Benedict XVI: Euthanasia a ‘false’ solution
Says the answer is love


Circles of Discernment


The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Church leaders deplore ‘militarization’ of govt
A ROMAN Catholic bishop criticized the Arroyo administration’s appointment of former military officials to key positions in her cabinet. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the moves, despite strong opposition from various sectors, showed that public opinion is being disregarded by the government. “The problem is the credibility of people they appoint. I hope they will consider that. All the while the credibility (of the government) is failing,” he said. Pabillo urged the Arroyo government to
Militarization / A6


PPCRV welcomes Yusoph appointment
THE Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) welcomed the appointment of Elias Yusoph as one of the commissioners of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). PPCRV national chairperson Henrietta De Villa said she is glad that President Gloria Arroyo made the appointment ahead of the 2010 national elections. She said the poll body can now work more efficiently because there is no more vacant seat in the commission. “In one way we are glad that they are already
Welcome / A6

Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace February 2 - 15, 2009 Vol. 13 No. 3 Php 20.00

Bishops tell nation not to lose hope
By Melo M. Acuña

THE recent socio-political events have been so rapid, so tumultuous and some so catastrophic that the head spins simply enumerating them.

But it’s not the season to be gloomy, and a ranking Catholic bishop would dearly like not to be. “We are a people of hope so we don’t lose hope because our faith [says] our Lord is a Lord of History,” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo. The prelate was reacting to a question whether statements on social issues from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are being listened to, much less considered by President Arroyo. Pabillo, who heads the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace, also urged a nation confronting a financial crisis, conflict, and increasing poverty to hang on and join in authentic solidarity to foil national ruin. He added: “We do not only see things as they happen and the Kingdom will come; our problem is whether we are a part of the kingdom or not but it will definitely come.” The Catholic bishops’ hierarchy has always issued pastoral statements and exhortations on controversial issues including its vehement opposition to the proliferation of illegal gambling. “We are appealing [to people in government, to use] means that are just, and we don’t lose hope that there is conversion, conversion of hearts,” Pabillo said. Influence Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles claimed the Church still has influence in Philippine society. “I think we’re being listened to although not all the time, let’s say it’s about 60%,” the prelate said. Asked of the unabated illegal gambling in the Philippines which was the subject of a CBCP Pastoral statement in March 10, 2003 entitled “Eradicate Gambling: It is a Moral and Social Cancer,” Arguelles said it is not only the government’s responsibility to stop jueteng because “it is everybody’s concern.” He said he found the national government willing to cooperate but encounters problems how the grassroots look at jueteng in particular as they consider the numbers game as entertainment.
Bishops / A6

More than a hundred Catholic bishops and clergy gathered at the Araneta Coliseum on January 25 to lead the national celebration of the Year of St. Paul together with about 20 thousand people representing dioceses, congregations and catholic groups nationwide. The celebration opened with the Solemn Enthronement of the Bible with ecumenical service presided by CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo (inset).

CBCP vows to intensify campaign vs. corruption
THE Catholic hierarchy has vowed to step up fight against corruption involving government officials taking advantage of their position for personal gains. Joint action was promised by all members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) at the conclusion of their January plenary meeting. The pledge came after recent calls by various civil society groups, including some nation’s top leaders, to stop officials in using their power for selfish interests. In a statement, the bishops said they would involve the participation of laypeople for more intensive monitoring of officials to tackle corruption cases in the government. “We shall encourage our lay faithful to intensify their fight against graft and corruption, and accompany upright public officials in their efforts to serve the people in transparency and truth,” read the statement signed by CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. The CBCP also pledged to direct Church-based groups to be pro-active in efforts and social action advocacies. “We shall direct Church institutions and organizations to be more in works of solidarity, justice and charity for the poor in rural areas,” the statement said. “We shall also call on them to be more actively engaged in protecting and promoting the integrity of creation,” it added. The statement was read in a press conference at the CBCP Media Office in Intramuros, Manila, by Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma. He was joined by other bishops including CBCP Commission on Social Action-Justice and Peace head Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra. The CBCP also vowed to put in place venues for dialogue, where the poor can interact with the bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church. “We shall activate specialized desks within the Church structures that would help the rural poor at the parish, diocesan, regional and national levels,” the bishops added. “Finally, we shall strive to be faithful to live out our mission as the Church of the poor—a Church which is both engaged in the work of integral evangelization, as well as in social reform,” they added. (Roy Lagarde)
© Dennis Dayao / CBCP Media

Beware of the ‘Trojan Still no to RH bill despite growing public support—bishop Horse,’ Vatican official warns RP bishops
A VATICAN official called on Catholic bishops to reject ‘help’ or donations from people or charitable organizations with dubious purposes. Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, who is known as the Pope’s “top lieutenant on charitable activities,” warned the bishops of hoodwink help. He reminded the bishops to keep alive the right essence of charity. “It’s important to consider the right meaning of helping,” Cordes said. “Beware of the Trojan horse. They come... they are friendly to win or take you over. That’s often the case,” he told members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of THE Catholic Church is undaunted even if many people favor a draft law that could make artificial family planning services more widely available to the public. A senior Catholic bishop said they will still press on with the campaign against the passage of the proposed Reproductive Health (RH) bill. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said the issue on morality is not a numbers game. This means, he said, that even if the support for the bill has increased, the Church will continue its advocacy against it. “Nothing can stop the Church (to campaign against RH bill). It’s her role and right to spread the Gospel,” he said. “It’s not a numbers game. What is virtue and vice, what is right or wrong, it’s a question of morals and ethics, it’s not a question of how many says what,” Cruz also said. The bishop said that while people believe that the RH bill and population control are good, it is the process of attaining the supposedly good things that is wrong. An independent survey showed that more than 80 percent of Filipinos support family planning and over a half believe the government should limit the number of children a couple can have. According to Pulse Asia, sixtythree percent of the 1, 200 adults

Bishop Broderick Pabillo (2nd from left), answers questions from the media during a press conference held at the CBCP Media Office last January 26. With him are Bishop Vicente Navarra (right), Archbishop Ramon Arguelles (2nd from right), and Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ (extreme left).

© Dennis Dayao / CBCP Media

nationwide favor the RH bill that currently under deliberation in Congress. Only eight percent of the respondents were not in favor of the bill and 29 percent were undecided on the matter. Pulse Asia also said about 82 percent of the survey respondents said they believed the government should educate couples on modern family planning methods, both natural and artificial.
RH Bill / A6

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes talks on Pope Benedict’s first encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” to the bishops during their January plenary meeting at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center.

the Philippines (CBCP). The Vatican official urged the bishops and Church-based charitable organizations to avoid accepting help that defeats the purpose and real spirit of charity. He said the real generosity is giving help without asking something in return. “This is the true collaboration of selfless people,” said Cordes. The “Trojan Horse” refers to the stratagem that allowed the
Trojan / A6

THE Manila’s Roman Catholic Church has come up with a unique way of sharing love this heart month of February that could make it more meaningful: blood donation. The Archdiocese of Manila called on its employees and parish workers to donate blood in its “Alay ng Puso— Bloodletting” activity on February 12. The archdiocese said Church workers may also invite their friends and relatives to join the activity from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Arzobispado Building in Intramuros, Manila. “Here is your chance to be truly magnanimous... donate blood and save lives. We believe that donating blood to sustain life is our moral as well as

Church to hold ‘V-day bloodletting’

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

social responsibility,” human resource director Fr Sanny De Claro said in a memorandum. Claro said thousands of people need blood transfusion each year. He said some may need blood during surgery. Others, the priest said, depend on it after an accident or because they have a disease that requires blood components like “dengue.” “Though the demand for blood is high and half of our countrymen are eligible to donate, only about a few percent of those eligible, give blood,” Claro said. He said interested blood donors may call the RCAM or email it at 527-3956; or hrd_rcam@yahoo.com, or contact Norbert Abelgas or Joel Madronio. (Roy Lagarde)


World News

CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

Pope sees chance for hope in financial crisis
VATICAN, February 2, 2009—Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders of an Italian trade union and told them that the current economic crisis offers an opportunity for “a new culture of solidarity and of responsible participation” to emerge. Meeting with the leaders of the Italian trade union CISL for its 60th anniversary, the Holy Father praised the organization for continuing to “draw inspiration for your activities from the social Magisterium of the Church, with the aim of protecting the interests of workers and pensioners in Italy.” After pointing out the numerous social encyclicals from the Popes of the 20th century, Pope Benedict XVI drew the trade leaders’ attention to the Pontiffs’ recurrent “call for solidarity and responsibility.” The way out of the current economic and social crisis, he explained, must involve “free and responsible efforts” by everyone. “In other words what is needed is to overcome individual and sectarian interests, and unite to confront the difficulties affecting all areas of society, and particularly the world of work.” Stressing that the need for a unified effort of solidarity is urgently needed, Pope Benedict said his hope is that “from the current global crisis there may emerge a shared desire to create a new culture of solidarity and of responsible participation, which are indispensable conditions if we are to build the future of our planet together.” The Holy Father brought his address to the leaders of CISL to a close by exhorting them to continue to be faithful to their original charism. “The world needs people who dedicate themselves disinterestedly to the cause of work in full respect of human dignity and the common good,” he said. (CNA)
© www.flickr.com/photos/sam_herd

Holy Father prays for strengthened Catholic-Orthodox relations as Kirill becomes patriarch
VATICAN, February 2, 2009—In a message sent by Benedict XVI to His Holiness Kirill for the occasion of his enthronement as patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the Holy Father says that it is his hope that the communion between the Catholic and the Orthodox Church will be strengthened “so that the world may believe.” The message was delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity along with a chalice from the Pope “as a sign of the desire to achieve full communion as soon as possible.” Kirill was installed as the patriarch in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior in late January. In his English-language message, Benedict XVI relates his “esteem” and “spiritual closeness” to the new patriarch, and prays “that our heavenly Father will grant you the abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit in your ministry and enable you to guide the Church in the love and peace of Christ.” Bringing to mind Kirill’s predecessor, the Holy Father notes that

Spanish bishop: Lack of radical dedication amongst religious explains vocations crisis
MADRID, Spain, February 2, 2009—In a pastoral letter published to mark the World Day of Consecrated Life on February 2, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona, Spain, said the lack of radical commitment in consecrated life is one of the main causes of the vocations crisis. “Christians are already consecrated through baptism, but the consecrated life is a new title of consecration that brings baptism to its fullness,” the bishop said. “Consecrated life is a prophetic cry in today’s world (and always), which reminds us what the definitive values of the Kingdom are, those that Christ lived out in the beatitudes and those that He invites others to live out when He calls someone to follow Him more closely.” “We live in times of crisis in the consecrated life as well,” Bishop Fernandez underscored. “Secularization, that is, living as if God did not exist, adapting oneself to the opinions and ways of the world, has also filtered into the consecrated lifestyle.” “It seems like a contradiction, but unfortunately this is the way it is. A consecrated life in which one is not willing to live a radical commitment to Jesus Christ, with a fanatical love like that of St. Paul, is a life that is not very attractive or exciting to the young people of today. This is one of the reasons for the lack of vocations,” the bishop stressed. Bishop Fernandez acknowledged that the “issue of the scarcity or lack of vocations among young people is very complex and cannot be reduced to a single cause, but the institutes of consecrated life that live coherently ‘having lost everything for Jesus Christ’ are getting vocations.” “On the other hand,” he added, “the institutes that have adapted to this world do not have vocations and are slowly dying out.” “The World Day of Consecrated Life is an occasion to pray to the Lord for those who have consecrated their lives totally to the Lord, that they may be faithful to the first love that led them to leave everything for Jesus Christ,” Bishop Fernandez stated. (CNA)
© www.flickr.com/photos/44919156@N00

Alexis II “left his people a deep and abiding inheritance of ecclesial renewal and development. ...He likewise maintained a spirit of openness and co-operation with other Christians, and with the Catholic Church in particular, for the defense of Christian values in Europe and in the world. “I am certain,” he adds, “that Your Holiness will continue to build on this solid foundation, for the good of your people and for the benefit of Christians everywhere.” Pope Benedict also goes on to reflect on the new patriarch’s previous role as president of the Department of External Church Relations. “You yourself played an outstanding role in forging a new relationship between our Churches, a relationship based on friendship, mutual acceptance and sincere dialogue in facing the difficulties of our common journey.” “It is my earnest hope,” the Holy Father concludes, “that we will continue to co-operate in finding ways to foster and strengthen communion in the Body of Christ, in fidelity to our Savior’s prayer that all may be one, so that the world may believe.” (CNA)
© www.daylife.com

Mexico City Policy reversal a ‘betrayal,’ Catholic University president says
WASHINGTON DC, February 2, 2009—The president of Catholic University of America has criticized President Barack Obama’s decision to fund overseas organizations that perform and promote abortions, calling the decision a “disappointment and even a betrayal.” Father David M. O’Connell, also suggested the president is certainly going to get a “fight” from Catholics over his support for abortion. President Obama lifted the Mexico City Policy on Jan. 23, which had been implemented by President George W. Bush at the start of his presidency. “I don’t think President Obama is looking for a fight but I think he’s certainly going to get one as he wiggles away from issues that are very important to the Church,” Fr. O’Connell said in remarks published by Fox News on Jan. 28. “I’m sure for many Catholics who supported Obama because they believed in his words to do everything he could to reduce abortions,” he continued. “This comes as a disappointment and even a betrayal to some.” Fr. O’Connell also named as matters of concern President Obama’s support for embryonic stem cell research and disagreement with Proposition 8, California’s successful ballot measure which overturned a same-sex “marriage” court decision. “The Church holds these issues as very significant and very consequential and the church is going after the president, not because he’s the president or because it’s the United States, but because it believes any government system that support issues that are contrary to its core beliefs are dangerous,” he told Fox News. “Because the beliefs are rooted in good for all of humanity, not just the Catholic Church.” (CNA)

Japanese corporations cut workday to boost birth rate
© seoulover.blogs.com/westlaw

Italian youth launches day of prayer for life Spanish political party protests and peace in the world
Obama abortion funding policy
MADRID, Spain, January 29, 2009—The Alternativa Española political party has sent a “letter of protest” to the U.S. ambassador to Spain over the decision by President Barack Obama to “remover the barriers to the practice of abortion.” In a press release, the party said the letter was delivered to the embassy “calling for the restrictions put in place by President Ronald Reagan to be maintained.” On January 23, Obama signed an executive order lifting restrictions on the use of federal funds to promote abortion overseas. The so-called “Mexico City Policy” was put in place by President Reagan in 1984 after a U.N. conference that was held in the Mexican capital. President Bill Clinton revoked the policy in 1993 but it was reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001. (CNA)

ROME, January 31, 2009—The group “Youth For Life,” whose mission is to defend life from conception to natural death, has launched an International Day of Intercession for Peace in the World at chapels of perpetual adoration and Eucharistic devotion. Theology student Francesco De Ruvo explained that his group brings together 300 young people from Italy, Poland, the United States, Israel and Brazil. “The Apostolate ‘Youth For Life’ intends to be instrument of spreading these values, especially through the prayer of spiritual adoption, which is a prayer for unborn children who are in danger of dying in their mothers’ womb,” he said. Spiritual adoption is done by “praying a decade of the Rosary daily accompanied by a special prayer for unborn children and their parents,” De Ruvo said. The group “Youth For Life” was created on October 7, 2008 as an apostolate “out of a common desire of two young Salesians to be signs of the love of God in defense of the inestimable value of life.” (CNA)

TOKYO, Japan, January 26, 2009—Japanese electronics giant Canon and other, seeking to boost Japan’s flagging birth rate, now allows employees to leave early twice a week to encourage them to have more children. The Japanese birth rate is 1.34 children per woman, well below the 2.1 required to maintain population size, CNN reports. Its population is aging at a faster pace than any other country in the world. Japan’s 12-hour workday is one factor blamed for the low birth rate, in addition to the country’s high cost of living and social rigidity towards women and parenting. “It’s great that we can go home early and not feel ashamed,” Canon employee Miwa Iwasaki told CNN. “Canon has a very strong birth planning program,” Canon spokesman Hiroshi Yoshinaga said to CNN. “Sending workers home early to be with their families is a part of it.” Canon’s 5:30 pm “lights-out” program also helps the company cut overtime expenses during the global economic downturn. Keidanren, Japan’s largest business group with a membership of 1,300 major corporations, has asked its members to let employees go home early to spend time with families and help improve the birth rate. (CNA)

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009

News Features


Benedict XVI: Euthanasia a ‘false’ solution
Says the answer is love

Catholic journalists must live as witnesses to Christ, says Holy Father Building citizens and solidarity
VATICAN CITY, January 27, 2009─Benedict XVI has sent a message to participants in the national congress of the Italian Catholic Press Union (UCSI). The congress, held last week, commemorated the institution’s fiftieth anniversary. In the message, the Pontiff writes about the importance of being faithful journalists, but also of living as a witness to Christ. Reflecting on the last 50 years of the UCSI, the Holy Father notes that many things have changed. These changes have been “more visible in areas ranging from science to technology, from the economy to geopolitics,” he noted. When examined at a deeper level, Pope Benedict finds “less perceptible” but “deeper and more worrying” developments in the modern culture. These changes include a notable decline in respect for the dignity of the individual, and in “a sense of such values as justice, freedom and solidarity, which are so essential for the survival of a society.” Today, the work of Catholic journalists is “even more arduous.” In addition to responsibility and service, journalists “must add an ever great professionalism, and a capacity for dialogue with the ‘lay’ world in the search for shared values.” Pope Benedict then speaks to the journalists on not only the importance of their faithful writing, but also the necessity of living their lives as witnesses to the Gospel. “You will be listened to more readily when the testimony of your own lives is coherent,” the Holy Father assures them. “No small number of your ‘lay’ colleagues expect from you the silent witness - not only in appearance but in substance - of a life inspired by the values of faith.” Catholic journalists are committed to “an ever more demanding task,” the Holy Father continues, “one in which spaces for freedom are often under threat, and economic and political interests often take precedence over the spirit of service and the criterion of the common good.” “I encourage you,” he concludes, “not to make compromises in such important values but to have the courage of coherence, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. Serenity of conscience is a priceless quality.” (CNA)

for peace, environment, is Alay Kapwa 2009 theme

CBCP pushes non-custodial alternatives to prison
MANILA, January 29, 2008—The prison ministry of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is seeking the use of non-custodial sanctions as a means of reducing the prison population. After all, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) argued that imprisonment has showed to be “counterproductive” in the Inmates of Leyte Regional Prison. Photo by ECPPC-VIPS rehabilitation of prisoners. Rodolfo Diamante, ECPPC executive secretary, said imprisonment also “impinges” on several human rights—the provision of basic amenities of life. He lamented that inmates are often held in grossly overcrowded conditions, poorly clothed and underfed. The vice-president of the Coalition Against Death Penalty (CADP) added that prisoners are particularly vulnerable to disease and yet are given poor medical treatment. “It’s about time that our policy-makers take a close look at who is being held in prison, why they are there, and for how long they are being detained,” Diamante stressed. Diamante also said many detainees are just awaiting trial for “unacceptably lengthy periods of time.” Others, he added, are serving long sentences. The Church’s prison ministry maintains that the objectives of imprisonment can be met more effectively in other ways like community service. It said that not all socially undesirable conducts need to be classified as a crime. “Our legislators can decriminalize these crimes. We can also use diversion strategies—divert offenders to alternative programs like community-based program, treatment centers or furlough,” Diamante said. Diamante said the Church adheres to the principle that imprisonment should be used as the last resort at least for those that don’t warrant a custodial sentence like petty crimes. (Roy Lagarde)

MANILA, January 29, 2009—Citizenship building and solidarity towards a culture of peace and integrity of creation, is the theme of this year’s ALAY KAPWA, the Lenten social action program of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Now on its 34th year, the program is implemented by the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace of the CBCP. Alay Kapwa is “offering to our neighbor as an expression of our solidarity with the poor.” The program’s guiding spirit is the call for everyone to share one’s Time, Talent and Treasure as financial contributions generated from the campaign are utilized to support and sustain social action initiatives on peace advocacy, democratic governance, ecology, sustainable agriculture, children’s rights, disaster management and other development concerns. Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace Chairman and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, in his message on this year’s Alay Kapwa theme said: “For many years already we as a country have experienced unrest,” adding that the communist insurgency, the fighting in Mindanao and extrajudicial killings remain unsolved. The 54-year old prelate said it is not enough to change political leaders to change the current situation as it is not enough to change the political structure of the nation. “The parliamentary system will not better us, nor that change to federalism” as “changing the constitution will not guarantee a better state,” he added. He underscored the need to change one’s values and outlook because “change of heart is crucial.” “Lent is a call to conversion” as he called on everyone to “stop finger pointing.” In the Alay Kapwa Facilitator’s Guide, Bontoc-Lagawe Vicar Apostolic Emeritus Francisco F. Claver, SJ provides the reflection for Ash Wednesday titled “Citizenship Building and Solidarity.” Fr. Carmelo Diola, overall Coordinating Steward of Dilaab Foundation, Inc. wrote about “A Good Christian is a Good Citizen” for the First Sunday of Lent, March 1, 2009. On the Second Sunday of Lent, March 8, Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso spoke of “Our Duty to Work” while Kalookan Bishop Deogracias S. Iniguez, Jr. underscores the importance of “Justice and Social Solidarity” on the Third Sunday of Lent, March 15. Boac Bishop Reynaldo G. Evangelista emphasizes the need to recognize the “Integrity of Creation: A Common Responsibility” on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 22 as Surigao Bishop Antonieto D. Cabajog reflects on “Participation is a Duty” for the Fifth Sunday of Lent on March 29. On Palm Sunday, Alay Kapwa Sunday, Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz contemplates on the importance of “Charity and Justice” and on Easter Sunday, Bishop Pabillo highlights on “Peace: Fruit of Justice and Love.” (Melo M. Acuna)

Jobless Filipinos reach 10.7 M says independent think-tank
MALABON CITY, January 28, 2009—The Philippines had recorded 10.7 million jobless in 2008 and it will continue to increase as the global financial crisis reaches the Philippine shores in mid-2009, says independent think-tank IBON Foundation, Inc. in a statement. The computation of the rate of unemployment is based on the definition of employment made by National Statistics Office (NSO) and with an assumption of 66.1 percent in labor force participation. IBON said, the aim of the recent bulletin released by their office is to “correct” the underestimation of joblessness since April 2005, when the State’s statistical agency had revised its definition of unemployment which has resulted to greatly reduced unemployment reports. “This year, joblessness is likely to increase at least 11 million or more, assuming that the labor force increases by 915,000 (the average increase over the last eight years) and that only 500,000 jobs are created, which implies an additional 415,000 jobless. This figure could be higher, as the employment situation is already far worse than the aftermath of the 1997 Asian Crisis when unemployment rate averaged 10% in 1998-1999 compared to nearly 11% in 2008,” reads IBON statement sent to CBCP News. It added, “The most recent severe worsening of the Philippine economic crisis in 2000 and 2001 may help illustrate what the country is now going through. Like today, the global slowdown in 2000 was precipitated by serious US financial and economic troubles—then it was the bursting of the “dot-com” or “new economy” bubble. The ranks of the unemployed swelled by an additional 640,000 Filipinos in 2000 and 2001 which brought the number of unemployed to 3.7 million in 2001 and the unemployment rate to 11.1% (from 9.8% in 1999). While there is strong reason to believe that the Philippine economy will again go in these directions or even worse, as the current global economic financial turmoil is not just deeper and fartherreaching but will also last for much longer.” Furthermore, IBON said, despite claims of economic success, job creation under the Arroyo administration since 2001 has been tepid and its policies have not been able to create enough jobs for Filipinos. “The average real employment rate of over 11% since 2001 is the worst period of unemployment in the country’s history. The persistence of high unemployment despite supposedly sustained economic growth is also unprecedented,” IBON stated. “All this highlights the need for a radical change in government’s economic policies. Measures that would yield immediate benefits include increasing public spending for social services, removing the VAT on oil products, freeing public resources by stopping debt payments, among others. More than these, the government’s elite-biased and free-market oriented policies, which have kept the Philippine economy backward, should be drastically changed,” IBON statement concluded. Earlier, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D., called on the government to make the necessary steps in saving the jobs of millions of Filipinos after a report reached him that US semiconductor firm, which employs some 1,800 workers, will be shutting down its plant in the country soon. On January 22, the Intel Corp. announced that it is shutting down its 19.83 hectare Cavite factory that will layoff 1,800 workers, excluding an undisclosed number of executives. There are reports also stating that aside from the closure of the Philippine plant, the corporation will also shut down its facility in Malaysia. The CBCP head said the government should take action, especially now that a lot of Filipinos working overseas are also losing their jobs due to the global financial meltdown. He said the Filipinos who have been laid off abroad are forced to go out of the country, again, because there are no job opportunities here. The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), Inc. also projected more layoffs due to shaky economy this year. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
© CBCP Media

Family is reason Knights of Columbus exist, says advisor to Supreme Knight
MEXICO CITY, January 29, 2009—Luis Guevara, assistant to the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Dr. Carl Anderson, spoke with CNA earlier this week about the purpose of the Catholic men’s fraternal organization, saying, “The family is the reason the Order exists.” In exclusive statements to CNA, Guevara said, “The family is reason the Knights of Columbus exist as it is the domestic church, the first Christian community.” “By making committed laymen the foundation of the order, Father McGivney (founder of the Knights) sought to effectively and concretely safeguard the life of the family as the foundation of the community, conscious that it is from the parish where the family also gives itself to the world with Christ,” Guevara explained. He went on to emphasize the role the Knights played at the Sixth World Meeting of Families that took place in Mexico and was attended by 150 families from the Order. Guevara said the main challenge the Knights of Columbus see for the family in Mexico is the social transformation that the country is experiencing and suffering “as part of its desire to become a democratic and inclusive society.” Likewise, he pointed out that “the only response is the committed participation of Catholics, conscious that it is precisely through their testimony and daily effort at work, home and school and of course in the family, that will transform society to make it reach its ultimate good, which is Christ.” Guevara also addressed Mexicans and Americans by recalling that both countries “share one future due to the demographic integration they are experiencing, and that on these two countries depends the future of not only Latin America but of the entire continent.” This “makes it even more crucial that Catholics on both sides of the border establish bonds of fraternal collaboration, and the Order of the Knights of Columbus is a good example of collaboration between people of different nations,” Guevara said. (CNA)

© Pinky Barrientos / CBCP Media

© www.catholicnewsagency.com

VATICAN CITY, February 1, 2009─Ending a person’s life is “false” solution to the problem of suffering, and one not worthy of human dignity, says Benedict XVI. After praying the Angelus today with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said that euthanasia is often a big temptation when one is suffering, but it’s not the answer. The answer, he said, is love. Speaking on the Day for Life being observed in Italy, the Pontiff commented on the theme chosen by the Italian episcopal conference: “The Strength of Life in Suffering.” “I wholeheartedly join in their message in which we see the love of pastors for their people, and the courage to proclaim the truth, the courage to state with clarity, for example, that euthanasia is a

false solution to the drama of suffering, a solution unworthy of man,” he said. The Holy Father said the answer isn’t putting a person out of their misery, however “kindly” they do it, “but to bear witness to the love that helps us to face pain and agony in a human way.” “We are certain,” Benedict XVI affirmed, “no tear, whether it be of those who suffer or those who stand by them, goes unnoticed before God.” The Pope entrusted those who are suffering and their caretakers to the Virgin Mary, who “carried in her mother’s heart the Son’s secret, she shared in the painful moments of the passion and crucifixion, sustained by the hope of the resurrection.” (Zenit)



CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

Death penalty for the unborn
IN the objective and ultimate analysis, abortion in essence is nothing less that the deliberate downright death penalty of the unborn although completely defenseless, guiltless and helpless. The latter’s human life is not recognized but completely rejected – in the same way that the human dignity and human rights thereto inherent are not acknowledged but simply ignored as inconsequential and even irrelevant. The unborn child is innocence incarnate but considered a culprit, a shame, an inconvenience. An unborn child is thus meted death penalty without even a semblance of due process, and wherefore killed with gross injustice. The abominable iniquity or heinous crime of abortion is deeply and strongly anchored on the following detestable factors: The father and/or the mother of the unborn are precisely the ones who are the principal criminals in killing someone of their own flesh and blood. The physicians and/or akin agents are the direct collaborators in extinguishing life when these are precisely supposed to protect and promote it. The pharmaceuticals and vendors who manufacture or sell abortive elements and instruments make money from the murders of the unborn. It is both an offense to right reason and a disgrace to truth when people hear certain characters shouting loudly and avidly insisting that the unborn – the conceived, the embryo, the fetus – is not human , not a human being, not a human person. Then, what is the unborn from its conception? A blood clot? A piece of meat? A little muscle? Or it is a growing germ, a tiny mammal, a vague being or something? And if so, when does this undefined creature or element become a human being, a human person? Only after one or two or three months of gestation – but not one month, two or three months less? Or does the thing become human only at the very moment of birth – but not immediately before? Death penalty is already abhorrent when imposed against a despicable criminal, not once by the Regional Court, nor twice by the Court of Appeals but thrice convicted by the Supreme Court. It is then manifestly evident that the terminal penalty of death sentence pronounced on a child yet unborn through abortion is even much more horrendous. How does anyone equate a horrible criminal with still an unborn completely guileless child? It is for this reason that while a truly repentant murderer of one or more individuals may be given absolution by a Priest through the Sacrament of Confession or Reconciliation, anyone however guilty of even by one abortion by deliberate personal action and/ or by active collaboration may be absolved by a Priest only with the expressed faculty or competence formally and specifically given by the Bishop. One abortion is considered as definitely more intrinsically evil than one premeditated killing, one assassination or liquidation and the like. Woe to anyone – especially those in tenure of power and might –who dare basically tolerate if not actually promote abortion. Such tribulation and misery become reality irrespective of race, color and creed. It would be hard to think of a more atrocious crime than abortion!

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points
PUBLICLY and ceremoniously signed by the Secretary General of the House of Representatives and the Secretary General of the Senate and the President of the Philippines, Republic Act. No. 9287 is an exemplary proof and sterling demonstration of the shocking hypocrisy of the present administration in having the said anti-jueteng Republic Act signed and sealed. In letter and expression, one could readily think that it would uproot Jueteng in particular from Philippine society, that it would get rid of the infamous “Jueteng Lords” and their cohorts. But the well worded and much impressive legislative act readily prove to be nothing but a big joke, a marked duplicity and gross deceit. It expressly and officially provides: “SECTION 3: a) The penalty of imprisonment from 30 days to 90 days, if such person acts as a bettor; b) The penalty of imprisonment from 6 years and 1 day to 8 years, if such person acts as a personnel or staff of an illegal numbers game operation; c) The penalty of imprisonment from 8 years and 1 day to 10 years,

Inanity of Republic Act No. 9287
if such person acts as a collector or agent; d) The penalty of imprisonment from 10 years and 1 day to 12 years, if such a person acts as a coordinator, controller or supervisor; e) The penalty of imprisonment from 12 years and 1 day to 14 years, if such a person acts as maintainer, manager or operator; f) The penalty of 14 years and 1 day to 16 years, if such a person acts as a financier or capitalist; g) The penalty of imprisonment from 16 years and one day to 20 years, if such a person acts as a protector or coddler.” Made effective from 19 April 2004, the above-cited provisions of the said Republic Act are to date more than three years in their binding force. For the record, the illegal numbers’ game of jueteng in the Philippines has grown more than double in people involved and thereby also more than double in daily gambling money collections and wherefore likewise more than double in regular monthly bribes to a good number of local public officials and police authorities.
Views / A6

Life must be protected from its inception
The whole of mankind bears constant testimony to the sacredness of human life not only after birth but from its inception. Man in fact is born with this reverence for life, for nature has imbedded in his heart an instinct of reverence for new human life. This instinct is a distinctive trait of man, and history testifies how people who smothered this instinct lapsed into degradation. The earliest recorded laws enacted by men attest to this profound reverence for human life from the first known moments of its presence. The Sumerian (2000 BC) and the Assyrian (1500 BC) Codes protected foetal life from abortion with most severe sanctions. We could say that the Geneva Declaration for Physicians in 1949, proclaiming “I will preserve the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception” is a clear echo of the Hippocratic Oath in a symphony of human reverence for life in all its stages. Neither was this reverence for life an empty doctrine. It carried with it the severest sanctions that were enshrined in the laws of civilized nations. The sad fact that lately some nations deviated from this universally felt reverence for life, to the extent of approving abortion, only proves the presence of evil and good in this world. Falsehood and evil could prevail, at least for some time, over truth and virtue. Moreover, as stated above, skillful manipulation by some organized groups could distort issues and create an environment that could present a moral evil as a desirable economic good. Moreover, wherever abortion has been approved and practiced, in defiance of nature and of God’s law, it did not take long before the evil seed contained in this practice, surfaced with disastrous results, prompting responsible leaders and peoples to admit their humiliating error. This universal pro-life conviction deriving from reason and from the natural instinct of man finds its fullest basis and support in God’s command: “Thou shalt not kill.” This law of God somehow found its place in all human codes of conduct. The Church, on the other hand, has consistently applied this divine law to human life in all its stages. …With uncompromising firmness she declares the nobility of transmitting life and condemns abortion saying: “God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.” (Church in the World Today, #51) This clear teaching of the Catholic Church is taken up in a chorus of voices representing not only Christian religions but all major religions yesterday, today and always. --“Thou Shalt Not Kill”, A Joint Pastoral Letter on the Life of the Unborn Child; January 29, 1979
ISSN 1908-2940

Issues on fertility and sexuality
EVEN within the Catholic Church, and even after 40 years since the encyclical Humanae Vitae was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1968 emphasized the importance of teaching natural family planning to respond to the needs of married couples for birth spacing, promoters of natural family planning have a hard time organizing teachers and trainors for effective and efficient programs on fertility education. Although learning one’s fertility, both of the male and female, is simple enough so that even those who do not have medical training can appreciate it, using the information in order to achieve or avoid a pregnancy is not that simple. It is true that practicing natural family planning is free, unlike taking contraceptive pills or injectables, using condoms or IUDs, or undergoing ligation/vasectomy, but setting up the training programs and providing the teaching materials does entail the need of funds. Within an area, we begin with an orientation session, emphasizing the fact that we are not there only to assist couples not to have babies, that is, we are not just teaching “birth control through natural means” but we are sharing the information on fertility so that couples can decide for themselves, with prayerful discernment and a deep sense of responsible parenthood, whether to avoid having a child at this time or to postpone it for later. From that orientation session, we invite

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
Planning on February 20 (Friday) from 8:00 to 5:00 pm at the Bahay Ugnayan Building, Good Shepherd Convent, Aurora Blvd., Quezon City. Speakers and facilitators are from Pro-life Phils., Kapatiran Party, WOOMB (World Organization Ovulation Method Billings), ICSI and CfCFL. The main topics are on “Issues and Challenges we face today” by Councilor JC de los Reyes, “Fertility and Sexuality” by Xavy Padilla, “Basics on Natural Family Planning” by Rally Ganar, and testimonies on the successful use of NFP by some couples. Workshops in the afternoon will be for those who are already involved in NFP to share strategies and modules according to the target learners—that is, one workshop will be for those conducting pre-cana or pre-marriage sessions in the parishes, another will be for those who handle BECs and community organizations in depressed areas, another will be the government workers, and the last group will be for the teachers and guidance counselors. The day will end with the Eucharist with Archbishop Paciano Aniceto as the Main Celebrant. We pray that the Conference will be well attended. Please help us disseminate this information, and do join us if you can. Registration Fee is P300 for the Kit, food and Certificate. For Reservations and for more information, contact Pro-life office at 9112911, 0919-233-7783, Telefax 421-7147, email life@pro-life.org.ph.

those who wish to learn how to keep track of their fertility and we monitor their learning for three or more months until they can be independent and secure in their observations, as well as comfortable in following the days of abstinence as a couple. Then we identify those who have potential to be teachers, gathering them for a training workshop and once again monitoring their teaching and counseling skills until we can evaluate that they can continue the program on their own. Yes, the process takes time but it is fulfilling to see so many couples, most of them from the grassroots, reporting to us their joy in quitting contraceptives ever since they learned NFP. However, many parishes and organizations claim they are unable to implement the directive of the Bishops to promote natural family planning. The parish priests seem to have a hard time getting volunteers, especially among the professionals, because it does take time and they often have to shell out of their own personal funds in order to implement the program. Also, it is harder to get lay people who have not been affected by the contraceptivepopulation control mentality and who believe that the church teachings against contraception is right after all. Many women subscribe more to the instructions of their physicians rather than of the priests’ (if they hear the priest at all speak out on these matters!). It is with these issues in mind that prolife groups will be holding a Conference on Responsible Parenthood-Natural Family

CBCP Monitor
Protagonist of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace

Fr. Francis B. Ongkingco

“FATHER, what is spiritual direction?” the young college engineering student asked. I rummaged through my mental archives looking for a quick wiki definition. “Well, I guess you could compare it to some sort of spiritual curriculum.” “A spiritual curriculum…,” he ruminated on the phrase as though trying to digest it as he mumbled to himself. “Yup, a spiritual curriculum towards a specific identity or makeup that will help you to personally claim ownership over your baptismal vocation.” “Wow, you mean towards graduating towards my heavenly degree?” “Well, I couldn’t put it better than that,” I was happy to see that he was catching with the analogy I put forward. “But it shouldn’t straightjacket the Christian into some sort of a dry or dull spiritual life. On the contrary, it serves as a guide which one can personally enrich when he gets familiar with the basic ingredients necessary for his spiritual life.” “Basic ingredients?” he seemed a little lost. Then without taking

‘Spiritual dictation’
his eyes off mine, he pulls out his cell phone from his pocket. He may have set his device on vibrating mode. I paused in order to give him some space to check his cell. I was, however, impressed that he only glanced at his cell, clicked a key, and looked to me again as his fingers dexterously texted a message. Having regained his attention I continued. “It can also be compared to wanting to learn how to paint.” “Paint…,” he muttered. He glanced at his phone again, then immediately looked back at me as if not to say that he was all ears again. “Yes, paint…,” I said. At this point I was feeling a little uneasy with his cell. But I felt it was more important to get my message across than to allow myself to be irritated with his texting someone. “Let’s say if you wanted me to teach you how to paint, then you wouldn’t expect me to provide you with the canvas, the brush and the paint. I suppose, being the student, you should provide them yourself.” “Right…,” he said as his fingers stopped texting. I was quite relieved to see that he can now pay more attention
Whatever / A6

Pedro C. Quitorio

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate Editor

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Feature Editor

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The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. Email: cbcpmonitor@cbcpworld.net Website: www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009

A different encounter
These would be called “Jacob’s Wells.” The last sharer was PSSupt. Cesar Binag of the PNP Program Management Office (PMO), an office ensuring that the integrated transformation program is sustained despite changes in personalities and leadership. Col. Binag shared something closest to his heart: his family. Cesar is a member of a Protestant congregation and his presence is a sign of Dilaab’s commitment to work with other Christians. 4Ps is a step towards healing the wounds of our country resulting from graft and corruption. When the lack of integrity – for which we are all answerable – penetrates a culture, there is disintegration at various levels. There is lack of trust among social sectors and the tendency to blame one another. Sectors and groups tend to be inward looking and to engage in harmful “in-breeding.” There is, then, the need to exchange places or, to put it in more theological terms, to engage in pastoral accompaniment in the spirit of communion: A spirituality of communion also means an ability to think of our brothers and sisters in faith within the profound unity of the Mystical Body, and therefore as “those who are a part of me”. This makes us able to share their joys and sufferings, to sense their desires and attend to their needs, to offer them deep and genuine friendship. A spirituality of communion implies also the ability to see what is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God: not only as a gift for the brother or sister who has received it directly, but also as a “gift for me”. A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to “make room” for our brothers and sisters, bearing “each other’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy. (Novo
Hope / A7

Nicolo F. Bernardo

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, SSL

Spaces of Hope
“AFTER our training what then?” a policeman in his middle 30s asked me. He was about to finish a 30-day training called the Values and Leadership School (VLS) at the PNP Regional Training School facility in Gaas, Balamban, Cebu. He added: “When we return to our precincts, there will be millions of temptations.” A bit exaggerated perhaps but one gets the point. Last Tuesday 27 January 2009 at the Argao Training Center in Argao, Cebu, the man’s question found an answer. A gathering, called the “4 Ps (Pulis-Pari, PresintoParokya) for Peace Partnership,” brings together two groups of leaders – and their respective areas of responsibility – playing key roles in promoting the common good in the community. The PNP Provincial Director, PSSupt Carmelo Valmoria, showed the way by being there. So were the Argao parish priest, Monsignor Jose Montecillo, and Mayor Edsel Galeos. The latter provided venue and food. Twenty-one policemen, most of whom were chiefs of police, seven priests, and 15 lay workers attended the whole-day seminar, a first step in concretizing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed 30 October 2008 by the PNP, the Archdiocese of Cebu, and Dilaab movement represented by PNP Dir. Gen. Jesus Verzosa, Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, and the author, respectively. The MOA is the fusion of several streams of transformative energies: the Integrated Transformation Program of the PNP and its focus on leadership at all levels; the 2008 and 2009 Archdiocese of Cebu thrusts on the Bible and the Church, respectively; and Dilaab’s Heroic Christian Citizenship and Leadership Program. Ret. PCSupt. Samson Tucay and the author set the pace by sharing their journey as companions towards integrity for the common good. Gen. Tucay was head of the Values and Leadership School (VLS)

Lifeguard Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and the Body’s Theology
ALTHOUGH the human sciences have always dabbled with the healthy and ill, the “natural” and the “unnatural” in sexuality, anthropologists and biologists of recent seem to have found new affection on cracking the “biochemistry of love.” After all the poetry has been said about romance—whose feast we shall celebrate on February 14—scientists finally have their take on love, with revelations to interest theologians of the body. The clinical thesis is this: The body’s neuropeptides reveal how love does proceed and what sexual practices could better serve our physiologic interests. John Paul II must be right to say that the Creator’s plan for relationships is imprinted in our bodies (dubbed as the “Theology of the Body”). Our bodily design has got a lot to tell on what true love could mean. Take for instance our hormone oxytocin. By it we can fairly say how sex, love, and reproduction are meant to rhyme. This “bonding hormone,” as it is called, is present in the continuum of courtship, romance, orgasm, pregnancy, infant nurturing, and breastfeeding. And what oxytocin joined together, let no man put asunder. Then there is the hormone vasopressin. It is the aggression hormone that makes males protective, jealous, and attentive husbands. Vasopressin helps in laying down memories, in familiarizing with the partner and her kids. Take out this mechanism of jealousy and protectionism and the father would be like any stag, oblivious of who may be his kids or who may be his partner’s partners. Of course there are many men who behave that way, which only shows that the presence of this or any hormone—or their absence—is hardly deterministic of human behavior. The phenomena of love could not be reduced to a chemical concoction or a biological event, although the body’s chemicals may suggest how a healthy loving person could be. A study by the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, funded by the US National Institute of Mental Health, says that oxytocin and vasopressin play key roles in the formation of social attachments between animals, especially for “lifelong pair bonding” or “monogamy.” It might lead us the answer whether we humans are meant to stick to one, since humans, unlike other animals, are high in oxytocin and vasopressin. It is no coincidence that another mammal high in oxytocin and vasopressin is also monogamous. The prairie vole, unlike its other mice cousins, is a case in point. Oxytocin receptors have high concentration in the nucleus accumbens and the pre-limbic cortex of prairie voles as in humans. Vasopressin receptors are also in large quantities in the ventral forebrain of the prairie vole. The male prairie vole is defensive and exclusive of its partner, while the female prairie vole and her boons are almost inseparable. Together they make a family. “The oxytocin and vasopressin systems appear to activate two separate nodes of the same reward pathway to form and reinforce pair bonds,” explains Dr. Larry Young, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine (Emory University Health Sciences Center in the study Reward Mechanism Involved in Addiction Likely Regulates Pair Bonds between Monogamous Animals). Among humans’ fellow primates (monkeys) that have been studied, monogamous marmosets also have higher levels of vasopressin found in the reward centers of their brains than do non-monogamous rhesus macaques. Remember that in John Paul II’s work Love and Responsibility, love proceeds from phases of “sensuality/sentimentality” to “affection” then to “real love.” These stages agree with our brain’s neuropeptide mechanisms. Attraction allows people to home in on a particular mate. This state is characterized by feelings of exhilaration, and intrusive, obsessive thoughts about the object of affection. But this romance, sometimes of lust, is unstable, and not a good basis for commitment and child-rearing. The final stage of love, long-term attachment, allows parents to cooperate in raising children. This state, says Dr Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University-New York, is characterized by feelings of calm, security, social comfort, and emotional union (Fisher, Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love). How do you maintain the stimulant of romance for a long time? Fisher holds it possible to trick the brain into feeling romantic in a long-term relationship by doing novel things with one’s partner. These drive up the level of dopamine or the “pleasure hormone” and can therefore trigger feelings of romance as a side effect. Thus, long-term love can be sustained by doing acts of love as exhilarating feelings follow after. Now about procreation. Oxytocin is the same hormone that works for rearing and reproduction. Not only does the oxytocin mediate females’ retention of the male sperms, it also causes men to sleep and snooze after a sexual act. This seems to work to make the man stay awhile with the woman, to bond longer while asleep, and probably deal with commitment and possible conception the morning after. Interestingly, one cause that helps women deal with and forget the difficulty of pregnancy and childbirth is her oxytocin being secreted into her spinal column during and after labor. Oxytocin is also responsible for her maternal behavior. With all these mechanisms of oxytocin in mind, we can see why in contraceptive and homosexual sex, the purposes of oxytocin release are frustrated (and precisely why certain contraceptives have to tamper the body’s natural hormones). My former professor in Feminism of the Theology of the Body, Dr. Josephine Acosta-Pasricha of the University of Santo Tomas, used to say that in male to male relationships, the most we have are aggressive vasopressins defaulting together. No wonder why such ties hardly last. So arguably, we can say that the Christian theology of the body has a biological and anthropological support. Man has the natural components for choosing love, and it benefits him to act on love and life-giving acts. It appears that the mores about fidelity, divorce, abortion, contraception, and homosexual sex came up not just to savor the soul, but to give the body its authentic reproductive health.

promoting God-centered leadership at the 17 Regional Training Schools (RTS) of the PNP. Many of the 3000 plus graduates of the VLS had expressed the need for a support mechanism when they would return to their police stations. The tandem pointed out that beneath the uniform and the sotana are human beings created in God’s image and likeness, sharing the same dignity as well as experiencing the same weaknesses and temptations; hence, both need God and each other. The friendship seeks to transcend utilitarian and narrow interests in favor of the common good. Ang sarap pala magpakabait, as Kuya Sam (as he is popularly called in Dilaab circles) puts it. The author, for his part, is unabashed in declaring that he has become a better priest because of his friendship with Sam. A game followed, facilitated by two Dilaab volunteers, Tess and Gladys. Winners took home T-shirts marked with Pwede Pala Pinoy, a Dilaab project seeking to ignite spaces of hope for ordinary citizens. For lunch, it was boodle fight, a single row of tables covered with banana leaves, with rice, fish, meat, and mongo laid out on it. When the signal is given, all mouths and hands break loose. This was a great way of laying down one’s guard and allowing others to enter into one’s space. Emping and Nash, two members of local rock bands known as Bisrockers, then rendered songs to the delight of the audience. The pair is now also known as Peacerockers, qualifying them for the 4Ps. Another game ensued. This was followed by a brief talk on lectio divina and an actual session. Lectio Divina is the “diligent reading of the Bible accompanied by prayer.” The gospel exposition was on the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4). The 4Ps project envisions police precincts as venue for a weekly encounter between police personnel and the parish.

Continuing economic crisis leading to disaster
THE economic crisis that started in Wall Street is now all over the world. Thousands of workers losing their jobs went on strike in France paralyzing all transportation and commercial activities. The U.K. government declared officially that they are now in recession. Germany followed by issuing their economic rescue plan. President Obama, in spite of his declared $825 billion stimulus fund to arrest the rapid decline of the economy, is still not assured of support from the Republicans. Meantime there is daily announcement of workers losing their jobs, in countries all over the world, predicted to reach 100 million world-wide during this economic crisis. At the local scene, Intel, the manufacturer of electronic parts recently stopped operations leaving 1,500 employees jobless. A total of 60,000 workers from the garments and electronic industry will join the ranks of the unemployed in the Philippines within this year. Meantime, the unemployed has ballooned with new graduate students that could not find jobs. What is more heart-wrenching is that these students who graduate without hands-on experience are practically unemployable. This is the reason why tens of thousands of nursing graduates can not qualify for jobs abroad. What do they do now? Opportunistic employers take advantage of this situation by allowing them to work in their establishments provided the board exam-passer pay monthly fees for their on-the-job training. Other employers pay daily allowance to their on-the-job trainees. These nurses agree to pay P 1,000 per month for on-the-job training, a scheme done by a fund-starved government hospital, otherwise they can not qualify for employment abroad. The whole governance of our educational system and job generation has already reached disaster level. Practically all college graduates who can not find jobs are forced to leave the country. We are now experiencing exodus at the rate of 3,000 workers leaving the country every day. The Philippine government, guided by what other nations do, has provided billions of pesos for priming the economy. From the approved budget of P1.415 trillion, P300 billion is allotted for infrastructure and an additional P50 B for the “economic stimulus package”, another name for pork barrel funds. The congressional vultures are just waiting to pounce on this big sum and eventually get 20 to 40 percent take from both the infrastructure and pork barrel outlays; money that will be used to buy votes for the 2010 election. While Civil Society is given the role to observe the bidding process, the collusion between heads of agencies and building contractors still goes on. Even the World Bank-funded projects are not exempt

Jose B. Lugay

Laiko Lampstand
from these shenanigans. The recent Senate and House investigations clearly show that “blacklisting” of infrastructure contractors is a farce. The World Bank’s blacklist of contractors is a futile effort since the DPWH conducted its own investigations exonerating the “blacklisted” local contractors who are known partners of our legislators and influential oligarchs. It is not far-fetched to expect grim scenarios once a large population starts eating only two meals a day. Thefts, hold-ups and criminality will surely increase. Predictably, catastrophic disaster looms when people no longer have food to eat. Scenes of war-ravaged Manila and Cebu City in 1944 will once more be experienced in this 21st century. There will be riots and uncontrollable rampage with looting and destruction of property. If our legislators devote more time, instead of grandstanding in congressional investigations, to policy formulation for better governance, these dire predictions can be stalled and disasters mitigated. The Philippines is fortunate that we can grow plants and vegetables all year round and fish abounds in our seas. The problem is bridging the sources of production with the consumers by having provincial farm to market roads, and affordable shipping and refrigeration facilities, supported by ports and harbors from island to island. Instead of selling the Food Terminal Area, why not support it as originally planned and have this operational with private sector participation? The importation of rice by NFA using billions of pesos yearly to subsidize prices, deprives local rice farmers to earn what is due them. These wrong policies which feed on corruption at NFA level in connivance with private rice distributors must stop. We also need to support farmers with cheap fertilizers. The Joc-joc Bolante adventure must not happen again. We know that the President herself is reviving the green revolution of Madam Imelda Marcos, a step in the right direction. But do we see our senators, congressmen and local government officials moving towards this direction? If they continue to neglect their duties as lawmakers to be present in all sessions to formulate laws and policies and not wasting their time in investigations to earn pogi points for the coming election, the people will put all the blame on them when the specter of extreme poverty and hunger will cause riots all over the country especially in cities and urban areas. When that happens, the safest place to go is to our rural farms where food is plentiful and where rural folks are generous to a fault.

Fr. Melvin P. Castro

Speaking of Mary
LOS Angeles. After attending the World Meeting of Families, I was privileged to attend the 36th Annual March for Life at Washington DC. There were a hundred thousand or more in the midst of the very chilly weather. And of course, Filipino-Americans were there. Travelling from San Diego on Wednesday night, January 21st, 10:45 pm, I spent the night in the plane. Arriving the next day, 8:00 am at the DC, I was met by Atty. Joseph Cosby, an American lawyer who forms part of the Filipino Family Fund. With only two hours of rest, we went to the DC downtown area, where to my amazement, people were already congregating. And what is more amazing was the great number of youth who were there. The feeling was thrilling and encouraging. Mothers with their children. Fathers with their sons and daughters. Priests with their parishioners. Religious nuns with their communities. The March was not moving for two hours, and a joke went around that it should be renamed Stand-up for Life rather than March for Life. There was a group of Latinos who

Life at the heart of the issue
I was asked to speak briefly on the Philippine situation, and I just hope I was able to present them of the current situation in our country. Early the next day, I proceeded to San Francisco where I had a scheduled Mass and talk to a Filipino community. Saturday, January 24, I was to have a city tour of the area. And lo and behold, our vehicle could not move. It was their March for Life! From one March for Life in the one coast of the US to another March for Life at the other coast. And same sight! Many young people. The two branches of the Couples for Christ were also there. I begin to see hope in this country, many young people─even according to their own surveys─are more pro-life than the adults. We just have to wait. The youth is indeed our hope. In a couple of hours, I’ll be returning to our country, with hope and encouragement. No matter what the US government might do, its people are slowly returning to God. I just hope and pray, our own people would not commit the same mistakes they did. May Our Lady protect us! Ave Maria!

started singing and playing their musical instruments, and the people gladly swayed in harmony with their music. Some even handed me some food and drinks, and hand and feet warmers (those little things that you hold onto and it keeps you warm)...It reminded me so much of EDSA. The March finally moved albeit slowly then finally at a fast pace. Unfortunately, we did not reach the US Supreme Court, the place of culmination for the rally, since it was already filled with people. Abortion hurts women, many placards showed. We choose life, others displayed. Babies are life not a choice. The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue (IPVS) of Our Lady of Fatima was also there. But with the vast crowd, I wasn’t even able to get close. But anyway, I’ll be catching up with her at the LA airport in coming back to the Philippines. After the March for Life, we proceeded to the Reception in a nearby hotel for the Filipino-American Pro-lifers organized by the Filipino Family Fund. Some US Congressmen were also in attendance.

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Local News

CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

Opposition mounts vs Bataan nuclear plant
ANOTHER Roman Catholic bishop has registered opposition to the revival of the country’s first but dormant nuclear power plant. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo’s opposition is based on grounds of potential dangers of such a project based in Morong town, Bataan province. The government acknowledged the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Plant, which could be rehabilitated in at least five years at a cost of $800 million, would help in meeting the rising demand for power. But Pabillo, who heads the Episcopal Commission on Social Action-Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said there’s so much at stake with the project. Foremost, he said, is the hazard and danger that nuclear plants can bring to society. “So that plan must be studied very carefully really,” Pabillo said. The bishop said a huge consideration must also be given to the nuclear power plant’s geographical location as it sits at the foot of Mount Natib, a potentially active volcano. Experts said the nuke project is positioned adjacent to a crossroads of geological fault lines which means that it is vulnerable to seismic activity. The Philippines is known to be a geologically volatile country. The first to react publicly against reviving the project was LingayenDagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, whose opposition was on the issue of disposal of nuclear waste. He said the government should first answer the “most important of all questions” if it wants to reopen the nuclear power plant for future energy use. Cruz said all countries having nuclear waste, consider their disposal a “big and deep dark
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national secret.” Balanga Bishop Socrates Villegas, whose pastoral jurisdiction covers the nuclear plant location, has other side of the story while he is totally against it. He said the construction of the plant was attended by numerous irregularities among contractors, especially on the part of the government. “It stands as a mute witness of abominable greed and corruption and as a reminder to all Filipinos that such deeds that only bring untold suffering should never again be foisted in our country,” he earlier said. Villegas warned that reviving the power plant would increase incidence of “unbridled and shameless graft and corruption.” (Roy Lagarde) to pursue their call on government because the bishops said so.” Asked if the government has shared the same views, the prelate said he doesn’t know because “the government simply selects what they like.” As far as Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra is concerned, he said the government has “barely considered the CBCP’s pastoral statements because the government has so many interests to protect (up) to the point they could not come out to respond to what the people need or demand.” The CBCP has issued 22 pastoral letters and statements from January 27, 2001 to date, the latest of which is entitled “God Hears the Cries of the Poor – A Concluding Statement of the CBCP on the Second National Rural Congress” which underscored the plight of the rural poor, small farmers and landless workers, fisherfolks, among others. powerful, knowing, merciful and loving, it means that we will never reach a point of being satisfied with our progress. We will constantly need clearer points of reference and guidance, so as to come out with a more refined way of loving and serving God and our neighbor.” As I ended he took out his cell again. That was the signal I was waiting for, but not wanting to extinguish his interest to spiritually grow, I tried my best not to sound irritated, “Jed, who have you been texting all this time, while we were talking?” “Oh, no one, Father! I forgot to bring my notebook, and was simply jotting down everything you were telling me so I wouldn’t forget it,” he said with a wide smile. [SIGH] “Lord, what will the youth think of next?” I said in silent prayer.

PPCRV ‘anxious’ on Danga as new NPO chief
A CATHOLIC Church-based poll watchdog has reacted furiously to the recent appointment of retired admiral Tirso Danga as the new head of the National Printing Office (NPO). The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said someone implicated in the “Hello Garci” scandal could bring backlash to the desired credible polls in 2010. “We would like to express our grave concern and we really are very worried about this,” said PPCRV national chairperson Henrietta de Villa. She said wiping distrust on the electoral system was an uphill battle, and the appointment of Danga could bring it down again. “If we are for transparency and we would like to believe that the President (Arroyo) would like to leave a legacy, especially with the coming 2010 elections to help make it as transparent as possible, we believe that this appointment does not augur well for that transparency,” de Villa said. Mrs Arroyo, last week, named Danga as the new NPO head replacing Enrique Agana. Danga was the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) chief during the 2004 elections allegedly marred by fraud to ensure Arroyo’s victory. The NPO is the lone authorized government agency to produce election paraphernalia, including the official ballots. Various sectors also expressed dismay over Danga’s appointment fearing alleged moves by the administration to manipulate the forthcoming 2010 polls. De Villa said they will formalize soon their opposition to Danga’s appointment by sending a letter to the Office of the President. “We will just express our concern. I do not know if it’s a done deal… (But) at least the citizens should speak up,” she said. Asked what her message to Danga is, the former ambassador to the Holy See said they are just hoping for divine intervention. “May the Holy Spirit descend on you,” she said. (CBCPNews)
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Immeasurable Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Ledesma said it is difficult to measure the positive reactions from the national government whenever the CBCP would issue pastoral statements. “The fact that government is also willing to listen to religious leaders is already a sign they are willing to listen carefully,” said Ledesma. He added “the religious should take time to listen to the rural poor so that we can convey their message to the government.” Ledesma further said while he hopes the CBCP is still effective, “whether we are effective or not, what is important is to articulate the felt needs of the rural poor.” Pabillo said it may take time for the CBCP’s pastoral statements to bear fruit but “as far as NGOs are concerned, they are holding on to CBCP statements that encourage them
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AT least two top Catholic Church leaders objected to the potential appointment of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB). Even Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales himself expressed reservation against Palparan as a DDB member citing his alleged “background of violence.” Rosales said a person who should be appointed to such an agency must not have records of human rights violations. “Anyone they have to put in a very sensitive position must be a man of integrity, proven with honesty and a man of peace,” he said. Palo Archbishop Jose Palma, for his part, urged the government to consider Palparan’s alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings and disappearances of activists before appointing him to the DDB. Palma was the bishop of Calbayog when Palparan was still the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan, Samar. He said it’s unsafe for the government to let a person, who has terrible record of alleged human rights violations in Samar provinces alone, lead role in the anti-drug campaign. The prelate said the Arroyo administration must pursue criminal prosecution of the retired military officer instead of tapping his services in the campaign against illegal drugs. “While I recognize the power of the President in appointing government officials, I challenged her to discern first if Palparan’s appointment would [uphold] common good,” said Palma. Malacañang earlier fended off criticisms involving the upcoming appointment of Palparan as chief enforcer of the country’s drug laws. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Palparan has a background in intelligence gathering in the government’s campaign against insurgency that may also be useful in the fight against illegal drugs. “If he was able to generate good information and intelligence from among the NPA (New People’s Army), I think he can also do the same thing among drug traffickers and drug pushers,” he said. Presidential Management Staff head and incoming press secretary Cerge Remonde said it was "unfortunate" that Palparan is under fire for being "effective" against the communist rebels. (CBCPNews)

Catholic Church leaders rally vs Palparan

Prelate seeks compassion, forgiveness for married priest
DAVAO Archbishop Fernando Capalla has appealed to the faithful to show compassion and forgiveness even as he expressed hopes that the revelation made on television by Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte about one of his priests being married in the past won’t create a rift between the priest and the local official. “As the spiritual father of all the Catholics in Davao City including my friend Mayor Digong and my priest Fr. Pete [Lamata] as well as others who might be in a similar situation, I would like to appeal for compassionate reconciliation, that is, to forgive and to receive forgiveness,” the statement read. Capalla has issued a statement on Feb. 2 to shed light on the revelation made by Duterte in his TV program about the civil status of the priest. It was reported that the mayor has told televiewers in his TV program that Fr. Pedro Lamata, currently the parish priest of St. Mary’s Church in Buhangin, Davao City was married in the past. Capalla in a statement said, that indeed Lamata as a young priest had contracted civil marriage with a woman, but has long repented for what he had done. A priest contracting marriage is a serious violation against the Code of Canon Law that merits automatic suspension from the ministry. Lamata was suspended from his priestly ministry because of what he did, said Capalla. But he said the same Church law also provides other steps and procedures, aside from humble repentance and separation, for erring priests to be forgiven and restored to priestly ministry. Capalla said Lamata had repented for what he had done and fulfilled the other requirements that took him several years. After having complied with the pre-requisites he was reinstated to the priestly ministry. “Since that time until today, like a wounded healer Fr. Pedro Lamata has been a dedicated and energetic priest and pastor, well-loved and respected by many people especially his parishioners and friends, even from among the Muslims and Protestants,” Capalla said. The archbishop first came to know of Lamata’s case when he succeeded Archbishop Antonio Mabutas as the Davao archbishop. Hoping that certain elements will not take advantage of the incident Capalla stressed that forgiveness is “being recommended not immediately but when both are predisposed for this Christian act.” He also said that “forgiveness is given and received not to deny the Church’s moral teachings—which must be preached boldly—but to admit the possible misinterpretation and misinformation that followed certain public utterances.” Reflecting on the diamond jubilee the local Church is currently celebrating, Capalla echoed the words of Pope John Paul II on “request for forgiveness” as one of the conditions for gaining “the special indulgence.” He said the late pope showed a striking example when he asked forgiveness from Muslims, Protestants, Indigenous Peoples and others in the world who have suffered from the hands of members of the Catholic church in the name of religion. Reiterating the pope’s famous words, the archbishop said: “There is no peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness.” (CBCPNews)
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to what I was about to say. “The canvas can be compared to your life, the brush and paint are the means to draw out your spiritual life. The priest has the role of teaching the person the basics: the right symmetry, proportion, combining shades and hues, etc. combining the paint of prayer, sacrifice and the sacraments. All with the end of painting the portrait of Christ in one’s entire existence. “Super!” he exclaimed. His fingers were once again zapping out a text to someone. Interiorly, I couldn’t help feeling annoyed, especially when he always seemed to start texting someone after I had just made an important point. But I held my cool and continued, “That isn’t all! Once someone has learned the basics, he can now work on acquiring his own style
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and form in painting out the fruits of faith, hope and love in his life.” “That’s really ubertastic, Father! I really never saw spiritual direction in this way.” He again looked at his cell, and started out to text another message. “That’s it!” I said to myself, “If he does it one more time I’m going to teach him to have more manners when having a conversation.” But I guess I didn’t have to say that when I saw him slowly pocketing his cell phone. [WHEW!] “This, however, doesn’t mean that one can just forego one’s director or spiritual guide even if one has gotten quite a good hand in living his spiritual life. Since the end towards which our spiritual life is headed for is Someone, and not something; Someone infinitely

But the wonder of wonders is that up to this writing, it is interesting to ask if there was or is but one single arrest made of any juetengero in the country, and thereby meted the proper penalty according to law. To answer this inquiry in the affirmative is illusion. But then, it is possible that jueteng has been totally stopped in the country. To agree

with this possibility is delusion. The truth of the matter is that there is the law that died in complete rest the moment it was signed by no less than the Chief Executive in the land, and that there is wherefore even jueteng or its equivalent illegal numbers game all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Want to guess why?

Greeks to finally enter the city of Troy during the Trojan War by donating a towering horse structure that was wheeled into the city gates of Troy. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek army crept out of the belly of the giant horse structure and opened the gates which allowed the Greek forces to enter and destroyed the city, decisively ending the long Trojan War. A “Trojan Horse” has become an idiom to mean any trick that causes one’s downfall after accepting a tactical gift from an enemy. Several months ago, some bishops have been reported receiving gifts from Malacañang. While in 2004 the CBCP has made it a policy never to accept donations that come from gambling, some church
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institutions are still reportedly receiving assistance from government’s gambling agencies. Cordes, who is also the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican’s coordinating body for charity met the bishops Jan. 22 and gave lecture about the Pope’s first encyclical “Deus Caritas Est.” He arrived in the country last Jan. 19 and flew back to Rome morning of Jan. 24. Over the week, Cordes visited depressed areas in Metro Manila to deliver the Pope’s message to help the poor people. He also called on the government to work on poverty in the country. “I call on all the sensitive and responsible government [officials] not to abandon the marginalized sector, and to teach them and help then stand on their own,” Cordes earlier said. (CBCPNews)
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RP Catholics face ‘uphill battle’ Meanwhile, Fr David Clay, asst. Secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL), said US President Obama’s reversal of a controversial abortion policy could affect their “pro-life” advocacy. Clay, an American missionary, said the Church now faces an “uphill battle” in its fight against a bill on maternal health care, which requires the government to push artificial contraception if it becomes a law. The priest said Obama’s decision can also boost the campaign of individuals and groups seeking for the passage of the Reproductive Health bill in the country. “It’s going to be difficult,” said Clay. “Sad to say, it’s going to be a boost for those who are campaigning for abortion.” But the Church official is not entirely

losing hope even if Obama reversed the Mexico City policy, thus making federal money available to promote abortion internationally. Clay claimed that many people in the US are very much opposed to what Obama did and ready to raise their voices against the new US population policy. “I’m more optimistic that it’s not going to take hold... sooner or later it’s going to die,” he said. “We just have to be patient and pray more right now.” Obama recently repealed an eight-year Bush administration policy, allowing funding support to family planning organizations abroad which advocate abortion or provide abortion services. Obama signed the executive order canceling the eight-year-old restrictions on the third day of his presidency. (CBCPNews)

complete in the commission,” said De Villa. De Villa said Yusoph’s appointment did not come as a surprise for her. She said that they already knew Malacañang will appoint someone from the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). But the former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican admitted she does not personally know the new Comelec appointee, noting that she cannot give further comment. She said they are just hoping that Yusoph will uphold professionalism and courage to do the right thing. “The PPCRV congratulates him and hopes he will manifest the values we look for: integrity, competence, independence and an uncompromising adherence to truth,” De Villa said. Malacañang announced the appointment of Yusoph on Feb. 3. He replaced the late Romeo Brawner. (Roy Lagarde)

have “delicadeza” or sensitivity to what the public will feel before appointing somebody. He also believed that the appointment of retired military men is aimed to somehow ensure the Arroyo administration’s full control of its officials. Senators Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Francis Pangilinan and Aquilino Pimentel Jr. earlier slammed the “creeping militarization” in the government due to the series of appointments by the executive department of retired army generals. The solons feared that the move could be a prelude to the declaration of Martial Law to pave way for an Arroyo rule beyond 2010. Former military prelate and Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, for his part, told Arroyo that surrounding herself with former military men is detrimental to her administration. “First of all, the macho mentality of military is still there. They don’t like to be led by a woman, especially by a woman who desires to extend her rule,” said Arguelles, former bishop of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines. (CBCPNews)

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009

Diocesan News


News Briefs
GK joins ‘Go Negosyo’ caravan

PILI, Camarines Sur, January 31, 2009— Gawad Kalinga (GK) joined the “Go Negosyo” caravan held Jan. 30 here and urged the people to produce naturally-grown plants needed in the manufacture of organic cosmetics. British national and GK donor Dylan Wilk, who was one of the guest-speakers in the forum, said that those interested can grow plants used as raw materials. (Elmer Abad)
9 deaf students passed scholarship

Libmanan implements ID system for parishioners
SAN FERNANDO, Camarines Sur—All the parishes within the Prelature of Libmanan has started January to implement the concept of providing identification cards (ID) to its parishioners. But diocesan spokesman Fr. Apolinar Napoles said the new scheme is especially intended for those who stand as sponsors for those who receive the sacraments. He said the idea “is being done as a response to the circular issued by Bishop Jose Rojas, Jr. which calls for the worthy and active participation of the sponsors and to apply the culture of the Basic Ecclesiastic Communities (BEC) locally known as the Saradit na Kristianong Komunidad (SKK)”. The parishioner’s identification card is sought by the faithful because they find it convenient especially for those who act as sponsors for people who will receive the sacraments. “They can use the I.D. card in other parishes and spare the sponsors from undergoing another catechesis with the same topic and content which they have already attended before,” Napoles said. It may be recalled that since the installation of Bishop Rojas as the new head of the Prelature of Libmanan, numerous new concepts and advocacies have been introduced. Aside from the implementation of the I.D. system, the prelate has also injected dynamism in its social action initiatives particularly in the field of agriculture and micro-enterprises. “The local church through the Prelature of Libmanan Development Foundation, Inc. (PLDFI) has recently established a tie up with the Diocese of Legazpi to make available to farmers and micro-entrepreneurs a financing scheme which fits their needs,” said Napoles. The bishop has his focus on evangelization work side by side with social action endeavors. “He has moved to strengthen the BEC’s while working to improve the lives of the faithful by introducing opportunities to farmers so they can increase their productivity and engage in micro-business,” Napoles said. (Elmer Abad)

OZAMIZ CITY—At least nine deaf students of Ozamiz La Salle University got scholarship programs at the College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Study. One of them will take up Bachelor of Applied Deaf Studies and the rest will take up BS in Hospitality Management. (Wendell Talibong)
ICST hosts 2009 INNILIW; pays tribute to SVD

VIGAN CITY—The Immaculate Conception School of Theology (ICST) and Regional Seminary of the North hosted this year’s “INNILIW” or Alumni Homecoming on Jan. 26 and 27. Among the 180 alumni include at least five arch/bishops: Sergio Utleg of Laoag, Marlo Peralta of Alaminos, Joseph Nacua of Ilagan, Ernesto Salgado of Nueva Segovia and Renato Mayugba of Lingayen-Dagupan. (Fran C. Quitoriano)
Prelate notes cultural confusion in disappearing dialects

DAVAO CITY—Archbishop Fernando Capalla noted a worsening problem of cultural confusion brought about by the influence of modern culture today. Capalla said that modern culture is evidently taking its place in the consciousness of the people, attitudes and values. (Mark Ventura)
Bishops: Community consultation is consistent with mission

Priest: Fight vs aerial spraying far from over
DAVAO CITY—Despite an appellate court ruling allowing the return of aerial spraying in Davao City, the fight against the practice is far from over, a Mindanao-based peace advocate said. Redemptorist priest Amado Picardal said residents who camped out against aerial spraying since November have not given up hope and will bring the case to the Supreme Court in Manila. “The struggle continues. We do not give up hope. The terrain of struggle will be carried out in Manila and also here in Davao ─ in the courts, in the streets and in the farms,” he said. He pointed out the story of Jesus did not end in Good Friday, and that there was an Easter Sunday. Picardal, also known as the “biking priest,” reminded the Philippine Banana Growers and Employers Association (PGBEA) that it is still too early to celebrate. “I just pray and hope that their consciences will be awakened to the harm that they are doing to people near the banana plantations,” he said. Picardal scored the appellate court in Cagayan de Oro for allowing the return of aerial spraying in Davao City, which he said threatens lives of local farmers. “I am filled with disgust and indignation at the banana plantation owners who put profit above the welfare and health of the poor people. I am filled with contempt for those in the judiciary who perpetuate this injustice. Woe to you ─ someday, the Lord’s justice will prevail,” he said. He also advised residents in Davao City, particularly members of the Movement Against Aerial Spraying (MAAS), to continue their fight against aerial spraying.
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DAVAO CITY—Mindanaoan bishops have said that their role in the community consultation especially on the resumption of peace talks is consistent with their mission. Archbishop Fernando Capalla said that Mindanao bishops believe that their participation in the consultation of communities is consistent with their mission and role as bridge builders. (Mark Ventura)
Priest hits chronic killings in Davao

DAVAO CITY—Saying that the extra-judicial killings in Davao is already a chronic problem in which no single case has been resolved, “biking priest” Fr. Amado Picardal criticized the seeming tolerance exerted by the people particularly the local officials. He said that the Davao killings continue because there is no public outcry against these violence and many think that they are justified. (Mark Ventura)
Canatuan farmers appeal vs mining blasting

SIOCON, Zamboanga del Norte—The Canatuan Farmers Association (CFA) has appealed to the municipal council here for assistance against TVI’s mining blasting. DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issue member Tito Fiel said the farmers are still waiting for the action to be undertaken by the authorities to protect the communities from any harm caused by dynamite blasting conducted by the mining firm. (Wendell Talibong)
Priests urge people to make God center of personal life

DAVAO CITY—San Pablo Parish priest urged everyone to always make God the center of their lives. Fr. Marbendear Morallas said “like Paul, the experience of the loving God must be the center of our personal and communitarian life.” “Our life as Christian community must be a life lived in God’s love and life lived for God’s love,” he added. (Mark Ventura)
Chinese New Year ushers Christian values, says cleric

NAGA CITY— The traditional celebration of the Chinese New Year carries a set of values which are acceptable to Christians, a Filipino-Chinese missionary said. Fr William Tan of San Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society said the celebration is anchored on strong family ties and the wish to be successful in one’s pursuit of spiritual and financial gains. (Elmer Abad)
Sinait parishioners condemn local crime, prostitution

ILOCOS SUR— In a successful signature campaign, the Parish of St. Nicholas of Tolentino passed a manifesto condemning the growing rate of crime and prostitution in their town of Sinait in Ilocos Sur. Leading the people in the fight against immorality in Sinait are Parish Priest, Msgr. Albert Rabe, Parochial Vicar Ernesto Juarez and the united group of religious and lay organizations in the parish. (Fran C. Quitoriano)
RP laws on environment weak, says int’l advocate

PAGADIAN CITY—The Philippine government is weak on law implementation, Clive Wicks, vice-chair of the Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy of the International Union of Conservation Network (IUCN) said. He said that there are so many considerable laws in the country but it has not religiously implemented by the government that cause some troubles to the affected people. (Wendell Talibong)
Many men have “father-wounds,” says priest

DAVAO CITY—The reason why many men are not demonstrative of their feelings or affections is that for so long they’re holding on to their “father-wounds.” Fr. Amado Picardal said that those men who appeared stern and strict and not expressive of what they truly feel often have irreconcilable feelings towards their fathers in the past but were left unsettled all through the years. (Mark Ventura)
Davao condemns Red Cross abductions

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Acting the environmentalist, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered officials of this city, Misamis Oriental and Northern Mindanao Wednesday to plant trees to prevent future floods from wreaking havoc like what happened recently. The president made the order during the joint meeting with the city, municipal, provincial and regional disaster coordinating councils at the regional office of the Interior and Local Government department. Mrs. Arroyo stressed that reforestation is now of utmost importance in protecting not only the environment from being damaged but also in protecting communities from nature’s wrath. She ordered the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council to supervise government agencies in the implementation of her order. During the closed-door meeting, Mrs. Arroyo was briefed about the situation here and the extent of damage wrought by the floods spawned by last week’s incessant rains brought about by the tailend of a cold front. The president also ordered the release of at least P150 million. Damage to Misamis Oriental alone has reached almost P500 million. At press time, the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council is still continuing its collation of all damages to come up with a final assessment or estimate of the value of the damage of last week’s widespread flooding. In the province alone, at least 27 elementary schools and 9 daycare centers have been totally damaged by floodwaters. Misamis Orienvtal Governor Oscar Moreno recommended the beefing up or strengthening of places and infrastructures like national highways and bridges which, at first look, appeared undamaged but have already suffered scouring underneath.

Arroyo orders tree planting in CDO to foil future floods

Earlier, the appellate court in Cagayan de Oro ruled that the ban on aerial spraying was illegal. Picardal noted the MAAS, from the first week of November up to the middle of January, had camped in front of the appellate court to press their case. “They braved the heat and the rain, including police harassment while waiting for the decision of the court. They even spent Christmas and New Year in their tent. Last week, the court came out with the decision ─ four justices favoring the banana plantation owners and one dissenting opinion. This means that the planes will once again spray pesticides over the banana plantations and the nearby farms and villages and endanger the health of the people,” Picardal said. (Mark Ventura)

Moreno said that what happened in Opol, where a bridge was rendered impassable after it was damaged by flood waters or the highway in Gingoog City which was ripped out of the earth did not happen overnight. “There was already a scouring underneath which we have failed to mitigate immediately,” PDCC officer in charge Teddy Sabugaa quoted the governor as saying. “Let’s not wait for these infrastructures, like for example the bridge in Lugait, to collapse before we do something,” he added. Sabugaa said that Moreno has asked for P135 million as preventive measure budget for this purpose. He also revealed that the Department of Agriculture, through Sec. Arthur Yap, has committed at least P10 million for the rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads in Gingoog City. “This is already a very big help to us in the province,” Sabugaa said. The DA, in coordination with the Provincial Agriculture Office, is also ready to disperse seeds for free to affected farmers all over the province, he added. The seeds distribution is also in answer to President Arroyo’s reforestation order. Earlier, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ has urged everyone to do their share in protecting the environment. “We should really make sure that the watershed areas are protected. The forests are really the natural cover to ensure that the water flow is not so destructive. It also protects the topsoil which is really the need for our agriculture. And now with our modern technology like satellite process, we can pinpoint the areas where there is this need for environmental protection,” he said. (Bong D. Fabe)

DAVAO CITY—The City of Davao has expressed condemnation in strongest term against the recent abduction of the three Red Cross workers by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Jolo last Jan. 15, calling such act as “a crime against humanity.” In a resolution passed by Councilor Pilar Braga it read, “The City of Davao condemns this kidnapping and the kidnappers for committing this war crime, this act against humanity, a crime against the International Humanitarian law.” (Mark Ventura) MATI City—Highlighting on the significance of family as the basic unit of the society, Mati Bishop Patricio Alo said that it plays a major role in the growth of the child. Alo added that it is usually true those first impressions last and the impression that the child will experience from the family will most likely become part of the formative years. (Mark Ventura)
Hope / A5
© CBCP Media

Prelate says family influences life’s first lessons

Bicol bishops: Balikatan may provoke NPA attacks
NAGA CITY—The RP-US Balikatan joint military exercises in Bicol may trigger heightened activities by the New People’s Army, Bicol-based Catholic bishops warned. Apostolic Administrator of Legazpi diocese Bishop Lucilo Quiambao and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes voiced doubts the American forces will be in Bicol mainly for “humanitarian missions.” “Their mere presence might provoke the insurgents,” said Quiambao. “They will make the situation worst, they will train our Filipino soldiers how to fight their fellow Filipinos,” added Bastes. Sr. Ailyn Binco of the Religious of Good Shepherd also sounded the alarm on child trafficking and prostitution where the US troops will land in coastal areas. Binco said many urban poor women could be affected as they may be lured with the prospect of quick money from the soldiers. “There is a hidden agenda here by the American soldiers,” she added. Virgilio Perdigon, secretary general of Aquinas University in Legazpi City, also claimed the US troops in the country may be spying on internal conflicts and natural resources. A group of students formed the “Ban Balikatan” movement and aims to gain the support of farmers and fishermen to form a pressure group that will caution the administration on the ill-effects of the military exercises. (Elmer Abad)

Millennio Ineunte 43). “Encounter” took on a new meaning during the seminar. In military parlance the term has the element of chance and surprise for all the parties involved, in contrast to raid or ambush. The hoped-for emergence of Jacob’s Wells (i.e. a place and time for encounter) in the precincts is first of all a “room” or “sanctuary” where people can be themselves and encounter God and each other through the Bible. We indeed look forward to many surprises.


People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009 February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines

Cebu to host 5th National Catholic Charismatic Congress
THE 5th National Catholic Charismatic Congress organized by the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) in the Philippines will be held in the Archdiocese of Cebu on May 28-31 this year. Themed “Spirit-filled Communities Growing Together as the Body of Christ”, the congress is expected to draw thousands of participants from various Charismatic communities and prayer groups all over the country. The four-day event will feature praise and worship, talks and workshops, Baptism in the Holy Spirit on the eve of Pentecost and testimonies of healing. A talk on “Growing Together as the Body of Christ” will be given on the first day. The second day will feature “Maturing in the Word and the Eucharist.” The third day will have two conferences, “New Challenges for the CCR-Philippines” and “CCR Communities in Transformational Development.” The last day of the Congress, being Pentecost Sunday, will

THE apostolic nuncio to the Philippines has addressed a crowd of about twenty thousand including around 85 bishops, priests and religious at the Araneta Coliseum in celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of St. Paul. In his introductory address during the mass, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams has stressed the importance of the celebration as the church commemorates the bimillennium of the Apostle’s birth. The nuncio cited that it was the grace of conversion the Apostle received that led to his becoming a great missionary of the Church. The Church has nothing to pass on to the Christian believers but that light that Paul experienced during his conversion, he said. For his part, Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) Chair and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes gave a spirited homily that was warmly applauded by the faithful. Echoing the exhortation of Paul to the early Christian communities he founded, he likewise urged Filipinos to live a life in

Nuncio addresses mammoth crowd at Araneta Coliseum
imitation of Christ. He took a dig on the issue of corruption, a perennial problem in Philippine society. “Corruption has become a way of life for us,” he said. “Dapat tayong mga Filipino mahiya dahil sa corruption” (We should be ashamed of corruption plaguing our society), Bastes added. The ECBA chairman said that while the Apostle was not ashamed to preach the gospel, “we Filipinos should be ashamed with our way of life”, referring to the issue of corruption. Bastes said the ecumenical gathering is an inspiration for all believers especially for Filipinos as it shows that it is possible to heal a wounded nation like the Philippines. We have the compass to heal our wounded nation in its economic, social and spiritual aspects, he said. He cited the “one bible” campaign as one way of healing the division that exists between Christians.

ECBA and Philippine Bible society (PBS) have jointly spearheaded a five-year bible campaign dubbed “May they be One” that aims to put a bible in every Filipino home in five years. Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao led the faithful in praying the Jubilee prayer to St. Paul asking God “That we too may turn from sinful ways and be converted so that we may attain peace in our hearts in our families in our country and in the world.” A plenary indulgence was granted by the cardinal at the end of the Mass to all those who participated in the celebration. Organized by the Pauline congregations in the Philippines and lay Pauline collaborators headed by Judy Roxas Araneta and former Ambassador Henrietta de Villa, the Pauline event aims, in the words of the Holy Father, “to promote the immense richness of the teaching contained in them (St. Paul letters), true patrimony of humanity redeemed by Christ.” (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

Asian Episcopal Conferences to meet in Manila in August
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Asia will hold its 9th Plenary Assembly in Manila from August 10 to 16, 2009. The meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) is supposed to take place every four years, but last year’s schedule was postponed twice. This year’s FABC plenary assembly theme will be “Living the Eucharist in Asia.” Plenary Assemblies are the highest legal body within the Federation, which conclude usually with short final statements reflecting their main considerations on the selected theme. The FABC has 15 Episcopal Conferences coming from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos-Cambodia, Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. It also has ten associate members from Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Siberia (Russia), Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and East Timor, which are Church territories with less than three dioceses or ecclesiastical territories. The FABC is a voluntary association of Episcopal conferences in Asia, established with the approval of the Holy See. Its purpose is to foster among its members solidarity and co-responsibility for the welfare of Church and society in Asia, and to promote and defend whatever is for the greater good. (Roy Lagarde)

fittingly feature a talk titled “The Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ.” With Cebu International Convention Center as the site, the upcoming Congress adds to a hosts of activities set to enliven the jubilee celebration of the archdiocese. The Metropolitan archdiocese of Cebu is set to mark its 75th anniversary as an archdiocese on April 28. The Charismatic congress will be an occasion to celebrate the Pentecost of the Nations, a worldwide project of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service (ICCRS), and one of the main objectives of the event. It will also serve as a triduum for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday; and a time (Kairos) of praying and reflecting on growing together as Spirit-filled Catholic Charismatic Ministries. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

CELEBRATING. Archdiocese of Palo, culminating rites of the Silver Jubilee celebration as a Metropolitan Archdiocese; February 14, 2009. A 10 a.m. Pontifical concelebrated Mass at the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral will be led by Metropolitan Archbishop of Palo, Most Rev. Jose Palma with Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, bishops and clergy. A testimonial banquet at the ArCVU Pastoral Center inside the Cathedral compound will follow after the Thanksgiving Mass. CELEBRATING. Sr. M. Graziella Aseberos, Sr. Mary Timothy Magadia and Sr. M. Agnes Peralta, 25th years of Religious Profession among the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master on February 15, 2009. The occasion will be marked with a Thanksgiving Mass to be celebrated at 3 p.m. at the Divine Master Convent, Antipolo City by Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila. The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master is the third among 10 Religious and Secular Institutes of the Pauline Family founded by Blessed James Alberione. INAUGURATED. Alberione Home, convent of the community of the Daughters of St. Paul at F.B. Harrison, Pasay City, January 28, 2009. The convent, a structure comprising six floors and a rooftop, houses three communities of FSP Sisters. It has a multi-purpose auditorium at the ground floor that can seat more than 400 people. The blessing and dedication was preceded by a concelebrated Thanksgiving Mass led by Fr. James Ferry, MM, Vicar for Religious of the Archdiocese of Manila. The Daughters of St. Paul, a missionary congregation that uses media for evangelization has been in the Philippines since 1938. The Philippine province which includes Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Thailand has 22 communities and 20 media centers in major cities of the aforementioned countries. ENDORSED. Libmanan Prelature spokesman Fr. Apolinar Napoles said that the prelature’s petition to the Holy See for it to be elevated to the status of a diocese has been unanimously endorsed by the bishops during the 98th CBCP plenary meeting last January 24. In justifying the petition Libmanan Bishop Jose Rojas Jr., explained to the bishops that Archbishop Antonio Franco, former Apostolic Nuncio the Philippines broached the idea to then Libmanan Bishop Prospero Arellano during his pastoral visit to the prelature in 2005. Upon taking canonical possession of the prelature in July 2, 2008, Bishop Rojas studied the situation and concluded there are sufficient reasons to pursue the former Nuncio’s recommendation. The petition is fully supported by Bicol bishops and Libmanan clergy. ORGANIZED. Filipino Pastoral Council in Kuwait by concerned and committed Filipinos. Brothers Ed Gonzales, Rommel Genciana, Joel Aguirre and Sister Rowena Uy were sworn into office in a simple oathtaking ceremonies recently held at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). The occasion was witnessed by Attorney Josephus Jimenez, Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait and Fr. Ben Barrameda, a Bicolano priest currently assigned to the Apostolic Vicariate of Kuwait under Bishop Camillo Ballin. Fr. Barrameda and his group of concerned overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait have been helping distressed compatriots temporarily housed at the POLO since Febraury 8, 2006. He also founded FPCK more than a year ago for a pro-active approach in the apostolate and mission programs to the Filipino community in Kuwait.

CBCP welcomes Vatican YouTube channel
CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said the Vatican’s decision to introduce its teachings through the YouTube is very timely and highly laudable. “It is very timely for the Vatican to utilize the YouTube in reaching out to the world’s young who spend more time before the computers,” the prelate said in an interview over Radio Veritas. The Vatican launched its own channel on YouTube last January 16 at www.youtube.com/vatican. Available in four languages, the facility will provide news clips on the Pope’s activities. According to the Vatican spokesperson, Fr. Federico Lombardi, the project has been underway for more than a year and a half since the Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center began to publish clips of their web pages’ video clips on the Holy Father. “The pope has been personally informed of our project and has approved it with his customary poise and warmth; for us this is a great motivation,” said Lombardi. It may be recalled that the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has launched its own YouTube channel in April 1997 at www.youtube.com/cbcpmedia. To date, this channel has already 70 video clips on statements and programs of the CBCP. It was learned from the CBCP Media Director, Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, that an IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) will be launched this summer to boost the online presence of the CBCP. An IPTV is a digital television content that reaches viewers not through a traditional airwave broadcast but through the internet. (Melo M. Acuña)

UST to host 2nd ‘Kapatiran’
SOME 400 theology seminarians from at least 20 seminaries across the archipelago will be gathering at the University of Santo Tomas to dramatize their “Kapatiran.” To foster camaraderie among members of the Seminarians’ Network of the Philippines (SemNet), the “Kapatiran” gathering on February 7 will serve as the network’s general assembly, whose theme was intentionally lifted from the Pauline verse “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1).” According to Sem. Francis Francisco, the SemNet Coordinator for the UST Central Seminary, this year’s “Kapatiran” is the network’s second assembly at UST since it was first held in 2001. “ During the ‘Kapatiran’ diocesan theology seminarians, amidst the diversity in their respective charisms, are united in mission to be formed after the image of Christ and to respond to the signs of the times in loving service of the Church and society in the Philippines,” he said. Among those who will attend the assembly are Bishop Bernardito Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti; and San Jose, Nueva Ecija Bishop Mylo Vergara, the concurrent chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Seminaries. Fr. Enrico Gonzales, O.P., Dean of UST’s Faculty of Philosophy will give a conference on the theme of the gathering. Interested parties are enjoined to visit www.semnetph.org for more information regarding SemNet and Kapatiran. (Kris Bayos)

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009


By Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
IN two of our Statements last year, we called for and encouraged the formation of “circles of discernment” to help us address our nation’s concerns. We said in our Statement “Reform Yourselves and Believe in the Gospel” (Jan. 27, 2008): “We have to form ourselves into real communities of faith-discernment and action. We ask this of explicit Church groups. But we will ask it too of all citizens who have concern for the nation’s good, especially those who hold the reins of power, from Malacañang on to Congress, provincial and municipal governments, all the way down to barangay councils. …This must sound like a preposterous request, but we make it anyway for we believe that what it seeks is the critical need of the moment. Already it is being responded to here and there by various concerned groups such as those that have been organized and trained to fight corruption.” In our Statement “Seeking the Truth, Restoring Integrity” (Feb. 28, 2008), we said: “For the long term we reiterate our call for ‘circles of discernment’ at the grassroots level, in our parishes, Basic Ecclesial Communities, recognized lay organizations and movements, religious institutions, schools, seminaries and universities. It is through internal conversion into the maturity of Christ through communal and prayerful discernment and action that the roots of corruption are discovered and destroyed.” I am pleased to report that I have been present in some of the “circles of discernment” which have been organized by some priests, by some bishops as well as by some members of the laity. And this is what I would like to share with their Eminences and Excellencies. (1) In two Circles of Discernment attended by priests from 13 Dioceses and 6 Religious Congregations, held in Galilee, Tagaytay and in Cubao Diocese (Sept. 15-16 and Oct. 28, 2008 respectively), I received their Statement “Men of God, Moved by the Holy Spirit.” Let me quote partly their Statement which the group would have gladly addressed directly to the CBCP given the time and opportunity. They said: “Let us invite one another to risk touching the wounds of our people with healing hands, and take up the pain it causes them and us. Let us call on one another to dare speak hopeful words to remind the people on the Lord’s dreams for them and us. In obedience to the Gospel message (Lk. 4/14-21), we are proposing to our Bishops and Religious Superiors: – that our Bishops continue discerning and exercising their prophetic role in the context of the contemporary Philippine society;

TOPMOST: The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines during the 98th Plenary Assembly held at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center last January 24-25. Seated in front are Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes (center), head of Vatican’s Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines (4th from right). ABOVE: CBCP president and Jaro archbishop Angel Lagdameo discusses some issues with Cardinal Cordes. (Photos by Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media)

– that, under the prophetic leadership of our bishops, dioceses conduct more circles of discernment to reach a greater number of priests, religious and lay leaders in an effort to create a network of hope and understanding; – that in the dioceses, the BECs constitute expanding circles of discernment to address social and pastoral challenges in the Church; – that social formation constitute

and the downtrodden, our lay leaders continue to conduct their own circles of discernment and respond positively and creatively to the demands of the times; – that formation on evangelization, stewardship and the Church’s prophetic task be integrated into the process of building BECs. (2) The Visayan Bishop’s Circle of Discernment. Last December 10, 2008, twelve (12) bishops from the Visayas,

tion and pastoral accompaniment of a new generation of Catholics working in politics, that they be coherent with the professed faith, that they have moral firmness, the capacity of educated judgment, professional competence and passion for service to the common good.” The bishops-participants decided to put their respective dioceses in a state of prayer, by introducing the prayer that was proposed: “Prayer for a Trans-

The political engagement of the laity is something the CBCP has dealt with in many of its statements and exhortations, including encouraging the right people to run for office. Competent and conscientious persons of integrity should become political candidates. And the laity must ‘help form the civic conscience of the voting population and work to explicitly promote the election of leaders of true integrity to public office.’
an integral part of their continuing (ongoing) formation of the clergy and religious; – that during their initial formation, seminarians and religious be given the opportunity to acquire skills in social analysis, be formed in such a way as to progressively raise the level of their social awareness, in view of long term pastoral and ministerial service in the Church. – that given the darkness of poverty and despair enveloping our people, especially the youth and families, the poor and some 19 priests and lay faithful who represented the other bishops, gathered at the Cardinal’s Residence in Cebu to discern on the topic “Evangelizing the Political Culture.” A DILAAB Team (Igniting Spaces of Hope) facilitated the gathering. It was in response to a speech that Pope Benedict XVI gave before the 23rd Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council of Laity in Nov. 15, 2008, where the Pope said: “I confirm the necessity and urgency of the evangelical formaformed Nation.” The political engagement of the laity is something the CBCP has dealt with in many of its statements and exhortations, including encouraging the right people to run for office. “Direct participation in the political order is the special responsibility of the laity in the Church… Those with talent for the difficult and noble art of politics, or whose talents in this matter can be developed, should prepare themselves for it, and forgetting their own convenience and material

interests, they should engage in political activity.” (GS 75 Vatican II) Competent and conscientious persons of integrity should become political candidates. And the laity must ‘help form the civic conscience of the voting population and work to explicitly promote the election of leaders of true integrity to public office’ (PCP-II, 28, #1). (3) Dilaab Foundation Circle of Discernment. On three occasions, November 25 and December 29, 2008 and January 2-3, 2009, the group met to discern and discuss the topic of “pastoral accompaniment” of elected and other public officials, in view of a proactive (non-condemnatory) way of evangelizing politics and politicians, beyond-theusual engagements that the Church can do during election time through PPCRV and NAMFREL. The number of participants included Atty. Simeon Marcelo (former Ombudsman) Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ (Ehem/Aha Movement), Atty. Alexander Lacson (12 Little Things), Mayor Sonia Lorenzo of Nueva Ecija, PNP Ret. CSupt. Samson Tucay and SSupt Cesar Binag, Anti-Graft Commission Chairman Constancia de Guzman, Fr. Carmelo Diola of Cebu, etc. The Dilaab and Hearts Network of faith-based groups against graft and corruption will take a lead role in identifying, encouraging, and supporting lay people who have the vocation to run for elected positions, an effort to bring about in governance men of integrity and good morals. The Network composed of laity will be engaged in a trans-partisan manner, supporting people of integrity, not parties. (NB. HEARTS means: Healing and Holiness, Education, Advocacy, Resource mobilization, Transformation through truth-telling, and Solidarity.) The group’s project is to come out with a framework for a program on “Pastoral Accompaniment for Christians Engaged in Politics,” a journey towards integrity for the common good. (4) “PASSPORT TO A NEW PHILIPPINES.” Presumably a fruit of group discernment which started in 2004 and responding to the CBCP 1997 Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, Reynaldo “Nandy” Pacheco and companions have formed the ANG KAPATIRAN PARTY, an all lay alliance for the common good, accredited as a national political party by the Commission on Elections on May 8, 2004. The introduction to the “Passport to a New Philippines” carries a quotation from Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the bishops of Paraguay in Sept. 2008: “A big part of the vocation of Christian laypeople is their participation in politics in order to bring justice, honesty and defense of true and authentic values, and to contribute to the real human and spiritual good of society. The role of the laity in the temporal order, and especially in politics, is key for the evangelization of society.” The organizers hope to offer Ang Kapatiran Party as an instrument, a moral force, for the common good, an alternative to trapo politics, traditional politics, which becomes “a means of enrichment

Circles / B7

By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
ThANk you for the in-depth exposition on the juridic dimension of Baptism. A related topic, I think, is Confirmation. While I was baptized quite early (at age five, if I remember right), my own children were baptized when they were about Grade V and the same thing is now happening to my grandchildren, all in Catholic schools. What does Canon Law really say about this? TO answer this question thoroughly, we need to start—in this article—with the sacramental structure of Confirmation and its immediate juridic effects. In the next issue, we shall complete the exposition with the juridic aspects of the administration of the sacrament. Confirmation is the second sacrament of Christian initiation, the reception of which—The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares—“is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. By the sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence, they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed” (n.1285). The Sacramental Structure of Confirmation The immediate canonicodoctrinal sources for this matter are the post-Conciliar Apostolic Const. Divinae consortium naturae, signed by Pope Paul VI on 15.VI.1971 and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The latter gives an excellent summary of the doctrine. a. The Sacramental Sign The Catechism summarizes


CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

The Juridic dimension of confirmation (Part 1)
nion), a rupture with great transcendence in the ecumenical relations with the Oriental Churches. The Juridic Effects of Confirmation on the Faithful The juridic dimension of the sacrament of Confirmation is not limited to the canonical norms as regards the sacramental sign. Of greater import at the constitutional level, although of difficult expression and articulation at the practical level, are the juridic effects of the reception of the sacrament on the Christian faithful. These are summarized in the introductory canon of Book IV, Title II: The Sacrament of Confirmation: The sacrament of Confirmation impresses a character and by it the baptized, continuing on the path of Christian initiation, are enriched by the gift of the Holy Spirit and bound more perfectly to the Church; it strengthens them and obliges them more firmly to be witnesses to Christ by word and deed and to spread and defend the faith (c.879). From the aforementioned theological effects arise a set of more properly juridic effects, which transcends the interiority of the subject and finds projection in a set of rights and duties: 1) The Christian is bound more perfectly to the Church. Confirmation obliges them more firmly to be witnesses to Christ by word and deed and to spread and defend the faith. Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that the above effects do not really constitute a new mission different from that arising from Baptism. Neither do they substantially modify the juridic condition of the baptized. What is proper, rather, of Confirmation is the perfection and strengthening of that juridic condition. 2) The Christian is capacitated for the licit exercise of certain ecclesial functions, which imply greater maturity and strength of the Christian life in the subject. Thus, prior reception of Confirmation is required—for licitude and not for validity—for the following situations: a) To be godparent in Baptism and Confirmation, as is demanded by the very nature of the office. b) Entry into a new canonical state, as in (i) Admission in major seminary (c.241, §2) or in novitiate (c.645, §1); (ii) Marriage, insofar as this is possible without serious inconvenience (c.1065, §1); (iii) Reception of Holy Orders, for which prior confirmation is a strict requirement for licitude (c.1050, 3º).

Confirmation is the second sacrament of Christian initiation, the reception of which—The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares—“is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. By the sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit.”
the elements of the sacramental sign, which are canonically regulated in the following terms. 1) The remote matter: For validity, the remote matter for Confirmation is chrism—i.e., vegetable oil mixed with balsam or another aromatic substance, as sign of the bonus odor Christi, which the confirmed Christian is obliged to spread with his good works. The chrism to be used in the sacrament of confirmation must be consecrated by a bishop, even if the sacrament is administered by a priest (c.880, §1). For licitude, the chrism must have been recently consecrated or blessed by the Bishop; [the minister] is not to use old oils unless there is some necessity (c.847, §1). 2) The proximate matter: For validity, the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through anointing with chrism on the forehead, which is done by the imposition of the hand…(c.880, §1). Without entering into the long history of the essence of this action—i.e., whether the action consists of both the actual anointing with chrism and the imposition of the hand—we limit ourselves to three data to support this affirmation: a) The Apostolic Const. Divinae consortium naturae, which states that “…the anointing with chrism in some way represents the imposition of the hands used by the Apostles.” b) The Ordo Confirmationis (22.VI.1971), which simply stated that “the Bishop wets his right index finger in the Chrism and with the same makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of the candidate for Confirmation” (n.4). c) The Reply of the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of the Decrees of Vatican Council II (6.VI.1972), which affirmed that during the anointing, it is not necessary to impose the hand over the candidate, since the mens legislatoris is that the anointing with the thumb in itself manifests the imposition of the hand. For licitude, however, it can be affirmed that the integral gesture—for the Latin Rite and for now—is that of the anointing with chrism preceded by the imposition of hands, according to the tenor of c.880,§1. The reason for this is pointed out by the same aforementioned Constitution, which states that the imposition of the hands prior to the anointing with chrism— which in the actual praxis forms a unique gesture with it—“even if not pertaining to the essence of the sacramental rite, should be taken in great esteem, since it forms part of the perfect integrity of the same rite.” 3) The Form: For validity, a new formula to accompany the anointing with chrism was introduced, as a consequence of the reform mandated by the Apostolic Const. Divinae consortium naturae: “N., accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti.” (OC, n.34). This new formula was chosen because of its antiquity—its roots traceable to Apostolic times and its use to the 5th Century in some Churches of Asia Minor—and its more adequate expression of the sacramental grace—i.e., the gift of the Holy Spirit. 4) Additional Norms regarding the Place and Time: For licitude, It is desirable that the sacrament of confirmation be celebrated in a church and during Mass, but for a just and reasonable cause, it may be celebrated outside Mass and in any worthy place (c.881). This is the canonical expression of a desire expressed by Vatican II, “to revise the rite of Confirmation so that the intimate relation between this sacrament and the whole of Christian initiation may appear more clearly” (SC, n.71), and is the most important novelty in the new rite. On the other hand, this norm—in the case of Confirmation of children who receive it after their First Communion— has caused a rupture in the traditional order of the Sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Commu-

Applause at homilies
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries:) Q: The parishioners in our church used to be spontaneous in their reactions to excellent homilies that the priests deliver. The parishioners, sometimes, respectfully applaud after the homily, either to communicate that they are in agreement with the priest, or to offer their appreciation. However, when a newly ordained priest came, and this happened after a homily he gave, he gravely scolded the people for the impropriety of their action and reminded them that they are attending a Mass and not a performance. From then on, people’s spontaneity is gone; occasionally, applause would be heard, but one can sadly sense the hesitation. Could you enlighten us on the propriety of people applauding after the homily? D.B., Denver, Colorado A: First of all, it is a very hopeful sign of overall improvement in the quality of homilies that the faithful consider them worthy of applause. That said, the young priest was correct in stating that, in general, applause is to be discouraged during Mass. It is not an absolute rule, however; the Pope’s homilies usually conclude with applause and are even sometimes interrupted by enthusiastic ovations. In the ancient world, great sermons, such as those of a St. Augustine, were occasionally interspersed with appreciative accolades on the part of the people. There are also some cultures where applause or hand-clapping is a spontaneous sign of respect and even veneration. For example, some African peoples even clap their hands during the consecration, because this was the traditional gesture observed when their kings were present and it seemed natural to carry it over to greet the presence of the King of kings. Therefore, while respecting cultural differences and not excluding an occasional spontaneous applause for a particularly inspired and inspiring homily, I would agree that the practice should not be encouraged or regular in Western parish settings. First of all, the Roman liturgical tradition is usually sober in its external manifestations. This holds true even in those Catholic cultures that are exuberant in the demonstrations of popular piety such as the processions of Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula and southern Italy where applause, cheers and the like are regular features. After the homily, the liturgy recommends a moment of silence in order to reflect upon and assimilate the message. Applause easily breaks the concentration and makes it harder to gather one’s thoughts and bring them to bear on the essential questions of living the Gospel. When applause is neither common nor expected a priest can prepare the homily with greater freedom, both regarding the doctrine he wishes to transmit and the best means of delivery. In other words, although he should always strive to prepare an excellent homily from the rhetorical point of view, not having to worry about applause makes him less subject to the temptation of striving more to please than to instruct and exhort toward sanctity. Not being expected to applaud also frees both priests and parishioners from the danger of making subtle and not-sosubtle comparisons among priests. Father X’s homily received timed respect; Father Y got a standing ovation, while Father Z’s preaching on Christian morals got the silent treatment. I am exaggerating, of course, but the point is that any element that might induce disharmony should be avoided. The best reaction to a well-thought and delivered homily is a decision to move forward and grow as a Christian. If this is lacking, then all external applause is just so much fluff. In his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote: “Whenever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment” (Page 198). The context of the present Pope’s remarks was regarding applause after so-called liturgical dancing; it did not directly address our present case of applause as a sign of respect and agreement to the message of the homily. The principle involved, however, of not applauding the merely human achievement of one of the liturgical actors could be a good rule of thumb for deciding when applause is appropriate or not.

Q: Could you please comment on the permissibility of using commercially available table wine for Mass? When the label clearly indicates “100% grape,” this would seem to satisfy the requirements for validity. I ask the question because “altar wine” sells at a premium over table wine, and is generally not available without having to pay additional shipping charges. Having this option might appeal to pastors of poorer parishes who are looking for ways to trim parish expenses, and yet who are expected by the diocesan ordinary to offer the chalice to the laity at all Masses. ─ A.L., Gallitzin, Pennsylvania

Table Wine for Mass

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

A: The principles involved in the determination of proper matter are relatively simple. The most recent official declaration on this point stems from the instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” No. 50, which basically sums up earlier laws and the Code of Canon Law, No. 924: “The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances. During the celebration itself, a small quantity of water is to be mixed with it. Great care should be taken so that the wine intended for the celebration of the Eucharist is well conserved and has not soured. It is altogether forbidden to use wine of doubtful authenticity or provenance, for the Church requires certainty regarding the conditions necessary for the validity of the sacraments. Nor are other drinks of any kind to be admitted for any reason, as they do not constitute valid matter.” Almost a century earlier the Catholic Encyclopedia gave basically the same doctrine but added more details, all of which are still relevant. “Wine is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Eucharist. For valid and licit consecration

vinum de vite, i.e. the pure juice of the grape naturally and properly fermented, is to be used. Wine made out of raisins, provided that from its colour and taste it may be judged to be pure, may be used (Collect. S. C. de Prop. Fide, n. 705). It may be white or red, weak or strong, sweet or dry. Since the validity of the Holy Sacrifice, and the lawfulness of its celebration, require absolutely genuine wine, it becomes the serious obligation of the celebrant to procure only pure wines. And since wines are frequently so adulterated as to escape minute chemical analysis, it may be taken for granted that the safest way of procuring pure wine is to buy it not at second hand, but directly from a manufacturer who understands and conscientiously respects the great responsibility involved in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. If the wine is changed into vinegar, or is become putrid or corrupted,

if it was pressed from grapes that were not fully ripe, or if it is mixed with such a quantity of water that it can hardly be called wine, its use is forbidden (Missale Rom., De Defectibus, tit. iv, 1). If the wine begins to turn into vinegar, or to become putrid, or if the unfermented juice is pressed from the grape, it would be a grievous offence to use it, but it is considered valid matter (ibid., 2). To conserve weak and feeble wines, and in order to keep them from souring or spoiling during transportation, a small quantity of spirits of wine (grape brandy or alcohol) may be added, provided the following conditions are observed (1) The added spirit (alcohol) must have been distilled from the grape (ex genimime vitis); (2) the quantity of alcohol added, together with that which the wine contained naturally after fermentation, must not exceed eighteen per cent of the whole; (3) the addition must be made during the process of fermentation (S. Romana et Univ. Inquis., 5 August, 1896).” Note that none of these documents speak about the obligation to use any officially denominated “Altar Wine” and indeed there is nothing special about official altar wine except that it is guaranteed to be nothing special. If one could be equally certain that a cheaper table wine is 100% grape with no additions of other substances or of nongrape alcohol, then it would also be valid matter. To be certain, and before using it, one should inquire from the manufacturer regarding the process involved in making the wine so as to exclude any doubt whatsoever. While any priest could make such an inquiry, it would be more prudent that it be done through the local ordinary who could then inform his clergy that, as well as official altar wines, such and such a brand of common table wine may also be considered as valid matter for the Eucharist.

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009



Bishop …………………………….……. 1 Diocesan Priests ……….……….…….. 85 Outside the Diocese ……………..…... 3 Retired ………………………………... 1 Deacon …………………………………. 1 Religious Priests …………..…………. 10 Brothers ……………………………… 1 Seminarians: Theology …………………………….. 11 Diocesan Divisions: Vicariates …………………...………. 7 Parishes …………………..………… 45 Chaplaincies ………………..……… 2 Mission Areas ………………....…….. 1 Population ………………..… 1,068,783 Catholics …..………………... 887,089 Area ………..………… 3,053.4 sq.kms.

ON BACKGROUND: San Sebastian Cathedral. BELOW: Bishop Florentino F. Cinense, DD

Diocese of
By Fr. Melvin Castro
THE Diocese of Tarlac comprises the whole province of Tarlac. Before its creation on February 16, 1963, the province belonged to two different dioceses. Its capital town of Tarlac and the southern towns belonged to the then Diocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, and the northern towns to the Diocese of LingayenDagupan. Today it is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Pampanga. It is the melting pot where Kapampangans, Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, Tagalogs, and the Aetas live together in harmony and peace. The province of Tarlac is right in the heartland of Central Luzon which comprises Region III. This location between Manila and the Northern provinces has made it the important trading center that it is today. Tarlac is landlocked by Pangasinan on the north, Nueva Ecija on the east, Pampanga on the south, and Zambales on the west. Originally, Tarlac was part of the provinces of Pampanga and Pangasinan. It was organized as a province of its own close to the end of the Spanish regime. With its neighboring provinces in Central Luzon, Tarlac was among the first to rise up in arms against Spain in 1898. When Malolos was abandoned as the second seat of the First Philippine Republic when the Americans overran the country, Tarlac, Tarlac became the new seat of the new government for a few months. From more recent times, during the Second World War, the town of Capas in Tarlac is remembered as hallowed ground where the infamous “Death March” ended at Camp O’Donnell, after the Filipino-American forces surrendered in Bataan. The prisoners were made to walk the entire distance from Bataan to Capas, with hardly any food, half of them dying along the road. In the fifties and the sixties, Tarlac was again the seat of more rebellion, this time by the Hukbalahaps during the term of President Ramon Magsaysay. Canonical Erection of the Diocese On May 10, 1963, the Diocese of Tarlac was erected canonically. Installed as its first Bishop on May 11, 1963 at the San Sebastian Cathedral was His Excellency, the Most Reverend Jesus J. Sison, D.D. The population of the diocese then was 360,278 with 26 Diocesan priests, two religious priests (Salesians of Don Bosco), 18 Missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit (S.Sp.S), Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Peace (O.P.) and Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM). The late Bishop was succeeded by His Excellency, Most Rev. Florentino F.

ent to disrupt the lives of thousands who have had to flee homes and whole towns that now lie buried in lahar. The Church in Tarlac was very much involved in the alleviation of the effects of these tragedies. In spite of all those odds the diocese of Tarlac struggles to accomplish its mission. A college seminary has been established to address the perennial shortage of priests and religious. And more recently, two Monasteries were established: the Diocesan congregation, Servants of the Risen Christ, which also hosts part of the relic of the True Cross and the congregation of Pontifical

In spite of all those odds the diocese of Tarlac struggles to accomplish its mission. A college seminary has been established to address the perennial shortage of priests and religious. And more recently, two Monasteries were established: the Diocesan congregation, Servants of the Risen Christ, which also hosts part of the relic of the True Cross and the congregation of Pontifical Right, the Cloistered Carmelite Nuns at the Mater Carmeli Monastery.
Cinense D.D. on 10th May 1988 with his Episcopal Motto, “Cor Novum, Spiritus Novus” (A New Heart, A New Spirit). He was installed as Auxiliary Bishop of the same diocese on November 1985 before he became the Bishop of Tarlac. The New Shepherd of the Diocese is a native from Guimba, Nueva Ecija and was born on March 14, 1938. He took his Licentiate in Philosophy and Theology in U.S.T. Central Seminary (1960 and 1964) and his Doctorate in Philosophy in Angelicum Universitas Sancti Thomae in Urbe, Rome Italy. Natural Calamities The province has been devastated by two natural calamities in the recent past: the killer quake of 1990 and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales in 1991. The first exacted a toll on lives and property. The second was worse in terms of devastation. The destructive flow of lahar continues up to the presRight, the Cloistered Carmelite Nuns at the Mater Carmeli Monastery. The entire diocese is being renewed and evangelized in accordance with the spirit of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines. Large parishes are being divided into manageable sizes. Diocesan Pastoral Renewal The very first attempt to have a systematic renewal process in the diocese was announced by the bishop in the clergy meeting of January 15, 1996. He initiated this move to usher in the renewal and development of the diocese in the mind of Vatican II and PCP II. In May 1997, after more than a year of lull, the Bishop discussed with the clergy the necessity of continuing the initial effort to the fruition stage of the Diocesan Pastoral Renewal. Seeing that the said assembly would spell the direction for the implementation of the PCP II provisions and development in the diocese, it was deemed wise to “call in the experts.” Thus, the assistance of Fr. Manuel Guazon, the former president of the Southeast Asian Interdisciplinary Development Institute (SAIDI) was sought. With his help, all the members of the clergy underwent a five-day seminar on Organizational Planning and Development on July 14-18, 1997 in Sison, Pangasinan. On September 29-30, 1997, the first general Assembly for all the representatives was held at the Our Lady of Peace College Seminary, San Isidro, Tarlac City. The Bishop presided over the opening liturgy, which was followed by an overnight vigil of the representatives from different parishes and communities. In January and February 1998, the 2nd and 3rd General Assemblies for all preliminary steps for the DPA-1, the group converged for five days (March 9-13, 1998) at the Betania Retreat House

in Baguio City for the historical moment in the life of the Diocese of Tarlac. The process of the renewal that was started in DPA-1 was further polished on the Organizational Planning System (OPS) workshop in a transfer of the Core Group that stayed in Baguio City for the continuation of the process. The seminar resulted in the members’ gain of knowledge and skill in the OPS and partial output of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. Almost a year after DPA-1, in February 5-9, 1999, about 170 participants from parishes and religious organizations who were the same participants as in DPA-1, converged again in Baguio for the presentation and approval of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan (DPP) in the Second Diocesan Pastoral Assembly (DPA-II). During the Hoy Thursday Chrism Mass of 1999, the Diocesan Pastoral Plan was presented and launched for the implementation at San Sebastian Cathedral before the audience representing the different parishes and sectors of the diocese. The Bishop, Most Rev. Florentino F. Cinense, D.D. joyfully announced the coming of the new day in the diocese with the implementation of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. The diocese is now ready to journey in renewal towards the jubilee and the New Millennium.

By Fr. Sim Sunpayco, S.J.

to culture when the Church was in the seat of power and influence, came to a halt. The Church as a religious institution had to fight the Protestants for its very survival. The Holy Spirit painfully led the Church to put its house in order. It took 18 years, 1545–1563 and five popes to struggle with human weaknesses, quarrels between popes and kings, difficulty in communication, to the reforms of the Council of Trent. 3. In 25 sessions TRENT defined and clarified the doctrines and dogmas of the Church, enforced strict discipline; went after abuses among clergy and towards aggiornamento: [1] return to the sources, [2] renewal of inspiration and [3] reform of methods. 5. Vatican II led us to development of body and soul for the “new heavens and new earth” (Rev 21). The 1971 Synod of Bishops however noted in this development the rich were becoming richer; the poor, poorer resulting in a wide gap between them. The greater part of humanity became marginalized, victims of oppression, deprived of basic services in the injustices of the socio-economic, political, even in religious institutions (the Church). The Synod came out with a declaraThen the Vision-Mission Statement concludes: “Ours will then be a civilization of life and love, a sign of the inbreaking of the Father’s Kingdom.” 3. But though hailed as a Pentecostal Event we hardly hear of PCP II being talked about even among Church leaders. How is familiarity with (and commitment to) the Vision-Mission Statement shown by bishops, priests and lay leaders? There was not even an official Tagalog version of the Statement. Has it become another well kept secret in the Church? Jan. 22-27, 2001: CBCP convened the National Pastoral Consultation

CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

IN the last 40 years I have shared pastoral and formation experiences with many co-workers in some 54 dioceses; also have read, lectured, written many pages about the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of B.E.C.
I now present some questions, problems and challenges facing B.E.C.

clergy and laity), becoming one with His flock, with preferential love for the marginalized, the weak, the poor, joining their human condition where they live and work and love in families and neighborhoods. Clearly in this model lay people are to be the evangelized communities evangelizing in their neighborhoods. “Nazareth spirituality”; three hours on the cross, three days in the grave unto His resurrection, three years going around the villages with the apostles: how many years in Nazareth? What did He do there with Joseph and Mary?

B. E. C.—Questions, Problems, Challenges

Participants to the Second National BEC Congress held in Cagayan de Oro City last November 2008.

formation. B.E.C. is described here as a MODEL of being Church developed for the mission of proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God in Third World countries like the Philippines. (To proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God [evangelization]; the purpose why He was sent Luke 4: 16-22; 43; and having chosen us His friends He sends us to go and bear fruit that will remain John 15:15:. . . to make disciples of all nations; Mt 28: 16-20.) The Jesuit Cardinal Avery Dulles talks of models of Church – way of presenting and understanding the LIFE and unchanging nature of the Church: Mystical Body, People of God, Institution of Religion, Servant Community [of disciples]. Fr. Jose Marins, the Brazilian theologian of the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano from the Medellin to the Puebla Conferences, looks at model as the different ways the Church undertakes its WORK (mission), the evangelization in different eras and situations. B,E.C. belongs to this category of Church models: (Marins’ not Dulles’ presentation). [A]. Church models 1. The first model for the mission [A] were the Small Communities of love and sharing, (year 33 to 100 – cf. Acts 2: 40-47) [B] Persecution (100–300) dispersed these charismatic communities. They went underground; evangelization had to be by way of being the Church of the Martyrs; but took on the [C] Institutional model (300–600) after the persecution to organize its creed, code and cult, hierarchy and seminaries. [D] The “barbarians” from northern Europe descended on Rome. Monks taught them how to read, write, pray, build houses, cultivate fields and domesticate animals (600–1300). A Monastic model of being Church became the priority. [E] The Christianization of most of Europe brought in the Christendom model. The Pope crowned the Emperor, Cardinals were Kings’ Prime Ministers; the Church took charge of the development of culture and the arts, universities, war and peace in the Crusades, exploration of newly discovered lands to be Christianized; in the process they became colonies that supplied riches to Europe. 2. With wealth bringing luxury, lust for power and ease, corruption and immorality into Church institutions, not sparing monasteries and the papacy; a weakened Church was torn to pieces by the so-called reformers. They taught heretical doctrine, defied the laws and authority of the Pope and bishops, got rid of the Mass and most of the Sacraments. Bringing the Good News into politics in the time of Constantine, to economics during the Middle Ages and

The same name or acronym ‘B.E.C’. is used by different people to mean many different ecclesial or pastoral realities and activities. These people do not share the same experience and have not come together to agree on what they mean with the words they use or reality they refer to. This situation is a big block to integrated pastoral planning, to clear objectives and coordinated strategies. Result: much energy, time and resources are wasted, real needs of the people are neglected.
monasteries. To make sure of unity with Rome, uniformity became the rule even in every detail of the liturgical language, vestments, practices, also religious habits. To deviate from the doctrine was to be condemned a heretic and risked to be burned at the stake. The Church was known not only as Catholic but also Roman. With religion as the battleground evangelization became cultic and clerical, and with the close relations between the bishops and the nobility, elitist too— those who wielded power in politics, economics and culture were influential, also favored in the Church. Closed and defensive against the Protestants and other non-Catholics, to be “Katoliko Sarado” was the claim of devout Catholics: they were “pure Catholics” no stain of Protestantism in them. 4. The Holy Spirit never took any vacation. For some 400 years—from Trent to Vatican II there would be events, movements, initiatives from lay people, bishops and priests ushering changes in the Katoliko Sarado Church: e.g., non-monastic Religious Orders, the Jesuits in 1540, Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII in 1891, new approaches to biblical studies from Pius XII in 1942: Catholic Action, the Cursillo Movement, Family Life Apostolate, Barangay Sang Birhen, Better Word Movement, the Charismatic Renewal, the 1967 Catholic Rural Congress in Cagayan de Oro, Theology of Liberation and Development in Latin America. The dramatic updating of evangelization in the Church came with the election of Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncali to the papacy in 1958 who took the name of John XXIII. He took note of the Signs of the Times, women movement for liberation: toys for gratification no more, the right to vote, equal treatment in society: countries seeking freedom and independence from their colonizers, labor unions and peasants organized to get their just share of the fruits of their labor. Pope John called on all people of good will, not only Catholics, to promote freedom, justice, God-given human dignity, total human development. For this he convened Vatican II (1962-65) and directed the Church tion that action on behalf of justice and transformation of society “fully appears to us as a constitutive dimension of evangelization.” To the concept of sin as personal responsibility the Church now adds societal sin in unjust structures. [B] In the Philippine Setting 1. The CBCP decided in 1988 to convene PCP II to speed up Philippine aggiornamento called by Vatican II. After three years of preparations, surveys and working papers, 94 bishops, 61 laywomen, 95 laymen, 222 priests, 15 religious (12 Sisters, 3 Brothers) met at the San Carlos Seminary Formation Complex, January 20 to February 17, 1991. The Acts and Decrees of the Council were sent to Rome. It took a year before they were given recognition. The official promulgation; “. . . and acquire their binding force for the Catholic Church all over the Philippines one month after the date of this promulgation, this July 22, 1992.” 2. This was followed on July 23 with a one page Vision-Mission Statement of the Church in the Philippines—a succinct summary of the decrees and Acts of PCP II. The Statement begins with the paragraph summarizing the 16 pages that depict the “shadow “ and “light” of the socio-economic, political and religious situation in the Philippines: “a society fragmented by divisive conflicts and afflicted by widespread poverty yet deeply aspiring for fullness of life in God.” Three succeeding paragraphs give us a triple thrust or priority of priorities to respond to the situation. “We, Church in the Philippines, with total trust in God’s love, envision ourselves as the community of disciples... in solidarity with one another, with creation and with God... following the way of the Lord, we opt to be a Church of the poor, ...which harnesses the transformative power of the poor among us …under the leading of the Spirit of God and with Mary as our guide, we shall embark on a renewed integral evangelization of salvation and liberation…” Following the triple thrust is the identification of their agents: “… bishops, priests, religious and laity…” on Church Renewal (NPCCR) with a similar composition of participants as PCP II ten years before. It came up with a confession: “In the Church many of the prescriptions of PCP II have not been implemented ....the root cause is our hardness of heart and resistance to conversion.” Has NPCCR succeeded in igniting genuine interest...? The implementation and realization of the triple thrust in all our Church ministries, in our seminaries and formation centers, is expected to bring about our becoming a new way of being Church. It should be the centerpiece, the priority in the pastoral planning of all church entities for the evangelization of our country in the situation it faces today. [C]. More into the mystery of this Church Model 1. Basic Ecclesial Community (singular?) or Basic Ecclesial Communities (plural)? The singular [b.e.c.] would be the name of the new model; while the many communities (plural) [b.e.c.’s] are the ingredients that will produce the new model. These would be “cells”: ─ three types [i] families in the same neighborhood (‘kriska’), [ii] sectoral groups, (e.g. students, vendors) [iii] some faith communities, etc. 2. Helpful to the understanding of the new model is to look at its contrast, the PARISH, the traditional model for evangelization since the Council of Trent. Its characteristics: big with thousands of members hardly knowing one another, cultic, clerical, and ‘elitist’ catering to the prominent well-to-do people and its regular clientele (‘suki’) the pious Catholics. Most of its services are rendered inside the church. 3. The gospel passages (Mt. 9:36, Mk. 6:34) report how the heart of Christ was moved with pity on seeing so many people abandoned like sheep without shepherd. At that time a shepherd left the 99 good sheep to look for the one needing his caring. Today should not a pastor leave the few favored ones to find ways to attend to the 80% marginalized poor whom they see only when they are “hatched, matched, dispatched!” B.E.C. is an experience of the INCARNATION again! Christ (in the Church, the People of God—

Would that our pious Catholics who visit statues and talk with their favorite saints are made aware of the life of the Holy Family in their dialogue of life with the neighbors. 4. B.E.C. is not a “finished product”, not a religious organization or a Church agency like a partner of NASSA to deliver assistance and goods to needy people. It is a process of becoming the church model for evangelizing a Third Word country. This process will not take a long time but all the time, to end only when the “already–but –not-yet” Kingdom is finally here, at a time only the Father knows! 5. This new Model in proclaiming the good news sees the bad news, the block to the Kingdom not only in personal sin but in sinful structures of injustice. Societal sin, the huge gap between the powerful minority and the majority of our people ─ the marginalized poor, a sinful situation where both the powerful and the weak are dehumanized! B.E.C. formation has to be much more than ordinary prayer sessions. Goals must be clear. Familiarity with Christ of the Gospel, growth in friendship as community, and service coming from organized action involving the men of the families even if they do not attend the prayer sessions. The Good News of the Kingdom of God for total human development and for social transformation that will include reform of the widespread corruption in all our institutions can succeed only with the empowerment of the poor in communities of disciples so they can participate responsibly in the affairs affecting their lives in society. They comprise the majority of our people, they also are the victims of marginalization in society and in the Church. The most neglected are our people in remote rural areas. They flock to urban areas, end up in the inner city, becoming slum dwellers. Heretofore taken for granted they must be in the ongoing process of conscientization, evangelization, formation to become communities of friends, discerning, learning how to make decisions together and affirming what is good in their leaders and with power from their organized action, demand, when needed, services for their own and the common good. 6. The parish is not abolished but must become active in the aggiornamento resulting in, or joining the process of becoming evangelized evangelizer according to Vatican II and PCP II. It is ironic that the block to the formation of B.E.C. are good priests who with good people are doing good works. How come? Because the good they are doing are according to the diBEC / B7

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009

(cf. Exodus 3, 7-9) Concluding Statement of the CBCP on the Second National Rural Congress

Statements God Hears the Cries of the Poor

‘All Generations Will Call Me Blessed’
(Luke 1, 48) A Pastoral Letter on the Renewal of Devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia
Introduction While we are still in the second year of our preparation for the tercentenary of the devotion to our Lady of Peñafrancia, we continue the task of renewing our faith through Ina. Such need for renewal has been enunciated in our previous pastoral letter, Principalmente a la Misa. The said pastoral letter outlined for us, the history of devotion; an examination of the present conduct of devotion particularly the traslacion, fluvial procession, and novena; and some pastoral suggestions on how to correct, improve and enhance the devotion. Yet the heart of the letter is a reminder that authentic devotion leads us to God, principally through and to the Eucharist. We have begun the task of renewal through the following concrete actions: 1. Examination We have invited all sectors of society to engage in communal discernment and dialogue. The Caceres Clergy, during their annual retreat last November 2008, have made a communal stand and commitment to take steps not only to curtail present abuses of the devotion, but much more to promote and protect the love our people have for Ina. Also, we in our homilies have reiterated with clarity and in continuity with tradition, that the Peñafrancia devotion is principally a religious event. The organization of the tercentenary committees has been done in order to prepare well for this historic event in the life of the local Church. 2. Purification and Strengthening The revision of the Novena Prayers has been going on in order to improve the quality of prayer and devotion. Opportunities for healing and reconciliation, and a rite for the blessing of rosaries, roses or handkerchiefs brought by people for their use in prayer have been included in the celebration of the Peñafrancia devotion beginning this year. This year’s traslacion and fluvial procession will have major changes. After the final novena prayers for the Divino Rostro, the statue of Ina and the image of the Divino Rostro will be transferred from the Basilica to the Peñafrancia Shrine or Santuario through the dawn penitential procession. The traslacion procession will start in the afternoon, after the blessing of rosaries, flowers and handkerchiefs. For the fluvial procession or sakay, ministers at the pagoda will be the bishops of the Bicol together with diocesan and parish representatives to highlight the avowed regional character of our devotion. Except for people who need to man the pagoda, no other personalities more so political candidates will be allowed to board the pagoda. Evening and dawn processions during the novenary days will be continued. There will be healing masses moreover to enable devotees to observe penitential and intercessory acts. A new andas for Ina and Divino Rostro will be used in order to improve the order and safety during the processions and also be made towards the better order and safety of participants. Persons and their dispositions remain to be the crucial element in the Peñafrancia devotion. In order to nurture, protect and share the devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the Cofradia de San Jose or the Confraternity of Saint Joseph of the voyadores is being organized and revitalized. The organization will have its own Constitution and By-laws. It will cooperate and coordinate with the clergy and civil authorities in making the processions solemn and orderly. It will be responsible for the conduct of religious activities related to the Peñafrancia fiesta. The Guardias de Maria is a special group of voyadores who are members of the Cofradia de San Jose whose duty is to protect the image of Ina from defilement towards the orderly and solemn observance of processions in her honor. Both organizations will be composed of known, selected, proven and trained devotees of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. 3. Deepening Together with efforts in parishes, special catechetical activities will be undertaken by schools and campus ministries concerning the devotion to Ina and the tercentenary celebrations, as well the general observance of the Peñafrancia fiesta. Coordinated with DepEd, activities aim at greater participation even by nonsectarian institutions. All these catechetical activities are for the formation of heart—in the home, school and community—for where the heart is, devotion flourishes. While above are pronounced efforts from within, the church also reaches out to the civic society for an equally involved participation in the devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia. In the city and province, and business and private institutions, civic participation’s challenge is foremost on the general public being informed and active concerning the true devotion to Ina. It is challenged to provide for the availability of public facilities such as toilet and bath, as well as public order and safety such as in the regulation of traffic flow and street-vending, all for the benefit of devotees especially guests and particularly the handicapped. Further, it is to attend to those shut-in and unable to participate in the celebration such as those in hospitals or prisons. Even then, civic participation also means reviewing perspectives on street-parties, military parades, beauty pageants and the like towards more communally beneficial ends by reason of law and public morals. Our Response We encourage families, the youth in schools with their mentors, workers in various occupations and persons in different sectors and responsibilities to pray, study, discern and decide how they might share in the tercentenary celebration and contribute for the good of others, especially those in need. Efforts even if done singly or individually can bring about cumulative and concrete effects. We propose the following concrete ways of active participation in the celebration of the tercentenary of the devotion to Ina: a) lay men can join the Cofradia de San Jose or Confraternity of Saint Joseph in their parishes; b) volunteer services and talents during the Peñafrancia festivities by contacting the Basilica or the tercentenary committee; c) share Peñafrancia memorabilia, pictures, and stories; d) contribute financially to the projects for the tercentenary; e) and above all pray the tercentenary prayer daily and offer masses for a fruitful and grace-filled tercentenary celebration. Conclusion Let us not miss this graced-moment whereby we actively participate and contribute in the renewal of our devotion to Ina. We are privileged that we are the ones who are protagonists of this historic moment in the life of the Bicol Church. The tercentenary celebration can only happen once in our lifetime, never to be repeated. We cannot fail the future generations who will look back to us in gratitude singing Mary’s Magnificat: “From now on will all generations call me blessed” (Luke 1, 48). Our response is marked by a spirit of thanksgiving for the gift of devotion—balaog inako, balaog itao—a gift received, a gift to share. This is God’s favor upon us. Let us return this favor of God. Viva la Virgen! + LEONARDO Z. LEGASPI, O.P., D.D. Archbishop of Caceres January 25, 2009 Archdiocese of Caceres

POVERTY is a reality that pervades our beloved country. It is experienced all over the land but is especially felt in the rural sector. Poverty in the Philippines remains predominantly rural and development projects have not significantly improved the lives of the rural poor. In fact we can never solve poverty in the urban centers unless poverty in the countryside is seriously and systematically addressed. Hence 40 years after the National Rural Congress of 1967, we bishops in our pastoral statement “The Dignity of the Rural Poor” of January 2007 called for a Second National Rural Congress (NRC II) to hear the cries of the poor in the rural areas. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us in his message on the World Day of Peace of this year that fighting poverty is a means of building peace. So to address poverty benefits not only the poor but the whole nation. The Journey of NRC II The Second National Rural Congress (NRC II) consisted of more than 50 Diocesan and 13 Sub-Regional Consultations conducted through November 2007 to March 2008. Afterwards, five Regional

Rural Congresses were convened in April - June 2008. These consultations led up to a National Conference on 7-8 July 2008 held in San Carlos Seminary, Makati. All these activities gave the opportunity to the rural poor to articulate their concerns and for the Church in various levels to listen and discern her specific role in accompanying them on their journey. A parallel track of several researches, seminars, and high-level caucuses was completed during the same period. These activities involved the academe, media, civil society, government officials and the bishops themselves. Various position papers and statements were compiled to aid and supplement the consultations that came about in the NRC II process. We thank all the groups who participated and who contributed to the realization of the long process of the congress. This is a great sign of common concern for the rural poor who unfortunately are among the least noticed and least served in our society. Voices of the Rural Poor The researches, consultations and dialogues unearthed several causes of rural

poverty. Foremost is the lack of serious implementation of laws and policies designed to address asset reforms to promote social justice. Inadequate resources and capacities to provide basic services were also mentioned. Other major concerns were the prevailing graft and corruption and a sense of helplessness – that there is nothing anyone can do to change the situation. The extensive presence of extractive industries, foremost of which is large scale mining, destroys the environment which directly impacts the poor. On the other hand, it was recognized that the rural poor need to discern more their rights and responsibilities as citizens and as children of God. Five basic sectors articulated the complex challenges they face today. Small Farmers and Landless Workers: They are the rural sector that today has the single most urgent claim on the conscience of the nation whose most pressing need is land reform. Academic studies and numerous documentations by civil society have attested to the significant contribution of agrarian reform in reducing poverty, creating opportunities for growth leading towards sustainable development. These

Poor / B6

Public Statement of Bishop Warlito I. Cajandig, Apostolic Vicar of Calapan, clarifying his position on the issue of Mining in the Province of Oriental Mindoro
THE issue of mining is a very significant concern confronting our province, and the Church as well, for it is very much connected with life and well being of our people. Hence, I would like to reiterate my position on this issue to give clarification on my stand and to challenge the faithful and the Christian communities facing this problem. It is my conviction that any project if it is really intended for development, should genuinely respond to the needs of the people, in order for them to have the fullness of life. This is the measure whether any project or activity can be considered truly responsible. In my opinion, mining in the context of our province, is irresponsible activity for it is conducted not to genuinely respond to the real and priority needs of the people. At first glance, there are visible benefits if the company builds clinics, provides job, constructs water tanks, or provides program for micro-lending. However, these activities can also be considered irresponsible because these activities make people become so constrained to make the right decisions according to their free will whether to allow mining operation or not. Considering the profile of our province, the situation of our people and the pre-mining activities, the mining operation of Intex Resources can be considered irresponsible too, more so, if it will be conducted in a critical watershed. As I gathered from reliable sources, according to former DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez, no amount of mitigating measures can be done to prevent the real destruction of this watershed, if mining will push through. Considering the situation of our country, it is impossible to have the so-called responsible mining because of the prevailing culture of corruption in the government—many are abusive of their powers and many can also be bribed. Even the on-going mining in Palawan, that is being touted as beneficial to the people, does not really pursue that well being of the people, as reported to me by my friends—priests coming from the area. Again, I want to emphasize my position, together with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the people of Mindoro, that I am opposing mining in the province. May God, the Creator, continually bless us in our campaign to protect our ecology! + WARLITO I. CAJANDIG, DD Apostolic Vicar of Calapan 19 January 2009

Statement of the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW) on Administrative Order Nos. 247 and 248 issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on December 4, 2008
THE Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW) is gravely concerned with the issuance of Administrative Order Nos. 247 and 248. AO 247 instructs the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to “execute a paradigm shift by refocusing its functions from regulation to full blast market development efforts, the exploration of frontier, fertile job markets for Filipino expatriate workers.” To achieve this, the President orders the Cabinet to “render full support to the POEA so it can aggressively deploy Filipino expatriates.....with urgency and unbothered by institutional hurdles.” The AO targets to break through the 200country barrier. The instructions of the President to POEA were quite contrary to the intent and spirit of RA9422 which strengthens the regulatory functions of the POEA thereby repealing Sections 29 and 30 of RA 8042 on deregulation. The President was with us in this campaign which took 11 years before RA9422 was finally enacted in 2006. She certified this bill as urgent in the 12th and 13th Congress but now, she is setting it aside in favor of aggressive marketing of our people overseas. Is this the way for government to respond to the global economic meltdown? Subjecting more of our people to external market conditions where we have almost no control of? Should we not be doing the paradigm shift by veering away now from an economic dictum that is quite dependent on external markets? Should not this be a wake up call to the government to strengthen its resolve to focus its energies in beefing up the domestic economy instead and in creating full employment in the country? Should we not be revisiting our budget priorities and exert political will not to appropriate funds for automatic debt repayments? Should we not be rethinking our decisions to ratify the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) as we rethink other on-going trade bilateral talks that only result to more inequalities and poverty among the people? PMRW is aghast by this government’s ineptness to the real needs of its suffering peoples. Rather than see the economic situation as a challenge and come up with a long-term viable and developmental policy for the country that is long overdue, the government is again relying on the migrants and OFWs to salvage the economy and keep it afloat. If we indeed consider them as our modern-day heroes, then let us treat them as such and guarantee that they reap the rewards of their labor and sacrifices. AO 248 on the other hand is about the so-called “payback program” of the government to the “heroic efforts of the expatriate Filipino workers” by directing the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to create a Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund with the initial funds of P250M to come from OWWA. The second component of the program is government’s “full support in helping returning expatriate Filipino workers to find remunerative jobs.” The intent of the AO was commendable. But alas, it would seem that the noble intention was all there was to it because government is NOT putting its money where its mouth is, so to speak! On the first component, we would like to question government’s sincerity in “reciprocating” to the OFWs because the initial funds will come from OWWA which is purely OFW money, mostly illegally collected from the OFWs themselves. If, on the other hand, OWWA will invoke the Omnibus Policies in the disbursement of the funds, we would like to know if there was a Board Resolution and will it only make the funds available to its “members”? We await OWWA’s response and the DOLE guidelines on this. It was also quite interesting that the two AOs were signed by the President on the day that migrant groups and government agencies under the Consultative Council of OFWs (CCOFW) held a meeting at OWWA. OWWA Administrator Dimzon was present in the said meeting, as well as other government officials from the POEA, but not one of them hinted about the two AOs. While the situation might be deemed urgent by government, the fact that there was already an opportunity to mention the matter to the NGOs and consult them on the issue, the fact that still not a word was said about the AOs left a bad taste in the mouth to say the least. PMRW notes that the AOs made reference to “expatriate Filipino workers”. Is this a new term for OFWs or is government creating another category of Filipinos overseas? What is behind the “new” terminology? We ended 2008 with much enthusiasm because we were inspired by the keynote of the President in the second Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) when she said, “We long for the day when going abroad for a job is a career option, not the only choice, for a Filipino worker. Our economic plans are designed to allow the Philippines to break out of this cycle.” Obviously, she did not mean what she said. It hurts because it is done at the expense of the people! January 20, 2009 Signed: Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) Development Action for Women Network (DAWN) Episcopal Commission for Migrant and Itinerant People (ECMI) Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) Scalabrini Center for People on the Move (SCPM) Scalabrini Lay Association (SLA) Moyse, Korea International Catholic Migration Commission-Southeast Asia Martin de Rada Human Rights Bureau of the University of San Agustin Seoul Archdiocesan Labor Pastoral Commission, Korea Stella Maris International Service Center, Taiwan

© Denz Dayao / CBCP Media


By Fr. Carlos V.G. Estrada
THE Gospel starts with a leper pleading with Jesus, “If you want to, you can cure me.” St. Mark notes that Jesus felt sorry for him. So he touched him saying, “Of course I want to! Be cured!” You can imagine the leper’s joy after that. He was so happy that he could be reintegrated into society. Lepers were driven away from towns and forced to live in caves, alone or with other fellow lepers. This leper could not contain his fortune and, despite Our Lord’s injunction not to tell anyone, he talked about his cure freely. I wonder what would have happened if Jesus had not felt sorry for him and had told him instead, “No, I do not want to!” Alas, we can only guess the possible outcome because the fact is that Our Lord took pity on him. We often fail to see the many times that Jesus feels sorry for us. He suffers for our sins. He knows the emotional stress we go through when we deal with difficult people or when we go through some trial. He is compassionate with our ignorance and lack of attention to divine things. Jesus, though, does not only feel sorry for others in need; He does something about it. Several years ago, I witnessed an accident along EDSA. A young cigarette vendor was crossing EDSA without looking and a taxi sideswiped him. Luckily, the taxi was not travelling fast since it was turning (which explains why the driver probably did not notice the boy crossing). Nonetheless, the impact sent the boy spinning onto the hood of the cab, then up the roof, until he finally

CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

Compassion should lead to action

Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Feel sorry for others.
fell on the road. In the process, he must have hit his head because there was blood flowing from his scalp when he stood up in a daze. The case containing his cigarettes, candies, and coins went flying into the air. The taxi driver stopped and got down to assist; so did his fellow cigarette vendors and some bystanders. I felt sorry for the boy and wished I could do something but, on second thought, decided against it since, as the saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth.” There were many others helping out and the injury did not appear serious. You may have been in similar situations. You felt sorry for someone but were powerless to help. That feeling of pity is significant, even if you cannot contribute anything. I am not sure if someone else had said this, but I affirm, “compassion is the beginning of action.” If you “couldn’t care less” (to put it mildly), you will not bother to find a solution for someone else’s problem. On the other hand, if you sympathize (or empathize) with another’s situation and the thought (or expression), “Kawawa naman,” comes to you, congratulations! You are now aware that a poor soul is suffering and needs help. Maybe you may not be able to do anything. Perhaps you wish you were one of these superheroes in the movies or TV, or one of the world’s richest or most powerful men, with money and resources at your disposal. Yes, there is one weapon you can wield: prayer. If your compassion cannot lead to action, do the talking; let the Lord do the working. But, it’s all up to you. Do you want to?

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 15, 2009; (Lv 13:1-2, 44-46; 1 Cor 10:31—11:1; Mk 1:40-45)
Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Poor / B5

Media savvy
some relation between these events and our dynamic world where seemingly infinite THANKS to the wonders of the Internet, we religion. We have to be wary of just allowing events take place. now have easy access to many things, among the discussion of issues to flow in strictly But there’s one aspect that seems to be them, newspapers and magazines. We don’t human and natural terms. neglected. The effort to find spiritual and have to subscribe to local and foreign papers This effort to link and connect is, I believe, a religious significance to secular events to be able to read them. worthwhile enterprise and one that is crying appears to be absent. This aspect is still a At the moment, for example, I’m very to be made, if only to correct an anomaly virgin forest, waiting to be explored. This happy to get almost daily dosage of news, that temporal events have no spiritual or can be a fruitful niche for some enterprising opinion columns, articles on arts, business, supernatural dimension at all. I think the writers with the proper attitude and skills. sports, etc. from Google News, Wall Street Not that there had been no attempts in this time is ripe to highlight this angle. Journal, New York Times, The Economist, This should not mean that the events can direction. There had been. But so far, they CNN, Fox News, Drudge Report, and an only have one meaning or interpretation. can be characterized as either too shallow endless etcetera, not to mention the local Christian spirit does not allow a monolithic and abstract, a bit distant and off-the-mark, ones. view of things. There can be many, and they or too politicized, partisan and downright With this exposure, I’m certain we are can even be conflicting, but at least, they wildly ballistic. also forming many views and opinions, should have some spiritual or and we slowly discern the religious character. This is what is I know there can be many other various underpinnings, political, lacking in the present trend. ideological, religious, and categories, in fact, endless ones, Some training in this area is, of otherwise, that the media outfits as we go along and discover further course, necessary. And I believe we have. already have enough materials to nuances in the growing array of I personally find it very support writers and thinkers who interesting to compare opinions, pieces of media information. But can contribute in this direction. styles, approaches, and see how there’s one aspect that seems to be The Church already has the they play out. There’s thrill always in observing the flashes of genius neglected. The effort to find spiritual Compendium of Social Doctrine a constellation of literature as different writers argue and and religious significance to secular and can truly be of help. that often clash. events appears to be absent. This Besides, there are now schools Also I want to fish, even if only tentatively, the different trends aspect is still a virgin forest, waiting that try to blend theology with the secular sciences and our and biases the different papers to be explored. temporal affairs. This is also can have. These considerations another good development. Ecclesiastical The latter kind is particularly jarring, as always shed some light that makes things sciences are trying to pace with world they can bristle with a righteousness that’s more understandable. developments. more self-generated than inspired by God Almost automatically, several categories Obviously prudence and discernment and the common good. Along the way, we emerge in the mind as I instinctively try should be strictly practiced. But this can notice traces of narrow-mindedness, to sort out, classify, brand and label the requirement should not be taken to mean exaggerated attachment to ancient views different positions. Among these categories that we hardly move or always keep a and all sorts of one-sidedness. are the conservative/liberal, right/left, distant attitude to events. The spiritual and In the end, they at best only preach to the open-minded/close-minded, serious/ supernatural character of religion should, in choir. They fail to catch the attention of a commercialized. fact, take a leading role in them. sober audience. Worse, they alienate many I know there can be many other categories, This, I believe, is what constitutes a true people. Truly sad! in fact, endless ones, as we go along and media savvy which everyone should aspire. For sure, it is not an easy thing to do, but discover further nuances in the growing It may need a large war chest to attain this I believe that if we have to be consistent array of pieces of media information. This goal, but I think it’s all worthwhile. to our Christian faith, then there must be only proves that we are involved in a very

gains must not only be protected and sustained, but expanded to cover all legitimate beneficiaries of agrarian reform. Despite efforts to raise these concerns we are saddened to find that elected representatives do not heed the voices of their poor constituents. The small farmers call for basic services in the development of the countryside, such as irrigation systems, farm to market roads, lending facilities, and access to the market. The farmers in many places are suffering from large scale mining and the continuous conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural use to avoid being covered by the land reform program. Fisherfolk: They call for the strict implementation of the Fisheries Code, including its review to address loopholes in its implementation. The fisherfolk also identify specific issues such as limited access to municipal waters, pollution of our waters, the practice of destructive and illegal fishing methods, and the encroachment by commercial trawlers into municipal waters. They further call for more programs that would enhance the capacities of their sector. They reiterate the need to promote the sustainable utilization of natural resources in our seas, rivers and lakes, including the establishment of sanctuaries where marine life can regenerate itself. Indigenous People: They demand the recognition of the customary laws and culture of the indigenous people (IP) communities, the intensified implementation and review of the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA), the recognition of the continuing threat to their communities posed by destructive mining and logging activities, by armed conflict between the rebels and the military and by the entrance of companies causing their displacement, the watereddown application of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process, and the strengthening of the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) so that it truly represent the interests of the indigenous peoples and not the foreigners and big business enterprises. Rural Women: They insist on the need to protect and uphold the welfare and rights of women through the enhancement of Filipino values of family and moral responsibility. They also appeal to all concerned agencies to provide more support to respond to the special needs of women, such as the issues of domestic violence, access to basic social services, livelihood, health, natural family planning, continuing formation of conscience in regard to the right to life, and awareness building on women’s rights. Rural Youth: They seek more effective pastoral care to strengthen the moral and spiritual foundations of the youth. They ask that the Church and academe reinforce their programs on spiritual and values formation, in order to equip the youth with proper guidance and opportunities to lead them in their growing and maturing years. They request that we promote education in terms of tertiary or technical-vocational training to prepare them for meaningful livelihood or employment. Our Commitments Scripture warns us: “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard” (Prov. 21, 13). Impelled by the voices of the rural poor and guided by the social teachings of the Church on justice, preferential option for the poor and the common good, we make the following resolutions: We continue to put in place venues for dialogue, where the poor can interact with the Bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church. We shall activate specialized desks within church structures that would help the rural poor at the parish, diocesan, regional and national levels. We shall intensify our engagement with our public officials in the legislation and implementation of social justice measures, as we did with a letter addressed to Congress asking for CARP extension with reform. We shall capacitate the people in the rural areas by the continuous work of organizing Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) and groups that are conscious of their rights and duties and help each other to work for integral development in the light of the Gospel of Christ. We shall encourage our lay faithful to intensify their fight against graft and corruption, and accompany upright public officials in their efforts to serve the people in transparency and truth. We shall direct Church institutions and organizations to be more engaged in works of solidarity, justice and charity for the poor in rural areas. We shall also call on them to be more actively engaged in protecting and promoting the integrity of creation. Finally, we shall strive to be faithful to live out our mission as the Church of the Poor—a Church which is both engaged in the work of integral evangelization, as well as in Social Reform. Such actions emanate from the Pauline vision of “uniting all things under Christ” (Eph 1:10) ─to engage the world as we bear witness to the plight of the poor, through profound conversion and renewal as People of God. We are a people of hope. Our faith bids us to rely on Our Father who is Lord of History. His Kingdom will surely come when “love and truth will meet; justice and peace will embrace” (Ps 85,11). Therefore sustained by our faith that God loves the poor, we entrust these commitments under the care and guidance of Mary, the Comforter of the Afflicted and Mother of Hope. For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, + ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP January 25, 2009

Bo Sanchez

Be good ads for God
“YOU need to talk to my sininfested, vice-ridden, devilpossessed husband!” I finished preaching in a prayer meeting when this huge woman approached me and said these acidic words. She went on, “My no-good husband’s here to pick me up, but can you meet him first and pray that his depraved soul doesn’t go to Hell.” “Uh, sure…” I said. During these awkward times, I end up wondering why I didn’t become a plumber instead of a preacher. After fixing leaky pipes, plumbers can go home. After I preach a sermon, I can’t go home. I still have to fix leaky pipes—like this woman who “leaked” all that I preached about that night on love, humility, kindness, etc. “Just a moment,” she said, hastily turning towards the door. In a few minutes, I saw her with her not-so-pleased husband in tow. “Here he is, Bo!” she announced as she pulled him towards me. “He’s a lazy drunkard, a gambler, a womanizer. He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit! He’s so far from the Lord!” I wondered when this tirade would end. Humiliating and lambasting her husband seemed to be her “spiritual gift”. I pitied the guy, up your wife tonight.” From the corner of my eye, I saw his wife’s shocked face glaring at me. “Well, yes, I do care for her…,” he said sheepishly. “And I apologize for your wife’s, uh, ways,” I winked. Her husband whispered back to me, “Is there hope for her?” “God can change anyone,” I declared, “Hey, you’re invited to attend the prayer meeting next time,” I smiled, “so that you could pray for your wife’s transformation.” As the couple walked out of the prayer meeting hall with the man’s head back to its normal position, and his dazed wife right behind him, I began wondering. How many people don’t come closer to God because of His lousy advertisements? Hey, the “product” itself is great: Salvation, Forgiveness, Heaven, True Joy! But God has chosen ads that are the pits: human beings called Christians. We are appointed to advertise God to others, but we do it bizarrely. We advertise God by condemning, judging, acting self-righteously, pulling rank, boasting, and so on. Friends, be good advertising. God’s counting on you.

God has chosen ads that are the pits: human beings called Christians. We are appointed to advertise God to others, but we do it bizarrely. We advertise God by condemning, judging, acting self-righteously, pulling rank, boasting, and so on.
who was now trying to hide his face behind the collars of his denims jacket. I swear his neck had totally shrunk, and his head was getting shorter and smaller as the minutes wore on. Finally, I had to interrupt and greeted the man, “I’m happy that you’re here. I can see you’re a very caring husband for picking “I’m used to her,” he chuckled, “she does this all the time!” I bent over and whispered to his ear, “Let’s pray that God will fill her with the Holy Spirit. She might just change, you know.” He laughed uproariously. His wife interrupted, “Brother Bo, don’t talk too softly! I can’t hear you!”

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009

Mangoes - The hope of small Filipino farmers
By Fr. Shay Cullen
THOUSANDS of small farmers in the Philippines face a bleak 2009. A small group of them representing thousands more marched, demonstrated, staged a sit-in, shaved their heads, and went on hunger strike in a desperate last minute effort to win their land due to them under the Comprehensive Land Reform Act of the Philippines and the Constitution. They got nothing but were arrested and jailed for trespassing. From behind prison bars they called for help and with the help of some for their own interests and those of multinational corporations. Almost 80% of all arable land in the Philippines is still in the hands of the dynastic-ruling families. They have succeeded in blocking any meaningful land reform. It is estimated that approximately 70% of all the wealth in the Philippines is owned or controlled by these powerful families. They are determined to hold on to what they consider to be their entitlement and traditional supremacy over the illiterate peasants in the feudal system inherited from the Spannone more distributed to the tenant farmers. The farmers are impoverished because they give one-third of their crop to the landowner and pay the high cost of terminator seeds that have to be bought annually because they are designed not to reproduce themselves. They have to be bought yearly with the matching chemical fertilizer and pesticides made by a multinational corporation. They buy them from the landlord with a loan from the local bank, likely owned by the landlord’s family or friends. At harvest time they give one-third share to the owner to repay the loan and have nothing left. This unjust system is the greatest cause of poverty. With no earnings many farmers have stopped growing rice; their children are forced to go abroad as domestic or factory workers and frequently exploited and abused. But small mango farmers are an exception. The price of mangos has risen steadily in recent years, thanks to the breaking of a price fixing cartel and the just prices paid by Fair-Trade suppliers of dried fruit like Preda Fair-Trade. The Preda Fair-Trade project is famous for producing (with the processor Pro-food) chemical-free dried mango and the sugar-free dried mango. These products are huge hits in supermarkets in Ireland and the UK and in world shops across Europe. They are recession proof. The love of chemicalfree and sugar-free Preda dried mangos has helped boost the income of small farmers. They also get additional educational help for their children from the Preda project. A percentage of the earnings goes to help support children rescued from brothels and cruel prisons. With the death of land reform, the delicious Philippine mango is the one bright hope of the small Filipino farmers.

Social Concerns


A small group of them representing thousands more marched, demonstrated, staged a sit-in, shaved their heads, and went on hunger strike in a desperate last minute effort to win their land due to them under the Comprehensive Land Reform Act of the Philippines and the Constitution. They got nothing but were arrested and jailed for trespassing.
church people and a bishop fighting for social justice, they were freed. The future of the land and the farmers is in the hands of the “landowner” law makers in the Philippine Senate and Congress. These legislators, most of them millionaires, are mostly landlords themselves, or their families and relatives are. As the “elected representatives”, not of the people, but of an oligarchy of powerful land owners, their task is to protect the business interests, land holdings and political position of their families or patrons. These ruling families that feud among themselves and jockey for position and power have long controlled the wealth of the Philippines and have captured the system of government
BEC / B4

Farmers have their hair cut in protest over government’s failure to distribute private agricultural landholdings to farmer-beneficiaries.

Circles / B1

ish colonial regime. Last December 2008, this ageold system fueled by greed and selfishness dashed the hopes of tenant farmers. The Senators strangled-to-death the failed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). They dealt a knock-out blow to the thousands of small farmers that hunger and thirst to cultivate their own lands in the hopes of a better life. Last December, the Senators, voted on resolution 19, which in effect will permanently keep the 1.2 million hectares of rich food producing land for the wealthy landowners and share none of it with the poor. They did this by extending the present expiring law for six months and inserted provisions stating that there will be no new land acquisitions and

and a source of influence and power for self and family interest. The trapos look at public office as some sort of private property to be passed from one generation to the next. Family political dynasties are born and perpetuated.” Ang Kapatiran Party acknowledges that the root cause of the nation’s crisis is moral. Politics, as a human activity, has not only economic, social and political dimension, but also and more importantly, moral dimension. As citizens we have to humbly admit our share of culpability for the sad state of affairs of our

country either by commission or omission. As a party of the future, Ang Kapatiran Party, is an alternative instrument for meaningful change. Conclusion. Our CBCP General Assemblies, held in January and July, the 98th this time, are for us bishops occasions for communal discernment for the Church of the Philippines. From our respective Arch/Dioceses we come to reflect, pray, discuss and discern together how better we can shepherd the people of God. The fruits of these circles of discernment are the more than

one hundred pastoral exhortations and statements that we have issued through the years. Just as St. Benedict in the sixth century was considered the light of the Dark Age of the time, and today the present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is characterized as the light of the New Dark Age to fight the “new dictatorship of relativism”, may we both as an episcopal conference and individually as local bishops in our respective ministry, be likewise the light, the salt, the leaven that Christ, the Good Shepherd, has called us to be.

In last issue of CBCP Monitor Vol. 13 N. 2, Bishop Joel Baylon of Masbate was mistakenly referred to as Bishop Jose Baylon in the story “RP to host international youth meeting” (B1) . Our apologies. (Eds)
invited by well-to-do friends to bless, offer Mass, give talks, etc. How can they refuse good people asking them to do good things. No such invitation from the marginalized poor. Sooner or later one falls into a tender trap—no more time, no more energy to go to the poor for their formation into Small Caring Groups. [F]. Bishops, Priests’ Frontier [challenging their courageous creativity] 1. Mass for the people is the primary concern of bishops and priests. For a variety of reasons in most cases only about 15% of the people attend Sunday Mass: hard to believe when our churches are crowded with Mass goers. Granted the Mass is the highest form of worship, but since it is available only to a few, should we not consider an alternative way to evangelize our people more effectively? What we wish all our people will experience and receive for their spiritual life are these three nourishments: 1) experience of God’s love; 2) the Word of God; 3) the Bread of Life. They can and have received Christ, the Good News, without ordained priests. 2. Radical change in our traditional catechesis is another need of our people. Taught as another subject in our parochial school, facts are memorized and forgotten after the exams. What is connected with life in communities is to be given endless repetitious emphasis: that Christ is truly a LIVING PERSON we encounter in PRAYING, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, three moments in the Eucharist—at Mass, Holy Communion, alive as Bread in the Tabernacle, a FRIEND who has invited us to His MISSION, beginning with the immediate neighbor. 3. While the population is increasing the number of ordinations to the priesthood is decreasing. We go to the laity as a necessity and also in recognition of their own vocation and mission. The practical and realistic thing to do? Formation program of LAY LEADERS, pursued as seriously as we do it for the clergy. Then we have to convince people that what is important is Christ: who brings Him to them (Lay leaders or priests) is secondary. We are proposing a longrange program. Instead of priests trying to do the impossible—evangelization of the majority of our people by bringing the Word and the Bread themselves to the people, let them spend more of their time and energy in effecting evangelization of the people by the people themselves. 4. Corollary to this proposal is a program to harness the ability of the priests. They are unequal in talents, ability and dedication. Assignments to parishes must consider presence of competent priests in every vicariate and deanery or district. Formation of Parish Lay Formation Teams becomes a cooperative venture in the vicariate. Regular and more frequent meetings for praying together and training for pastoral skills are held in all the vicariates for the formation of parish lay formation teams and the preparation of the rural and urban communities to accept the liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist presided over by Lay Ministers. 5. Tragic it is for a physician to prescribe a delicate surgery without diagnosis. The operation could be a success but the patient dead! Is it also not sad for church people to minister to their flock without social analysis, and praying for the gift of discernment? But too much analysis also causes paralysis. Coordinated pastoral planning is most difficult if each group has its own Vision-Mission. If only our Church leaders would begin with the VisionMission Statement from PCP II. But many of them think and say they have to begin with their own analysis because their situation is unique. But there is enough in common in the essentials. Actually to repeat the analysis done for PCP II is not necessary—the diocese or parish can take the PCP II description of the Philippine situation as “fragmented by divisive conflicts” and “afflicted by widespread poverty,” and test their veracity in their own locality by asking their people to share their actual experience of them. Then they are internalized, owned by them, and pastoral planning can go on effectively. 6. In any diocese perhaps 5% of the clergy are so creative, on their own they initiate formation programs; another 5% are mysteries – why God allows them to remain priests! The majority are good pastors but they wait not only for inspiration but also for the political will of their bishop, a strong even forceful leadership from the chief shepherd of the local Church. In the absence of a common formation thrust when reshuffled in the parishes, the first thing a new pastor does is to erase the memory of his predecessor—thus sowing confusion among the people. We see a piecemeal approach. Every year a new theme is bannered: family life, youth, bible. Well and good, but is it in relation to the overall goal of the mission?

rections of the Council of Trent and not according to Vatican II and PCP II. [D] Some questions, more observations, comments The same name or acronym ‘B.E.C’. is used by different people to mean many different ecclesial or pastoral realities and activities. These people do not share the same experience and have not come together to agree on what they mean with the words they use or reality they refer to. This situation is a big block to integrated pastoral planning, to clear objectives and coordinated strategies. Result: much energy, time and resources are wasted, real needs of the people are neglected. Really sad is when B.E.C. is considered as an organization with a new canonicalism: “those who are not members of our B.E.C. may not have their babies baptized nor may they stand as baptismal sponsors…more Catholic than the pope!”…when the new way of being Church should be more compassionate, more friendly even with non-Catholics. [E]. In the Seminary, unto the

Ministry 1. Seminary professors teaching different tracts naturally expect expertise on these topics from the seminarians. Is there a conscious and explicit convergence from their efforts to produce priests who are evangelized [His chosen friends] evangelizers [invited to be His mission partners]? 2. During the long course of studies seminarians look forward to the day they can do priestly work in parishes. In their exposure to priestly functions and when ordained deacons they eagerly perform the cultic tasks the veteran priests are just as eager to pass on to them. Is this the best preparation for our young priests to become the servantleaders PCP II would like them to be in a situation where the priority should be the conscientization, evangelization, and organization of the poor for their empowerment in order to bridge the wide gap between the powerful minority and the great majority who are the marginalized poor? Seminarians join seminary activities they call “B.E.C.”

How are they introduced to them? With what kind of orientation: theological? in Church history of evangelization? with the pastoral and spiritual dimensions?. 3. Seminarians are trained to pray in the seminary setting; with schedules, routine, atmosphere conducive to silent study and reflection, assisted by appointed spiritual directors and rector to look after their formation. After ordination they are on their own, with an extended family claiming their attention and time and energy: Nobody denies that solid prayer life is essential to a dedicated priesthood, but too often it is taken for granted. A friend’s solution: B.E.C. cells that regularly meet once a week to pray with the Sunday Gospel. He joined them, prayed with them. A different cell each time. There were 60 cells in his parish; some were neighborhood families, others were sectoral groups, like students, etc. Only 12 were active, leaven is expected to be “a little morsel” in a mass of flour. A shepherd energized by his flock! 4. Newly ordained priests are


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Moral Assessment

Technical Assessment

CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

    

Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary

 Poor  Below average  Average  Above average  Excellent

IN THE midst of World War 2, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) an English aristocrat, travels to their cattle farm in Australia, Faraway Downs, to convince her husband to sell the property and return home. However, her husband gets murdered and she discovers that their farm manager Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) is stealing her cattle to sell to King Carney in order to gain cattle monopoly in the Northern Territory. She employs the services of “Drover” (Hugh Jackman) a freelance white cowboy, Nullah (Brandon Walters), an 11-year old half breed aboriginal and four others to drive her 1,500 cattle to Darwin and steal the sales from Carney. And the more Carney and Fletcher attempt to thwart their plans, the more determined Lady Sarah becomes. Two years after they successfully sell their cattle, Lady Sarah, Drover and Nullah live happily together in Faraway Downs. But shortly Nullah is captured and sent off to the Missions, Drover walks out on Sarah after an argument, and Fletcher returns as the owner of Carney cattle farm, determined to take over Faraway Downs. When the Japanese attack Darwin , the three desperately

hold on to the hope that they will be able to rescue and reunite their family. The movie is a love story set in the background of World War II, racism and the heartbreaking reality of the Stolen Generation. Each scene is a cinematic masterpiece showcasing the charm of Australia and the 40s with another brilliant performance from Kidman. The multilayer storytelling is heightened by the great chemistry of Kidman and Jackman and some memorable scoring. Without doubt, Australia as a movie is good…good but not great. The story is too Mills and Boon type presented an hour longer than necessary. The war time drama and romance were a little too clichéic and over-the-top overshadowing Luhrmann’s attempt to present the story of the “stolen generation” as the heart of the movie. There is something missing from the production to make it an unforgettable film. There are several good and honest presentations of friendship, equality, hope and courage. Australia is more than the love story between Lady Sarah and Drover; it is also about the love that blossomed between Sarah and Nullah—a mother loving a child, a well-to-do’s compas-

Title: Australia Cast: Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, David Gulpilil, Brandon Walters Director: Baz Luhrmann Producers: G. Mac Brown, Catherine Knapman, Baz Luhrmann Screenwriters: Baz Luhrmann, Stuart Beattie, Ronald Hardwood, Richard Flanagan Music: David Hirschfelder Editor: Dody Dorn, Michael McCusker Genre: Drama Cinematography: Mandy Walker Distributor: Twentieth CenturyFox Film Corporation Location: Queensland, Australia; Running Time: 155 min Technical Assessment:  Moral Assessment:  CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

sion for the unfortunate, and a woman’s concern for another human being. Parents should guide their young children since there is a slight scattering of profanity, an implied sex scene and scenes of violence, racism and murder.


By Bladimer Usi

BOOK-LOVER, collector and bookbinder of old and rare books Mortimer “Mo” Folcher (Brendan Fraser) is in search of the book “Inkheart”, dragging his 12-year-old daughter Maggie (Eliza Hope Bennett) along in his search but not revealing to her the reason for it. They finally find in a book market in Switzerland. At once, a mysterious character (Paul Bettany) appears who would follow them around pleading for something only Mo understands. The truth that is being kept from Maggie is that her father Mo is a so-called “silver tongue”—a person with a gift of bringing to life characters in a book simply by reading the book aloud. Mo, in fact, has not read aloud for nine years now. The last

Title: Inkheart Running Time: 95 min Cast: Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent Director: Iain Softley Producers: Cornelie Funke, Ileen Maisel, Diana Pokorny, Iain Softley Screenwriter: David Lindsay-Abaire, Cornelia Funke Music: Javier Navarrete Editor: Martin Walsh Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy Cinematography: Roger Pratt Distributor: New Line Cinema Location: Italy Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers of all ages

Buhay Parokya
Look for the picture of St. Matthew, the commentator’s podium and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

time he read aloud a bedtime story for Maggie, then a 3-year-old, the flame juggler Dustfinger and the villain Capricorn (Andy Serkis) sprang out of the pages of the book and became fleshand-blood characters. But the down side of Mo’s gift is, there’s a trade-off: for every fictional character his reading aloud brings to life, a real-life person must take its place in the book’s pages. That fateful night, it was Maggie’s mother, Mo’s wife Resa (Sienna Guillory), who vanished, virtually sucked into the book. The mysterious character following father and daughter now is Dustfinger who wants Mo to read him back into the book to continue his fictional existence. Mo, however, says he would only do that if his missing wife Resa could return from the book to real life with him ang Maggie. There begins the adventure. The book which Inkheart the movie is based on is German writer Cornelia Funke’s international bestseller for young adults, the first volume of the trilogy begun in 2004 and finished in 2008. For 70 weeks it was in The New York Times’ best-seller list. Many viewers and reviewers would compare Inkheart with Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings but the comparison would be groundless. Inkheart has its own universe which is neither too otherworldly nor too down to earth. The CGI, special effects, and eyepopping images from familiar fairy tales do not overwhelm the viewer but are just right to advance the story. On the other hand, the Italian landscape is not a manufactured movie set, and the sprawling castle on the mountaintop would not be out of place in the

European setting. Prepare for action from beginning to end, and enjoy the acting which is very good, too, evoking the viewer’s sympathy for the characters. Inkheart will be enjoyed by all ages, and each will understand its message in his/her own level. It’s fascinating enough to pull youngsters away from shallow pleasures (texting and television) and attract them into reading. Adolescents and adults alike will find warmth in the strong family-oriented message Inkheart delivers. Appreciate what the characters would go through in order to be with their families: Mo and Maggie encountering monsters, a cyclone, a unicorn, flying monkeys, armed men and a dark, smoky, billowing, fire-breathing thing called “The Shadow” in search of the missing wife and mother Resa; Dustfinger hounding Mo and Maggie to be returned to his family in the book, fully knowing that he will die in the story’s end. While the face of Inkheart is fantasy and adventure, its heart is a story of love, friendship, devotion and perseverance. Inkheart subtly teaches that giving is better than receiving, that friendship must be honored and treasured, that selfishness is not good, that it is right to sacrifice for loved ones, that we can achieve anything if we believe in it and persevere. These are lessons not only found in the pages of the book “Inkheart” but also in the pages of “The Book”, the Bible. It’s wholesome enough for General Patronage—there is no foul language, sex or blood despite the violence—but parents must explain certain scary visuals to very young children.

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009


Moving Forward in Christ
One highlight of the event was the blessing of the missionaries who will be leaving for their respective missions soon. The papal nuncio said the prayers for empowerment for them and blessed them. (See related story below.) The missionaries are Kalisa Romani, Gabriela Evert, Caloy Rubio, Erick Manrique, Adrian Enaje, Anthony and Tina Rodriguez, Errol and Miggi Martinez. Lito and Ofie Samaniego, Nestor and Amee Belen, Shok and Carel Ariola, Karen de la Cerna and Onnel and Maia Tolentino. Philippine and Metro Manila Mission Core Gathering On the morning of January 11, all Metro Manila sector governance teams and provincial councils held a forum both to hear more specific directions from the IC as well as to share issues and concerns from the ground. The open forum was lively but the time was too short to tackle all the questions submitted. CFC Executive Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop-Emeritus Director Joe Tale assured the Angel Hobayan, and Fr. Paul Uwemedimo concelebrated the Holy Mass brethren that all the issues JANUARY ushered in a round of activities for CFC and made for a and concerns will be studied further. hectic, but Spirit-filled schedule for all the leaders and members. Elders Assembly A special meeting of the Elders Assembly was Leaders Conference The Leaders Conference in the afternoon of Saturday, January held in the afternoon of Sunday, January 11 to 10, at the Araneta Coliseum was filled with 15,000 of CFC brethren, consider and approve the proposed amendments including about 300 members from 15 countries, packing every seat to the Couples for Christ Global Mission Founup to the rafters. The Leaders Conference is the first activity of the dation, Inc. Articles of Incorporation (AOI) and year, designed to provide the leaders with the proper direction and By-Laws. The amendments were introduced to guide in shepherding their flock and fulfilling the mission. The strengthen the governance structure of the comyear’s theme, although announced weeks before, is formally unveiled munity, principally based on the results of the Pastoral Congresses that were held in 2008 in the during this conference. The Papal Nuncio in the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Philippines and in some countries abroad. The Adams, celebrated the Holy Eucharist, assisted by Bishop Honesto following are the approved amendments: Ongtioco of Cubao and Bishop Emeritus Angel Hobayan of North1) Fixing the term to IC membership to a maxiern Samar, and five other priests. The talks centered on our 2009 theme of moving Forward in Christ, delivered by the members of the mum of THREE (3) consecutive two (2) year-terms International Council. Talk 1 was “A Mission to Love,” Talk 2 was (or a total of SIX (6) consecutive YEARS. Previous“Shaped in Godly Values,” Talk 3 was “Our Individual Response,’ ly there were no terms limits for IC members. 2) Entrusting the nomination for IC membership Talk 4 was “Our Family Response,” Talk 5 was “Our Community Response,” Talk 6 was “Our Church Response,” while Talk 7 was exclusively to the Elders Assembly. Previously the nominations were made by the incumbent “Forward in Christ.” International Council and the Board of Elders. 3) Setting the requirement that only members of the Elders Assembly may be allowed to hold proxies. Our previous By-Laws were silent on this point. 4) In case of vacancies in the International Council other than the expiration of the term, the vacancy may be filled (for the remainder of the term of the vacated position) by a majority of all the members of the Elders Assembly present that constitute a quorum. Our previous By-Laws were silent on this point. 5) Amendments to the By-Laws may be approved by a majority vote of all the members of the Elders Assembly (from the present 2/3 vote requirement.). This follows accepted corporate practice. Joe Tale, in his letter to the CFC global family, explained the results of these activities and commended CFC for the “wonderful affirmations and opportunities for interaction that happened” during the activities of January. He further stated that the camaraderie, cooperation, open communication and love evident in the activities showed that “Our community has come a long way from the conflicts of the past. We are indeed moving forward and, as we have seen in these recent activities, we are moving as one – in purpose, in mission, in love.”

CFC Announces GK Reorganization
By Zeny Gimenez
COUPLES for Christ announced a change in the organizational set-up of Gawad Kalinga. Effective February 16, 2009, Melo Villaroman, Jr., one of the members of the seven-man CFC International Council, will assume the position of President of GK. (See official announcement on page 3.) Joe Tale, CFC’s Executive Director, remains as the Chairman of the GK Board, the panel of elders tasked to formulate policies and oversee GK’s overall operations. Luis Oquinena, GK’s Executive Director, will continue in such position and remain a member of the GK Board. He will report directly to the President. Melo Villaroman will formally relinquish his positions as Council Director for the Family Ministries and Home Office also on February 16 in order that he
CFC’s missionaries who are being sent out in 2009, receive the blessing of Papal Nuncio, the other bishops and the thousands of CFC brethren present.

Overflowing Grace

A Story of Blessing by Tina Rodriguez, CFC Missionary to Timor Leste IT was a wonderful afternoon of grace last January 10, 2009. Anthony and I, together with the other missionaries who are leaving for our mission areas this year, were told that we would be prayed over during the Leaders Conference. This would be our fifth time to be prayed over by the community (but who’s counting?) We thought it would be the usual pray-over ritual. We were in for a surprise for who else was to give us his blessing and pray over us along with thousands of CFC brethren from all over the Philippines and the world, but His Grace himself, the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines! I was overwhelmed, amazed and in tears as I received God’s blessing through His instruments: the Papal Nuncio, the clergy and all brothers and sisters present. Overwhelmed because I knew that I was and still am so unworthy to be His missionary, yet it is He who called me and my family to be a light to Timor Leste. First as a single missionary with my parents and fiancé, then as a couple missionary (with my parents again) with CFC’s third missionary baby being born in Timor Leste, and now this year, as a missionary couple with a two-year old toddler and second baby coming soon! I would not be living this great adventure if not for God’s goodness, forgiveness and grace! Lastly, I was in tears of joy, knowing that God was, and is always, in control of my life, and not just mine, but of those whom I love and cherish. As the Timorese would say: Hasae gloria hotu ba Maromak! To God be all the glory!

CFC and GK workers listen to Fr. Bienvenido Nebres (inset) during the January 27 meeting.

CFC and GK workers enjoy a few moments of fellowship after the meeting

can give full attention to the massive work of GK. The foregoing changes were approved by the GK Board in its meeting on January 22, 2009 and formally announced on January 26. The new organization, its rationale and related issues and concerns were discussed during a meeting of all Metro Manila sector heads and governance teams, Manila-based provincial area heads, regional area heads, family ministries and social ministries coordinators, GK and CFC Home Office staff, and some GK workers. The meeting was held at the Multipurpose Hall of the San Carlos Seminary Lay Formation in Guadalupe, Makati, last Tuesday, January 27. The meeting was graced by the presence of Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, President of the Ateneo de Manila University and Dr. Edna “Bopeep” Franco, chair of the Psychology Department of the Ateneo, as resource persons. Ateneo has been conducting an organizational development process study for GK, in view of the new challenges to its structure and systems brought about by its rapid upscaling.


By Joe Tale, CFC Executive Director

CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

IN 2008, God gave us our theme of “Love One Another” (from John 13:34-35). This was so appropriate for us, having come from a period of internal conflict, of pains and hurts. This continues to be appropriate for us, so while we have a new theme this year, loving one another will remain as our way of life in CFC. This year, our theme is “Forward in Christ” taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Phils 3:13-14). We believe that this theme is a real blessing and inspiration for the community to move on, to no longer dwell in the past, to focus on the present and the future and on the mission God has entrusted to us. The word “Forward” connotes movement, action, energy, enthusiasm, a leap to some goal or direction. This is what we, as a community, should do now. We see before us a clear direction toward better things and so we surge ahead. When we say that we “forget what lies behind,” we of course do not mean that we do not remember the lessons of the past, nor simply rest on the laurels of our past achievements. What we mean to do is to not get stuck on what is now history. This year we begin to move on from the pains and hurts of the past two years towards healing and peace, towards greater heights of service. The key phrase in our theme is “in Christ.” We move forward not in any direction, but clearly focused towards and in Christ. “In Christ” denotes that our direction is not just towards anywhere, not just to any cause, but to and in the Lord of Lords Himself, Jesus Christ. As we move forward, we do so with Christ both as our companion and goal. Thus we are to be in a constant state of listening to Him. Of course we expect to meet obstacles. Life, especially the life in Christ that we have chosen, is never easy. So we know we will encounter rough portions, bumps and potholes, and hence we will be “straining” forward. But we will continue to move forward, notwithstanding the conditions of our environment and situation. We strain forward because the prize is definitely worth it – the crown of Jesus. I am reminded of the kind of straining forward that our brethren, the Singles for Christ of Papua New Guinea, did just so they can attend their own leaders’ conference. Because they did not have enough money for the fare, but eager to share in the joy and fellowship of the weekend conference, they walked for one whole week! They were rewarded by the joy, the camaraderie and the love of their fellow-Singles. They were affirmed by the Word of God and the testimonies of triumph they heard. And they were warmed by the generosity of the participants who, with willing hearts, pooled together their resources to buy the fares for their trip back home. Our theme, taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, is especially appropriate this year because Pope Benedict XVI has declared the year from June 2008 to June 2009 as a year dedicated to St. Paul, in honor of his 2000th birth anniversary. We all know who St. Paul is. A persecutor of

Moving on with Passion for the Mission
Christians, his Damascus experience changed his life and transformed him from being a Christ-hater to Christ-lover and ardent missionary. He was blinded for three days after being struck down in Damascus but after being healed by Ananias and being filled with the Holy Spirit, he did not look back on his past life. He did not return to his former ways but moved steadily forward in passionately proclaiming Christ. Because he did not see obstacles as insurmountable, he moved forward to far-flung nations, preaching, admonishing, relating in love. He went to believers and to non-believers alike, earning for himself the title “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Our moving forward does not imply simply going about our business, achieving human goals. As Couples for Christ, we are expected to move forward as Christian witnesses. Like St. Paul, if we are to move forward in Christ, we need to intimately know who Jesus Christ is, His words, His example. Only then can we truly follow Him and move forward in Him. Jesus taught us so many things but there are three aspects of who He is and what He said that we as a community should focus on, especially this year. Let us reflect on these aspects, on what they mean to us individually and as a community and how we should move forward in Christ with greater zeal. The Power of Prayer Jesus constantly prayed. (Luke 5:2-16) We are called upon to do the same. How? We have our personal daily prayer time. We have regular community worship. We have the many opportunities to pray in silence and with other brethren, every time there is a need to pray, to be intercessors for those among us who are sick, who are troubled and weary, who need encouragement, who have died and left behind families in need of comfort. There is great power in prayer. One of our leaders recounted this story of our brothers from Sarangani who are fishermen. One time, when they went out to sea to fish with other fishermen, they were not catching anything inspite being at sea all night. Just when they were about to give up, one of them suggested that they should worship. They did, singing as their worship song. “Shine, Jesus, Shine.” Sometime later, they all felt a straining in their nets and lo and behold! The nets were full of fish. The Bible tells of exactly the same story in Jesus’ time. How wonderful to know that because of prayer, this story and many others like it, can happen in our lifetime.

The Power of Love Jesus asked us to take care of the flock when He asked Peter to “Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.” Our flock – our family, our household – needs our loving care and attention. There are many outstanding examples of our 2008 theme of “Love One Another” lived to the fullest. I will never forget the love and care showered upon Babylou and me when I was struck down by what would have been malaria in Singapore. Our CFC brethren there proved that loving is key to building up relationships and to witnessing to Christ in us. The residents of one GK village – GK Pinagsama in Taguig – expressed love in the same concrete way. In spite of their economic circumstance, they eagerly volunteered to host some members of the

delegation from Papua New Guinea who came to attend our Leaders Conference in January. They pooled their hard-earned money and hired transport just so they can fetch their guests from the airport, even if they were told that transport can be arranged by the Home Office. We also express love when we care for the poor, the lost, the last and the least. Our new response to God’s call for us to build the Church of the Poor are our Feed My Sheep program and our E-Pinoy initiative. The first presents a unique opportunity to give immediate attention to the hungry among us, and especially to those outside our GK villages. The second addresses the growing concern among our labor force, in the light of the global economic crisis, about the need to have jobs and thus provide for their families. E-Pinoy seeks to create a CFCpreferred work force that will be given jobs locally and abroad, not simply because of their skills but more because of their CFC, and thus Christian values and work ethics. The Power to Proclaim We now realize that there is a bigger meaning to the term “evangelization.” More than the Christian Life Programs, the teachings and seminars, we are called to be effective witnesses, to make Jesus real through our personal renewal, our family renewal, and the renewal of society that happens through us. Our response to the call to proclaim also involves greater efforts at reaching those we have not been able to reach so far, through focused and integrated evangelization and even “pocket” or smaller CLPs. Our Migrant Workers Program is another approach to proclaiming Christ to a wider audience. The opportunities for evangelization through this program is so vast that we would need more workers but most especially, greater reliance on God’s guidance and direction. We will also make full use of all available communication technology to proclaim our mission and to make Jesus known to more people. The Lord has blessed us with so much. This is more than enough reason and sufficient impetus for us to move on with passion for the mission! Matthew 9:35-38 speaks of Jesus’ compassion for those who were abandoned and lost: “Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.’” Let us take this time to recommit ourselves once more to Jesus, and to proclaim our readiness to indeed move forward in serving Him. Let us commit our willingness to fulfill the Great Commission, to the ends of the earth.

By Joe Yamamoto, Philippine Missions Director, International Council Member

Winning the Marketplace for Christ
Have we lived up to this call? To date, while we have tried to obey the call and succeeded in establishing a strong and vibrant disciple community, much needs to be done. Challenges and opportunities abound. We have responded but not quite well and sufficiently enough. The ultimate goal of the Great Commission is not simply making disciples of people, but also discipling, teaching and baptizing nations It was in 1985 when CFC was commissioned to win the world for Christ. When we accepted this commission, we (individuals and families) committed to be God’s global army. Our backgrounds are diverse, the color of our skin varied, our political ideologies worlds apart and yet we are united in this vision and mission. We are committed to being a part of this army. We have all signed on to be God’s soldiers, recruited, trained and equipped and finally commissioned and sent out to the battlefield. What are our battlefields? 1. Our Families – This is our first line of offense and defense. CFC’s womb-to-tomb approach ensures that we cover every stage in the life of our family members from very young to very old. The family is under attack by anti-life forces, by worldly lures, by materialism and consumerism. We are called to defend our families by the simplest weapon – drawing them near to Jesus and giving them the desire for a life of service. 2. The Marketplace – These are our places of work and worship -- learning and earning institutions, the media (print, radio and TV/movies, the information highway), government offices, hospitals, schools, prisons, our armed services, areas of conflict and poverty (the slums, indigenous peoples) and particularly areas that are deemed as “areas of sin.” 3. Nations – Our call transcends distance, overcomes logistical obstacles and hurdles ethnic and religious differences. The sum of it all is that we are called to be transformed by, in and for Christ. By our individual and collective transformation, we are equipped with the armor that will enable us to indeed win in these battlefields. Our model in winning the marketplace is Saul, the persecutor of Christians, who was transformed into Paul, the evangelist, the missionary, the Christ-follower imbued with an allencompassing, all-consuming passion to proclaim the God He had committed to serve. Paul was a Hellenistic Jew who, as a Roman citizen, toed the official Roman policy of persecuting Christians. It is said that he was a Pharisee and most likely a member of the Sanhedrin. His conversion begins on his trip to Damascus where he was to arrest Christians. We all know the story of how he was struck down, rendered sightless and accused by a voice from the heavens: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” The Lord gave him three days of darkness during which he must have been able to reflect, to allow his heart to receive God’s loving messages, to receive the grace of repentance and faith. At the end of those three days, his conversion was complete. His sight was restored and his missionary journeys and evangelistic writings began. Acts 9:15 tells us that Paul was sent to proclaim the gospel ‘to the Gentiles, kings and the Jews’, in that sequence. He was a zealous missionary but he actually began by preaching in the synagogues, addressing Jews and telling them about Jesus. He achieved only modest success and the growth of his ministry was quite slow during this “pulpit ministry.” Why? Because hel was engaging those who were already ‘Churched.’ There were limited opportunities for interaction and engagement with the people (Jews mainly) that he preached to, since these happened only in the synagogues on Sabbaths.
Marketplace / A3

AS Couples for Christ, what does Christ call us to do? We are all called to proclaim and to share Christ to all we meet by our words and actions. We are called to be disciples of Christ and to make our country a disciple nation. We are particularly called, as one prophecy said it a few years ago, “To win the world for Christ through Couples for Christ.” This is the Great Commission.

Vol. 13 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 2 - 15, 2009



Called, Chosen and Anointed
the mission. Fr. Mario emphasized that without an encounter like this, where one acknowledges being loved and showered with grace by God, “mahirap maging lider, you would not have the same passion as Paul.” Chosen Fr. Mario highlighted that “The Good News, the Gospel, is an event, the Person of Jesus. It is neither a doctrine nor neutral information. The Gospel demands a personal answer.” There must be a choice between acceptance and refusal of Christ who has offered Himself unto death. As Fr. Mario said, “Without such an encounter, you are burning for the wrong reason.” He further added, “Above all, there must be first a radical choice. There must be a process of initiation where one chooses and must continually rechoose. Just like marriage, the mission is not just about falling in love but remaining in love. The Tagalog word “kabiyak” best describes it: “kabiyak” means “never whole, always half of the other and taking on the face of the other.” According to Fr. Mario, St. Paul understood that to accept Jesus Christ is to imitate Him and this involves a process. The power to change will come from the Lord (positive assimilation). It will result in “love,” which is “ecclesial” (Christ in me and us) and missionary (Christ is Lord of us). During this process, Fr. Mario reminded everyone that, “The Lord sometimes will strip us of everything until we are nothing. Then, we will seek for Him; and once we have found Him, then we will have everything. For God calls not the able but enables those He calls. And, power finds its greatness when one accepts his powerlessness and becomes dependent on the power from on High.” Hence, in doing God’s work, Fr. Mario instructed that one should never start with the question: “May pondo ba?” The first question must be “Gusto ba Niya?” For our God is mighty. He is powerful. He enables the ‘unables’. Anointed Fr. Mario enumerated four essential requirements to being an anointed shepherd. 1. The shepherd must “not just be a teacher, but a witness.” The shepherd must lead not simply by word but by action. He must be a “witness”. As Fr. Mario said, “If you

do not speak according to your beliefs, then you do not truly believe.” He further added that “A good speaker is a good man who speaks well. The flock would rather see a sermon than listen to one.” A good test of one’s anointing, Fr. Mario explained, is to ask oneself this question: “If you were ever accused of being Christian, will there be enough evidence to convict you?” 2. Know personally the God you are proclaiming. As Fr. Mario explained, “How can you proclaim someone whom you do not know? Until you have a personal relationship with Jesus, do not expect to be anointed as a shepherd.” 3. Know your sheep. Know well the people to whom you proclaim. Fr. Mario explained that “The Lord sends the right person every time.” He noted that in the Philippines today, the challenge is to evangelize the poor and to shepherd them through compassion. “Thanks be to God, GK is still a wonderful arm of CFC!” said Fr. Mario. For compassion means “your pain, in my heart” 4. Constantly recognize the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit – the Agent of Renewal. Fr. Mario described this presence as “Ang kakayahan ng Diyos na gumagalaw sa isang palpak na katulad ko.” With the presence of the Holy Spirit, a shepherd is “witnessing to a call answered with love; to a love expressed in service; to a service given with joy.” Fr. Mario concluded his talk by reminding CFC leaders that: “If the joy of the Lord is in your heart, please do not forget to notify your face.”

Be Not Afraid of the Gospel
By Sky Ortigas
Couples for Christ joined the whole Catholic Church of the Philippines in celebrating the Jubilee celebration of the birth of St. Paul and the observance of National Bible Sunday last January 25, 2009 at the Araneta Coliseum. The celebration commemorated the life, mission, and dedication of St. Paul and gave the assembly an appreciation of the essence and importance of the Gospel. International Council Members Joe Tale and Joey Arguelles joined CFC members who proudly wore their CFC t-shirts to the event. An Ecumenical Prayer was said to start the whole event followed by the Holy Eucharist concelebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and other bishops. A Plenary Indulgence was given to the attendees. Bo Sanchez and Bishop Chito Tagle gave inspiring talks on the power of the Gospel and on St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gospel to the Nations.

By Arnel Santos
“THERE is a need for us to know St. Paul so that we can become agents of transformation and renewal today,” exhorted Fr. Mario S. Sobrejuanite of the Society of St. Paul (SSP), in an address to the Mission Core Group of Couples for Christ (CFC), during its teaching night held at Xavier School Gymnasium last January 17, 2009. In this Jubilee Year dedicated to St. Paul (June 28, 2008-June 29, 2009), Fr. Mario enjoined all to reflect on one’s own anointment to mission, with St. Paul as model. Called According to Fr. Mario, to be called, chosen and anointed to mission, one must have personally experienced God who “has loved him first.” Like St. Paul, one must first come to the realization that “My whole life is an undeserved grace.” Fr. Mario recounted the story of St. Paul who was first known as Saul – circumcised, a Pharisee, and one who studied under Gamaliel, the most famous rabbi at that time. Fr. Mario explained that Saul was a member of the elite class, set apart from the rest. Being privileged also made Saul entertain the thought that his elitist background and qualities would draw him nearer to God. However, on the road to Damascus, in a mission to capture the Christians in Damascus and imprison them in Jerusalem, Saul encountered Jesus Christ who told him “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” This encounter, according to Fr. Mario, became the basis of Paul’s theology. He became a changed man, asking “What do you want me to do?” The encounter became the “opening” for Paul to be “called, chosen and anointed” to

Marketplace / A2

Announcement from the CFC International Council
THE CFC International Council has designated Melo Villaroman, Jr as President of Gawad Kalinga. This appointment and position were voted upon and approved by the GK Board last 22 January 2009. In this role, Melo will be responsible for Chief Executive Officer duties, and will be the overall leader of the GK Management Committee. This role has direct accountability to the GK Board, headed by Joe Tale, Chairman of Gawad Kalinga. Melo will officially start his GK full-time service on Monday, 16 February 2009. Luis Oquinena will continue on as Executive Director of Gawad Kalinga, reporting to the GK President. In this role, Luis will be responsible for Chief Operating Officer duties, helping ensure effective, timely, and efficient implementation of GK Programs with partners and communities on the ground. The CFC International Council and the GK Board are implementing these changes to support the following key purposes:

(1) Bringing the CFC and GK Principles to Life
In last month’s CFC State of the Mission address, we declared principles that will guide our massive and important work with the poor as we move Gawad Kalinga “Forward in Christ.” First and most important, Christ proclaimed in word or in action is the center and mover of the work. Second, Gawad Kalinga, with our other equally-important “Church of the Poor” ministries, is God’s gift and challenge to CFC for the fullness of our mission. Third, we strive to share the gift of GK to the world, helping open up the blessing for all individuals to embrace the poor, and openly partnering with multi-sectors, within the boundaries of our CFC and GK Core Values. Fourth, there is one united leadership flowing out of the GK Board, which in turn, is pastorally submitted to the CFC International Council. Fifth, we give our all in sustaining the integrity of the holistic CFC and GK work. Last but not least, we are one with the Catholic Church in our common mission to build the Church of the Home, and the Church of the Poor.

Paul was not reaching the Gentiles and the ‘kings’. This happened only when he shifted his strategy. The biggest church growth happened when Paul and his team (Barnabas, Priscilla and Aquila, Crispus) turned their jobs into a ministry vehicle and engaged the Gentiles and kings in the marketplace. The results were impressive even at its start and became even more astounding. After a short time, the Gospel had reached the whole of Asia (14 nations with huge populations and diverse cultural and ethnic compositions). Paul went on from there to the rest of the Gentile world. Thus, until Paul opened his work by bringing it to both the ‘pulpit”(the structural church run by the clergy and the laity) and the ‘marketplace’ (the very places where people live and work), his work of evangelization was restricted. What do we learn from this? If we are to have Paul as our missionary model, CFC has to bring the ministry to the marketplace. Only a select few of us can be missionaries, pastoral workers and support personnel. These are the persons tasked to GO AND EVANGELIZE. But all of us are expected to be ‘all- the –timers,’ those who must be full-time ministers in our respective marketplaces and who are tasked to EVANGELIZE AS YOU GO. In order to do this, we must completely live out the attributes of a CFC member. This is clearly defined in our covenant. We must be: 1. Prayerful - Our prayer life must be consistent and regular, with the end in view of achieving ever-deeper levels of communion with our God. 2. Living lives founded in the Scripture – Our covenant specifies daily Scripture reading, designed not simply to make us knowledgeable about it but to help us live out the Word of God 3. Generous -- We are committed to support the life and mission of CFC with our three T’s: TIME (to make ourselves available for any and all service assigned to us), TALENT (to use our God-given gifts to serve others) and TREASURE (to be faithful in our tithes, contributions and our Prayer Bank These are what define us as Catholics and as Couples for Christ. If we live out these attributes, then we become effective witnesses to Christ living in us. This is evangelization at work. Even without our saying a word, we exude the kind of life that those around us see and admire and eventually aspire for. Even without any training, we become effective missionaries and evangelizers. If we do all these as a community, then Couples for Christ will not only be effective as a strongly evangelistic and missionary community, it will also be financially strong, have a committed leadership all the way down to the household head level, and able to implement all its development plans

and programs. HOW can we do all these? Start with our basic covenant of prayer and Scripture and then seriously assess our service in the various ministries and programs. In the area of evangelization This year, as we move Forward in Christ, we have identified several evangelization approaches. At present our Christian Life Programs are parishbased, conducted in parish churches and multipurpose halls. Our “strategic” evangelization used to be confined to offices and specific groups of people such as the men in uniform. This year, we call this “focused” evangelization – we reach out to bigger populations such as the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families, the transport workers and employees and to the target groups of the Social Ministries. We also consider “pocket” CLPs – conducting the seminar in private homes, like we used to do in our early history – to reach out to those who prefer small, intimate groups and who are more comfortable interacting with friends and neighbors. We will also implement “integrated” evangelization. We will begin to work to bring the Word of God to families of those who graduate from our youth camps, of our Singles for Christ, of our Handmaids of the Lord, Servants of the Lord. In the area of Family Life Renewal This is Building the Church of the Home. We will intensify our efforts in conducting youth camps and SFC weekends, encouraging more integrated family activities and retreats, providing more formation talks and teachings not just in CFC but outside CFC, encouraging vocations among the young. Total Christian Liberation Our mission of Building the Church of the Poor will go beyond Gawad Kalinga. We will intensify the social dimension of our work via the Social Ministries. We have launched our “Feed my Sheep” program wherein sectors and provinces will set aside specific days to feed the poorest among us, the street people/children, and the homeless, ministering to their hungry bodies. We will also reach out to those behind bars, who in reality are actually the poorest of the poor because they have lost all zest for life, all hope, all noble aspirations. Our call is to move FORWARD IN CHRIST. This is a directive, an attitude, a way of fulfilling our mission and mandate. Most importantly, this is our posture before God and our community. If we are to win the world for Christ, we have to begin now, right where the Lord has put us, with the weapons of our faith and trust in God and of lives well-lived according to His Word and His Will.

(2) Strengthening Oneness/Unity of Leadership
The CFC International Council is the overall governing body of the CFC worldwide community and all of its Ministries, including Gawad Kalinga. These organizational changes will help sustain the institutional and pastoral linkages between CFC and GK which are crucial to the oneness of our Mission, Culture, and Values as we respond to the expansive call of Gawad Kalinga.

(3) Continually Strengthening GK Capability to Respond to Massive, Expansive , and Global Work
Our GK Mission is swiftly expanding and globalizing, moving with the Spirit’s calling to “renew the face of the Earth.” The opportunities to build communities, societies, and nations where members experience the dignity and fullness of life, are overwhelming. We need to aggressively and continually strengthen our GK organizational capability if we are to deliver against new and expanding challenges flowing out of massive, global poverty. This new organizational set-up will better enable the GK Organization to be ready for greater expansion of our mission. We trust that the CFC global family will fully support these changes and continue to be one in our moving forward in Christ. We have embraced a lofty mission – to build the Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor. We need to be ready to go where the Lord leads, ever mindful that He will be with us every step of the way. God bless us all. JOE TALE For the CFC International Council January 26, 2009



CBCP Monitor
February 2 - 15, 2009 February 2 - 15, 2009

Vol. 13 No. 3

Baguio Weekend Retreat for MM Leaders
By Marivie Dalman
BAGUIO weather dipped to a record low of 7.5 degrees just days prior to the annual Metro Manila Mission Core Weekend Retreat, which was held in January 23 to 25, but it failed to dampen the spirits of the participants. Inside the overflowing Baguio Convention Center, the atmosphere was warm as the participants applauded each talk and each sharer and jumped and sang during the worship and the praise fests. This was the first time in CFC history that chairs had to be set up in the lobby and in two control rooms at the second floor just so participants, many of them walk-in registrants, could be accommodated. TV monitors were mounted so they could also watch all the proceedings inside the center. The theme of the retreat centered around the 2009 theme of moving “Forward in Christ and flowed from the full text of the Biblical passage from which the theme was taken – Philippians 3:13-14 – “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling in Christ Jesus.” The participants arrived in Baguio late Friday for the registration and the fellowship in the evening, highlighted by dancing to the music of 29 AD band. The theme of the fellowship night was Motown and everyone had fun guessing who was beneath the costumes, complete with Afro hairdos. On Saturday, Talk 1 (Just One Thing) was delivered by Joe Tale, Talk 2 (Forget What Lies Behind) by Rouquel Ponte, Talk 3 (Strain Forward in Hope) by Ernie Maipid, Jr. and Talk 4 (Press On with the Mission) by Joe Yamamoto. The last talk, Talk 5 (Our Prize in Jesus), was delivered on Sunday morning by Melo Villaroman, Jr. The talks were fleshed out by testimonies of several sharers who either moved the audience to tears or had them roaring in glee. The final praise fest on Sunday noon was powerful, Spirit-filled and awesome to see and behold. As many participants commented, this was undoubtedly one of the best weekends ever.

CFC Isabela Celebrates No. 12
By Chi Ricafort
THE 12th anniversary of CFC Isabela was held in Angadanan in November 2008. Prior to the anniversary, the brethren held a Clergy Night which was attended by the Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan, Most Reverend Joseph Nacua, OFM Capuchin together with seven other priests. International Council members Joe Tale and wife Babylou and Joey Arguelles with wife Tess also attended the gathering, together with Ding and Tess Aguinaldo, CFC Region Head and Eric and Evelyn Ylagan, Provincial Area Head. The anniversary was a joyous affair beginning with a sumptuous lunch, followed by worship led by Ote Ricafort. The gathering was enlivened by the arrival of about a hundred GK beneficiaries from San Mariano, who walked, crossed a river, and boarded a truck just so they can attend the anniversary. Most of them were drenched by the sudden rain squall but no matter. Everyone was joyful and glad to be with their brethren from Ilagan. Joey Arguelles delivered a message of hope, while CFC Director Joe Tale, extolled every member of CFC Isabela to continue its mission by being Families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth.

Rev. Fr. Elmer B. Gonzales Parish Priest, Maliwalo, Tarlac

Faith in the Midst of Crisis

THE Letter of the Hebrews, in its great eulogy on the faith of Israel’s ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham’s faith: “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance: and he went out, not knowing where to go… “ By faith Abraham lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land. By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise. And by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice. Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to and assent to His truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person. It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what He says. By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. Mary welcomed the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that with God, “nothing will be impossible’, and so she gave her assent: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” It is because of this faith that all generations have called Mary Blessed. There are times in our lives when we experience challenges that seem impossible to bear and to overcome. Crisis in different forms is everywhere, be it economic, moral, social and personal. Clear manifestations are the skyrocketing of prices, permissive sex, “inhuman” relations, distorted value systems and many mind-boggling issues that we have today. Filipinos are noted for being resilient people. After a calamity or a disaster, they can still make jokes and find ways to move on. The will to survive is strong and evident. After the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and the lahar flows that accompanied it in the early 90’s, I passed a house in one of the lahar-stricken municipalities of Pampanga. It was almost half buried in lahar but festooned on its windows and doors were brightly twinkling Christmas lights. I told myself, “what an amazing faith.” We have read a lot of stories of people who overcame crisis after crisis in their lives. They have emerged still joyful, inspite of their sad, sometimes even tragic experiences. We can only assume that the wonder behind all of these is their faith in God. Our faith in God cushions us from the blows of tragedy and trials and enables us to come out victorious every time. There is hope if there is faith. We do not lose hope in what we can do by the grace of God. We never stop believing that there is a better future....A BETTER WORLD FOR ALL OF US...

CAGA.YAN de Oro City in Misamis Oriental was devastated by flashfloods, mudslides, strong winds and big waves in the first week of January 2009. Many families lost property and some even lost loved ones. By the time the floods abated, about 16,104 families were affected. Drawing support from its membership, CFC Misamis Oriental- Cagayan de Oro City led by Provincial Area Director Jun del Fierro established a Relief Operation Center at the Corpus Christi School, as the drop off and distribution center for all relief goods and

CDO CFC to the Rescue!
cash donations. It also served as the command center of all CFC volunteers. Led by CFC CDO Council Members Archie Velasco, Bebot Pungtod, Guilly Parrel and Area Head Boie and Angging Sesscon, CFC members brought in a considerable quantity of goods, and helped in the distribution. Donations came from all CFC sectors of Misamis Oriental, CFC Bukidnon t hrough PAD Harvey Maraguinot, and private entities like Julie’s Bakeshoppe, AIM Global, and others. The Handmaids of the Lord (some of them are victims themselves of the calamity) headed by Edna Romero, took care of the kitchen and of sorting and packing the goods.

The dispatch team was headed by Boy Dolera, aided by Eugene Baseleres, John Banaynal, and Tootsie Besinga.

CFC Major Activities 2009
Date Feb 14 Feb 20-22 Event Young CFC Conference “On Track” Singles for Christ ILC Venue Clamshell 2 Intramuros Cebu Baybay, Leyte Cebu

March 28-29 Servants of the Lord ILC April 3-5 April 17-19 April 20-26 May 1-3
Top photo: Joe Tale at the Clergy Night with Bishop Joseph Nacua and CFC Isabela leaders. Middle photo: Joe Tale finds time to visit with children at a GK site in Isabela. Lower photo: YFC Isabela perform a number during the anniversary celebrations.

Youth for Christ ILC

Handmaids of the Lord ILC TBA GK Highway of Peace Kids for Christ TV CFC Anniversay Week CFC 28th Anniversary GK Expo Mindanao Sta. Cruz, Laguna Luneta TBA

June 22-28 June 27-28 Oct 9-11

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