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Pope calls Catholics to prayer and sacrifice during Lent
St. Paul migrant, ‘Apostle of the peoples’
Message of his Holiness Benedict XVI for the 95th world day of Migrants and Refugees 2009
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Palace urged to heed call for peace in Mindanao
NOW the people from the Visayan region are calling Malacañang to heed the call of peace advocates for peace in Mindanao. The City Council of Bacolod endorsed a resolution asking President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to listen to the appeal for peace of the Negros contingent of a peace caravan which traveled last November from Baguio to Cotabato. The resolution was a product of a dialogue between the local government of Bacolod and members of Pax Christi Bacolod Chapter that
Mindanao / A6
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace March 2 - 15, 2009 Vol. 13 No. 5 Php 20.00
Church official raises concern on the plight of migrants
By Melo Acuña
Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People Fr. Edwin Corros (ECMI) said he wants to know how the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families may benefit from the programs the government claimed it prepared for them. He was speaking at the OFW Family Services Forum jointly organized by the CBCP-ECMI, Archdiocese of Manila’s Ministry to Migrants and their Families
Migrants / A6
A CHURCH official has raised concern on the plight of Filipino migrants and their families in the face of global economic meltdown.
Photo courtesy of CBCP-ECMI
AS Christendom enters the Lenten season, CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said Lent is a time to examine one’s life in an atmosphere of prayer and repentance. Lagdameo said a period of withdrawal and face-to-face confrontations with temptation strengthen one’s faith. He urged Catholics to take the season of Lent as an opportune time for moral renewal and transformation. “Lent is an opportune occasion for profound re-examination of life, for confronting ourselves with the truth of the Gospel, which demands radical moral renewal,” Lagdameo said. The CBCP head said that unless
Repentance / A6
CBCP head: Repentance fortifies faith
A LONG FIGHT AHEAD. Catholic nuns look after a farmer who collapsed during a rally on March 4 to protest the state of the comprehensive agrarian law in front of Malate Church in Manila. The Catholic Church and hundreds of farmers who are in Metro Manila after a long trek from the provinces vowed for a non-stop fight and series of rallies before Congress and Malacañang to press for the permanent extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which ended in 2008.
TWO prominent Catholic Church leaders welcomed news reports on the release of the remaining ten Ninoy Aquino-Rolando Galman convicts following an executive decision to grant executive clemency, March 2. CBCP President Angel N. Lagdameo said the convicts have long suffered at the National Penitentiary and it is about time they are freed. “Hindi naman natin kailangang patagalin pa kung hindi naman napatunayang sila ang pumatay dahil kara-
Church leaders welcome release of Ninoy convicts
niwan nating sinasabi ‘Justice delayed is justice denied,’” the prelate said in an interview. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, a Canon Law expert, also said that “justice no matter how straightforward should not fail its humane dimension otherwise it becomes cruelty.” Speaking of the specific case of Ninoy Aquino-Rolando Galman double murder convicts, the prelate said “it is not very certain who killed whom that is why the responsibility fell on the group of persons who cannot pull one trigger.”
Cruz said it is fair according to humane justice that the remaining ten convicts in the case should be set free. “They have suffered enough and they behaved well so God bless them,” the 74- year old prelate said. Executive Secretary Rodolfo Diamante of the CBCP Commission on Prison Pastoral Care said their lobbying has finally ended with the impending release. “They should be released because
Convicts / A6
Bishop seeks closure of Senate probe on ‘jueteng’
ANTI-GAMBLING crusader Archbishop Oscar Cruz demanded lately for “closure” of the senate inquiry on “jueteng” conducted in 2005. Cruz, who leads the Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng, said the long wait is over and it’s about time the authorities release the outcome of their investigation. He called on the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement headed by Sen. Lito Lapid to release the result of its investigation. “I will request the proper people to close the case and release the report. Let’s see what the report is all about,” Cruz said during Tuesday’s “The Forum,” a church-organized media discussion. Cruz brought the issue of jueteng to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s doorstep in 2005. In senate hearings, he and his witnesses—Wilfredo “Boy” Mayor and Sandra Cam—testified that Arroyo, her immediate family and her associates had allegedly received money from jueteng operations. Mayor and Cam who confessed their involvements in the multi-billion peso racket are now advocates of the antigambling group founded by the prelate. Cam admits being a bag lady for jueteng lord while Mayor accused Pampanga Congressman Mikey Arroyo of receiving payola from gambling. Reportedly, Cam also revealed that President Arroyo was present when a wife of an alleged jueteng operator gave out P2 million each to regional directors of the Commission on Elections during the 2004 polls. Cruz earlier this week has lamented the resurgence of jueteng despite concerted efforts of the church and some local public officials. He said the number of jueteng lords had also grown to 18 from only 8 at least two years ago. Jueteng draws especially in regions 1 to 5 had been three times a day since last year, said Cruz. Criticisms were already thrown against the Arroyo administration for allegedly not doing enough to eradicate jueteng. But still, “no substantial action against gambling has been done,” Mayor said. (CBCPNews)
Priests call on bishops to provide moral voice
A GROUP of Catholic priests called on the bishops’ hierarchy to keep providing the necessary moral voice at these times of “deep division and crisis.” In a statement, rooted from a recent meeting of priests from different dioceses, they reiterated the need for church officials to fulfill its responsibilities as moralists. And when situation warrants, they said, the church leadership has a moral, spiritual and prophetic obligation, to denounce actions that have become an insult to the dignity of the people. “We are proposing that our bishops (the CBCP) continue discerning and exercising their prophetic role in the context of contemporary Philippine society,” the statement read. “...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,” it said. The 3-page statement was formally presented during the CBCP Permanent Council’s regular meeting held at the CBCP headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on March 4. Among the priests who presented the statement at the Permanent Council meeting were: Msgr. Manny Gabriel (Paranaque), Fr. Avelino Sapida (Imus), Fr. Rollie de Leon (Malolos), Fr. Joe Dizon (Imus), Fr. Joel Canuel, MJ and Fr. Ed Coroza (Manila).
Collaborative efforts between Church, gov’t urged
A CATHOLIC prelate has urged for mutual collaboration between Church and government to effectively serve the needs of the people. In his homily during the launching of Alay Kapwa this morning at the St. Ignatius Cathedral, Military Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak said mutual collaboration between the two institutions is a must. “If we are to be effective in our mission, helping one another is the call of the moment,” the 64-year old prelate said. Tumulak cited the collaborative effort of government in terms of relief, rescue and rehabilitation efforts in times of calamities. But he said there’s a need to work on a more permanent basis and “not only during emergency cases.” “When we collaborate, we support one another because mutual support diminishes suspicion of one’s sincerity and intention,” he said. The prelate underscored the need for partnership, to work for the same cause. He said that like the government, the Catholic Church has its own organizations and relevant programs to address the concerns of its faithful. He cited the Church’s efforts to address peace and environmental concerns. “We are happy [to be] reassured by people in government [that] we are not alone in our advocacy for peace and equality; though we are independent organizations, we share the same intentions,” the prelate said. But Tumulak admitted that mutual support still need to be worked out. “No matter who and what we are before ourselves and people, one truth stands: we have a heart, we are compassionate because we are God’s image and likeness, who Himself is compassionate,” said Tumulak. He said nobody can run away from being compassionate because nobody can run away from God. The event was attended by Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, Bontoc-Lagawe Bishop-Emeritus Francisco Claver, S.J. and military chaplains assigned in various AFP units. The AFP hierarchy was led by AFP Chief of Staff General Alexander Badong Yano and his staff officers. (Melo M. Acuna)
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Moral voice / A6
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Jesuit universities criticized for ‘obscene’ events promoting sexual ideologies
CNA STAFF, March 1, 2009—Three Jesuit universities are facing criticism for hosting events promoting sexual license, cross-dressing and homosexual ideologies just as Lent begins, with Georgetown University being accused of promoting only the orthodoxy of “sexual liberation.” Georgetown University has hosted “Sex Positive Week” from Feb. 23 to 28, an event sponsored by feminist and homosexual student clubs such as GU Pride, United Feminists and Georgetown Solidarity. The Cardinal Newman Society reports that a Monday session featured a speaker from an organization that “provides a forum” for activities such as fetishism, cross-dressing, and bondage. A talk on Ash Wednesday, “Torn about Porn?” advertised itself as including a discussion about “arguably alternative forms of pornography that are not supposed to be exploitative.” A Saturday talk from a pornographic filmmaker will address “Relationships Beyond Monogamy.” GU Pride political chair Olivia Chitayat explained the purpose of the week, saying to the Georgetown Voice: “The focus of this week is to introduce the idea of Sex Positive, and that’s really about acceptance of a wide range of desires and sexual expressions as a way of understanding one another.” “People have sex, and if they don’t, it still impacts them. This is encouraging a dialogue in a way that people don’t feel ashamed about engaging in it or not engaging in it.” David Gregory, Editor-in-Chief of the Catholicfocused student publication The Georgetown Academy, said he was “absolutely furious” that the Student Activities Commission funded the event. “I think about Gaston Hall and you have ‘Wisdom’ on one side of the ceiling and ‘Virtue’ on the other side,” he told the Georgetown Voice, referring to a campus building. “And a discussion like the one that took place there on Monday does not promote a healthy view toward human relationships. I’m so upset [because] there was no one to counter this anything-goes point of view.” Georgetown University political science professor Patrick Deneen also commented on the event at writer Rod Dreher’s BeliefNet blog “Crunchy Conservative.” He said observers should not assume that Christian teaching about human sexuality is made known at Georgetown. “It is not,” Prof. Deneen charged. “The university feebly attempts to pretend to be concerned about matters of sexuality, but addresses them in terms of ‘health.’ Students who are required to take two courses in Theology are rarely, if ever, introduced to something like Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. The only orthodoxy on campus is sexual liberation.” Noting that the university had established a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning “Resource Center,” he said there is no comparable center on campus dedicated to “an expressly Catholic teaching on human sexuality.” “So what is the message being sent to today’s students? Sex, like everything else, is a matter of preference, choice, personal liberty and utilitarian pleasure. It is largely consequence-free recreation. We should recognize that the same moral climate that contributed to the devastation of the worldwide economy is the same moral climate that informs ‘Sex Positive Week’,” Prof. Deneen argued. He accused Georgetown of wanting “desperately to be accepted on the terms set by the broader culture.” “Rather than taking a part in attempting to shape, even change that culture, Georgetown is shaped in its image,” he said. “Parents and university caretakers have been deeply complicit in what goes on in today’s universities. They have largely reneged their responsibilities to set a proper tone as their young make the transition from childhood to adulthood, instead offering them a responsibility-free zone for four years at the same time when most cultures have
Pope blames idolatry of money for economic crisis
VATICAN CITY, February 27, 2009—Meeting with pastors and clergy of the Diocese of Rome on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI discussed the economic crisis, the liturgy and evangelization. Naming the idolatry of money as a major shortcomings of the economic order, he warned that large-scale reform cannot be achieved without individual reform and conversion. Pope Benedict said that the Church has the duty to present a reasonable and well-argued criticism of the errors that have led to the current economic crisis. This duty is part of the Church’s mission and must be exercised firmly and courageously, avoiding both moralism and obscurity. He referred to his forthcoming social encyclical and presented a synthetic, two-level overview of the economic crisis. Pope Benedict considered the macroeconomic aspects and the shortcomings of a system founded on selfishness and the “idolatry of money.” These flaws cast a shadow over man’s reason and will lead him into the ways of error, he explained to the Roman clergy. Thus, the Church must make her voice heard to show the path of true reason illuminated by faith, which is also the path of self-sacrifice and concern for the needy, he said. The Pope also focused on small-scale economics, advising that large-scale reforms cannot be achieved unless individuals reform their ways. If there are no just people, there can be no justice he said. He invited people to intensify their efforts for the conversion of hearts. This involves parishes not just being active in their local
elaborate rituals and practices to assist young people in that difficult and dangerous transition.” At Loyola University of Chicago on Tuesday, the university’s Student Diversity and Cultural Affairs Office presented a film about a homosexual African-American who is transported in time to “cavort” with the supposedly homosexual writer Langston Hughes, the Cardinal Newman Society reports. The film is part of a semester-long “Color of Queer Film Series” sponsored by the university. Another upcoming film in the series concerns a 12-year-old boy who falls in love with a male police officer. At Seattle University, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the student Trans and Allies Club are sponsoring “Transgender Awareness Week” which includes a session on supposedly transgender Bible heroes and heroines. The week also
includes “Criss-Cross Day,” which encourages students to “come dressed for the day in your best gender-bending outfit.” “These obscene abuses of Catholic values come just as Christians begin a holy season of penance, fasting and almsgiving,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly. “Faithful Catholics have good reason to be outraged and heartbroken.” “That Catholic universities would permit these events on their campuses at any time of the year is unthinkable, but to do so during the holy season of Lent is unconscionable,” he added. “The saddest part of this story is that there is no indication that these universities are ashamed or embarrassed by what is taking place on their Catholic campuses. Parents and potential students might begin to wonder how these universities can in good conscience consider themselves Catholic when they allow such perverse distortions of Catholic values to take place.” (CNA)
Teaching sexual morals keeps teens from being ‘open,’ U.K. sex ed leaflet says
LONDON, England, February 25, 2009—A new leaflet from the British government advises parents to be cautious about discussing moral values when they talk to their children about sex and also advises that teenagers should be encouraged to form their own views about sexual morals. The leaflet, titled “Talking to Your Teenager About Sex and Relationships” will be distributed in pharmacies beginning in March as part of an initiative led by U.K. children’s minister Beverly Hughes, the Sunday Telegraph reports. Hughes said that the government doesn’t raise children but argued it has a role in “supporting parents and giving them access to advice and information.” Any discussion of moral values should be kept “light,” the leaflet advises, recommending that parents talk with their children about sex at as young an age as possible. “Discussing your values with your teenagers will help them to form their own. Remember, though, that trying to convince them of what’s right and wrong may discourage them from being open,” it says, according to the Telegraph. The leaflet also provides technical information on different forms of contraception. Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, criticized the leaflet. “The idea that the government is telling families not to pass on their values is outrageous,” he said, according to the Telegraph. “Preserving children’s innocence is a worthy goal. We would like to see more of that kind of language rather than this amoral approach where p arent s are encouraged to present their children with a smorgasbord of sexual activities and leave them to make up their own minds.” (CNA)
community but also being open to all humanity. Pope Benedict said the evangelization of those who have moved away from the faith requires personal witness from individuals who live for others. Such witness must be associated with the Word because the Word reveals that the faith is not a philosophy or a utopia but a truth that becomes life. He declared the need for priests who are capable of speaking to modern man with the simplicity of truth to show that God is not distant but active in the lives of all men. Addressing the topic of the liturgy, the Pope compared it to a school in which one may learn the art of being human and where one may experience familiarity with Christ. He said the Eucharist in particular must be lived as a sign and seed of charity. (CNA)
New President for Migrants Council
VATICAN CITY, March 1, 2009—Archbishop Antonio Vegliò is replacing Cardinal Renato Martino at the head of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers. Benedict XVI moved the 71-year-old archbishop from his role as secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the Vatican announced Saturday. Cardinal Martino, 76, has asked to retire for reasons of age. He is still, however, the president
Archbishop Antonio Vegliò
of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Antonio Vegliò was born in 1938 in central Italy. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1962. Before being named to the Roman Curia, he served some 14 years in the Vatican diplomatic service, principally in Africa and the Middle East. He was named secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches in 2001. (Zenit)
Bishops of India strongly reject euthanasia
NEW DELH, India, February 23, 2009—The 120 Latinrite members of the Bishops’ Conference of India concluded their plenary assembly on February 18 with a categorical rejection of a case taken up by the Supreme Court of Delhi that would allow for euthanasia of the terminally ill. The Church “firmly and consistently opposes” the taking of human life at any stage, the bishops said. The bishops’ spokesman, Father Joseph Babu, explained, “The government must guarantee the people the right to a serene life and not allow any kind of death.” According to L’Osservatore Romano, the bishops also addressed the issue of evangelizing the laity through the reading and study of the Bible under the guidance of priests. They also condemned the actions of groups that seek to impose a literal interpretation of the Bible on the people India. The bishops re-elected Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, as president of the Conference, while Archbishop Vincent Michael Concessao of Delhi was re-elected vice president. Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu of Vijayawada was elected secretary general. (CNA)
Women and China top Pope’s prayer list
VATICAN CITY, February 27, 2009─Benedict XVI will be praying in March that all nations grow in appreciation of the dignity and value of women and their roles in society. The Apostleship of Prayer announced this general intention chosen by the Pope. The Holy Father also chooses an apostolic intention for each month. In March, he will pray for Church unity in China, as enjoined in the letter he sent to the Chinese faithful in 2007. The intention reads: “That all the bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and laity of the Catholic Church in China may strive to be instruments of unity, communion and peace.” (Zenit)
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
VATICAN CITY, February 26, 2009─Pope Benedict began Lent yesterday by presiding over Mass at the Church of Saint Sabina and calling on Catholics to enter the period of conversion through frequent contact with the Word of God, more intense prayer and a penitential lifestyle. Let these be “a stimulus to convert and to love our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and needy,” he said. Benedict XVI began yesterday’s Lenten observance with a penitential procession from the church of Sant’Anselmo on Rome’s Aventine Hill to the nearby basilica of Santa Sabina where he presided at a Eucharistic celebration. The Ash Wednesday ceremony included the Pope receiving ashes from Cardinal Jozef Tomko, titular of Santa Sabina, after which the Pope imposed ashes upon cardinals, bishops and a number of faithful. The tradition of Catholics wearing ashes on their foreheads on the first day of Lent comes from the Jewish practice of placing dirt or ashes on their foreheads as a sign of repentance. Likewise, Catholics today begin Lent—a 40-day period of fasting and penance—using the same outward expression of their sorrow and intention to seek deeper conversion. In his homily the Pope highlighted that “the call to conversion emerges as the dominant theme” in the Ash Wednesday liturgy. Recalling that the Church is celebrating the 2,000th anniversary
Pope calls Catholics to prayer and sacrifice during Lent
of St. Paul’s birth, he pointed out that the Apostle was “aware of having been chosen as an example.” Because of this awareness, “St. Paul recognized that everything in him was the work of divine grace, yet he did not forget the need to accept freely the gift of new life received at Baptism.” “How can we fulfill our baptismal vocation?” the Holy Father asked. “How can we emerge victorious from the battle between the flesh and the spirit, between good and evil, the battle that characterizes our lives? Today’s Gospel reading shows us three useful means to this end: prayer, alms and fasting. Ways to live out these three practices can be found in “the life and writings of St. Paul,” the Pope said. The Apostle exhorts us to “persevere” in prayer, and to “pray without ceasing.” On the subject of almsgiving, he speaks of “the great collection in favor of our poor brethren” and underlines how “charity is the apex of a believer’s life. ...He does not expressly mention fasting, but he often calls for sobriety as a characteristic of people called to live in vigilant expectation of the Lord,” Benedict XVI explained. “May Lent,” said Pope Benedict prayed, “marked by more frequent contact with the Word of God, by more intense prayer, and by a severe and penitential lifestyle, be a stimulus to convert and to love our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and needy.” (CNA)
OFWs are ambassadors for Christ, says CBCP official
MANILA, February 27, 2009─Overseas Filipino workers are not only “modern heroes” as the government would like to claim because of the money they bring into the country’s coffers, but in the eyes of the Church, they are ambassadors for Christ. Fr. Edwin Corros, CS, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) said OFWs are evangelizers in their own right and as such can be regarded as ambassadors for Christ. “That is a beautiful word to describe the migrants, that they are actually ambassadors for Christ. Imagine, as ambassadors you are carrying with you the values of Jesus,” said Corros, adding: “Think about the roles of our ambassadors, our diplomatic officials. They carry with them the culture, the values [of their native land]. That is how you are supposed to present yourself to your host. St. Paul as ambassador for Christ, carried with him such responsibility, such value that wherever he goes as a missionary to the gentiles, he presented not himself but Christ,” he explained. Cited by Pope John Paul II as modern-day missionaries, Filipinos working overseas practiced
Lent, called a time to strip away masks
Vatican spokesman says it is a season for truth
VATICAN CITY, March 1, 2009─Lent is a good time for selfdiscovery ─ a season to live “without masks,” says a Vatican spokesman. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, made this proposal during the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s “Octava Dies.” He was drawing from a reflection made by Benedict XVI during his meeting with the clergy of Rome last week. On that occasion, the Pope considered how a pastor of souls has a special role, since people come to him “without masks,” in their truth, without hiding behind the role they have in society. “[The Holy Father] insisted on the fact that the faith can be effectively proclaimed to men and women if it passes through the lived experience of the one who proclaims it, and if it is proclaimed in its essential simplicity, without weighing it down too much with Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi erudite considerations,” Father Lombardi explained. “Lent should be lived in this spirit,” he stressed. “It is a time for presenting ourselves to God without masks, to try to put our relationship with him back at the center of each of our lives and to simplify our interests and words, returning them to what is truly important.” The spokesman recalled how on Ash Wednesday, the Pontiff said that “Jesus is in the depths of our heart. Our relationship with him is present even when we speak and act in our professional duties. ...This relationship sometimes becomes explicit prayer.” And in his Lenten message, Father Lombardi added, the Bishop of Rome recalled the value of fasting, inviting the faithful to find appropriate forms for it in daily life, as an exercise of freeing ourselves from attachment to ourselves to open ourselves to the love of God and charity in solidarity with others. “Thus,” Father Lombardi concluded, “this is a time to rediscover the right place for God and attention to others with the help of simple concrete and daily gestures: prayer, fasting, almsgiving. It is a time to rediscover ourselves too and our truth, without masks. Let us not miss these opportunities!” (Zenit)
Catholic-Muslim commission calls for respect of human rights
VATICAN CITY, February 27, 2009─The promotion of peace among religions was discussed earlier this week by a joint Catholic-Islamic commission at its annual meeting in Rome. The commission agreed that achieving peace requires that the “dignity of the human person and his or her rights, especially regarding freedom of conscience and of religion” be respected, a belief Pope Benedict has argued Islam must arrive at. The joint Catholic-Islamic commission for dialogue was founded after Pope John Paul II visited the University of al-Azhar in February 2000. Although the commission was briefly suspended after Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address, dialogue resumed in 2007. Participants for this year’s discussion came from the Vatican’s Joint Committee for Dialogue and the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue among the Monotheistic Religions. The theme of the meeting, “The Promotion of a Pedagogy and Culture of Peace with Particular Reference to the Role of Religions,” was presented from the Catholic point of view by Bernard Sabella, associate professor emeritus of sociology at Bethlehem University, and from the Islamic standpoint by Sheikh Ali Shahata. At the conclusion of the meeting, participants agreed upon the following: 1. “Peace and security are much needed in our present world marked by many conflicts and a feeling of insecurity. 2. “No true and lasting peace can be achieved without justice and equality among persons and communities. 3. “Religious leaders, especially Muslims and Christians, have the duty to promote a culture of peace, each within his respective community, especially through teaching and preaching. 4. “A culture of peace should permeate all aspects of life: religious formation, education, interpersonal relations and the arts in their diverse forms. To this end, scholastic books should be revised in order not to contain material which may offend the religious sentiments of other believers, at times through the erroneous presentation of dogmas, morals or history of other religions. 5. “The media have a major role and responsibility in the promotion of positive and respectful relations among the faithful of various religions. 6. “Recognizing the strong link between peace and human rights, special attention was given to the defense of the dignity of the human person and his or her rights, especially regarding freedom of conscience and of religion. 7. “Youth, the future of all religions and of humanity itself, need special care in order to be protected from fanaticism and violence, and to become peace builders for a better world. 8. “Mindful of the suffering endured by the peoples of the Middle East due to unresolved conflicts, the participants, in respect of the competence of political leaders, ask to make use, through dialogue, of the resources of international law to solve the problems at stake in truth and justice.” The next meeting of the joint committee is scheduled to be held in Cairo on February 23 and 24, 2010. (CNA)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
the Catholic faith in their adoptive country more fervently than in their own native land. They find solace in their faith in the midst of deprivation, loneliness and exploitation in the workplace. The 23rd National Migrants Sunday celebration on March 1 has taken the theme “The sacrifices of the Filipino migrants mirror the journey of St. Paul.” Corros said the chosen theme was very opportune not simply because the Church celebrates Pauline year but that OFWs can relate very well with the Apostle’s own experience of travails and uncertainties. “Our migrants are sacrificing [a lot] for the sake of their [families’] future. St. Paul always reminded the communities he founded to think of other Christians, other communities who need help,” Corros said. Despite poverty and difficulties Filipino migrant workers can still think of reaching out to others in need, said Corros “The Filipinos are very generous; they are always expressing their philanthropic [acts] either in goods or in cash. I remember when a landslide occurred in Quezon in 2004 [and the] province was inundated by flash floods. I called up our chaplain overseas. In a matter of one month I was able to gather I million plus of donation. This is for me a testament to the generosity of our Filipino migrants,” Corros said. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
CBCP head calls for new breed of leaders to solve country’s problems
MANILA, February 25, 2009— “These are the moral values Saying that widespread poverty that citizens must use to critiand corruption are like contacize and measure the present gious cancer that devours the brand of leaders and raise up whole of society, a high-ranking a new breed of leaders,” said Church official has called for Lagdameo. new breed of leaders to cure the He lamented that it is the country’s social ills. poor, “oftentimes treated like In a Lenten message released commodities”, who suffer the to the media, CBCP President most by the breakdown of and Jaro Archbishop Angel moral values in government. Lagdameo said next year’s na“Graft and corruption breed tional elections should generate widespread poverty. Widenew kind of leaders who would spread poverty in turn breeds crush the social cancer permeat- CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel graft and corruption,” LagLagdameo ing in every fabric of society. dameo said. “The forthcoming national elections must not Reflecting on the current crises the country is simply be a changing of hats for the same persons, facing, he said a paradigm shift is necessary to or change of faces but with unchanged hearts. We solve the nation’s present problems. must be able to gather a critical mass of citizens“We will not solve our problems—religious, leaders with a genuine passion and obsession for social, economic, political—by insisting on doing good governance and prophetic leadership,” the the same things that have produced the problems,” message read. he said. The CBCP head said this “critical mass” should The prelate said the season of Lent calls for a become the training ground of like-minded citi- profound moral renewal from every Christian, a zens who will lead the country imbued “with the total change of mind and behavior. values of honesty and justice, truth and integrity, “Lent is an opportune occasion for profound recredibility and accountability, transparency and examination of life, for confronting ourselves with stewardship.” the truth of the Gospel, which demands radical moral renewal,” said Lagdameo. A renewal in moral values can only be possible if there is “a critical mass of citizens-leaders who are willing to ‘break out of the box,’ to jump on to the beginning of a new wave, to move into a new cycle of development, to operate with a new social consciousness and conscience, not for their Misereor has funded projects on sustainable individual or group security, but for the good of agriculture, various advocacy programs includthe greatest number,” he said. ing specific programs for indigenous people Lagdameo quoted the document National Pasand the environment. toral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR) “Misereor is quite active in the Philippines saying, “failures in renewal have come from a with its current exposure of some six million deeper source: our hardness of heart and resistance Euros,” she further added. to conversion… We as Church, have to confess Founded in 1958 as an agency “against hunresponsibility for many of the continuing ills of ger and disease in the world,” Misereor is the Philippine society.” overseas development agency of the Catholic The same assessment also came out in a 2006 Church in Germany, it offers to cooperate in a Pastoral statement “Renewing Our Political Life”. spirit of partnership with all people of goodwill Invariably, the pastoral letter pointed out that to promote development, fight poverty, liberate “at the bottom of our political chaos is a crisis of people from injustice, exercise solidarity with moral values, a crisis of truth and justice, of unity the poor and the persecuted and help create and solidarity for the sake of common good and “One World.” (Melo M. Acuna) genuine peace.” (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
German bishops partner with RP Church in development projects
MANILA, February 20, 2009—Various propoor and development projects have been implemented across the country through the funding from the German Catholic Bishops Organization for Development Cooperation popularly known as Misereor. Sr. Rosanne Mallillin, SPC, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace executive secretary said they are meeting with all the sub-regional point persons at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center here in Manila, to prepare for the national general assembly scheduled next month. “The Philippine-Misereor Partnership is a church-NGO tie-up geared towards development,” Sr. Rosanne said.
Social costs of the OFW phenomenon
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
THERE are three significant open secrets in this country today: One, the national economy has been long since basically kept afloat by OFW remittances—without which the Philippines should have been much more bankrupt long since. Two, the Head of Government, as a matter of course, takes many expensive flights to practically all the continents of the world to sell OFWs in her possibly new title as Czarina of Filipino human chattel. Three, the OFW fact has immense and lasting social costs especially in conjunction with the workers’ families—not to mention the physical violence and emotional trauma they get, the women in particular, not to mention the macabre reality brought about when not really few of them return home in boxes. With the usual loud platitudes from the Malacañang, time and again, the OFWs here and abroad have been repeatedly accorded grand attributions and heroic traits. But more than this lip-service, the ruling administration by and large leaves the OFWs to themselves, especially so when they are no longer economically profitable to government coffers. This is most especially true with regard to the profound and expensive social costs personally shouldered by the OFWs themselves. Their families are painfully divided by long distance separation, serious apprehensions and constant preoccupations. Their children grow without their physical presence much less their personal care and parental love. Their spouses especially those relatively young in age, be they husbands or wives, are strongly tempted to entertain amorous if not carnal relationships with other parties. There are more and more OFW families wrecked by conjugal separations-in-fact. The billions of annual remittances cannot commensurate or even justify the more expensive social costs of the OFW phenomenon, such as broken marriages and families, psychological breakdown of spouses and children, crime and sexual immoralities, to mention but a few. But how does the present government respond to these immense and intense social costs of its concerted and aggressive promotion of OFWs? Easy: See no evil. Keep quiet. Do nothing. Meantime, the vicious circle goes on, viz., the present dispensation decidedly continues to market OFWs like a “bugaw” or pimp. And the poor OFWs, on the other hand, painfully continue to pay for the social costs of their lot. But at the end of the day, it becomes everybody’s misfortune.
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season
LENT is an opportune occasion for profound re-examination of life, for confronting ourselves with the truth of the Gospel, which demands radical moral renewal. Jesus Christ begins his public ministry with the message: “The time of fulfillment has come… Repent (i.e. change your mind and behavior), and believe in the Gospel!” (Mk. 1/15). St. Paul the Apostle gives his rejoinder: “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4/23). Along this line, the scientist, Albert Einstein, offered a formula for solving the problems and crises that churches, institutions and governments are facing when he said: “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created these problems and crises.” We will not solve our problem—religious, social, economic, political—by insisting on doing the same things that have produced the problems. The call of Lent is for moral renewal. To achieve this we need at least a critical mass of citizens-leaders who are willing to “break out of the box,” to jump on to the beginning of a new wave, to move into a new cycle of development, to operate with a new social consciousness and conscience, not for their individual or group security, but for the good of the greatest number. We stated, some years ago, at the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal, that “failures in renewal have come from a
Lent –A Call to Moral Renewal
deeper source: our hardness of heart and resistance to conversion… We, as Church, have to confess responsibility for many of the continuing ills of Philippine society.” In a Pastoral Statement on “Renewing Our Political Life” (January 29, 2006), we said, and we can say it again, that “at the bottom of our political chaos is a crisis of moral values, a crisis of truth and justice, of unity and solidarity for the sake of common good and genuine peace.” The most seriously affected by the crisis of moral values are the poor, the marginalized, oftentimes treated like commodities. Graft and corruption breed widespread poverty. Widespread poverty in turn breeds graft and corruption. There is a concatenation of crisis and corruption that goes down to the barangay level, up and down and up, infecting the whole society, like a contagious cancer. To cure this social cancer we need a new breed of leaders in our country. The forthcoming national elections must not simply be a changing of hats for the same persons, or change of faces but with unchanged hearts. We must be able to gather a critical mass of citizens-leaders with a genuine passion and obsession for good governance and prophetic leadership. This critical mass will be the training ground of other citizens who will lead our country with the values of honesty and justice, truth and integrity, credibility and accountability, transparency and stewardship. These are the moral values that citizens must use to criticize and measure the present brand of leaders and raise up a new breed of leaders.
AS a people we seem to have passed from crisis to crisis in one form or another. For many analysts, reinforcing these crises are ambivalent cultural values such as palakasan, pakikisama, utang na loob, and family-centeredness. As Bishops we have long contended that the crises that we have suffered are basically moral, the lack of moral values in ourselves, in our relationships, in our social structures. Today we are beset with yet another political crisis of such magnitude as to polarize our people and attract them to various options ranging from the extreme right to the extreme left. In this grave situation, various groups take advantage of one another, manipulate situations for their own agenda and create confusion among our people sometimes by projecting speculation or suspicion as proven fact, with the aim of grabbing power. At the center of the crisis is the issue of moral value, particularly the issue of trust. The people mistrust our economic institutions which place them under the tyranny of dehumanizing poverty. They also mistrust yet another key institution, our political system. This mistrust is not recent. For a long time now, while reveling in political exercises, our people have shown a lack of trust in political personalities, practices, and processes. Elections are often presumed tainted rather than honest. Congressional and senate hearings are sometimes narrowly confined to procedural matters and often run along party lines. Politics has not effectively responded to the needs of the poor and marginalized. This question of trust in national institution has taken a critical urgency with the resignation of some key Cabinet members, the realignment of political parties and the creation of new alliances. Amid this realignment of forces we commend the clear official stand of our military and police authorities who reiterated their loyalty to our Constitution that forbids them from engaging in partisan politics. Today we ask ourselves, as Bishops what can we offer to our people? Can we provide some clarity and guidance in the present confusing situation? We can only answer these questions from who are. We are not politicians who are to provide a political blueprint to solve political problems. Rather we are Bishops called by the Lord to shepherd the people in the light of faith. With Pope Benedict XVI we do not believe in the “intrusion into politics on the part of the hierarchy.” But we are to interpret human activities such as economics and politics from the moral and religious point of view, from the point of view of the Gospel of Jesus and of the Kingdom of God. We are to provide moral and religious guidance to our people. This is what we offer in the present crisis. Not to do this would be an abdication of our duty. Restoring Trust: A Plea for Moral Values in Philippine Politics, 2005
Doing away with God is doing away with human beings
HOW right that statement is, considering the overwhelming secularism and materialism in society today. “Doing away with God is doing away with human beings” was among the significant comments of Bishop Chito Tagle last February 24 at Don Bosco Parish, Makati, that night’s speaker for the Pope Benedict XVI Theology of Redemption Lecture Series. Bishop Chito explained in a very simple yet inspiring way the otherwise heavy writings of his holiness when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He divided his talk in three parts—the first one on the Fall, based on Pope Benedict’s book “In the beginning”, next on the Redemption, dwelling on the reflections of his Holiness on the Way of the Cross, and last, on the call to Faith, giving as example the people who accompanied Jesus on his Via Crucis to Calvary, as well as the Resurrection and Hope to humankind. Amb. Howard Dee of Assisi Foundation reprinted the Way of the Cross Meditations and Prayers written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and over 300 copies were eagerly bought that evening thanks to the plugging of Bishop Chito who read the Preface: “On
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
always clamoring for freedom in the wrong ways. But Jesus showed us the real meaning of love by taking on the limitation of humanity, accepting the scourging and agony, to the extent that Pilate pointed him out to the mob—“Ecce homo” (Behold the man). And isn’t this exactly what a human being is— wounded and bloodied because of his “exaggerated love” on the Cross that no logic will ever comprehend, total humility before his Father who is Almighty yet filled with hope that he will never be abandoned. Too often we think we are God, and we go around behaving like God—and suddenly shocked to find out we are not God at all but mere humans! And in spite of our pride and claiming to be God, God himself came to redeem us. Bishop Tagle compared that with a person who goes to borrow a thousand pesos from a friend and his friend gives him a million pesos instead. That is what he meant by the exaggerated love of Jesus for humankind. The evening ended with Fr. Francis Gustilo, SDB, organizer of the lecture series, inviting us to the succeeding talks on the Theology of Redemption of Pope Benedict XVI.
March 25, 2005, Good Friday, Pope John Paul II was too ill to lead the Via Crucis at the Coliseum in Rome which, with moving and contagious devotion, he had personally led so many times during his pontificate. “The Holy Father would die only a week later, and on that preceding Good Friday he followed the Way of the Cross from his sickbed, probably knowing it would be his last Via Crucis here on earth. He had personally asked, we are told, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to write the reflections and prayers of the service” This booklet, excellent for our Way of the Cross this Lent, is available at Assisi Foundation office in Ortigas and at the St. Paul bookstores. Bishop Chito led us into an awareness of today’s tendency for people to abandon God, thereby abandoning one’s appreciation of self as human and an image of God, consequently abandoning and violating other human beings because we cannot see the image of God in the other. Much of this is rooted in pride—the first sin of our parents in the Garden. We do not recognize our limitations and even hate being limited,
Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD
Pedro C. Quitorio
Bishops’ consensus on NFP and SDM
the dialogue consisted of a general discussion and clarifications that led towards the formulation of the consensus statement. At the CBCP Plenary Assembly three days later on Jan. 24, the consensus statement was included in the report of Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, ECFL Chairman. The consensus statement was drafted and read by Bishop Reyes. This was distributed to all the bishops. The full statement reads: According to the Analytical Index of CBCP Pronouncements (87th Bishops’ Plenary Assembly, July 2003, page 25), “The Body gave an affirmative indication on the issue whether or not the Standard Days Method (SDM) without any of the contraceptive component and without collaboration with government could be used by a diocese in its program of Natural Family Planning.” This decision or ruling has never been abrogated. Basing themselves on this CBCP decision, the bishops during the above-mentioned dialogue, agreed on the following: 1) The Standard Days Method, provided it is not mixed with contraceptives, is a natural family planning method and is consistent with the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. The bishop should inform the priest or lay faithful who thinks otherwise and should stop him from
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Kris P. Bayos
Melo M. Acuña
Managing Editor News Editor
Roy Q. Lagarde
Ernani M. Ramos
Circulation Manager Comptroller
Laurence John R. Morales Marcelita Dominguez
Layout Artist and Online Editor
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. ISSN 1908-2940
LAST January 21, 2009, at the end of the bishops’ seminar on peacebuilding at Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP President, convened a dialogue meeting on Natural Family Planning and the Standard Days Method. The dialogue was opened to all the bishops. Twenty-nine bishops attended or roughly half of all those who had just finished the peace-building seminar. These included Archbishop Lagdameo and bishop members of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. Bishop Gabriel Reyes of the Commission on the Laity facilitated the dialogue. The dialogue group first listened to the impressions of bishops whose dioceses were already including SDM in their NFP program— i.e., Cagayan de Oro, Ipil, Isabela (Basilan), Jolo, Digos, and Cotabato. In general, the bishops did not find anything objectionable with SDM being included as an added option in the local church’s NFP program, except that there may be need for more training and monitoring. The group then listened to objections and reservations brought up against SDM as an NFP method—e.g., that it was not natural and appeared too mechanical with the use of beads; that the information on the internet included the use of back-up contraceptives; that it was as ineffective as the old calendar rhythm method. The third part of
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Jose B. Lugay
Laiko Lampstand A small fry among nations
FILIPINOS are known all over the world as the best in healthcare services. We have world-renowned organ transplant surgeons. Our nurses are noted for their loving and tender care of the elderly. Our caregivers or yayas in the U.S. and Europe, teach their wards by example in religious and moral values, to the surprise of their masters. In most instances these caregivers are qualified teachers and college graduates who can find no work at home. They are now the “new missionaries of the Western World” according to the late Cardinal Sin. If tomorrow all Filipino seamen are grounded, the shipping commerce in the world will be at a standstill. We are a populous nation, now reaching more than 92 million. We have typhoons 9 months of every year. However, the TV networks like CNN and BBC do not include the Philippines in their hourly weather forecast, which simultaneously reports Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai weather conditions. We have been proud to be called heroes of World War II in the Battle of Bataan, but our veterans were denied recognition until recently. A measly $9,000 one-time lump sum was at last approved by the new government of Obama as pension to WW II veterans residing in the Philippines. In a tragic note, one WW II veteran died in the process of submitting his validating documents to receive the approved pension fund, notwithstanding the records existing in the Philippine Veterans Administration Office. The poor veteran’s measly share according to the rules, can no longer be given to the grieving family who need the funds for funeral services—thanks to the rigid control of Uncle Sam who does not trust the integrity of our government records. Our President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, took a chance to see the highly world-popular new President of the United States, Barrack Obama. Her three attempts to get in touch with him received no recognition. Instead, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton attended to her before her state visits to Asia which included South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and China but skipping the Philippines. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently signed the Baselines Treaty to meet the deadline imposed by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). Immediately China made a protest because of our claim to the Spratly Islands which Tomas Cloma named Freedomland, when nobody was looking and interested in the 600 reefs and islets, the lonely abode of seabirds decades ago. Now China, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam and the Philippines have claimed ownership of these islands and reefs. A joint undertaking between Philippines, China and Vietnam is now in place to determine the extent of oil deposits under those shoals. The Sabah claim of the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu has come up again which until now “cession” money was being paid to them. Meantime, thousands of Mindanao refugees who were declared “illegal immigrants” of Sabah, North Borneo, were recently driven out by the Malaysians who laid claim to these territories since 1963. Our headlines include the approval of the Japan Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement, JPEPA, which the Church and other advocacy groups frowned upon for its obvious disadvantage to the Philippines. However, the most telling criticism we are facing is from world institutions. The World Bank senate investigations and the intramurals it has caused among our senators and congressmen had given us a black eye—a country that protects its corruption practices even to the extent of exonerating identified and black-listed contractors for infrastructure projects by no less than the House of Representatives! The Philippines is rated Number 1 among the most corrupt in Asia. We can not hold a candle to affirm that the corruption rating is false and not the truth. As a result, we are deprecated as a nation among our neighboring nations in Southeast Asia. When can the Filipino people stand up and be proud of our nation as a nation of achievers, a nation of moral strength, a nation that utilizes its greatest wealth, that is, our people? May be the answer lies in what Archbishop Angel Lagdameo expressed in an interview with newsmen last December 4, 2008 in Iloilo,” The interviewer quipped: “Archbishop Lagdameo called on Filipinos to start looking for honest leaders to support the 2010 elections as a way to fight graft and corruption. He rated honesty as the most important trait the people should look for in their leaders.” During the Holy Week, we should do some soul-searching and ask for the grace of the Almighty to give us the light and the way to redeem our nation from this deprecating situation—a small fry among nations in this part of the world!
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
TRUE or otherwise, it is said that the Filipinos are good copycats, i.e. that they have the uncanny ability of doing what foreigners do. In other words, they seem to have the ingrained inclination to imitate—to “ape”— the values and preferences, the options and acts of people they look up to and admire specially those from North America. The phrase “colonial mentality” is premised on such a perceived Filipino disposition— something that has apparently disappeared from usage in this country. And rightly so: The “Pinoys” are a distinct people with their own admirable traits and precious talents— not to mention their potentials to be more than they actually are. But lo and behold, nobody else than the supposedly Filipino highest public official in the country, the presumed chief-executive in the land and the recently self-appointed Czar in the Philippines, publicly and even officially aped Uncle Sam by doing an Obama who came up with a “Stimulus Package” specifically designed to respond to the financial crisis obtaining in U.S.A. It was only after much
put up a multi-billion STEALMULUS PACKAGE—nothing more, nothing less. It is not really hard to foresee where the money will go, viz., some millions for this and that place with standard deductions made; some other millions for this and that project with customary commissions taken; and the big balance remaining for railroading the Charter Change, for screwing of the Plebiscite, for paying election frauds. Yes, sad and true! But what’s new? In other words, the fundamental rationale or primary objective of the whooping 330 billion peso package is not really to stimulate the critical Philippine economic but to promote instead Malacañang’s selfserving interests particularly in the tenure of power—as long and as much possible. Never mind the poor, hungry and sick people. They will get used to it! Never mind the youth staging rallies, the men and women making marches, the laborers and employees voicing their protests. They will get tired sooner or later! Conclusion: Go with the STEALMULUS PACKAGE!
expert economic planning, intricate business and industry gymnastic plus long political maneuvers, that the Obama Stimulus Package has become an operative reality—but not without many “if’s” and “but’s” voiced out by Tom, Dick and Harry. Aping Obama, here comes the feeling glorious Malacañang occupant with a whooping 330 billion pesos “Stimulus Package” allegedly to prime up the long moribund Philippine economy—but with a big difference: One, it came out of a sudden from the blue with neither proper inquiry nor due consultation made. Two, it is said that the money would be taken from the contributions of workers in the private sector, deposited for their own social security at SSS. Three, who pays the money back is a non-issue under the sacrosanct principle that what Malacañang spends, the Filipinos pays. But what is much more disturbing in this issue is the given fact that considering its standing and even outstanding record in graft and corrupt practices, Malacañang has in effect conveniently and profitably
Is there really hope that springs eternal?
THE present global crisis together with our own moral quagmire has many of us worried sick. We fear the consequences they bring. Not that we have experienced any relief from the state of crisis Pinoys have felt their country to be embroiled in since time immemorial. This time something is different. The whole world is also in it. And for Pinoys who always thought that “going abroad” to a world out there with endless possibilities was a way out of misery at home, nothing could be more morally damaging. Thousands of Pinoys abroad face lay-offs along with their local counter parts and, though other countries abroad offer opportunities, they may not have the skills, training or profession being demanded. Every day the government tries hard to downplay the crisis’ impact on the country. Every day facts and realities that are the stuff of news underline it. If crisis feels like the air we breathe, suffering seems like our twin brother or sister. And, oh, he/she likes to play around and spread the mess. Almost every branch of government, from the executive to the legislative to the judiciary, is now under the thick cloud of public distrust due to mounting reports from both local and foreign observers of pervasive corruption. Worse, our social and political mechanisms meant to expose and check them do not seem to work. Congressional and senate investigations of alleged wrongdoings are mostly going nowhere. We used to complain of the Pinoy sense of shame being not deep enough to sustain real moral values. Now even that is in danger of extinction. Still, all these bring pain to us all. They must. The pain indicates there’s still a better side of us that is yet alive. This Lent the ancient book of Sirach, to me, is a mine of wisdom. For one, Sirach reminds us that difficulties, that is, suffering in plain language, do not come from economic or even socio-political sources alone. What’s more, they even come with efforts to toe God’s line. “My son,” it counsels, “when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed
Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD
By the Roadside
in time of adversity…” (Sir 2:1). He provides some reason for the effort: “For in fire gold is tested and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation” (Sir 2:5). Sirach inspires hope. For an Old Testament writing, it glows with New Testament fire. Shakespeare once said: “The miserable hath no other medicine than hope.” I couldn’t agree more. But, pray tell, old master (and may I speak to the Catholic Shakespeare), is hope enough to lift us up? And what is there to hope for, anyway? Sirach answers better than Shakespeare. “Study the generations long past,” he continues his counsel from his time and place, “and understand: Has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed?” (Sir 2:10). I would imagine that anyone who would doubt Sirach by saying, “Yes, I’ve hoped and am disappointed!” would hear a counter question: “Have you really hoped in the Lord?” The psalmist cites himself and confirms Sirach: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Ps 40:2). Hope in the middle of crisis, ah, that’s just what we need, I hear you say. Not quite, I answer. We rather need its source. If we have its source, then we would have it always. This time St. Paul seals the deal for us: “Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). Hope doesn’t give us salvation. But it keeps us after its trail. It protects us, too, from falling into despair. “Let us… put on the breastplate of faith and charity and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thes 5:8). The breakdown of human and worldly sources of hope should teach us, then, to look for its more lasting Source. Only then will the words of S. Smiles truly bring us smiles again: “Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”
Fr. Francis B. Ongkingco
“HEY, Dylan!” I called out to the student crossing from the other side of the street. “Hi, Father!” he waved back and started coming towards me. “Your exams have finally ended! With a long weekend ahead of you, dude, what are you planning to do?” I asked. “Whatever, Father,” he shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes to show he was totally uncertain about how to spend his weekend. “Whatever, what?” I asked even though I understood he was still quite dazed from lack of sleep preparing for his comprehensive exams. “I really dunno, Father. Whatever, whatever…,” he gave me a zombie-like stare. “Hey, dude! I know you’re tired, but I believe you can say something better than ‘whatever’.” “Like what, Father?” “What about completing the sentence by saying, Whatever God wants?”
hard for them to make choices even in their spiritual life and commitments. But this is not the end of their spiritual itinerary! St. Josemaría Escrivá, who was a priest who always maintained a youthful outlook taught: “It is not true that everyone today— in general—is closed or indifferent to what our Christian faith teaches about man’s being and destiny. It is not true that men in our time are turned only toward the things of this earth and have forgotten to look up to heaven.” (Christ is Passing By, 132) We, therefore, must not be discouraged when it seems that our children are lost in some whatever limbo. The young, in their daily experience of a topsy-turvy world, are not actually looking for a perfect world with perfect people. Rather, they are searching for an encouraging support in people whose lives are truly anchored in God. If we want them to commit themselves
Whatever / A6
He smirked and said, “In that case, Father, I’ll go play Frisbee with my barkada.” *** AMONG the many things that intrigue me—and perhaps, continue to make me feel young—is my exposure to the idealism of the youth. As they mature out of the delicate shell of adolescence, they are motivated to improve the negative elements within the social and cultural fabric they grew from. This ideal is common among those who have been fortunate to experience virtue and good example in their family and other social engagements. Today, however, more young people are born into families that no longer nurture the values they need in order to mature in virtues. Moreover, the world’s technical and socio-economic wave is drowning them to think within very limited and virtual confines. This is perhaps one reason that it’s
Traveling with Our Lady
FOR 26 days from 28 January to 21 February 2009, we went around the country with the Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima. Although we were confined with the “bigger” churches, mostly the Cathedrals of the Arch/dioceses, we were able to see the entire cross-section of the Church in the Philippines. I will never forget the vast crowds we have seen in all places Our Lady visited, and very notable among these are those of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Diocese of Butuan, Diocese of Digos, and the Archdiocese of Jaro. We also had a brief stop at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Valenzuela on the First Saturday of February which turned out to be the last time that I would be seeing and conversing with Msgr. Moises Andrade. St. John Damascene refers to the statues and images as visual catechisms. Without use of words and sounds, we are able to glimpse and understand aspects of our Faith through these visual representations. The history of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue begins in 1946. At that time, after the youth of Portugal attended a Congress in Fatima, they took the Statue from display in the Cova on pilgrimage to Lisbon. As they walked the route they stopped at the towns and people gathered to pray. In Lisbon when they entered the cathedral, the miracle of doves occurred. Many other phenomena also occurred inspiring devotion and inspiring the fervor among the people. The statue was returned to its place in the Cova de Iria but many people wished for a visit in their own communities. The Bishop asked Sr. Lucia in a letter about sending the statue on tour. Sr. Lucia responded with a letter suggesting that the new statue, just then being made, by the famous sculptor Jose Thedim be used as a pilgrim statue. The Bishop agreed and, on May 13, 1947, this new statue was blessed and named the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Almost before it began its journey, so many places wanted her visit that it was realized a second statue should also be blessed. This second statue, made also by Jose Thedim, was completed and blessed by the Bishop of Fatima on October 13, 1947 (Exactly 30 years to the day after the great miracle of the sun which was to draw the world’s attention to Mary’s message.) His Excellency remarked that this would be the Western statue and that the two statues would travel about until finally they could enter Russia. The Bishop of Fatima entrusted the Western statue to Mr. John Haffert, who later became the cofounder of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima in America. It entered the United States, through Canada at Buffalo, New York, on December 8, 1947. (December 8th, being our patronal Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.) At Buffalo 200,000 people lined the streets and welcomed Our Lady on that occasion. To fulfill the mandate of the Bishop to travel, teach and inspire, Mr. Haffert assigned the first custodian, Fr. McGrath of Canada. The statue has always had a full time custodian and has never stopped traveling in its entire 54 years. Succeeding Fr. McGrath was Fr. Breault, and others have continued to the present time. The miracles, favors, and signal graces were so numerous from the
Fr. Melvin P. Castro
Speaking of Mary
very beginning that even the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, reflected on them in his famous radio address to the pilgrims at Fatima, May 13, 1951. He recalled having crowned the Fatima statue in 1946: “In 1946 we crowned Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the world, and the next year, through her pilgrim image, She set forth as though to claim Her dominion, and the miracles She performs along the way are such that we can scarcely believe our eyes at what we are seeing.” Physical cures attributed to the presence of the Statue have been documented many times. The changes in expression and coloration, and even the pose of the statue have been reported innumerable times. But, the important miracles are the spiritual cures and gifts Our Lady bestows. The sudden conversion of a stubborn heretic is a good example. Another important miracle is the enlightenment of someone who has resisted the idea of statues or the idea of praying to saints. The spiritual miracles are infinitely more valuable than the things we can see, touch, or measure. The travel of Our Lady’s image has been very limited this year. If you wish to invite Her when she returns to the Philippines sometime from now, you can log on to the website: pilgrimvirginstatue.com And by the way, March 25 is the Solemnity of the Anunciation and a day of Prayer for the Unborn. Any true devotee of Our Lady will certainly defend Family and Life! We continue to pray, offer sacrifice, and mobilize against the passage of the Reproductive Health bill and even against the carefully “languaged” Magna Carta on Women. Ave Maria! Ad Jesum per Mariam.
Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales receives coin offerings from children.
Cardinal Rosales said the total donations for the project has already reached P200 million since its inception in 2004. “I think it’s nearing P200 million,” said Rosales. “We didn’t include there the housing that we did together with Hannibal Foundation in Pasay, wherein we were also able to raise millions. So, if we include that I think it’s going to be around P400 million,” he said. The cardinal also expressed optimism that donations for PnP will keep growing in the years to come despite the global economic meltdown. “I think it will continue to grow especially if people see that they are really able to help their neighbor through this,” Rosales said. “That’s the beauty of this PnP, it is not just about the money we gather rather the changing of a person’s mindset,” he said. (CBCPNews)
‘Pondo ng Pinoy’ cheats economic crisis
CHURCH collections may have dropped due to the global financial crisis but not the donations for Pondo ng Pinoy (PnP). Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales revealed the church’s pro-poor program is even gaining momentum with more donations coming in. “It’s really unbelievable because it’s even growing. A lot of people are actually donating,” he said.
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Davao’s Lenten activity to focus on change, protection of life
ARCHBISHOP Fernando R. Capalla reported that this year’s celebration of the Lenten season will give more emphasis on deepening the true meaning of Lent and the need to protect life. Capalla said the Lenten activity is called, “The Archdiocese of Davao celebrates the Season of Lent and the Protection of Life.” Streamers on this advocacy will be displayed in all prominent places in the parishes. Capalla added that the archdiocese will also organize their parishioners to undergo a transformative formation and education program. This activity will become a joint-undertaking of the Social Action Center (SAC) and the Family and Life Apostolate (FLA). “The SAC Alay Kapwa Evangelization Program together with the FLA Respect for Life module will be the content of the FLA Lenten activity,” he said, adding: “The emphasis of both is personal renewal which is in time with our Diamond Jubilee celebration.” “I hope and pray that this transformative formation and education program which started last Ash Wednesday, February 25, will bring about in God’s own time the prophetic style of the people,” said Capalla. (Mark S. Ventura)
Stop political vendettas, prelate appeals
SAYING politics of the gun can win an election but not the love and respect of the people, Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon has urged government officials in his province to stop political killings and instead focus on annihilating social ills to earn voters’ confidence. In an open letter he wrote after the ambush try against Vice Mayor Antonino de Jesus of Milagros town, Baylon lamented how early his apprehension, that the 2010 elections in the province will be very violent, was proven right. According to reports, de Jesus was rushed to Masbate Provincial Hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds on his back and a hand while one of his civilian escorts, Nestor Arenabo, was instantly killed in the ambush last Feb. 3. “[The attempted murder of the vice mayor] brings cold shivers down my spine. Violence, pure evil, is once again rearing its ugly and deadly head in our province,” Baylon said in the letter. Although the prelate addressed no one in particular in his letter, he appealed to all officials in the provincial, municipal and barangay levels to drop the mindset that political success must happen at the cost of other people’s lives. “Instead of trying to annihilate one another, why don’t you look at annihilating the social problems besetting us? You have focused so much on your personal survival in politics that you have forgotten about the survival of your people. When you should be reaching out to help each other build up our province, you continue to destroy one another instead, which in the end destroys all of us!” he added. Baylon warned that if politics-related attacks will persist, “Masbate will soon become not only a graveyard of fallen leaders, but truly a graveyard of our future, of our dreams, of our hope.” (Kris Bayos)
Mindanao / A1
Migrants / A1
and the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) last Feb. 27. Corros criticized President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s stimulus package for OFWs, saying part of the fund comes from members’ contribution to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). We want our migrants to watch and see if the fund is really being used for them, said Corros. Corros lamented that the government is even promoting migration instead of creating jobs at home. He cited the President’s Administrative order 247 which mandated the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) paradigm shift from regulations to fullblast marketing development efforts, exploration of frontier placements, which may be subjected to long debates by stakeholders. He said the government should not depend on labor export to support the economy. This is not the right way to develop our country economically, Corros pointed out. Corros said his office invited government officials to the forum to explain what displaced overseas workers can expect from the widely-publicized assistance programs in times like this. Reduced demands for consumables He said the economic crisis last year significantly reduced the demand for consumable products like computers, garments and other related export products which slowed down owing to the financial meltdown in economically-developed countries. Countries dependent on exports to the United States suffered similar effects to their economy even among highly industrialized nations like Japan, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Convicts / A1
The church official said that in August 2008, some Taiwan-based workers were either sent home or asked to resign. But in November of the same year, they came in large numbers although the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported only some 5,000 workers who have been sent home due to the global recession. He noted most Filipino workers earned their keep while working in these countries for so many years. PWU President Dr. Amelou Benitez-Reyes, in her opening remarks at the Forum confirmed reports of overseas Filipino workers’ concerns about losing their high-paying jobs. “During our last meeting attended by various university and college presidents south of Manila, various executives reported that their respective alumni associations have been receiving reports of their professionals losing their jobs,” Benitez-Reyes said. Empowerment through micro-finance projects She called on government and various organizations to empower more women for them to become economically productive. “China and India would not have prospered without the able support of their women,” Benitez-Reyes said as she underscored the need for women to consider micro-finance and self-help programs. She added the country’s stakeholders should not only be concerned of the plight of overseas workers but be aware of Filipinos who cannot find work in their own country. Among the resource persons in the forum were OWWA Director Vivian Tornea, POEA Director Melchor Dizon and DOLE Director Saul T. Vries. The forum was attended by various church-based organizations, overseas Filipino workers and their respective families. V. Rueda Acosta expressed her gratitude for the release of the remaining ten convicts. “I am thankful to God, to President Arroyo, Justice Secretary Gonzales and church leaders including CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, LingayenDagupan Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz and Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla for their support and prayers,” Acosta said in an interview with Radio Veritas. She said Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Erano G. Manalo and Bishop Ephraim Tindero of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches also helped her campaign to free all the Aquino-Galman convicts. It maybe recalled Atty. Acosta moved for the re-opening of the Aquino-Galman double murder case some years ago but was denied by the Supreme Court. (CBCPNews)
they have been incarcerated for over 20 years and they deserve their freedom,” Diamante told CBCPNews. The CBCP exec said he looks forward to the successful re-integration to society of the Aquino-Galman convicts because “the purpose of their stay inside is to prepare them for their lives after serving their terms.” “I personally know Sgt. Felomino Miranda and the other convicts who have been active in church formation programs and they have participated in Catholic church-rooted programs,” he added. Asked what should be done further to serve prisoners up for release, Diamante said the government should consider an aggressive “pre-release program.” Msgr. Roberto “Bobby” Olaguer, NBP chaplain said he’s happy seeing the convicts’
Moral voice / A1
released. “After 10,048 days in prison, (that includes moral and physical suffering), after all those days, finally they will be out of prison,” said Olaguer. “Probably because of their training as soldiers, they emerged as leaders in the activities of the local Catholic community and they actively participated in various formation programs,” the chaplain said. “Hindi siguro sila mahihirapan knowing their capacities and capabilities, they will be successful in their reintegration to society,” he added. Miranda served as president of their local parish pastoral council and presided over church-based activities within NBP’s Maximum Security compound. For her part, Chief Public Attorney Persida
Circles of discernment At least 26 priests have been regularly meeting since October last year to reflect on the CBCP’s call for “circles of discernment” in their pastoral statement of February 2008. The main focus of their discussion was on the clergy’s prophetic role to ensure critical awareness of “reality, from the perspective of the faith.” CBCP secretary general Msgr Juanito Figura said the call of the group of priests was welcomed by the bishops and even invited the priests to conduct same initiative in their dioceses. Redress the situation The priests stressed the church’s own social teachings that call for decisive action, not just a pastoral message. Fr. Joe Dizon, one of the priests who presented their statement to the bishops, said when the State of any group violates human rights, the church leadership should be true to its own teachings. The church has to intervene decisively in order to redress the
situation, said Dizon of the Diocese of Imus. “The seeming desperation of our people, ours included, became itself a call to hope and consequent action. The people are demanding that the church serve them in hope of providing a vision, lest they perish,” the statement said. “They seek moral compass from their spiritual leaders. The very situation of the country demands that we take the moral high ground to rediscover the church’s role as a beacon...,” it added. Social awareness The priests also called on their fellow pastors and religious sisters to recognize the need for “heightened social awareness among us.” “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,” they said. “Let us call on one another to dare speak hopeful words to remind the people of the Lord’s dreams for them and us. Brothers and sisters, let us inspire each other to prophesy,” they added. (Roy Lagarde)
Whatever / A5
spreading his error. 2) It belongs to the bishop to decide whether his diocese will promote or not the SDM, in accordance with his pastoral discernment. 3) The bishop may not prohibit any couple in his diocese from using SDM as their method of natural family planning. The bishops strongly reminded themselves of the saying: “In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.” After some discussion on the floor of the plenary assembly, this consensus statement was affirmed and left unchanged by the body. This is now part of the minutes of the CBCP Plenary Assembly. As I review the consensus statement, three salient points can be noted: 1) Recalling their earlier consensus vote in July 2003, the bishops merely explicitated their view that SDM in itself, without mixing with contraceptives, is consistent with the moral teaching of the Church. 2) The statement asserts the responsibility of each bishop to decide whether or not to include SDM in his diocese’s pastoral program at the present time. 3) On the other hand, it also asserts the right of any couple to adopt SDM as an NFP method in any diocese. Pope John XXIII’s statement aptly describes the spirit of the bishops’ dialogue and consensus statement: “In whatever is necessary, unity; in whatever is doubtful, liberty; in everything, charity.”
to ‘whatever God wants,’ it will only be the consequence of their witnessing how we strive to consistently and perseveringly do what God wants in and for our lives. Our rejuvenation is carried out through daily genuine self-sacrifice. This is the unselfish effort of not thinking about our comfort, our time, our money, and our plans. In other words: when our children gratefully experience our availability for them and our readiness to share with them what only we can give from our very hearts and sacrifices. This is not an impossible task, especially when we make the effort to think less of ourselves and more of our children. St. Escrivá says, “All the circumstances of life—those of every individual person’s existence as well as, in some way, those of the great cross-roads of history—as so many calls that God makes to men, to bring them face to face with truth, and as occasions that are offered to us Christians, so that we may announce, with our deeds and with our words strengthened by grace, the Spirit to whom we belong.” (Ibid, 132) This attitude opens our children’s minds and hearts to the grandeur of the things that the material world cannot give: the beauty and consolation of prayer and the sacraments, the strength and fruitfulness of sacrifice, and the fulfilling and lasting mission of making Christ known to many others. This is what really attracts the young to embrace a spiritual ideal: when they experience daily spiritual rejuvenation as we shed our attachment to sin in the crisp and youthfully ‘yes’ of accepting and carrying out whatever God wants.
composed the Duyog Mindanao Negros contingent. They joined the caravan leg from Bacolod to Mindanao, passing by Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Davao, Lanao and converged in Cotabato City in time for the Mindanao Week of Peace. Apart from the Pax Christi participants, the caravan was also composed of indigenous peoples from the Cordillera, workers, students, Moro youth, women, activists, non-government organization (NGO) workers from Luzon, Metro Manila, as well as the core group of internally displaced persons (IDPs), church workers, Moro community leaders from Mindanao and members of the Initiative for International Dialogue (IID), the Davao-based regional advocacy institution which serves as the Mindanao Peaceweavers (MPW) secretariat. Bacolod Councilor Jocelle Batapa–Sigue passed Resolution No. 972 expressing solidarity with the delegates of the Duyog Mindanao Caravan for Peace and Solidarity who have witnessed the plight of IDPs in the evacuation centers of Datu Piang in Maguindanao and Lanao province. The resolution was submitted to the Office of the President. The resolution cited the observations of the Pax Christi delegates who have witnessed that majority of the people and communities in Mindanao want to end the armed conflict and live in peace. Upon entry to evacuation centers in Datu Piang and Lanao, they saw the grave conditions of “bakwit” Muslim, Lumads and Christian brothers and sisters who for several months now are deprived of basic human needs like water and sanitation, education, food and dignified living condition. The Bacolod councilors also called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to stop the war in Mindanao and asked both parties to sit down and resume the peace talks instead of going to war. They also asked the public to help the IDPs who badly need humanitarian aid in whatever means possible. “Children, women and the elderly which are the most vulnerable in this situation need food, medicines and other basic support like water, clothing, and other items.” “The armed hostilities between the military and the MILF have indeed reached dangerous proportions because our internallydisplaced brothers and sisters in Datu Piang alone have reached 600,000 and more are unaccounted for in different areas affected by the conflict,” said Mark Cervantes of Pax Christi. Cervantes added that their experience with Duyog Mindanao encouraged them to pursue their solidarity with the people of Mindanao and put the objectives of the caravan into action. Similar resolutions are expected to be passed by the Negros provincial board, the Iloilo city council, Davao City council, Mindoro provincial board among others. (Mark S. Ventura)
Repentance / A1
people refused to undergo repentance, the country’s prevailing social problems of poverty, graft and corruption will remain unsolved. To achieve this, Lagdameo underscored the need for a critical mass of citizens-leaders who are ready to “break out of the box,” not for their selfish gains, but for the common good. This new breed of leaders, he said, is what the country needs especially in view of the upcoming 2010 elections. “The forthcoming national elections must not simply be a changing of hats for the same persons, or change of faces but with unchanged hearts. We must be able to gather a critical mass of citizens-leaders with a genuine passion and obsession for good governance and prophetic leadership,” he said. “This critical mass will be the training ground of other citizens who will lead our country with the values of honesty and justice, truth and integrity, credibility and accountability, transparency and stewardship,” he added. These, Lagdameo also said, are the moral values that citizens must use to criticize and measure the present leaders and also in raising up a new breed of leaders. (Roy Lagarde)
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Archdiocese to implement new accounting system
CEBU CITY—Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said a new accounting system for parishes will be implemented soon. In his message to the local clergy during the monthly recollection Feb. 17, the prelate called on his priests to respond positively and generously to this new system as it will ensure transparency and better accounting of the income and expenditures of the parishes. But more than a matter of fiscal responsibility, he reminded his priests to embrace this reform as something that will promote a healthy lifestyle of the clergy. “A strong structure of accountability will result in a healthy lifestyle among my priests,” Vidal stressed. For the past few years, Cebu has instituted reforms in the remittance system of parishes to the archdiocese through the Office of the Economic Affairs, and the implementation of a new accounting system is its latest added feature. Last January a series of seminars was conducted by the economic affairs’ office to parish priests, parish secretaries and bookkeepers to introduce the new system, wherein a detailed recording of income and expenses, among other things, was given stress. This new accounting system complements the earlier reform instituted by the archdiocese wherein each parish is to remit 20% of its gross income to the archdiocese as a form of a solidarity fund, in lieu of the fixed quota per parish that was the norm for a long time. The increased remittance called Priests’ Solidarity Fund (PSF), which was started in 2006, was intended not just to shore up the resources of the archdiocese, but to upgrade the social services to its clergy like the hospitalization program and subsidies to poor parishes. The PSF also shoulders a big chunk of the budget for the ongoing formation of priests, like monthly recollections, annual retreats and ongoing formation of the young clergy. All these fiscal reforms instituted by the archdiocese are concretization of the long-sought implementation of the norms of the Fourth Diocesan Synod of Cebu in 1986, and the resolutions of the Cebu Congress of the Clergy on this concern last 2001. (Fr. Marnell S. Mejia)
Bishop urges police to end kidnapping
ISABELA, Basilan─Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela prelature warned that kidnapping in Basilan province, 870 kilometers southeast of Manila, will continue to hound the people “if the law is not implemented.” “We were asking at the very start for the police and military authorities to increase their visibility and enhance their intelligence on the ground to deter criminal activities in the province,” the bishop said in reference to the growing menace of kidnapping in the island province. The latest victim involved a Sri Lankan national who was kidnapped by gunmen in Maloong village of Lamitan City, some 50 kilometers southeast from here. Sri Lankan Omar Jalil, a member of an international peace building organization, Non-Violent Peace Force, was abducted by gunmen at around 3 a.m. of February 13 while sleeping in a house where he was billeted. The foreigner was on a project monitoring mission in the island province since January. He remains at the hand of his abductors as of this posting. The bishop believes there is a need for the police and military personnel to establish more checkpoints along identified routes and improve their intelligence gathering “by giving proper compensation to their informants.” “But until now, the call seems to fall on deaf ears so these criminal activities continue unabated,” the bishop lamented. Not even a single suspect had been arrested and tried in the court, he added. “Clearly, the solution here is for the authorities to give teeth to the law by going after the suspects and bring them to justice,” the bishop explained. Senior Supt. Salik Macapantar, however, in an interview asserted that they are doing their “best to curtail the growing problem of kidnapping in the province.” “It is not true that we are not doing any efforts to stop all criminal activities,” the provincial police chief said. The police and military forces in the island, according to him, are “scouring the hinterlands and known lair of the bandits in pursuit of the suspects.” “We are doing our best under the circumstance,” he said. A total of six people remain in the hands of Basilan abductors including the three public school teachers abducted by armed men in Zamboanga City last January. (Antonio Manaytay)
NASSA builds housing facility for typhoon victims
INFANTA, Quezon—The CBCP-NASSA has released funds to the Prelature of Infanta for building resettlement houses for families dislocated by typhoon. Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, OCD said the NASSA had provided funds to build a housing facility for 380 families. He said the 200 concrete duplex houses were constructed in a place named John Paul II Village. (Jason de Asis)
Prelate lauds governor for declaring province ‘Pro-life’
KIDAPAWAN CITY— Bishop Romulo T. Dela Cruz has commended the moves made by Gov. Jesus Sacdalan declaring the Province of Cotabato as “Pro-life Province.” He said that what the governor espouses may filter down to the municipalities and barangays of the province as well as the component city of Kidapawan. (Mark Ventura)
Davao prays ‘Oratio Imperata’ for healing
DAVAO CITY—Archbishop Fernando Capalla has directed all parish priests and the faithful to pray the “oratio imperata” for healing every after holy communion in all daily masses for one year throughout the archdiocese. He said “it is to be done after communion because Jesus is still sacramentally present, and on bended knees as a sign of humility.” (Mark Ventura)
People suffer because of greed
DAVAO CITY—Jesuit Priest Fr. William Malley said many Filipinos suffer today because of greed, adding that people’s greed over wealth and power results to the suffering of others. He said that a lot of Christians today claim power and property like owning everything that is in this world which will only deprive their brothers and sisters of their needs. (Mark Ventura)
Opposition to US-RP Balikatan exercise snowballs
LEGAZPI CITY—Calls to consolidate efforts by multi-sectoral groups against the planned US-RP Balikatan military exercises this April, has snowballed following a three-day rally held here recently. Diocese of Legazpi spokesman, Fr. Rex Orjona said parishes will continue to document people’s reactions to Balikatan exercises and the possible human violations that go with it. (Elmer Bandol)
Priest condemns killing of Ozamiz broadcaster
OZAMIZ CITY—The priest of the Holy Rosary Parish in Oroquieta City condemned the killing of local broadcaster Ernie “Ka Ernie” Rullin. The radioman was shot to death within his parochial jurisdiction. Fr. Arnold Daplin said he condoles with Rullin’s immediate family who was shot to death by two unidentified armed men in Oroquieta City last Feb. 23. (Wendell Talibong)
Lent, an invitation to change, renew life: Capalla
DAVAO CITY—Archbishop Fernando Capalla has emphasized that lent is an invitation for people to change and renew their lives. He said that in Catholic tradition Lent is a period of intense preparation for the celebration of the Easter Triduum –the three momentous days of Easter commemorating the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, the only Son of God. (Mark Ventura)
Military abuses against OSB nun condemned
DAVAO CITY—The Sisters Association of Mindanao (SAMIN) condemned the alleged abuses committed by the members of the 67th Infantry Battalion to a missionary Benedictine Sister and three environmental advocates in Davao Oriental. Sr. Elsa C. Compuesto, MSM, executive secretary of SAMIN said the acts of the soldiers are shameless insolence towards human rights, the rule of law and the mission of the Church. Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB and three environmental advocates Maria Fe Matibo, Wenceslao Mapa and Gil Sentinales were illegally arrested, arbitrarily detained, and harassed by the military in the Barangay Hall of Taytayan, Cateel, Davao Oriental last February 16. (Mark Ventura)
SOS, Ateneo to hold concert for a cause
DAVAO CITY—The SOS Children’s Village Davao in partnership with the Ateneo–National Service Training Program (NSTP) Group and Youth for Christ (YFC) – Ateneo Chapter held a concert-for-a-cause on Feb. 22. The event dubbed as “All we need is Love” is a Christian contemporary concert which featured local bands from the Ateneo group, YFC band, SOS band with the children and other participating local Christian youth bands. (Mark Ventura)
People, Facts & Places
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
La Union hosts migrants’ national celebration
THE Church paid tribute to millions of overseas Filipinos and their families at home in a nationwide celebration of Migrants Sunday on March 1 at Christ the King College High School, San Fernando La Union. Spearheaded by the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and itinerant People (ECMI), the occasion had the theme “The Sacrifices of the Filipino Migrants mirror the journey of St. Paul”. ECMI Chairman and Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas, SDB underscored the great role of OFWs in spreading the Catholic faith abroad. He said the NMS celebration underlines the reality of OFW’s as modern missionaries. “It’s rather sad if we only think of our OFWs because of the remittances they bring into the country,” Cantillas said. ECMI executive secretary Fr. Edwin Corros, CS said there is little understanding among people why migrant Sunday is being celebrated, hence the need to go to different dioceses to make people aware on the importance of the event. “We want to create a greater awareness for the celebration of migrant Sunday because many people do not understand the reason behind the celebration,” said Corros. “Sometimes also our priests are not familiar what it is all about. So we try to go out of Manila. We do a lot of catechesis, information dissemination,” he added. The out-of-town celebration has been going on since five years ago. The first diocese to sponsor the national migrant celebration was the Archdiocese of Lipa, followed by the archdiocese of Pampanga. Corros said they pick out dioceses that have the greatest concentration of migrants among its faithful. “We are also trying to follow the trend where the bulk of migrant workers are coming from. La Union may not be the largest but we look at [the place] as center for Northern Luzon,” he said. The La Union celebration featured talks on migration and cultural presentations from the children of OFWs. Representatives from the local government gave their solidarity messages. A resolution for the creation of La Union InterAgency Council for Migrants’ Concern (LUIMCO) was presented and adopted during the affair. Around 1,500 families of OFWs came to participate in the affair. Other dioceses also sent participants to the event The event was capped with a Eucharistic celebration led by Bishop Cantillas with La Union Bishop Artemio Rillera, SVD and concelebrating priests.
ECMI Chairman and Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas (3rd from right) and San Fernando, La Union Bishop Artemio Rillera (2nd from right) led the nationwide celebration of Migrants Sunday in La Union last March 1. ECMI executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Corros (right) gave a talk on Migration.
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
Nationwide, La Union places 31st with the most number of OFWs. In 2007 alone, remittances sent to the province reached 60 billion pesos. Diocesan Celebrations Meanwhile, the Diocese of Bayombong also held a diocesan activity at St. Mark Parish, Cabarroguis, in Quirino province to mark the event. The occasion was highlighted by a gathering of 500 participants from migrant families and government agencies and celebration of Holy Eucharist. Other dioceses who led the NMS celebration include Luzon dioceses of Alaminos, Ilagan, Bangued, Antipolo, Imus, Kalookan, Novaliches, and Archdioceses of San Fernando, Pampanga, Lipa and Manila.
Photo Courtesy of Edmund Ruga
In the Visayas, the Dioceses of Maasin, Tagbilaran, Bacolod, San Carlos, Kalibo, Kabankalan, Dumaguete, and Archdioceses of Palo, Cebu, Jaro and Capiz organized activities to highlight the event. In Mindanao region, all Dioceses in the provinces of Davao also celebrated the occasion. Statistics Statistics of 2007 showed there are about 8.72 million Filipinos overseas, 4.13 of whom are OFWs. A 2007 study also revealed an average of 2, 950 OFWs departing daily for overseas job, 50% of them women. In 2007 alone, OFWs have remitted a whopping 13.44 billion US dollars that helped prime up the country’s ailing economy. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
Families of OFWs joined the early morning parade that kicked off the celebration.
Media seminars propose paradigm shifts
BARELY a month to go before the jailbreak concert, the show’s production team has assured that all things needed are already in place and that they are now doing final touches. Jailbreak concert is a musical-theatrical production play showcasing the talents of the 28 inmates of Davao City Jail. The concert is hoped to lead the people to a better understanding of the plight and struggles of the detainees and to change their moral judgments. Jailbreak Production coordinator Alejandro Cadagdagon said that they focus now on finalizing the rehearsals for voice-music recording and choreography and a series of practices for the general stage performance of the artists. “Generally, so far so good. We are about 90 percent ready and it will surely raise smiles and
City jail inmates to stage musical play
BELIEVING that military men can be agents of peace and justice, the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace – Caritas Filipinas Foundation has chosen to launch its 34th Alay Kapwa Lenten program at the Military Ordinariate in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City last February 27. According to NASSA-JP executive secretary Sr. Rosanne Mallillin, SPC, this year’s Alay Kapwa Lenten program, themed “Citizenship Building and Solidarity towards a Culture of Peace and Integrity of Creation,” fits the battle cry of the Military Ordinariate. “The spirit of this year’s Alay Kapwa challenges the men and women of the Armed Forces to be agents of peace and justice
Armed forces urged to personify Alay Kapwa theme
towards the preservation of the integrity of creation,” she said. Together with Mallillin, Military Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak and AFP chief of staff Alexander Yano led the 8:30 a.m. launching of the Alay Kapwa Lenten program at the St. Ignatius Cathedral. Alay Kapwa Program Officer Edil Guyano gave an orientation on the Lenten program while NASSA Ecology Program Officer Engr. Joyce Palacol provided a briefing on the current situation of the Philippine Environment. Msgr. Elmer Abacahin of the CBCP’s Office on Basic Ecclesial Communities was the main speaker at the launching. Tumulak led the concelebrated Mass at 10:30 a.m. with Marbel
A F P personnel at the launching of Alay Kapwa at the Military Ordinariate in Camp Aguinaldo last February 27.
recognition that would brought inmates a new hope in their hearts,” said Cadagdagon. “We are also considering the safety and security measures of the cast –inmates as well as the audiences who will be coming for the event, that is why, it remains to be on the top priority,” he added. Cadagdagon said that the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Task Force Davao (TF-Davao) will provide ample security personnel for the 28 participating inmates. The concert is also supported by the Archdiocesan Commission on Prison Welfare (ACPW), Marist Fathers and Brothers, Marist Sisters, Couples for Christ, Handmaid of the Lord, Alexian Brothers, NCCC Davao and the City Government of Davao. (Mark S. Ventura)
ENCOURAGED by the Holy Father’s call for the church to employ media in its work of evangelization, Nueva Segovia recently hosted media seminars for its clergy and lay groups directly involved in the formation of catholic students in the archdiocese. Bro. Hansel Mapayo, SSP, editor of the biblical publication “Verbuhay”, spoke of the “new media” and the necessity of a corresponding paradigm shift in its use and understanding. He talked of the “convergence of separate media technologies that share resources and interact with each other synergistically creating new efficiencies.” The lecture given during the monthly Priests’ Assembly last February 16, was part of the ongoing formation of the local clergy on the use of media for evangelization. Quoting the document Aetatis Novae, Ma-
payo said, “It is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church’s authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the” new culture” created by modern communication... with new languages, new techniques and a new psychology. Pope Benedict has repeatedly called for “a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship”. The commitment of media to connect, Mapayo reminded, should be seen as a reflection of our participation in the communicative and unifying love of God who desires to make of all humanity one. He affirmed the important task of media evangelizers by saying: “In this continuing quest of humanity for efficiency, comfort and well-being, God continues to offer salvation to all.” (Fran C. Quitoriano)
AWARDED. Sts. Anne and Joachim Parish of the Prelature of Infanta was cited for being the first parish that successfully launched the stewardship program. The award was given during the Stewardship seminar held from February 9-12 at Marello Retreat House, Tagaytay City. Sts. Anne and Joachim current parish priest Fr. Mario Establecida and its former pastor, Fr. Israel Gabriel, Bishops Rolando Tria Tirona and Infanta bishop-emeritus Julio Xavier Labayen received the award. The Socio-Pastoral Institute and Denver, Colorado-based Mila Glodava-Garcia who brought the spirituality of stewardship program to the country gave the award. The gathering featured presentations and sharing of some parishes with their stewardship experiences. ELEVATED. Mission Society of the Philippines, to a “Society of Apostolic Life for mission ad gentes of Pontifical right”. His Eminence Ivan Cardinal Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, signed the decree elevating the status of the Mission Society, January 6, 2009. Established by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in 1965 as the official and chief missionary arm of the Catholic Church, the MSP has since then spread in various countries doing pastoral and mission works. Currently, the society is composed of 72 Filipino priests scattered in thirteen countries in five continents: Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Netherlands, England, USA and Guyana. DIED.Atty. Ma. Amelia “Mia” Menez-Zafra, February 28, 2009, of breast cancer. Atty. Zafra was the Executive Vice President of the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, the implementing arm of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity. Active in various Church and civic advocacies, Atty. Zafra was part of the Executive Board of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, CBCP Office on Women and CINEMA (Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation). She was a member of Ladies of Charity, National Council of Women of the Philippines (NCWP), Women’s Forum, Federation of Professional and Business Women of the Philippines, Kilusan ng mga Kababaihang Tumataguyod sa Demokrasya (KABATID), National Committee on the Filipino Family (NCFF), Family Network (FAMNET), Alay Buhay Educational Foundation, Abay Pamilya, Alliance for the Family (ALFI), Family Media Advocacy, Human Life International (HLI), Catholic Lawyer’s Guild, Women’s Lawyer’s Association of the Philippines, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), International Association of Lawyers for the Defense of the Unborn, Coalition Against Death Penalty (CADP), Konsensiyang Pilipino, Witnessing for Justice and Peace Movement, Rosary for Life. A prolific writer, Atty. Zafra has also authored manuals and guidebooks on marriage and family. DIED. Rev. Fr. Rufo Espedido Diño, C.M., 75, February 19, 2009. Born June 19, 1934, in Gubat, Sorsogon, Diño was the very first Vincentian seminarian in St. Vincent Seminary, Valenzuela, Bulacan. He took his Philosophy studies at St. Vincent Seminary, Jaro, Iloilo City and Theology in Sydney, Australia. He was ordained January 24, 1963 in Sydney, Australia. Diño was the 1st Filipino Provincial Director of the Daughters of Charity. He had been assigned as Chaplain, Superior, Rector, Novice Director, Vice-Provincial of the Vincentians and Professors.
Photo courtesy of Caritas Manila
Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, and Bontoc-Lagawe Bishop Emeritus Francisco Claver. Other concelebrants include CBCP secretary-general Juanito Figura, Assistant secretarygeneral Joselito Asis, Military Ordinariate clergy and direc-
tors of Social Action Centers of the dioceses of Iba, Boac, Malolos, Imus, Lucena, San Pablo, Antipolo, Novaliches, Kalookan, Pasig, Paranaque and Cubao. The AFP hierarchy was led by AFP Chief of Staff General Alexander Badong Yano and his staff officers. (Kris Bayos/ Melo Acuna)
NAMFREL holds registration for first time voters
pines, San Sebastian College, Centro Escolar University and Far Eastern University. Resource speakers for the whole-day affair include COMELEC Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Leonardo Leonida. The two commissioners also monitored the conduct of registration which started at 10 a.m. in the morning and ended at 5 p.m. Jaro Archdiocese launches ‘Bagong Bida’ The Social Action Center of Jaro Archdiocese (JASAC) also launched a registration drive on February 12 at the auditorium of Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus. First time voters, mostly students from different schools and youth from parishes, took part in the activity. De Villa encouraged the youth to participate in the upcoming national elections. She pointed out the importance of young people’s vote in putting credible leaders in government. For his part, Leonida assured students that the COMELEC will do its best to ensure a peaceful and reliable election next year. JASAC Director Msgr. Meliton Oso, religious sisters and some clergy were also present during the whole-day activity. (CBCPNews/Fr. Mark Lester Senina)
The COMELEC registration center set up at San Beda College campus on February 27 drew around 200 first time voters from the 4th and 6th districts of Manila.
AIMED at drawing students’ participation in the 2010 national elections, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) held a registration drive for first time voters on February 27, at San Beda College (SBC), Mendiola. Former Ambassador Henrietta de Villa, NAMFREL-PPCRV national chairperson has cited the significance of the place and the participation of students in the electoral activity. “Mendiola where San Beda is located has been a traditional site for the manifestation of the Filipinos advocacy for freedom and democracy. It is also the cradle of student for-
mation. I am hopeful that this special registration of young voters will signal the pro-active engagement of our nation’s Bagong BIDA— the Filipino youth voters,” De Villa said. The activity named Bagong BIDA be the change Botanteng Pilipino-Magpalista Ka is an ongoing joint project of PPCRV, NAMFREL, CEAP and COMELEC. Around 200 first time voters from the 4th and 6th districts of Manila registered in the Satellite Registration Center COMELEC set up inside SBC campus. Aside from Bedans, other participating students came from the University of the East, Polytechnic University of the Philip-
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
St. Paul migrant, ‘Apostle of the peoples’
Message of his Holiness Benedict XVI for the 95th world day of Migrants and Refugees 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters, This year the theme of the Message for the World Day of Migrants and refugees is: “St. Paul migrant, ‘apostle of the peoples’”. It is inspired by its felicitous coincidence with the Jubilee Year I established in the apostle’s honor on the occasion of the 2,000th anniversary of his birth. Indeed, the preaching and mediation between the different cultures and the Gospel which Paul, “a migrant by vocation” carried out, are also an important reference point for those who find themselves involved in the migratory movement today. Born into a family of Jewish immigrants in Tarsus, Cilicia, Saul was educated in the Hebrew and Hellenistic cultures and languages, making the most of the roman cultural context. after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus (cf. Gal 1:13-16), although he did not deny his own “traditions” and felt both esteem and gratitude to Judaism and the Law (cf. rm 9:1-5; 10:1; 2 Cor 11:22; Gal 1:13-14; Phil 3:3-6), he devoted himself without hesitation or second thoughts to his new mission, with courage and enthusiasm and docile to the Lord’s command: “I will send you far away to the Gentiles” (acts 22:21). His life changed radically (cf. Phil 3:7-11): Jesus became for him his raison d’être and the motive that inspired his apostolic dedication to the service of the Gospel. He changed from being a persecutor of Christians to being an apostle of Christ. Guided by the Holy Spirit, he spared no effort to see that the Gospel which is “the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (rm 1:16) was proclaimed to all, making no distinction of nationality or culture. On his apostolic journeys, in spite of meeting with constant opposition, he first proclaimed the Gospel in the synagogues, giving prior attention to his compatriots in the diaspora (cf. acts 18:4-6). If they rejected him he would address the Gentiles, making himself—an authentic “missionary to migrants”—as a migrant and an ambassador of Jesus Christ “at large” in order to invite every person to become a “new creation” in the Son of God (2 Cor 5:17). people in him. This is the mission of the Church and of every baptized person in our time too, even in the era of globalization; a mission that with attentive pastoral solicitude is also directed to the variegated universe of migrants—students far from home, immigrants, refugees, displaced people, evacuees—including for example, the victims of modern forms of slavery, and of human trafficking. Today too the message of salvation must be presented with the same approach as that of the apostle to the Gentiles, taking into account the different social and cultural situations and special “Christ [had] made him his own”, (Phil 3:12), he remained so closely united to him that he felt he shared in his same life, through sharing in “his sufferings” (Phil 3:10; cf. also rm 8:17; 2 Cor 4:8-12; Col 1:24). This is the source of the apostolic ardour of St Paul who recounts: “He who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through
ABOVE: ECMI Chairman and Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas (center) with San Fernando, La Union Bishop Artemio Rillera (2nd from right) led the National Migrants celebration in the Diocese of La Union. LEFT: Families of overseas Filipino workers came in droves to participate in the nationwide celebration of National Migrants Sunday in La Union last March 1. The Diocese of La Union places 31st nationwide with the most number of OFWs.
“May the teaching and example of St Paul, a great and humble Apostle and a migrant, an evangelizer of peoples and cultures, spur us to understand that the exercise of charity is the culmination and synthesis of the whole of Christian life.”
The proclamation of the kerygma caused him to cross the seas of the Near east and to travel the roads of europe until he reached rome. He set out from antioch, where he proclaimed the Gospel to people who did not belong to Judaism and where the disciples of Jesus were called “Christians” for the first time (cf. Acts 11:20, 26). His life and his preaching were wholly directed to making Jesus known and loved by all, for all persons are called to become a single difficulties of each one as a consequence of his or her condition as a migrant or itinerant person. I express the wish that every Christian community may feel the same apostolic zeal as St Paul who, although he was proclaiming to all the saving love of the Father (rm 8:15-16; Gal 4:6) to “win more” (1 Cor 9:22) for Christ, made himself weak “to the weak... all things to all men so that [he] might by all means save some” (1 Cor 9:22). May his example also be an incentive for us to show solidarity to these brothers and sisters of ours and to promote, in every part of the world and by every means, peaceful coexistence among different races, cultures and religions. Yet what was the secret of the apostle to the Gentiles? The missionary zeal and passion of the wrestler that distinguished him stemmed from the fact that since his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles” (Gal 1:15-16; cf. also Rm 15:15-16). He felt “crucified with” Christ, so that he could say: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20), and no difficulty hindered him from persevering in his courageous evangelizing action in cosmopolitan cities such as rome and Corinth, which were populated at that time by a mosaic of races and cultures. In reading the acts of the apostles and the Letters that Paul addressed to various recipients, we perceive a model of a Church that was not exclusive but on the contrary open to all, formed by believers without distinction of culture or race: every baptized person is, in fact, a living member of the one Body of Christ.
In this perspective, fraternal solidarity expressed in daily gestures of sharing, joint participation and joyful concern for others, acquires a unique prominence. However, it is impossible to achieve this dimension of brotherly mutual acceptance, St Paul always teaches, without the readiness to listen to and welcome the Word preached and practiced (cf. 1 Thes 1:6), a Word that urges all to be imitators of Christ (cf. eph 5:1-2), to be imitators of the apostle (cf. 1 Cor 11:1). and therefore, the more closely the community is united to Christ, the more it cares for its neighbor, eschewing judgment, scorn and scandal, and opening itself to reciprocal acceptance (cf. rm 14:1-3; 15:7). Conformed to Christ, believers feel they are “brothers” in him, sons of the same Father (rm 8:14-16; Gal 3:26; 4:6). This treasure of brotherhood makes them “practice hospitality” (rm 12:13), which is the firstborn daughter of agape (cf. 1 Tm 3:2, 5:10; Ti 1:8; Phlm 17). In this manner the Lord’s promise: comes true: “then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters” (2 Cor 6:17-18). If we are aware of this, how can we fail to take charge of all those, particularly refugees and displaced people, who are in conditions of difficulty or hardship? How can we fail to meet the needs of those who are de facto the weakest and most defenseless, marked by precariousness and insecurity, marginalized and often excluded by society? We should give our priority attention to them because, paraphrasing a well known Pauline text, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God”
Paul / B7
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
subject to him (c.751). Lefebvre’s defenders argued that the consecration of the four bishops in June 1988 did not constitute schism as defined by Canon Law. Without getting into the details, we can simply recall that the Code itself established— following canonical doctrine—that laws are authentically interpreted by the legislator and by the one to whom the legislator has granted the power to interpret them authentically (CIC, c.16, §1). John Paul II was the legislator at the time of the promulgation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law; thus, he was the most qualified to interpret it, not only because of his role as Pope (which of itself gave him the right to determine the Code’s meaning), but also because it was by his authority that the Code was originally promulgated. His interpretation of the Code was thus—by definition—guaranteed to be accurate. John Paul II explained that the consecrations of June 1988 constituted a schismatic act, not simply because they were unauthorized (i.e., without the mandate from the Holy See as required by Law), but because they were directly disobedient (i.e., against an expressed prohibition to proceed with such
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Status of the society of St. Pius X (Part I)
Chronology of a Schism
Following are excerpts from the Informatory Note, in L’Osservatore Romano, 27.VI.1988, pp. 1-2 and from Michael Davies, The Lefebvre Story, in Christian Order, December (1988), pp. 594-612. This Chronology originally appeared in Theological Centrum Documentation Service, August 1995.
01 Nov 1970 18 Feb 1971 06 May 1975 05 Jun 1975 14 Jun 1975 13 Feb 1976 29 Jun 1976 28 Jan 1988 The Society of St. Pius X is established. Cardinal Wright, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, commends the Econe seminary in a letter to Lefebvre. Holy See commands Lefebvre to close Econe seminary and to disband the Society. Lefebvre appeals against the decision; the Holy See rejects the appeal. Lefebvre’s second appeal is rejected. Lefebvre states that if granted a proper trial he would close the seminary. Lefebvre is suspended from ordaining priests. Cardinal Seper, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, writes to Lefebvre, agreeing to examine his case to normalize relations between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X. Cardinal Seper dies. The Lefebvre case is entrusted to the new Prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger sends a letter to Lefebvre setting the terms of the basis of an honorable statement; Lefebvre rejects this. Pope John Paul II invites Christian and NonChristian religious leaders to Assisi to pray for world peace; Lefebvre is scandalized by what he calls “false ecumenism”. Lefebvre announces his consideration of episcopal consecrations. Lefebvre agrees to meet Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome. Cardinal Ratzinger proposes to ensure a reconciliation involving the nomination of a CardinalVisitor for the Society. Lefebvre and Cardinal Ratzinger meet again in Rome. Cardinal Gagnon is nominated as CardinalVisitor. Apostolic Visitation of the St. Pius X Fraternity by Cardinal Gagnon. Lefebvre writes to Cardinal Gagnon in thanksgiving and makes proposals regarding the Society. Cardinal Gagnon presents his report to the Pope; his role in the negotiations ends. Lefebvre states his intention to proceed with the 30 June consecrations. Lefebvre writes to the Pope, stating his disappointment at the fact that no concrete steps had been taken yet to regularize the Society’s position, and requesting the exemption of the Society from the jurisdiction of diocesan bishops. Cardinal Ratzinger writes to Lefebvre, suggesting that the Holy See and the Society each designate a canonist and a theologian to work out an agreement under the presidency of a Pope-designated moderator. The Pope writes to Cardinal Ratzinger, expressing his desire that everything possible be done to reach a resolution that will enable the Society to have a regular position in the Church. Canonists and theologians from the Society and the Holy See meet. The two panels meet again, with the personal intervention of Lefebvre and Cardinal Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger and Lefebvre sign a protocol [reproduced in this issue of Docserv], to be examined and to be finally approved by the Pope, to regularize relations between the Holy See and the Society. Lefebvre writes to Cardinal Ratzinger, insisting on the episcopal consecration of a Society member on 30 June, adding that should the reply be negative, he will carry on with the consecration; Cardinal Ratzinger asks Lefebvre to reconsider his proposal. Lefebvre writes to the Pope, suggesting that 30 June is the latest possible date for a consecration. In Rome, Cardinal Ratzinger tells Lefebvre of the Pope’s disposal to nominate a bishop from the Society, in an ordination on 15 August 1988, if Lefebvre will address to the Pope a request for real reconciliation and if he should submit to his decision regarding the ordination; Lefebvre presents letters each to the Pope and to Cardinal Ratzinger, insisting on the date of 30 June, on consecrating three bishops, and on the Fraternity’s majority membership in the future Roman Commission. Cardinal Ratzinger writes to Lefebvre, saying that the question of a majority in the Roman Commission was irrelevant, and that Lefebvre should obey the Pope. Lefebvre writes to the Pope, resuming his polemic against Vatican II, and stating that the consecration is not against the Holy See’s will. The Pope responds to Lefebvre, asking him not to proceed with the consecrations. The four priests to be consecrated by Lefebvre arrive at Econe. Lefebvre announces his decision to consecrate four bishops on 30 June 1988. Cardinal Gantin, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, sends Lefebvre a canonical warning. Priests are ordained at Econe; The Pope places a car at Lefebvre’s disposal to bring him to Rome for a personal encounter, but Lefebvre rejects the offer. Lefebvre consecrates four bishops. The decree of excommunication is published. The Apostolic Letter, Ecclesia Dei is published.
My mother enjoys going to Mass at the Our Lady of Victories Church along Valley Road in New Manila (Quezon City). She finds the Tridentine Mass more solemn and pious. Besides, she is quick to add, the priests there are always in cassock and more approachable for confession. But I also seem to remember a circular from then Archbishop of Manila, the late Cardinal Sin, that those Lefebvrist priests were schismatic and the Catholic faithful were not supposed to go to them for anything. Now, to heighten my confusion, I just read a circular from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao reprinting a Decree of the Congregation of Bishops (Vatican City, 21.I.2009) concerning the lifting of the excommunication pronounced on the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988. Can you shed some light on this matter? IN order to fully understand this question and in the service of the truth—given that a half-truth is the worst lie—we have to dedicate two issues of this column, starting with a backgrounder in the present one.
against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law (ibid.). This was the Church’s definitive—and up to the moment current—statement on the subject of the status of Lefebvre and his organization. Nevertheless, to further clarify the issue, we need to distinguish between the clerics involved in the Lefebvre Movement and the laymen who participate in it. Canonical status of priests and laymen of the Society of St Pius X In a document of 26.VIII.1996, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts (PCILT) clarified that the automatic excommunication declared by the two aforementioned documents as regards Lefevbre and the Society of Pius X is premised on a formal adherence to the schism. While respecting the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as regards the notion of formal adherence to the schism, the Pontifical Council clarified that such adherence implies two complimentary elements: 1st an internal element, consisting in a free
29 Dec 1981 23 Dec 1983 28 Oct 1986
29 Jun 1987 14 Jul 1987 28 Jul 1987 17 Oct 1987 29 Oct 1987 11 Nov-8 Dec 1987 21 Nov 1987 05 Jan 1988 02 Feb 1988 20 Feb 1988
18 Mar 1988
08 Apr 1988
12-15 Apr 1988 04 May 1988 05 May 1988
06 May 1988
20 May 1988 24 May 1988
30 May 1988
02 Jun 1988 09 Jun 1988 13 Jun 1988 15 Jun 1988 17 Jun 1988 29 Jun 1988
30 Jun 1988 01 Jul 1988 02 Jul 1988
A Short Background on Archbishop Marcel consecration) to the roman Pontiff in a very and conscious agreement with the substance Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X. grave matter: In itself this act was one of of the schism—i.e., to opt to follow Lefebvre In November 1970, French archbishop disobedience to the roman Pontiff in a very rather than to obey the Pope; Marcel Lefebvre founded the Society grave matter and of supreme importance 2nd an external element, consisting in of St. Pius X (SSPX), with a seminary in for the unity of the church, such as is the the exteriorization of such option, the econe (France). In the confused doctrinal ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic clearest manifestation of which would be environment of the so-called post-conciliar succession is sacramentally perpetuated. the exclusive participation in the ecclesial crisis, his exaggerated traditionalism Hence such disobedience—which implies acts of the Lefebvrist Movement, without was initially perceived taking part in the acts of as a bastion of Catholic the Catholic Church. The My mother enjoys going to Mass at the Our orthodoxy. The econe document was quick to Lady of Victories Church along Valley Road clarify, however, that this Seminary even received a commendatory letter latter does not consist an in New Manila (Quezon City). She finds the from the Congregation unequivocal sign, since it Tridentine Mass more solemn and pious. for the Clergy in February is possible for any faithful 1971. However, Lefebvre’s Besides, she is quick to add, the priests there to participate in liturgical erroneous idea of Tradition are always in cassock and more approachable acts of the SSPX without soon led him to condemn sharing for confession. But I also seem to remember necessarilyspirit. in its the Second Vatican schismatic Council (especially its a circular from then Archbishop of Manila, the T h e a b o v e teachings on ecumenism) late Cardinal Sin, that those Lefebvrist priests considerations resulted and the Novus Ordo (the in a different treatment were schismatic and the Catholic faithful new Order of Mass that of clerics as compared to were not supposed to go to them for anything. lay people in the SSPX as came in force in 1970). In May 1975, the Holy regards their canonical Can you shed some light on this matter? See ordered Lefebvre status: to close the econe Seminary and in June in practice the rejection of the roman 1st In the case of the deacons and priests, 1976—given his refusal to obey—suspended primacy—constitutes a schismatic act it would seem that their ministerial activities him from ordaining. What followed was (ecclesia Dei, n.3). within the schismatic movement was a clear a sad chapter—still unfinished—in the As a result, the Pope declared quite clearly: sign of the presence of the two aforementioned history of the Church. archbishop Lefebvre In performing such an act, notwithstanding elements, constituting a formal adherence continued to distance himself from the the formal canonical warning sent to them by to the schism. Thus, regardless of how Holy See, continued to ordain priests and the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for they may present themselves in attire and in June 1988 committed the schismatic act Bishops last June 17, archbishop Lefebvre manners, canonically they were considered of consecrating, without papal mandate and and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard under automatic excommunication. against the explicit prohibition of the Holy Tissier de Mallerais, richard Williamson 2nd In the case of the other faithful, See, four bishops for the Society of St. Pius X. and alfonso de Galarreta have incurred however, the document stated that an With this, he incurred the automatic penalty the grave penalty of excommunication occasional participation in liturgical acts of excommunication—a fact declared by a envisaged by ecclesiastical law (ibid.). or activities of the Lefebvrist Movement— solemn Decree of excommunication issued done without identifying themselves with by the Sacred Congregation for Bishops on 1 Formal Papal Prohibition of Supporting the doctrinal and disciplinar disunity of the July 1988, and confirmed by Pope John Paul and Participating in the Lefevbre movement with the Holy See—would not be II through the apostolic Letter ecclesia Dei, Movement. sufficient to imply a formal adherence to the issued motu proprio on 2 July 1988. In the Decree of excommunication of schism. The document emphasized the need John Paul II himself explained Lefebvre’s 1.VII.1988, the Sacred Congregation for to take into account, above all, the intention error: The root of this schismatic act can be Bishops solemnly declared: The priests of the person and whatever external discerned in an incomplete and contradictory and faithful are warned not to support the manifestation of their interior dispositions. notion of tradition. Incomplete, because it schism of Monsignor Lefebvre; otherwise Thus, the document concluded, the various does not take sufficiently into account the they shall incur ipso facto the very grave situations should be judged in a case-to-case living character of tradition ... But especially penalty of excommunication. basis, in the competent seat of the external contradictory is a notion of tradition which Because of the danger the new schism or internal forum. opposes the universal Magisterium of the posed to souls, John Paul II further issued Church possessed by the bishop of rome a direct and solemn appeal to the faithful to Preliminary Conclusions and the body of bishops. It is impossible stop any and all support for the SSPX: In the This was the situation for the remainder to remain faithful to the tradition while present circumstances I wish especially to of the Pontificate of John Paul II and the breaking the ecclesial bond with him to make an appeal both solemn and heartfelt, first years of the Pontificate of Benedict whom, in the person of the apostle Peter, paternal and fraternal, to all those who until XVI, who—as John Paul II’s right-hand Christ himself entrusted the ministry of now have been linked in various ways to man in the whole Lefebvre issue—had tried unity in his church (ecclesia Dei, n.4). the movement of archbishop Lefebvre, that in vain at that time to avert the schism. they may fulfill the ... duty ... of ceasing Summarizing then, Schismatic nature of the Lefebvre their support in any way for that movement 1) The 4 bishops ordained by abp. Movement & the Excommunication of its (ecclesia Dei, n.5, c). Lefebvre—including abp. Lefebvre himself Bishops in 1988. He also specifically warned against and another bishop who concelebrated The Code of Canon Law gives the formally adhering to the Lefebvrist schism: that episcopal consecration—were all following definition: [S]chism is the refusal everyone should be aware that formal excommunicated automatically when they of submission to the roman Pontiff or of adherence to the schism is a grave offense formally adhered to that schismatic act. communion with the members of the Church Status / B4
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
subsequently called, brought with them about 95% of the total population of Ilocos Norte. It was a slow and painful recovery for the “romanos” in this part of the Philippines. The years following 1902, the foundation year of the IFI, were difficult. All church properties except the Laoag Cathedral were taken over by the schismatics. However, the Philippine Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 1905 (Barlin vs. ramirez) ordering the return of properties belonging to the roman Catholic Church, which were taken over by the Independientes, saved the day for the romanos. By 1908 appointees for the parishes in Ilocos The Diocese of Laoag was one of the experimental centers for the whole Philippines. a good number of priests from La Union (6) and Ilocos Sur (6) were “trapped” in the Diocese of Laoag as a result of the separation. Unity and spiritualization among the clergy had to be worked out. The monthly recollection and meeting had to be consistently held. Priests from every nook and cranny of the diocese were urged to go to Laoag every month for this event. These were the times when coming to the center was still a feat considering the dust and bumpy roads to the interior parishes in the eastern and northern vicariates.
foundation in 1986 with much fanfare. archbishop antonio Mabutas of Davao, the first ordinary, presided over the opening eucharist. The San Lorenzo Medical and Dental Charity clinic was also inaugurated to serve the indigents who need medical and dental treatment. about the same year, the Foyer de Charite in the compound of the St. Mary’s Seminary was slowly rising to serve as a retreat house for the diocese. In 1994, Bishop abaya convoked the First Diocese of Laoag Pastoral assembly. This was in response to the renewal of the Philippines called for by the Second Plenary Council of the
By Rev. Danilo R. Laeda
THe turn of the 20th century saw the Church in the Philippines being put asunder. The once monolithic faith established by the zealous and indefatigable Castilian missionaries three centuries and a half before was shaken due to the religious revolution as an offshoot of the nation’s quest for sovereignty to shake away the yoke of colonialism in the last decade of the 19th century. This was a fight in the religious sphere of the Filipino clergy towards selfdetermination, that is, an all-Filipino hierarchy. Of the five ecclesiastical jurisdictions then existing in the country, the then Diocese of Nueva Segovia suffered the most.
The faith grows from the ashes of the Aglipayan Schism
Diocese of Laoag
Norte took their billet. Practically all of them were soon withdrawn because they suffered indignities from the “aglipayanos”. a strategy was worked out by the then american Bishop of Nueva Segovia, the Most rev. Dennis Dougherty. Priests were soon assigned to their hometown to bring back to the fold their relatives and their tenants. Hence, we have the likes of Luis Cortez of Badoc, Mariano Pacis of Vintar, Clemente edralin of Sarrat, who was later murdered in his convento of mysterious causes, atanacio albano of Bacarra and others. Canonical Erection of the Diocese: Antonio Ll. Mabutas as Bishop The Civil Province of Ilocos Norte became the Diocese of Laoag in 1961. The first bishop was the former chancellor of the mother see of Nueva Segovia, antonio Lloren Mabutas of agoo, La Union. The next decade saw the building up of the new diocese. Infrastructure had to be built and the people spiritually prepared and clergy had to be united. The St. Mary’s Seminary opened its doors to the first batch of seminarians in 1963, although the construction was still going on. The bishop’s residence soon stood up along Gomez Street in the then outskirts of Laoag City. The Catholic Center Building near the cathedral replaced the old Knights of Columbus building, Catholic Schools were opened (St. anne in Piddig, St. James in Pasuquin, St. Lawrence in Bangui and St. Jude in Pagudpud) to add to those already existing at the time of the separation. Two parishes were erected: St. anthony of Padua in Marcos and St. Gabriel in Nueva era. Lay formation was centered on the Cursillos de Christianidad. This was a weekend lived-in retreat. Then came a new trend in catechesis, the Christian Community Program. This was a different approach from the Baltimore-type of traditional catechism. Bishop Rafael Montiano Lim: A Tagalog in the Heart of Ilocandia When the 1970s came, storm clouds were looming in the horizon for the Diocese of Laoag. In 1970, Bishop Mabutas was elected coadjutor archbishop of Davao. archbishop Juan Sison of Nueva Segovia was apostolic administrator during the months of vacancy. The following year Bishop Rafael M. Lim of Boac, Marinduque (then a part of the Diocese of Lucena) came to Laoag. This was a difficult decade everywhere: the first and second quarters saw the storm of activism, the “hippie” generation, martial law and dictatorship, the changes brought about by Vatican II were now being felt. It was Bishop Lim who introduced the first reshuffle of priests’ assignments in the diocese, thus moving the well-entrenched “immovables”. The general reshuffle in 1973 also tried to standardize the finances of the parishes with priests theoretically receiving equal remunerations. A system of parish financial reporting was established with transparency as the end in view. This did not progress in the ensuing years, and it was eventually dropped to give away to the quota system, that is, each parish was assessed and the amount to be submitted to the curia was fixed. The Diocese experienced the exodus of priests in this decade. Many priests either left the diocese or left the active ministry. By 1978 five parishes were already without priests. In the middle of this year, Bishop Lim became the first bishop of the newly created Diocese of Boac, Marinduque, his home province. The rev. Jose F. agustin served as diocesan administrator. Edmundo Madarang Abaya: The shepherd for 20 years By early 1979, the diocese had its third bishop in the person of edmundo M. abaya of Candon, Ilocos Sur. The next two decades saw the diocese on the rise. New orders of Sisters came mainly to do pastoral work. at its highest number, there were 17 religious orders of sisters working in the diocese. The priestly identity crisis brought about by the shift of things by Vatican II was on the wane. More vocations, hence more ordinations, were coming up. The catechetical program of the diocese was beefed up with a more centralized management. However, the once thriving Catholic Schools in the diocese were on the run because of many factors. The strong earthquake of 1983 wrought havoc and destruction to the centuries-old churches of the diocese. Two years later all the destroyed churches and rectories were rebuilt or restored. The diocese of Laoag celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Philippines in 1991. This was a weeklong gathering of clergy, religious and lay faithful of the diocese to pray, to reflect on the pastoral situation and to offer solutions and remedies. It was geared towards creating a community of disciples in the Diocese of Laoag. The Vision-Mission Statement with the acts and Decrees of the Pastoral assembly reflects the pastoral situation of the diocese and the kind of response to be addressed to such. Bishop abaya’s episcopal ministry in the Diocese of Laoag came to an end when he was installed as the archbishop of Nueva Segovia on September 8, 1999. The diocese was again without a pastor. The months of interregnum were under the leadership of the rev. rodolfo r. Nicolas, who served as administrator for 16 months. Fourth Bishop: another Ilocano from the Southern Ilocos Province On January 30, 2001 Bishop ernesto a. Salgado became the fourth Bishop of Laoag. a native of Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur, he was originally a priest of Nueva Segovia. When he took possession of the See of Laoag he was already a veteran in the mountain missions of the Cordilleras having served as apostolic Vicar of the Mountain Provinces for 14 years. Bishop Salgado steered the 40th anniversary celebration of the Diocese of Laoag with the Church as Mystery of Communion as its theme. The celebration was held on July 28, 2001 with biblical exegete Fr. Gerardo Tapiador as the main speaker. There are three things the Bishop Salgado wanted to do in his episcopal ministry in the diocese of Laoag. First was the security of priests to make them veritable servant-leaders of this particular church. Priestly solidarity and fraternity was the second, to create a community of servant-leaders reminiscent of the primitive Christian community in Jerusalem. and the third was the formation of Basic ecclesial Communities (BeC) to create a community of disciples. Indeed, this was a gargantuan task. But the life of the priests and the faithful is what makes the Church. Talis sacerdos, qualis grex, so the old Latin Maxim goes. a dedicated and unified presbyterium would be the first witnessing of the priests towards BeC. Basic ecclesial Communities could only endure for as long as they are served by dedicated and selfless priests. Four new parishes were erected during Bishop Salgado’s term: St. Francis of assisi in Davila, which was carved out of St. James in Pasuquin; Our Lady of Fatima in Cadaratan from St. andrew in Bacarra; Divine Mercy in Pila, comprising the 10 barrios in the
Laoag / B7
Bishop Sergio L. Utleg
The epicenter of the tremors was in Ilocos Norte. This was understandable since the man whose name was stamped in the schism, Gregorio aglipay y Labayan, was a native of the province. Practically the whole province, with the exception of few families, was swept by the tide of national feelings. Only one priest of the seventeen then assigned in the province remained in the fold. a hundred years later and with an ecclesiastical jurisdiction comprising the whole province of Ilocos Norte, the roman Catholic faith has grown considerably. The once moribund Church loyal to the roman Pontiff is now more vigorous than ever. Colonization of Ilocos Norte and Christianization Long before the coming of the Spaniards, there already existed an extensive region (consisting of the present provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, abra and La Union) renowned for its gold mines. Merchants from Japan and China would often visit the area to barter beads, ceramics and silk with gold. The inhabitants of the region believed to be of Malay origin, called their place Samtoy from saomi ditoy, which literally meant “language spoken in this place”. Like other parts of the Philippines, Ilocos Norte before the advent of Spanish colonization was inhabited by different tribes. Settlements were located along the river systems. Most people preferred to settle down near their farming or hunting grounds. Trade between seashore communities and nearby China must have been present considering the proximity of the place with mainland Cathay. religion was mainly animistic with the belief in Supreme Being like “Kabunian” and other minor spirits which were collectively known as di-kataotao-an. The Diocese of Laoag shares the early history of its mother see, the archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. Christianity came to this part of the country in June 1572 during Northern Luzon “pacification” campaign led by the Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo and his augustinian chaplain alonzo de alvarado. It is said that the cross was first planted on top of what is now known as ermita Hill in Laoag.
However, it was not until 1575 when Vigan was finally “pacified” by the Castillians that effective evangelization campaign reached this part of the newly established Province of Ilocos. During this last quarter of the 16th century, mission centers were established in Laoag, Bacarra, San Nicolas, Batac and Dingras. Towards the end of Spanish rule in the Philippines, there were 13 towns. The evangelization of this northern part of Ilocos Province was done by the augustinian friars. They did their apostolate here until the end of Spanish rule in 1898. Ilocos Norte was so remote from the central government in Manila during the Spanish regime. It was rural and rustic. Owing to the abusive practices of many augustinian friars, a number of Ilocanos revolted against their colonizers. a number of uprisings erupted. Noteworthy of these were the Dingras uprising (1589) and Pedro almazan revolt (San Nicolas, 1660). One in Bacarra led by a certain Juan Magsanop was triggered by a series of revolts in the south in the 17th century. The augustinian parish priest of the town Juan de arias was killed by the rebels. In the first quarter of the 19th century three rebellions in a row erupted in a period of fifteen years, which prompted the colonial government to divide the Ilocos province in 1818. One of these revolts in Piddig town was caused by the government’s attempt to put a monopoly on the production of basi, a locally produced wine fermented from sugarcane juice. The Rise and Decline of Aglipayanism Three quarters of a century later this rebellion was experienced in the religious sphere. The Philippine religious revolution at the turn of the 20th century that gave rise to the Philippine Independent Church (Iglesia Filipina Independiente [IFI]) made Ilocos Norte as the epicenter. Only one of the seventeen Filipino priests then assigned to the province remained steadfast to the Catholic faith. This was mainly because the former guerilla padre Gregorio aglipay, now the religious leader of the new schismatic movement was from Batac and both his lieutenants, Simeon Mandac and Santiago Fonacier were from Laoag. The “Independientes”, (to distinguish them from the “romanos”) as they were
St. William the Hermit Cathedral
The Military Chaplain: priest first, officer second
“Grow and bear much fruit where you are planted.”
By Rosa Linda G. Valenzona
HB 4273, “an act Providing for the Magna Carta of Women” and its Senate version SB 2396 are now due for deliberation by the Bicameral Committee. This piece of legislation should be hailed as a major achievement in the advancement of the cause of the Filipino Women. Though the Philippine society has accorded an honorable and esteemed status for women it cannot be denied that among the marginalized sectors of our society many women need the protection as well as access to resources to help them achieve their fullest potential as a human person. The advancement of the true development of women is precisely the objectives of the 1979 UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CeDaW for short) to which the Philippines is a signatory. The Magna Carta bill is meant to be the policy instrument to provide implementing teeth to create a bias for women in the government’s development programs. However, like the New Testament field sown to good and bad seed both the House and Senate versions are riddled with the term “gender”, a term which unbeknown to everyone is fraught with ideological meaning to feminists who are currently at the helm of the UN CeDaW Committee. This is the reason for the Church to advocate amendments to the Senate and House versions to the Bicameral Conference. Since the February 17th bicameral conference was postponed indefinitely there is still time to get some ideas across to the Bicameral Committee Members (Senate: Jamby Madrigal, Loren Legarda, Ping Lacson, Pia Cayetano, allan Cayetano, arthur Defensor and for Congress: Catelo-Daza, amelita Villarosa, raul del Mar, ed Zialcita, Juan edgardo angara, Isabelle Climaco, Lorna Silversio, edsel Lagman, Liza Maza, Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel, Luzviminda Ilagan and Janette Garin.) The first objective will be to get the term “gender” deleted and in its place use the word “woman”. Those who are familiar with Latin and the romance languages know the term “gender” classifies nouns and adjectives into feminine, masculine and neuter; still, others consider the term “gender” as simply a polite form of saying “sex” to avoid the unsavory secondary meaning “sex” carries in english. Unfortunately for the past fifty years, there are those others who would like to give a whole “new perspective” to this term. It was first introduced in the UN language in the 4th World Conference on Women draft report which defined gender as “socially constructed roles”. The term “gender” was used to refer to the relations between men and women based on socially defined roles assigned to one sex or the other. Bella abzug, a former US lawmaker insisted that the term “gender” has evolved and differentiated itself from the term “sex” in order to express the reality of the fact that the situation of the roles of women and men are social constructs subject to change. Gender, A Loaded Word The relegation of the term “sex” and the bringing forward the term “gender” is to meant make societies accept a new perspective: that there is no specifically feminine or masculine essence. This position rejects the possible existence of a ‘natural’ form of human sexuality. Based on this premise the absence of a natural differentiation between sexes would point to gender as the immediate cause for the differentiation (something easily achieved by evolving a new culture). Hence the famous statement of Simone de Beauvoir: “You are not born a woman! They make you into a woman! This is later completed with the logical conclusion: “You are not born a man; you are made into a man!” Under this new ideology gender is neither the causal result of sex, nor is it as fixed as our traditional idea of sex. This constructed status of gender, theorized to its fullest ideological state, becomes radically independent of biological sex, it becomes a free-floating artifice. Thus man and masculine might just as easily signify a female body as a male one, and woman and feminine a male body as easily as a female one! Whew ! …lest you think I am taking this from a sci-fi story, this is in fact an extract from Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity of the radical feminist Judith Butler. This book is in the reading list of many North american universities heavily promoting the gender perspective. Gender feminists claim that this “new perspective” is the key to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Socially constructed gender is underlying differentiation and is caused by social structures that place women in a subordinate role to men. Digging further into the ideology to unearth these basic structures ultimately reveals the real target—marriage and family. according to this ‘new perspective’ marriage and family are social constructs of the Patriarchal Culture that have victimized women into passive and subordinate roles that exclude women from higher education and public decisions. Once gender is accepted as the ultimate cause of discrimination the solution to the problem is easy—society should evolve new gender forms that are non-discriminatory and gives people the freedom to choose what they want to be. eventually the evolution of other forms of gender—homosexual, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered, etc. becomes the key to the gradual deconstruction of society that will leave marriage and family, the bulwarks of the Patriarchal Culture, vanquished. Hence, the UN has since engaged in the struggle to embed the concept of “gender” in social, political and legal discourse of its member countries. Human Sexuality Catholic theologian Jutta Burgraff, an authority on matters relating to women, provides us some clarifications that looks at scientific evidence in the light of the teachings of the Church in her essay entitled Gender which comes out in Lexicon, a publication of the Pontifical Council for the Family. referring to sex as the biological principle and gender as its cultural expression she explains that these two are not identical and neither completely independent. The process of the formation of the male and female identities has three aspects that are harmoniously woven together: biological sex, psychological sex and social sex. Biological sex refers to the bodily aspect of the human person. The genetic or chromosomic sex determined by the XX chromosomes in the female and the XY in the male is fixed from the moment of fertilization and responsible for the hormonal activity through the gonadal sex. recent researches confirm the fact that these biological foundations profoundly intervene in the entire organism. each cell of the female body is different from each cell in the male body. There are even indications of structural and functional differences between the male and female brain. This completely rebuts feminism’s simplistic claim that reduces male-female sexual difference to genitalia in order to attribute everything to gender! Psychological sex on the other hand refers to human psychic experiences as man or woman. This consists in the consciousness of belonging to a determined sex. This begins at the early age of 2 or 3 years, usually coinciding with the biological sex. This is where nurture makes a difference—psychological sex is profoundly affected by the education and environment provided to the child. Finally, Sociological or civil sex is the sex assigned to a person from the moment of birth. It is expressed as it is perceived by the surrounding persons. This signifies the specific way of acting of a man or a woman as a result of historic-cultural processes. It refers to the functions, roles, stereotypes which are assigned in each society to diverse groups of persons. These three aspects are integrated into a wider process consisting in the formation of one’s own identity. a person progressively acquires, during infancy and adolescence, a consciousness of “being oneself” (“who one is”). They discover their sexual identity and in it each time more profoundly the sexual dimension of their own being. Coming to realize bio-psychological factors of one’s own sex and the difference regarding the other sex, they gradually acquire a gender identity and discover the psychosocial and cultural factors of the role that men and women have in society. In a correct and harmonious process of integration, both dimensions correspond and complement each other. Male-Female Sexual Difference earlier we mentioned the strong evidence provided by Microbiology on the male-female difference. On various magisterial pronouncements the Church insists that every person is born sexed and that a woman is a female person born equipped with a female body and a female soul and by the same token a man is a male person born equipped with a male body and a male soul. In short the male-female difference is not limited to biology it also extends to their psyche. There are characteristics that are to be found with special frequency and in a more pronounced way in men and others in women, there are none that can be attributed only to men or only to women. Although there is no scientific exactness in defining the typical woman or typical man the fact is that men and women experience the world in different ways, carry out their tasks differently, sit down, plan and react differently, shows that each of the latter has a solid foundation in the biological constitution of both man and woman. Men and women are equal because they have the same human nature, but they are different because they have this same human nature in different ways. Biologically, psychologically and culturally men and women complement each other and they
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Legislative Watch on the MAGNA CARTA OF WOMEN
are biologically, psychologically and culturally constituted to tend towards each other because they need each other to fully develop their humanity. In this relationship (which gender feminism considers a structure) men and women reciprocally subordinate themselves to one another in love. This relationship which becomes a covenant in the institution of marriage man and woman satisfy the fundamental needs of the other and they lead one another towards self-discovery and self-realization of their own sexual being. Individual fulfillment cannot be achieved without communion with others. Brugraff states: “each one also makes the other conscious of being called to a communion and capacity to give self to the other in mutual loving subordination. Both, from different perspectives, find inner happiness in serving the happiness of the other.” It is a biological fact that only a woman can be a mother, and only a man can be a father. Gender feminism’s denigration of motherhood as subordinate role which allow men to exploit women is based on an outlook which considers motherhood an onerous burden and which naturally decries the fact that women cannot enjoy a “safe and satisfying” sexual life without the risk of getting pregnant. This helps us make the connection between the Magna Carta of Women and the rH bill (the Senate version is still with the Technical Working Group while the House version is already being debated at the plenary level). Some people conclude that if the Magna Carta is ratified under its present form the provisions on “comprehensive health care” program could easily be defined to include reproductive Health Service in the context of the ‘new perspective’. If this is true even if the RH bill does not get ratified its provisions can easily be invoked as the Implementing rules and regulations of the comprehensive health component of the Magna Carta of Women! Threat to Marriage and Family The framers of the 1979 CeDaW were clearly affirming the Universal Declaration of Human rights by proclaiming that human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms enunciated in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind including distinction based on sex. In other words in the context of the nature-nurture debate the CeDaW framers belonged to the old school firmly founded on male and female differentiation that is based on nature. Unfortunately after the 1995 UN Beijing Conference on Women a CeDaW committee was set up to monitor the implementation of CeDaW in signatory countries. This committee is now in the hands of gender feminist ideologues who promote the ‘new perspective’ by advocating legislation of gender language. The insertion of the term “gender” in the Magna Carta for women will therefore provide a legal basis for the eventual legitimization of other gender forms to the prejudice of normal women and men and adversely affecting family and marriage, institutions that have been accorded protection by our Constitution. Instead of promoting women’s rights in an authentic manner it is in fact opening the doors to new forms of gender constructs. This is reason why some quarters are calling for a definition of woman in this Magna Carta. Where can one find the threat to marriage and family in the proposed legislation? In the definition of “Gender and Development in Section 4 (H) of SB 2396 one reads to wit: “Gender and Development (GaD) refers to the development perspective and process that are participatory and empowering, equitable, sustainable, free from violence, respectful of human rights, supportive of self-determination and actualization of human potentials. It seeks to achieve gender equality as a fundamental value that should be reflected in development choices; seeks to transform society’s social, economic and political structures and questions the validity of the gender roles they ascribed to women and men; contends that women are active agents of development and not just passive recipients of development assistance; and stresses the need of women to organize themselves and participate in political processes to strengthen their legal rights.” This appear so innocent and harmless to one not versed in the gender feminist ideology. But let us recall how the gender feminist ideology which is essentially Marxist considers exploitation, subordination, and discrimination as originating from unjust structures; any structure implies a relationship of subordination. The very basic and most pervasive structure in society is of course marriage and family. Hidden between the lines of this provision is therefore a declaration of war against marriage and family as relationships that subordinate women as mothers and wives and therefore as active institutions that discriminate
Legislative / B7
By Fr. Lowie Anacta Palines
THaT particular caption hanging on the wall in an old parish convent caught my attention one day as we, minor seminarians then happened to visit the place in one of our educational tours. The message must have made an impression in me because until today it still strikes a chord. after twelve years in the priestly ministry and being assigned in the military chaplain service, I already have a few stories to share. Yes, in fact right now there is a kind of rush as to where should I start that even my computer finds it hard to untangle. Some people we meet often ask the same questions as to where do we give our priority being a priest and a soldier at the same time. according to them, they only see military chaplains in war movies. The scene usually shows the priest giving the last rites to a dying soldier while bombs explode near them, much gratefulness and thanksgiving could be read on the lips of the soldier before he finally breathes his last. a very touching sight indeed, but the military chaplaincy is far more than that. First and foremost, a military chaplain does not have a split personality disorder. He is a priest although he is given this very unique mission which demands a special attention on his part. He is there through the mandate of his Church to attend to the spiritual needs of the men and women in uniform together with their dependents. He is a priest from the very beginning of his military training After twelve years in days until he is called to active an ordained minister the priestly ministry duty. He is happened to swear an of God who and being assigned in oath before the flag and country the military chaplain that he will render service to the best of his capability in accordance service, I met some with his vocation to the priesthood. people who often Thus, priest first, officer second. The duties he is tasked to perform ask as to where do never runs counter to the vows he we give our priority first made to God and His Church. being a priest and a The military uniform is never an excuse for him to be confused soldier at the same as to where does his promise of time. According to allegiance belong. Instead, this them, they only see muscular looking uniform he wears should continuously remind military chaplains him of his special calling to serve in war movies. A humbly the people assigned to his very touching sight pastoral care. However, there is a certain caveat indeed, but the to consider. The tendency of giving military chaplaincy is too much emphasis on seeing far more than that. only one side of the coin (being a military officer) is tempting. There is privilege among the military officers. That is true. RHIP means Rank Has Its own Privilege. and priests are ipso facto given the rank of captain in the armed forces after passing all the required training. That means after graduation he now belongs to those who lead. These privileges go with him wherever he goes and it can’t be denied that he enjoys these privileges apart from the enlisted personnel. Therefore there is always that tendency to abuse this authority given to him. and when this misfortune happens, one must realize that there is a mistake somewhere, a misconception of why a priest is in the chaplain service. His direction is now out of the right track. This time he is confused and lost. Therefore something has to be done to awaken him somehow and encourage him to change his point of view. a priest ought to lead by the way he lives. The authority entrusted him has good intentions. It is meant to improve and develop his capacity to serve. It is given him to have an opportunity to reach out to more people. a priest of God is always an instrument of His great love. The priest then has to be spiritually strong and morally upright all the time. His mission is to spread the good news of God’s kingdom in whatever situation he is in. His calling is always to be a good example of humility to be an instrument of peace to all. There is always a challenge in the life of a military chaplain. With his presence the uniformed men and women are truly inspired. His priestly duties remind the soldiers of God’s presence. He is there to listen and share His message of hope. There is more to share from my experiences in the service where I belong. But for now I hope this piece of thought is worth reflecting just for today. The priests together with our beloved Bishop, Leopoldo Tumulak DD. of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines share the vision and mission of the Church in her untiring efforts to spread God’s loving presence to everyone. Varied our responsibilities may be but there is oneness in purpose. and as for this humble chaplain serving in the Philippine Coast Guard, he finds life more challenging each new day. Where we are planted, the encouragement to bear much fruit is constant.
Status / B2
aside from the automatic excommunication, that excommunication was expressly declared by a Decree of excommunication issued by the Sacred Congregation for Bishops on 1 July 1988, and confirmed by Pope John Paul II through the apostolic Letter ecclesia Dei, issued motu proprio on 2 July 1988. 2) aside from the aforementioned bishops, no other followers of Lefebvre were expressly excommunicated. However, as is true of any automatic excommunication, such expressed declaration of the penalty is not absolutely necessary—i.e., the penalty is automatic as soon as the crime is formally committed. Nevertheless, in a document of 26.VIII.1996, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts (PCILT) clarified that the automatic excommunication affected clerics and lay people in the SSPX differently as regards their status: 1st In the case of the deacons and priests, it would seem that
their ministerial activities within the schismatic movement was a clear sign of the presence of the two aforementioned elements, constituting a formal adherence to the schism. Thus, regardless of how they may present themselves in attire and manners, canonically they were considered under automatic excommunication. 2nd In the case of the other faithful, however, the document stated that an occasional participation in liturgical acts or activities of the Lefebvrist Movement—done without identifying themselves with the doctrinal and disciplinary disunity of the movement with the Holy See—would not be sufficient to imply a formal adherence to the schism. The document emphasized the need to take into account, above all, the intention of the person and whatever external manifestation of their interior dispositions. Thus, the document concluded, the various situations should be judged in a caseto-case basis, in the competent seat of the external or internal forum.
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
No to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
A PASToRAL STATEMENT
We join the environmentalist Group Greenpeace and the Diocese of Balanga headed by Bishop Socrates Villegas in opposing the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
We earnestly appeal to our Congressmen, with fervent hope and prayer that Congress will completely and irrevocably reject the opening of the nuclear plant as the most dangerous and expensive way to generate electricity. Multiple risks and the possibility of corruption outweigh dreamed benefits. We recommend with other anti-BNPP Congressmen and the Greenpeace Forum that the mothballed facility in Morong, Bataan, be dismantled as its revival will be most hazardous to health and life of the people. It is for this reason that we also strongly oppose coal-fired power plant as source of energy in Iloilo province and in other parts of the country. We recommend the implementation of the approved bill on the use of renewable energy, such as solar, wind and water as the safe sources of electricity. For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines + ANGEL N. LAGDAMEo, D.D. archbishop of Jaro CBCP President February 26, 2009
Photo courtesy of PNE/Kalikasan
STATEMENT oF THE ECUMENICAL BISHoPS’ FoRUM
Pastoral Letter for Ash Wednesday
MY dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:15) As we usher in the great season of Lent with the observance of Ash Wednesday, let us remind ourselves of our Savior’s call for repentance and faith. Let us see with greater clarity that Lent is a time when the Lord invites us towards true transformation, which is the rebirth of the heart in goodness and purity, a renewal of the spirit in truth and righteousness. Let us consider the importance of practicing the great traditions that Holy Mother Church has passed on to us through the ages. These are the spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and abstinence, good deeds and almsgiving. Good deeds and almsgiving present themselves as acts that engender in us the virtues of generosity and compassion. They do so because ultimately they are actions that promote justice in our society. Whenever and wherever they are lived out, they enable people to share God’s blessings more equitably, and make the goods of the earth available especially to those who are suffering because of poverty and its dire consequences—hunger and malnutrition. We invite you then, fellow Christians, to live out a deeper meaning of Lent this year by performing acts of good deeds and almsgiving. These acts may be creatively joined with your practices of fasting and abstinence, such that the cost of food you forego and are able to save, be it 50 centavos or less, may be donated to programs or institutions which are dedicated to feeding of hungry and malnourished Filipino children. One such program is the HAPAG-ASA. HAPAG-ASA is an integrated Nutrition Program meant to alleviate hunger among Filipino children. Through the Archdiocese of Manila and the five Suffragan Dioceses, the program has been able to feed close to 24,000 children in its two and a half year history. This year, HAPAG-ASA aims to feed at least 12,340 children from Metro Manila as committed by the dioceses. We appeal to you to support HAPAGASA in its efforts to care for hungry and malnourished children. Your donation, no matter how small, will go a long way as it only costs a mere ten pesos a day or P1,200 to feed a child once a day for six months. Please ask your parish office for donation envelopes or ways you can be of help to the program. As we observe this great season of Lent, let us carry within us our Holy Father’s words which he wrote in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est: “Those who are in a position to help others will realize that, in doing so, they themselves help. MayyourLentenobservancebemeaningful and blessed. God be with you all! +GAUDENCIO B. CARDINAL ROSALES, D.D Archbishop of Manila February 25, 2009
‘Stop the Revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant!’
THe ecumenical Bishops Forum joins the inter-faith community and all sectors of society in an urgent call to stop any moves to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) as it would only endanger the lives of the Filipino people now and in the future. It is a known fact that this project was full of anomalies and was a source of corruption during the time of President Marcos. The Filipino people were then saddled with paying for this monstrosity for close to two decades. The revival of this project is very questionable and immoral. It has serious safety issues because it was built on an earthquake fault and near an active volcano not only one but three: Mt. Natib, Mt. Pinatubo and Mt. Mariveles. We thus call on government leaders to cease from reviving the said nuclear power plant. We must listen to the calls of a number of scientists to focus on other alternatives for power generation that are safe and sustainable as well as indigenous, to provide for the country’s needs. We are confident that in doing so, the government will eventually stop its practice of auctioning and privatizing our energy facilities and resources to private and foreign companies, like what they are doing with BNPP and other power plants. We call on the Filipino people to be vigilant and stop the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. +DEoGRACIAS S. IÑIGUEZ, JR., D.D. Co-chair, ecumenical Bishops’ Forum February 20, 2009
Thus says the Lord God, enough, you princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression and do what is right and just. (Ez 45, 9)
Dear Leaders of Masbate, Brothers & Sisters in the Lord, Greetings of Peace! I am writing this letter as news about the attempted murder of Vice Mayor antonino de Jesus of Milagros, Masbate, filters into our local community, our homes and our consciousness. I don’t know about you, but this brings cold shivers down my spine. Violence, pure evil, is once again rearing its ugly and deadly head in our province. (Kun sabagay, has it ever left Masbate at all?) Since last year I have been watching some of you, short of declaring it, already start their march towards their candidacy. I have also come to learn of calculated moves of some groups, by approaching individuals (potential associates if not fellow candidates) inviting these to join their political party. But I also heard rumors of goons, ruffians, hardened criminals and guns-for-hire being readied for what they call “cleansing” (pagalinis) that must happen if political dreams have to be realized and personal ambitions satisfied. On January 1, during the celebration of the Midnight Mass, I expressed my apprehension that the 2010 elections in Masbate will be very violent. With this attempt on the life of Vice Mayor de Jesus, it seems that this early I am being proven right. It is bad enough that our province could not get out of the rut of being one of the poorest provinces in the country, because even the most basic of services are slow in getting to where the poor are. It is bad enough that our farmers and fisher-folk have nothing to feed themselves and their families with, because they are being driven out of the land they till or deprived of their rightful place at sea. It is bad enough that especially our children are wallowing in the quagmire of disillusionment and hopelessness, because unscrupulous individuals are forcing them into prostitution and luring them to the use of illegal drugs. It is bad enough that our environment is being ravaged and our natural resources are being abused by indiscriminate mining activities in utter disregard of the dire consequences these activities bring, like pollution, flooding and erosion. But worse still is the fact that the culture of death continues to lay a stranglehold on all of us here in Masbate, and, I am sad to say, even more so among you, our local leaders. Why does it have to be perceived that among Masbateños one’s political success must happen at the cost of other people’s lives? Why can their mind is a province where there is political violence and a culture of death, a place where people kill people. Please don’t add any more bad things to these, especially those acts of violence that you have knowledge of, or worse, those that you may be responsible for. Please stop using people to kill people! Let there be a stop to all these atrocities! Or else Masbate will soon become not only a graveyard of fallen leaders, but truly a graveyard of our future, of our dreams, of our hope. In the name of God, I beg all of you, dear leaders, to join hands instead and work together for a better Masbate. For there is plenty of work to do! to protect the rights of our fisher-folk when they fall victim to the violence of the guns of big fishing boats at sea. No wonder people suspect that local leaders are receiving payments from these fishing vessels. Owners of these vessels have in fact been heard to have said so. “Nabayadan na namon an dagat!” “Naghatag na kami sa itaas!” Now tell me, please, of any moves you have made to protect our young boys and girls from being prostituted in our streets, in motels or in dark alleys. How many among you have come to the defense of these most vulnerable members of our society? Tell me, please, how you are combating the drug menace the honorable way. and to them I say, please do not stop doing good and being instruments of peace. But to those others who have done practically nothing to address the above-mentioned social ills, to those of you who have chosen to live a life of violence and self-serving political career, or those of you who continue to plan to do harm to his or her political opponents, I beg of you, please listen to the tiny voice of your conscience – and I would like to believe you still have even a little of it – and do something right before God and before your people. Choose to be at the service of life, and be not agents of death! Listen to what the Lord said to the people of Israel in the Book of Deuteronomy, for surely he says the same to us: “I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you…” (Deut 30, 19) It is bad enough that bad things are happening to us these days. It feels worse when we are unable to respond adequately to these challenges. But worst of all is when human life is regarded as if it were nothing but a piece of dirty rag that people can just throw away. IN THe NaMe OF GOD aND FOr THe LOVe OF OUr BLeSSeD MOTHer, I BeG OF YOU, LeaDerS OF MaSBaTe, PLeaSe CHOOSe LIFe aND reSPeCT IT! Sincerely yours in the Lord, + JoEL L. BAYLoN, DD Bishop of Masbate 11 February 2009 Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
An Open Letter to All Local Officials of the Province of Masbate
Instead of trying to annihilate one another, why don’t you look at annihilating the social problems besetting us? You have focused so much on your personal survival in politics that you have forgotten about the survival of your people. When you should be reaching out to help each other build up our province, you continue to destroy one another instead, which in the end destroys all of us!
we not treat each other as human beings, and instead act in ways that are worse than those of beasts? When will we ever learn that the politics of the gun can win you an election but never, never, the love and respect of your people? When will we ever learn to live as men and women who fear God and appreciate and defend the gift of life that He gave us, even when it happens to belong to another, such as a political opponent? Will we ever grow up into the responsible human beings and children of God that we are called to become? Bad things are already happening to our beloved province. In our midst there is a proliferation of guns, and hence many forms of criminal activities, not the least of them murders, are very rampant. The province’s history has been so tainted by political killings and vendettas that nowadays when people hear of Masbate, what readily comes to Instead of trying to annihilate one another, why don’t you look at annihilating the social problems besetting us? You have focused so much on your personal survival in politics that you have forgotten about the survival of your people. When you should be reaching out to help each other build up our province, you continue to destroy one another instead, which in the end destroys all of us! When we ask that you focus on issues that impact on us, what is evident is the apparent indifference or lack of enthusiasm that you, our local officials, show in addressing and solving the ills and problems in our community. For, tell me, please, of any response that you have done to alleviate the poverty of our poor farmers, who more often than not, get the raw end of the law simply because they are poor. Tell me, please, of any decisions that you have made in our midst. Do you care to know if there is a growing number of rugby boys roaming our streets? Do you care to know if there are marijuana plantations in the barangays? Or shabu laboratories in our neighborhoods? are there ways to check if your fellow public servants or the police are users or, worse, pushers? Tell me, please, if your local government is involved in the advocacy on behalf of the environment. Is the public informed whenever a group applies to do mining exploration in your area? are the people asked if they agree with the venture or not? What moves have you taken to reforest our hills and mountains? I know that some of you have been doing your share to address these concerns and have responded positively in solving some of our society’s problems. I ask them to do more. I also know that some of you do not use guns to win over their opponents, but do it
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo
WHeN we are with people we admire, it is our wish that we could remain with them longer than is possible. a very close encounter with the Holy Father, President Barack Obama, or someone like Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, rudolf Bultmann is such an example. But we know that such an encounter is too brief. That is why we take pains that in events like that, pictures are taken to capture those moments. Pictures are useful not simply to recall the event, but also to allow us to relive the experience. Human nature is such that we wish to eternalize our present happy experiences. Those of us who understand this will easily sympathize with Peter in the Gospel today. It may be recalled that in Mark, from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (Mark 1:14) until the episode in Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked the disciples who he was (Mark 8:27-29), nobody seemed to know the mystery of Jesus. even Peter who described him the Messiah (Mark 8:30) seemed ignorant of the title he gave him. He could not understand a crucified Messiah (Mark 8:31-32). But in today’s Gospel (Mark 9:2-10), Peter had a glimpse of the mystery that shrouded Jesus. He was overwhelmed with awe by what he saw—a transfigured Jesus—and he wanted to eternalize his experience. So he said, “rabbi, how good it is for us to be here! Let us erect three booths on this site, one for you, one for Moses, and one for elijah” (Mark 9:5). But there is more to this. When he saw Jesus, Peter recognized that his Master acquired a new kind of life which the Jewish people have been longing for. That life is symbolized by the white garment—“his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than the work of any bleacher could make them” (Mark 9:3)—which is a symbol of the life of resurrection (rev 3:4; 7:9). Because that has dawned on Jesus, Peter seemed to think that the new age has dawned for all. For this reason, he offered to build three tents as a way of saying that he wanted Jesus to anticipate the future when God will dwell with men. This object of hope is echoed by Paul: “Indeed, we know that when the earthly tent in which we dwell is destroyed we have a dwelling provided for us by God, a dwelling in the heavens, not made by hands but to last
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Eternalizing Peter’s experience
2nd Sunday of Lent (Mark 9:2-10); March 8, 2009
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
forever. We groan while we are here, even as we yearn to have our heavenly habitation envelop us” (2 Cor 5:1-3; see also rev 21:1-3). But God did not allow Peter to eternalize his peak experience at the mountain: it was not yet the parousia, but simply its foretaste. Thus, speaking from the clouds, he said to the disciples, including Peter of course, that they have to listen to Jesus (Mark 9:7). and what words of Jesus they are to listen to? In Mark’s theology, it is this: “If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and follow me. Whoever would preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will preserve it. What profit does a man show who gains the whole world and destroys himself in the process? What can a man offer in exchange for his life? If anyone in this faithless and corrupt age is ashamed of me and my doctrine, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes with the holy angels in his glory… I assure you, among those standing here there are some who will not taste death until they see the reign of God established in his Father’s glory” (Mark 8:349:1). But in listening to Jesus, we have to do so like abraham, who gave up human assurance (Gen 22:1-2) because we can rest assured in God (rom 8:38-39). What assurance? It is that if we wish that God dwell with us, if we wish to be dressed in white, then we have to follow Jesus in his suffering (Mark 8:34-35). The sharing and the eternalizing of Peter’s experience at the mountain is given to those who deny their very self, and take up their cross. Indeed, if we do, we will not even taste death, and we shall attain that experience even here on earth (Mark 9:11). In view of this, and in the light of the transfiguration of Jesus, the sufferings and failures in our life with Jesus are thus given a new perspective. If we suffer and fail with him, we do not experience simply bad moments that we could have avoided all the better. No, they are rather part and parcel of Christian life, of discipleship. They are, so to speak, constitutive elements of the experience of God’s glory (1 Pet 4:14). In our sufferings and failures for and in Christ, God is already pitching his tent among us, and we are already wearing the white garment, even as Jesus himself was recognized as the Messiah as he hung on the cross (Mark 15:39).
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Fasting is still cool
WITH ash Wednesday, we open again mind and heart with God and others, with eat anything in Paradise, except that. And the reason is quite simple—eating another season of Lent. It’s a yearly liturgical thoughts and desires of goodness for others that fruit would lead our first parents and period that invites us all to prepare for the in all its forms. most important event in Church life—the We slacken in this business, and we sooner us to pursue our knowledge of good and easter mystery, the passion, death and or later get into trouble. Our own weaknesses evil independently of God. With it, we resurrection of our Lord. start to dominate us, and the temptations would start to build our own world. We’d become a Jabberwocky, someone who lives For this year, Pope Benedict already has around become irresistible. given out his Lenten message that focuses on Whatever power that we have, big or in fantasy land. This is actually our underlying problem. the ascetical practice of fasting. I believe that small, to keep a civil and decent appearance it’s worthwhile to go through that message outside cannot last long. If we only live in our Instead of filling ourselves with goodness, to savor fasting’s unfading relevance in our own world, with God and others practically feeding our mind and will with the mind life. considered as outsiders and strangers, there’s and will of God, we prefer to do things on our own. It’s certainly a time-honored practice that no other way for us to go but to perdition. God and the others—the two has deep roots in the Bible and in always go together as indicated in Church tradition. Together with These days, our fasting need not be prayer and almsgiving, fasting is only in food and drinks, but also in the the original dual commandment of love God and neighbor—become the usual pious tool to transform our heart, detaching it from itself use of the internet and other gadgets. at best a prop in our system, not so it can give itself totally to God From time to time, we need to deprive its main substance. We need to and to others, as we are meant ourselves of them if only to recover irregularity. When correct this we notice that to be. our proper outlook that should be we are sinking in our own world, It’s a pity that this duty is fast we need to react immediately. and disappearing in the minds of oriented towards God and others. fasting is one way of correcting many people. It’s as if it’s already We have to be wary of the illusion of that tendency. extinct, and the only remaining value it has is We have to follow Christ’s example. He that of a relic of the past, fit for museums, but shutting God and others out of our mind. We can be thrilled by our own ideas and said his food is no other than to do the will not anymore in our present environment. We can never overemphasize the need desires only, but sooner or later, without of His Father. This should always be our for fasting. In fact, it should be an abiding God and others, this bubble will explode, attitude, no matter how intoxicating our practice, and not just a Lenten thing. Given and will be exposed to the abject reality of human progress can be. These days, our fasting need not be only our wounded human condition, fasting offers our nothingness without God. In his Lenten message, the Pope traces the in food and drinks, but also in the use of the a continuing corrective to our ever unstable state of being. origin and basis of fasting, and how it has internet and other gadgets. From time to time, Our tendency, constantly fed by our developed since. I think it is a knowledge we need to deprive ourselves of them if only own weaknesses and the many, endless that plays a crucial role in our understanding to recover our proper outlook that should be oriented towards God and others. temptations around us, is to be self-absorbed, and appreciation of fasting. These gadgets are notorious for leading The Pope said that the original divine to such an extent that we don’t even realize we are in that kind of predicament. indication on fasting was when God told our us to forget God as we immerse ourselves We have to understand that this anomaly first parents not to eat of the fruit of the tree with the many earthly wonders they can is highly toxic to us. We are meant to fill our of the knowledge of good and evil. They can give us.
The risen Body of Jesus as the new Temple
3rd Sunday of Lent (John 2:13-25); March 15, 2009
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo
Solemnity of the Lord’s Birth (Is 52:7-10; Heb 1:1-6; Jn 1:1-18; December 25, 2008)
Bless the world with one thing
ONE day, a bird, a squirrel, a fish, and an eel got together and decided to start a school. Naturally, the bird insisted on a flying school. But the squirrel argued for training in perpendicular tree climbing. and the fish, a swimming college. The heated debate seemed to go on forever until the eel proposed a compromise: Why not let all these things be included in the curriculum? and so the school formally opened with all the students taking all the courses. The bird was glorious at flying but a big flop at swimming. It didn’t take long however for his wings to be damaged by the freestyle and breaststroke, he finally got a C in flying, and naturally, an F in swimming. The squirrel broke all his bones as he tried flying. (She jumped from the tallest tree she could find and shouted, “Darna!” It didn’t work. She wasn’t in a two-piece.) and the fish? He couldn’t breathe too well when he tried climbing or flying. Until he got sort of brain damaged and wasn’t a great swimmer at the end of the semester. animal School story from Leo Buscaglia, in his bestseller, Love, but I couldn’t resist changing and adding a few details.) Life isn’t about trying to be an expert in everything. It’s being an expert in one thing and offering it to the world. I’ve accepted the fact that because I’m human, I’m one step closer to a life of peace, excitement, and joy. I’ve decided to focus on where I’m good at, which is preaching and writing. Come to think of it, I’m a very unbalanced creature. I’m pathetic at sports. and at fixing stuff at home. (Even if I have a complete set of tools at home, my favorite tool is still the telephone so I can call a repairman to fix whatever is broken.) And I don’t think I’ll ever be a math whiz. Management isn’t my cup of tea. even pastoring and counseling aren’t adrenalinepumping events for me. So I delegate. But I bless the world with one thing: I communicate to people about love and joy and peace and all the good stuff of life through preaching and writing—hoping to change lives and make this world a better place to live in. What is your one thing?
Life isn’t about trying to be an expert in everything. It’s being an expert in one thing and offering it to the world.
Guess who was the valedictorian of the class? The eel. He did everything in a half-way fashion. In tree climbing, he sort of squirmed his way up. In swimming, he wriggled on the water. and in flying, well, he jerked. So he got a C in all his courses and ended up highest in the class. (I got The terrific in one thing, good at some, mediocre at a bit more, and terrible at others. and if you’re human, you are too. You’ll have to discover the one thing that you are good at and major in it. What are the primary gifts that God has blessed you with? answer that question well and you’re
IN all world religions, there is a universal belief that God, however he is conceived, is far distant from all of us. He is transcendent and incomprehensible. He is the wholly other. “For I am God, not man” (Hos 11:9b). But the discovery that God loves and cares for us, that we cannot exist without him makes all of us long for his presence. Whatever might be our reason, we seek him, we want to be with him. But where are we to find him? And how are we to encounter him? How are we to participate in the realm of the divinity? Of course, for some, God is thought to reside in the church. Accordingly, they spend hours praying in the church rather than under the tree. For others, he is encountered through intermediaries. This explains why devotion to the saints, often in the form of novena, litany, and celebrations of their feasts, is popular: one has a sure access to the Father through the blessed in heaven. Still others would insist that God is encountered in the poor. And so, they take up the cause of the underprivileged. To work for them is in a sense to worship God. For the Jews in the Old Testament, however, God was encountered in the Temple. He was thought to have made his dwelling there: “When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the Lord’s glory had filled the temple of the Lord. Then Solomon said, ‘The Lord intends to dwell in the dark cloud; I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever” (1 Kgs 8:10-13). Through the Temple, the Jews made some contact with the divinity. This consisted principally in the performance of sacrifice, which took various forms: holocaust, peace offerings, sacrifices of expiation, cereal offerings, and the showbread and perfume offerings (Lev 1-7). It was also in the Temple that they prayed (Ps 5:8) and performed various rituals of purification. A sign of their election as God’s people, the Temple was the privileged venue of encountering God and worshipping him. But even in the Old Testament, the sacrificial system in the Temple was already subjected to severe criticism. According to the prophets, God does not like burnt offerings (Is 1:11-17), and is not pleased with them (Hos 8:13). He is not found through them, either (Hos 5:6). For what really pleases God is not sacrificial offerings, but a contrite heart and spirit (Ps 51:16; Isa 66:2). Accordingly, Isaiah stressed the importance of reforming one’s life (Jer 7:3-4). True worship cannot consist in superficialities; for this reason, the prophets emphasized that the people of Israel needed spiritual worship. Since the Temple was the place where sacrifices were offered, it was quite logical that Isaiah denied its necessity: “The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool. What kind of house can you build for me; what is to be my resting place?” (Isa 66:1). Micah was even more radical: he predicted the destruction of the Temple: “Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem reduced to rubble, and the mount of the temple to a forest ridge (Mic 3:12; see Jer 26:18). In today’s Gospel, we have the Johannine version of the socalled cleansing of the Temple. But what is really involved here is not the cleansing but rather, in John’s view, the replacement of the Temple. When Jesus said that he would destroy it, he was simply bringing to fulfillment what the prophets earlier prophesied. For John, Jesus is the new Temple, the place of God’s presence and man’s encounter with him (John 2:21). This means that God is to be adored through Jesus. Since God is encountered in Jesus’ risen body, his body is the source of the waters of life (John 19:34; 7:38). He draws all (John 12:32). In this understanding, worship takes on a new meaning. To worship God is not primarily to do something for him, as, for example, doing the commandments or offering various sacrifices, but to be united with Jesus in faith. This is accomplished through sharing in Jesus’ risen body (John 6:51), since it is the center of the new worship. This implies, among others, that we ought to offer our life for others (cf Heb 7:27; Mark 10:45). One cannot encounter Jesus in his risen body without having to share in his suffering and death. Consequently, to worship him always implies the offering of our selves. St Paul expresses it this way: “I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God’s will, what is good, pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:1-2).
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
The sacrifices of the Filipino migrants mirror the journey of St. Paul
WHeN the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI opened the year of St. Paul in 2008, he said that the apostle’s courageous witness to the faith should serve as a model for contemporary Christians. His words apply fittingly to our migrant Filipinos who are scattered in over 190 countries around the world working to support the needs of their families back home hoping that one day their economic lot will become better.
The fate of the Filipino migrants gives them the occasion to witness to that faith in Jesus Christ whenever and wherever they find themselves. They would become the ambassador of Christ as what the Holy Father has stressed in his message to the World Day of Migrants and refugees held last January 18. Just as St. Paul was moving around the various cities along the Mediterranean during his time, the Filipino migrants are journeying in the vastness of various seas and lands all over the world. as they carry their faith with them, they are constantly challenged to give witness to such faith. St. Paul, the missionary to the Gentiles has remained faithful to his calling as ambassador of Christ despite the many rejections and difficulties he had experienced in his numerous missions. He too had to work in order to support himself and the mission. His sufferings were enormous after having left Israel where he had been a great influence of authority prior to his conversion. Then, he faced the common treatment as an ordinary foreigner in his missions to other lands. Do Filipinos who were professionals in the country find it difficult to adjust when they have to work overseas taking lowly jobs that locals are not inclined to handle? We see these struggles experienced by teachers who were working as household workers or doctors who have become nurses. Definitely as an itinerant, Paul too had experienced the difficulty of understanding the culture of the places where he had preached the message of Jesus. It would be the same for our migrant Filipinos who are finding themselves exposed to a strange language and culture or even in a country where religious expression is not permitted.
St. Paul / B1
Thank God that as an intellectual, St. Paul was well versed in certain languages like Latin and Greek, perhaps languages that commanded high respect and acceptance during his time which is quite similar to the English language that Filipinos find handy today. Such convenient use of the language put the Filipinos in an advantageous position as migrants. But unfortunately, language is not all when one is going through the experience of isolation and loneliness or when their rights are violated and they lost their dignity. The Filipino migrants are merely forced to look for jobs overseas. They want to work in the Philippines, but the jobs are not enough in the country or are the salaries sufficient to pay for their basic needs. More often than not, security of their children’s future is the primary reason why Filipino migrants leave the country for overseas job. Persistently, they would embrace jobs overseas out of desperation. They seemed not to mind the danger of the work even if their jobs are exposed to unhospitable location. In Iraq for instance where Filipinos are barred to go, they continue to defy the policy of the Philippine government because they are left without an alternative to choose from. after almost forty years of government’s policy to deploy Filipino migrant workers overseas, the country has failed to come up with a meaningful alternative means of livelihood for its people. For the Church however, it is very important that we look at migration not only as a possibility to improve oneself. We encourage our migrant Filipinos to become missionaries to other countries by witnessing to their faith. Many of our migrant workers would always look at the Church as a place of refuge in times
of extreme anxiety. They set their hopes among Filipino chaplains and pastoral workers for migrants whenever they experienced exploitation especially from their employers and labor agents – a reality evidently observed in asia. Thank God that in europe, migrants are treated far better off than those migrants employed in asia. The Pauline letters for instance indicate the desire of Paul to continue linking with his fellow Christians especially during his time of incarceration if only to demonstrate his love for Christ and witnessing to his mission. Many Filipino migrants detained overseas may find themselves in the same circumstances as those of St. Paul. In fact, those migrants who are not allowed to enjoy or exercise a day off would find their situation analogous to the disciple’s detention. For the love of their families, the migrants are willing to accept the
condition not to take a day off for the entire duration of their contract. Their experiences of being denied a day of rest during employment in the house of their employer is literally a virtual confinement. The Church condemns this practice. The migrant workers have lost their freedom and have to suffer doubly the isolation and loneliness. On the positive side, the faith of the Filipino migrants have influenced their act of generosity in the many instances to which they raise funds to benefit many families and communities back home which could be likened to St. Paul’s appeal for collection to aid the poor Christians in Jerusalem as written in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. The Filipino migrants never failed to share in the suffering of their compatriots struck by unexpected natural calamities such as typhoons or earthquakes. They have shown us their faith through
Laoag / B3
their various philanthropic acts and benevolence. Amidst the sacrifices of the Filipino migrants, we see all the time the similar values that St. Paul who has shown us too how to be a missionary to the Gentiles. In their little ways, the Filipino migrants have sacrificed for their families even to the extent of allowing themselves to be taken advantaged by others, trusting only God all the time that someday things will be better for them – and salvation will be theirs. every so often they have relied that God will vindicate them from the abuses that they have suffered. The cross of Christ is their usual reminder that their sacrifices will bear fruit, just like St. Paul who had been faithful in the same Lord that he has preached to the various Christian communities of his time. The sacrifices of the Filipino migrants mirror indeed the journey of St. Paul.
Legislative / B4
(1 Cor 1:27). Dear brothers and sisters, may the World Day for Migrants and refugees, which will be celebrated on 18 January 2009, be for all an incentive to live brotherly love to the full without making any kind of distinction and without discrimination, in the conviction that any one who needs us and whom we can help is our neighbor (cf. Deus Caritas est, n. 15). May the teaching and example of St Paul, a great and humble apostle and a migrant, an evangelizer of peoples and cultures, spur us to understand that the exercise of charity is the culmination and synthesis of the whole of Christian life. The commandment of love—as we well know—is nourished when disciples of Christ, united, share in the banquet of the Eucharist which is, par excellence, the sacrament of brotherhood and love. and just as JesusattheLastSuppercombinedthe newcommandmentoffraternallove with the gift of the eucharist, so his “friends”, following in the footsteps of Christ who made himself a “servant”ofhumanity,andsustained by his Grace cannot but dedicate
themselves to mutual service, taking charge of one another, complying with St Paul’s recommendation: “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2). Only in this way does love increase among believers and for all people (cf. 1 Thes 3:12). Dear brothers and sisters, let us not tire of proclaiming and witnessing to this “Good News” with enthusiasm, without fear and sparing no energy! The entire Gospel message is condensed in love,andauthenticdisciplesofChrist are recognized by the mutual love their bear one another and by their acceptance of all. May the apostle Paul and especially Mary, the Mother of acceptance and love, obtain this gift for us. as I invoke the divine protection upon all those who are dedicated to helping migrants, and more generally, in the vast world of migration, I assure each one of my constant remembrance in prayer and, with affection, I impart my apostolic Blessing to all. From Castel Gandolfo, 24 august 2008 BeNeDICTUS PP. XVI
against women. This would legitimize processes to bring about changes in these structures such as legalization of divorce, legitimation of civil unions. This would be prejudicial to normal marriages and families which have been accorded protection by our Constitution. This analysis is confirmed by Section 19 of the Senate version. In the guise of giving women equal rights within marriage and the family it states: “The State shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations consistent with Philippine law and shall ensure: (1) The same rights to enter into and leave partnerships or relationships without prejudice to personal or religious beliefs; (2) The same right to choose freely a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent. The betrothal and marriage of a child shall have no legal effect;” Theuseoftheterm“partnerships”
or “relationships” are very ambiguous. In normal parlance the term “partnerships refer to civil unions and the term relationships unfortunately may refer to homosexual relationships. In one stroke this provision would give legal recognition to civil unions to the prejudice of the protection that marriage enjoys in the Philippine Constitution. By the same token it also extends legal recognition to homosexual relationships again to the prejudice of heterosexual marriages. On the other hand if in n. 1 of this provision they were to use the term “marriage” in one stroke they open a breach that can be used to initiate the legalization of divorce! It is really a difficult job to fix something that is not out of order! Conclusion The fact is that this legislation to implementCeDaWcanstillbeand ought to be salvaged. Its various provisions providing assistance to women in marginalized sectors could spell a lot of difference for these women.
northwestern portion of Laoag; and, St. John Bosco in Baresbes, covering three barrios at the eastern side of Dingras. St. Joseph the Worker in Carasi was being prepared but events did not permit its formal erection as parish during the tenure of Bishop Salgado. after much rev up, Bishop Salgado was still taking off when he was named to his mother see, the archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, which he took possession on May 31, 2005. The former Vicar General, the rev. Jacinto a. Jose, was elected by the Board of Consultors as the diocesan administrator. He could not wait for the coming of the new Bishop of Laoag, though. He was ordained Bishop of Urdaneta on November 26, 2005. The rev. Policarpo M. albano continued to steer the diocese in the months of vacancy. Bishop Sergio L. Utleg: Coming Back to His Roots The diocese was sede vacante for 16 months. On November 13, 2006, the then ordinary of Ilagan (Isabela) Bishop Sergio Lasam Utleg was named to the See of Laoag. Bishop Utleg was formerly a priest of the archdiocese of Tuguegarao, being a native of Solano, Cagayan. He was appointed coadjutor Bishop of Ilagan in 1996 and eventually took possession of the see a couple of years later. The appointment of Bishop Utleg to the See of Laoag is a homecoming of sorts. His paternal grandfather was a native of Laoag who migrated to Cagayan. He was installed the fifth Bishop of Laoag on January 11, 2007. To prepare for the forthcoming reshuffle of priest’s assignment and to have a firsthand knowledge of the whole diocese, Bishop Utleg immediately embarked on a pastoral visit. This commenced in February and completed in September of 2007. The bishop’s advocacy for environmental protection was immediately made manifest. He is practically making waves with the mountain
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climbing that he organizes to conquer the highest peaks of Ilocos Norte: Mt. Siminublan in Nueva era, Mt. Masadsadoc in Vintar, Pico de Loro in the boundary of Pagudpud and Adams. Cycling buffs flock to him in his trek of the highways and the byways of the province. The general reshuffle of priests’ assignments went through in april 2008, thus continuing a tradition of periodic transfer since 1973. Diocesan commissions were reorganized and the parish councils are being given a new direction with a uniform constitution and by-laws to be adopted in the whole diocese. Streamlining of the financial management of the parishes is now being prepared to adopt a uniform system thus paving the way towards a standardized remuneration of the clergy. The 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Diocese of Laoag is two and a half years away. This early Bishop Utleg has already started to lay down the groundwork for the celebration. He has tasked the presbyterium to craft a five-year diocesan pastoral plan. The 1994 First Diocese of Laoag Pastoral assembly will soon be revisited for a reorientation to the present pastoral needs of this particular church. The roman Catholic faith has come a long way in this part of the Philippine archipelago. Thrown in the abyss of a schism a century ago there was only a flicker of light at the end of a long tunnel as the virus of apostasy spread in an epidemic proportion like the Bubonic plague. The recovery was slow but steady. The erection of the Diocese of Laoag in 1961 weaned from the mother see of Nueva Segovia exacerbated the growth of the faith. although few shock waves are still felt at times relationship with our aglipayan brethren has become more friendly if not cordial. Things are now seen in the lens of ecumenism espoused by Vatican II.
By Fr. Edwin Corros, CS
IN 1958 15-year-old Micheal Berg (David Kross) falls ill while traveling in Neusdadt , Germany . Thirty-sixyear-old tram conductress Hannah Schmitz (Kate Winslet) helps him return home. apparently Michael has caught scarlet fever and must rest at home for three months. When he recovers, he visits Hannah’s apartment to thank her. The two begin an affair during which Michael reads Hannah some literary works he is studying. Their affair is cut short when Hannah suddenly leaves after receiving news of her promotion to an office work in the Tram Company. In 1966, Michael, already a law student observes a trial of several woman SS guards accused of letting 300 Jewish women die in a burning church after the 1944 evacuation of auschwitz . He is surprised to see Hannah as one of the defendants. The trial reveals that each defendant chose 10 women who were brought to the gas chamber every month. Hannah’s fellow defendant’s points to her as the mastermind of the church fire report. at first she denies but caves in after the court asks her to provide a sample of her handwriting. at this point, Michael realizes Hannah’s secret. Hannah gets life sentence for her presumed role in the genocide Meanwhile, Michael begins recording the stories he has been reading to Hannah and sendsherthecassettetapesbutnever writes or visits. In 1988, Michael is asked by the prison official to help Hannah’s transition into society upon her release. Michael visits the aged Hannah, informs her that he has secured a job and a home for
her, and that he would fetch her on the day she will be released. On that day, Michael learns that Hannah had hanged herself, leaving for him instructions on what do with her money. The film is a powerful poignant drama of coming of age, heartbreak, guilt,shameandredemptionwiththe Holocaust as backdrop. The drama is gentle and downplayed. Winslet, who already has won several Best acting awards for her role as the simple minded Hannah, delivers a profound and honest portrayal. Fiennes is believable as scarred and detached lawyer who in unable to develop a lasting relation and Olin is effective as a Concentration Camp survivor still bitter and damaged from witnessing the atrocities of the Holocaust. The movie, though shufflingfromonedecadetoanother, develops clearly with a crisp and powerfulscreenplay.Theproduction designistruthfulenoughtotransport viewers from Post-war Germany to the modernization of the 80s and at the same time creative enough to illustrate images and characters using the austerity of Hannah’s apartment or the dignified set-up of the courtroom. This is one of those movies that creep in on you almost unnoticed but leaves a permanent imprint. The film presents Hanna as being too morally or intellectually blind to understand the consequences and impact to other people of her words and actions. Her sensibilities are misplaced with her thinking that being illiterate is more shameful than deliberately tolerating mass murder, and that maintaining order as a prison guard is more important than saving the lives of 300 women prisoners. However, morality and goodness are not products of a literary excellence. It is assumed that choosing what is right is innate in every person and that ultimately one is responsible for the choices he makes, schooled or otherwise. Guilt is presented as a shameful history of the young generation and a dark secret of the old. One’s crimes is cleansed not with social justice, personal suffering or tokens of apology but also with the realization of all aggrieved parties that one needs to accept responsibility, forgive and start anew in the effort to make life better for other people. There are several disturbing premises and scenes in the film that may offend the sensitivities of more conservative viewers. However, over-all these do not make the movie objectionable. One, the sex scenes and nudity throughout the film, although graphic, are not exploitative. Two, although the affair between a 30-year-old and a 15-year-old is alarming, it is used to depict a young generation trying to understand the crimes of an older generation. Three, Hannah’s suicide is morally unacceptable but from a psychological point of view one might say that an aging, lonely, broken and once illiterate woman who was coldly received by the one person she was fond of might have felt pushed against a wall and found no reason to continue living. Parents are strongly cautioned as very young and immature audience may not handle well scenes of sex, nudity, suicide and others.
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
Title: The Reader Running Time: 123 min. Cast: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, Alexandra Maria Lara, Lena Olin Director: Stephen Daldry Producers: Donna Gigliotti, Anthony Minghella, Redmond Morris, Sydney Pollack Screenwriters: David Hare, Bernhard Schlink Music: Nico Muhly Editor: Claire Simpson Genre: Historical Drama Cinematography: Roger Deakins, Chris Menges Distributor: Paramount Pictures Location: Germany Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and a above
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Title: You Change My Life Running Time: 120 min Cast: Sarah Geronimo, John Lloyd Cruz, Rowell Santiago, Rayver Cruz, Matet de Leon, Joross Gamboa, Gio Alvarez, Dante Rivero Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina Producers: Malou Santos, Vic Del Rosario Music: Jessie Lasaten Genre: Drama/ Romance Distributor: Star Cinema Productions/ Viva Films Location: Philippines Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance
Look for the three items: Images of the Chalice, Holy Bible and ash. . (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
aNIM na buwan na ang nakakalipas nang mabihag ni Laida M ag t al as (Sarah Geronimo) ang puso ng kanyang “man of his dreams” at boss na si Miggy Montenegro (John Lloyd Cruz). Naayos na ni Miggy ang problema sa kanyang pamilya at masayang-masaya ang kanilang pagsasama ni Laida. Na-promote na si Laida pati na si Miggy. Sa pagkakapromote ni Miggy, kakailanganin niyang magtrabaho sa Laguna at magiging bihira ang pagkikita nila ni Laida. Dito magsisimula ang problema nilang dalawa kasabay ng pagbabalik ng dating best friend ni Laida na si Mackoy (rayver Cruz) na magiging ugat ng pagseselos ni Miggy. Sa gitna ng mga komplikasyon ng relasyong Laida at Miggy ay magkakaroon naman ng oportunidad si Laida na magtrabaho sa Canada. Magkaroon pa kaya ng happy ending ang dalawa? Muling pinakilig ng tambalang Sarah-John Lloyd ang mga manonood sa pagpapatuloy ng kanilang kuwento na nagsimula sa a Very Special Love. Tulad sa naunang pelikula, hitik ang You Changed My Life ng mga nakakatuwang eksena at dimalilimutang mga linya. Tunay na maganda ang chemistry ng dalawa. Maayos ang daloy ng kuwento at malinaw ang nais patunguhan. Magagaling ang lahat ng mga tauhan na binigyang buhay ang kanilang bawat karakter. Sa gitna ng kilig at tawanan, mayroon ring tamang timpla ng drama ang pelikula. Yun nga lang, pawang naging masyadong limitado ang kuwento at problema sa dalawang bida. Hindi na gaanong napalalim ang mga isyung pampamilya at ang ilang mahahalagang karakter ay nawalan ng sariling kuwento. Gayunpaman, ang pinakamahalaga’y naihatid ng pelikula ang kuwentong Laida at Miggy sa mas mataas na antas. Nakakatuwang pagmasdan kung paanong ang dalawang taong wagas na nagmamahalan ay pilit na gumagawa ng paraan upang panatilihin at pagyabungin ito. Nananatiling dalisay at walang bahid ng kalaswaan at makamundong pagnanasa ang relasyong Laida at Miggy. Tunay na hindi kinakailangang magpakita ng laman o malabis na halikan upang ipakita ang pagmamahalan. Napakalakas ng mensahe ng pelikula na walang imposible sa dalawang taong nagmamahalan. Hindi hadlang ang pagkakaiba ng estado sa buhay maging ang panlabas na kaanyuan sa dalawang pusong nagmamahal. Kapuri-puri din ang pagpapahalaga ng pelikula sa pamilya, pagkakaibigan, trabaho at higit sa lahat, sa makabuluhang relasyon. Sa gitna ng kaguluhan at maraming komplikasyon sa pagbabago ng mundo, nanatiling matibay ang pagkakaibigan, pagpaparaya at pag-ibig. Ikanga rin sa pelikula, hindi nagsusukatan ang taong nagmamahalan sapagkat iba’t-iba ang kayang ibigay ng bawat isa. ang mahalaga’y lubos at buongpuso ang pagbibigay at pagpaparaya.
CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
SFC: Jesus is our Icon!
the celebratory mood on Friday night, with Msgr. Rommel Kintanar, CFC Cebu Spiritual Director, as the main celebrant. This was followed by the first session, “In Christ…This is the Life!” given by fulltime missionary Joemar Salumbides, once a Singles for Christ member himself in the early years of the ministry, and now a member of the SFC Council. This session recalled important milestones in the SFC ministry’s last 15 years and how our life in Christ has been a life of revelations, conversion, healing and forgiveness, and promises fulfilled. The session posed the challenge for every Singles for Christ member to continue to become like Christ, and to be Christ to others so that, as St. Paul exhorts us, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” The second day was full of activity, as delegates attended workshops centering on the sacraments, missionary work, and continuous transformation and growth. Others participated in creative and sports competitions, many of which were done in SM City Cebu’s activity center where mall shoppers where witness to the talents of SFCs and the joy of being in this community. All these were followed by the launch of the SFC Bayani, a group of 12 SFCs chosen for their love and service for the poor, who will serve as Gawad Kalinga Ambassadors. GK 1MB Head Mari Oquiñena talked about how our love for God is concretely expressed in serving the poor and in holding on to the hope of “a new heaven and a new earth” that He has prepared for us. The evening session, entitled “Forgetting What Lies Behind,” recalled the pains of the past and reminded us how like us, Jesus our Icon went through the same hurts of being tempted, betrayed, scourged, and forsaken. Speaker Michael Ariola, member of the SFC Council and fulltime missionary, underscored the lessons to be learned from what Jesus did during these painful experiences and how we are called to strain toward our goal which is Jesus Himself. The highlight of the conference was a Benediction and High Mass, a most solemn experience that emphasized our perfect union with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Concelebrated by Bishop Crispin Varquez, bishop of the Archdiocese of Borongan, Samar as main celebrant, together with Msgr. Cris Garcia as homilist, Fr. Paul Uwemedimo of Couples for Christ, and other visiting priests, the Eucharistic Celebration was truly Christ’s real and loving presence affirming to all that ““He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” (John 6:56) Finally, in the last session of the conference, “Forward in Christ,” SFC International Coordinator Aldy Katigbak unveiled the restated vision of the Singles for Christ ministry: “Every single man and woman all over the world experiencing Christ.” The rally call to all SFCs is to simply be CHRIST: Catholic, Humble, Radical, Intercessors, Sacrificing, and Together. Only then could the SFC vision be lived out and find its fulfillment. The conference was capped by a powerful praisefest and the celebration of the Holy Mass amidst cloudy skies, refreshing light showers, and then gentle sunshine that affirmed everyone of God’s close watch and joyful embrace. It was indeed a weekend of experiencing Christ in many different ways in many different instances, each of them personal, each of them transforming.
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
SEVEN thousand single men and women converged in Cebu last February 20-22, 2009 for the 16th Singles for Christ International Conference (ICon). The conference saw delegates from all over the Philippines and the world assembled together to proclaim Jesus Christ as the Icon of Singles for Christ, and that the only way to move forward was IN CHRIST. Set in the parking lot of SM City Cebu, the event was a wonderful opportunity to evangelize and show the world what it means to love Christ, as mall shoppers were made privy to the worship and teachings of the Singles for Christ community courtesy of wide-screens set in strategic areas in the venue. Thousands of singles were seen around the mall during conference breaks, all donned in their conviction shirts proclaiming Jesus as their Icon. The whole weekend was opened by a joyful High Mass that set
Young CFC’s on Track
THE music was lively and the mood upbeat as 450 couples awaited the opening of the CFC Young Couples Conference. The first-ever event, dubbed “On Track”, was held at the Clamshell in Intramuros on the Day of Hearts— February 14. Gawad Kalinga fulltime worker Marco Flores gave the first talk entitled “Let’s not Bring the Past Back,” which was virtually a journey in photographs. Marco recounted precious moments in his relationship with Laksmi, now his wife. His stories touched a chord in the hearts of the many young couples present, who were able to relate to the difficulties and thrills of starting a life together. Marco stressed the importance of leaving the past behind—the emotions that weigh a marriage down, the fears that threaten the peace in the relationship, and even the conveniences that compete with the new blessings of marital life. “Marriage, as a blessed unity,” said Marco, “presents us the potential of a most powerful teamwork between the couple and they with God, to effect positive change in the world.” In the second talk, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” CFC-South A sector head Mannix Ocampo delved deeper into the challenges of married life and the need to strain as individuals, as a couple, and as a family to preserve the beauty of marriage. His wife Aileen shared in greater detail about the difficulties they went through in the early years of their life together, and spoke openly of the straining that she had to do to save their marriage. Mannix emphasized that one’s wife or husband is a gift from God, Who is the only third party allowed in marriage. During the lunch break that followed, workshops relevant to the concerns of young couples were conducted. These activities were played out in the format of a talk show hosted by Michael and Carel Ariola. The first workshop was presented by PAG-IBIG Fund Marketing Officer, Mr. Danny Rentoy, who spoke briefly about housing loan fundamentals and then answered questions from the audience. In the second workshop, Ben and Mayet Salveria, parent coach from the Catholic Filipino Academy talked about the basics and benefits of home schooling. GONEGOSYO mentor Francisco “Pax” Lapid gave a crash course in entrepreneurship during the third workshop. In the final session, Marivie Dalman not only shared helpful tips on how to prepare healthy and affordable meals for the family, but also did an actual cooking demonstration on video. The final talk, given by CFC International Council member Melo Villaroman, Jr., was entitled “More Today than Yesterday.” It was a journey in song that focused on the importance of living, loving, and serving together as families in Couples for Christ. Melo spoke of seeing marriage as a vocation that extends beyond just the couple and their children to the community and society in which
E–Pinoy Launched in Cebu
By Bernie Cuevas
THE E-Pinoy launch and orientation during the Singles for Christ conference in Cebu emphasized what the Singles already knew but somehow usually forget -- that the Filipino is the most important, most valuable resource of our country, the Philippines. This was the same realization during the soft launch of the same E-Pinoy program in Metro Manila a few days earlier. E Pinoy is one of the safety nets that the CFC community is putting into place in the light of the global economic crisis. It envisions a new economy that empowers Pinoys through right education, right employment and right values. It puts great value and worth to Filipinos in the workplace and aims to ensure that Filipino workers, whether here or abroad, should be given the best opportunities to grow, develop and reach their best potential. It seeks to remind all successful Filipino workers to give back to their country not only through taxes, but to contribute their expertise towards the building of a new economy. The E-Pinoy program is a partnership between CFC and Source Asia Business. Under this partnership, CFC will apply the successful Human Resource ecosystem model developed by Source Asia to the community of Couples for Christ. CFC provides the fertile ground for Social Change. Through E-Pinoy, CFC’s massive membership and network can provide the impetus needed to radically expand the HR ecosystem to make a difference in the economy of our country. The challenge to CFC is how to infect our CFC members with the E-Pinoy bug. For starters, all CFC members are encouraged to log on to the E-Pinoy website at www.e-pinoy.org. The website aims to build a network of CFC members who belong to any of the four categories: 1. those looking for a job or a better job; 2. those who have institutions who can link with E-Pinoy and offer courses that are directly linked to industries; 3. members who have expertise in various fields and are willing to mentor younger members in their line of expertise; and 4. business owners who would like to open their doors to E-Pinoy workers who have the right values, attitudes, and the skills required to help grow the business. To learn more about E-Pinoy and to get information on how E-Pinoy can help you and how you can help E-Pinoy. log on to the website, enroll and be part of the E-Pinoy yahoo groups.
they move, and the beauty of dreaming not just for one’s children but for God’s bigger family. Melo stressed the need to move forward to share the blessing of CFC to the world. He urged everyone to not just expect great things from the Lord but to attempt great things for Him, too. For with God, the possibilities are infinite and the blessings endless. Melo and his wife Nini sang a duet—a CFC version of the song “I Wanna Grow Old with You” —to express their commitment to serving together in the community even when they are old and gray. The praisefest that capped the afternoon, led by Noli Manuel, was a beautiful sight to behold as couples held each other close, thankful for each other and for God who brought them—and keeps them— together. It seemed only right and fitting that a renewal of marriage vows be conducted in those precious moments. In the Holy Eucharist right after the praisefest, Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite, SSP affirmed CFC’s calling to bring the light of Christ’s love to a world that hungers for it. A prom-night themed party complete with cocktails and dancing immediately followed after the Holy Eucharist. The Kenosis Band serenaded the young couples with their favorite love songs and the 29AD Band rocked the night with dance music. The night affair was highlighted with an honoring of mentors led by CFC International Missions Coordinator, Clarke Nebrao, and was received by the CFC Executive Director, Joe Tale. Seeing the many young couples that took part in the conference, one can almost see God’s plan for CFC unfolding. These are the families of the future who, empowered by the Spirit, will continue the work of renewing the face of the earth.
By Joe Tale, CFC Executive Director
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
A New Generation
THERE’S a song that we sing in our gatherings and the first two lines of the first stanza goes like this: “There’s a new generation that is seeking Your face There’s a new generation that is taking their place…” This perfectly describes what we in Couples for Christ are seeing now. Indeed a new generation of people who love God, who follow Jesus and who love the poor are rising in our midst. The Beginnings of this New Generation Almost 28 years ago, we had absolutely no inkling of where our God was going to lead us. Back then, we thought we were being called only to empower our marriages, to allow our love for our spouse to blossom and to bear fruit in a happy home, Christ-like parenting and productive lives as good and responsible citizens. About a decade later, we realized that we were also being called to lead our children towards the same Christ-centered life that we had already embraced. So, we eagerly and willingly brought our children to Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ and Singles for Christ. Many of us found much joy in serving as coordinators in the Family Ministries, envisioning a society that would be transformed because we were now “Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth.” Of course, our faith-journey did not end there. The natural progression was for us to bring into the fold those in our families who needed Christ in their lives as well – the widows, the single mothers, the unmarried women, those whose husbands were abroad. Later we established the ministry for their male counterparts. Our Social Ministries was in response to our realization that we needed to go beyond our families – we needed to bring the love of God to those in need, those in prison, those in the armed forces, those who are considered the least, the lost, the lonely. Fast Forward to the Present Today, we realize that we have indeed grown, not just in number and in advocacies but in physical years. Those of us who came into community in the prime of our life – in our 30s and 40s – now see thinning and graying hair, added poundage, less physical energy. Today we see God’s wisdom in guiding us in our early years to our Family Ministries. The children we brought to the regular activities of Kids for Christ and Youth for Christ and the young men and women we gently shepherded in Singles for Christ are now professionals, many of them married and with families of their own. Today, we see a new generation that is truly seeking God’s face and taking their place as leaders, as innovators, as shepherds of this flock that we are now ready to entrust to them. The Proper Way What do we, the older generation, expect from the emerging breed of young leaders? We have taught them, by word and by example, to “run by faith” and to be “willing to pray,” as the song goes. We have tried to show them that love produces more miracles and wonders than force and intimidation can ever hope to do. We expect them to honor tradition and culture. We would like them to see the value of our time-tested approaches to evangelization and mission. We honor the youth for their radical ideas and sometimes drastic proposals but we hope that they will also look to the past for what has already worked. We would like them to be open to ideas that come from a generation that has already “been there and done that.” Most of all, we want them to do what we older ones have relied on so many times in the past – pray unceasingly. We have learned, over 28 years, that we do not have all the answers. Only God does. We have learned that our puny efforts are nothing compared to what God can do but that puny as they are, with God’s grace and guidance, our efforts can still produce wonderful and awesome results. We have learned, in the face of difficulties and trials, to get down on our knees and to beg God’s intervention. Many many times, He has heard us. Our Prayer The youth of today are blessed with so much. The youth of CFC are blessed with so much more. They have a prayerful family, a huge support group, an organization that has embraced so many advocacies they will never run out of worthwhile causes to embrace and upon which to expend their youthful energies and passions. They have their faith in Jesus. They have love. Our prayer is that, as our community moves forward into our golden jubilee, that our young men and women will move forward in faith, in love, in commitment. We pray that they will use the weapons of truth, justice and love that God has given them in abundance to expand the work and to keep afire the principles CFC stands for. It was the youth who prophesied that in the near future, the world will kneel to Christ. It is the youth who are now being called to commit to make that happen.
By George Asensi
JT Visits Northern Samar CFC
EXECUTIVE Director Joe Tale and wife Babylou visited the Northern Samar area last February 7 and 8, giving talks in Laoang, Northern Samar (Pacific area) and in Allen, Northern Samar (Balicuatro area) to local CFC leaders. On Sunday, February 8, the couple met with Bishop Emmanuel Trance, bishop of the diocese of Catarman and Bishop Emeritus Angel Hobayan and other clergy during the monthly dinner fellowship the CFC Northern Samar Provincial Council hosts for the bishops and the clergy of the province.
Joe and Babylou and Northern Samar leaders and their spouses at the dinner fellowship. From extreme left - Fr. Bong Uno of Catarman Parish, Fr. Eleno Delizon, Northern Samar CFC Spiritual Director, Babylou, Bishop Emeritus Angel Hobayan, Joe Tale, Bishop Emmanuel Trance.
New IC Appointments
THE International Council announced new assignments for some of the IC members, in the wake of the appointment of Melo Villaroman as Gawad Kalinga President. Melo used to be Family Ministries Director and Home Office Director, positions he had to leave in order to focus on his new appointment. Ernie Maipid has been appointed Family Ministries Director in charge of Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ and Singles for Christ while Rouquel Ponte has been appointed Family Ministries Director in charge of Handmaids of the Lord and Servants of the Lord. Joey Arguelles was appointed Home Office Director. Melo formally assumed his new position last February 16 and is now holding office at the GK office in Pro-Friends Building in Mandaluyong.
Joe Tale leads Metro Manila sector heads in praying over GK President Melo Villaroman, Jr and GK Executive Director Luis Oquinena
By Joe Yamamoto, Philippine Missions Director, International Council Member
Partners for the Poor
By Arnel Santos
ROTARY International District 3780 had a groundbreaking ceremony for their GK Village in San Mateo, Rizal last February 24. Honored guests were Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao; Joe Tale, CFC Director and GK Chairman; Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, Mayor of Quezon City; Casimiro Ynares, Jr., Governor of Rizal; Rafael Diaz, Mayor of San Mateo, Rizal; Herbert Bautista, Vice Mayor of Quezon City; Quezon City Councilor Bernadette “BH” Herrera-Dy; and Alex Cureg, Governor of Rotary International District 3780. The GK village will be home to at least 400 families from the slums of Quezon City and some riverside residents of San Mateo who have previously undergone Kapitbahayan and the continuing Values Formation and Skills Training Program of Gawad Kalinga. The village is situated on a three-hectare land purchased by the Vicariate of Cubao (WB5) Mass Housing Foundation, Inc., chaired by Msgr. Antonio SJ Mortillero. The homes would be constructed from donations of the various Rotary Clubs in Quezon City (RI District 3780). Land development would be provided by the Quezon City government, with full and active assistance by the San Mateo LGU and the Rizal Provincial Government. Msgr. Dan Sta. Maria, Vicar-General Economus of the Diocese of Cubao, and Vice-President of the Foundation, expressed the diocese’s appreciation for the cooperation extended by Rotary, saying that while they had the dream to provide homes for the poor in their area, it was only when the lay faithful, particularly Couples for Christ and the local government units, started to move that the dream took shape. He expressed amazement at the fact “… in less than a year’s time, here we are, on this historic day, at the very place where the dream community is to be built. We are here to serve as partners in building “a civilization of love,” upon which all efforts in uplifting and promoting the dignity of each human being is grounded. Allelulia!”
The CFC Pastoral Team What does “pressing on with the mission” mean to the CFC Pastoral Team, which is is effect the husband and the wife working together as one? I. Taking Initiative – Husband and wife need to look at the circumstances of family and work life as occasions to proclaim and share Christ. “Taking initiative” means that they are not satisfied with the
LAYOUT BY LAURENCE JOHN R. MORALES
OUR community’s theme for the year “Forward in Christ” taken from Philippians 3:13-14 coincides with the Catholic Church’s current celebration of the Pauline year. St. Paul exhorted the faithful to “imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor.11:1). In effect he expressed in very clear terms how we are directed to emulate his posture in relating to Christ and thus make it our life’s goal. In so stating, we are urged to draw inspiration from the very life of Paul and learn from the examples in his life as lessons that we can apply today. The Mission for CFC members is well outlined on account of our defined two-fold mission of building ‘ the church of the home’ and ‘the church of the poor.’ Since we are to be Church builders, we need to understand how to focus our energies in the fulfillment of the mandate which may extend beyond our lifetime to that of our children. CFC is commissioned to proclaim and share Christ in words and in action. such undertaking is made possible if we are consistent and faithful witnesses and co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard. The appropriate response to the Great Commission is not just to build a disciple community or a disciple people but to look to the greater task of establishing a disciple nation. Paul, speaks in Philippians 3 of “continuing my pursuit toward the goal.” Essentially, to continue the pursuit is to press on. The applied effort must be continuous and relentless, leaving no room for pause or slack. Whoever takes on the Goal must have this Goal ever before him or her every single waking moment, especially during personal prayer and scripture times. To press on is to do it yourself, not to delegate it or live it out vicariously. Because it is “MY GOAL” I am therefore expected to make it my personal covenant with the Lord. My personal statement must be “if it has to be, it has to be me.” It emphasizes accountability. Because the responsibility and commitment is up close and personal, it cannot be lived through other people. “Toward” defines the direction we are supposed to go. It implies a forward movement, not circuitous. When we apply that statement to our lives in community, going toward the goal requires singlemindedness for Christ. “Goal” establishes the reward or the end of all the efforts and the struggles. The final Goal is Christ. Because He is our Goal, it becomes our privilege and responsibility to bring our families to Christ, and Christ to our families. Necessarily, we likewise share God to the communities, nations and the World. It is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. It is the reality of “winning the world for Christ.”
Pressing On with the Mission
status quo. If this posture is transposed to the work of evangelization, they begin to see many more occasions and opportunities to be able to share Christ. There was this story about a novice fisherman who was brought to a lake that was teeming with fish but he could not see them through shimmering surface of the lake waters. But when he was given sunglasses with polarizing lenses, then he was able to see the fish and thus experienced a bountiful catch. The same is true for a Christian equipped with the eyes of an evangelizer, like Paul. He begins to see his home and place of work, places where he exerts influence and presence as fertile grounds to learn and share the gospel. II. Taking Courage – Husband and wife, being the evangelizing team, must be single-minded for Christ while at the same time being firmly rooted in a life of prayers, scriptures and generosity. The CFC pastoral team must remain firm and tough in the Lord and for the Lord in any and all occasions and circumstances. How does one find courage? First, by being able to live out the lessons of the Word of God. Second, by being consistent with the values learned in the community because it is only then that he/ she will be able to strengthen others. Proverbs 27:17 says this best: “As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man.” Third, husband and wife must remain optimistic and enthusiastic and radiate this fully such that everyone around them are infected by it. This raises the optimism of everyone and makes easier the work of being co-workers in the vineyard. III. Taking Charge – To take charge means to hold ourselves accountable and responsible for the family and community, and to consciously commit to be agents of transformation for our families and places of work. We must learn to be ‘tough’ Christians, humble and yet confident of God’s love and care. To be ‘tough’ is to inculcate the reality of accepting adversities as part of our Christian life and yet confident that with the armor provided by the Word of God, we are able to overcome obstacles and crises. We must learn to focus on the objectives and not on the obstacles. A Christian who takes charge is capable of identifying his priorities, and determines what is of importance and what is not. If the work of CFC is evangelization, then he must be able to look for opportunities and take on this task with the recognition that so long as he does his share, the Lord does the rest. Evangelization is about sharing Christ to everyone because we have Him in us. We are able to witness because of our own transformed lives. The moral and ethical foundations of Christian life, the biblical absolutes, the axioms of God’s word in the scripture and the truthfulness of God Himself are absolutes that cannot be compromised. This is our Great Commission – to proclaim and share Christ to all the world by the witnessing of our very lives. Following St. Paul’s example, we are called to suffer, to persevere, to press on despite all the odds and obstacles. This is the challenge to us as Christians. We can only pray that we are up to the challenge.
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
pino and in his right to a great future in the land God gave him. However, he went on to state the many negative aspects of being Filipino that have been seemingly ingrained in our cultural psyche over the years – how we have gone from a wellrespected nation and people to the basketcase of Asia. How we are now known as one of the poorest countries in Asia when we are actually the fifth richest in the world in terms of mineral deposits. How only 7% of our people own more than 80% of our country’s wealth. How more than a million of our countrymen are forced to leave their families behind in search of a better future abroad because they see no hope for them in their own country. Atty. Lacson opined that the Filipino faces a great enemy and that this enemy is responsible for his slide from being great to being pitiful. Our enemy? Corruption. He stressed that we can defeat this enemy only if we do our sacred duty: to use our privilege to vote during elections and to do it wisely. He stated that our national problems can be solved through two basic ideas: good leadership and good citizenship. Atty. Lacson firmly stated that “Every country that has attained prosperity has done it through good leadership.” Noting that CFC is a religious organization, he nevertheless exhorted the members to get involved in the political field. He proposed several options for political involvement for CFC: 1) to support good senatorial candidates; 2) to campaign for a new breed of leaders; 3) to contribute to the campaign kitty of deserving candidates; and 4) to join political movements. In addition to examining the credentials of candidates, Atty. Lacson titillated the audience when he made a drastic suggestion. He asked CFC to encourage one to three of its members to run for Senate. Atty. Lacson asked the audience to consider the ideas in his talk in the light of Biblical exhortations that deal with political revolution, and cited James 4:17 – “So then, if we do not do the good we know we should do, we are guilty of sin.” He paraphrased this verse into the oft-repeated phrase “Evil triumphs because good men do nothing.” Atty. Alex Lacson
By Zeny Gimenez
THE Mission Core Teaching Night last Tuesday, February17 was a lively one and featured two speakers. It was also very interesting because the topic was close to the heart of every civic-minded CFC member present – our electoral duties and responsibilities. The first speaker was Fr. Roberto E. N. Rivera, S.J. who provided the pastoral background for the second talk, which was given by Atty Alex Lacson, now known as the author of the very popular 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country.
Our Sacred Duty
Church and State are separate? Because Atty. Lacson’s talk focused only on number 9 in his list which states: “During elections, do your sacred duty, “ Fr. Robert began by admitting how he was struck by Atty. Lacson’s description of electoral participation as a sacred trust, a solemn duty. He said, “Sadly, whenever we hear of elections or politics mentioned in the same breath as church or faith, or when the church is criticized for being involved in political issues, we often hear the words “SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.” Explaining that his brief remarks are meant to clarify precisely how involvement in politics is part of our sacred mission, he proceeded to focus on three points. First , he explained that “separation of Church and State” simply means, according to the Second Vatican Council of 1965, that the government is not to be used as an instrument for coercing individuals to adhere to the Catholic faith. However, it does not mean that the Church has no role at all to play in politics. As Fr. Robert emphasized, “In fact, we have been told time and time again by many church pronouncements that “politics has a religious and moral dimension.” Second, he distinguished between the “political field” and the “political arena,” as expounded by Bp. Francisco Claver in his new book The Making of a Social Church. He explained that the political field refers to the venue of “political issues,” in so far as these lead to the common welfare while the political arena refers to the
venue of “competition for political power,” or what we would call “partisan politics.” He clarified that “Precisely because politics has a religious and moral dimension, the church has a role to play in the political field. But because of its divisiveness, the church hierarchy and church groups should refrain from participating in the political arena (ref also Deus Caritas Est), except in extraordinary situations.” Fr. Robert went on to say that Philippine bishops have, time and time again, emphasized the need to participate in the political field for the following reasons: a) The Gospel and the Kingdom of God call the church to political involvement (Mark 16: 5 – “proclaim the gospel to all creation.”) b) The church’s mission of integral salvation involves the temporal sphere judging from Gospel accounts of Jesus chastising Pharisees and Scribes for adherence to the law while ignoring temporal needs; c) Salvation is from both personal and social sin, including sin in the political sphere. d) The church has an option for the poor in the field of politics and e) The way of the church is the human person who is affected by politics. Fr. Robert concluded by saying that “Politics has an integral religious and moral dimension, thus there is a need for study, discernment, and involvement!” Believe in the Filipino Atty. Lacson prefaced his talk by affirming his belief in the Fili-
Fr. Robert Rivera, SJ with IC members Joe Yamamoto and Ernie Maipid and West B sector head Nonong Ignacio.
LAST December 20, 2008, Rex Bernardo, 38 years old and CFC member from Camarines Norte, received the prestigious “The Outstanding Young Men” (TOYM) award for outstanding community service. This is no mean feat considering that Rex has had to struggle with physical disability, having been stricken with polio when he was five years old. Rex’s physical handicap caused him to miss attending formal elementary and high school classes. Eventually he learned to read, write and count from his mother, who was a teacher. He became a voracious reader of books, magazines and newspapers, and eventually took to writing stories, which he sent to magazines. His stories were eventually published in “Liwayway Magazine” a leading Filipino publication. Even without formal education. Rex’s rise to tertiary education was phenomenal. At the age of 20, he enrolled at the Trinity College and earned a degree in Bachelor of Science in Psychology. He was instrumental in the creation of Trinity College’s Disabled Enablement and Empowerment Program that earned recognition for the school as the First Disabled Friendly School in the country. After completing the AB course, he was granted scholarships at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), University of Sydney and his alma mater, earning master’s degrees in development management, human resource and industrial relations respectively.
CFC honors TOYM awardee
CFC to expand Migrant Workers Program to Mission Countries
By Alma Alvarez
THE GK Tek group of the CFC Tekton Guild conducted a Facilitators Workshop for fulltime mission workers last January 28 at the Gawad Kabuhayan Center in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. This is part of the process now being put in place for the Moral Values Re-orientation Program (MVRP) for overseas Filipino workers, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers Program. The program is a partnership between the Department of Labor and Employment and CFC Tekton Foudation Inc. and involves the conduct of the MVRP for departing OFWs, their families left behind and the OFWs already working abroad. Missionary couples Nestor and Amee Belen (Papua New Guinea), Shok and Carel Ariola (South Africa), Errol and Miggie Martinez (South Africa), Nick and Norma Borja (Canada), and Lito and Ofie Samaniego (Seychelles) participated in the workshop. They were later joined by International Missions Office Coordinators Clarke and Cynthia Nebrao, Mon Santiago and International Missions Director Rouquel and Nina Ponte. Thelma Hizon, Lina David, Medy Kapunan, Bing Baccaro, Marge Uy and Malen Manangan facilitated the workshop. In the afternoon, the GK Tek team presented the modules as well as discussed the facilitating skills needed to conduct the program in the mission countries. The team also conducted sample sessions of the talks. The participating couples were likewise given time to study the modules and were asked to conduct sample sessions themselves. Aside from understanding the program, it is imperative that the facilitators experience the sessions themselves,” explains Medy Kapunan. She adds, “Facilitators should also keep in mind that although there is a standard module for the program, the facilitators should learn how to customize the modules to suit the culture of each country.” The MVRP was launched last year in response to the growing number of Filipino migrant workers, and to address the urgent need to restore God’s plan for the Filipino family despite the diaspora. A Memorandum of Agreement was signed last February 29, 2008 by then DOLE Secretary Arturo Brion and CFC Tekton Foundation Inc. head Jose Tayag. Under this MOA, all prospective clients of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs or NRCO shall undergo values formation training courtesy of Tekton. A similar program for the Families Circles or those who are left behind by the OFWs, is likewise included in the agreement.
Rex and wife Maris attended the Christian Life Program (CLP) of Couples for Christ at the Mt. Carmel Parish, New Manila, Quezon City in 1994. He eventually served as a household head while Maris served in the ministry of Teodora. Using his experience and expertise, Rex was a consultant for CFC’s advocacy and service to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). Their only child Rexmar started in the ministry of Kids For Christ and is now an active member of Youth For Christ. In 2002 the Bernardo family decided to settle in their hometown Daet, Camarines Sur. The couple continued to serve the Lord as Education Coordinator of the provincial Gawad Kalinga (GK) ministry and later as Child and Youth Development (CYD) Coordinator of GK. Rex is also the diocesan head of the Ministry for Persons With Disabilities. His citations include: the Recognition Award for Student Leadership (2002) from the AIM; Diane and Howard Cook Award for Leadership Excellence (2000) from University of Sydney and Student Leadership Excellence Award (1998) from Trinity College. Last year 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presented to him the Presidential Merit Award as a grand achiever from the differently-abled sector. Rex Adivoso Bernardo is proof that despite physical disabilities, we can be the men and women whom God can use for His greater honor and glory.
Vol. 13 No. 5
March 2 - 15, 2009
Book Review: ‘City on a Hill’
Reflections by Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco (2008)
Spirit to work through you.” This is what the bishop has to say about lay empowerment: “Empowerment is not about who has the authority and who has not. Rather, it is about having the power to serve and having the power to be sent into the world as servant-- leaders…. My dear parishioners, to be empowered is not to take away the power from your parish priest. Rather, to be empowered is to let yourselves be formed according to the heart of Jesus and to be committed in giving yourselves, your time, talent and treasure for the good of the parish.” To the Catholic educators and catechists, he articulates: “The school is the place of discipleship. Our hope and aspiration is that our students’ graduation may also become a “mission-sending” for them when they now become the evangelized evangelizer.” The good bishop’s heart for the poor is likewise poured out in his directives to the priests of the Diocese of Cubao: “Fr. Bong (Tupino), take care of the poor in your parish. Do not let them be marginalized in this church. Go to them and listen to their voices. Journey with them and help them uplift their dignity.” One must not also miss out the bishop’s call to say “Yes” to God. In this present world where “God has become marginalized,” Bishop Ongtioco turns to the example of the Blessed Mother, and exhorts all that: “God needs our ‘Yes’ because He wants to make us partners in the history of salvation. Our lives will remain under the shadow of sin if we do not say ‘Yes’ to God. Our families will continue to be on the path of irrelevance if we do not say, ‘Yes’ to God. Our parishes will continue to work in the dynamism of competitions and politics if we do not say, ‘Yes’ to God. Our society will continue to be insensitive to the inhuman plight of the millions of poor Filipinos if we do not say, ‘Yes’ to God. Our country will continue to be one of the most corrupt, backward and underdeveloped in the world if we do not say, ‘Yes’ to God.” He goes on to say, “God had the perfect plan for Mary, and she saw to its fulfillment when she said, ‘Yes’ to God. God has the most wonderful plan for us but without saying “Yes” to Him we cannot taste the sweetness of His Good News.” The book does not limit itself to anecdotes and simple reflections. It also contains the bishop’s fresh and incisive theological thoughts on societal values and issues affecting the country today, particularly in the area of Catholic education. “A city set on a hill” (Civitas supra montem posita). This is the motto of the Diocese of Cubao, which the good bishop describes as a diocese that “has been blessed with countless men and women who live exemplary lives of dedicated and devoted
By Arnel M. Santos
THE back cover of the book “City on a Hill—Reflections by Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco,” instantly provides a glimpse of the reason why this 168-page book is an inspired work and is uniquely valuable for both the clergy and the lay. The fifty seven (57) reflections classified into ten (10) subjects –On Anniversaries, Priesthood, Mary, Education, Gift of Life, Saints, Lent, Religious Life, Jubilee and the Last Words of Jesus—have Christ as their singular focus. It is reminiscent of the call of John the Baptist: “It is necessary that he increase but that I decrease.” (John 3:30) The good bishop has successfully exemplified how to behold and radiate Christ, humbly and self-effacingly. He has lifted the stories of both the ordinary men and women-- clergy and simple parishioners—as well as the lives of the saints, as starting point for his own exposition of the Gospel. He expresses his fondness for the etymology of “anniversary” – from two Latin words: “annus,” year and “vertere,” to turn – to invite all to look back and turn to the Lord and thank Him for the wonderful things He has done. To the ordinary married couples who have celebrated golden wedding anniversaries, the good Bishop honored them by saying: “What transpired in the past half century of their life is the most beautiful homily that could ever be preached… Their adorable family is a clear testimony of how they lived out their commitment. They see their marriage as a sacred covenant not just between the two of them but with Christ at the center.” He also speaks to the clergy, saying: “To be a priest today is to be a simple reminder of Christ; one who makes Christ present.” For the lay faithful, he exhorts, “As I look back and see how the hand of God is at work in our lives, I realize that aside from the hard work of my brother priests, it has been your selfless dedication, your work of faith, and labor of love that have made such growth happen, allowing the Holy
service…” Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco, D.D. is the first Bishop of the Diocese of Cubao, with a Masters Degree in Organizational Development and Planning from Southeast Asian Interdisciplinary Institute and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) from the Pontifical University of St. Tomas Aquinas, Rome, Italy. Bishop “Ness”, as he is fondly called, led the Eucharistic Celebration of Couples for Christ (CFC)- Big West, during its Sectoral Mission Core Gathering (MCG) on February 1, 2009 at St. Theresa’s College (STC) in Quezon City. The book has been sold out in a little over two months from release, and now waits for its second printing. Proceeds would go to scholarship projects of the diocese.
1st GOKABIZ Successful Unveiling the SFC vision
By Taffy Ledesma By Alma Alvarez
processing plant and gasoline stations among others. One Co-op, One Product GoKaBiz also aims to inspire each province co-op to develop and highlight one best product of the area. The CCF invited the co-op primaries to showcase products that each Co-op distributes or produces, and services they render to members “EVERY single man and woman all over the world experiencing Christ.” This was the vision presented to over 300 Singles for Christ leaders from all over the world at the 1st SFC Global Leaders Summit last February 22-23, 2009, in Cebu City. Top leaders from all over the Philippines and the international SFC community came to the Global Leaders Summit to hear and discuss the new SFC Vision in this two-day gathering. The international community was well-represented as delegates from Indonesia, China, Singapore, East Timor, Australia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Canada, the Carribean, Seychelles, Netherlands, and Ireland came to participate. The vision for SFC casts the ideal future state not only of the ministry but of the whole world. It presents a picture of the future that every SFC should work to build-- a world where every person’s life is an ongoing experience of Christ. The vision puts into perspective the scope of the mission which is to bring Christ’s love to everyone by being Christ experiences to others everyday and everywhere. And just as important as being Christ experiences to others, SFC members were reminded that they should also strive to experience Christ everyday, under any circumstance. The atmosphere of the Global Leaders Summit was Spirit-filled, personal, and very intimate despite the large group. After the vision was presented, small and diverse discussion groups, just like households, were formed to discuss the personal impact of the vision to each participant. A very emotional and inspiring sharing followed as members talked about how the vision affected them as leaders and also how it made sense to them as individuals. The event was concluded with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which marked four straight days, from the International Conference to the Global Leaders Summit, of SFC members not only listening to talks, attending workshops, and worshipping, but spending time with God through the Mass.
Joe Tale cuts the ribbon opening the exhibit of products from different Co-ops primaries.
LAST January 31 and February 1, 2009, the CFC and to the general public. Cooperatives Federation spearheaded GoKabiz sa Quezon highlighted popular products of the UPLB: Isip Negosyo, Pusong Kristyano. Eighteen province like the longganiza, coco jam, kiping Co-ops for Christ primaries from Luzon, Visayas fans and various beauty and health products made and Mindanao came to the two-day business fo- from virgin coconut oil. Davao showcased the S9 rum and workshop held at the Local Government motor oil, said to be the first microbiotech engine Academy, UP at Los Baños in Laguna. oil made from coconut. CFC Executive Director Joe Tale and his wife Laguna, on the other hand, featured their sucBabylou graced the event. In his talk, Joe Tale cessful Botika ng Barangay, the GKandles from spoke of the Scripture passage where Jesus com- Sta. Rosa, goat milk products from Calamba and mands Peter to “feed My sheep” (John 21:17). hydrophonics farming, courtesy of Dr. Gil VilAccording to Joe, this is the same principle that lancio, of UPLB. governs the operations of CCF through the various Palawan brought kasuy products as well as CoFC primaries -- to take care of the flock via the rosaries made from cultured pearls. They also business opportunities that they will establish. presented Co-ops Palawan’s Travel and Tours Through GoKaBiz sa UPLB, the CCF hopes to packages. Other exhibitors include Ugnaymove the member Co-op primaries towards the di- Kalinga/ Globe, Mocha Blends, TekInsure and rection of establishing businesses which will serve Metro Manila East HOLD (Joco Beeswax ointtheir immediate communities as well as the bigger ment). society. These businesses are likewise expected to The CCF plans to replicate GoKaBiz in Visayas create jobs for members and allow opportunities and Mindanao for the members of Couples for for exchange of products and services among co- Christ and Co-ops for Christ in these areas. operatives. During the business forum, the Soro-soro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC), through its Chairman Dr. Ben Bagui, presented the SIDC model to the plenary. SIDC, a 40-year-old billionaire co-op from Batangas City, has established twelve enterprises, despite their distant location from the city proper. To date, SIDC operates a feedmill, a hog raising farm, a co-op mart, a meat UP Los Baños Director Gil Villancio explains hydrophonics to interested onlookers.
Serving Behind Bars
By Tony Gimenez
THE Central C sector is presently conducting a Christian Life Program for the inmates of the Pasay City Jail. Because of space constraints, the program will be given in several batches. The first batch has more than 50 inmates, with about 18 of them attending with their wives. The sessions, which began last February 7, have been lively and joyful. By the second session, the inmates have been actively participating in the singing of the songs and in the group discussions that follow every talk. Central C sector is headed by Jimmy and Ching Santiago. The CLP team leader is Claro Certeza aided by wife Tess while the servant leaders are Lito and Mercy Maling.