulgated not only to serve the poor and the needy but for all sectors of the Church and society to actively participate in the programs and activities of the Church through various ministries and likewise for them to be aware of their rights and obligations as parishioners. The Diocesan Pastoral Center and the Lay Formation Center were created to attend to the education and formation of parish leaders and workers. Moreover, the Diocesan Pastoral Center collaborates with the Social Action Center and other Diocesan Commissions to meet the pastoral needs of the Diocese and address the many pastoral challenges. The Diocese’s vision of the Church today is finding _expression in one ecclesial movement which fosters Basic Ecclesial Communities—the new way of “being Church”. It believes that BECs are the loci, not only for the formation of Catholic Christian faith, but also for the sanctification and liberation of its flock and truly bring about an authentic “Church of the Poor” as envisioned by PCP II. The various pastoral programs, activities and concerns of the Diocese, presently include, namely: (1) Synod education and implementation—synod orientation, pastoral planning of parishes and chaplaincies, implementation and monitoring, synod evaluation; (2) Assistance and collaboration among Diocesan Commissions—formulation of Directories, planning and evaluation of commissions, regular consultation meetings, strengthening of ecclesial networks and linkages; (3) Diocesan, Vicarial and Parish Pastoral Councils—regular meetings, on-going formation and training of pastoral leaders, promotion of consultancy and technical support for the pastoral councils, diocesan-wide pastoral assemblies; (4) Basic Ecclesial Communities—orientation/re-orientation of clergy, parish councils and leaders; support for BEC organizing, strengthening and sustaining; periodic diocesan-wide BEC meetings and assemblies; and formulation of BEC organizing guidelines. With the challenge of the New Evangelization and guided by the Acts and Decrees of the Second Diocesan Synod, the Diocese of Bacolod will continue to serve the Church, crossing the threshold of the coming years with unwavering fidelity to the Gospel and commitment to its flock entrusted by God. Diocesan Chancery and Bishop’s Residence, Diocese of Bacolod.
Name: Dioecesis Bacolodensis Principal Titular: St. Sebastian, January 20 Secondary Patron: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, October 7 Area: 2,019.1 sq. kms. Population: 1,307, 388 Catholics: 1,091,668 Priests: Diocesan: 125 Religious: 44 Guest: 3 Brothers: 16 Sisters: 184 Diocesan Divisions Districts Vicariates Parishes Diocesan Religious 3 8 43 4 Quasi-parishes/Chaplaincies Educational Centers Universities Colleges High Schools Diocesan/Parochial Religious Elementary Diocesan/Parochial Religious Kindergarten Diocesan/Parochial Religious Institutions Home for the Aged Orphanages Retreat Houses Dormitories Training Centers 2 6 12 4 7 2 4 6 18 7 14 25 18 22
His Excellency His Excellency MOST REV. VICENTE M. MOST REV. VICENTE M. NAVARRA, D.D. NAVARRA, D.D. Bishop of Bacolod Bishop of Bacolod
By Rev. Eutiquio B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
less collusion of the powerful in support of this state of affairs, the prophets came to the defense of the poor with their fearless denunciations and condemnations of such acts. To Israel’s wealthy exploiters, venal judges and corrupt officials Amos declares: “Therefore, because you have trampled upon the weak and exacted of them levies of grain, though you have built houses of hewn stone, you shall not live in them! Though you have planted choice vineyards, you shall not drink their wine! Yes, I know how many are your crimes, how grievous your sins: oppressing the just, accepting bribes, repelling the needy at the gate” (Am 5:11-12). Again, Amos fearlessly confronts those “who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land” (Am 8:4) with their evil deeds, i.e., diminishing the ephah or the standard of measure in their sale of wheat to the poor, adding to the shekel and fixing the scales for cheating, even conspiring to “buy the lowly man for silver” and “the poor man for a pair of sandals”, including selling “the refuse of wheat” to him (Am 8:5-6). Then he lashes out on them with the words: “The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!” (Am 8:7). Isaiah is no less critical and fiery. To the greedy who amass wealth and property for their own exclusive benefit, he exclaims: “Woe to you who join house to house, who connect field with field, till no room remains, and you are left to dwell alone in the midst of the land. In my hearing the Lord of hosts has sworn: Many houses shall be in ruins, larger ones and fine, with no one to live in them” (Is 5:8-9). The corrupt lawmakers and rulers are not spared either, as the prophets turns to them: “Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people’s poor of their rights, making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, when ruin comes from afar? To whom
Vol. 10 No. 10
August 28, 2006
But Why Love of the Poor?
will you flee for help?” (Is10:1-3). From the very beginning the prophet outlines the course of action that the people of Israel needed to practice, all of which are on behalf of the weak and the poor. “Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow” (Is 1:16-17). From the New Testament God’s preferential love for the poor is very clearly laid out in the life of his own Son. “Though he was in the form of God,” the letter to the Philippians intones, “he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather he emptied himself and took the form of a slave” (Phil 2:6-7). The circumstances of his birth by Mary his mother is another statement in support of this love. “She gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the place where travelers lodge” (Lk 2:7). He kept the same poor lifestyle all throughout his earthly life. “Foxes have lairs, the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20). When he set out on his public ministry, he embraced the prophet Isaiah’s pro-poor portrait of the restoration of Zion as his very mission. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord” (Is 61:1f: Lk 4:18-19). Most of all, Jesus declares in the Beatitudes the most significant and central figure in the kingdom. “Blest are you poor; the reign of God is yours” (Lk 6:20). Conclusion All these merely underline the truth that the preferential option or
But Why / P14
TIME and again Church-going Catholics hear “preferential option for the poor” or “preferential love of the poor”, Pope John Paul II’s preferred terminology. The truth is, it’s so fairly recent that many people feel threatened by it as though it came to Christianity from the outside, say, the ideological left. I remember having a conversation with a wealthy former Philippine ambassador to Germany. He did not mince words against what he thought the Church’s one-sided
bias against the rich. He asked pointedly: “But who gives the Church its source of sustenance? Who contributes most to its coffers? The betteroff, don’t they?” “Obviously,” I said to myself. “But are they rich without having taken what belongs to the poor?” A Take From Old Testament Prophets While the terminology is fairly
recent, ‘preferential option’ or ‘love of the poor’ goes back to the most ancient biblical texts. The prophets, though acknowledging private property as legitimate even among God’s people, considered it to be subordinate to the social obligation of caring for the weak of society. Whenever this obligation was ignored or violated, as is clear in the biblical accounts of exploitation of the poor by the rich, corruption of judges in favor of the wealthy and the ruth-
7 Questions / from p5
Isarog is a huge mountain which provides irrigation water to 67,000 hectares of land in 11 municipalities. So, my opinion is that, if anything happens with Isarog like illegal cutting of wood, treasure hunting and others, it will affect immediately so many towns and peoples. Our second social concern program is organizing units of the archdiocese to provide help to abused women and children, the orphans, and the physically handicapped. What about the Church’s engagement in politics? Is it not part of the social concern agen da in your archdiocese? No, it’s not very much accentuated in the archdiocese of Caceres. It’s not that there are no political problems in our area, but our political problems are the usual things like, for instance, the lack of trust in local leaders. In this aspect, we have a strong program connected with the preparation of people for political elections. But with regards to political rallies and the like, we don’t engage into that.
Of Reasons / from p14
Camillus visited St. James’ thrice. While in admission, he was able to help around the hospital. However, on his first stay, with his compulsion to gambling, he has no heart for the ailing. On his second, as a Capuchin Novice, he gave to the sick his services, but not himself. While on his third, as a religious shaped in the spirit of St. Francis, he became a father who had known suffering and was willing to share in the sufferings of his sick children. Gambling, soldiering, and a cloistered life were the top desires of Camillus’ heart. Unfortunately, because of his incurable wound, he was made to go through heartbreaking tribulations which in the end became an instrument for him to realize and accept to himself that God willed otherwise. That God wanted him to be in St. James’ to serve His poor, sick people. In St. James’, Camillus became a witness of the cruel practices being applied to the sick. Nurses served them with little charity: given rough assistance, insulted, joked upon for amusement, beaten with fists, or bound for no cause at all. As to the corporal and material needs of the patients, nurses were so cool in making the sick people’s beds or in giving them food and slow when they were called. To the extent that more than one person had been known to become almost mad with thirst that they succumbed into drinking urine, blood, dirty water, or the oil from lamps. As to their spiritual needs, Camillus was inconsolable when in their last moments, and in their agony, they were abandoned by the priests, as he considered that this was the greatest abuse that could disgrace Christianity. Intolerant to these merciless acts, Camillus started to fight for the rights of the patients with interest and love of a father. A patient himself suffering from an incurable ulcer on his foot, he was constantly reminded to develop a deep feeling for the sick. So like himself, he desired that hospital servants should always be in ready attendance on the sick with loving care seeing to their smallest needs. He used every possible means to inspire the servers with a true and a warm love for his poor sufferers. But most of the time, they fell short from his expectations. To remedy all these stark realities in St. James’, an inspiration came to him to found a congregation of pious men whom he envisioned to serve not for monetary remuneration, like the hired priests, but solely for the love of God and giving a care like that of a mother for her only child who is sick. Camillus’ first intention was just to enclose the said congregation in the walls of the Hospital of St. James’. On the contrary, God willed otherwise. He wanted it not to be shut up in such narrow limits, thus, occurring were hard oppositions and huge tribulations from the hospital administration regarding Camillus’ plan. Heeding the valuable recommendation of a friend for him to realize his dream, Camillus left St. James’ of the Incurables to begin his congregation elsewhere. It was in the Apostolic Arch-Hospital of the Holy Spirit that Camillus was able to establish a new school of charity. In this institution he was able to revolutionize healthcare services for the poor sick. Along with two companions, Bernardine Norcino and Curzio Lodi dell’ Aquila, the three of them, considered as fervent laborers, attend the Hospital of the Holy Spirit every day. Camillus made some short rules for them to follow on serving the sick with the most fervent charity. They gave them their food, made their beds, cleansed their tongues, exhorted them to patience and the devout receiving of sacraments in such a way that cannot be expected to be performed even by the most active ordinary servant. Highly noteworthy was also the devout exercise which Camillus and his companions practiced in the Holy Spirit Hospital—taking good care that patients died well. They whispered sweet and holy suggestions to them in their agony, consoling them in their moment of death. For Camillus, the first gift that must be offered to the sick is the gift of one’s heart. He emphasized that a hospital must be dedicated entirely to its suffering patients—from the doctors, nurses, medicines, to everyone and everything. Though the founder related that he had received slaps and blows, been spit upon, suffered every kind of rudeness from the patients, and been offered insults and incivility, he still considered a hospital as his center of action, his gold mine, his garden of delight, his home, his haven of charity, the love of his heart, his paradise on earth, and the mystical vineyard of the Lord. As the wound of St. Camillus became the reason for him to give his entire life giving perfect service to the sick and help his Lords and Masters die happily and paved the way for him to found his Ministers of the Sick, in my end, I believe that Dr. Rayel’s joke for me made sense. That maybe, my profession as Medical Technologist is not primarily a preparation for me to pursue Medicine, rather, He designed it for me to share the charism of St. Camillus. That maybe, He wanted me to serve the sick beyond medical technicalities and jargons, to see in them not just their blood types but persons whom Christ has offered His precious blood. The sick and hospitals have been a significant part of my being right now. It was them who made my vocation worthwhile. With the grace of sharing my simple presence at their bedside, talking and listening with them and their watchers, more than knowing the result of their CBC, blood chemistry, culture and sensitivity, or if their urine contains Caox, I’m more and more inspired to be humble, sincere, and true in knowing deeper and serving the God who brought me in his mystical vineyard to learn and appreciate that everything has a reason. ________________________ ST. CAMILLUS DE LELLIS is the patron saint of the sick, hospitals, and health care workers. Born on May 25, 1550 in Italy, he spent a reckless boyhood and foolhardy youth. He gambled and was a soldier of fortune. At age 25, however, he got converted. From then on, he dedicated his life to the service of the sick and the poor. He founded a religious Order to continue the evangelical mission he had received. • He died in Rome on July 14, 1614. • He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746. • He was proclaimed patron of the sick and of hospitals in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII. • In 1930, Pope Pius XI also proclaimed him patron saint of health care workers. Please visit www.orderofsaintcamillus.org.
Nov. John Jay C. Magpusao, OSC, is now in Baguio City for his one whole year of Novitiate Formation in the Order of St. Camillus, a congregation of religious priests and brothers who dedicate their life in the service to the sick.
© Denz Dayao/Monitor
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Education Program); August 13, “Women’s Welfare/empowerment” (Diocesan Women’s Help Desk); August 14, “Church and Politics” (Kapihan sa Diocese Forum); and August 15, “Family and Youth Concerns” (Diocesan Organization for OFW families). Not that the three-year old Diocese’s pastoral agenda for social concerns—indeed impressively shining they are—has just sprouted lately at its recently held social concerns year launching. But, even earlier from its creation as a Diocese, Caritas Kalookan, the implementing arm of the Social Services and Development Ministry of the Diocese, has since been actively dispensing its social concern mandate as rightfully enunciated by its Vision (Bisyon o Pananaw), Mission (Misyon), and Objectives (Layunin), thus: Bisyon o Pananaw “Ang Diyosesis ng kalookan ay sama-samang nagpupuri at mapagkalingang kumikilos na matugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng mahihirap upang maiangat ang kalidad ng pamumuhay sa isang mapayapa, makatarungan, matatag at maunlad na pamayanan sa kaluwalhatian ng ating Panginoon.” Misyon • Maiangat ang kamalayan at kakayanan sa pagtamo ng material at espirituwal na katiwasayan. • Mapangalagaan ang karapatang pantao at makisangkot sa mga gawaing pampamayanan at pang kapaligiran. • Maipadama ang mapgkalingang pagkilos ng nagkakaisang Simbahan at Pamayanan. • Mapatatag ang pananalig sa Diyos at maipakita sa araw-araw na pamumuhay.
Social concern programs and activities of C a r i t a s Kalookan, the implementing arm of the Social Services and Development Ministry of the Diocese: Crisis Intervention Program (left and top right); Medical Mission (right); SSDM General Assembly (below).
WITH the timely declaration of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines of 2006 as Year of Social Concerns, the Diocese of Kalookan cannot fail to promptly take the challenge of implementing its social concern programs and activities. Coinciding with its 3rd foundation anniversary celebrations as a Diocese last August 5-26, the young and vibrant Diocese simultaneously launched its 2006 social concern agenda with various activities underscoring its decisive response to the CBCP’s call. Worth noting during its social concerns year launching activities was the 9-day novena from August 7-15 in honor of San Roque, patron Saint of the Diocese, which remarkably highlighted the Diocese’s nine social concern priorities accordingly undertaken by the Social Services and Development Ministry and other agencies of the Diocese: August 7, “A Call to Healing of Social Ills” (Call to Action: Kabisig Livelihood program); August6 8, “Ecological Concerns” (Waste Management Program); August 9, “Children’s Welfare/ Rights” (Educational Assistance for Public School Students program); August 10, “Diocese of Kalookan as Church of the Poor” (Diocesan Clergy); August 11, “Spirituality of Pondo ng Pinoy” (Pondo ng Pinoy Campaign); August 12, “Labor Concerns” (SALVE or Savings and Loan with Values
Diocese of Kalookan
Taking the Challenge: ‘To Serve and Not to be Served’
By Caritas Kalookan (CK)
Layunin • Organizational: Aktibo at daynamikong Ministri sa lahat ng antas. • Educational: Epektibo at may kakayahang kinatawan sa pagbabagong panlipunan sa pamamagitan ng pinagsanib na programang panghubog sa lahat ng antas ng Diyosesis at parokya; at sa lahat ng grupong kasangkot sa
paghahatid ng serbisyong panlipunan at mga programang pampaunlad: Clergy, Lay, at Religious. • Operational: Tumutugon na serbisyong panlipunan at p r o g r a m a n g nagpapaunlad. Maiangat ang kamalayan ng mga mahihirap sa isyung pang sosyo-ekonomiko. • Financial: Sapat na pondo upang maisakatuparan ang mga programa. Accordingly, following the direction provided by its Vision, Mission and Objectives, the various social concern programs and services of Caritas Kalookan include the following, namely: • Restorative Justice: Educational Assistance for Inmates’ Children, Paralegal Assistance, Crisis Intervention, Medical and Dental Outreach, and Spiritual Formation. • Livelihood: Job Placement /
Job Fair, Labor Desk, Parish Cooperative Development, Microfinance services, and Skills Training. • Urban Poor and Housing: Paralegal Assistance. • Family and Life: Emergency Relief Assistance, Crisis Intervention, Educational Assistance, Health and Nutrition programs like In-House Clinics, Medical Dental Outreach and Supplemental Feeding. • Special programs: Ecology and Waste Management, Pastoral Care for Migrants, and Early Childhood Care and Development program. Indeed, Kalookan Diocese is yet three years old and growing. But even so, more than just responding to the CBCP’s call of social concern agenda for 2006, it has already since faithfully reckoned to the Divine Master’s social concern exhortation: “I came to serve and not to be served.”
A Tooth / from p5
“Hear me, you who know justice, you people who have my teaching at heart: Fear not the reproach of men, be not dismayed at their insults.”(Isaiah 51:7) crisis reached its climax when Israeli troops, after having occupied southern Lebanon briefly in 1978, launched an all-out invasion in 1982. It bombarded Beirut to deliver a knock-out blow to the Syrian-backed Feyadeen fighters and dismantle the PLO’s military infrastructure. It took another 18 years before Israel finally pulled its troops out of southern Lebanon after a 22-year occupation. Syria held on for five more years, until February 2005. Collateral Damage: The Erosion of Lebanese Identity The recent unrest and its potential to reignite bode ill for the socioreligious and cultural configuration of Lebanon. Today the country is roughly 70 per cent Muslim and 30 per cent Christian. This represents a steep decline for the Christians, who were in the majority the last time an official census was taken—in 1932. Each side is subdivided into multiple sects, among them the Druze. Christian political groups, mainly Maronites, want independence and closer ties with the West. But the Muslims see meaningful collaboration only with the surrounding Arab states. At the moment, the future looks bleak for the Christians. Some 900,000 people fled the country during the tumultuous years, most of them Christians. Few Christians returned when the conflict died down. The exodus of Christians has been compounded by increasing number of Muslims, thanks to the naturalization en masse of Syrians and Palestinians (in 1994 the Lebanese Parliament naturalized some 300,000 people, mostly Syrian Muslims). When the Saudi-backed Rafik Hariri became Prime Minister in 2000, he acquired vast realestate properties from Christians and filled up government posts with Muslims. Meanwhile, the Iran-sponsored Hezbollah openly declared their intent to create an Islamic state in Lebanon. The declining presence of Christian Lebanese is hardly good news for Israel, for it creates a hostile Muslim state on its northern border. Challenges and Prospects The most urgent task is to execute the UN Resolution 1701, and when it fails, to retry restoring peace on the strength of international consensus, not beholden to the discriminatory voice of the US and its minions. An integral part
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INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE AND THE INTEGRITY OF CREATION
PROMOTING JUSTICE AND PEACE IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD PROMOVER LA JUSTICIA Y LA PAZ EN UN MUNDO GLOBALIZADO
JULY 31 – AUGUST 15, 2006 – CASA BEATO NUNO – FATIMA-PORTUGAL
STATEMENT OF CONCERN ON THE PHILIPPINE SITUATION
WE, the members of the Carmelite Family working on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation coming from 19 countries throughout the world, gathered in Fatima, Portugal from July 31August 15, 2006 with the Theme: “Promoting Justice and Peace in a Globalized World”. Moved by our Prophetic tradition as one family in Carmel, we spent time to discern and contemplate together on the cries of the people and our environment today faced by the tremendous dehumanizing impact of Globalization around the world. We feel with great remorse that our world is full of injustices and disquiet. Being challenged by this very inhuman situation, we cannot close our eyes and remain deaf to the agonies of the world. Our faith and Carmelite tradition continuously compel us to help restore the world where Peace, Justice and Love reign. Discerning on the different situations of the poor people in the different countries around the world, we are deeply troubled upon knowing the human rights situation in the Philippines. The staggering number of victims of extra-judicial killings which reached to 725 starting 2001, the 181 who disappeared and the increasing human rights violations are forthrightly done to church workers, leaders and members of organizations, activists, journalists, workers, peasants, among others with impunity. To such a degree the intrusion of the Multi-national mining and logging companies are wrecking havoc to the environment and affecting so greatly the lives of the indigenous people and their culture. Much more we are saddened to know that even church and religious people and co-workers who work for the poor are facing brazen harassment and intimidation. The disconcerted situation of the Religious of the Good Shepherd sisters who for a long time are working with the Indigenous people in Agusan del Sur is a manifestation of such an alarming situation. One with the victims and the poor Filipino people, it is our stand therefore to join with the different church and religious groups, sectors and human rights organizations in the Philippines and other parts of the world in denouncing these injustices. We cannot allow this to continue. Peace and justice must prevail. Therefore in one voice: We urgently call on the President of the Philippines: Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to act decisively to put a stop to these killings, protect the rights of the poor and uphold human dignity. Render justice to the victims and hear the cry of the poor people. We appeal to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct an investigation into these killings in the Philippines. We also call on all people of goodwill to promote justice and peace throughout the World. Let justice flow like water, and uprightness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24). For Peace and Justice in the World, Signed: Rev. Fr. Artemio Jusayan, O. Carm. (Philippines) Rev. Fr. Edgar Koning, O. Carm. (The Netherlands) Rev. Fr. Nelson Belisario, O. Carm. (USA) Rev. Fr. Miceal O’Neill, O. Carm. (Ireland) Rev. Fr. Telesphoro “Chelo” Debí, O. Carm. (Democratic Republic of the Congo) Rev. Fr. Amilton Vidotto, O. Carm. (Brazil) And 31 delegates of the International Meeting for Justice and Peace
of the peace process is the withdrawal of all troops implicated in the war and the setting up of a mechanism to prevent further Hezbollah attacks. No one can ignore the fact that the present hostilities are traced to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian dispute, so any attempt to resolve the Lebanese crisis has to be done in the context of the wider Middle East dilemma. Even then much will remain to be done. Vast amounts of assistance will be needed to help the Lebanese clear up the debris and rebuild their infrastructure and economy. But just as important is the need to rebuild the shredded fabric of Lebanese sovereignty and to restore its delicate social and political cohesion. Lebanon’s religious and ethnic pluralism is a treasure that has to be preserved and strengthened. It has always been regarded as a European bridge to the Arab world. If its 1,900-year-old Christian communities fail to weather the consequences of Israeli aggression and are submerged by a rising tide of Islam, the world will lose something far more precious than a resort for sun-baking European tourists. It will lose the only example of a successful democratic society in which Christians and Muslims once managed to work together in fraternal harmony. In 1989 Pope John Paul II convoked a special synod on the situation in Lebanon, in the midst of its tragic civil war. He said: “Greater mutual knowledge and engaging in a mutual dialogue for the greater service of man are indispensable conditions for freedom, peace and respect for the dignity of the person. This living and consented pluralism is a fundamental value which has presided over the history of Lebanon. This is the reason why the disappearance of Lebanon would be a dramatic loss for the cause of freedom itself... The disappearance of Lebanon, without any doubt, would be one of the great tragedies of the world. Safeguarding it is one of the most urgent and noble tasks which the world today must undertake.” Was anyone listening then? Is anyone listening now?
Fr. Henry Bocala finished Political Science degree in UP Diliman and worked for the Senate during the Aquino administration. He later studied Theology and Canon Law in Rome, where he was ordained priest in March 2000. His doctoral thesis (published as a book) dealt with the “Diplomatic Relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel” in the context of the Middle East Conflict (Rome, 2000).
In and Out / from p6
corruption which drive people to cheat, steal, covet, dishonor and even murder. Our economy and politics unhappily are characterized by injustice, dishonesty, or theft in small and grave proportion. Both victims and criminals are not at peace, until some retribution or reparation is done. But even in retribution, innocent scapegoats and the small crooks are readily sent to jail, but the big crooks are freed on technicality, or through bribery or some hokus-pokus. Where there is no justice, there is no peace. Peace, thirdly, is the fruit of solidarity, “opus solidaritatis pax” (Pope John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 39). The value/principle of participation and solidarity is based on the fundamental equality of all individual persons. This is translated into the readiness and willingness to commit oneself or one’s share for the good of victims and of the less fortunate, beyond any individual or particular interest (SRS 38). I have seen a good example of participation and solidarity in the Nueva Valencia, Guimaras “oil spill”. The good spirit, unfortunately, is damaged by some who take advantage of the charity of others. Where solidarity is deficient, peace will be deficient. Peace, fourthly, is the fruit of integral development—”Development is the new name of peace” understood as the transition from the less humane condition to the more humane. Integral evangelization and development mean bringing about change in the quality of life of people in the areas of food, education, shelter, employment and medical care. Integral evangelization and development must address social problems, such as extreme hunger, deficient education, homelessness, unemployment and sickness. Where development is deficient, peace will be deficient. Peace, finally, is the fruit of love which goes beyond what justice can provide (GS 78). Love gives justice the face of a friend, even a brother or sister in Christ (PCP II 305). What creates un-peace in our country is the situation of imbalance between the great number who live in abject poverty and misery and the few rich and powerful who are accorded with tremendous social privileges. This imbalance necessitates the value of “preferential option for the poor” and those without hope of a better future (CA 57, PCP II 312). The peace that we are longing for must be linked with the principle of “active non-violence.” This is especially urgent in our country since our socio-economic and political situation is characterized partly by violence and counter–violence. The government institutions and structures for peace appear to be either uncommitted or helpless in stemming the tide of extra-judicial killings of media practitioners, militants and suspected insurgents. This the CBCP has already denounced in the past. Given the chance, what power will the Melo Commission exercise to solve these killings in order that peace and justice may be enjoyed by the bereaved families of the victims of violence? We hope that the consciousness we raise during this National Peace Consciousness Month reach the conscience of concerned Filipinos.
Laiko Lampstand / from p6
Christ’s love for the family, the basic unit of society and the church. The CFM 50th anniversary celebration will be held on October 21 at the GSIS building. This is a grand reunion of all CFM’ers from all over the country with parish priests and religious who have been active in the family life apostolate, particularly as CFM chaplains and advisers. All members of the family including the sons and daughters group, the young professionals and the solo parents are expected to attend. The culmination of the celebration on October 22 at the Fiesta Pavilion of Manila Hotel will be the cultural presentation to be contributed by each delegation. Honors and awards will be given to specific individuals and organizations for their contribution to CFM’s progress through the first 50 years. We congratulate the Committee in charge of the preparation for this once-ina-lifetime event headed by President Couple Roger and Nora Panlasegui. We have no doubt that the golden anniversary celebration will be a great success and will long be remembered. Since CFM is occupied with the preparation of its Golden Anniversary, the preparation for the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio has not commenced. Past president Rollie and Josie Mesa however, initiated the move to publish more copies of Understanding Familiaris Consortio. We pray that a generous donor will come along and provide funds for the publication of 5,000 copies for distribution to all the parishes in the Philippines. This will be a fitting tribute to the 25th Anniversary of Familiaris Consortio and a great service and honor to all Christian families of the only Catholic nation in Asia.
For further inquiry, please contact Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas: Joseph Jesalva – 527-5388, Telfax527-3124, e-mail: joselugay@ yahoo.com.
Fire and Faith / from p7
it is simply returning everything to God.” My children during our regular weekly family dinner last Sunday had such fun dissecting the meaning of “carpe diem.” My grand daughter, Vada, brandishing her new identity as a UP student (she chose to enroll in the University of the Philippines for her BS Economics to the consternation of her uncles and aunt who are dyedto-the-bone Ateneans) had the time of her life. Her Bangko Sentral director uncle and her corporate priestess aunt — the Ateneans — were groping for the English translation of the Latin “carpe diem.” Vada, their UP niece, without batting an eyelash said, “Seize the day!” For those whose lives were at one time or another seized by the Lord, their “dailiness” is an ongoing chant of “carpe diem” for God beside whom there is none other. We need “a day of rest for the heart” as some kind of a religious summons to be present to ourselves in order to see if God is present in the core of our being—if He is still the owner of our lives. To know this helps us through “the tears of things”, automatically pushing us to find our way to the heart of God—there, nothing else matters.
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deeply imbedded in the Filipino psyche and is, in fact, becoming a way of life for many. Yet gambling in general is an affront to the moral values of the people. Attended by greed and the insatiable desire for money and power, it has the evil force of altering a person’s lifestyle and corrupting the community’s positive values. Human experience confirms that gambling is addictive and can be personally detrimental to the gambler and his family. The prospects of winning or getting back his losses remain a constant and irresistible temptation to the gambler. Thus, a gambling enthusiast puts his trust in luck and his own skill more than in divine providence, often risking more than what he can afford, and even diverting resources from necessary purposes. Unwittingly, he ignores the value of hard work, honesty and social responsibility. Therefore, by reason of motive and circumstances, and considering the corrupt and manipulative system wherein it operates, we can say that gambling is immoral and sinful. Accordingly, it is incompatible with Christian spirituality and moral imperatives, especially because it victimizes and exploits the human person, particularly the poor and the weak. In the Philippines, jueteng and its legalized form, the STL or small town lottery, are the most organized manifestations of this social cancer we call gambling. In spite of the many rational arguments and opposition to these games of chance, some government officials seem to be hell-bent in resurrecting these vices in all our parishes and communities. They seem to have already forgotten the government’s moral recovery program which is an important key to nation building. Thus, caught in the glittering web of profit and power, they seem to have become numb and oblivious of gambling’s evil moral consequences, both personally and socially. According to the joint pastoral
Dearly Beloved People of God: “Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Eph 5:8) IT has been almost a year that our province has enjoyed, to a greater extent, the freedom from the scourge of illegal gambling operations. Thanks to the efforts, cooperation and resolve of our government officials and the police authorities who dutifully worked for the eradication of illegal number games, and who valiantly proved to us that if there’s a will, indeed there’s a way. Lately, however, we observe with great dismay how these systematic gambling operations, particularly jueteng and small town lottery (STL), are slowly creeping once again into our communities, apparently with the blessing and implicit approval by our local government and police officials. Confronted with these unfortunate developments and compelled by our sacred duty to instruct and shepherd the People of God, we, your bishops, wish to reiterate our stand and firm opposition to systematic gambling, whether legal or illegal. With this pastoral statement, therefore, allow us to lay down our common discernment about this pressing social concern in light of our Catholic faith. Indeed, from socio-cultural and economic perspectives, it is all too easy to consider gambling as a plainly simple and harmless Filipino past time. Many people think that there’s nothing wrong when a Christian participates in these games of chance. Whether deliberate or not, and under the present economic conditions, people opt for easy money, even putting their meager resources at stake in the hope of luckily winning more than what they have invested. Thus, with the people’s acquiescent and cynical attitude, coupled with government promotion and the staunch patronage by government and police authorities, gambling has become
LIVE AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT
Pastoral A Joint Pastoral Letter of the Dioceses of Cabanatuan and San Jose on Town Lottery Jueteng and Small Town Lotter y
letter of the CBCP in June 29, 1972: “A nation or an administration or government which legalizes gambling surrenders itself to the will of a few individuals and cliques – a demonstration of the government’s weakness.” This is absolutely true in view of the apparent lack of effective action and categorical resistance against jueteng and STL by our local government officials and the police authorities. For how else should we describe their scheming tolerance or even their feigning ignorance of jueteng’s existence? It pains us to think that they no longer care or dare to denounce and stop jueteng and STL, as it has been done by many local government officials in other parts of the country, either because they are weak and helpless or they too profit from these gambling operations. In the words of the pastoral letter on gambling by the Northern Luzon Bishops in January 1993: “The popular belief has never been disproved that protection money is handed down in liberal proportions to police, military, and political officials. It is even said that the control and operation of gambling are in the hands of some politicians.” [Make Yourselves a New Heart and a New Spirit]. In any case, we see in the operations of systematic gambling an unmistakable symptom of a corrupt and equally corrupting political and socio-economic system, which promotes opportunism and the unbridled lust for money and power by capitalizing on the weak and the poor. Likewise, the inability to provide lasting jobs and other sources of employment for the people, and the promotion of and support to institutionalized gambling clearly demonstrate their lack of political will and vision to transform the citizens into responsible and productive members of society. Admittedly, this problem that plagues us may be difficult and complicated. But, with the help of God and with our firm determination, we believe that we can free ourselves from the shackles of this institutionalized evil and heal our community from this social cancer that has invaded every fiber of our day to day lives. We have proven in the past that it is possible to be in control of the situation and that we can provide direction to our choices, if only we put into actions our goodwill and our desire for moral transformation. Therefore, in the interest and welfare of our people, and in the name of the Risen Christ, the Good Shepherd, we earnestly make this urgent appeal: TO THE CLERGY AND LAY LEADERS—Let us work more earnestly and closely for the promotion of virtues and moral values in our society, tirelessly witnessing to the Gospel of Christ and the truths of our faith. TO OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS—Pursue an authentic moral recovery program in our province and create alternative jobs or sources of employment, with a special attention to the poorest and the marginalized. Resist the national government’s demand and the jueteng operators’ pressure to open our province to STL operation, jueteng and all other forms of gambling. TO MILITARY AND POLICE AUTHORITIES—Intensify the campaign against all forms of gambling and games of chance in Nueva Ecija, dismantle all jueteng operations and prosecute both the operators and collectors. As men of honor, do not give in to pressures and attempts of bribery. TO ALL CATHOLICS AND PEOPLE OF GOODWILL—Do not patronize systematic gambling. Desist from betting on jueteng: no one who bets on jueteng has ever become rich! Only operators get richer, and the bettors get poorer. Remember that all easy money disappears easily and can even destroy lives. Report the existence of jueteng operations to your parish priests. We, in turn, pledge you our prayerful support and episcopal benediction. As people destined for judgment at the end of our earthly lives, let us conscientiously do our share of the work entrusted to us. With one mind and heart, let us zealously promote the culture of life and help build a civilization of love here in Nueva Ecija. May La Virgen Divina Pastora protect and inspire each of us, and strengthen our commitment for the promotion of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Given here in Nueva Ecija, Philippines, this 25h day of July 2006, the feast of St. James the Apostle. For the dioceses of Cabanatuan and San Jose. + SOFRONIO A. BANCUD, SSS, DD Bishop of Cabanatuan + MYLO HUBERT C. VERGARA, DD Bishop of San Jose
Archdiocese of Jaro
Circular No. 163/15/2006 Protocol No. 5624/2006 August 28, 2006
To: The Clergy of the Archdiocese and the Parish Pastoral Councils Re: THE BUNKER OIL SPILL IN NUEVA VALENCIA, GUIMARAS
NUEVA Valencia, Guimaras, is the center of social concern not only of Iloilo Province but also of the entire Philippines, because of the sinking of Solar I ship that was carrying more than 500,000 gallons (2,720,000 liters) of bunker oil of Petron. It has sank to some 600(?) meters deep under the ocean, several kilometers off Nueva Valencia. More than 200,000 liters have been poured into the sea causing almost unimaginable damage to environment and fisherfolks. So far, as of August 20, 2006 the affected barangays are the following: LIST OF BARANGAYS AFFECTED OF OIL SPILL
Barangays Affected Registered Fisherfolks Additional as TOTAL of 20-Aug, 2006
1. La Paz 298 2. San Roque 79 3. Dolores 62 4. Tando 104 5. Lucmayan 41 6. Cabalagnan 41 7. Panobolon 116 8. Canhawan 46 9. Igdarapdap (Lanipe) 73 10. San Antonio (Calaya) 85 11. Guiwanon 96
2 121 27 136 180 41 37 41 32 5 47
300 200 89 240 221 82 153 87 105 90 143
fected areas. Fisher folks were scraping the shore of oily sand and putting them in sacks. Hundreds of sacks of oily sand have been piled. Sand, stones, wood, seaweeds and mangroves have been irretrievably blackened by the tanker oil. They need truckloads of palay stalks or “uhot” to help absorb the oil. The causes of this tragedy need to be fully and honestly investigated in order that justice may be served. Various individuals, groups and institutions have started to generously respond to this grave social and environmental destruction which may take years to rehabilitate. For our part in the Archdiocese of Jaro, let the response coming from our parishes be coordinated by our Diocesan Social Action Center (JASAC) and our Jaro Archdiocesan Pastoral Secretariat (JAPS). As one “Body of Christ,” the tragedy suffered by one part is felt too by the entire body. Please, coordinate your help with JASAC and JAPS. We cannot be responsible for the refloating of Solar I or for the siphoning of the oil from the sunken Solar I; but we can reach out immediately to the families of the affected barangays in terms of material help, because they have lost their livelihood in the sea. Let us be in solidarity with them through whatever organized help we can extend to them. Sincerely yours, + ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO Archbishop of Jaro
The most heavily damaged is barangay La Paz. Fr. Maloney Gotera, V.F., some priests of the Vicariate of St. Bartholomew and I saw some of the af-
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
IDEOLOGIES are not bad in themselves. They are often heroic and ambitious attempts to make a kind of world-view of things, explaining them scientifically and extensively. In a way they are an unavoidable stage in man’s effort to develop. Going beyond the merely philosophical and theoretical, they enter into the practical world of action, with programs, strategies and a network of agencies to carry out their ends. They convert doctrine into action. As such, they can be useful. They can serve legitimate purposes. They can do a lot of good. Today, whether we are aware of them or not, they are a part of our lives, influencing us one way or another. We need to be discerning. It’s when they are wrongly inspired, or when they overstep their limits, oversimplifying or exaggerating things, absolutizing the relative and relativizing the absolute, that they can become bad and dangerous. History, sad to say, is full of such harmful ideologies. A product of some questionable philosophies and ultimately
from an objective moral law. It tends to serve merely selfish ends, and thus easily gets corrupted, with matching results. And so we can have that endless adventure of making all sorts of assertions, questioning every element in a established culture, religion, tradition, or moral order. Theories automatically are made into laws. Suspicions are given the same treatment as facts. We quickly create a surreal world. The objective hierarchy of values, based on the nature of man and his relation with God and with others, gets altered to suit one’s subjective preferences. Because of these dangerous features of the Godless ideologies, we have suffered the scourges of communism and socialism where the rights of the individual person are swallowed by the rights of the state. They thrive on atheism and totalitarianism. There are also the abuses of capitalism, where self-centered individualism and consumerism are promoted, and the inhuman practice of holding the laws of the markets over human labor is
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of human pride and vanity, they have proclaimed, for example, that there is no God, that there are no spiritual, much less supernatural realities. With the assertion that there is no God, the authors of these ideologies make a world mainly consisting of their own selves. The world seems to begin and end with them. In short, there is no world outside their egos. They seem to envision a world made exclusively of
material things. Reality is simply what one sees or feels. At best, it can be what one can understand and discover. But it’s a reality that dies with man. There is no reality after death. Some have promised utopias based simply on earthly progress. Others have pontificated total human liberation exclusively through some socio-economic or political operations. There is no mention of liberation from sin, the real evil that fully corre-
sponds to man’s condition. Because of this congenital defect, these ideologies can lead to terrible consequences. If there is no God, the understanding of what man is gets warped, the use of power and authority can be easily abused—prone to use force. The relation between person and society, private good and common good, etc., get twisted. Freedom is often understood as detached from the sense of responsibility or
observed. Then you have the intoxicating strange blend of liberalism where, with freedom detached from an objective universal moral law, anything can be legalized—divorce, abortion, infidelity, same-sex union, wild scientific experiments like cloning, test-tube babies, etc. The biggest mistake these ideologies commit is when they replace faith in God with their own ideas and doctrine, and when they derive their life and strength not from a living unity with God but from some human and earthly source. Among them, the easier to detect and overcome are those associated with the Left, as recent history has confirmed. With their oftenabsurd positions in issues, they are easily uncovered. They take advantage of the ignorance and poverty of the people. They lure them to fanaticism. Those associated with the Right, because they are more subtle and deceptive, will take time and a lot of inhuman crises before they get finally exposed as they really are, that is, evil. But they’ll be exposed.
But Why / from p10
love for the poor is not an arbitrary teaching of the Church upheld to gain points with the modern liberal mindsets. It is a mandate from the Scriptures and, in a singular way, it is a command from Jesus who declares to his disciples who serve and care for the poor and the weak of society: “I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me” (Mt 25:40). Pope Benedict XVI reflects how in these words “Jesus identifies himself with those in need, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison…Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God” (Deus Caritas Est, no. 15). In fact, the primitive Christian community responded to these words of Jesus in a fashion still alive in the Church’s religious communities and movements of renewal, by holding goods in common so that no one among them may be in want (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37). Doing so is a declaration that all created goods are of the Lord who exercises his lordship precisely in the surrender that believers make of themselves and their properties. Acknowledging this lordship of God over all creation necessarily brings with it a special concern for those who have the least access to them and their fruits because the earth’s goods are meant for all and everyone, rich or poor, has a right to find his share of them (GS 69). We recall, too, how Pope John Paul II himself speaks of the mandate for all Christians to cultivate a sense of solidarity with the poor “whenever it is called for by the social degrading of the subjects of work, by exploitation of the workers, and by the growing areas of poverty and even hunger”, aware that such solidarity taken up by the Church is “her mission, her service, a proof of her fidelity to Christ, so that she can truly be the `Church of the poor’” (Laborem Exercens, 8). This option is not only very Scriptural and specifically Christian. It is also very human, in fact a demand of common sense. For instance, it is a common occurrence that in many families, there are sickly and weaker members. Parents and heads of households as well as the children themselves tend to gravitate to these weaker, sickly members, showering them a special love so they could recover or be eased of their suffering. The Church is similarly a parent who continually exhorts her children to give, as she herself does, a special expression of love to their weaker brothers and sisters in the poor, not because poverty is a value in itself but because these weaker brothers and sisters need such special care and service. Above all, the Christian faith undertakes such an option because Jesus Christ the Master himself became one of the poor and lives among them. PCP II urges such a love to be “a basic attitude that must pervade all plans and legislation for development, long skewed to favor the better off sectors of our society…It urges us to be more concerned about the substantive issues concerning street children, the unemployed, poor fishermen, farmers and workers, exploited women, slum dwellers, sidewalk vendors and beggars, Tribal Filipinos and others at the margin of human and social life” (PCP II 314). In the end, we are all biased. But is God’s bias ours?
Of Reasons and Deeper Meanings
by Nov. John Jay C. Magpusao, OSC
ng Medicine. Eh, eto, nag-resign dahil magpapari!” Ngingiti-ngiti at iilingiling pa s’ya. Our life is really full of surprises. It’s a wonder that some things never always flow the way we think or the way we and others dream of them. At a certain point in our life, diversions occur in an unconventional manner that even ourselves can’t help but ask why it is so. Nevertheless, in the end, to our relief, we realize that indeed it has a greater purpose. Thence we affirm that truly, in good times or in bad times, in our experiences, everything happens for a reason. After an unsuccessful enlistment in the Venetian army together with his father and two cousins, seventeen-year old Camillus de Lellis, on his way back home to Bucchianico from Ancona, a blister formed on his right foot due to a scratch. It became highly inflamed that eventually turned into a sore. An ordinary sore it was not. Doctors in his time described it horrible, abnormal, and extraordinary. It was a spreading, putrid ulcer that left a deep wound. It could be considered a cankerous varicose vein in modern science. An incurable affliction. Was Camillus cursed? Definitely not! His infirmity may seem a disgrace to simple human assessment but dissecting it through a believer’s eyes, one could surely see that it was such a grace wonderfully designed by Providence. An undesirable affliction progressing into a noble, desirable mission. With this wound he obtained his exemplary charism. Camillus was eager to return to military life but his festering wound grew worse. It continuously tormented him, giving him untold discomfort. Because of this, he instead paid heed on the advise for him to seek medical help from the best doctors at the Hospital of St. James’ of the Incurables in Rome.
Of Reasons / P10
LAST summer, I was invited for an eatall-you-can dinner together with my former colleagues in the laboratory I last work with. Dr. Rayel, our pathologist, who was glad I was with them once again, joked at me. He said, “Itong si Kuyon, naiiba talaga. ‘Yong dati nating mga Med Techs, nag-resign dahil mag-aaral
God will Meet you Where You Are
I'm taking post-graduate courses in Theology to remind me of how ignorant I really am. You see, I love listening to my brilliant professors speak high-tech "theologes". But I guess it’s not just for me. I can’t write straight with big, heavy-duty words, quoting stuff from super-duper theologians. That work to me is just a little bit less difficult than doing advanced Trigonometry. But I recall one time when I took a shot at it. I started pounding on the keyboard, “Some contemporary approaches to spirituality convey paradigmatic alterations from traditional soteriology, rooted in modern biblical hermeneutics...” Ugh... It was pure torture. (I offered my sufferings for the conversion of the world. And I bet you’d do that too if I wrote that way, hmm?) But in all this, I’ve learned something quite glorious. God is flexible. He’s made of rubber. He can stoop down to hallow, lazy brains like mine. And He can also meet the best and sharpest minds of big-time theologians. And still win. He can be wise to the wise. And simple to the simple. I’ve realized that God will meet us where we are. He can be very tender to you if you need an embrace. He can be firm to you if you need some spanking. He can be terribly awesome when you need a miracle. He can be painfully quiet when He wants you to trust Him. He will be what you need him to be. (Note: Not “want” Him to be. I said, “need” Him to be.) Question: What do you really need right now? Believe me. He knows about it more than you do. So let Him meet you where you are. And let Him love you, right there.
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house. The transformation delights Andy who hardly realizes that it is the beginning of her entrapment in the industry's seductions; meanwhile, she becomes an obedient and loyal servant to the dreadful Miranda. A scathing satire on the fashion industry, The Devil Wears Prada is based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger which was on the New York Times best-seller list for six months, and has been published in 27 countries. The novel titillated the curiosity of fashion-watchers because it was based on the author's experience as an assistant to Vogue editor Anna Wintour. For quite some time fashionistas would wonder how much of the book was fiction and if the characters were all that fictitious. But trust Streep to give life to even the most fictitious character. In fact, the screen sizzles when she's on, and you wouldn't want to miss a syllable Miranda utters. In the acting department she is perfectly backed up by Blunt, Tucci and Hathaway in that order, and everything else is made more glamorous and believable by David Frankel's direction, Aline Brosh
McKenna's script, Florian Ballhaus' cinematography, and yes, the fabulous coats and devil-may-care handbags---by Prada, of course! Through the movie's impeccable characterization and staccato dialogues, the viewer can see that while The Devil Wears Prada paints an alluring picture of an industry that makes goddesses out of clay, the movie actually relentlessly lobs grenades at a narcissistic culture obsessed with style. Then for about one-third of its 106-minute running time, it highlights the value of being true to one's self and friends. There's a strong message especially for young people here who might identify with Andy: in following a dream, one can get easily misled and succumb to temptations that make one forgetful of things that really matter. The movie also indirectly reminds us that the devil never presents himself as ugly. If the devil can come to a man as a sweet young thing wearing nothing, to a woman he may come as a soft-spoken and awe-inspiring career woman wearing Prada.
Title: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA Running Time: 95 min Lead Cast: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Adrian Grenier, Tracie Thoms, Rich Sommer, Simon Baker Director: David Frankel Producer: Wendy Finerman Screenwriters: Aline Brosh, McKenna Music: Thoedore Shapiro Editors: David Rogow, Amanda Pollack, Mark Livolsi Genre: Comedy/Drama Cinematography: Florian Ballhaus Distributor: 20th Century Fox Location: New York, USA Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
IN New York, fresh journalism graduate Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) applies for a job as second assistant to the editor of Runway---the most influential fashion magazine in the industry--Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Wearing frumpy clothing and presenting samples of her college days writings, Andy is the last thing Miranda would take as far as the editor's first assistant Emily (Emily Blunt) thinks. But Miranda,
true to her unpredictable self, hires Andy on a whim, knowing the latter has zero fashion sense and in fact has not even heard of Runway at all. When she is with her live-in boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier), and her circle of friends, Andy criticizes the shallowness of her co-workers in Runway. She endures the caprices of Miranda, a most powerful icon in the business, and the snickering of her colleagues because for her, the Runway job which "a million girls would die for"
is but a stepping stone to the job she covets---as a real journalist for New York magazine. Wanting to prove her claim as being smart and a fast learner, Andy dutifully fulfills every boring task, from picking up coffee for Miranda on the way to work to hanging her boss' coats day in and day out. One day, Runway's supportive though acerbic gay art director Nigel (Stanley Tucci) gives Andy a makeover, using trendy signature clothes from the magazine's ware-
Title: THE LOST CITY Running Time: 143 mins Lead Cast: Andy Garcia, Ines Sastre, Tomas Millian, Nestor Carbonell, Enrique Murciano, Richard Bradford, Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray Director: Andy Garcia Producers: Tom Gores, Johnny Lopez, Frank Mancuso Jr. Screenwriter: Guillermo Cabrera Infante Music: Andy Garcia Editor: Christopher Cibelli Genre: Drama, Musical Cinematography: Emmanuel Kadosh Distributor: Magnolia Pictures, Paramount Pictures Location: Havana, Cuba Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above
Garcia has bitten more than he could chew in this movie. Besides being lead actor, he is director, producer, original music composer and others. In some aspects, he succeeds as in his acting and musical scoring; but in others he fails as in his directing, writing and editing. He is trying to do a Cuban 'The Godfather' but fails to make it. But is evident that he has created a labor of love that evokes a Cuba that is full of music, romance and promise. The Lost City evokes a bygone world that is rich in music, dance and poetry but now is vanished and transformed into something else more sinister and impoverished. Only the bittersweet memories remain. Cuba's history parallels ours somewhat ? colonized by Spain, forced to change masters with America who intervened to divert our revolutionary fight for independence and thwart our struggle to change the unequal distribution of wealth from the landed elite, etc?Like Cuba, our country's culture is rich in music, dance, literature, Catholicism and European-Chinese heritage. Like the Cubans when the going gets too tough, Filipinos also fly for greener pastures in America. Cuba overthrew their previous regime by violent means; we, on the other hand, would rather effect change through peaceful, constitutional means. A question is asked. "Which country is better-off?" If anything, the answer this movie gives is: that violence and war may not give the hoped-for change for they also destroy the good, the beautiful and the true in the aftermath.
Title: MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND Running Time: 110 mins Lead Cast: Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Anna Faris, Rainn Wilson, Eddie Izzard Director: Ivan Reitman Producer: Pro-Gavin Polone, Arnon Milchan Screenwriter: Don Payne Genre: Action/Drama Cinematography: Don Burgess Distributor: 20th Century Fox Location: USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
FICO Fellove (Andy Garcia) eldest of three brothers and owner/manager of Havana's classiest music night club, El Tropico, has his hands full trying to keep family and club together. The time is 1958 and the Fellove family, led by patriarch, Don Federico (Tomas Millian) is much aware that the corrupt Batista regime is employing more violent, drastic measures to hold on to power. The brothers are themselves divided in their stand: Fico is apolitical and merely an observer of the fast unfolding events, interested solely in maintaining the status-quo; Luis, (Nestor Carbonell) is an ardent proponent of violent overthrow and leads a daring assassination attempt against Batista. Ricardo, (Enrique Murciano) goes to the hills to join Castro and Guevarra to wage a gue-
rilla campaign. Despite Don Federico's pleas for his family to be together, fire and fervor go separate ways. Luis, knowing that he might die asks Fico to promise to take care of his wife Aurora should he die. Castro wins and ascends to power but soon proves to be a disappointment as he is unable to solve his country's problems but merely distributes misery more evenly by making the rich poor by confiscating their properties. Meanwhile Fico and Aurora fall in love with each other, but Fico has no choice but to leave Cuba and live as an exile in America. The cinematography does much to make The Lost City an engaging film, presenting a culture that is a fresh break from the usual movies running in Manila theaters. The plot is quite easy to follow, and the sets offer an eyeful. However, Andy
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A regular nine-to-five office guy, Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) has his eye on office-mate Hannah Lewis (Anna Faris), but she has a boyfriend. Sex-starved and lonely, Matt spots 30-something, brunette Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman) on the subway and imagines her to be a super-hot girl disguised as a spectacle-wearing librarian. His attempt to pick her up is squelched by a vehement "No". Through Matt's perseverance despite the near frigid front of Jenny, a friendship is struck between the two. He soon discovers that indeed, beneath the iciness of his dark-haired prospect is an intensity that borders on the neurotic. Little does he know that when Jenny leaves the dinner table for the toilet, she actually flips off her wig, switches to her blonde-Amazon mode, and zooms off to save the world as the glamorous superhero "GGirl". But soon enough she has to reveal her real identity to him; and he discovers, too, that her neurosis is real. Wary of the consequences of having a relationship with a neurotic superhero, Matt tries to gently break away from Jenny, but she sniffs him out and takes revenge, using her superpowers with the fury of a woman scorned. The idea of a savior of the world who can't manage her own neurosis is at least original. The story might disappoint you if you're looking for the usual superhero a la Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, even Darna, if you please. They're all morally upright, gifted with superhuman strength, lovers of mankind, and they all can fly. GGirl is one more added to New York's superhero residents, but this time she's subject to the
foibles we ordinary mortals have: she can get possessive, jealous, cruel, angry, emotionally manipulative and want revenge. She can control weapons of mass destruction but not the fires of her own dark side. What a relief for us. Built like a fashion supermodel, Thurman pulls off her dual role as no other actress could: she can look frumpy or glamorous as the situation requires. G-Girl's supposedly superheroic CGI feats are kindergarten stuff beside Superman's or even Harry Potter's; however, her insane jealousy makes her score a perfect 10 as she hurls a Great White shark through the window of a bedroom where Matt and his new girl are having a whale of a time making whoopee. Question: What does a regular moviegoer discover in My Super Ex-Girlfriend? Answer: that movie sharks have come a long way from the mechanical Jaws to this one that lands on a lovers' bed. The wonders of technology, indeed. Question: What lesson can sane and ordinary human beings learn from this movie that would be of use in their life? Answer: that super gifts from God should not be used to serve a superhero's weaknesses. It's not explicit in the movie but the viewer may deduce that gifted people should learn to be humble and satisfied, grateful for their gifts, and show this gratitude by their pure service to humanity. But the movie doesn't go that deep; in fact CINEMA would have changed the ending to enhance the original idea of a human superhero. And let's not forget that, as in most Hollywood productions, premarital sex is taken for granted here, even blown up to supersex, given the heroine's unusual strength. Be aware.
People, Facts & Places
the probe body and hoped that the killings would be solved soon. He said the commission must remain “independent” in order to come out with fair findings. The Catholic bishops have earlier raised the issue on the killings of journalists and activists and expressed hope that the government will take hand in solving the problem. Ms Arroyo formed the commission, headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Jose Melo, on August 20. Leftist groups in the country have accused the government of being behind the series of killings and disappearances, saying that more than 100 of their members have been killed since Ms Arroyo took office in 2001. APPOINTED. Rev. Fr. Ruben C. Areno, SSP, 50, as Provincial Superior of the Philippine-Macau Province of the Society of St. Paul (SSP) Congregation; August 22, 2006; by SSP Superior General Fr. Silvio Sassi, SSP. A native of La Paz, Iloilo City, Areno entered the congregation in 1969, and made his first religious profession on June 11, 1978 after finishing his philosophical studies and novitiate formation. After completing his theological studies at the San Carlos Major Seminary, Makati City, he was ordained priest on March 24, 1983. He did further studies specializing in Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome from 1991 to 1993. He became Master of Novices and at the same time the Father Superior in the early 90’s at the St. Paul Novitiate House in San Fernando-Pampanga. During the Society’s Provincial Chapter of 1998 he was elected Provincial Councilor, and later re-elected to the same position in the Provincial Chapter of 2002. He was also the Society’s Regional Councilor from 1987 to 1990. For a period of time he was Rector of SSP’s St. Paul Seminary in Silang, Cavite; then, he concentrated his energies in the past five years as Director General of the Apostolate of SSP’s Philippine-Macau Province. The Society of St. Paul, one of the 10 religious congregations and Institutes founded by Blessed James Alberione, is a religious congregation of Brothers and Priests whose primary apostolate is to spread the Good News of salvation to the men and women of today through the fastest means of Media of Social Communication. Found in 30 countries worldwide, they reach out to people with materials for the nourishment of both the spirit and mind. In the Philippines, they are into Print Media with the publication of books, magazines and other materials for spiritual and human formation.
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August 28, 2006
Lagdameo: Give Melo Commission a Chance
ARCHBISHOP A n g e l Lagdameo, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said the Melo Commission should be given a chance to prove itself on its probe into the “extra-judicial” killings in the country. He said the credibility of the commission remains to be seen and urged the people to observe in the conduct of investigation. “It’s too early to pass judgment,” said Lagdameo. Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal earlier said that he welcomed the creation of
two-fold experience of encounters and transformations—encounter with a faithful God in the diversity of His manifestations but especially in the Eucharist, and the consequent transformations in life expressed through the various PDDM Eucharistic, Priestly and Liturgical ministries. Now on its 50th year in the Philippines, PDDM’s Philippine-Taiwan-Hongkong Province has 101 professed members who are assigned to PDDM’s various houses and communities in the Philippines, Taiwan, Hongkong and in various missions in Rome, Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia, France and Spain. CELEBRATED. Rev. Fr. Gerardo Giovanni R. Tapiador, 48, noted Filipino Bible scholarprofessor and Vicar General for Administration of the Diocese of Novaliches, 25 th sacerdotal ordination anniversary; August 22, 2006; in a solemn Mass held at the St. Peter’s Church, Quezon City, presided by Bishop Teodoro Bacani and concelebrated by Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias. Tapiador, who was born on March 28, 1958 in Rome, Italy, was ordained priest to the Archdiocese of Manila on August 22, 1981 by the late Jaime L. Cardinal Sin. He was sent to Jerusalem and Rome for further biblical studies. He completed his licentiate in Sacred Scriptures, Magna Cum Laude, in 1985 at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. A much-sought Bible scholar-professor and resource speaker, Fr. Tapiador has taught in different seminaries and schools of Theology, among others, namely—San Carlos Seminary (Makati City), Don Bosco Center for Studies, East Asian Pastoral Institute, Maryhill School of Theology, St. Vincent Theologate Seminary, Recoletos Seminary, De La Salle University Graduate School, Immaculate Conception Seminary (Bulacan), Divine Word Seminary (Tagaytay)—and in other inter-congregational formation programs and catechetical centers like Lumen Christi, Santa Isabel College, Sienna College, Mother of Life. He conducts biblical seminars and retreats for the clergy, religious sisters, and different organizations and institutions of lay people. Fr. Tapiador speaks 7 modern languages – Italian, Spanish, French, German, English, Filipino, and modern Hebrew—and has a reading grasp of the biblical languages of Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin. CELEBRATED. Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao, 3 rd foundation anniversary as Diocese; August 28, 2006. The Diocese of Cubao is one of the five new dioceses created by Pope John Paul II from the Archdiocese of Manila in 2003. Created on June 28, 2003, Cubao was canonically erected as a Diocese and its first bishop, Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, installed on August 28, 2003. A suffragan diocese of Manila, the territorial boundary of the Diocese of Cubao covers the southern part of Quezon City. To date, the Diocese has 42 parishes, 1 quasi parish, and 2 chaplaincies—35 of these parishes are under priests of the Diocese of Cubao and 9 are under the religious clergy. The Diocese has 37 diocesan priests and 3 deacons.
Theological Centrum to Hold Retreats
THEOLOGICAL Centrum is organizing retreats for diocesan priests that will be held at the Makiling Conference Center, Calamba, Laguna, on October 2 to 5, 2006, and at the Tagaytay Conference Center, Mendez, Cavite, on November 13 to 16, 2006. The retreats start at 11:00 a.m. on the first day and end at 9:30 a.m. on the last day. These retreats are offered to diocesan priests who might not have been able to attend the retreat of the diocese this year or simply would like to do a personal retreat. Rev. Fr. Fernand Cruz, S.Th.D., will preach the daily meditations centered on Pope Benedict XVI’s recent Wednesday audience discourses on the Apostles. Rev. Fr. Julio Peñacoba, S.Th.D., will give two conferences on the priestly life in the context of Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) exhortations on the Year of Social Concerns. Fr. Cruz and Fr. Peñacoba will be available also for individual counseling in both retreats. For details or reservations, the priests can call Theological Centrum, telephone (02) 635-6113 or fax (02) 634-8590. (Fr. Michael Angelo Cardenas)
SCSS to Discuss Millennium Dev’t Goals
THE Society of Catholic Social Scientists (SCSS) – Philippine Chapter will host a conference on October 10, 2006 to discuss the “Implications of the Millennium Development Goals from the Point of View of Catholic Social Teachings.” Among the said goals that are going to be tackled are the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, reducing child morality, improving maternal health, combating HIVAIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. Those goals will be explained by Dr. Brian Scarnecchia, Esq., Chairman of the Department of Humanities and Catholic Social Thought at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and who is also President and CEO of the International Solidarity and Human Rights Institute. He also handled the Society of Catholic Social Scientists’ (SCSS) successful application for Non-Government Organization at the United Nations. The SCSS undertakes the evaluation and critiquing of contemporary social science work, under the guidance of Church teachings; promotion of research in philosophy, history, empirical sciences, etc. on current social questions to determine how they affect the Church and how her social teachings can be better applied to address them; bringing Catholics scholars and practitioners to work for common goals; the publication of the hefty annual scholarly journal, the Catholic Social Science Review and other occasional books, anthologies, pamphlets; and giving awards for important contributions to the social sciences which help strengthen the faith. The conference is being co-sponsored by Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL) and Family Advocacy Network. (CBCP News)
CELEBRATED. Religious Congregation of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM), 50th anniversary in the Philippines; August 25, 2006; in a solemn thanksgiving Mass held at the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, Pasay City, presided by His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, and concelebrated by 3 other Bishops and 40 priests. The PDDM started its missionary witnessing in the Philippines on August 25, 1956 when three Italian sisters came to the Philippines from Rome. Srs. M. Pierra Marin, M. Lidia Drudi, and M. Clementina Dragone stayed with the Daughters of St. Paul in Pasay City, and later they established a PDDM house, also in Pasay City, which became the first PDDM Convent and Novitiate House in the Philippines. In celebrating its golden jubilee in the Philippines, the PDDM of the Philippine-Taiwan-Hongkong Province adopted the theme: Encounters and Transformations in 50 Years. The theme highlighted the fact that as a congregation born from and dedicated to the Eucharist, the PDDM presence in the Philippine Church and society is a
The CWL held its National Leadership Training Program last July 27-30, 2006 in Tagaytay City. In the picture are the National Officers lead by its President Mrs. Josephine Gaviola; 1st National VicePresident Mrs. Ester Sta. Ana; 2nd National Vice-President Celerina Papa-Malinit, M.D.; National Treasurer Ms. Ma. Lourdes Peña; National Auditor Mrs. Carolina R. Bautista; Board Members and Consultants with His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.
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