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Bishops discuss role in pastoral care of women
Explanation and Defense of the Directives of Cardinal Rylko
A Catechetical Publication of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education
Peace group condemns abduction of Drilon, et al
THE officers and members of the Mindanao People Caucus (MPC), a peace group here condemned the latest abduction of their chairman Prof. Octavio Dinampo, Ces Drilon of ABS-CBN and her crew even as they appeal for their immediate release without preconditions. In a communiqué sent to CBCPNews, evening of June 9, the MPC reported that Prof. Dinampo and Ms. Drilon were on their way to Maimbung, a 5th class municipality in Sulu
Peace / A6
Cardinal appeals protection of Marikina watershed
THE head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church appealed on the government to secure all watersheds nationwide from devastation. In a letter to President Gloria Arroyo, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales stressed the importance of conserving water resources by planting trees and protecting the remaining forests.
Cardinal / A6
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace June 9 - 22, 2008 Vol. 12 No. 12 Php 20.00
Church officials prod gov’t to lift E-VAT
By Roy Lagarde
Roman Catholic bishops are calling for the scrapping of the expanded value added tax (E-VAT) on oil products to cushion the impact of spiraling oil prices in the world market.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the PhilippinesPublic Affairs Committee chair Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said such move would somehow help the public meet their basic needs. He said because of the E-VAT, the country’s poorest families found themselves even more indebted from where they usually are. The tax policy is the centerpiece measure of the Arroyo administration’s revenue generation package to address government’s fiscal crisis. Coupled with skyrocketing world oil prices, critics said E-VAT hiked prices of basic goods and services forcing ordinary Filipinos to borrow heavily just to meet their basic needs. Iñiguez appealed to the government to consider the public clamor of repealing the oil deregulation law to mitigate the effects of escalating global fuel prices. “The government should instead regulate oil prices because it’s getting higher causing the public to suffer more,” Iñiguez said. Consumer and Oil Watch chairman Raul Concepcion earlier warned that the global oil prices are still set to jack up.
In his blog (www.ovc.blogspot.com), Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz says that while paying taxes is “in consonance with the dictate of reason and in line with the necessity of societal living,” EVAT has become oppressive for the hungry and sick Filipinos. “But considering the dreadful political realities in the Philippines and attending to the depressing socio-economic condition all over the land, what is standard has become obscene, what is customary has become criminal to many Filipinos, and even lethal to an increasing number of them now wallowing in poverty and misery,” Cruz said. Solidarity Philippines convenor Fr. Joe Dizon said it was unjust for the government to rake in billions in E-VAT collections at the expense of consumers. “Life is very hard now. The government should be the first to sacrifice. And E-VAT is a big burden for the people,” Dizon said.
Church / A6
CBCP-NASSA and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo discusses with farmers their next move after a Mass at the St. Michael Parish Church near Malacañang to highlight their bid for the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Pabillo criticized the government for its failure to fully complete the distribution of the remaining 1.8 hectares of land to about 700,000 farmers.
RP, Vatican ratify pact to protect old churches
A LANDMARK treaty between the Philippines and the Vatican for preservation of heritage Catholic churches will now come into full force. The bilateral agreement was finally ratified by both sovereign entities in a simple ceremony held at the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City, May 29. Highlighting the rite was the exchange of the accord’s instruments of ratification between DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo and Papal nuncio Edward Joseph Adams. The agreement was both signed by Pope Benedict XVI and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. With the development, Adams assured their commitment to “mutual cooperation” for the proper care of old churches that the Philippine Catholic church has generated for the past 400 years. “It is a fact that what constitutes the cultural patrimony of this nation takes its origin from the Church and was contributed by her agents,” Adams said. He said the historical pact is a major move in ensuring the protection of the country’s old churches “which the church continues to utilize for its pastoral activities and evangelization.” Romulo, for his part, said that both states have made a meaningful step towards maintaining, protecting and preserving the “value of symbols of spirituality.” Heritage churches including its properties and artifacts, said Romulo, are more than just worldly possessions. “They are concrete expressions and enduring representations of profound faith,” he said. “Such symbols of the Filipinos faith remain vital in continuously shaping and molding positive character and strengthening an individual and the people’s beliefs and devotions,” Romulo said. The said framework agreement on cooperation was signed last year by Romulo and the then Papal nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Fernando Filoni before he was reassigned to the Vatican. Also part of the accord is the implementation of measures on the regulation of Church properties through property inventory, restoration, anti-trafficking, custody and security, archiving and promotion of tourism in the heritage sites.
RP, Vatican / A7
Photo by Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Priest bewails lack of catechism in parishes
THE Episcopal Vicar for the Religious of the Archdiocese of Davao commented on what he sees as lukewarm attitude of some priests towards catechism. Canadian priest Patrice Picard, PME said it is sad to notice that some priests are not really into studying catechism. “Some priests focus only on administrative work while giving less priority to catechism,” he said, adding that, “It is a must to improve the quality of catechism in the parishes.” He said, “Priests should not forget that catechism is the first form of evangelization.” Picard also expressed regrets that while there is so much need to improve catechism; some priests would opt to do further study in Theology and Canon Law because they see these as more heady compared to Catechetics. “I believe so much in catechism,” he added, saying that this will help priests in their pastoral work. “The priests cannot do everything that’s why he needs the help of catechists”. He also lamented the fact that some parishes cannot afford to hire and pay for professional catechists. “I don’t think the parish cannot afford to hire a professional catechist. It just so happens that parish priest has various priorities.” Picard emphasized that even the presence of one professional catechist in the parish is already a big help. Meanwhile, Redemptorist priest Amado Picardal also shared the same observation with Picard as he called on the clergy to take the matters of catechism seriously.
Priest / A7
Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales looks on as Papal Nuncio Edward Joseph Adams and Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo exchange the Instruments of Ratification of the “Agreement on the Cultural Heritage of the Catholic Church between the Philippines and Holy See” at the DFA in Pasay City on May 29, 2008.
Vatican might support biotechnology—bishop
POPE Benedict XVI might issue a “favorable” stand on the use of genetically modified food as an answer to world hunger, a Catholic bishop hinted. Bishop Jose Oliveros, Episcopal Commission on Bioethics chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the Vatican is set to release its report early next month. The Vatican had been neutral on the issue, but is said to have been swayed by scientific evidence of biotechnology’s safety and the unrelenting problem on world hunger. “Reports said the concern of the Holy Father is the fact that there are millions of people who sleep at night hungry. So how do we solve the question of hunger? Biotechnology gives us an answer,” he
Vatican / A7
Mindanao Rural Congress, in the spirit of interreligious dialogue
CAGAYAN Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said that the Mindanao-wide regional rural congress (RRC) is an opportune time for the participants to recollect on the highlights of the past when the first rural congress was convened in 1967. Ledesma, during his homily in the opening mass concelebrated by 13 bishops from Mindanao said there are beautiful lessons in the past that are still significant today and can be a source of inspiration. Today, he said, as we gathered for the Mindanaowide rural congress we are now in the spirit of interreligious dialogue. He recounted that the year when the first rural congress convened was also the height of the Muslim-Christian conflict in Mindanao. The NRC of 1967 was participated mostly by diocesan and parish social action workers. During the first Rural Congress, participants tackled the problems and issues of the rural poor until they came to the crucial conclusion that the Church must go to the barrios. Ledesma said that with the Minda-wide rural congress participants who are mostly representatives of the basic sectors are encouraged to actively participate and assert their dignity that for such a long time has been denied to them. More than 150 participants coming from the ecclesial sub-regions of Mindanao came to the congress that opened yesterday at St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao (REMASE) in
Minadanao / A7
Photo by Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
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Cardinal Jorge Urosa
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Bishops question law that would violate seal of confession in Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela, June 9, 2008—Various Venezuelan bishops are criticizing a new law on national intelligence that would force all Venezuelans to act as informants. Cardinal Jorge Urosa of Caracas has reacted to the law by warning that the law would endanger the seal of confession. The law states that citizens who refuse to take part in intelligence operations could be charged by the government. Human rights groups, judges and journalists warn that the new law would create a society of spies and contains vague clauses that would be open to all kinds of abuse by authorities. Cardinal Urosa said the law may violate human rights enshrined in the country’s Constitution. “We are going to study it in detail, because it is essential that constitutionality be respected, especially in the areas that have to do with the human, civil, and political rights of all Venezuelans.” The cardinal also criticized the law for containing many clauses “written in a very generic fashion.” The seal of confession, he continued, “has always been respected by priests. We have an obligation to keep secret what we hear in confession. That cannot be violated by any law. It would seem this law would affect the seal, and in this sense we cannot compromise.” Cardinal Urosa emphasized that the faithful have a right to privacy and to secrecy with regards to what they tell the priest. “We cannot turn confessors into informants,” he said. Archbishop Baltasar Porras of Merida said on Union Radio that with the new law, state security police could act in secret, without the presence of attorneys and in violation of professional confidentiality. He also expressed concern about the seal of confession and about the confidentiality of sources in journalism. The law would turn family and community members against one another, with each person becoming a tool of the state, similar to “what happened in the 30s and 40s in some countries such as Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy or Franco’s Spain.” (CNA)
BUENOS AIRES, June 9, 2008—In a statement issued at the end of their extraordinary meeting, the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina called for “transparent and constructive dialogue” between the government and other sectors involved in the country’s current crisis caused by a stalemate in negotiations. In their statement, the bishops explained that they were meeting “in response to the grave situation caused by the prolonged conflict between the agricultural sector and the national government,” and they underscored that these kinds of situations “especially jeopardize those who [are] poorest.” They said “significant gestures” on the part of both parties as well as greater vigilance over the country’s institutions are the only way to work towards a solution. “On the other hand, even though there may be just complaints,” the bishops said, “we will not solve our problems out on the street. Therefore, we insistently ask the government to urgently convene a transparent and constructive dialogue, and we ask the sectors in conflict to take a new look at the manner in
Our Lady of Lujan — Patroness of Argentina
which they are voicing their complaints. Neither moderation in one’s demands, nor magnanimity in the exercising of power are signs of weakness,” they said. After encouraging Argentineans to help the poor through a “firm and long-lasting commitment to justice and solidarity,” the bishops encouraged all to pray for “those who are most in need.” The ended their message entrusting their plea to the intercession of Our Lady of Lujan, the patroness of Argentina. (CNA)
dent will walk through the Vatican Gardens where the Sistine Chapel choir will perform for them. This will be Bush’s second visit to the
Vatican and it takes place as part of a trip to Slovenia, Germany, Italy, France and Britain. The president last visited Benedict XVI in the Vatican in June 2007. (Zenit)
Bishop of Hong Kong invited to inaugural ceremony of Olympics
HONG KONG, June 9, 2008—The Chinese government has invited the coadjutor bishop of Hong Kong, John Tong Hon, to the inaugural ceremony of the upcoming Olympic Games. The bishop has accepted the invitation, which was not extended to Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, while an expert on ChinaVatican relations warns: “The visit appears to be just a protocol event because it is unlikely any concrete discussions with officials will be conducted”. The invitation was communicated by Beijing to the Chinese office in the territory: according to some observers, this is the latest “diplomatic openness” between the two sides, following the concert at the Vatican by the Beijing Philharmonic and the informal meeting between the pope and the Chinese ambassador to the Italian republic. Others emphasize that China “wants to build good relations with bishop Tong, who is less critical in public toward the Beijing government, and will soon become the bishop of Hong Kong”. For his part, Bishop Tong says he is “honored by the invitation”, and recalls the hopes expressed by the pope for a serene unfolding of the Olympics. Not long ago, the prelate highlights, “the Holy Father expressed his blessings towards China for a successful Olympics. I will follow his good wishes and attend this joyous national event as a witness”. The visit—which will take place on August 8 and 9—will be the first made by Bishop Tong to Beijing as coadjutor bishop. Together with him, there will be Buddhist and Taoist leaders from Hong Kong, and the bishop of Macao, Jose Lai Hung-seng. The visit has also been approved by Cardinal Zen: both bishops have for some time decided to enter into China “only at the official invitation of the government” Anthony Lam Sui-ki, an expert in ChinaVatican relations and a researcher at the Holy Spirit Study Center in Hong Kong, tells the South China Morning Post: “The invitation was a gesture of good will, although Cardinal Zen, who has long been critical towards Beijing’s control over religious freedom, was not invited. But the visit appears to be just a protocol event because it is unlikely any concrete discussions with officials will be conducted”. (AsiaNews)
Jerusalem prelate urges leaders to be courageous
JERUSALEM, June 9, 2008—Just a few days before his installation as the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal is inviting political leaders of the area to have “more courage and less fear.” Archbishop Twal, 67, is set to be installed as patriarch June 22. He will succeed Archbishop Michel Sabbah, 75, who has retired after more than 20 years of service in the position. Archbishop Twal spoke with L’Osservatore Romano about his hopes and plans for this new ministry. “We believe in the power of prayer,” he said, “We entrust these times to the Lord and we again place our hopes in the political leaders of this land, but also in the international leaders, and we ask them to have more courage and less fear, and above all that they place trust in each other. “Reciprocal trust is needed to build solid relationships,” the archbishop affirmed. The Jordan-born prelate acknowledged that “there are groups and people who do not desire peace”; but he added, “We hope that good will prevails for the good, security and peace for all.” Archbishop Twal said that no region will be able to enjoy peace by itself, since “it is a gift for everyone.” Along this line, he urged “building up and sustaining the moderates, because as they get more help, the extremists will have less strength.” For his part, Archbishop
President for Family Council named
Archbishop Fouad Twal
Holocaust survivors to thank Pope
NEW YORK, June 9, 2008—A New York-based organization will bring a group of Jewish Holocaust survivors to visit Benedict XVI next week. They want to personally thank the Pope for the Church’s intervention in saving their lives during the war. The Pave the Way foundation is bringing the group to visit the German Pontiff on June 18. It is just one initiative the foundation has undertaken to clear up misunderstandings about the Church and its role during the Holocaust. Another initiative is a September symposium on the papacy of Pope Pius XII. The Pave the Way foundation partnered with TV News Agency Rome Reports to videotape eye witness testimony. They uncovered secret activities of the Pope and members of the papal household to save the lives of Jews during the war. The foundation consulted various experts who will be panelists at the symposium. The audience will be over 100 mostly Jewish religious, educational and community leaders from around the world. The participants will be presented with historical newspaper accounts, documents and eye witness testimony from those who are still alive. The purpose of the symposium will be to analyze what is known to date, while Vatican archivists continue to prepare thousands of documents to be opened. The foundation clarified that the symposium does not aim to give a scholarly review of archived manuscripts. “This event will be almost like a jury, where events of the day and actual witnesses can help the group reach a reasonable conclusion today, which will be subject to historical confirmation when the archives have been opened,” a statement from the foundation explained. The symposium participants will also get a chance to visit Benedict XVI. (Zenit)
Sabbah celebrated his last Mass as patriarch for the Jerusalem Hebrew-speaking Catholic community on June 1. In his farewell greeting to the patriarch, the vicar for the Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel, Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, recalled how Archbishop Sabbah was the first patriarch of Jerusalem to celebrate Mass in Hebrew. The archbishop told the Hebrew-speaking Catholics: “What is our place in the Church of Jerusalem, among the 13 churches of which she is constituted? It is a place primarily of prayer. Our prayer is the prayer of Jesus for unity. […] We must pray for unity so that, even before the longed for unity is reached, by means of our love for one another, we might be what we are called to become. This is indeed our vocation: to be true witnesses to Jesus Christ.” (Zenit)
VATICAN CITY, June 8, 2008—Benedict XVI has named Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the archbishop of Florence, as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Cardinal Antonelli, 71, succeeds Colombian Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, who died in April at age 72. Ennio Antonelli was born in Todi, Italy, in 1936, and ordained a priest in 1960. From 1968 to 1983 he was professor of dogmatic theology at the Theological Institute of Assisi, and also taught in various schools of theological formation. In 1982 he was named bishop of Gubbio, and in 1988 he was appointed as archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve. Archbishop Antonelli served as the secretary-general of the Italian bishops’
Cardinal Ennio Antonelli
conference from 1995 until he was named archbishop of Florence in 2001. He was elevated to cardinal in 2003. He is a member of the pontifical councils for the laity and social communications. (Zenit)
© Franco Origlia for Vatican Pool/Getty Images Europe/Immaginazione/Corbis
Argentinean bishops urge dialogue in agricultural crisis
Benedict XVI to repay Bush’s cordiality
VATICAN CITY, June 9, 2008—Benedict XVI will welcome U.S. President George Bush on Friday with something of the same unprecedented cordiality the president showed when he received the Pope in the United States last April. The Holy Father is leaving aside the typical protocol that prescribes receiving heads of state in the pontifical apartments, and will have his meeting with Bush in the Tower of St. John within the Vatican Gardens, the prefecture of the pontifical household announced today in L’Osservatore Romano. Bush also broke protocol when he welcomed the Pontiff last April 15. Bush, accompanied by his wife and daughter Jenna, went to Andrews Air Force Base to receive the Pope—an honor the president has never given to a visiting head of state. The next day, Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday, the president hosted a celebration in the White House. The Holy Father’s welcome is meant to repay the president for his cordiality, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said. Bush will be accompanied by his wife and by Mary Ann Glendon, the U.S. envoy to the Holy See. After their meeting, the Pope and presi-
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Truth is the goal of inter-religious dialogue, Pope Benedict teaches
VATICAN CITY, June 9, 2008— The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue met for its tenth full assembly this past week to focus on the theme: “Dialogue in truth and love. Pastoral orientations.” On Saturday, Pope Benedict spoke to the group about the importance of truth being the goal of all dialogue and charity being the motivation behind all dialogue. Over 60 participants were led in their discussions throughout the session by Cardinal JeanLouis Tauran, the president of the council. The Pope began his speech to the council by expressing his happiness that, “during these days you have sought to arrive at a deeper understanding of the Catholic Church’s approach to people of other religious traditions. You have considered the broader purpose of dialogue— to discover the truth—and the motivation for it, which is charity, in obedience to the divine mission entrusted to the Church by our Lord Jesus Christ.” This context of searching for the truth should impact the exchanges that the Church has with followers of other religions, the Pontiff explained. “In the words of my venerable predecessor, Pope Paul VI, the Church’s principal responsibility is service to the Truth— ’truth about God, truth about man and his hidden destiny, truth about the world, truth which we discover in the Word of God’.” “It is the love of Christ which impels the Church to reach out to every human being without distinction, beyond the borders of the visible Church. The source of the Church’s mission is Divine Love. ... Thus, it is love that urges every believer to listen to the other and seek areas of collaboration,” the Pope reminded the council. If love is the motivation behind inter-religious dialogue, Christians are able to propose “but not impose, faith in Christ Who is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’,” the Holy Father said. “The Christian faith has shown us that ‘truth, justice and love are not simply ideals, but enormously weighty realities.’ For the Church, ‘charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being’.” Other practical issues that arise from dialoguing with members of other faiths such as: “the identity of the partners in dialogue, religious education in schools, conversion, proselytism, reciprocity, religious freedom, and the role of religious leaders in society” were also raised. “These are important issues,” Benedict said, “to which religious leaders living and working in pluralistic societies must pay close attention.” Benedict XVI also underlined the need for the promoters of inter-religious dialogue “to be well formed in their own beliefs and well informed about those of others,” highlighting how “inter-religious collaboration provides opportunities to express the highest ideals of each religious tradition.” In closing, the Holy Father encouraged the council to collaborating with other people of faith by, “Helping the sick, bringing relief to the victims of natural disasters or violence, caring for the aged and the poor.” (CNA)
Bishops discuss role in pastoral care of women
MANILA, June 6, 2008—Ten bishops, 13 women and two priest-theologians representing six Asian countries discussed and reflected on the role of the bishop in pastoral care of women in a five-day meeting held at the Redemptorist Centre in Pattaya, Thailand last May 12-16. The convention’s theme “The Bishop: Harbinger of Hope (Bishops, Women, Gospel and Communion)” was adopted in the light of Pastores Gregis, Pope John Paul’s 2003 apostolic exhortation on the 2001 Synod of Bishops assembly on Episcopal ministry. Through story-telling, theological inputs from speakers, workshops and prayer, the participants experienced a moment of renewal, especially the bishops who heard the voices of women and reflected on how their pastoral ministry could effectively address them. On hearing the stories of women from different regions of Asia, the extent of violence and injustice experienced by women was striking. They appreciated the work done by the women’s movement and various women’s groups to help victims of violence. It was observed that Bishops as heralds of hope need to develop a concept of compassionate justice for women as victims/survivors of violence. As one bishop shared, “This conference helps us bishops to understand issues relating to women. Change is taking place in society and slowly in church as well. Formation is important. There is a need for women to share their perspectives through different ways.” The bishops affirmed that ‘The bishop has to be a man of hope and trust since trust engenders hope’. They also agreed that bishops and women have to share mutual trust through dialogue. Likewise there is a need to dispel the myths of authority and encourage women to make their voices heard. They acknowledged the injustice done to women through gendered roles and stressed the need for attitudinal change. It was pointed out that FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences) documents encourage the Church in Asia to live as a communion of communities, which is participatory and co-responsible in the mission of Christ. But there is a gap between what is written in the documents and actual practice at the grassroots. For the idea of partnership and co-responsibility to be well understood by priests, it is necessary that these documents be studied in seminaries and formation houses. The bishops felt the need to confront cultural practices that discriminate against women with the egalitarian values of the gospel, as well as to promote and sustain countercultural Christian communities. Confident that inspired with the compassion of Jesus and the courage of Mary the Church in Asia can make a difference in the reality of women, the delegates departed with the resolve to continue the process of dialogue and sensitization begun at the meeting. Bishops from the Philippines who attended the meeting were Bishop Emilio Marquez, chairman of CBCP Office on Women (Lucena), Archbishop Paciano Aniceto (San Fernando, Pampanga), Archbishop Ernesto Salgado (Nueva Segovia), Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle (Imus), Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo, (Kalibo), and Bishop Marlo Peralta, (Alaminos). The meeting was organized by the Women’s Desk of the Office of Laity and Family of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference in cooperation with the FABC Office of Theological Concerns. (Virginia Saldanha)
Bontoc-Lagawe launches indigenous liturgical music
Laity feels ‘inferior’ in Church
DAVAO CITY, June 8, 2008—Most of the lay people in the country today feel that they are inferior in the Church. “We feel deficient in Christian education, particularly in the basic doctrines, theology, and social teachings of the Church. Thus, most of us feel marginalized or “treated like third class citizens in the Church,” the more than 367 lay delegates affirmed in their statement issued during the 6th National Lay Gathering last month at the Holy Cross Parish in Calumpang, General Santos City. “We are sometimes confused by the ambivalent stand of the church hierarchy regarding our involvement in socio-political issues which is supposedly our arena for evangelization and transformation,” they said. “There are incidents of being disowned, not given blessings, or being told to resign from church ministries once we get involved in these issues,” read the statement. Lay Forum of the Philippines (LFP) National Coordinator Edgar Diares said that the laypeople have also experienced the effects and influences of globalization with its exploitative and oppressive practices that promote the values of individualism, materialism, consumerism, indifference, vices, drugs and gangsterism especially among the youth. Diares who read the statement continued, “in the economic arena, we are concerned with the issues in landlessness, insecurity of land tenure, food/rice crisis, increasing poverty, intensifying intrusion of trans-national corporations that continue to hound the poor people.” “These are compounded with oil price hikes and exploitation of labor through contractualization and flexibilization. In the political aspect, rampant graft and corruption, through dynasties and monopoly of powers, have resulted to poor delivery of basic social services,” Diares further cited. In areas target for development aggression, he said, military are deployed as advance party, thereby clearing the area for foreign investors and strengthening the ruling class’ political grip over the people. “Furthermore, the continuous destruction of natural re-
sources and environment, by logging and mining, has aggravated the misery of the lay people.” But, in the midst of all the above issues and concerns, and despite threats and financial constraints, Diares said the laypeople continue to assert their rights as equal partners in the ministries of the Church, and carry on their active participation in the works for social transformation. “We support and promote the advocacy on Human Rights issues, Environmental protection, good governance, and peasants and workers’ issues. In carrying out these duties, we have made initiatives to develop our skills and knowledge in leadership, facilitating, organizing, administering, and managing the Church pastoral programs, through on-going education, trainings, and values formation,” he said. “We continue to build and strengthen the Basic Ecclesial Communities (or GKKs, GSKs, Kriska, MSK, etc.) as new way of being Church and Church of the Poor. We keep to our hearts the four (4) roles of the laity as
called for by PCP II, as follows: a.) called to community of families; b.) called to Christian presence; c.) called to service and evangelization, and d.) called to social transformation,” said Diares. As a challenge, Diares said, the Lay Forum Philippines will continue to be instrumental in establishing and strengthening network among lay people down to the grassroots level, and continue the initiatives of implementing programs and services that support the needs of lay workers, particularly the Tulong sa Layko ( TulayKo). Diares also called on all lay people to strengthen their respective lay organizations to attain genuine lay empowerment, and to give support to Lay Forum Philippines as expression of solidarity and unity. “We continue to believe that we, lay people, have a great contribution to the realization and fulfillment of the Reign/Kingdom of God. We deepen our commitment and involvement in the Mission of the Church towards her renewal and social transformation,” ended Diares. (Mark S. Ventura)
BONTOC, Mountain Province, June 8, 2008—The Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe recently launched an album of Indigenous Music in the Liturgy dubbed Ayyeng. Ayyeng is an indigenous word that expresses the effort to direct the petitions and prayers of an indigenous people to their Christian God who is the source of everything through a repertoire of songs for the Eucharistic celebration. The new album contains the original music and traditional chants of Kalinga, Bontoc and Sadanga. It also contains music written in Ilocano for the Ilocano faithful. Gone through a long process of translation by the Vicariate’s Liturgical Committee, the texts of the liturgical acclamations are made short but powerful to keep the dialogue aspect of the Mass. The responses are done with brief instrumental introductions to avoid unwanted lull. The new album aims that the faithful “sing the Mass and not merely sing during the Mass.” Bishop Rodolfo F. Beltran, Apostolic Vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe was delighted that the Apostolic Vicariate has come out with a CD album on Indigenous Music in the Liturgy. He expressed his hope that this noble project initiated by Fr. Marcs Castañeda, Liturgy Director of the Apostolic Vicariate, will enhance the spirit of the people in the Cordillera to love their native songs and especially sing them in liturgical services. The bishop likewise pointed out that indigenous music is a big factor in strengthening the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). He also noted that indigenous music invites the faithful to consider the harmony of creation. The bamboo instruments as well as the gongs, which are common native instruments of the Igorots, are used to accompany the liturgical indigenous songs. However, guitars and drums are used to appeal to the young listeners. Such music draws them to the church today. Thus, the album considers too the fusion of the western medium and indigenous instruments to keep the balance of the old folk and the young.
Sadanga, one of the remotest towns in the Mountain Province is a beautiful village situated in the Northern part of the Cordillera well known for its rich culture and beautiful panorama. People are hardworking natives who till the land for rice, legumes sweet potatoes and sugarcane. Hence they are known for the best “basi” (sugarcane wine), “tapey” (rice wine) and “finayo” (quality rice) and “fuker” (delicious legumes) in the hinterlands. The place is also rich in history. The Isadanga were among the Igorots who stood solid in fighting for the common good of the mountain people. In the 1970’s, they opposed the proposed Chico Dam that could have submerged under water a great part of Bontoc, Sadanga and Kalinga.
Gift of Music
The Sadanga people are known for their gift in music. They compose their songs beautifully with the words and music rooted in their way of life. They are known for their traditional chants that occupy a very special place in their culture. The chants are reserved for wedding ceremonies and thanksgiving blessings. Ayyeng is one of the traditional chants that until today are being sung by the villagers. It is a chant held in reserve to the elderly men in the villages of Sadanga. On special occasions such asSenga (thanksgiving for the blessings received by the family) rupis (2nd stage of cultural marriage) and dono (the culminating stage of the cultural marriage done in big celebration) the chant is done spontaneously while waiting for the meals. The elders usually tell stories through the singing of the chant. It can contain the petition or prayer of the family for good fortunes, good work, good health, bountiful harvest and more animals. The Sadanga culture is not seen as opposed to their own faith. Integrated in the Christian way of worshipping, that is, through liturgical music, the native chants find more meaning. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Nuclear power in the offing
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
DURING the days past and surely for the times yet ahead, the administration has started and will certainly continue to sound off the general public about its desire to revisit the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, i.,e., to go nuclear in response to the ever increasing prices of oil and everything else brought about by its use. The government as usual feels infallible, and wherefore sounds certain that the time has come to have recourse to nuclear power. While it may not be altogether right and prudent to immediately condemn such an attention, considering the progressively worsening socio-economic realities in the country, it is but fair and just to ask the public authorities concerned certain definitely significant and highly relevant questions. It is to be expected that the national leadership has ever-ready answers—considering its claimed superlative economic competence plus its acclaimed visionary projection. But just the same, some questions remain in order. First question: Safety. If the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was found to be unsafe before—considering in particular its construction on a land with fault lines—what makes it safe now? Taking into account that the said Power Plant has been “mothballed” for decades, the question appears reasonable. Second question: Expertise. While the Filipinos are by and large gifted in the pursuit of various professions, to date the government is expected to have difficulty in finding really capable and enough Filipino nuclear experts to update, prepare and run the Plant. But, of course, we can always get the Japanese or the Koreans—and the Chinese, like the botched broadband network deal. Third question: Money. With the financial destitution of the country translated in the poverty and misery of the people—in addition to its already immense unpaid local and foreign debts— will the government again and again take recourse to borrowing money from the usual financial oligarchy abroad with its dictatorial counter-impositions? And never mind if the Filipinos are the payors—usually forever? And more important of all: Where on earth will the administration have the nuclear waste thrown, disposed; buried— or whatever? It appears that all countries having nuclear waste, consider their disposal a big and deep dark national secret. In the Philippines, this is fondly called “presidential privilege”. Translation: Keep the Filipinos ignorant and happy! Needless to say, the Filipino People are the real and continuous stakeholder in the matter of the country going nuclear. The incumbent national leadership, the ruling administration, the government in authority came and will eventually go. But the People of the Philippines remain—with their gargantuan foreign debts.
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season
(The following is text of the message of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo at the launching of a Mini-Hydro in Antique, June 5, 2008)
Coal power or renewable energy?
pino propensity for short-cuts and ningascogon, the cleanest coal will come out polluting Panay. Antique is leading the way. We would like the Secretary of DENR, the Honorable Lito Atienza and the Secretary of DOE, the Honorable Angelo Reyes to please reserve Panay or Western Visayas for renewable energy of water, wind and sun for electric power. The seven bishops of Western Visayas and Romblon in a Pastoral Letter last January 16, 2005 have already expressed their objection to the entry of coal-fired power plants. We are challenging the leadership in Panay to leave a clean legacy for the province. Clean Coal is a misnomer, a myth. Coal is a pollutant of the environment, its effects in the air and water have been proven to cause asthma, cardiac problems, upper and lower respiratory tract problems. Pollution from dirty power plants kills more people every year than drunk drivers and murderers. The elderly, the children and those with respiratory diseases are more severely impacted by this pollution. Coal plants contribute greatly in global warming. Let us not condemn the future of young Filipinos who will blame us without end for having cared less for their future. Antique is leading the way. Thank you for showing Panay the way.
Taxation and the E-VAT
THE total human development of our people is at the heart of the Church’s mission, whose founder, Jesus Christ, came that we might have life and have it in abundance (Jn. 10:10). Hence we cannot be unconcerned with the present agitation aroused by R.A. 7716 or the expanded VAT Law. We, your bishops, are not economists. Still less are we tax experts. But we are shepherds committed to promoting the total well-being of our people, and as shepherds we must have a concern for what leads—or does not lead—to the total well-being of our people, especially the poor. It is in the light of this concern that we would like to speak, not only on R.A. 7716 as such but on a deeper issue: the reform of our whole system of taxation. We start with two basic principles: The government has a right to impose and collect taxes provided these taxes are just; correspondingly the citizen has a duty to pay taxes faithfully, honestly (Rom. 13:6-7). The monies collected must be used by government for the common good, providing such services as are needed for the public welfare, not for the selfish and capricious consumption of those in power. Applying these principles to the Philippines today, we note these only too obvious facts of our situation: Our tax structure and the system of tax collection are in some need of reform. Our taxes are regressive, that is, they are slanted against the poor, the heavier burden being put on their shoulders, not on those of the better-off sectors of our population; The pervasiveness of graft and corruption in government spawns two interconnected evils: the improper collection of taxes due; the non-provision of badly needed public services. Keeping the above principles and facts in mind, we ask ourselves what can be done to institute necessary reforms. The following questions come to mind: Is the expanded VAT Law just one more step on the direction of strengthening our tax structure’s bias against the poor; or conversely, does it remedy that bias? Does it effectively safeguard against corrupt and dishonest practices in the paying (or avoidance of paying) of taxes, improve in truth their collection? As Christian citizens we must address these questions in depth, come up with some answers that will fully satisfy the principles we started out with and correct the present infirmities of our tax system. We urge a thorough review of R.A. 7716 when Congress convenes precisely with these questions in mind, and we ask that our people be consulted and informed about its provisions so that any inequitable aspects may be eliminated, and the consent of the people obtained. For only when the people are allowed to participate in the decisions that affect them can we speak of genuine people empowerment.
—Pastoral Statement on Taxation and the Expanded ValueAdded Tax Law (R.A. 7716), 1994
WE are stewards of this earth, God’s earth, we are not the absolute owners of this earth. We are caretakers, custodians and stewards of this earth—whether it is here in Antique or there in Panay. Whatever is your position in society, an ordinary member of civil society or an official of Government or plain user of the environment, you are challenged to leave behind a legacy for this earth, a legacy that the earth has become better or has lessened the earth’s problem, and not a legacy of destruction. One of our concerns, we are told, is power shortage. There is discussion going on as to the cause of power shortage: is it real shortage or power crisis? Or is it caused by management crisis? Or even worse, is it caused by leadership crisis? Study shows that we have surplus power in Panay until 2010. But there would be gradual shortage of power in 2011. You here in Antique with the launching of Villasiga and Guianon—San Ramon Mini Hydro Project are leading the way. Congratulations to your Governor who is also the Chairperson of Regional Development Council, the Honorable Sally Z. Perez. You are one step ahead of a future problem. And
you are using renewable energy, hydro or water, which is environment and people friendly. It is conceived that by harnessing hydro-renewable energy in this project you will have enough electric power to light the entire province of Antique. Together with the investors, you are impacting a legacy for the province. I agree with the sentiments expressed by environmentalists, technical groups, scientists, as well as those in the medical profession. We cannot support those who propose the establishment of coal plants anywhere in Panay as we would be party to the commission of the SOCIAL SIN of polluting our environment and putting at risk the health of our communities. We strongly advocate for sustainable solutions—the harnessing of God-given energy from water, wind and sun. We shall support only those who propose renewable energy projects. Here in Antique water resources are found in the rivers of Sibalom, Valderrama, Tibiao, Culasi and Patnongon. In Panay, God has gifted us with water to harness for electricity in San Joaquin, Igbaras, Lambunao, Maasin, Barotac Viejo, Lemery, Leon, Janiuay and Miag-ao. The big question and challenge is why waste money on importing expensive coals from other countries? Knowing the Fili-
The GK problem and prudent moral choices
AS expected, my first Afterthoughts column last month was not received well by some principals in the controversy over CfC/GK. It elicited “afterthoughts” of their own—but most negative of mine. I would be mad to get involved any further in their quarrel. Still, I can’t help asking that they do not dismiss cavalierly as they are doing the logic of the questions (and the answers) of my Bontoc “philosopher”. All I’d wish them to do now, before consigning me to wherever I am to be consigned, is to answer categorically the same questions he put to me. Only then, I believe, can we have a rational discourse on the controversy without the innuendoes, misreading, fallacious reasoning that are being advanced so far by way of response to that maiden column. Before sending it in to the CBCP Monitor, I
Francisco F. Claver, SJ
tions come directly from profits from contraceptives. Second, it is rash and unjust to label such companies as evil, as if they do not do any good for the community. In all human organizations the capacity for doing good and evil are present and operative. I can call the Church “devil” too if I just focus on the sex abuse committed by clerics, the atrocities of the Inquisition and the Crusades and the destruction of cultures by overzealous missionaries. But I don’t, because I recognize the Church is both sinful and graced. I would also apply the same compassionate consideration to multi-product pharmaceutical companies. Third, single-issue morality, like single-issue politics, ignores the complexity of life and the various factors that should be considered when making a pruAfterthoughts / A6
had asked a professional moral theologian to look at it and see if he had some comments to make from the viewpoint of his expertise. Father Eric Marcelo Genilo, S.J. of the Loyola School of Theology obliged and sent me the following comments—they are well worth quoting at length here: “There are enough references in scripture, the saints and the Church’s social teachings that would support the position that meeting the material needs of the poor is just as urgent and important as meeting spiritual needs. “I would argue against those who criticize GK for taking donations from pharmaceutical companies that are involved in contraceptive production and marketing. First, these companies produce other products and it does not necessarily mean that the dona-
P r o ta g o n i s t of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
IF May is traditionally Mothers’ Month, June is Fathers’ Month. How do single fathers cope being a dad and a mom to his children? A couple of weeks ago, the sharing of a widower, a separated husband, and one whose wife is an overseas worker, brought to us the realities that a growing number of men in our society are experiencing these days. That was something unheard of in the past, when it was the mother taking care of the children and if she is absent, they were passed on to the grandmother or to some aunt. It was indeed very inspiring then to listen to Fernando Mina share his struggles in raising up five children even if his in-laws wanted to take care of them when his wife died. But having trained his two older children to take care of the younger ones was the secret of his ability to cope. No question
Fathers and families: responsibilities and challenges
did not know he had – cooking, home decorating, tutoring, and gardening. All those testimonies were part of this year’s celebration of International Day of Families last May 15. It was organized by the National Committee for the Family and coordinated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Objective was to reaffirm the significant parenting role of fathers as the day’s activities revolved around the theme “Fathers and Families: Responsibilities and Challenges.” The event was in keeping with the UN General Assembly’s Resolution 47/237 passed in 1993 mandating the annual celebration of the International Day of Families every May 15 to emphasize the importance that the international community attaches to families around
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of spoiling them – each one taking responsibilities according to their age. Next sharer was Efren Javier, former seaman. He gave up a good paying job in order to be with his four children. Why? When he separated from his wife, he said he wanted the four kids to be together, not two with him and two with her. Since his wife had no financial capacity to take in the four, the decision was for all to be in his care. The children do visit their mom on a regular basis and the couple sees to it that they do not instill negative impressions of the other spouse in the minds of the children. The last to share was Alexis Bermudes, a professional singer, whose wife is working in Saudi. He claims that caring for their only daughter has truly made him a wholistic person, discovering so many new talents he
Love Life / A6
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Jose B. Lugay
Laiko Lampstand Helping the poorest of the poor during the world food crisis
TODAY’s clergy and lay organizations in the provinces know more about the plight of the poorest of the poor especially those dealing with organized Basic Ecclesial Communities. In areas where calamities occur and donations are coursed through these parishes, they are familiar with the organization and methods of distribution of relief goods and services. With this exposure and experience, the organized parishes with the support of the lay organizations can form the best team to do training for the forthcoming disaster—the devastating world food crisis. The country should be ready to face the increased cost of manufactured goods when the price of fuel oil reaches $200 per barrel in two year’s time. We are now experiencing an increase of gasoline prices of P1.50 per liter per week, an inflation of 9.6 percent and rice and meat prices soaring to levels outside the reach of the poorest of the poor. An ADB study says that for every 10 percent increase in food prices, about 2.3 million more Filipinos fall into poverty. Aside from the food riots in Egypt, Haiti, and African nations, the Japanese fishermen who are known to operate one of the world’s modern fishing fleets have suspended their fishing operations since they can no longer make a profit due to the high cost of fuel. The same problem is now being experienced by our own fishermen who are asking aid from the government. The transport truck drivers of U.K. are also on strike because of increasing transport cost. At the local scene, there is a threat of strike every now and then by our transport buses and jeepneys. The effect of the world food crisis has started in our midst as evidenced by a reported shortage of pork in Masbate and the cost of P50 to P60 per kilo of rice in Mindanao. There are street protests in Cagayan de Oro due to increasing rice prices. Out of the street children’s earnings of P100 per day, P50 is spent for 1 kilo of rice. Some children can no longer go to school. To the poorest of the poor, economic figures have no meaning. What matters most is availability of food to appease their hunger. What can groups like the local parish communities do? While there is still time to organize and prepare for the coming danger—the unbearable hunger of the poorest of the poor, action planning by organized groups should already start. The governments’ subsidy for the poor are many but we are not sure whether these will actually benefit the poor and not go into the pockets of corrupt individuals in connivance with some dishonest local businessmen. The President herself realizes this and that is why she was personally involved in the investigation of the NFA rice hoarders. A corporate management approach will do well for adoption by the Diocese. The Diocesan Pastoral Council or the Diocesan Council of the Laity must now form a Task Force or a Committee on Advocacy for Good Governance to be managed by professionals who can deal directly with government institutions. This group should be composed of experienced leaders probably retirees who will have the time and dedication to study all government executive orders regarding subsidies for the poor and support for food production. The implementing rules in most cases are not followed for many reasons like systems failure, bureaucratic red tape and downright corruption. With the Bishop’s help, the parish-organized groups can access decision makers of the government. These are some published government support systems which the Committee should monitor. They have to interpret and cascade the procedures to selected parishioners who will compose the training teams for the BECs or Parish Social Action Groups: On Rice Subsidy: The National Food Authority imports rice and distribute these to local governments through their local NFA warehouses. The selling price is P18.50 per kilo. While normally this is distributed through local government units, it is possible that through dialogue with local government the parish may be deputized to be one of the outlets for rice distribution. Some of those who are not supposed to get the NFA rice find ways to get them—this should be monitored and reported by the Committee to the Authorities for immediate action. On Electric Power Reduced Rates: There is a new directive that those who consume a maximum of 100 watts daily will have a reduced rate from the Power Company. This should be monitored for its correct implementation On Subsidy for Fertilizers: An amount of P1,500 subsidy for fertilizers is given to farmers—P500 in terms of coupons and P1,000 in cash from the IRA of local government. The farmers must be advised about this and should be helped that they get the full amount and not shared with government fixers. On exemption from income taxes: Senate bill 2293 and House Bill 3971 propose increased exemption for basic wage earners; i.e., adjusting personal and additional exemptions which in effect will increase their take home pay. If passed, the Committee should train them how to save /invest this money for the food crisis alleviation program. The Advocacy for Good Governance Committee should plan on doing communal training and immersion for increased productivity in food production. They should be able to access training modules from groups like the FIELDS group of the Department of Agriculture or the Palayamanan project of former USEC Ernesto Ordonez. The Palayamanan is a program for sustainable agriculture, planting of organic rice, organic-based food production; combining planting of rice with production of other high value products such as vegetables and livestock and promotes biomass recycling. It espouses efficient use of available resources and highlights interconnection between each resource and by-product through modern technologies. The use of scientific principles is essential in achieving greater productivity in all these efforts. The Department of Education has scholarships for poor students and even food support for elementary students in regions rated very poor. Dissemination of all these announcements is necessary. Whatever free time our poor people can allot to listen to broadcast media or television, they prefer the drama series and local movie gossip items. They will not have the time nor interest to interpret government moves to help them during the food crisis. It behooves all those who can help in this intellectual undertaking, like the educated laity, to come and help disseminate these government subsidies coursed through local governments. Let us translate the Bishops’ pastoral letters on social transformation and on curtailing graft and corruption into action. This is a call to the Laity to volunteer their time and talent to the lay apostolate—the Advocacy for Good Governance. For more information contact Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD
AFTER having concluded their respective diocesan consultations for the NRC II, the Daditama Bishops decided to focus on the subregional collated reports for their 3rd quarterly assembly for 2008, held in the Diocese of Digos Pastoral Center in Digos City, last June 4-5, 2008. The Daditama NRC II delegates were also invited to attend in order to help them prepare for the NRC II –Mindanao in Davao City, June 9-12, 2008. The Diocesan Reports indicated that three out of the four dioceses did not fully follow the survey matrix that the national secretariat provided. This was mainly due to the difficulty and lengthiness of the survey matrix, and the shortness of time available to meet the deadline. While the reports of the diocese of Digos, Davao and Mati were relatively short, the one of Tagum was quite extensive because the survey results of their on going assessment of the BECs which are mostly rural, was used. All in all, the Diocesan reports provided a description of the subregion’s rural poverty situation and the responses and initiatives thus far undertaken. Recommendations were proposed that will eventually be brought to the regional congress in Davao City.
Pre-NRC II — Mindanao
the Church in addressing the plight of the poor. The Mati survey results highlighted the continuing threat of Mining in Davao Oriental to the natural environment, sadly noting the changed paradigm of the Indigenous peoples towards mining. For the Digos reports, the problem of poor governance has been repeatedly pointed out, which has aggravated the plight of the rural poor in the province. The DACS research team, in collating the reports, pointed out the value of the description of the situation of rural poverty that came out from the survey. They can serve only as data for reflection, discussion, and indications for further research. They pointed out its weakness, in that much of the data gathered still require validation, in order to come up with accurate generalizations and conclusions. Recognizing the limitations of the process and the results of the research made on rural poverty in Daditama, they are still hopeful, that somehow, in the Regional Congress the almost 200 delegates will come out with relevant and meaningful outputs which we can use later in our continuing struggle with the rural poor. (email me: Daditama_now@yahoo.com.ph)
Dr. Serge Opena of the DACS research office in Davao City, presented their collated report of the Daditama. Naturally the language changed to a more scientific and technical one. In broad strokes Dr. Opena provided the participants of the assembly the signs of hopelessness in rural poverty but at the same time, noting the signs of hope due to initiatives of Government, Church, NGOs, POs in responding and alleviating the plight of the poor. The research team also noted that the partnership and collaboration of Government and the Church institutions have been highly appreciated by the people. Dr. Opena also pointed out a few of the distinctive features of each of the dioceses. The Davao survey results featured the plight of the Indigenous Peoples as the most disadvantaged sector among the rural poor. The fisher-folk are suffering from the deprivation of their usual access to livelihood due to ecotourism and development aggression. They noted that the Tagum experience pointed out the beneficial effect of the close unity of the Local government officials in the development of the Province, as well as, the continuing collaboration of government with
The Hearts of Jesus and Mary
THIS year, many liturgical celebrations have been celebrated earlier than usual—beginning with the Holy Week, the Easter Triduum and continuing on with the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For many that have been used in having the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart in the month of June, it became May 30 this year. And to confound us even further, there is no Memorial of the Immaculate Heart this year since it fell on May 31 which is the Feast of the Visitation. The Biblical Roots of the “Heart” In biblical language the heart is the vital center for life that is specifically human: sense life, the life of the will and intellectual life. For this reason the figurative use of the word is vaster in the Bible than in modern languages. The Bible speaks for instance of thoughts that arise from the heart, of the perverse designs that proceed from the heart, to open the heart of someone in understanding, or to apply the heart, that is attention and will, to something. God scrutinizes the heart, that is, He knows the most intimate movements of a person and his most secret intentions. (The New World Dictionary Concordance to the New American Bible) Let me also quote here an article of Rev. Matthew R. Mauriello: Devotion to the immaculate Heart of Mary is primarily based upon the Sacred Scriptures. In the New Testament, there are two references to the Heart of Mary in the Gospel according to St. Luke: ...”Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart.” (Lk. 2: 19) and “His mother meanwhile kept all these things in her heart.” (Lk. 2:51) In the Old Testament, the heart is seen as the symbol of the depths of the human soul, the center of its choices and commitments. For all mankind, it is a symbol of love. In the Book of Deuteronomy we are told, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Dt. 6:5) When Our Lord Jesus Christ was asked by the scribes, which was the first commandment, he answered them by quoting this
Fr. Melvin P. Castro
Speaking of Mary
devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” The entire Fatima message is one of prayer, penance and making sacrifices and reparation to God for the many offenses against Him. In 1942, the twenty-fifth anniversary of Fatima, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. That same year, he assigned the feast day to August 22, the octave of the Assumption. On May 4, 1944, he extended the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Universal Church. With the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council in 1969, the feast was given a more suitable place on the day following the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That is the Saturday after the second Sunday after Pentecost. The Consecration to the Immaculate Heart Following most specially after the apparitions at Fatima, and the very deep and personal Marian devotion of the Great John Paul II, our contemporary time is a witness to this devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One cannot but think as well of the bronze image of Our Lady and her Immaculate Heart at EDSA in Manila. One year before the EDSA Revolution of 1986, we had our Marian Year with that profound campaign of individual and national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. St. Louis Marie Grignon di Montfort can be considered as the prime proponent of this Total Consecration to Mary. Although he did not mention specifically the term, Immaculate Heart of Mary, it was he who devote his lifetime explaining and expounding on the theology of Consecration to Mary. And because Mary is the one who exemplifies the Perfect Consecration to Christ, our total Consecration to Mary would mean Perfect Consecration to Christ Himself. In effect, therefore, being Consecrated to Mary means being Consecrated to Christ. Totus tuus ego sum Maria et omnia mea tua sunt. I am totally yours O Mary and all that I have is yours. Ave Maria! Ad Jesum per Maria
verse to them. (see Mk. 12:29-31) It was the Heart of Mary which expressed her “yes” to God…This was her response to the message sent through the angel at the Annunciation. By her loving consent, Mary first conceived Christ in her heart and then in her womb. Our Lord Jesus, Himself: when reminded by a woman in the crowd how blessed was the womb which gave birth to Him, responds, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” (Lk. 11:28) Pope John Paul II, in his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, wrote “the mystery of Redemption was formed under the heart of the Virgin of Nazareth when she pronounced her ‘fiat.’” (R.H. #22) Historically, devotion to the Heart of Mary can be traced to the twelfth century with such writers as St. Anselm (d. 1109) and St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) who is considered as one of the most influential writers in Marian devotion. St. Bernardine of Siena (1380- 1444) has been called the Doctor of the Heart of Mary due to his writings on Mary’s heart. He wrote, “from her heart, as from a furnace of Divine Love, the Blessed Virgin spoke the words of the most ardent love.” St. John Eudes (1601-1680) helped by his writings to begin a renewal in this devotion. Both Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X called him, “the father, Doctor, and Apostle of the liturgical cult of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.” Even two decades before the first liturgical celebrations in honor of the Heart of Jesus, St. John Eudes and his followers observed February 8th as the feast of the Heart of Mary as early as 1643. Pope Pius VII (d. 1823) extended its celebration to any diocese or congregation requesting it. Devotion to Mary’s Heart has a greater flowering following the manifestation of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830 and the Appearances of’ Our Lady in Fatima. From May 13 to October 13, 1917, our Blessed Mother Mary appeared to three children, Jacinta and Francisco Marto and their cousin Lucia DosSantos in Fatima, Portugal. On July 13 she told them: “to save poor sinners, God wishes to establish in the world
Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD
By the Roadside
THE skyrocketing fuel and food prices in the Philippines (but especially) and throughout the world are nothing short of alarming. I see not much disagreement on this. It’s a given and governments (which include ours) should, at least, be credited for not sleeping on the job. But the response from the RP government and from ordinary Pinoys has been remarkably a seesaw between creative and cosmetic, between promising and unfulfilled, between original and merely tired, official line of ideas. And may I also add that such response has also been varied but, so far, nothing is yet universally effective or enough. One fruit of the present tree of uncertainty is ‘restlessness’ that most governments wouldn’t want to erupt into chaos or actual wars for food, fuel, safe drinking water and other basic necessities. (Surprise, even we the people wouldn’t want that, too.) I live and minister in rural Philippines, in a town that kind of pretends to be a city (it already is, officially) but we residents know better. For one, we know better than our local government officials are prepared to admit that our ‘city’ woefully lacks basic services other cities simply take for granted (I have no intention to badmouth my hometown but, rather, to tell the truth). My point is that rural and urban Pinoys often have different, at times contrasting, circumstances that could help or impede our common response to this national and global crisis. And yet I see common challenges from this shared human crisis. First off, the challenge to simplicity. For instance, the rising fuel prices urge us to cut down on unnecessary or extra trips or to go back to healthier alternatives, such as biking or walking as means of transportation (more
bors also have the same needs or could help us respond to ours. Nations who help one another out of compassion as well as individuals who discuss and respond to their crises together have a greater chance not only to survive but also to become more human and build a better world. In this sense loving our neighbors as ourselves is both a definition of community and a necessity for the survival of human civilization. Fourth, the challenge to spirituality. The current crisis involving food and fuel should make us humans more acutely aware than we are now of how food and fuel as well as everything else in this life are gifts. Gifts come from givers, from donors. Food and fuel, even if they pass through human hands, ultimately come from the ultimate Source whom we call God. To miss God in whatever crisis we face is to miss the point not only in how best to meet the crisis but also to miss the point in how best to understand life and living. If everything is a gift, then we need to recognize the Giver in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:24-25, 28). The materialism that often characterizes our approach to life should come to see that the truth of the human and earthly condition includes the dimension of God and that matter is also suffused with the reality of his Spirit. Do not our scarcities in material things tell us of how much we need to depend on their Giver? Is not our crisis an invitation to faith? I found it intriguing how a rural parishioner explained to me why there were more people inside the church last Holy Week. “The crisis,” he paused, “has started to wake us up.” No wonder St. Augustine prayed “Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
ideal in rural than in urban Philippines, I admit). The rice scarcity and price crisis also impel us to educate our children more and more on the virtues of abstaining altogether from junk food and soft drinks to save money for rice and/or more nutritious food, with more emphasis on vegetables and fruits (I pray this succeeds as more and more Pinoy kids especially in the rural areas suffer from junk-foodrelated diseases, such as U.T.I., obesity etc.). Alternatives to rice diet, such as the diverse kinds of Pinoy root crops, may not be as popular but should be encouraged for their fiber and other nutrients. Simplicity is beauty; it can also be healthy (to body and spirit). Second, the challenge to explore solutions using local resources. I subscribe to the ancient Chinese description of ‘crisis’ as encompassing both danger and opportunity. It’s obvious how through the media we have been barraged with all sorts of information on the dangers facing us from the fuel and food crisis. But are we just as sharp on our perception of the opportunities it brings? Some Pinoys seem to be, and thankfully so. I’m speaking of a number of our scientists and plain citizens using common sense who till now experiment tirelessly on the infinite possibilities from ecologically clean and renewable sources of energy—the sun, the wind, water, air, the sea, plants, organisms etc. Third, the challenge to a greater sense of community. Every crisis heightens everybody’s survival instincts but not necessarily our humanity. Hoarding food and fuel is quite natural as a recourse when these goods are scarce, as they are now, but also shows how our natural instinct for survival could make us turn inward and forget that our neigh-
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Lay group calls for Church renewal and social transformation
THE Lay Forum Philippines (LFP) called on the laity to respond to Church renewal and social transformation as continuing challenge in its journey with the people’s struggle. In an interview with CBCPNews LFP Ozamiz Chapter Coordinator and Justice and Peace of IntegritySociety of St. Columban Mindanao Nitz Clamonte said late last month about 400 LFP delegates from different dioceses of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gathered in General Santos City to discuss laity’s involvement in the mission of the church and the continuing challenge involved in church renewal and social transformation. Clamonte said the corresponding activities organized by LFP in the past 20 years have become venues for sharing faith-life experiences among the lay people within their network. Such gatherings have become source of inspiration and harnessed support mechanisms for each group. Despite being a loose network of lay people, LFP will continue to serve the Church in its mission of becoming truly a Church for the poor in the third
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Bishop calls for more prayers for CARP extension
CATHOLIC Church leaders across central Luzon have called for prayer to achieve genuine land reform, after the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) expires this month. Senior figures in the Catholic hierarchy have joined members of various farmers’ organizations in calling for days of reflection. They have urged other peasants’ groups to set aside their ideology differences and pray together for the same cause. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo made the call on Tuesday during a concelebrated Mass at the St. Michael’s church inside Malacañang compound to seek divine help on their advocacy. In his homily, Pabillo urged the people to pray particularly for the country’s legislators that they may finally allow CARP extension with reforms. “This is the reason of our celebration now—thanking God for this program that somehow helped a lot of people. And secondly, to seek help that our campaign be heeded and implemented,” he said. “That’s why we also have to pray for our lawmakers and our government,” added Pabillo, who also chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The prelate also said the Mass was held near the Palace “so that our prayers and the call of many people who are still not losing hope could easily reach them (Malacañang officials).” Pabillo said the country could still move forward from its current state, without resorting to violence for force CARP extension. The bishop also did not let go to criticize the government’s failure to fully complete the distribution of the remaining 1.8 hectares of land to about 600,000 to 700,000 farmers. “We know that the program is not perfect, which means the government has its shortcomings… it’s like they are not serious in implementing the program,” Pabillo said. But Pabillo remains optimistic that Congress will hold a special session for CARP extension before its recess on June 13. “God will make a way. We don’t know how he will do it but we should keep following him and continue helping other people who are needy,” he also said. (Roy Lagarde)
millennium. “The main objective of the gathering is to reminisce the past with gratitude, share the present with full of challenges and look for the future with enthusiasm as agents for church renewal and social transformation,” said Clamonte. She further added the 6th National Lay Gathering issued a statement regarding the realities today and the mission it hopes to fulfill in the next few months. In their statement, they said their group encounters internal problems just like any other organization but vowed to pursue its vision and mission statements. Some lay people are afraid to assert their rights as equal partners in the ministry or apostolate. LFP feels deficient in Christian education, particularly in the basic doctrines, theology and social teachings of the church. “We call on the Lay Forum Philippines to be instrumental in establishing and strengthening network among lay people down to the grassroots level, and services that support the needs of the lay workers,” Clamonte concluded. (Wendell Talibong)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Prelate hits plan to submerge brgys for power source
THE bishop of the Prelature of Marawi criticized the proposal of the National Power Company (NAPOCOR) to submerge seven barangays here mostly ricelands to give way to its electric project. Bishop Edwin Dela Peña said the proposal is compromising the welfare of the people as it may result to loss of livelihood and displacement. He added that on top of development, the primary concern must be the wellbeing of the people and not solely the interest of progress.
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Dela Peña said that the Ranaw Pat A’ Pangampong composed of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City and Marawi City is against the proposal to swamp under water the 7 barangays of Baloi. Baloi is a 4th class municipality in the province of Lanao del Norte. It is the home of the Agus IV Hydroelectric Powerplant located in Barangay Nangka, which is 18 kilometers from Iligan City, The Agus IV is the first underground hydroelectric plant in Mindanao and the third in the Philippines located 120 meters below
ground face. The plant is said to be sufficient to power a city more than 12 times the size of Iligan City or to run 20 cement factories. Dela Peña told CBCPNews that he is supporting the clamor of the people here to prevent the implementation of the project. He added that by submerging the 7 barangays it is also tantamount to destroying the seat of power of the Sultanate of Baloi. “If we allow this project to continue we are tolerating the massive destructions to our lands and communities,” said Dela Peña. (CBCPNews)
Malacañang meanwhile reiterated its refusal to lift the expanded value added tax on petroleum products. Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said that the lifting of E-VAT would be counterproductive to the gains from the implementation of economic reforms. President Arroyo recently said that revenue from E-VAT would be returned to the people through various forms of subsidies.
Subsidies as dole-outs
Meanwhile, Iñiguez called on
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the government to address the real cause of poverty in the country and quit on making the poor dependent on dole outs. “I think what should really be done is to be objective about what is really happening and to find solutions that would really mean development for all of us,” he said. Iñiguez, who also chairs the CBCP-Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, clarified that giving subsidy to the poor is needed but should be done in a way that will not cause indolence. He said the government must and shall stop the business of relief to preserve not only the unemployed from destitution but
also to develop self-reliance, courage and determination. “If it’s an emergency, I think subsidy is called for but it cannot be forever. It should just be a palliative means to meet emergency situations,” he added.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the government’s P2-billion subsidy program for four million lifeline consumers to help them pay their bills must be replaced with a more helpful way out. The hefty budget allocation will be distributed to power consumers belonging to the lowest electricity consumption bracket
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with a P500 cash subsidy per household. Pabillo, chairman of the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said long-term solution is far better than “band-aid solutions.” “Why not implement effective solutions that can really help us all? …Like looking for measures to develop our energy resources especially the sustainable energy,” he said. Though he admitted his lack of know-how in the energy industry, the bishop said his only concern is helping the public get out from the burden of high-energy cost.
Sunday (June 8), but were flagged down by armed men. They were not able to return back to the town of Jolo Sunday evening. The Dinampo family believes they could have been kidnapped, though they are yet to establish direct contact with the captors. “We, from the MPC had always felt we are safest in Sulu with Prof. Octa around us. At this time when he has fallen victim of the very violence that he has been trying to overcome, we readily lend our moral support and prayers as we continue to move mountains and hound the heavens for his safety and early release,” read the statement signed by Atty. Mary Ann M. Arnado, the secretary-general of the MPC. “We appeal to the law enforcers and the military to exhaust all peaceful and traditional methods of negotiation in working out the release of the kidnap victims. We also call on our religious leaders from both the Christian and Muslim faiths to extend whatever possible
support. Let this crisis see the strength of our solidarity and dialogue as brothers and sisters in Mindanao,” the communication stated. As a Convenor of the Bantay Ceasefire, Dinampo has exemplified the ideals of active nonviolence and the values of respect, tolerance and dialogue of life and faith. “He has been a gracious and reliable guide of many visitors to Sulu and had consistently protected his visitors even at the risk of his own life,” the MPC statement said. MPC is composed of Dinampo as chairman, Fr. Robert Layson, OMI as co-chairperson; Timuay Melanio Ulama, cochairperson; Atty. Mary Ann Arnado, secretary-general; Ustadz Rahib Kudto, deputy secretary general. The council members are Bae Magdalena Suhat, Bae Lisa Saway, Pastor Reu Montecillo, Cesar Pabro, Rexall Kaalim, Bapa Joe Acmad, Analiza Ugay, Salic Ibrahim and Lannie Panggol. (Mark S. Ventura)
He said the warning of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of an imminent water crisis in Metro Manila alone should be alarming enough for the government to do something. “There is an urgent need, therefore, to secure all watersheds nationwide,” Rosales said in his letter dated May 26. The Church official particularly cited the case of the Marikina watershed, which according to environmentalists, is in grave peril. Rosales, a known environmentalist, noted that the 25,000-hectare watershed had been declared a protected area since 1904 but are still being abused by unscrupulous businessmen and landlords. “With the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Manila, I urge you to once again declare Marikina watershed a protected area and do not allow anyone to declare it alienable and disposable,” the prelate’s letter to Mrs. Arroyo read. He said ensuring the protec-
tion of such watershed is also a guarantee that Metro Manila residents will have access to potable water today and in the future. “On our part, we pledge our support for the regeneration program of the said watershed. We commit to reforest, develop food production area and protect at least 50 hectares a year or at least 20,000 trees planted a year in the said watershed,” he said. Rosales added the Church will also help empower the farmers already working in the area as “stewards of all trees we planted.” Rosales told the President that ensuring the protection of watersheds will be in accordance of the Pope Benedict XVI’s message during the World Water Day last March 22, wherein the pontiff stressed that “access to water is an inalienable right that needs to be protected through change in lifestyle. The Archdiocese of Manila’s Ecology Desk also said that the appeal of Rosales is backed by over 5,000 signatures of Metro Manila residents. (CBCPNews)
dent choice for what is good. To judge the worthiness of a charitable work on the basis of the contraceptive issue alone is like choosing a president based on his or her position on divorce, ignoring important issues like war, corruption, poverty, human rights abuses, and unemployment. Single-issue morality is morality for those with small minds and limited vision. Fourthly, one can point to examples of great men and women who did not shy away from working with sinners in order to do great good for others—Mother Teresa received donations from dictators to help the poor and dying; John Paul II visited Fidel Castro even if Cuba is embargoed by Western nations.” Father Genilo’s ideas need no further commentary. But I would like to dwell a bit here on what he says about the danger of ignoring “the complexity of life and the various factors that should be considered when making a prudent choice for what is good.” His words carry me back to something that happened in Bukidnon during martial law times and that has been a source of lasting inspiration for me personally all these years. It is about our people’s capacity, when given the opportunity and freedom, for making precisely those much-tobe-desired prudent choices in their life as people of faith. A number of times after the imposing of martial law, referendums were held to gauge how the people looked at the new political dispensation that was “the New Society.” The clergy of Bukidnon felt keenly the degrading effect of those phony acts of suffrage, especially in the coercing of people to vote according to “suggested answers”. They decided to come out openly on the occasion of one such referendum in the mid-‘70s with their collective judgment on it and on how they felt our people should act in its regard. They analyzed and commented on three possible options open to us and our people: (1) boycotting the referendum in protest at its farcical nature even in the face of the decree forcing us to take part on pain of imprisonment for failure to vote; (2) participating in the process and voting yes or no freely according to conscience but making sure that our votes would be properly counted and
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reported as cast; and (3) resorting to blank ballots if we felt participation was too debasing or useless, but then we would also have to see to it that those ballots were correctly registered—not an easy thing to do under the menacing and ever present guns of the military. The three options were openly discussed in all of our BECs to the consternation of government officials who had been bidden by Malacañang to produce a yesvote. Because of the people’s vigilance, the counting of ballots at that particular referendum was done rather fairly. The final results were roughly one third yesvotes, another third no, and the last third “spoiled”—these were evidently the blank ballots. Only 200,000 of a total of more than 300,000 registered voters in the province participated in the voting. That meant some 100,000 had boycotted it. Add to this the novotes and the “spoiled” ballots, and the message sent to Malacañang was unmistakable and clear as day. We like to think our people’s action helped put an end to those debasing travesties. What amazed us most, however, were not so much the results of the voting (although they were surprising enough) as the way our people seriously discerned on how they were to conduct themselves in the referendum. A general pattern of action was followed by families: Mothers would participate, fathers would boycott. The rationale was simple: Should the non-participating fathers end up in jail, the voting mothers would be left to take care of the children. That approach had never occurred to the celibate clergy! But they were highly gratified when it happened, for it meant their efforts at helping create communities of faith-discernment and -action were having an effect after all. Ordinary folk evinced then in a most remarkable way the capacity for prudent choice that Father Genilo speaks of. One would wish that that capacity were more in evidence too in the resolving of the CfC-GK problem than is being shown to date; and for that matter, for us, the general population, in regard to the burgeoning ills of the nation—a pressing and hard challenge to our capacity as citizens to make the needed prudent choices.
the world. Ushering in the celebration was a parade around the Quezon City Memorial Circle, honoring fathers with the slogan “MAABILIDAD SI DAD.” In a show of support, Pro-Life staff members and their invited friends joined the parade with about 200 fathers from the DSWD and other member-agencies and organizations of the National Committee on Filipino Family. A Forum on the role of fathers was held after the parade
wherein the three shared their stories. The participants agreed that the event was very touching and inspiring and that activities of this kind should be held more often and in other places all over the country. It is about time that men are recognized for their fathering and not only for their careers. If you would like to invite speakers on Fatherhood and Responsible Parenting, call Pro-life at 911-2911. Counselors are also available at that number.
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
The installation proceeded after the Holy Mass. Adams and Commission on Higher Education Commissioner Nona Ricafort assisted De la Rosa in wearing the collar. Fr. Pablo Tiong, O.P. and Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Prof. Clarita Carillo handed the mace to De la Rosa. In his acceptance speech, De la Rosa sprinkled hilarity as he describe himself “biodegradable,” referring to his not-so-new position. “In the very real sense, I am not new in this position. If I may say, I am recycled and biodegradable,” De la Rosa said. “Sometimes it’s hard to be a rector because you are praised for graces you have not done and blamed for mistakes you have not committed.” He thanked specifically his predecessors Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P. and Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P. who was not in the event, the alumni as “they embody the struggle for truth and beauty,” the Varsitarian of whom he was a staffer during his days, and his relatives—brothers and sisters and his foster parents Nanay Oya and Tatay Bernie. He asked the Thomasian community for help as he goes along
De La Rosa installed UST rector
LEADING Asia’s oldest university in its quadricentennial celebration, Rev. Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P. was installed as the 95th rector of the University of Santo Tomas last June 10, 2008 in a Eucharistic celebration held at the Santissimo Rosario Church. The Eucharist was presided by Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, co-celebrated by Prior Provincial Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, O.P. and de la Rosa himself. Adams, who officially opened the academic year of UST, in his homily, asked the audience to pray for faith as a new year opens. “We need faith,” Adams said. “It is time to reflect about faith for we don’t know what we ask for. It is not unusual for us to be confused. Faith and the lack of it alternate in us that is why we seek the Lord to increase our faith.” The mass drew an audience to a near thousand from the Dominican priests, the UST Board of Trustees, de la Rosa’s family, the Academic Senate—the council of the deans—UST Hospital administrators, de la Rosa’s guests, administrative officials of the University, faculty members and students.
leading UST towards 2011 and for the support of the Thomasian community in order for him to hand down to the next rector a UST which is more socially-significant and economically-stable. “Many things may happen without our intention and consent. Pray for me,” De la Rosa
said. He also noted how “UST is truly imbued with unending grace,” when it survived nearly 400 years of which he said that the University has not only survived but prevailed. He also said that UST will never sever its ties with the Catholic Church “as it
continuously strive for excellence.” De la Rosa, who served two consecutive terms as the University rector from 1990 to 1998, will be leading the University once again until 2012, a year after UST marked its 400th celebration. Before he was installed as Rector,
he served as Acting Rector for nine months after Arceo obediently resigned under the directive of Master of the Order Fr. Carlos Azpiroz-Costa due to its struggle concerning the separation of the UST Hospital as one separate entity. (John Constantine G. Cordon)
Missionary priest says Church alive in Muslim communities
EVEN if Catholics here are considered a minority, the parish priest of Our Lady of Peace in Malabang, Lanao del Sur said that the Catholic Church is still alive and persevering. Fr. Efren “Peng” Reyes of the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ), parish priest, said the Catholics are persistent in their faith especially in thrashing all odds and struggles brought about by their being a minority. “The parishioners are actively participating in the parish activities. We also have enough numbers during Sunday masses and we have already maintained a support system from them especially in our projects,” Reyes told CBCPNews in an interview. Reyes added that in nearly 60 years since Catholicism existed in Malabang there are
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Diocesan news briefs
Catholic schools convene to upgrade programs
TUGUEGARAO City—Administrators and teachers from 16 Catholic schools here convened for a two-day seminar on June 2 to 3 to upgrade and standardize the common programs for diocesan schools. The event, attended by nearly 50 participants, was aimed to synergize efforts for a quality youth education. (Felina Lagasca, FSP)
already changes that can be attributed to the presence of Catholics in the area. By rough estimation, Malabang has a total of 6,000 Catholics. The 2000 census showed that the municipality of Malabang has a population of 33,177 people in 4,883 households. The birth of Catholicism in this principally Muslim-dominated community has helped a lot especially in terms of the flourishing education, business and economics, the struggle for justice and peace, formation and total human development, said Reyes. “The Christian communities have developed not only spiritually and morally but also contributed so much in the progress of the community,” he added.
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Reyes said that Catholics here more than anything else are grateful to the Blessed Mother who is the patroness of the place. “They have been through a series of persecutions but they persisted, they survived and lived up to the ideals of being a Catholic Church in this Muslim dominated area,” said Reyes. The parish will celebrate its 60th parochial fiesta and anniversary this coming January 24, 2009. They have earlier launched the celebration last January 24 and every month prior to the fiesta celebration there are scheduled build-up activities. “We are hoping for more fruitful years for Catholics in this part of Mindanao,” ended Reyes. (Mark S. Ventura)
Bishop to ordain 8 new priests
SAN PABLO, Laguna— Bishop Leo Drona will ordain eight new priests at the St. Paul The First Hermit Cathedral on June 20. The deacons who will be ushered to priesthood are Richard Buenaventura, Jason Caballes, Manuel Labing, Clifford Miras, Christian Cletus Nalda, David Reyes, Rico Villareal and Celso Gaela. (Roy Lagarde)
Bishop heads summit on climate change
NAGA City—Newly-appointed Libmanan bishop Jose Rojas Jr. was named chairman of the Camarines Sur Summit on Climate Change set to be held soon, saying he has both knowledge and experience to lead the summit to appropriate conclusions. “A church leader like Bishop Rojas will assure everyone of the needed community support,” said Naga City Councilor Julian Lavadia Jr. (Elmer Abad)
Bishop Jose Oliveros
said. The Malolos bishop said it would “not be contrary to the nature of man” to use biotechnology “because we are created by God with a mind that can improve nature.” “That’s a principle that can be used in allowing the use of biotechnology,” Oliveros said. But the bishop clarified the biotechnology advocates cannot yet rejoice until the Pope issues the official statement in June. He said unless the Vatican says otherwise, the CBCP’s stand against biotechnology in the country will stay.
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Oliveros said the Church’s concern on the proper implementation of the regulations on biotechnology products is always there to ensure their safety for humans, animals and the environment. The CBCP official recently declared his willingness for a dialogue with advocates and stakeholders of biotechnology. He stressed a dialogue will enlighten all stakeholders and even anti-biotechnology and anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) groups must be invited to such a discussion. Last week, Oliveros already met with officials of the Department of Agriculture—Biotechnology Program Office to discuss updates on biotechnology projects. The Vatican’s support for biotechnology would be a major boon for those claiming GMO technology can help protect crops and increase yields, boost the stability and size of the world’s food supply. Others in the U.S., Europe and Asia who were previously neutral or opposed to biotechnology are also reconsidering their stances in the face of a growing world population and tight food supplies. (CBCPNews)
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Peace education not new in Lanao
MARAWI City—While some groups are still working for the implementation of peace education in school curriculum, this project has long been implemented in the province of Lanao del Sur. Bishop Edwin dela Peña said this has already been implemented in the academe here with great emphasis on dialogue of life and faith. (Melo Acuña).
New Manaoag shrine rector named
MANAOAG, Pangasinnan—Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz installed Fr. Gallardo Bombase as the new prior and rector of the famous National Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag on May 31. He succeeds Fr. Patricio Apa, OP. (Melo Acuña)
Mindanao bishops during the opening liturgy of the Mindanao-wide Regional Rural Congress held at REMASE, Catalunan Grande, Davao City.
Picardal, Dean of Academics of the St. Alphonsus Theologate in Davao City said, the priest should take the lead to make catechism in their respective parishes renewed, creative and lively. He said that there are a number of Catholics who frequently attend Sunday masses and even support Church-related activities and projects but do not know much about the catechism of the Church. He also invited priests to learn pastoral leadership and management. Picardal explained that pastoral work includes the liturgical life, catechesis and evangelization, preaching method and the social action or social apostolate. (Mark S. Ventura)
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will implement the bilateral agreement. The treaty does not involve financial support from the Vatican but the Philippine government will help with the research and funding. Among those who witnessed the ceremony were Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, CBCP-Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church chairman Bp. Julito Cortes, National Historical Institute Deputy Executive Director Emelita Almosara and Commissioner Carmen Padilla of UNESCO’s Culture Committee. (CBCPNews)
Catalunan Grande, Davao City. The congress is one of the five regional congresses intended by the bishops at the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Plenary Assembly in January 2008. The other regional congresses are for Luzon North, Luzon South, Western Visayas, Central and Eastern Visayas. The Mindanao-wide regional rural congress constitutes Phase Two which to all purposes is the substantive part of the Second National Rural Congress (NRC2). The Phase I was from January to March 2008 in two parallel tracks. First, Diocesan consultations on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) in rural development conducted by the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), and the offices for BECs and Indigenous People. Second were the sub-regional consultations on rural poor sectors and rural issues conducted by the Philippine-Misereor partnership (PMP), the Association of Major Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) and the Rural Poor Solidarity (RPS) coalition of non-government and people’s organizations. During this 4-day congress, the consolidated reports of Phase One will be presented and discussed. Participating dioceses and delegates from basic rural sectors and non-government organizations (NGOs) will also focus on localized issues and action plans. In a communiqué, it stated that the task of the Church during the congress is to assist the rural poor in their plans. The reason was the heavy realization that the rural parts of the country were the
most neglected by both the government’s development programs and the Church’s pastoral care. The Executive Committee (Execom) of this year’s congress are composed of Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable, Cotabato City Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Fr. Pedro Lamata of Davao City, Arvie Sandalo and Digos Vicar General Msgr. John Macalisang. Afable, who heads the Execom, is optimistic that the congress will help address the issues confronting the basic sectors today. The Philippine bishops are adopting a See-Judge-Act methodology in convening the Second National Rural Congress this July, which has five objectives: 1) To describe the current situation of various sectors of the rural poor; 2) To describe the role of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) and church-based programs in rural development; 3) To review the impact of key social legislation and to engage government agencies in the implementation of ongoing social reform programs under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA), etc.; 4) To apply the Social Teachings of the Church to the concrete problems of Philippine rural society and to arrive at recommendations and action plans; and 5) To collate and disseminate research findings through media channels, and to promote continuing dialogue among local churches, NGOs and academe in the social transformation of rural—as well as urban poor communities. (CBCPNews)
Lack of funding stops confab on culture
PAGADIAN City—The planned conferences of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Culture in Luzon and Visayas was temporarily put on hold due to financial limitations. ECC chair and Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar, CSsR said the problem could have been addressed if only their funding proposal to an international agency will be approved. (Wendell Talibong)
Diocese forms bodies to check on interfaith problems
PAGADIAN City—The Catholic Church here and an inter-faith forum has started organizing committees to focus on specific problems faced by Christians, Muslims and lumads (indigenous peoples). Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar said the committees will focus on illegal gambling, human rights violations and mining in the diocese. (Wendell Talibong)
BBC adopts Lipa chapter
LIPA City—The Bishops-Businessmen Conference has adopted a chapter in Lipa City in Batangas province for the BBC’s general assembly this July. Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said he is “very grateful that our businessmen responded to my call to join us in serving the poor of our Metropolitan Province.” The said local BBC chapter was the latest of Arguelles’ projects. (Fr. Nonie Dolor)
Prelate warns vs. fake solicitation letters
SURIGAO City — A Mindanao-based bishop warned residents in Metro Manila recently against a racket involving solicitations allegedly by the Church and Church groups for flood victims of Cagniog village. Surigao bishop Antonieto Cabajog denied sending such letters of solicit ation to prominent Catholics in the diocese and other parts of the country. (Melo Acuña)
New ordained missionary from the South
HIMAMAYLAN City— Kabankalan Bishop Patricio Buzon has ordained a priest Bembolio De Los Santos of the Society of African Missions at the Our Lady of Snows Church here last May 14, 2008. The occasion was attended by various diocesan and religious priests, brothers and lay people. (Michael Brian Acedas)
Church steps up drive to decongest jails in Negros
BACOLOD City—The Diocese of Bacolod has stepped up its drive to decongest city and provincial jails in time for the diocese’s jubilee celebration. Bishop Vicente Navarra said they have volunteers visiting jail facilities in the province and working for the release of prisoners who “deserve” to be released. (Melo Acuña)
Photo courtesy of Paul Dimerin, The Varsitarian
People, Facts & Places
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Siena College to Markings celebrate 50 years of service
SIENA College Quezon City (SCQC), run by Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, is set to celebrate its 50 years of service next year. During the current school year 2008-2009, the college is going to launch preparatory year for the grand celebration next year, according to Sr. Estrella T. Gangan, OP, college president and director for academic services. On the occasion of golden jubilee, a grand alumni homecoming of batches 1960 to 2005 graduates will be held on July 26, 2009, said alumni affairs coordinator, Mrs. Judith Paliza. The school will choose 50 outstanding alumni based on the different categories and services like government-community service, management and entrepreneurship, education, marketing, arts, economics, church service, and others. Board topnotchers will also be presented awards of recognition. True to its task “to participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church by proclaiming Jesus,” the Congregation has zealously established schools throughout the country and abroad. Siena College has committed itself to the task of continuing with consistent efforts the work of development and improvement of quality Christian education that brings to fruition its vision, mission and goals. (Santosh Digal)
APPOINTED. Monsignor Bernardito C. Auza as Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, elevating him to the dignity of archbishop, by Pope Benedict XVI; May 8, 2008. A native of Talibon, Bohol, Msgr. Auza was born in 1959 and attended his early seminary training at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Tagbilaran City. He completed his theological studies at the Pontifical University of Sto. Tomas Central Seminary, and was ordained priest in 1985. He entered the diplomatic service a year after his ordination. Prior to his appointment, Msgr. Auza was First Counsellor of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. The new nuncio has also been designated Titular archbishop of Suacia. Msgr. Auza is the fourth Filipino appointed to the post by the Vatican. APPOINTED. Rev. Father Joseph Amangi, Nacua, OFMCap (Capuchin), as new Bishop of Ilagan, Isabela, by Pope Benedict XVI; June 10, 2008. Bishop-elect Nacua, parish priest of San Isidro Labrador Parish, Zamboanga Sibugay of the Prelature of Ipil, prior to his appointment; takes the place of Bishop Sergio L. Utleg, who was Bishop of Ilagan for nine years, and now the head of the Diocese of Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Born in Mankayan, Benguet on January 5, 1945, Bishop-elect Nacua studied Philosophy at St. Anthony’s School of Philosophy in Kerala, India. He completed his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Pamplona, Spain. He was ordained priest on June 27, 1971 in General Santos City. His previous assignments include serving as Guardian Rector of Lipa Seminary and director of Capuchin novices. He also served as Capuchin’s definitor and provincial minister before he was finally appointed as general definitor. APPOINTED. Rev. Father Gerardo Alimane Alminaza, 49, as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Jaro and Titular bishop of Massimiana of Bizacena; by Pope Benedict XVI, May 29, 2008. Bishop-elect Alminaza was Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary of the Diocese of Bacolod prior to his appointment as Auxiliary bishop of Jaro. Ordained to the priesthood on April 29, 1996, Fr . Alminaza finished his Philosophy studies at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Bacolod and Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Central Seminary of the University of Sto. Tomas. He took postgraduate studies at New York’s Fordham University and obtained his doctoral degree in Educational Management at the University of Negros Occidental, Bacolod City. Among his previous assignments include serving as Parochial Vicar of the Parish of St. Francis Xavier in Kabankalan. He also served as Dean of Studies, then Spiritual Director of the Sacred Heart Seminary and Chairman of the Commission on Clergy of the Diocese of Bacolod. APPOINTED. Fr. Jose Cecilio “Jojo” Magadia, SJ, as the new Provincial of the Philippine province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), May 9, 2008. Fr. Magadia, former Rector and Formator of Loyola House of Studies prior to his appointment, succeeds Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, who was appointed General Councilor and Regional Assistant for East Asia and Oceania. Born in December 19, 1960, Fr. Magadia entered the Jesuits in 1980 and graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1985 with a degree in Philosophy. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1991. He holds a doctoral degree in Political Science (Major in Comparative Politics, Minor in Political Theory) from Columbia University. Among his previous assignments include teaching English at Xavier University High School; serving as parish priest in Mabuhay, Zamboanga del Sur; and Associate Dean of Ateneo de Manila University. ORDAINED. Rev. Nunilon Arnold F. Bancaso, Jr., Rev. Ricardo T. Bismonte, Rev. Arnold B. Bolima, Rev. Denver B. Tino, to the Order of Deacons, June 10, 2008; at the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Naga City; Rev. Franklin S. Navera, to the Order of Deacons, June 11, 2008, at Nuestra Señora De la Soledad Parish, Tambo, Buhi, Camarines Sur; Rev. Neil A. Bengosta, to the Order of Deacons, June 12, 2008, at St. Teresa of Avila Parish, San Vicente, Baao, Camarines Sur; Rev. Joe-Nelo P. Penino, to the Order of Deacons, June 14, 2008, at St. Joseph Parish, San Jose, Camarines Sur; by Most Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P. D.D., archbishop of Caceres. CELEBRATED. Jay J. Aguilar, Archieleneus Carmelius Angelus T. Llano, Manuel D. Reyes, Jr., and Anthony Joseph C. Viray, first profession of the religious vows in the Society of St. Paul, June 1, 2008; at St. Paul Novitiate Chapel, San Fernando, Pampanga. ORDAINED. Cleric Rogelio Magbanua, SSP, to the Order of Deacons, June 14, 2008; at St. Paul Seminary Foundation, Silang, Cavite, with Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, Auxiliary bishop of Antipolo, as ordaining prelate. CELEBRATING. Fr. Antonio A. Mangahas, Jr. and Fr. Rene A. Mangahas of the Diocese of Cabanatuan, 25 th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination, June 20, 2008. The two priests are brothers who were ordained on the same date in 1983. They will celebrate their silver jubilee together with a thanksgiving Mass at the College of the Immaculate Conception Chapel, Cabanatuan City.
Baguio youth holds local prelude to WYD
AS a fitting prelude to the 23rd World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia next month, youth organizations here have gathered for a weeklong fellowship of dynamic talks and worship last May 27 to 31. Themed “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent,” the five-day gathering was held at the San Pablo Major Seminary in Crystal Cave, Baguio City. It was highlighted by the 9th Breviarian Big Tent Festival sponsored by a community of youth leaders who called themselves “Breviarians,” which traces from the “Liturgy of the Hours.” According to the Breviarians, the Big Tent Festival took its inspiration from the Old Testament times when the Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years after being released from Egyptian captivity—during which, their faith in God were tested time and again until it was ripe for them to enter the Promised Land.
The tents, as reminders of no-permanency, are meant to recall the timeless messages of Sacred Scripture. It has been a tradition of the Breviarians to host the yearly youth event as part of its com-
mitment to serve fellow young people by gathering as many youth as possible from different parishes and Christian communities to train and bring out the leader in them in the light of the Catholic Faith. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
DOPIM holds two-day catechists confab
THE Archdiocese of Ozamiz hosted a twoday DOPIM (Dipolog-Ozamiz-PagadianIligan-Marawi) Catechists Coordinators’ Conference which began June 2 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Baliangao, Misamis Occidental. In an interview with CBCPNews, Ozamiz Archdiocesan catechist coordinator Cora Malines said that only five catechists’ coordinators attended their archdiocesan meeting from the archdiocese, three dioceses and one prelature. Pagadian Bishop Most Rev. Emmanuel T. Cabajar, CSsR. who serves as bishop-incharge of DOPIM catechesis presided the meeting and the evaluation of the previous DOPIM catechetical summer institute held last April 1 to 15 and May 1 to 15 at MOVERS for PEACE, Banadero district in Ozamis City. “I want the DOPIM to look at this and to find parents who are willing, able and capable to undergo formation in order to become efficient catechists,” Cabajar said. The DOPIM Catechists Coordinators recommended that for the succeeding catechetical summer institutes they must look for the best possible and available resource persons. “We challenged the dioceses concerned and the parish priests if they are really interested in the program, because if they are willing they must send delegates every summer institute. DOPIM must reflect on how committed we are in forming serious, efficient and capable catechists,” Cabajar concluded. (Wendell Talibong)
Palo Archdiocese opens Jubilee songwriting tilt
THE Archdiocese of Palo opened the most awaited Silver Jubilee Songwriting Competition to all musicians, songwriters, and composers in the archdiocese. Organized as one of the features of the archdiocese’s 25th year anniversary, the event aims to encourage the faithful to explore their God-given gifts in songwriting by creating songs of praises of God. Nine local lyricists and composers qualified for the Competition night that was be held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Conference Hall in Ormoc City last June 9. The 1st prize winner brought home P25,000; 2nd prize winner P15,000; and 3rd prize P7,500. Six consolation prize winners received P2,000 each while the Best Performer got P3,000. The winning entry will become the official theme song of the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Archdiocese of Palo, now under the stewardship of Archbishop Jose Palma. Based on the guidelines and mechanics set by the Competition Committee chaired by Fr. Isagani Petilos, who also heads the Archdiocesan Pastoral Action Secretariat, all of the song entries submitted for the competition have become the property of the Archdiocese of Palo. The following were named finalists, along with the respective composer/lyricist: Pagrayhak Kita by Dan Margallo/Kim Margallo of Palo, Leyte; Journey as One by Junjie Palacio of Cogon, Ormoc City; For God is with Us by Uldarico Gacutno/ Mae Cathreen Franz Abeto of Sagkahan, Tacloban; The Wonder of Love by Kim Margallo; This is the Time by Diosdado Lesiguez of V&G Subdivision, Tacloban City; Ha Imo La Ginoo by Ronnan Christian Reposar of Palo, Leyte; Malaumong Awit by Fatima Bonbon of LIDE Isabel, Leyte; A Great Jubilee by Archie Lesiguez of V&G, Tacloban City; and Come, Let us Celebrate by Rodel Aguirre of San Joaquin, Palo, Leyte. (Roy Lagarde)
Ten bishops, (including 5 from the Philippines, standing 4th from right: Bishop Marlo Peralta, Archbishop Ernesto Salgado, Bishop Romeo Lazo, Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, and Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, 7th from lef t; seated, 5th from left, Bishop Emilio Marquez), 13 women and two priest-theologians representing six Asian countries discussed and reflected the role of the bishop in pastoral care to women in a five-day meeting held at the Redemptorist Centre in Pattaya, Thailand last May 12-16.
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Mystery, Communion and Mission for the Churches in Asia
In the context of tragic massive poverty in Asia and of its rich and varied cultures and religious traditions, the mystery of Divine Mercy resonates deeply with Asian peoples. Divine Mercy calls Asian Catholics to communion with God, with other Asian peoples, and with the rest of creation. It calls all disciples of the Lord to tell the story of Jesus to Asia: Jesus, the Compassion of God, is our Lord and Savior!
By Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I.
THE Mystery of Divine Mercy—Asian Dimensions We all know that God’s compassion, mercy and love embraces everyone with absolutely no exception. But from the Scriptures we also know of a special category of people to whom God demonstrates an especially benevolent love—namely the poor (see for example Ps. 41: 1-2; 69: 32-34; 72: 12-14; 113: 7-9 ; Is. 25: 4). In the Old Testament, they were the widows, orphans, strangers (see for example Ps. 68: 5-6). How often God demanded of his chosen people to take care of widows, orphans, and strangers in their midst and meted reward or punishment accordingly (see Ex. 22: 20-24; Jb. 29: 12-13; Is. 10: 1-2; Ez. 22: 6-8; Mal. 3: 5)! These represent all those who were poor and needy, those seemingly without any rights, those deprived of economic security and had less access to the goods of society. In the New Testament, God sends not just prophets to call sinners to repentance and salvation. He sent his own beloved Son to live among us, to forgive sins and bring sinners back to God his Father. The characteristic saving way of Jesus with those who were considered sinners by others and deprived of God’s spiritual blessings is his reaching out to them, his presence among them, and his forgiving them (see for example Mk. 2: 15-17; Lk. 5: 29-32 ; 7: 32-35). Remember the three parables of God’s mercy in Lk. 15: the lost sheep, the lost drachma, and the prodigal son. The concluding words of the three parables describe the joy of the compassionate God over sinners who repent: Rejoice with me for what was lost is found! As God’s merciful love is directed in a special way to the poor, so a relationship of love with God depends very much on how one treats the poor, those without adequate food, clothes, health and shelter (see Mt. 25: 31-36; Jas. 1:27; 2: 5). In the Asian situation of massive poverty and insecurity the mystery of Divine Mercy resonates greatly with Asians. We are a continent of the poor. Two thirds of the world’s poor live in Asia. They live in tragic deprivation of basic material goods. Many Asians die of ordinary illness because they do not have adequate food and access to medicines and medical treatment. They can hardly send their children to school. They spend the savings of a lifetime in order to be able to send a member of the family abroad to work for the sake of the family. Without material resources and political power, Asia’s teeming millions place their trust in the Divine Mercy. Whatever the divine name might be for the many different Asian religious traditions, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews and indigenous peoples with their own natural religions Asians invoke divine mercy. They put their trust in Divine Mercy. In the midst of life’s tribulations and trials they have no one else to trust in but the Divine Mercy. They thirst and hunger for God. Asians flock to various religious shrines in search of divine healing. There they take refuge and consolation in the serenity of God’s presence in the midst of daily hardship and suffering. They travel far and wide for advice and healing from priests, other holy people, gurus and sages who are reputed to be healers and instruments of grace. They tell stories of wonderful marvelous cases of Divine Mercy, and especially of liberation from sinfulness. In the light of this tremendous thirst and hunger for Divine Mercy and in the context of massive poverty and deprivation as well as of varied cultures and religious traditions, Divine Mercy has caught the imagination of Asians. There is no doubt that in Asia the devotion to the Divine Mercy is the fastest growing devotion. Diocesan, regional, national Congresses on Divine Mercy have been held in various countries. Divine Mercy Calls to Communion The thirst and hunger for Divine Mercy as well as the experience of God’s compassion for the poor and needy impel us to communion, to be in solidarity with God, with other Asian peoples particularly the poor, and with all creation. In the Gospel stories when Jesus heals people from their physical ailments he tells them to go and sin no more (see Mt. 9: 1-8; Mk. 2: 1-12; Lk. 5: 7-26; Jn. 5: 1-17), to be just, and to rejoice in the wonderful work of Divine Mercy that they have been part of. They are called to reconciliation and solidarity with God and with their neighbor. They are called to give thanks and be true believers in word and deed. For this reason Asian disciples of Jesus have to celebrate and live their blessings of mercy and compassion from God. How are we to do this? By building bridges of communion and solidarity with others. How imperative this is for Asians! Asia has always been known as a land of ancient spirituality. Here the major ancient religions were born. Jesus himself was Asian. He was born in Asia. He suffered and died in Asia. He rose from the dead in Asia. Peoples from other continents flock to Asia to search for spiritual serenity, peace and harmony. But how ironic it is that Asia has become the arena of conflict and war, of division and contestation due to culture, ethnicity, and religious radicalism! Economic and political power, minority and majority relationships apparently play a great role in such conflicts. We are also deeply aware of the traditional closeness of Asian peoples, especially of the millions of indigenous and tribal peoples, to the environment and to all of God’s creation. Yet now we also observe the gradual but long-term destruction of the Asian environment for short term economic gains. Such destruction, disharmony and unpeace, gravely offend the deep Asian sense of religiosity and spiritual harmony. The call of Divine Mercy to unity and solidarity—communion—is particularly poignant, powerful and peMystery / B2
Explanation and Defense of the Directives of Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to the Gawad Kalinga of the Couples for Christ
By Most Rev. Gabriel V. Reyes, D.D.
I AM writing this in connection with what Bishop Francisco Claver wrote in his column “Afterthoughts” in the May 12-25, 2008 issue of the CBCP Monitor. In effect, what he says in that column regarding the Couples for Christ controversy is against the directives issued by Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to the CFC under Mr. Jose Tale with Gawad Kalinga as one of its ministries. The directives are first, that Gawad Kalinga should go on with its work but it should correct the “over-emphasis on the social work” at the expense of evangelization and spiritual formation of the family and second, that Gawad Kalinga should stop receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives. That column is also against the guidance of the late Alfonso Cardinal Trujillo, the former President of the Pontifical Council for Family and Life regarding receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives, some of which are abortifacient. The column also goes against the guidance given by the CBCP Commission for the Laity during its dialogue with the two conflicting groups of CFC on August 28, 2007. The guidance was first, that the CFC under Mr. Jose Tale with Gawad Kalinga as one of its ministries will correct its too much stress on social action at the expense of spirituality and evangelization, thus veering away from the nature and purpose of CFC, second, that Gawad Kalinga will stop receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives. It is good to explain clearly what the directives really mean. When Cardinal Rylko asked the CFC under Mr. Jose Tale to correct mistakes in the Gawad Kalinga, he did not say that they should stop the work of Gawad Kalinga. Gawad Kalinga is good. It should go on. What he only said is that they should correct some mistakes in it. The same with the guidance of the CBCP Commission for the Laity. The Commission said that Gawad Kalinga is good and praiseworthy and it should go on but it should correct some mistakes which make it veer away from the nature and purpose of CFC and from the statutes of CFC which were approved by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The first directive of Cardinal Rylko is that Gawad Kalinga should “not over-emphasize social work.” What is implied here is that Gawad Kalinga should not over-emphasize social work at the expense of evangelization and on-going spiritual formation of the family. The family that is meant here is first of all the families of the CFC members themselves who are doing social work in Gawad Kalinga. Gawad Kalinga is a ministry of CFC and most of the workers in Gawad Kalinga are CFC members. The Statutes of Couples for Christ, in No. 2 Vision and Mission, says: 2:1 “…CFC is called to bring families back to the plan of God. It is called to bring the Lord’s strength and light to those who are struggling to be truly Christian families in the modern world.” 2:2 “Couples for Christ works for family renewal at various levels— the individual, the family, the larger community.” Some CFC Couples have told me that because of their work in Gawad Kalinga they have no more time for their own prayer meeting where they
Explanation / B7
By Fr. Jaime Achacoso, J.C.D. B.
I HAVE always been edified by the availability of our parish priest and his assistant parish priest to celebrate a funeral Mass for the people of our parish who pass away. Even if at times the priests are not able to accompany the burial entourage to the cemetery, the relatives of the faithful departed are always consoled by the Funeral Mass and prayers that our priests piously celebrate in the Church betions for the celebration of the funeral rites: (1) the house, (2) the church and (3) the final burial place. Thus, depending on the availability of the priest, any one of the three stations can constitute a full funeral rite. In big cities, for example, with the time required to go to the memorial park which are usually in the suburbs, it is quite alright (and in fact usual) for the funeral rite to be limited to the church.
Thus, Canon Law declares an old decree of the former Sacred Congregation of the Council strictly commands that ecclesiastical burial be accorded all the baptized, except when they have been expressly deprived of such by the Law. (S.C. of the Council, Instruction, 12.I.1924, in AAS 16 (1924), p.189. Cf. CIC 1917, cc.1239 & 1240.). Furthermore, the general obligation of the Church to provide the ecclesiastical funeral is specified as one of the special duties of the parish priest by c.530: The their baptism. §3. In the prudent judgment of the Local Ordinary, ecclesiastical funeral rites can be granted to baptized members of some non-Catholic church or ecclesial community, unless it is evidently contrary to their will and provided their own minister is unavailable. Can anyone be denied an Ecclesiastical Funeral? Can.1184 enumerates a series of subjects to be denied ecclesiastical funeral: ence to the Catholic Church), heretics (those who publicly renounce adhesion to a specific dogma of the Catholic Church) and schismatics (those who publicly renounce communion with the Church through its visible head who is the Pope). Such persons are in fact publicly expressing a will contrary to an ecclesiastical funeral, and the Church is just respecting such a will. The logic of this norm becomes even clearer when we keep in
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
condition is not verified, therefore, an ecclesiastical funeral should not be denied. Sometimes, however, the verification of these conditions is not so easy either because the objective (manifest) situation of sin may not always coincide with the subjective conscience (guilt) of the subject, or the danger of scandal may be attenuated through adequate instruction of the faithful. Hence, the Code provides that in case of doubt, the Local Ordinary is to be consulted; and his judg-
The right to a church funeral
fore the actual burial. At times I have seen our parish priest go through this even during hectic holy week schedule or during our fiesta, when obviously there are many other activities requiring his presence. Is he doing this because of some strict obligation or is he just naturally kind? On the other hand, I also remember reading sometime ago that somewhere in Luzon a known Mason was denied ecclesiastical funeral by the Bishop. What does Canon Law say about this? What is a Church Funeral? By a Church funeral technically referred to as ecclesiastical funeral rites or collectively just ecclesiastical funeral is understood the sacred rites celebrated and suffrages offered by the Church to implore spiritual help in favor of the faithful on the occasion of their death. They are considered not only as private prayers but as liturgical actions of the Church itself (cf. c.837, §1). They correspond to what in the old Code of Canon Law of 1917 was referred to as an ecclesiastical burial a term, on the other hand, which was considered too narrow by the framers of the new Code, as it tended to limit its scope to the actual interment. The new Code of Canon Law establishes the juridic nature of the ecclesiastical funeral aside from its obviously theological and pastoral dimensions by regulating it in a series of canons (cc.1176-1185). In general terms, the Code establishes its contents in c.1176, §2: Through ecclesiastical funeral rites the Church asks spiritual assistance for the departed, honors their bodies, and at the same time brings the solace of hope to the living; such rites are to be celebrated according to the norms of liturgical laws. Thus, they have a threefold aim: 1) to gain spiritual help for the faithful departed, 2) to honor their memory and their mortal remains, and 3) to give the solace of hope to the bereaved living. On the other hand, the Ritual for Christian Funeral (Cf. Ordo Exequiarum, 15.VIII.1969) the main source of the norms of liturgical laws alluded to by c.1176, §2 goes into the specific details of the ecclesiastical funeral, among which we can mention the following: 1) The principal elements of the funeral rites: Eucharistic celebration, reading of the Word of God, prayers, psalms, final commendation and farewell by the community to one of its members. 2) Three possible places or sta-
Illustration by Blasimer Usi
Is There a Right to an Ecclesiastical Funeral? The Code clearly establishes the right of the faithful to the ecclesiastical funeral rites, as well as the corresponding obligation of the sacred ministers to assure the celebration of the same, in c.1176, §1: The Christian faithful departed are to be given ecclesiastical funeral rites according to the norm of law. This right and obligation are founded on Christian communion i.e., in the participation of the faithful in the life and means of salvation of the Christian community. The Church recognizes the responsibility of delivering these salvific means and thus has instituted the ecclesial funeral rites to help the faithful departed, in the same way that it administers the sacraments and sacramentals to help the living.
following functions are especially entrusted to the pastor… 5°the performing of funerals. Who have the Right to an Ecclesiastical Funeral? Can.1176, §1 states the general norm making all those baptized in the Catholic Church subjects of the right to an ecclesiastical funeral: The Christian faithful departed are to be given ecclesiastical funeral rites according to the norms of law. Can.1183 further expands the scope of the subjects of this right: §1. As regards funeral rites, catechumens are to be considered member of the Christian faithful. (They are considered baptizati in voto). §2. The Local Ordinary can permit children to be given ecclesiastical funeral rites if their parents intended to baptize them but they died before
§1. Unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death, the following are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites: 1° notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics; 2° persons who had chosen the cremation of their own bodies for reasons opposed to the Christian faith; 3° other manifests sinners for whom ecclesiastical funeral rites cannot be granted without public scandal to the faithful. §2. If some doubt should arise, the Local Ordinary is to be consulted; and his judgment is to be followed. Hence, the following baptized Christians are to be denied ecclesiastical funeral: 1 st Notorious apostates (those who publicly renounce adher-
mind that apostasy, heresy and schism suppose a pertinacious and notorious will in denying Church doctrine and communion (c.751), and are even typified as canonical crimes (c.1364). 2nd Persons who had chosen the cremation of their own bodies for reasons opposed to the Christian faith which would seem to be an altogether rare occurrence nowadays, when people usually choose cremation for reasons that have nothing to do with religious beliefs. 3rd Other manifests sinners for the verification of which the Code establishes two concomitant conditions for ecclesiastical funeral to be denied: (1) a manifest or obvious sinful situation, and (2) a clearly foreseen scandal to the faithful should ecclesiastical funeral be granted. If either
ment is to be followed. Conclusion 1) The parish priest is indeed just fulfilling his strict obligation to provide ecclesiastical funeral to his parishioners. 2) In the case of a notorious mason, since membership in a Masonic lodge has been repeatedly condemned by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and in the case of the cited diocese in Nueva Ecija even expressly proscribed by the Local Ordinary with the warning precisely of the denial of an ecclesiastical burial then the Local Ordinary indeed had the right to judge the case, and deemed it to the interest of the common good of the Christian faithful to deny ecclesiastical funeral to the notorious mason.
Mystery / B1
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: What is the general opinion on listening to confessions during Mass?—M.G., Malmoe, Sweden A: This is a point which often stirs heated debate among priests. Some condemn the practice because it easily distracts the faithful from the Mass itself. Others ardently defend it as an excellent opportunity to offer the sacrament when the faithful are present in significant numbers and likely to be moved to confess by the mere fact of availability. Cultural factors also come into play. Priests and faithful hailing from an Irish, Anglo-Saxon and North European heritage are, by and large, accustomed to a separation of the two sacraments. The priests are generally reluctant to make confession available during Mass. The practice is more common, although not universal, in Italian, Latino and Polish communities, and many faithful go to confession during Mass even though it is also offered at other times. From the normative point of view it is certainly not forbidden. In 2001 the Holy See gave an official answer to this question in a letter published in the June-July edition of Notitiae, the official organ of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. In its response the congregation affirmed the preference for celebrating reconciliation outside of Mass. But in virtue of the canonical norm that “Reconciliatio penitentium omni tempore ac die celebrari potest” (Reconciliation may be carried out at any time and day, “Ordo Paenitentiæ,” 13), it specifically allows the hearing of confessions during Mass. It even recommends that, during large concelebrations attended by numerous faithful, some priests refrain from concelebrating so as to be available for confession. In the light of this reply we could say that it is clearly preferable that confession and Mass be held at different times so that the faithful can live the Eucharistic celebration to the fullest. This implies that reconciliation be scheduled at times when the faithful are able to go. Confession during Mass should respond to concrete pastoral needs such as when the habitual number of penitents exceeds the regularly scheduled confession times; when a priest has to attend more than one parish; and other situations that would make it pastorally advisable. For the sake of clarity by confession during Mass, I mean that one or more priests are hearing confessions while another celebrates Mass. This might seem obvious, but I have personally found situations where priests heard confessions at the celebrant’s chair during the readings. While such a practice might appear to be pastoral zeal, I believe it is misplaced. The celebrant should never act as if he were extraneous to the liturgical assembly. He leads the faithful in prayer not only in virtue of his ordination but also through his example, in this case listening attentively to God’s word which is also directed toward him. It is hard to expect the people to pay attention to the readings if the priest does not do so himself. Likewise, it should be remembered that reconciliation and Mass may never be combined to form a single rite.
Hearing confessions during Mass
remptory. Divine Mercy Calls Asians to Mission Those blessed in the Gospels who have been touched by the compassion of God felt impelled by gratitude and love to tell others of their marvelous experience with Jesus. Their stories are fundamentally about Jesus in the Gospels. They tell us so eloquently of the Father’s compassion for us through his Son, Jesus. Jesus had compassion of the “multitude” of the materially and spiritually poor. He lived among them, walked with them, healed them of their various afflictions, taught them the Good News of salvation, blessed them in the midst of their material and spiritual poverty, ennobled them, and called them to be his disciples. He not only had compassion. Jesus, “having emptied himself of his divinity” is the Compassion of God, the Divine Mercy in Jesus’ humanity. We have all been recipients in one way or another of Divine Mercy in Jesus. Trace your own life back to the very beginning. How innumerable have been the ways and occasions of mercy that the Father, Son and Spirit have blessed each one of us throughout our lives, in riches or in poverty, in sickness or in health! Most of all, Divine Mercy has led us through our own Easter journey from sin to grace, from darkness to light, from death to life.
In our day we are likewise called to tell the story of Jesus, the compassion of God, to all our Asian brothers and sisters. His Asian face is the face of one in solidarity with the poor, at home with the poor, a refuge of the sick and needy, healer of bodies and liberator of souls, a guru, bearer of Good News, the one who dares to call himself not only one with God but God himself and the Savior of the world through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We are called to be humble in our conviction and belief in Jesus and to be respectful of the beliefs of others. But the mystery of Divine Mercy in our own lives, in the lives of so many other Asians, calls us to be fearless, generous, zealous, and loving in our proclamation of Divine Mercy to all the peoples of Asia. We can do this mission most eloquently through the silent witness of an authentic disciple-life, a Christian witness that would make our own lives a pointer to Christ, a letter of Christ to others. May you and I be authentic proclaimers and witnesses of Divine Mercy! Thank you and God bless! (This piece was delivered by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, at the World Apostolic Congress on Divine Mercy in Rome on April 3, 2008. He is currently the Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.)
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Bishop ……………………….... 1 Priests: Diocesan …………………… 24 Guest Priest ……………….... 1 Religious: Filipino …………..………….. 2 Foreign …………….....…….. 5 Sisters ………………………… 49 Seminarians: In Theology …………………. 3 In College ………………....… 18 Diocesan Divisions: Districts …………………....... 2 Vicariates …………………… 3 Parishes …………………..… 17 Chaplaincy …………………... 1 With Resident Pastor ……... 18 Entrusted to Diocesan Clergy ……….... 16 Entrusted to Religious Clergy ………..... 2 Educational Centers: University ……………………. 1 High Schools ………….…… 11 Elementary ……………….… 12 Kindergarten ……………….. 13 Population ……....…….. 601,329 Catholics ……………… 400,038
ON BACKGROUND: St. Dominic de Guzman Cathedral BELOW: Bishop Ramon B. Villena, D. D.
By Rev. Fr. Castañeda Felix Romulo
IN the fullness of his time, God sowed the seed of salvation to this once impenetrable land of fierce hearts. If not for his perfect divine plan, the message of his Son would never have reached beyond all imagining this far. The early missionaries It was the Augustinian missionaries who were more successful in opening Nueva Vizcaya for evangelization and conquest compared to the other attempts of previous missionaries. Their missionary territory in Nueva Ecija was instrumental to strategically set foot to the impassable terrains and ferocious inhabitants of Nueva Vizcaya. In 1714, Fr. Alejandro Cacho, OSA, the parish priest of Pantabangan and Caranglan, organized the Christians of Nueva Ecija to conquer the nearby settlement called Buhay where its inhabitants were the Isinays. The natives at first met this with great resistance by fighting the Spaniards. But with their meager might compared with the vanquishers, they were later tamed and converted to Christianity. It was after six years of intense indoctrination and pacification though that the Isinays truly embraced the foreign yet acceptable faith. With the success of converting the Isinays of Buhay, the Augustinians used these newly converted natives to assist them in their effort to conquer and move to other nearby villages. In 1722, they were able to take hold of the villages and Isinays of Dupax and Bambang. They therefore surmounted and evangelized the Isinay people of these three settlements of the southern Nueva Vizcaya which are known in old history as the land of Ituy. With the people of Ituy, they moved to the northern part of Nueva Vizcaya which is known as Paniqui, the land of the Ibalibons or the Gaddangs. Little was their feat in this land due to the ferociousness of its inhabitants. As written in history however, Fr. Pedro Freire, an Augustinian missionary, said the first celebration of the Holy Mass in Bayombong was on April 12, 1739. Without counting their enormous conquest, the Augustinians handed the lands of Ituy and Paniqui to the Dominican Missionaries during their provincial definitory meeting on September 8, 1739. On April 14, 1740, the Dominicans began to take full hold of the territory with the installation of Fr. Juan de Ormaza as the parish priest of Buhay together with Fr. Lucas Herrera. They endeavored to organize the villages of Ituy by gathering all the natives from different mountains and settlements and form them into communities. With the help of the Isinays of Ituy, they continued the unfinished work of the Augustinians to conquer and evangelize Paniqui, the land of the Gaddangs. But at the outset, they failed in their endeavor because of the brutal resistance and sternness of the Gaddangs. The Dominicans were able to overpower the Gaddangs only after the opening of the road that connected the Cagayan Valley and Nueva Vizcaya. They then had easy access to these lands and thus they were able to prevail in the towns of Bayombong and Bagabag in June 1743. The Dominican missionaries diligently ministered to the peoples of both Ituy and Paniqui. Aside from meticulously teaching the Catholic Faith, they also assisted in the social welfare of the people. They worked in improving the agriculture of the natives. They introduced the use of carabao and the science of ploughing for rice production. They built houses of worship that are truly endearing. They brought in new form of politics and government. They gave surnames to the natives. They taught and wrote the catechism in the local dialect. They initiated to educate the natives by 1849. They got through and organized the other villages of Ibung, Diadi and Lumabang which is now known as Solano. They tried to build up a new civilization. The CICM missionaries The Philippine revolution of 1898 ended the glorious missionary works of the Dominicans in Nueva Vizcaya. Accordingly, Aglipayanism, which rode along with the revolution, swiftly reached almost all the mission areas of the province. As a matter of fact, they seized the properties of the Church and made some baptisms in these areas. They only returned these properties after the court ruled in favor of the Catholic Church. To ensure its implementation, the bishop of Vigan, Most Rev. Dougherty visited Nueva Vizcaya together with the Superior of the CICM, Fr. Dierickx, in February 1908. On this occasion, the bishop requested the CICM to take over the vacant mission areas as soon as possible. Thus, towards the end of April 1908, Fr. Dierickx assigned Frs. Octaaf Vandewalle and Joseph Tajon together with Bro. Edward Cools to the abandoned mission territory. These pioneer CICM missionaries stayed in Dupax. And from there, they administered to the other towns of Aritao and Bambang. The CICM missionaries labored to pick up the scattered and the wavering faithful of the province. Like the former missionaries, they continued to sow once again the seed of faith. They wrestled with Aglipayanism which was so strong in the towns of Bambang and Solano. In fact, in the early 1910, Gregorio Aglipay came to Nueva Vizcaya and incited into action his followers in these towns against the Catholic Church. Thus, the Mandac Revolt erupted on August 31, 1910 when the followers of Aglipay in Bayombong and Solano detained Fathers Rene De Pauw, Omer Cosyn and Jozef De Samber. Some missionaries were tied, humiliated and dragged towards Bascaran and probably executed. These persecutions against the Church proved terminal to Aglipayanism for they were eventually brought to court where their leaders were condemned and lost the respect of the people. To help toil in this growing church, Most Rev. Constant Jurgens, DD, Bishop of Tuguegarao who was also responsible for the missions to Nueva Vizcaya, invited the missionary sisters of the Congregation of the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception of Veghel, the Netherlands. On April 3, 1929, the congregation sent five pioneering missionary sisters who worked in the different parishes and apostolate of this mission territory. The eruption of the Second World War (1939–1945) caused great distress and sufferings to the missionaries and the faithful at large. They were detained, tortured, and others were murdered by the oppressive Japanese invaders. Churches, rectories, schools and municipal buildings were damaged if not totally destroyed. The war left nothing but rubbles and devastations which the missionaries tried to rebuild and restore. Erection of the Prelature On November 21, 1966, the Prelature of Bayombong was erected as an independent ecclesiastical territory which covers the missionary areas of Nueva Vizcaya and some parts of the province of Isabela. Rev. Fr. Alberto van Overbeke, CICM was appointed as the first prelate of the Prelature of Bayombong and was installed on November 18, 1966. Three years after, on December 1, 1969, he was consecrated as the first bishop of the prelature. The province of Quirino, which consists of territories taken from Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya, was created as a separate civil province in January 1972. This made slight changes though in the composition of the ecclesiastical territory of the prelature. From these aforesaid provinces, the Prelature of Bayombong gave birth to the different parishes of Villaverde, Diffun, Maddela, Kayapa, Aglipay, Cabarroguis, Malasin, Diadi, Belance, Kasibu and much later, Santa Fe. Elevation into a Diocese On November 15, 1982, The Prelature of Bayombong was elevated as a Diocese with Most Rev. Alberto van Overbeke, CICM, DD as its first bishop. On August 22, 1985, Pope John Paul II appointed Most Rev. Ramon B. Villena, DD, then auxiliary bishop of Tagum, as co-adjutor bishop of Bayombong with the right of succession. Before he tendered his resignation, Most Rev. Alberto van Overbeke ordained Fr. Vicente Emilio B. Tugadi on March 15, 1986 as the first diocesan priest for the Diocese of Bayombong. Considering the age and ailing health of Bishop Overbeke, the Holy See accepted his resignation and automatically made Most Rev. Ramon B. Villena, DD the second bishop of the Diocese of Bayombong on September 15, 1986. Served for almost 20 years as prelate of Bayombong, Bishop Overbeke died on June 16, 1987 in Quezon City and his body was laid to rest at the Bayombong Cathedral. The Most Rev. Ramon B. Villena, DD, young and energetic as he is, enthusiastically directed the diocese. He primarily campaigned ardently for local vocation to the priesthood together with the CICM missionaries. As a result, more young men entered the seminary and gradually got ordained to the priesthood. He established the pastoral centers and ministries of the diocese. He spearheaded the building of the Cathedral which was tragically burned on April 7, 1987 and was finished in 1989. Diocesan Synods On October 23 to 29, 1994, a new era dawned for the Diocese of Bayombong when the Most Rev. Ramon B. Villena, DD convened the first Diocesan Synod which made 95 resolutions to direct and renew the local church. Among these decrees, formation was the foremost concern which is believed to bring about renewal. BEC was approved as a matter of pastoral orientation, liturgical renewal and formation was acknowledged as needed, and tithing and self-subsistence was envisioned. On March 4, 1995, during the occasion of the blessing and inauguration of DWRV, the Radio Veritas of the Diocese of Bayombong, these resolutions were promulgated and took effect. However, after six years of rapid growth and progress, the diocese once again gathered on February 23-26, 2000 for the second Diocesan Synod. It was a moment to revisit and evaluate the past synod and to adapt it to contemporary issues and concerns. On July 14, 2001, the diocese was blessed with the inauguration and opening of the Saint Dominic Seminary, a college seminary for the Diocese of Bayombong and for the Vicariates of Bontoc-Lagawe and Tabuk. This was established in the hope of nurturing and promoting vocation to the priesthood both in the diocese and neighboring mission territories. Diocesan priests take over parishes Before the opening of the new millennium, the administration of the parishes of the diocese was entrusted by the CICM missionaries to the Diocesan Priests. There are now 25 diocesan priests who are presently ministering to the 17 parishes of this diocese. These local priests venture to continue the remarkable work of the forefathers in the mission of keeping the faith alive and contextualized. As a flourishing and growing community of Catholic faithful, the diocese looks forward with greater hopes. With these trying and glorious past, the collaboration of the entire faithful and the eternal grace of the Almighty, the mission of bringing the kingdom of Christ here in the Diocese of Bayombong will never be far from being.
Sources: Rev. Fr. Pedro V. Salgado, OP. Cagayan Valley and Eastern Cordillera 1581-1898 Rev. Fr. Wilfried Vermuelen, CICM. The CICM Ninety Years in Nueva Vizcaya (1908-1998) Most Rev. Ramon B. Villena. Quinquenium Report to the Holy See 1985-1989 Souvenir Book of the Promulgation of the Decrees of the 1st Diocesan Synod. March 4, 1995
The Diocese of
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Youth Ministers urged to draw life, share, and witness to God’s Word
By Stephen Borja
AT least 300 youth ministers representing 65 ecclesiastical territories and 7 member-organizations of the Federation of National Youth Organizations in the Philippines gathered in Jaro, Iloilo City from May 6-9 for this year’s edition of the National Conference for Youth Ministers (NCYM). The theme of the conference was “Youth ministers: drawing and sharing life in God’s Word, witnessing to the world.” The conference formally started with an opening mass at the Jaro Cathedral at 4:00 p.m. Most Rev. Joel Baylon, DD, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) was the main presider of the mass. Msgr. Higinio Velarde, Vicar General, welcomed the delegates in behalf of the Archdiocese of Jaro, the host-archdiocese of the conference. In his homily, Bishop Baylon urged all youth ministers to emulate what the first community of disciples did while waiting for the coming of the Kingdom, i.e., praying, preaching and witnessing to the Word, and holding on to the future full of hope. Using the story of the servant who became king because of his honesty and perseverance, he reminded them that amidst the frustrations they experience in the ministry, they must always remember, “God has planted good seeds in our hearts. He will make them grow and bear fruit in His own good will, according to his own good time.” Right after the mass, the delegates were treated to a Dinagyang Festivalstyle foot parade to St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary (SVFS), the venue of the Opening Program and Welcome Dinner. Their faces were painted black as they filed out of the Cathedral and followed the dancers on the way to the seminary. The delegates proceeded to the SVFS football field where more dancing followed. At 6 p.m., the delegates were led to the SVFS Auditorium where they were treated to an hour-long program which featured an interpretative dance, video presentation about the Archdiocese of Jaro, and a performance by the Dagyaw Theatre and Dance Company, an internationally-renowned dance troupe based in Iloilo. The conference’s theme song, “We are the Living Word of God”, was also sung for the first time later in the program. Fr. Richard Daulo, Youth Director of the Archdiocese of Jaro, welcomed the participants. Fr. Conegundo Garganta, ECY Executive Secretary delivered an orientation about the conference. The festivities continued up to dinnertime, where a Rondalla Group serenaded the delegates with folk and OPM songs while eating. The first day was capped by evening prayer animated by Brothers Andre and Andreas of the Taizé Community. Drawing life from God’s Word The second day of the conference opened with a Keynote Address given by Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, at the Colegio de San Jose, the main conference venue. His message centered on how youth ministers can become credible ministers of the Word. According to him, there is a deep relationship between youth ministry and the Word of God. A moment for reflection and small group sharing followed right after. Before the assembly broke for lunch, the two Taizé brothers present met the plenary for a short orientation and invitation for the Pilgrimage of Trust in the Philippines in 2010. To further deepen the youth ministers’ understanding of the conference theme, the participants underwent a Community Structured Learning Experience (CSLE) in clusters in the afternoon of Day 2. Each of the three clusters was facilitated by Fr. Neil Antenor-Cruz, Ms. Mayette Bugaoan and Mr. Jojit Guevarra. In the CSLE, the youth ministers were led to journey into the world of the young they are ministering to, to find home in God’s Word, and to face the challenge to become truly rooted in the Word in their continuing ministry to the young. A Eucharistic celebration presided by the Most Rev. Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD, DD, capped the day’s proceedings. The “youth homes,” which the participants built in the CSLE, were offered at the altar at the start of the mass. In his homily, Bishop Jaucian told the youth ministers that in their ministry it is important to draw strength from the Word, relate to it, and become a friend of Jesus for these would be the greatest joy they could share to the young ones they meet. Up close and personal: Sharing in the Word The third day of the conference was a treat. Not only did the participants learn from the Panel and Sectoral Sharings and the Workshops, they also got to enjoy in the evening socials. Four youth ministers, Ms. Analaida Carmona, Fr. Gongon Carro, Mr. Danilo Clarito and Ms. Shirleny Gabotero, were the guests in the Panel Sharing in the first part of the morning. They shared about their various involvements and experiences in the youth ministry and about their personal insights on the conference theme. Hosts Mr. Steve Abordaje and Ms. Cecille Adrias amused the crowd and were able to elicit good and valuable responses from the guests. A Sectoral Sharing followed after the program, with priests grouped together, the consecrated women, and the lay youth ministers. The Workshops in the afternoon was another highlight of the day. Sixteen workshops related to the conference theme and the youth ministry, were given simultaneously in different venues to equip the youth ministers with know-how and relevant information on pressing issues and concerns of today’s youth. Each workshop culminated with the celebration of the mass. The evening was a flurry of dancing, fun games and songs as the participants were treated to a variety show format-Bible Quiz, the main fellowship activity of the conference. Getting ready to witness The last day of the conference began with a session on the Filipino Catholic youth ministry. The participants were given an input-reviewer of Ka-Lakbay, the Directory for Catholic Youth Ministry in the Philippines. Afterwards, the participants went to their respective youth ministry teams to share and plan about post-NCYM activities, guided by insights and inspirations gained in the conference. Sr. Estrella Castalone, FMA shared her observations and recommendations as the process-observer of the NCYM. More sharing and planning happened in the Regional Assemblies for the rest of the afternoon. The conference concluded with a Misa ng Sambayanang Pilipino (in Ilonggo)
P hoto courtesy of ECY
presided by the ECY Vice-Chairman, Most Rev. Patricio Buzon, SDB, DD. In the mass, each delegation gave their tokens of gratitude to the host-archdiocese. Everyone also participated in a Sendingoff Ritual, meaningfully using the candle which is a symbol of Nuestra Señora dela Candelaria, enthroned in the Archdiocese of Jaro and Patroness of Western Visayas. NYCC meeting After the NCYM, the ECY convened the National Youth Coordinating Council (NYCC) for an overnight meeting. The NYCC, composed of the Regional Youth Directors, Coordinators, and Leaders (and their equivalent in the FNYO), serves as the advisory body of the ECY. In this year’s meeting, they discussed relevant concerns and upcoming events in youth ministry, such as the Asian Youth Day 2009 and the Pilgrimage of Trust in 2010. This meeting was held in St. Clement’s Retreat House in Lapaz, Iloilo City. The NCYM is a biennial gathering of youth ministers from the youth ministries of the dioceses and member-organizations of the Federation of National Youth Organizations (FNYO) organized by the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. For the NCYM and NYCC meeting 2008, the commission worked hand in hand with the Archdiocese of Jaro, through the generosity of His Excellency, Most Rev. Angel Lagdameo, DD, through its Commission on Jaro Archdiocesan Youth Apostolate headed by Fr. Richard Daulo. (Stephen Borja is a staff of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the CBCP)
Envoy reminds WYD pilgrims to lodge visa applications immediately
WITH only a month before the anticipated 23rd World Youth Day gathering in Sydney, the Australian Embassy has reportedly granted at least 30,000 visa applications from around the globe— less than a thousand of which comprises that from the Filipino delegation. As of May 20, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) reportedly issued some 30,000 visas to WYD pilgrims from around the world. In the Philippines though, only at least 600 visa applications were granted nationwide. The figure attributed to the Filipino pilgrims, according to Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith, has so far been lower than expected, adding that the embassy is expecting at least 5,000 applications from the
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
By Norma R. Valencia
THE celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from February 4–9, 2008 was an experience of extraordinary grace for the six participating churches in Puerto Princesa City, namely: The United Methodist Church, The Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, The Episcopal Church in the Philippines, The United Church of Christ in the Philippines, The Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the Roman Catholic Church. The first meeting held in preparation for this event was hosted by no less than the Apostolic Vicar of Puerto Princesa, His Excellency Bishop Pedro D. Arigo, D.D., where all the heads of the other churches were present. The Bishop likewise took up with them some social concerns and issues obtained in the locality to which the heads of different churches expressed supportive reactions. In the last and final meeting, the unity among churches became even more profound as they saw together the following details needed for the one week celebration: 1) That the same copies of the liturgy will be used for the whole week, and to be turned-over by the host church to the next host, together with the candles; 2) That the same set of songs will be used for the six nights which is a combination of songs from the Protestant and Catholic churches; 3) That a streamer be displayed by each church before the celebration to create awareness among the members and the public; 4) That on the last day, there will be color-coded balloons for the motorcade to represent each participating church. Fired by the unity among them, the preparatory meetings were an experience of supernatural joy as each pastor/priest volunteered to do a particular task. One pastor happily accepted to take charge of the streamers for all the churches while another one took charge of ordering the balloons as well as preparing the liturgy. One priest volunteered to do the radio plugging for the activity. Bishop Arigo’s idea of serving light snacks at the end of each service was greatly appreciated, as it did not take much preparation for each host church. Everyone performed his/her part with joy and gladness and the atmosphere of family unity was strongly manifested. For six consecutive nights, the prayer service for unity was attended by 14 pastors/priests while the total attendance for the whole period was about a thousand lay people coming from the
The Palawan Experience
different churches. It was a beautiful and joyful celebration of unity for all the participants. The reality of the Gospel, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst” was a common experience because each night, the rapport among the church leaders and lay, deepened as each looked forward to another evening of prayer and solidarity. The brotherhood among the churches was very evident especially when the Aglipayan Church needed additional chairs for the service. Immediately, the Episcopal and the UCCP easily lent chairs to fill the need. At some point, even the sound system became a common facility. In fact, a few days after the celebration, the Pastor of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches was requested to be the Speaker in a Sunday worship service of the UCCP because their Pastor had to give a seminar in a UCCP church located in another place. With all these beautiful experiences, we hope that, the Palawan Ecumenical Fellowship (PEF) was able to make a step to correspond to that prayer of Jesus, “Father, that all men be one.” (Norma R. Valencia is the Coordinator of the Palawan Ecumenical Fellowship)
Philippines alone. As such, Smith has reminded Filipino pilgrims planning to join the week-long gathering to immediately lodge their visa applications. “A large number of visa applications is still expected and we can not guarantee that applications will be finalized in time for WYD unless they are lodged well before the date of travel,” said Smith.
Visa processing will continue up until the start of WYD but Smith said early lodgments of applications will help avoid delays in processing. “While the Embassy will do its best to finalize late applications in time, it would be disappointing for pilgrims to miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity because they left their visa application too late,” he added. (Kris Bayos)
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Mining-free Sibuyan Island
Cebu Regional Rural Congress
Talavera House of Spirituality; May 21, 2008
watching for mistakes he would commit. Surely, there were rich people who also had to grapple with demons and disease, with absence of meaning, with emotional emptiness. In a word, it was a mix crowd, and there was not a single way to describe the people who were listening to the Lord. Yet, no matter how heterogeneous the crowd, the Lord spoke to the heart of each and everyone, for he has a word for every condition. He offers hope to the poor, the hungry and the sorrowful and he calls the rich, the sated and the merry to responsibility. In contrasting the two basic conditions, the Lord reminds his audience that both conditions are not permanent, and that in the flux of fortune, the places could easily change, and therefore, one ought not to despair nor be complacent, for life is larger than one’s existing condition. The Lord therefore was trying to widen the perspective of his audience. Their life was not defined by their actual condition. For even as they stood together accidentally, brought together by a common desire to see and listen to Jesus, they actually form a tapestry of possibilities which could only be realized if they would only look beyond their needs. Each and every person forms the fabric of these possibilities. The poor can find hope in the rich, the rich are called to responsibility by the poor. The hungry can look to the satisfied, the satisfied must learn to share with the hungry. The sorrowful must listen to the laughter of the merry, the merry must also listen to the weeping of the sorrowful. In due time, the Lord will repeat the same warnings to a specific group of people, the Pharisees, “who pay their tithe on mint and rue and all sorts of garden herbs but neglect justice and the love of God.” (Lk. 11: 42) He made a similar accusation against the lawyers, “because they put burdens on people’s shoulders with loads that are unendurable, but would not lift a finger to help them.” (Lk. 11: 46) In accusing the Pharisees and lawyers this way, Jesus signed his own death warrant for it would only be a matter of time till the patience of his enemies will run out. Salvation history hinges on this titanic collision between righteousness and obstinacy.
Keynote address at the opening of the
By Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal
POPE Benedict XVI, in his book, Jesus of Nazareth, noted the fact that in the Gospel of Luke, the Beatitudes began with the words “Then fixing his eyes on his disciples, he said: ‘How blessed are you who are poor; the Kingdom of God is yours.’” (Lk. 6: 20) Pope Benedict sees in this passage an indication that the Lord, in pronouncing the beatitudes, was in fact describing the people who were listening to him. The people who followed the Lord, as the Gospel of Luke itself narrates, came from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and the coastal regions of Tyre and Sidon. (Cf. Luke 6:17) Now, these places were towns and Jerusalem was a big city by the standards of Jesus’ time, but we could hardly call those who come from them as “city-dwellers” in the way we think of the term today. Judea was in the outskirts of the Empire and the people of Palestine were much like the rural poor today: marginalized, oppressed, poor, and disenfranchised. Thus, the Lord was in fact describing the condition of the people in front of him when he said, “How blessed are you, who are poor… blessed are you who are hungry now… blessed are you who are weeping now…” all these were existential conditions of the people who came to listen to him and to be cured of their diseases. Today, in this Rural Congress, we encounter the same people once again: in our discussions and deliberations, we must remember that we are listening to people who came to Jesus two millennia ago—with similar conditions, similar desires, similar hopes and aspirations. Let us not forget, however, that the Beatitudes of Luke did not end with the blessings. After pronouncing the conditions that make for blessedness, the Lord then shifts into a denunciation of the rich, those who have plenty to eat, those who are laughing. If the Lord was describing his audience in terms of being poor, hungry and weeping, who then are the rich? Who then are those who have plenty, those who are laughing? Were they also present in the crowd? Certainly, for among those who came to Jesus were also people who were merely curious, who were skeptical, who were even
We too are at the cross-roads of history. Our nation’s fate hangs in the balance while we debate on what to do with all our socio-economic and political problems. The Church in the Philippines is being pulled here and there by all kinds of interests. Our people sees this and some of them have already remarked in the consultations here in Cebu that pastors sometimes make compromises with political powers, or that their priests live lives that are contrary to what they preach. Too often, we are infected with fear— fear of venturing beyond our comfort zones, fear of losing our material and psychological crutches, fear of losing face or the favor of patrons. Especially the favor of patrons. For in the Church, we need patrons to finance our new structures, never mind if old ones lie decrepit and unused. We would rather build than improve. We would rather put up something new than maintain an existing one. After all, there will always be patrons to fund our constructions. Meanwhile, the needs of the poor, the needs of the apostolate, the needs of even our lowly parish workers, take a backseat. For them, it is difficult to find patrons. Woe to us, pastors of the Church! But then again, the woes the Lord pronounces are not final and definitive condemnations. Rather, they are warnings and reminders. They call us to responsibility and accountability. They are eye-openers to put our priorities in proper order. To be sure, some of the needs of our rural poor pertain primarily to the State. But in these trying times, we can no longer resort to finger-pointing, while our people suffer in silence. We must do what we can. And that which we can do is to respond to the 4 th Beatitude of Luke: “Blessed are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal on account of the Son of Man.” (Lk. 6: 22) It all boils down to how much we can let go to serve the needs of Jesus who lives in the poor, who is himself poor, hungry and sorrowing. In identifying himself with his disciples, he invites his disciple to become one with him. Jesus is the truly blessed. We become blessed with him if we respond in all honesty and openness to his call for responsibility and accountability.
Upholding the integrity of creation
SIBUYAN shall be a mining-free island: Adhering to the Roman Catholic Compendium of the Social Doctrine No. 470 which states that the programs of economic development must carefully consider ‘the need to respect the integrity and cycles of nature because natural resources are limited and some are not renewable.’ No. 467 further says that ‘responsibility for the environment, the common heritage of mankind, extends not only to present needs but also to those of the future.’ Taking action on the United Nations’ (UN) Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to ensure environmental sustainability integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reversing loss of environmental resources; reducing biodiversity loss, achieving by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss; and reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. Advocating the Philippine Agenda 21 which envisions a better quality of life for all through the development of a just, moral, creative, spiritual, economically vibrant, caring, diverse yet cohesive society characterized by appropriate productivity, participatory and democratic processes, and living in harmony within the limits of the carrying capacity of nature and the integrity of creation. Considering the scientific facts that Sibuyan, nicknamed the Galapagos of Asia, that features flora and fauna found nowhere else on the planet. It is where the world’s densest forest flourishes in which the National Museum identified, in a single hectare, 1,551 trees comprising 123 species, of which 54 were endemic. Orchids abound as do other vascular plant species; Nepenthes sibuyanensis, a pitcher plant species, is endemic as its scientific name suggests. There are 131 species of birds that share the skies with ten species of fruit bat; the plethora (nobody knows quite how many) of land-dwelling mammals, reptiles, and rodents include at least five species of mammals that are endemic. Recognizing the assessments of The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, that Sibuyan is a center of endemism; the Philippine National Herbarium (PNH), as a critical plant site; all accepted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as scientific facts, hence, the island is considered as biodiversity hotspot. Further, a paper of a University of the Philippines–Los Baños researcher proves that there are 35 endangered and endemic species in almost all barangays outside the protected area.
The struggle against the pillage of Sibuyan Island continues, despite the aggressive promotion of mining by the Arroyo administration. As long as the residents and other environmental advocates stay firm on their vision of a Sibuyan free from clutches of large-scale mining companies, so will the Sibuyanons continue to have an island they call home.
Rejecting the Special Permit to cut 69,709 trees issued by then DENR Sec. Angelo T. Reyes within 406 hectares of land, equal to 9,455.183 m³ or 4,000, 8998 board feet. Implementing Presidential Proclamation No. 746 declaring Mt. Guitingguiting as Natural Park; and the whole island as an initial component for the National Integrated Areas Program (NIPAP) as a mangrove forest swamp reserve per Presidential Proclamation No. 2152. Recognizing the 2005 proclamation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and then DENR Sec. Angelo T. Reyes of Cantingas River as the cleanest and greenest inland body of water in the Philippines. In addition, when the president visited Sibuyan Island, she said, “Sibuyan Island, has a high economic growth potential, notably as a tourist destination.” And in her 2006 State of the Nation Address (SONA), she clearly indicated that “Romblon… With tourism... can become rich.” Analyzing the effects of mining in the island, based on gathered data for 21 smalland large-scale tenements, active and exploration mining leases from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), it is projected technically that such encompass 16,600 hectares (has) or more than 36 percent of Sibuyan Island’s total land area. All but 2 or 90 percent of mining leases overlap 6,400 has or 25 percent of the management area of the Mt. Guiting-guiting Natural Park. More than 1,600 has or 25 percent of the overlap area is located in the Protected Area. Ninety or 90 percent of mining leases cover 6,500 has or 36 percent of mangrove, montane, primary lowland and secondary lowland forests. There are 12 leases which cover approximately 870 has or 40 percent of rice lands and 13 leases which overlap approximately 5,200 has or 51 percent of coconut lands. Four mining leases overlap 2,000 has or 26 percent of the Sibuyan Mangyan Tagabukid (SMT) Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) and 20 has or 30 percent of the SMT Ancestral Domain Claim; that this analysis may vary because there still areas being applied for. Respecting the rights and acceptability of the people that there have been a series of protest actions since 2006 numbering to thousands of people participating and petitions signed by almost 90 percent of Sibuyan populace. Condemning the deceit, lies, bribery, and manipulations of mining companies in connivance with some local government officials to the communities. Saddened by the brutal killing of Hon. Armin Rios-Marin, a Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas/World Wildlife Fund (KKP/WWF) environmentalist, barangay human rights officer, president of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), Parents, Teachers and Community Association (PTCA) and trustee of the Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment, Inc. (Sibuyan ISLE). Alarmed by the strategic lawsuits against public participation to more than 85 advocates including teachers, farmers, housewives and concerned citizens , by mining companies through their employees. Disappointed with the promises of elected local government officials who have promised to preserve and protect Sibuyan Island against mining and ecological destruction. Concerned with the rapid social division among communities and families. Afraid of the possible massive displacement of Sibuyanons for what will remain from their lands would only barely 9,012 hectares unable to sustain the whole populace of the island out of the total 35,847.76 hectares of mining claims and protected area from Sibuyan’s total land area of 44,860.00. That is barely .16 hectare or .0016 sq. km. for every Sibuyanon (excluding the land to be tilled for food, e.g. rice, corn, cassava, among others) considering the 2007 Sibuyan population of 56,541. Majority of our people are poor, but we will not permit that these mining activities will make our people poorer. We live though the abundance of the island, and we will never allow our source of living will be affected by such activity. We do not believe that mining is the sole solution to alleviating poverty. There are alternatives such as ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, and fishery, among others. Mining per se is a se arch and destroy mission and it will leave our lands barren after exploitation. Responsible mining is not feasible in Sibuyan¯we adhere to responsible stewardship as guardians of the environment instead. Hence, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in its 2006 statement, firmly says: “The right to life of people is inseparable from their right to sources of food and livelihood. Allowing the interests of big mining corporations to prevail over peoples’ right to these sources amounts to violating their right to life. Furthermore, mining threatens people’s health and environmental safety through the wanton dumping of waste and tailings in rivers and seas.” “Our experiences of environmental tragedies and incidents with the mining transnational corporations belie all assurances of sustainable and responsible mining... Increasing number of mining affected communities, Christians and non-Christians alike, are subjected to human rights violations and economic deprivations. We see no relief in sight.” The struggle against the pillage of Sibuyan Island continues, despite the aggressive promotion of mining by the Arroyo administration. As long as the residents and other environmental advocates stay firm on their vision of a Sibuyan free from clutches of large-scale mining companies, so will the Sibuyanons continue to have an island they call home. Every mineral is already tainted with the blood of our martyr; every tree to be cut shall shed blood of every child and the unborn; and every dig on our lands shall create an incurable cancer of our lives. Justice for Armin is justice for Sibuyanons. Justice for Armin is the pull-out of all mining operations and applications in the island of Sibuyan. No more, no less. THE SIBUYANONS
Statement of the 6 National Lay Gathering
Holy Cross Parish, General Santos City, May 19-24, 2008
“ The laity share in the priestly, prophetic and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own role to play in the mission of the whole people of God in the church and in the world.” (#2 On the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity) We, the delegates of the 6 th National Lay Gathering, coming from all over the country, numbering 367, come together once again to share our aspirations, dreams, successes, joys, frustrations, and sorrows and our being lay participating in building the Kingdom of God, with the theme, “The Laity’s involvement in the Mission of the Church: A continuing challenge in journeying with the people’s struggle towards Church Renewal and Social Transformation.” For this year, the main objective of the gathering is to reminisce the past with gratitude, share the present with full of challenges and look for the future with enthusiasm as agents for church renewal and social transformation endeavors. As we gather, we asked ourselves “how are we in our present conditions.” Most of us have grown mature and are still very much alive in church and development works. We also discussed many issues affecting the lay, which can be categorized as ad intra (internal to the laity) and ad extra (external situation). We encountered problems of attitudes and behavior of some lay leaders who have become “counter-witness” to the evangelization effort of the church, such as drunkenness, gambling, back-biting, and apathy to socio-political issues. Committed lay leaders are getting scarce and it requires more initiative and creativity to reach out more laypeople especially the young ones. We are usually multi-tasked and we take for granted motivating second liners. Some of us are afraid to assert our rights as equal partners in the ministry or apostolate. We feel deficient in Christian education, particularly in the basic doctrines, theology, and social teachings of the Church. Thus, most of us feel marginalized or “treated like third class citizens in the Church.” In addition, we are sometimes confused by the ambivalent stand of the church hierarchy regarding our involvement in sociopolitical issues which is supposedly our arena for evangelization and transformation. There are incidents of being disowned, not given blessings, or being told to resign from church ministries once we get involved in these issues. Meanwhile, we have experienced the effects and influences of globalization with its exploitative and oppressive practices that promote the values of individualism, materialism, consumerism, indifference, vices, drugs, and gangsterism especially among the youth. In the economic arena, we are concerned with the issues of landlessness, insecurity of land tenure, food/rice crisis, increasing poverty, intensifying intrusion of trans-national corporations that continue to hound the poor people. These are compounded with oil price hikes and exploitation of labor through contractualization and flexibilization. Moreover, in the political aspect, rampant graft and corruption, through dynasties and monopoly of powers, have resulted to poor delivery of basic social services. In areas target for development aggression, military are deployed as advance party, thereby clearing the area for foreign investors and strengthening the ruling class’ political grip over the people. Furthermore, the continuous destruction of natural resources and environment, by logging and mining, has aggravated the misery of the lay people. In the midst of all the above issues and concerns, and despite threats and financial constraints, we, the laypeople continue to assert our rights as equal partners in the ministries of the Church, and carry on our active participation in the works for social transformation. We support and promote the advocacy on Human Rights issues, Environmental protection, good governance, and peasants and workers’ issues. In carrying out these duties, we have made initiatives to develop our skills and knowledge in leadership, facilitating, organizing, administering, and managing the Church pastoral programs, through ongoing education, trainings, and values formation. We continue to build and strengthen the Basic Ecclesial Communities (or GKKs, GSKs, Kriska, MSK, etc.) as new way of being Church and Church of the Poor. We keep to our hearts the four roles of the laity as called for by PCP II, as follows: a.) called to community of families; b.) called to Christian presence; c.) called to service and evangelization, and d.) called to social transformation. We are genuinely joyful and elated by the success of this gathering, and we would like to sustain the unity and empowerment that this encounter has brought us. As a challenge, we call on the Lay Forum Philippines to be instrumental in establishing and strengthening network among lay people down to the grassroots level, and continue the initiatives of implementing programs and services that support the needs of lay workers, particularly the TulayKo. On the other hand, we call on all lay people to strengthen their respective lay organizations to attain genuine lay empowerment, and to give support to Lay Forum Philippines as expression of solidarity and unity. We continue to believe that we, lay people, have a great contribution to the realization and fulfillment of the Reign/ Kingdom of God. We deepen our commitment and involvement in the Mission of the Church towards her renewal and social transformation. We pray to the Almighty, who is the source of all being, inner strength and courage; to His Son, Jesus, our companion in this journey; and to the Holy Spirit, who keep us “fired from within,” to sustain and nourish us in this great effort of bringing about “new heaven and new earth,” where justice, peace, love, and solidarity prevail. Signed: 367 Delegates
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
The Trinity and our social life
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
UP there in the Vatican structure, there’s an office that helps in deepening and developing the Church’s social doctrine and applying it in such fields as law, economics, politics and other social sciences. This is the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which do research, dialogue and teaching so that Christ’s gospel can shed light on our increasingly complex world. Yes, we should never forget that in the end and always, Christ’s gospel should inspire our thoughts and actions, our personal and social life, our business and politics. Recently, it held a plenary session, to which the Pope was invited. And the theme was: “Pursuing the Common Good: How Solidarity and Subsidiarity Can Work Together.” First of all, I would like to say that activities like this should be given due space and attention in our media, so that everyone can have a chance to know the important and crucial role they play in our lives. We have to overcome the bias that pits what is supposed to be theoretical against what is to be practical. That kind of thinking is wrong, because there is an objectively organic link between the theoretical and the practical, and we just have to discover that link. It’s also a painfully outdated attitude, since with our rapidly changing world, we should feel more intensely the need for guidance, and that means relating theories with practice and vice-versa. As much as possible, we should avoid the random and trial-and-error approaches. Besides, when media systematically ignore events like this, they can’t help but plunge into cheap gossiping, chaotic wrangling, and the like. Even if one may not completely agree or understand these matters, it cannot be doubted that these studies offer some light. They deserve media space. In this particular session of the Academy, the Pope, ever so brilliant and rooted in the gospel, gave some interesting and intriguing remarks that I thought are worth echoing. What he said are not exactly new, since they are part of Christian doctrine. They just sound new since many of us are not familiar with them yet, in spite of the centuries of Christianity that we have had so far. This is a predicament we have to correct. Yes, there are still a lot of inconsistencies and gaps in our knowledge of Christian doctrine, let alone the lacunae between our knowledge and our behavior. Thus, the help of the media to fill up these loopholes can be great. So, instead of dwelling much in shallow, insubstantial and inane matters, the press can do a great service by tackling this serious responsibility of tracing the tenuous relationship between Christian theory and practice, especially in our social life. In his address, the Pope in effect said that God’s most intimate intertrinitarian life is reflected in our efforts to live solidarity and subsidiarity in pursuit of our common good. These efforts also have the potentials to lead us to the sharing of that life, to which we are actually called. “In choosing the theme,” he told the Academy, “you have decided to examine the interrelationships between four fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity and solidarity.” “These key realities,” he said, “which emerge from the living contact between the Gospel and concrete social circumstances, offer a framework for viewing and addressing the imperatives facing mankind at the dawn of the 21st century.” He mentioned some challenges, like reducing inequalities in the distribution of goods, expanding opportunities for education, fostering sustainable growth and development, and protecting the environment. I think that all of us should try to familiarize ourselves with these concepts that are already defined in our Catechism. And then try to apply them to our concrete situations, personal and social. This, of course, should be done with a lot of prudence by collecting data, studying things thoroughly, engaging in dialogue with the different parties involved, developing programs and strategies, implementing them and monitoring them. What should not be forgotten is that our social life should reflect as well as lead us to God’s Trinitarian life. Let’s never forget that our life always has a religious dimension.
Illustration by Blasimer Usi
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mt. 9: 36-10:8; June 15, 2008
By Fr. Paul Marquez, SSP J.
dependent-minded. These people think of religion as a relic from the past espousing obsolete ideas. They only accept everything that can be materially verified or scientifically proven. Our generation is a witness to a burgeoning growth in terms of science and technology but contrary to all indications, such ‘progress’ has not really brought us very far. Like the people in Jesus’ time, our generation continues to suffer, not only from material want, but also from diminishment, fragmentation and loss of meaning in life. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 10:7). This one-liner from Jesus is his answer to men and women groping in darkness. Jesus in effect tells us that the kingdom is already prepared and is about to happen in our midst. Pray, tell me, what can be more odd than heaven coming to earth? We always think of heaven in terms of the after-life, something that we only experience after we die. But in today’s good news Jesus tells us that while on this vale of tears, man can have a glimpse of heaven. Jesus’ revelation, though seems initially odd, is undeniably good news! People in Jesus’ time had a glimpse of heaven through many miracles during his Galilean mission. He cures every disease and illness, and he also drives away demons. Now, Jesus involves twelve apostles to continue such proclamation of God’s kingdom in words and deeds. Jesus summons them in pair, to remind the apostles that their work is a collaborative effort and ultimately belongs to God. Jesus summons twelve of them, an indication that Jesus is creating a new people patterned after the twelve tribes of Jacob in the Old Testament. Going through the list of apostles, we see names of real people we find in the Bible. Some of them have been constant companions of Jesus like Peter, James and John. Others are barely mentioned like Philip and Bartholomew. Judas Iscariot ends up a tragic figure. Jesus is able to bring together these different men from different walks of life, family background and political inclinations. Jesus who is truly the good shepherd knows each of them by name. The gospels honestly portray the apostles as men with feet of clay. They can be overly ambitious and cunning. They can be violent men. And yes, they can be traitors. This page from the Bible is read to us today to remind ourselves that Jesus continues to call us to his mission. We are called to be with Jesus, firstly in prayer and secondly, in action. He assures us of a great harvest yet he reminds us to pray. “…(A)sk the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Mt 9:38). It is not a prayer for religious vocations alone; it is rather a prayer for our common vocation of holiness. Today Jesus calls us to bring him on the road, along the seashore, in our churches, in our homes and everywhere. We are called to offer prayers to the Master of the Harvest so that everybody will realize that we are called to be his present-day disciples. Preachers cannot pontificate while remaining detached from the realities of life. We pray so that God will give us the courage and strength to generously give of ourselves and overcome our inclination towards selfishness. We pray so that despite our numerous differences, we will accept one another and learn to work with one another. Finally, we pray so that despite our limitations, we can believe that God can make us instruments of his miracles so that we can offer this groaning world a glimpse of heaven.
A glimpse of heaven
You never graduate from love’s academy
CAROL was peeking through the window again. Daily, she’d watch the sweet couple next-door, doing their morning ritual: Before the husband went off to work, he’d kiss his wife, give her a hug, and declare to her, “I love you!” for all the world to hear. Each morning, Carol saw this sight, and every time, her heart was filled with envy. Finally, one day, she couldn’t take it anymore. So Carol confronted her husband Pete. “Why can’t you be like our nextdoor neighbor?” She pulled the curtain for him to take a look. “See? This man kisses his wife, embraces her, and says, ‘I love you!’ every morning. Every morning! Why can’t you do that?” Pete’s face was pale. “Honey, I can’t do that!” “Why?” Carol asked angrily. “Why, Honey, I… I don’t even know that woman!” “Sheeeeeesh. Pete, I’m not asking you to do it with that woman. I’m asking you to do it with me!” “Oh…” he muttered blankly. “Tell me that you love me again. I haven’t heard it in a long time now!” Pete shrugged his shoulders. “Gee, Carol, I don’t know. I mean, I said, ‘I love you’ thirty years ago during our honeymoon. And I told you that if I changed my mind, I’d tell you. Well, I haven’t.” By now, I think many wives reading this would like to throw a few cooking pans in the direction of Pete’s head. Let me ask you a question. Why is it necessary for spouses to tell each other, “I love you” each day? I mean, can’t one ‘I love you’ be sufficient for the next thirty years? This is the same principle that works for reading the Bible. Or from learning about God. (Huh?) That’s right. As mushy as this may sound, the Bible is God’s love letter to you. And so, in your daily “Scripture” time, you can’t say, “This is boring. I’ve read this story before”; or, “Oh no, today’s reading is the Prodigal Son again. Gosh, I’ve read this a million times; or, “The beatitudes? Again? I can recite that in my sleep!” So what? You see, you’re forgetting one thing: Christianity isn’t just a religion. It’s primarily a relationship. It’s a personal relationship where “I love you” is repeated for a million times. The temptation among Christians is to look for the new, the esoteric, the higher learning, the advanced subjects with big words—thinking that they can graduate from the basics. Stuff like trust. Obedience. Humility. Faith. Surrender. And God whispering, “I love you” in our hearts again and again and again. If you feel like you can graduate from the basic stuff, I think you’re in the wrong religion. Because this one has no graduates. We remain students of love, forever.
ONE very remarkable trait of Jesus as a pastor was his proximity to people from all walks of life. He did not choose to be an armchair philosopher nor an ivory tower preacher. He “connected” to the concrete life situation of the people in the Galilean countryside and did not rely on second-hand information fed to him by his disciples. He had an accurate idea of the plight of the people as he met them on the road, along the sea shore, at their synagogues, in their homes and elsewhere. He observed how the Jews suffered in the hands of the Roman colonizers not only for lack of freedom but also from heavy taxes imposed by government. Likewise, people suffered greatly from religious leaders who complicated their practice of faith and turned it into a terrible burden by imposing numerous rules. They were, in Jesus’ words, “like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36). Not very many people like to be compared to a meek lamb or sheep, especially those who take pride in themselves as enlightened or in-
Faith in God casts away all fears
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt. 10:26-3, June 22, 2008
By Fr. Andy Lumasac
FEARS… All of us experience fears and in varying degrees. Some are afraid of the dark. Some are afraid of losing a loved one or losing money. Others are afraid of getting old and others still, are afraid of their own wives. It is significant to note that the words, “Be not afraid” occur, more than 365 times in the Bible. A very good reminder not to fear every single day of the year, and more. In today’s gospel (Mt. 10:26-33), Jesus repeats the words “Be not afraid” three times. On all counts, Jesus seems to be telling his disciples, “Be not afraid to be identified as my followers, for I am with you always.” The early Christians had many reasons enough to be afraid for they were imprisoned, persecuted and even killed because of their faith in Jesus. Amidst these threats, Jesus’ reassuring words served as an encouragement for them to persevere in their faith. The fears of early Christians may not be the fears of modern-day Christians, at least, for many of us. Today we are no longer afraid of being called Christians. We can openly participate in Church’s activities without the threats of expulsion, imprisonment, persecution or death. What we are afraid of nowadays, are the demands that our Christian affiliation imply. What we are afraid of are the responsibilities attached to being followers of Christ. Most probable than not, we are hesitant to speak out publicly in the name of Christ because we are afraid to be labeled as “out of this world.” We find it hard to resist worldly allurements because it would entail a lot of discomfort on our part. We are not expressive of our affiliation to Christ because we run the risk of being killjoy and unpopular. We prefer to keep silent on modern day issues such as illegal logging and mining for fear or reprisal from our government officials. We cannot defend the sanctity of marriage and inviolability of human life against their detractors for we are afraid to be called old fashioned and obstruction to development. Each day, we are confronted with issues and situations that put our faithfulness to Christ and his teaching to the test. Fear paralyzes us into inaction and prevents us from being mature witnesses to our faith. To all these Christ is telling us: “Be not afraid to be identified as my followers, for I am with you always.” It is His loving presence that casts away all our fears. All we have to do is to learn to trust Him more and fear less. As the Psalmist would succinctly put it, “Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me.” (Ps. 23.4)
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
A research called the Philippine Asset Reform Report Card Project conducted by the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI) with the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA) assessed the government’s response to the growing problem of insecure resirailroad tracks, dumpsites, under bridges). To avoid reinforcing a dole-out mentality among the poor beneficiaries, these programs incorporate requirements such as lowcost monthly amortizations and community organization. A “pasang-awa” performance But the results of the survey, tion of the respondents can still be considered “potentially displaceable settlers.” While the study showed that the problem of security of tenure has been addressed to some degree, a major source of dissatisfaction expressed by the beneficiaries is the inadequacy or poor quality of basic services extended projects appears to be better compared to CMP sites (at least as perceived by beneficiaries) still did not result in higher levels of wellbeing for relocated families. Economic needs, like access to employment, are prominently cited as a problem experienced by resettled families. The access to essential services—
basic services to the urban poor. Despite these problems in basic services, a notable finding of the study is the high positive net satisfaction rating given by the beneficiaries of the three programs to the land acquisition process. This high net satisfaction rating should signal to the government that it must continue and more vigorously
By Gerald M. Nicolas
ADEQUATE and humane dwelling is a basic human right (Compendium #166). The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Statement on the Nation’s Housing Problems in 2007 pointed to the lack of decent housing, par-
Housing the urban poor
Asset reform in socialized housing
ticularly among the urban poor, as central to the proliferation of other “problems such as immoralities in the home, the abuse of children, the lack of education, unhygienic conditions, joblessness among the people, malnutrition of children and criminality.” And as far as these problems manifest themselves in our society, “we cannot say our urban poor people enjoy [this right] today.” Improving the lives of slum dwellers, however, requires more than building and providing them sturdy and beautiful houses, which covers only the physical aspect of the solution. When we speak of asset reform in urban poor housing, the “asset” being referred to is security of housing tenure. This entitles urban poor families to a claim on the land they have been occupying for years, thus providing a more solid and lasting basis for one’s housing rights. In the Philippines an estimated 15 million people or three million families do not have this asset. Living as informal settlers, sometimes called squatters, they make up from a third to almost half of the population of many cities in the country. Lacking security of tenure, they are vulnerable to displacement and forced eviction, events which shove them to further impoverishment.
Photo courtesy of RCAM Photo courtesy of RCAM
No band-aid solutions The government is, first and foremost, responsible in ensuring that its underprivileged citizens are given secure housing tenure.
Explanation / B1
dential status in the country. The three socialized housing programs covered by the study are the Community Mortgage Program or CMP, presidential proclamations and resettlement. To the credit of the government, these housing programs are no band-aid solutions. CMP allows low-income families in informal settlements to collectively purchase and formalize ownership of the land they are occupying for years through a community mortgage. Through Presidential Proclamations, parcels of government-owned lands are declared open for distribution to qualified beneficiaries. Resettlement programs, on the other hand, benefit urban poor families whose homes are demolished as a result of a court order (usually on a privately-owned property), a government infrastructure project or clearing of danger zones (e.g. riverbanks, waterways,
gathered from interviews with 468 socialized housing beneficiaries, generally suggest that the government’s performance is far from impressive. As far as the three urban housing programs are concerned, the study shows that these programs have been relatively successful in providing some degree of tenure security to urban informal settlers. The granting of formal land ownership, however, has been slow in most cases, particularly for presidential proclamations and resettlement projects. Majority or 94 percent of the respondents from proclaimed sites do not have their own land titles yet, while only 54 percent of the original relocates interviewed have been given their notices of lot awards. At the rate the government is going in processing these necessary tenurial documents, a significant propor-
to them. CMP beneficiaries appear to be the least satisfied when it comes to the provision of services. Those residing in proclaimed areas are the most satisfied, possibly owing to the fact that these are relatively old and long-established communities. Across all housing types, the poor state of basic services ranks as the most pressing problem experienced by the beneficiaries. In terms of perceived changes in welfare, families subjected to resettlement appear to feel least well-off. This finding, which is true especially for more recently relocated households, confirms the assertion of experts that offsite and off-city housing solutions are less likely to result in improvements in welfare compared to on-site and in-city relocation. The fact that the state of basic services and housing in resettlement
water, health, employment, electricity, sanitation—basically draws people towards cities and urban areas. This also often justifies, but not necessarily legitimizes, the presence of informal settlers in our cities. And while it has always been believed that improvement in the other dimensions of human settlements will soon follow once land tenure is secured—which CMP, proclamations and resettlement programs primarily address—the inadequate provision of these basic services in socialized housing projects, as reflected in the study, underscores the govern-ment’s lack of attention to these other factors. The failure of key shelter agencies and local governments to effectively coordinate with and obtain the cooperation of other line agencies has hampered the timely and adequate delivery of needed
implement these programs catering to poor informal settlers. There is no doubt that these programs do provide tenure security which is an asset much valued by the urban poor. At the same time, vast improvements can still be made in fast tracking the granting of formal ownership and upgrading the quality of basic services in these communities. But since the government cannot solve the housing problem of the country alone given its limited and mismanaged resources and lack of political will, involving other stakeholders and the urban poor themselves will definitely help make a dent on this persisting urban malady. In the final analysis, the urban poor need more than just housing. The measure of genuine asset reform in urban housing is reflected not by the number of houses constructed and lots awarded by the government but by the quality of life the beneficiaries face after the ceremony.
(With excerpts from the Philippine Asset Reform Report Card: Socialized Housing Sector written by the JJCICSI team led by Dr. Anna Marie A. Karaos, Executive Director. The Philippine Asset Reform Report Card Project also looked at asset reform programs in other sectors namely indigenous peoples, fisheries, and agrarian reform in partnership with other NGOs. For more information about the research, please contact Faith Ramirez of PhilDHRRA at 426-6740/ 436-1779/ 436-0702 local 110.)
undergo their own evangelization, on-going formation, and spiritual nourishment. This neglect of their on-going evangelization and spiritual formation is against the CFC statutes and bad for their own Christian life and growth in it. We can compare this guidance to Gawad Kalinga of not over-emphasizing social work to the guidance to our priests during the late sixties, the seventies, and during the years of martial law when social activism was very much emphasized in the Church in the Philippines. The priests were reminded that they should work for the poor and the oppressed but they should not neglect their life of prayer and on-going spiritual formation. They were warned that if they neglect their spiritual life because of too much activism, they will unknowingly imbibe values which run counter to their Christian and priestly life. Many of those who were much involved in social activism did not listen to this advice. The result was that some priests were not celebrating Mass every day or were not hearing confessions anymore. Instead, they were busy teaching farmers how to plant high-yielding variety of rice or teaching vermiculture to their parishioners or organizing rallies for justice. These projects are good but they should not be done at the expense of the priest’s spiritual life. Many of these priests left the priesthood. Some of them became Marxists, a few became commanders of the NPA. What happened to a number of activist priests described above can also happen to the CFC members who are working in Gawad Kalinga, if they over-emphasize social work to the neglect of their own ongoing evangelization and spiritual formation. Without their knowing it, they imbibe values which run counter to Christian values and which go against the CFC na-
ture, purpose and vision/mission. And this has happened. I will cite cases of veering away that happened among the leaders of Gawad Kalinga. Before relating these cases, I would like to stress that the majority of the CFC members who are working in Gawad Kalinga are not deviating from the purpose and nature of CFC. Although these cases of veering away are few, they are important because they involve the leaders of Gawad Kalinga and their wrong mind-set can easily spread among the members. The cases are the following: First, Malyn Alonso, who has been working for four years as project director in the Gawad Kalinga in Brookside, Payatas, Quezon City, reported the following during the dialogue: She was one of the groups of Gawad Kalinga leaders who went to a prospective donor organization. She was at the time wearing her CFC ID. When they were about to enter the said organization’s office, she was told to remove her ID. The reason given was that the prospective donor might not like to give to a project that is identified with a religious organization. Mimi David, head of the Education Ministry of CFC, paraphrased orally during the dialogue the following written report she made: When we were asked by the Children’s Rosary Crusade to have our children (Sibol, Sagip) participate in their Children’s Rosary Rally in the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life in Manila, I informed a top leader for help in mobilization and support. His reply: “Let us pray about it. We don’t like our partners to see us as sectarian and identified with the Church.” I was surprised and pained at this response and had to call Frank Padilla immediately as the GK Board Chairman, to which he said, “I will talk to him. You
continue with the engagement.” Gawad Kalinga was established by the Couples for Christ because they love Christ and want to love Christ in the poor and in order to give witness to Christ through social work. Through Gawad Kalinga, the CFC aims to proclaim to people that Christ must be good because He made the CFC do the good work in Gawad Kalinga. In this way the CFC will attract people to Him. How can Gawad Kalinga be a witness to Christ if the leaders hide its identity as a ministry of the Couples for Christ because they want to get donations from companies or organizations that will not give to religious organizations? In the news item of the Philippine Daily Inquirer of August 28, 2007, entitled “Bishops to Discuss Couples for Christ Split,” Tony Meloto was asked why Gawad Kalinga “was accepting donations even from corporations manufacturing contraceptives, contradicting the CFC’s pro-life stance.” He answered: “GK is non-partisan. We do not take any side in building a nation in the same manner that we do not pass judgment on any corporation we engage. We do not even ask them what their (corporations) products are as long as they want to help.” In the news item of the ABS-CBN News Online, April 16, 2008, entitled “Vatican admonishes Couples for Christ over Gawad Kalinga,” Tony Meloto was told that “the Vatican disapproved of CFC’s ‘over-emphasis on social work’ and Gawad Kalinga’s openness to donations from groups that promote artificial family planning.” His answer was “Gawad Kalinga’s mission is to build a nation… We will just continue to work.” Tony Meloto’s answer implied that he does not agree that GK is over-emphasizing social work at the ex-
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pense of evangelization and spirituality and that for him it is okay to accept donations from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives. One of the main reasons he gives is that the mission of Gawad Kalinga is to build a nation. As such, it is “non-partisan. We do not take any side in building a nation in the same manner we do not pass judgment on any corporation that we engage. We do not even ask them (the corporations) what their products are as long as they want to help.” Gawad Kalinga is a ministry of the Couples for Christ. Like Couples for Christ, its mission is not just to build a nation but to build the Kingdom of God. Its mission is to evangelize, to bring people to Christ, the Savior. Gawad Kalinga, as a ministry of CFC, is not a civic or secular agency. It is a ministry of a religious organization that believes in and promotes the values of Christ. It is good to build a nation but Gawad Kalinga, as a Christian organization, should build a nation according to the our efforts to strengthen and defend the family and life; hence, it should not be done.” “First, in this concrete case, the funds offered also come from actions that are morally evil, abortion and contraception. Accepting such funding creates confusion among the faithful, as they give the impression that abortion and the production, distribution, and use of contraceptives and abortifacients are acceptable practices. Besides, in their advancements and promotional materials, these companies could say that they help the Catholic Church, and thus give the false idea that their contraceptive and abortion causing products and services are acceptable.” “Second, the risk exists for the pro-family groups receiving similar funding to be at least silent about the unacceptability of such products.” “Third, it would provide those working against the family grounds for extremely persuasive criticism to attack and discredit Church organizations and the Church herself—especially through charges of incoherence and insincerity.” The “village philosopher” in the column of Bishop Claver reasons in this way: If a starving man may steal when stealing is the only way for him to get food and escape imminent death, then Gawad Kalinga may also receive funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives in order to provide housing to people in need of decent housing. I think the “village philosopher,” with whom Bishop Claver agrees, is wrong because the two situations he cites are not the same. First, the funds of the pharmaceutical company that produces contraceptives are not the only means to provide housing to the beneficiaries of Gawad Kalinga. There are many partner corporations and groups giving Gawad Kalinga funds for its housing project. I am sure more groups will be willing to help, if asked. Gawad Kalinga’s work will not be significantly
affected if they stop receiving funds from companies that produce contraceptives. Second, the beneficiaries of GK, who lack decent housing, are not in imminent danger of death. They have been living in these houses for years. Their situation is not as desperate as the man who is allowed to steal because he is in imminent danger of death and the only solution to avoid death is to steal. So, there is no justifying reason for Gawad Kalinga to do something wrong, that is, receive funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives in order to provide housing for them, especially when there are so many good means available in order to get funds for the housing. This directive to the Gawad Kalinga to stop receiving “objectionable” funds is similar to the “collective policy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines regarding gambling”. In its “CBCP Statement on Gambling,” dated January 23, 2005, it says: “3. Therefore, the CBCP has made it a collective policy: a] ….. b] ….. c] To refrain from soliciting or receiving funds from illegal or legal gambling so as not to promote a culture of gambling; and d] To encourage Church personnel and Church institutions to refrain from doing the same, even when the objective may be that of helping the poor.” As I said in the beginning of this article, Bishop Claver does not agree with Cardinal Rylko’s directives, namely, to correct the over-emphasis on social work and to stop receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives. One of the reasons he gives is the Latin saying: “Prinum est vivere, deinde philosophare” – “to stay alive comes first before philosophizing.” But, contraceptives are not just a matter of philosophizing. It is also a matter of “staying alive.” Some contraceptives are abortifacient; they kill people. Before I end, I would like to point out that Mr. Tony Meloto and some columnists, knowingly or unknowingly, distort the directives of Cardinal Rylko. By the way they comment on the directives, they make people think that the directives are against the work of Gawad Kalinga for the poor. The directives are not against Gawad Kalinga. Gawad Kalinga should continue its very good work. The directives are just making some corrections in Gawad Kalinga, namely, that Gawad Kalinga should not over-emphasize social work at the expense of the evangelization and spiritual formation of the family and that GK should stop receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives. (Most Rev. Gabriel V. Reyes is the bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo and the Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines)
Moral Assessment Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Technical Assessment Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Title: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Cast: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent. Genre: Action-adventure. Director: Steven Spielberg. Writers: David Koepp, George Lucas. Distributor: Paramount Pictures. Location: Peru. Running time: 124 minutes. Technical: ½ Moral: CINEMA rating: PG 13
YEARS ago, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is supposed to have seen in a humongous warehouse a crate that contains hypermagnetic material. Now the Soviet femme fatale Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) who is as beautiful as she is heartless, takes Indy and his sidekick Mac McHale (Ray Winstone) to this warehouse to find this crate. The mysterious crate leads the trio and Irina’s coterie of equally vicious Russians to the Amazonian wilderness, picking up along the way Indy’s “support group” Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), motorcycle buff Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf), and aging Professor Oxley (John Hurt) who is most useful in deciphering cave drawings, explaining things nobody knows about, and carrying the crystal skull they have found in a crypt. The crystal skull is supposed to be one of the 13—the other 12 are concealed in an ancient subterranean city of gold beneath a pyramid in Peru—and supposedly represents one-thirteenth of all knowledge that is knowable by man. Like all other power-charged antiquities, the crystal skull must be returned to its original home, otherwise… Indiana Jones and the Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull is the fourth IJ adventure…, and while it may not surpass or even equal Raiders of the Lost Ark (the first of the Indiana Jones series, 1981), it’s hard to say if Crystal Skull couldn’t be the best had it been the first Indiana Jones movie. That usually happens with cinematic greats that have Numbers 2, 3, 4 or more following them, like Rambo, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc.—the public normally judges the first as the best, then the interest wanes. When the novelty fades, Number 2, 3, etc. have to try twice as hard to keep viewers high. Viewers want more of the same, the excitement of the first. But what human reaction to pleasure doesn’t reflect the same addictive pattern? The first almost always sets the standards for sequels, but producers can’t seem to sustain the level of creativity because their chief motivation now is to cash in on the financial success of the original. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is no exception, but it has its share of action and inaction, so to speak. First, the lack of action: Indiana Jones is synonymous with actionadventure, thus, expect viewers to be impatient—if they don’t doze off, that is—with the dialogue earlier on in the movie. We suspect, however, that the footage devoted to talking heads is their way of shortening running time—instead of acting out the background, they make the characters tell the story. Now the action: wow, it can only happen in the movies! The vine-swinging would shame Tarzan. The race on the edge of the cliff will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s assuring to know senior citizens (Ford and Hurt) can see that much fantabulous action without as much as dislocating a kneecap.
It’s amazing to see a fragile-looking Russian lady can fence, shoot, fight, leap, kick and drive like an ex-Le Mans racer and still keep her bangs impeccably intact. It’s comforting to believe your puny boat can plunge down three gigantic waterfalls in three minutes and still run with all passengers cool and collected in their seats—are they wearing seatbelts? But of course, actionadventure flicks especially in the era of CGI must defy logic and break the laws of physics—otherwise they wouldn’t be credible as such. So, enjoy the engineering marvel that is the underground kingdom—and the cliffs and the waterfalls, creations that fill you with awe. On its first screening day, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the only movie showing at all Power Plant cinemas; still it was full house, with a number of shrieking kids among the audience. We wonder if this was true of all theaters showing it; if so, Indiana Jones can give Spiderman a run for his money. (Spiderman is Number One among Filipino audiences’ all-time favorites). MTRCB has given a “GP” (General Patronage) rating to the movie, and CINEMA agrees it’s entertaining and wholesome enough; however, due to certain images and incidents that could frighten young children, CINEMA rates it as PG 13, meaning even children below 13 may watch but with parental guidance. The movie requires a certain degree of sophistication to be fully appreciated, so it’s up to the parents or accompanying elders to simplify the background and the details for the children, and to explain culture-related issues so as not to engender biases and prejudice in young minds. (Example: The Russians are bad guys.)
MAC en COLET
ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the three missing items: Stole, Holy Water container and Picture of Blessed Mother. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
Title: Caregiver Cast: Sharon Cuneta, John Estrada, John Manalo, Makisig Morales, Boots Anson-Roa, Jhong Hilario, Rica Peralejo, Mickey Ferriols, Lotlot de Leon, Monique Wilson, Anita Linda Director: Chito Roño Producer: Star Cinema Screenwriter: Chris Martinez Genre: Drama Distributor: Star Cinema Location: London, England Running Time: 110 min. Technical: ½ Moral: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance
TINALIKURAN ni Sarah (Sharon Cuneta) ang pagiging guro upang makasunod sa asawang si Teddy (John Estrada) sa London at maging caregiver doon. Iniwan ni Sarah sa Pilipinas ang anak na si Paulo (John Manalo) nang mabigat ang loob. Pagdating sa London ay pagsusumikapan nilang mag-asawa na maka-ipon upang agad makuha si Paulo at mamumuhay sila bilang isang pamilya sa London. Ngunit hindi ito agad mangyayari dahil sa sanga-sangang problemang haharapin ni Sarah kapiling si Teddy. Unti-unti ring mamumulat si Sarah sa napakaraming realidad ng buhay sa London. Ang hirap ng trabaho bilang caregiver at ang asawang nakalugmok sa mga bigong pangako at wasak na pangarap. Bagama’t hindi maikakailang formula at de-kahon ang Caregiver, nakapagbigay pa rin ito ng bagong pananaw ukol sa kalagayan ng mga kababayan nating Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) sa London. Bago ang konseptong caregiving at hindi pa ito masyadong natatalakay sa pelikula man o telebisyon. Naging matapang ang pelikula sa hamong ipakita ang isang aspeto ng pagiging OFW na hindi pa masyadong talamak sa pag-iisip ng mga manonood. Mahusay ang pagkakaganap ng mga tauhan mula sa mga bidang sina Sharon Cuneta, John Estrada, John Manalo hanggang sa mga artistang may maliit lamang na
papel tulad ni Anita Linda. Natural ang mga linya at tamang-tama ang timpla ng mga eksena. Hindi man ganoon kabigat ang dating sa mga manonood, hindi pa rin maitatangging nadala ng Caregiver ang mga manonood sa isang lugar at buhay na malayo sa ating ulirat. Ipinakikita ng Caregiver ang napakaraming sakripisyong pinagdaraanan ang mga nakikipag-sapalaran sa ibang bansa kapalit ng pangakong higit na magandang buhay. Hindi nga lahat ng umaalis at nangingibang-bayan ay nagi-ging matagumpay. Hindi lahat ng pangarap ay natutupad at nasasagot ng paga-abroad. Sa katunayan, karamihan sa mga tunay na problema ay hindi naguugat sa pera kundi sa kaibuturan ng pagkatao na nananatili saan mang lugar mapunta, kumita man ng malaking halaga. Kapuri-puri ang katauhan ni Sarah na naging matapang sa gitna ng maraming pagsubok. Naging masunurin sa asawa si Sarah hanggang sa mamulat sa katotohanang may sarili siyang pagiisip na dapat ding igalang. Isa rin siyang mapagmahal na ina na pinagsu-sumikapang ipaliwanag at ipadama sa anak ang kahalagahan ng pagtitiis at pagtupad sa pangako. Hindi rin matatawaran ang pagbibigay ng pelikula ng digni-dad sa isang trabahong madalas ay minamaliit at pinandidirihan: ang pagiging caregiver. Gaano man kaliit o kababa ang isang hanapbuhay, nagiging mataas ito at kapuri-puri kapag binigyang dignidad at halaga mismo ng mga taong nasa trabahong ito. Ang taong nagma-malasakit sa trabaho ay nagmama-lasakit sa kapwa. Nakakabahala lamang ang mensahe ng pelikulang walang asenso sa Pilipinas kung kaya’t mas pinipili ng mga Pilipinong magpakababa sa ibang bayan upang guminhawa lamang sa buhay. Bagama’t may bahid ito ng katotohanan, hindi ito ang ganap na katotohanan, at dapat pa ring malaman, unawain at maram-daman ng mga kabataan na ang sariling bayan ang siyang dapat unang paglingkuran.
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Vol. XXVI No. 121
A Catechetical Publication of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education
ECCCE conducts summer assembly for priests
THE Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) conducted a “Summer Catechetical Institute for Priests” last April 14-18 at the Sta. Catalina Spirituality Center in Baguio City. The participants, 68 in all, were Catechetical Directors coming from the different archdioceses, dioceses, prelatures and apostolic vicariates nationwide. The event, which had the theme “That Christ be formed in us”, had the following objectives: to gather in the spirit of communion in mission the diocesan catechetical directors; to undertake the basic formation for catechetical directors in the framework of the GDC and NCDP ’07; and finally, to identify a plan of action for catechetical directors. ECCCE Chairman and Balanga Bishop, Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD commenced the five-day course with an inspiring Overview of the whole Training Program, during their orientation on the first day, April 14. Participants were fed with ample information coming from well regarded speakers on their second day, starting off with Rev. Msgr. Hernando Guanzon (from the Diocese of Balanga) who gave his Theological Reflections Regarding the Ministry. He stressed on 7 major points: 1) that the priesthood of Jesus should always be viewed not only from the context of the last supper (institution of the Holy Eucharist) but within the context of his entire public life; 2) that the various and different ministries in the church were instituted in accordance to the call of the times. The church in making herself progressively relevant would always find herself establishing and creating new forms of ministries; 3) that the sacrament of baptism, and not the sacrament of Holy Orders, should be the starting point in the study of the theology of ministry; 4) that Vatican II (e.g. LG 2528, PO 2 and 4, CD 30), Karl Rahner, Hans Ur von Balthasar, Pope Benedict XVI, Paul VI and John Paul II consider the ministry of the Word as essential; 5) that Evangelization (KERYGMA) is the first form of ministry in the early Church; 6) that the Ministry in the Church is charismatic; and 7) that the Ongoing formation is a juridical obligation for all ministers in the Church. CBCP Assistant Secretary General Msgr. Joselito Asis followed afterwards with his conference on the Canonical Provisions on Catechetical Instruction in the 1983 Code of Canon Law. For his introduction, Msgr. Asis briefly emphasized the importance of the Canon Law in the realm of Catechesis. He then proceeded to his talk-proper which was divided into seven major parts: 1) the Fundamental Juridical Elements of Catechesis; 2) the Official Catechesis and Private Catechesis; 3) the Competence of the Ecclesiastical Authority over Catechesis; 4) the Catechetical Responsibility of the Various Members of the Parish Community; 5) the Various Pastoral Situations Where Catechetical Instruction is Needed in the Parish Community; 6) the Catechetical Instruments; and finally, 7) the Conclusions and Recommendations where in he emphasized the basic tasks of the Canon Law, namely: a) assigning responsibilities in the Church, and b) proper ordering of Church’s task in the exercise of the Ministry of the Word, e.g. catechetical instruction. ECCCE’s Executive Secretary, Rev. Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos followed shortly by presenting the Principles of Pastoral Management which covered the 4th and 5 th Conferences. For his Situationer, Msgr. Santos presented relevant statistics vis-à-vis the New National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines’ (NNCDP’s) Preface which envelopes the late Pope John Paul II’s challenge to the Philippine Church. He then proceeded by briefly presenting Chapter VI of the NNCDP which focused on Organization, Personnel and Resources. Afterwards, he continued his conference with Part 5, Chapter 4 of the General Directory for Catechesis Congregation for the Clergy (1997) which centered on the Organization of Catechetical Pastoral Care in the Particular Churches and with stress on Services of Inter-Diocesan Co-Operation, the Service of the Episcopal Conference, and the Importance of an Effective CoOrdination of Catechesis. The three Challenges in the Pastoral Planning of Catechesis in the Philippines were also presented to the participants, namely: The Power of Vision (with the Vision of Church in the Philippines, the nine Pastoral Priorities of the Church in the Philippines, and the Vision of Catechesis in NCDP), The Need for Paradigm Shifts (such as Key advantage in Religious Education as movements and Three Major Shifts in Religious Education), and finally, The Framework Systems Thinking highlighted by The Fifth Discipline (from The Arts and Practice of the Learning Organization
Summer / C2
Evangelization and Catholic Education
(First of Two Parts)
By Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, DD
Introduction Let the first words be words of gratitude for the privilege of sharing in the collective effort to deepen the understanding of that which is in the words of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, “the pre-eminent task of the Church”, that is, catechesis. Over the past fifteen years there has been a significant growth in the Philippine catechetical scene. One can point to a manifest increase in, and awareness of, the fundamental importance of catechesis, an acceptance of the need for proper catechesis in fostering practically every known ministry or movement in the church: for family life, for social apostolate, for an authentic base level ecclesial community, for Bible prayer, etc. But when the attention shifts from the clear advances to the messenger the initial enthusiasm gradually gives way to a feeling of discouragement. What brought about this disparity? Various obstacles come to mind: financial problems, lack of adequately trained catechists, proper materials, and most especially a constantly growing population. But there is another element, —one which is more serious because it is less perceptible to the untrained eyes, —it is the divergence in theory and practice over the nature, method and goal of catechesis. The blurring of the traditional lines between evangelization and catechesis, between catechesis and theology, results into divergence in practice and confusion—even scandalous competition between methods and supporters of those methods. The choice of the topic then lecture is both important and relevant. One intends to develop the topic by touching on the following points: 1. The relation of catechesis to evangelization and theology; 2. The nature and goals of catechesis itself; 3. The case for catechesis. Several things come into consideration as one goes over these points: first, making use of the documents of the church particularly the General Catechetical Directory, John Paul II’s Catechesis in our Time and particularly the National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines, the draft document of the CBCP which carries the title Maturing in Christian Faith; in fact almost the entire paper is drawn from this document and may very well be considered a presentation of its content on catechesis; second, in developing an understanding of catechesis one is always expected to apply the theoretical understanding to the Philippines setting. Evangelization and Catechesis What is the relationship between evangelization and catechesis? The answer will depend on what meaning you are giving to the term evangelization. Evangelii Nuntiandi considers evangelization as the “total process of bringing about the Good News to the whole of humanity” (EN 14). The core message of this activity is proclamation that salvation is offered by God to all as a gift of God’s grace and mercy; and this salvation is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead (EN 27). Essentially then, its purpose is to hold all into that faith wherein believers allow God to enter into their lives, accepting His ideas, adopting His values, living His ways which are fully revealed in our Lord Jesus Christ. In this context, catechesis represents one of the “moments,” a very remarkable one (CT 18). It is that moment when one’s faith becomes living, conscious and active through the light of inEvangelization / C4
One month formation for catechists held in Bangued
THE Catechetical department of the Diocese of Bangued concluded a one month formation for new catechists on May 4. Twenty five catechists from 12 parishes, seven of whom are in their second summer year, attended the formation given mostly by priests in the Diocese in the Catechetical Formation Center of Tayum, Abra. On the fourth week, they were joined by 46 older catechists for a oneweek updating. The training of catechists in the diocese is programmed for four summers of one month each. After completing the courses in doctrine, morals, and prayer, they are awarded a canonical mission, certifying them as qualified catechists. The older catechists completed the program which started in 2000. They are however obliged to attend a one week updating which is coincided with the last week of the one month summer class for the new catechists. In this way, all the catechists of the Diocese have the occasion to socialize and share experiences. This program professionalizes the catechists equipping them with sufficient understanding of the faith. It also gives them confidence in teaching in the public elementary and high schools of the diocese. They
service 95 percent of all schools in Abra. The Director of the Diocesan Catechetical Department is Fr. Floro Bautista, also the Parish Priest of St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Tayum, Abra. The Sister coordinator is Sr. Margie Angupa, SIHM. The program
is subsidized by the Diocese under Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD, DD. It also received a financial support from ECCCE office through Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos and Bishop Socrates Villegas, DD for this summer. (Fr. Floro Bautista)
By Dr. Ma. Natividad Lucia C.
Interpretation of Scripture Literal Interpretation The literal sense, which is expressed directly by the inspired authors of Scripture, is discovered by exegesis that follows the rules of proper interpretation. The primary aim of the historical critical method is to discover with the greatest possible accuracy the literal sense of the biblical text by using a wide variety of methods such as historical studies of the background and influence on a given writer, and examination of literary
because of this God exalted him (Phil. 2:6-11). Viewing Scripture in terms of the apostolic heritage living on in the church through the Holy Spirit who helps the people of God to live a holy life and growth in faith brings out the spiritual sense. Through the vast and varied cloud of witnesses in the eras of the Church consisting of the ecumenical councils, church fathers, teachings of bishops, work of theologians, liturgy and prayers of the church, sense of the faithful and lives of saints, the Church makes progress in understanding the hidden meaning of Scripture and shows the dynamic transmission of faith and the richness and diversity of being “in communpneumatic exegesis, thus brings about a Christian thinking about faith, with faith and for faith. Christian Imagination The nature of the sacred text as an inspiring, living, sacramental and work of art calls for an approach that involves the imagination that leads to encounter the presence of the divine mystery. Imagination should not be identified with “fantasy,” or some capricious image called up to fulfill a felt need. Far from being opposed to reason, imaginative activity involves the workings of the intellect and emotions. Christian imagination seeks Scripture with a poet’s sensiforgiveness of sinners. These patterns bring a sense of renewed hope that becomes an image or symbol for human thinking, acting and hoping and are shared to others through story, way of living and celebration in the Church’s liturgy and sacraments particularly the Eucharist. The work of imagination connects the sacred text to God’s presence in the life of the people today. The world perceived in Scripture is made present
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
ment. However, when the verse is read in view of the whole psalm and Jesus’ life and ministry, it actually expresses with incredible poignancy Jesus’ profound intimacy and complete dependence on the Father. This prayer expresses what it means to Jesus and to us to be the child of the Father by our filial love, obedience and complete dedication to his Father’s will. Performance Hermeneutics An approach, which aims to bring out Scripture’s true nature as the living and powerful
Sacr ed Scripture Soul of Theology
(Last of Three Parts)
genres and styles of a given document, and study of related literature of antiquity (Donahue 1991, 20). The Pontifical Biblical Commission recognizing that Scripture can have more than one level of meaning points out that when a written text has the capacity to be placed in new circumstances which will illuminate it in different ways, adding new meanings to the original sense (1995, 122-23). Scripture is read in the light of what the Catholic Church has believed, practiced, and taught in its twothousand-year history continuing to the present. This reading in a new context does not mean that any meaning drawn from a wholly subjective interpretation can be attributed to a biblical text.
Spiritual or Pneumatic Exegesis The spiritual senses of Scripture are brought to light when Scripture is read and interpreted with its divine authorship in mind. Attention must be given to the “content and unity of the whole of Scripture the Tradition of the entire Church and the analogy of faith (DV 12). The “spiritual senses” of Scripture are the deeper meanings expressed in the symbolic language and images that lie beneath the surface of the literal or historical sense. The spiritual sense is the meaning expressed by the biblical text when read and interpreted under the influence of the Holy Spirit and in the light of Jesus’ paschal mystery and the new life he gives. This sense is and meant to be written in the whole life of every believer and of the Church. The profound and deeper meaning of the creation story is elicited when it is read in the light of John’s Prologue. In Gen. 1:27 “God created man and woman in his image and likeness.” The Prologue of John speaks of the “Word of God through whom everything came to be and what came to be was life, the light of the human race. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:1-4, 14). The mystery of the Incarnate Word sheds light on the mystery of the human person (GS 22). The meaning of the human person as an image of God is illumined in the person and mission of Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, who was in the form of God emptied himself and took the form of a slave. He humbled himself obediently accepting death on the cross and
Courtesy of Sr. Ann Marie Nemenzo, FSP
ion in loving the same God and their neighbor, being disciples of the same Lord, and animated by the same Spirit” (CFC 1429). Spiritual or “pneumatic” exegesis accentuates and motivates a personal response to Jesus Christ as he is encountered in the Gospels. This means simple things like learning to call Jesus my “Lord and Savior,” and praying to God as “Abba Father,” as Jesus taught, and empowered by the Spirit of adoption (Rom 8:15). Through the interior action of the same Spirit, people are able to share in the mysteries of Christ’s life and Paschal Mystery, thereby being gradually transformed into Christ-likeness. Such is the purpose of meditating on the Gospel narratives in St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises—”to know Christ more clearly, love him more dearly and follow him more nearly,” as expressed in a popular song. “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me,” exclaims Paul (Gal. 2:19-20). Scripture, interpreted through
bilities and yearning for a meaning, an encounter with the infinite truth. It calls for an arduous work of paying attention to Scripture’s language, images, symbols, and metaphors with both critical precision and with a believer’s engagement in order to grasp the truth contained in the text (Burrows 2002, 173). This is the way to pursue what lies hidden beneath the words, the veiled infinite mystery. The divine mystery is not a problem to be solved but there is always more to understand and love in Him. He is everything that human being desires. “In Him we live, move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Imagination enables the readers to imagine the world Scripture imagines. This means seeing the world as one created and sustained by God, redeemed by God’s Incarnate Word, and indwelt by God’s Spirit. Scripture describes certain patterns characteristic of God’s dealings with humanity as seen in Jesus’ compassion for the little ones, his universal call to repentance and merciful
when people participate and share in the life of God through the ordinary graced events of their human lives. When this takes place then God is not only active in the world in Scripture but most profoundly in today’s world. The imaginative activity enables the grace of the Spirit to work within the human hearts to generate a genuine conversion and a graced empowered Christian practices that actualize the Gospel way of life today. For example, a technical interpretation of Psalm 22 describes the afflictions suffered by David during the revolt or a prayer composed for use in the Temple liturgy. Psalm 22 begins as a prayer of lament and petition, and offered by persons who were severely sick and threatened by death (Vall 2002, 178). But a more holistic imaginative interpretation of the text calls to mind Jesus crucified on the cross praying this psalm, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:2). This verse is often misread as Jesus’ feeling of abandon-
Word of God, likens the interpreting of Scripture to the performance of a classic symphony or stage drama. “Performance” in interpreting Sacred Scripture is not simply “play-acting” or role-playing. Rather it refers to the total act of communicating the ‘Good News,’ involving the communicator, the Scriptural text itself, and the receivers of the message—all in the concrete context of the action. This happens when the reader and hearer receive in faith and love God’s living Word through a gradual penetration of the Word into one’s mind and heart. The reader and hearer are not simply passive receivers of God’s word but take an active role in the process of receiving God’s Word by embodying and “performing” the meaning of the sacred text. This means that they participate in, relate to, and are involved in, the divine revelation being communicated in Scripture through the conversion of the heart. This recognition of Scripture’s direct relevance to the daily life is usually achieved when Scripture texts begin to be exemplified and actualized in the life of the people from lack of faith to faith, from closed eyes to open eyes, and from bereft of comprehension to understanding. Through an ever-deepening knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, to a loving relationship with others, and a deep sense of prayer and worship of the triune God, they become sharers in the divine life. The Christian message, actualized and appropriated in their daily life, affects real convictions, moral values of love and compassion, and genuine worship that reach out to God. This is the good life, a whole and integrated life that God wants all people to have. “Performance hermeneutics” as an approach to Scripture is not a detached academic endeavor involving a historical or archaeological pursuit of an ancient text. Rather it is a practical, personal, and communal endeavor (Lash 1982, 467-74). For example, the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of Paul give a glimpse of the early Christian communities breaking bread together in memory of Jesus, sharing their possessions with those in need, singing, healing, witnessing together and teaching the people and proclaiming that Good News in Jesus (Acts
Sacred / C4
Summer / C1
by Peter M. Senge). Heavy but inspiring sessions also filled the third day, starting off with ECCCE’s Chairman Emeritus and highly respected Archbishop of Caceres, Most Rev. Leonardo Legaspi, OP, DD, who covered the 6th and 7th Conferences with his lecture “Toward a Practical Sketch of ECCCE’s Vision of Catechesis”. After his introduction, the archbishop gave an overview of the three local catechetical documents he discussed, namely: the National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines (NCDP), the Catechism of Filipino Catholics (CFC) and the New NCDP, and noting their basic consistency. The discussion proceeded with the first document—The NCDP 1985. He limited his evaluation of the document to two themes: General Catechetical Aims and Objectives, and the Constitutive Elements of Catechesis. The CFC, on the other hand, was presented through the following variety of aspects: the Theological Concept of the CFC, the CFC as a Vision of Unity, CFC as Faith’s Contribution to Human Experience and Culture, and CFC’s Unique Effort in Narrating the Saving Plan of God. He proceeded to discuss the New National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines (NNCDP), first by stating the three major revisions of the NCDP 1985 that have made a major contribution to our present catechetical efforts: first is the updating of the Philippine
Catechetical Context and the exposition of Catechesis and its Foundation (chapters 1-3); second is the revision of the chapters on Doctrine, Morals and Worship by relating directly to the CFC (chapter 4); and the third is the development of the chapter on Methodology that integrates various levels and types of methodology (chapter 5). The last topic was focused on Integrated Catechesis, stressing that in the NNCDP, “integration, as the first principle of catechetical methodology,” refers to the holistic, unified character of all authentic catechesis. Finally, in his conclusion, Archbishop Legaspi pointed out that “the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only he can lead to the love of the Father in the Spirit, and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity. (CT 5)” Two exceedingly experienced catechetical coordinators—Ms. Ophine Javier (from the diocese of Novaliches) and Ms. Annette Angeles (from the diocese of Kalookan)—handled the 8th conference which was about the Catechetical Methodology based on the New NCDP. First, they gave the participants a brief but clear view of the Philippine Catechetical Scene (a short history, then the methodology used). Catechetical Methods were then presented into two parts: first, the Nature of Catechetical Methods, followed by the Gen-
eral Directives for Catechetical Methods. The Types of Catechetical Methodology and Pedagogy of Faith for Filipinos Today were discussed next. The final and equally important topic of the conference was about Communication Media and its vital role in evangelization and catechesis. (GDC 161) We are reminded that “the use of these instruments by professionals in communication and their reception by the public, demand both a work of education in a critical sense, animated by a passion for truth, and a work of defense of liberty, respect for the dignity of individuals, and the elevation of the authentic culture of peoples.” Most Rev. Gilbert Garcera, DD (Bishop of Daet, ECCCE’s Vice Chairman and the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Philippines) presented on the 4th day, the 9th conference of the course—Organization, Personnel and Resources of Catechesis which comprise Chapter VI of the New NCDP. The Personnel, which answers the question, “Who are to be catechized?” pertains to the children, youth, adult and disabled. The Organization, on the other hand, relates to the question, “Why is there a need for organization and planning?” and involves the collaboration of a lot of personalities in the Church. They are the basic ecclesial communities, the parents, the parish / parish priest, the catechists, the diocese / bishop, the religious, the national
office, the seminaries, the catechetical centers and the different schools. The last item— Resources, on the other hand, revolves around the questions: “How, what, who, where, and when?” with reference to the principles, guidelines and criteria for communicating the “Good News” to the Filipinos in the context of the 3rd millennium. Bishop Garcera ended his conference by quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s challenge to the priests: Priests Should Be Experts in Spiritual Life. “The lay faithful expect only one thing from priests: that they be specialists in promoting the encounter between man and God…The priest is not asked to be an expert in economics, construction or politics. He is expected to be an expert in the spiritual life… In the face of the temptations of relativism or the permissive society, there is absolutely no need for the priest to know all the latest, changing currents of thought; what the faithful expect from him is that he be a witness to the eternal wisdom contained in the revealed word.” (Warsaw cathedral, Poland, May 25, 2006) The 10th and last conference was rather distinctive from the previous conferences since it is a sharing of Catechetical Experiences coming from the three major regions of the country— Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Representing Northern Luzon was Abbot Santos Rabang who
gave a clear picture of the Catechetical Praxis in Nueva Segovia. He first presented the Archdiocesan Catechetical Programs which are categorized as: School based, Barangay based, Archdiocesan Catholic Schools based, and Family Based. He reported that their commission’s top priority is the On-going Formation of the Catechists, whether they are volunteer catechists or formally-trained catechists. Other concerns of their commission were also reported, in particular, the association with Specialized Catechesis and other developments in their catechetical praxis. Finally, he shared their particular predicament – they suggest that ECCCE take the initiative to recommend to the Commission on Seminaries to have courses in Catechetics increased in the theological curriculum for priests to grow in the cognitive, effective, and behavioral levels of catechetics. The Mindanao group on the other hand was represented by Fr. Bobby Cena and Fr. Noel Pedregosa who presented their Journey Series. It is a project of the diocese of Malaybalay, and has been in the making for more than five years now. It is born out of the need for the long overdue and more contextualized instructional materials for religion teachers and also for students. They first explained the uniqueness of their material, followed by the catechetical program of the
“Our Journey” (OJ) series. Afterwards, they presented the 12 Elements of Every Lesson: 1) The 5Logo Pattern; 2) Scripture Text; 3) Objectives and Context; 4) Opening Song or Opening Prayer; 5) Opening; 6) Activity; 7) Exposition; 8) Integration; 9) For Reflection and Discussion; 10) Challenge to Action; 11) Closing Prayer or Closing Song; and 12) Enrichment Literature The last sharing came from the Visayas region represented by Msgr. John Luza, who gave an illustration of the Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Capiz. He first introduced their Commission—the Commission on Christian Formation (CCF) which is subservient to ECCCE. The commission, whose vehicle is catechesis, has the motto: “ITE MUNDUM UNIVERSUM ET DOCETE OMENES GENTES”. Next, he shared past activities and projects of the commission since its establishment. He also made mention of the following significant projects— the Educational Catechetical Institutions, the Catechists’ Sustaining Activities, their Financial Resources, and their Catechetical Instructional Materials The five-day summer course officially culminated on the 18th of April, 2008 as the participants were given ample time to appreciate the magnificent milieu of the Summer Capital of the Philippines before heading back to their respective regions. (ECCCE Research desk)
Vol. 12 No. 12
June 9 - 22, 2008
Canonical Provisions on Catechetical Instruction in the 1983 Code of Canon Law
By Msgr. Joselito C. Asis, JCD
Why Canon Law in the realm of Catechesis? Church is a social and visible unit. She needs rules in order that (1) her hierarchical and organic structure may be visible, and (2) the exercise of the functions divinely instituted and entrusted to her is properly ordered. Laws in the Church are indispensable so as to regulate mutual relationships among Christ’s faithful and to see to it that their rights are safeguarded and their obligations are well defined. Canonical norms are needed so that the common initiatives for the continued growth of the Church’s life and mission are supported, strengthened, and promoted (Sacrae disciplinae leges, vii ). Analyzing therefore the fundamental juridical elements of catechesis enshrined in the New Code of Canon Law, we, the Christ’s faithful, will be more aware of our rights as well as our obligations to make the divine message of salvation reach all people for all times and places (cfr. Can. 211). The subject of catechesis or catechetical instruction is found in Title I of Book III: De divini verbi ministerio of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, under two headings: a). The preaching of the Word of God – canons 762 – 772 b). Catechetical instruction – canons 773 – 780. I. Fundamental Juridical Elements of Catechesis 1. Goal of Catechesis (Canon 773). 2. Active Subjects or Agents of Catechesis (Canons 774, § 1 & 2, 775, 776, 778). 3. Passive Subjects or Recipients of Catechesis (Canon 773) 4. Instruments for Catechesis (Canons 775, 779, 780). 5. Content of Catechesis (Canons 773, 780). II. Official Catechesis and Private Catechesis Canon 774 reads: § 1. The care for catechesis, under the direction of lawful ecclesiastical authority, extends to all members of the Church, to each according to his or her role. § 2. Before all others, parents are bound to form their children, by word and example, in faith and in Christian living. The same obligation binds sponsors and those who take the place of parents. Par. 1- catechesis that depends on the responsibility of the ecclesiastical authority and receive public recognition from the authorities who direct it is called official catechesis. It belongs to the parish catechesis and missionary catechesis. Par. 2 - catechesis that depends on the initiative of the faithful, in particular, the catechesis that parents, godparents, and those in loco parentum should impart to their children is called private catechesis or unofficial catechesis. To this type of instruction belongs the family catechesis. III. Competence of the Ecclesiastical Authority over Catechesis Canon 775 distinguishes diverse competence of the ecclesiastical authorities regarding catechetical instruction: 1. The Apostolic See 2. The Diocesan Bishop 3. The Episcopal Conference 4. The Local Ordinaries IV. Catechetical Responsibility of the Various Members of the Parish Community IV. A. Pastors of Souls Canon 773 assigns to pastors of souls especially the proper and serious duty to provide catechetical instruction of the Christian people. By pastors of souls, we mean those who are in charge of shepherding the people of God entrusted under their care. A.1. Who are the Pastors of Souls? Pastors of souls mentioned in canon 773 is to be understood as it is used in canon 771: animarum pastores praesertim Episcopi et parochi. We identify pastors of souls as Bishops in general and parish priests and its equivalents. 1. a. The Bishops 1. b. The Parish Priests 1. c. Parish Priests “Ad Normam Iuris ” Parish priests ad norman iuris are as follows: (1). Pastor of a Quasi-Parish. (2). Parish Administrator. (3). Priests assigned in solidum. (4). Chaplains of Migrants, Exiles, Refugees, Nomads, Sea-Farers, etc. A. 2. Nature of the Obligation of the Pastors of Souls 2. a. “Proprium et grave officium” Canon 773 states that there is a proper and serious duty, especially on the part of pastors of souls, to provide for catechesis of the Christian people. There is a slight change in the expression of the canon from the “gravissimun officium” of the Old Code to the “grave officium ” of the new Code. The gravity of the obligation of the pastors of souls for catechesis did not lessen by the new wording of the canon. This is so because the source of that duty does not change. “The duty to catechize—John Paul II explains— springs from the command given by the Lord and resting above all on those who in the New Covenant receive the call to the ministry of being pastors”(CT 14). Hence, the grave obligation of pastors of souls to provide catechetical instruction still implies urgency in its compliance as attached by the law. This obligation is of great importance and indispensable, binding not only in justice but also in conscience. Further, the obligation to provide catechesis is “proprium” to every pastor of souls. This means the catechetical task is part and parcel of the pastoral charge of those who have the care of souls. This is so by virtue of the office that the pastor of souls is holding. Any obligation or right inherent in an office is proper to the officeholder. Proprium officium is not vicarious, meaning to say, the duty is exercised in the proper name of the officeholder and not coming from the other office. Also, “proprium” means that the obligation is not emanating from the exigency of the community, but from the office itself. The catechetical task proper to the pastors of souls is fundamentally linked with the sacrament of Holy Orders which they have received. By virtue of their ontological configuration to Christ, pastors of souls (priests, as well as bishops) assumed the ministry that is ordained to form and serve the Christian community. In the field of catechesis, for example, they become “instructors of the people in the faith” (PO 6). “ Proprium et grave officium” of pastors of souls means to impart catechetical instruction to the people entrusted to their care is a duty with a juridical nature inherent to the office they held, and which should be exercise according to the provisions established by the law. In short, pastors of souls are bound by justice to do so. 2.b. Ground for the Removal of the Parish Priest from the Office Can a bishop give canonical penalty to those pastors who would not comply their duty to catechize? The 1917 Code listed under the title De delictis contra obligationes proprias status clericalis vel religiosi (CIC 1917, cans. 23762389) that if a pastor gravely neglects the administration of the sacraments, care of the sick, instruction of the children and the people , preaching on Sundays and other holydays of obligation, etc., the Ordinary shall proceed against him in the manner specified by law (CIC 1917, can 2382). If the pastor is found guilty of being habitually negligent of this specific duty, the bishop has all the reason to impose ecclesiastical penalty not excluding removal from his office. Thus, grave neglect of catechetical instruction on the part of the pastors constituted an offense in the Old Code. The New Code does not include in the list of offences against special obligations (cans. 1392-1396) the grave
The 1983 Code of Canon Law
Book III – The Teaching Office of the Church Title I: The Ministry of the Divine Word
Chapter II: Catechetical Instruction Can. 773. It is pastors of souls especially who have the serious duty of attending to the catechesis of the Christian people, so that, through doctrinal formation and the experience of the Christian life, the living faith of the people may be manifest and active. Can. 774 § 1. The care for catechesis, under the direction of lawful ecclesiastical authority, extends to all members of the Church, to each according to his or her role. § 2. Before all others, parents are bound to form their children, by word and example, in faith and in Christian living. The same obligation binds godparents and those who take the place of parents. Can. 775 § 1. While observing provisions made by the Apostolic See, it is the responsibility of diocesan Bishops to issue norms concerning catechetical matters; to ensure that appropriate means of catechesis are available, even by preparing a catechism, if this seems opportune; to foster and to coordinate catechetical initiatives. § 2. If it is thought to be useful, the Episcopal Conference may, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See, publish catechisms for its territory. § 3. The Episcopal Conference may establish a catechetical office, whose principal purpose is to assist individual dioceses in catechetical matters. Can. 776. By virtue of his office, the parish priest is bound to ensure the catechetical instruction of adults, young people and children. To this end, he is to avail himself of the help of clerics attached to the parish, as well as the members of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life, being mindful of the character of each institute; and the assistance of lay members of Christ’s faithful, especially catechists. All of these, unless they are lawfully impeded, are not to refuse to give their labors willingly. The parish priest is also to promote and to foster the role of parents in the family catechesis mentioned in can. 774, § 2. Can 777. In a special way, the parish priest is to ensure, in accordance with the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop, that: 1º an adequate catechesis is given for the celebration of the sacraments; 2º children are properly prepared for first confession and first holy communion, and for the sacrament of confirmation, by means of catechetical instruction over an appropriate period of time; 3º children, after they have made their first holy communion, are given a richer and deeper catechetical instruction; 4º as far as their condition allows, catechetical instruction is given to the mentally and physically handicapped; 5º the faith of young people and of adults is strengthened, enlightened and developed by various catechetical methods and initiatives. Can 778. Religious Superiors and Superiors of societies of apostolic life are to ensure that catechetical instruction is diligently given in their churches and schools, and in other works in any way entrusted to their care. Can 779. Catechetical instruction is to be given by employing all those aids, educational resources and means of communication which seem the more effective in securing that the faithful, according to their character, capability, age and circumstances of life, may be more fully steeped in catholic teaching and prepared to put it into practice. Can 780. Local Ordinaries are to ensure that catechists are duly trained to carry out their office properly, namely, that continuing formation is available to them, that they have an appropriate knowledge of the teaching of the Church, and that they learn both the theory and the practice of the principles of pedagogy.
neglect or non-fulfillment of the pastoral charges of parish priest. Does it mean the diocesan Bishop cannot inflict punishment to any parish priest who neglects his pastoral duties? Actually the provision of the New Code to this is found in canon 1741, 4º under the title De Procedura in Parochis Amovendis vel Transferendis (cans. 1740-1752). Canon 1741, 4º states: “The reasons for which a parish priest can be removed from his parish are principally (…) grave neglect or violation of parochial duties, which persists after a warning; (…)” The basic parochial duties of the parish priests are given in canons 528-530 and 535. Catechetical instruction falls among these pastoral duties of parish priests. The diocesan Bishop however must warn first his priest of the strict obligation binding in conscience to fulfill his duties faithfully. If the warning proves fruitless, it is the only time to invoke the canonical processes. It is interesting to note that although the New Code puts grave neglect of parochial duties as one ground for the removal of parish priest in his parish, it should not be seen as a punishment rather an action to ensure the spiritual welfare of the people. The fact that this canon is put under the administrative process and not in the penal process gives us the impression that it is not punitive in nature. This means that the removal or transfer of the parish priest due to non-fulfillment of his pastoral duties is principally concerned with the spiritual welfare of the parish community. IV. B. Other Priests and Deacons Attached to the Parish B.1. Parochial Vicars B. 2. Deacons B. 3. Aspirants to the Priesthood IV.C. Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life IV.D. Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful D. 1. Lay Men and Women in General D. 2. Lay Catechists D. 3. Lay Members of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and Similar Organizations IV.E. Parents and Those Who Takes Its Place and Godparents as Regards Family Catechesis E. 1. Parents E. 2. Godparents and Those Who Take the Place of Parents V. Various Pastoral Situations Where Catechetical Instruction Is Needed in the Parish Community V.A. Sacramental Catechesis A. 1. Catechesis for the Celebration of Each Sacrament 1. a. Catechesis for the Sacraments of Christian Initiation a.1. The Catechumenate a. 2. Catechesis for Parents and Godparents in Infant Baptism a.3. Catechesis for Confirmation a.4. Catechesis for the Holy Eucharist 1. b. Catechesis for the Sacraments of Healing and Reconciliation b.1. Catechesis for Reconciliation b.2. Catechesis for the Anointing of the Sick 1. c. Catechesis for the Sacraments of Vocation and Commitment
Courtesy of Sr. Ann Marie Nemenzo, FSP
c.1. Catechesis for Matrimony c. 2. Catechesis for Holy Orders A. 2. Catechesis for Children Preparing for First Confession and First Communion 2. a. Adequate Catechetical and Spiritual Preparation 2. b. Persons Responsible for the Preparation 2. c. Special Circumstances Where Children Can Receive Communion V. B. Catechesis for Children, Young People and Adults B. 1. Continuing Catechesis for Children after First Communion B. 2. Catechesis for Young People 2. a. Catechesis for Adolescents 2. b. Catechesis for Young Adults B. 3. Catechesis for Adults 3. a. Catechesis for Adults in General 3. b. Catechesis for the Aged B. 4. Catechesis for Persons with Handicapping Conditions VI. Catechetical Instruments Canon 779: “Catechetical formation is to be given by employing those aids, educational resources, and means of social communication which seem the more effective in securing that the faithful, according to their character, capability, age and circumstances of life, may be able more fully to learn Catholic teaching and more effectively to put it into practice”. VI. A. Catechetical Aids A. 1. Instruments of Social Communications A. 2. Catechisms and Other Catechetical Literatures VI. B. Types of Catechetical Methodology B. 1. Processes of Reasoning: Deductive Method, Inductive Method (HEAP) and Memorization B. 2. Processes of Doing Catechesis: “See, Judge, Act”, “See, Judge, Act, Celebrate, Evaluate”, or “Listen, Transmit, Dialogue” Methods B. 3. Methods based on the “Good News”: Integration, Inculturation and CommunityForming VII. Conclusions/Recommendations We have emphasized the basic task of Canon Law: a) assigning responsibilities in the Church, and b) proper ordering of Church’s tasks in the exercise of the Ministry of the Word, e.g., catechetical instruction. Having discussed the different juridical elements of catechesis, the real challenge now is how to make them effectively work in a certain parish community. The following practical recommendations are thus offered:
1. The Code assigns the task for catechesis to all the members of the Church according to each one’s role. The greatest responsibility is laid upon pastors of souls as primary responsible for catechesis. It is important therefore that priests, as well as aspirants to priesthood, should develop special solicitude and devotion towards catechesis. Priest, especially parish priest should always put in his mind that as collaborator with the Bishop, he has received the mandate and responsibility of encouraging, coordinating and directing the catechetical activity of the community with which he has been entrusted. He must know how to inspire precise and opportune responsibility towards catechesis among the various members of his parish community (cfr. Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, n. 47). 2. Corollary to the principle that catechesis concerns the whole Church is the call for a necessary coordination in all catechetical initiatives. It is important that catecheses, both in its official and non-official character, are always subject to the general supervision of legitimate ecclesiastical authority (can. 774). Parish priest has an added task of seeing to it that this solicitude and vigilance for catechetical efforts are being observed. 3. Parish catechesis has a key role in coordinating all other catechetical initiatives, like those carried out by parents as regards family catechesis, consecrated persons as regards school catechesis and other lay faithful, either individually or as an association, as regards their apostolate. 4. A well-coordinated catechesis existing in any parish community can only be attributed to a viable and well-organized parish catechetical program. It is highly recommended that every parish should draw a catechetical program, and situate it within the entire parish pastoral program. 5. Last but not least, we have to take into consideration the significant role of the diocesan Bishop and other diocesan structures that concern catechesis. There are many times that a fruitful and successful parish catechesis depends on a well-organized diocesan catechetical program and uniform diocesan policies on catechetical matters. We strongly recommend therefore to every diocesan catechetical program and uniform diocesan policies on catechetical matters. We strongly recommend therefore to every diocesan Bishop to establish a Diocesan Catechetical Ministry and to appoint a full-time director, with special competence, who shall promote and coordinate catechetical activities in the whole diocese.
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A backgrounder We worry about the present economic situation that condemns many Filipinos to live way below the poverty line, forcing a good number of them to eke out a living abroad or simply take the road of child labor and prostitution. What should concern us more, however, is the moral degradation that is affecting our people, especially our youth. This loss of moral values and principles threatens the very future of our nation and of our Christian community with a Mission to Asia. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, (1991) has listed Catechesis and the Catholic Schools as the most important “Agents of Renewal” in the fight for moral recovery. A program such as this can be achieved only through the promotion of values and character building. The National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (2001) has proclaimed “integral faith formation” as the number one priority of the Catholic Church in the new millennium. But this “faith formation” can take place only if we have adequately trained catechists equipped with proper pedagogical tools to teach the Catholic faith to children and youth. Our Constitution guarantees the right of parents to request that their children receive religious education in the elementary and high school levels in the public school system, but “without additional cost to the government.” (Art. XIV, Sec. 3, par. 3) Simply put, the government only provides school facilities and regular class time, but does not shoulder the salaries of Catechists nor does it supply the materials to be used in these Religion classes. The burden of compensating Catechists and supplying instructional materials is now left to the parents and the parishes, which, because of financial difficulties are constrained to rely on “Volunteer Catechists.” They receive no financial compensation for the work they do in giving a Christian formation to our children and youth in the public schools and parishes. There are about 70,000 Volunteer Catechists nationwide. While a few may receive from their parishes a uniform and a meager transportation allowance, most of them lack the indispensable instructional tools such as teacher’s guides and audio-visual materials to make their teaching of the Catholic faith more effective. In addition to this, the catechists often feel helpless because their students do not have any learning materials, such as Religion textbooks and activity books which they could use in class and even bring home to the benefit of the whole family. Establishment of PhilCARE Foundation, Inc. PhilCARE Foundation, Inc. was established by the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) during the Joint Jubilee Congress of October 2000. It has received its SEC Registration approval on November 18, 2001 and on January 20, 2004 PhilCARE Foundation, Inc. was duly accredited as a donee institution in accordance with the provisions of Revenue Regulations No. 13-98 dated January 1, 1999. Objectives of the foundation: 1. To assist dioceses, parishes and schools in carrying out catechetical and religious instruction among public and private school students. 2. To promote the development and welfare of catechist and religion teachers. 3. To make recommendations regarding programs for the training and formation of catechists and religion teachers, and instructional materials in catechesis and religious education. 4. To provide feasible welfare assistance programs for catechists and religion teachers. 5. To establish network and linkages with different agencies engaged in catechesis and religious education. 6. To generate funds from grants, donations, income generating projects and other sources necessary to carry out the purposes of the Foundation. 7. To provide possible financial and other assistance to ECCCE for its operations and programs Board of Incorporators of the Association Abp. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, DD - ECCCE (Chairman) Bp. Manuel C. Sobreviñas, DD - ECCCE Bp. Antonio R. Ranola, DD - ECCCE Fr. Salvatore Putzu, SDB - ECCCE (Executive Directory) Sr. Ma. Jesusa G. Enginco, OP - ECCCE (Corporate Secretary) Fr. Roderick Salazar, Jr., SVD - CEAP Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos - CEAP ( T r e a surer) Bro. Rolando R. Dizon, FSC - CEAP (President & Vice-Chairman) Fr. Redentor S. Corpuz - CEAP Mariano U. Piamonte - CEAP Present Officers & Trustees of PhilCARE Bp. Socrates B. Villegas, D.D. – ECCCE (Chairman) Bro. Armin A. Luistro, F.S.C. – CEAP (President & Vice-Chairman) Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos – ECCCE Sr. Ma. Jesusa G. Enginco, O.P. – ECCCE (Corporate Secretary) Abp. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D. – ECCCE Bp. Gilbert Garcera, DD – ECCCE Fr. Roderick C. Salazar, Jr., S.V.D – CEAP Fr. Redentor S. Corpuz – CEAP Sr. Aurelia C. Navarro, O.P. – CEAP (Executive Director) Fr. Jimmy A. Belita, C.M. – (Treasurer) Sr. Teresita Bayona, S.P.C. An Invitation PhilCARE Foundation, Inc. invites individuals or institutions to be a partner in the “Moral Recovery” program of our country by helping one of its most important agents: The CATECHISTS. If we truly care for them, then we should contribute to their support by providing them compensation, as well as equipping them with the instructional tools they need to carry out their mission effectively. If we truly care about the Christian formation of children and youth; we should supply them with the minimum learning tools which parents cannot afford to buy for them. Let us be a “Friend of PhilCARE” by becoming a SPONSOR, BENEFACTOR, or DONOR, either as an individual or as an institution. We can offer a “once-only” donation, or better yet, pledge a regular contribution to the PhilCARE Foundation, Inc. Our endowment will go to either giving financial assistance to full-time catechists in public schools, or to supplying a catechist with teaching aids to be used in Religion classes, or to pay for the printing of Religion textbooks/activity books to be used by the students.
Monthly financial assistance (to cover living and transportation allowance) for a full-time catechist: from P4,000.00 to P6,000.00 One (1) set of posters/visual aids for religion classes P1,000.00 One (1) Catechist handbook/manual P100.00 One (1) Bible P250.00 One (1) Basic Catechism for students P40.00 One (1) Religion textbook/Activity book for students P50.00
Personal Information Name:_________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Contact tel. number/s _______________________________________________________________ Email:__________________________________________________________ Enclosed is my check/postal money order. Bank_______________________ Check #____________________ Please charge my gift to my credit card:_______________________ (please specify) Card # ________________________Expiration date_____________
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Evangelization / C1
struction (CT 14). It studies the mystery of Christ in all its dimensions so that people are “not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity (CT 5).” Catechesi Tradendae provides a second slightly different and more limited meaning to evangelization, that is, “as the initial conversion bringing proclamation of the Gospel.” in this sense, evangelization is a moment, the first moment in the pastoral and missionary activity of the Church. Its first use is that of leading unbelievers to make their first act of faith. The evangelist’s purpose is to touch the heart of his hearers and turn them to God. So he is not primarily concerned with instruction or teaching, although his message may well include it. In this second meaning, catechesis is seen as a subsequent activity with a very distinct purpose. This objective is twofold: “that of maturing the initial faith and of educating the true disciple of Christ” (CT 19). Here there is a dialogue between believers. Those who receive catechesis have at least a spark of faith in them; its purpose is to help them towards a greater maturity of faith, especially in the way of understanding. In catechesis then faith is assumed to be both in the giver and the receiver of catechesis. One does not catechize a non-believer; you may explain your faith to him or defend it to him. You can preach the gospel to him. But catechesis goes inside the community of believers, the community of faith. The activity of our Lord is very illustrative of this distinction between evangelization and catechesis. Christ preached the gospel to the poor in the simple way. He used parables from nature, examples from everyday life. He did this in order to give them some ideas of God’s saving grace and to awaken in them living faith and hope, and to turn their hearts to God. But to his disciples he spoke differently. They were already his followers. They already had faith in him, however fragile. So he led them to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of his life and work. One can see here in Christ’s preaching and teaching the two processes of evangelization and catechesis. Practical Implications. What practical implications would the preceding have for the Philippines? The draft of the National Catechetical Directory gives two practical implications of the distinction. One: “The basic problem of the Church in the Philippines,” it says, “is a problem of catechesis, not of initial proclamation.” The other is not to “relegate catechesis to one of the less important parish and diocesan
ministries” (NCDP Draft 61, 62). Therefore the catechists should not be downgraded either. They perform, in the Church, an essential task. Theology and Catechesis Another form of the ministry of the word to which catechesis is closely related that it becomes easily confused with it is theology. Certainly, both are at the service of the Church. But they differ from one another in terms of goals, methods, and criteria. The goal of theology is to seek an ever fuller understanding of the gospel message through reflection on the life of Christians and formal teachings of the Church. Theology presupposes an effective catechesis which, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, leads individual Christians and the community to maturity of faith. The more living, conscious and active the faith of the community the richer it is as a source for theology. Theology is faith seeking a fuller understanding of the gospel message, while catechesis seeks to nurture a richer living of that same message. Theology’s method is scientific in that it approaches the sacred and human sciences critically in an analytic and systematic fashion. Catechesis, on the other hand, uses these sciences more as resources to better proclaim the faith. The criteria used to evaluate theology and catechesis also differ. Theology has to respond to the test of rigorous academic integrity while catechesis draws its criteria mainly from its fidelity to God’s word, to the Church, and to the concrete People of God. Practical Implication The main corollary is that a catechist is not expected to be a professional theologian; he has other qualities demanded by catechesis. In the words of NCDP: “catechesis in the Philippines… must concentrate on communicating the essentials of the faith,” not theological hypotheses. There has been a tendency to adopt without enough critical examination many untried hypotheses and theories imported from other lands. This has at times led to rather naïve hopes for relatively instantaneous Christian renewals and conversations, consequent discouragement when such hopes prove illusory. Catechesis is not theology. Similarly catechesis is not the same as instruction. Instruction, that is, teaching or explaining the doctrines and practices of the faith, is part of it. But catechesis attempts more than instruction does. It is not content with aiming at an increase of knowledge. It tires to improve the quality of faith itself; making it more informed and better understood and so able to get stronger hold on a Christian’s life. (To be continued next issue)
Sacred / C 2
4:2). Scripture is actualized in Christian practices which are actions that believers do together over time. This way of life is characterized by Christian affections such as reaching out to the poor, the singing of Psalms in prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving, holy fear and repentance, joy and suffering, and enacting scenes from the life of Christ such as the breaking of the bread and the washing of the feet. These are but a few examples on how the Scriptures have been performed (Craigo-Snell 2000, 480). Such interpretation of Scripture has much to do with the present lives of people that are “changing and being changed according to the image of the triune God whose story the Bible proclaims” (Barton 1999, 184). These practices or patterns of shared life in the community address fundamental human needs in the light of, and “in response to God’s active presence for the life of the world in Jesus Christ” through the Spirit (Dykstra and Bass 2002, 13-32). One extraordinary example of performance in Scripture is the catechetical pedagogy presented in the account of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35). This narrative may well be used as a general paradigm for the proposed holistic approach to Scripture.
Jesus first joins and walks with his disciples, accompanying them, and talking with them. He listens to them as a friend and to their narration of what they believed was a hopeless situation. Jesus then interpreted their situation in the light of the Scriptures. “He interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to him” (Lk. 24:27). By citing the Scriptures, Jesus helped the disciples realize that they were not lost, but could, by using Scripture, discover God’s presence in the very events that discouraged them. Beginning with Moses and all the prophets [Jesus] interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. Then later at the breaking of the bread they recognized him. They said to each other: “Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us” (Lk. 24:32). This encounter with the Lord led them immediately to return to Jerusalem to proclaim to the other disciples “the Lord has been raised!” (Lk. 24:34). Conclusion Scripture is the Spirit-inspired narrative of God’s Self-revelation through words and deeds in human history. From its nature as an inspiring, living, sacramental, book of the Church and work of art, the Word of God ringing out in the world today through the
Holy Spirit, Scripture must be read and interpreted not only in its original historical and literary context but precisely to rouse, inspire and nourish faith down through the ages. The essential part of the interpretation of Scripture is how the Christian message is performed, appropriated and lived out in one’s daily life. The message touches and affects a person’s real Christian convictions (believing), moral values of love and service to others (doing), and genuine sacramental worship that reaches out to God (praying). Scripture, the soul of theology, is the animating source of theological discipline that does not simply intend to relay historical information or simply supplies a body of prepositional knowledge. It is a source of continuing transformation seen in real growth in faith as well as a profound sharing and participation in God’s life in Jesus Christ’s paschal mystery through the power of the Spirit. The spiritual senses of Scripture that teach, reprove, correct and train in holiness instruct people in the theological discipline in order for them to understand more fully the truth about the Christian faith, how this faith is lived out and performed in their loving service for others and in the meaningful celebration of the Church’s liturgy and sacramental worship of God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
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