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Couples for Christ opts to split
Rabbi praises Pope Benedict for his clear teaching
Message of the Holy Father on the occasion of WYD 2008
Cardinal tells pro-Erap, ‘accept verdict’
A RANKING Church official has urged supporters of deposed President Joseph Estrada to respect whatever would be the ruling on his plunder case. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales made the reaction amid reports of street actions to protest a guilty decision. Rosales asked Estrada supporters to shun violence and learn instead how to accept and follow the rule of law.
Cardinal / A6
El Shaddai leader nixes ‘Hello Garci’ probe
ANOTHER Church leader, this time a layperson, gave the Senate reinvestigation of the “Hello Garci” scandal a big no. El Shaddai head Bro. Mike Velarde said he is not supporting the move to revive the investigation regarding the Hello Garci tape, a conversation between President Gloria MacapagalArroyo and former election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano during the 2004 elections.
El Shaddai / A6
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace September 3 - 16, 2007 Vol. 11 No. 18 Php 20.00
Bishops, legislators launch caucus
By Roy Lagarde
RANKING Catholic Church officials met with top government leaders in an unprecedented move to form a caucus that will discuss family life and other issues. The “Bishops’-Legislators’ Caucus of the Philippines” was launched September 4 at Queensway building in Makati City. The dialogue involved some key personalities from the Senate, Congress and Church leaders including Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. The CBCP during its 95th plenary assembly agreed to initiate a caucus among bishops and legislators in an effort to build understanding between the two parties primarily on important issues that affect the dignity of life and the family. Foremost among the topics immediately tackled is “redefining” the doctrine of the separation of the Church and State. “It is precisely that we accept and respect such separation that we see the need to affirm and confirm that there is also a need to come together in friendship and brotherhood,” said Lagdameo.
The population issue
The more than three hours preliminary discussion focused more on one of the most favorite topics often being debated by the Church and the legislators: the population issue. The contentious population issue has brought government health agencies always at loggerheads with church people ever since the Marcos times. Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Chairman of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus said that “life and family values are enBishops / A6
BISHOPS-LEGISLATORS CAUCUS. CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo (center) shares light moments with House Speaker Jose De Venecia, Senate President Manuel Villar, San Fernando, Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto and Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. during the caucus held at EL Shaddai headquarters in Makati City last September 4.
Bishop blames ‘greedy’ politicians on Basilan war
A CATHOLIC bishop said Mindanao is at war today because of “greedy” political leaders who are misled by their own selfish interests. In a statement, Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad blamed public officials who have the courage to sacrifice many lives for Isabela de Basilan power and wealth. Bishop Martin Jumoad “They lost their sense of God because they worship power and wealth as their new gods. They are ready to kill people in order to stay and perpetuate in power…” he said. Jumoad appealed to the government to end the military offensive against Abu Sayyaf, which he said, caused “ugly and painful” effects to the people there. He expressed apprehension that many communities have already been displaced by the war, with children suffering the most. “As Bishop of Basilan, I appeal to all of you to stop the war! Do not destroy life because life is sacred. Respect every individual because all of us are children of the Almighty God,” he said. Saying that “nobody likes war”, the prelate said the extremists and the government forces prefer peace “so that they can live with their families and attend to the needs of their children.” Jumoad also asked the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to set aside “pride” and come back to negotiating table. He said the delay of peace agreement would mean more pain and suffering to many civilians. “You must effect peace agreement now and not tomorrow,” he said. “Allow us once again to breathe the air of peace and freedom here in Basilan.” The 50-year old bishop stressed that peace can only be attained when both sides, the government and the Islamic rebels, observe justice. He also urged the media to be “responsible” because “our people deserved accurate and correct data.” “We condemn any misinterpretation, exaggeration and sensationalism of the issues here in Basilan,” he said. Jumoad likewise called on the people to avoid manipulation of situation in Basilan for their interests adding, “You do not have the right to gain anything at the expense of the Basileños.” “I appeal to all religious leaders of every faith to unite and collaborate in building peace and set aside biases,” he added. (CBCP News)
Pope appoints new Apostolic Nuncio to RP
POPE Benedict XVI has named the Vatican ambassador to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines. He succeeds Archbishop Fernando Filoni, who was appointed as Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat State, the third most important position at the Vatican. Born in Philadelphia, USA on August 24, 1944, Archbishop Adams was ordained priest in May 1970. He has a Doctorate in Canon Law. In 1976, Archbishop Adams, 63, entered into the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See and served successively in the following countries: Rwanda, Secretariate of State—Vatican City, Kenya, Honduras, Ireland, Denmark and Czech Republic. The Holy Father in 1996 appointed him as the Apostolic Nuncio in Bangladesh and elevated to the dignity of Archbishop with the titular see of Scala. He has been the Papal nuncio in Zimbabwe since August 22, 2002. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), meanwhile, has immediately welcomed Archbishop Adam’s appointment. “As we would welcome the Holy Father anytime so we welcome his ambassador or representative in our midst to unite us with the Holy Father who is the successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ,” CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said in a statement. Lagdameo said the new apostolic nuncio will be the 15th in the line of Apostolic Delegates and Apostolic Nuncios to the Philippines. An apostolic nuncio or papal legate is considered the representative or ambassador of the Holy See to the bishops of the Episcopal Conference and particular churches. His principal task, according to church law, is to make firm and effective the bonds of unity between the Pope and the heads of States and the bishops. (CBCP News)
Bishops lead civil society in upholding rights of families
BISHOPS, lawmakers, government officials and members of civil society reiterated their common stand in upholding the rights of families to found their families according to their religious convictions in a recent Human Life International congress held in Cebu City last August 24-25. In a statement participants to the congress collectively committed themselves to resist population control in any form and oppose the passage of any bills that promote the “culture of death.” Bishops participants included Jaro Archbishop and CBCP President Angel Lagdameo, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal and Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortez of Cebu, Bishop-emeritus Jesus Varela of Sorsogon and Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran. Criticizing the over-population propaganda being advocated by the government, the participants urged government officials to support programs and legislation that strengthen the family. “[We] earnestly urge government officials, local and national, as well as lawmakers, to support programs and legislation that genuinely strengthen the family and to invest in its total development, instead of espousing programs/ bills that tend to destroy it,” they said. The participants also committed to relentlessly pursue the promotion of Fertility Awareness at all levels of society, especially on the grassroots. Human sexuality should also be regarded in the context of God’s plan for humanity and the value of marriage, the statement said. The participants also resolved to fight all efforts of propaganda that promotes freedom of sexual orientation which undermines the stability of families and to support the absolute duty of parents over the education of their children in human sexuality. “[We] uphold the exclusive responsibility and the right of parents over the education of their children in human sexuality and …help their children achieve sexual integrity and to espouse saving sex for marriage,” they said. Lawmakers included Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. and some representatives from Congress who are supportive of profamily bills. Other participants are active members of pro-life and family organizations from the different dioceses in the country. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Taytay bishop alarmed by increasing mining applications
THERE are no less than 127 applications from mining companies to do exploration work in the country’s last frontier, the famed Province of Palawan. Taytay Apostolic Vicar Bishop Edgardo Juanich said most of these companies have focused their attention to the islandprovince’s southern part. “There are those who have already begun operations,” Juanich said over Veritas 846 Thursday morning. Asked whether local residents would benefit from the exploration and full-operations, Juanich said “there would only be temporary benefits because after they have extracted the area’s resources, the immediate environment would have been destroyed as in our experience with Quicksilver Mines near Puerto Princesa City.” “I personally believe it (mining) wouldn’t do any long-term development to Palawan,” he further
Follow Pope’s example, RP Church told
AN environment advocacy group asked the Catholic Church Monday to take a cue from Pope Benedict XVI’s environmental leadership. The Eco Waste Coalition lauded the Holy Father for urging the youth to care for our environment at the first ever “eco-friendly” youth rally in Loreto, Italy recently. Event organizers gave the thousands of young participants with recycled knapsacks containing biodegradable plates, hand-cranked phone chargers, and bags for sorting and recycling discards as well as prayer books printed on recycled paper. “We are delighted to read from news dispatches that the mammoth youth festival in Loreto was very eco-friendly. Nearly everything was biodegradable or recyclable,” said Manny Calonzo, EcoWaste Coalition Secretary. He said the Catholic Church in the country should also take extra steps to make traditional religious practices and celebrations “greener”. “The local Church should check the ecological soundness of the way religious festivals, prayer assemblies and other time-honored activities are observed by the faithful,” he said. The environmental group also described as very timely the Pope’s plea for the youth to shun “disposable love” and “consumerism”, saying more and more Filipinos fall for single use, throwaway plastic items that are risky to the environment. The eco-group recalled that similar efforts were initiated in the recent past to minimize the environFollow / A6
Taytay / A6
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Holy Father worried about planet’s future
LORETO, Italy, September 2, 2007—The world is in urgent need of Catholics working to protect the environment, says Benedict XVI. The Pope said this today at the end of his homily for the closing Mass of his encounter with young people in Loreto. Following Christ, the Holy Father affirmed, brings with it “the continual effort to make one’s own contribution to building a more just and solid society, where all can enjoy the goods of the earth.” “I know that many of you dedicate yourselves with generosity to bear witness to your own faith in various social ambits, volunteering, working to promote the common good, peace and justice in every community,” he said. “One of the areas in which work appears to be urgent is without a doubt that of protecting creation. “To the new generations the future of the planet is entrusted, in which there are evident signs of a development that has not always known how to safeguard the delicate equilibriums of nature. “Before it is too late, it is necessary to make courageous decisions that reflect; knowing how to recreate a strong alliance between man and the earth. “A decisive ‘yes’ to the protection of creation is necessary and a firm commitment to reverse those tendencies that run the risk of bringing about situations of unstoppable degradation.” faithfuls Benedict XVI ap- Pope Benedict XVI on papamobile waves to the (Photo bybefore celebrating mass for the youth in Montorso, Loreto, central Italy. Giorgio Benvenuti) plauded an initiative from the Church in Italy to promote sensi- tention is focused above all on water, a most tivity to the issue of protecting creation. Sept. precious good that, if it is not shared in a fair 1 has been established as a national day for and peaceful way, will unfortunately become promoting awareness of these matters. a cause for significant tensions and bitter con“This year,” the Holy Father observed, “at- flicts.” (Zenit)
New cardinals expected to be named soon
VATICAN CITY, August 28, 2007—The Italian press published reports that Benedict XVI plans to name new cardinals in November, reports the Vatican has not confirmed. The Pope would need to elevate 15 new cardinals to bring the number of electors from its current number of 105, to its limit of 120. Seventy-six of the 181 members of the College of Cardinals are over 80 and thus ineligible to vote in a papal conclave. On Sunday night, Cardinal Édouard Gagnon passed away, bringing the college to its current number. Since January, six cardinals have turned 80. Two more will reach their 80th birthday before the end of the year: Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the college and former secretary of state, and Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, former archbishop of Detroit and retired president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. The last new members of the College of Cardinals were created in October 2003, when Benedict XVI elevated 15 new cardinals, 12 of whom were under the age of 80. The ceiling of 120 for the number of cardinal-electors was established by Pope Paul VI in 1975. The Pope has the authority to exceed that number at his own discretion. (Zenit) the statement published by the Salesian Information Agency. “The entire track of the wall, including the section involving the property of Cremisan, has been set in complete autonomy by Israeli authorities,” according to the statement. It adds: “The heads of the Salesian community—who have always been open to dialogue with the local Palestinians, to whom they have often provided several services of social utility— wish to renew their deepest solidarity to the [Palestinian] village of Al-Walajeh and to the whole Palestinian population still enduring the hardships of occupation. “At the same time they express their heartfelt hope that every wall among peoples may fall, for a future of peace.” (Zenit)
Cardinal Dziwisz wants control on Polish Catholic radio Salesians oppose Israeli
KRAKOW, Poland, September 4, 2007—Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow has called for close episcopal supervision over Radio Maryja, saying that the controversial broadcaster threatens the unity of Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, the Redemptorist priest who founded Radio Maryja, with a new director whose guidance of the station would be more in line with the wishes of the Polish hierarchy. Father Rydzyk has been under heavy criticism for allegedly making antiSemitic remarks. The newspaper Zycie Warszawy reports that at the August 25 meeting of the Polish hierarchy, held at Czestochowa, Cardinal Dziwisz’s suggestions drew support from the Polish primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, as well as Archbishops Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw, Tadeusz Goclowski of Danzig, Jozef Zycinski of Lublin, Damian Zimon of Katowice, Edward Ozorowski of Bialystok, and Henryk Muszynski of Gniezno. However, the hierarchy was not unanimous, the newspaper said: Archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz of WarsawPrague spoke out in favor of the current management of Radio Maryja, as did Bishops Antoni Dydycz of Drohiczyn, Stanislaw Napierala of Kalisz, and Wieslaw Mering of Wlocawek. At the conclusion of their discussion, the Polish bishops decided against taking any public action on the issue. Father Joszef Kloch, the bishops’ spokesman, observed that any disciplinary action against Father Rydzyk should be taken by his superiors in the Redemptorist order rather than by the bishops. The Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported, however, that the bishops would ask Redemptorist leaders to take some action. (The Polish bishops’ conference did not confirm that report.) The appearance of Cardinal Dziwisz’s remarks at the bishops’ meeting drew a protest from Father Robert Necek, the spokesman for the Krakow archdiocese, who noted that the cardinal had not given permission for their publication. But Father Adam Boniecki, the editor of Tygodnik Powszechny, defended his decision to print the speech, saying that it was important to demonstrate that—contrary to some Polish media reports—the bishops are concerned about the editorial direction of Radio Maryja. In related news, Archbishop Henryk Muszynki of Gniezno told Poland’s Catholic Information Agency that he does not desire the liquidation of Radio Maryja, but does hope to transform the broadcast outlet into a medium that will reliably promote the vision of Catholicism advanced by the country’s bishops. (CWNews)
Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz
of Polish Catholicism. Cardinal Dziwisz, the longtime secretary to Pope John Paul II, made his suggestion in an address delivered on August 25 at a meeting of the Polish hierarchy, and published this week by the Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny . The cardinal said that Radio Maryja is part of a worrisome trend in which the work of the Catholic Church is “gradually slipping out of the bishops’ control.” Cardinal Dziwisz urged the replacement
BETHLEHEM, West Bank, September 3, 2007—The Salesian community in the Holy Land is contesting a section of the Israeli West Bank barrier that will cut the Cremisan monastery off from its Palestinian neighbors. Father Giovanni Laconi, vice provincial of the Salesian Province of the Middle East, released a statement Friday that protests the continuation of the barrier currently under construction in Beit Jala, some of which will be built on Salesian land. The West Bank barrier is a wall being constructed by Israel with the stated aim of keeping terrorists from the area. It is located mainly within the West Bank. Beit Jala, located 6 miles to the south of Jerusalem, is part of greater Bethlehem.
Father Laconi said in his note that the “Salesian Community, victim of a one-sided decision by Israeli authorities, firmly takes a stand against the policy of unilateral separation, reaffirms its complete extraneousness to the planning of the track of the wall and, at the same time, appeals to all competent authorities to engage for the re-establishment of international law.” The International Court of Justice said in an advisory opinion in July 2004 that the wall is “contrary to international law.” The section of the barrier in question will be built partially on Salesian property where it borders a Palestinian village, AlWalajeh, which will be cut off from Jerusalem and the neighboring monastery, said
Australia gives $15 million to Youth Day
SYDNEY, Australia, August 22, 2007—Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced that the government will provide another 15 million Australian dollars (US$12.06 million) in support of World Youth Day 2008. The new pledge is on top of the 20 million Australian dollars (US$16 million) previously made available. Cardinal George Pell, the archbishop of Sydney, said: “The prime minister has been a very strong supporter of World Youth Day 2008, and we remain grateful for his personal commitment to the event and for the support of the government at all levels.” He added that the additional funds “will help us deliver key services to the more than 200,000 pilgrims who will take part in this event.” “This generous support follows the federal government’s decision to provide all registered pilgrims with a three-month visa, free of government charges and country quotas,” the prelate said. Cardinal Pell said of World Youth Day 2008: “It will deepen and renew the faith of young people and make a powerful contribution to ensuring that the values of a fair go and respect for others are promoted and passed on to the next generation. “On behalf of the local organizing committee and the Catholic community, I express my warmest thanks to the prime minister and his government for their strong support.” (Zenit)
184,800 registered for World Youth Day
SYDNEY, Australia, September 2, 2007—Surpassing expectations, 184,800 pilgrims have already registered for World Youth Day. World Youth Day chief operating officer Danny Casey said he was thrilled with the response from prospective pilgrims in Australia and from around the world for the event that is still 11 months away. Casey said, “We appear to have exceeded our target for international visitors and are confident that the numbers of Australian pilgrims will grow even further.” “These numbers show the level of anticipation that is building in Australia and around the world for this historic event,” that will be “the largest event held in Australia in terms of participants and will deliver a significant boost to [New South Wales] and Australian economies,” he said. “With the support of the federal and state governments, we are progressing well in our plans for accommodation, catering and event planning,” Casey added. Australian pilgrims top the list of those registered with 50,710, while U.S. pilgrims are second with 36,171. More than 500,000 people are expected to take part in at least one World Youth Day event. (Zenit)
Spain must increase aid Church attributed with for families with children, development of Sri Lankan film industry says institute
MADRID, Spain, September 3, 2007—After comparing the amount of aid the different European nations provide to families with children, the Institute for Family Policy (IFP) said Spain lags far behind and should urgently increase its aid in order to ensure the country’s demographic future. “The amount of $33 per month in aid for families with incomes under $12,000 per year is an insult to Spanish families, since, in addition to being a small and insufficient amount, the vast majority of families with children, more than 90 percent, do not qualify to receive it,” said Eduardo Hertfelder, president of the IFP. The limits on income are so restrictive that out of a population of 8.3 million children under the age of 18 in Spain, only 10 percent can actually receive the assistance. Hertfelder pointed out those twoincome families that take in the equivalent of the government-established minimum professional salary cannot qualify for the aid. “This situation is inconsistent with the rest of Europe,” Hertfelder said, that while “the majority of countries in Europe stand out for their universal assistance per child. Spain, together with Italy and Portugal, is the only European Union country that does not offer universal aid.” The Institute also noted that the amount of family aid per child is “clearly insufficient and much less than the European average. This is provoking unjust discrimination against families of the rest of the EU countries.” The amount of aid provided to families in Spain has not gone up since 2000, Hertfelder noted. “There is no reason why there cannot be universal aid per child by the year 2008,” he stated. “Only the lack of political will to help the family can block this demand by Spanish families,” Hertfelder said. (CNA) COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, September 4, 2007—An award-winning Sri Lankan filmmaker credits the Catholic Church’s media initiatives with having developed and improved the country’s film industry. Prasanna Vithanage, who won this year’s SIGNIS Sri Lanka Gold Award for directing, said SIGNIS and its predecessor, the International Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audiovisuals (OCIC), served as the breeding ground for many current Sri Lankan filmmakers. Vithanage told UCA News that, as a boy, he and his friends enjoyed watching and reviewing films at a mini-theater OCIC organized in Colombo. Those experiences provided the inspiration for many filmmakers in the industry today, he said. We do not have a film school in Sri Lanka even now,” he pointed out. “We learned everything through watching films.” Four of Vithanage’s five films have won SIGNIS golden awards. The SIGNIS Sri Lanka Awards for film and television are similar to the Academy Awards in the United States. They recognize achievements in various categories. The Aug. 18 gala event drew 400 people this year with Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo and veteran film director Sumithra Peiris as the guests of honor. Deepthi Fonseka, consulting editor of the newspaper Sarasaviya, agreed about the contribution of the Catholic Church to the Sri Lankan film industry. “SIGNIS (Sri Lanka) is one of the award ceremonies appreciated by the industry,” she told UCA News. “The Catholic Church has made a significant contribution to audiovisual communication over the years. It has helped raise standards in the industry.” (CNA)
US bishops renew call for immigration reform
WASHINGTON, USA, September 3, 2007—In a statement released for the US celebration of Labor Day, the chairman of the American bishops’ domesticpolicy committee has called for “far-reaching and comprehensive reform” to the country’s immigration laws. “The immigration status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable,” writes Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn. He chides political leaders for their failure to make progress toward genuine reform, saying that this year’s debate in Washington has “polarized our people, paralyzed the Congress, and failed our nation.” While celebrating the gains made over the decades in the treatment of working people, Bishop DiMarzio laments that many workers “still lack decent work or fair wages, toil in terrible conditions, and have no real voice in their economic life.” As a specific instance of the problem he cites the fact that “more than 40 million people in our own nation lack genuine health care coverage.” Citing an earlier statement by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Catholic Framework for Economic Life, Bishop DiMarzio suggests 4 fundamental principles for economic justice: The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy. A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring. All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life (e.g. food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, safe environment, economic security). All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefit, to decent working conditions, as well as to organize and join union or other associations. (CWNews)
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Fr. Bossi meets Pope in Loreto
Don’t be seduced, Benedict XVI tells youth
LORETO, Italy, September 2, 2007—Benedict XVI invited half a million young people to go against the current in a world seduced by violence, despotism and “success at all costs.” The Pope’s appeal resounded at the closing Mass today in Loreto, where the Holy Father arrived Saturday for an encounter with youth from Italy and around the world. “There are so many messages, above all through the media; that are being directed toward you! Be vigilant! Be critical!” the Pontiff exclaimed. Most of the young pilgrims had spent the night under the stars or in large tents. There were 150 bishops and 2,000 priests who concelebrated the Eucharist with the Pope. Benedict XVI spoke to the youth a few kilometers from the Italian national shrine, where, according to tradition, Mary’s house was carried stone by stone from Nazareth. He explained to the young people that the humility that they heard about in the Gospel passage read at Mass (“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted,” Luke 14:11) is not “the way of renunciation but of courage.” Under a scorching sun, the Bishop of Rome told the young people: “The message is this: Do not follow the way of pride but the way of humility. “Go against the current: Do not listen to the interesting and seductive voices that today from many parts propose as models, lives of arrogance and violence, of despotism and success at all costs, of appearances and having, of harm to being.” “Do not be afraid, dear friends, to prefer the ‘alternative’ ways indicated by true love: a sober way of life attentive to others; affectionate relationships that are sincere and pure; an honest commitment in study and work; deep interest in the common good.” The Pope encouraged them not to be afraid “to appear different and be criticized for that which might seem foolish or unfashionable.” “Your fellow young people, but also adults and especially those who seem the farthest from the mentality and values of the Gospel, have a profound need to see someone who dares to live according to the fullness of humanity manifested in Jesus Christ,” he said. “The way of humility, dear friends, is therefore not the way of renunciation but of courage,” Benedict XVI emphasized. “It is not the result of a defeat but the outcome of a victory of love over egoism and of grace over sin.” (Zenit)
Speaking of the enormous influence that media desire to have on young people, he told them: “Do not follow the current produced by this powerful attempt at persuasion.
Couples for Christ opts to split
MANILA, August 28, 2007—After a whole day of deliberations with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on the Laity chaired by Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, the two conflicting groups from Couples for Christ decided to go separate ways temporarily with the hope of uniting into one later. The parties involved are the Couples for Christ led by Bro. Jose Tale and the Couples for Christ for Family and Life chaired by Bro. Frank Padilla. In an exclusive interview with CBCPNews early Tuesday evening, Episcopal Commission on the Laity Chairman and Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes said the split will be temporary but both parties “will remain open to unification” in the future. CBCP President and Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, Bishops Ramon Villena of Bayombong (Nueva Vizcaya), Guillermo Afable of Digos (Davao del Sur) and Honesto Pacana, S.J. of Malaybalay (Bukidnon), attended the meeting at the Council of the Laity of the Philippines Building at Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila. “The Couples for Christ for Family and Life led by Bro. Frank Padilla is now recognized as a diocesan private association of the faithful in the Diocese of Antipolo,” Bishop Reyes said. He added the group may go into other dioceses with the permission of the bishop of the place. “It is for the bishop to decide whether to accept one or both in his area,” Bishop Reyes explained. He said Bro. Jose Tale will look into reports that Gawad Kalinga “is veering away from the vision-mission statements of the Couples for Christ and several teachings of the Catholic Church.” Asked of Gawad Kalinga’s tie-up with government and other religions, Bishop Reyes said “there is nothing wrong with tie-ups with government agencies and other religions.” He added “tie-ups with other religions should be guided by the Catholic Church’s rules on Ecumenism.” Bishop Reyes confirmed money matters had nothing to do with the conflict. He appealed to Couples for Christ members to continuously pray for their organization and continue to work in their respective communities. (Melo M. Acuna)
LORETO, Italy, September 3, 2007—”Both deeply moved” they embraced at length, without undue ceremony, like a father and son, regained after a long separation. This is how Fr. Giancarlo Bossi greeted the Pope in Loreto, where he was taking part in the Youth Agorà, organized by the Italian Bishop’s Conference in preparation of the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney. The PIME missionary, released last July 19 after 39 days in captivity in Southern Philippines; spent over 3 minutes in conversation with Benedict XVI. “In those minutes,” he tells, “we thanked each other and were both deeply moved”. Fr. Bossi thanked the Pope for “having carried him in his father’s heart during the captivity and having urged prayers” for him. And speaking to over 300 thousand young people present on the
Montorso Plain: “with their prayers and their love they gave me the courage to remain faithful to Christ, to his Church, to my missionary vocation and to the people to whom I belong. And you have also given courage to the missionaries who work throughout the world”. In his testimony during the September 1st vigil, the priest won over the silent attention of the entire audience, who—those present describe—listened to his words and then en masse led a standing ovation in applause. The Italian bishops were also touched, inviting Fr. Bossi to bring his witness to the various dioceses in the peninsula. The priest has a particular love for the young, because “the future and hope lies in them”. The children and teenagers of his parish in Payao Mindanao, were his first thought on his release: “As soon as possible I want to embrace them again.” In this interview with AsiaNews, Fr. Bossi reflects on the most intimate aspects of his experience as a captive in the Philippines, on the meaning of his kidnapping for the PIME mission, as well as the local Church, and confides his future projects for the Asian nation. (Marta Allevato / AsiaNews)
Forum highlights media’s activist role in elections
IN a forum held at Pius XII Catholic Center September 4, attended by delegates and guests from the media, academe, Church, government and NGO’s, PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa highlighted the volunteerism of media in taking an activist role, and its vigilance in exposing election fraud for public scrutiny in the last elections. “Volunteerism and vigilance, two key words for bringing to light two election sons of darkness: anomalies and fraud,” de Villa said in her opening remarks. “In the experience of PPCRV, media walking with us was a powerful detonator for volunteerism and vigilance; an unquantifiable source of courage and hope,” she added. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) organized the forum in partnership with Communications Foundation for Asia (CFA) in a bid to capitalize on the significant role media played in the recent midterm elections. Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle of the Diocese of Imus delivered a talk on the transformative power of mass media in Philippine elections. Tagle stressed that media’s transformative power can be utilized for good only if it is founded in ethical principles. “Bringing ethics to Philippine social life, including elections is the task of all citizens. We expect the media to serve us with integrity too, as they challenge politicians, candidates, and citizens to be upright,” Tagle said. Prof. Luis Teodoro, Deputy Director of Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) gave a presentation on the monitoring of media’s coverage of the past elections. The result of the study showed media have been pro-active in its election coverage in terms of providing voters with information vital to knowing political candidates. “Despite their sense of relative disinterest; the major players in the media community— the broadsheets and the networks monitored—nevertheless exerted extra effort to provide the public both the information on as well as the context of the elections,” Teodoro said. However, despite media’s positive role and responsible coverage of the recent elections, media participants in the forum also acknowledged the need for media people to clean its ranks of scalawags and unethical practices. The forum concluded with the delegates forging a statement to continue working hand-in-hand with other election stakeholders for Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful, Peaceful elections. The statement called for a continuing political education for voters; media education programs for media practitioners; encouraging media debates among political candidates; and electoral reforms among other things. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
Pope Benedict’s prayer intentions for September
VATICAN, September 3, 2007—The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Benedict XVI for the month of September 2007. The Holy Father’s general intention is: “That the ecumenical assembly of Sibiu in Romania may contribute to the growth of unity among all Christians, for whom the Lord prayed at the Last Supper.” The Pope’s missionary intention is: “That, following Christ joyfully, all missionaries may know how to overcome the difficulties they meet in everyday life.” (CWNews)
Pampanga honors Spain, launches two books
IN reverence and recognition of the Spanish missionaries’ role in Pampanga history and culture, the Holy Angel University (HAU) of Angeles City and the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga presented the recently approved Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 945 to the Spanish Embassy to the Philippines last August 31. HAU president Dr. Arlyn Villanueva, Pampanga Tourism Officer Ian Paolo Mejia, and San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto presented to Hon. Alvaro Trejo, Spanish Embassy head of Missions and Chargés d’ Affaires, Fr. William Araña, OSA, Vicar of the Orient, and Fr. Perdo Galende, OSA, San Agustin Museum Director, a framed copy of the resolution in a recognition ceremony at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros. Drafted by the HAU’s Center for Kapampangan Studies and sponsored by provincial board members Hon. Catalina Bagasina and Hon. Karl Domingo, the resolution made the first province of the country to officially thank the Spanish missionaries for their role in history and culture. “This is an historic event because for the very first time in Philippine history, the country, or at least one region in the country, thanked the Spanish missionaries for all the good things they did here. Notwithstanding prevailing anti-friar sentiment, the friars, especially the ones assigned to Pampanga, deserve our gratitude as a people,” said Robby Tantingco, director of the Center for Kapampangan Studies. The resolution made further recognition to the Augustinian missionaries for their “pioneering efforts in the preservation of Kapampangan culture.” It cited the Augustinians’ works in Pampanga in organizing towns and parishes, constructing churches, publishing of books, and extending assistance in times of epidemics, calamities and wars. The resolution likewise, made special mention of churches built that have become “monuments of great historical and heritage value and testaments to the Kapampangans’ ingenuity and fidelity to the Church.” Also mentioned are the Kapampangan dictionaries and grammar books written and published by the missionaries “which have become sources of Kapampangan linguistic and anthropological information.” Two of which were launched the same day. The 18th century books of Augustinian missionary Fray Diego Bergaño, Vocabolario de Pampango en Romance (1732) and Arte de la Lengua Pampanga (1729), both translated by Fr. Venancio Samson and Fr. Edilberto Santos and published by the HAU Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies, were launched after a concelebrated Mass, led by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, with Pampanga bishops, clergy and Spanish Augustinians. Among those who witnessed the event were Kapampangan luminaries, Chairman Ambeth Ocampo of the National Historical Institute (NHI) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), former governor and solicitor general Estelito Mendoza, former NHI chair Serafin Quiason, Prof. Randy David, Atty. Dante David, Dom Martin de Jesus, OSB, PhilAmLife CEO Verne Quazon, Angeles Electric President Peter Nepomuceno, Prof. Albina Peczon Fernandez, Dr. Salve Olalia, Andy Alviz, Tonette Orejas, Tom Joven, Epifanio Paras and members of media and academe. The two Auxiliary Bishops of San Fernando, Bishop Roberto Mallari and Bishop Pablo David, also came. (Kris Bayos)
Voice of the voiceless
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
“YOU must be the voice of the voiceless, of the displaced indigenous communities because of big-scale mining, the unborn children and the dying environment,” thus reverberated the homily of Archbishop Romulo Valles at the San Pedro Cathedral in Davao City during the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Julius Tonel last August 20. This statement may be the best rendition of the role of Shepherds who endures to leave the 99 in search of the one lost who is often the weak and the voiceless. A shepherd can always take shelter in the comfort of liturgical celebrations and the theological basis that goes with it. But the staff he carries is best defined only when he goes out in defense of his sheep; and when he makes a stand for and in behalf of them even in the face of the onslaught of the social and political.
One too many
ON one hand, there is the national leadership who long since has been proudly and loudly pronouncing its resolve to clean the government it leads from the infamous graft and corruption. Sometime last year or so, Malacanang has committed no less than 2 billion pesos precisely to fund its avowed crusade against graft and corruption in government. And there is even the public entity specifically identified as the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) and categorically established to uproot grafters from the present administration. On the other hand, PAGC said the following rather revealing facts: First, it has in fact submitted no less than some 90 graft cases to the Office of the President for pursuant action. Second, it said that the same highest office in the land had done nothing on the said cases except in conjunction with 2 or 3 of them. Third, it pointed out that some PAGC lawyers are in fact contemplating on leaving the Commission precisely on account of their perceived waste of time and effort in working on the cases which after all are but nonchalantly treated by the Presidential Office. One thing is certain: even but a single graft case in government is already one too many, one could just wonder what some 90 graft cases really mean and actually imply. It is not hard to think and forward the following fundamental reason to explain in general the above predicament or impasse existing between the office of the President and nothing less than a Presidential Commission: The present administration has been a habitual recipient of allegations of the odious practice of “Transactional Politics” whereby it reportedly appoints political beneficiaries to high ranking offices in the bureaucracy. That being the case, at least if allegations are founded, corruption becomes as a matter of course, because anybody “rewarded” with a high government office has to recover the investment one has put up. Transactional politics then perpetuate corruption. And so is Philippine politics and those who are at the thick of it. Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season
“BLESSED is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Benedictus est qui venit in nomine Domini.” The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines gladly and gratefully welcomes the new Apostolic Nuncio in the person of Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI effective August 3 at 6:00 P.M. local time. He succeeds Archbishop Fernando Filoni who has been appointed “substitute” to Cardinal Bertone in the Secretariat of State (Vatican) The new Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Adams, 63 years old, hails from Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) and was ordained priest in May 16, 1970 for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. A doctor of Canon Law, he entered the Diplomatic Service of
CBCP Welcomes New Apostolic Nuncio
new Apostolic Nuncio was born (1944). An apostolic nuncio or papal legate is considered the representative or ambassador of the Pope or Holy See to the authorities of the State as well as to the bishops of the Episcopal Conference and particular churches. His principal task, according to canon 364, is to make more firm and effective the bonds of unity between the Pope or Holy See and the rulers of the State and the bishops. As we would welcome the Holy Father anytime so we welcome his Ambassador or Representative in our midst to unite us with the Holy Father who is the successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ. Benedictus est qui venit in nomine Domini.
the Holy See and has served successively in Rwanda, Secretariat of State (Vatican City), Kenya-Africa, Honduras, Ireland, Denmark and Czech Republic. The late Pope John Paul II appointed Archbishop Adams as Apostolic Nuncio in Bangladesh (1996) and in Zimbabwe, Africa (2002). The new Apostolic Nuncio will be the 15th in the line of Apostolic Delegates and Apostolic Nuncios to the Philippines. Incidentally, a former bishop of Nueva Segovia and bishop of Jaro, the late Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, was born in Philadelphia and later after serving in the Philippines, was appointed by Pope Benedict XV as Archbishop (Cardinal) of Philadelphia. But that was a quarter of a century (1918) before our
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
AMNESTY International (AI) was one of the organizations I used to admire. The members from different countries are quick to send letters of solidarity to victims of human rights. They have been very vocal in protesting against capital punishment or the death penalty, no matter what country was implementing it. I was the recipient of such a letter of support in 1982 when I was falsely accused of murder, subversion and inciting rebellion— supposedly one of the officers of the NPA. I had joined a fact-finding mission organized by Task Force Detainees of AMRSP during the Marcos regime. Five of us in the team— another Good Shepherd nun, two men and one woman had gone to the mountain area of Lobo, Batangas to investigate the arbitrary arrest and killing of farmers who were accused of being members or supporters of the New People’s Army. We did obtain the names of the soldiers who had been abusive and violent but we never got to submit those facts to the central office. On our way back to Manila, we were arrested and detained, our lay companions severely tortured, and were released only after the People Power event in 1986. That seems so long ago. Amnesty International continues to be a beacon of light to human rights victims all over the world. However, it was downright disappointing when I received information that AI is promoting the decriminalization of abortion in countries that have not legalized it yet. In answer to our letter of protest in the name of Pro-life Philippines, AI insisted on the need to legalize abortion in order to provide services to victims of rape and incest. We know from counseling many pregnant girls and women, including survivors of rape and incest, that abortion is not the answer. Exerting more effort to stop the abomination of incest and rape is the more appropriate and urgent way. Rape and incest have multiplied in countries that have legalized abortion. Men have become bolder in raping women while women have chosen abortion as their first course of solution instead of seeking the harder way of continuing a pregnancy and giving life to an innocent life. The US Supreme Court in 1973 decriminalized abortion in the Roe vs. Wade decision. The case was based on a lie. Jane Roe (real name is Norma McCorvey) who filed the case claimed she was raped and had an abortion. She was never raped, in fact she was living a promiscuous life and this was her third pregnancy. She never had an abortion. She gave birth to a
baby girl whom she placed for adoption. Two feminist lawyers approached her while she was still pregnant and asked that they use her name for the cause of women—the right to privacy and women’s choice. Thirty years after Roe vs. Wade, Norma McCorvey has converted to the Catholic Church and she and her daughter are now very active pro-lifers. Their main concern now is to work for the reversal of the legalization of abortion in the US. They have collected over 6,000 testimonies of women to be submitted to the US Congress to show how abortion has hurt women instead of helping them. Doubly disappointing is the fact that the deputy secretary general of AI is a woman— Kate Gilmore. In answer to the objection of the U.S. Bishops and the withdrawal of membership of the Irish head of AI, Gilmore stated that her organization will not reverse the abortion policy decision. Amnesty International continues to pressure countries, especially third world countries, to legalize abortion in the guise of human rights for women. Please send your letter of protest and support the stand of the Catholic Church and pro-life groups. For details on how and where to send your letter, contact Pro-life office at 911-2911, telefax 421-7147.
The Basilan appeal
THE appeal of Basilan Prelate Martin Jumoad, which was read the other Sunday in all his local churches and transmitted to the national media—in fact, also on youtube—to put an end to the armed conflict prevailing in his area sounds very distressing. Not only because the good bishop is waging a lonely crusade, but because he seems to have discovered a heap of agenda bundled with the war. He says: “There is violence in Basilan because there are some political leaders who are greedy for power and wealth. They lost their sense of God because they worship power and wealth as their new gods. They are ready to kill people in order to stay and perpetuate in power…” The “greed for power and wealth” as the seeming motivating factor of the war plan should be looked into; as everybody now should start thinking of how to send relief commodities to the poor victims of this government-controlled calamity.
Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD
P r o ta g o n i s t of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace
DADITAMA is happy and proud that another one of its own has been nominated to the Episcopacy last June and just ordained Bishop last August 20, 2007 by Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla, Archbishop of Davao, at the San Pedro Cathedral. Bishop Julius “Joy” Tonel of Davao is the fifth priest nominated by the Holy Father to the Episcopacy coming from the ecclesiastical province. The first was Bishop Generoso Camina, PME from Tagum (1978). Followed by Archbishop Romulo Valles from Tagum (1998), next, came Bishop Guillermo Afable from Davao (2001). The fourth was Bishop George Rimando from Tagum (2006). Like its other sons before him who were sent elsewhere, Bishop Julius Tonel has been appointed to another local church, to the Prelature of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay Province, Western Mindanao. The prelature is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga,
From Daditama to Zambasuli
City at the San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Pastoral Center, last August 23-25, 2007. Bishop Zacarias Jimenez, D.D., auxiliary Bishop of Butuan, welcomed the delegates in the opening liturgy. Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, D.D. presided over the closing Eucharistic celebration. Their presence was indeed a gift and inspiration to the participating catechists. One hundred fifty official participants gathered together for this convention, made up of Diocesan Directors and Coordinators, as well as, ordinary catechists from twenty out of twenty-one ecclesiastical jurisdictions in Mindanao. Being the Bishop-chairman of catechetical ministry in Mindanao, I was privileged to have taken part throughout the entire duration of the convention. Daditama was ably represented by their respective diocesan catechetical directors and coordinators: Fr. Autida and Mr. Erwin Joey
DADITAMA / A6
Pedro C. Quitorio
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Kris P Bayos .
Melo M. Acuña
Rowena T. Dalanon
Dennis B. Dayao
Ernani M. Ramos
under the pastoral care of Archbishop Romulo Valles, also from Daditama. To show their joy and welcome to their new Bishop, a large contingent from Ipil came for his Episcopal ordination. Now, the Prelature of Ipil awaits the arrival of its new Bishop on September 11, 2007 for his official reception and canonical installation. God speed and God bless Bishop Joy! Our prayers are always with you. ***
Roy Q. Lagarde
Layout by Denz Dayao
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business of fices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. Email: email@example.com Website: www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor
Telling the story of Jesus in Mindanao
With the support of the Mindanao Bishops and the Episcopal Commission on Catechetics and Catholic Education (ECCCE) headed by Bishop Soc Villegas, and the host, Diocese of Butuan, the Regional Catechists Convention of Mindanao was finally held in Butuan
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Question: What are the actual consequences of “Psychological Incapacity”? A subject party who is psychologically incapable, is precisely that, viz., he or she is disabled in his or her psychological constructs from being someone sober, better, sounder. The party concerned neither listens to corrections nor learns from experience. Such a liability is usually the product of a downright personality disorder. Question: What is the cure of “Psychological Incapacity”? None. This is why is the summit of contradiction that someone proven psychologically incapable and given an “annulment” of his or her previous marriage, would still be allowed to enter into another marriage. This too is open to “annulment”— and so too with all his or her other subsequent marriages.
Nicolo F. Bernardo
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
IT is an open secret that practically all marriages “annulled” by the government forward the ground of “Psychological incapacity” on the part of either or both spouses. It is also quite known that especially so in these “annulment” cases, the best lawyers are not those who know the law but those acquainted with the fiscal and judge concerned. All these however notwithstanding, it might serve not only the truth but also the awareness of the general public what “Psychological Incapacity” really means and what actually implies when such ground is formally attributed and judicially proven as appended to a husband and/or wife. For a start, it will be good to expressly and clearly say that “Psychological Incapacity” is a very serious accusation against someone with grave and lasting deleterious consequences in the latter’s dimension as a person, as an indi-
Lifeguard T.V. – Terror Vision
FROM the footage of wars in Afghanistan , Iraq , and the South we get a view, a “feel,” of how war must be. From these we also flesh out our viewpoints of post 9/11 events. For all we know, the shoots we get are themselves part of the combat, that terrorists now shoot those who shoot. Compare: In the six years of the World War II, only 39 journalists were killed reporting at war. The Vietnam War made 63 casualty journalists. But the Iraqi assaults since 1992 left 300 war correspondents dead, 200 were deliberately targeted specially on the 43-day Dubya invasion. Discovery Channel’s documentary Reporters at War cites this as the “the highest casualty journalist rate per week of war ever.” Why are journalists now direct targets? The documentary says “combatants at all sides are increasingly disregarding the idea of independent media if ever it existed.” Parties from opposing war camps must be realizing what sociologist-philosopher Jean Baudrillard is saying all along: war correspondence cannot and does not stand on neutral ground and this is the problem. While journalism ethics demands news reporters to be objective and detached from their beats, human as they are, caught as they are in the middle of combat, they cannot stand indifferent amid the disturbing event from their own perspectives and the interests of their home country or their paper/ channel. For one, television exhibits the “oughts”: how to hunt the terrorists, how to see the countries at war self-destruct, how to accept the conflict. It is the media that names the “bad guys”— the terrorists, and the G.I.’s—the goodies. The nature of TV reporting, for it to sell, rehashes everything: from the background sounds to the overbearing reporter, to the film cuts, the documentary highlights, the technical add-ins and popups, to the value judgments of the correspondent. (Remember the 50’s war movies with orchestra aside). What you receive is “hyperreal” information, but since we see the action rolling, we think that we are directly in the know. Just recall how the CNN coverage of the Gulf War back in ‘92 centered on the glamour of high tech weaponry and modern missiles, shielding the suffering of war behind the “techno” of it. No wonder, journalists have drawn the ire of the so-called “terrorists.” Chris Chramer, managing director of CNN International, admits: “The magic of journalism has evaporated. There are factions and there are some governments who wish us dead.” There is a phrase in the Quran and the Talmud that says, “He who kills a single life kills the world entire.” One who kills a man, kills somebody else’s brother, father, husband, son, friend. But TV further multiplies this effect more at a graphic level. At first, one is shocked of a violent image, much as a first-timer is scandalized of a rowdy scene, but this is just the initiation part. Reporters at War aptly puts it that “the West has gotten used to sights of death,” setting as example the 1994 Hutu-Tutsi genocide that resulted in a massacre of 800,000. It would not have happened if viewers were sensitive if not desensitized. The theory is simple. Couch potatoes disturbed or bored by the images may just choose to zap to another channel or turn off the TV, while the journalists carry the images forever. Baudrillard would diagnose the situation as a case of media being a victim while facilitating the progress of war and terrorism. Without the multimedia, he claims, there would be no terrorism. The media searches for wars to cover, to the delight of the terrorists, mainstreaming the violent images to the threatened population. Terrorism, hostages the media, as the media hostage it. Studies confirm Baudrillard’s claims credible. If not leading the viewer to commit violence, violent scenes numb a person until he becomes used to the images and seeks more gory flashes. George Gerbner of the University of Pennsylvania works on a Cultivation Theory saying that heavy television users develop an exaggerated belief in “a mean, scary world.” The effects of TV’s violent contents can only be seen after years of slow buildup. Heavy viewers who have experienced actual physical violence get a double dose. We must have become a society hooked on all sorts of “reality TV” that we draw reality from the boob tube. See its power— you can watch, hear, and see things beyond your contingent reach. But what one sees is not what things get. The TV presents not reality as is but simulated reality. News and documentaries are edited, entertainment and “reality shows” are pre-packaged. But since the TV has the capacity to “enrich” and improvise reality, its programs have become more appealing than the real thing. Its powerful colors and technical modulations capture and glue its audience on its screen, substituting the truth with its referent, the real with the reel, the actual with the surreal. Since the TV has been expected to mirror reality, it has become a model of reality—for reality to follow TV. No wonder why reality frustrates us, because the TV spoils us with comfortable “reality.” No wonder why virtual and cyber sex increasingly allures, for actual sex entails consequences and responsibility. The solution to the increasing casualties of journalists does not lie in further decrying journalists’ “freedom” of expression, when a journalist’s indifference or subjectivity that catches parties’ fury is the problem. Rather, journalism should learn to respect its boundaries and to uphold and refine its code of ethics. Not everything is beneficial to be seen or told. The boundaries are set by their very subjects, the people they are reporting, whose lives, privacy, sensitivity, rights, and autonomy they should foremost respect before running a video. Perhaps, it’s time for us to switch on “peace journalism” if there is any hyperreality we need. The underreported side of war—peace efforts or even heroisms and acts of kindness in between opposed troops—has always been there, waiting for coverage and a prime time slot.
vidual, and as a man or a woman. Woe to any husband/father or wife/mother who owns such an attitudinal and behavioral liability, or who accepts such a mental and affective disability—although such is not the honest and real truth. It is not only mean but also demeaning to the good name and reputation of anyone to be branded and known as someone afflicted by “Psychological Incapacity”. Question: What really is “Psychological Incapacity”? The nomenclature itself already says something pitiful and irremediable, viz. an incapacitated human psyche. It is in fact a serious adversity of a personality constitution, the more immediate expressions of which range from ingrained immaturity and gross irresponsibility to deep emotional instability and marked lack of remorse—all of which cut deep into the meaning of being an adult.
The Pope’s Environmental Campaign, Preparing for World Youth Day
ATTENDING a festival in Loreto, Italy this Sunday coinciding with the Catholic Church’s “Save Creation Day”, Pope Benedict through the Italian Bishops Conference declared that it was the responsibility of the Church to teach its young about caring for the planet. So, in preparation for the World Youth Day to be held in Sydney, Australia, next year, the environmental campaign, supported by lay groups, focused on tree planting and recycling. Each of the 300,000 young Catholics was given a knapsack made of recycled nylon— containing a hand-cranked battery recharger, three sets of biodegradable plates, and three bags for recycling trash. The prayer books for the Pope’s Sunday Mass will be made of recycled paper. Hydrogen cars will be displayed and tree planting will be done in the areas in Southern Italy which was devastated by forest fires. How does the Pope’s environmental campaign to the youth relate to us? It should really be regarded as the Pope’s call to all the laity of all the parishes in the Philippines to
Jose B. Lugay
advocacy to use hand woven baskets or reusable containers when shopping or going to markets or shopping malls and a ban on non-biodegradable plastics. There is a technology to make plastics out of starch or cellulose that disintegrates when thrown as garbage, in a short time. In the provinces the best option is to use banana leaves for wrapping food products. Pope Benedict XVI gave us the hint—all Catholics should get involved in the advocacy for protecting the environment. If the Pope himself is involved in the environmental campaign, it is a clear message that all parishes should get involved too. It should start within our own homes. There are many environmental groups ready to support in the information and education part of the campaign foremost of which are the members of the Eco-waste Coalition— Greenpeace, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Miriam College and others. The Parish of Las Piñas is known to be a leader in this type of advocacy for a clean environment.
rally to the Pope’s initiative to care for Planet Earth. It is not enough that we declare our belief in the “Integrity of Creation”. It is time to “walk the talk”. Floods inundated Metro Manila during the heavy rains last August. The MMDA Chairman attributed the flooding to the clogging of the waterways and rivers by garbage from plastics, rags, factory wastes, etc. The squatter families along the riverbanks used the rivers to dump their daily waste. While transferring the squatter families to another site may be a step towards the right direction, it does not address the basic problem—first is the “throw-away” mentality, and second, the use of non-biodegradable plastic wrappers. The first one is a culturebased problem and the second a technologically-induced consumer problem. The obvious solutions to these problems, for the first case, is an advocacy program—information, education and communication regarding waste management and recycling and value formation together with the catechesis on the integrity of creation. For the second case, an
Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD
By the Roadside
Blessed Mother Teresa: “The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, and the fruit of love is silence.”
The Silence of God and the Clatter of Man
thoughts…” So high is my silence above your din, one might add. The silence of God further speaks of our need to listen. He may be silent, but he has already spoken in his Word, both in the Written Scriptures and in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the fullness of God’s self-revelation to us. Precisely because the Word is made flesh we also need to listen to it in the everyday events of life, in the silent scream of Mother Nature at human abuse and of the voiceless victims of violence and death, in the words and deeds of God’s People, of you and me. Finally the silence of God eloquently calls to mind the truth that the Paschal Mystery is an on-going reality. Legend has it that a suffering mother asked a saint: “Where was God when they tortured and killed my son?” Came the answer: “Right where he is when they scourged, crucified and put his own Son to death!” Even God’s only Son suffered from “the silence of God”. Quoting Psalm 22:2 the dying Jesus exclaims: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). No irony will parallel that scene of God’s only-begotten Son suffering unthinkable physical and spiritual torments and death while from the all-mighty God we hear all silence. St. Paul teaches that our own sufferings, as did his own, complete the sufferings of Jesus himself on the cross (1 Col 1:24). Thus, by our own sufferings, we also have a share in the redemptive work of the Suffering Savior. In a word, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s suffering from ‘the silence of God’, rather than denigrates her holiness, could still prove her intimacy with the Suffering Redeemer. Her sense of being abandoned by God that even made her abandon herself to God all the more echoes Jesus’ own response to God’s silence: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk. 23:46). That more than made up for all the noise in the world.
FIRST, the clatter. It all started when Time magazine, with the usual media eye for what sells, published an article in its August 23, 2007 issue on Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta’s “Crisis of Faith” where some of her letters are cast as revealing her tormented soul suffering from the pain of deep and lingering doubt. Naturally the media have since seized this hitherto-unknown aspect of her life for its sensational value. Imagine the world-famous nun that used to be known as a “living saint” actually owning up to years of feeling alone in the face of a seemingly unresponsive God, even at times doubting his very existence. Avowed atheists were exultant, understandably behaving like they had suddenly hit gold and taking this phenomenon as yet another proof of God’s non-existence. Catholic authors, both conservative and progressive, surprisingly have come out with a unified voice upholding Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s experience as mirroring the classic state of desolation, the “dark night of the soul” or the “cloud of unknowing” that countless saints go through as a necessary purification stage on the way to their mystical union with God. What is more, it also reflects the common human experience of doubt, the anguish of uncertainty and perplexity that prelude or accompany a believer’s growth in faith. But the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in a September 1, 2007 address at a youth rally in Loreto, Italy, has named the experience “the silence of God”. He is quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer September 3, 2007 issue as saying: “All believers know about the silence of God. Even Mother Teresa, with all her charity and force of faith, suffered from the silence of God [italics mine].” Apparently
it is a suffering a believer experiences as a period of agonizing doubt and even of a form of unbelief, no doubt exacerbated by the absurdity of evil and suffering one witnesses in oneself, in others or in the world, such as incurable diseases, natural calamities, disasters, genocidal wars or mass murders. In fact, while visiting a Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz in 2006, Pope Benedict publicly gave voice to his own question of why God was silent in the face of the death of millions of Jews in the so-called Holocaust. I’m struck by the Holy Father’s phraseology. It reminds me of the prophet Elijah’s encounter with God being unmediated by sensational means, such as the strong and heavy wind, the earthquake and fire. (I suggest that people from the media, politics, showbiz as well as Church better take notice.) Instead the Lord makes himself known by a “tiny whispering sound” (1 Kgs. 19:1113), what we used to call in the seminary “the sound of silence”. Which brings us to our first consideration: The silence of God simply means he is the God of silence. It is also a testament to God’s utter respect for us human beings and for all his creatures. He is doubtless the Lord of creation, in complete control of nature’s being and movements, both inner and outer. But he does not impose himself or his power on us so as to push us toward himself, no matter how right that is. Rather he wants us to choose him freely even if, at times, we may have to go through the agony of hearing his deafening silence. The silence of God, especially in contrast to the strident chaos of our human endeavor, likewise points to his unfathomable ‘otherness’. As Isaiah 55:8-9 makes clear to us: “My thoughts are not your thoughts; my ways are not your ways. For as high as the heavens are from the earth, so high are my ways above your ways, my thoughts above your
Melo M. Acuña
Sayang (Part II)
SOME years ago, smuggled luxury vehicles were put to auction. Of course, there were instances the smugglers themselves won possession of these controversial cars through bidding. Automobile Association of the Philippines Director Johnny Angeles said there were three entities represented in the committee that looked after these cars for auction. The Bureau of Customs which based its recommendations on their blue-book, CAMPI which more often than not suggested the current industry price and the Philippine Motor Association which suggested the prevailing market price. Mang Johnny said he often saw luxury vehicles with locally-made rims and tires, missing leather bucket seats and high end stereos as all these were cannibalized. He said having these luxury vehicles on auction would raise, in a way, government revenues. He said “provided everything is transparent.” Well, vehicles are allowed into the country on the premise they are roadworthy. It is roadworthy if it does not harm or pose danger to other motorists and pedestrians alike and neither should these vehicles harm the environment nor do harm by way of too much noise. Of course, all these are important for government to generate revenues
Issues and Concerns
for infrastructures. Matters about the Road Users Tax would require more time and space. Car manufacturers invest in manpower and equipment to develop and test their latest vehicles. Expertise is indeed a requirement. These manufacturers and legitimate importers are made to comply with Euro 1 emission regulations. All these would come to fruition as manufacturers establish baseline of all test information and place the vehicle in a temperature-controlled room for a day so tests can begin on the same temperature and humidity. I was also told these new vehicles’ emis-
sion tests are made on a roller dynamometer as an evaluator or driver will test the vehicle on a driving pattern which includes acceleration, stopping, average speed and high speed among others. Gasses emitted through the car’s tailpipe are collected in a large bag and are separated and weighed. A test report containing the volume of carbon monoxide on a per kilometer distance is submitted to concerned government agencies for evaluation. Tests are made in other countries as Philippine embassy authorities authenticate the documents. According to law, Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials take months to act on these reports. All these cost nearly $14,000 while used cars auctioneers and importers at Subic pay P300.00 for the procedure. Industry sources say they still have to see an emission certificate from the country of origin duly authenticated by Philippine embassy officials. The LTO’s Motor Vehicle Inspection Service ought to observe procedures. There are even reports there are favored vehicle owners who could have their cars registered without actual inspection. This is the reason we have vehicles that should have been mothballed long time ago. If the government is sincere in promoting common good, authorities should be able to subject used vehicles to the same stringent standards. We have nothing to lose. Sayang talaga!
ILOCOS Norte police operatives are looking into the possible motive behind the killing of St. Isidore parish priest, 46-year old Fr. Florante Broceros Rigonan, shot to death by still an unidentified man said to be armed with an armalite rifle at about 10:40 P.M. on August 29 at Barangay Puritac, Pinili, Ilocos Norte. Laoag Bishop Sergio Utleg, in an interview over Catholic-run Veritas 846, said the late parish priest visited one of his benefactors when shot to death. “We hope the police will do everything and bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice,” Bishop Utleg said. He said Fr. Rigonan was from Batac town. “We don’t know the motive (behind the killing),” the Laoag prelate said. He said the remains of the parish priest will be subjected to autopsy. “Most of his siblings are abroad so it will take sometime for them to come for the funeral,” Utleg added. The bishop said the late Rigonan was a medical student before he entered the seminary and was ordained about ten years ago. He said Rigonan was well-loved in his community where he was as-
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Interfaith group to SC: End abductions, rights violations
AN interfaith group urged the Supreme Court (SC) to take drastic measures to restore the rule of law notably to end cases of abductions and other human rights violations. Catholic priest Fr. Joe Dizon, one of the convenors of the Ecumenical Voice on Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines, cited the case of activist Jonas Burgos who has been missing for three months now. Dizon appealed to SC Chief Justice Reynato Puno to be firmer and take concrete steps to solve the kidnapping of the son of the late press freedom fighter, Jose “Joe” Burgos, Jr. “We encourage the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court and the rest of the judiciary to stand up, assert itself and save the whole nation from these very dangerous things,” he said. It should make known to everybody that they should follow the law especially the military.” The priest said abductions by armed groups has been one of the most shocking human rights violations in the country. The Ecumenical Voice on Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines is composed of church leaders, human rights defenders and civil libertarians. Despite strong denial by the military, Dizon believes that some government forces are responsible for the series of abductions. “The Supreme Court should uphold the rights of the people and the law should be respected. It should castigate the military through the rule of law,” Dizon added. (Roy Lagarde)
Pinili, Ilocos Norte parish priest shot dead
signed parish priest five years ago. “His altar boys and his parishioners said nobody has threatened our priest until this fateful incident,” Utleg said. CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo calls on everyone to pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Rigonan. He expressed hope police authorities would be able to solve the crime at the soonest possible time. PNP Ilocos Regional Director Leopoldo Bataoil said he has already instructed Senior Supt. Roman Felix, Ilocos Norte Provincial Police Director to form a task force composed of elements from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Pinili PNP station personnel, Crime Laboratory and Regional Intelligence Office to investigate the incident. “We will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the incident,” Chief Supt. Bataoil said in a follow-up interview on the killing. He said he will personally visit the Pinili town to check on the progress of the investigation. Bishop Utleg said “aside from seeking justice, we and his parishioners feel very sad for the loss of Fr. Rigonan.” (Melo Acuna)
Good governance, key to Mindanao conflict
MORE than military offensives against known strongholds of separatists in Mindanao, good governance appears to be a viable alternative to bring peace to the hinterlands of Jolo and Basilan provinces. The Apostolic Vicar of Jolo, Bishop Angelito Rendon Lampon, OMI said Sulu Governor Sakur Tan called on his municipal mayors to remain in their respective areas to attend to the needs of their constituents. In an interview with CBCPNews, Lampon said he supports calls for peace talks from here and abroad. This was his reaction to a statement from Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar who earlier called for the “swift resumption of peace talks which were suspended last week.” “Absentee local officials were common during the past years,” Lampon said. He said good governance will only become a reality on the assumption the officials who got elected are sincere and dedicated public servants. “If people are poor and politicians’ bought votes, then we will have a problem,” Lampon said. He explained if people are out of poverty, then they can refuse politicians who offer money in exchange of votes. He said peace negotiations appear to be a viable alternative to all-out offensives but such efforts should be anchored on sincerity. Lampon said each side should manifest sincerity to attain a peaceful solution to armed conflict. Lampon said the peace and order problems in Mindanao are brought about by a number of issues, from poverty to lack of employment opportunities. He said Jolo remained peaceful the past few days. A check with Philippine Islamic Council chair Professor Taha Basman said Moslems are celebrating “nisfu shaaban” or 15 days before Ramadan. Prelature of Isabela (Basilan) Bishop Martin Jumoad said he has always supported calls for peace talks. “Both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front should set aside pride and sit down at the negotiating table,” Jumoad said. Interviewed by CBCPNews, he said classes in school have remained normal in Isabela City. “A seminar on the Human Security Act of 2007 was held today for Political Science and Criminology students of Basilan State College sponsored by the Commission on Human Rights under Director Manuel Mamawag,” Bishop Jumoad said. (Melo Acuna)
Church leader rejects nuke plan
A SENIOR member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) says he does not agree an “ominous” nuclear power should be located anywhere in the country. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz was reacting to plans of the Department of Energy (DoE) to develop nuclear energy to ease power shortage. The DoE said the Philippines have potential ideal sites for nuclear facility which could also bolster the national economy. The agency’s review into nuclear energy has suggested that this country should be like the other nuclear-powered nations that reduced their dependence on costly imported fuel. “We are organizing a team to study nuclear technology including safety nets to ensure that the
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Catholic, Muslim youth to hold forum
THE Philippine Dominican priests are working closely with Muslim leaders of the country to bring Muslim and Catholic youth from Southeast Asian countries into a forum. The purpose of bringing together Muslim and Christian young people is to foster a strong sense of solidarity among the youth in the region, Fr. Ramonclaro Mendez, OP, president of Dominican-run Aquinas University told CBCP News. Fr. Mendez said there are several programs in the Church that bring Catholic youths together like World Youth Day, Asian Youth Day, National Youth day in each country or even regional/diocesan youth gatherings, but no organized forum to bring young people from different faiths in Southeast Asian countries. The planned forum for Muslim and Christian youth would enable them to share their life experiences, hopes and aspirations. The program would also concentrate on how youth can be agents of peace and solidarity. The details and logistics of proposed youth gathering are underway. Mechanisms to bring delegates from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) need lots of efBishops / A1
forts and resources and planning, the priest said. Fundraising from various sectors for the said programs is in progress. ASEAN was established on 8 Aug 1967 in Bangkok by five countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos PDR and Cambodia joined in the subsequent years. The ASEAN region has a population of about 500 million. It aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. The ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the ASEAN Leaders agreed on a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership of dynamic development and in a community of caring societies. When asked how the concept evolved, he said, the ASEAN has existed for four decades
in the region. There have been lots of forums where governments from ASEAN region periodically meet and even ASEAN games and sports are held among the member countries. Church and Islamic religious and community leaders from the Philippines who meet on inter-religious dialogue on different forums, thought why there can’t be some way to bring Muslim and Christian young people together and hold programs similar to Catholic Asia youth congress. Fr. Mendez also said after the gathering for Muslim and Catholic youth takes place, they would also invite young people from other faiths from ASEAN countries to expand their boundaries. “I am sure our young people from ASEAN will collaborate well and benefit by it by offering hospitality, hosting interfaith activities, or volunteering. This would also help them as an opportunity for the renewal of every aspect of faith life,” he said. Fr. Mendez also said Catholic-Muslim initiative would have a positive impact on all faiths in the ASEAN region. It would also facilitate to “break down barriers” between the two faiths. (Santosh Digal)
plants that would be built pose no harm to the environment and the people,” said Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes. But Cruz belittled Reyes’ claim, saying the country “does not even know what to do with garbage,” how much more with the potential danger the project possess. “It (the government) does not even know what to do with garbage. It cannot even keep the floods away from no less than Metro Manila. And now, it wants to go nuclear!” Cruz lamented. He also mentioned the problem of illegal drugs, “jueteng” and smuggling which the government “cannot even stop”. “What will the government do in the event of terrorist attacks directed at the plant? Where will the government throw the nuclear waste?” Cruz asked. (Roy Lagarde)
shrined and clearly acknowledged in the Philippine Constitution which is pro-life and propeople and which specifically respects the right of spouses to found their families according to their religious convictions.” Pro-Life Caucus of the lower House chairman Congressman Eduardo Zialcita also assured that through the forum “our people will get only the best laws that enhance the dignity and well-being of the individual and the family and the community’s common sense of right and justice”. He said both the moral law and the Constitution recognize the role that Church and State, “can play, and must play, to bring this about”. “We are here to see to this
El Shaddai / A1
through mutual understanding and cooperation flowing from friendly and sincere dialogue,” Zialcita said.
Lagdameo is hoping the first meeting of some bishops and some legislators will not be the last of its kind. He said it’s a positive thing that bishops and legislators should come together to exchange views on many issues “that affects us and the people we serve”. The CBCP head stressed the necessity to include in the caucus the discussion of “most serious” problems in the country, “and hence to collaborate for the common good”.
“A caucus like this in friendship and brotherhood is a good opportunity to build bridges of unity and solidarity,” said Lagdameo. “Instead of building walls that insulate ourselves from one another, we instead in our separateness would like to construct cross-boundary relationships and dialogue.”
The caucus agreed to meet once every two months to assess first pending bills in Congress on life and family. Among those CBCP officials present were Archbishops Ramon Arguelles and Paciano Aniceto and bishops Gabriel Reyes, Gilbert Garcera,
Deogracias Iñiguez, Jessie Mercado, Leonardo Medroso, Emilio Marquez, Jose Oliveros, and CBCP Secretary General Msgr. Juanito Figura. Senators Loren Legarda, Mar Roxas, Noynoy Aquino, Aquilino Pimentel, Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri also joined the event. Also in attendance were Representatives Hermilando Mandanas, Roilo Golez, Bienvenido Abante, Carmencita Reyes, Joseph Emilio Abaya, Raul del Mar, Liwayway Chatto, Rufus Rodriguez and Buhay Partylist Representatives Rene Velarde, Carissa Coscolluela and William Irwin Tieng. Pimentel and Zialcita acted as facilitators during the discussion part of the meeting.
Cabillan for Davao; Fr. Ronald Lunas for Digos; Ms. Socorro Abad came for Tagum; for Mati, Fr. Nestor Morata and Sr. Eva Marie, CSJ. There were other catechists who came from Daditama, involved in family catechesis, catechesis with the indigenous peoples, children’s catechesis and school based catechesis. I was tasked to give the keynote address on the theme “Telling the story of Jesus in Mindanao” during the first day. The second conference on the Catechist as Prayer, was ably given by Fr. Ronald Lunas, diocesan catechetical director of the Diocese of Digos and Theology professor of the Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao (REMASE). In. order to put in context the theme of the convention among the tri-people of Mindanao, five sub-regional coordinators presented their respective catechetical situationer. And then, the participants from Zamboanga, Basilan, Jolo, and Ipil
Taytay / A1
presented their experience of family catechesis. A participant from the ecclesiastical province of Cagayan de Oro shared experiences on youth catechesis. Children’s catechesis was shared by participants from Dipolog, Ozamis, Pagadian, and Iligan. Challenges and opportunities for the catechetical ministry were highlighted. During the business meeting, we shared national updates on the ministry, such as, The New National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines, and also to present ACCRE. The Convention participants approved the proposal that the five sub-regional coordinators together with the ECCCE Mindanao coordinator, Fr. Johnny Autida of the Archdiocese of Davao would constitute the Mindanao Regional Catechetical Ministry (MRCM) coordinating council. The convention participants also agreed to meet every two years. Thus, the next convention will be in 2009. (For comments: firstname.lastname@example.org) old apostolic vicar added. Asked of better alternatives to mining, Juanich said, “It would be best for us to improve our Agriculture and make a niche in eco-tourism for which we have already been known.” He called on the government not to forget the devastation mining did to the island province of Marinduque. (Melo Acuna) fulness that has characterized our colorful, faith-inspired festivities. “We hope that the Pope’s ecogospel message will resonate throughout the Church and find concrete expressions in zero waste celebrations of the Holy Sacraments and other faith-inspired communions and festivities,” Calonzo said. At the Loreto youth gathering, the Pope said the youth “must make courageous choices that can recreate a strong alliance between mankind and the earth”. He added, “What is needed is a decisive ‘yes’ to the protection of creation and a strong commitment to reverse the trend that risks leading to situations of irreversible degradation.” (CBCPNews))
The tape allegedly contained the plan to rig the election results. “I think with the remaining three years of the Arroyo administration and the recent elections, people are now looking forward through a productive three years,” he said in an interview with CBCP News. He said that with the presidential elections a little over a year away, it’s better for Senate to focus on its real job for the public’s welfare instead. “What are we going to get with the reopening of the ‘Hello
Cardinal / A1
Garci’ scandal? Is it getting to know the bottom of the truth? But what now after that?” he asked. But Velarde clarified he is not fully against the reinvestigation of the alleged wiretapped conversation of President Arroyo with an election officer to manipulate the result of the 2004 polls. What he is up to, Velarde pointed out, is for the Senate to just follow the call of the people to “just move forward”. “They (Senate) have good intention to get the truth out but that issue has already been re-
solved in the last election,” he said. The El Shaddai leader is referring to the result of the May polls especially in the Senate race that had been dominated mostly by opposition candidates. Velarde believe the sentiments of the people that were expressed in the last mid-term elections will still be carried over to the 2010 presidential race. He said whatever is the reason for the revival of the ‘Hello Garci” controversy, whether it is in aid of legislation or something else, is still the preroga-
tive of the Senate. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales earlier appealed not to rekindle issues on the legitimacy of Arroyo, saying it would only create a negative impact on the economy and the country as a whole. He said the ideal solution to issues left hanging against Arroyo is for “all of us to unite”. “Stop all these things. We don’t need another hero. We have too many heroes. You should be the heroes this time. Move on,” Rosales appealed. (Roy Lagarde)
said. He explained even local residents are in a way “blinded” by dole-outs from cellular phones to motorcycles from these companies. “People who got temporary employment learned to gamble in mining camps and the environment will be subjected to outright degradation as all its wastes would go to the sea,” the 55-year
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“Of course (a guilty verdict) would be painful for others. But we have to accept whatever would be the decision,” he said. He said the country has laws that punish irregularities committed by civilians and even public officials that the people must respect. “It’s about time we obey laws
and not by going to the streets when we don’t want something. We have laws to be followed,” said Rosales. “This is a case of justice. It’s beyond politics. It’s a case of morality. It’s a question of right or wrong,” the prelate added. Estrada earlier expressed confidence of acquittal over accu-
sations of salting away tens of millions of dollars of government money during his shortlived presidency. The anti-graft court, which has heard testimony from more than 150 witnesses, is reportedly set to hand down its verdict within this month. Erap is charged with plunder,
perjury and graft in the six-year trial that lasted more than twice as long as his two-and-a-half year presidency. He is accused of ‘’unjustly enriching’’ himself and his close allies with more than 4 billion pesos ($87 million) in tax money and illegal gambling receipts. (Roy Lagarde)
mental impacts of church-initiated gatherings. It cited the successful collaborative waste prevention project by church and civil society groups in January 2003 that significantly reduced the waste generated at the 4th World Meeting of Families, especially during the massive closing celebration in Rizal Park. The EcoWaste Coalition has been releasing eco-advisories on how to prevent and reduce the environmental and health impacts of many widely observed customs and traditions of Filipino families, including campaigning for a waste-free Undas and Christmas. It also came up recently with a detailed guide on how to green community fiestas to address the waste-
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
One in four homes in Spain will be single-parent by 2011
MADRID, Spain, August 24, 2007—The Institute for Family Policy in Spain reported this week that currently one in five homes in the country are single-parent homes and that if the trend continues, by 2011, one in four homes will no longer have a solid family structure. “The tendencies that show the evolution of homes in Spain reveal serious deficiencies in our future, as they are provoking a society that is more and more individualistic, where social fragmentation is isolating the person and makes the social fabric very fragile,” said Mariano Martinez-Aedo, vice president of the IFP. “This evolution is a result not only of cultural, economic and social changes but also of a profound abandonment in family and social policy, which is not fulfilling its objectives. A vigorous social and political reaction is necessary that adopts important and lasting measures that truly support Spanish families to fulfill their role,” Martinez-Aedo said. The IFP noted this tendency is also the result of an increase in the number of childless couples and single-parent families. “A decisive commitment to the family is also necessary in the realms of culture and education,” the organization said. It proposed several steps for reversing this trend and adequately supporting families in Spain, such as the implementation of authentic pro-family policies and increased funds for family assistance. (CNA) ******
Rabbi praises Pope Benedict for his clear teaching
NEW YORK, USA, September 4, 2007—A rabbi from Monsey, New York, has lauded Pope Benedict XVI for reinstating the Latin Mass and affirming that only Catholic Church qualifies as the one, true Church. In an article titled The Pope’s Got A Point and published in the July 18 issue of The Jewish Press, Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz says he is “not at all put off by the fact that the leader of another religion sees that religion as primary.” “I’ve always found it curious that people of different religions get together in a spirit of harmony to share their common faiths,” he writes. “By definition, these people should have strong opposition to the beliefs of their ‘colleagues’ at the table. The mode of prayer of one group should be an affront to the other group. “What the pope is saying—and I agree 100 percent—is that there are irreconcilable differences, and we can’t pretend those differences don’t exist,” he states. “I can respect the pope for making an unambiguous statement of what he believes.” While all people, created in God’s image, and their beliefs are worthy of respect, “we don’t need to play games of ‘I’m okay, your okay’ with beliefs we find unacceptable,” he writes. Rabbi Seplowitz notes that the original form of the Latin Mass included a prayer for the conversion of the Jews. When the Latin Mass was reinstated, the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations wrote to the Vatican, requesting that the conversion prayer not be reintroduced. The rabbi says he is not suggesting Jewish leaders should not talk with Catholic leaders. “The pope needs to know, for example, that it is good to encourage his millions of followers to support Israel and that it is bad to hate Jews,” he writes. But the dialogue need not be theological, he suggests. “There needs to be careful dialogue, but it needs to be a secular, common, needs-based dialogue. We should not be studying Talmud together and we should not be discussing prayer.” (CNA)
Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz
Texas reaches 400 executions
HUNTSVILLE, TX, August 24, 2007—Yesterday, Texas executed its 400th person since the Supreme Court lifted the ban of the death penalty in 1982. However, according to Mario Marazziti, the spokesman for the Sant’Egidio Movement, the tide seems to be turning. Marazziti told Vatican Radio that “many states are discussing bills about the moratorium.” This is due to the fact that the public has recognized alternatives for punishments in the United States and believe that removing the death penalty will eliminate possible mistakes or errors in sentencing. In a previous statement on capital punishment, the Catholic Bishops of Texas urged the state to find alternative punishments for criminals. “While human logic alone seems to support the abolition of the death penalty, as moral leaders we call for alternatives because of its moral incongruity in today’s world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “If ... non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.” “In our modern society, we have means of keeping an offender from harming others. Although in previous times people of faith have employed capital punishment, today we have the ability to realize better the principles of mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love for all people”. (CNA) ******
Malaysian newspaper asked to shut down after publishing controversial picture
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, August 24, 2007—The Malaysian newspaper Makkal Osai is facing calls to shut down after it published an image of Jesus holding a cigarette and what appears to be a can of beer on its front page. Malaysia’s Muslim-led government closed two publications last year for carrying controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Now some members of Malaysia’s minority religions say they want the same treatment over this latest incident, reported the BBC. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi criticized the action as hurtful and an insult to Christians. He called on people not to play with religion, the national news agency Bernama reported. The paper has issued an apology, explaining that a graphics editor had mistakenly taken the image from the Internet. Most of Malaysia’s religious groups appear to have been appeased, including the Catholics. Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, who earlier criticized the image as a “desecration,” accepted the newspaper’s apology. In an e-mail to S.M. Periasamy, the newspaper’s general manager, the archbishop’s office said the archbishop now “considers the matter closed.” However, the Malaysian Indian Congress called on the government to close the paper. The congress is an ethnic Tamil political party in the governing coalition with mostly Hindu members. A BBC report notes that Makkal Osai has been very critical of the Malaysian Indian Congress, which owns a rival Tamillanguage newspaper. “It’s a very serious issue. For certain things you can apologize, but for this kind of sensitive issue, the editor should be sacked and the paper closed,” senior party official T. Mohan told The Associated Press. (CNA)
Mother Teresa endured God’s silence, says pope
My Light,” written by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator for the cause of canonization of the founder of the Missionaries of Charity. The book, published 10 years after the nun’s death, is a compilation of her letters and writings. Benedict XVI continued: “On one hand, we have to endure this silence of God, partly in order to understand our brethren who don’t know God.” On the other, he said, “we can always yell out again to God: ‘Talk, show yourself!’ And without a doubt, if the heart is open, we can discover the great moments of our life in which the presence of God is truly perceptible, even to us.” Second, he explained, it is possible to perceive the divine presence “listening to the word of God in the great liturgical celebrations, in the great music of faith.” Benedict XVI then told the story of a woman who converted to Christianity after having listened to the music of Bach, Handel and Mozart. Third, the Pope told the assembly of youth, one can discover God through “personal dialogue with Christ.” “He doesn’t always respond, but there are moments in which he really responds,” the Pontiff said. A last way of discovering God, according to the Holy Father, is “friendship, companionship in the faith.” Benedict XVI continued: “Now, here, gathered in Loreto, we see how faith unites, how friendship creates a companionship of journeying persons. “And we experience that all of this does not come from nothing, but has a source, that the silent God is also a God who speaks, who reveals himself, and above all, that we can be witnesses of his presence, that our faith truly brings about light, even for others.” The Pope added: “On one hand, we have to accept that in this world, God is silent, but we shouldn’t make ourselves deaf when he speaks, when he manifests his presence on so many occasions, above all in Creation, in the liturgy, in friendship within the Church. And, full of his presence, we can also give light to others.” (Zenit)
Sex-selective abortions skyrocket in India
NEW DELHI, India, August 23, 2007—The increasingly more widespread use of technology in India to enable mothers to know the sex of their unborn babies has led to a significant increase in the number of aborted girls, according to prolife activists and government officials. In India, scans and amniocentesis that reveal the sex of the baby are illegal. However, many women obtain the procedures and in many cases, upon learning that the child is female, elect to abort. According to government figures, some 10 million unborn baby girls have been killed by abortion in the last 20 years. “Sex-selection has been the main reason when the ratio of female births in the country has decreased,” said Pravir Krishna, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health. “Technology has many benefits, but this is an aspect of technology that has given us a serious problem,” he added. A large portion of the Indian population believes that male children enable families to survive and ensure that their parents will be taken care of. Female children are considered a burden for whom parents will have to shell out expensive dowries, which leads many to elect to abort them. On the other hand, a 2001 census revealed that there were 927 girls for every 1000 boys among children younger than age 7, as opposed to 945 in 1991. Last month, police discovered thirty bags full of aborted and newborn babies in a well near a clinic in eastern India. (CNA)
VATICAN CITY, September 4, 2007—God speaks even when he doesn’t say anything, Benedict XVI told 500,000 young people in reference to the “dark night” of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa’s spiritual suffering was one of the topics covered by the Pope on Saturday night, during his question-andanswer session with 500,000 youth in Loreto, Italy. The Vatican released the transcript of the questions and answers today. The session, held in the esplanade of Montorso, was part of a two-day encounter of Italian youth with the Holy Father. A young Italian woman, Sara Simonetta, explained to the Pon-
tiff that she believed “in the God that had touched my heart, but I feel a lot of insecurity, questions, fear.” “I feel human solitude, and I would like to feel God close. Holiness, in this silence; ‘Where is God?’” she asked. Benedict XVI responded that “we all, even though we believe, experience this silence of God.” “A book was just published on the spiritual experiences of Mother Teresa, and what we have known is now more openly presented: With all her charity, her strength of faith, Mother Teresa suffered the silence of God,” he said. The Pope was referring to the book “Mother Teresa: Come Be
The Pope explained how it is possible to see God. Before all, the Pontiff said, “the beauty of creation is one of the sources in which we can touch the beauty of God, we can see that the Creator exists and is good, that it is true what sacred Scripture says in the creation account.”
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Reject corruption, Nigerian cardinal asks leaders
ONITSHA, Nigeria, September 3, 2007—A leading Vatican official has called upon government leaders in his native Nigeria to renounce corruption and favoritism. Speaking in Onitsha, a city where he once served as archbishop, Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that political authority should not be regarded as a “weapon to reward friends and punish enemies.” A public servant, the cardinal said, should work “for the good of the community, for its service, to help the community.” He added that effective political leadership requires vision and courage as well as integrity. Ordained to the priesthood in Onitsha in 1958, Cardinal Arinze was named coadjutor archbishop there in 1965, becoming the archbishop in 1967. He held that post until 1985, when he resigned to take up his new responsibilities in Rome as president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue. In 2002 he was promoted to become prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. (CWNews)
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People, Facts & Places
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Thousands of pilgrims expected to join Lipa pilgrimage
THOUSANDS of pilgrims from other ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the Philippines are expected to join the local pilgrims in Lipa archdiocese on September 12, 2007 for the 3rd National Marian Pilgrimage in Carmel, Lipa City. Fr. Joseph Rodem Ramos, priest-incharge of the preparations, said the National Day of Prayer will be preceded by a triduum to be held at San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa City from September 9 to 11. The faithful from the seven vicariates of the Archdiocese are given their share in holding this spiritual preparation for the September 12 main event. Capping the triduum is the healing Mass to be presided over by Fr. Gerry Orbos, SVD, evening of September 11 up to midnight. Lipa Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles will lead the faithful in the exposition and vigil before the Blessed Sacrament on the first hour of September 12 at the Cathedral before the dawn procession to Carmel Church, where he will say Mass at 6:00 am. A series of talks are in stored for the day. Fr. Melvin Castro will talk on “Lipa Apparitions and Messages Revisited”. Former Ambassador to the Holy See, Hon. Howard Dee will talk on “What Consecration to Mary Means”, while Fr. Yulito Ignacio will expound on the topic “Mary Leads us to Christ: The Inseparable Union of Jesus and Mary”. After lunch, the explanation and launching of Pueblo Amante de Maria Mariological Society of the Philippines will be held. Renowned Jesuit theologian Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J., will explain the society while Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles will preside over the launching. The day will be capped by a concelebrated Mass, to be led by His Eminence, Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal. CBCP President, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro will be the homilist. Cardinal Vidal will lead the floral offering to the Image of Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Grace after the Mass. Batangas Governor, Hon. Vilma Santos-Recto will lead the faithful and pilgrims in reciting the Prayer of Consecration to Jesus through Mary. Lipa City Mayor, Atty. Oscar Gozos, will place the rosary at the hand of the Virgin, while his wife, Mrs. Nilda Gozos, will lead the faithful in placing flowers at her feet. The Lipa pilgrimage is tagged as “A Day of Prayer, Reparation and Consecration to Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace for World Peace and Sanctification of the Clergy.” For more details regarding the triduum and the pilgrimage day itself, just log on to www.marymediatrixofallgrace.com. Readers may also call up tel. nos. (043)981-1160, or telefax nos. (043)-756-5590. (Fr. Nonie C. Dolor)
SVD opens centennial celebration
THE Society of Divine Word (SVD) opened the three-year celebration of the community’s 100 years of presence in the Philippines with a colorful motorcade around Bangued, capital of Abra last August 22. This was fallowed by solemn and inculturated high mass, at 9:00 am, presided by Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD, provincial Superior of SVD-Northern Philippines. He was assisted by more than 40 SVD’s and diocesan priests led by Most Rev. Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD, bishop of the diocese. In the afternoon, the Museum of the Divine Word College of Bangued was opened to the public for viewing. At 7 PM, a cultural presentation of songs and dances with a cast of more than 300 performers depicted the missionary endeavors of the SVD and rich culture of Abra. Fireworks punctuated the two-hour show, and it fittingly ended with the singing of the “Salve Regina.” The SVD community is commemorating the momentous event of their 100 years of presence in the Philippines starting this year. “Witness to the Word” has been adopted as the general theme of the celebration while “to remember”, “to rejoice” and “to renew” will serve as the yearly objectives. The first two SVD missionaries, Fr. Ludwig Beckert and Fr. John Sheiermann, arrived in Manila from Hongkong on August 15, 1909. From Manila they journeyed on steamboat to Vigan, Ilocos Sur. On August 22, the two SVD missionaries rode for two hours, on bamboo rafts upstream the Abra River. Walking or riding on horseback the rest of the way, they reached Bangued, and proceeded on horseback to Cagutongan (now San Isidro). Cagutongan became the first base of the SVDs in Abra and in the Philippines. Because of its historical importance, SVD Northern Province elected August 22, 2007, as the date for the launching of its centennial celebration. In the words of Fr. Cirilo Ortega, SVD, the District Superior, August 22 is “a stupendous day” because “ it is a day to remember the Queen ship of Mary; it is a day to remember the arrival of the first SVD missionaries in Abra, and it is the beginning of celebrating the 100 years of SVD presence in the country.” (Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD)
LAUNCHED. NOTREDAME OF KIDAPAWAN COLLEGE (NDKC), 50th anniversary of foundation; July 29, 2007. NDKC kicked off its year-long celebration with a joyous parade and colorful floats depicting its 50 years of existence: “Dekada 60”, “Dekada 70”, Dekada 80", “Dekada 90”, and “Dekada 2000”. Most Rev. Romulo dela Cruz, DD, a former student of NDKC Boys’ Department; presided the thanksgiving mass. As a Catholic institution, anchored in the faith of God, and honored to bear the name of the Blessed Mother, NDKC looks forward to a wider horizon. One of the greatest challenges it faces in the next 50 years is the fulfillment of its mission of evangelization in the midst of the fast growing modernization. CELEBRA TED. CARMEL OF ST. JOSEPH, Lucena City, 50th anniversary of foundation; August 10, 2007. In 1957, Rev. Mother Theresa of Jesus, founder and prioress of Gilmore Carmel, together with 6 Carmelite nuns refugees from Shanghai opened the monastery in Lucena upon the invitation of Most Rev. Alfredo Ma. Obviar, DD. Sustained by God’s ever-abiding presence, the Carmelite Monastery of St. Joseph, now stands as an impregnable powerhouse of prayer, an enduring tribute to the generosity of the people of Lucena who welcomed with open arms the pioneering nuns. LAUNCHED. SOCIETY OF DIVINE WORD (SVD) CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION; August 22, 2007, in Bangued, Abra. The Abra District of the SVD Philippine Northern Province launched the centennial celebration to commemorate the arrival of the first two SVD missionaries Fr. Louis Beckert and Fr. Scheirmann, in Bangued in 1909. The three-year celebration of SVD’s 100 years of presence in the Philippines opened with a colorful motorcade around Bangued. Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD, provincial Superior of SVD-Northern Philippines presided the solemn and inculturated high mass. He was assisted by more than 40 SVD’s and diocesan priests led by Most Rev. Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD, bishop of the diocese. The general theme of the celebration is “Witness to the Word”, while “to remember”, “to rejoice” and “to renew” will serve as the yearly objectives. In the words of Fr. Cirilo Ortega, SVD, the District Superior, August 22 is “a stupendous day” because “ it is a day to remember the Queenship of Mary; it is a day to remember the arrival of the first SVD missionaries in Abra, and it is the beginning of celebrating the 100 years of SVD presence in the country.” CELEBRATED. SR. MARY FELICITAS NISPEROS, RGS, and SR. MARY JAMES WILSON, RGS, 50th Anniversary of Religious Profession in the Congregation of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, September 8, 2007; at the Good Shepherd Convent, Quezon City. Sr. Mary Felicitas and Sr. Mary James professed their first vows at the Good Shepherd Novitiate in Los Angeles on September 8, 1957. Sr Felicitas is presently a missionary in Hongkong while Sr. James is the adviser of the Good Shepherd Lay Affiliates in Quezon City. LAUNCHING. KNIGHT OF COLUMBUS FRATERNALASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES (KCFAPI), golden anniversary of foundation; September 14, 2007. The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), a non-stock, non-profit mutual benefit association, founded by Rev. Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ. KCFAPI was licensed by the Insurance Commission on September 9, 1958 to operate as an insurance system for the exclusive protection of the members of the Knights of Columbus and their immediate family members. To commence the year-long celebration, an official launching is scheduled on September 14, 2007 to coincide with the Family TV Mass to commemorate the 30th death anniversary of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ. The grand jubilee shall be held at the Manila Hotel on September 13, 2008. The activities for the 50th anniversary aim to enhance the image of the Association and strengthen its relationship to its more than 50,000 benefit certificate holders nationwide.
CACERES launches TV program “Simbanwaan”
THE Caceres Commission on Communications (CCCOM) launched its maiden presentation of a 30-minute TV program “Simbanwaan” on August 18, 2007 at 4:30 – 5:00 pm over PBN TV5 – Naga. The TV program, divided into four segments informs the faithful about the activities of the local Church. The four segment divisions are Wow Simbahan, which features one parish with its programs and special services; Tabang Banwaan, which features various religious institutions of the Archdiocese that promote social services to the underprivileged members of the community; and Isyu which, discusses the pressing concerns of society and clarifies important issues regarding Church teachings. There is also discussion on the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Faith based on the queries and opinions of the men and women of the street. The parish of St. Bartholomew in Baao, Camarines Sur, was featured during the maiden presentation of Simbanwaan. Baao is the hometown of the first Filipino Bishop, Bishop Jorge Barlin. Twenty-four other priests both diocesan and religious also hailed from this town. The parish priest, Fr. Joseph Wilfred Almoneda, and parochial Vicar, Fr. Howard Tud gave testimonies about the faith life of the people of Baao, which explains why so many have chosen to become priests and religious. The second segment, Tabang Banwaan, featured Altershiem , home for the retired Diocesan priests, located at the back of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine. The Daughters of Mary (DM) sisters attend to the needs of the elderly priests. In the Isyu portion, 6 priests were interviewed to clarify the notion that priests are alone but not lonely. Fr. Manny Zagada, Fr. Philip Bersabe, Fr. Peter Beriña and Msgr. Alberto Nero of the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary, and Parish priests Fr. Jeudiel Galvo and Fr. Alex Quimpol, shared their insights, unanimously attesting that though they are alone, they are never lonely. The priests also declared they find meaning in their life as celibates, and have a healthy way of coping with loneliness whenever it arises. CCCOM director Fr. Louie Occiano hopes the TV program will teach people on the important mission of the Church, using mass media for evangelization. “If everybody is informed about the programs and activities of the Church as well as the basic doctrine of our faith, they will be moved to participate actively in realizing our mission,” he added. Replays of Simbanwaan are also shown in various cable companies through their community channels in Rinconada and Partido districts. The TV production was made possible through the supervision of Fr. Louie Occiano, with Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D. as Executive producer, Ms. Tess Bañares Delfin as program hosts, Ms. Myrna Bermudo and Ms. Liezl Macatangay as Chief Scriptwriters. (Lina Salazar, FSP)
New assignments for Manila Archdiocese
THE Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales announced the appointments of 13 pastors to their new assignments and a new vicar forane for the Vicariate of Santo Niño. The new appointments will take effect on Saturday, September 8. Among those appointed were Msgr. Josefino S. Ramirez, Rector and Pastor of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy, Maysilo Circle, Mandaluyong City; Msgr. Jose Clemente F. Ignacio, Rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Manila; Fr. Leo Nilo C. Mangunsad, Acting Rector of Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (EDSA Shrine); Fr. Victor Y. Apacible, Rector and Pastor of the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart, San Antonio Village, Makati City; Fr. Elias Manlangit, Jr., OFM, Pastor, Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish, Sta. Ana, Manila; Fr. Carlo Bittante, FdCC, Pastor, San Pablo Apostol Parish, Magsaysay, Tondo, Manila; Fr. Renato Y. Ruelos, CM, Pastor, San Vicente de Paul, San Marcelino, Manila; Fr. Jerome Angulo, OFM, Pastor, Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, Makati City; Fr. Noel B. Magtaas, OSJ, Pastor, Santuario de San Jose, Mandaluyong City; Fr. Benhamin Deogracias M. Fajota, attached priest, St. Anthony of Padua, Singalong and San Andres Sts., Malate, Manila; Fr. Joseph Matitu, SSS, Pastor, Santa Cruz Parish, Sta. Cruz, Manila; Fr. Nelson M. Cabanero, SMM, Pastor, Sta. Teresita Parish, West Rembo, Makati City, Fr. Norwynn V. Baydo, SMM, Parochial Vicar, Sta. Teresita Parish, West Rembo, Makati City. Archbishop Rosales also appointed Fr. Enrique Y. Santos, Vicar Forane, Vicariate of Sto. Niño which includes the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz and the Parishes of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (Personal Parish-Chinese), Saint John Bosco, San Pablo Apostol and Santo Niño Church. (CBCPNews)
ORDINATION AT MANILA CATHEDRAL. His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales handed a staff to newly ordained Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francisco De Leon on September 1.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Grace, Lipa City
B2 Updates B3 Diocese
The canonical form of marriage Diocese of Bangued
ECBA, PBS hold symposium on the BEC Bible
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8)
Loving with a prodigal love
B7 Social Concerns
Sagip Ka 2000 Foundation, Inc: Saving lives, upholding dignity
Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI to the young people of the world on the occasion of the XXIII World Youth Day, 2008
MY dear young friends! 1. The XXIII World Youth Day I always remember with great joy the various occasions we spent together in Cologne in August 2005. At the end of that unforgettable manifestation of faith and enthusiasm that remains engraved on my spirit and on my heart, I made an appointment with you for the next gathering that will be held in Sydney in 2008. This will be the XXIII World Youth Day and the theme will be: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The underlying theme of the spiritual preparation for our meeting in Sydney is the Holy Spirit and mission. In 2006 we focused our attention on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Now in 2007 we are seeking a deeper understanding of the Spirit of Love. We will continue our journey towards World Youth Day 2008 by reflecting on the Spirit of Fortitude and Witness that gives us the courage to live according to the Gospel and to proclaim it boldly. Therefore it is very important that each one of you young people - in your communities, and together with those responsible for your education - should be able to reflect on this Principal Agent of salvation history, namely the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Jesus. In this way you will be able to achieve the following lofty goals: to recognize the Spirit’s true identity, principally by listening to the Word of God in the Revelation of the Bible; to become clearly aware of his continuous, active presence in the life of the Church, especially as you rediscover that the Holy Spirit is the “soul”, the vital breath of Christian life itself, through the sacraments of Christian initiation - Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist; to grow thereby in an understanding of Jesus that becomes ever deeper and more joyful and, at the same time, to put the Gospel into practice at the dawn of the third millennium. In this message I gladly offer you an outline for meditation that you can explore during this year of preparation. In this way you can test the quality of your faith in the Holy Spirit, rediscover it if it is lost, strengthen it if it has become weak, savour it as fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, brought about by the indispensable working of the Holy Spirit. Never forget that the Church, in fact humanity itself, all the people around you now and those who await you in the future, expect much from you young people, because you have within you the supreme gift of the Father, the Spirit of Jesus. 2. The promise of the Holy Spirit in the Bible Attentive listening to the Word of God concerning the mystery and action of the Holy Spirit opens us up to great and inspiring insights that I shall summarize in the following points. Shortly before his Ascension, Jesus said to his disciples: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you” (Lk. 24:49). This took place on the day of Pentecost when they were together in prayer in the Upper Room with the Virgin Mary. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the nascent Church was the fulfilment of a promise made much earlier by God, announced and prepared throughout the Old Testament. In fact, right from its opening pages, the Bible, presents the spirit of God as the wind that “was moving over the face of the waters” (cf. Gen 1:2). It says that God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life (cf. Gen 2:7), thereby infusing him with life itself. After original sin, the life-giving spirit of God is seen several times in the history of humankind, calling forth prophets to exhort the chosen people to return to God and to observe his commandments faithfully. In the wellknown vision of the prophet Ezekiel, God, with his spirit, restores to life the people of Israel, represented by the “dry bones” (cf. 37:1-14). Joel prophesied an “outpouring of the spirit” over all the people, excluding no one. The sacred author wrote: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh ... Even upon the menservants and maidservants, in those days, I will pour out my spirit” (3:1-2). In “the fullness of time” (cf. Gal 4:4), the angel of the Lord announced to the Virgin of Nazareth that the Holy Spirit, “the power of the Most High”, would come upon her and overshadow her. The child to be born would be holy and would be called Son of God (cf. Lk. 1:35). In the words of the prophet Isaiah, the Messiah would be the one on whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest (cf. 11:1-2; 42:1). This is the prophecy that Jesus took up again at the start of his public ministry in the synagogue in Nazareth. To the amazement of those present, he said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight
to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk. 4:18-19; cf. Is. 61:1-2). Addressing those present, he referred those prophetic words to himself by saying: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk. 4:21). Again, before his death on the Cross, he would tell his disciples several times about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the “Counselor” whose mission would be to bear witness to him and to assist believers by teaching them and guiding them to the fullness of Truth (cf. Jn. 14:16-17, 25-26; 15:26; 16:13). 3. Pentecost, the point of departure for the Church’s mission On the evening of the day of resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples, “he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy
Spirit’” (Jn. 20:22). With even greater power the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. We read in the Acts of the Apostles: “And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them” (2:23). The Holy Spirit renewed the Apostles from within, filling them with a power that would give them courage to go out and boldly proclaim that “Christ has died and is risen!” Freed from all fear, they began to speak openly with self-confidence (cf. Acts 2:29; 4:13; 4:29, 31). These frightened fishermen had become courageous heralds of the Gospel. Even their enemies could not understand how “uneducated
and ordinary men” (cf. Acts 4:13) could show such courage and endure difficulties, suffering and persecution with joy. Nothing could stop them. To those who tried to silence them they replied: “We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). This is how the Church was born, and from the day of Pentecost she has not ceased to spread the Good News “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). 4. The Holy Spirit, soul of the Church and principle of communion If we are to understand the mission of the Church, we must go back to the Upper Room where the disciples remained together (cf. Lk. 24:49), praying with Mary, the “Mother”, awaiting the Spirit that
WYD / B4
Most Rev. Rodolfo F. Beltran, D.D.
How is the social concern agenda of the Church being concretized in your Vicariate? I am thankful to my predecessor bishops from what they had started and done in terms of our local Church’s concern on the social issues. I intend to continue them. My priests have oriented me with the agenda as I started to work with them after my installation as their Apostolic Vicar. This is what we understood together: Any proposed response to the challenges the social issues of the day pose must presuppose genuine concern on our part. The presbyterium of the Vicariate together with the faithful are now aware of their social commitment to problems that beset the economic life and development of the people. They become involved in responding to the social issues especially to human needs. Is the BEC active in the Vicariate? This is now the thrust of our local Church. It is not perfect, but it is moving towards there. The spirit is felt in every mission station (parish), especially in the mountainous barangays. Our people are getting involved in the life and mission of the Church. There is an increasing collaboration between the ministerial and the common priesthood.
APPOINTED prelate by Pope Benedict XVI on March 18, 2006, Bishop Beltran was installed Apostolic Vicar of BontocLagawe on May 29, 2006. In this issue of CBCP Monitor, Bishop Beltran talks on the social issues the Vicariate is pursuing, the BEC’s and their involvement in the life of the Church, the role and participation of the laity in the local Church, the family and life program in the Vicariate, the vocations entering the diocesan seminary, and his perception of secular media’s treatment of Church issues in the news.
National pilgrimage in honor of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace
By Fr. Melvin Castro
FOR the fourth consecutive year, the Church in the Philippines will gather together to honor Our Lady under her title, Mediatrix of All-Grace. CBCP President, Most Rev. Angel Lagdameo, DD, and the Archbishop of Lipa, Most Rev. Ramon Arguelles, DD, have called on the Catholic faithful once again to join the National Pilgrimage to Carmelite Monastery in Lipa City, Batangas on 12 September 2007, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary. The annual pilgrimage has always carried the twin intentions of Prayer for World Peace and the Sanctification of the Clergy. This year’s pilgrimage has for its theme the prayer of consecration of St. Louis Grignon di Montfort: I AM ALL YOURS AND ALL THAT I HAVE IS YOURS, O JESUS, THROUGH MARY, OUR IMMACULATEMOTHERANDMEDIATRIXOFALLGRACE. It will be recalled that when Our Lady appeared in Lipa Carmel in 1948, she specifically requested the total consecration to her Immaculate Heart following the devotional way enunciated by St. Louis di Montfort who was canonized in 1947, a year before the reported apparitions of Our Lady. During her apparitions in Lipa Carmel in 1948, Our Lady revealed herself under the title Mary, Mediatrix of All-Grace, explaining even further that it is All-Grace, in the singular form, because it refers to Christ who is the source of each and every grace. It is hoped that through this annual pilgrimage the cause of the official recognition of the 1948 apparitions of Our Lady will advance and that the Catholic faithful may rediscover the tremendous value of an authentic Marian devotion. For this year, the Pueblo Amante de Maria Mariological Society of the Philippines (PAMMSPhil) will also be launched. The Archdiocese of Lipa spearheads the annual pilgrimage, assisted by many Marian movements and organizations, among them, the Friends of Mary Mediatrix and the Confraternity of Mary, Mediatrix of All-Grace.
Does the role of the laity as defined by PCP II being realized in your Vicariate? This is the initiative and now the spirit in my local Church. We are moving towards Church participation and involvement. Thanks to my predecessors’ efforts. Since 1993 when Bontoc-Lagawe was made a separate local Church from the Vicariate of the Mountain Provinces, every year we hold the TONGTONGAN, a general assembly composed of the representatives of the different mission stations to evaluate the role of Church
7 Questions / B7
By Santosh K. Digal
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Length of a sermon
THE length of a sermon is a perennial matter of debate among Catholics, both the clergy and the laity. In a certain parish, some parishioners had a series of discussions on the subject. Some said that what is more important is the content rather than length while others stressed the need for sermons that are short but sweet. Meanwhile, other people consider brevity and clarity of thought as good gauge of good homilies. To keep homilies brief, it is recommended that priests develop one single idea or “pearl” rather than pursue several strands. There is no sense in saying more if the congregation wants to hear less. The call is for a single, elaborated point of substantial depth. Depth is one area Catholics are particularly keen on. There will be no depth in homilies without depth in the preacher, “spiritual,” “intellectual”, and “cultural.” People want well-read, reflective, and prayerful preachers. At the same time, people want preaching that connects with their lives. The homily is one of the most important parts of the Eucharistic celebration. It must therefore be well prepared by being brief and having a relevant message. An outstanding preacher could hazard fifteen minutes. An average speaker should not go beyond ten minutes and those who are known to be boring should never forget the advice to be brief, be bright, and be gone. There is a lot of dissatisfaction among the laity about the kind of homilies they want to hear. But certainly, Catholics want to hear relevant homilies. Relevance could be strengthened by the celebrant preparing the homily together with the liturgical team who could provide the grist of their daily experiences to the mill of the sermon. The homily should be preached only after the Gospel, some priests preach several homilies at one Mass—one at the introduction, one after the Gospel and others at various parts of the Mass. This could be extremely annoying and frustrating to the congregation. A priest once told me that one of his companion priests used to preach five to six sermons during his Mass every day: one at the beginning of the Mass, two before the two readings, one after the Gospel, one before the Lord’s Prayer and one immediately after Communion. Another priest one day said to the priest, “Father, we preach a sermon when we celebrate Mass, but you celebrate Mass when you preach sermons!” It would be advisable that every parish conduct a survey on the performance of priests at least once a year. It is good to ask for feedback on such an important aspect of Church life, the homily being one of the main methods of catechesis. Priests have hundreds of people in this captive audience and this opportunity should be used to instruct, enlighten and entertain our people in the best sense of the word. Priests have no right to bore them unnecessarily. As far as Church directives are concerned, there are no hard and fast rules on the length of the sermon during Holy Masses. I haven’t found one even in the Church’s Canon law. Despite the debate on the length of the sermon it is still true that what is most important is not the length of the sermon but the matter of it. But one must not forget the physical and psychological reality of our human bodies and minds. Most specialists agree that the attention span for a normal Sunday sermon in the Church would be around seven to ten minutes. I am not speaking about special occasions, when the congregation is prepared for sermons of longer duration. I am not speaking about Sunday sermons preached in distant villages where people travel for hours to reach the church and the Sunday sermons are the only means available to them for catechesis and where such wonderful people want the sermons to be long, instructive and useful to strengthen their faith. According to the results of a study on homilies in India by Prof. Albert Mehrabian, when a priest preaches a sermon on an ordinary Sunday, 55 percent of the communication is done by a “priest’s life;” 38 percent is done by “his gestures, voice and diction” and only seven percent is done by the words the priest utters. Mehrabian explains: “When John, Judith and their daughter Jamima come for Sunday Mass and their parish priest, whom they consider as a true reflection of Christ, is celebrating Mass, even before he opens his mouth to begin his homily, John, Judith and Jamima have got the ‘message.’ They know that their beloved Parish Priest is himself a living example of the message he is trying to convey to his people.” “On the other hand, they come for Sunday Mass, and their Parish Priest, who is known to be rude, unconcerned, selfish and far from being a reflection of the Jesus of the Gospels, is celebrating the Mass, even before he opens his mouth to begin his homily, the three are 55 per cent convinced that what their Parish Priest is talking is just theory that he has learnt and not what he has actually experienced. To add to this, if such a second type of Parish Priest is poor in his diction and cannot be distinctly heard, he has lost a further 38 percent of his ability to communicate. The remaining seven per cent is not going to make any difference to the Christian lives of John, Judith and Jemima!” Pope Benedict XVI states that a priest participates in the same action of the Spirit that formed the Scriptural text itself when he breaks the Word to the faithful at the Eucharist in a homily. In doing so a priest communicates God’s message in the language of his people and interprets the issues of our times in the light of the God’s Word. It was an ardent practice of this precept that made St. John Marie Vianney known internationally. It is reported that people from distant places began traveling to hear his sermons. The number of pilgrims had reached 20,000 a year towards the end of his priestly ministry. Poor homilies have had a serious effect on the church-going habits of Catholics. In one parish, there were people who complained that they did not attend Mass in their parishes because of the poor quality of the homilies. If parishioners now tend to “shop around” different parishes to attend Mass, the main reason is the preaching and not so much because of other factors. The good news is that people seem hungry for astute commentary on the Word. It is true for the Philippines. My experience shows that a priest is expected to preach homily during every Mass irrespective of time and occasion. This shows Filipino Catholics love to hear homilies. Of course, one has to note that people are conditioned by a culture that places great value on efficiency, which means the people dislike preaching that is laborious and long. St Vianney, for example, spared the listener wordy introductions, especially ones that are not directly relevant to the message. Scripture itself should be the launching pad. This makes theological sense, because the homily needs to flow from the Scriptures. People experience a jarring interruption if the homily is prefaced with an unrelated story, an irrelevant joke, or an announcement. Another approach that annoys Catholics is the rehashing of Scripture out of context. This implies that the congregations have not been listening or that they are below the average intelligence to understand the readings. An opening in which the preacher explains how he decided what to say is also anathema. They are not interested in such difficulties. People too are professionals who have to struggle with the disciplines of their trade. Clearly stating the main proposition of the homily is an invaluable tip offered by a renowned homiletic professor for crafting effective sermons. “The opening line of a literary piece is intended to suggest the work’s theme strongly and clearly. The same should be true of a homily. And we know how much trouble writers take to find that perfect opening. Priests must be wary of the oblique beginning—it frequently confuses the congregation. Work on the middle of the homily first, and then both the beginning and the end would come naturally.” Endings are also a problem. Many people mention statements sounding like endings as especially distracting, causing them to focus on how the preacher had “landed the plane” rather than the message. Preachers should always know the precise concluding lines of the homily and should never ‘grope’ for the ending struggling with drawn out sentences for the finale. Endings need not be complex; simple is often the best with a good “punch line.” Giving a homily is a labor of love, study, prayer, discussion, thought, and passionate conviction. It would not be far from the truth to state that these suggestions reflect the profound precept and practice of preaching that St. Vianney bequeathed to Catholics by his homilies. (Fr. Santosh Digal is one of the news writers of CBCPNews. He works as chaplain at the UST Hospital in Manila).
The canonical form of marriage
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
A friend of mine recently got married at St. Peter’s in Rome. The wedding Mass was superb—presided by a Filipino priest in a side chapel of the Basilica, complete with organ and small choir facilitated by the Basilica itself. The only hitch came at the moment of signing the papers, right inside the side chapel and immediately after the Mass. A Vatican official amiably asked for the signatures of the couple, then the priest presider. But when it came to the sponsors, he approached the persons at the kneelers positioned on either side of the couple, who happened to be the parents of the bride and the groom. The official got visibly agitated, saying that those positions should have been occupied by the sponsors, since they should be the ones hearing the exchange of “I do”. He even said that they had opened the marriage to a possible suit of invalidity due to lack of canonical form. He was only appeased when the sponsors affirmed that they heard everything, even from their place in the front row of pews, since the chapel was relatively small. What was the fuss all about? THE issue was the integrity of the so-called canonical form of Catholic marriage—i.e., the external formal requisites in the exchange of marriage consent for it to have juridic validity. The canonical form of the celebration of marriage Three reasons made the establishment of a juridic substantial form—i.e., a set of external and verifiable circumstances as requirements for the substantial and juridic validity of matrimonial consent—necessary: 1) to make the coming about of a given marriage public within the ecclesial community—i.e., since the couple would henceforth live as husband and wife in the midst of that community; 2) to make the expression of matrimonial consent verifiable with certainty—i.e., by providing for witnesses who could attest to the manifestation of such consent by the contracting parties; 3) to safeguard the specific content of canonical marriage—i.e., by making the presence of the qualified witness depend on his moral certainty that all other canonical requirements for marriage have been fulfilled. Thus, the configuration of canonical marriage as a formal juridic act (aside from being a consensual act) has been a constant principle in Church law since the Council of Trent established it in 1563. The present Code of Canon Law summarizes this canonical form of Marriage in the following terms: Can. 1108 — §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of the local ordinary, or the pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, and in the presence of two witnesses, according to the rules expressed in the following canons, with due regard for the exceptions mentioned in cc.144, 1112,§1, and 1127,§§2 and 3. §2. The one assisting at a marriage is understood to be only that person who, present at the ceremony, asks for the contractants’ manifestation of consent and receives it in the name of the Church. In simple terms, what the canonical form of marriage means is that for marriage to validly come about, the following formal requirements must be present in the actual marriage ceremony. 1st: The Bride and Groom — in Person or by legitimate Proxy. Can. 1104 — §1. In order for marriage to be contracted validly, it is necessary that the contracting parties be present together, either in person or by proxy. §2. Those to be married are to express their matrimonial consent in words; however, if they cannot speak, they are to express it by equivalent signs. Although this is not usually discussed under the heading of the canonical form— usually forming part of the issue of consent—I find it pedagogically better to deal with it here. In fact the configuration of the canonical form as the substantial juridic form of Catholic marriage is a function of the need to provide witness to the expression of mutual consent by the contracting parties. Thus, their physical presence at the wedding is normally presumed. What could be a novelty for most Catholics is the provision in Canon Law for either or both of the contracting parties to be represented by legitimate proxy. Canon Law regulates this matter in great detail: Can. 1105 — §1. In order for marriage to be entered validly by proxy, it is required that: 1° there is a special mandate to contract marriage with a certain person; 2° the proxy is appointed by the person who gave the mandate and that the proxy fulfill this function in person (i.e., the proxy cannot appoint another proxy). §2. To be valid a mandate must be signed by the person who gave it, as well as by the Pastor (i.e., parish priest) or the Local Ordinary where the mandate was issued, or by a priest delegated by either of these, or at least by two witnesses; or it must be arranged by means of a document which is authentic according to civil law(i.e., duly notarized). §3. If the person giving the mandate cannot write, this is to be noted in the mandate itself and another witness is to be added who must also sign the document; otherwise, the mandate is invalid. §4. If the person who gave the mandate revokes it or becomes insane before the proxy has contracted marriage in that person’s name, the marriage is invalid, even though either the proxy or the other contracting party was unaware of these developments. 2nd: A Qualified Witness — to ask for the Consent in the name of the Church. The Code enumerates who can act as the qualified witness: Can. 1109 — …within the confines of their territory, the Local Ordinary and the Pastor (parish priest) in virtue of their office, validly assist at the marriages of their subjects as well as of non-subjects provided one of the contractants is of the Latin rite. Thus, the Bishop of the Diocese (in his whole diocese) and the Parish Priest (in his parish) is a qualified witness for marriage. Can. 1110 — In virtue of their office and within the limits of their jurisdiction, an Ordinary and a Personal Pastor validly assist only at marriages involving at least one of their subjects. Thus, a Bishop (not the Bishop of the Diocese) can validly assist if one of the parties comes from his own diocese; likewise a Military Chaplain can validly assist if one of the parties belongs to the Military Ordinariate. Can. 1111 — §1. …the Local Ordinary and the Pastor can delegate to priests and deacons the faculty, even a general one (i.e., not just for a specific marriage), to assist at marriages within the limits of their territory. This is the usual case in a big place like Metro Manila, where people get married at the church of their choice (not their own parishes). Every time a couple get married outside of their parish, the Parish Priest of the church where the marriage is celebrated either assists at the marriage or delegates another priest to do so (usually the priest of choice of the couple). §2. To be valid the delegation of the faculty to assist at marriages must be given expressly to specified persons (e.g., if the couple brings their own priest, he must be identified beforehand and his credentials verified.); if it is a question of a special delegation, it is to be granted for a specific marriage; however, if it is a question of a general delegation, it is to be granted in writing. 3rd: Two Other Witnesses — also called Common Witnesses. The Code does not stipulate any requirement. Hence, we can presume the common doctrinal and jurisprudential criteria of: (1) use of reason, and (2) the capacity to perceive the marriage they are witnessing. In sum, the common witnesses should be able to testify regarding the celebration of marriage, especially regarding the exchange of matrimonial consent. Thus, more than godparents (a common term in the Philippines) we are dealing with simple witnesses, whose only juridic obligation is to be ready to testify that the marriage took place. They don’t even have a moral obligation to assist the new couple to live up to their commitments—which is what the word sponsors (another common term in the Philippines) implies. Conclusion As to the romantic (and Roman) wedding in question, the zealous Vatican official was right in being concerned, but was also right in being appeased once the official witnesses testified that they heard and saw everything.
Novenas and devotions during Mass
(The following questions were answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university; lifted with permission from Zenit) Q: I have seen novenas prayed together by the congregation, led by the priest directly after the Gospel of a weekday Mass. Is this correct?— C.H.,BatonRouge,Louisiana. Q: I was wondering if it is appropriate to insert the Chaplet of Divine Mercy into the liturgy? Our parish recited this after the homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, led by our pastor. It seemed as if a beautiful, but optional, devotion was forced on a captive congregation. — L.S., Hutchinson, Kansas A: This topic referred to in these two questions is dealt with in the December 2001 document “Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy,” published by the Congregation for Divine Worship. No. 13 of this document states: “The objective difference between pious exercises and devotional practices should always be clear in expressions of worship. Hence, the formulae proper to pious exercises should not be commingled with the liturgical actions. Acts of devotion and piety are external to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and of the other sacraments. “On the one hand, a superimposing of pious and devotional practices on the Liturgy so as to differentiate their language, rhythm, course, and theological emphasis from those of the corresponding liturgical action, must be avoided, while any form of competition with or opposition to the liturgical actions, where such exists, must also be resolved. Thus, precedence must always be given to Sunday, Solemnities, and to the liturgical seasons and days. “Since, on the other hand, pious practices must conserve their proper style, simplicity and language, attempts to impose forms of ‘liturgical celebration’ on them are always to be avoided.” Therefore it is incorrect to mingle any devotional exercise such as a novena or non-liturgical litanies within the context of the Mass; this mixing respects neither the nature of the Eucharistic celebration nor the essence of the pious exercise. Novenas or non-liturgical litanies may, however, be recited immediately before or after Mass. Some readers ask if devotions may be carried out during Eucharistic adoration. The above-mentioned directory suggests in No. 165: “Gradually, the faithful should be encouraged not to do other devotional exercises during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.” It adds, however: “Given the close relationship between Christ and Our Lady, the rosary can always be of assistance in giving prayer a Christological orientation, since it contains meditation of the Incarnation and the Redemption.” Although the rosary is the only devotion specifically mentioned, it is possible that other devotions that can likewise be given a Christological orientation. These include novenas in preparation for Christmas and other feasts, which could be used as vocal prayers and acclamations immediately before Benediction. This would not be the case for a novena or devotion to a particular saint.
Denz Dayao/CBCP Media
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
THE Diocese of Bangued encompasses the civil province of Abra, which was a sub-province of Ilocos Sur until its establishment as a separate province in 1917. With a total land area of 3,975.5 square meter kilometers, Abra has 27 municipalities and is now part of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Evangelization of Abra The evangelization of Abra can be traced back to 1598 with the work of the Spanish missionaries, particularly the Augustinian friars, based in Ilocos Sur. In 1909, the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) arrived to take responsibility of the mission work. As of June 2007, the Diocese is served by 26 diocesan clergy and 21 Divine Word Missionaries, among whom are 2 religious Brothers. Also presently involved in pastoral work are 8 Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (S.Sp.S.) who started work in Abra in 1912 and 4 Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (S.I.H.M.). The Diocese also counts on the help of the Auxiliaries of the Apostolate. These are lay women called by the Local Ordinary to help in the apostolate. They are given up to God without reserve for the communication of His Love. Prelature Nullius The Prelature Nullius of Bangued was erected on June 12, 1955 by Pope Pius XII. It was formerly part of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia of which it remains a suffragan. Pope John Paul II elevated the Prelature to a Diocese on November 15, 1982. Its titular patron is St. James the Elder, with St. Joseph as the patron chosen by the Divine Word Missionaries for their Abra Mission. The Diocese now comprises 20 parishes and one quasi-parish, grouped into 4 vicariates forane. As of December 31, 2006, there are 203,598 Catholics, constituting 84% of the local population of 242,629. The Abrenians belong to two major ethnic groups: the Ilocanos, who comprise the majority and the Tingguians, who belong to different ethnolinguistic tribal communities. The first prelate ordinary of Bangued was Bishop Odilo Etspueler, SVD, who was installed on October 17, 1956. He retired on November 24, 1987 and died on September 12, 1995. His Auxiliary Bishop, the Most Rev. Cesar Raval, SVD, was subsequently appointed second bishop of Bangued on November 25, 1988 but resigned on January 18, 1992 because of ill health. Very Rev. James Risse, SVD, served as the Diocesan Administrator from January 22, 1992 until the third bishop of Bangued, the Most Rev. Artemio L. Rillera, SVD, was elected on June 28, 1993 and installed as third bishop of Bangued on August 28, 1993. However, Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of San Fernando de La Union on April 1, 2005. Very Rev. Nilo S. Peig then served as the Diocesan Administrator from June 15, 2006 until the Most Rev. Leopoldo C. Jaucian, SVD, was appointed on January 5, 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI, and installed as the fourth bishop of Bangued on March 31, 2007. The Diocese of Bangued has one Minor Seminary, the St. Joseph Seminary, established in 1960. As of June 2007, the Diocese has 108 seminarians; 71 in high school, 25 in college and 12 in the theologate. There are 18 Catholic Schools, 15 of which belong to the Diocese while 3 are owned and managed by the SVD or SSpS congregations. The Diocese runs two radio stations, an AM and an FM station. It publishes a weekly newspaper, the Abra Today and operates a demonstration farm for organic farming and sustainable agriculture. Diocesan Commissions and Ministries The Diocese has established in its Diocesan Curia various commissions, offices, ministries and apostolates, to address the different pastoral needs and concerns of the people, such as the Commission on Worship and Liturgy, the Catechetical Apostolate, the Department for Pastoral Leaders and Lay Ministers, the Office for Basic Ecclesial Communities, the Biblical Apostolate, the Family and Life Apostolate, the Office for the Missions, Vocations and Migrants, the Social Development Center, the Justice and Peace Department, the Indigenous Peoples Apostolate, the Ecology Department, the Health Care Apostolate, and the Diocesan Youth Commission. In the course of its service, the Diocese has established a hospital (which is now closed), a pastoral center and a commercial complex. It has constructed irrigation projects, established cooperatives, initiated reforestation programs, administered water systems and published prayer and hymn booklets. It has also supported citizens’ initiatives like the NAMFREL and the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government and cooperated with government and non-government agencies in building micro-hydropower plants in the hinterlands. All these in pursuit of the Diocesan Vision formulated by the First Diocesan Pastoral Assembly of Bangued, held on May 2327, 1994: “In the name of the Lord, WE, the Christians of the Church in Abra, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, desire to become a COMMUNITY OF DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, who are united with His life, formed by His word, and strengthened through His sacraments, and who share the Good News to everyone, especially the poor, so that the Word of God will permeate the people’s lives, cultures, relationships and communities, including their attitudes towards the environment. In this way, the life-giving reign of Christ, which is a Kingdom of justice, peace unity and love will come among men. Amen.” Five years later, on July 28-31, 1999, the Second Diocesan Pastoral Assembly was convoked. The statutes of these two assemblies guide the practices and policies of the Diocese and parishes today. The Gospel according to Mark has this to say “The kingdom of God is like the case of a man who scatters seed on the land and then sleeps and rises night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but he doesn’t know how. Of its own accord the land yields fruits, first, the blade, then, the ear, then, the full grain in the ear. When the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle, for the harvest has come” (Mk. 4:26-29). The kingdom of God grows here on earth in human history by virtue of an initial seed, that is, a foundation which comes from God, and a mysterious work of God himself, which the
The Diocese of Bangued
T OPMOST The Cathedral of S t. James the Elder, Bangued Abra. ABOVE: Bishop Leopoldo C. : Jaucian, SVD, DD
Bishops ……………………………......... 2 Priests: Diocesan …………………………...... 23 Religious …………………………..... 18 Filipino ……………………………...... 13 Foreign …………………………........... 5 Brothers: Foreign ……………………………........ 2 Sisters ……………………………......... 12 Diocesan Seminary: Minor ………………………………......... 1 Seminarians: Theology ………………………….. ....... 7 Philosophy ………………………...... 40 On Regency ………………………....... 2 High School ……………………….... 66 Diocesan Division: Vicariates …………………………....... 4 Parishes ……………………………... 21 With Resident Pastors …………… 21 Entrusted to Diocesan Clergy …... 13 Entrusted to Religious Clergy …….. 8 Educational Centers: College ……………………………....... 1 High Schools: Diocesan ………………………......16 Congregational …………………...... 3 Elementary Schools: Diocesan ………………………........ 1 Congregational ………………......... 2 Population …………………. 236,910 Catholics ……………………. 199,697 Area ………………….. 3,975.5 sq. kms.
Church continues to cultivate through the centuries. (cf. John Paul II, General Audience) A year of special grace The Diocese of Bangued celebrated a year of special grace on June 12, 1955— its 50 th year as a particular church since it was separated from the Metropolitan Church of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia through the Apostolic Letter “Cum Misericors” of Pope Pius XII. Since its erection, the local church of Bangued has shown how the kingdom of God grows here on earth. This year of special grace was truly a precious occasion for the entire People of God of the Diocese of Bangued to strengthen the Christian Faith implanted by the pioneering missionaries. In the words of the Apostolic Letter Novo Millenio Inuente: it was a time to “remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm and look forward to the future with confidence”. Looking into the future with the eyes of faith As God’s people of Abra, we see our history, our present and our future with the eyes of faith. God has been with us in the beginning. He was with our forefathers even before the first missionaries brought their Faith. He was with the
Spanish missionaries who bravely embarked on the evangelization of our ancestors. He was with the secular clergy who stayed put in Abra after the revolution to defend the faith from the onslaught of hostile forces and to nurture the faith. He arranged for the coming of the SVD Priests and Brothers and the SSpS Sisters who developed the local Church in Abra as it is now. He is the Lord who blessed Abra with the many zealous and self-sacrificing bishops, clergy and religious as well as lay leaders over the years. He is Yahweh who saves and accompanies us even after we have celebrated our 50 years as a particular Church and as we continue with a new phase of Church life in Abra. As we embark on a new chapter of the local Church in Abra, we proceed with a new hope and trust that the Lord will be with us until the end. He is our Light and our Strength. As He accompanied our forefathers for the last 400 years since the first seed of Faith was planted in Abra, so He will accompany us. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we continue to keep the flame of Faith alive, to follow the tradition of the first missionaries in their zeal, sacrifice, simplicity and generosity. We renew our commitment to build His kingdom and to love our people as the Lord has loved us.
By Erwin Joey E. Cabilan
THE Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) and Philippine Bible Society (PBS), jointly held a symposium on BEC Bible at the Home of the Clergy, Sorsogon last July 27. The symposium aimed to develop a module to promote the BEC Bible and the BEC Youth Bible in a more systematic way. Participants to the symposium include diocesan bible animators, lay leaders, catechists, youth leaders, priests and religious representing different dioceses. The one-day symposium opened with the Bible enthronement using a pilgrim dance, an element of Bibliodrama. Connected to each other, the participants moved with their right hands on the left shoulder of the person in front of them, while their left hands on their heart level, they moved forward in counts of three and swung back on the fourth count. The movement of
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Butuan holds catechetical convention
CATECHETICAL Directors, Coordinators and catechists representing their respective pastoral fields (Children, Youth, Adult, School, Family and Life, etc.) from the different local Churches of Mindanao gathered for a three-day convention last August 23-25 at the San Lorenzo Ruiz Pastoral Center, Butuan City. The convention had the theme Telling the Story of Jesus in Mindanao (Ang Pagasoy sa Sugilanon ni Jesus sa Mindanao). A total of 153 participants took part in the said activity organized by the Mindanao Region Catechetical Ministry (MRCM), the catechetical arm of the Bishops of Mindanao chaired by Most Rev. Guillermo V. Afable, D.D., Bishop of Digos. At the concelebrated opening liturgy held at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Butuan’s Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Zacharias Jimenez, D.D., shared some salient points about the significance of storytelling as a way of sharing our Christian faith to all strata of humanity in our world today. The first day ended with a city tour to see Butuan’s significant places such as the Sto. Niño Shrine, the Immaculate Conception Parish and its newly constructed bridge. The second day was filled with many insightful activities. To allow participants to discover and rediscover the catechetical context of Mindanao, Miss Genediosa Sanoy (ZAMBASULI), Sr. Teresa May Salazar, OND (KIDMACO), Sr. Helen Bongolto, RSM (DOPIM), Erwin Joey E. Cabilan (DADITAMA) and Sr. Maria Josie Alabado, TMM (CABUSTAM), shared about the picture of catechetical ministry in their respective sub-regions. After learning the present milieu where the ministry of catechesis is put into praxis, Most Rev. Guillermo V. Afable, D.D., gave a talk reflecting the convention’s theme. Inspired by the Asian Mission Congress held in Chiang Mai, Thailand held last 2006, Bishop Afable shared the eight fundamental principles about storytelling and its relevance in doing catechesis according to the Mindanao context. In the afternoon, the delegates listened to the stories of three invited speakers from the dioceses of Pagadian and Butuan, and the Prelature of Ipil who spoke about their unique ways of doing Children catechesis, Youth catechesis and Family catechesis respectively. The participants had a workshop after the talk. The second day concluded with a solidarity night in which all participants by sub- region presented their talents. Fr. Ronald Lunas, STL, catechetical director of the Diocese of Digos, gave a talk on the third day entitled “The Catechist as Pray-er”. Bits of reflection were shared by some participants after Fr. Lunas’ input. Sr. Vilma Esmael, OND, Directress of the Notre Dame Center for Catechesis (Cotabato), facilitated a workshop to get the general output of the three-day convention. The result of the workshop would serve as the basis for the revision of the vision and mission of the Mindanao region catechetical ministry. Bp. Afable and Fr. Johnny Autida, Director of John XXIII Catechetical Center (Davao) and Mindanao Coordinator for the Episcopal Commission for Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) took their turns in facilitating a business meeting. In a plenary, the participants unanimously decided that the Advisory Council of MRCM shall be composed by the sub-regional catechetical directors/ coordinators and that the Mindanao Catechists Convention shall be convened after every two years. The convention concluded with a concelebrated Eucharistic celebration with Most Rev. Juan de Dios Pueblos, D.D., bishop of Butuan, as presider and homilist. The next convention will take place in the Archdiocese of Davao in 2009. The details of this convention are yet to be planned by the Mindanao Region Catechetical Ministry.
WYD / B1
Most Rev. Arturo Bastes, SVD, DD, (3rd from right) together with some of participants to the Symposium on BEC Bible, jointly sponsored by ECBA and PBS, held at the Home of the Clergy, Sorsogon last July 27.
ECBA, PBS hold symposium on the BEC Bible
By Elmer Tadeo
one hundred twenty people forming one body of pilgrims, journeying together with the Bible, going inside the Chapel reflects powerfully the prayer of the Bishop: “that the whole Diocese of Sorsogon will move forward as one community of faith - living in love according to the Gospel message …,” thus giving meaning to the spirit of ecumenism and life lived in unity and harmony among Christians. ECBA Chairman and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, SVD, D.D. welcomed the participants reminding them of the Vision–Mission Statement of the Diocese of Sorsogon, “a community of FAITH, living in LOVE, according to the GOSPEL message, responding in SERVICE to the signs of the times, striving in HOPE for the coming of the Kingdom.” The highlight of the symposium was the presentation of the BEC Bible and the BEC Youth Bible. Bishop Bastes observed that there are many local churches in the Philippines that have been renewed because of the BECs. “There are many factors behind this transformation, but the main spiritual power in the transformation is none other than the Word of God,” Bishop Bastes said. “Without the Bible, no BEC can be formed. Without the Bible, no BEC can grow and be sustained,” he added. PBS general secretary Nora Lucero explained the long time partnership of PBS and ECBA-CBCP. She said PBS is committed to make the Bible known and accessible to all at an affordable price. Thus the BEC Bibles are made available in eight major languages. PBS executive consultant Dr. Medarlo Rivera discussed the Open Word – 108 long years of service of the Bible Society in the Philippines (1899-2007). Rivera was instrumental in the close working relationship of PBS and ECBA through the years. “Working in the ministry of the Word involves good relationship,” he said. Meanwhile, Dr. Anie Del Corro, a translation consultant of the United Bible Societies in Asia and Pacific clearly explained the intricacies and the challenges in the ministry of translation. This ministry involves knowledge and even mastery of the biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek. She also discussed that translation revision takes place every ten to twelve years. True to her topic, she presented the challenge of translation in such a way that God’s Word becomes palatable and tasty, “malinamnam at masarap ang salita ng Diyos”. It is especially tasty when God’s Word is incarnated and spoken in people’s heart language. PBS Corporate Secretary Atty. Robinson Landicho, on the other hand, briefly discussed the business side on how to promote the Bible trough the theme “In my Father’s Business”. It is everybody’s business to work for the Word of God. Mrs. Amy Herrera, PBS Board of Trustee, shared her testimony of faith on how the Word of God sustained her through life particularly during the time of health crisis. The Word of God gave her life and kept her alive. Mr. Aries Aguilar of PBS and Fr. Oscar Alunday of ECBA presented some strategies on how the BEC Bibles can be distributed at P150.00 each. PBS will give a total discount of 22% divided as follows: ECBA gets 2% or P3.00 per BEC Bible; Regional Biblical Center gets 2% or P3.00 per BEC Bible; Diocesan Biblical Center gets 2% or P3.00 per BEC Bible; the parish gets 2% or P3.00 per BEC Bible; BEC gets 14% or P21.00 per BEC Bible. All BEC members were asked to coordinate with their BECs in the parishes through the Diocesan Bible Apostolate to achieve a smooth and meaningful distribution of the BEC Bibles. The P21.00 will be accumulated into the BEC Bible Fund to purchase more Bibles for all BEC members to buy. The goal is to enable every BEC member to have his/her own
ECBA / B7
had been promised. This icon of the nascent Church should be a constant source of inspiration for every Christian community. Apostolic and missionary fruitfulness is not principally due to programmes and pastoral methods that are cleverly drawn up and “efficient”, but is the result of the community’s constant prayer (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75). Moreover, for the mission to be effective, communities must be united, that is, they must be “of one heart and soul” (cf. Acts 4:32), and they must be ready to witness to the love and joy that the Holy Spirit instills in the hearts of the faithful (cf. Acts 2:42). The Servant of God John Paul II wrote that, even prior to action, the Church’s mission is to witness and to live in a way that shines out to others (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 26). Tertullian tells us that this is what happened in the early days of Christianity when pagans were converted on seeing the love that reigned among Christians: “See how they love one another” (cf. Apology, 39 § 7). To conclude this brief survey of the Word of God in the Bible, I invite you to observe how the Holy Spirit is the highest gift of God to humankind, and therefore the supreme testimony of his love for us, a love that is specifically expressed as the “yes to life” that God wills for each of his creatures. This “yes to life” finds its fullness in Jesus of Nazareth and in his victory over evil by means of the redemption. In this regard, let us never forget that the Gospel of Jesus, precisely because of the Spirit, cannot be reduced to a mere statement of fact, for it is intended to be “good news for the poor, release for captives, sight for the blind ...”. With what great vitality this was seen on the day of Pentecost, as it became the grace and the task of the Church towards the world, her primary mission! We are the fruits of this mission of the Church through the working of the Holy Spirit. We carry within us the seal of the Father’s love in Jesus Christ which is the Holy Spirit. Let us never forget this, because the Spirit of the Lord always remembers every individual, and wishes, particularly through you young people, to stir up the wind and fire of a new Pentecost in the world. 5. The Holy Spirit as “Teacher of the interior life” My dear young friends, the Holy Spirit continues today to act with power in the Church, and the fruits of the Spirit are abundant in the measure in which we are ready to open up to this power that makes all things new. For this reason it is
important that each one of us know the Spirit, establish a relationship with Him and allow ourselves to be guided by Him. However, at this point a question naturally arises: who is the Holy Spirit for me? It is a fact that for many Christians He is still the “great unknown”. This is why, as we prepare for the next World Youth Day, I wanted to invite you to come to know the Holy Spirit more deeply at a personal level. In our profession of faith we proclaim: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son” (NiceneConstantinopolitan Creed). Yes, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the love of the Father and of the Son, is the Source of life that makes us holy, “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). Nevertheless, it is not enough to know the Spirit; we must welcome Him as the guide of our souls, as the “Teacher of the interior life” who introduces us to the Mystery of the Trinity, because He alone can open us up to faith and allow us to live it each day to the full. The Spirit impels us forward towards others, enkindles in us the fire of love, makes us missionaries of God’s charity. I know very well that you young people hold in your hearts great appreciation and love for Jesus, and that you desire to meet Him and speak with Him. Indeed, remember that it is precisely the presence of the Spirit within us that confirms, constitutes and builds our person on the very Person of Jesus crucified and risen. So let us become familiar with the Holy Spirit in order to be familiar with Jesus. 6. The Sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist You might ask, how can we allow ourselves to be renewed by the Holy Spirit and to grow in our spiritual lives? The answer, as you know, is this: we can do so by means of the Sacraments, because faith is born and is strengthened within us through the Sacraments, particularly those of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, which are complementary and inseparable (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1285). This truth concerning the three Sacraments that initiate our lives as Christians is perhaps neglected in the faith life of many Christians. They view them as events that took place in the past and have no real significance for today, like roots that lack life-giving nourishment. It happens that many young people distance themselves from their life of faith
after they have received Confirmation. There are also young people who have not even received this sacrament. Yet it is through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and then, in an ongoing way, the Eucharist, that the Holy Spirit makes us children of the Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, capable of a true witness to the Gospel, and able to savour the joy of faith. I therefore invite you to reflect on what I am writing to you. Nowadays it is particularly necessary to rediscover the sacrament of Confirmation and its important place in our spiritual growth. Those who have received the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation should remember that they have become “temples of the Spirit”: God lives within them. Always be aware of this and strive to allow the treasure within you to bring forth fruits of holiness. Those who are baptized but have not yet received the sacrament of Confirmation, prepare to receive it knowing that in this way you will become “complete” Christians, since Confirmation perfects baptismal grace (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1302-1304). Confirmation gives us special strength to witness to and glorify God with our whole lives (cf. Rom. 12:1). It makes us intimately aware of our belonging to the Church, the “Body of Christ”, of which we are all living members, in solidarity with one another (cf. 1 Cor. 12:1225). By allowing themselves to be guided by the Spirit, each baptized person can bring his or her own contribution to the building up of the Church because of the charisms given by the Spirit, for “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). When the Spirit acts, he brings his fruits to the soul, namely “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and selfcontrol” (Gal. 5:22). To those of you who have not yet received the sacrament of Confirmation, I extend a cordial invitation to prepare to receive it, and to seek help from your priests. It is a special occasion of grace that the Lord is offering you. Do not miss this opportunity! I would like to add a word about the Eucharist. In order to grow in our Christian life, we need to be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ. In fact, we are baptized and confirmed with a view to the Eucharist (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1322; Sacramentum Caritatis, 17). “Source and summit” of the Church’s life, the Eucharist is a “perpetual Pentecost” since every time we celebrate Mass we receive the Holy Spirit who unites us more
deeply with Christ and transforms us into Him. My dear young friends, if you take part frequently in the eucharistic celebration, if you dedicate some of your time to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Source of love which is the Eucharist, you will acquire that joyful determination to dedicate your lives to following the Gospel. At the same time it will be your experience that whenever our strength is not enough, it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us, filling us with his strength and making us witnesses suffused by the missionary fervour of the risen Christ. 7. The need and urgency of mission Many young people view their lives with apprehension and raise many questions about their future. They anxiously ask: How can we fit into a world marked by so many grave injustices and so much suffering? How should we react to the selfishness and violence that sometimes seem to prevail? How can we give full meaning to life? How can we help to bring it about that the fruits of the Spirit mentioned above, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (no. 6), can fill this scarred and fragile world, the world of young people most of all? On what conditions can the life-giving Spirit of the first creation and particularly of the second creation or redemption become the new soul of humanity? Let us not forget that the greater the gift of God—and the gift of the Spirit of Jesus is the greatest of all— so much the greater is the world’s need to receive it and therefore the greater and the more exciting is the Church’s mission to bear credible witness to it. You young people, through World Youth Day, are in a way manifesting your desire to participate in this mission. In this regard, my dear young friends, I want to remind you here of some key truths on which to meditate. Once again I repeat that only Christ can fulfil the most intimate aspirations that are in the heart of each person. Only Christ can humanize humanity and lead it to its “divinization”. Through the power of his Spirit he instills divine charity within us, and this makes us capable of loving our neighbour and ready to be of service. The Holy Spirit enlightens us, revealing Christ crucified and risen, and shows us how to become more like Him so that we can be “the image and instrument of the love which flows from Christ” (Deus Caritas Est, 33). Those who allow themselves to be led by the Spirit understand that placing oneself at
the service of the Gospel is not an optional extra, because they are aware of the urgency of transmitting this Good News to others. Nevertheless, we need to be reminded again that we can be witnesses of Christ only if we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit who is “the principal agent of evangelization” (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75) and “the principal agent of mission” (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 21). My dear young friends, as my venerable predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II said on several occasions, to proclaim the Gospel and bear witness to the faith is more necessary than ever today (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 1). There are those who think that to present the precious treasure of faith to people who do not share it means being intolerant towards them, but this is not the case, because to present Christ is not to impose Him (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80). Moreover, two thousand years ago twelve Apostles gave their lives to make Christ known and loved. Throughout the centuries since then, the Gospel has continued to spread by means of men and women inspired by that same missionary fervor. Today too there is a need for disciples of Christ who give unstintingly of their time and energy to serve the Gospel. There is a need for young people who will allow God’s love to burn within them and who will respond generously to his urgent call, just as many young blesseds and saints did in the past and also in more recent times. In particular, I assure you that the Spirit of Jesus today is inviting you young people to be bearers of the good news of Jesus to your contemporaries. The difficulty that adults undoubtedly find in approaching the sphere of youth in a comprehensible and convincing way could be a sign with which the Spirit is urging you young people to take this task upon yourselves. You know the ideals, the language, and also the wounds, the expectations, and at the same time the desire for goodness felt by your contemporaries. This opens up the vast world of young people’s emotions, work, education, expectations, and suffering ... Each one of you must have the courage to promise the Holy Spirit that you will bring one young person to Jesus Christ in the way you consider best, knowing how to “give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but [to] do it with gentleness and reverence” (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). In order to achieve this goal, my dear friends, you must be holy and you must be missionaries since we can never separate holiness from mission (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 90). Do not be afraid to become holy
missionaries like Saint Francis Xavier who travelled through the Far East proclaiming the Good News until every ounce of his strength was used up, or like Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who was a missionary even though she never left the Carmelite convent. Both of these are “Patrons of the Missions”. Be prepared to put your life on the line in order to enlighten the world with the truth of Christ; to respond with love to hatred and disregard for life; to proclaim the hope of the risen Christ in every corner of the earth. 8. Invoking a “new Pentecost” upon the world My dear young friends, I hope to see very many of you in Sydney in July 2008. It will be a providential opportunity to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power. Come in great numbers in order to be a sign of hope and to give appreciative support to the Church community in Australia that is preparing to welcome you. For the young people of the country that will host you, it will be an exceptional opportunity to proclaim the beauty and joy of the Gospel to a society that is secularized in so many ways. Australia, like all of Oceania, needs to rediscover its Christian roots. In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church in Oceania is preparing for a new evangelization of peoples who today are hungering for Christ... A new evangelization is the first priority for the Church in Oceania” (no. 18). I invite you to give time to prayer and to your spiritual formation during this last stage of the journey leading to the XXIII World Youth Day, so that in Sydney you will be able to renew the promises made at your Baptism and Confirmation. Together we shall invoke the Holy Spirit, confidently asking God for the gift of a new Pentecost for the Church and for humanity in the third millennium. May Mary, united in prayer with the Apostles in the Upper Room, accompany you throughout these months and obtain for all young Christians a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to set their hearts on fire. Remember: the Church has confidence in you! We Pastors, especially, pray that you may love and lead others to love Jesus more and more and that you may follow Him faithfully. With these sentiments I bless you all with deep affection. From Lorenzago, 20 July 2007 BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Roxas City, August 21-24, 2007
brought about by new technologies and cultures. We hope to take up such challenges after the very example of Christ, the model of spirituality and holiness of the diocesan priests. Priestly Lifestyle We remind ourselves how similar yet different we are in our lifestyles as priests. But as ‘friends’ of Christ, we ought to share a common priestly lifestyle that is configured to Christ our model. Like Christ, we must live a life in communion with our Father through prayer life; we must be compassionate to the poor beginning at our households; and we must love one another by showing our solidarity and support with one another both in joy and in sorrow. We have tried to live up to such an ideal through the many good traditions we live by; traditions integral to our priestly lifestyle, such as meaningful gatherings and show of mutual support and solidarity. With courage and hope, we take up the challenge in the face of concrete obstacles brought about by differences in perspective, circumstance, territory, culture and age. We try to live sacramental brotherhood from constructive criticism to fraternal correction, from being indifferent to recognizing the giftedness of others. Our Fraternal Communion as Bishops and Priests We espouse fraternal communion to mean our inseparable love of God and of our brethren. In particular, fraternal communion leads us priests with the Bishop to be open to one another to live and work in communion for Christ’s work of Redemption. Christ’s work is our work, in communion with Him and with one another, thus, building a community of salvation. This ideal of fraternal communion may be achieved by our spirituality of communion, by our supernatural charity, by dialogue, by selfdenial and by Eucharistic communion. We have come to realize that the Bishop is a Father, a Brother and Friend to his priests; thus, lovingly helping his
Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Grace Lipa City
“When the disciples flee, Mary will remain beneath the Cross (cf. Jn. 19/25-27); later, at the hour of Pentecost, it will be they who gather around her as they wait for the Holy Spirit.” (cf. AA1/14) Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, No. 41) BETHLEHEM, Cana, Calvary and the Cenacle: these are the disciples’ places of gathering around Mary, who continues to gather us even today. In solidarity with the Archdiocese of Lipa, we will have again an opportunity to gather as a nation around and with Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace on September 12, 2007 at Lipa Shrine of the Mediatrix. Let us again gather around our Blessed Mother to hear her message uttered at Fatima ninety years ago “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” The “alleged” shower of Roses in Lipa more than half a century ago, has made the Shrine a popular place for the renewal of Christian life through Mary and with Mary. In Lipa as at Cana, let us hear once more Mary’s instruction: “Do whatever He tells you to do.” (John 2:5) We will have again the chance to confess with one another “Yes, we will.” + ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO Archbishop of Jaro and CBCP President August 1, 2007
Capiz, Kalibo, and Romblon Clergy Metropolitan Congress
IMPELLED by the desire to keep alive the fraternal spirit, WE, the clergy of the ecclesiastical provinces of Capiz, Kalibo and Romblon have gathered ourselves in a Metropolitan Congress at Roxas City on August 21-24, 2007. Jesus’ words, “I have called you friends…” (John 15:15), led us to reflect on the theme, Communio Sacerdotalis (Priestly Communion), keeping focus on our spirituality and holiness as diocesan clergy, our priestly lifestyle, our fraternal communion as bishop and priests and our pastoral life through responsible stewardship and proper management of resources. Through our reflections and sharing, we have come to grips with our ideals, our concrete experiences (both our strengths and weaknesses) and our hopes in the priestly ministry. Our Spirituality and Holiness We remind ourselves of our spirituality and holiness as diocesan clergy according to the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines. Our spirituality should be Christ-centered, ministerial, collegial, lived in the spirit of chastity, obedience and poverty, diocesan, missionary, Eucharistic, contemplative and Marian. We should pay special attention to owning our weaknesses, to listening from the grassroots and to hoping in God’s fidelity. As we pursue this difficult journey, we have come to realize the saving grace in our priestly ministry despite our unworthiness. We have the assurance in God’s Providence and Love; we become aware of our identity as ordained ministers; we are committed to our duties, faithful to our prayer life, mutually affirming, working with the poor, sincere in celebrating the sacraments and available to help others. While being confident in God’s saving grace, we also see areas that need to be addressed. We are challenged to deepen our understanding of the priesthood as the ministry of Christ Himself. We need to develop a consistent prayer life, sustain our love for the ministry, care for the self and witness the Gospel values we preach amidst the challenges priests in difficult situations like loneliness and weariness in the ministry. We see all the more that priests need to respect the authority of Christ, the Chief Shepherd, in our Bishop and therefore we should stand by him in sincere charity and obedience. Such fraternal communion is to be motivated by the love we h ave for one another – a love that is mutual and reciprocal, condescending and forgiving, after the example of Christ. Fraternal communion necessitates mutual love and forgiveness, unity, friendship with God, fidelity to our brother priests, shepherding the lost and mutually shepherding one another. It is reassuring to know from one another’s experiences how fraternal communion has been shown in many ways: the understanding and support we extend to an erring priest, mutual sharing of resources, gestures of reaching out to one another in times of need and difficulties and openness to dialogue despite our individual differences. Our Pastoral Life through Responsible Stewardship and Proper Management of Resources Finally, we cannot remain deaf and blind to the realities that beset our life as priests. We realize anew that the most important human resource in the work of evangelization is the priest himself who has his own basic needs. We need to address the pressing issue confronting the health security and welfare of the priests. It is our hope and prayer that concrete solutions and programs may have been achieved prior to our Second Metropolitan Congress of Priests in the Diocese of Kalibo two to three years from now. As we invoke the special intercession of our Blessed Mother, the Immaculate Conception, St. John the Baptist and St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, we entrust these our ideals, our limitations and our hopes to our loving and merciful Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Roman Catholic Prelate of Isabela, Basilan
My dear People of God in Basilan: As I reflected the recent events that took place in Basilan last July 10 and August 18, 2007, the Prophet Habakkuk has capsulized my idea: “How long, Oh Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘violence’ but You do not intervene.” (Habakkuk 1:1-2) Many victims of violence have cried out to God: “Violence” but received no response from Him. In the process, many nameless, faceless civilians like women, children, elderly and non-combatants died not to exclude the soldiers and rebels. Lives are wasted in total violation of God’s command: “Thou shall not kill.” Experience tells us the ugly and painful effects of armed conflict: people are displaced, children get sick, schools are closed, food become scarce, people’s mobility is limited, so on and so forth. The above mentioned ugly and painful realities led me to question God further quoting Psalm 13:1, “How long Oh Lord… will you hide your face from us?” In silence, God speaks to me: “There is violence in Basilan because there are some political leaders who are greedy for power and wealth. They lost their sense of God because they worship power and wealth as their new gods. They are ready to kill people in order to stay and perpetuate in power…” Nobody likes WAR. I believe, the Rebels and the Philippine Soldiers would prefer to have PEACE so that they can live with their families and attend to the needs of their children. As bishop of Basilan, I appeal to all of you to stop the War! Do not destroy
Basilan / B7
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Ex. 32:7-14; Tm. 1:12-17; Lk. 15:1-32 Sept. 16, 2007 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Lk. 15:1-32 Sept. 16, 2007
Bishop Pedro D. Arigo, D.D.
I REMEMBER my priest professor in the seminary telling us in our philosophy class that man is a bundle of relationships. He has at the core of his being the principal relationship with God as his Creator. He has also a relationship with his own self which determines his self-image.
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
The gift of forgiveness
Bishop Renato P. Mayugba, DD
“I CAN never forgive you for what you have done! After all the good I have given you this is what you do to me? What you have done is too painful! I can never forgive you!” Have we heard these words before? Have we uttered these words before? One of the most difficult things to do is to forgive! When we are hurt because our rights have been violated, our trust has been betrayed, our dignity and honor have been trampled on, we refuse to forgive. Our righteous anger leads us to utter harsh words. Sometimes we might even go so far as to retaliate. When we have been deeply hurt by the very persons we have loved, we may utter these words. Our readings this Sunday instruct us about forgiveness. We are all in need of forgiveness and we are all called to forgive. In our first reading, we find Moses interceding for the chosen people who, after having been liberated from bondage in Egypt by the mighty power of God, so quickly forgot their covenant. No sooner is the Decalogue given them than they quickly break it! Yahweh is repudiated! Through the intercession of Moses, Yahweh forbears from venting out His rightful wrath. Yahweh shows mercy. Yahweh forgives. We are all no different from stiff-necked Israel. We all too easily forget our fervent resolutions. We keep on returning to our sins. We all too easily break our covenant with God and with our promises to our fellowmen. How many promises have we made and broken? How often have we broken the hearts of those we love? We are a people in need of forgiveness. We can never stand before God and claim innocence. We have transgressed and broken covenant. We have hurt God and our fellowmen. Like the prodigal son, we have squandered God’s bountiful blessings to us. We have abused ourselves and others. Our list of transgressions is litany! Thus it is right and proper that with the Psalmist we must cry out: Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense, thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. We may not dare look down on our “lost brothers” and claim to have never left our Father’s house because our sins have not been so publicized. We must not be like the Pharisees who were prone to see the sins of others but failed to see their own sins. We all have need to repent. We cannot be selfrighteous! We are all guilty of sin and are therefore in need of forgiveness. Our loving Father is only too eager to forgive us! In the Parable we are made to realize that we have a loving Father who is more eager to take us back than to punish us for our sins. There is no vindictiveness but magnanimity in the Father. In the parable, when the father recognizes his son— who must by then have looked liked any vagabond—he rushes to meet his son with such joy and then orders a celebration! The elder son, who is also met by the father outside, spoke the truth when he said that the prodigal son had lost and squanThe gift / B7
Loving with a prodigal love
He has interpersonal relationships with other persons. And lately due to the issues of environmental degradation and global warming, there is much talk of man’s relationship with Mother Nature. To be able to live in harmony and peace, all these different levels of relationships must be properly formed and in right order. To develop, however, the right relationships, man must have a good knowledge of himself (self identity) and of the other parties he is relating with (it takes two to tango). Isn’t it one of the principal causes why many married couples don’t live happily ever after? They enter into a supposedly lifetime partnership without really knowing each other and only discover who they really are and their incompatibility only much later and too late. Our Gospel story, the parable of the prodigal son, a family drama; can be said to be a problem of relationships, the problem of the father with his two sons and vice versa and the problem of the two sons with one another. Let us reflect on the identity of these three figures of the parable and their relationship with one another. Let us try to discover our own selves in them. The Father is the principal character and obviously refers to God. From the manner he related with both of the sons, the lost and found and the grumbling elder one, we can clearly see that his compassion and love are simply amazing. His goodness is truly out of this world. Well, He is God Who is all good and love Himself. He easily gave in to the very unusual request of the younger son to get his share of inheritance when in effect this bastard was telling his father: “I can’t wait for you to die. I want my inheritance NOW!” And again, without any ado, he lovingly and joyfully embraced this lost son and restored him completely to all the rights and privileges of being a son when this son, simply out of hunger, decided to go back home. The story mentions the father running to meet his son. What this father did is completely unbecoming thing to do for a father especially towards a bad son. This kind of father must surely be God Himself. Let us consider how he dealt with his elder grumbling son, who could not take how his father treated his wayward brother. He patiently explained why they should celebrate the safe return of his younger brother. And when this son sort of rebuked his own father saying that he was not given even a young goat to feast on with his friends when he was a faithful and diligent worker, this father answered with all tenderness: “My son, all I have is also yours.” He always considered him a son no matter how this son related with him. The story ends with this father lovingly inviting this grumbling son to join the celebration and accept as brother the younger son. This father is super prodigal with love for all his sons no matter how they relate with him.
Loving / B7
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt van Rijn
Atty. Jo Imbong
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
Did someone steal the show?
AND there is rancor in the Lord’s vineyard? There need not be. Not when the workers in the field understand that each one is meant for a special mission. That is why each one has a special gift which the other has not. That is why not everyone can do what the other is good at, and what you are good at may not exactly be my kind of passion. And vice versa. It is not the worker’s fault that he cannot deliver on something which is not within his ken. But he can top the line at his own thing. That is simply the way the world is planned to be, otherwise, how dull and prosaic things would be. God intended diversity. Life is a lively diaspora, a tableau painted in exciting colors. The colors clash at times, but the overall impact is smashing. Each person is a surprise, even unto himself. Our personalities are the minute elements of a magnum opus, a mega-plot which our limited intellects cannot even imagine. Sometimes, it does a person a lot of good to lie on his back, look up, and survey the sky on a cloudless night. If every member of the human race did that all together, they would all be equal—equal in the one feeling that each one has an assigned place in the universe, just as each tiny speck of light in the sky has its assigned place in the heavens—and Physics will tell us that they dare not budge from their assigned positions if there is to be order in the Universe. That is why every starry night is a spectacular show. A Spanish lawyer, Enrique Monasterio Hernandez, tells of a legend about the famous star of Bethlehem. In the beginning of time, it was just a speck of cosmic dust drifting around after the Big Bang. It was told by God to sit and wait for an important signal at the proper moment. Grudgingly, it waited, sulking out in space for millions of years. And then, “in the fullness of time” trumpets blared and off it rushed to a nondescript country. And as it traveled at the speed of... well, light... it noticed itself to be growing bigger and brighter until, it quietly settled atop a cave and set a December night ablaze. It guided three wise men. It signaled poor shepherds. That was its own epiphany. That was what it was destined to do best. Rational beings could do better. And they should know better. Every person should know that he does not possess anything, either in the realm of nature or of grace that is not a pure bequest of God. Of himself he can do nothing, but in God, who strengthens him, he can do all things (Phil. 4: 13). And every person ought to know that humility is the unembellished truth about himself. It is a recognition of everything that exists in himself, not just his littleness, but also his greatness. And this knowledge of himself acknowledges the sublimity of the God who designed him. This acknowledgment is an expression of the gratitude and joy at the gift of his existence and the meaning that flows from it. Thus, in light of this reality, a person can perceive that he has a place to fill and a unique duty to do. Whether this assignment is great or small, it must be looked upon as being of divine origin and therefore not to be taken lightly or left undone, under pain of appearing before the Big Boss and having to explain why. From this knowledge arises the right attitude and proper way of looking at one’s co-workers in the vineyard. The humble worker is grateful for the position in which the Landlord has placed him and rejoices in the work that is his. He does not envy the other worker who has more gifts and more important tasks. One thing alone consumes him: using his own gifts with sincerity, responsibility and fidelity. “He who is faithful in little things is faithful also in much; he who is unjust in little things is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16;10) And knowing whereof he stands in God’s “organization”, he can rejoice sincerely in the good done by others who have greater endowments, so long as the name and honor of God is magnified. Fritz Tillman once wrote that the humble man “lives by the spirit of his Master, he will even rejoice when others are preferred to him. He does not seek honor and recognition in the eyes of men, but only before the Father, who sees into the heart of man and scrutinizes man’s innermost thoughts. He is grateful that he can serve others and rejoices in every opportunity [to serve]. Yet, despite this, he remains ever conscious of his own weakness and limitations, of his own defects and faults, and leaves the judgment of others to God. He does not boast of his deeds and accomplishments, of his knowledge and ability, and speaks of himself rarely and with great reserve. For he has the strong persuasion that the best a man does loses its value and its beauty when the blight of pride and vanity infects it.” The Bethlehem star did not wallow in despair when it waited for millions of years before it could be noticed. Neither did it swell condescendingly on the other stars when it was summoned to illuminate Christmas night. For only one Star must shine: God.
The prodigal son’s brother
THIS came to mind when I recently attended a priestly gathering. A training officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) gave us a presentation of what they were doing to form and reform their men. Always an intriguing topic. The affair was meant to highlight the possibility of a kind of partnership among the clergy, police and a certain group to effect a greater participation of the people in the governance of our provinces, cities, towns, etc. So far, so good. While the programs presented were based on accountability to God, family, colleagues and people in general, the discussion turned a bit too sentimental and lachrymose, sending many of us to feel some discomfort. The training officer, a general who told us of his dramatic, edifying past, mentioned that their program for their scalawags and other morally unprincipled elements is producing good results. Conversions, changes for the better were noted. He rattled off some data. These bad elements confessed publicly that 85% of them left their wives and family for at least 3 years before going back to them. Some admitted mulcting, getting involved in drug deals, even rapes, and a long etcetera. But everyone changed. That’s the good news, enough to forget what happened in the past. With the requirements of justice met, mercy was given and reintegration attempted. It was good that they stressed on the power of prayer. Conversion, more than anything else, is a matter of grace which is usually received in prayer. Not much psychologizing was made, much less physical coercion. Mainly prayer! Of course, prayer has to be sustained, because conversion is only a matter of a moment, and what we should achieve is sanctity, which is a matter of a lifetime. Then the personal testimonies of two policemen were made. This was the teary part as we heard how the painful passage from darkness to light, from evil to goodness, from the pits to the surface, took place. It was at that point that I remembered the story of the prodigal son. These erring cops are like the prodigal son who, abusing their power and authority, got their just desserts. But they repented. But what about those in high positions, much smarter and more clever than these cops? They remind me of the prodigal son’s brother, who appeared good and faithful to his father, but actually was not attuned to his father’s heart. These, more than the cops, need to repent and change. I wonder if some reformatory programs can also be designed for them. These are a much harder nut to crack. They are good in rationalizing, and in being a step or two ahead of the law. In fact, between the prodigal son and his brother, the former is easier to handle, because he is simpler and his sins are obvious. The latter is a more complicated fellow, and can camouflage his faults well. This is the bigger challenge. The erring cops, for all their malice and vileness, cannot compare with what the more intelligent, cleverer and better endowed, can commit. In fact, we have better prospects to reform drug addicts than these highly-placed scalawags. And yet we need to care for them also. Like the father of the prodigal son who talked to his other offspring, we need to appeal to those in higher positions to change their ways, or simply to be better. They cannot be contented with what they may be now. They have to improve. We can do this mainly through prayer and sacrifices. And to encourage all, hero or heel, to go to confession and spiritual direction. A more personal approach is needed. Different people need different ways of handling. The brother of the prodigal son can also be an image of all of us when we just look good outside but are not truly so inside. Hypocrisy, which marked the behavior of the prodigal son’s brother, can also mark ours. We need to shed this spiritual and moral pathology off. And this can be done if we go through a continuing conversion all our life.
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
holder and member-volunteer of the foundation. At the same time, they will be able to avail of our programs which can significantly help them in times of need. All they have to be is a proud Filipino who follows the 15 Basic Tenets of the foundation,” said Bro. Manuel de Leon, FMS, the founding president of Sagip Ka 2000. According to de Leon, head of the Marist Brothers of the Philippines and a former president of the Marist School of Marikina City, the foundation expects its volunteers to no less than uphold and respect human dignity, observe cleanliness and sense of the Sagip Ka 2000 Foundation has also spearheaded a number of programs that are in sync with its mission of “inviting men and women of goodwill to commit themselves to the preservation of the integrity of creation and the dignity of human person.” Aside from the Dugtong-Buhay Health Assistance, the foundation has likewise been extending assistance to the street children of the Marcellin Foundation in General Santos City and Kuya Center in Quezon City since year 2000. Following the foundation’s bid to promote the preservation of the environment, it has also joined the Department of Envi-
IF YOU think merely being a proud and responsible Filipino cannot earn for you a smorgasbord of health assistance programs, think again. Think of the Sagip Ka 2000 Foundation. Apart from a Savelink medical card and membership, a Sagip Ka volunteer is entitled to a number of medical benefits through the Dugtong-Buhay Health Assistance of the foundation. Through this program, medical privileges offered to the volunteers include a medical reimbursement due to accident with a maximum assistance worth P10,000, a daily hospitalization maximum allowance of P1,300 for a 30-day confine-
Saving lives, upholding dignity
ment per year, a supplementary medical maximum assistance for critical illness and dreaded diseases worth P100,000 inclusive of daily hospitalization allowance, a burial maximum assistance worth P25,000, a death benefit maximum assistance due to accidental cases worth P50,000, plus a 10 percent cumulative discount on from the foundation-accredited hospitals. But despite the number of benefits offered, a Sagip Ka volunteer is only expected to contribute a minimal membership fee of P200 annually—apart from being a proud and responsible Filipino. “Being familiar with the saying that ‘Ang taong nagigipit, maski sa patalim kumakapit,’ it is our desire then to prevent our people from experiencing such predicament by offering them something that they can easily afford. For less than a peso daily savings, they can be a Savelink card order, plant and grow a tree, pay taxes and be vigilant in guarding its use, deplore violence, exploitation and corruption, promote honest labor, simplicity of life and cooperation, share one’s blessings, side with the truth and what is fair, protect our hard earned freedom, extend a helping hand, respect the peso and develop the habit of saving, build a home, promote anything beautiful, preserve the sanctity of the ballot, and, above all, make God one’s best friend. Thus completes the foundation’s 15 Basic Tenets. “Membership is purely on voluntary basis. Anyone aged five to 75 can be an affiliate member regardless of religious beliefs, political affiliation or gender for as long as she believes and promotes the vision of Sagip Ka 2000 Foundation,” de Leon said. But there’s more In its seven years of existence, ronment and Natural Resources, together with other local government units and non-government organizations, to partake in moves to conserve the country’s waterways and initiatives to conduct tree-planting activities. “Sagip Ka volunteers are encouraged to plant trees in order to save the forests and watersheds. Mangroves are planted along the shores to serve as fish sanctuaries,” de Leon said. Moreover, de Leon said the foundation actively promotes the cliché Tapat Ko, Linis Ko environmentalist principle and Alkansya Saving. “We encourage our members to save for the future. They can either save through the cooperatives, banks, mutual funds or simply keeping an alkansya—the one we promote most,” said de Leon. But from all its commended projects, what the foundation boasts most is the kind of volunteers it had. The foundation’s volunteers proved to be genuine to their credo. To name a few of them who had been renowned for their praise worthy deeds are KBP Golden Dove Awardee Angelo Palmones of DZMM and Gawad Genny Lopez Foundation Bayaning Filipino Awardee Herminia Cariño. While Palmones initiated projects such as Takbo para sa Kalikasan, Emergency Expo, Invent School, Science Summer Camp for Teachers and Students, and numerous job fairs in his radio program Bago Yan Ah!, Cariño was commended for teaching the Dumagat children atop the Sierra Madre mountains. “Palmones and Cariño only showed how Sagip Ka volunteers imbibe the foundation’s tenets and put them into practice,” de Leon said.
Sagip Ka 2000 Foundation, Inc.
Daryl John I. Bacalando, 10 years old, grade 4 pupil of Notre Dame of Dadiangas University – Integrated Basic Education Department shows his savings for a period of Sixteen (16) months. Daryl is a child-volunteer of SAGIP KA 2000 Foundation promoting BACK to BASIC values such as the habit of Saving through the “ALKANSYA”.
ECBA / B4
7 Questions / B1
Bible. Bishop Rene Mayugba, DD, LingayenDagupan Auxiliary Bishop and Chairperson of John Paul I Biblical Center (JPIBC) for Northern Luzon and the Cordillera shared the vibrant services of the Biblical Apostolate in his region. He was already involved in the Biblical Apostolate even as seminarian. As seminary Rector, he helped found the Word Alive Biblical Institute (WABI), an annual stay-in three week biblical-pastoral formation for lay ministers of the Word. Inspired by the zeal of the laity to serve the Church and to respond to the hunger of the laity for the Word of God, he himself founded John Paul II Biblical Center in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. The Word of God is living and active in Northern Luzon and in the Cordillera through the dedicated contribution and services of the first regional biblical center in the country, John Paul I Biblical Center of Vigan City. As a tribute to all the lay leaders and
Loving / B6
Diocesan pastoral workers, a DVD documentation of the two past events of the Catholic Family Bible Quiz was shown to the participants. They saw themselves and their families participating in a family contest of knowing what the Bible is all about from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation. Family members gathered around the Word of God will hasten the building up of Basic Ecclesial Communities. BECs living the Word of God will bring about a transformed nation—a new Philippines. The sevenfold objectives have been achieved at the end of the symposium: 1) to become more aware that the biblical apostolate or the Ministry of the Word of God is a central ministry of the Church that affects all pastoral activities of the Christian community, especially the BEC; 2) to be updated of what the Universal church has been doing since DEI VERBUM, especially the cooperation of all Christians to make the sacred Scriptures easily accessible to all even to non-Chris-
tians. This is why the PBS becomes an important partner of ECBA- CBCP; 3) to spread the good news that the 12 th Ordinary Synod of Bishops to be celebrated in Rome next year is precisely on the Word of God, a logical consequence of the preceding 11th Ordinary Synod on the Holy Eucharist; 4) to make the people of Sorsogon aware that there are bible available at affordable price, especially edited for the BEC and for the Youth Bible in our schools; 5) to plan a systematic way of distributing the bibles in all the parishes and kapilyas especially in the barrios that have already established or about to establish the BEC; 6) the Diocesan Biblical Center should learn from the experience of other existing Diocesan Biblical Centers, whose task is to make people understand the significance and meaning of the Bible, whose copies they already possess; 7) hoping this symposium will bear good results, ECBA and PBS will duplicate this in several dioceses or regions.
participation, defining those that need improvement. TONGTONGAN is composed of the Bishop, priests, religious men and women, and the laity. What is the participation of the laity in terms of decision making in the local Church? The laity’s participation in Church’s activities is essential. This includes the local Church’s decision making. We are aware of what the Church is in the present age… that we are all Church for the Church. This is felt in the Vicariate of Bontoc- Lagawe. How is the family and life program in your Vicariate? We have a separate office for the Family and Life Program. A priest heads it, assisted by a religious Sister and a staff. They have a program of activities to follow. The Sister and her staff move from one mission station to the other conducting seminars. Since my assumption of office, we had one Vicariate Seminar held at the Socio-Pastoral Center in Bontoc with speakers from the National Commission and 163 participants from Ifugao and Mountain Provinces.
Basilan / B5
How is the quantity and quality of vocations entering the diocesan seminary? We do not run short of young men entering the seminary from our Vicariate. We have the difficulty of shouldering their financial obligations in the seminary. Most of them depend on the Vicariate’s help. The “Propaganda Fide” in Rome gives us only so much. At the end, only one or two make it to the priesthood. However, those ordained demonstrate zealousness to their calling so far. What is your take on the secular media’s treatment of Church’s issues in the news? Some of our secular media in the Philippines appear to be unruly on their freedom. Church issues are easily sensationalized in front pages or in prime time news. Should one brings out an information in the open that is based on hearsay or uncorroborated suppositions? This is the case of those in public office or members of the Church hierarchy. The higher positioned the person against the issue is directed, the more prominent the reporting becomes, notwithstanding the lack of support for the claim. I am glad to note here that the CBCP Monitor is a good model for responsible journalism
The prodigal son. This guy is obviously the bad son and the villain of the story. Let us try to get a close look at this son. Apparently he was bored and unhappy at home and was problematic with his relationship with his father and elder brother. He wanted to escape somewhere and have fun, enjoyment and gimmick. Actually, he didn’t know himself and what exactly he wanted in his life. He felt empty and thought a new environment, entertainments and “good times” would fill in what was lacking in his life and make him happy. Illusory and short lived as they are, he soon found himself more empty and miserable than before. Broke and hungry, he came to his senses and decided to go back home to his father even only as a worker and no longer a son. Lucky for him, his relationship with a loving father was given back to him completely. The older son. This guy is seemingly the good son who never left his father and was a good diligent worker. This son
The gift / B6
was also truly problematic in his relationship with his father and brother, and surely, with his owns self. Outwardly, he was a good son, but he was simply a worker of the father, just doing his job to get the compensation due to him. His work was only a “loveless duty.” He never left his father but he was actually far, distant from him. He, too, was a “lost son.” Being self righteous, he condemned and disowned his younger brother. After looking at these three characters of this family drama where I focus on relationships, let’s discern our own, with God as our Father, with our own selves and with our brothers and sisters. The great news of this parable is¯whatever kind of sons we are, God remains a loving Father in spite of, and despite our sinfulness. He continues to tell us, “My son, all I have is yours.” May we always relate with Him in filial love and image His compassion and love to one another. Amen.
dered all his inheritance and did not, therefore deserve such lavish celebration. The father does not argue about the worthiness of the prodigal son. For the father it was enough that the lost son had returned. And because of the father’s unbounded love, the prodigal son is not only fully forgiven but even restored to full sonship again. It is as though the prodigal son had never done anything! Such is the Father’s love for us! His infinite love is greater than the magnitude of our sins! FORGIVENESS IS THE GIFT OF THE FATHER TO HIS SON! FORGIVENESS IS A GIFT! It is given not because it is deserved, but because the aggrieved is gracious! The Father is full of grace and mercy! It is from the plenitude of His mercy that we are forgiven. Thus, whenever we turn to God
seeking his forgiveness in holy confession we receive absolution for he is a God “dives in misericordia” (rich in mercy)! We receive THE GRACE OF FORGIVENESS. Having been forgiven, we must in turn forgive! This is what we pray for every time we pray the Lord’s prayer—”forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us!” As we have been forgiven, so we in turn must forgive. In another parable, Jesus explained to his disciples the need to forgive even seventy times seven times! No easy thing to do! But only possible if we keep reminding ourselves that God’s own mercy and forgiveness for us knows no bounds! Forgiving others who have wronged us would truly be much easier if we never forget that we have been forgiven and are always in need of forgiveness. In our
second reading, from the letter of St. Paul to Timothy, we hear St. Paul testify that he, the worst sinner of all, received the mercy of God. St. Paul never forgot he had been a persecutor of Christ. He always remembered the mercy of God and understood that he was made an ambassador of God’s mercy! The gift of forgiveness we have received from God impels us to also give forgiveness as a gift. Indeed, there is no greater gift that we can give than the gift of forgiveness! Friends, couples, families and communities that know the gift of forgiveness know the joy of the loving Father! Next time, then, say not, “I cannot forgive you!” Rather, say “Because I have been forgiven much myself, I cannot but also forgive you!”
life because life is Sacred. Respect every individual because all of us are children of the Almighty God! Thus, 1. I appeal to the Government and MILF to set aside your Pride and come back to the negotiating table. You must effect peace agreement now and not tomorrow. The delay of peace agreement means more pain and suffering to the many nameless, faceless civilians, like women, children, elderly and non-combatants. Allow us once again to breathe the air of peace and freedom here in Basilan. Peace agreement can be attained only when both sides, Government and MILF, observe justice. Both would uphold and recognize the basic rights of every citizenry to own property and decent homes, able to worship God they adore freely, without fear and intimidation. 2. I appeal to the media to be responsible to the information you are forecasting and printing, our people deserved accurate and correct data. We condemn any misinterpretation, exaggeration and sensationalism of the issues here in Basilan. 3. I appeal to the people who are manipulating the situation here in Basilan for their advantage. You do not have the right to gain anything at the expense of the Basileños. 4. I appeal to all religious leaders of every faith to unite and collaborate in
building peace and set aside biases. And to you my dear people of God in our faith: a. I urge you to be vigilant and sober, to be objective and critical on the news you are receiving from media. b. I urge every basic Christian community to come together in prayer for peace in order to end violence here in Basilan. Be united and learn to cultivate culture of Peace and Dialogue. c. I urge every family to come together to pray for peace here in Basilan. Pray the Rosary for this intention. Lastly, all of us must regain our faith. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church number 516 says “…It is faith that transforms and renews life…” This faith leads us to repentance allowing us to start a new life. With faith, peace is never far behind. Peace appears when God is near. When men and women are filled with faith, they work for peace. “Happy are the peacemaker. They become children of God” (Mt 5:9) Enough is enough with bloody war! Give PEACE a chance! Let us entrust ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, Queen of Peace that she may guide us to her Son, Jesus Christ, the prince of Peace! MOST REV. MARTIN S. JUMOAD, D.D. Bishop Prelate
Vol. 11 No. 18
September 3 - 16, 2007
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
Title: Hairspray Running Time: 117 mins. Cast: Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Amanda Bynes, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifa, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Marsden, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley Director: Adam Shankman Producers: Neil Meron, Craig Zadan Screenwriters: Leslie Dixon, John Waters Music: Marc Shaiman Editor: Michael Tronic Genre: Comedy/ Drama/ Musical Cinematography: Bojan Bazelli Distributor: New Line Cinema Location: Canada Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
OVERWEIGHT teenager Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) and her best friend Penny (Amanda Bynes) top their school day swooning over the songand-dance TV show of Corny Collins (James Marsden). Tracy dreams of one day appearing on TV with her idol Corny, but her grotesquely fat mother Edna (John Travolta) would rather see her happily running the family’s laundry shop. However, her father Wilbur (Christopher Walken) welcomes her fantasy, telling her to follow her heart. An opportunity comes for Tracy when the show announces auditions. In complete school uniform, Tracy signs up but show producer Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) scoffs at the pudgy girl who sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb in a line of svelte chorus girl types. Corny likes Tracy’s bubbly and natural ways and gives her a break, irritating the control-freak Velma. Serving as a surprise and somewhat spoofy addition to the show, Tracy becomes an instant hit. Hairspray owes much of its entertaining quality to the songs and dances which spin almost nonstop, matching the light but well-woven plot. The tunes are catchy and the dances jaunty. SADDIE Blake (Lucy Liu) a Los Angeles reporter is investigating a secret organization that is luring those in search of something exciting to do something sophisticated and different. She ventures too far and too deep into the forbidden territory and is killed. She “wakes up” with the help of a concerned person and finds out that she had been raped and slain, but is now returned “to a life as an undead”. When she learns that she is a victim of the secret league she has been after, which turns out to be a sinister band of vampires, she is dead set on hunting them now. She is encouraged by the kind person, to also get rid of these vampires, to which she acquiesces. He equips her with a set of cross bow and silver arrowdarts. As she moves around hunting down her quarries, she becomes aware of someone tailing her. It is Detective Clyde Rawlins (Michael Chiklis). It is a gloomy and eerie story of a person going after a cultic group of blood suckers. For the appropriate atmosphere perhaps, most of the action takes place in half light and old darkish places, given that vampires dread the light. The story is not a smooth narrative; a viewer could catch unconnected scenes and unconnected ideas. The acting however is lively action in the one and a half hour feature. Lucy Liu as Saddie is on camera throughout, as in her action films (Charlie’s Angels). The others fill their roles well enough, like Michael Chiklis as Detective Rawlins tailing Saddie. On screen almost throughout are scenes of blood, gore and mangled bodies after the vampires have finished their “feeding parties”. The devastation and the violence committed are splashed on screen for the viewers. Saddie Blake as an undead is portrayed as a character who tries to fight against what she has become- she needs blood as food for her new being- but fails as she is shown biting into a human and sucking him/her aside from killing for revenge. Detective Rawlins lost a daughter to the vampires. He and Saddie agreed that she would kill the cult leader Bishop as his vengeance if he promised to kill her after that. Though reluctant, the detective does it. It is questionable if she could really die; following the stories of vampires. About ten killings take place in the whole film. There are also some nudity and flashes of similar matter. Rise: Blood Hunter is rated for mature viewers 18 and above because of the above contents, and the emotional stress that could result from viewing it.
Set in Baltimore USA 1962, the movie features many songs that lampoon racial discrimination. Its attractiveness lies in its lack of pretension—it does not come on like it’s reaching for the Oscars, but as a natural-born musical spiced up by a dash of comedy it certainly makes you feel it’s worth the price of admission. The main strength of the movie, however, is the cast— each actor seems born for the role as they each perform to advance the movie’s message. The screen crackles when newcomer Blonsky as Tracy comes on—at home with her flab and tantalizing with her smile. Pfeiffer with her blonde curls, frosted blue eyeshadow and top-rate acting is every inch a lovely witch. Travolta as the obese mother, however, seems gimmicky. This is what happens when the star is bigger than the role. In a fat suit that jiggles as he moves, Travolta comes across as Travolta in drag pretending to be Edna; this sort of distracts from the guile-free appeal of the movie. However, when at last it is time for Travolta to dance, and you half-expect him to segue into pelvisgrinding “Saturday Night Fever”, Travolta succeeds in funnily spoofing himself. The likable characters played by the relatively less known actors enhance the real-life credibility of the story. In its own gentle way Hairspray aspires to rid viewers of prejudice. First it seems to say that racism is evil, as dramatized in a pro-integration march and as finally reflected towards the end when the whites and the blacks celebrate racial harmony in song and dance. Next it sets the self-conceit of the “beautiful” against the healthy self-confidence of the “ugly”—between the lines you hear that “beautiful outside does not necessarily mean beautiful inside or even beautiful at all” and that “with faith in your dreams you can also overcome your overweight without shedding a pound.”
Title: RISE: Blood Hunter Running Time: 94 min. Cast: Lucy Liu, Michael Chiklis, James D’Arcy, Carla Gugino Director: Sebastian Gutierrez Producers: Greg Shapiro Screenwriter: Sebastian Gutierrez Music: Nathan Barr Editors: Lisa Bromwell, Robb Sullivan Genre: Horror/ Supernatural Suspense Thriller Cinematography: John Toll Distributor: Viva Films Location: Los Angeles, USA Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above
ANSWER TO THE LAST ISSUE: IGNORANCE ITSELF IS WITHOUT A DOUBT A SIN FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT WISH TO UNDERSTAND; FOR THOSE WHO, HOWEVER, CANNOT UNDERSTAND, IT IS THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN. ST. AUGUSTINE
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