Vocation video wins award

Australian bishops offer election guidelines

Evangelizing a digital world

Bishop Pabillo presides ‘Misa ng Bayan’

Macarambon appointment dismays PPCRV
THE appointment of Moslemen Macarambon as commissioner of the Commission on Elections turned to be a bad news for a Church-backed poll watchdog. The Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said Malacañang ignored calls for transparency in the selection process to fill up vacant posts at the Comelec.
Macarambon / A6

CBCP urges transparency in Comelec appointments
CATHOLIC Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo says he is pleased new officials will be serving the Commission on Elections (Comelec). But unconfirmed reports have already surfaced about the nomination process for the upcoming vacancies in the Comelec and the CBCP head says the secrecy must end now.

Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace October 29 - November 11, 2007 Vol. 11 No. 22 Php 20.00

New papal nuncio arrives, vows support to RP Church
THE new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams arrived on All Saints Day and was tendered a red carpet welcome right at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales with seven other prelates and well-wishers. Shortly after the welcome ceremony, a closeddoor meeting immediately followed inside the airport’s presidential lounge. According to Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, the nuncio assured them of his support for the Church and the local bishops with their mission as a faithful stewards. “He (Adams) just said that he will do his best for the Church and the country,” said Reyes. Caloocan bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, meanwhile, said Adams is so excited to be in the Philippines. “He said he is ready for the challenges that his new assignment would entail,” Iñiguez quoted Adams as saying. Others who met the nuncio were Bishops Francisco San Diego of Pasig, Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, Deogracias Iñiguez of Caloocan, Jesse Mercado of Parañaque and Auxiliary bishops Bernardino Cortez of Manila and Francis De Leon of Antipolo. “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 released immediately upon learning of the appointment of the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
New / A6

Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on November 1, 2007, is welcomed by Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila together with 7 members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines; “As I prepare to come to the Philippines my only wish is that I may be of service to the Church as I seek to represent worthily among you our Holy Father, whose ministry is essentially one of love,” he says in his letter to CBCP.

Cremation gains wide acceptance
JUST as they fought over Sonny Aravilla’s life, his wife and his parents did fight over his body. Cleofe Aravilla, who had the lawful right to make decisions about Sonny’s remains, still and bravely opted for his cremation. His “ashes” were placed in a cemetery in Bulacan. But his parents, who are conservative Catholics, wanted him buried, not cremated, recalling the church’s age-old burial practice. Cremation may be a confusing issue for Catholics. At one time, the church prohibited cremation but this is no longer the case. Today, cremation is only prohibited if the person choosing such method is doing so to deny Church teachings, especially that of the resurrection of the dead and the immortality of the soul. The catechism of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) says cremation is no longer forbidden “unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.” The Church holds that the cremated remains of the body be treated with the same respects that the body was treated prior to cremation, including the use of the “worthy urn” for it. The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (ECL) strongly prefers that cremation take place after or before the funeral Mass. “When cremation is held after funeral Mass, the rite of final commendation and committal conclude the Mass. While cremation is taking place, the family and friends of the deceased are encouraged to gather in prayer,” the ECL said. The commission said a liturgy of the “Word” may be celebrated or devotional prayers like the holy rosary may be said. The Church’s belief in the sacredness of life and the resurrection of the dead asks us to celebrate funeral liturgies with the body or ashes present while affirming the value of human life. “When cremation precedes the funeral Mass, the rite of final commendation and committal may be performed in the crematorium chapel before cremation. After cremation the funeral Mass may be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains,” the ECL said in its Guidelines for Cremation “If funeral Mass is not celebrated, the funeral liturgy is held in the presence of the remains. The rite of final commendation and committal concludes the Mass or the funeral liturgy,” it further stressed. As additional guideline, the Church also requires the columbaria be built in a separate chapel adjacent to the church or in a crypt. In today’s modern society, for some, choosing cremation is part of that preparation for death. The Church continues to prefer and encourage the faithful to bury or entomb the bodies of their departed loved ones. But if cremation is chosen for worthy motives, the Church wishes to support the faithful in honoring the life and memory of the departed. (Roy Lagarde)

Erap’s pardon stirs moral questions
THE executive clemency granted to convicted plunderer former President Joseph Estrada stirred negative feedback from the country’s Catholic Church leaders. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) head Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said it’s unfair for other convicts of crimes with “lesser gravity” but grew old behind bars. It saddened him to know that while more suspected offenders with cases still pending in court, they continue to suffer from “justice delayed justice denied.” “Will they be given the same privilege or consideration?” asked Lagdameo, who is also the archbishop of Jaro.

Disaparecidos’ families await justice
WHILE government authorities inquire and investigate circumstances surrounding human rights violations in the villages of Nueva Ecija, the victims’ families eagerly await results at the soonest possible time. San Jose de Nueva Ecija Bishop Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, in an interview with Catholic-run Veritas 846 Wednesday morning said “the tension which prevailed two years ago has in a way, simmered down.” He said the village residents are slowly returning to normal lives after a series of enforced disappearances and summary killings believed to have been carried out by death squads identified with the military. Farmer leaders, cause-oriented and partylist
Disaparecidos / A6

Arroyo quit calls mount
PRESSURE is building up on President GloriaMacapagal Arroyo, with three Catholic prelates demanding her resignation over allegations of corruption. The Malacañang has denied any wrongdoing, saying they are happy with the way Pres. Arroyo is handling the government to wipe out poverty and boost the country’s economy. But Bishops Antonio Tobias, Deogracias Iñiguez and Julio Labayen came out strongly in opposition to an administration they believe has brought shame to the nation. The bishops said in a joint statement that Pres. Arroyo has shown culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.
Arroyo / A6

Priest excommunicated for breaking Church law
A ROMAN Catholic priest, who fell afoul with the Church after breaking the “seal of confession,” was formally excommunicated last month. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sorsogon promptly declared the penalty of excommunication “latae sententiae” against Fr Alejandre Galias in a decree dated September 21, 2007. Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said Galias violated a Church law declaring that every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him. He said a formal complaint reached his ofPriest / A6

Erap’s / A6

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World News
PARIS, France, October 23, 2007—Religious education is a fundamental element for the full development of the human person, the Holy See said in an address to a meeting of UNESCO. Monsignor Francesco Follo, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said this at the opening of the agency’s 34th general conference last week. The conference, being held in Paris, will continue through Nov. 3. The papal representative spoke of the urgent need for religious education, “not as just a

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

U.S. Bishops prepare document on politics

Religious education extolled at UNESCO
personal reality, but also a social reality, and as a fundamental element for the improvement and maturity of individuals.” “Certain fundamental principles exist that constitute the patrimony of peoples and are cement in the common life, to be able to construct a true social and world order of justice and peace,” he said. Monsignor Follo added that the integral development of individuals and of peoples cannot be limited to scientific and economic concepts, and said that religious liberty is important for the development of “a culture of peace.” (Zenit)

Statement to urge Catholics to participate in civil life
sciences in accordance with God’s truth. We recognize that the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience, and that participation goes well beyond casting a vote in a particular election.” Statements on political life have been released by the bishops every four years for about three decades. The draft to be discussed in November explains the necessity of opposing actions that are intrinsically wrong, such as abortion and euthanasia, and affirms the obligation to promote the common good by combating such threats to human life and dignity as hunger, poverty, racism, unjust immigration policies and unjust war. The proposed draft also urges Catholics “to become more involved: running for office, working within political parties and communicating concerns to elected officials.” It suggests that Catholics should be “guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group.” The document says “Catholic voters should use Catholic teaching to examine candidates’ positions on issues and should consider candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance.” (Zenit)

Fundamentalists beat 5 sisters in Madhya Pradesh
they attacked us with sticks”, says Sr. Jincy. Dharma Raksha Samiti convenor Kamal Waghela accused the sisters of converting people in the area to the Christian faith, and said that “after the prayer, picked a quarrel on this issue which lead to clash between the sisters and our workers”. The spokesman for the Indore diocese immediately responded to these accusations: “It is nothing but finding an easy way to justify the brutality done to women religious, we will fight with tooth and nail”. Archbishop Leo Cornelio, Chairman, Catholic Bishops Council of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh too used strong words to condemn the episode: “We have been suffering silently but it looks that the fundamental organizations take it as a weakness from our part, it is an attack on women and human freedom.” Fr Anand Muttungal, Regional Public Relations Officer and Spokesperson, said, “We welcome the support extended by left parties, secular organizations, various inter-religious forums and NGOs.” He warned, “the fundamental organizations are preparing the ground for the assembly election to be held in 2008”. (Nirmala Carvalho / AsiaNews)

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2007— The U.S. bishops will offer an updated statement on faith and politics after their general meeting next month, ahead of the 2008 election year. The proposed statement focuses on the

bishops’ role in helping to form consciences in political life. “In this statement, we bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote,” the draft states. “Our purpose is to help Catholics form their con-

Truth of the Knights Templar unveiled
Vatican publishes acts of 14th-century trials
VATICAN CITY, October 25, 2007—Due to what a Vatican archivist calls a “sketchy” error, a document exonerating the Knights Templar of heresy is only now being made public. This morning in the Old Synod Hall, the a number of Vatican officials and laypeople presented “ Processus Contra Templarios ” (Trial Against the Templars), a compendium of reprints of the original acts of the hearings against the Knights Templar, the group novelist Dan Brown linked to the Holy Grail in “The Da Vinci Code.” The volume is the third in the “Exemplaria Praetiosa” series of the Vatican Secret Archives, issued in collaboration with the Scrinium publishing house. Despite its hefty price tag— $8,377—the 799 available copies of the volume have been sold to collectors, scholars and libraries from all over the world, reported the Vatican press office. The 800th copy will be given to Benedict XVI. The military order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon was founded in Jerusalem in 1118 to protect Christians in the Holy Land. The order eventually fell into disfavor with King Philip IV of France, who wanted their money, or perhaps, wanted to cancel the debts he owed it. The French king arrested members of the Knights and resorting to torture, extracted confessions of heresy. In 1308, however, Pope Clem-

MUMBAI, India, October 27, 2007—The accusation of forced conversions to Christianity has once again been used as a pretext to justify Hindu fundamentalists violence against members of the Catholic community. Yesterday 5 sisters of the Poor Clare’s order were savagely beaten with sticks by a group of activists from Dharma Raksha Samiti (Committee for the protection of religion), a fundamentalist organization in favor of sati (the ritual suicide of the widows). The incident took place yesterday afternoon in Raseli, Indore diocese, Madhya Pradesh. The police have refused the diocese’ attempts to report the incident. The religious sisters currently hospitalized in grave conditions in Bhandari Hospital, are all very young: Sr. Jincy, 40, Sr. Sayujia, 27, Sr. Pavitra, 26, Sr. Sweta, 26 and Sr. Anna Maria, 27. “We had gone to attend the Rosary Prayer at Mr. Anil‘s house. He is a Catholic by birth and the driver of our convent, when

ent V decided to save the order, as recorded by the “Parchment of Chinon.” King Philip IV later pressured the Pontiff to reverse the decision, and the order was suppressed in 1312. The acts of the hearings against the Knights Templar (1308-1311) had been kept in the Vatican Secret Archives, but until recently, had not been reviewed since the early 20th century.

Barbara Frale, an official at the Vatican Secret Archives, found the “Parchment of Chinon” in 2001. Frale told the Associated Press the 3-footwide document probably had

been ignored because a catalog entry in 1628 was “too vague.” “Unfortunately, there was an archiving error, an error in how the document was described. More than an error, it was a little sketchy.” Frale was interested by the 1628 entry because it included a reference to Clement V’s aide, Cardinal Berenger Fredol, who had gone with other important cardinals to interrogate someone. The book reproduces all of the documentation of the papal hearings convened after Philip IV arrested and tortured the Templars on charges of heresy and immorality. Frale said the parchment reveals the cardinals reached the

conclusion the Templars were guilty of abuses, but not “a real and true heresy.” “There were a lot of faults in the order—abuses, violence ... a lot of sins, but not heresy,” she said. “Processus Contra Templarios” was presented by Archbishop Raffaele Farina, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church; Bishop Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives; Frale and Marco Maiorino, officials of the Vatican Secret Archives; Franco Cardini, a professor of mediaeval history; Valerio Massimo Manfredi, an author and archaeologist; and Ferdinando Santoro, president of Scrinium. (Zenit)

Three Church of Ireland parishes seek to become Catholic, move could bring in 400,000 Anglicans
DUBLIN, Ireland, October 26, 2007— Three Church of Ireland parishes have asked to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church, The Irish Catholic newspaper reports this week. The decision would pave the way for over 400,000 Anglicans to become Catholic. The parishes, located in the counties Down, Tyrone and Laois, are members of the traditional rite of the Church of Ireland. The rite emerged in 1991 after the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland decided to start ordaining women. Traditionalist Anglicans rejected this decision as a “defiance of both Scripture and Tradition.” A plenary meeting of the Traditional Anglican Communion, the umbrella organization for traditionalist parishes, decided to petition Rome to be received into full communion with the Holy See. While only a few hundred Anglicans in Ireland will be affected if an agreement is reached, the Traditional Anglican Communion itself has over 400,000 members who could all join the Catholic Church. According to a statement from the Traditional Anglican Communion, “the bishops and vicarsgeneral unanimously agreed to

Benedict XVI: Religion is not a vehicle of hate
Urges promotion of the “Spirit of Assisi”
NAPLES, Italy, October 21, 2007—Violence in the name of God can never be justified, Benedict XVI told a gathering of interreligious leaders in Naples, urging them to promote peace and the “spirit of Assisi.” Pope’s appeal today resounded in the archdiocesan seminary of Capodimonte on the first day of the 21st International Encounter of Peoples and Religions. The meeting, organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio in Naples until Oct. 23, has as its theme “Toward a World Without Violence: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue.” “Faced with a world lacerated by conflicts,” the Holy Father said, “where at times violence is justified in the name of God, it is important to re-emphasize that religion can never be a vehicle of hate; never, in the name of God, can we justify evil and violence.” “On the contrary,” he added, “because they speak of peace to the human heart, religions can offer precious resources for building a peaceful humanity.” Benedict XVI met with various participants in the meeting, including Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I; the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; one of Israel’s chief rabbis, Yona Metzger; the rector of the Al-Azhar University in Egypt, Ahmad AlTayyeb; and the Imam of the United Arab Emirates, Ibrahim Ezzedin.

The Holy Father confirmed that the Catholic Church intends “to continue along the road of dialogue to promote understanding among different cultures, traditions and religious wisdom.” “I ardently desire that this spirit spread more and more, especially where the tensions are strongest, where freedom and respect for the other are denied and men and women suffer the consequences of intolerance and misunderstanding,” the Pope added. He continued: “This meeting turns our minds back to 1986, when my venerable predecessor, John Paul II, invited major religious representatives to pray for peace on the hill of St. Francis,

highlighting in those circumstances the intrinsic link that unites an authentic religious attitude with a living sensibility for this basic good of humanity. “In 2002, after the dramatic events of Sept. 11 of the previous year, the same John Paul II again called religious leaders to Assisi to ask God to stop the grave threats to humanity that were looming, especially because of terrorism. “In respect of the differences of the various religions, we are all called to work for peace and to an active commitment to promote reconciliation between peoples. It is this authentic ‘spirit of Assisi’ which is opposed to every form of violence and abuse of religion as a pretext for violence.” (Zenit)

the text of a letter to the See of Rome seeking full, corporate, sacramental union.” A spokesman said “the letter was cordially received at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” “The Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion has agreed that no member of the College will give interviews until the Holy See has considered the letter and responded,” he said. This petition for corporate communion is very rare; though there have been many individual conversions. Recently the wife of the Church of Ireland Bishop of Killala, Anita Henderson, was received into the Catholic Church in a private ceremony. (CNA)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

News Features


Vocation video wins award
Film hailed as “Extremely Moving”
W A S H INGTON, D.C., October 26, 2007—The U.S. bishops’ video promoting priestly vocations— called by one viewer “the best look at the priesthood I have ever seen on film”—was named winner of the Gabriel Award. “Fishers of Men,” an 18-minute DVD that is part of a vocational recruitment project launched last year by the U.S. episcopal conference, received today the Gabriel Award in California, given by the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals. More than 60,000 copies of the video, produced by Grassroots Films of Brooklyn, New York, have been distributed. The bishops’ project takes into account that a 2007 survey sponsored by the vocations secretariat reported that 80% of newly ordained priests in the United States say a priest invited them to consider the vocation. “I thought it was extremely moving,” said the U.S. bishops’ conference general secretary, Monsignor David Malloy, “and it sort gave that great reminder for why we got in this in the first place. In fact, I would love for my nephews to see it at some point.” The video, combining images, music and testimonies, reveals many elements of the daily life of a priest. A dramatic representation of a priest giving last rites to a dying boy shows how the example of the priests’ ministry can inspire vocations. Another viewer, David Morton, said he was “moved to tears.” Joseph Campo, producer of “Fishers of Men,” said the production staff has “always had a positive view and appreciation of the Catholic priesthood throughout the world, and we are grateful for the opportunity to portray what it means to be a priest in the film, ‘Fishers of Men.’” “Serious filmmakers always work to produce something of extraordinary artistic quality,” he continued. “When the work can serve a noble goal such as inviting men to the priesthood, it’s doubly rewarding for the artists.”

Monsignor Edward Burns, executive director of the episcopal conference’s Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation, noted the broad reception of the DVD and the project. “This program has reached almost 50% of our dioceses and is now going international,” he said. “Nineteen countries have contacted us regarding this program. It is not only a resource for the Church in the United States but hopefully a resource for the Church universal. The testimonies of young men who have watched this production have made it all worthwhile.” Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City, chairman of the episcopal Committee on Vocations, said the project has exceeded expectations. “‘Fishers of Men’ has appeal across the board and reminds all Catholics why they treasure their priests,” Bishop Cupich said. “Anyone interested in the priesthood, whatever his age, responds to the DVD’s message: The priesthood is a call to service. “With modern cinematography the filmmakers have captured the timeless calling of the priesthood: Follow and be like Jesus.” (Zenit)

Cardinal urges Religious to get blogging
Says Internet youth forums need real Christian message
ROME, October 28, 2007— Benedict XVI’s vicar for the Diocese of Rome expressed his hopes that religious men and women increase their use of information technology, and thus take advantage of what he called a new form of apostolate. Cardinal Camillo Ruini spoke to the religious at the Pontifical Urbanian University during the diocesan gathering of the Union of Major Superiors of Italy, which represents 1,287 communities and 22,000 religious in Rome. According to the Roman diocesan weekly RomaSette, Cardinal Ruini said: “A priest from Novara told me that the theme of ‘Jesus’ is very much discussed by youth in blogs. The focus, though, comes from destructive books that are widespread today, and not from Benedict XVI’s book ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ “What will the idea of Christ be in 10 years if these ideas triumph?” “The teaching emergency is central in Benedict XVI’s concerns,” the cardinal said. “For him, education in the faith coincides with service to society, because to form someone in the faith means to form the human person. “Simply giving motivations for living defeats nihilism and gives value to the human person, a value that is based on Christ himself, the fact that God became a man.” The cardinal asserted that an educator’s testimony and content can matter more than pedagogical techniques. He called for catechists to be creative in finding occasions for promoting Benedict XVI’s book, saying it shows the solidity of faith in the historical Jesus of the Gospels, and bases the identity of the Christian in a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Cardinal Ruini said that in Catholic schools, “the religious can witness to Christ in all their lessons, in the sciences, in history and even in Italian literature, in an inseparable union of faith and culture. Your creativity ought to find new techniques for the vocational challenge, which ought to develop in step with society.” (Zenit)

Holy See praises efforts towards reconciliation in Korea
VATICAN CITY, October 11, 2007—Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Francis Kim Ji-young, the new ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See. In his English-language address to the diplomat, the Pope mentioned “the remarkable growth of the Catholic Church” in Korea which, he said, is “due in no small part to the heroic example of men and women whose faith led them to lay down their lives for Christ and for their brothers and sisters. “Their sacrifice,” he added, “reminds us that no cost is too great for persevering in fidelity to the truth. Regrettably, in our contemporary pluralist world some people question or even deny the importance of truth. Yet objective truth remains the only sure basis for social cohesion. Truth is not dependent upon consensus but precedes it and makes it possible, generating authentic human solidarity. “The Church—always mindful of the truth’s power to unite people, and ever attentive to mankind’s irrepressible desire for peaceful coexistence—eagerly strives to strengthen concord and social harmony both in ecclesial life and civic life, proclaiming the truth about the human person as known by natural reason and fully manifested through divine revelation.” Turning to consider the Korean people’s desire for peace on the peninsula and in the region as a whole, Benedict XVI reiterated “the Holy See’s support for every initiative that aims at a sincere and lasting reconciliation, putting an end to enmity and unresolved grievances.” And he praised the country’s efforts “to foster fruitful and open dialogue while simultaneously working to alleviate the pain of those suffering from the wounds of division and distrust.” “Every nation shares in the responsibility of assuring a more stable and secure world. It is my ardent hope that the ongoing participation of various countries involved in the negotiation process will lead to a cessation of programs designed to develop and pro-

The true Jesus
The 76-year-old prelate admitted, “I don’t understand the Internet, but especially young religious ought to enter blogs and correct the opinions of the youth, showing them the true Jesus.”

duce weapons with frightening potential for unspeakable destruction.” The Pope noted how Korea “has achieved notable successes in scientific research and development,” especially in biotechnology which has “the potential to treat and cure illnesses so as to improve the quality of life in your homeland and abroad.” However, he added, “discoveries in this field invite man to a deeper awareness of the weighty responsibilities involved in their application,” and “under no circumstances may a human being be manipulated or treated as a mere instrument for experimentation. “The destruction of human embryos, whether to acquire stem cells or for any other purpose, contradicts the purported intent of researchers, legislators and public health officials to promote human welfare. The Church does not hesitate to approve and encourage somatic stem-cell research: not

only because of the favorable results obtained through these alternative methods, but more importantly because they harmonize with the aforementioned intent by respecting the life of the human being at every stage of his or her existence.” Pope Benedict concluded his remarks by recalling how “the promotion of human dignity also summons public authorities to ensure that young people receive a sound education. ... It is incumbent upon governments to afford parents the opportunity to send their children to religious schools by facilitating the establishment and financing of such institutions. ... Catholic and other religious schools should enjoy the appropriate latitude of freedom to design and implement curricula that nurture the life of the spirit without which the life of the mind is so seriously distorted.” (VIS)

Italy moved by teen who offers life for the Church and the Pope
ROME, October 24, 2007— In October of 2006, Carlo Acutis was 15 years old and was fading fast from leukemia. A native of Milan, Acutis touched family members and friends with his witness of offering the sufferings of his illness for the Church and the Pope. His testimony of faith, which could lead to his beatification in the coming years, has moved Italy. “The Eucharist: My Road to Heaven: A Biography of Carlo Acutis” is the title of the book by Nicola Gori, a writer for the L’Osservatore Romano, and published by Ediciones San Pablo. According to the publishers, Carlo “was a teen of our times, like many others. He tried hard in school, with his friends, [and] he loved computers. At the same time he was a great friend of Jesus Christ, he was a daily communicant and he trusted in the Virgin Mary. Succumbing to leukemia at the age of 15, he offered his life for the Pope and for the Church. Those who have read about his life are moved to profound admiration. The book was born of a desire to tell everyone his simple and incredible human and profoundly Christian story.” “As a little boy, especially after his First Communion, he never missed his daily appointment with the Holy Mass and the Rosary, followed by a moment of Eucharistic adoration,” recalls his mother, Antonia Acutis. “With this intense spiritual life, Carlo has fully and generously lived his fifteen years of life, leaving a profound impact on those who knew him. He was an expert with computers, he read books on computer engineering and left everyone in awe, but he put his gift at the service of others and used it to help his friends,” she added. “His immense generosity made him interested in everyone: the foreigners, the handicapped, children, beggars. To be close to Carlo was to be close to a fountain of fresh water,” his mother said.

Carlo Acutis

Pope says: Pray for a “New Pentecost” at Sydney’s World Youth Day
SYDNEY, Australia, October 26, 2007—Pope Benedict XVI’s call for a New Pentecost at World Youth Day was featured in remarks made by Bishop Julian Porteous, auxiliary bishop of Sydney, The Catholic Weekly reports. Bishop Porteous spoke in a homily at a Mass marking the visit of a delegation from the Pontifical Council on the Laity. Echoing Pope Benedict, he exhorted event planners to take to heart the theme of World Youth Day, the Bible verse Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses.” “The Pope wants us to focus particularly on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives,” the bishop said. “He wants WYD to be a ‘New Pentecost’ for Australia.” Bishop Porteous cited Pope Benedict XVI’s speech on July 4. “World Youth Day is much more than an event. It is a time of deep spiritual renewal, the fruits of which benefit the whole of society,” the Pope said. “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.” Bishop Porteous expressed his great hope for World Youth Day. “All the signs are there for a wonderful event,” he said. (CNA)

Martyrdom a real possibility, says Pope
Encourages all Christians to a life of daily sacrifice
VATICAN CITY, October 28, 2007—After noting the beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs, Benedict XVI affirmed that all Christians should be ready to give their lives for Christ. The Pope said this today before leading the midday Angelus, and after the largest beatification ceremony in the history of the Church, held today in St. Peter’s Square. In the celebration, presided over by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the Church recognized as blessed 498 martyrs from the religious persecution in 1930s Spain. The Holy Father said, “Adding such a great number of martyrs to the list of beatified persons shows that the supreme witness of giving blood is not an exception reserved only to some individuals, but a realistic possibility for all Christian people. It includes men and women of different ages, vocations and social conditions, who pay with their lives in fidelity to Christ and his Church.” The Pontiff said that fidelity to Christ, even to the point of giving one’s life, is rooted in baptism. “Their example gives witness to the fact that baptism commits Christians to participate boldly in the spread of the Kingdom of God, cooperating if necessary with the sacrifice of one’s own life,” he said. “Certainly not everyone is called to a bloody martyrdom. There is also an unbloody ‘martyrdom,’ which is no less significant, such as that of Celina Chludzinska Borzecka, wife, mother, widow and religious, beatified yesterday in Rome: It is the silent and heroic testimony of many Christians who live the Gospel without compromises, fulfilling their duty and dedicating themselves generously in service to the poor. “This martyrdom of ordinary life is a particularly important witness in the secularized societies of our time. It is the peaceful battle of love that all Christians, like Paul, have to fight tirelessly; the race to spread the Gospel that commits us until death. May Mary, Queen of Martyrs and Star of Evangelization, help us and assist us in our daily witness.” (Zenit)

Antonia recalls clearly that “shortly before his death, Carlo offered his sufferings for the Pope and the Church. Surely the heroism with which he faced his illness and death has convinced many that he was truly somebody special. When the doctor that was treating him asked him if he was suffering a lot, Carlo answered: ‘There are people who suffer much more than me!”

Reputation for holiness
Francesca Consolini, postulator for the causes of the saints at the Archdiocese of Milan, thinks there is reason to open Carlo’s cause of beatification when the required wait of five years after his death has been met. “His faith, which was unique in such a young person, was pure and certain. It made him always be sincere with himself and with others. He showed extraordinary care for others; he was sensitive to the problems and situations of his friends and those who lived close to him and were with him day to day,” Consolini explained. Carlo Acutis “understood the true value of life as a gift from God, as an effort, an answer to give to the Lord Jesus day by day in simplicity,” she went on. “I should stress that he was a normal boy who was joyful, serene, sincere, and helpful and loved having company, he liked having friends.” “After his death many felt compelled to write down their own remembrance of him, and others say they are going to ask for his prayers,” Consolini said. (CNA)


Fishers of Men

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

WITH the worsening dearth of vocations, the Episcopal Conference of the United States launched a vocational recruitment project sometime last year. Veering away from the traditional search-ins and vocation talks, the main feature of the campaign was the production of an 18-minute video documentary on vocations entitled “Fishers of Men”. This has made a big difference. A couple of weeks ago, the documentary won the Gabriel Award given by the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professional. Since last year, more than 60,000 copies of the video have been circulated among youth circles in dioceses not only in the U.S. but also in other countries—with touching testimonies of young people, to boot. With the number of vocation still on the tolerable level, this hi-tech vocation campaign may not yet be necessary in the Philippines. But it is only a matter of time. The phenomenon of massive secularism which greatly impacts on the nurturing of vocations in the Filipino home may actually be in our shores in no time. What is presently observable though, even today in the Philippines, is the mushrooming migration of the youth to the digital world. The Filipino youth today speaks the language of the “youtube”, the “friendster”, the “WiFi”, the “blog” and all things electronic. And this is not only about vocations—but even about catechesis and the whole gamut of the Church’s apostolate, which may need some changing of the nets if only because we wish to become effective fishers of men.

Barangay Elections
THERE are some painful truths that remain clear and evident with the recently concluded Barangay and SK elections. Not that they were not known before. It was just that there was then the lingering hope that they would be somehow disproved or rendered still debatable. But with the said elections, they are now undeniable and incontrovertible realities. Let it be emphatically pointed out that elections have been long since in the sphere of partisan politics. The conclusive truth is that in this otherwise blessed country, what are supposed to be signal occasions to demonstrate a working democracy and to show basically upright public officials and civilized voters, have just been once more pitifully negated by a good number of them. And there is a big doubt and strong reservation that Philippine elections would be something for Filipinos to look forward to and be proud of. From the top to the bottom of the political spectrum, among both the old and the young politicos and voters, the following composite truth can be said about elections in this country. One, they confirm the truth that politics are but a family affair, a family business. Two, they prove the consequent fact that elections are thus occasions to kill or die for, to sell or buy votes, to cheat or be cheated—with neither second thought before their commission nor remorse thereafter. Three, only sitting and aspiring politicos are salivating with the thought of elections, with millions of other people dreading the event, despising the event or simply considering it is an occasion to get back at the candidates by taking their money—the more the better, the merrier. That elections and politics in the Philippines are in effect but family affairs, family business, are best proven and exemplified by the holder of nothing less than the highest public office in the land. With two sons having beforehand won elective offices practically hands down, that makes them three in prominent political fronts. Thus it is that even at the base of the political pyramid, barangay chairmen have children, close relatives as kagawad and/or SK chairmen themselves of members. Many closely related politicos are big happy families. Murders. Rampages. Grave threats. Fish fights. Gun fires. Vote buying. Illegal election activities. Flying voters. Missing voters’ lists. Fires. Missing Comelec officials. Unprotected and unpaid teachers attending to the polls. Election protests. All these are but some of the many socio-political atrocities that closely accompanied the last Barangay and SK elections. The assumption akin to certitude is that the more candidates spend money to pay for loyalties, buy votes and anything for sale to win the elections, the more they will recoup from public funds as a matter of course, once elected. Those who lost—”cheated”—are either left alone holding empty bags or will court the winners for favors to get some of their money back at least.

Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD

In and Out of Season
THE forthcoming Barangay Election on October 29 will showcase how genuinely alive is our democracy. On that day the country, composed of 41,800 barangays, will be choosing their barangay officials. All Filipino citizens are members of a barangay. We encourage those of voting age to come to the polling places to vote for their barangay officials. It is good to be reminded that according to the Omnibus Election Code (Art. VI, Sec. 38) barangay elections shall be non-partisan, i.e. no political party, organization or group shall intervene in the nomination and election of any candidate. Unfortunately, there are many barangays which have fallen under the control of political parties or politicians. As a result they are more in the service of some politicians or political party than the common good of the barangay. There is a great need for education and social awareness of how the barangay, this smallest political unit of government, functions. We hope that what the Local Government Code of 1991 describes as the “Role of

All are members of Barangays
the 41,800 barangays. In fact in many parishes, barangay officials are also officials or members of Barangay Parish Pastoral Councils. In some cases, the barangays are further divided into smaller units called Basic Ecclesial Communities. The barangay activities offer great and many opportunities not only for social, political and economic interaction; they are also practical venues for faith interaction and sharing and inter-religious dialogue. In these non-partisan smallest political units of government, as happens in many Parishes and Municipalities, the Church and the state can wonderfully interact and cooperate for the common good in the spirit of social co-responsibility. Come October 29 may our Barangay Election be freed from the violence and corrupt practices that happen during local and national elections. May our Barangay Election produce the leaders that our civil society need for the common good. With the correct social conscience and sensitivity, the barangay members can make this happen.

the Barangay” will be explained to the barangay members in order that they may genuinely and consciously participate in the functions of their barangay. The law states: “Role of the Barangay as the basic political unit: the barangay serves as the primary unit of government policies, plans, programs, projects and activities in the community and as a forum wherein the collective views of the people may be expressed, crystallized and considered, and where disputes may be amicably settled.” (Sec. 384) All members of the churches, parishes, municipalities, Basic Ecclesial Communities are also members of the barangay. If they are taking interest in how their churches or parishes operate, similarly they should be interested in what is going on in their barangay with respect to the common good. As parishioners, they need to be aware of the laws of the Church. As barangay members they are legally empowered to get involved in the common affairs of their barangay. There are some 2,000 Parishes all over the country. These Parishes also include most of

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

THERE has been a good amount of bitter criticisms and loud lamentations about the commonly perceived misdeeds attributed to the national leadership. Accompanied by proper invectives there are too many negative pronouncements about the incumbent highest official in the land. For people to be positive and constructive, this seems to be the cry and the need of the days—for a change. The occasion has come for objective appreciation, for positive recognition. It is thus about time that the national leadership be thus given proper affirmation for its singular and consummate expertise in being deeply involved in one scam after another, in arousing strong suspicions in its engagements in this and that corrupt and corrupting practice. And this pattern of disturbing and disgusting acts appears to be rather regular and continuous since it assumed power long before May 2004. Consistency is the much appreciated operative word here. It might be good to point out the very touching and unnerving “I am sorry” spectacle. It was impeccable in its ample preparation and fervent invocation. In fact, it was accompanied by the proper quivering voice and tearful eyes. It is undoubtedly memorable in both its text and context. It even became a hit expression for a long time, among so many people, here and abroad. Furthermore, the said devious and wherefore dubious executive acts happen in such a fast pace that people have no time to ponder on their respective significance and implications, and much less time even but to remember them. The Malacañang occupant is rather effective in causing deliberate confusion among thinking people and cause-oriented groups. These are thus successfully confused about which issue to focus and work on. This is positively known and admiringly called productivity in the difficult world of commerce.

Views and Points
Lately, there is the much admired and admirable use of the now infamous “Executive Privilege”. What is meant to protect the country from the revelation of matters of national security, is now wantonly invoked to coverup very scandalous transactions and high anomalous agenda in and by the Executive Department. There is even that now standing Executive Order equivalent to a commandment in terms of “Thou shall not tell the truth.” Here is ingenuity par excellence. “Divide and conquer.” “Take the offensive.” “Strike where the enemy is weak.” These could be some of the well learned principles and much applied lessons by the national leadership. The same must be a good pupil in the Art of War. The teacher should be very proud for the brilliance for their execution. This is intelligence at its best. This is a demonstration of well honed skills and profound ingenuity. This is recognition.

Melo M. Acuña
ISSN 1908-2940

CBCP Monitor
P r o ta g o n i s t of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace

Issues and Concerns
IT was both an honor and a privilege to be part of an international conference sponsored by the International Labour Organization on Communicating Labor Rights. Coming from a developing country, it was a rare privilege to interact with fellow print and broadcast journalists from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America. This writer had the chance to be with 28 fellows listening and interacting with resource persons from different parts of the world at the International Training Center in Turin, Italy. Sharing experiences and learning from other participants indeed widens one’s horizons. To my surprise, a number of the participants are Catholics, practicing Catholics, all concerned with human rights, labor standards and the timely teachings of the Catholic Church. The issues are inter-related, from finding jobs to labor conditions, rights and

A break from the daily grind
called “Slowfood”—an exact opposite of what we usually have, fastfood “cuisine.” I asked one of our facilitators about “Slowfood” and he said it was simply going back to the basics, organic farming. It is indeed a growing trend these days. As soon as we get there, I would surely ask what fertilizers they use for optimum results. One thing is sure though, they don´t have Jocjoc Bolante’s fertilizers here. One of the concerns raised by participants has something to do with violations of human rights in and out of the workplace with special emphasis on their own versions of extrajudicial killings or summary executions of trade union leaders. The Philippines was mentioned in one of the discussions as it was reportedly made to explain about reports on extrajudicial killings. Wondering about all these, a fellow participant asked: Isn’t it that majority of your people are Catholics?

Pedro C. Quitorio

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate Editor

Kris P Bayos .
Feature Editor

Melo M. Acuña
Managing Editor

Rosalynn Garcia
Marketing Supervisor

Dennis B. Dayao
On-Line Editor

Ernani M. Ramos
Circulation Manager

Roy Q. Lagarde
News Editor

Marcelita Dominguez

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: cbcpmonitor@cbcpworld.net Website: www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor

standards as well as trade relations existing between countries. Call centers in the Philippines have already caught the attention of the participants, along with the millions of overseas Filipino contract workers that continue to sustain the country’s economy. I left Manila early evening last October 27 and had the chance to see Frankfurt International Airport, and lined up at the Passport Control area before I took a 98seater four-engine jet for Turin. They also have dogs at the airport sniffing bags and, at times, arriving passengers. One thing caught my attention: I went to a church nearby last Sunday at 6:00 PM only to find it closed. It may be true Filipinos fill the churches here in Europe. Should my schedule allow, I would have the chance to meet Filipinos in Rome and see the Vatican as soon as the conference is over. Part of the course is a visit to a company

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

Tidbits Marriage and its religious dimension
When it talks on the union of man and woman in a perpetual and exclusive contract of giving and accepting each other in the rite of marriage, it has to be taken within the context of a sacrament and therefore within the area of faith. Christian marriage is more than a piece of legislation; more than the union of a male and a female hit by a chemical reaction called love. It is a sacred union. It starts with the free choice of the man and the woman in love, mutually surrendering themselves to each other which they do by entering into marriage whose meaning and values do not depend on them alone but on God himself. For God is the Author of marriage, delicately endowing it with proper laws and regulations. And more. Due to the reality of sin, making him/her prone to the temptations of the flesh and the pride of life that oftentimes sours the relationship between man and woman, God saw to it that union of man and wife become a source of grace, elevating it into a sacrament. Here the spouses are caught up by the Christ who gives that great promise: “My grace is sufficient for you.” Marriage therefore bestows that sacramental grace to “perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children” (cf. CCC, n. 1641). To ease out this religious dimension, therefore, is detrimental, if not suicidal, to the union.

Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD

Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD

DADITAMA A call to restorative justice
AS I had expected, the convicted plunderer, former President Estrada will soon be pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal– Arroyo. Indeed, the pardon was announced last October 26. He was immediately released from detention the day after. There was obvious haste in the processes that led to his release which looked suspicious to some observers in the light of the current controversies the administration is embroiled in. Pardon is an act of benevolence, mercy and grace. It disregards the demand of retributive justice which is focused on punishment. It is supposed to be a virtuous act. Supposedly, it seeks to heal and bring peace and restoration to the victim, the community and the convicted criminal.(Restorative justice) As social beings, the good that pardon seeks to achieve does not only benefit the individual who is pardoned and his family, but also benefits the entire community who had been harmed unjustly by the crime committed. It seeks therefore, the common good, as in this case, the good of the entire Filipino people, especially the impoverished farmers, fisherfolks, and the indigenous peoples. It would become unjust if this pardon was done simply to benefit President Gloria Arroyo and her predecessor, Joseph Estrada. Such a pardon, to be complete, must therefore become mutual. The forgiven reciprocates the magnanimous act of forgiveness. Then and only then; can reconciliation and peace begin to happen. Mutual forgiveness includes, first the offender’s taking responsibility and second, admitting humbly his actions, and third, recognizing the harm that have been caused and taking steps to repair the harm done. This is called making amends for wrongs committed. Only then can the common good be eventually served. Only then can all (administration, opposition, independents) move on together for the good of all. When this happens, the executive pardon would have been worth it all. We know that pardon, given and received, is a most difficult process because of the painful burden of past injustice, abuse and crime that impinge on the forgiving and the forgiven. Such a past is difficult to forgive and forget. Yet, forgiveness and reconciliation is the only path to peace, as the Church teaches. Such forgiveness is not only necessary, but also not impossible. With God nothing is impossible. While the main protagonists in this whole issue would seem to be only President Arroyo and Citizen Estrada, the Filipino people are also quite rightly the third protagonist. The betrayals of trust and misconduct by public officials ultimately harm the citizenry. Corruption, as the former Ombudsman, Simeon Marcelo asserts, is a crime against the poor who have been deprived long enough of their just share of the goods and services the government is obligated to render to the public. We, as Church, cannot but continue to denounce this injustice and form of violence. We also continue to call on everyone to a change of heart and mind; a call to a moral revolution. It is the plight of the impoverished poor that cries for a halt to the continuing politics of patronage by the aristocracy. Would the presidential pardon ultimately serve the interests of the poor? We all sincerely hope so. While we call the two main protagonists to restorative justice, this holds true also with all the other co-accused in the plunder case, who are still at large. This holds true also for all other public officials guilty of graft and corrupt practices, whether proven, convicted or not. May they all remember and do as Nicodemus of the Gospel (Luke 19:1-11), who recognized the truth, humbly repented and restored justice and love to all. Thus salvation came to his own house and to those he had wronged.

THE perception of marriage in its flesh and blood realities can be gleaned from cases submitted to a Church court for resolution. It is from these messy, if not unknown, elements of the contested matrimonial bond that the truth of marriage is ferreted out. Leafing through the acts and decisions of the Roman Rota the Holy Father, the late Pope John Paul II, discovered a tragic pattern in marriages submitted for resolution. He found out in rhythmic regularity that marriages which broke down are unions wherein the spouses have ruled out the religious dimension of marriage. I am wondering whether this discovery may also be true in other matrimonial courts. Along this vein Pope John Paul II in his address to the judges of the Roman Rota, highlighted the importance and the significance of the religious dimension of marriage and the family. He cited the phenomenon of many recent matrimonial cases and observed that there is a pattern. The pattern is the diminishing awareness of the spouses of the significance of the sacramentality of the Christian marriage. Spouses do not consider anymore the transcendence of Christian marriage, its intimate meaning, its intrinsic supernatural value, its positive effects on the conjugal life and family. He also observed that secularism has much to blame to this modern phenomena in Christian marriage. He said: “Today’s strongly secularized mentality tends to affirm the human values of the institution of the family while detaching them

from religious values and proclaiming them as fully independent of God. Influenced as it is by models of life that are too often presented by the mass media, today’s mentality asks, ‘Why must one spouse always be faithful to the other?’ A person of faith can easily answer that question; but a person who is cut off from that religious dimension of marriage is in a quandary. Caught in a crisis, this person of no faith “will even reformulate the preceding question in this way: why it is always necessary to love the other spouse even when so many apparently justifying reasons would lead one to leave?” Confronted with such a phenomenon, the Holy Father enjoined the audience to help the families to value the significance of the sacramentality of marriage in their own lives. He also urged them to always consider the religious dimension when dealing with sacramental marriage. He said: “The consideration of the sacramentality highlights the transcendence of your function, the bond that links it to the economy of salvation. The religious dimension should for this reason permeate all your work. From handling scientific studies on marriage to the daily activity of the administration of justice, there is no room in the Church for a vision of marriage that is merely immanent and profane, simply because such a vision is not true theologically and juridically” (op. cit., 6). Down the centuries the Church has maintained with insistence the ever-enduring doctrine of marriage and its sacramentality.

The breastfeeding Madonna
HAVE your ever heard of Our Lady of La Leche? Her feast is celebrated every year on October 11. She is the patroness of mother and mothers-to-be. Although in the past I had seen many pictures of Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus, it was only in the year 2000 that I was invited to join the Our lady of La Leche movement here in the Philippines because I was the coordinator of pro-life. I still remember the day that Remedios “Baby” Ticzon-Gonzales visited me in the convent and told me of her concerns on how to promote the devotion. She said that a rare antique statue of the Blessed Mother was bequeathed to her by an uncle, Ramon R.Ticzon, who passed away in 1999. In the beginning, she did not even know how to call this icon of the nursing Blessed Mother. No one was familiar with the image. Her daughter-in-law, Tere, who was pregnant at that time, was searching in the internet when she came across the La Leche League, a group promoting breastfeeding. The website included an article on the devotion to the breastfeeding Mary in one of the shrines in Florida. Further research informed her that there is such a devotion; in Spain as well. Through the years, I have been assisting the group in clarifying the direction of the movement, identifying the prayers and no-

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
Special thanks goes to Fr. Nick Blanquisco, who was her parish priest at the time she started the movement at Our lady of Fatima Parish in Mandaluyong City, for allowing the statue to be placed on one of the sidealtars in the church. When the group were deciding on what day to choose for the feast, putting it on the same day as that of Our Lady of Fatima would not have been wise since the parishioners would of course honor their primary devotion to Fatima. Christmas Day, the day that Mary would naturally have started breastfeeding her Baby, would not be good either as the holiday festivities would outshine our celebration. I then suggested October 11, which is traditionally the Feast of the Maternity or Motherhood of Mary. Official permission to promote the devotion was given by His Eminence Cardinal Sin, and later Cardinal Rosales, who also authorized the group to continue with the propagation of this devotion. At this time when our DOH and many probreastfeeding groups are intensely fighting the aggressive promotion of infant formula by multi-national pharmaceuticals, this devotion should be evermore promoted to educate the people on proper maternal and child care. For copies of the novena to Our lady of La Leche, you may contact me at 0920-945-5494 or the La Leche Movement at 531-3063.

venas to be distributed, and helping fund the reproduction of the statues that came in different sizes. Soon after, I was asked to be the spiritual director of the movement, joining them for recollections and for the annual celebration of the feast on October 11 held at the Harrison Plaza chapel, through the kindness of the owner, her cousin Belen TiczonMartel. Dozens of pregnant women would show up for the special blessing after the Mass and receive gift packs for their babies. I truly admire Baby Ticzon and her small group of about ten women as they zealously contact hospitals where they would regularly bring the five-foot statue of Our Lady to the maternity wards and pray with the newlydelivered women to bless them and their babies. They have also traveled to private homes, health centers, maternity clinics and homes for unwed mothers. They solicit or personally contribute in order to produce novena leaflets, stampitas, posters, calendars and statues. Together, they embarked on the task of spreading the devotion, particularly to pregnant and childless women. Numerous answered prayers by those who used the novena have been reported. I myself promote it in my radio and television programs and I have mailed a lot of the novenas to those who text or write to me, especially those longing to have a baby after so many years of childless marriage.

Nicolo F. Bernardo

Lifeguard Lessons from ghosts
PHILOSOPHY taught us, at least according to ultra-skeptic David Hume, to doubt reports of the supernatural. That empirical, ordinary probabilities are supposed to work as collective proof against any other possibility. Either the reporter is hallucinating or misinterpreting an experience, or there is some hoax at work. Doubt is one rational reaction we take whenever somebody reports of an otherworldly experience. It’s a safeguard against wild beliefs. But it can also be self-limiting when inspired not by a careful open attitude, but by an absolute presumption—a certainty, not doubt, that there is no other reality beyond the material. Here, the burden of proof falls not just on the believer of both the natural and supernatural reality, but on the believer of material-only reality as well. As everybody who has done a thesis knows, a methodology sets the scope and the limit of whatever results that may come from an observation. This should explain why a purely scientific methodology and perspective can never admit a supernatural reality (if it does, it’s not scientific!). When somebody asked me whether one can prove God by empirical science, I answered No—unless you turn God into a being of material science and therefore not God, or you redefine science in such a way that it accommodates the abstract and immaterial. (Thus, the atheist Bertrand Russell attempted to explain spirits as disembodied “conscious energy.” Scientists a century ago proposed a theory of either.) Any other reality cannot fit into the empirical picture not because the non-empirical can be proven untrue or true by the empirical. It cannot, because in the first place, we are talking of a reality with its own law, manifestation, and methodology. You cannot argue for or against a premise using a method that to begin with, prejudges the matter (or rather, the spirit) out of the question. Such is the folly of empiricism. Whichever cannot be quantified or qualified in the clinic is presumed false. I thought of these during All Souls’ devotion. Believers in supernatural realities often risk being dismissed as “superstitious.” What’s the basis for that? If you would look closely at the history of science, you would know that it followed theories and hypotheses here now gone tomorrow. A breakfast with philosopher Michel Foucault and Ripley’s Believe It or Not would be enough to undo overconfidence on dogmas of science. Its grand narratives are true until proven guilty and insufficient. (Has not Einstein debunked Newton yet?)
Lifeguard / A6

Jose B. Lugay

Laiko Lampstand
THE laity according to Lumen Gentium “could best serve the Church not in the parish but in the world” and that “all the baptized, clergy, religious and laity have the same mission of evangelization—the mission of Jesus Christ; his priestly, prophetic and kingly function. This was our introduction to the module on the Role of the Laity during the retreat of the members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and the Technical Working Group of the Social Security System (SSS). It is Spirit-led, this request for a recollection/ retreat from a government institution without any prodding from us. We received the letter from Assistant Vice-President Santiago D.R. Agdeppa, Assistant Vice-President, concurred by Senior Vice-President and BAC Chairman, Miguel E. Roca, Jr. dated August 17, 2007 addressed to me as the BAC Observer of the Social Security System. It states, “This is to respectfully inquire from your office whether the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines has a program which we, the members of the Social Security System Bids and Awards Committee (SSS BAC) and its support staff, can take on to apprise ourselves on the latest observations and recommendations about bidding in government in general and SSS in particular coupled with a spiritual recollection /retreat.” We had a ready training module for Volunteer Observers for the Bidding Process according to R.A. 9184 which we conducted last September, 2006 jointly with the Bishop Businessmen’s Conference. We offered the same to Archbishop Paciano Aniceto for training lay leaders of San Fernando Pampanga to help Governor Ed Panlilio in his drive for good governance. While waiting for this proposal to materialize, the SSS BAC surprised us with this request. The training module has to be specific to their needs. It should touch on relevant tech-

Recollection/Retreat for the SSS Bids and Awards Committee
tion. On Sincerity in Fighting Corruption Survey, the ratings from Very Good to Moderate was as follows: 1) Local Church Leaders : +71, 2) Supreme Court: +40, 3) SSS: +38, 4) DOH: +26. The small group headed by Dr. Bella Dumas, designed the modules which started with a Reflection and Prayer relevant to the selected topic. The spiritual aspect of the 2day session was provided by the talk of Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes on “The Moral Responsibility of Public Servants, the mass and homily of Rev. Fr. Ric Dumas, SVD and his homily on the gospel of the day Luke 12:13 – 21, the parable of the rich man and his bountiful harvest—a most appropriate topic for people who are motivated to get rich through corruption. The values alignment portion of the session was provided by the talk of Atty. Mia Zafra on Stewardship, and the 2 sessions of Dr. Bella Dumas on Towards Building a Culture of Discipleship and Servant Leadership. The technical aspects of the session were provided by the sharing of experiences by our BAC observers, Ed Tirona, Ric Rivera and Pepe Lugay. The session given by the Resident Ombudsman of DOH, Atty. Hilario Favila provided the process for monitoring and filing of complaints by the BAC Observers on irregularities committed during the bidding process. It is in the question and answer period and the sharing of the SSS Vice Chairman of the reports of the Observers to SSS that this mindset was reached—it is best to prevent corruption through moral formation than “to catch the thief”. We congratulate SSS Top Management for supporting the moral formation of the members of the Bids and Awards Committee, the Technical Working Group and supporting staff. May your tribe increase!

nical questions concerning the bidding process while at the same time touch on the moral aspect of their decision making – a new challenge indeed since this touches on values and culture of the persons operating in a government bureaucracy with its own culture and values. With the approval of our National Director, Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, LAIKO’s Advocacy for Good Governance Committee, a small group consisting of Atty. Mia Zafra, Dr. Bella Dumas, Mr. Ed Tirona, Mr. Ric Rivera and Mr. Joseph Jesalva designed the module. It was a challenge since this will be the first of its kind and its success will be vital to the social transformation objective of LAIKO. This came at a time when the headlines were blazing with corruption issues—the NBN-ZTE bribery exposed by the son of Speaker Jose de Venecia who implicated the First Gentleman and Comelec Commissioner Bienvenido Abalos. Corroborated by the testimony of NEDA Commisioner Romulo Neri, the Comelec Commissioner decided to resign. Then came another scandal implicating the President which was openly denounced by three Bishops followed by CBCP’s condemnation—the distribution in Malacañang of cash money in envelopes (P500,000) to Gov. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga and Gov. Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan, and others. Our Advocacy Group’s drive for social transformation has found a starting point— the good people in government willing to start the reform. The Social Security System’s President, Corazon de la Paz., lost no time in approving the budget for the planned retreat that was eventually held at the CBCP–NASSA BEC Retreat House in Tagaytay. This is no surprise since SSS has been rated favorably in the 2006 Survey of Enterprises on Corrup-


Local News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

Bishops refuse to Justice system must lead probe in address existing problems corruption cases
THE country’s justice system needs to address existing problems that contribute to the increase in inmates in various detention and penal facilities. This was the gist of CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care Chairman and Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro D. Arigo’s views as the Catholic Church celebrates “Prison Awareness Week.” Bishop Arigo said the current situation “seems to be conducive to the commission of crime” despite police reports that the country’s crime volume has been significantly reduced over the past few months.
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He said corruption has resulted in poverty which fanned an increase in criminal incidents. Bishop Arigo welcomes moves to construct new and bigger facilities to house detention prisoners serving shorter sentences. “Congestion is one of the more serious problems faced by prisoners and people who run them,” the prelate said. He called on government officials to revisit and review the country’s existing rehabilitation programs and correctional strategies “because by the looks of it, instead of having offenders turn in a new leaf, they seem
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to have been condemned for good.” “The Holy Father is aware of the needs of our prisoners as he called on everyone to find timely and relevant alternatives to help convicts begin new lives,” Bishop Arigo further said. Citing earlier studies, Bishop Arigo said a lot of the country’s convicts are still in jail because of poverty. “Only a few of them may be considered threats to society,” the prelate observed. He said people should be aware of the sad realities of the country’s justice system for them to help restore people’s lives. (Melo Acuña)

Pope Benedict XVI officially named Archbishop Adams, 63, as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines last September 3. He had been serving as apostolic nuncio to Zimbabwe. The papal envoy, in his first letter to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) after his appointment, said he is glad to be serving for the Catholic Church in the Philippines. “As I prepare to come to the Philippines my only wish is that I may be of service to the Church, as I seek to represent worthily among you our Holy Father, whose ministry is essentially one of love,” he told the Filipino bishops. Born in Philadelphia, USA on August 24, 1944, Archbishop Adams was ordained priest in May 1970. He has a Doctorate in Canon Law. He entered into the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1976 and served successively in the following countries: Rwanda,
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Secretariat of State—Vatican City, Kenya, Honduras, Ireland, Denmark and Czech Republic. The Pope 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. Besides English, the 63-year old American prelate also speaks fluently Italian, French and Spanish. Archbishop Adams 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. (Roy Lagarde)
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The Palace on November 1 ruled the appointment of Macarambon as the new Comelec commissioner. It said the decision was above board and went “through the process.” But PPCRV national chairperson Henrietta De Villa opposed the procedure of Macarambon’s appointment. She said Macarambon was not even in the list of nominees reportedly submitted by Malacañang to the poll body. “The appointing power is still with the president but a wide consultation is also necessary,” De Villa said in an interview over Radyo Veritas. The PPCRV has been calling on the government to use a selection process similar to the Judicial and Bar Council of the Philippines, which suggests appointees for vacancies at the Supreme Court. “This would guarantee transparency of choosing appointees to the Comelec,” De Villa added. (Roy Lagarde)

There are currently two seats in the Comelec that are vacant including that of resigned chairman Benjamin Abalos while the post of the seventh commissioner is yet to be filled up. Two election commissioners, Resurreccion Borra and Florentino Tuason, Jr., are set to retire in February next year. Archbishop Lagdameo is urging the government for a transparent procedure in appointing new poll officials. He said a “wide consultation” is necessary to restore the credibility of the Comelec. A church-backed poll watchdog earlier called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint “women and men of untarnished integrity and proven record of competence” to the Comelec. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said they will be promulgating their own nominees and elevate them to President Arroyo for consideration. (CBCPNews)

ROMAN Catholic bishops rejected a request to lead a probe into the alleged cases of corruption under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said conducting inquiries, which is not the competence of the Church, falls under the direct duty of officials in the government. Jumoad is among the 18 prelates of Mindanao who met National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales during the regional pastoral assembly on October 22 in Surigao City. It was learned that Gonzales urged the bishops to take the lead in the investigation into serious accusations of graft and corruption in the government. Rep. Roilo Golez also called on the bishops to spearhead a probe on the alleged ‘cash gifts’ by Malacañang to congressmen and local executives which many have described as a form of bribery in the wake of impeachment complaint against Pres. Arroyo. The Palace denied the accusation

and made a directive ordering the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) to investigate the alleged bribery. Golez, however, expressed apprehension with the move, saying it was insufficient since the PAGC “cannot come with a credible probe.” Bishop Jumoad also challenged the PAGC to be transparent and immediately made public the result of their investigation. The Mindanao bishops earlier issued a pastoral statement calling for a “through and impartial investigation” into suspected corruption and bribery scandal. They also expressed support to the growing clamor for “moral integrity and fiscal transparency” from the country’s leaders. Among the 18 bishops were Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Ozamis Archbishop Jesus Dosado, Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles, Tandag, Bishop Nereo Odchimar and Surigao Bishop Antonieto Cabajog. (Melo Acuña)

Bishops urged to lead probe on Makati blast
A MILITANT group asked the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to lead an independent probe into the explosion in a Makati mall. The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said it is high time a credible body should work on Glorietta blast that killed 11 people and harmed hundred others. “It is time a well-respected group composed of real truth seekers and advocates should be given chance to work on Glorietta blast,” the group said. The government on Tuesday said an independent investigating body should undertake a probe rather than entrust it to the military and police authorities. Aside from the CBCP, the fisherfolk alliance said the investigation should be done hand in hand with the Supreme Court (SC) and its former justices. They said political analysts, human rights advocates, forensic experts, known scientists, independent lawmakers, lawyers and paralegal groups and objective groups capable of ferreting out the truth about the October 19 tragedy. Pamalakaya head Fernando Hicap said SC chief justice Reynato
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“The pardoned president could not be more privileged, considering the many prisoners with lesser crimes of plunder and injustice who are rotting in jail only because they have no influence with the government and justice system,” he said. “The pardoning president has spoken; the case ends there. But where is “restorative justice?” Lagdameo further asked. The CBCP head sought for fair treatment of prisoners worthy of the same clemency “for the sake of their poor families.” “A president pardoning a convicted president may have bigger implications than meet our eyes now. And so reflection must continue, but this time with civil society. May it bear the desired fruit of unity and reconciliation,” he said. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz and Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, meanwhile, saw Estrada’s pardon by the Malacañang as a political ploy. Cruz, a former CBCP president, said the matter has become a political issue for political expediency so that beleaguered Arroyo administration could hold on to power. Iñiguez, for his part, said something is fishy behind the granting of pardon to Estrada. “The way we know the government … if you give something, you will receive something in return,” he said. “I don’t have any problem with the pardon, but there are higher values with this case.” (CBCPNews)
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Bishops Julio Labayen (from right), Deogracias Iñiguez and Antonio Tobias revived their call in a press conference last October 19 for Arroyo’s resignation following the bribery scandal hounding her administration.

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Puno and CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo could lead the probe to “galvanize the public support” to the independent body. “The high tribunal chief justice and Archbishop Lagdameo are perceived by the Filipino public as credible, objective and logical thinkers and they are politically and morally fit to lead the probe,” he said. The group said there are people like Senator Antonio Trillanes who want to disclose their knowledge about the blast incident but they don’t want to issue statement to police and military authorities. The detained senator said he would tell everything he knows about the alleged Malacañang involvement in the blast only to an independent commission. “To accommodate them, an independent and well trusted group is a must,” said Hicap. The bishops have already offered prayers and condolences to the victims of the deadly explosion. Lagdameo called on the faithful to also pray for the solution of the many crises facing the country today. “(The) explosion diverts our concentration and adds up to our common national problems that are crying for satisfactory solution,” he said. (CBCPNews) punishable sin of excommunication has been committed, “then he could just declare it according to law.” Cruz revealed that the direct violation of the sacramental seal of confession by a confessor is one of the common grounds why some priests get punished. He also said that an order from the pope, Benedict XVI, to cease the penalty is the only way for the beleaguered clergyman to return to his priestly duties. “It requires the Holy Father to lift an excommunication,” he said. “It is quite serious.” His own bishop earlier tagged Galias as the priest behind a scam allegedly being operated by a group posing as a religious congregation in Bicol region. Bastes said the “Sons/Sisters of Mary, Adorers of the Holy Eucharist (SMAHE),” founded by Galias, has no authority to recruit or solicit. “Being not a religious superior, he is forbidden to recruit for vocations, men and women, as well as to solicit funds for his group,” he said. The prelate said Galias’ group is neither a religious institute or congregation, nor a public association with canonical rights. “Hence, it does not possess a juridical personality according to Canon Law,” he said. (CBCPNews) Finally, as we revisit the call to restorative justice, perhaps, we do well to remember one thing that the Lord Jesus taught us about forgiveness. When the woman caught in adultery (Jn. 8:1-11) was pardoned by the Lord Jesus, he concluded by saying, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” There is so much more good works to be done. Finger-pointing would simply distract us from that which matter most. (E-mail add: daditama_now@yahoo.com.ph)

group convenors were among those who took the brunt of enforced disappearances and summary killings. Bishop Vergara said village residents have remained vigilant as they await investigation results. “There would be no closure to the violent incidents unless investigation results are made and appropriate charges are filed in the interest of truth and justice,” the prelate said. Then Calbayog Bishop and now Palo (Leyte) Archbishop Jose S. Palma reported almost similar incidents in Samar when then Major General Jovito Palparan was assigned commanding general of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division in Catbalogan, Samar. It will be recalled General Palparan was relieved of his assignment in Eastern Visayas at the behest of lawmakers Catalino V. Figueroa and Reynaldo S. Uy but was appointed Commanding General of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division in Laur, Nueva Ecija. Much earlier, General Palparan was called “Butcher of Mindoro” by cause-oriented groups for his “ruthless” campaign against communist rebels. (Melo Acuña)

“It is time for the sovereign Filipino people whom she has betrayed to now speak up as one voice and resoundingly ask her to step down,” the statement read. They said Pres. Arroyo must be held liable to the people adding, “Her acts, or omissions, of bribery, graft and corrupt practices (are) punishable by law.” Standing as advisers to the multi-sectoral group Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME), the three bishops said they would launch a mass movement to urge Pres. Arroyo to quit her post. The government has been beset by the controversy on the alLifeguard / A5

leged distribution of hefty “cash gifts” to congressmen and local public officials after their meeting with Pres. Arroyo in Malacañang. Only recently, the President has also been harshly criticized over its alleged involvement on the supposed bribery-laden and overpriced national broadband network deal with China’s ZTE Corp. The bishops said they are appalled that Pres. Arroyo and her allies think that they can ‘fool’ people all the time and then just get away with it. “You (Arroyo) can fool some people all the time: You can fool some people some of the time but

you cannot fool all the people all the time,” the bishops said in their statement. “If a regime is morally bankrupt, has propensity for falsehoods and repeatedly lies with impunity, there is no other alternative for the people but to demand that the leader, the chief executive, commander in chief, the president, steps down and resigns,” it said. The prelates also called on the people to join the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in its call for transparency and honesty in the government, saying there had been an “unscrupulous use of money.” (CBCPNews)

Yet because scientific terms are couched in very technical language, they look intelligent and infallible. Infallible because not too many understand them and can debunk them. But everyone knows that scientific claims may be helpful but are insufficient to explain all human phenomena, not even the most important thing we value: love. Another is this universal human experience that seems to point to an other-worldly life, of another reality: encounter with spirits of the dead. The experience could be sensible: you might see, hear, feel, or smell. Yet what you perceive could not be purely empirical when it does not observe empirical law, when it questions empirical methodology. To see is to believe? There you have it! But science and technology cannot explain it. There are attempts to explain it out, but are the explanations sufficient and final? Or according to rules of science, demon-

strable? As it goes, extra-sensory phenomena seem to follow a methodology, an explanation, beyond matter. Why cannot we be open to that? Theology, exorcism, prayers for the dead, religious rites, these are some of the “methodologies” that try to explain “ghost or supernatural phenomena.” An explanation is a better explanation if it could better establish or describe phenomenal patterns with constancy or system. And it appears that empirical science cannot hit the right formula for unwanted ghosts and the paranormal. It follows. Anything in denial of something cannot, would not. Mea culpa if I am making philosophical/theological lapses here or I sound like Jaime Licauco. I am pushing the issue as a lead for religious experts to tackle the supernatural, with the diarrhea of ghosts tales during Halloween. Are these true or not? What do these tell about life

hereafter? About hell, purgatory, heaven? What do we know about these? What do human experiences tell? Because many Catholics dismiss the issue, they loss the chance to catechize, to discourse, to give lessons of faith. Those who report having paranormal, extra-sensory experiences instead turn to “psychics” or to ghost busters of all sorts. Or again, to science overtures limited by its very method. Yet the Scriptures are full of stories of apparitions of spirits. Moses and Elijah, for example, during Jesus’ Transfiguration. “I was once like you, you will be like me.” It’s a Roman proverb that I think cuts short whatever message the presence of corpses and souls bring. It makes us face the reality of our own death, and the possibility of life in the hereafter. Once every year, we the living, reflect on what sooner or later, we shall, after all, all be.

fice accusing the priest of violating the “seal of confession” which spurred him to immediately call for an investigation. “We found out that he really violated such rule and thus incurred an automatic excommunication,” Bastes told CBCP News. As a result, the priest is now barred from administering any sacrament and from holding positions within the Church. Bastes sent copies of his decree to other dioceses in the country. Galias’ punishment is the most serious ecclesiastical penalty that could be levied against ministers of the Church. Excommunication of priests is never a merely “vindictive penalty”, but is always a “medicinal penalty” intended for them to correct their misbehaviors. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Judicial Vicar of CBCP’s Dispensation Section, said excommunication can be incurred either “ferendae sententiae” (imposed as the sentence of an ecclesiastical court) or “latae sententiae” (incurred at the moment the offensive act takes place). “The moment you broke the seal of confession then you are penalized by the law itself,” Cruz said. If the bishop, he said, is convinced that he has all the evidence that a

I sincerely hope that citizen Estrada and company will be able to rise to the occasion of nation building where all parties become part of the solution rather than part of the many socio-cultural-economic ills besetting our nation. And for those entrusted with the administration of government, from the President down to the Barangay kagawad, may they all render genuine public service to all especially the least and the last in their communities.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

Focus on 8 key platform points

Cardinal Tauran: No need to create “United Nations” of religions
makes no sense. “Now there are just as many possibilities as there are creeds for achieving peace,” the cardinal stated. “Personally, my first reaction is not one of enthusiasm,” he said about proposal launched by a group of participants at the Ecumenical Meeting for Peace which ended this week in Naples. “On the one hand we have diplomacy, with its techniques, and on the other, religions with prayer. Prayer is the language of religion, and therefore, before thinking about a great UN of the religions, men of religion must instruct their faithful in the prayer for peace and their young people to listen to others and to their convictions,” Cardinal Tauran explained. He stressed that there is “always a need for dialogue and talking,” but each conversation must take place in its own context and form. (CNA)

Australian bishops offer election guidelines
deeply disturbing” and also mentioned that “respect for human life also requires constant vigilance to ensure that euthanasia and assisted suicide are never legalized in Australia.” “The deepest questions are raised by the creation and deliberate destruction of human embryos for stem cell research. The Catholic Church is not opposed to stem cell research. On the contrary, we strongly support research based on adult stem cells, as well as those that are derived from umbilical cord blood. The Church supports ethical stem cell research through its research institutes, healthcare services, teaching hospitals and health professionals,” they added.

flecting accurately contributions from the Commonwealth, states, and parent and private contributions. There should be no barrier to education because of an incapacity to pay.” Similarly, the bishops insisted that every person has a right to health care. “Significant reform is needed to ensure that households maintain their capacity to obtain basic health care. Without such reform, involving both the Commonwealth and states, Medicare will not be able to keep pace with the steady increase in user charges and fees.”

Archbishop Philip Wilson, ACBC President

Protecting water
The bishops made reference to the drought that continues to plague Australia and called for government policies to safeguard water supplies. Regarding immigrants and refugees, the bishops said, “We believe that all asylum seekers, regardless of how they arrive in Australia, should have their claim processed in Australia, according to international convention. Claims should be processed as speedily as possible, ensuring that people do not spend long periods in detention. People who are found to be refugees should receive permanent visas which allow them to access government services and employment, giving them the security they need to build a new life in Australia.” Finally, the Australian prelates urged world peace, saying “it is not God’s way to oppose violence with greater violence. […] We support efforts to build a culture of peace by promoting overseas aid policies which provide access to proper nourishment, health, housing and education.” (Zenit)

MELBOURNE, Australia, October 26, 2007— The bishops of Australia are encouraging citizens to head to the ballot box and “apply the test of the common good” above their own individual interests. The prelates urge Catholics “to take their democratic freedoms seriously and become involved in the political process,” as the nation prepares for elections to the federal Parliament on Nov. 24. The Australian bishops’ statement, released last week, called attention to eight key areas for voters to consider: life, family, indigenous peoples, education, health, environment, immigration and refugees, and peace. “Respect for life and the fostering of the inherent dignity of the person underpin what it is to be human,” they wrote. “All human life is to be respected, particularly the most vulnerable, including the unborn, the sick and elderly, people with disability, and communities ravaged by poverty, abuse, famine or war.” The bishops said they welcome “the growing consensus that the level of abortion is

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran

Reducing pressure
Noting the rights of the family, the bishops wrote, “At a time when family life is subject to unprecedented pressure, families must be supported in every possible way. There must be legal recognition of the unique nature of marriage between a man and a woman, and proper protection for the rights of children. Tax arrangements and social service support nets should be aimed at strengthening families and reducing the pressures on them.” The bishops said indigenous peoples should be adequately represented in the process of government, “so that Australia’s first peoples may be heard and their hopes and aspirations pursued as a national priority.” Noting the role of the Church in educating Australians, the bishops said, “Funding models must be fair, open and transparent, re-

ROME, October 26, 2007—The president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, said during an interview with Vatican Radio that the proposed creation of a “United Nations of religions” to promote dialogue for peace

Talibans attack Catholic schools in Swat Valley

Muslim group attends Catholic Mass in Malaysian “breakthrough”
KUCHING, Malaysia, October 26, 2007—A Muslim group’s recent visit to a Catholic Church in Malaysia is being called a breakthrough in grassroots interreligious dialogue. On October 14, ten Muslims sat in the pews at Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Kuching. Several Church sources told UCA News they were sure this had not happened in the history of the Archdiocese of Kuching and had not heard of it happening anywhere else in Malaysia either. Malaysia is a majority-Muslim country. Out of a population of 26 million people, 60 percent are Muslim, 19 percent are Buddhist, 9 percent are Christians and 6 percent are Hindu. Christians and Muslims commonly believe that Muslims are forbidden even to enter a church. Led by Shah Kirit Kakakul Govindji of the Islamic Information and Services Foundation, the Muslim visitors initiated the visit themselves. Shah Kirit explained that the purpose of the visit was to discover similarities and common traditions shared by Muslims and Christians, and to respectfully “agree to disagree” on differences. Archbishop John Ha Tiong Hock of Kuching supported the visit. After Mass the parish priest invited the visitors and the parish council to breakfast and a session of interreligious dialogue. The Muslim visitors asked about the various denominations of Christianity, training for the Catholic priesthood, the Church’s ministries and apostolic work, and Christ’s Second Coming. One parish council member said the meeting created “a sense of amazement.” At the request of the parish, Shah Kirit promised to send them English-language copies of the Qu’ran. The two groups have discussed a reciprocal visit by Catholics to a mosque. (CNA)

Abducted Iraqi priests freed, details about release still vague
dom the day after the kidnapping, responded to the news of the priests’ release by saying he was “extremely happy on hearing the news” and that he had followed “the recent events closely and with great concern.” The pontiff expressed his hope that their release would be “a sign of peace that we hope is possible to develop” as “events of this kind must not happen again,” Vatican Radio reported. The freed priests have returned to their church in Mosul. Father Affas, a native of Mosul, has been a priest there for forty years. Iraq’s Christians, most of whom are Catholics of the Chaldean Rite, number about one million. Unlike larger groups, they lack a militia of their own to provide security. Islamists and criminal gangs have targeted Christians for killing and kidnapping. They are also bombing some churches and confiscating homes. Many Chaldeans are leaving the country, and their population is believed to have shrunk to half its previous number. (CNA)

Jewish religious extremists suspected in church arson in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Israel, October 25, 2007—Israeli police has not yet identified those responsible of a blaze at the Baptist Church on Rehov Narkiss (Narkiss Street) in Jerusalem, but the Israeli press is unanimously pointing the finger at Jewish extremist religious circles. “We don’t suspect anyone specific but they were extremists for sure,” said Charles Kopp, a pastor at the church. “Every society has its fanatics and there is no lack of fanatics here in the Middle East,” he added. The fire, which was set October 23, did not hurt anyone, but it did damage the building. The sanctuary had opened in 1993 after the older wooden chapel was burnt down in 1982. The arsonists broke into the church building, located in the upscale Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia, just before 11 pm, setting it afire in three different places with flammable materials, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said Despite fire fighters’ quick action, made possible by Jewish neighbors who called the fire department—a fact highlighted by the Israeli press—the floor was severely charred, windows were broken, about 40 chairs were burned, and everything was blackened by smoke. The church is used by four separate congregations, including two for Messianic Jews, with services offered in English, Hebrew, and Russian. Some of the Russian speakers attending the services for Messianic Jews had been previously threatened, writes the Jerusalem Post. Messianic Jews consider themselves Jewish but believe also in Jesus. The church is located in Rehavia, a leafy upscale Jerusalem neighborhood. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents of a nearby area have in recent years begun moving into the area and trying to impose their way of life. In response to the attack, the Israeli office of the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate crimes, condemned the attack and called for tolerance. “The ADL strongly condemned this arson and apparent hate crime,” the New-York based organization said. “We urged authorities to do everything in their power to protect all religious sites and see that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice.” (AsiaNews)

Fathers Pius Affas and Mazen Ishoa

MOSUL, Iraq, October 22, 2007— Two Catholic priests kidnapped more than a week ago in Mosul have been released and are in good health, the Agence FrancePresse reports. Fathers Pius Affas and Mazen Ishoa were kidnapped last Saturday after receiving threats from an unknown group. They were reportedly held for a ransom of one million U.S. dollars, but it is unknown at present whether one was paid. According to the Rome-based missionary agency Middle East Concern, Syro-Catholic Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa was in charge of negotiating the release of the priests. Pope Benedict XVI, who had appealed for the priests’ free-

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, October 23, 2007—The process of talibanisation of Pakistan continues despite formal pledges by the central government and local authorities. Islamic extremism has in fact reached the Swat Valley, once known as the Switzerland of the Orient, this according to a report by Minorities Concern of Pakistan , a local organization which monitors the situation of minorities and violations of the human rights of the population. One of the cases cited in the report involves a Catholic-run public high school in Sangota, in the Swat Valley. In a recent letter, a group calling itself Janisarani-Islam (Sacrifices of Islam) attacked the school administration for allegedly “forcibly converting students” and “encouraging un-Islamic behavior.” The fundamentalist group calls for the firing of all Christians employed by the school and their replacement with fervent Muslims. It also threatens suicide bombers “if its orders are not followed.” Instead of finding out what the school had to say, the local government agreed with the letter, and issued an order that all female students cover their heads in the school to preserve local Islamic morality from conversion and atheism. Extremists enthusiastically welcomed the order, citing the case of the three young Christian

women in Indonesia who were decapitated for not wearing the veil. Worried by the turn of events, many parents pulled their daughters from the school, which was forced to shut down till next week when local authorities will send security agents to enforce security. However, only half of all nonMuslim students are planning to come back. Many are actually thinking about leaving the country to avoid further violence. What is happening does not worry the Christian minority alone. In the Swat Valley, a region much loved by Pakistanis and one of the country’s richest areas, greater Islamist pressures show that the government has failed to stem the flow of Talibans from neighboring Afghanistan. In an editorial article, the Daily Time says that the “government seems unable to control the militant groups, who have been controlling the different areas in the province and making people’s lives miserable,” opposed to everything that makes Pakistan a modern country. On September 26 various Christian and Muslim non-governmental organizations operating in the country demonstrated in Islamabad against the rising tide of violence. They warned the government that if Islamic extremism is not stopped, humanitarian aid of any kind will dry up. (Qaiser Felix / AsiaNews)

Abortionist ordered to release records of woman’s death
HYANNIS, MA, October 25, 2007— The mother of a woman who died during an abortion has secured a court order requiring an abortionist to release her daughter’s medical records. Eileen Smith’s daughter Laura Hope Smith died during an abortion procedure at the Hyannis, Massachusetts office of abortionist Rapin Osathanondh on September 13, 2007. Mrs. Smith had met with Osathanondh ten days after her daughter’s death. He required her to meet him alone in a public place, refusing to allow her husband to accompany her. The doctor showed Mrs. Smith Laura’s medical records, but did not allow her to copy them. Upset by what she saw in those records, Mrs. Smith decided to take legal action to secure access to them. “Although they are not in our hands yet, but should be soon. Let’s hope they are the same records that I saw the first time,” Smith told Operation Rescue. She is also seeking copies of her daughter’s death certificate and autopsy report. “The Smith family needs to know the truth about what happened to their daughter inside that abortionist’s office so they can eventually find closure and healing. A cover-up is the worst thing that could happen for this family and the community. If Osathanondh is responsible for Laura’s death on that abortion table, then he needs to be brought to justice so that other women don’t suffer her fate,” said Operation Rescue Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger. (CAN)


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People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

PBS to convene 1 Bo Sanchez Philippine Bible Forum leads Kerygma
by Prof. Takamitsu Muraoka, professor emeritus of Hebrew Language and Literature of Leiden University, the Netherlands; Ambassador Henrietta de Villa, National Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV); social anthropologist Dr. Melba Maggay, and Dr. Agustin B. Vencer, Jr, vice-president of DAWN Ministries. The meeting shall include sessions where invited speakers will discuss various practical topics in relation to the bible and how it influenced our lives. Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano will present a paper on the topic A Stranger No More: Leaving Home with the Book of Ruth; Pastor Philip Flores, on God’s Message, not just Good Message: The Pastor and his Bible, Fr. Francis Lucas, on And the Word was made Flesh: Communication and Spirituality; Pastor Eric Maliwat, on Bible, Heart Language, and the Media, and Fr. Luke Moortgat on Kerygma: Bringing the Good News to the Houses, Slums, and Streets. Likewise, noted biblical scholars and theologians will present and discuss their papers in the forum. Methodist Bishop Daniel Arichea, Jr. will speak on Revisiting Gospel and Culture and their Relevance for Faithful interpretation of the Scriptures; Dr. Jose M. de Mesa on “Hamartia and Pandaraya”: A Contextual Co-Relation; Dr. Jonathan Exiomo, on Some Implications of Post Modernity to a Dichotomic Worldview of “Interpretation and Application” in Biblical Studies; and Fr. Gerardo Tapiador, SSL, In the Light of the Risen Lord: A Biblical Theology on Cremation. Other speakers will come from the academe: Dr. Madeline Vega of the Asian Theological Seminary and Dr. Rebecca Cacho of St. Scholastica’s College Department of Theology. The upcoming forum aims to put the Bible at the center, and to highlight its relevance in the life of modern-day Filipinos. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

BO SANCHEZ, founder of Kerygma magazine, the country’s leading Catholic inspirational magazine, leads the Kerygma Conference, a gathering of God’s faithful from all over the country, to be held at the ULTRA in Pasig City, November 23, 24 and 25. Centering on the theme You Have the Power : Be Nourished. Empowered. Unleashed, Kerygma Conference addresses persons who suffer hunger, weakness, and imprisonment of the spirit even in the midst or perhaps because of the raging technology revolution. Because everything’s moving on high speed these days, at the end of the day, we end up victims of the curse of our time: burnout! The first talk in the Kerygma Conference, to be given by Sanchez, addresses this issue. It’s titled Don’t Burn Out—Burn Up! We tend to burn out because we are running the race to secure a good future for our family. The second talk, titled Are You Fighting for Your Family’s Future? gives useful answers to this question that nags the mind of the modern man.

THE Philippine Bible Society (PBS) will hold a first ever Bible forum in the country on November 19-20 at the PBS Ministry Center, UN Avenue,

Manila centered on the theme, “The Bible in the 21st Century Philippine Context”. Plenary speakers in the forum is led

Pro-Life to hold youth concert
WITH the end in view of recruiting young pro-life advocates, the Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, Inc. will host a four-hour concert on Nov. 23, featuring the country’s hottest bands like Callalily, Imago, Stone Free, Fuse, Square Box, Butterfinger, Trendstone and Lease, to promote membership to its youth arm: the Pro-Life Youth. Themed “Rock for Life,” the concert was adopted from an American prolife organization that caters to youth through music as it promotes awareness on pressing pro-life issues. To be held at the St. Paul University in Quezon City, the concert expects about 2,000 audiences mostly from Catholic schools and colleges. According to Jonnel Sesalim, since concerts are appealing to the youth, the Youth for Life sponsored one to gather them in a venue for socialization and for promotion of its advocacies as well. He said video footages of what its like to be a pro-life youth volunteer will be featured in between performances of the bands. Through this, he said the organization hopes to recruit volunteers from the audience that will undergo training under the mother organization. “The Youth for Life training aims to create awareness on the youth about pro-life issues to decrease incidence of premarital sex, unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, among others,” Sesalim said. He added that no requirement is asked for the volunteers-to-be except for their availability and willingness to participate in the activities and advocacy campaigns of the organization. “We hope to train and mold young pro-lifers in the hope that they may continue spreading the advocacies of Pro-Life Philippines. By promoting awareness on pro-life issues and concerns, we are helping create a new breed of youth—responsible and Godfearing,” he said. For more information and ticket reservation please contact 433-6368 and 421-7147 or please text Abner Manuba @ 09218191974. Ticket price is set at P150. (Kris Bayos)

High technology means higher standards and since they are not easy to reach, not a few are bound to feel crushed amid the trials of our times. The third talk, to be delivered on the second day of the conference, is for the many who feel they are at that time When God Is Sleeping in the Storm. And, for those who feel defeated, the fourth talk assures that You’re More Gifted Than You Can Ever Imagine. The fifth talk teaches that The Key to All Success Is Attitude and talk six is helpful as it is about how to Change Your Habit and Change Your Life. The third and last day of the conference focuses on how to Increase Your Miracles and then finally, Expand Your Borders. For details, call 725-9999 or log on to www.kerygmaconference.com.

AWARDED. FR. DOMINADOR GUZMAN, JR., SSP, as Emerging Author by Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA), October 25, 2007; during the 29th CMMA awarding ceremonies held at the Marie Eugenie Theater of the Assumption College, Makati City. Fr. Guzman, a member of the Society of St. Paul (the first of the ten religious and secular Institutes founded by Blessed James Alberione), won the Jaime Cardinal Sin 2007 Catholic Book Awards given by the Asian Catholic Communicators, Inc. for his book, “New Every Morning, New Everyday,” a volume of lectionary-based daily homilies. The award is given in recognition for first-time authors. Fr. Guzman is currently the Creative Director of ST PAULS Publishing. CELEBRATED. CARIT AS MANILA, 54 th anniversary of foundation, October 27, 2007. Founded in 1953 as Catholic Charities by the first Filipino Cardinal, His Eminence Rufino Cardinal Santos, Caritas Manila (CM) has since evolved into a leading social services and development organization of the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines. The week-long founding anniversary celebration included painting contests among CM scholars, exhibit and awarding; forum on alternative health; mega job fair; and commissioning celebration of 5,000 strong CM volunteers as culminating activity. CM also launched it s official tie-in with online job site, JobsDB.com. The partnership is aimed to supply parishes with computer and internet access and online link with hiring companies through JobsDB; and with people looking for jobs. The current Chairman of Caritas Manila, His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales provides guidance as CM endeavors to upscale its programs and services, aimed to uplift the lives of its beneficiaries. To date, CM scholars has increased to 6,000; Caritas charity clinics doubled from 13 to 26; and volunteers have grown strong from 3,000 to 5,000. CELEBRATED. DAUGHTERS OF ST. PAUL, 40th anniversary of foundation of local community of Baguio City, October 28, 2007. The anniversary celebration echoed with faith and gratitude the words of St. Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Ephesians, which their Founder, Blessed James Alberione, in praising God also proclaimed: “How infinitely rich is God’s grace to us!” Precious indeed like ruby were the mission experiences of the sisters beginning with their pioneers who sowed the seeds of Pauline mission in the diocese and neighboring dioceses of Northern Luzon. The community highlighted with gratitude the indispensable collaboration of various people—the bishops, priests, religious and laity, who welcomed them and helped their mission take root and grow through the years. The occasion was highlighted with a Eucharistic Celebration held at the Daughters of St. Paul Convent, with Most Rev. Carlito Cenzon, CICM, DD, as the main celebrant together with Fr. Benedict Castaòeda and Fr. Gideon Antolin Lagrimas, OAR. In his homily, Bishop Cenzon gave emphasis on the challenges and importance of media apostolate and was gratefu l for the presence of the sisters in the diocese. DEDICATED. ST. PAUL SEMINARY CHAPEL of St. Paul Seminary Foundation, Lalaan 1, Silang, Cavite; November 4, 2007. St. Paul Seminary is the training ground for seminarians of the Society of St. Paul. Here, seminarians undergo formation rooted on four principles of study, prayer, apostolate and poverty, as inspired by Blessed James Alberione, founder of the Pauline Family. Situated near the entrance of the 1.5 hectare seminary compound, the chapel is a testament to the unwavering faith and enthusiasm of the community of sisters, formators and seminarians who have accompanied the realization of a dream with ardent hope and prayers. Fr. Gil Alinsangan, SSP, the seminary rector said: “Why did it take years for the seminary to have a chapel of its own? Probably, it was waiting for a kairos, an appointed time. We believe that the chapel about to be dedicated in honor of the Apostle to the Gentiles is truly a grace from God through St. Paul’s powerful intercession.” The chapel’s main altar is a painting of the Resurrected Jesus and the Apostle Paul lying prostrate. Emanating from the heart of Jesus is a light piercing the heart of the Apostle Paul. Fr. Armand Tangi, SSP who executed the painting, has been a , moving force in making the whole endeavor a reality. Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle, bishop of Imus, officiated the solemn dedication, concelebrated by Pauline priests and other clergy. Members of Pauline Family, seminarians, friends and benefactors attended the event.

General assembly of chaplains and prison volunteers slated
AN upcoming 7 th general assembly of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) Chaplains and Volunteers in Prison Service (VIPS) will provide opportunities to 250 delegates in prison ministry to share and learn from their experiences in prison pastoral work. The event slated on November 27-30 will be held at the Bukal ng Tipan Training Center in Taytay, Rizal and will center on the theme, “Discovering the Face of Christ among the Prisoners.” ECPPC executive secretary Rodolfo Diamante said in a statement that the assembly hopes “to provide a forum where the chaplains and volunteers can address the concerns and issues in the prison ministry.” At the same time, it is also an occasion for VIPS “to assess, recommit and evolve a plan for the prison ministry and to give theological and pastoral updating.” Resource persons for the event are Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ who will talk on the theme of the assembly; and Sr. Hazel Suarez, R.C. who will speak on Dialogic and Team Ministry. People involved in criminal justice system both from Church and government will direct workshops centered on various topics such as Restorative Justice, Caring for the Caregivers, Children in Conflict with the Law and International Instruments affecting the field of Corrections. Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo diocese will preside the Eucharistic mass at the opening of the summit, while Bishop Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa and ECPPC chairman will close the assembly on November 30. Other mass presiders of the 4-day assembly include Bishop Francisco San Diego of Pasig diocese and Msgr. Juanito Figura, CBCP secretary-general. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

San Carlos Seminary alumni marks diamond jubilee
acting rector Father Rolando dela Rosa, OP, will talk on the Historical Traits of the Diocesan Clergy. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, who served as San Carlos Seminary Rector in the early 80s, will be the special guest at a formal dinner where the Diamond Jubilee Awards will be given. Priest turned politician Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio, meanwhile, will be the guest speaker on the second-day. He will talk on “Instituting Moral Changes/Reforms in Public Governance.” Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Committee: with co-chairs: Bishop Francisco San Diego of the Diocese of Pasig and Bishop Socrates Villegas of the Diocese of Balanga are also expected to grace the event. Cardinal Vidal will celebrate the Mass on the Nov. 5 at 5:30 pm with Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando Roberto Mallari as homilist. After the Mass, a program and a fellowship will follow with performances from the Philippine Madrigal Singers, The Company and other renowned performers. (CBCPNews)

THE San Carlos Seminary Alumni Association will hold its 75th Alumni Homecoming on November 5-6, 2007. The two-day event will be highlighted by confer-

ences and social activities centered on the homecoming theme: “Forever: Our Call, Our Gratitude, Our Mission.” On the first day, University of Santo Tomas (UST)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. No. Vol. 11 No. 22 B2 Updates B3 Diocese
October 29 November 11, 2007 October 29 -- November 11, 2007

B5 Statements
The bigger picture in the Presidential pardon

Is cremation alright?

Diocese of Tandag

B6 Reflections
A hope to cherish

B4 Commissions
Finding Jesus through Saint Joseph

B7 Social Concern
Undermining a nation

Pastoral Concerns
Evangelizing a digital world
How Churches can communicate with the youth today
having among young people. Young Catholics in the United States, Hayes notes, live in a time of revolutionary technological changes, uncertainty about the future, and a desire for instant gratification. Regarding communications, Hayes comments that many young adults are subject to an information overload. In the midst of the competing claims for attention, it is difficult for the Church to make its message heard, or to know how to adapt to changes in mentality. He distinguishes between Generation X, born between the years 1964 to 1979, and the Millennials, born from 1980 onward. The former, he argues, tend to view the world in a more pluralistic and explorative manner. The latter are looking for something solid to base their lives on. Nevertheless, Hayes warns against reading too much into generalizations, as there are many differences within each generation. Search for the sacred One thing the two generations have in common is a desire for contemplation and a liturgy that provides a sense of mystery and PASSING on the faith to the next generation is harder than ever in a world that is more and more secularized. A recent book offers recommendations on how to get the message across to a new mentality strongly influenced by changes in media technology. “Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in Their 20s and 30s,” published by Paulist Press, is written by Mike Hayes, associate director of Paulist Young Adult Ministries. In the introduction, Hayes explains that while some had doubted if young people were religious at all, there is a religious awakening among at least some youth. Hayes provides an interesting examination of young people in the United States, with many points worth reflecting on. His book is also useful for the tips it offers on how to use the Internet and other media to communicate. A limitation that does need to be noted, however, is his superficial rejection of what he characterizes as overly orthodox Catholic groups. His cursory dismissal of these groups in a few of the book’s passages offers an incomplete vision of the very real benefits, and considerable success, they are sacredness. For example, Hayes notes the renewal of interest in Eucharistic adoration and some forms of contemplative prayer. “In a world where life seems very fleeting, young adults search for things they can depend on, things that have stood the test of time, things they regard as true, and things that are greater than themselves,” Hayes explains. The creation of a spirit of community through liturgy is also a point of attraction particularly for Generation X, who in many cases have experienced a lack of family bonds, due either to divorce or to being in a household where both parents work. There are, however, also many young people who are not active in their faith. Large numbers have received little formation in their faith, others are caught up in the demands of work and family life, and some prefer a private form of spirituality, outside of participation in formal Church-based activities. Many of those who are not regulars at church will, however, come into some contact at critical moments such as marriage, the
Evangelizing / B4


Most Rev. Ramon B. Villena, DD
Most Rev. Ramon B. Villena was first appointed as Co-adjutor Bishop of Bayombong in August 17, 1985. He was named bishop of Bayombong by succession in September 15, 1986. In this issue of CBCP Monitor, Bishop Villena talks about the phenomenon of out-migration and the assistance the diocese renders to families of OFWs through the Diocesan Migrants Commission; the renewed evangelization activities of the diocese through the different diocesan commissions to counteract the threat of materialism; the fallacy of responsible mining and the local Church’s support of people’s fight against environmental degradation caused by irresponsible mining; the pastoral work for vocations in the diocese; and the ongoing formation of the clergy. The diocese of Bayombong is among those who have the highest number of OFWs. How does the diocese address the issues related to the phenomenon of out-migration? Aware of this concern, the diocese established the Diocese of Bayombong Migrants’ Commission (DBMC). Through this commission, the Sons and Daughters (SDO) of OFWs were organized. A group of guidance counselors from Catholic, private and public schools was formed to mold and to look after the needs of the SDO. Along with this, the Parish Migrants’ Desk (PMD) was created for easy access in assisting both the OFW and their families in the parish level. The Parish Migrants’ Desk through our volunteers is active in assisting different cases related to our OFWs like the Lebanon repatriation, debriefing, counseling, assisting in legal cases against illegal recruitment, repatriation of dead OFWs, etc... To set off and equip our volunteers, the DBMC and our PMD are undergoing regular formations and seminars. A livelihood program from ECMI-CBCP for OFWs is also being implemented. And a radio program for the OFWs and their families is being aired over our diocesan radio station, DWRV, Pulso ti OFW, every 10 –11 AM on Sundays. What is your take on the threat of materialism affecting our lifestyle and altering our sense of values due to such phenomenon as globalization? It is unfortunate to think that materialism rapidly conquers the lifestyle of our people even those in the remote areas of my diocese. At a glance, it is a great threat especially to Christian virtues and Filipino cultures. Family values more than ever are also cornered into the pit of destruction. Most likely, children in families are always vulnerable. Of course, I uphold development, but it must be in the positive sense and be truly humane. In my diocese alone, I observed, thus I can say, that gradually, we, especially the young, are being affected by the culture of consumerism. Having or possessing is deemed more necessary rather than being. Irresponsible media helped greatly in infusing this hedonistic idealism in our lifestyle, especially the young. It teaches us to acquire and acquire and it views us as mere consumers, objects of materialism. Aware of this reality of materialism brought about by globalization, I am determined to wrestle with it through renewed evangelization, promotion of the culture of life, and my advocacy on social justice and peace. I believe that Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the Life, will always be the antidote to these prevailing hedonistic generation. How does the family and life apostolate in your diocese respond to this challenge? The Commission on Family and Life is working hand in hand with other commissions in my diocese. This commission sees to it that the approach of the implementation of its program must be integral in lieu of the pressing challenges to family and life. Catechesis and formation are deemed important in combating
7 Questions / B3

The best protection against obnoxious material on the internet is good character

Kids and the Internet: The ultimate internet filter
Given this fact, it is encouraging to see that the new version of Windows (Vista) comes with a built-in filter, along with many other parental controls. One version of Linux, the Ubuntu Christian Edition, also comes with built-in parental controls. And there are also many commercial and freeware filtering programs available, including a number for Apple Mac computers. So parents who do not install parent controls, or at least some kind of filtering device, simply have no excuse. But there is still the question of whether software is a complete answer to the problem. Can it protect all children in all situations? Unfortunately no program comes with that guarantee, even where children are willing to obey all the rules. And it is clear that it is not possible to protect young people who don’t want to be protected. Children who set out to access pornography online are likely to succeed in one way or another. For instance, it is not possible for children to be always supervised while using the internet, particularly while they are visiting friends or relatives. To make matters worse, there are programs available now, and even whole operating systems, that can run from a CD, a USB flash drive, or directly from a hard drive. These programs can override any filtering software that is installed on the computer. Ultimately, the best protection against children accessing offensive material over the internet is good formation, or, in other words, good parenting. In many, if not most, cases where children are exposed to damaging materials on-line, it is due to their own attitudes rather than the nature of technology. From this perspective, it is clear that parents need to help young people understand that human beings cannot be viewed as objects, and particularly as objects of pleasure alone. People are not things, but persons with a profound capacity to love and be loved. Young people need to understand that pornography undermines this very basic and profound aspect of the human perKids / B4

THE growth of offensive material on the internet, and the ease with which it can be accessed even by the youngest children, has been one of the most disturbing developments of recent times. Parents have a difficult task ahead of them if they want to protect the children in their care. One of the keys to success, as our report points out, is to install an internet filter on any computer children may use. The particular filter you choose is not as important as having one—any one—installed. But sadly, many parents still admit that despite all the publicity given to the explosion of unhealthy web sites, they have never managed to get around to installing filters on their computers.

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I WAS brought up to believe that the only proper way to treat the mortal remains of deceased Catholics is to consign them to the earth from whence they came. Lately, however, there seems to be a proliferation of cremation, for whatever reason of practicality or economics there might be. To top it all, I have noticed that more and more churches seem even to be encouraging the practice by the facile recourse to the construction of crypts and columbaria and the pre-selling of the niches for ashes there, especially as a means of raising much-needed funds for the parish. Has the Church teaching on this matter changed?


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

Is cremation alright?
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
The Previous Legislation was against Cremation The old Code of Canon Law of 1917 (also called the PioBenedictine Code, in honor of the two Popes directly involved in its redaction and promulgation) expressly prohibited the practice of cremation of cadavers, denying ecclesiastical funeral to those who have been cremated or who had willed themselves to be cremated. Other documents of the Holy See of the epoch provided the same thing.1 This was based on a long-standing tradition from the early days of Christianity whereby the cremation of cadavers was considered anti-Christian (in fact it was really a pagan practice), while inhumation (or burial in the earth) was deemed as the normal Christian practice. The reason for this Christian tradition in favor of burial stems from the latter’s strong religious symbolism. The paschal meaning of Christian death¾faith in the resurrection of the body: that one day all the saints will rise from the dead for eternal glory, as
Michael St. Maur Sheil/CORBIS

Jesus Christ has risen from the dead¾is better expressed with the burial of the cadaver. 2 On the other hand, there are very numerous Old Testament texts showing the practice of burial of the dead (cf. Gen 23,9-20; Jos 24,32-33; Tob 1,18), and the same is true in the New Testament (cf. Lk 7,12; Jn 19,40-42; Acts 8,12). Finally, burying the dead¾it was argued¾follows “the example of Christ’s own will to be buried”.3 The Present Legislation Earnestly Recommends Burial… Can. 1176, §3 of the actual Code of Canon Law is quite clear: The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching. As can be seen from the first clause of c.1176, §3, the practice of burial (or inhumation) is earnestly recommended, for the reasons previously mentioned¾i.e., its religious symbolism, its concordance with Sacred Scripture and its long practice in the Christian community. …but Allows Cremation without any Reticence As the aforementioned canon states: [The Church] does not, however, forbid cremation… Thus, the previous contrary discipline has been derogated. What’s more, the present Code of Canon Law does not require any special reason for the choice of cremation, thereby coming into line with the praxis that is legally authorized and progressively more frequent. Such practice, on the other hand, may be motivated by varied reasons¾of both public and private nature, of hygiene, of economics, etc.¾that have nothing to do with religion. For such reasons, as early as 1963 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had already introduced the new criterion of accepting cremation as an option, considering that it was neither bad in itself, nor contradictory to Christian doctrine, nor against religion¾as previously seen.4 In the same vein, those who chose cremation for themselves were no longer denied the sacraments and¾in its time¾a Christian funeral. The only limitation to this acceptance of cremation is that which is stated at the end of c.1176, §3: unless [cremation] has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching. The full breadth of this limitation can be gleaned from the 1963 Instruction of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith alluded to in the previous paragraph, which first allowed cremation, provided the reason for choosing it does not stem from “a denial of Christian dogmas, the animosity of a secret society, or hatred of the Catholic religion and the Church.” In this case, Canon Law expressly prohibits ecclesiastical funeral, as stated in c.1184, §1: Unless they have given some sign of repentance before their death, the following are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites: 2°

Cremation / B3

Arriving after the Gospel: No Communion
FATHER Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following question: Q: My parish priest made a regulation that anyone who arrives in Mass after the Gospel is not allowed to take Communion. According to him, the reason is that Jesus is “the Word made flesh.” Therefore we must recognize Jesus in the Word before we recognize him in Holy Communion. Another priest, who is a professor of liturgy, has another opinion. He said that people who arrive late in Mass with a valid reason (for example, an unusual traffic jam, attending sick children, etc.) should not be denied Communion. Could you please give a clarification on this matter? — B.E., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia A: We dealt with the question of late arrivals at Mass in one of our first columns, on Nov. 4 and Nov. 18, in 2003. Then as now, I would agree more with the second priest: that someone who arrives late out of no fault of their own should not be denied Communion. I also consider it unwise to set any barrier point; I continue to insist that the faithful should assist at the whole Mass. It is quite possible that some members of the faithful could begin to see the Gospel as the cutoff moment and feel comfortable in habitually arriving for the second reading, thus assuring that the Mass is “valid.” It is true that the Mass is a whole and that we must first recognize Jesus in the Word before we recognize him in the Eucharist. But this would include the entire Liturgy of the Word and not just the Gospel. Also, while there is some certain logic in choosing the Gospel as such a moment, the reasons given are not sufficiently well grounded from the theological, canonical and moral standpoints to support such a blanket impediment to receiving Communion. The pastor has a duty to direct and inform the consciences of the faithful entrusted to him. And while I disagree with his suggesting the Gospel as a demarcation point for receiving Communion, it is at least clear that he his trying to perform his sacred duty. Therefore, the onus of the decision whether or not to receive Communion, in this particular case of a late arrival, falls primarily upon the individual Catholic rather than upon the pastor who can hardly be expected to be attentive to every late arrival. It is therefore incumbent on those arriving late to examine their conscience as to the reason behind their tardiness. If the reason is neglect or laziness, then they would do better attending another full Mass if this is possible. Even those who blamelessly arrive late should prefer to assist at a full Mass although they would be less bound to do so in conscience. At the same time, there are some objective elements to be taken into account besides the reason for lateness. Someone who arrives after the consecration has not attended Mass, no matter what the reason for his belatedness. Such a person should not receive Communion, and if it is a Sunday, has the obligation to attend another Mass. It is true that Communion may be received outside of Mass, so Mass is not an essential prerequisite for receiving Communion. This would not, however, justify arriving just in time for Communion at a weekday Mass, as all of the rites for receiving Communion outside of Mass include a Liturgy of the Word and one should attend the entire rite. Follow-up (of last issue): Mentioning the Mass Intention After our commentaries on reading out Mass intentions (Oct. 9) a priest observed: “At a concelebrated Mass, each concelebrant conceivably has a separate Mass intention. At my monastery, we have daily concelebration, and we have a policy of never mentioning any Mass intention at Mass. Otherwise, it could happen that if one Mass intention is mentioned by the presiding celebrant, someone may be present who has requested a different intention from one of the concelebrants, and would have the impression that the requested intention was not fulfilled.” This is certainly a legitimate policy given the circumstances. There might be particular occasions, however, when the fact that several priests are concelebrating specifically allows for more than one intention to be mentioned, provided that the faithful know that each intention will be entrusted to a different priest. Even though only one Mass is celebrated at a concelebration, each priest legitimately celebrates a Mass and may receive a stipend for the corresponding intention. There is, however, a strict norm that a priest may never receive a stipend for a concelebrated Mass if he celebrates, or more rarely concelebrates, another Mass on the same day. For example, if our correspondent, besides concelebrating at the community Mass in the monastery, were to also celebrate for the people at some other time, he could only accept a stipend for the second Mass. He could have any number of personal intentions to offer at the community Mass, but none associated with a stipend. (Zenit)

Perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
OVER the past several years a number of questions have been raised regarding the practice of perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Liturgy Committee discussed the issues raised several times and decided to submit a series of questions regarding perpetual exposition to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The following responses were received from the Congregation at the beginning of July. As these responses indicate, those who are responsible for perpetual exposition should carefully review the norms contained in nos. 82-100 of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. Should perpetual adoration or exposition of the Blessed Sacrament take place in parishes? The Roman Ritual: Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass (HCWEOM), no. 90, states that, according to their constitutions and regulations, some religious communities and other pious groups have the practice of perpetual eucharistic adoration or adoration over extended periods of time. If by “perpetual eucharistic adoration” is meant prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, this involves no special permission. However, if by “perpetual eucharistic adoration” is meant adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the ciborium or monstrance, the permission of the local Ordinary is required. Perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is a devotion and practice which is permitted to those religious communities that have it as an integral part of their communal life and to pious associations of the laity which have received official recognition. If a pious association of the laity, which has perpetual exposition as a part of its constitution, is established within a parish, the activity of that association should be seen as separate from that of the parish, although all members of the parish are free to participate in it. May perpetual exposition take place in the parish church? Because perpetual exposition is a devotional practice of a religious community or a pious association, it should normally take place in a chapel of that religious community or association. If for some good reason perpetual exposition must take place in a parish church, it should be in a chapel distinct from the body of the church so as not to interfere with the normal activities of the parish or its daily liturgical celebrations. When Mass is celebrated in a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, the eucharist must be replaced in the tabernacle before the celebration of Mass begins. May perpetual exposition take place twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year? Groups authorized to have perpetual exposition are bound to follow all the liturgical norms given in Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, nos. 82-100. Under no circumstances may perpetual exposition take place during the Easter Triduum. There should always be a sufficient number of people present for eucharistic adoration before the Blessed Sacrament exposed (see HCWEOM, no. 88). Every effort should be made to ensure that there should be at least two people present. There must absolutely never be periods when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and there is no one present for adoration. It may prove necessary to expose the Blessed Sacrament for adoration only at stated times when members of the faithful are present. Who is responsible for overseeing perpetual exposition? The local Ordinary has the responsibility for the regulation of perpetual exposition. He determines when it is permissible and establishes the regulations to be followed in regard to perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. He normally entrusts the superior or chaplain of religious communities or the local pastor or chaplain, in the case of pious associations, with the responsibility of seeing that the liturgical norms and his regulations are followed. Must the local bishop permit perpetual exposition? The bishop is responsible for all matters pertaining to the right ordering of the celebration of the Eucharist and adoration and devotion to the Eucharist outside Mass. It is his duty to promote and guide the liturgical life of the diocese. Consequently, he alone determines the pastoral appropriateness of perpetual exposition in his diocese and accordingly may permit it or not and may limit the number of places where it takes place. In addition Volume 11 of the Liturgy Documentary Series: Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist was developed by the Secretariat for the Liturgy as an aid to bishops, priests, deacons, and those persons responsible for planning and directing eucharistic devotions. A full description of this and other volumes of the Liturgy Documentary Series is available through the Office of Publishing and Promotional Services. (Committee on the Liturgy, USCCB)

P Deliss/Godong/CORBIS

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

cese is now pre-occupied with the formation, and later; the implementation of the National Pastoral Plan. The diocese has 24 parishes within its jurisdiction administered by religious and diocesan clergy and sisters. Among its Catholic Institutions are three colleges, 13 high schools, four elementary schools and one primary school. Vision-Mission “We the Diocese, the people of God of Tandag, in the midst of the varied faces of poverty, envision ourselves to become Good News to the poor – through the power among us and in the solidarity with the whole of creation – thereby attain the fullness of life in God. Prayerfully owning as the Lord’s Community of Disciples we commit ourselves to live by its Gospel of salvation and liberation, through the renewal of catechesis, renewed worship and renewed social apostolate. Inspired by the example of the simplicity of Mary and led by the Holy Spirit, with the love of the Father, we shall be gifted with God’s Kingdom realized through the love, justice, and peace in our midst.” Social and environmental concerns In line with the above-mentioned Vision-Mission, the bishop, Most Rev. Nereo P. Odchimar, took over the diocese with much hope and expectation among the whole flock. Taking up on what the former bishop Most Rev. Ireneo Amantillo, had painstakingly started, built, and nurtured for more than 29 years of faithful and zealous service, Bishop Odchimar made his pastoral visits in the diocese. During his pastoral visits he saw the seeming paradox of the beauty, richness, and wealth of the province and the stark poverty of the people despite the presence of large logging companies such as PICOP, SUDECOR, ARTOMCO, SAMILLIA, and other largescale businesses. Added to this was the knowledge of the brewing mining issue which set its evil foot in the municipality of Carrascal threatening this “Nature’s Heaven,” declared as the “cleanest and greenest municipality” in Caraga in 2001. With the poverty and helplessness of the people in the face of economic and political control of the province’s resources, the new Bishop together with the whole presbyterium critically considered the mining issue in the province. Faced with more than 30 applications for large-scale mining exploration and actual operations in the whole province, the bishop issued a Pastoral Letter on Mining, which signaled the intent of the diocese to squarely face the mining threat

and deal with it as a sure deterrent to the building of a Community of Disciples based on love, justice, and peace! How can there be peace when the majority is poor and a few wallows in wealth and luxury? The Social Action Center set its mining/logging education campaign to raise people’s awareness regarding these issues as part of our response in building a Christian community of love, justice, and peace. This awareness-raising activity was carried through in different parishes. The Social Action Center focuses on Environmental Advocacy, to save the province of Surigao del Sur from the onslaught of mining applications after the questionable approval of the Mining Act of 1995. The nature of the province easily lends to the environmental destruction of mining. This coastal province of mountains has Mount Diwata range as its backbone with foothills

By Fr. Jose Ricky Cortez
Humble beginnings Surigao was one of the early centers of faith dating back to 1622 when the Augustinian Recollects arrived. Earlier, the explorer Villalobos explored the area to subjugate the natives. The missionaries settled in Tandag, Bislig and later in Cantilan, earlier known as Caraga. In 1895, the Benedictines came and remained until 1908. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart followed and also started their apostolic presence in the diocese. In 1972, most parishes in the diocese were under the diocesan clergy. The two Surigao provinces, which were just one province before, are situated on the northeastern portion of Mindanao Island and were then part of Region XI. A political subdivision in 1960 gave to Surigao del Sur the bigger por-

Diocese of Tandag
tion. At present, these two provinces are part of CARAGA Administrative Region. The diocese comprises the entire civil province of Surigao del Sur, with Tandag as capital. The province occupies about half of the eastern coastline of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean, just a few miles from the Philippine Deep, one of the deepest oceans in the whole world. Diocese of Tandag The diocese of Tandag was created on June 16, 1978, carved out of the Diocese of Surigao. Bishop Ireneo Amantillo, CSsR, DD, was appointed by Pope John Paul I on September 6, 1978 as Bishop of Tandag. He was installed as its first bishop on November 7, 1978. The diocese covers a land area of 4,861 sq. kilometers, and a population of 451,287, of which 84 percent are Catholics. Its titular patron is Saint Nicolas de Tolentino, whose feast is celebrated every September 10. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro. Today, majority of the inhabitants are migrants from the northern part of the country, although the migrants came in limited numbers because of the lack of arable land. The major dialect is Cebuano. The province has vast forest areas; and second only to Davao in log export during the years 1971-72. Most of its industries are timber-oriented, such as the Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP) based in Bislig. Most fishing is from inland fish-ponds as the coastal waters near the Philippine Deep yield no fish since the place is frequented by earthquakes. In line with the recommendation of the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference (MSPC) and by the decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, the diocese has committed itself to the formation of the Basic Ecclesial Communities or Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK). With an information drive going on at present on the decrees of the PCP II, coupled with a clarification of the visionmission statements of the various apostolates at work in the area, the dio-

Bishop .................................................. 1 Priests: Filipino ............................................ 35 Out of the Diocese ......................... 4 On leave ......................................... 11 Missionary ...................................... 1 Deacon ........................................... 1 Sisters ............................................ 27 Seminarians: Pre-college ..................................... 3 College .......................................... 34 Theology ........................................ 17 Spirituality Formation Year ........... 1 Regency ......................................... 4 Diocesan Division: Vicariates ....................................... 4 Parishes ....................................... 24 Educational Centers: Colleges ....................................... 4 Highschools: Diocesan/Parochial ................ 10 Elementary Diocesan/Parochial ................... 2 Directed by Religious ............... 2 Pre-schools .................................. 8 Population ............................ 451, 287 Catholics .............................. 447,147 Area ................................. 4,861 sq.km

ON BACKGROUND: The San Nicolas de Tolentino ON BACKGROUND: The San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral, Tandag, Surigao del Sur. BELOW: Cathedral, Tandag, Surigao del Sur. BELOW: Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar, DD Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar, DD

spreading towards areas of agricultural lands, which end in a shoreline that gives over to coral reefs rich with marine life. To destroy the mountains, and the agricultural lands will likely result to erosion, covering the shoreline and coral reefs with siltation. This could mean hunger for the people whose main livelihood are farming and fishing. The diocese launched its pro-environment campaign, stressing the implementation of forestry laws, reforestation of logging areas, the call to stop illegal and destructive legal logging, respect for the Indigenous People’s ancestral domain and lands through the implementation of IPRA Law and “NO TO MINING”. The said campaign was realized through information-education, organizing of environmental groups and capability building, mobilizations to express people’s protest against environmental destruction, especially during the celebration of World Earth Day, Environment Day, and Creation Day. The liturgical celebrations and novena prayers in parishes picked up the environmental campaign and expressed it in the prayer life of the church during Sunday liturgies in parish churches and barrio chapels. To assist the immediate needs of the people, the diocese has a community– based health program which trains volunteer health workers in far flung barrios, teaching them traditional health using herbal medicines and reflexology. To augment the farmer’s harvest and prevent soil destruction, the Social Action Center promotes program of sustainable agriculture. The Indigenous People’s Apostolate supports the IPs in their fight for their ancestral domain through organizing, literacy, operating projects and sustainable agriculture. In an effort to empower the faithful, the parishes steadily build the BECs and facilitate the formation of leaders in a holistic program of formation-skills, training-capability building. The formation of BEC leaders is done in each parish assisted by the Christian Formation Apostolate, the Bible and Liturgy Apostolate, Catechetical and Family Life Apostolate.

Cremation / B2

7 Questions / B1

persons who had chosen the cremation of their own bodies for reasons opposed to the Christian faith. Liturgical Guidelines on Cremation To complete this discussion, it is good to know that the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued Liturgical Guidelines on Cremation, the dispositive part of which can be summarized in the following norms: 1. Cremation may take place after or before the funeral Mass. 2. When cremation is held after funeral Mass, the rite of final commendation and committal concludes the Mass. While cremation is taking place (a process that may take several hours), the family and friends of the deceased are encouraged to gather in prayer. A liturgy of the Word may be celebrated or devotional prayers like the holy rosary may be said. After cremation, the ashes are

placed in a worthy urn and carried reverently to the place of burial. 3. When cremation precedes the funeral Mass, the rite of final commendation and committal may be performed in the crematorium chapel before cremation. After cremation the funeral Mass may be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains. If funeral Mass is not celebrated, the funeral liturgy is held in the presence of the remains. The rite of final commendation and committal concludes the Mass or the funeral liturgy. Adaptations such as “remains” in place of “body” are made in the liturgical formularies. 4. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave, mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering the ashes in the sea or from the air is not in keeping with the Church’s norm regarding the proper disposal of the remains of the dead. Likewise the urn should not be

kept permanently at home or family altar. If there is to be a delay in the proper disposal of the ashes, these may be kept temporarily in an appropriate place. 5. For the sake of reverence for the remains of the dead, it is recommended that in churches or chapels, a worthy container be provided in which the urn is placed during the liturgical celebration. 6. Columbaria should not be constructed in the main body of the church, but in a separate chapel adjacent to the church or in a crypt.
1 Cf. Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office (formerly called the Inquisition and now called Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith), Decree, 15.XII.1886; Decree, 27.VII.1892; Decree, 19.VI.1926, in AAS 18 (1926), p.282. 2 Cf. I Cor 15:37, 42-44; Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn.2300, 999 & 1006). 3 Congregation for Divine Worship, Rite of Funerals: Introduction, 15.VIII.1969, n.15. 4 Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instr. Piam et constantem, 8.V.1963, in AAS 56 (1964), pp.822-823.

these nightmares. My diocese takes sincerely the formation of couples during pre-cana and after marriage. We are taking the opportunities to instruct our faithful during sacraments and sacramentals and we empower couples and the laity in their ministry in the Church. We also take into consideration the families of OFWs. What is the diocese’s stand on the priority mining activities of the government? The diocese’s stand on the revitalization of mining industry by the government is a resounding NO. The idea of responsible mining has yet to be tested and proven in the Philippines. Rapu-rapu for one, is a big failure as it has bannered itself as the ‘show case’ in ‘responsible mining’. The government recognizes the critical role of investment in the mineral industry for nation development and poverty alleviation. The policy objective assures that the investments in the mining industry will eventually ‘trickle down’ to the poor. We have yet to see proofs that there is indeed a direct relationship between poverty reduction and mining. How does the diocese address the havoc caused by irresponsible mining on people’s lives and the environment? At present, the diocese is host to three large scale mining corporations. One is the Oceana Gold Philippines Inc., the target frame of mining operations is 2009. The

other corporations are Oxiana and Metals Philippines who are at present holders of Exploration permit. The Diocese through its Social Action Commission (DSAC) is doing pro-active activities of organizing and capacitation of people’s organizations (POs) in the sites of struggle. To date there are seven (7) people’s organizations assisted and strengthened by the DSAC, three of these are considered mature POs. These organizations were borne out of the issues and struggles that each community has to hurdle due to development aggression with the government as the prime mover. The current government’s aggressive promotion of the mining industry most often results not only division within the affected community but even within households; also, human rights violations especially on the right of every stakeholder to the kind of development that every individual wants, and the environmental degradation that these ‘development projects’ bring that even the resources of the next generation are put at stake. In my own way, I am accompanying the Indigenous People’s and other anti-mining groups. The Church in Bayombong sustains its support for the people who take on the lead role in the fight against development aggression. How are vocations promoted in your diocese? The Commission on Vocation is working so well for the promotion of priestly and religious vo-

cations in the diocese. We are using all means to bring to all this noble vocation of following the Lord even through media like radio and print. With the innovative plans and strategies of the said commission, the number of recruits is promising. Every year, we have respondents or searchers in increasing numbers. As the Lord himself observed, “many are called, but few are chosen!” We praise and thank the Lord if there are two or three ordinandi each year. There is really the need to “work and pray hard that the Master will send laborers into his vineyard!” Do you have an ongoing formation for clergy in the diocese? The clergy in my diocese have a monthly recollection, a time of recreation, of bonding and most of all, a time of prayer. Every month, I also gather them for our clergy assembly to update each one of the pastoral programs and plans of the diocese. We maintain our annual clergy retreat every first week of the month of November. We also had our metropolitan clergy congress. I, together with my clergy, am trying to be faithful to our Vicarial Gatherings every Sunday evenings and Clergy Night gatherings every Mondays. These are opportunities to have agape, to share our experiences and to pray for each other. We also have in our diocese clergy renewal programs, sabbatical leave and study leave to invigorate and renew us in our ministry.

By Christine B. Zialcita
ON September 1, 2007, I had the opportunity to attend the mass at Santuario de San Jose where the Men of St. Joseph, an all-male organization of the parish, celebrated its 25th anniversary. In that mass I heard Rev. Fr. Rony B. Alkonga, OSJ, the Provincial Superior of the Oblates of St. Joseph, say to the group of men in attendance that their task now as Men of St. Joseph is to “take care of the interest of Jesus”. That just like in the movie “The Nativity”, when Mary speaks to Joseph and tells him: “I draw my strength from God and you.”, so shall each man and father be—a man who can be depended on and whose presence is such that allows for the wife and children to be the best that they can be. Fr. Rony went on to mention an old adage: “The future of the world depends on the hands that shakes the cradle.” and this is no more apparent than in today’s world when the family institution is sorely tried and tested. Yes, we all expect the raising of the children to be the primary responsibility of the mother but then who will the mother rely on and draw strength, even courage from, if not the father? After all, isn’t a FAMILY—Father And Mother, I (the presence of children) Love You? The father comes first and rightfully so, the head of the family just as St. Joseph was handpicked by God to take care of the Holy Family and raise His Son, Jesus. The Men of St. Joseph came about as a result of a challenge made by then Asst. Parish Priest of Santuario

de San Jose, Fr. Francis Siguan, to all the male parishioners to form a “deeply involved association of unconditionally committed men of the parish with St. Joseph as their patron saint and model” given that only women were active in parish organizations. Rising up to the challenge were 15 men who banded themselves and regularly met to draw up the organization’s charter leading up to the organization’s inauguration on September 1, 1982 with 29 members signing the document. Through the years, many people have come and gone and the organization itself has had its ups and downs. However, in preparation for the 40th anniversary of the Canonical Erection of Santuario de San Jose as a Parish (1967), its Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Noel B. Magtaas, OSJ, saw it fit to revive, regroup, and reawaken this unique association of men to actively propagate the devotion to St. Joseph. More so, work towards creating a desire to pursue a better understanding of the virtues of St. Joseph and striving to follow in his footsteps towards having a deeply spiritual life. There is very little written about this simple carpenter who was chosen to be the foster father of Jesus and yet, can it not be said that Jesus’ life may be a testimony to the kind of man that he was? In the parish newsletter “The Carpenter’s Workshop”, Fr. Noel wrote of the ‘unspoken love’ and affinity between the father and the Son. He says, “This unspoken love is probably best expressed in deeds, in concrete action. How beautiful it must be if only the walls of the Carpenter’s workshop had lips to tell us the story of how Joseph lovingly formed his Son and

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

Finding Jesus through Saint Joseph Finding Jesus through Saint Joseph

The Men of St. Joseph with (from left) Fr. Ferdie Jauod, OSJ, head of Josephite lay organizations; Fr. Noel Magtaas, OSJ, Santuario de San Jose Parish Priest; Fr. Rony Alkonga, OSJ,Provincial Superior; and Fr. Adonis Mamuyac, OSJ, Resident Priest of Santuario de San Jose, Josephite and Marellian lecturer.

helped Him understand the many mysteries of life.” Yes, Joseph was Jesus’ father and teacher—taking on the primary role in Jesus’ formation. Under Saint Joseph’s guardianship, Jesus was “taught the pious ways of the Jews, how to pray (and assimilate) as well all the spiritual values which Jesus exemplified as a full grown person”. Surely, Jesus would have also learned the skills of the trade. “But

more than the skills, Jesus must have learned from St. Joseph silence, patience, endurance and rectitude— important values of a worker. Through all those years while Jesus was growing up, Joseph must have inspired Him with his obedience and humility, as well as exemplified the way of unconditional love”. Growing up, I was often reminded by my mother to pray to St. Joseph for a good husband. I

never thought that her intention was to get me married off right away but simply for me to find a man who will be “right” for me. This is a concern and prayer of all mothers for their daughters and mine was no different. A couple of weeks ago (and many years since I began my devotion to St. Joseph), I was asked by some ladies why I remain to be single. I replied: “St. Joseph has kept me safe from a bad

one.” This was the first time I ever came up with this answer and where that statement came from, I do not know; but after hearing Fr. Rony’s homily and reading Fr. Noel’s message, it now all makes sense and sounds right. In Jesus we get a glimpse of Saint Joseph just as through Saint Joseph, we find a way to meet Jesus. Let us all go to St. Joseph and through him find our salvation in Jesus Christ.

CBCP office addresses Paglalakbay: The OFW Bible women’s concerns
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Office on Women (CBCP-OW) has recently organized a three-day seminar-workshop for Women’s desk in Cagayan de Oro archdiocese to train diocesan coordinators in the task of assisting women and children in crisis situations. The various problems women and children experienced were discussed in the program. Strategies were also laid out on how to address the issues. The 3-day seminar likewise trained the potential counselors with sufficient knowledge and skills on basic counseling, networking, net bonding and organization. Dr. Zenaida Rotea, M.D. CBCP-OW executive secretary and Catholic Women’s League (CWL) National consultant discussed the “Dignity and Equality of Women,” providing a global, regional and local perspective on the current plight of women. She also spoke on the various types of violence inflicted on women, such as, physical, social, emotional and psychological. Marita Wasan from Pro-life Philippines gave a talk on “Sexuality of the Youth,” explaining how media play a great role in influencing the sexual behavior of young people today. On the third day, Rotea discussed with the participants strategies focusing on the problems of women especially in the areas of education, family/ migration and poverty. CBCP-OW teamed up with Catholic Women’s League (CWL) in organizing the training seminar. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
Kids / B1

PAGLALAKBAY, (Journey) a Tagalog bible specially designed for Overseas Filipinos (OFWs) has been launched recently by Philippine Bible Society to meet the needs of OFWs globally.

Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, DD, chair of the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate has approved the Catholic version of Paglalakbay. The bible comes out in Catholic and Protestant editions. The Catholic version includes the Deutero-canonical books and has the imprimatur of Bishop Bastes. The Protestant version has the full endorsement of the heads of major Protestant churches. Paglalakbay has been conceived to provide OFWs and their families with comfort and guide especially in times of difficulties. The bible serves not only as a companion to OFWs but also a reminder that God is with them wherever they may go in pursuit of a better life for their families. The OFW bible is presented differently from the traditional bible. In fact, the edition comes in colorful cover showing familiar OFW destinations. Aside from the Scriptures, which is taken from Magandang Balita Biblia, there are 65 supplemental articles that describe the gamut of experiences OFWs and their families go through in the

course of separation. Each story ends with a prayer based on passages from the bible. Nora Lucero, PBS general secretary, said at the launching that the bible serves as guide and standard for people in confronting various issues that directly affect their lives. “Our loved ones abroad are often left to cope on their own, with no family, friend or minister physically present to give comfort, advice, correction and even rebuke when needed,” she said. Lucero hoped that Paglalakbay will serve as the OFWs divine companion, stressing that God is always around and a source of help for OFWs in whatever situation they may find themselves in. “Through his Word, [God] continually assures us of his love and compassion, refreshing us daily with his grace and mercy,” she further said Filipinos overseas are estimated to be around 7.76 million. Of this number, 2.86 million are considered immigrants or permanent residents, 3.38 million are documented, while around 1.5 million are undocumented.

son. Reducing human relations to the level of animal-like pleasureseeking can destroy or seriously weaken their capacity to love. Once a human being’s capacity to give and receive love is undermined, what is potentially the most rewarding element of human life is also undermined. Helping young people to properly appreciate the essence of human love and the struggle that is required for a person to reach true maturity is a challenge for both
Evangelizing/ B1

parents and educators. Part of that challenge is to help youngsters understand that the maturity that is needed to be a successful parent, a successful wife or husband, is something that must be worked at over a lifetime. This is a struggle that involves the whole range of human virtues, including self-control, honesty, prudence, fortitude and temperance. Temperance in particular, is extremely important where the use of computers and

the internet are concerned. Young people have to be made aware that they simply don’t have time to waste on long periods spent playing computer games, watching videos or listening to music. Most parents of children who are successful academically and have a rounded personality will tell you that it is a real struggle just finding time for basics like school work, exercise and cultural activities. But even when children have

been given good formation, and are struggling to use their time well, parents should never assume they will automatically stay away from on-line dangers. It is crucial that parents take up the subject with them and explain the dangers. Without this kind of parenting, all the software in the world will be useless. (William West is editor of the Sydney family magazine Perspective; this is lifted with permission from MercatorNet)

death of family members or friends, and times of personal crisis. Hayes recommends using these opportunities to reach out to young people. As well as more tried and true methods such as Eucharistic adoration, the rosary and Mass, Hayes also devotes a section of the book to explaining how to use modern media. We need to make better use of Web sites, email newsletters, blogs and other ways to reach out to young people, he recommends. Virtual efforts Churches are indeed active in using the latest media technology to evangelize. Prior to the recent visit by Benedict XVI to Austria, the Archdiocese of Vienna provided a free service via mobile phone offering excerpts of the Pope’s sermons and writings, the Associated Press reported July 30. On Sept. 21, the London-based Times newspaper reported that the Churches’ Advertising Network bought an island in the popular Internet site Second Life. The virtual island is constructed as a replica of life in firstcentury Palestine. The aim is for it to become a center for religion on Second Life.

Then, on Sept. 25, the Washington Post reported that last year, churches in the United States spent $8.1 billion on audio and projection equipment. Around 80% of churches apparently have elaborate video and audio systems, together with a variety of online materials. The article cited a report by TFCinfo, a Texas-based audiovisual market research firm, according to which 60% of churches have a Web site, and more than half send e-mails to their members. Other means now increasingly used include podcasts and text messages. A number of services are already available for the Bible, and on Oct. 2, the BBC reported on one of the latest, called Ecumen, that will deliver daily prayers, ring tones and photos to mobile phones. The more recent phenomenon of social networking sites is not exempt from religion, as the New York Times reported June 30. A number of Christian social sites now exist, where believers can have social contact without having to immerse themselves in sites where all sorts of morally undesirable content is present. Religious video podcasts are also available, as the weekly newspaper National Catholic Register

reported May 27. Earlier this year the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Cardinal Justin Rigali debuted on the popular YouTube site, with a series of videos containing reflections on the Gospel. The archdioceses of Philadelphia and Boston have also used streaming video to broadcast some events, thus making them accessible to greater numbers of people, the article reported. Baptizing the Internet In 2002 the Pontifical Council for Social Communications published a document titled: “The Church and Internet.” “Since announcing the Good News to people formed by a media culture requires taking carefully into account the special characteristics of the media themselves, the Church now needs to understand the Internet,” the council explained (No. 5). The Internet offers many advantages, such as direct access to spiritual resources along with a capacity of overcoming distances. It thus offers the Church new possibilities for communication. New media technologies also offer many possibilities for twoway communication and social interactivity. While these means are new the social aspect of the

Church as a community is a longstanding principle, the document comments. The Church is, in fact, “a communion of persons and Eucharistic communities arising from and mirroring the communion of the Trinity” (No. 3). Therefore, communication is part of the essence of the Church. This communication, the Council specified, should be characterized by truthfulness, accountability, and sensitivity to human rights. The council also warned that the virtual world has its limitations and that pastoral planning is needed to enable people to make the transition from cyberspace to a personal community, where they can come into contact with the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and participate in the celebration of the sacraments. The Church should make full use of the potential offered by new communications technology in carrying out its mission, the document recommended. At the same time we need to keep firmly in mind, the council exhorted, that for all types of media, Christ should be both our model and the source of the content of what we communicate. A model as valid in the 21st century as it was for the first Christians. (Zenit)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007



Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference (MSPC) XIII Statement

The call for restoration of moral values
WE, the 208 delegates composed of archbishops, bishops, priests, religious and lay leaders, representing the 21 local churches in Mindanao-Sulu, gathered together for the 13th Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference held at Pope John XXIII Pastoral Complex in the Diocese of Surigao, Surigao City from October 22 to 26, 2007, convey this message to all the faithful and people of goodwill. We now find ourselves within the era of globalization. Conscious of the identity, vocation and mission of the Church, we have been reflecting on the restoration of moral values through the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). In Mindanao, we are confronted with issues such as environmental degradation and corruption in political governance. We are facing the truth about our pastoral situation: the opportunities and challenges, success stories, and painful realities about our shortcomings—the erosion of moral values in Church and society. It is in this light that we thereby reiterate the importance of BEC as locus, focus, and strategy of integral evangelization. We reaffirm our commitment and our resolve to support the BEC in collaboration with other Church institutions and agencies. We are committed to truly make it a catalyst of moral renewal in Church and society by transmitting the faith and performing it through Christian virtues and moral values. Despite some lapses and limitations, we strongly affirm the important role of the BEC as a new way of being Church, helping to identify, intensify and cultivate the core Gospel values—a potent force for social transformation. We challenge ourselves, all the faithful and people of goodwill in Mindanao-Sulu to recover and protect the Gospel values of love, peace, justice, life, and the common good. We also challenge all the BECs to become real moral agents of productive dialogue, upholding the virtues of truthfulness and honesty, solidarity and compassion, simplicity of life and servant-leadership arising from the imperatives of the Christian faith. May Christ the head of the Church, who calls us to be salt (Lk. 14:34-35: Mt 5:13; Mk 9:50), light (Mt 5:14-16), and leaven (Mt 13:33; Lk 13:20-21) of the world, make us witness to this real presence in the call for spiritual and moral regeneration. May Mary, Mother of the Church and of BECs intercede for us.

The bigger picture in the Presidential pardon
A PRESIDENT granting absolute pardon to a convicted and impeached predecessor is historic indeed. It will give people today and future generations opportunity to debate and evaluate. The pardon covers a multitude of sins which are now left to Divine Justice— cum—Mercy to resolve. In a death-bed scene, a dying person might hear God saying: “I will forgive you, I know you have already suffered, but you should be purified some more in purgatory.” On this occasion we are thinking of the many prisoners whose crimes of lesser gravity have not been proven and yet continue to suffer from the fact of “justice delayed justice denied.” Will they be given the same privilege or consideration? The pardoned president could not be more privileged, considering the many prisoners with lesser crimes of plunder and injustice who are rotting in jail only because they have no influence with the government, justice system and even with the media. No wonder the statue of justice has covered eyes, ‘para walang favoritism.’ The pardoning president has spoken; the case ends there. But where is “restorative justice?” Where is the justice capable of restoring harmony in social relations disrupted by the criminal act committed (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 403) We appeal for the many prisoners who may also deserve the same clemency for the sake of their poor families. A president pardoning a convicted president may have bigger implications than meet our eyes now. And so reflection must continue, but this time with civil society. May it bear the desired fruit of unity and reconciliation. I enjoin all the faithful to pray that our country will be guided along the path that is “maka-tao, maka-bayan at maka-Dios.” MOST REV. ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD Archbishop of Jaro CBCP President October 26, 2007

‘In truth, peace’
A Pastoral Statement of Catholic Bishops of Mindanao
OF late certain controversies regarding the morality and legality of government contract like the one on alleged broadband facilities as well as the issue on the monetary expression of political patronage have challenged some high officials of the government. According to the media reports these controversies have drawn reaction from various sectors, including Church leaders. Gathered in our annual recollection in Siargao, we the undersigned 18 Catholic Bishops in Mindanao, declare our solidarity with those who expect moral integrity and fiscal transparency from our leaders, including ourselves. We believe that the whole truth about any moral issue must be ascertained first before subjecting it to moral scrutiny and judgment, otherwise, any statement on the matter maybe premature and counterproductive. Hence the need for a thorough and impartial investigation as prescribed by law, truth and honesty, and a sense of patriotism. Called to be teachers of truth, we hold that law must be tempered by virtue as the demands of justice are being served. As we celebrate World Mission Sunday today, October 21, 2007, we invite everyone to pray for national unity through reconciliation which is part of the evangelizing mission of the Church. To bring this about we pray for sincere repentance and forgiveness. We pray for the relentless search for and courageous exposition of the truth anchored on the rule of law and moral principles. And finally we pray for sobriety, calmness and peace to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Most Rev. Antonieto Cabajog, DD Bishop of Surigao Most Rev. Jesus Dosado, CM, DD Archbishop of Ozamis Most Rev. Nereo Odchimar, DD Bishop of Tandag Most Rev. Zacharias Jimenez, DD Auxiliary Bishop of Butuan Most Rev. Wilfredo Manlapaz, DD Bishop of Tagum Most Rev. Guillermo Afable, DD Bishop of Digos Most Rev. Elenito Galido, DD Bishop of Iligan Most Rev. Julius Tonel, DD Bishop of Ipil Most Rev. Martin Jumoad, DD Bishop of Basilan Most Rev. Fernando Capalla, DD Archbishop of Davao Most Rev. Romulo Valles, DD Archbishop of Zamboanga Most Rev. Juan de Dios Pueblos, DD Bishop of Butuan Most Rev. Patricio Alo, DD Bishop of Mati Most Rev. George Rimando, DD Auxiliary Bishop of Davao Most Rev. Jose Colin Bagaforo, DD Auxiliary Bishop of Cotabato Most Rev. Emmanuel Cabajar, CSsR, DD Bishop of Pagadian Most Rev. Jose Manguiran, DD Bishop of Dipolog Most Rev. Angelito Lampon, OMI, DD Bishop of Jolo

Cash gifts or bribes?
“THE more people and social groups strive to resolve social problems according to the truth, the more they distance themselves from abuses and act in accordance with the objective demands of truth…The unscrupulous use of money raises ever more pressing questions, which necessarily call for greater transparency and honesty in personal and social activity” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 198). In the News too many question marks surround the recent distribution of 500,000 pesos each to governors among whom, appearing like a hero, is Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio. What was the purpose of the cash gifts? Where did they come from? Who was the personal source of the cash? Were they for local government projects? Were they for the forthcoming Barangay Elections? Why were they distributed only to pro-administration local officials? Why not also to the opposition? Who ultimately will profit from these cash gifts? Are they really gifts or bribes? “The unscrupulous use of money raises ever more pressing questions, which necessarily call for greater transparency and honesty in personal and social activity” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 198). Bribery is not an acceptable word even to culprits: so, it is better called “gifts.” And so, in order to feel good and escape the blame of conscience …bribe is also called a “gift.” With this sort of thing happening, our country is not only suffering from economic bankruptcy but also moral bankruptcy, disappointingly being shown by our leaders. We are very much concerned with our youth who are looking at our leaders for models in honesty, integrity, and transparency. From the moral standpoint, one should not accept money about which questions can be asked because it renders responsibility, accountability, and transparency a dubious subject matter. I encourage and support the plan of our respectable senators to make the appropriate inquiry on the matter of distributing said cash gifts. MOST REV. ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP October 16, 2007

Press Statement on the Glorietta explosion
WE express our condolences to the victims and their families who suffered from the explosion at the Glorietta Mall in Makati City. We pray that such occurrence from whatever cause will not happen again. That explosion diverts our concentration and adds up to our common national problems that are crying for satisfactory solution. We invite everybody to join us in praying for the solution of the many crises that our country is facing today. MOST REV. ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD Archbishop of Jaro CBCP President October 19, 2007

Our firm stand against contraceptive mentality
WE hope it is not true that congress plans to appropriate one billion pesos for the purchase of condoms, birth control pills and other “reproductive health” products to control population growth. It if is true, we categorically object to it and instead strongly recommend that the one billion pesos be directly appropriated and/or added for hunger and poverty alleviation projects, as well as for free education of extremely poor children. The use of abortifacients, contraceptive pills and devises, sterilization, directly willed abortion are wrong in themselves. They are against nature and God’s law. They are wrong not because the Catholic Church forbids them; rather the Church forbids them because they destroy the fruitfulness of human reproductive capacities given by the Creator and hence are morally wrong. (CBCP said this already in 1990 and at other times!). It is not just a matter of being conservative, but also of being morally upright. The Church advocates Natural Family Planning as the only morally acceptable way of practicing responsible parenthood. The Church does not forbid the advocacy of the increase or decrease of population provided the freedom of the couple to exercise sexual and family morality according to their religious conviction, are respected. Since the Church objects to the use of artificial contraception, the Church likewise objects to their dissemination, creating thereby a contraceptive mentality towards a culture of death. It is not true that the Philippines growth rate is 2.36%. The United Nations using the same census data has arrived at a very much lower rate. The National Statistics Office has already projected a Philippine population growth rate of 1.99%. These notwithstanding, we do not subscribe to the allegations that population must be controlled because it is the main cause of poverty; there are other grave factors. We will not join countries with collapsing population growth rate. We exhort our clergy to proactively preach the doctrine of the Church on principled population control. We strongly encourage and support our legislators in Congress and the Senate who promote the moral teachings on life, family and population. MOST REV. ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD Archbishop of Jaro CBCP President October 6, 2007

Mike Alquinto/epa/Corbis

By Bishop Jose Rojas, DD
WE find in the gospel reading a public debate between Jesus and the Sadducees. The debate centers on the question on whether or not there is such a thing as “resurrection from the dead”. This, of course, was triggered by the fact that the Sadducees did not believe in life after death. They could not conceive of anything beyond what they could see with their naked eyes! That was to them what heaven was like, or any talk of life beyond death—something beyond human experience here on earth, something intangible beyond the grasp of the human eyes. The Sadducees refused to believe

one becomes a part of God’s family. So what was terribly wrong with the Sadducees? They failed to recognize spiritual realities, myopically confined as their vision was to the things of this earth. This too narrow perspective conditioned their idea of heaven. They could not imagine it beyond what obviously was a purely earthly image of what they thought it was like. Furthermore, the Sadducees failed to see that proofs of life after death abound in Scriptures, a resource that they had much access to, after all. In fact, they invoked the writings of Moses to fortify their proposal to Jesus. But Jesus quickly reminded them that during the encounter that God initiated with Moses at the will depend on the meaning that we give to death. If death is for the sake of life, then we can have hope. But if life must inevitably end in a total shipwreck of body and possessions, then life itself has no meaning because it is a blind alley. Then after all we might be inclined to believe Jean Paul Sartre who called death the last and supreme absurdity of life, a breaking off, a rending, a boundary, a fall into emptiness. Death, like birth, outside the Christian perspective, is unexpected and absurd. We seem to be born in a motiveless way and we die accidentally. Death would seem to deprive human beings of their freedom and puts an end to all possibilities of fulfillment. It makes us the prey of the living and

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

Love in the workplace
By Msgr. Joseph S. Duran
“THE silence of the heavens is a voice more powerful than that of a trumpet. It cries out to our eyes and not to our ears, showing us the greatness of all He has made”. These words of St. John Chrysostom affirm the harmony between God, man and the world. Genesis, the Psalms, the Sermon on the Mount, reveal the direct and real communication between man and God, his creator and father. The contemporary Christian’s mission in the world is to restore that dialogue between God and man, which has been broken by sin. After the tower of Babel, new towers (i.e., false philosophies) have been constructed over the ruins of Marxism and godless secularism. Every century sees a new attempt by man to ease God out of his mind and the world. Forty years ago, on October 8, 1967, a priest gave a homily at the University of Navarre in Spain. Later on, he—the future Saint Josemaría Escrivá—published that homily under the title “Passionately loving the world”. As one of the thousands of students attending that Mass in the open air, I still recall the forcefulness with which he said these words: “Have no doubt: any kind of evasion of the honest realities of daily life is for you, men and women of the world, something opposed to the will of God … He waits for us every day, in the laboratory, in the operating room, in the army camp, in the university, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of human work. Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” But is it possible to find God in the so-called “temporal affairs”? Can one speak of “loving the world” if St. John the evangelist had said that all there is in the world is “the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life?” Certainly, because it is the same St. John who transmitted to us the consoling truth, that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” to redeem it. The moment God became “Emmanuel” (God with us) in order to redeem mankind, the material world has also undergone a regeneration (Rom. 8:19-21). In one of his weekly addresses in 1980, Pope John Paul II said that “In man, created in the image of God, there has been revealed, in a certain sense, the sacramentality of the world.” (italics added) In other words, as in the analogous case of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, God’s creation – the world – is a “meeting place” for God and man, where man can recognize the mystery of God who loves him. Dialogue between two friends (as Genesis describes God’s encounters with Adam in Paradise) comes about spontaneously the moment love’s presence is acknowledged. Bishop Javier Echevarría, the present prelate of Opus Dei, commenting on St. Josemaría’s above-mentioned homily during a conference in Seville five years ago, said: “But man was not created only to contemplate the cosmos, to marvel at the vastness of the universe, but also to imprint there, with the language of his work, his reply to God’s love (Cf. Gen. 2:15). In entrusting the world to man, God offered him the material upon which to write his filial response to the divine love that brought him to existence.” (italics added) Indeed, man’s achievements by his labor and intellect, once separated from his “filial relationship” with God, would end up in either of two things: self-worship (the capital sin of pride) or world-worship (the capital sin of greed, which is according to St. Paul as bad as idolatry). Marxism as an atheistic theory of materialism has been discredited; but pride and greed are “no respecter of theory”—they thrive equally well in Marxism and in democracy. “God is Love”, was Pope Benedict’s bold and simple message to the world in his first encyclical. If only we put love, i.e., God’s gift of love, in our daily encounters with other people in the context of our daily work, and if we could work with sincere desires to serve others, then God would not be a “distant God” for many people. Quoting St. Josemaría: “Man’s great privilege is to be able to love and to transcend what is fleeting and ephemeral. He can love his fellow men, pronounce an ‘I’ and ‘you’ which are full of meaning … This is why man ought not to limit himself to material production. Work is born of love; it is a manifestation of love, and is directed toward love.” Today, “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) is much-discussed in corporate boardrooms and in the media. It is a positive indication of the sincere concern of businessmen towards people’s pressing needs in healthcare, education, livelihood, housing, etc. And we wish that CSR not be seen as reserved to “big business” because, in fact, social responsibility is—before being “corporate”—personal. In the end, what counts most is the way we look at our neighbor: either as an individual, worthy of respect and love, or as a mere means of achieving financial gains. It makes a world of difference because it can make one see in that work environment either God or one’s selfish interests. A teacher patiently teaching grammar to her grade school pupils, a car mechanic putting his best efforts, a town mayor helping farmers improve their rice harvest, a waiter cheering up his customers’ birthday party — are they not realizing through their work Our Lord Jesus Christ’s assurance that whatever we do to help our neighbor is actually done to Him? (Msgr. Joseph Duran is the Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in the Philippines.)

A hope to cherish
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lk. 20:27-38)

in immortality, in the same way that they refused to acknowledge the existence of angels and evil spirits. In the present gospel narrative, it is understandable why the Sadducees tried hard to make the idea of the resurrection look absolutely ridiculous. They approached Jesus and confronted him with a preposterous argument about a woman who married seven brothers, one after the other. If there were such a thing as the resurrection from the dead, they argued, who among the seven would be the woman’s husband in the next life? They thought all the while that their logic was unassailable and that there was no way Jesus could possibly answer the question without having to deny the idea of the resurrection from the dead. Having crafted what they thought was a difficult trap, they expected to find Jesus baffled and at a loss for words. But Jesus knew exactly how to deal with such wily posturing, retorting that the Sadducees had no idea of what they were talking about. He reminded them that they did not have the slightest idea of what heaven was going to be like and went on to emphasize the fact that the ultimate fulfillment that awaits humanity in the life to come is so far beyond anyone’s imagining that any human category of social institution like marriage ceases to apply and consequently loses any of its human significance. Indeed, marriage is one of the joys of this world. But in the next life, what really matters is communion with God. Those “worthy to attain the coming age” will become children of God. All that is important is how

“burning bush”, Moses called out, “Lord”, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the three foundational patriarchs in the history of Israel (Ex 3:6). God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Indeed, when God manifested his presence to Moses in this story, He told him that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He shows that these patriarchs who died hundreds of years ago were still alive in God. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived. That friendship did not cease with death, for as Psalm 73:23-24 states: “I am always with thee, thou holdest my right hand; thou dost guide me by thy counsel and afterwards wilt receive me with glory.” Of course, there was something else the Sadducees had yet to see and realize, that is, the ultimate proof of the resurrection, being the Lord Jesus himself; particularly his victory over death when he would have risen from the dead on Easter day. Already prior to this great event, before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he clearly proclaimed this truth: “I am the resurrection and I am the life; if a man has faith in me, even though he dies, he shall come to life; and no one who is alive and has faith shall ever die…” (Jn.11:25). But why should the resurrection and life after death be so important to us Christians? It is because that is precisely the meaning that death itself acquires. Death loses its power and it ceases as it were to be what it is dreaded for. Ultimately, our present life has whatever meaning we give to death. The meaning of our lives

puts us at the mercy of their judgments. This is reinforced by Albert Camus’ pessimism according to which at the center of life stands the human person with its absurd and meaningless existence that is full of suffering and bounded by death. According to his view, it is clear that life tends to fulfillment, while death is a source of absurdity. Life has the first word, but death always has the last. On the contrary, and this is what the present gospel assures us, in the face of meaninglessness and seeming absurdity of death, Jesus offers an utter new fullness and even superabundance of meaning. As a matter of fact, the only answer to the mystery of death is another mystery: the mystery of temporal death for the sake of eternal life. Death is both a completion and a beginning. As seen by Christian faith, the human person is not a being-for-death but rather a being-forlife; this means that the Christian faith affirms death but at the same time looks beyond it. Life has a meaning because death has a meaning; it is a passover, a passage leading to eternal life. Indeed, Jesus is speaking in the gospel more clearly of the life to come and the life that leads there. He speaks of the present life as leading to “the beyond” and not to itself. Thus, all humans may long for completion and fulfillment so deeply. But what every Christian must realize is that the real completion and fulfillment of human life is God himself whose life and glory can be shared only in the next life. That is the hope that every Christian, given his/her faith, can always cherish.

Our apologies for inadvertently omitting the byline of Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista from last issue’s Gospel reflection. - Ed

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

Bo Sanchez

Taming death
THANKS be to God, our country is still so largely infused with Christian piety that together with the Holy Week, the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of All Souls on the first days of November draw great crowds of the faithful to cemeteries to pay homage to the dead. Such wonderful phenomenon may be dismissed as a show of a contrived Deusex-machina show of faith, reinforced by a mounting evidence of inconsistencies in the life of the believers. That’s how non-believers see it. The most they can concede to participating in this yearly activity is for sentimental reasons or for social and political correctness. Nothing more or beyond these. In short, they consider the phenomenon as a superstition, a gratuitous nonsense built up through years of ignorance and blind obedience to Church teaching. It’s supposed to thrive in a chicken-run kind of locality, still removed from the liberating light of reason and science. But that is not so. Contrary to what non-believers may say, we have within ourselves, whether strongly or faintly felt, an urge to communicate with our dearly departed. Such urge springs from the belief that we continue to live in another form after our death here on earth. We believe that there is in us something that refuses to die, in spite of our death here on earth. We just continue to live on. We can’t explain it thoroughly because it’s a belief that exceeds the powers of empirical verification. But it is not completely unreasonable. If we think and reason, if we will and love, then we must have something spiritual in us, since spiritual activities presume a spiritual subject. “Operare sequitur esse” (operation follows being) goes a philosophical principle that applies here. Anyway, without being aware of this principle, we somehow hold on to the truth of our spiritual nature and our supernatural calling. We refuse to be held captive by the limits of a rationality that is hooked to the merely empirical. And thus we believe that even if we die here on earth, there is something in us that does not die. It is our soul, the spirit that animates us, that is above the wear and tear of earthly life and thus enjoys immortality. If not destroyed by some factors, this natural tendency to believe focuses our attention to the spiritual world, and then to the possibility at least to a supernatural reality. This will require the gift of faith. That’s the problem with our brothers and friends who reject the faith. They make their own reason the ultimate guide in their life. But it is a reason that refuses to admit its limits, and refuses to be open to anything smelling of faith and mystery. It refuses to accept what it could not understand. As a consequence, they can not figure out the objective reality of the spiritual world, let alone, the supernatural realm. These are Greek to them. These just don’t make sense. They prefer to stick to what could be touched, seen and comprehended. The ways of the simple people who honor the dead on these November days may reek of sentimentality and may be accompanied by imperfections and exaggeration, but they objectively leap from an objective truth about us. I pray that they be left in that belief even as I encourage them also to go deep into the full meaning as well as the consequences and implications of our death. We have to mature in our attitude towards death. Death should not be a cause of fear. That would be useless, since we can not escape it. It’s part of our continuing life, a crucial event that brings us from time to eternity. Something in it should attract us to it, since it is the doorway to our definitive life. But to cross it, we need to be fully ready and live our earthly life the way it should be. What can help us is to study the dispositions the saints, and especially the martyrs, had towards death. They will give us concrete ideas of how we can welcome and embrace death.

Take delight in the simplest things
GUESS what I gave my wife on the eve of our wedding. My honeymoon present, if you may. Right after the big wedding of a thousand guests, at 12:00 midnight, when we were finally alone in our hotel room in a far-away resort as two awkward and giddy virgins with excited hormones slambanging and sloshing through our veins, I decided it was time to give her my honeymoon present. Wrapped in a simple brown bag, my bride took one look at it and was petrified. After all, it was our honeymoon and I could legally give her anything sexy, sexual, sensual, seductive, and all the intimate “s” words you can think of and God wouldn’t mind. She closed her eyes and poked her hand in the bag and pulled it out. And so there it was in all its green and yellow glory, a Crayola box of 64 crayons, with the built-in sharpener in the middle. Plus three coloring books of Winnie the Pooh. (Months back, she told me that one of her fantasies was to have her very own 64-set Crayola. I was about to share my own fantasies with her but decided against it.) So upon seeing the crayons, my bride shrieked and went to work at once. She poured out the fat little sticks of peach and magenta and pink and amber and silver and gold… and all the way until 3:00 AM, Winnie the Pooh became beautiful in her hands. (Unfortunately for me, she forgot about the excited hormones slambanging and sloshing through her veins.) That’s why I always say that our honeymoon was the most colorful in the world. And our lives have been such! We take delight in the simplest things. Sure, I could have given her a onecarat diamond ring. Or a lady’s Rolex. Or, a new pair of Ferragamo. But I didn’t because of two important reasons. First, I couldn’t afford them. Second, we’re learning to delight in the simplest things. I have here a list of things you can do that’s really downright inexpensive. Take a stroll together. Watch the sunrise from your window and pray. Play with a baby. Read a good book under a tree. Watch a Walt Disney film with the kids. Order coffee (and nothing else) with your beloved one late night at a hotel lounge. Sleep till 9:00 AM one Saturday. Write love letters to your friends. As early as April, make your own Christmas gifts. Smile to strangers. Breathe. Take delight in the simplest things.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

Social Concern
one to work for the good of the country, not only to call for reforms in government but also to overcome our individual shortcomings and mistakes. The same sentiments found their way and expressed in the several placards carried by protesting farmers supporting CBCP’s call to remove “moral bankruptcy in government.” Two peasant leaders spoke and shared their problems. Romy Olaez, a farmer-leader at the 2,500hectare Yulo property in Laguna narrated that generations of farmers since 1902 worked on the farm and later on petitioned for land reform coverage. The Yulos, Ayala and other influential politicians circumvented the CARP and succeeded in having their lands exempted from coverage using DOJ Opinion 44 by reclassifying the land into commercial, industrial and residential. To date however, the area remained agricultural. Woman peasant leader Liwayway Caparas from the Moldex property in Cavite cried as she recalled their difficulties the last two years. She said that they cooperated with the DAR and followed the processes of the law but nothing happened and when there was a deadlock, the farmers’ peaceful assembly was violently dispersed. After the Holy Mass, a down-toearth solidarity fellowship was arranged where everyone shared in a “salo-salo” of pansit and gulaman offered by the Yulo estate farmers. During the gathering Bishop Pabillo went on listening to the peasants’ rich experiences. No doubt, the bishop touched the heart and spirit of the marginalized farmers. The Bishop’s presence and act of solidarity with the beleaguered farmers inspired them more and with a newfound vigor claimed what the Prophet Isaiah declared; “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31; NIV).”


By Bel Formanes
NOT even the early evening heavy rain downpour could dampen the spirit of the farmers as they wait for the Holy Mass to be celebrated by Most Reverend Broderick Pabillo, D.D., inside the UNORKA-Pilipinas camp in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) last October 23, 2007. Bishop Pabillo is the Vice-Chair of the Central Committee working towards the holding of the Second National Rural Congress (NRC-II), and currently the auxiliary bishop of Manila. Before the mass, Bishop Pabillo and Ms. Belinda Formanes, Executive Director of PARRDS, talked with DAR Under-Secretary Narciso Nieto and other officials about the situation of the UNORKA land cases, CARP extension with Reforms and other related issues. The bishop called on the DAR to serve the peasants well. The protesting farmers came from agrarian reform areas as far as Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Mindoro Oriental, Nueva Ecija and Saranggani province who have been at their makeshift camp since August 2007 waiting for the resolution of their cases. Torches were lit while held by them as Bishop Pabillo started the Eucharistic Celebration with Fr. James Regali, rector of the Xaverian Missionaries as Concelebrant and four (4) Sisters from the Augustinian Missionaries of the Philippines (AMP) assisting. In his homily, Bishop Pabillo recognized the difficulty and long wait of the struggling farmers but asked them not to lose hope because God is with them, for God is hope and God is justice. The Mass also remembered the dearly departed peasant leaders Eric Cabanit, Rico Adeva and 39 others who were killed in the course of their agrarian struggles. He asked everyone to always remember the sacrifices and good deeds of the slain leaders. The bishop also called on every-

In solidarity with Yulo farmers and other CARP petitioners

Bishop Pabillo presides ‘Misa ng Bayan’

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D., presided the Holy Mass inside the UNORKA-Pilipinas camp in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) last October 23, 2007.

Undermining a nation
practiced to this day. But mining in the modern sense truly boomed in the early twentieth century with the arrival of the Americans. The industry thrived for decades until a global downturn of mineral prices saw companies cut their losses and abandoned their mines across the Philippines. In an attempt to revitalize the mining industry, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 was written and passed. Touted by the government as a marvel of modern legislation, the Mining Act liberalized the country’s mining industry, working around protectionist clauses in the Philippine constitution and allowed (among other things) for 100% foreign ownership of mining firms and 100% repatriation of profits. The Philippine Chamber of Mines calls the act superior to similar mining laws in the USA, Canada and Australia in terms of the standards it sets for safety and environmental protection. A year after the passage of the Mining Act in 1995, the single worst mining disaster in the country’s history occurred. A tailings’ dam of Marcopper Mining Ltd. on Marinduque Island burst; spilling several million tons of toxic waste into the island’s prime river system; obliterating its capability to sustain life. To be fair, the Mining Act could not have done anything about the situation. An investigation of the accident revealed that Marcopper had been practicing unsafe dumping practically since their arrival in the Philippines in the 1960s. But the massive public outcry, and the global spotlight on the “Marcopper Disaster” forced the Mining Act into limbo and the country’s mineral industry shrank to almost nothing. Soon afterwards, a series of academic studies explored the great failure of mining. The areas of the Philippines which had hosted mining for the longest were found to remain among the poorest parts of the nation. True economic development had skipped these places, and mining towns quickly became ghost towns once the firms exited. Marinduque was held up as the ultimate example: after being home to Marcopper for thirty years, in the aftermath of the disaster, the company fled from its responsibilities and returned to Canada, paying only a fraction of the damage costs, and leaving behind a river choked with toxic sediments. To this day, the health of the people of Marinduque is compromised by what is left in the river. But in these times, mining has made a resurgence. The primary author of the Mining Act became President of the Republic and in 2004, President Arroyo’s policy on mining shifted from “tolerance” to “aggressive promotion.” In line with this, 23 priority mining sites were identified, places where the country’s untapped mineral wealth—believed to number in the billions of dollars— could be exploited for the country’s economic gain. One of these places was Siocon. Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte could be called the shame of the mining industry of the Philippines. The homeland of the indigenous Subanen tribe since time immemorial, the tribes people live in the foothills of their holy mountain, Canatuan. Like many tribes across the nation, the Subanen fight to be legally recognized. Under Philippine law they can apply for and receive an “ancestral domain title”, which is official, lawful recognition of their claim to the lands they have inhabited for centuries. Subanen tribal leader Jose Anoy, whose title is Timuay, chieftain, saw his people’s long struggle for land come to an end when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo handed him an ancestral domain title to the lands around Mt. Canatuan. The handover was documented and the photo of Timuay Anoy meeting the President is one of his prized possessions. A handful of years after President Arroyo gave Timuay Anoy his land title; it was her policies which allowed that title to become null and void to serve the interests of a foreign miner. The Canadian mining company TVI Resources Development (TVIRD) sought to convert Mt. Canatuan into a mine. The Subanen refused, as this would desecrate their holy mountain. In response TVIRD recruited Subanen tribes people from other areas, and manipulated them to craft a false writ of consent for the mining operation. In the battle over authenticity, and in the face of all the facts, the government decided against Timuay Anoy despite his possession of land rights to Canatuan, and the President’s own recognition of his status as tribal chieftain. TVIRD, with the permission of the Philippine government, then ejected Timuay Anoy from his home in the area and have since ringed their mine site with steel fences and armed guards. The remaining Subanen have been brutalized by TVIRD’s guards and have had their homes demolished and belongings destroyed in order to force them out of the area. Mt. Canatuan has been deforested, and is on its way to being leveled entirely. Timuay Anoy has traveled the world to appeal his case, and while even the UN has heard him, the President of the Philippines has turned a deaf ear to his plight Instead, President Arroyo has called TVIRD’s mine the flagship operation of the Philippine mining industry. “Development aggression” is the term coined for development done against the common will and to no benefit of the people it affects. In the face of this aggression, the Philippines has birthed some of the fiercest anti-mining campaigners in the entire South East Asian region. Far from a marginalized minority, the anti-mining campaign has drawn support across the board, though its strength lies in the actions of communities with a direct stake in mining. The Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance to Stop Mining/ATM) network was formed to counter the government’s all out promotion of mining. With a base of former and current mining communities— counting groups from both Marinduque and Siocon—the ATM clearly states that its opposition is to the government’s wooing of mining in the hopes of reaping profits rather than development. The nationwide network counts among its numbers members of the academe, indigenous peoples, various government officials from all levels and, perhaps most importantly, the religious. In the majority Catholic nation, the Church, manifested in the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is a major force, perhaps the preeminent social force in the country. The Church’s stance on mining is both cautious and hardline. While the CBCP releases carefully worded, though powerful statements; warning of the dangers of pursuing economic goals, while ignoring community progress, the church’s people: bishops, nuns and priests, are frequently directly involved with hot button social issues. In July of this year, the hinterlands of Nueva Vizcaya bore witness to a mass action of concerned citizens. A thousand locals barricaded their town road against the entry of the heavy equipment of Oxiana Philippines Inc. (actually an Australian company) set to begin exploratory mining work in a nearby area. For several months, the barricade was kept up, as the issue was taken to the courts and the area’s local government units declared their support both for and against mining. In September, blood was nearly spilled, as the tense standoff exploded into a melee between villagers manning the barricade and Oxiana’s security people. Local tribal leaders threatened to wage open war against the company which they saw as encroaching on their land without permission. The area’s bishop, Most Rev. Ramon Villena, raised the alarm in the nation’s capital of Manila, while Sister Eden Orlino, SPC, kept heads cool at the barricade. The media attention and ensuing public outcry forced the authorities to temporarily suspend Oxiana’s exploratory work. While the government’s promises of a rich and bountiful future thanks to mining are everywhere, so too is growing evidence of perfidy and corruption. In the lull after the events at the barricade, the ATM sent an investigative team into Nueva Vizcaya. The team discovered a map that had been manipulated to make it seem as though Oxiana’s targeted mine area was far away from the nearest town, instead of nearly on top of it and would clearly compromise the town’s water supply. Though business observers frequently state that mining would receive a warmer welcome if it spread the wealth more evenly, anti-mining campaigners argue that mining is inappropriate for the Philippines due to issues of ecology and geography, not to mention policy. “Scrap the Mining Act of 1995” is one of the main campaign thrusts of the ATM. Meanwhile, the government has expanded the initial 23 priority mining sites to a total of 32, with no slowdown seen. In the same week as Councilor Armin Marin was shot dead, Maoist rebels attacked a mine site in the southern Philippines. Mining in the Philippines is a set of choices. To the parties concerned, the choices are easy: they have to do with poverty, land, wealth, health, the past, the present and the future. And no one concerned believes they have made a wrong choice.

By Kawagi Andres Fernan
SITUATED in the middle of the Philippines, Sibuyan Island is called the country’s equivalent of the Galapagos. The Philippine archipelago is every bit the tropics; a land of rainforests, rugged mountain ranges, and extensive coral reefs, but even so, Sibuyan Island stands out in terms of raw biodiversity. Flora and fauna that exist nowhere else in the world call Sibuyan home. Hardwood trees that have since vanished from the rest of the Philippine islands make up its towering forests. The waters of the island are so clean that its people can drink from the lines that irrigate their rice fields. On October 3rd 2007, Sibuyan Island was the site of a murder. Local councilor Armin Marin, who was protesting the entry of several mining firms into Sibuyan’s pristine landscape was shot dead by the head of security of one of the firms. The councilor was unarmed, while the security man should not have been armed—a prevailing gun ban made his possession of a firearm illegal. Eyewitnesses described the incident as a verbal tussle that ended with gunshots, and the councilor fell to the ground bearing bullet wounds in his head, while his killer fled the scene. The saga of mining in the Philippines is one of shattered lives, of lost people, lost towns, lost islands. It is a tale of choices colliding, of what a government wants and what people and communities want and how these two things may be at complete odds. Mining has been a part of Philippine life for centuries. Hundreds of years ago, Chinese traders sailed from the mainland to trade their goods for the gold of the first Filipinos. The artisanal techniques which extracted this gold are still


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Moral Assessment Technical Assessment

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 11 No. 22
October 29 - November 11, 2007

CINEMA Rating Guide VA - For viewers of all ages V13 - For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance V14 - For viewers 14 and above V18 - For mature viewers 18 and above NP - Not for public viewing

Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary

Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent

Title: Knocked Up Running Time: 132 min Cast: Robin Seth Rogan, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann Director: Judd Apatow Producers: Judd Apatow, Shauna Robertson, Clayton Townsend Screenwriter: Judd Apatow Music: Joe Henry, Loudon Wainwright III Editors: Craig Alpert, Brent White Genre: Comedy Cinematography: Eric Alan Edwards Distributor: UIP- Solar Location: LA. California Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

ON the day she got promoted as an on-cam host of E! Television Network, 24year old Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) spends the night in bar with her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) to celebrate. She accidentally meets Ben Stone (Seth Rogan), a 23 year old slacker and bum who is also in the same bar with his equally jobless friends. They Chat, get drunk and enjoy the night dancing and eventually end up for a one night stand. Come morning, they discover how different their lives are and decide that this JEAN-BAPTISTE Genouille (Ben Whishaw), born at a wet market while his fishwife mother is chopping off fish heads, is “adopted” by a slave trader when his mother abandons him bloody and naked among the fish entrails. As a young, hardworking lad, he is sold to a literal slave-driver for seven francs. While he is loyal, obedient and works like a beast of burden for his master, he has a unique quality – an inhuman sense of smell that he regards more as an obsession than a gift. Still unable to talk at the age of five, Genouille, however, knows the distinct smell of anything and everything in creation: leaf, frog, rock, wet rock, dry rock, etc. Delivering tannery goods in Paris, he is caught up by the scents of women, until he discovers a perfumery shop. This eventually leads him to the laboratory of an ageing perfume market, Guiseppe Baldini (Dustin Hoffman) whom he impresses with his gift and eventually buys him at a price his master could not resist. Genouille learns the art of perfume-making from Baldini, but what he most wants is to distill the essence of human odor. Enslaved by his obsession, he becomes a gruesome murderer who must kill 13 young virgins. The cinematography of Perfume – like perfume that masks even the human body’s most detestable odors – renders beautiful even the ugliest and
Title: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Running Time: 145 min Cast: Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Dustin Hoffman Director: Tom Tykwer Producer: Bernd Eichinger Screenwriters: Andrew Birkin, Bernd Eichinger, Tom Tykwer Music: Beinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Tom Tykwer Editor: Alexander Berner Genre: Crime/ Drama/ Adaption Cinematography: Frank Griebe Distributor: Dreamworks SKG Location: France Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

is about how far it will go. Eight weeks later though, Alison realizes she is pregnant after several morning sickness episodes and a series of pregnancy tests. She decides to contact Ben whose phone number she didn’t even bother to get. Ben’s initial response of shock and anger mixed with Alison’s frustration creates tension, resulting in Ben agreeing to take Alison to the OB-GYN to confirm the pregnancy. Once confirmed, they decide to live together and try to make a relationship happen. But their dif-

ferences soon surface and create friction and complexity throughout the pregnancy. The movie is funny and entertaining technically with its bittersweet realism. The performances are likeable and the director portrays their shortcoming, fear, and insecurities truthfully, not maliciously. Although well told and developed, the movie could have tightened up a little bit more especially in the middle part. The performances are well delivered and characters are convincingly truthful. However, presentations of some scenes supposedly for comedy are done in poor taste. The movie has its moments, but not enough of them to make it great. The movie illustrates how parenthood, now matter how well it works out in the end, is a frightening process, and childrearing if guaranteed to challenge the most stable of couples, much less a duo who’ve only recently become acquainted. On the positive

side, the movie shows that despite our flaws, weaknesses, and struggles, there remains in every person the capacity to love unconditionally, forgive when we are wronged, reconcile when there is division and, ultimately, to rejoice in the gift of life. It demonstrates the downside of being too liberated in having intimate relations and the struggles and difficulty of trying to create a relationship because of a pregnancy. It also presents the complexities of married life and how at the end of the day, couples who are truly in love and are determined to make the marriage work will always find a way to stay together despite personality differences and biases. However, the film comic scenes are a bit vulgar and offensive. Repeated references to drugs, premarital sex, nudity, pornography, abortion, living-in although done for humor may offend sensibilities of the Filipino culture and give bad role models for the young.

creepiest sights known the man: A corpse floating down the river, fat maggots on rotting flesh, a dead cat fished out of a perfumer’s distilling tub, and others. Close ups of nature are voluptuous, and scenes at the fish market pulsate with life. Ben Whishaw as Genouille is magnificient – while his character may not win you sympathy he is nonetheless able to get you into his world and see it through his eyes (if not smell it through his nose). Perfect, too, is the choice of actors to perform Genouille’s role from childhood to adulthood; these actors seem to come from the same mold so that you get the impression it’s only Whishaw playing the role from boyhood onward. Hoffman is convincing as the jaded perfumer Baldini, apparently casting his pride aside and putting on

a wig and bad make-up to live up to his role. As its title says, Perfume is a “story of a murderer”, and serial killers, whatever drives them to be such, are bound to disturb the viewer one way or another. Obsessions rob the obsessed of the faculty to discern right from wrong, and the story of Genouille proves that. What the viewer might regard more deeply is the psychic make-up of the murderer. Among the questions it might inspire in you are: Does Genouille’s being an unwanted child has something to do with what he has become as an adult? Is the effect of his perfume on people good or bad? The ending seems to be his revenge on mankind – coming from a demented mind, of course, but so splendid a revenge you’d be relieved it’s but fiction you’re viewing. darkness. The film is dotted with anachronism as Will Stanton steps back and forth through time, from the past to the present to discover where the different signs could be found. Another anachronistic element is Hollywood’s use of the Google provider in an internet research by Will, an attempt to modernize Susan Cooper’s book where the film is based. But then, lest we forget, we are dealing with fantasy where historical accuracy must step back to allow imagination to weave its history. There’s also an ambivalent treatment of women on one hand, we see the Dark Rider’s associates as seducer and witch, while on the other hand, we also witness the thoughtful sister and the caring mother of Will. While the film makes liberal use of Biblical symbols, it also blends in Celtic myths and Arthurian legend. In a society where corruption and scandal seem to be a daily fare, we can never have enough of films that will provide heroes and inspiration for the young. One learns from Will Stanton’s example that “Even the smallest light shines in darkness.” While initially feeling inadequate to the mission entrusted to him of saving the world (when he didn’t even know how to speak to a girl), the faith of the elders encouraged him to forge on. In spite of a setback when he experienced the price of disobedience, he continued his search. The redemption theme with Will as the messiah-figure is evident in the story like a light that “shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” Fidelity to one’s mission leads one to discover himself and his inner resources and in the process recovers someone lost in the past. However, no one does it alone. Great achievements are realized through the efforts and sacrifices of others, the Old Ones protected Will and his loving family nurtured him. The Seeker is one film that will entertain and communicate positive values to the family.

Title: The Seeker: The Dark is Rising Running Time: 99 min Cast: Alexander Ludwig, Christopher Eccleston, Frances Conroy, Ian McShane, Drew Tyler Bell, James Cosmo, Wendy Crewson, John Benjamin Hickey, Gregory Smith, Jim Piddock, Amelia Warner, Emma Lockhart Director: David L. Cunningham Producers: Marc E. Patt, Ron Schmidt Screenwriter: John Hodge Music: Christophe Beck Editors: Geoffrey Rowland, Eric A. Sears Genre: Fantasy Cinematography: Joel Ransom Distributor: Warner Bros. Location: Romania Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers of all ages

CHRISTMAS time brings the Stantons together in their crowded but warm, family home. As Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) celebrates his fourteenth birthday, he encounters strangers who call themselves the Old Ones. The eldest among them, Merriman Lyon (Ian McShane) reveals Will’s identity as the youngest of the guardians of light and on him the future of the human race rests. Will’s mission is to search for the six great signs of power. Only then will he be able to complete the circle of the Old Ones and circumvent the forces of darkness who were defeated in the past but not completely destroyed. He also learns that he has a twin brother, Tom, who disappeared mysteriously when they were still infants. Midwinter marks the ascendancy of darkness that wants to extinguish the light. The Dark Rider (Christopher Eccleston) uses all ploys to prevent Will from possessing the signs. By stepping in and through time, Will discovers the signs to be iron, bronze, stone, wood, fire, and water. Merriman assures Will of safe refuge in the Hall of the Elders as no one could enter there unless he is allowed to do so. At the height of a snowstorm, heedless of the elder’s warning, Will opens the door when he hears pleading voices outside. Will learns too late the disastrous consequences of his disobedience. How will the circle of the Old Ones be completed? Will darkness rise and reign after all? Thanks to digital, lightning, and visual effects, some frames are exquisite compositions – creating the atmosphere, building suspense, and expressing the theme and message of the film. Some shots are in chiaroscuro, seemingly conveying that we need darkness to appreciate the light but we need the light to dispel


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