CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor

1
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
Þ ÞÞ ÞÞ Page 3
ECI P Tack l es I P Educat i on
Syst em
Þ ÞÞ ÞÞ Page 5
Mar r i age: A Bond Whi ch i s
Uni que and Def i ni t i ve
Þ ÞÞ ÞÞ Page 11
Message f or t he Wor l d Day
of Lepr osy
Þ ÞÞ ÞÞ Page 13
The Di gni t y of t he Rur al
Poor —A Gospel Concer n
CBCP Monitor
CBCP Cal l s / P4
cbcpmonitor@cbcpworld.net
CBCP Monitor
www.cbcponline.net/cbcpmonitor
Rural Poor, Victims of Unjust Rural Poor, Victims of Unjust
Rural Poor, Victims of Unjust Rural Poor, Victims of Unjust Rural Poor, Victims of Unjust
Economic Order, says CBCP Economic Order, says CBCP
Economic Order, says CBCP Economic Order, says CBCP Economic Order, says CBCP
Bi shop / P4
Bi s h o p o f Me l o
Co m m i s s i o n Re s i gn s
A BISHOP member of a commission
formed by Arroyo last year to investi-
gate the spate of killings in the coun-
try has resigned his post recently.
Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios
Pueblos cited the long preparation for
the 40
t h
Jubilee year of his diocese as
reason for his resignation.
CBCP Ca lls for
Fr ee, Cr ed ib le Polls
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
the Philippines (CBCP) has called for
free and credible elections.
The prelates urged the faithful
for a massive effort and put neces-
sary measures that would guarantee
“clean, honest and peaceful” elec-
tions in May this year.
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
IN a strongly worded pastoral state-
ment on the dignity of the rural poor
read to the media at the end of the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) plenary assem-
bly last January 28, the bishops
called on the government for a full
implementation of the comprehen-
sive agrarian reform program (CARP)
aimed at alleviating rural poverty.
Saying that the rural poor remain
the greatest victims of the country’s
unjust social structures and inequi-
table distribution of the nation’s
wealth, the bishops called on gov-
ernment officials to put the common
good above selfish interests.
“We ask (the government) that
the CARP, defective as it is, be fi-
nally completed next year as it has
been targeted. And if it is not suffi-
ciently implemented by then, the pro-
gram should be further extended and
funded more seriously and gener-
ously,” the statement said.
CBCP also assailed the
government’s lack of grit to fully
implement the law on agrarian reform,
saying that the government’s inabil-
ity “mirrors the still over-powering
opposition of the landed classes, the
traditional political and economic
elite of our country.”
Addressing the problem of ru-
ral poverty will reduce urban pov-
erty since rural folk migrate to the
cities simply to escape poverty in the
province, the statement read.
As the bishops called on those
who have the official responsibilities
to act on behalf of the people they
Rur al Poor / P4
Less Tal k , Mor e
Act i on on Pol i t i cal
Ki l l i n g s
THE Catholic bishops are not satis-
fied with the progress of the
government’s ef forts to stop the
sharp escalation of political killings
in the countryside.
The Catholic Bishops’ Confer-
ence of the Philippines (CBCP) in a
statement after a three-day meeting
said the Arroyo administration’s
actions including the creation of
fact-finding body are clearly not
enough.
“The government and military’s
response to the shameful extra-ju-
dicial killings of unarmed crusaders
for justice and equality is most un-
Less Tal k / P4
The 94
th
Bishops’ Plenary Assembly. Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, CBCP President, presides over the bishops’ meeting that heard 16
commission reports, issued 4 pastoral statements and deliberated on various pastoral concerns of the day.
Bi sh op Cami ñ a / P4
Human Suffering Inspired Prayer for Christian Unity
THE Catholic Church and the Na-
tional Council for Churches in the
Philippines (NCCP) are jointly call-
ing Christian faithful to unite in
prayer in the face of human misery
as the country celebrates Week of
Prayer for Christian Unity.
With the theme of “He even
makes the deaf to hear and the mute
to speak” (Mk 7:37), the celebration
called the faithful to express their
growing unity by “breaking the si-
lence” which oppresses and isolates
people in their afflictions.
The Pontifical Council for Chris-
tian Unity said that this year’s ob-
servance is designed to respond to
two challenges to the faithful: “to
pray and strive together for Chris-
tian unity, and to join together in re-
sponding to human suffering.”
An annual event, the Week of
Prayer is a significant time during
which Churches around the world
express their longing for and com-
mitment to Christian unity.
It is traditionally celebrated in
other countries in the week of 18 to
20 January, but the CBCP- Episcopal
Commission on Ecumenical Affairs
had an agreement with the NCCP to
celebrate it from Jan.27 to Feb. 3 to
give way to the CBCP plenary as-
sembly held last week.
Christian Churches in other na-
tions also observe the event at vari-
ous times of the year with many ob-
serving the Week during Pentecost.
This year ’s Week of Prayer has
its origins in the experience of Chris-
tian communities in the realm of
Umlazi in South Africa, a region dev-
astated by HIV/AIDS along with
unemployment and poverty.
It is estimated that 50 percent of
the Umlazi residents are infected with
the virus.
A legacy of racism, unemploy-
ment and poverty continues to raise
formidable challenges for Africans,
where there is still a shortage of
schools, medical clinics and housing.
Since 1968, the Catholic Church
and the Faith and Order Commission
of the Word Council of Churches
(WCC) have begun celebrating the
Week of Prayer.
Each year the theme for the
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
is initially prepared by an interna-
tional group whose members are ap-
pointed by the WCC and the Pon-
tifical Council for Promoting Chris-
tian Unity. (CBCPNews)
Vot er ’ s For u m / P4
Bi shop Cami ña
Di es; Leaves a
Leg ac y
RETI RED
B i s h o p
Ge n e r o s o
C a m i ñ a ,
who was
bi shop of
the Diocese
of Digos from 1980 to 2003,
died after battling an illness
for several months.
Camiña, who came from
the Foreign Mission Society
of Quebec (PME), di ed
morning of February 1 at the
San Pedro Hospital in Digos
City of liver cancer and dia-
betes.
He was 75.
The bishop was at the
hospital since January 23 af-
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace
Vol. 11 No. 3 Februar y 5-18, 2007 Php 20.
00
Voters’ Forum Forges
Covenant for Life
CHURCH leaders and pro-
life advocates met for a
voter’s forum to forge a
“covenant for life” with
pro-life candidates run-
ning in the May elections.
Organized by the
CBCP-Episcopal Commis-
sion on Family and Life
(ECFL) and Pro-Life Phil-
ippines, the gathering was
held at the Gymnasium of
the Polytechnic University
of the Philippines (PUP),
Sta. Mesa, Manila on Feb-
ruary 3.
“The objective of this
forum is to encourage
senatorial and party-list
candidates to sign a cov-
enant for life that is pro-
life and pro-family,” said
Archbishop Paciano
Aniceto, ECFL chairman.
Aniceto said that with
almost two decades after
the Constitution was rati-
fied, the country is yet to
see any legislative pro-
posal aimed at enhancing
and advancing the cause
of the natural family plan-
ning as a way of enriching
and propagating the basic
principles stated in the
Constitution.
He underscored the
urgent need “to deliber-
ately articulate the faith-
based guiding philosophy
of defending life and the
family.”
Aside from Aniceto,
guests and speakers of the
event were: Novaliches
Bishop Antonio Tobias,
CBCP Legal Office Secre-
tary Atty. Jo Imbong and
other pro-life and pro-fam-
ily candidates.
Numerous pro-life and
A statue standing around 4 feet
tall brought many in high spirit
with its message of peace and
hope into Catholic churches
around the country.
For two weeks, the Interna-
Ou r La dy of Fa t ima Ima ge Visit s RP
tional Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of
Fatima, a traveling statue that’s be-
lieved to have brought miracles to
people around the globe drew the
attention of the pubic, both believer
and non-believer.
Our Lady / P4
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
2
World News
Holy See Will Not Sign U.N.
Convention on Disabled People
Document on Marriage and Natural Law in the Works
VATICAN CITY, February 1,
2007—Made public today was a
talk delivered by Archbishop
Celestino Migliore, Holy See per-
manent observer to the United
Nations in New York, concerning
a Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities, ap-
proved by the U.N. General As-
sembly on December 13, 2006 and
due to be signed by member
States on March 30.
In a note accompanying the
talk, the archbishop recalls that,
“since the beginning of work in
July 2002, the Holy See has par-
ticipated actively in the prepara-
tion of the document, collaborat-
ing in the insertion of explicit ref-
erences to respect for the right to
life and the recognition of the role
of the family in the lives of dis-
abled people. Nonetheless, in the
final stage of the work, unaccept-
able references to ‘reproductive
health’ have been introduced into
articles 23 and 25 and, for that rea-
son, the Holy See has decided not
to adhere to the new convention.”
In his English-language talk,
Archbishop Migliore highlighted
how “the Holy See has consis-
tently called for disabled individu-
als to be completely and compas-
sionately integrated into society,
convinced that they
possess full and in-
alienable human
rights.”
With reference
to article 23 of the
convention, he indi-
cated that his del-
egation “interprets
all the terms and
phrases regarding
family planning ser-
vices, regulation of
fertility and mar-
riage in article 23, as
well as the word ‘gender,’ as it did
in its reservations and statements
of interpretation at the Cairo and
Beijing International Confer-
ences,” held respectively 1994
and 1995.
“Finally, and most impor -
tantly, regarding article 25 on
health, and specifically the refer-
ence to sexual and reproductive
health, the Holy See understands
access to reproductive health as
being a holistic concept that does
not consider abortion or access
to abortion as a dimension of
those terms. ...We opposed the
inclusion of such a phrase in this
article, because in some countries
reproductive health services in-
clude abortion, thus denying the
inherent right to life of every hu-
man being, also affirmed by ar-
ticle 10 of the Convention. It is
surely tragic that ... the same Con-
vention created to protect per-
sons with disabilities from all dis-
crimination in the exercise of their
rights, may be used to deny the
very basic right to life of disabled
unborn persons.”
“For this reason,” he con-
cluded, “and despite the many
helpful articles this convention
contains, the Holy See is unable
to sign it.” (VIS)
VATICAN CITY, January 31, 2007—
A Catholic cannot support a law that
sanctions same-sex marriage, says
the secretary of the Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith.
Archbishop Angelo Amato clari-
fied that this issue not only comes
from biblical teaching but also from
natural law.
“A Catholic cannot support leg-
islation that, for example, introduces
marriage between two persons of the
same sex; it goes against biblical rev-
elation and against the natural law
itself,” he told the Italian newspaper
Avvenire.
Given the importance of the
natural law, the prelate disclosed that
his congregation is preparing a
statement on the subject and that,
with this objective in mind, “all
Catholic universities worldwide have
been consulted.”
“The responses from all over the
world are very encouraging, includ-
ing from universities considered
more ‘difficult,’” Archbishop Amato
explained. “The natural law is most
important because, among other rea-
sons, it might be the sole basis for
fruitful inter-religious dialogue.
“Many Catholic politicians ask
for clarifications on this type of ar-
gument—
if later they wish to act or suc-
ceed in acting coherently, is another
question.
“In any case Catholic politicians
should always remember that they
should never give their consent to
the introduction of laws that go
against moral principles. In cases
where such laws are already in force,
then they can limit themselves to try
to attenuate their reach.” (Zenit)
John Paul II Center Opens in Thailand
Pope Urges Middle East Christians not to Leave their Land
Vatican City, February 1, 2007—Pope
Benedict XVI said that the “difficult
situation which individuals and
Christian communities face in the
region [the Holy Land] is a cause of
deep concern for us all,” adding that
local Christians should not to be
tempted to leave.
The Holy Father made the state-
ment during a meeting with the mem-
bers of the Joint International Com-
mission for Theological Dialogue
between the Catholic Church and the
Oriental Orthodox Churches,
He also said that in his Christ-
mas message to Catholics living in
the Middle East, he told them that
he shared the concerns expressed
several times by the region’s bish-
ops that Christians
might all leave the
land in which Jesus
was born.
“Christian minori-
ties,” he noted, “find
it difficult to survive
in the midst of such a
volatile geopolitical
panorama and are of-
ten tempted to emi-
grate. In these circum-
stances, Christians of
all traditions and com-
munities in the Middle East are called
to be courageous and steadfast in
the power of the Spirit of Christ.”
“May the intercession and ex-
ample of the many martyrs and
BANGKOK, Thailand, February 1,
2007—The John Paul II Center for
Cat hol i c Soci al Thought has
opened in Thailand.
Cardinal Renato Martino,
president of the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace, gave the ad-
dress at the inauguration ceremony
on Monday.
A statement from the apostolic
nunciature in Thailand explained
that the center is “to honor and
commemorate the late Pope John
Paul II, particularly for his encycli-
cals on the Social Doctrine of the
Church.”
In hi s address, Cardi nal
Martino presented “The Compen-
dium of the Social Doctrine of the
Catholic Church.”
He explained the four prin-
ciples which make up the framework
of the Compendium: the dignity
and freedom of the human person,
the common good, subsidiarity
and solidarity.
Following the address, gov-
ernment officials and other guests
at the ceremony asked the Cardi-
nal questions, particularly on how
the Compendium could contribute
to solve the world’s problems.
The new center has under-
taken to translate the Compendium
into Thai. The already completed
part of the translation was pub-
lished and presented to the partici-
pants at the conference. (Zenit)
Seoul Set to Ban Human Egg Donations
SEOUL, South Korea, February 1,
2007—The South Korean govern-
ment is all set to ban human egg do-
nations, seemingly in a bid to oblit-
erate the global scandal caused by
the (fake) embryonic stem cell re-
search of Prof. Hwang Woo-suk.
The National Bioethics Commit-
tee will convene on 6 Feb-
ruary to work out a draft
banning women from do-
nating their eggs for sci-
entific research. This was
confirmed by the commis-
sion chief, Prof. Cho Han-
ik, who said: “We will seek
to finalize the draft in our
first meeting. A majority of
committee members are
against the donation of
human eggs for scientific
purposes and wants to submit a draft
law about this to the government as
soon as possible.
It is unclear whether women will
be allowed to donate “surplus” eggs
for research, which are usually ex-
tracted for artificial insemination. For
this, Cho said “The committee needs
Dialogue Between Jews, Christians and Muslims is a “Vital
Necessity” of Our Times, Says Pope
VATICAN CITY, February 1, 2007—
Inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue
today “is not an option but a neces-
sity of our times” and to pursue it,
Jews, Christians and Muslims are
called to put “reason to work”, to
examine the mystery of God and of-
fer the results to the people of our
times, said Benedict XVI.
On receiving delegates to the
‘Foundation for Inter-religious and
Intercultural Research and Dia-
logue’, of which he is a founder, the
Pope again spoke about the need for
people from monotheistic religions
to confront the mystery of God
through reason.
To the members of the delega-
tion led by Prince Hassan of Jordan,
the Pope underlined the fact that the
first project completed by the Foun-
dation was the publication in the
original language and in chronologi-
cal order of the three holy books of
the three monotheistic religions as
way “to offer a specific and positive
contribution to the dialogue between
cultures and religions.”
Benedict XVI noted that the pur-
pose of the Foundation is “to find
the most essential and authentic mes-
sage to address to the world in the
21st century,” give a strong “boost
to inter-faith and inter-cultural dia-
logue by searching together, focus-
ing and spreading what in one’s re-
spective spiritual heritage contributes
to strengthen fraternal ties between
communities of believers.”
“We are invited to put reason
to work, for which I vow my sup-
port, in order to examine the mystery
of God in light of our religious tradi-
tions and our respective wisdom,
and to recognize the values that can
enlighten men and women of all
peoples irrespective of their culture
and religion.”
The Pope also stressed that
“dialogue is necessary now more
than ever, a real dialogue, one that
respects differences, that is coura-
geous, patient and persevering, one
that finds its strength in prayer and
is fuelled by the hope that is in all
who believe and have trust in God.”
(AsiaNews)
Booming Sales for Pope Benedict’s Encyclical
saints, who have given courageous
witness to Christ in these lands, sus-
tain and strengthen the Christian
communities in their faith!”
(AsiaNews)
more time. In any case, the commit-
tee will submit a decision to the gov-
ernment that will draw up a law based
on it.”
Currently, in South Korea,
women can donate their eggs for re-
search but trading of the eggs is pro-
hibited. The planned change that
should come about with a new law is
most likely due to the experiments of
the “pioneer” of human cloning,
Hwang Woo-suk, who admitted that
he had stimulated the uterus of do-
nors to obtain more eggs that were
later bought.
Some of these “volunteers”
were severely harmed by the stimu-
lation and they subsequently ac-
cused the researcher of not having
informed them about the risks inher-
ent in the operation. (AsiaNews)
ROME, January 31, 2007—Deus Caritas
Est , the first encyclical by Pope Benedict
XVI, has sold millions of copies since it
appeared on January 25, 2006.
The German and Spanish-language
editions of the encyclical have each been
reprinted three times; the Italian version
has sold almost 1.5 million copies.
For the first time in modern history, the
Latin version of a papal document had to go
back to press, after the first print run was sold
out. Originally 1,000 copies had been printed
in Latin.
The papal encyclical has been translated
into several other languages including Rus-
sian and Chinese. (CWNews)
Vatican Denies Laicization
to Paraguayan Bishop
Running for President
VATI CAN
CITY, Febru-
ary 2, 2007—
The Vatican
turned down
a laicization
request from a Paraguayan bishop
who wants to run for president and
suspended the bishop from exercis-
ing his priestly ministry.
Bishop Fernando Lugo Mendez
of San Pedro, Paraguay, 57, had an-
nounced Dec. 25 that he would ask
the Vatican to return him to the sta-
tus of a layman so he could run for
president.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re,
prefect of the Congregation for Bish-
ops, responded in December with a
formal warning that running for pub-
lic office would “be in clear contrast
with the serious responsibility of a
bishop of the Catholic Church” and
would carry sanctions.
Vatican Radio reported Feb. 1
that Cardinal Re informed Bishop
Lugo in a Jan. 20 letter that his re-
quest to return to the lay state had
been denied because “the episco-
pacy is a service accepted freely for-
ever.”
However, the radio said, be-
cause of Bishop Lugo’s decision to
continue his political activity, Cardi-
nal Re also informed him that he had
been suspended from exercising his
ministry as a bishop and priest.
(CNS)
Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Retired Bishop
Fernando Lugo Mendez
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
3
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
News Feature
Make Christ
Alive in Asian
Cultures
By Most Rev. Emmanuel T. Cabajar, CSsR
Pa pa l Agen d a Th r ou gh Apr il Relea sed
ECIP Tackles IP
Education System
By Lourie Victor
Papal I nt ent ions f or Febr uar y
VATICAN CITY, February 1, 2007—Pope Benedict XVI’s
general prayer intention for February is: “That the goods
of the earth, given by God for all men, may be used wisely
and according to criteria of justice and solidarity.”
His mission intention is: “That the fight against dis-
eases and great epidemics in the Third World may find,
in the spirit of solidarity, ever more generous collabora-
tion on the part of the governments of all nations.” (VIS)
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2,
2007—The Vatican has re-
leased a schedule of the litur-
gical celebrations over which
Benedict XVI will preside dur-
ing Lent and Easter, as well as
approval of three beatifica-
tions in April.
Lent will begin on Ash
Wednesday, Feb. 21. At 5 p.m.
Benedict XVI will preside over
Mass and the blessing and im-
position of ashes in the Roman
Basilica of St. Sabina, accord-
ing to the calendar published
Thursday by the Office for the
Liturgical Celebrations of the
Supreme Pontiff.
At 6 p.m. the following
Sunday, Feb. 25—the first of
Lent—the Pope and Curia will
begin their spiritual exercises
in the Apostolic Palace’s
Redemptoris Mater Chapel.
That retreat ends Saturday,
March 3. During that week, the
Holy Father will suspend his
audiences and dedicate him-
self to prayer.
At 9:30 a.m. on the Fifth
Sunday of Lent, March 25,
Benedict XVI will make a pas-
toral visit to the Roman par-
ish of St. Felicity and
Martyred Sons and preside
over Mass.
At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday,
March 29, the Pope will pre-
side over a penitential celebra-
tion with the young people of
the Diocese of Rome in St.
Peter’s Basilica.
Holy Week
At 9:30 a.m. on Palm Sun-
day, April 1, the start of Holy
Week, the Pope will preside
over the blessing of palms, the
procession and Mass in St.
Peter ’s Square.
On April 2, Benedict XVI
will preside over a Mass in St.
Peter’s for the repose of the
soul of Pope John Paul II at
5:30 p.m.
At 9:30 a.m. on Holy
Thursday, April 5, the Chrism
Mass will be celebrated in St.
Peter’s, and at 5:30 p.m. the
Easter triduum will begin with
the Mass of the Lord’s Sup-
per celebrated in the Basilica
of St. John Lateran. Benedict
XVI will preside over both cel-
ebrations.
At 5 p.m. on Good Friday,
April 6, the Holy Father will
preside over the celebration of
the Lord’s Passion, in St.
Peter’s Basilica and, at 9:15
p.m., over the Way of the
Cross, at the Colosseum.
Benedict XVI will also
preside over the Easter Vigil
Mass that begins at 10 p.m.
on Holy Saturday, April 7, in
St. Peter’s Basilica.
Easter
At 10:30 a.m. on Easter
Sunday, April 8, the Holy Fa-
ther will preside over the Mass
in St. Peter ’s Square and at
noon will impart the blessing
“urbi et orbi ” (to the city and
the world) from the central
balcony of the Vatican ba-
silica.
On April 15, the Second
Sunday of Easter, Benedict XVI
will celebrate Mass on the oc-
casion of his 80th birthday
On April 21-22, the Holy
Father will travel to Vigevano
and Pavia, in Italy.
At 9 a.m. on April 29, the
Fourth Sunday of Easter, the
Pope will preside over the
priestly ordination of deacons
of the Diocese of Rome.
Bishop Utleg welcoming the participants
THE Episcopal Commission
on Indigenous Peoples
(ECIP) held a convention last
January 26, 2007 in an at-
tempt to consolidate efforts
being done by Church
groups especially those in or
near indigenous peoples’ (IP)
communities, and to intro-
duce IP Education as a sig-
nificant concern of IP com-
munities.
Twenty-two religious
congregations with varied
works in indigenous commu-
nities participated in the con-
vention which was held in
Bahay Ugnayan, in Good
Shepherd compound in
Quezon City.
In his welcome message
at the start of the convention,
ECIP Chair Bishop Sergio
Utleg explained to the partici-
pants that one of ECIP’s main
thrusts is to link with various
groups who are interested in,
or are working in indigenous
peoples communities.
Utleg also discussed the
IP Education program of the
commission which is advo-
cating for the recognition of
the Indigenous Knowledge
Systems (IKSPs) particularly
the education system of in-
digenous communities.
Talks delved on the in-
ternational and local
situationer of indigenous
peoples, the history and de-
velopment of mission work in
the Philippines among IPs,
and discussions by IP lead-
ers and IP para-teachers on
their views and ideas about
indigenous education.
An overview of the in-
ternational situation of IPs
was given by Victoria Tauli-
Corpuz, Chairperson of the
UN Permanent Forum on In-
digenous Peoples (UNPFII).
Tauli-Corpuz highlighted the
gains the IPs achieved in the
international arena through
the years. She stressed that
the latest campaign is the rati-
fication of the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples come September
2007. She also encouraged
the various congregations to
align their activities with the
program of the Second Inter-
national Decade of the
World’s Indigenous Peoples.
On the local front, mean-
while, Jo Villanueva of the
Legal Rights and Natural Re-
sources Center (LRC) shared
with the assembly the ongo-
ing struggle of IP communi-
ties for their ancestral domain.
Her discussion outlined the
various forces that continue
to threaten IP communities
including development
projects like mining and plan-
tations, and the low
prioritization of government
for IP issues and concerns.
Fr. Femilou Gutay, OFM
and Fr. Ewald Dinter, SVD
provided the participants
with a historical view of mis-
sion work among IPs in the
Philippines.
Zeroing in on the Span-
ish period, Gutay narrated
how the various congrega-
tions entered various geo-
graphical areas in the Philip-
pines and proceeded to un-
dertake evangelization activi-
ties, while Dinter discussed
the changes in the nature of
mission work over the last
century. He also highlighted
that inculturation and the dia-
logue of faith and life is now
the focus of work in IP com-
munities citing personal ex-
periences as examples.
IP leaders and para-
teachers shared their
thoughts and insights during
the gathering focusing on IP
Education as one area of con-
cern. Juanito Lumawig (Vi-
cariate of San Jose, Occ.
Mindoro) and Fely Piston
(Prelature of Infanta), shared
with the audience why IP com-
munities are now seeking to
articulate and advocate for
their education system.
Maryln Masaganda, An-
tonio Oroza and Mawalik
Vina Masinaring, all IP edu-
cation practitioners, dis-
cussed specific examples of
how indigenous knowledge
and learning systems can be
strengthened and used at the
community level. They called
on congregations to be part-
ners in recovering, nurturing
and advocating for IKSPs
being part of various pro-
grams or projects being done
in IP communities.
Beatifications
The Office for the Litur-
gical Celebrations of the Su-
preme Pontiff also an-
nounced that in April three
beatifications will take place
in Italy.
On Saturday, April 14, at
3:30 p.m. the beatification will
take place in the Church of the
Holy Face in Turin, of the Ser-
vant of God Luigi Boccardo.
On Sunday, April 15, at
10:30 a.m., the Second Sunday
of Easter, the beatification will
take place in the Cathedral of
Castellammare di Stabia, of the
Servant of God Maria
Magdalena of the Passion,
born Costanza Starace.
On Sunday, April 29, at
10:30 a.m., the Fourth Sunday
of Easter, the beatification will
take place in the Cathedral of
Rimini, of the Servant of God
Maria Rosa Pellesi. (Zenit)
DUE to the devastating
tragedy caused by the
earthquake in Yogyakarta,
Indonesia, the Pan-Asian
Conference on Culture,
which was originally
scheduled to be held there
in June 2006, was post-
poned to 26-30 November
2006 and was held in Bali,
in the Diocese of Denpasar,
Indonesia. The partici-
pants included members
and consultors of the Pon-
tifical Council for Culture,
Presidents of the National
Episcopal Commissions
for Culture and delegates
of the National Episcopal
Conferences from Austra-
lia, Bangladesh,
Hongkong, Malaysia/
Brunei/Singapore, Vietnam,
Thailand, India, Japan,
Korea, and the Philippines.
The central theme of
the meeting states: The
fullness of Jesus Christ
Alive in Asian Cultures:
“And from His fullness
have we all received grace
upon grace” (Jn 1, 16). In
his keynote address, read
by Most Rev. Bernard
Ardura, His Eminence Car-
dinal Paul Poupard cited
the late John Paul II: “I
have decided to found and
institute a Council for Cul-
ture, capable of giving the
whole Church a common
impulse in the continu-
ously renewed encounter
between the salvific mes-
sage of the Gospel and the
multiplicity of cultures, in
the diversity of cultures to
which she must carry her
fruits of grace”.
He goes on to say that
the pastoral approach to
culture aims to aid the
Church in its mission of
announcing the Good
News in order that the Gos-
pel message may inspire
and penetrate the totality
of human existence. As the
Holy Father, Benedict XVI
explains: “Today, the
Church is called to em-
brace new challenges and
be ready to enter into dia-
logue with different cul-
tures and religions, seek-
ing with every person of
good will to build peaceful
coexistence between
peoples. Thus, the area of
mission ad gentes appears
to have been considerably
extended and cannot be
defined solely on the ba-
sis of geographical or ju-
ridical considerations; in-
deed, the missionary activ-
ity of the People of God is
not only intended for non-
Christian peoples and dis-
tant lands, but above all for
social and cultural contexts
and hearts.”
Various sub-topics un-
der the main theme were
presented by different
speakers. Archbishop
Mark Coleridge touched on
the Pastoral Approach to
Cultures in a Secularized
Megalopolis. A Japanese
lay professor, Yoshio
Oyanagi, spoke on the chal-
lenges of Sects and Indif-
ference to the Faith. Fr.
Theodore Mascrenhas
from India dealt with Youth
Culture and Education in
Asia in the light of the Gos-
pel. Fr. George Palackapilly
shared on the Preservation
of the Dignity and Identity
of Native Cultures. Alay-
woman journalist, Mrs.
Annie Lam Shun-wai pre-
sented the Role of Media
and Communications in the
Promotion of Christian Cul-
ture. Most Rev. Ardura pre-
sented a picture of Catholic
Cultural Centers as Vehicles
of the Evangelization of
Cultures. Discussions in
small groups and an open
forum usually followed
each presentation.
Our hope was that the
rich sharing of experiences
and reflections would
eventually lead to new av-
enues of inter-cultural dia-
logue so that the Word may
be incarnated in the Asian
cultures and that the Chris-
tian believers may discover
new concrete ways of ex-
pressing their faith in
those cultures.
Through inculturation
Christian believers may
become intelligible signs
and effective instruments
of the mission of the
Church. Their big chal-
lenge is how to make the
fullness of Jesus Christ
alive in Asian Cultures. The
creation of Catholic Cul-
tural Centers in dioceses
may help respond to that
challenge.
Participants of the Pan-Asian Conference on Culture held in Bali,
Indonesia included members and consultors of the Pontifical
Council for Culture, Presidents of the National Episcopal Com-
missions for Culture and delegates of the National Episcopal
Conferences from Australia, Bangladesh, Hongkong, Malaysia/
Brunei/Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Japan, Korea, and
the Philippines.
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Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
4
News
are called to serve and protect,
they also challenged the faithful
to ask themselves on what they
can do as individuals, families,
and communities to address the
problem.
Citing problems of the rural
poor as a serious social dilemma
the CBCP urged basic ecclesial
communities (BEC) in different
dioceses to involve themselves
in addressing social problems, big
or small, whether on the national
or local level; but also stressed
that involvement must be done
in accord with the social teach-
ings of the Church.
CBCP also proposed holding
a rural congress later this year to
commemorate the fortieth anni-
versary of the Rural Congress of
1967.
The 1967 rural congress
brought to light the neglect that
rural areas suffer “both from
government’s development pro-
grams and the Church’s pastoral
care” hence, the call for “the
Church to go to the barrios” and
serve the needs of the
marginalized members of the
Church.
In the Second Plenary Coun-
cil of the Philippines, (PCP II) pas-
tors and other Church leaders
were exhorted to be in solidarity
with the poor and to collaborate
with the poor themselves and oth-
ers to lift up the poor from their
poverty.
“Preferential option for the
poor means our respect, and up-
holding of the human dignity of
the least of our brothers and sis-
ters. To paraphrase Mahatma
Gandhi, we should be especially
concerned with the last, the least,
the lowest and the lost in our soci-
ety,” said CBCP vice-president
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ.
In the planned congress the
rural folks will do the talking and
planning themselves, while the
Church listens.
“It is the time of our solidar-
ity with the rural poor, to look at
unfinished issues like agrarian
reform, and justice, in terms of
extra judicial killings of peasant
leaders,” Ledesma said.
The bishops hope the future
rural congress will provide a
venue for the poor to find their
voice, and “as a people come to-
gether to work for the common
good of the country and of our-
selves.”
“Doing so, they will be ef-
fectively asserting the dignity
that for so long has been denied
them. And the rest of us, partici-
pating with them in their reflec-
tions and deliberations, we will be
honoring their inborn dignity as
children of the same Father in
heaven,” the statement said.
Acknowledging that the
planned congress is only a small
thing to do in the face of grave
social problems involving the
poor , CBCP, nevertheless,
stressed that the root of the
country’s many problems and
human injustices, such as graft
and corruption, and killings, “are
all rooted in the practical denial
of the basic human dignity and
rights of our very poor.”
Rural Poor / from p1
said.
The prelates press the authori-
ties for action and not words to re-
solve the long-unanswered issue.
Human Rights group Amnesty
International estimated at least 51
activists were killed in the first six
months of 2006 after 66 were mur-
dered in 2005.
A local human rights group,
Karapatan; meanwhile, said more
than 700 leftists, farmers, commu-
nity organizers and journalists have
been killed since Arroyo came to
power in 2001. (Roy Lagarde)
Voter’s Forum / from p1
Less Talk / from p1
Na t ’l Yo u t h Mi n i s t e r s Me e t i n g H e l d
CATHOLIC youth ministers nation-
wide met in Balanga, Bataan on Janu-
ary 30 to February 2, to discuss youth
issues and to continually monitor the
current needs of the youth.
Organized by the Episcopal
Commission on Youth (ECY) of the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP), the National
Youth Coordinating Council (NYCC)
meeting was held for the regional
youth ministers—clergy, religious or
lay people.
ECY said the gathering was
aimed at developing a deeper appre-
ciation for the Word of God as the
foundation and standard of their lives
and ministry and to obtain a clearer
and more unified vision for youth
ministry in the country.
“With the NYCC, we continually
learn and monitor the needs of our
youth. We need the NYCC to know
how concrete the programs are for the
youth that we give to them,” said ECY
chairman Bp. Joel Baylon.
Current concerns in the youth
ministry through deeper reflection on
the situation of youth ministry and
sharing of ideas leading to resolutions
that proactive, relevant and realistic
were among the activities done dur-
ing the event. (Miami Ebilane)
Our Lady / from p1
Bishop Camiña / from p1
ter having complained of severe
stomach pain.
His remains now lay in state
at the Clergy House in Digos and
will be buried in a crypt after a fu-
neral mass 1:30 p.m., on February
9 at the Mary Mediatrix of All
Graces Cathedral.
The bishop had much influ-
ence especi al l y among t he
younger generation of pastors.
“He’s had influence on so
many pri est s. If you ask any
priest, he will have lot of good
t hi ngs t o say about Bi shop
That would mean all Church or-
ganizations and institutions would
have to be mobilized and linked with
other groups working for same
noble cause.
“As a nation, we cannot afford
yet another controversial electoral
exercise that further aggravates so-
cial distrust and hopelessness,” said
the CBCP in a statement read by its
president Archbishop Angel
Lagdameo.
The bishops’ statement was a
product of their three-day plenary
assembly at the Pope Pius XII Cen-
ter in Manila to discuss and take
common stand on various pastoral
as well as social issues.
Close to 90 bishop members at-
tended the bi-annual gathering.
This time, however, the prelates
did not issue voting guidelines like
they did in the past.
Lagdameo said the CBCP has
made a lot of election guidelines al-
most every election that they do not
want to repeat anymore what
they’ve said before.
What is important now, he
stressed, is for voters to “choose
wise, discerning and experienced
people.”
Lagdameo said they would like
the faithful to be involved in every-
thing—political education, poll
watching and vote counting—to
ensure that the entire electoral ex-
ercise will yield reliable poll results.
“This is an effort on the part of
civilian society to help Comelec es-
tablish a peaceful and honest elec-
tion because we had known in the
past that it really needed help,” said
Lagdameo.
The prelates urged coordina-
tion among lay groups like the Par-
ish Pastoral Council for Responsible
Voting (PPCRV) and the National
Movement for Free Elections
(NAMFREL) that are “working to
help clean the dirt from our easily
corrupted electoral process.”
“We hope this time there will
still be the sharing of functions and
coordination among them,” said
CBCP Vice President Archbishop
CBCP Calls / from p1
Antonio Ledesma.
The bishops noted many of the
country’s current political prob-
lems, which have hindered fuller
economic development and social
justice, especially for the poor, can
be traced to unresolved questions
concerning the conduct of past elec-
tions.
They underscored that the
May elections “are especially im-
portant” because it would allow the
people to choose authentic public
servants and instruments of a more
just society for all.
“In these two years past, we
are only too aware, it has become
easier to succumb to apathy and
hopelessness about our country
and its political life,” the prelates
said but added they are called never
to lose hope.
The bishops’ statement will be
sent to all dioceses and is expected
to reach thousands of priests, men
and women religious and catechists
spread out in some 2,800 parishes
all over the country. (Roy Lagarde)
Camiña,” said the chancellor, Fr
Ronald Lunas.
Rooted in the realities of ur-
ban life, he spoke and acted pro-
phetically. “He distilled the expe-
rience and insights of the Diocese
of Digos, and showed how the
Gospel of Jesus (is) connected
with the poor.”
As a pastor he became inter-
ested in issues of poverty, injus-
tice and the indigenous peoples
in Mindanao.
“Bishop Camiña served God
in this Diocese for 23 years, and
did so with faith, wisdom, compas-
sion and courage,” Lunas said.
And the priest described the
prelate as “a great Bishop.”
Camiña was born on Novem-
ber 22, 1931 in Leon, Iloilo and or-
dained a priest in 1962.
He was appointed as Titular
Bishop of Pauzera and Auxiliary
Bishop of Davao in 1978 and des-
ignated as the first bishop of
Digos on December 20, 1979.
He tendered his resignation as
bishop of Digos on February 11,
2003 (CBCPNews)
satisfactory, their protestations of
concern not too convincing,” the
bishops’ statement said.
The bishops said the hundreds
of disappearances and killings of
human rights advocates and militant
workers only show downright disre-
gard for basic rights and justice.
“As a religious people, and it
does not matter whether we are
Christians, Muslims or adherents of
other religions, we must vehemently
condemn the continuing murder of
such rural folk,” it said.
“We condemn too, just as ve-
hemently, the un-abated killing of
unarmed men and women on the
mere charge or suspicion that they
support or belong to leftist political
groups.”
For his part, Lingayen-
Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz
said killings in the unabated killings
in the country are telling us a lot of
things that are fundamentally
wrong.
“The moment you start violat-
ing human rights then you sullied
human dignity and then you’ll go
further to violate human life,” he
The wooden image of Our Lady
of Fatima was one of two statues
made that passed through Fatima,
Portugal and sent to tour the world
for those who can not visit the his-
torical site.
It was in 1917 when Mary be-
gan appearing to three children of
Portugal, requesting they pray the
rosary to bring peace.
The world-famous statue was
sculpted in 1947 by Jose Thedim,
based on the description of Sr. Lucia,
one of the three young seers who
witnessed the apparition.
On October 13, 1947, in the pres-
ence of some 150,000 pilgrims, the
statue was blessed by the Bishop of
Leiria at Fatima to be the pilgrim, the
traveler.
The image arrived in Manila last
January 4. It then traveled to differ-
ent parishes in the Dioceses of
Tarlac, Balanga and Cotabato with a
rosary and Mass offered at its ar-
rival.
Before departure, the image was
then brought back to Manila for a
farewell Mass of ficiated by Msgr.
Nestor Cerbo, rector of the Manila
Cathedral.
Among the parishes that the
image visited in Metro Manila were:
Mt. Carmel Shrine, Broadway,
Quezon City; Christ the King Green
Meadows Parish, Quezon City; St.
James Parish Ayala Alabang; St.
Jerome Parish, Alabang; Antipolo
Church; Divine Word, E. Rodriguez,
Quezon City; St. Peter’s Parish Com-
monwealth Quezon City;
Redemptorist Church, Baclaran;
EDSA Shrine; Quiapo Church; Ma-
nila Cathedral and Assumption Par-
ish in Malate, Manila.
The image left the country
Jan.26 to visit the State of Kentucky,
Ireland, Poland and Idaho.
The last visit of that image to
the Philippines was in 1994. For more
information for the Our Lady of
Fatima, visit their website
www.pilgrimvirginstatue.com. (Roy
Lagarde)
pro-family voters graced the occa-
sion.
The forum was capped by a sol-
emn ceremony—a covenant sign-
ing. The “covenant for life” the can-
didates signed states that the indi-
viduals bind himself/herself to be:
pro-life, pro-family, pro-poor and pro-
Filipino.
The prelate earlier vowed he
would lead a campaign against law-
“I resigned
because I have
to prepare for
the Ruby anni-
versary of my
diocese on July.
We have pre-
pared many ac-
tivities for our
people,” he said.
The Melo Commission led by
retired Supreme Court justice Jose
Melo, has already submitted its re-
port to Arroyo.
“The Melo Commission is done
already on its investigation and for
the meantime we’ll stop from there
but we already submitted our report
to the President,” he said.
Pueblos was named by Arroyo
as member of the Commission after
Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio de-
clined the position due to conflict
with his priestly duties.
In an initial report, Pueblos said
the body has found that the military
was involved in some of the attacks.
He said the commission has
identified cases in which the gov-
ernment forces were involved in the
summary executions of known left-
ists activists.
‘We have identified that there
are killings really perpetuated by the
military,’ said Pueblos.
The bishop said the commission
urged Arroyo that military leaders be
held criminally liable if one of their
subordinates were found guilty of
political killings.
‘We are suggesting the
criminalization of the command re-
Bishop / from p1
sponsibility in order to put more teeth
in the aspect of peace and to stop
the killings,’ he said.
The government has not yet
made the contents of the report pub-
lic.
Pueblos also said military offi-
cials must make investigations in
their command territories, citing the
case of the controversial retired army
general Jovito Palparan, who has
been accused of masterminding most
of the political killings.
“It should not be enough that
he will just say that the military was
not involved in the killing in his ar-
eas,” he said. “He has to go deeper
and try to find who the real killers
because if it’s not the military, then
there will be other killers.”
(CBCPNews)
MOST REV. JUAN DE
DIOS PUEBLOS, D.D.
makers who backed “anti-life” bills.
“Campaigning against them is
not political because life is the bearer
of human rights and when you vio-
late it, other rights will disappear,”
he stressed.
He said the CBCP would never
stop condemning “anti-life” bills but
will continue to teach all the faithful
that backing such bills is support-
ing death over life. (CBCP News)
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
5
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
Feature
7 QUESTI ONS f or
Bishop Carlito J.
Cenzon, CICM
Most Reverend Carlito J. Cenzon, CICM, was
installed as first bishop of Baguio, when the
apostolic vicariate was elevated to the
status of a diocese in 2004. Recently, he
talked to CBCP Monitor on social
concerns and vision of the diocese, its
ongoing programs for the clergy, the effect
of materialism on the Filipino sense of
values and his perception of media.
7
QUESTI ONS
ral programs on parish level.
Do you have special programs for
your clergy’s ongoing forma-
tion?
We follow the CBCP pro-
gram—the ASSIST program. Ac-
tually, for the ongoing formation
of priests, well, we assess their
needs. What is important for us
is our monthly recollection. We
have talks, one hour reflection,
and then we sit. We have pasto-
ral discussion, so instead of one-
half day only, it stretches to al-
most the whole day.
Does the diocese implement a
standardized mode of financial
support for the clergy?
We have the basic allowance,
which is the same for everybody.
Then we add to that the number
of years as a priest and the num-
ber of years of service in the dio-
cese.
What’s your comment on the per-
ceived threat of materialism
creeping into our lifestyle
brought about by such phenom-
enon as globalization?
My perception is
basic. Since there are
things that can be
bought very cheaply,
people’s needs also
multiply. Before I used
to wear my shoes until
they were worn out.
Now, because of the
availability of goods at
very low prices, you are
tempted to accumulate.
When the needs are more be-
cause of the availability of things,
it creates more needs. That is the
consumerist mentality. I cannot
say whether that is materialism or
not. I do not want to make judg-
ment there. I think all of us are
affected by it, one way or another.
Would you say that consumerism
has distorted our sense of val-
ues?
It’s a challenge for us. I don’t
want to judge people as being
materialistic. I think we should
learn through life. We should
have experiences of sharing. And
we should continually challenge
one another. That is one way of
strengthening our sense of val-
ues. We should cultivate our val-
ues all the time. We should also
take care not to be influenced by
western values contrary to our
own cultural values.
How comfortable are you with the
secular media?
I have no problem. The me-
dia, these are people who are
working for some reason or an-
other, connected to the search for
information or anything that is
interesting to print. There are
media people whose agenda you
will recognize, in a matter of time.
I am comfortable (with them). I will
say something depending on
what questions (are) asked.
How is the social concern agenda
of the Church being concretized
in your diocese?
We have ongoing programs.
These programs are not new, of
course, and they depend on the
social realities of Baguio. One
concern is that there is a very big
student population. So, what are
needed are services; counseling.
That is supposed to be provided
for by the parishes. The parishes
have what they call LIFORSA
program—Liturgy, Formation and
Social Action programs. There
are also many illegal vendors,
which pose a problem on the city.
And yet, people need livelihood.
So, the Church responds to that.
Also there are those whose shan-
ties are being demolished because
they are illegally erected; all these
kinds of problems. Anything re-
lated to social displacement of
people. Another thing is the min-
ing concern, which has been with
us for a long time now. What is
being addressed now are the ef-
fects of mining on the environ-
ment.
How do you envision Baguio as a
diocese?
We just had the
first pastoral assembly
of the diocese—after
we became diocese two
years ago. Then we re-
affirmed; we owned
again the vision, of
building BECs as our
main thrust. So that has
the full participation of
everybody. And we
have been able to come up with
declarations. One, that every par-
ish should have a parish pastoral
program that implements now the
vision of a participatory Church.
Then, every parish should have
a financial council. The priest has
to learn how to manage finances
with lay people. In every parish,
there should be a team-up be-
tween priests and sisters, (if there
are sisters) and not to regard sis-
ters only as “alalay” (helper). So
these are powerful things that
came out of this pastoral assem-
bly. Now we decided to have a
diocesan pastoral council with full
participation of lay people. The
clergy decided that. They voted
for it. And now, I’m having those
components of the diocesan lay
pastoral council examined. So it’s
on its way.
How would you describe your re-
lationship with your clergy in
general?
Well, the Nuncio told me…
this is your family. I try to develop
a bond with them. We have been
shaping things up here; first, on
the re-structuring of the parish
program in terms of finances. We
also implemented the PCP II injunc-
tion on tithing. We invited Bishop
Mondejar to help us. It’s on the
way now…to help us become self-
sufficient local Church in terms of
finances and financing our pasto-
Mar r i ag e / P9
Papal Address to the Roman Rota
Marriage: “A Bond Which Is Unique and Definitive”
Dear Prelate Auditors,
Officials and Collaborators of
the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, I am
particularly pleased to meet you
once again on the occasion of the
inauguration of the judicial year.
I cordially greet the College of
Prelate Auditors, starting with the
Dean, Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz,
whom I thank for his words intro-
ducing our meeting. I then greet the
Officials, the Advocates and the
other Collaborators of this Tribunal,
as well as the Members of the Stu-
dio Rotale and all those present. I
willingly take this opportunity to re-
new to you the expression of my es-
teem and, at the same time, to reaf-
firm the importance of your ecclesial
ministry in as vital a sector as judi-
cial activity. I am very mindful of the
valuable work you are required to
carry out diligently and scrupulously
on behalf of this Apostolic See and
with its mandate. Your sensitive task
of service to the truth in justice is
supported by the illustrious tradi-
tions of this Tribunal, which each
one of you must feel bound to re-
spect.
Last year, at my first meeting
with you, I sought to explore ways
to overcome the apparent antithesis
between the institution of causes of
the nullity of marriage and genuine
pastoral concern. In this perspective,
the love of truth emerges as a point
of convergence between processual
research and the pastoral service of
the person. We must not forget,
however, that in causes of the nul-
lity of marriage, the legal truth pre-
supposes the “truth of the marriage”
itself. Yet the expression “truth of the
marriage” loses its existential impor-
tance in a cultural context that is
marked by relativism and juridical
positivism, which regard marriage as
a mere social formalization of emo-
tional ties.
Consequently, not only is it be-
coming incidental, as human senti-
ments can be, but it is also presented
as a legal superstructure of the hu-
man will that can be arbitrarily ma-
nipulated and even deprived of its
heterosexual character.
This crisis of the meaning of
marriage is also influencing the atti-
tude of many of the faithful. The prac-
tical effects of what I have called
“the hermeneutic of discontinuity
and rupture” with regard to the teach-
ing of the Second Vatican Council,
(cf. Address to the Roman Curia, 22
December 2005; L’Osservatore
Romano English edition [ORE], 4
January 2006, p. 4), is felt especially
acutely in the sphere of marriage and
the family.
Indeed, it seems to some that
the conciliar teaching on marriage,
and in particular, the description of
this institution as “intima
communitas vitae et amoris” [the
intimate partnership of life and love]
(Pastoral Constitution on the
Church in the Modern World,
“Gaudium et Spes,” n. 48), must lead
to a denial of the existence of an in-
dissoluble conjugal bond because
this would be a question of an “ideal”
to which “normal Christians” cannot
be “constrained”.
In fact, the conviction that the
pastoral good of the person in an
irregular marital situation requires a
sort of canonical regularization, in-
dependently of the validity or nul-
lity of his/her marriage, indepen-
dently, that is, of the “truth” of his/
her personal status, has also spread
in certain ecclesiastical milieus. The
process of the declaration of matri-
monial nullity is actually considered
as a legal means for achieving this
objective, according to a logic in
which the law becomes the formal-
ization of subjective claims. In this
regard, it should first be pointed out
that the Council certainly described
marriage as intima communitas vi-
tae et amoris, but this partnership is
determined, in accordance with the
tradition of the Church, by a whole
set of principles of the divine law
which establish its true and perma-
nent anthropological meaning (cf.
ibid.).
Furthermore, the Magisteriums
of Paul VI and John Paul II, as well
as the legislative action of both the
Latin and Eastern Codes, have fol-
lowed up the Council in faithful
hermeneutical continuity with regard
to both the doctrine and the disci-
pline of marriage and indeed, perse-
vered in its effort for “reform’ or “re-
newal in continuity’ (cf. Address to
the Roman Curia, op. cit.). This de-
velopment was based on the indis-
putable presupposition that marriage
has a truth of its own—that is, the
human knowledge, illumined by the
Word of God, of the sexually differ-
ent reality of the man and of the
woman with their profound needs for
complementarity, definitive self-giv-
ing and exclusivity—to whose dis-
covery and deepening reason and
faith harmoniously contribute.
The anthropological and saving
truth of marriage—also in its juridi-
cal dimension—is already presented
in Sacred Scripture. Jesus’ response
to those Pharisees who asked his
opinion about the lawfulness of re-
pudiation is well known: “Have you
not read that he who made them from
the beginning made them male and
female, and said, ‘For this reason a
man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the
two shall become one’? So they are
no longer two but one. What there-
fore God has joined together, let no
man put asunder” (Mt 19: 4-6).
The citations of Genesis (1: 27;
2: 24) propose the matrimonial truth
of the “principle”, that truth whose
fullness is found in connection with
Christ’s union with the Church (cf.
Eph 5: 30-31) and was the object of
such broad and deep reflections on
the part of Pope John Paul II in his
cycles of catecheses on human love
in the divine design.
On the basis of this dual unity
of the human couple, it is possible
to work out an authentic juridical an-
thropology of marriage. In this sense,
Jesus’ conclusive words are espe-
cially enlightening: “What therefore
God has joined together, let no man
put asunder”. Every marriage is of
course the result of the free consent
of the man and the woman, but in
practice their freedom expresses the
natural capacity inherent in their
masculinity and femininity.
The union takes place by virtue
of the very plan of God who created
them male and female and gives them
the power to unite for ever those
natural and complementary dimen-
sions of their persons.
The indissolubility of marriage
does not derive from the definitive
commitment of those who contract
it but is intrinsic in the nature of the
“powerful bond established by the
Creator” (John Paul II, Catechesis,
General Audience, 21 November
1979, n. 2; ORE, 26 November 1979,
p, 1).
People who contract marriage
must be definitively committed to it
because marriage is such in the plan
of creation and of redemption. And
the essential juridical character of
marriage is inherent precisely in this
bond which represents for the man
and for the woman a requirement of
justice and love from which, for their
good and for the good of all, they
may not withdraw without contra-
dicting what God himself has
wrought within them.
It is necessary to study this as-
pect further, not only in consideration
of your role as canon lawyers, but
also because the overall understand-
ing of the institution of marriage must
also include clarity with regard to its
juridical dimension. However, con-
ceptions of the nature of this rela-
tionship can be radically divergent.
For positivism, the legality of the
conjugal bond would be solely the
result of the application of a formally
valid and effective human norm. In
this way, the human reality of life and
conjugal love remains extrinsic to the
“juridical” institution of marriage. A
hiatus is created between law and
human existence which radically de-
nies the possibility of an anthropo-
logical foundation of the law.
The traditional role of the
Church is quite different in the un-
derstanding of the juridical dimen-
sion of the conjugal union following
the teachings of Jesus, of the
Apostles and of the Holy Fathers.
St Augustine, for instance, in citing
St Paul, forcefully affirms: “Cui fidei
[coniugali] tantum iuris tribuit
Apostolus, ut eam potestatem
appellaret, dicens: Mulier non ha-
bet potestatem corporis sui, sed vir;
similiter autem et vir non habet po-
testatem corporis sui, sed mulier (I
Cor 7: 4)” (“De Bono Coniugali ,” 4,
4).
St Paul who so profoundly ex-
plains in his Letter to the Ephesians
the “mysterion mega” of conjugal
love in relation to Christ’s union with
the Church (5: 22-31), did not hesi-
tate to apply to marriage the stron-
gest legal terms to designate the ju-
ridical bond by which spouses are
united in their sexual dimension. So
too, for St Augustine, lawfulness is
essential in each one of the three
goods (proles, fides, sacramentum)
that form the backbone of his doctri-
nal exposition on marriage.
With regard to the subjective
and libertarian relativization of the
sexual experience, the Church’s tra-
dition clearly affirms the natural ju-
ridical character of marriage, that is,
the fact that it belongs by nature to
the context of justice in interpersonal
relations.
In this perspective, the law is
(insert here a picture of the Pope
giving talk)
©

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Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
6
Opinion
Pedro C. Quitorio
Editor-in-Chief
Rowena T. Dalanon
Managing Editor
Dennis B. Dayao
On-Line Editor
Roy Q. Lagarde
News Editor
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. Edito-
rial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.
Emai l : cbcpmoni t or@cbcpworl d. net Websi t e:
www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor
Editorial
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Production Manager
Marcelo T. Dalanon
Circulation Manager
Ma. Lourdes G. Ebilane
Marketing Supervisor
Ernani M. Ramos
Comptroller
CBCP Monitor
Pr otagoni st of Tr ut h, Pr omot er of Peace
ISSN 1908- 2940
A Rural Congress
THIS year is the 40
th
anniversary of National Rural
Congress of 1967. The latest Pastoral Statement
of the CBCP entitled The Dignity of the Rural
Poor—A Gospel Concern, calls for a holding of a
rural congress this year “to revive the memory” of
that Congress when the Church came to a “heavy
realization that the rural parts of the country were
the most neglected by both the government’s
development programs and the Church’s pastoral
care.”
This indeed is a welcome development. But
the business of reviving the memory of that rural
congress may not even hold much water now
because the socio-political situation then definitely
pales in comparison with the prevailing horizons of
today.
Today the rural poor are increasingly the
greatest victim and beneficiary of unjust economic
and socio-political order—more than ever before.
Which is why the rural folk has to be heard.
As the CBCP Statement goes, “… this time our
farmers must do that speaking by themselves, the
discerning, the proposing of their own ideas, the
planning of how we must as a people come together
to work for the common good of the country and of
ourselves.”
To Build A Just Society
WHOSE responsibility is it to build a just society?
When this concern is assumed by an absolute
monopoly a just society disappears because justice,
like goodness, is diffusive, and therefore, a common
concern—even by the Church.
“The Church,” says Pope Benedict XVI in Deus
Caritas Est, “cannot and must not take upon herself
the political battle to bring about the most just society
possible. She cannot and must not replace the State.
Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain
on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to
play her part through rational argument and she has
to reawaken the spiritual energy without which
justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot
prevail and prosper. A just society must be the
achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the
promotion of justice through efforts to bring about
openness of mind and will to the demands of the
common good is something which concerns the
Church deeply.”
Catechism for Filipino Catholics puts it more
bluntly: “Since we Filipino Catholics constitute the
great majority of our nation, we hold the primary
responsibility for building a just Philippine society.”
(CFC, # 1193).
The late Pope John Paul II raised the challenge
to the laity: “to never relinquish that participation in
public life…in the many different economic, social,
legislative and administrative and cultural areas
which we intend to promote organically and
institutionally the common good.” (Christifideles
Laici, # 43)
NASSA Cuarenta
Onwards
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season In and Out of Season In and Out of Season In and Out of Season In and Out of Season
THE 2006 Celebration of the Year of So-
cial Concerns ends with the culmination
of NASSA 40 years.
NASSA Cuarenta celebration on
January 25, 2007 consisted of the picto-
rial reports of various Social Action Di-
rectors from different dioceses. The re-
ports show an amazing variety of social,
economic, cultural and political programs
and initiatives. In the reports, it was clear
that these programs reflect the collabo-
ration within the Church of the clergy and
laity, the network of NASSA-Diocesan
Directors of Social Action and many non-
government organizations, like Misereor,
Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Relief
Services. Brief as the reports were, they
nonetheless gave the bishops and the
guests a bird’s-eye view of what the
Church in the Philippines had done in
order to concretize its advocacy of “pref-
erential option for the poor long before
the Second Plenary Council of the Phil-
ippines (1991)”.
The Church, through NASSA’s net-
work had been
(a) Empowering the marginalized
sectors through the formation of Basic
Ecclesial Communities in at least some
40 dioceses.
(b) Mainstreaming these BECs
through health care programs, entrepre-
neurial and micro-finance program (such
as those done in San Carlos, Marbel,
and Jaro).
(c) Involving the people in the
protection of the environment and the
integrity of creation—as mirrored in the
diocese of Boac and Prelature of Infanta.
(d) Promoting pro-environment
and pro-farmer sustainable agricul-
ture—as shown in several dioceses, like
Butuan.
(e) Responding proactively
through relief and rehabilitation after di-
sasters and calamities and landslides—
as happened in Southern Leyte and the
Bicol Region.
(f) Rebuilding, restoring, renew-
ing communities through housing
projects in 15 sites to help poverty and
disaster victims.
(g) Fighting against graft and cor-
ruption by encouraging people to be-
come catalysts for economic recovery
and peace building—as happened in
Ipil.
(h) Revolutionizing evangelization
efforts through the program of Alay
Kapwa—as we have seen in Malolos.
(i) Participating in the evangeliza-
tion of our electoral processes through
VOTE-CARE.
While we end the celebration of the
Year of Social Concerns—the advoca-
cies that underlie the many programs
that we have enumerated continue…
through the next 40 years, that we look
forward to. What NASSA Cuarenta
leaves behind is an inspiration, a moti-
vation, an encouragement to go on till
the next NASSA Cuarenta.
Lai k o / P1 1
CFM’s Encounter
Programs
THE Valentine’s Day countdown by tele-
vision morning shows started soon after
New Year. This ushers the hype in in-
creasing loudness for the sale of valen-
tine gifts, entertainment shows and din-
ner–dance venues for lovers, young and
not so young. What do these ads and
broadcasts contribute to the formation
of values and norms of lovers? Of teen-
agers? Of young adults? Of married
couples? Of the whole family? Without
the development of Christian spiritual-
ity, these mundane activities powered by
media blitz and commercial come-ons will
easily lead to materialistic and hedonis-
tic values. Young men and women adopt
the wrong meaning of love—one that
leads to the romantic union of lovers.
How can we prepare them to understand
that this union should culminate and be
sanctified in Christian marriage?
Parents, especially Filipinos, will sac-
rifice to support their children to get a
good education even to the extent of
hocking their last piece of land just to be
able to have a college diploma. How much
do they spend in terms of time and money
to prepare their children to have families
of their own? In corporate parlance, what
are their strategic plans to achieve their
vision of the future of their children and
grandchildren? Majority of them and I
dare say, 90% of families leave it to
chance. The Christian Family Movement
(CFM) has the answer to these con-
cerns—the Family Evangelization Pro-
gram.
CFM’s motto and mission state:
“First and foremost –THE FAMILY”
“We are a group of families called to
witness to Christ. Our mission is to
EVANGELIZE and CHRISTIANIZE fami-
lies through the family life apostolate. “
CFM introduced the retreat for
couples, later termed the Marriage En-
counter developed by a Spanish chap-
lain, Fr. Gabriel Calvo. It came to us via
the Christian Family Movement of the
United States. Due to its observed suc-
cess in conversion of discordant fami-
lies to loving and sharing families, the
process was modified and enriched by
Jesuit chaplains of CFM notably Rev. Fr.
Ruben Tanseco and Rev. Fr. Jesus
Fernandez who until now are active in
serving as formators in the field of family
evangelization. Of course the National
Chaplains of CFM decidedly gave the
main support and influence in the devel-
opment of the evangelization programs.
They are Bishop Cirilo Almario, an ardent
champion of the bible apostolate; Bishop
Jesus Varela who once headed the Epis-
copal Commission on Family and Life and
his support staff; the late Fr. Vicente San
Juan and Sister Bles Fabricante. Now
the leading guide is Msgr. Manny Gabriel,
the National Chaplain who is actively
helping chart the future of CFM’s family
life evangelization program for the 21
st
century and its challenges.
After the encounter retreat, partici-
pating couples hanker for more contact
with each other—to continue the evan-
gelization process. Aunit, composed of
6 to 8 couples, meet once every two
weeks. A designated couple’s home be-
comes the venue for the meeting. This is
where the couple’s family gets introduced
to the other families. In every unit meet-
ing, a guidebook specially prepared by
the CFM organization will lead the meet-
ing topics related to family life, guided
Jose B. Lugay
Laik Laik Laik Laik Laiko Lampstand o Lampstand o Lampstand o Lampstand o Lampstand
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CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
7
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
Opinion
The Spirituality of
Diocesan Priests
IT was one of those busy week days in the office that the
chime of twelve became a welcome respite from work when
a weak knock at the door called my attention. At my in-
stance the door opened and there appeared one of my young
priests who looked haggard and lifeless. In words that could
hardly be heard he said: “I am burnt out, Bishop. Priest-
hood has no more sense to my life; prayer is a drab; I feel
empty.”
A sad story that can rend any bishop’s heart. For it
usually happens to his priests who are full of energy, full of
idealism, active in the apostolate, dedicated to prayer life.
And there they are, just five or six years from the ministry,
already burnt out. What has gone wrong?
One of the reasons surely is the spiritual life of the
diocesan clergy. To have a tight grip of one’s spirituality in
the parish is not that easy. Every day he has to make do of
it. The demands of the ministry, simply leaves him no regu-
lar time to his prayers and meditation. Soon he will be dried
up, will start longing with a drag sigh to the lost ideals that
he had once acquired in the seminary. Is there a way to
sustain him in his spirituality or recapture it when it is ebb-
ing?
I believe there is. After all, the source of his spirituality
is on hand. For, the spirituality of the diocesan clergy and
his effectiveness in the ministry is to be found from the very
exercise of his priestly ministry. The priest becomes what he
administers; he grows in spirituality according to the way
he fulfills his priestly ministry; he becomes holy because he
deals with holy things.
This concept was already given an initial yet authori-
tative account by the Second Plenary Council of the Philip-
pines, when it boldly stated: “A ministerial spirituality re-
quires the priest to exercise authentic, i.e. truthful ministry.
He attunes his heart and demeanor to the meaning of his
ministerial actions. He will not be content simply to speak
the Word of God. He will live according to the Word he
preaches. He will not be satisfied with merely a valid admin-
istration of the sacraments. He will administer the sacra-
ments with care, with faith and pastoral love. He will not
simply command. He will seek to be an example of one who
heeds the Word of God and thus be a light to others” (IV, n.
537).
This is so because the sacramental character that has
been etched deeply in the person of the priest is for real. It
touches the ordained individual at the very core of his be-
ing. Ordination is no mere designation to an office, neither
mere bestowal of rights and obligations, nor simple defini-
tion of the roles and functions of the priest, of his job de-
scriptions. It is an ontological and spiritual configuration of
a quality that sets the ordained forever as priest of God in
aeternum, transforming him into a spiritual and moral leader,
a dispenser of holy things. As the late John Paul II, address-
ing to the priests in his Letter “Novo Incipiente Nostro,”
delicately puts it; “Your priesthood imparts to you a pasto-
ral charism, a special likeness to Christ, the Good Shepherd.
This quality belongs to you in a very special way. All the
laity, the great community of the People of God, our broth-
ers and sisters, are expected to work for the salvation of
others, as the Second Vatican Council stated so clearly. You
priests, however, are expected to have a concern and a com-
mitment greater than and different from that of any lay per-
son. And this is because you share in the priesthood of
Jesus Christ in a way that differs essentially and not only in
degree from the manner in which they share” (Par. 5).
And so, the spirituality of the diocesan clergy can be
found in the act of doing the pastoral ministry as priest.
And this cannot be realized more than in the celebration of
the Holy Eucharist whose liturgy urges the community and
more so, the priest presider, to enter into that space and
moment when God himself is acting and that all are drawn
into that action of God. There is that highest moment in the
liturgy of the Eucharist when the difference between the
action of Christ and priest’s own actions are mysteriously
merged into one reality, the fulfillment of what St. Paul meant
by “being united to the Lord” and thus becoming “one
spirit with him” (cf. 1Cor 6:17). God’s action is what is es-
sential; man’s action is cooperation.
In the Holy Mass the priest should be caught up in
that great act of God transforming him into His embrace. For
any priest it should be a high moment when he takes the
bread and the cup in his own hands, relating at the same
time the narrative part of the Institution wherein he com-
mences in the third person—”He took bread… He blessed
it… he broke it… he gave it…”—and then, suddenly, car-
ried on by the flow of the liturgy he shifts the pronouns
from the third person to the first when he pronounces the
words of consecration. The priest no longer says: “This is
His (Christ’s) body; this is His Blood”; he rather utters:
“This is my body” … This is my blood…” The third person
has become the first person, identifying the priest with the
very person of Christ Himself. And the priest states those
Four-Party Summit
IT was announced that the national
leadership is calling a “Four-Party Sum-
mit” for a clean, honest and orderly elec-
tion” this May 2007. For this purpose, it
was said that the “Summit” would be
participated in by the CBCP, t he
COMELEC, the Poll Watchdogs and the
PNP. There was the added particular that
the palace would merely facilitate the
holding of the event, i.e., it would be
simply an on-looker, possibly providing
the usual snacks, how impressive!
The call needs much prayer and re-
quires strong faith.
It is the standard big words, gran-
diose idea, and glorious vision but as
usual, it is doubtful in immediate objec-
tive and dubious in its eventual goal.
The expressed purpose of the “sum-
mit” is dear and endearing. Its alleged
spirit is so generous and sublime. The
message is too good to be true. The bait
is too nice to bite. And the underlying
reason for all these big reservations is
one and the same: the caller is not ex-
actly known for having cleanly and hon-
estly won its own election to office.
What comes to mind is the image of
a spider inviting a fly to its sticky and
deadly parlor. This is so good for the
big spider but so bad for the tiny fly.
The call itself forwards some in-
triguing questions. Why is the adminis-
tration itself not even a part of the sum-
mit? How come the call is not addressed
to the opposition? Is there one among
the CBCP, the COMELEC, the Poll
Watchdogs and the PNP that is commit-
ted to a violent and deceitful election
such that this should be called to a
“Summit”?
The reality of the matter is that the
Ti dbi t s / P1 4
A Personal Note
other one at Avenida Rizal .
During the mid 60s, black and white
television featured straight news in im-
peccable English and there were no en-
tertainment news whatsoever. There
were no telenovelas on primetime. There
were no screaming movie reporters then.
Yes, there were dramas but these were
never aired on primetime.
I witnessed the First Quarter Storm
as a high school freshman. I also saw
the countryside at a very young age,
carefully reflecting on the difference of
lifestyles among Filipinos, from urban
to poor rural areas during my high
school days. Fr. Bert Espenilla, SCA
National director appointed me as As-
sistant Secretary General for high school
along with my college counterpart, now
Atty. Gregorio Fabros. Civic activist
Gary David, Tess Samson-Castillo and
UP’s Dr. Zosimo Lee succeeded us at
SCAP.
During college, I had the chance to
organize farmers groups in Arayat,
Pampanga as part of the programs of
Ateneo de Manila’s Spes Institute un-
der Fr. Noel Vasquez, S.J.
Writing for We Forum was always a
challenge. It meant sheer courage to
expose controversial issues not only in
Metro Manila but in the provinces, like
the rampant illegal fishing in Lamon Bay.
It meant a lot of travel to Alabat Island
with Lourdes “Chuchay” Molina (now
Fernandez), Business Mirror editor-in-
chief.
During my senior year, I got em-
ployed in media and that became my ca-
reer. Having witnessed triumphs and fail-
ures, man-made and natural disasters,
COME Thursday, February 8, I would
celebrate my entry into the so-called
“Golden Year.” First order of the day is
to thank God for the gift of life and the
blessings He showered me all these
years. These blessings include a simple
and peaceful family life and the friends
I’ve met along the way. Let me touch on
something simple, like celebrating one’s
birthday.
Last year, I received a simple text
message from Archbishop Oscar Cruz
on my 49
t h
birthday and I recall very
clearly what he said: “Remember Melo,
the first 100 years are the most difficult.
As soon as you celebrate your 101
st
birthday, it would be very easy.”
During the 1960s, life was indeed
simple. A ten or twenty peso bill meant
a lot. A bus ride to Pasay City from
Quiapo church was ten centavos. Some
might say we’re just being nostalgic but
true enough the peso had purchasing
power. The exchange rate was $1 – P2.
Politicians who promised sincerely de-
livered. There was palabra de honor.
There was hiya and there was
pagmamalasakit.
Life was easy. Sundays meant sim-
ply going to church. There were no malls
to speak of. Escolta and Carriedo were
the “in” places to be. SM at that time
confined itself to selling shoes along
Carriedo. Only two movie houses had
escalators, one was Roman Super
Cinerama at the corner of Azcarraga
(Claro M. Recto) and Quezon Boulevard
and Roxanne along Avenida Rizal. Only
three department stores had escalators,
one was Otis Department store in
Carriedo, Good Earth Emporium and an-
witnessed bloody confrontations from
Bicol to Manila and Mindanao, I would
probably write a book about people I
met from politicians to civic and busi-
ness leaders and everyone I found in-
teresting. From 1980 to 94, I did broad-
cast and some writing in Legazpi City. It
was in 1994 that I joined Catholic-run
Veritas 846 where I rose from the ranks.
Today, I am serving as Talent An-
nouncer after four and a half years as
station manager, thanks to now Bishop
Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, Frs. Anton C.
T. Pascual and Manuel Bongayan, now
NBN’s Mario Garcia, Marketing guru
Col. Lorey Dino and the rest of the
Veritas family. I still find time to con-
tribute to both Reuters and Manila Bul-
letin should there be significant events
and items.
Everyone who reaches 50 should
be more than thankful for the gift of life
and the love and friendship that came
along more often than not from his or
her immediate family. It would also be
time to say prayers for everyone who
touched one’s life, from parents and rela-
tives, classmates, friends and everyone
who left sweet memories in one’s jour-
ney through life.
The past five decades wasn’t al-
ways a walk in the park but it was sim-
ply great. The concerns would be more
on health and quality time, bereft of un-
due and useless anxieties and pressures.
Albert Einstein said: “True religion
is real living, living with all one’s soul,
with all one’s goodness and righteous-
ness.” Widely respected Mahatma
Gandhi appropriately said “Where there
is love, there is life.” Deo gratias.
Melo M. Acuña
I ssues and Concerns I ssues and Concerns I ssues and Concerns I ssues and Concerns I ssues and Concerns
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
V VV VVie ie ie ie iews and P ws and P ws and P ws and P ws and Points oints oints oints oints
national leadership has three fundamen-
tal liabilities: it has no tenable claim to
moral ascendancy. Two, it causes too
much and too deep divisions among the
people. Three: it provides the reason why
people praise or curse it, why political
parties are simply in favor or against it.
The deep distrust and pronounced
disrespect towards the national leader-
ship on the part of a good number of
people had its onset no less than some
six years ago. With much solemnity it
said it would not run for of fice. With
much flair it filed it candidacy not long
after. And on goes the subsequent long
litany of its socio-moral misdeeds—in-
clusive of the infamous “Hello,” Garci”
phenomenon. Now, it calls a “summit”
for honesty and integrity in the forth-
coming election!
Really?
Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD
Tidbits Tidbits Tidbits Tidbits Tidbits
February is Pro-Life
Month
HUMAN life is the most precious thing
on earth. It is with the specific purpose
of educating the public on the impor-
tance of the dignity and value of life that
every year, Pro-life Month is observed
in February.
The 13th National Convention was
held at the Lourdes Hospital Conference
Hall, Sta. Mesa, Manila last February 3,
Saturday morning. In the afternoon, a
Pro-life Voters Forum was held at the
Polytechnic University of the Philip-
pines. Political candidates for this com-
ing May elections were challenged by
the Bishops, priests, parish leaders,
school faculty and students to carry the
pro-life/pro-family/pro-poor agenda in
their campaigns.
Pro-life Sunday last February 4 be-
gan the “Respect and care for Life
Week” as declared by former Pres.
Corazon Aquino (Pres. Proc. 214, 1987).
All are invited to join the Healing
Mass on Feb. 15 (Thursday) at 5:30 pm
at Sto. Domingo Church. Fr. Diwane Ca-
cao has been invited by Blessed Mar-
garet of Castello Movement and Pro-life
to be the main celebrant and healer.
Blessed Margaret is one of the patron
saints of Pro-life Philippines. She was
born severely disabled and blind. She
was abandoned by her parents who be-
longed to the Italian Royalty, left by the
church door to beg. She learned cat-
echism from the Dominican priests there
and started teaching her co-beggars. If
she were conceived today, she would
have been easily aborted because of her
disabilities.
A Forum on “Caring for Gay Loved
Ones” featuring a monologue play by
former homosexuals, will be held on Feb.
17 at the Good Shepherd Convent, QC.
The play will be followed by a Panel of
Reactors from Courage, the Catholic Ex-
gay Support Group and Bagong Pag-
Asa, the Christian Ex-gay Support
group. Invitations have been sent to
colleges and universities to send their
faculty and students to attend this fo-
rum. Many administrators realize the
need to confront this issue of growing
number of homosexuals and lesbians in
the campus.
Video tapes, posters, and leaflets
are also available for those who want to
organize seminars and other pro-life ac-
tivities. Call Pro-life office for more in-
formation at 911-2911 or 421-7147. Our
email is life@prolife.org.ph. You can
refer counseling of unwed mothers,
abused girls or battered women to me:
0920-945-5494
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
Love Life Love Life Love Life Love Life Love Life
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
8
CBCP Commissions
Episcopal Commission on Culture
( ECC)
By Mrs. Liza Barretto & Ms. Cecile Medina
Faith in Dialog with Filipino
Culture
ONE of the hallmarks of the papacy
of Pope John Paul II was in recog-
nizing the potency of culture in hu-
man life and in considering that the
Church’s dialogue with culture is a
vital area, one in which “the destiny
of the world at the end of this twen-
tieth century is at stake.” He said this
in 1982 when he created the Pontifi-
cal Council for Culture. Even earlier,
as did other Church authorities, Pope
Paul VI declared in Evangelii
Nuntiandi that the “drama of our
times” is the divorce of faith from
culture.
Since the visit of Pope Paul VI
to Manila in 1970, Filipino Church
leaders have come to accept the mis-
sion of inculturation, a word that first
surfaced publicly in the Synod of
Bishops of 1979 according to Arch-
bishop Oscar Cruz, who in 1999 was
then President of the Catholic Bish-
ops Conference of the Philippines.
Archbishop Oscar Cruz who
wrote on behalf of all the bishops
the Pastoral Exhortation on Culture
goes on to record, that inculturation
came about in the Synod through the
interventions of Cardinal Jaime Sin
and Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J. finally
to enter the text of the magisterium
in Pope John Paul II’s Catechesi
Tradendae.
Inculturation first carried the
notion of “adaptation”, while “incar-
nation” was called upon to bear and
“contextualization” also became of
interest in the social-historical per-
spective of the Church. Archbishop
Cruz wrote in that pastoral exhorta-
tion that inculturation is the integra-
tion of the values of our culture and
the values of the Kingdom, a veri-
table process of metanoia or con-
version into the Christ-life, which in
turn must impact on all other per-
sonal and social relations.
In Lumen Gentium, this is stated
clearly and simply: “The Church as
the People of God fosters and takes
to herself the abilities, resources and
customs of each people; she puri-
fies, strengthens and ennobles
them.” PCP II, No. 72 provides the
Filipino perspective: “Church teach-
ings and practices must be person-
ally appreciated and appropriated by
us, as a people with our own par-
ticular culture, with our own ways of
thinking and valuing. The Christian
faith must take root in the matrix of
our Filipino being so that we may
truly believe and love as Filipinos…
It must be accepted within a person’s
cultural heritage. An inculturated
faith is a faith that is transmitted and
expressed through our people’s cul-
ture or cultures.”
How then can faith and culture
dialogue be such as to bring about
inculturation that in turn will being
about transformation? How can Gos-
pel values fuse into the core of the
faithful so as to rule his daily life?
This was the perspective when
in the July 1994 Plenary Assembly in
Tagaytay City, the Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP) organized the CBCP Episco-
pal Commission on Culture. Named
as its first Chairman was Bishop
Honesto Ch. Pacana, SJ, DD.
Objectives
Through reflections and prayer
based on experience, the following
goals were articulated and integrated
in the CBCP Constitutions and By-
laws:
• Promote the meeting between the
saving message of the Gospel and
the culture of our time;
• Undertake appropriate initiatives
concerning the dialogue between
faith and culture and intercultural
dialogue;
• Oversee the initiatives of the
Church’s various institutions in
this area and disseminate the di-
rectives from the Pontifical Coun-
cil for Culture;
• Enter into dialogue with regional
and diocesan centers with the aim
of encouraging fruitful exchange
about research, initiatives and cul-
tural accomplishments carried out
by the local Churches and of en-
abling the whole Church in the
Philippines to benefit from them;
• Collaborate with national Catholic
organization of historical, philo-
sophical, theological, scientific,
artistic and intellectual value and
to promote their reciprocal coop-
eration;
• Ensure the effective participation
of the Philippine Church in national
congresses with science, media,
culture and education;
• Facilitate Church-culture dialogue
at the level of universities and re-
search centers, organizations of
artists and specialists, researchers
and scholars and to promote
worthwhile meetings between
these cultural groups.
ECC / P9
Annual National Seminar-
Workshops
With vigor, Bishop Pacana,
aided by the Executive Secretary
(first, Fr. Wilfredo Torayno of the dio-
cese of Malaybalay, then Teresiana
Cecile Medina, followed by Mrs. Liza
Barretto), approached the above
goals through the annual national
seminar-workshops beginning in
1995. It was the First National Dia-
logue with Media on Culture and
Politics in Malaybalay, Bukidnon on
March 30-April 1, 1995 that started
the ball rolling to more than ten con-
ferences, and drew astute minds as
resource speakers. Some of the dis-
turbing topics that pervaded reflec-
tion times and discussions in these
national conferences were: the im-
pact of cinema on faith and culture,
an inculturated formation for priests
and religious, contemporary culture
and the youth, folk Catholicism, Fili-
pino religiosity/spirituality and
popular devotions, faith and culture
in the subculture of politics, and
many more.
Many of those who led the ros-
ter of speakers on these seminars
gave gripping talks: Fr. Romeo
Intengan, SJ, Provincial Superior of
Jesuits; Fr. John Caroll, SJ, of the
ICSI, Fr. Miguel Bernad of Xavier
University, Bishop Francisco Claver,
SJ, Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo,
OMI, then Bishop Gaudencio B.
Rosales, among other lay religious
educators, sociologists and anthro-
pologists who are leaders in their
field.
Participants to each of these
conferences numbered in the hun-
dreds, representing the spectrum of
the Church, from bishops to priests,
to lay Church workers in the
grassroots, mulling on dogma, doc-
trines, issues and attitudes bearing
on their faith and patrimony. Aside
from providing rare teachings, spiri-
tual insights and Christian life reali-
ties, the conferences and seminars
gave the participants a venue for
speaking their minds, enabling opin-
ions to be heard in a wide range of
listeners, participating in policy mak-
ing decisions and most importantly
forming ideas that fine-tuned their
faith in the context of daily life. Here
in these conferences and seminars,
one could say, was inculturation in
action. In one of the conferences
delving into politics and corruption,
it drew an interesting representation
of participants from the local gov-
ernment.
Apart from scholarly endeavors
of publishing a quarterly newsletter
and collating the many addresses
delivered by resource speakers, the
Commission went out on national
media to decry a burgeoning trend
of what is popularly known as “nov-
elty music” aired on primetime
television’s variety shows many of
them bordering on obscenity and
pornography. The Commission also
attended retreats and meetings or-
ganized by the CBCP in its effort to
focus and hew to its avowed mis-
sion.
Joint efforts with other Episco-
pal Commissions
Meanwhile, Ms. Cecile Medina
did research on Church initiatives to
promote intercultural dialogue in
Mindanao (dioceses of Malaybalay,
prelature of Isabela and Archdiocese
of Zamboanga); joined conferences
with other Episcopal commissions
e.g. Catechesis and Inter-religious
Dialogue; projects for diocese of
Malaybalay’s Indigenous People’s
Apostolate and in promoting a cul-
ture of Peace through trainors’ train-
ing of lumad leaders in the province.
The Pontifical Commission on
Culture was updated on the initia-
tives of the Commission here in the
country. It acknowledged such ac-
Statement at the Pan-Asian Meeting of Members and Consultors of
the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Presidents of the National
Episcopal Commission for Culture
UNDER the Auspices of the Pon-
tifical Council for Culture, and in
collaboration with the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of Indone-
sia, a Pan-Asian convention of
the Members and Consultors of
the Pontifical Council for Culture
and the Presidents/Representa-
tives of the Commissions for Cul-
ture of the National Episcopal
Conferences from Asia was held
at Bali, Denpasar, Indonesia from
the 26
t h
to the 30
t h
of November
2006. The theme of the meeting
was, The Fullness of Jesus Christ
Alive in Asian Cultures: “And
from His fullness have we all re-
ceived, grace upon grace” (Jn
1:16).
Participants from Australia,
Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India,
Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malay-
sia/Brunei/Singapore, Philip-
pines, Thailand and Vietnam
spent four days together in
prayerful reflection and fraternal
exchange, informing themselves
on the mission of the Church for
the evangelization of cultures and
the inculturation of the faith in
Asia through talks, workshops
and discussions. Delegates
brought with them rich experi-
ences of their local Churches and
local cultures. It was a unique op-
portunity to discover new ways of
assimilating the positive cultural val-
ues in Asia into the life of the
Church, as well as expressing the
Catholic way of life through the ex-
isting local cultural features.
At the meeting, the multi-cul-
tural and pluri-religious nature of
Asian society was reiterated and with
gratitude to the Almighty, it was ac-
knowledged that the fullness of
Jesus Christ, as the fullness of grace,
is alive in Asian cultures. Asia has
been the home of millennial cultures
and contributed much to the civili-
zations. There is a treasure of values
in these cultures which are infused
with divine grace. It was stressed that
we need to find new, relevant and
appropriate modes to present Jesus
Christ in Asian cultures and in the
day-to-day realities, so that His light
and the liberating force of His divine
love may be revealed ever more to
those who do not know Him.
We pay tribute to the mission-
aries who were very conscious of
the importance of learning the local
languages, immersing themselves
into the native cultures, and under-
standing the weltschaung of their
times. These missionaries faced the
reality of the multi-ethnic, pluri-reli-
gious and multi-faceted cultures of
Asia as a challenge which they
turned into an opportunity.
Faith in Jesus Christ in Asia is
multi-culturally expressed through
our local languages, song, dance,
art, architecture and liturgy. The meet-
ing appreciated the Catholic Cultural
Centers which proclaim Christ
through Museums, Art Galleries, Li-
braries, documentations, publica-
tions, seminars and mass media, and
bring together varied and indigenous
cultures accepting the vibrant and
life-giving traditions, while infusing
the Christian dimension into the cul-
tures.
For centuries now, the Catholic
community, “the little flock” has been
engaged in a dialogue of love and
life within the community itself, as
also with people not yet belonging
to the “herd.”
Remembering Jesus’ teaching
become a maxim now, “Render there-
fore to Caesar the things that are
Caesar ’s, and to God the things that
God’s,” the Catholic Church in Asia
understands that its nation-building
activity is not incompatible, but
rather is an expression of its genu-
ine faith in Jesus Christ who
brings all things and all cultures
to their fullness.
This meeting emphasizes
that the desire to proclaim Jesus
Christ as the fullness of grace is
the most natural expression of the
Christian’s faith and his love for
humanity, as taught by the Lord.
Christ offers to contemporary
man, truthful answers to real ex-
istential questions. It is the
Church’s duty to offer the Gos-
pel to people in their own cultural
setting, respecting both people
and their cultures.
Looking into the Future
The Church in Asia firmly be-
lieves in mission through dia-
logue: dialogue with the poor, dia-
logue between cultures, and dia-
logue between religions. To pro-
mote an intense intercultural and
inter-religious dialogue, con-
ducted in mutual respect, reci-
procity, love and understanding,
so that the Good News that is
Jesus, who is the “incarnate love”
of the Father may be made present
to those who have not yet en-
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CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
9
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
Feature
Beyond Saving Souls
By Fr. Jose Victor Lobrigo
THE Church in Albay has always
been defined by its capacity to look
beyond saving souls.
Even as it opens its doors to the
faithful it was not afraid to deal with
social problems that afflict the people
of Albay: poverty, human rights vio-
lations, bad governance.
Church-based organizations
have always enjoyed a following
compared to other civic groups. This
indicates a considerable influence of
the Church on the local population
of 1.2 million. Based on figures gath-
ered during the first Legazpi dioc-
esan synod in 2000, 95% of the total
population comprises the Church’s
membership.
The Diocese of Legazpi was es-
tablished in 1951, some 350 years
after Franciscan missionaries set
foot in Albay in 1578. It has 45 par-
ishes, with one or two pastors in each
parish and a chapel in every village.
The diocese’s Social Action
Center (SAC) was organized in 1972
as a response to Vatican II’s call for
evangelization and development and
to articulate the local Church’s grow-
ing activism.
In its early years, the SAC was
involved in organizing credit coop-
eratives, implementing nutrition pro-
grams, undertaking emergency relief
work during calamities and doing
food-for-work projects. During mar-
tial rule, the SAC introduced educa-
tion programs and helped organize
the poor, mostly farmers, fishers and
workers, many of whose rights were
violated by the regime.
Albay is predominantly agricul-
tural and its major crops are rice,
corn, abaca, vegetable and coconut.
The latter is the most dominant, oc-
cupying 62% of the total agriculture
area in the province.
Calamities, high production
cost and market economies have af-
fected agriculture productivity and
income. Abaca, for, example, experi-
enced a drop in production because
of the slump in hemp prices, and out-
moded production techniques.
On January 17, 1983, Newsweek
published the story of a land dispute
involving 325 tenant farmers in the
island of San Miguel in Tabaco,
Albay. The government had granted
the farmers certificates of land trans-
fer for the vast estate that they have
long been farming. The corporate
owner of the estate resisted and ha-
rassed the farmers. The SAC orga-
nized and supported the farmers.
During one confrontation, armed
guards shot two farmers dead and
wounded many others. The farmers
won in the end.
In its more than 30 years of ex-
istence, SAC has evolved from a
seeming welfare agency and disas-
ter response unit to an educator and
community organizer.
After 1986 when the wave of de-
mocratization swept the country, the
SAC continued its work in the com-
munities on economic development,
sectoral organizing and peace build-
ing. It also added a new dimension in
its social action work: people’s par-
ticipation in local governance. The
thrust opened new arenas of engage-
ment for the Church, like voter’s edu-
cation, advocacy for transparency
and accountability in government,
and more crucially, encouraging and
strengthening people’s participation
in local governance.
This new arena of involvement
also challenged the Church to raise
wide public awareness and under-
standing of civic duties, right, re-
sponsibilities and governance pro-
cess.
The Local Government Code of
1991 provided the opportunity for the
SAC to further flesh out its
governance’s program by focusing
on its provisions for people’s par-
ticipation. The decentralization law
mandated the devolution of power
and resources from the national gov-
ernment to local government units
and opened opportunities for citizen
participation through local special
bodies.
This provided the legal basis for
allowing the participation of citizens
groups in local decision-making.
Citizens groups or people’s organi-
zations can sit in the local develop-
ment council, bidding committee,
school board, health board and
peace and order council.
In 2000, the clergy, religious and
laity gathered together in a synod to
chart the direction of the local
Church. The later has committed to
be one with the poor and work to-
wards “total human liberation and
social transformation.”
Through SAC, a number of coa-
litions were organized to address
problems and issues in Albay. In
2002, the Albay Provincial Develop-
ment Network for Development
(ALPRODEV) was organized. In the
same year, 20 networks composed of
non-government organizations and
people’s organizations were formed
in 3 cities, 13 municipalities and 120
(for this article, get a good picture in Legazpi/Albay in our library, taken by
roy or melo acuña)
barangays. The coalitions have 153
member organizations in all.
From 1999 to 2004, six Child
Abuse Prevention and Intervention
Units were set up in 3 cities and 3
municipalities in the province. Six
parishes have organized their youth
advocates group. A number of Par-
ish Social Action committees were
also created.
The SAC played a big role in
coming up with transparency forum
that is now being replicated in many
areas of the country, the Report to
the People, otherwise known as Ulat
sa Bayan. In this forum, elected of-
ficials are made to face their constitu-
ents and account for what they have
done and accomplished in office.
Since 1999, six municipalities have
held their Ulat sa Bayan.
Between 2002 and 2004, the
SAC encouraged people’s organiza-
mittees were also created.
In 2002, the CAPIUs busied
themselves to learn more about coun-
seling, medico-legal and tool kit
preparation and production and dis-
semination of information and edu-
cation materials. In 2005, a glossary
of terms was published, a valuable
help for media practitioners and ad-
vocates of child rights. In the same
year, a radio program on child abuse
prevention was launched.
As recognition of its efforts to
natural disasters and humanitarian
help, the SAC received the Gawad
Kalasag Award from the National
Disaster Coordinating Council
(NDCC).
These are but some of the mile-
stones that mark the SAC’s continu-
ing efforts to articulate the aims of
the Church of the poor: to serve
those who have less.
tivities with encouraging words. The
CBCP Episcopal Commission on
Culture gained financial support from
the corresponding donors for some
of the seminar projects related to
faith-culture dialogue which were
deemed worthwhile.
Given that culture embraces a
very wide ground of dynamic and
changing aspects, covering tradi-
tional and emergent values, the Com-
mission felt much more could be
done with so many limitations. Fili-
pino way of life, it has been said, is
multi-cultural, dynamic and ever
changing. The arena of culture may
be overwhelming in its scope and it
takes dedication and understanding
of its service to the Church to con-
tinue on the straight, effective
course.
Bishop Honesto Ch. Pacana, SJ
who devoted himself for more than
a decade to the Commission as
Chairman carries the clarity of the
vision:
“The Filipino Christian will need
to duplicate the best way he can the
life of Jesus. Filipino cultural values
(attitudes, mental sets, ways of look-
ing at things) need to be taken into
serious consideration. They defi-
nitely color the Filipino way of fol-
lowing the Lord or the Filipino spiri-
tuality. Although Filipino spiritual-
ity is essentially the same as any
Christian spirituality, yet its cultural
embodiment makes it distinct… As
we consider our discipleship, we
cannot fail to see our shortcomings.
There are obstacles to the call to fol-
low Christ more closely. These ob-
stacles are seen as cultural. While
they can be means to growth in dis-
cipleship, they can also constitute
an obstacle. The challenge for us is
to purify or strengthen certain ele-
ments in our culture. There is a need
for freedom, courage and authentic-
ity in confronting our cultural val-
ues as we follow the road to conver-
sion…” (Dialogue, December 1999).
The Officers
Chairman:
Bp. Emmanuel T. Cabajar,
CSsR
Vice-Chairman:
Bp. Jose R. Manguiran
Members:
Bp. Antonieto D. Cabajog
Bp. Julito B. Cortes
Bp. Honesto Ch. Pacana, SJ
Executive Secretary:
c/o Diocese of Pagadian
Bishop’s Residence
Baugasan, 7610 Pagadian
City
ECC / from p8 Marriage / from p5
tions and non-government organi-
zations to join local special bodies
and development councils where
they could participate in crafting de-
velopment plans, monitor govern-
ment transactions and ensure that
sectoral issues are head in local gov-
ernments. In 2003, the SAC sup-
ported the passage of the Provincial
Empowerment Ordinance.
SAC also played a pivotal role in
developing Child Abuse Prevention
Units (CAPIU) that addressed women
and children issues. Training pro-
grams down to the barangay level and
a Media Forum on Child Abuse Re-
porting were held. From 1999 to 2004,
six Child Abuse Prevention and In-
tervention Units were set up in three
cities and three municipalities in the
province. Six parishes have orga-
nized their youth advocates group. A
number of Parish Social Action com-
truly interwoven with life and love
as one of the intrinsic obligations of
its existence. Therefore, as I wrote in
my first Encyclical, “From the stand-
point of creation, eros directs man
towards marriage, to a bond which
is unique and definitive; thus, and
only thus, does it fulfill its deepest
purpose” (“Deus Caritas Est,” n. 11).
Thus, love and law can be united
to the point of ensuring that hus-
band and wife mutually owe to one
another the love with which they
spontaneously love one another: the
love in them is the fruit of their free
desire for the good of one another
and of their children; which, more-
over, is also a requirement of love
for one’s own true good.
All the activity of the Church
and of the faithful in the context of
the family must be based on this truth
about marriage and its intrinsic ju-
ridical dimension. In spite of this, as
I recalled earlier, the relativistic
mindset, in more or less open or
subtle ways, can also insinuate it-
self into the ecclesial community.
You are well aware that this is a
risk of our time which is sometimes
expressed in a distorted interpreta-
tion of the canonical norms in force.
One must react to this tendency with
courage and faith, constantly apply-
ing the hermeneutic of renewal in
continuity and not allowing oneself
to be seduced by forms of interpre-
tation that involve a break with the
Church’s tradition.
These paths lead away from the
true essence of marriage, as well as
from its intrinsic juridical dimension
and, under various more or less at-
tractive names, seek to conceal a
false conjugal reality.
So it is that the point is some-
times reached of maintaining that
nothing is right or wrong in a
couple’s relationship, provided it
corresponds with the achievement
of the subjective aspirations of each
party. In this perspective, the idea
of marriage “in facto esse” oscillates
between merely factual relations
and the juridical-positivistic aspect,
overlooking its essence as an intrin-
sic bond of justice between the per-
sons of the man and of the woman.
The contribution of ecclesias-
tical tribunals to overcoming the cri-
sis of the meaning of marriage, in
the Church and in civil society,
could seem to some people of some-
what secondary or minor impor-
tance.
However, precisely because
marriage has an intrinsically juridi-
cal dimension, being wise and con-
vinced servants of justice in this
sensitive and most important sec-
tor has the significant value of wit-
ness and is of deep reassurance to
all. Dear Prelate Auditors, you are
committed on a front in which re-
sponsibility for the truth makes it-
self felt in a special way in our times.
In being faithful to your task,
make sure that your action fits har-
moniously into an overall rediscov-
ery of the beauty of that “truth
about marriage”, the truth of the
“principle”, which Jesus fully taught
us and of which the Holy Spirit con-
tinually reminds us in the Church
today.
Dear Prelate Auditors, Officials
and collaborators, these are the con-
siderations to which I felt impelled
to call your attention, in the cer-
tainty that I would find in you
judges and magistrates ready to
share and make your own so impor-
tant and serious a doctrine.
To each and every one I express
in particular my pleasure and my to-
tal confidence that the Apostolic
Tribunal of the Roman Rota, an ef-
fective and authoritative manifesta-
tion of the juridical wisdom of the
Church, will continue to carry out
consistently its own, far from easy
munus, at the service of the divine
plan followed by the Creator and the
Redeemer in the institution of mar-
riage.
As I invoke divine help upon
your work, I cordially impart a spe-
cial Apostolic Blessing to you all.
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
10
Liturgy
The Ordinary Time
self this time has nothing that
makes it inferior to the others.
Ordinary time does not have
as object the celebration of a par-
ticular mystery of the life of Christ,
but the totality of the mystery
seen more as a whole than in a par-
ticular mystery.
They are 33 or 34 weeks which
are placed after the feast of the
Baptism of the Lord and which fol-
low the solemnity of Pentecost.
They are not complete weeks,
as some are missing Sundays or
some days, as in the days that fol-
low Ash Wednesday.
Q: Are there specific formu-
laries for ferial—not festive—days
of ordinary time?
Father Flores: In the present
liturgy of this time, no specific for-
mularies have been provided for
ferial days, but instead—here is
t he great novel t y—a doubl e
l ect i onary has been prepared
which enriches notably the daily
celebration.
The great guidelines of the
spirituality of ordinary time are
marked by t he doubl e feri al
lectionary: the lectionary of the
Eucharist and the biennial biblical
lectionary of the office of readings
to which is added another patristic
biblical lectionary.
The ferial days of ordinary
time have their own distribution
of readings in a two-year cycle,
but the Gospel is always the same,
so that it is the first reading which
offers a different cycle for each
year.
The daily Gospels are divided
in this way: the Gospel of Mark,
from the first to the ninth week;
the Gospel of Matthew, from the
10th to the 21st week; the Gospel
of Luke from the 22nd to the 34th
week.
The Gospel of John, instead,
is read during the whole of pas-
chal time, beginning with the fifth
week of Lent. It constitutes an
ensemble of five Sundays, from
the 17th to the 21st in cycle B of
ordinary time. It is a privileged
occasion for a catechesis on the
Eucharist, set in adherence to
Jesus in faith.
Q: Ordinary time is part of the
liturgical year. How can we de-
scribe, exactly, the liturgical year?
Father Flores: The liturgical
year can be described as the en-
semble of celebrations with which
the Church lives annually the
mystery of Christ.
Thi s i s how t he Second
Vatican Council expressed it in its
constitution on the liturgy, No.
102: “Holy Mother Church is con-
scious that she must celebrate the
saving work of her divine Spouse
by devoutly recalling it on certain
days throughout the course of the
year,” so that in the course of a
year we can recall the highest mo-
ments in the history of salvation,
introducing us in them.
The liturgical year is, there-
fore, the year of the Lord, of the
gl ori ous Kyri os, of t he ri sen
Christ present in the midst of his
Church with the long history that
precedes and accompanies him.
We rel i ve t he covenant , t he
choice of the holy people and the
fullness of messianic times.
In the course of the annual
cycle the whole mystery of Jesus
Christ unfolds, from the incarna-
tion to the expectation of his sec-
ond coming at the end of time, cul-
minating with the most important
celebration of the year, namely, the
memorial of his paschal mystery.
THE liturgical year is always the
year of the Lord, says Benedictine
Father Juan Javier Flores Arcas,
rector of the Pontifical Liturgical
Institute. Of late, ZENIT asked
Father Flores, professor at Rome’s
Pont i fi cal At henaeum of St.
Anselm, some questions about the
liturgical year.
Q: Liturgically speaking, we
are beginning ordinary time. Is it
a “minor” time?
Father Flores: It is not a weak
time with respect to the other in-
tense times, as it includes Sun-
days which are the weekly celebra-
tion of Easter, which is at the very
origin of the litur gical year. Of it-
In its various moments, the li-
turgical year celebrates nothing
other than the fullness of this mys-
tery; it has its center in the annual
Easter, everything springs from it
and everything tends to it.
Q: Is East er t he hi ghest
point?
Father Flores: The docu-
ments that have supported the li-
turgical reform insist in a very spe-
cial way on this paschal central-
ity, hence the need to highlight
fully Christ’s paschal mystery in
the reform of the liturgical year, ac-
cording to the norms given by the
Council, both in regard to the or-
dering of the proper of the time
and of the saints, as well as the
revision of the Roman calendar.
The continuous paschal cel-
ebration thus became the starting
point of the whole reform of the
liturgical year.
The conciliar constitution on
the liturgy and the subsequent
documents are clear and categori-
cal: There is only one cycle: the
paschal, though along with it must
be placed other collateral cycles.
Christ’s Pasch is at the center
of liturgical action — hence the
reason why all Christian spiritual-
ity must be a paschal spirituality,
that is, a spirituality polarized by
the divine event of salvation, by
t he paschal myst ery l i ved by
Christ and celebrated memorially
by the Church.
Q: Are there specific spiritu-
alities for each liturgical time?
Father Flores: Yes, of course.
Focusing on the great times of the
liturgical year we might divide
them according to the tone of the
liturgical time itself, always start-
ing from the celebrative unicity of
Easter, seeking totality in the sim-
plicity of the mystery, that is, the
“whole in the fragment”—Advent:
an eschatological spirituality;
Christmas: a spousal spirituality;
Epiphany: a real spirituality; Lent:
a spirituality of conversion and
penance; Paschal triduum: a time
to imitate sacramentally Christ’s
paschal mystery; Easter: a Pente-
costal spirituality; and ordinary
time: the peaceful rhythm of the
liturgical year.
countered Him. We call upon Bish-
ops’ conferences to promote Catho-
lic cultural centers to engage in this
triple dialogue.
The Church in Asia seeks to
continue and to reinforce the nation-
building activity that it has been in-
volved in over the centuries,
through its educational and chari-
table activities, so that it contributes
in building a society that is enlight-
ened by values enshrined in the Gos-
pel, and thus also appreciates, pre-
serves, and promotes its positive tra-
ditional values. We call upon those
responsible for the educational and
social activities of the Church to
evolve new strategies of promoting
a real and authentic Christian human-
ism.
Basic Christian communities can
be small cells which can live in the
spirit of communio, help deepen the
Christian faith, and at the same time
be the witness of life and a dialogue
of heart. They can be the salt and
light to the larger pluralistic commu-
nity of which they form part. We rec-
ommend that special attention be
paid to organizing the parishes in
basic ecclesial communities and that
these communities live for and func-
tion according to the purposes de-
scribed above.
A holistic and contextual evan-
gelization of cultures and
inculturation of the faith is required
to make the fullness of Jesus Christ
to come fully alive in Asia. This com-
prises a wide variety of aspects like
witnessing, prayer, proclamation, in-
tercultural and inter-religious dia-
logue, as well as social services for
the promotion of respect for life and
integral human growth.
The family is the foundation of
society. Asian cultures unanimously
reserve a special place for the family.
Basing ourselves on the family val-
ues already present in these cul-
tures, the family can experience the
fullness of Jesus Christ if it becomes
a cradle of life, a furnace of love, a
school for values of the Good News,
a nursery of compassion, sacrifice
and generosity. Each diocese is
called to prepare a pastoral plan ac-
cording to the local needs, for safe-
guarding and promoting family val-
ues.
The believing community,
through its teaching, activity, and
dialogue, but above all, through ex-
ample and witness, can be a bulwark
in the face of the materialistic, hedo-
nistic, and agnostic tendencies
slowly entering our society, espe-
cially as a consequence of the mas-
sive wave of globalization sweeping
Asia, and sometimes threatening its
traditional values.
Art and architecture make the
person of Jesus Christ present
through an expression of beauty. As
is evident, Biblical themes and the
person of Jesus Christ have been a
rich source of inspiration to artists,
both Catholic as well as those who
do not belong to the Catholic faith.
Art and artistic activities should be
promoted as a means of evangeliza-
tion of cultures and the inculturation
of faith.
In the work of evangelization,
what counts most in all cultural con-
texts is the authenticity of life. We
should therefore seek to promote an
authentic, verifiable, tangible, radi-
ating spirituality: the fragrance of
Christ. When Christians, as individu-
als and communities really radiate
this fragrance, slowly, but surely, we
can lead all Asian cultures and civili-
zations to fulfillment in Christ.
The cultures of indigenous
people are very open to Christ and
His message. The Church would do
well to make Christ present to them
through dialogue and witnessing
activity. We recommend that for the
evangelization efforts among the in-
digenous peoples, a study should
be made as to how local cultural re-
sources could be tapped.
Since cults and sects are suc-
cessful, especially among the youth
because of their deep spiritual thirst,
the Church should seek new creative
ways to present Christ as the one
quenching this thirst.
The new urbanization requires
a new evangelization and, therefore,
we encourage Bishops and Clergy
to rise to the challenges through
charity to care for the deprived, an
option for social justice in favor of
the oppressed and marginalized, a
pastoral re-structuring that meets
new cultural realities, catechesis that
responds to contemporary ques-
tions, and a meaningful liturgy, to
make every city a “city of God.”
We strongly recommend that
Catholic education be really “Catho-
lic” by providing, not only academic
excellence, but promoting an all-
round human development based on
the teachings of Jesus Christ. By
making Jesus Christ present in our
schools, universities, and other edu-
cational institutions, we will be able
to create a culture permeated by the
Gospel, a culture of peace and com-
passion for the future.
In today’s world, social commu-
nications has a very powerful influ-
ence, both on cultures and the val-
ues that inspire them. Jesus Christ
as the way, the truth, and the life can
be presented to our Asian cultures
very effectively through an able and
intelligent use of the media. Special
efforts should be made to tap mod-
ern and traditional means of commu-
nications, like print media, television,
cinema, and information technology
for promoting and creating a culture
infused by the fullness of grace re-
vealed in Jesus Christ.
The Church in Asia is aware of
its task to be the light that leads, the
salt that gives taste, the leaven in
the dough through its life of witness
and proclamation of the mystery of
Jesus Christ. Our will shall shape the
future. Whether we fail or succeed
shall not be the doing of others but
our own. We are the force; we can
clear any obstacle before us or we
can be lost in the maze. Our choice;
our responsibility. Win or lose, we
hold the key to our future. May Mary,
Mother of the incarnate Word, and
the Star of Evangelization, guide us
and lead us, that we may proclaim
the fullness of grace in her son, Jesus
Christ, to all peoples and all cultures.
Pan-Asia / from p8
Th e CBCPWor l d
Net w o r k
A network of Dioceses, Par-
ishes, Catholic Schools and re-
ligious groups. Today, over a
hundred of them nationwide.
Pursuing one mission, linked
under one nationwide satellite
system. Connected together
with the same passion for the
Gospel.
Our Broadband Connectivity is
delivered to our network
members through a VSAT
syst em on a C-band or
through a wireless IP system
on a microwave platform,
originating from our network
operations center in Clark
Special Economic Zone in An-
geles City.
Our Content Department aims
at saturating the cyberspace
with wholesome contents that
are faith-related, educational
and soci al -advocacy ori -
ented. Its services are: web
designing, web maintenance,
web hosting, content sourc-
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production.
Our Traning Department con-
ducts the following trainings:
EdTech, IT Awareness,
WebArt, SysAd Training.
www.cbcpworl d.com
t rai ni ng@cbcpworl d.net
+632 4041612, 4042182
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
11
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
Social Concern
Laiko / from p6
Wh a t is
Ha p p en in g t o
Ou r Beloved
La n d ?
READING the Mining in the
Philippines - Concerns and
Conflicts, Fact Finding Mis-
sion to the Philippines Report,
I deplore and lament with the
prophets of old what is hap-
pening to our beloved land.
Our own experiences here in
Mindanao validate the report.
“Remember, O Lord,
what has come upon us; look,
and behold our reproach!
Our inheritance has been
turned over to aliens, and our
houses to foreigners. We have
become orphans and waifs,
our mothers are like widows.
We pay for the water we drink,
and our wood comes at a
price. They pursue at our
heels; we labour and have no
rest. We have given our hand
to the Egyptians and the
Assyrians, to be satisfied with
bread. Our fathers sinned and
are no more, but we bear their
iniquities.” (Lamentations
5:1-5)
I chair the Episcopal
Commission on Indigenous
People-Mindanao and have
been to many workshops with
our indigenous people’s rep-
resentatives all over
Mindanao in the past three
years. I heard their stories of
anguish, saw them cry as they
narrate their deplorable state,
and I feel their anger against
the game that our power-hun-
gry national and local govern-
ment officials are playing with
them in alliance with greedy
corporations. The situation is
at its worst at the present mo-
ment.
The very government
that is supposed to protect
their rights is the very one
abusing them, manipulating
them, turning many of their
leaders into “Tribal Dealers”.
The very people, save a few,
we elected to supposedly en-
sure their basic need of food,
shelter and clothing, created
laws that instead further the
interests of foreigners, inves-
tors, multi-national corpora-
tions and have turned these
laws into a “machinery of
death” for our indigenous
peoples and their precious
culture.
What is worst is their de-
ception. They are the modern
Trojans bringing gifts of
empty promises of progress
and development. TIMEO
DANAOS DONA
FERENTES! I fear the Greeks
bringing gifts … to our
people.
I also condemn all forms
of harassment by government
agencies against the people,
foreigner and local, who are
working in whatever way to
help the situation of our in-
digenous peoples.
I strongly endorse the
Statement on Mining Issues
and Concerns of our Catholic
Bishops Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP), President:
• To support, unify and
strengthen the struggle of
the local Churches and
their constituency against
all mining projects, and raise
the anti-mining campaign at
the national level;
• To support the call of vari-
ous sectors, especially the
Indigenous Peoples, to stop
the 24 Priority Mining
Projects of the government,
and the closure of large-
scale mining projects, for
example, the Rapu-Rapu
Polymetallic Project in
Albay, HPP Project in
Palawan, Didippio Gold-
Copper Project in Nueva
Vizcaya, Tampakan Copper-
gold Project in South
Cotabato, Canatuan Gold
Project in Zamboanga del
Norte, and the San Antonio
Copper Project in
Marinduque, among others;
• To support the conduct of
studies on the evil effects
of mining in dioceses;
• To support all economic ac-
tivities that are life-enhanc-
ing and poverty-alleviating.
God help our indigenous
brothers and sisters …. Our
precious land … all of us!
Mes s a ge for Wor ld Da y of Lep r os y
FOR the celebration of the 54th World Day
of Leprosy, the Pontifical Council for
Health Care Ministry sends a message of
health and fraternal sharing to those who
are afflicted by leprosy and to those
people, even though they have been
healed, who bear on their bodies disabili-
ties caused by this malady.
The notable advances that medical
science has developed in this sector over
recent decades have generated in the so-
cial mind the idea that this disease, be-
cause it can be cured, has almost disap-
peared in the world; in this way leprosy
has become “a forgotten disease.”
But unfortunately such is not the
case. The data derived from the epide-
miological surveys of the World Health
Organization, which were published in
early August 2006, indicate that at the be-
ginning of that year there were still 219,826
new cases of leprosy every year and
about 602 new cases every day. These
were distributed geographically in the fol-
lowing way: Africa, 40,830; America,
32,904; South East Asia, 133,422; the East
Mediterranean, 4,024; the Western Pa-
cific, 8,646. Overall, those afflicted by lep-
rosy in the world are still about ten mil-
lion in number.
The consecrated to the prevention
and treatment of populations in countries
that are subject to the risk of leprosy.
To make missionaries, religious and
volunteers feel our personal esteem and
nearness is to respond in a concrete way
to the invitation that the Holy Father
Benedict XVI expressed at the audience
granted to those taking part in the Inter-
national Conference of 2006 of our Pon-
tifical Council for Health Care Ministry:
“How can one forget the very many
people with infectious diseases forced to
live segregated from others, and who are
at times marked by a stigma that humili-
ates them? Such deplorable situations are
of greater gravity when we consider the
disparity of social and economic condi-
tions between the North and the South of
the world. It is important to respond to
them with concrete interventions that fa-
vor nearness to the sick person, thereby
making the evangelization of culture more
alive, and propose motivations that can
form the basis for the economic and po-
litical programs of governments” (Nov.
24, 2006).
This is the invitation that Jesus makes
to us with the parable of the Good Samari-
tan: “Go then, and do likewise” (Luke
10:37). It is with “Jesus the Good Samari-
tan” that we must evangelize the cultural
environment of the human society in which
people live in order to eliminate the preju-
dices that still exist in relation to those who
are dramatically afflicted by leprosy.
The Church, faithful to her mission,
has always repeated the merciful action
of the Divine Teacher who, during the act
of healing lepers, indicated that Redemp-
tion was underway (cf. Luke 7:22). And it
is on this way opened up by Jesus Christ
that so many people have walked. Side
by side with St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed
Damian de Veuster, and Blessed Peter
Donders, a vast number of anonymous
‘witnesses to the merciful love of God’,
who have freely chosen to live ‘with and
for’ our brothers and sisters afflicted by
leprosy, continue their activities today.
It is incumbent upon us, on this 54th
World Day of Leprosy, to remember Raoul
Follereau, the man who instituted it in
1954, on the 30th anniversary of his death.
Raoul Follereau was an example and con-
firmation that the love of God also in-
volves those who humbly confess: “I do
not know God but I am known by him,
and this is hope” (R. Follereau, Le livre
d’amour, I.M.E., September 2005, p. 59, n.
35). Follereau was a man who prayed as
follows: “Lord, I would very much like to
help others to live, everyone else, my
brothers and sisters, who are in pain and
suffer without knowing why, waiting for
death to free them” (ibid., p. 58, n. 30).
To all bishops, those responsible for
pastoral care in health in the local
Churches, health care workers, mission-
aries, religious, and secular volunteers in-
volved in the accompanying of our broth-
ers and sisters afflicted by leprosy, I en-
trust this passage from the message for
the 15th World Day of the Sick of the Holy
Father Benedict XVI: “In addition, many
millions of people in our world still expe-
rience unsanitary living conditions and
lack access to much needed medical re-
sources, often of the most basic kind, with
the result that the number of human be-
ings considered ‘incurable’ is greatly in-
creased. Here I would like to encourage
the efforts of those who work daily to
ensure that the incurably and terminally
ill, together with their families, receive ad-
equate and loving care.”
To you, brothers and sisters afflicted
by leprosy, and to those who bear on your
bodies the painful signs left by this dis-
ease, I wish to repeat the words of the
apostolic letter “Salvifici Doloris” of
John Paul II: “on this cross is the ‘Re-
deemer of man,’ the man of sorrows, who
has taken upon himself the physical and
moral sufferings of the people of all times,
so that in love they may find the salvific
meaning of their sorrow and valid an-
swers to all of their questions.… And we
ask all you who suffer to support us. We
ask precisely you who are weak to be-
come a source of strength for the Church
and humanity” (No. 31).
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan
President, Pontifical Council for Health
Care Ministry
by Church doctrines, e.g. the
Papal Exhortation, Familiaris
Consortio.
A most effective lay for-
mation process is achieved by
using the Observe-Judge-Act
methodology. This includes
sharing of insights of relevant
bible passages and relating
their teachings to life experi-
ences. The session finally
dovetails to the report of as-
signments given to each
couple during the previous
session. The new action
plans are assigned for the next
session. Examples of these
action plans are: a. Participa-
tion as team couples in the
pre-marriage orientation
program of the parish; b. As
resource speaker in the fam-
ily life education program for
high school students; c. Mem-
bership in the advocacy for
clean elections and others. If
the CFM unit is within a cer-
tain parish barangay or purok,
this can become the nucleus
for a BEC unit.
The Sons and Daughters
Encounter is most appropriate
for youth formation. The Self
Encounter addresses the
need for individuals who de-
sire for developing a deeper
spirituality. The Family En-
counter is most effective in
developing spiritual affinity
among each member of the
f ami l y—under s t andi ng
strengths and weaknesses of
each member, rallying family
support in times of crises,
growing in love as the mem-
bers mature and guiding the
spiritual development of the
next generation—the grand-
children.
CFM addresses the need
of family members throughout
the family life cycle (from
womb to tomb) hence the
other formation programs
which are offered include the
Young Adults and Profession-
als (YAP) program, the Dis-
covery Weekend for engaged
couples, the Solo Parents
Program for widows and wid-
owers. The most popular
among parishioners are en-
counters conducted in the
vernacular—the Tipanan ng
Pamilya. I personally recom-
mend this program to intro-
duce the family life program
in a parish which is the appro-
priate starting place for this
activity.
The success of all evan-
gelization programs is the sup-
port of the Chaplain who has a
key role during the encounter
retreat. While the Lay Facilita-
tors/Sharers are most effective
in translating family life situa-
tions and coping mechanisms,
there is no substitute for the
Chaplain’s final activity for the
family to center on Christ dur-
ing the celebration of the Eu-
charist. It is a pity if parish
priests drive lay organizations
away from parish responsibili-
ties. For family evangelization,
priests are important but with-
out lay participation the mis-
sion is doomed from the start.
Happy Valentine!
Most Rev. Zacharias C. Jimenez
Chair, Coordinating Team
Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Mindanao
Wh a t is
Ha p p en in g t o
Ou r Beloved
La n d ?
Wh a t is
Ha p p en in g t o
Ou r Beloved
La n d ?
“A Forgotten
Disease”
“Go and do likewise”
(Luke 10:37)
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Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
12
Statements
A Pa s t or a l
St a t em en t on t h e
Na t ion ’s Hou s in g
Pr oblem s
“Any person or family that, without any direct fault on his or her
own, does not have suitable housing is the victim of an injus-
tice.” (Pontifical Commission Justice and Peace on the Interna-
tional Year of Shelter for the Homeless, 1988)
Bonus Miles Christi
A Pastoral Letter on the Commemoration of the Centenary of the Episcopal Consecration of Bishop Jorge Barlin (1906)
AS we close our Year of Social Con-
cerns, we call the attention of our
people to a grave problem that many,
especially among the urban poor,
suffer the lack of adequate housing.
The Church teaches that “the prin-
ciple of the universal destination of
goods requires that the poor, the
marginalized and in all cases those
whose living conditions interfere
with their proper growth should be
the focus of particular concern. To
this end, the preferential option for
the poor should be reaffirmed in all
its force. This love of preference for
the poor, and the decisions which it
inspires in us, cannot but embrace
the immense multitudes of the hun-
gry, the needy, the homeless, those
without health care and above all,
those without hope for the
future.”(Compendium of the Social
Doctrine of the Church # 182).
Adequate and humane dwelling
is a basic right. (cf. Compendium
#166) Their inadequacy breeds other
problems such as immoralities in the
home, the abuse of children, the lack
of education of many young people,
unhygienic conditions in the family,
joblessness among the people, mal-
nutrition of children, and criminality.
Our urban poor people, as hu-
man beings and children of God,
have basic human rights to clean and
inexpensive water, decent house,
communities free of stagnant dis-
ease-ridden water and uncollected
garbage. They have a right to secu-
rity of tenure, to be free of a con-
stant threat of eviction and fire, and
very importantly, they have the right
to organize themselves to seek solu-
tions to their problems in a demo-
cratic and a non-violent manner.
Despite their own efforts and
those of many groups, including
government and the Church, we can-
not say our urban poor people en-
joy these rights today.
We are all compelled to do ev-
erything possible to remedy this situ-
ation. We must all work that all may
have their own homes that are suit-
able for God’s persons who are made
in God’s image and likeness. We can-
not achieve complete success in a
short time—we lack resources for one
thing—but we can do something.
A. We call on those concerned
to stop uncaring evictions and demo-
litions. We have laws in the land that
tell us the proper processes for evic-
tion. Let these laws be respected and
followed, especially by law-enforc-
ing agencies. Among other things,
these laws provide us that reloca-
tion sites be prepared to receive the
evicted families and that these sites
should have adequate provisions for
basic human needs, such as water,
light, access roads, schooling for the
children and work for the people. If
plans and money are set aside for
improvements of the cities and towns
that would necessitate people to be
moved elsewhere, also proper plans
and money be set aside for the
places where they are to be settled
with painstaking consultations.
B. Government officials have
made promises and even made offi-
cial proclamations of lands to pro-
vide security of tenure to many poor
families sitting on government prop-
erties. Many of these proclamations
are not followed; they have remained
empty words. Let the officials not
play on the basic needs of the people,
and cuddle them in pursuit of elec-
tion victory.
C. As we did in our 1997 Letter
on Homelessness, we again urge the
immediate creation of a government-
church-civil society commission that
will provide guidelines for the fur-
ther development of our cities so that
the urban poor will have a decent
place to live in and development will
combine with sound environmental
concern. The said commissions in
each city and town can immediately
conduct consultations to discuss
and resolve the issues on
homelessness in a pro-active way.
Planning of mass housing for the
poor is a concern of public officials
for the sake of the common good and
not only of property developers for
their own profit.
D. We commend the initiatives
of various groups who on their own
provide for housing for our poor
families. We encourage all people of
goodwill, especially people of faith
to support these groups or to create
their own initiatives to help the
homeless to have houses that they
can call their own someday. We en-
courage the homeless to be partners
in pursuing the endeavor.
We cannot afford to be indiffer-
ent and complacent in front of this
grave injustice that many of our
brothers and sisters suffer day by
day. We, as a Church, are committed
to put the resources of the Church
towards this dream.
While Filipinos are getting
known all over the world as good
construction workers and builders,
we are not able to provide houses
for our homeless.
Let the dream of God for his
people be ours. “Look, I am going to
create new heavens and new earth?
They will build houses and live in
them; they will plant vineyards and
eat their fruit? For the days of my
people will be like the days of a tree
and my chosen ones will themselves
use what they have made.” (Is 65,
17-22).
Let us dream the dream of God
and work that this dream may come
true!
For the Catholic Bishops’ Confer-
ence of the Philippines:
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
28 January 2007
ONE hundred years ago, in
1906, the grace of the Episco-
pacy was granted to the Fili-
pino people in the person of a
Bi col ano born i n Baao,
Camarines Sur, Jorge Barlin,
who t ook as hi s Epi scopal
motto: “Bonus miles Christi”—
A Good Soldier of Christ. It was
the first time after three hun-
dred years of Christianity in the
Philippines that a Filipino was
given such a dignity—cer-
tainly, a milestone in the Phil-
ippine Church History, an event
worth remembering and cel-
ebrating.
Dear brothers and sisters,
the present-day circumstances
pose new and numerous chal-
lenges to our faith and minis-
try. The poverty and suffering
many experiences sometimes
lead us into thinking that love
of God and country are two op-
posite realities. However, there
are to be found in our history
persons who had shown us that
love for God and country are
not incompatible. Among these
is Bishop Jorge Barlin.
This letter then is a call to
our dear Faithful: clergy, reli-
gious and laity to honor the
memory of Barlin.
In engaging into this task
of remembering, we wish to ex-
press gratitude to God for the
grace of the ministry, particu-
larly that of the episcopacy,
which consists in the service
of teaching, sanctifying and
governing.
By recalling the memory of
Barlin, we wish to remind our-
selves too of who we are as a
people; of what we have accom-
plished; and of what we can
still do.
Our country, our society,
our communities, even our
families; need hope. The ca-
lamities that have struck us in
recent years had been terrible.
Yet it is in these same dif ficult
moments that goodness, kind-
heartedness and hope have
also shone. Good as it were are
never extinguished. And look-
ing back in history, we find
signposts of this in our jour-
ney as a people and Church.
At a time, when the capa-
bility of Filipinos was doubted,
especially with regard to fulfill-
ing the task of a parish priest,
more so that of a bishop, there
was Jorge Barlin, who showed
us what the Filipino is able to
accomplish.
Barlin, Filipino, early in his
age showed talent which was
immediately recognized by the
famous Spanish Bishop Fran-
cisco Gainza, O.P. The good
bishop took him under his care.
In the early years of his
priesthood, Barlin showed do-
cility and humble obedience
when from being the capellan
de solio and majordomo of the
Cathedral of Nueva Caceres, he
accepted the humble task of a
missionary-curate in the remote
and poor fishing village of
Siruma, Camarines Sur.
Barlin’s capability was
once again recognized, when
from being an ostracized priest
in Libog, Albay, he was ap-
pointed Vicar Forane of the
whole Province of Sorsogon
and parish priest of its capital.
It was an unprecedented appoint-
ment for he was a young upstart.
For sixteen full years he labored
with distinction.
During the turbulent days of
the revolution, Sorsogon did not
suffer a bloody September. This
was due to Padre Barlin who com-
manded the respect and esteem of
the people, and his pacification
campaign. When the last Spanish
Governor Señor Villamil left for
safety, he entrusted to Barlin the
rei ns of t he government and
peacefully surrendered his official
prerogat i ves. Barl i n fi gured
prominently in the establishment
of the revolutionary government
as well as during the arrival of the
American government. In all these
changes, Barlin was instrumental
in rallying the people in the main-
tenance of peace and order.
In 1902, Gregorio Aglipay, tak-
ing notice of his capability, offered
him the supreme prelacy of the
Philippine Independent Church.
To such invitation, Barlin replied:
“Prefiero ser lampazero a ser la
cabeza de su jerarquia cismatica.”
(I prefer to be a sweeper than to
be the head of your schismatic hi-
erarchy.)
It was the same Barlin who
gave the most damaging blow to
the new sect from which it never
recovered. Elsewhere in the archi-
pelago, many Filipino priests had
defected to the schismatic church
with the support of their congre-
gations. Because these defectees
had moved i nt o t he ranks of
Aglipayanism without vacating
their churches, a question arose
for the American authorities to
order: To whom di d t hose
churches belong?
When Fr. Ramirez, Parish
Priest of Lagonoy, Camarines Sur,
refused to vacate his church,
Barlin, then Apostolic Administra-
tor of Nueva Caceres, struck the
bl ow when he won t he case
against Ramirez in the Supreme
Court, which in 1906 decided in
favor of Barlin. The blow to the
movement was almost irreparable.
Agl i payan sect ari an pri est s
throughout the Islands were com-
pelled to vacate their churches, in
so doing began to lose hold on
their congregations. Had Barlin
lost the case, it is probable that
many of our churches would have
been occupied by the Aglipayans
and many would have remained in
the sect.
In December 14, 1905, he was
named Bi shop by a secret
consistory. He was conse-
crated bishop on June 20, 1906.
In the words of a historian: “He
bore the promise of a new era
for the long-suffering native
clergy. In his name his coun-
trymen saw the hope of a race.”
He became the first Filipino
Bishop, perhaps also the first
from the Malay race, and the
only one during his time. His
elevation to the Episcopacy
proved the capability of native
priests who had been regarded
as inferior and unworthy of any
high office. For at the time,
there was a prevailing view that
indigenous priests were only
good to be coadjutors, let alone
unworthy of the episcopacy.
As the only Filipino bishop,
Barlin was given the honor to
deliver the invocation at the in-
augural session of Philippine
Assembly on October 16, 1907.
Two months later he took a
prominent part in the delibera-
tions of the first Provincial
Council of Manila, which had
been convened to discuss prob-
lems under the new government
setup. It was reported that: “His
experience and the practical
knowledge which he had of
Church affairs in the Islands
were a valuable help in the so-
lution of not a few problems in
that respectable assembly.”
In all these, Jorge Barlin
put above all else service to
God and people. When the
temptation of power and pres-
tige was offered him, he chose
to remain faithful to his com-
mitment. When such power
was in his hands, he used the
same responsibly—always for
the good of those he served.
Although Barlin rose to
prominence at a time of schism
in the history of the Church in
the Philippines, remembering
hi m i n such l i ght act ual l y
prompts the Church to promote
Christian unity all the more,
and invite people of other faiths
to engage in dialogue.
Our dear faithful, we need
men and women whose vision
is beyond themselves. Indeed,
at a time when suffering can im-
pair our memory; when our
sense of altruism may be cov-
ered by the need for survival;
when difficult and severe con-
ditions can make us numb to the
needs of our brethren and blind
to nobler things. Thus, let us
look back to gain inspiration
from our elders. They, whose
character, integrity and vision
cannot be bought. They, who
are willing to stand up for the
commitment they have made and
their fundamental vocation.
Finally, dear brothers and
sisters, in recalling the memory
of Jorge Barlin we also ask you
to continue to pray for us your
bishops, that we may remain
steadfast in living out our vo-
cation as bishops, and like
Barlin may we be, “Good sol-
diers of Christ.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Con-
ference of the Philippines:
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
CBCP President
28 January 2007
Pastoral Statements issued during the 94
th
Bishops’ Plenary Assembly
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CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
13
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
Statements
The Dignity of the Rural Poor—A Gospel Concern
CBCP Let t er t o
Dioces es a n d
Pa r is h es
“ Choose w i se, di scer ni ng and
ex per i en ced peopl e” ( Dt . 1, 13)
Press Statement
On the Four Party Summit
Dear People of God in the Philippines,
IN response to the Pope Benedict
XVI’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas
Est (God is love), we declared 2006
the Year of Social Concerns (CBCP
Pastoral Exhortation, May 11,
2006). For the God who is love bids
us to be love too. In our Pastoral
Exhortation naming 2006 the Year of
Social Concerns, we expressed the
hope that we would be able to edu-
cate ourselves more intensively in
what the social teaching of the
Church is all about. For that teach-
ing in the end comes to only one
thing: love of neighbor because of
God’s love for us.
The over-riding social concern
of the Church of the Philippines has
been all these years centered on the
inequitable distribution of the
nation’s wealth and the endemic so-
cial injustices that underpin that evil.
We would like in this statement to
focus our attention on the greatest
victim of our unjust economic order,
the rural poor, and the diminishment
of their dignity as people and as citi-
zens. We cannot put it too strongly,
but this diminishment is a negation
of Christian love—and hence of the
God who is love. (Cf. Jubilee of the
Agricultural World Address of John
Paul II, Nov. 11, 2001, also, Land
and Agrarian Reform, Pastoral Ex-
hortation on Philippine Economy,
no. 54, CBCP, 1998).
Our Situation
The greater number of our poor
is in the rural areas. The poor abound
in our cities too, and we must be as
concerned for them as for our rural
poor. But if the urban poor are grow-
ing in numbers, it is largely because
of rural folk crowding into our cities
to escape the debilitating poverty of
the countryside. It seems obvious
then that to attend to the first prob-
lem (rural poverty) would be to help
lessen the second (urban poverty).
The one big effort of the gov-
ernment at alleviating rural poverty
has been its on-going land reform
program, the CARP (the Comprehen-
sive Agrarian Reform Program). The
law instituting it was passed years
ago but its full implementation is still
far off in the future—if ever. The law
was defective in the first place, emas-
culated in the very beginning in a
landlord dominated Congress, fur-
ther watered down in its implemen-
tation. At this stage, a year before
the scheduled end of the program,
there is much that has not yet been
done and the general situation of our
farmers is still as bleak as ever.
The lack of vigor and determina-
tion shown by the government in its
poor implementation of the law mir-
rors the still over-powering opposi-
tion of the landed classes, the tradi-
tional political and economic elite of
our country. What this means simply
is that selfish class interests outweigh
concern for the common good—the
main target of the Church’s social
teaching. And that selfish unconcern
in turn translates into sheer neglect
of the poor, an utter disregard of the
dignity of a whole class merely be-
cause of their bad economic plight.
This disregard is horrendously
displayed in the recent extra-judicial
killings, perpetrated by groups from
both the right and the left, of farmers
whose only “crime” is their continu-
ing struggle for agrarian reform or
their inability to pay the “revolution-
ary tax” demanded of them by the
NPA. As a religious people—and it
doesn’t matter whether we are Chris-
tians, Muslims or adherents of other
religions—we must vehemently con-
demn the continuing murder of such
rural folk.
We condemn too, just as vehe-
mently, the un-abated killing of un-
armed men and women on the mere
charge or suspicion that they sup-
port or belong to leftist political
groups.
Our Response
Condemning evil is not enough.
As we must have learned from our
consideration of the Church’s social
teaching this past year, we must try
bringing an end to evils that harm
people and their good.
As always, our first reaction to
national problems is to call on gov-
ernment to do what it is supposed to
do. We do so here. We ask that the
CARP, defective as it is, be finally
completed next year as it has been
targeted. And if it is not sufficiently
implemented by then, the program
should be further extended and
funded more seriously and gener-
ously. But we asked that the law it-
self must be reviewed and improved.
The government and the
military’s response to the shameful
“extra-judicial” killings of unarmed
crusaders for justice and equality is
most unsatisfactory, their protesta-
tions of concern not too convinc-
ing. The greater and more effective
performance of their duties as guard-
ians and protectors of our peace—
this too we must demand as strongly
as we can.
Putting the burden of action on
people whose responsibility it is to
act, however, is not enough. We
must ask ourselves: What do we do
as individuals, as families, as com-
munities? What must we do? The
responsibility to act is just as much
ours as those who have the official
responsibility.
For years now we have been
pushing the development of BECs
or BEC-type Church communities
and organizations. And we do so
because such communities are, or
should be, fully participative com-
munities. Problems, national or local,
big or small, weighty or light—and
the problem of the rural poor we are
speaking of here now is probably
our weightiest—all must be looked
at and become community concerns
for the solving of which their partici-
pation is needed. Involving them-
selves in meeting those problems,
they must do so according to the
social teaching of the Church which
always looks to the achieving of the
common good. This demands con-
tinuing discernment from all of us,
both as individuals and as commu-
nities. The answers will be varied,
but, we trust, all issuing from genu-
ine Christian charity.
On our part, and in view of what
we are asking you to do, we make a
very specific proposal.
A Rural Congress
The year 2007 is the fortieth an-
niversary of the National Rural Con-
gress of 1967. It was at this Con-
gress that the participants, most of
them diocesan and parish social ac-
tion workers, came to the crucial con-
clusion that the Church must go to
the barrios. The reason was the
heavy realization that the rural parts
of the country were the most ne-
glected by both the government’s
development programs and the
Church’s pastoral care.
To commemorate that crucial
event in our life as a Church—and
to make us meet in true Gospel fidel-
ity our present social concerns—we
propose that we revive the memory
of that Congress by holding one
again this year.
But this time our farmers must
do that speaking by themselves, the
discerning, the proposing of their
own ideas, the planning of how we
must as a people come together to
work for the common good of the
country and of ourselves. Doing so,
they will be effectively asserting the
dignity that for so long has been
denied them. And the rest of us, par-
ticipating with them in their reflec-
tions and deliberations, we will be
honoring their inborn dignity as chil-
dren of the same Father in Heaven.
Possibly a small thing. But in
the larger picture of the country’s
many ills, we see that it is in not hon-
oring the dignity of the least of our
brothers and sisters among the poor
that we contribute not a little to the
injustices and inequalities that have
become deeply ingrained in our na-
tional life; and today the murders and
killings, the corruption and thieving,
the crimes that are being committed
daily with impunity against our poor,
these we see too are all rooted in the
practical denial of the basic human
dignity and rights of our very poor.
Christ himself acknowledged and
honored their dignity, identified him-
self with it: “If you did it for one of
my least brothers or sisters, you did
it for me” (Mt. 25, 40). Because he
did, so must we.
Today we see only too clearly
the need for the reform not only of
our national institutions but of our
very moral fiber as a people. We start
meeting that need by acknowledg-
ing the God-given dignity of the least
of Christ’s—and our—brothers and
sisters. And not only in word but in
act. That in itself is reform.
The Lord who loves the poor
be with us in this, our common task.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Confer-
ence of the Philippines,
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
28 January 2007
I am also wary and skeptical about
the “Four Party Summit” called
by the National Leadership. The
COMELEC, the Poll Watchdogs,
the PNP as well as all political par-
ties, pro-administration and op-
position are already governed by
the same law on “clean, honest
and orderly elections.” That has
been the law and the desideratum
ever since. Let each do that and
just that ensuring and working for
“clean, honest and orderly elec-
tion,” which means avoiding, de-
ceit and cheating of every kind. If
all are committed to that, it is not
necessary to have a summit to
just say that. Let each make the
promise to God and with an hon-
est conscience.
From the part of the Church,
the CBCP has called upon the so-
cial action centers, the parish or-
ganizations, institutions and the
Basic Ecclesial Communities to
come together and organize them-
selves for clean, honest and or-
derly elections. Among them-
selves they must form linkages to
clean the dirt from our easily cor-
rupted electoral process. They
will show this in deeds more than
simply in words. They will also
do this before God and with hon-
est conscience.
Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
January 31, 2007
“THE Church values the demo-
cratic system.” ( Centesimus
Annus, 46.) These words of Pope
John Paul II inspire this letter,
which we, your shepherds, write
to you as the national elections
of 2007 draw near. We seek only
one thing: to apply the values of
the Gospel to our electoral pro-
cess.
Elections in a democracy al-
low citizens to choose freely
those who will govern them and
be instruments of a better life and
a more just society for all. These
coming elections in May 2007 are
especially important. Many of our
current political problems, which
have hindered fuller economic de-
velopment and social justice, es-
pecially for the poor, can be
traced to unresolved questions
concerning the conduct of past
elections. As a nation, we cannot
afford yet another controversial
electoral exercise that further ag-
gravates social distrust and hope-
lessness.
In these two years past, we
are only too aware, it has become
easier to succumb to apathy and
hopelessness about our country
and its political life. But as fol-
lowers of the crucified and risen
Lord, we are called never to lose
the hope that creates energy and
the love that creates responsibil-
ity.
Therefore, this time, we are
determined that we come together
once more and organize our-
selves more effectively than we
have done in the past to make this
year ’s elections credible—and as
free of violence as possible.
This means that every par-
ish organization and institu-
tion—and the BECs most espe-
cially—be mobilized to the ut-
most to do what each can do to-
wards that end. This means too
that they must form linkages with
one another and with other like-
minded civic and religious asso-
ciations that are working to help
clean the dirt from our easily cor-
rupted electoral process.
The Lord of truth and justice
be with us all in this crucial un-
dertaking to his greater praise and
glory. And may Mary, Our Lady
of Peace, intercede for us.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Confer-
ence of the Philippines,
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
28 January 2007
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Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
14
Reflections
Connectedness
By Bp. Jose R. Manguiran
Every Government is Called to be Just
By Fr. Rufino Cabatingan
Naawan, Misamis Oriental
FROM THE I NBOX

Time of Paradoxes
THE report of the Melo Commission on extrajudicial kill-
ings confirms the popular belief that exists in the mind of
people that some men in the military are behind the sys-
tematic murders of activists, farmers, militants, media men,
etc. Who else but the military has the means to carry out
such plan and premeditative acts of a nationwide scope
and magnitude. It is a paradox that the body that is
entrusted with the responsibility to safeguard and pro-
tect the citizenry is itself the source of guilt of orches-
trating serialized murders of the citizens; a shame when
we pride ourselves that the Philippines is “the show win-
dow of democracy in Asia.”
The systematic murders of helpless citizens are car-
ried out for the flimsy reason that they are supporters,
cuddlers, sympathizers, etc., of the rebels who are threat
to society. They are not subjected to fair trial and con-
viction. Suspects of criminal acts are still deemed inno-
cent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The
perpetrators of the murders and those in command by
principle of command responsibility are held account-
able for such crimes.
The extra-judicial killings/executions put to mock-
ery and outright rebuke of the law abolishing the death
penalty. We are living in a time of paradoxes.
Benjamin F. Evite
TV Maria
AS a devout Catholic, I am outraged that the new Catho-
lic channel will be named after our holy mother and not
her son. This will just reinforce the belief of ex-Catholics
and uncatechized Catholics that the Church gives more
importance to Mary and not Jesus. Why can’t the Church
name it TV Jesus? It will attract the ex-Catholics, who
have become rabid anti-Catholics to watch it!
Quiboloy once stated on his TV show that Catho-
lics have to talk to Mary first before they can talk to him.
I have nothing against the Blessed Virgin Mary, but my
deep concern is this will further aggravate the exodus of
Catholics to born-again Christianism. How many bar-
rios, towns, have the entire population converted to
B.A.C.? Numerous, and is increasing rapidly.
The entertainment industry is now dominated by
born-again Christians, who used to be Catholics. In 20
years, the RCC will be the minority in the Philippines,
just like Brazil, Uruguay where from 99% Catholics 20
years ago, down now to about 60%, courtesy of born-
again Christianity. This new TV channel is doomed from
the start unless they change its name!
Pio
BUT where is justice when the poor can-
not go to college by reason of his pov-
erty, when education is a right, not a privi-
lege.
But where is justice when the poor is
denied admittance to government hospi-
tals because he does not have a deposit.
But where is justice when the gov-
ernment is apathetic and indifferent to the
growing number of beggars roaming
around our streets.
But where is justice when the gov-
ernment violently dispersed peaceful dem-
onstration of workers who only clamor for
wage increase.
A fragmented life like ours, must, for its wholeness be con-
nected to something greater than the fragment. Looking at
man’s physical existence, man has to connect himself to the air
by breathing. Breathing the air makes him whole physically; to
refuse to breathe is to disintegrate. Although man uses air, he
cannot consume it, neither can he posses it. Air is not terminal
with man’s death; it outlasts man.
Man is more than physical entity; has moral, spiritual ex-
istence that must be connected to someone greater than man’s
total life. He needs to connect himself to the Absolute Spirit—
God.
Just as breathing is a necessary connection to the air for
physical wholeness, so also praying is a necessary connec-
tion to God for spiritual wholeness. Breathing is not an option;
neither is praying an option. Not to pray is to disconnect one-
self from the power-line of God. “Without me you can do noth-
ing.”
Praying is an obligation and a privilege; it can be done
alone in private, anywhere and anytime. But praying alone is
not enough; it should be done together with the community of
believers, in a sacred place like the Church.
Air is anywhere, but in some places it is concentrated, in
other, less. I believe that Christ’s presence is anywhere too by
His power of creation and by His Lordship over the universe. I
am sure that Christ’s presence is also concentrated in the very
person who implements the righteousness of God. Christ’s pres-
ence is also concentrated in the community of believers when
they assemble in his name to worship Him; he assures us that,
“Where two or three are gathered in His name, I am in the midst
of them.”
The strongest concentration of His presence is found in
the Eucharist: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me and I live in him.” (Jn 6:56). He who avails himself
of his kind of presence is intimately connected to the divine
wholeness.
But where is justice when the gov-
ernment sided with the rich in land dis-
pute, authorizing the police to demolish
the poor’s only shelter.
But where is justice when people who
are critically against government excesses
and abuses are silenced through extraju-
dicial killings.
But where is justice when the gov-
ernment taxes the poor more while the rich
is taxed less.
But where is justice when in the midst
of wallowing and degrading poverty of
the masses, government officials continue
to unscrupulously live in lavish lifestyle.
But where is justice when the gov-
ernment favors the rich over the poor in
the administration of justice. The inno-
cent poor was convicted while the guilty
rich was exonerated.
But where is justice when vast tracts
of lands are being used for recreation pur-
poses when many of our people do not
have shelter or land to till.
But where is justice when in every
meeting, convention, government officials
choose the best hotels and expensive food
at the expense of the poor.
But where is justice when there is an
unequal distribution of wealth, the major-
ity poor are given less while the minority
rich are given more.
But where is justice when our
country’s wealth is continuously si-
phoned by multinational corporations.
But where is justice when the gov-
ernment that is called to promote the com-
mon good is only promoting the affluent
few.
But where is justice when the gov-
ernment is surrendering its national sov-
ereignty by promoting foreign interests.
But where is justice when the truth of
the controversial 2004 Presidential elec-
tions continues to be kept hidden.
And finally, where is justice when we
the citizenry who have known these in-
justices are unperturbed and unaffected,
timid to act as if beyond our power to right
the wrong. And because of this, injustice
continues to dwell in our land. It contin-
ues to victimize.
words as a matter of fact. For he knows that he takes, blesses, and
breaks bread in persona Christi.
In that one sacred act, following the great “Oratio” of the
liturgy of the Eucharist, he brings into it the core of his being: he is
an ordained priest, whose character of ordination made him one
with the person of Christ the Head. The transformation of the
bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ is made possible
because he is a priest with the sacramental power to transform it.
That should set any priest to pause and think. As one Filipino
archbishop described it, “when he breaks bread and passes on
the cup, he should be humbled in the realization that what is so
easy to accomplish through his transforming words, he finds it
difficult to transform his own life and bad habits in his day-to-day
chore.”
It is on this regard, that the Holy Father Benedict XVI once
commented: “True liturgical education cannot consist in learning
and experimenting with external activities. Instead one must be led
toward the essential “action” that makes the liturgy what it is,
toward the transforming power of God, who wants, through what
happens in the liturgy, to transform us and the world” (Joseph
Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000 Ignatius Press, p. 175).
It is also along this vein that the late Holy Father John Paul II
waxed eloquent in exhorting the priests to give due reverence to
the Holy Eucharist. In his letter to the priests entitled “Dominicae
Cenae,” he said: “In reality, the ministerial and hierarchal priest-
hood, the priesthood of the Bishops and the priests, and, at their
side, the ministry of the deacons—ministries which normally be-
gin with the proclamation of the Gospel—are in closest relation-
ship with the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is the principal and central raison d’entre of
the Sacrament, of the priesthood, which effectively came into be-
ing at the moment of the institution of the Eucharist, and together
with it” (n.2). In his enclyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” the
same Pope carried on the same line of thought. He said: “If the
Eucharist is the center and summit of the Church’s life, it is like-
wise the center and summit of priestly ministry. For this reason,
with a heart filled with gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ, I repeat
that the Eucharist is the principal and central raison d’etre of the
sacrament of priesthood, which effectively came into being at the
moment of institution of the Eucharist” (n. 31).
Tidbits / from p7
LET me speak to married
men this time.
One morning, let’s say
you find your wife in bed
with tears in her eyes.
When you ask her why,
she mumbles, “I’m de-
pressed.”
As a husband who
has read the Bible, at-
tended prayer meetings,
and was now active in the
parish, the temptation at
this point is to love her with
your mind. “What? How
could you be depressed?”
You shake your head in
dismay.
“Sweetheart, you’re
not yet spiritually mature!
Trust God! Follow Prov-
erbs 3:5 and you won’t be
depressed! ‘Trust in Thy Lord
with all thine heart, leaneth
not on thine own understand-
ing, in all thy ways acknowl-
edge Him, and He shalt direct
thy paths!’”
If you are the wife, and
your husband tells that to
you, I’m giving you permis-
sion to say to him one of the
most expressive words in our
language: “Heh!!!”
Husbands, don’t love her
with your mind.
Love her with your heart.
When she says, “I’m de-
pressed,” do this: Put your
arms around her, stroke her
hair, and plant a kiss on her
forehead. And then say, “It’s
okay, hon. It’s okay. Can you
tell me why you’re sad? I’m
listening.”
Now imagine your wife
says, “I’m depressed because
this morning, I looked at the
mirror, and I saw so many
wrinkles on my face!” (Boo-
hoo-hoo…)
Immediately, husbands,
you’ll be tempted to love with
your mind again. So you say,
“That’s all? Darling, you’re
vain!” you say with a
preacher’s bombastic voice,
“Where’s your spiritual ma-
turity? Scripture says,
‘Seeketh thy treasure in
heaven where thieves doth
not break in and steal or
moth destroy,’and ‘Indeed we
believeth that when this
earthly tent of ours shall
passeth away, we shall
findeth a new home, a dwell-
ing in the heavens, not made
by human hands, but made by
God to last forever!’”
Husbands, don’t love her
with your mind.
Love with your heart.
(There is only one time
where you should love with
your mind, and that’s dur-
ing courtship. Think. Ana-
lyze. Evaluate. But once
the wedding ceremony is
over, the heart rules.)
At this point, she
doesn’t need a preacher.
She needs a lover.
Cradle her in your arms
again, and if you have a
somewhat-tolerable voice,
sing to her the love song
of Steve Curtis Chapman,
“I Will Be Here.” (If your
voice chases away cats and
dogs, just say the lyrics.)
“I will be here,
You can cry on my
shoulder,
When the mirror
tells us were older,
I will hold you,
I will be here,
To watch you grow
in beauty…”
Love With Your Heart
Bo Sanchez
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
15
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CINEMA Reviews
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CBCPMon it or
-
Title: LITTLE CHILDREN
Running Time: 137 mins
Lead Cast: Kate Winslet, Gregg
Edelman, Patrick Wilson,
Jennifer Connelly, Jackie
Earle Haley
Director: Todd Field
Producers: Todd Field, Albert
Berger, Ron Yerxa, etc.
Screenwriters: Todd Field, Tom
Perrotta
Music: Thomas Newman
Genre: Drama
Cinematography: Antonio
Calvache
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Location: Suburban USA
Technical Assessment: ***½
Moral Assessment: ¤¤
CINEMA Rating: For mature
viewers 18 and above
The film opens with Sarah (Kate
Winslet) and her three other subur-
ban mom friends in a heedless small
talk while in a playground warily look-
ing after their children and perform-
ing the rituals of the regimental stay-
at-home moms. Unknown to the three
Sara is unhappy and discontented
having to put behind as life an En-
glish Lit Major. The dare to befriend
the "prom king" and house daddy
Brad (Patrick Wilson) leads to an af-
fair which she rationalizes when she
catches her husband (Gregg
Edelman) pleasuring himself with a
pornographic website. Brad is
equally unhappy and resentful of his
breadwinner and perfect wife Kathy
(Jennifer Connelly). He
unenthusiastically studies
for the bar exams which he
flunked twice and prefers to
hang out with the local skate-
boarders and police football
team. Intertwined in the il-
licit affair between Sarah and
Brad is Ronnie McGorvey
(Jackie Earle Haley) a re-
formed pedophile whose re-
lease outrages the rigid and
pretentious neighborhood.
The characters lie and pre-
tend to themselves and each
other that everything will
turn out well save for Ronnie who
recognizes his past mistakes and the
present demons still haunting him.
The movie is a tight and visu-
ally compelling translation of
Perrotta's novel overflowing with
flashes of painful realizations, truth-
ful comedy and poignant reflections.
It is riveting with the subtleness of
its satire and sensitivity of the direc-
tion. Director and writers does not
romanticize the situation but brings
forth certain dark and ugly realities
that serves as the sting of cold wa-
ter splashed in one's complacency
and rigidness. The characters are
well developed and make perfect ar-
chetypes. The plot develops gradu-
ally to unfold insights into life and
human weaknesses. Technically, the
film is well crafted with brilliantly
laidback cinematography and cre-
ative production design that com-
pletes the look of an everyday com-
fortable yet tensed feeling. Perfor-
mances by Winslet, Somerville and
Heley are out-
standing. Over-
all, the scenes
are well done en-
riching the over-
all texture of the
film
Yearning is
the ember that
can light our
lives when prop-
erly fanned and
nurtured but will
also lead into a
behavior that is
destructive to ourselves and hurtful
to others if left to burn on its own.
Little Children takes a look at an adult
living like a child ? e.i. unable to con-
trol and direct his or her yearning
into something that transcends self-
centeredness. Adulthood requires
not just a mere conformity to soci-
ety but to be transformed into re-
sponsible persons making produc-
tive and positive choices. This film
teaches us the skill to befriend our
passion and wants so we can move
beyond selfishness into something
that makes us more loving and com-
passionate adults. It is also a call for
introspection at our vulnerability
and shortcomings first before pass-
ing judgment to people we think of
sinners or criminals so unworthy to
belong to a community. We rated the
movie "For Adults" as young audi-
ence may not fully and maturely pro-
cess the sensitivity and presentation
of the subject matter such as adul-
tery, deceit, etc.
Title: BABEL
Running Time: 142 mins
Lead Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate
Blanchett, Adriana
Barraza, Gael Garcia
Bernal, Rinko Kikuchi,
Koji Yakusho
Director: Guillermo Arriaga
Producers: Steve Golin,
Jon Kilik
Screenwriter: Guillermo
Arriaga
Music: Gustavo
Santaolalla
Editor: Douglas Crise
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Cinematography: Rodrigo
Prieto
Distributor: Paramount Vantage
Location: USA
Technical Assessment: ****
Moral Assessment: ¤¤¤½
CINEMA Rating: For mature
viewers 18 and above
A goatherd in a mountain vil-
lage in Morocco buys a rifle from a
neighbor and lets his two young
sons use it to shoot predators at-
tacking their herd. The two boys try
to outdo each other in testing the
rifle until the younger one, chal-
lenged to hit a passing tourist bus
down the valley, aims and hits it. Hit
on the shoulder is Susan (Cate
Blanchett), the wife of Richard (Brad
Pitt), a couple from San Diego, Cali-
fornia, whose marriage is on the
rocks. Four hours away by land from
civilization, the
rest of the tour-
ists impatiently
leave the couple
behind as the
latter await a vil-
lage doctor and
assistance from
the American
Embassy. Inves-
tigation on the
Morocco shoot-
ing reveals that
the rifle owner is
a businessman
(Koji Yakusho) in Japan who, while
still mourning his wife's suicide, is
also grappling with the trials of single
handedly raising a teenage deaf-
mute daughter Chieko (Rinko
Kikuchi). Meanwhile, Amelia
(Adriana Barraza), an illegal immi-
grant and the nanny of the couple's
children (Elle Fanning and Nathan
Gamble), must attend her son's wed-
ding in Mexico. Failing to find her
replacement, Amelia decides it's saf-
est to bring the children along to the
wedding, but the gleeful celebration
ends in a nerve-wracking return trip
for the three.
Well deserved are the over-100
awards and nominations Babel has
garnered in various film festivals
around the world, including Best Pic-
ture, Golden Globe Awards; Best Di-
rector at Cannes Film Festival; and
Ecumenical Jury Award, plus Tech-
nical Grand Prize for Film Editing, also
at Cannes. Director Alejandro
Gonzales Inarritu creates a puzzle out
of Babel, one whose pieces are scat-
tered in four corners of the globe,
spanning various cultures and lan-
guages and which is to find comple-
tion in five days. It boosts Inarritu's
reputation as a director par excel-
lence. Visceral is the word to describe
Babel: the compelling plot develop-
ment and the emotionally incisive
acting (even from amateurs such as
the goat herd brothers) provoke the
viewer who appreciates real-life situ-
ation drama viewed on screen.
Babel uses one bullet to shoot
through and string together four situ-
ations in human life, each depicting
an agonizing condition that language
cannot only not resolve but in fact
even does aggravate. Babel subtly
says that human communication has
lagged behind communication tech-
nology: indifference, selfishness,
loneliness, and plain ignorance spiral
into fear and erratic judgment, until
man as cause and victim of confu-
sion is further dragged into its seem-
ingly inescapable web. Adiscerning
viewer will detect in Babel powerful
statements decrying poverty, bigotry,
and cold lawfulness, but will also
glean from all that excruciating con-
fusion the ember of goodness that
burns in the human heart.
Title: ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES
Running Time: 94 mins
Lead Cast: Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Penny Balfour, Doug
Rand, voices of Madonna, Calvin "Snoop Ddogg" Broadus,
Robert de Niro, Jason Bateman, Jimmy Fallon
Director: Luc Besson
Producers: Loc Besson and Emmanuel Prevost
Screenwriters: Luc Besson and Celine Garcia (adapted from the
book Arthur et les Minimoys)
Music: Eric Serra
Genre: Fantasy/ Action
Cinematography: Dominique Delguste and Thierry Arbogast
Distributor: Cine Star Films Inc.
Location: Paris, France
Technical Assessment: ***
Moral Assessment: ¤¤¤
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 13 and below with parental guidance
Threatened by a foreclosure of the property of his grandparents,
Arthur (Freddie Highmore) decides to protect his Granny (Mia Far-
row) by searching for the treasure that his grandfather allegedly bur-
ied in their yard before he disappeared. From a book, he learns about
an African tribe who were helped with an irrigation system devised
by his grandfather and also about the Minimoys, minuscule creatures
measuring 10th of an inch and described as smaller than a blade of
grass, rendering them almost invisible. From his own ingenuity and
with the help of a group of African tribesmen, he enters the magical
land of the Minimoys, meets the King (voiced by Robert de Niro), his
daughter Princess Selenia (voiced by Madonna), and his son Betamech
(voiced by Jimmy Fallon). He learns that the treasure is kept by an evil
wizard, Maltazard (voiced by David Bowie). The trio ? Arthur, Selenia,
and Betamech ? start their valiant quest for the hidden treasure and in
the process, Arthur discovers his missing grandfather. Meanwhile,
Arthur's parents (Penny Balfour and Doug Rand) arrive in Granny's
house and learn of Arthur's disappearance and of the imminent forfei-
ture of Granny's home. Will Arthur be able to return to the Kentucky
household before the two-day grace period stipulated by the bank?
How will he recover the treasure and what will happen to his invisible
friends?
Touted as "one of the most expensive effects driven films of
2007", Arthur and the Invisibles is a hodge-podge of characters and
themes from Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter although
definitely not in the same league. Credit should be given to the visual
effects and animation team for the computer generated, fast-paced
scenes. To imagine a daffodil as a cozy bed for invisible creatures who
can also sail aboard a tube on a stream helps enkindle a reverence for
the environment and ecological concern among the young. However,
what could have been a charming fairy tale material for children is lost
in a spate of violence and scary characters befitting a horror film.
There are snags in the story such as the unexplained appearances of
African tribesmen giving directions to Arthur on how to enter the
land of the Minimoys, suprising his parents as they were digging for
the treasure, and again their deus ex machina appearance when the
greedy developer has threatened to shoot the family towards the end
of the film. The plot also suffers from inconsistencies such as the
sudden shift of characterization from a 10-year old boy's innocent
adventure to a love relationship with Pricess Selenia in Minimoy land.
The petulant Selenia and the materialistic parents of Arthur are
no role models for children. Selenia rudely snaps at her brother and
curses the enemy ("I hope he burns in hell."). The parents of Arthur
have been negligent of him as evident from the boy's account of his
loneliness when he was sent to a boarding house for a year in En-
gland. Their concern for the missing Arthur took a backseat as they
buckled down to dig the backyard in search of the buried treasure.
But there are redeeming features of the film such as the love of Granny
for Arthur; Arthur's concern to protect Granny and his determination
to save her property. It was Arthur who gave hope to the disheart-
ened Minimoys and his grandfather, reminding them that what is im-
portant is that they are alive and they have each other. When his
grandfather advised Arthur, Selenia, and Betamech to pray for a miracle
as they come to face the destructive fury of Maltazard, Arthur proved
that by working for a creative solution to a problem and through the
power of imagination, miracles indeed are possible.
Vol. 11 No. 3
February 5-18, 2007
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
16
From L-R: Ms. Cynthia Banta,
President of Mission Appeal
for Seminary Support (MASS);
Bishop Oscar Solis, first Fil-
Am bishop of Archdiocese of
Los Angeles; and Dr. Zenaida
Rotea, MD, executive Secre-
tary of CBCP Offi ce on
Women.
People, Facts & Places
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
16
Vol. 11 No. 3
Ø
·
·
·
·
Cebu Launches Vocation Month
THE Directors of Vocations in the
archdiocese of Cebu launched the
vocation month with a Eucharistic
celebration last January 26 at Sto.
Niño Pilgrim grounds at the Basilica
of Sto. Niño, in Cebu. It was partici-
pated in by at least more than 60 rep-
resentatives from various religious
congregations.
The launching kicks off a
month-long vocation awareness pro-
gram that will include school-to-
school vocation campaign in the dif-
ferent colleges and universities, as
well as vocation promotion in the
parishes. The vocation month will be
capped with an overnight youth
camp on February 24, which will cul-
minate with a solemn mass in the
early morning of February 25.
Directors of Vocations vice
president Alex Poblador, RCJ, said
around 2,000 students from 17 pri-
vate and public schools in Cebu City
and the southern parts of the prov-
ince are expected to come and take
part in the jamboree.
With the theme, Jesus: “Come,
follow me.” Deal or No Deal, the
jamboree will be highlighted with a
talk by Fr. Danny Montana, RCJ, and
spiced up with cultural presenta-
tions and sharing among the youth
participants. There will also be a
group rosary and Marian invocation.
Already in its 13
t h
year, the vo-
cation jamboree has been instru-
mental in creating greater aware-
ness among the people especially
the youth on the need to pray and
work for more vocations in the
Church.
The vocation jamboree held
annually is definitely a help not only
in attracting vocations to enter the
priesthood and religious life but also
in providing a venue for young
people to discover their true calling
and to find the right congregation
to enter in. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
POPE Benedict
XVI has ap-
pointed Manila
Ar c h b i s h o p
Gaudencio Car-
dinal Rosales as
a member of an
institution to
help oversee
Vatican fi-
nances.
Rosales, 74,
joins seven
other Cardinals
who were
named by the Pope as new mem-
bers in the Holy See body called the
Council of Cardinals for the Study
of Organizational and Economic
Questions of the Apostolic See.
The appointments were an-
nounced in the Vatican on February 3.
The council, created by the
Pope John Paul II in 1981, is com-
posed of 15 cardinals from local
churches around the world which
are appointed by the Pope to serve
for a five-year term.
The other cardinals appointed
by the Pope to the Council are:
Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of
Durban, South Africa; Juan Luis
Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of
Lima, Peru; Anthony Olubunmi
Okogie, archbishop of Lagos, Nige-
ria; Eusébio Oscar Scheid, arch-
bishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
George Pell, archbishop of Sydney,
Australia; Marc Ouellet, archbishop
of Quebec, Canada; and Nicholas
Cheong Jin-Suk, archbishop of
Seoul, South Korea.
“The council is convened by
the cardinal secretary of state, usu-
ally twice a year, to consider those
economic and organizational ques-
tions which relate to the adminis-
tration of the Holy See, with the as-
sistance, if needed, of experts in
these affairs,” states Pastor Bonus,
an apostolic constitution issued by
the late Pope John Paul II.
(CBCPNews)
Markings Markings
Markings Markings Markings Markings Markings
Markings Markings Markings
CELEBRATED. San Sebastian
College-Recoletos, 60
th
Anniver-
sary, January 20, 2007. San
Sebastian College—Recoletos,
Manila (SSC-R), is a Catholic In-
stitution of higher learning
owned and operated by the Au-
gustinian Recollect Fathers. SSC-R, Manila was es-
tablished in 1941 but assumed hiatus from 1942 to
1945 when World War II broke out. In 1953, Insti-
tutes of Commerce and Law were opened. Subse-
quently, several other course offerings and special-
izations were consecutively added. The Elementary,
High School and College Departments enjoy accredi-
tation from the Philippine Accrediting Agency of
Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). The
Institute of Law gained approval from the Commis-
sion on Higher Education (CHED) to revise its cur-
riculum designed to produce business and economic
lawyers for the future.
CELEBRATED. Saint Bridget
College, 95th anniversary, Janu-
ary 2007. The Religious of the
Good Shepherd (RGS) established
the first Catholic School for girls
in the Diocese of Lipa. This was
in 1913, when the Most Reverend Joseph Petrelli,
Bishop of the Diocese, asked the help of the RGS
Sisters working in Rangoon, Burma to come to
Batangas to start the first educational mission of the
Church in his Diocese. In 1953 the Boys’ High School
Department was established. In 1980 the students of
the Boys and Girls High School Departments were
integrated into co-educational classes. Sensitive to
the changing demands of the times and the rapid de-
velopment of technology, Saint Bridget College opted
to seriously take the challenge of integrating tech-
nology in instructions in 1998. Saint Bridget College
has continuously embarked on Quality Education and
to ensure this, the High School Department has been
under an accrediting agency.
CELEBRATED. Golden Jubilee
of the following RVM Sisters: S.
Ma. Julia Advincula,, S. Ma.
Consuelo Billanes, S. Ma.
Raymunda Canada, S. Ma.
Eufrocina Ello, S. Ma. Rosita
Fernandez, S. Ma. Adoracion Garde, S. Ma. Tarcela
Gonzaga, S. Ma. Arsenia Patangan; and the Silver
Jubilee of the following: S. Ma. Amanda dela Cruz, S.
Ma. Rosalia Nacionales, and S. Ma. Alma Tayo; Feb-
ruary 2, 2007 at the Our Lady of the Assumption
Chapel, RVM Mother House.
INSTALLED. Bp. Sergio Utleg,
63, as Bishop of Laoag, January
11, 2007; Bishop Utleg was or-
dained priest in 1968 in New York.
In 1997 he was ordained bishop
to succeed Bishop Miguel
Purugganan as Ordinaary of the
Diocese of Ilagan in Isabela. Ear-
lier he served as procurator in
Cagayan’s seminary, social action director of
Tuguegarao archdiocese, Episcopal vicar in Aparri
and chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on
Social Action. He is the current Chairman of CBCP’s
Commission on Indegenous People. During the in-
stallation, Archbishop Talamayan, the homilist, de-
scribed him to be “quiet and low profile” with a great
sympathy for the poor citing the event then Bishop
Utleg became the first pastor in the poorest barangay
of Cordova, Amulung, Cagayan, where he initiated
an ecclesial community, which up to the present re-
mains as one of his notable achievements.
DIED. Most Rev. Generoso
Camiña, February 1, 2007. His
remains lay in state at the Clergy
House in Digos and will be buried
in a crypt after a funeral mass on
February 9 at the Mary Mediatrix
of All Graces Cathedral; was born
on November 22, 1931 in Leon, Iloilo and ordained
a priest of the Foreign Mission Society of Quebec
(PME) in 1962. He was appointed Titular Bishop
of Pauzera and Auxiliary Bishop of Davao in 1978
and named as the first bishop of Digos on Decem-
ber 20, 1979. As a pastor he was committed with
issues of poverty, injustice and the indigenous
peoples in Mindanao. “Bishop Camiña served God
in this Diocese for 23 years, and did so with faith,
wisdom, compassion and courage,” said Fr. Ronald
Lunas, Chancellor of Digos Diocese. He tendered
his resignation as bishop of Digos on February 11,
2003.
Pope Names Rosales to Holy See Body

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