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out to ex-priests
Caritas in Veritate
‘It Is Also Possible to Do Business by Pursuing Aims That Serve Society’
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Pope’s envoy issues warning on fake solicitations
THE Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, warned local Church leaders and the public against a racket involving solicitations, using the name of Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. In a letter dated August 14, 2009 and addressed to CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo and circulated to the local ordinaries, Archbishop Adams said the Secretariat of State of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI “learned of still another attempt, through e-mail
Solicitations / A7
Bishops welcome resumption of GRP-MILF peace talks
AMIDST plans to revive the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Catholic bishop asked the government peace panel to avoid the same mistake it did in the past. According to Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, the government must take into consideration last year’s Supreme Court decision on the Memorandum of Agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD), which it ruled as being “unconstitutional”. “They should use that (SC ruling) as guidelines on how to do it this time and make sure
Peace talks / A7
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace August 31 - September 13 , 2009 Vol. 13 No. 18 Php 20.00
Poll: Many Asian youth don’t understand Eucharist
By Roy Lagarde
Bishops say survey a reality check for leaders
In this modern age, still many young Asian Catholics do not fully understand what the Eucharist is all about, according to a survey.
This situation has served as an “eye opener” for the Catholic hierarchy to make theological and pastoral reflections on the Eucharist and the young faithful. The poll, they said, also provided them a more “factual look” at the youth who are not just the future of the Church “but the hope of the present.” Conducted by the Youth Desk of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), the survey showed how young people wrongly perceived the Eucharist. In fact, out of the 1,033 youth respondents from 12 Asian countries including the Philippines, 30 percent believe that it protects them from harm while 17 percent think that it is a means to obtain luck. Infanta Bishop Rolando Tirona, however, said the result should not be a cause for alarm because a bulk of those surveyed has a “tremendous” appreciation of the Mass. “Majority of them or 65 percent believe that they are receiving the body of Christ in Holy Communion,” the survey said. Also, half of the respondents have recognized that the Eucharist “help them grow in their relationship with God.” The Youth Desk was organized under the Office of the Laity, chaired by Bishop Tirona, as the official arm of FABC that responds to the needs and concerns of Asian youth.
Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle (extreme right) talks about the upcoming 5th Asian Youth Day during a press conference Aug. 29. Hosted by his diocese, Bishop Tagle said the goal of the event is to “renew youth’s faith in and love for the Word of God and the Eucharist,” and to help them integrate realities into their lives. Also in the photo are: (L-R) Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY), Infanta Bishop Rolando Tirona and San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Roberto Mallari, ECY’s vice chairman.
Little influence While majority of them claimed of actively participating and have
Eucharist / A6
Bishops optimistic about Pope’s RP visit
IMUS Bishop Luis "Chito" Tagle said Pope Benedict XVI loves Asia. And the prelate wouldn’t be surprised if the pontiff would visit the continent and drop by in Manila. Tagle said the pope has high regard for the Philippines, not just because it is the only predominantly Catholic nation in Asia, but for its “strong” faith. “Who knows? He has been to Africa, Australia, US and Latin America and they said Asia might be the next,” he said. Tagle made the statement during a press conference last August 29 to announce the countdown to 5th Asian Youth Day (AYD) in the Diocese of Imus on November 20-27. According to the church leader, the Holy Father currently focus his trips on countries “where he sees so much secularization happening and where the faith is diminishing.” “With the limited time and strength that he has, I think that is where he wants to concentrate first,” he said. Tagle confirmed there is indeed an invitation
RP visit / A6
Church leaders frown on Religious leaders in politics worry bishops call to abolish Namfrel
involved in NAMFREL’s activities. “The more the watchdogs, the better and the merrier,” he said. CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said concerns about NAMFREL’s activities should be addressed to the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference. “I know that the former president and in fact I would even say the originator of NAMFREL was Mr. Jose Concepcion and therefore if they have any concern about NAMFREL, it should be addressed to the BBC,” the 69-year old prelate said in an interview with CBCPNews. He said NAMFREL’s manpower have come from the Catholic Church “just like the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).” Lagdameo said it was the BishopsBusinessmen’s Conference who persuaded PPCRV Chair Henrietta De Villa to head NAMFREL. The former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See added that “in a free society, people are encouraged to participate in good governance, even to form themselves into organized movements and associations” to stop corrupt and fraudulent practices aside from safeguarding and “to sustain the true meaning of democracy” which she went on to describe as the “rule of the people.” “Public officials who advocate the curtailment of this freedom and participation of the people are dangerous to the survival of democracy” as she pointed out these individuals need to be reminded that in a democracy, “government is created by elections.’” She said NAMFREL was a lone civil society agreement organization that dared “monitor the conduct of the 1986 Snap Elections” and “against all odds,
Namfrel / A6
AN official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the Church does not want religious leaders to become involved in partisan politics. Bishop Leonardo Medroso, outgoing chairman of the CBCP’s Commission on Canon Law, said something is just not right about religious in the political arena. He said the involvement of Church leaders in partisan politics could distance them from their guiding role and disrupt relations between the political forces, which could create an imbalance. “I think I would be afraid. This would have an effect in our bureaucracy. The Church teaches us that in the temporal order, the priests should not be first in line in politics,” said Medroso. Medroso, who heads the Diocese of Tagbilaran in Bohol, also said that the temporal orders should be left to the lay faithful. “I just hope that our religious leaders would stay out of politics because they have their own mission in life which is to give vision of eternity, vision of morality,” he said.
Just last Aug. 21, Jesus Is Lord Christian group leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva declared his second attempt to run for president. Catholic priest-turned Pampanga Governor Fr. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio, meanwhile, is reportedly going around getting a consensus if the people want him to become president. El Shaddai Catholic Charismatic group leader Bro Mike Velarde is also eyeing the presidency but said he has yet to consult his followers if they are in favor of his 2010 political plans. “What is frightening here is that a priest, these religious leaders, if they would become president, we might confuse already the spiritual things and the temporal things,” he added. He admitted that there is a “moral degradation” prevailing in the country and that these religious leaders who are aspiring to be presidents and officials in government do not have ulterior motives.
Politics / A6
Journalists vow to write stories for peace in Mindanao
WHILE there are some who are still confined to the traditional journalism practice of reporting, Mindanao journalists who attended the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) of the Konsult Mindanaw vowed to change the journalism landscape in Mindanao through peace reporting. The commitment came following the question “what is your personal commitment to peace in Mindanao?” posed by the Konsult Mindanaw organizers. The participants who are mostly working for national media entities but based in Mindanao said they recognize the importance of imparting values and encouraging a “culture of peace in reporting” instead of a “culture of violence.” The journalists also agreed to help eliminate the practice of “sensationalism” in media reporting especially in reporting war and violence. During the FGD, journalists admitted the fact that “yellow journalism” is a common practice today especially among media networks who want to downplay legitimate news in favor of eye-catching headlines that sell more newspapers or increase viewers and listeners in TV and radio. Recognizing that this is an unprofessional practice by news media organizations or journalists they made commitment to
NAMFREL Chairperson Henrietta T. De Villa
“THE task of getting rid of electoral fraud cannot be the lone responsibility of one movement but a joint effort by both government and civil society,” thus said NAMFREL Chairperson Henrietta T. De Villa in response to Congressman Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s call to abolish the citizen’s arm. It will be recalled the young Marcos was quoted saying the country “was deeply divided because of allegations of fraud” during the past two electoral exercises and its alleged failure to do anything about electoral fraud. Fr. Francis Lucas, Executive Secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media said NAMFREL was a creation of the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference years ago. Speaking at the CBCPNews and Catholic Media Network’s “The Forum,” Fr. Lucas said the Catholic Church itself is
support peace-making efforts, to write stories on peace and to work closely with non-government organizations (NGOs) who are genuinely building peace in Mindanao. The participants who attended the FGD were representatives from regional network group of ABS-CBN –Central Mindanao, Business Mirror, CBCPNews, Davao Catholic Herald, Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), Philippine News Agency (PNA), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), DXMS-Notre Dame Broadcasting Company (NDBC) –Cotabato, Associated Press (AP) and Mindanao Times. The FGD is also an initiative of the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC). The FGD session held at the Mindanao Training and Resource Center in Davao Medical School Compound, Davao City, is part of Konsult Mindanao’s effort to gather public perception on
Journalists / A6
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
VATICAN CITY, August 28, 2009—Benedict XVI's closest colCardinal Tarcisio Bertone laborator is denying media rumors that the Pontiff is working to gradually "undo" the changes implemented after the Second Vatican Council. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, stated this in an interview with L'Osservatore Romano published Thursday. He addressed the debate surrounding false rumors in the Italian media about supposed documents that would reverse changes in the Church since Vatican II, especially regarding the liturgy. The cardinal asserted that in order to understand the Holy Father's intentions and actions, it is necessary to consider his personal history, one that included involvement "as a genuine protagonist" in the Conciliar Church. These other rumors about "presumed documents of reversal are pure inventions," he stated. The cardinal highlighted some applications of the Second Vatican Council that the Pope has "promoted constantly with intelligence and depth of thought." In particular, he noted the Pontiff's collaboration in "the most comprehensive relationship" with the Orthodox and Eastern Churches and the dialogue with Judaism and Islam. These have taken place with a "reciprocal attraction," Cardinal Bertone noted, and have "inspired answers and deeper reflections as never before recorded, purifying memory" and building openness. He also underlined Benedict XVI's "direct and fraternal, as well as paternal, relationship with all the members of the episcopal college, in the 'ad limina visits' and in the other numerous occasions of contact." The prelate recalled the Pope's engagement in the Synods of Bishops, through various interventions and reflections.
Cardinal says Pope isn’t ‘undoing’ Vatican II
He added, "Nor should we forget the direct contact established with the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia with whom he has reinstated periodic audience meetings." True change As regards the "reform of the Church," the cardinal affirmed "that it is above all a question of interiority and holiness." For this reason, he said, the Pontiff concentrates on recalling "the source of the Word of God, the evangelical law and the heart of the life of the Church: Jesus, the known, loved, adored and imitated Lord." This is the reason he is currently working on the second volume of his book "Jesus of Nazareth," the prelate explained. The cardinal noted that the Holy Father has in his pontificate made 70 appointments of superiors in the different dicasteries, not counting bishops and nuncios in the world. As well, the prelate affirmed, he will soon announce "important appointments," in which "the new Churches" will be represented. "Africa has already offered and will offer excellent candidates," he said. Cardinal Bertone warned against the error of attributing to the Pope all the problems the Church is experiencing in the world and all the statements of his representatives. He reminded journalists, "Correct information calls for attributing to each one ('unicuique suum') his own responsibility for deeds and words, especially when the latter openly contradict the teachings and examples of the Pope." (Zenit)
Cardinal Bertone reveals origin of Year for Priests
VATICAN CITY, August 28, 2009—Yesterday Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone revealed the origin of the Pope's idea for a Year for Priests in an interview with L'Osservatore Romano. According to the cardinal, the idea was sparked by a proposal to mark the 150th anniversary of St. Jean Vianney's death with a year of prayer for priests and the problems they face. Cardinal Bertone explained that the proposal, made at the end of the 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Word, quickly found its way to the Pope’s desk and called for a year of prayer reflecting on the Word of God. In addition, he added, “the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Cure of Ars and the emergence of the problems involving many priests led Benedict XVI to promulgate the Year for Priests, thus demonstrating special attention for priests, priestly vocations and promoting in all the people of God a movement of growing affection and closeness to ordained ministers.” Cardinal Bertone also underscored that the Holy Father has always shown great affection for priests, especially in his meetings with priests where he addresses the concrete aspects of their lives, giving pointed responses to their questions. He went on to note that the Church hopes to re-establish contact and reach out to priests who have abandoned their ministry for different reasons. Many initiatives “are directed at strengthening the awareness of the identity and mission of the priest,” who is called to teach by example in the Church and in society. “The holy priests who have been present throughout the history of the Church will not cease to protect and sustain the path of renewal proposed by Benedict XVI,” the cardinal explained. (CNA)
Become Good Samaritans in every aspect of life, Supreme Knight says
bors. And we must look to the best of humanity—to generosity, solidarity, and communion—with our neighbor as the prescription.” Citing love of neighbor as the key to a sustainable economy, he urged the audience to replace the motivation of Cain, the first fratricide, with the motivation of the Good Samaritan in “every aspect of our lives,” especially business relationships. Anderson noted the example of Knights of Columbus founder, the Venerable Servant of God Fr. Michael J. McGivney. He discussed one case where the priest personally helped a teenage boy stay with his widowed mother and his family. “Only Father McGivney’s help saved young Alfred from being wrested from his mother and siblings, and put in a state institution. And let’s not forget that the state that ran those institutions was quite hostile to the Catholic Church,” he remarked. He then listed the accomplishments of the Knights of Columbus’ charitable endeavors, their fight against anti-Catholic and anti-black bigotry, their pro-life work in support of pregnant mothers and protection for the unborn,
Archbishop calls for end to anti-Christian violence in India
RIMINI, Italy, August 30, 2009—Supreme Knight of Columbus Carl A. Anderson addressed the Meeting for Friendship Among the Peoples in Rimini, Italy on Friday afternoon. There, he exhorted charitable groups to cooperate in building a “civilization of love” and to follow in the footsteps of Knights of Columbus founder Michael J. McGivney. Over 700,000 people were expected to attend the week-long meeting, which was organized by the Communion and Liberation movement. Saying that greed, the “worst of human nature,” has been diagnosed as a large part of the economic crisis, he said: “Many lost sight of the importance of unity—of communion—with their neigh-
and their work in serving both Catholic and non-Catholic troops in the U.S. military. Anderson recounted how the Knights began to run sports fields for children in Rome who did not have other sports facilities. During the Great Depression, the organization ran job boards to help those who were out of work. He also mentioned the Knights’ work with the Special Olympics, founded by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver. “On a weekly basis, our members cook meals for the homeless, help provide for the needs of those with intellectual disabilities, support women in crisis pregnancies, and the children they bring into the world.” Noting the Knights’ recent summit on volunteerism as a response to the economic crisis, Anderson urged Catholic groups to “exponentially multiply the good that we do by working together with other groups.” Cooperation with other beneficent organizations, he said, is an excellent model for Catholic movements as they seek to “transform the world by encouraging people to say ‘yes’ to Jesus Christ.” “Nowhere is the face of our Church more attractive than in our open embrace of our neighbor,” Anderson emphasized. “Each encounter with those in need is actually an opportunity to create a civilization of love, one person, one act at a time.” The Knights of Columbus, a lay Catholic fraternal organization, has more than 1.78 million members worldwide. Last year, the organization and its members contributed more than $150 million and almost 69 million volunteer hours to charitable causes. (CNA)
violence must never happen again.” The archbishop’s comments came on the first anniversary of the attacks carried out against Christians by Hindu extremists in the state of Orissa, leaving 70 people dead and hundreds of Christian homes destroyed. According to L’Osservatore Romano, the archbishop said, “The world must know what peace and harmony mean, and we must combat the tendencies that cause such extreme crimes. Violence and the shedding of blood only lead to the destruction of humanity. We must work for love, which means working for peace.” “Now that a year has passed,” the archbishop said later, “many people still live in refugee camps and in the cities of neighboring states. Many others have been able to return home, but our people still live under threats.” The archbishop urged Hindu fundamentalists not to obstruct the rebuilding of churches destroyed during their attacks, and warned that as long as those responsible for such violence are not apprehended by police, “the attacks against the defenseless and innocent people will continue.” “The extremists will not back down and will continue in their efforts to erase all signs of Christianity in Orissa. But the mission continues and the violence will not stop us. The cross of Christ is our strength and our hope,” he maintained. (CNA)
ROME, Italy, August 25, 2009— During celebrations marking the “Day for Peace and Harmony” in various states in India, Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar insisted, “Acts such as anti-Christian
Vietnamese regime uses Pope’s discourses to divide Church and arrest faithful
HANOI, Vietnam, August 31, 2009—A young Catholic catechumen, author of a blog, was arrested on August 27. Local sources tell AsiaNews that the police are preparing a new series of arrests of people who dare to criticize the distorted way in which the regime’s newspapers have presented Benedict XVI’s address to the Vietnamese bishops during their recent ad Limina visit Fr. Peter Nguyen Van Khai, a Redemptorist priest from Hanoi, confirmed to AsiaNews, “the arrest of Bui Thanh Hieu, a young catechumen of the diocese, who was studying to be baptized.” On 24 August last, Vietnam Net, a state media, published an article entitled “A good Catholic is a good citizen”. The article quotes several sentences of the pope, aiming to show that “Benedict XVI strongly criticized the bishops to concern themselves more that priests strive for holiness, so they may guide their flocks to live as the Pope intends, that is as good Catholics and good citizens.” The article quoted two sentences of Benedict XVI: “The priest must deepen his inner life and strive for holiness” and “lay Catholics must show by their life, which is based on charity, honesty and love for the common good, that a good Catholic is also a good citizen”. From this they have concluded that in Vietnam priests do not deepen their spiritual life, nor tend to holiness and the laity are not charitable, honest or loving and are not even good citizens. According to Father Joseph Nguyen of Hanoi, the impression one draws from the article is that “Benedict XVI himself has insulted the Church in Vietnam for its spiritual corruption”. The article also condemns the Vietnamese bishops. Taking its cue from another passage in the Pope’s speech in which he states that “healthy collaboration between the Church and the political community is possible”, the article concludes by claiming it is “crystal clear” that the bishops have not been patient and open to dialogues in their relationship with the government and moreover they maintain a hostile attitude to the communist power. In fact, as has been amply
Three U.S. bishops visiting Africa to observe humanitarian work
WASHINGTON D.C., August 29, 2009—A delegation of American bishops is visiting Zimbabwe and South Africa on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The bishops intend to observe not only the challenges facing the African countries, but also the humanitarian work and the “fully alive” faith of Christians in the region. Bishop of Pensacola John H. Ricard and Bishop of Salt Lake City John C. Wester visited Zimbabwe from August 26-28. They will visit South Africa from August 28 to September 6, where they were scheduled to be joined by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a retired Archbishop of Washington. Bishop Ricard is chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Africa, while Bishop Wester is a committee member. During their trip they plan to talk with Church officials and visit projects funded by the Pastoral Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. Bishop Wester, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, is also leading a delegation for the Migration and Refugee Services office. The fact-finding mission is assessing the problems of refugees and displaced persons in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Children and women victims of human trafficking, an activity described as a modern-day slave trade, are a particular concern of his delegation. All three bishops are associated with Catholic Relief Services (CRS). According to the USCCB, they are observing the humanitarian work CRS is involved in, especially in combating HIV-AIDS. Patrick Markey, executive director of the USCCB Office of National Collections, organized the trip. “As we saw clearly during Pope Benedict’s recent trip to the Cameroon and Angola, the Church in Africa is not only growing rapidly. It is also fully alive and rich in vocations,” Markey said in a USCCB press release. “The Church in Africa also faces many challenges and for that reason Catholics in the U.S. have so generously responded to a call from the bishops to give them a hand.” (CNA)
shown by the many cases of friction in recent months in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vinh, Hue, the bishops have always sought dialogue with the government, but in response the Vietnamese police beat, criticized and arrested the faithful, and endangered the life of some priests. In his address, Benedict XVI states that “Her [the Church] intention is certainly not to replace government leaders”. The interpretation that the article gives is that the pope has long known of a plot by Catholic priests to overthrow the government, suggesting that the Vietnamese bishops identify and isolate those responsible.
One religious sister notes that the next day, the same article was published by other newspapers with calls for the immediate arrest and punishment of the priests of Thai Ha and Vinh, which has been seeking the return of Church property, confiscated some time ago for the “good of the people” and now for sale for private purposes. The manipulation of Pope Benedict XVI’s address has created a lot of frustration among Catholics in Vietnam, who, through the blogs, have begun to voice their opinions, criticizing the media under state control and have published the original text of the papal address. (AsiaNews)
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Cardinal: It’s time to reach out to ex-priests
Says priest-saints are supporting Pope’s plans for renewal
VATICAN CITY, August 31, 2009 — The Year for Priests is also for those men who have left priestly ministry, according to Benedict XVI’s secretary of state. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone made this observation Friday in L’Osservatore Romano, in an interview that also explains how the Year for Priests became a reality. “I remember that after the synod of bishops on the Word of God, at the Pope’s table there was talk of a proposal that had already come up in the past, of convoking a year of prayer, which was very linked to the reflection on the Word of God,” the cardinal recounted. Nevertheless, he said, “the 150th anniversary of the death of the Curé d’Ars and the situation of the problems that have affected so many priests brought Benedict XVI to declare a Year for Priests.” With this initiative, Cardinal Bertone affirmed, the Holy Father wants to show “special attention to priests and to priestly vocations” and to promote “a movement within the whole people of God, of a growing affection and closeness to ordained ministers.” “The Year for Priests is bringing about great enthusiasm in all of the local Churches and an extraordinary movement of prayer, of fraternity with and among priests, and of vocational ministry,” the cardinal added. He continued, “Moreover, the sometimes weak fabric of dialogue between bishops and priests is being strengthened, and special attention is being given to those priests who have been put to the side in pastoral ministry.” The year is also a “renewal of contact, fraternal help, and if it is possible, a reuniting with those priests who for various reasons have left behind their priestly ministry,” Cardinal Bertone stated. Finally, he affirmed, “The holy priests who have been part of the history of the Church will not cease to protect and support this road to renewal that Benedict XVI has proposed.” (CNA)
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Nations of the world must listen to the Catholic Church, says Tony Blair
RIMINI, Italy, Aug. 31, 2009—Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who converted to the Catholic faith a few years ago, addressed participants at the Rimini Meeting in Italy, saying, “The voice of the Church should be heard” and “it should speak confidently, clearly and openly.” During his speech the former Prime Minister underscored, “Faith and reason are in alliance, not opposition,” and that therefore “the Church can be the insistent spiritual voice that makes globalization our servant not our master.” After praising the Church’s untiring social work, Blair went on to say, “There is not just room, but a growing space today for organizations of civic society to step forward and do things that neither market nor state can do.” Blair said his conversion to the Catholic faith was due in part to his wife Cherie. “I began to go to Mass and we went together. We could have gone to the Anglican or Catholic Church—guess who won?” he joked. “As time went on, I had been going to Mass for a long time ... it's difficult to find the right words. I felt this was right for me. There was something, not just about the doctrine of the Church, but of the universal nature of the Catholic Church,” Tony Blair said. Despite these words, Blair and his wife maintain positions on contraception and gay unions that are contrary to the Church’s teachings. (CNA)
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Vatican economist says Christians must put ethics back into business
VATICAN CITY, August 24, 2009─The current global economic crisis shows that capitalism without ethical grounding doesn't work, and Christians should keep this in mind whether they are business people, policymakers or simply consumers, a top Vatican economist said. Thomas Han Hong-soon of the Vatican Prefecture for Economic Affairs said that "the root of this crisis is a moral deficit" and that when it comes to business Christians have not always followed the principles of charity and justice found in the Gospel. "Let's start by honestly recognizing that the spirit of capitalism doesn't agree with that of the Gospel. The heart of Christianity is love for others. The nucleus of capitalism, rather, is competition, which is the opposite of love," Han told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano Aug. 22. A radical overhaul of the capitalistic system is not very realistic, he said, considering that alternatives, such as communism, have not worked out historically. But better rules for governing the free market are needed, he said. "It's clear that as Christians we can't only pursue the notion of the highest profit at the lowest possible cost," he said. "What is sometimes lacking is the awareness of a 'social responsibility' of their business. No business is an island," he said. "Those who don't remember that are destined to fail," he said, recalling Pope Benedict XVI's recent encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth") that called for justice and equality in the world economy. This is true not only for single businesses, but for a whole system that involves shareholders, banks, workers and consumers, he said. Catholics can do much to contribute to a better system simply by the choices they make in their lifestyles and what they buy. "The simple act of purchasing something can have important economic consequences. No choice is neutral," Han said. "It's up to us to start, and everyone in their small part can change the world," he said. The Catholic Church in its many activities, he said, should set an example of ethical behavior in doing business and raising and spending money for its mission "above all with thoughtfulness and solidarity." For example, he said, a church-affiliated entity planning to construct a new building should make sure that the companies hired do not exploit their workers. Han joined the five-member international panel of lay economists who oversee Vatican budgets in November 2008. He is a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and is president of the Lay Apostolic Council of Korea. (CNS)
Scrap Laiban Dam project: Dioceses, NGOs appeal
MANILA, August 30, 2009—Strong opposition against the controversial Laiban dam project continues to snowball with yet another strong appeal from the local Churches to scrap the contentious water venture. Saying that the construction of the dam is inimical to both people and environment, the Ecology network of the arch/dioceses of Manila, Cubao, Pasig, Kalookan, Novaliches, and Antipolo, CBCP-NASSA and NGOs sent an urgent appeal to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) asking it to oppose the construction of Laiban Dam. In its letter to Attorney Diosdado Jose Allado, MWSS administrator, the group urged Allado to junk the project and think of alternatives to solve the impending water crisis. “Laiban dam is the most expensive project to be undertaken by MWSS, in terms of economic cost, size and expanse of the infrastructure, numbers of stakeholders to be affected, environmental effects, human rights, and the challenges to the existing environmental and indigenous laws, such as Protected Area, Presidential Decree No. 1151 [Philippine Environmental Policy], Environmental Impact Satement System, Presidential Decree no. 1586; Wildlife Protection Act, IPRA, and NIPAs,” the appeal stated. The Laiban dam venture in Tanay, Rizal, touted to solve the impending water crisis has been a pet project of the Arroyo administration since 2003, according to an earlier statement released to the media by independent think-tank IBON Foundation Inc. The project will affect around 27,800 hectares of ancestral and agricultural lands, IBON said. Church and environmental groups have been opposing the project because of its environmental risks and human rights violations against indigenous people living in the area. If revived, the dam will displace the Dumagats and Remontados who have been living in the watershed area since the time of their ancestors, according to the group. “The Kaliwa Watershed has been their (IPs) home since time immemorial, even before the existence of the Philippine Government. Indigenous people have a conjugal bond with their land. Uprooting them will render them orphaned from the land that gave birth to their culture, heritage, and the oneness they share with other beings in the area causing further alienation.” The group reminded MWSS that IPs cannot be displaced from their areas without their free and prior informed consent which the IPRA law only provides in “exceptional circumstances.” “We do not think that the construction of a dam is an exceptional circumstance, considering that there are other alternative projects that the MWSS may undertake to alleviate the water needs of Metro Manila,” the letter further said. Aside from the IPs, indigenous species of varied flora and fauna are also imperiled by the project. The Kaliwa watershed which is home to some endangered species has been classified as a forest reserve, a part of which has been proclaimed as national park under Proclamation No. 1636, thus Paul II, reiterates that the RIGHT TO SAFE ENVIRONMENT is one of the basic human rights that the State must protect,” they added. Citing studies done on the project, its costly effects on lives, economy and environment, the group said an alternative should be considered for the project. “There are studies that indicate that this project would produce water that would be very costly for Metro Manila residents. The take-or-pay provision also needs to be further studied as it appears that the same will be highly prejudicial to the government.” “Alternatives to the project must be considered, including the alternative of no action. We call on the EMB to
exempting it from exploitation. Some of the Globally Endangered species found in the Laiban Dam project area are the Luzon Bearded Wild Pigs (Sus Philippensis), the Philippine Brown Deer (Cervus Marianus), and the Tarictic Hornbill. “We reiterate that we are stewards of God’s creation on earth. We must care for these beings whose importance we may never learn until they are permanently extinct,” said the group. Quoting section 25 of the Wildlife Protection Act, the group said that critical habitats shall be protected “from any form of exploitation or destruction which may be detrimental to the survival of the threatened species dependent therein,” adding: “There is nothing in other provisions of the law that would also allow exploitation. We challenge the MWSS to point to us any provision of this law that would allow their putting up of a dam in the affected areas. The group likewise raised the issue of the area’s proximity to major earthquake faults which could prove hazardous to people’s lives. “Are we willing to sacrifice human lives in favor of a project whose main purpose is to alleviate the condition of human lives in the metropolis?” they asked. “The Holy Father, Pope John
carefully consider alternatives to the project before it even grants an ECC. We call on the MWSS to study and consider rehabilitating Wawa Dam and its watershed as one of the less expensive option. The EIS System pro-
vides for a cost-benefits analysis that must consider all alternatives so that the least destructive alternative may be given importance or even chosen in the end,” the letter pointed out. The Laiban dam project has been opposed mostly by the Dinagat and Remontado tribes since its inception in the 1960s up to the mid-1980s by the late dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos. The project was shelved because of the strong opposition of the people in Southern Tagalog, only to be revived in 2003 by the current administration. A copy of the appeal letter was also sent to Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Lito Atienza, EMB office, President Gloria Arroyo, Senate, Congress and Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC). Among those who signed the appeal were Fr. Benito Tuazon, Ecology Minister of Manila archdiocese, Fr. Bienvenido Miguel, Director of Social Action of Antipolo diocese, Fr. Joven Antique, Ecology Minister of Pasig diocese, Fr. Octavio Bartiana, Ecology Minister of Kalookan diocese, Fr. Antonio Labiao of Novaliches diocese, Fr. Arnel Recinto of Cubao diocese, Engr. Joyce Palacol, CBCP-NASSA Ecology Desk coordinator; Atty. Galahad Pe Benito, environmental lawyer and legal consultant; Alfredo Albor, CARE Foundation Executive director; and Sr. Maria Aida Velasquez, OSB, Lingkod Tao Kalikasan Foundation, Inc. Coordinator. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
MANILA, August 27, 2009— The fight against child pornography in the Philippines is far from over even if the House of Representatives has recently enacted into law the bill penalizing child pornographers, pedophiles, and operators of cyber-sex dens and unscrupulous internet cafés. In fact, the involvement of the Catholic Church and Catholic schools can make or break what key foundation the law has just instigated. Saying the efforts of the religious and education sectors is needed to complement the implementation of the recently approved House Bill 6440, to be known as the "Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009," Kalookan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr.
Church, Catholic schools play crucial role for anti-child porno law to succeed—prelate
appealed to Catholic schools nationwide to help the Catholic Church in molding the conscience and morals of the faithful, especially the youth, against sexual exploitation of minors. “While priests can try to refresh and form the minds of the people about the concept of child pornography as a social and psychological abnormality, Catholic school teachers can be our counterparts in the academe by making sure that the advocacy against child pornography is instilled in the minds of the youth,” said Iñiguez. The prelate even encouraged administrators of Catholic schools to devote certain classes or organize forums to effectively educate students about the guises of child pornography as a crime. “The classroom will be a great venue for us to advance our advocacy straight into our target population. If we have the Catholic schools working with us, all of our efforts in the advocacy will pay off,” the prelate added. Iñiguez heads the Committee on Public Affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the influential body of prelates from across the country that remained at the forefront of lobbying for the legislation of the anti-pornography measure.
Even before the Senate finalized its version of the bill last November, the CBCP has been consistently pressing lawmakers from both chambers of Congress to prioritize the enactment of the law that will protect minors from sexual exploitation. The Episcopal Commission on Youth and CBCP Media Office even forged partnerships with the Optical Media Board, civil society groups and NGOs in staunch support of HB 6440, which, according to its authors, will “institutionalize the country’s sincere effort to safeguard our children and educate everyone on the threat of child pornography as this takes advantage of their innocence and poverty.” (Kris Bayos)
‘Reform of the reform’
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
VATICAN media have been expectedly aggressive like a hornet’s nest stirred by a blog of a known Vatican analyst, Andrea Tornielli, who has commented that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, headed by Cardinal Antonio Canizares is reforming the reforms of the Second Vatican Council—“riforma della riforma,” he calls it. His finger points to the Holy Father as the principle of the ongoing “reforms” that includes the greater use of Latin in the mass, the possibility of celebrating the Eucharist “ad orientum” at least during the consecration, and the greater emphasis on communion on the tongue. This whole flak may have had its beginnings in 2007, or perhaps even earlier, with the motu proprio issuance of the Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum that reintroduced and granted more freedom in the celebration of the Tridentine liturgy in its 1962 form—which came as a surprise even to some sectors of the church, even to some bishops themselves; although a purported reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X and some traditionalist Catholics was an acceptable justification. But what is more interesting is the quick response by no less than the Secretariat of State himself, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who firmly denied the media rumors that the Pontiff is working to gradually undo the changes implemented after the Second Vatican Council. It may have been a misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s intentions which, according to Cardinal Bertone should be taken from “his personal history” or one that included involvement “as a genuine protagonist” in the Conciliar Church. “It is above all a question of interiority and holiness,” he says perhaps to the bewilderment of the benchers as the cardinal explains like a good academician. The only rub is Tornielli with the media and a growing number of supporters in tow is in the contest mode saying: “All of this is an attempt to tell people not to believe what I wrote, saying there is nothing happening, that the Pope and the Congregation for Divine Worship are not considering anything, that the ‘reform of the reform’ and the recovery of a greater sense of the sacred in the Liturgy is a false story reported by me.” It may not be farfetched to say that there is a storm brewing right from the bowels of the Church. But then, here at the cold front, some would rather train their eyes to the urgent and prevailing—true to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Right at the doorstep, are social imperatives hanging in the balance of life and death that needs addressing rather seriously by the brethren.
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
In and Out of Season
THE present time of the Church has been called “the age of the lay faithful,” and at the same time “The time of the Holy Spirit.” In acknowledging it, the CBCP’s most recent Pastoral Letter has emphasized the importance of lay participation and lay empowerment in the mission of the Church as well as in many areas of lay apostolate and evangelization. The parable of the Wedding Banquet which we proclaim in the Gospel, presents the on-going invitation of God in the context of a wedding at which the guests are invited to participate. Weddings are events of joy, camaraderie, fellowship and communion. It is this spirit that Jesus wants to be reflected in those which are working for the propagation and promotion of the kingdom of God in this time of the Holy Spirit and age of the lay faithful. The way of spreading the kingdom by way of spreading the Word of God, most especially by “letting the Word of Christ” dwell in the lives of the people (Col. 3/16), in order that they may become “doers of the word” (James 1/22). In this age of the Holy Spirit, we are witnesses of how lay people are responding to the invitation of God to participate in the wedding feast of the Word of God. On this occasion, I would like to gratefully appreciate the impact of the word of God on the followers of El Shaddai, in particular on El Shaddai’s Founder-Organizer, our friend Mike Velarde, the leader of this charismatic Catholic renewal movement. Religious movements come and go. A few of them continue to flourish base on the integrity of their leadership and the conviction of their followers. El Shaddai is one of them. El Shaddai is now in its 25th year of its foundation by Brother Mike, who celebrates his 70th
The age of the laity
birthday, and who 25 years ago was scheduled for the major heart surgery at the Philippine Heart Center. In some mysterious way an “angelic nurse” who read the Word of God for Brother Mike, assured him that his surgery would be cancelled. The miraculous incident led to the purchase of a radio station, DWXI and the program “To God be the glory.” Rallies for the Word of God, with the Word of God, attracted people by the hundreds of thousands. To this date the members of El Shaddai has reached more than seven million with chapters being established in parishes and dioceses here in the Philippines and abroad. As El Shaddai celebrates the 25th year of its foundation by Brother Mike Velarde, the only words that catch our hearts at the moment are the words “To God be the glory.” The gifts and the charism to spread the Word of God that were given to Brother Mike, are not for him but for the growth of the Kingdom in this age of the laity and time of the Holy Spirit: to God be the glory. The effect of the Word of God on the millions of El Shaddai members are not for the individual recipients but for their families, for the communities, for the church: To God be the glory. Let the wedding even of the Word of God with the people of El Shaddai continue with its work of radical conversion from within, the renewal of Church and society, the good works that produce joy, camaraderie, friendship, fellowship and communion continue in this great and difficult times. To God be the glory, forever and ever. Amen. (This is the text of the homily of Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, Archbishop of Jaro and CBCP President, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of El Shaddai; August 20, 2009.)
The Root of the Crisis: Erosion of Moral Values
AS bishops, we believe 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 the common good and genuine peace. Truth has become a victim of political partisanship as well as of transactional politics. Moral accountability and justice for crimes, such as the killings of journalists and labor leaders, are yet to be realized. Because of this crisis of values in our public life, the common good and the plight of the poor are being ignored. We witness the anguish of poor farmers affected by rising prices of farm inputs and decreasing prices for their products. Indigenous people, farmers and fishermen in our dioceses are filled with anxiety about the negative effects of mining, commercial logging, illegal quarrying and fishing, and the continual threat of displacement from one’s ancestral lands. More regrettable is the common knowledge that many of our politicians are behind such ventures that disregard the common good. As Bishops, we realize that the root cause of our debilitating situation is the erosion of moral values. Its external manifestations are deceit and dishonesty, corruption, manipulation and a deadening preoccupation with narrow political interests, perceived in practically all branches and at all levels of government. Pope Benedict XVI cites St. Augustine’s observation that “a State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves.” (Deus Caritas Est, 28) But we also recognize that our situation is not one of utter darkness. We are encouraged and inspired to see so many good and decent Filipinos, of different faith traditions, working selflessly and sincerely to build up our nation. We see public servants struggling for integrity and the authentic reform of the corrupted institutions they are part of. We acknowledge groups of dedicated laity, religious and clergy, NGOs and various associations, including police and military personnel, giving of themselves to improve the governance, education, health, housing, livelihood and environmental conditions of our people. These people, united by a vision of heroic citizenship, are reasons for hope, even in the midst of the political crisis we find ourselves in. Renewing our Public Life through Moral Values, A CBCP Pastoral Statement, 2006
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
Pregnant? Need help?
THESE words beckon women who are distraught with their pregnancy for one reason or another. What to do? She tries to think hard, but the more she thinks, the more confused she gets. Satan’s lies muddle her thinking. Then there’s the shame, the pressure, the anger, the guilt, the fear, the anxiety, and worst of all, the indifference. To continue with the pregnancy or to terminate it? She toys with the reasoning that it’s better to kill the baby now than to give birth to a baby who would have no assurance of good future. That line of reasoning says it’s better to kill a two-year old child than to wait for him to be a teenager who would have no means to go to college. Would she do that—kill a two-year old? That would be murder. Life is not for anyone to take. Pregnant? Here’s help. For the past 50 years, the Good Shepherd Sisters have been assisting pregnant girls and women through counseling and shelter until they give birth, ensuring that both mother and child are doing well before they are discharged from the “Home”. And for the past 20 years, many private agencies have also set up maternity homes and pregnancy crisis centers. I have just been reassigned by my congregation to Welcome House where I served for over 15 years – a crisis counseling center for abused girls and women, unwed mothers in their early months of pregnancy until they are transferred to the maternity homes, battered women and confused teens. Here is a story of one of the women we assisted a few years ago. It is one of the stories I had published (not their real names) in my book “Choose Life (Stories of 12 women and the choices they made).” “I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU” – Claire, Rape Survivor Somewhere out there, my baby must be sleeping soundly in the arms of his new mother. Or maybe he’s giggling with joy as
his father holds him on his knees—a son he has been waiting for many years. I placed my baby for adoption. It was the best thing I could do for love of him. No one knows I gave birth to him except for the nuns who gave me shelter when I was in crisis and the staff of Norfil, a home for unwed mothers. I was raped by a military officer in my hometown. The alumni homecoming party extended much later than I thought. Hard drinks were passed and I drank more than I could handle. Tall and handsome, he was the target of the girls’ attention that evening. It was indeed a surprise when he offered to take me home. Little did I think that he meant his home. There was no way I could run away from him as soon as he drove into their garage. The gun in his hip scared me to death. No one else was in his house and after a few slaps on my face, he managed
Love life / A6
Fr. Melvin P. Castro
Speaking of Mary
HAVE we ever felt that in ourselves and in the cosmic order, there is raging battle? To do good and to avoid evil? But do we not feel that somehow in the times we are living in right now, the battle is so great? When the Church and her teachings have come under severe attacks? When being a faithful follower Christ means being left out and marked as out of tune, politically incorrect? But what is we indeed are living the time when the final battle is to be waged? We take a look at the Marian apparitions of the past and search for the clues for this final battle that we are part and parcel of. I. Guadalupe Why would the Blessed Virgin Mary appearing to a Native American of the recently conquered Aztec empire, and speaking to him in the native Nahuatl language, call herself “of Guadalupe”, a Spanish name? Some believe that Our Lady used the Aztec Nahuatl word of coatlaxopeuh which is pronounced “quatlasupe” and sounds remarkably like the Spanish word Guadalupe. Coa meaning serpent, tla being the noun ending which can be interpreted as “the”, while xopeuh means to crush or stamp out. So Our Lady must have called herself the one “who crushes the serpent.” We must sadly remember that the Aztec priest class executed
The final battle
annually at least 50,000 inhabitans of the land, men, women and children, in human sacrifices to their gods. In 1487, just in a single four-day long ceremony for the dedication of a new temple in Tenochtitlan, some 80,000 captives were killed in human sacrifice. The same practices, which in most cases included the cannibalism of the victims’ limbs, were common also in earlier Mesoamerican cultures, with widespread Olmec, Toltec and Maya human sacrificing rituals. An almost universal symbol of that religion was the serpent. The temples were richly decorated with snakes. Human sacrifices were heralded by the prolonged beating of huge drums made of the skins of huge snakes, which could be heard two miles away. Nowhere else in human history had Satan, the ancient serpent, so formalized his worship with so many of his own actual symbols. Certainly, in this case She crushed the serpent, and few years later millions of the natives converted to Christianity. II. Fatima: Queen of Peace, Lady of the Rosary During World War I, when millions were killing each other, on 05 May 1917, the Holy Father, Benedict XV, added the title Regina Pacis. Over Vatican Radio, he read his message, begged God for the restoration of peace and implored Our Lady to obtain peace for
Mary / A6
Pedro C. Quitorio
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
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Art of lying
girls are first told to sing the same lying song with the same lying tune. This way, while a lie is told, this at least is said with a semblance of rhyme and reason. Second: Fabricate as soon as possible, all false but needed documents, receipts, pictures and similar false proofs to verify the lie, to make this stand for truth by all means and at all cost, no matter how devious this be, considering that extremes are said to respect no rule. Third: Lie no more. Hence, specifically in conjunction with one recent big lie that refuses to die: Please do not expensively fly high on cloud 9 when many people live miserably in garbage dumps and under bridges. Do not luxuriously dine and wine when many men, women and children have practically nothing to eat. Do not waste the taxes that citizens dutifully pay from birth to death, with hard toil and much sweat. Please! contribution to hopefully make the lying syndrome of the present government, less coarse and thus more refined—and somehow credible if such were at all possible. It is not a secret that more often than not, Malacañang in its different titles as National Presider, Chief-in-Command and self-appointed Czar of this and that agenda, has been repeatedly caught with the latter’s hand proverbially “caught in the cookie jar”—and frequently so since that proverbial and dramatic line “I am sorry.” This is why it can be said with sincerity and concern that if it is but good and proper that the same distinct public official—with its dwindling yet still remaining allies—know or review the three simple but key principles of the “Art of Lying”: First: See to it that every big lie is well prepared before it is actually told, by making certain that all the rah-rah boys and
Commentary Ted Kennedy’s ambiguous legacy
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
GIVEN the many gross predicaments that the ruling administration has been repeatedly twisting about due to one fatal lie after another, it attempts to sell to the general public with futility, and considering that the gloriously reigning boss-chief becomes more and more despised and depreciated especially on account of more recent profligate foreign spending as if there were no tomorrow, perhaps—just perhaps—the same supreme ruler plus the well chosen coterie should be advised on the “Art of Lying”. Frankly, there is no intention here to insult much less belittle the expertise in drawing impressive plans, making great programs and doing grand projects on the part of the visionary national leadership and submissive subordinates for their own eventual adulation by the people. In other words, this short and practical thesis on the “Art of Lying” is but an honest and admitted small
For America’s most famous Catholic, morality and politics had little to do with each other.
By Michael Cook
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, SSL
A transfigured nation
I HAD given up on the thought of being able to be at the wake of the late President Corazon Aquino when I received a text from Bishop Chito Tagle: “I have been asked to celebrate noon Mass tomorrow for Tita Cory by her family and the priests want to come along.” The Imus clergy was about to begin its annual retreat at the Carmelite Spirituality Center in Tagaytay and a Dilaab team was facilitating. Our topic was: “The Clergy and Faith-Impelled Social Transformation.” There were about 80 priests. The unexpected text raised my hopes. At the first session on the evening of Monday 3 August, we all agreed that the trip to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Manila would be an intrinsic part of the retreat. After all, EDSA People Power is all about social transformation from a decisively faith perspective. I felt a strong surge of joy and gratitude as I stood before the Imus clergy. My thoughts returned to 1979 when, as fresh college graduate of UP Los Baños, I first set foot in Cavite. Subsequent events found me having room and board at the Imus Cathedral, an itinerant guest of the parish priest. I was rediscovering my faith at that juncture in my life. The journey was not without its difficulties and certain priests from this local church provided me with some informal formation and patient ears for the ramblings of a man just out of his teenage years. Now, standing before my fellow priests, and recognizing familiar faces among the participants, I felt I was among friends and just returning the favor. Our first lay sharer for the retreat was Ms. Heidi Mendoza, former COA senior auditor. Her eloquence, sincerity, and wit moved many of us to thoughtful silence as she described her moments of doubt, discouragement, and bold defiance as an honest and indefatigable public servant investigating graft cases. She is still at it, despite threats and even if she is not anymore connected with government. All she asks for is a God whom she can touch. We reflected on the Transfiguration of the Lord (Mark 9:2-10) as we prepared for our 8 am journey to the Manila Cathedral. Something in the narrative struck a deep chord in me: Jesus conversing with Moses and Elijah, and Peter’s offer to build three tents. Peter was awed by the larger-than-life figures before him and he just wanted to gaze with marvel at the sight. Instead a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice commands obedience to Jesus. Then they go down the mountain. The only time I had met Cory in person was during supper after a huge Cebu rally in 2003 against the impeachment of then Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr when she was guest speaker. She was a larger-than-life figure in her prayerful simplicity. Here I was again, together with the Imus clergy, before the casket of a larger-than-life figure. The phenomenon of the huge turnout of people, patiently waiting in line for hours just to view her one
Spaces of Hope
last time, could be interpreted as an expression of gratitude for what this plain housewife had done: to make a very brave stand in response to the needs of the times. It also expresses a hunger for a brand of leadership that has the moral fiber to let go of power when it is time to do so; to do a Gideon and a Cincinnatus, so to speak. Back in Tagaytay in the evening of Tuesday, our second sharer was Attorney Alexander Lacson with his famed little book of 12 little things. Speaking softly, even in hushed tones, Alex’s evident patriotism and his call to do little acts of good citizenship from a faith perspective touched many hearts. He made patriotism doable. The next day, Wednesday, a pair from the PNP came to share their stories. (Ret.) Gen. Samson Tucay is a familiar face to many bishops having shared during one of the plenary gatherings in the CBCP. He talked about the power of love expressed through leadership by example behind the Values and Leadership School (VLS) that he had led in 2004 until its end in 2007. PSSupt (Col.) Cesar Binag, the humble workhorse of the PNP Program Management Office (PMO) talked about the PNP Integrated Transformation Program. Cesar’s personal sharing as a committed Protestant revealed an on-going eloquent testimony of the Spirit’s power to connect personal conversion, family renewal, and social transformation. We ended the retreat by looking at the prospects for faith-impelled social transformation by evangelizing politics. An opportunity beckons in the pastoral strategy of “pastoral accompaniment,” a term used by Benedict XVI in his talk before the Pontifical Council for the Laity last 15 November 2008. Spaces of hope are being ignited by the Circles of Discernment for Elections (CiDE). Our team and our message seem to have found a home among the Imus clergy. As one priest puts it in his evaluation: “I realized that I cannot find any more excuses not to be a good Filipino.” Another one said: “The experience of 3-day retreat was a very divine inspired event for us…(we realized that) for social transformation to occur there must always be a religious-spirited transfiguration.” Our dear Cory has been buried. Yet other larger-than-life figures are emerging. They are the witnesses to the Transfiguration and who have gone down the mountain to the valleys of heroic Christian citizenship and leadership. They are inspired by the same Spirit that inspired Cory. In this light, it is best to keep the present name of the thoroughfare known as EDSA – the manifestation of the saints. It is there were Our Lady gathered her children, the saints of EDSA, inspired by what one heroic, saintly woman had done to show to the world what a transfigured nation can be and can do. (For comments, kindly email: email@example.com)
Jose B. Lugay
RECENT events in the political arena have been intensifying—high decibel media reports indicating that election fever has begun. The political season has not officially started, yet there is a deluge of commercials now termed infomercials, of cabinet members and presidentiables—an early start for the election campaign. While COMELEC gave the opinion that they can only run after the illegal infomercials if a candidates has officially filed his candidacy, Senator Miriam Santiago did not hesitate to call those involved in infomercials for Senate investigation. As expected. in her distinctive Ilongga twang, she used bad words to describe the cabinet members’ use of people’s money for their infomercials. Some of them, believing that it is the best way out of this compromising situation declared they will not run for any elective position this coming election. One of them spent P26.25 million for 350,000 T-shirts with GMA’s picture printed on it! Who says that these T-shirts is not intended for an election campaign? The start of political brickbats was in the July 2009 SONA. This was when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gave her presidentiable critics snide remarks to counter the insults given her during the Opposition rallies against the Con-Ass. They claimed that this was a move for President Arroyo’s extension of her tenure in office. The public expected that the after-SONA attacks on President GMA by the Opposition as true to form. What hit the political season like a bombshell was the death of Cory Aquino – the wake, the procession from Greemhills to the Manila Cathedral and the final funeral cortege to Manila Memorial. The sea of yellow shirts worn and the laban sign shown by the younger generation who were too young then to know the reasons why Ninoy Aquino was shot to death, why there was a Peoples’ Power Revolution in EDSA, and how Cory was elected President. The love
The desire for political reform
impression of the Kaya Natin guests to their contacts. With the element of reform in mind, their hunt for the presidential candidate loomed larger and larger towards Noynoy Aquino. Noynoy has also a good chance to win as President in the coming 2010 elections. Among Ed would give up his presidential ambition in favor of Noynoy. With his victory we are assured of less influence from traditional politics. After decades of going through each presidential tenure going through one crisis after another, the people now hanker for real change. This could explain the high level of public interest in Noynoy’s final decision. Meantime, GMA 7 television, not to be outdone, held on Sunday, August 30, a fun run cum presidentiables’ assembly. Each presidentiable (Noynoy not included) wrote his/her pledge in full view of the crowd and each one took the oath administered by Justice Melo of COMELEC. The oath was an assurance that, what they promised on that occasion will be implemented if elected President. While people for the movement for change is growing by the minute, how do we mobilize the election of the right persons who are non-trapos? What are the principal reform areas and which presidentiable has the right managenent skills to communicate and implement these reforms? What parties and or candidates stand for these reform platforms? Will Noynoy be up to this challenge? If not, then who of the present crop of presidentiables is capable? Will any of the three religious leaders (presidentiables) meet the criteria for implementing reforms? The political scenario is fast changing. We do hope that the evangelization of politics and the circles of discernment that is now being implemented in the different dioceses will lend itself to the political reform needed by this country.
for Cory was continuously displayed by the people, including the masa, to the extent that they wanted Cory, like Joan of Arc, to be declared a saint! Days after the funeral, the Aquino name kept being alive in media 24 hours a day until August 21 which was declared a holiday to celebrate Ninoy’s martyrdom. The showbiz daughter, Kris Aquino who delivered a heart-tugging farewell during the funeral mass, and her siblings including Noynoy were given continuous exposure by ABS-CBN. This media blitz unexpectedly gave a new twist – the public fed up with the corruption and bad governance of the present administration spontaneously equated the need for change with the Cory magic – her moral ascendancy and care for the less privileged. We started to hear Noynoy’s name as the person to lead the much needed government reform. The call for Noynoy for President was discouraged by Noynoy himself – he avowed that he and his siblings are in mourning and would not even think of politics, much less run as President. The Liberal Party, his party, already had Mar Roxas who openly announced his candidacy and in fact already spent a hundred million or so for his infomercial. Advocacy groups in civil society like Kaya Natin of the Ateneo School of Governance have been organizing and selecting individuals whose track record speaks of good governance. Among them are Grace Padaca, Jesse Robredo, Sonia Lorenzo and Among Ed Panlilio. Going from one university to another, they spoke about their experiences specifically how they managed to make a change – the reform towards good govenance and the prevention of corrupt practices. For several months as they toured the universities and their audience, an ITsavvy generation easily transmitted their
TODAY Massachusetts mourns its Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy. At Dunkin Donuts, the flags are flying at half mast. Boston’s famously snarled traffic has come to a standstill because of “Kennedy events”. The casket of Camelot’s last survivor made a final tour of its shrines—Hyannis Port, his family’s summer residence, St. Stephen’s, his mother’s church in Boston’s North End, and Faneuil Hall, where he had announced his unsuccessful bid for the presidential 1980 nomination. The Massachusetts royal family waved through tinted car windows at the crowds. Thousands passed through the Presidential Library at Harvard dedicated to his brother to view the casket and sign the condolences books. For Boston, it is a Diana moment. Edward M. Kennedy died of a brain tumor on Tuesday at the age of 77. He had been in the Senate since he was 30 and stayed there for 47 years, the third longest-serving Senator in American history. Some wits quipped that while most politicians grow up and then enter politics, Kennedys enter politics and grow up later. But Massachusetts voters doted on Ted Kennedy and patiently gave him time to mature. There was his expulsion from Harvard for cheating; there were rumours about drinking and womanizing; there was Chappaquiddick; there was his 1982 divorce, his 1992 remarriage (after an annulment from the Catholic Church). He was a Kennedy – Joe and Rose’s son, Jack and Bobby’s brother—and nothing stuck. He had a scare in the 1994 election when he faced Mitt Romney—and won with only 58 percent of the vote. Other politicians can only dream of that kind of support. But Ted Kennedy was not a seat-warmer. Politicians from both sides of politics praised him as an accomplished lawmaker. With the years, the lion-maned Bostonian became a consummate dealbroker who worked both sides of the aisle to get what he believed in. In 2001 he worked with President George W. Bush to pass the No Child Left Behind Act. He was a liberal, the very Aslan of American liberalism, a consistent champion of government spending to right wrongs and remedy disadvantage. Health care was the cause of his life, although he died without seeing victory for the Democrats’ plans to reform it. In the words of President Obama, “He became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.” But one of Ted Kennedy’s most important legacies to American politics has hardly been mentioned in the acres of newsprint— how he shaped the debate about faith and politics. For Ted Kennedy was a Catholic. He had the Massachusetts Catholic vote in his pocket. His mother was a saintly woman. His brother was the first Catholic president. He was married in the Catholic Church, received communion in the Catholic Church, saw a priest before he died, is being buried in the Catholic Church. But he was a peculiar kind of Catholic. On the one hand, he always supported big-spending social policies for the last, least, lost and most vulnerable. It was his interpretation of Catholic social teaching. On the other hand, he was a strong supporter of abortion and human embryonic stem cell research. There was no ambiguity about this. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood gave Kennedy ratings of 100 percent as a champion of abortion rights. He ignored criticism from the bishops of his Church. Through his role as the spokesman for America’s leading Catholic family, Teddy helped to entrench the feeling that Catholicism is a tribal loyalty, not a divine light shining on religious and human truths. The doctrine of separation of Church and State meant that morality and politics had little to do with each other. In fact, political expediency should trump moral truths. For politicians anywhere, this is a disastrous starting point for debate. It means that it is impossible for them to argue rationally about moral positions. On the issue of abortion, for instance, the Catholic bishops’ opposition was based less on the Bible than on science, which tells us that the foetus is human. On this issue, at least, Kennedy’s self-serving rationalizations turned his politics into expediency and his religion into sentimentality. “I hope for an America where neither ‘fundamentalist’ nor ‘humanist’ will be a dirty word, but a fair description of the different ways in which people of goodwill look at life and into their own souls,” he said in an influential 1983 speech at Liberty University before Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. Twenty-six years later, President Obama would make a similar speech at Notre Dame University, gracefully acknowledging differences on abortion, and obstinately refusing to change. Shortly after his death, Mr. Obama declared that Ted Kennedy’s “ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives.” Including his own. In particular, when he addresses issues like abortion, stem cell research and same-sex marriage, perhaps the President will be using the dark art of charming without changing which he learned from America’s most famous Catholic.
Quote in the Act
“It is an act of statesmanship which will be appreciated by history.”
Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines; commending Senator Mar Roxas on his decision to quit the presidential race in favor of party-mate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
“I asked him: why are you allowing yourself to be used as a scapegoat? Stand up for the truth.”
Sr. Mary John Mananzan, chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP); advising Social Security System president Romulo Neri to tell all, after being indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman on his role in the NBN-ZTE mess.
“We want to return to our homes.”
32-year-old Nurhana, who fled her home with thousands of other evacuees last month during an encounter between government troops and Abu Sayyaf Group that left several soldiers and Moro fighters dead.
“These are very interesting times because since I was born, this is the first occasion when no less than three “religious” men are aspiring for the presidency.”
Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan, on the reported presidential ambitions of Jesus Is Lord Christian group leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Catholic priest-turned Pampanga Governor Fr. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio, and El Shaddai Catholic Charismatic group leader Bro Mike Velarde.
THE Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), a local research and advocacy institution, held on August 19 an international conference on Indigenous Peoples (IP) and environment. Dubbed as “Regional Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Changing Environment”, the forum held in Davao City, tackled various issues confronting the IPs like land conversions, displacements from ancestral domains, land tenure, resource management, food security and other human rights abuses. AFRIM's Executive Director Maria Lisa Alano said the conference aimed to present analyses on ongoing conflicts on resource use concerning expansion of agrofuel plantations, logging and mining operations in different countries in Southeast Asia. “It hopes to devise effective strategies among participants from local, national and international government and non-government organizations to address climate change while ensuring food security without sacrificing ancestral lands,” she said. Records show that the indigenous peoples numbering about 370 million in some 70 countries are now facing the challenges resulting from
continued extraction of natural resources in developing countries. Meanwhile, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) also reported that there are increasing human rights violations, displacement and conflicts due to expropriation of ancestral lands and forests for agrofuel expansion. “If agrofuel expansion goes as planned, an estimated 60 million indigenous peoples are threatened across the globe. In the Philippines alone, some 2 million hectares are targeted for agrofuel expansion, 1.3 million hectares of which are targeted in Mindanao. Mining projects on the other hand cover some 600,000 hectares,” it said. Alano added the conference will also be a venue for strengthening partnerships between participating organizations, building networks on common advocacies, and consolidating campaigns on plantation expansion, mining, and climate change mitigation. Some 100 representatives from local, national, and regional-based peoples' organizations, non-government organizations, environmental advocates, policymakers, local government units and academe are in attendance. (Mark S. Ventura) the countdown to the upcoming Asian Youth Day in Imus diocese from Nov. 20-30, 2009. It is hoped that the study may be considered in evaluating catechesis for the young as well as pastoral programs that aim to instill a “Eucharistic spirituality” among them. The survey will also serve as a major resource paper to be used in the AYD celebration. “We hope that this event would serve as a catalyst,” Tirona said. “We really want them to help the Church in its mission to transform.” San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Roberto Mallari said Asian Youth Day is a pilgrimage of faith, where young people from diverse backgrounds meet and experience the love of God. “We wanted to bring together young Catholics from Asia to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis,” he said. He said the Catholic festival is a way to reach out to the next generation of Catholics and ensure that the core teachings of Christ are transmitted and lived.
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
Int’l confab on IP tackles social issues
ARCHBISHOP Oscar Cruz said the party list system is already losing its relevance with the entry of “dubious” organizations seeking for congressional seats. The prelate said he saddened by the existence of “questionable” party list groups wherein some of them have already been accredited by the poll body. “The party list system has become rather vague… It is not helping the government because it does not necessarily mean that any Tom, Dick and Harry will know much about legislation,” he said. To name some, he cited the group of cock fighters looking to have a chance in the 2010 polls as well as the victory of the group of micro-entrepreneurs back in the 2007 elections. “Alam mo kasi yung party list e sectoral representation tapos all of a sudden this was translated into so-called party list na its interpretation is anybody, everybody is welcome to interpret,” he said. Cruz is referring to the application of the Alyansang Sabungero in the list of organizations looking to be proclaimed as a party list group by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). On the other hand, the group of micro-entrepreneurs he was referring to is the Kasangga party list, represented by presidential sister-in-law, Rep. Lourdes Arroyo. Cruz urged the lawmakers to improve the party list system in order to live up to its purpose of really providing representation for the marginalized sector. The law provides that 20 percent of the composition of the Lower House should be occupied by party list groups. The church leader’s misgiving towards the party list system came a day after an admission by Comelec Chairman Jose Melo himself that the system is already being abused. On Monday, less than 300 groups, alliance and organizations applied for party list accreditation in time for the 2010 polls. (CBCPNews)
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Cruz takes issue vs party list system
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‘adequate’ understanding in the Eucharist, still some said it really doesn’t have much importance into their daily lives. “Though young Catholics generally rated themselves as adequate in terms of their understanding (2.2 mean rating) and average in their participation (7.06 mean rating ) in the Eucharist, they also revealed that it has had a very little influence on their daily activities (1.97 mean rating),” the survey said. Only .6 percent of Asian Catholic youth acknowledged the parish as their source of information and understanding on the Eucharist and more than 50 percent claimed to have known through “personal readings”. When asked about their reasons for attending the Mass, majority expressed their desire to worship, give thanks and pray. “This has more weight compared to the community dimension and the formative component that the Mass offers,” the FABC said. “Sixty-one percent (61%) of the respondents maintain that silence before the Eucharist helps them to prepare for the celebration. There may be a need however, to support
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them in preparing through reflection on the Sunday readings (33%) going on a Eucharistic fast (37%) and going to confession (33%),” it added. Challenge Tirona said what the Church now wants to do is for the young faithful to realize that the Eucharist is a “very powerful force” that can move them to be “agents of transformation.” “That is the challenge,” said the chairman of FABC’s Office of the Laity. One way of doing this, according to him, is for the Church to come up with a “creative liturgy”. In other words, he added, the celebration of the Mass should speak to the young people. AYD: A catalyst The survey was conducted in January to June 2008 but was only launched during the 9th FABC plenary assembly last August 2009 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila. It was released to the media on August 29 during a press conference to formally start
the world. Barely eight days later, Our Lord sends His Mother to three children bringing with her the Peace Plan from Heaven. Peace that comes not simply from the cessation of armed conflicts nor from the strong subduing the weak nor from the defeated submitting to the victor, but from prayer, from reparation, from the true devotion to Mary. At Fatima, Our Lady warned that wars are punishment from God for sin. She said that many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray for them, and that many souls perish more because of the sins of the flesh. For peace to be obtained, she asked for the Consecration to Her Immaculate Heart, the consecration of Russia and also the consecration of ourselves. In fact, Our Lady told Sor Lucia that she would stay longer on earth because through her, God wishes to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If at Guadalupe, innocent lives were sacrificed to the false gods, in Europe during the time of the Fatima apparitions, millions of innocent lives were sacrificed at the altars of the wrong notion of nationalism and sovereignty. At Fatima itself, Our Lady forewarned that a greater war would ensue if her requests are left unheeded. “When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father,” said the message. There was special mention of Russia, which was about to turn atheistic. The Virgin asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart to prevent a dangerous future. “If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace,” the Blessed Mother prophesied. “If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.” III. Lipa Carmel 1948: “What I ask here is the same that I request at Fatima” World War I in Europe would not end in the 1920’s, it would continue on. Just as Our Lady told Sor Lucia that once she sees a strange light illuminating the skies, it will be the sign the greater war would have begun. And indeed there was the very strange Aurora Borealis in 1938, and came later the invasion of Hitler of neighboring Austria and started World War II. At the Pacific, it was imperial Japan that subdued its neighbors including the Philippines. Hundreds of thousands died. There were many killing fields, among these the vacant lot in Lipa City in Batangas. After the war, no one wanted to build anything at that vacant lot. It became instead the Carmelite Monastery where Our Lady would transform it from a place of death to a shrine of light and life. In the 1920’s there lived a Cardinal in Belgium who was devoted to Our Lady, especially under the title, Mediatrix of All Graces. During
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his time, there was a recently beatified Blessed Louis Marie Grignon di Montfort whose love for Mary was so known. Cardinal Mercier decided to promote both devotions. In fact, to his thinking, through the canonization of Blessed Louis, the definition of the dogma of Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces would be ushered in. There were a number of theological objections to the possible dogma of the universal mediation of Mary for the obtaining of all graces. The Pope then, Benedict XV, in accession to the requests of Cardinal Mercier decided to institute the Feast of Mary Mediatrix of Grace, set on the date May 31st. Cardinal Mercier died in 1926 without seeing neither the definition of the dogma of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces nor the canonization of Blessed Louis Marie Grignon di Montfort. He died uttering over and over again Mary Mediatrix, Mary Mediatrix. In 1947, Blessed Louis Marie Grignon di Montfort was canonized. And less than a year, in the far away island of the Philippines, Our Lady appears and identifies herself as Mary, Mediatrix of All-Grace. IV. The First and the Final Battle: The Woman and the Serpent (Gen 3:15 and Rev.12) In Sacred Scripture, in the very first book of Genesis, Our Lord promised a Woman who would have that enmity, that battle against the serpent. That Woman who would bear a fruit and that fruit that would crush the head of the serpent. In the very last book of the Bible, that same Woman reappears, again bearing a fruit in her womb. The Woman, in fact, was about to give birth. The dragon, the serpent of the Genesis, was about to slay her and her child. Michael the Archangel then appears, defeats Satan and chains him in hell. That was the Final Battle. Satan is defeated. St. Louis, in his book True Devotion to Mary, prophesies: But what will they be like, these servants, these slaves, these children of Mary? They will be ministers of the Lord, who, like a flaming fire, will enkindle everywhere the fires of divine love. They will become, in Mary’s powerful hands, like sharp arrows, with which she will transfix her enemies. (TD, 56) They will be like thunder-clouds flying through the air at the slightest breath of the Holy Spirit. Attached to nothing, surprised at nothing, troubled at nothing, they will shower down the rain of God’s word and of eternal life. They will thunder against sin, they will storm against the world, they will strike down the devil and his followers and for life and for death, they will pierce through and through with the two-edged sword of God’s word all those against whom they are sent by Almighty God. (TD, 57) We are part of this Army of Our Lady. We are at war. All those consecrated to Mary forms part of her army, and through this army, Our Lady will defeat Satan. going to die. Here was this baby I wanted to get rid of at first and yet there was I staying up late at night to make him live. The time for signing the adoption papers finally came and the social worker compassionately took my niño from my arms to bring him to the nursery, there to wait for his new parents. I was told that his adopting father is a Filipino doctor and that they reside in the United States. I still cry every time I remember my baby. My only consolation is that his parents would give him so much more than I ever could—including the proper treatment for his congenital illness. I returned to the Welcome House to recover both in body and spirit. I received counseling for raped victims. I learned how to forgive my abuser — and let God’s own form of justice catch up with him in His time. Sr. Pilar referred me to work in a school for special children. I am trying to learn as much as I can. My dream now is to set up this kind of special school in my hometown someday. Here I am now, a wounded but healed Claire.”
from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to visit Manila, not for the AYD, but for the National Congress of the Clergy in January next year. It will be the second invitation extended by the Church to the pope, who declined an offer last year to make a side trip to the Philippines from his visit to Australia for the World Youth Day in July 2008. “But January is too close and we don’t know if the pope will come,” he said. Infanta Bishop Rolando Tirona also said that not because they didn’t invite the pontiff for the AYD doesn’t mean he doesn’t know anything about it. “He’s aware of it. In fact they normally send messages to the congregation of the laity,” he said. Tirona also chairs the Office of Laity and Family of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC). UST ‘hopeful’ too Last year, the University of Sto. Tomas also invited Benedict XVI to the Dominican-run pontifical university’s 400th anniversary in 2011. Fr. Rolando dela Rosa, UST rector, earlier said they are “hopeful” that the pontiff will visit the Philippines and UST to grace their celebrations. UST is a pontifical university under the authority of the Vatican. It is also one of the oldest and largest Catholic universities outside Europe. Asian Youth Day Organizers are in final preparations for the largest Asian youth gathering at the Rogationist College of Silang in Cavite. The countdown to the Asian Youth Day started last Saturday with a prayer service and various other activities held at the Imus Cathedral. With the theme “Come Together, Share the Word, Live the Eucharist”, the activities will center on the FABC’s thrust toward Eucharist in the context of the young. AYD celebrations, held in years when no international WYD celebration takes place, aim to inspire young faithful to live their faith “passionately, in a more dedicated way,” said Tirona. The bishops said this year’s gathering is only eyeing some 2,000 delegates, half of whom will come from 22 Asian countries and the remaining half will be filled by local delegates. The Asian Youth Days began in Thailand in 1999, and the most recent was held in Hong Kong in 2006. (CBCPNews)
Archbishop Oscar Cruz, for his part, said President Arroyo’s administration must have been so “bad” that three religious leaders prompted to seek the presidency. “These are very interesting times because since I was born, this is the first occasion when no less than three “religious” men are aspiring for the presidency,” the 74-year old prelate said. He added “to my mind the outbreak of these ‘religious’ wannabepresidents is an argument against the present ruling administration, meaning to say the present ruling administration must be really so bad that it made these three ‘religious’ men seek the presidency.” “No matter who succeeds, definitely it will be much better, we will have a much better government than now,” said Archbishop Cruz. (Roy Lagarde and Melo Acuña)
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to pin me down on his bed, accomplishing what he lusted for all evening. With a smirk he released me and hissed how grateful I should be that he had chosen me from among all the girls in the party. The following days were filled with anguish as I waited for my period. Weeks passed. I learned that the guy returned to his duty in another province. There was no one else I could tell my fears, not to my father who would never understand. And I did not want to break my mother’s heart. She herself was battered enough by my father. I had just finished college and was working in a daycare run by a Baptist couple. In fact, I had decided to join the Baptists in revenge against my father who claimed to be a Catholic. It was the minister’s wife who first noticed how distraught I was. Gently, she encouraged me to confide in her and as gently arranged that I go to Manila where her mother could place me in a home for unwed mothers. No one else would know. In Welcome House, I slept soundly for
the first time in four months. My appetite returned and I started to eat for two—for myself and the baby. I had tried to deny the truth that I was pregnant but seeing the girls in Welcome House accept their situation made me realize I was not alone. They too had been violated against—rejected by their boyfriends, lied to by married men, or caught in a cycle of poverty and prostitution. Although I did not stay long in Welcome House, a sense of hope and trust was restored within me. In Norfil, I quietly fitted into the routine of household chores, handicrafts and sessions on childbirth, child care and personality development. What I loved most was the Bible study time. Two months passed faster than I thought. It was December 24 when I started to feel the labor pains. Yes, I delivered my “niño” on December 25. He was underweight and sickly so I offered to breastfeed him for a few weeks, even if I knew that separation from him would be harder. One day he turned blue and I thought he was
braved the barricades to try the impossible ─ free and fair elections in the age of the dictatorship.” De Villa expressed regret that a public official, Representative Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., calls for the “decimation of a civil society organization synonymous with the 1986 Peaceful Power Revolution” which she said “came at a time when the legacy of beloved President Corazon Aquino has once again stirred the hearts and minds of Filipinos to value our freedom and democracy.” She further said NAMFREL will continue to be pro-active in the preservation of country’s freedom and democratic institutions. De Villa said she was reminded of a Biblical passage that applies in today’s unfortunate situation “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone.” (Melo M. Acuna)
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peace, conflict and transformation. Konsult Mindanao has been conducting nearly 300 FGDs across Mindanao in order to gather and collate people’s perceptions on peace. Konsult Mindanao is a sincere response to people’s desire for broader participation in the Mindanao peace process and is designed primarily as a series of consultation and dialogue within various sectors and across the regions. Konsult Mindanao also promotes among groups a readiness to acknowledge past and present hurts, as well as a commitment to explore new ways of building peace. (Mark S. Ventura)
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Group hits Biazon’s call for delay of peace talks with MILF
DAVAO—The Bangsamoro Center for Just Peace in the Philippines, Inc. hit the statement of Senator Rodolfo Biazon to suspend the peace talks between the government and the MILF due to alleged treachery shown recently by the rebel group. Abdulbasit Benito of BCJP said the basis of Biazon to suspend the peace talks is yet to be proven through an investigation. (Mark Ventura)
Canossa College honor priests, religious in Laguna
Archbishop calls for protection of 3Fs
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY— Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, has called on the people here to rise up to the challenge of protecting the “3Fs” and not only cherish them when they are already gone. In a pastoral letter, Ledesma urged everyone to put their acts together in protecting our “forests, families and freedoms—three blessings that are now in danger of being lost.” “Let us ask for the grace and the courage to protect and conserve three particular blessings that perhaps we only begin to cherish when they are in danger of being lost – our forests, our families, and our freedoms,” the 66-year-old prelate said. On the environment, the prelate every Cagayanon to help address pending issues that affect the environment such as the rampant flush mining in the upstream areas of the city and the proposed construction of a bioethanol processing plant along the Cagayan de Oro River. He said the extensive flash floods that almost drowned the whole city and some parts of the province of Misamis Oriental in January 2009 “were warning signs of further calamities unless we act together” in protecting the environment. Aside from mining, Ledesma also urged everyone to be vigilant in monitoring the resumption of logging operations under an Industrial Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) particularly in the forestal areas of Barangay Anakan in Gingoog City and Barangay Minalwang in the municipality of Claveria “to prevent further degradation of the environment.” On the protection of families, Ledesma praised this city’s local chief executive and the governors of Misamis Oriental and Camiguin for supporting and promoting the Natural Family Planning (NFP) program. On August 17, Mayor ConstantiArchbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ
SAN PABLO—The Canossa College of San Pablo hosted their own version of “Priests Day” to honor priests, religious, deacon of the Diocese of San Pablo on Aug. 25. Led by Bishop Leo Drona the clergy and religious were treated to various activities like dance cultural performances, games, gift giving and holding the Holy Eucharist. (Fr. Romulo Ponte)
Youth gathers around AYD cross
DAVAO—Hundreds of Catholics gathered around the Asian Youth Day cross on its pilgrimage to churches in Mindanao. On Aug. 26, the cross arrived in Davao City and stayed overnight at the St. Paul Parish, here. The parish’s youth apostolate director, Fr Marbendear Morallas said the occasion forms part of the year-long Jubilee celebration of the Davao archdiocese. (Mark Ventura)
Laguna diocese joins seminar on restorative justice
SAN PABLO—Volunteers in prison service of San Pablo diocese attended the seminar on restorative justice and prison ministry August 22. Organized by the CBCP’s Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, the seminar was held at the Bishops’ Residence in San Pablo City. The Church institution said the forum has intended to present the different programs of the church on prison apostolate. (Kate Laceda)
Calls to protect Davao Rivers intensified
DAVAO—Water consumers in Davao City renewed their call to protect the Tamugan-Panigan Rivers and to reject the plan of Hedcor–Aboitiz to construct a hydropower project. Katilingban Alang sa Way Puas ug Limpyong Tubig spokesman Dominador Lopez said the celebration of Kadayawan sa Davao should also remind the people of the need to protect the city’s only remaining source of potable water—the Tamugan-Panigan Rivers. (Mark Ventura)
Bro. Mike drops out of presidential race—bishop
MANILA—El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde is abandoning his long-shot bid for the presidency, a Catholic prelate close to him said. Retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani cited lack of support from El Shaddai followers as the main reason why Velarde is no longer aspiring for the presidency. (Roy Lagarde)
CBCP marks prison chaplain’s group anniversary
no Jaraula signed an executive order promoting the City Responsible Parenting/Natural Family Planning team. The team, which includes representatives from the archdiocese is tasked to “implement and sustain RP/NFP” in all the 80 barangays of the city. Despite these positive initiatives geared toward the protection and conservation of the human ecology—i.e., the welfare of our families and the younger generation, Ledesma also called for vigilance against the attendant evil of modern technology, such as cybersex or cyber prostitution. Last April, police raided an innocuous-looking apartment here which served as a den for cybersex. The operators, two Swede nationals, were arrested. The victims—young women, some teenagers—have become witnesses and are being cared by the Archdiocesan Center for Women and Children, which is being managed by the Good Shepherd sisters. “However, the case continues to drag in court and requires the vigilance of us all,” he said. Ledesma also reiterated the archdiocese’s resolute stand 16 years ago “against big-time, commercialized gambling with all its attendant ills that would destroy the moral fiber of our communities.” “We reiterate that same stand today, and pray that our public officials heed the sentiments of many peace-loving families who want to be spared the presence of gambling lords in their midst,” he stressed. He was reacting to reports that the government is planning to construct a gambling casino in Camiguin to lure more tourists to that premier tourism haven in Northern Mindanao. (Bong D. Fabe)
MANILA—The CBCP’s Commission on Prison Pastoral Care celebrated Aug. 25 the 25th founding anniversary of the International Prison Chaplain’s Association (IPCA). The highlight of the event was the celebration of a Holy Mass at the CBCP Chapel in Manila led by CBCP Assistant Secretary General Msgr. Joselito Asis. (Kate Laceda)
Diocese brings back Latin Mass
Group calls for cessation of all coal contracts
DAVAO CITY— In order to prevent further the bankruptcy of the government in dealing with climate change, the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KsK/FoE Phils) has called on the immediate cancellation of all coal operating contracts in the country. In a communiqué sent to CBCPNews, Erwin B. Quinones, campaigns paralegal of LRC-KsK/FoE Phils, warned that the aggressive issuance of coal operating contracts which will open thousands of hectares of lands to coal extraction that will feed coal fired power plants exposes will also lead to national crisis due to sudden climate change. He said the coal has been the number one source of carbon dioxide and other green house gasses emissions that cause global warming and climate change. “We commend the people of Catanduanes, led by the Catholic Church, in vehemently opposing the plan to extract coal in their province,” Quinones said, referring to the moves to oppose 6.2B coal mine project linked to businessman Enrique Razon Jr. “We will likewise continue to support the various grassroots effort all over the country to stop coal mine companies in extracting coal, more so that it will primarily be used to fuel power generation plants that pollute our atmosphere,” Quinones added. In Southernmost Mindanao, the Department of Energy (DoE) entered into three coal operating contracts (COC) covering 17,000 hectares of land in the tri-boundary of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat provinces. The coal operating contracts were issued to the MG Mining and Energy Corporation
PARAŇAQUE—The use of Latin Mass is actively being done in the Diocese of Paranaque with a go signal given by its bishop. The Traditional Latin Mass celebrations in southern Metro Manila are currently hosted by the National Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Villamor Air Base. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continues to be a Missa Cantata, celebrated at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday at the crypt chapel of the Columbarium. (CBCPNews)
CBCP chief backs probe on ‘infomercials’
JARO—The head of the Catholic bishops’ leadership has welcomed moves to prosecute those who are allegedly using public funds on the so-called political “infomercials.” CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said the Senate probe could help ferret out the truth who among those officials is abusing people’s money. (Roy Lagarde)
Albay power coop registers gain, bright prospects seen
(MGMEC) whose rights and privileges under the contract were transferred to Sultan Energy Philippines Corporation (SEPC), Daguma Agro-Minerals Incorporated (DAMI) and Bonanza Energy Resources Incorporated (BERI). As of January 31, 2007 alone, the Energy department issued 39 coal operating contracts including that of Monte Oro Resources Energy Inc. in Catanduanes and 45 small scale coal mining permits as of April 17, 2007. By 2009, under Philippine Energy Contracting Round, DoE is offering 30 areas for coal mining covering 125 blocks or about 125,000 hectares. “All Coal Operating Contracts (COSs) should be cancelled now and no more area should be offered for coal extraction,” he ended. (Mark S. Ventura)
LEGAZPI—In a forum hosted by the Diocesan Social Action Center of the Legazpi, Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO) acting manager Engr. Gerry Silva said that the cooperative has registered for the first time in decades a positive gain of P32 million per month and has paid its arrears of P100 million in July, this year, to the National Power Corporation (NPC). Silva has attributed the coop’s positive outlook to the reduction of system’s loss; collection efficiency and the restructuring of payment proposal on compounded interests charged by NPC for ALECO’s debts now reaching to P1.9 billion. (Elmer James Bandol)
IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay—It was a “milestone”, said a former beauty queen-turned-environmentalist of the 14th year anniverAsIPA 5TH General Assembly sary of Couples for Davao City, Philippines Christ (CFC) in the 20-28 October, 2009 province. “It is heartening Theme: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19) to know that CFC Bread broken and Word shared in SCCs/BECs has rooted in the lives of Christian Objectives: couples for the • To review and reflect theologically on the experience of the different methods last 14 years in the of Gospel sharing as a way of breaking the Word in SCC/BECs. province and will • To reflect theologically on how SCCs/BECs break the bread – living the do so in the future Eucharist in daily life. building stronger • To facilitate the sharing of experiences and resources among the participants homes for Christ,” towards the “new way of being Church”. Lorraine E. Schuck said in an August Organized by the FABC Office of Laity and Family – AsIPA Desk; Co-organized 17 interview. and hosted by the Archdiocese of Davao More than 1,000 members joined Venue: Regional Major Seminary (REMASE) and Presentation of Mary Sisters’ the 14th anniverRetreat House, Catalunan Grande, Davao City, Philippines
Dates: October 20 – 28th, 2009
Schedule: Oct. 20 (Tues.) 21 (Wed.) 22 (Thurs.) 23 (Fri.) 24 (Sat.) 25 (Sun.) 26 (Mon.) 27 (Tues.) 28 (Wed.) Arrival, welcome, opening Eucharist at 5:30 pm Welcome dinner and orientation Bible enthronement at 8:30 am National reports Talk: “SCCs/BECs as Eucharistic Communities” Talk: “Breaking the Word in SCCs/BECs” Amos Program Introduction for exposure and departure after lunch Bishops’ Meeting Exposure in different Dioceses/parishes Reflection on the Exposure; first draft of final statement Presentation of new modules, planning, Second reading of Final Statement and evaluation, Closing Eucharist; Cultural evening Departure and Tour
14 years of Sibugay couples is a ‘milestone’, says environmentalist
sary celebrations of the Couples for Christ (CFC) in the province held at St. Joseph Cathedral here last August 15-16. The celebrations opened with a praise concert dubbed as Sibugay to GIG (God Is Great) on the evening of August 15 as a way of thanksgiving. The culmination day, August 16, was attended by a third of CFC members in the province. There are 3,184 CFC members in Sibugay. “As expressed in our theme, the CFC in the province will continue to serve building the church of the home,” CFC provincial area director Manuel Becada said. The organization, he added, will continue to be an instrument of “building a church of the poor”. Schuck said the CFC “might consider venturing into environmental advocacy as part of its ministry.” “As environmentalist, I am hopeful that CFC leaders in the province may consider taking on the task of leading the campaign to help save and protect our environment,” the former Mutya ng Pilipinas titlist said. “After all, as Christians we are all stewards of the Earth,” she said, adding that “CFC has the necessary resources to educate the people on the urgency of caring for our environment.” Earlier, Schuck called for stronger actions from the government and private sector of the province against climate change “in the light of the recent study that puts Sibugay as one of the most vulnerable provinces in the
country” when sea level will rise by one meter. According to the Climate Change Program of the University of the Philippines in the Los Baños, the province is the fourth most vulnerable in the country in the event the sea level will rise by one meter. The study predicted that 12 of the 16 towns of the province will be submerged or a total of more than 8,000 hectares when sea water rises by one meter. Schuck called on the local governments to start incorporating into their “respective local development plans the threats posed by climate change.” “In this regard, the CFC can do so much in drumming up support for our environment,” Schuck said. (Antonio M. Manaytay) General immediately issued a circular to the country’s cardinals, archbishops and bishops for their information and appropriate action. (CBCPNews) may continue… It is [really] the most appropriate venue,” Iñiguez said. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo earlier called for prayers for peace in Mindanao. The CBCP head said the nation’s prayer for Mindanao is important especially since the peace and order situation in the Southern Philippines is important to the whole country. (CBCPNews)
Solicitations / A1
** Evenings: Sharing of pastoral experiences from different countries Participants: National/Diocesan Training Teams using the AsIPA/Lumko method from Asia (FABC member Conferences and Associates), PNG, Germany and Switzerland Registration fee per participant: Minimum fee US$25; Full fee US$125; Solidarity fee US$200 + voluntary donation Exposure: Longer immersion can be planned before or after the General Assembly dates (by special arrangement, with added fee)
communications, to swindle Church institutions and/or unsuspecting private citizens by fraudulently using the name of high Church Authorities.” The papal envoy said still unidentified persons using the name of Cardinal Grocholewski, “are seeking to collect funds through illegal means.” He added even Catholic universities and education institutions have been targeted by the illegal scheme. The nuncio asked Archbishop Lagdameo to inform the country’s 85 ecclesiastical provinces and 366 religious congregations for men and women about the unauthorized solicitation activities. He also called on all concerned “to use maximum prudence in respect to requests for information or money, through
the internet, particularly when mention is made of the name of high Curia officials.” It was learned this was the most recent unauthorized
Peace talks / A1
scheme by unknown persons involved in solicitations using the names of Vatican City-based church officials. Msgr. Joselito C. Asis, CBCP Assistant Secretary Last August 18, though, government panel chair and Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis related that third party facilitator, Malaysia, has decided to push back the scheduled informal talks in a bid to have more time to study proposals from the two camps. The prelate said the Church is in full support of the plans to revive the talks if only to find peace in Mindanao. “Anytime, the peace talks
[that what was ruled] as unconstitutional [will not be repeated],” Iñiguez said. In October 2008, the High Court outlawed the MOAAD, aimed at giving full independence to the provinces that will be covered by the treaty through the creation of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. The government has already said they are already working for the resumption of the peace negotiations with the Moro separatist group as soon as possible.
People, Facts & Places
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
Vincentian Family launches Jubilee Year
THE Vincentian Family composed of 14 groups spread all over the country will observe a Jubilee Year from Sept. 27, 2009 to Sept. 27, 2010 in honor of the 350th death anniversary of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. With the theme “Charity and Mission,” the year-long celebration will be highlighted by a series of events and activities in order to give homage to St. Vincent and St. Louise as witnesses to and examples of love and service of the poor. ”Since the Vincentian Family is present in many of the dioceses in the Philippines, the program of the Jubilee Year will reinforce the thrust of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines to build the Church of the Poor,” said Sr. Mary Ann Guevara, DC, head of the Vincentian Family executive committee. St. Vincent de Paul is the Patron Saint of the Universal Church for all works of charity, while St. Louise de Marillac is the Patron Saint of all social workers and those involved in social works. Apart from the liturgical celebrations that would be observed in various parts of the country, the Vincentian Family has also organized various activities aimed at deepening the Vincentian charism. Foremost among these are a Vincentian Youth Congress, a Jubilee Formation Series, mobile photo exhibits, commemorative song album, and the recitation of a special jubilee prayer in observance of the Jubilee Year. Sr. Guevara said that all members of the Vincentian Family including those who studied in schools run by the Vincentian Fathers and Daughters of Charity are encouraged to join various contests planned for the Jubilee Year celebration. These contests include a national search for best practices of Vincentian Charity, a jubilee year theme-song writing, video essay and oratorical contests. A special stage presentation, titled “San Vicente: A Zarzuela,” is being arranged by the Adamson University and the Vincentian Center for Identity and Mission in coordination with the Vincentian Family Coordinating Council. The Vincentian Family is made up of religious congregations and organizations that were either founded by St. Vincent de Paul and/or that follow the Vincentian spirituality and charism of service to the poor. It also has a rich and long tradition of Charity and Mission that dates back to 1617 for the Ladies of Charity, 1625 for Congregation of the Mission and 1633 for the Daughters of Charity. At present there are more than 250 congregations and associations who live out the Vincentian Charism in more than 90 countries spread in all the continents. The Vincentian Family is made up of religious congregations and associations, that were either founded by St. Vincent de Paul and/or that follow the Vincentian Spirituality and Charism of service to the poor. In the Philippines the following groups make up the Vincentian Family: The Ladies of Charity – AIC (International Association of Charities) Philippines; The Congregation of the Mission – C.M. (Vincentian Fathers and Brothers); The Daughters of Charity – D.C.; The Association of the Children of Mary Immaculate – Vincentian Marian Youth (CoM-VMY); The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP); The Young Ladies Association of Charity (YLAC); The Sister Handmaids of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (SMdC); The Association of St. Louise de Marillac (LUISAS); Brothers of Charity (FC); The Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM); Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy (SCMM); The Alumni Associations of the schools administered by the Daughters of Charity and the Congregation of the Mission and the Vincentian Family Multi-purpose Cooperative. (CBCPNews)
© www.flickr.com/photos/johnhanscom © www.parravinnies.org
Oblates vow greater protection for IPs
THE Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) have vowed for greater protection of the country’s indigenous peoples who are considered the most vulnerable members of human societies. At least eight Oblates serving in the Oblate ministry for IPs met recently with Oblate Provincial Fr. Ramon Ma. Bernabe, OMI in order to review the direction of, and propose new initiatives for the ministry. Present at the meeting were Brothers Mauricio Zuyco, Rogelio Tabuada, Navarro Matas, Elmer Boston, Raphael Tianero, Rizalde Orola, Jose Aduana, and Renante Aban. In an article posted at the Oblates of Mary Immaculate website (www.omiphil.org), it said all of them shared what they have done and what they currently think of the ministry. Bro. Mauricio, the article said, had the most extensive experience among the IPs, spanning almost 40 years. Aban is the new ministry coordinator, not only for the Oblates, but also for the Archdiocese of Cotabato. Oblate ministry among the IPs covers two geographical areas in Central Mindanao—the Kulaman Valley in Sultan Kudarat, and Pangipasan in North Cotabato. In Sulu, there is also ministry among the Badjaos through the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo and Notre Dame of Jolo College. Over the years, programs for the IPs have ranged over various areas: ancestral domain survey and documentation; formal and non-formal education; health services; agriculture; basic infrastructure; advocacy for the environment; community organizing; and catechesis. But the group also acknowledged that the key approach in all of these was cultural solidarity—entering into the whole life of the IPs, particularly in learning their language. The meeting concluded with the identification of some essential elements of the framework of Oblate ministry among the IPs: 1) Oblates are engaged in this ministry because the indigenous peoples are among the voiceless and excluded in society today; 2) Oblate ministry among the IPs entails living with the indigenous peoples in their specific locales or communities (inculturation; learning the language; knowing their socio-cultural-political contexts, etc.); 3) The indigenous peoples are not a monolithic group, but are composed of various sub-groupings with their own distinctiveness; 4) Programs for the IPs should be identity-based, prioritized according to importance, and empowering; 5) Oblates serving in this ministry need to be secure in their own Catholic Christian and Oblate identity, and possess an attitude of openness and interest to embrace such ministry; 6) Oblates in this ministry should be critical in engaging other partners and stakeholders, so as not to compromise our values and the best interests of the indigenous peoples we seek to serve. The group also recommended that scholastics with the disposition and inclination for this ministry should be identified early on and given the opportunities for specialized studies in the field of ministry among indigenous peoples. (CBCPNews)
Jesuits to hold series of family seminars
FILIPINOS are globally known to have strong family ties but keeping the family together entails more than an overnight of conscious effort to achieve. To guide Filipino families in maintaining its close bond amid the threats of modern times, the Center for Family Ministries (CeFaM) of the Philippine Jesuit Foundation organized a series of workshops where parents and children can be coached to effectively deal with marriage and parenting Titled “Keep it together,” CeFaM’s series of workshops feature “On Track,” a marriage adjustment program for couples who wish to re-direct and strengthen the foundation of their relationship. This workshop on August 29 aims to help participants understand the dynamics of becoming husbands and wives and equip them with corrective measures that will help make their relationship last. On September 5 and 12, CeFaM’s counselors will coach parents and caregivers of toddlers up to 12 years of age on “Pep-Kids” workshop. Topics of this positive empowered parenting seminar include development stages of a child, effective communication, building strong bond of friendship and intimacy, developing self-esteem and positive discipline. On the other hand, parenting of teenagers will be the main coverage of “Pep-Teens” on October 3 and 10 as participants are expected to learn alternative approach to effective parenting of teens. In this workshop parents will learn how to help their teens build his/her self-worth, confidence and full potential; create more satisfying and productive relationships; and develop responsibility and decision-making skills through positive discipline. All workshops will be conducted by CeFam professional marriage and family counselors at the CeFaM main office inside Ateneo de Manila Campus in Diliman Quezon City. For details and reservations, please call CeFam at 4264289-92 or visit www.ateneo.edu/cefam. (Kris Bayos)
LAUNCHED. The latest work of Bontoc-Lagawe Emeritus Francisco F. Claver, SJ, a book titled “The Making of a Local Church”, was launched August 26 at the Cardinal Sin Center, Loyola School of Theology in Ateneo de Manila University. The book which deals about a model of participative leadership that can motivate Christians all over the world to “make their own churches more responsive to local needs”, is jointly published by Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc. and Jesuit Communications Foundation, Inc. Among those who graced the book launching were the bishops of the Dioceses of Imus, Parañaque, Kalookan and Cubao and the Archdioceses of Manila and Pampanga; religious men and women; theologians, BEC ministers and catechists; as well as the rectors and directors of various parishes and seminaries. Considered one of the luminaries of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Claver is a prolific writer and a sought-after lecturer in the country and abroad. After his stint as bishop of Malaybalay, he became chair of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace where he pursued proactively the Church’s advocacies on environment, political education and basic ecclesial communities, among others. CITED. Two priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), the late Archbishop Gerard Mongeau and Fr. Eliseo Mercado, were honored by the city government of Cotabato for their contribution in uplifting the lives of the people through their missionary activities, on the occasion of Cotabato’s 50th anniversary celebration as a chartered city recently. Archbishop Mongeau, an OMI pioneer who became the first Mission Superior and Bishop of Cotabato was honored for his work in the field of education through the establishment of Notre Dame School system. He was also cited for his social action work that gave birth to two housing projects, the Note Dame Village and the Krislamville. Fr. Mercado who currently sits as Director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) was acknowledged for his contribution to peace, development and clean elections as Namfrel Chair in Mindanao. The former president of Notre Dame University is an active participant in the ongoing quest for peace in Mindanao. He plays a part in the continuing round table discussions, fora and debates that seek to shape policies affecting genuine autonomy and good governance in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The two OMI priests were among the 50 outstanding ‘Cotabatenos’ given recognition for their life achievements and contribution to the people of Cotabato. CELEBRATED. Sr. Maria Winifreda S. Asok, Sr. Maria Lucia G. Lucine, Sr. Maria Anita L. Pragados, Sr. Maria Melania V. Valcarcel, and Sr. Maria Bernardita V. Zatarain, golden jubilee of religious profession of vows; Sr. Maria Carmela C. Conol, Sr. Maria Alfonsa B. Dahunog, Sr. Maria Fe B. Lagarto, Sr. Maria Florita B. Lobitaña, and Sr. Maria Marilyn C. Ubaldo, silver jubilee of religious profession of vows; August 15, 2009 at Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel, N. Domingo St, Quezon City. DIED. Manny Arejola, 68; one of Catholic Church’s active pro-life apologists, at a Makati Hospital, August 27, 2009. Arejola, at the time of his death, was serving as president of the Kalipunan ng mga Kapatiran ng Pamilyang Pilipino, Inc., an affiliate group of Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL). A former regional director of the Commission on Population, Arejola debunked reports that there is overpopulation in the country. He had been at the forefront in the church’s fight against the proposed reproductive health bill, which would promote artificial contraceptives. DIED. Sr. Ma. Amada E. Retig, RVM, August 12, 2009.
RP to host Asian Apostolic Congress on Mercy
THE Philippines will host an international gathering of promoters and devotees of the Divine Mercy from Nov. 20-22, 2009. Organizers said the gathering is a follow-through to the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy held in Rome last year. Msgr. Josefino Ramirez, coordinator of the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy for Asia and the Oceania said Christoph Cardinal Schonborn presented to Pope Benedict XVI the delegates to the international gathering last year. The pontiff then, he said, granted his blessing and encouragement to hold continental congresses worldwide. For this year, Cardinal Schonborn through Fr. Patrice Chocholkski, WACOM General Coordinator and General Secretary, accepted the suggestion that the Philippines hosts the Asian Apostolic Congress on Mercy this coming November. This year’s theme “MERCY: The Face of the Son of Man in ASIA” was derived from the papal Exhortation and Post Synodal Document “Ecclesia in Asia” integrated with the most recent Synodal Document in 2008 on the “Word of God” coinciding with the Anniversary of St. Paul and his missionary endeavor as an Apostle. Msgr. Ramirez said the theme also highlights Cardinal Schonborn’s message at last year’s Congress “Be Apostles of Mercy.” He added that prominence shall also be given on the scriptural foundation of the Message of Mercy as well as its sociopastoral dimension in the context of the Church in Asia and its current issues and challenges “Mercy as a Way of Life” and “Mercy as a Devotion” in the Liturgy and Sacraments centered on the Eucharist. “Thus, as an integral whole, Divine Mercy shall hopefully find its full expression in the Asian Churches as a Mystery, Communion and Mission,” he added. Msgr. Ramirez said the Asian convention was first held in 2005. (Melo M. Acuna)
IN celebration of the Year for Priests, lay people of the Archdiocese of Manila organized a “Day of Recollection, Prayer and Fasting” on August 22. The activity that coincided with the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary was held at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (SM Megamall Chapel) in Atrium, SM Megamall. Organizers said that the event was prepared and intended for the sanctification of priests and for more vocations to the priesthood. Manila priests, rectors, chaplains, pastoral council coordinators, religious men and women,
Manila holds recollection, fasting on Year for Priests
leaders of mandated organization and transparochial communities and catechists of the Manila Archdiocese participated in the event. A procession and enthronement of the image of St. John Mary Vianney, the Cure of Ars and patron saint of diocesan priests, opened the recollection. Fr. Jaime Marquez, parish priest of St. John Mary Vianney in Makati, led the opening prayer while Leonida Vera, Ambassador to the Philippines of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, gave a welcome speech. Fr. Jason Laguerta, Fr. Genaro Diwa, and Msgr. Sabino Vengco shared their reflections on the
priesthood together with some lay persons who also gave their thoughts on the topic. To end the one-day recollection, a mass was presided by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and concelebrated by some Manila priests. Pope Benedict XVI has declared the “Year for Priest” that started with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus last June 19, 2009 and will end on June 19, 2010. The culminating activity on the “Year for Priests” will be an international gathering of priests from various parts of the world with the Holy Father in Rome. (Kate Laceda)
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
BENEDICT XVI begins his Encyclical with a deep, comprehensive introduction in which he reflects on and analyzes the words of the title which closely link “caritas” and “veritas”: love and truth. This is not only a sort of “explicatio terminorum”, an initial explanation which seeks to point out the fundamental principles and perspectives of his entire teaching. Indeed, like the musical theme of a symphony, the theme of truth and charity then recurs throughout the document precisely because, as the Pope writes, in it is “the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity”.
given us a text entitled “The Search for Universal Ethics: A New Look at Natural Law”. It addresses topics of great importance which I wish to point out and to recommend especially in this context of the Senate, that is, an institution whose main function is legislative. Indeed, as the Holy Father said to the United Nations Assembly in New York during his Visit last year to their headquarters, sometimes called the “glass palace”, speaking about the foundation of human rights: These rights “are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and present in different cultures and civilizations. Removing human rights from this context would mean restricting their range and yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks”. These reflections do not apply solely to human rights. They apply to every intervention by the legitimate authority called to regulate the life of the community in accordance with true justice by means of legislation that is not the result of a mere conventional agreement but aims at the authentic good of the person and of forming social relationships.... His integral well-being is thus closely linked to community life, which is organized in a political society by virtue of a natural inclination and not a mere convention. The person’s relational character is also expressed in his tendency to live in communion with God or the Absolute.... Of course, it may be denied by those who refuse to admit the existence of a personal God, but it remains implicitly present in the search for truth and for meaning that is present in every human being”. Man, therefore, through the “breadth of reason”, is made to know the truth in its full depth by “broadening [his] concept of reason”, in other words, not limiting himself to acquiring technical knowledge in order to dominate material reality but rather opening himself to the very encounter with the Transcendent and to living fully the interpersonal dimension of love, “the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones)”. “Veritas” and “caritas” themselves point out to us the requirements of the natural law which humane and humanizing value”. After this indispensable introduction, of which I have chosen to highlight some of the anthropological and theological aspects of the Papal text that may have attracted fewer comments from journalists, I would now like to explain just a few points, without claiming to cover the vast content of the Encyclical. Moreover, authoritative commentators have already published specific reflections on it in L’Osservatore Romano and elsewhere. An important message that comes to us from Caritas in veritate is the invitation to supersede the now obsolete dichotomy between the financial sphere and the social sphere. Modernity has bequeathed to us the idea on the basis of which, if we are to be able to operate in the field of the economy, it is essential to achieve a profit and to be motivated chiefly by self-interest; as if to say that if we do not seek the highest profit we are not proper entrepreneurs. Should this not be the case, we must be content with belonging to the social sphere. This conceptualization, that confuses the market economy that is the genus with its own particular species which is the capitalist system, has led to identifying the economy with the place
this gap which is both cultural and political. Contrary to what people think, efficiency is not the fundamentum divisionis for distinguishing between what is business and what is not, for the simple reason that “efficiency” is a category that belongs to the order of means and not of ends. Indeed, efficiency is indispensable in order to achieve as well as possible the purpose one has freely chosen to give one’s action. The entrepreneur who gives priority to efficiency that is an end in itself risks being caught by one of the most frequent causes of the destruction of wealth today, as the current economic and financial crisis sadly confirms. To expand briefly on this theme, to say “market” means saying “competition”, in the sense that the market cannot exist where there is no competition (even if the opposite is not true). And there is no one who can fail to see that the fruitfulness of competition lies in the fact that it implies tension, the dialectic that presupposes the presence of another and the relationship with another. Without tension there is no movement, but the movement this is the point to which tension gives rise can also be fatal; in other words it can generate death.
Caritas in Veritate
(A discourse of Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” addressed to the Italian Senate on July 28, 2009)
‘It Is Also Possible to Do Business by Pursuing Aims That Serve Society’
But, we ask ourselves, which truth and which love are meant? There is no doubt that today these very concepts give rise to suspicion especially the term “truth” or are the object of misunderstanding, and this is especially the case with the term “love”. This is why it is important to make clear which truth and which love the Pope is addressing in his new Encyclical. The Holy Father explains that these two fundamental realities are neither extrinsic to man nor even imposed upon him in the name of any kind of ideological vision; rather, they are deeply rooted within the person. Indeed, “love and truth”, the Pope says, “are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person”, the person who, according to Sacred Scripture, has been created precisely “as an image of the Creator”, in other words of the “God of the Bible, who is both “Agápe” and “Lógos”: Charity and Truth, Love and Word. This reality is testified to us not only by biblical Revelation but can be grasped by every person of good will who uses right reason in reflecting on himself. In this regard, several passages of an important and meaningful Document that came out just before Caritas in veritate seem to illustrate this view clearly. The International Theological Commission in recent months has
of society and hence refers to this natural law. Now, expounding on the reality of natural law, the International Theological Commission describes precisely how truth and love are essential requirements of every person and are deeply rooted in his being. “In his search for moral good, the human person should recognize what he is and be aware of the fundamental inclinations of his nature”, which orient him toward the goods necessary for his moral fulfillment. As is well known, “a distinction has traditionally been made between three important forms of natural dynamism.... The first, in common with every essential being, is comprised of the fundamental instinct to preserve and develop one’s own existence. The second, which is shared by all living beings, includes the inclination to reproduce in order to perpetuate the species. The third, which is proper to man as a rational being, constitutes the inclination to know the truth about God and to live in society”. Examining in depth this third form of dynamism which is found in every individual, the International Theological Commission declares that it is “specific to the human being as a spiritual being, endowed with reason, capable of knowing the truth, of entering into dialogue with others and
Benedict XVI places as a fundamental criterion for moral reflection on the current socio-economic reality: “’Caritas in veritate’ is the principle around which the Church’s social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action”. Using a cogent expression, the Holy Father thus affirms that “the Church’s social teaching... is “caritas in veritate in re sociali”: the proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society. This doctrine is a service to charity, but its locus is truth”. What the Encyclical suggests is neither ideological nor exclusively reserved to those who share belief in the divine Revelation. Rather, it is based on fundamental anthropological realities such as, precisely, truth and charity properly understood or, as the Encyclical itself says, given to the human being and received by him, but neither planned nor willed by him. Benedict XVI wants to remind everyone that it is only by being anchored to this double criterion of “veritas” and “caritas”, inseparably bound together, that it is possible to build the authentic good of the human being who is made for truth and love. According to the Holy Father, “only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more
where wealth or income is generated, and society with the place of solidarity for its fair distribution. Caritas in veritate tells us instead that it is also possible to do business by pursuing aims that serve society and are inspired by pro-social motives. This is a practical way, if not the only one, of bridging the gap between the economic and the social spheres, given that an economic activity which did not incorporate the social dimension would not be ethically acceptable. It is likewise true that a social policy concerned only with redistribution, that failed to reckon with the available resources, would not be sustainable in the long run: in fact, production must precede distribution. We should be particularly grateful to Benedict XVI for wishing to emphasize the fact that economic action is not separate from or alien to the cornerstones of the Church’s social teaching such as: the centrality of the human person, solidarity, subsidiarity, the common good. It is necessary to supersede the current concept which expects the Church’s social teaching and values to be confined to social activities, while experts in efficiency would be charged with guiding the economy. It is the merit and certainly not a secondary one of this Encyclical to contribute to remedying
If the purpose of economic action is not synonymous with striving for a common goal as the Latin etymology “cum-petere” would clearly indicate but rather with Hobbes’ theory, “mors tua, vita mea” [your death is my life], then the social bond is reduced to commercial relations and economic activity tends to become inhuman, hence ultimately inefficient. Therefore, even in competition, “the Church’s social doctrine holds that authentically human social relationships of friendship, solidarity and reciprocity can also be conducted within economic activity, and not only outside it or “after” it. The economic sphere is neither ethically neutral, nor inherently inhuman and opposed to society. It is part and parcel of human activity and precisely because it is human, it must be structured and governed in an ethical manner”. Well, the advantage by no means small that Caritas in veritate offers us is to give special consideration to the concept of market, typical of the tradition of the thought of civil economics, according to which it is possible to live the experience of human sociality within a normal economic life and not outside or beside it. This concept might be defined as an alternative, both regarding the concept that sees the market as a place for the
Caritas / B2
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Photo Courtesy of www.mercatornet.com
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
The supreme authority of the Church
the subject of the supreme power in the Church—at least in an absolute and proper sense, or in a principal and original sense—can only be one and that is the Roman Pontiff. According to them, the College of Bishops only is subject of such supreme power when the Pope communicates it to them and makes them participate in it—i.e., only in a relative and participative sense, and thus secondary, accessory and contingent. 2nd The College of Bishops as Subject of the Supreme Power in the Church Putting aside the Conciliarist formulations that this thesis had concentrated in the Head of the College. Thus, the Pope acts as Head of the College and even as representative of the College, but not in a delegated sense (since his power does not come from the other members of the College) but rather in a corporate sense (as really standing for the whole College). In other words, the Pope functions authentically not as an independent agent but as successor of Peter—i.e., head of the college. 2) Collegially—by the whole body of the bishops, together with and under its Head. It has also been pointed out that since the Episcopal College always exists and is an essential element of the divine constitution of of Vatican Council I, re-proposed during Vatican II and continues to be defended at present. In effect, Vatican II had affirmed that the Roman Pontiff, by virtue of his office, had full, supreme and universal power over the Church, and later adds that the College of Bishops, together with its Head, the Roman Pontiff, and never without this head, is also subject—“subiectum quoque”— of the supreme and full power over the universal Church (LG, n.22). Nevertheless, the position needs to be defended from the juridic-doctrinal point of view. For its defenders, two apparently contradictory factors needed to be reconciled. On the one hand, the principle that in a society there can only be one supreme power, since were there to be several, one of them would limit the others that would then cease to be supreme. On the other hand, there are texts of the Magisterium—among them that of Lumen Gentium—that affirm the existence of two subjects of the supreme power: the Roman Pontiff and also the College of Bishops. According to these authors, in order to harmonize these two seemingly opposing factors, we have to affirm the existence of two subjects of supreme power in the Church, but at the same time establish an inadequate distinction between them—since the Roman Pontiff is present in both, either as the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the universal Church or as the Head of the Episcopal College. As the Council itself would explain, “it is not a distinction between the Roman Pontiff and the bishops taken together, but between the Roman Pontiff by himself and the Roman Pontiff along with the bishops.” Neither should we forget that, as the Council itself clearly affirms, the Roman Pontiff always enjoys freedom of action in the exercise of this supreme power—either alone or with the College. Conclusion Each one of the aforementioned theses attempts to explain, in the theoretical and speculative plane, the question of the subject of the supreme power in the Church. Each one attempts to emphasize particular aspects of the constitution and government of the Church. Thus, while the first thesis maximally defends and guarantees the institution and rights of the Primacy, the second thesis in contrast attempts to strengthen the nature and power of episcopal collegiality with and under the Pope; while the third thesis tries to find an equilibrium between the two positions. In conclusion we can say that insofar as each one of the aforementioned theses respects the data of Revelation and the Magisterium, it can be accepted to explain juridic realities that— being rooted in the mystery of the Church—are not easily reducible to facile simplifications or neat systematizations.
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries:)
Q: Who can be buried by the Church, and who can a burial Mass be said for? If a faithful of the Catholic Church is not baptized before he dies, but had the desire to be baptized, can a burial Mass be celebrated for him? If a Catholic was baptized, received first Communion and was confirmed, but failed to have his marriage blessed before he dies, can Mass be celebrated for him also? What about a Church member who contributed financially over the years to the Church and has held positions in the Church, but after his death there was a doubt of whether he had been baptized? Can he be given a Church burial, or can Mass be celebrated for him?—D.A., Accra, Ghana A: The Church is usually generous toward the deceased, within limits. First, we must distinguish between offering a funeral Mass and celebrating a Mass whose intention is the eternal repose of a particular soul. Since the latter is basically the private intention of the priest, albeit offered at the request of a particular person, and since there are practically no limitations as to whom we may pray for, almost any intention can be admitted. In cases that might cause scandal, especially if the person were denied a funeral Mass, it would not be prudent to make this intention public. A funeral Mass on the other hand is basically a public act in which the Church intercedes for the deceased by name. A funeral Mass is one which uses the formulas found in the Roman Missal and the ritual for funerals. Some of these formulas may be used even if the deceased’s body is not present. Because of its public nature the Church’s public intercession for a departed soul is more limited. A funeral Mass can be celebrated for most Catholics, but there are some specific cases in which canon law requires the denial of a funeral Mass. Canons 1184-1185 say: “Canon 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals: 1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics; 2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith; 3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful. “§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed. “Canon 1185. Any funeral Mass must also be denied a person who is excluded from ecclesiastical funerals.” In fact, these strictures are rarely applied. In part, this is because many sinners do show signs of repentance before death. Likewise, the canons are open to some interpretation. In No. 1184 §1 notorious would mean publicly known. Therefore someone who had abandoned the faith and joined some other group would be denied a funeral; someone who harbored private doubts or disagreements would not. Cases of those who choose cremation for reasons contrary to the faith are extremely rare and are hard to prove (see the follow-up in our column of Nov. 29, 2005). The most delicate cases are those in No. 1184 §1.3. Many canonists say that for denial of a funeral the person must be both widely known to be living in a state of grave sin and that holding a Church funeral would cause scandal. About a year ago in Italy the Church denied an ecclesiastical funeral for a nationally known campaigner for euthanasia who requested and obtained the removal of his life-support system. In this case the request for a funeral for someone who was only nominally Catholic was in itself a publicity stunt for the organization behind the campaign. Likewise, someone subject to excommunication or interdict (for example, a Catholic abortionist) would be denied a funeral. Given the severity of the requirements for denial of an ecclesiastical funeral, people in irregular marriages and suicides should not usually be denied a funeral. In such cases denial of the funeral is more likely than not to be counterproductive and cause unnecessary misunderstanding and bitterness. The Church intercedes for the soul and leaves final judgment to God. Analogous to the funeral Mass are anniversary Masses which are somewhat in between an intention and a funeral Mass. Although, strictly speaking, these would not fall under the prohibitions mentioned in Canon 1184, such Masses should not be given publicity if the person had been denied a funeral. With respect to non-Catholic Christians the local bishop may permit a funeral in some cases as specified in the Ecumenical Directory 120: “In the prudent judgment of the local Ordinary, the funeral rites of the Catholic Church may be granted to members of a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial Community, unless it is evidently contrary to their will and provided that their own minister is unavailable, and that the general provisions of Canon Law do not forbid it (see Can. 1183,3).” Regarding the first and third cases presented by our reader, we can also refer to Canon 1183: “Canon 1183 §1. When it concerns funerals, catechumens must be counted among the Christian faithful. “§2. The local ordinary can permit children whom the parents intended to baptize but who died before baptism to be given ecclesiastical funerals.” This would apply both to the person who had intended to receive baptism but was prevented by death as well as to the person whose baptism was uncertain but was active in the Church. In the first case the funeral liturgy may be celebrated as usual, only omitting language referring directly to the sacrament. The same would apply to the second case, but omission of mentioning the sacrament should be done only if the fact that the person had never been baptized could be established with some degree of certainty. The foundation for this is the doctrine of baptism of desire in which the Church believes that a soul who explicitly desired the sacrament will receive all the graces of baptism at the moment of death, except for the sacramental character. This last is not given because it is directly orientated toward the exercise of worship during the course of life. Finally, Catholic funerals are not celebrated for non-Christians.
At times, the question has been asked in what consists the authority of the Pope, the Bishops and— for that matter—the Episcopal Conference. I shall attempt to clarify this matter in a series of articles, since the whole matter of ecclesiastical authority is too broad a topic to tackle in one article. BY supreme authority in the Church we mean that ecclesiastical power that is not subordinated to any other, and on which all other powers in the Church depend. Thus, the following discussion presupposes the previous consideration of the reality of the sacra potestas and its relation with the power of Orders and the power of jurisdiction (already tackled in an earlier issue of CBCP Monitor). Here we shall deal with the question of who is/are the subject/subjects of the supreme power in the Church. It has been noted that while Lumen Gentium had made major strides in placing the role and exercise of the supreme power in the Church in a larger perspective, it has not resolved this critical issue. The classical and current answer can be summarized in three theses, each one with different nuances that can even give rise to further subdivisions of varying worth. 1st The Roman Pontiff as the Subject of the Supreme Authority in the Church This is a classic position, defended in the Modern Era by authors like Cajetan and other Post-Tridentine theologians and canonists, and by a minority during Vatican Council II. It focuses solely on the Pope. According to this thesis, all the power of jurisdiction in the Church descends vertically from the Roman Pontiff via a predominantly juridical path— the missio canonica—, such that the sacramental origin of such power is relegated to a secondary plane, if at all admitted. In this conception,theepiscopal power of jurisdiction—even if its divine origin is admitted—is transmitted immediately by the Roman Pontiff through the canonical mission, and only in a mediate way by divine institution. Thus, the defenders of this thesis hold that only resident Bishops enjoy the power of jurisdiction—since only they receive a missio canonica from the Pope—and only they have the right to participate in an Ecumenical Council. After Vatican II and at present, it has become very difficult to defend this position. According to the Council, both the Pope, as well as the Episcopal College under him, are subjects of the supreme and full power over the Church. But the defenders of this thesis have tried to keep its viability by affirming that
Caritas / B1
in the Pre-Tridentine era, this position had been defended in morerecenttimesbysomeauthors trying to make it compatible with the doctrine of Vatican II. Presently it is mostly defended by dogmatic theologians and by a few canonists. They would want to take the doctrine of episcopal collegiality to its ultimate consequences, while trying to respect the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. According to this thesis, the sole subject of the supreme power in the Church is the Episcopal College—always with the Pope and under him. This power is, however, exercised in two ways: 1) Personally—by the Pope, by virtue of his office as Head of the College. In this case, the exercise of the power is totally
the Church, different modes of collegial action—aside from those commonly known and mentioned in the CIC, e.g. Ecumenical Councils and Synods—can take place, which the Head of the College should foster. Aside from the previously mentioned reason of defending episcopal collegiality, the defenders of this thesis also adduce reasons of ecumenism, insofar as this conception—to their mind—could make the Petrine ministry more acceptable to some separated Churches. 3rd Two Inadequately Distinct Subjects of Supreme Power: the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopal College This thesis had been defended already during the deliberations
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exploitation and abuse of the weak by the strong, and the concept which, in line with anarchic-liberalistic thought, sees it as a place that can provide solutions to all the problems of society. This way of doing business is differentiated from that of the traditional Smithian economy, which sees the market as the only institution truly necessary for democracy and freedom. The Church’s social doctrine, on the other hand, reminds us that a sound society is certainly the product of the market and of freedom, but there are needs that stem from the principle of brotherhood that can neither be avoided nor be referred solely to the private sphere or to philanthropy. Rather, the Church’s social doctrine proposes a humanism with various dimensions, in which the market is not combated or “controlled” but is seen as an important institution in the public sphere a sphere which far exceeds State control which, if it is conceived of and lived as a place that is also open to the principles of reciprocity and of giving, can construct a healthy civil coexistence. I shall now examine one of the themes in the Encyclical which seems to me to have attracted some public interest because of the newness of the principles of brotherhood and free giving in economic activity. “Social and political development, if it is to be authentically human”, Pope Benedict XVI says, needs “to make room for the
principle of gratuitousness”. “Internal forms of solidarity” are essential. The chapter on the cooperation of the human family is significant in this regard. In it the Pope stresses that “the development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family”, which is why “thinking of this kind requires a deeper critical evaluation of the category of relation”. And further: “The theme of development can be identified with the inclusion-inrelation of all individuals and peoples within the one community of the human family, built in solidarity on the basis of the fundamental values of justice and peace”. The key word that today expresses this need better than any other is “brotherhood”. It was the Franciscan school of thought that gave this term the meaning it has retained over the course of time and that constitutes the complement and exaltation of the principle of solidarity. In fact, whereas solidarity is the principle of social organization that permits those who are unequal to become equal through their equal dignity and their fundamental rights, the principle of brotherhood is that principle of social organization which permits equals to be different, in the sense that they are able to express their plan of life or their charism in different ways. Let me explain more clearly. The periods we have left behind us, the
19th century and especially the 20th century, were marked by great battles both cultural and political in the name of solidarity. This was a good thing; only think of the history of the trade union movement and of the fight to obtain civil rights. The point is that a society oriented to the common good cannot stop at solidarity because it needs a solidarity that reflects brotherhood, given that while a fraternal society also shows solidarity, the opposite is not necessarily true. If one overlooks the unsustainability of a human society in which the sense of brotherhood is lacking and in which everything revolves around improving transactions based on the exchange of equivalents or to increasing transfers actuated by public structures for social assistance it then becomes clear why, in spite of the quality of the intellectual forces at work, we have not yet found a credible solution to the great trade-off between efficiency and equity. Caritas in veritate helps us to realize that society can have no future if the principle of brotherhood is lost. In other words, society cannot progress if the logic of “giving in order to have” or of “giving as a duty” is the only one that exists and develops. This is why neither the liberalindividualistic vision of the world, in which (almost) everything is exchange, nor the State-centered vision of society, in which (almost) everything is based on obligation, are reliable guides to lead us
out of the shallows in which our societies today have run aground. Then we ask ourselves the question: why is the perspective of the common good as it has been formulated by the Church’s social doctrine, which was banished from the scene for at least two centuries, re-emerging like an underground river? Why is the transition from national markets to the global market that has taken place over the last 25 years rendering the topic of the common good timely once again? I note in passing that what is occurring is part of a broader movement of ideas in economics, a movement whose goal is the link between a religious sense and economic performance. On the basis of the consideration that religious beliefs are of crucial importance in forging people’s cognitive maps and in shaping the social norms of behavior, this movement of ideas is seeking to investigate how far the prevalence in a specific country (or territory) of a certain religious matrix influences the formation of categories of economic thought, welfare programmes, educational policies and so forth. After a long period, during which the celebrated theses of secularization appeared to have had the last word on the religious question at least insofar as the economic field is concerned what is happening today appears truly paradoxical. It is not difficult to explain the return to the contemporary cultural debate in
the perspective of the common good, a true and proper symbol of Catholic ethics in the social and economic field. As John Paul ii explained on many occasions, the Church’s social teaching should not be considered as yet another ethical theory as regards the numerous theories already available in literature. Instead it should be seen as their “common grammar”, since it is based on a specific viewpoint, the preservation of the human good. In truth, while the various ethical theories are rooted either in the search for rules (as happens in the positivist doctrine of natural law), or in action (as in Rawls’ neo-contractualism or neo-utilitarianism), the social doctrine of the Church embraces “being with” as its Archimedean point. The ethical sense of the common good explains that in order to understand human action we must see it from the perspective of the acting person and not from the viewpoint of the third person (as does natural law) or of the impartial spectator (as Adam Smith had suggested). In fact since the moral good is a practical reality, it is known first and foremost by those who practice it rather than by those who theorize about it. They can identify it and hence choose it unhesitatingly every time it is questioned. (This article has been abridged due to space limitations. Full text of the speech can be accessed at http://www.zenit.org/ article-26658?l=english)
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Bishop …………...………......... 2 Diocesan Priests: Active Resident ..………...... 57 Abroad/on Leave ....………... 11 Deacon ……………………...... 3 Religious Priests: Filipino ……………………….. 7 Foreign …..…………..…….. 2 Consecrated Brother: Filipino ………...…………… 3 Foreign ……………..……… 2 Consecrated Women: Filipino …………………….... 39 Foreign ……………..……… 1 Diocesan Divisions: Vicariates ……………............ 6 Parishes …………………….. 27 Mission Centers ……............. 5 Seminarians: College …………………..…. 33 Theology ………….....…....... 5 Regents ………………......... 3 Seminaries: College ……………………... 1 Catholic Schools …………... 4 Population ………….….. 695, 149 Catholics …………….….. 660, 391 Area …………....… 5,591 sq. km
Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral
By Rev. Fr. Noel C. Labendia
Introduction The Diocese of Calbayog is the local church comprising the civil territorial jurisdiction of western side of Samar Island. The island, the third largest in the Philippines, is composed of three provinces: the Province of Northern Samar with Catarman as capital, the Province of Eastern Samar with Borongan as capital, and the Province of Samar (in the West) with Catbalogan as the capital. The City of Calbayog, the lone city in the Province of Samar and of the entire Samar Island, is where the Cathedral of the diocese is located since its ecclesiastical foundation on April 10, 1910 by Pope Pius X. The new Diocese was comprised then of the whole Samar and Leyte islands separate from the Archdiocese of Cebu. Subsequently, Palo was ceded from Calbayog as a separate diocese in 1948, Borongan in 1960 and Catarman in 1974. The historical vicissitudes of the Diocese of Calbayog cannot be fully appreciated apart from the history of the early evangelical labors of the first missionaries who came to Samar island. The Pioneers of Evangelization in Samar After having obtained in 1595 the islands of the Visayas as their new mission territory, Fr. Antonio Sedeno, the Head of the Jesuit Philippine Mission, (which was then a vice-Province under Mexico) at once made all the necessary preparations for the establishment of the new mission. This labor however, will be carried out and realized only by Fr. Ramon Prat, the former’s worthy successor after the latter’s demise in Cebu. Thus on 3 October 1596, Fr. Prat the Vice-Provincial, and 15 other Jesuits left Manila for the Visayas in Samar and Leyte. For almost 20 days they sailed the rough seas of Marinduque and Mindoro, passing by Maripipi islands, and off to the Samar Sea, until finally landing in Tinagon, (now presently Brgy Dapdap, in the town of Tarangnan) on October 22, in the western coast of the island. In Tinagon Fr. Prat, left Fathers Francisco de Otazo and Bartolome Martes, and Brother Domingo Alonso to establish the first mission in the island. With the 12 others, Fr. Prat proceeded to Leyte, in Carigara and Dulag, which were established a year ago as mission stations under Cebu by Fr. Pedro Chirino. From the site of the first mission station in Tinagon in 1596, the missionaries fanned out to nearby poblaciones or settlements which were already claimed as an encomienda by the Spanish government. That same year the missionaries immediately established communities or visitas in neighboring pueblos in Catbalogan, Paranas, Calbiga, Umauas (now Villareal) and in as far as Maripipi and Limbangcauayan. In 1597, the Jesuits opened the visita of Bangajon (now Gandara)), Capul and Ibatang, the forerunner of Calbayog. With the additional assignment to the Tinagon residence of Fr. Miguel Gomez
and Brother Juan Ontineda, the Catubig and Palapag missions (in Ibabao side of Samar) were opened as well. It will be temporarily closed however after 2 years, and only revisited in 1601 by Fr. Juan Sanlucar and again in 1603 by Fr. Juan de Torres and Brother Domingo Alonso. Few years later, the Ibabao mission residence in Catubig was transferred to Palapag. From Palapag residence, visitas in Tubig (now Taft), Sulat, Borongan, as well as in Batag Island, Lao-ang, Catarman and Bobon were eventually founded. The work of early evangelization in Samar was proven not an easy task
Diocese of Calbayog
Diocesan Synod he convoked in 1600. Later he charged them of revising the Visayan Catechism in whose version was given an official character. After which, in spite of his more than seventy years, he traveled by trail and outrigger canoe to visit Tinagon to administer Confirmation in which he confirmed in the faith 2,000 neophytes. It was the directive of the Jesuit Father General Claudio Aquaviva in Rome and in compliance of their 5th General Congregation—that mission centers established in smaller settlements be aggregated into one main residence in larger pueblos and “that no many
west side of Samar, while Palapag will become the central Mission Residence for Ibabao region (the northeast side of Samar). This arrangement of having two central Residences in the Samar Island, with one local superior and a group of pastors responsible for subordinate communities will be the normal set-up for the duration of 150 years of Jesuit missionary labors. Fr. Dela Costa writes in his book, a catalogue of the last Jesuits assigned in these two Central residences at the time of their expulsion in 1768. For Catbalogan, seven Jesuits were constituted as one community with Fr. Gianbattista Medici as the assigned
and from all Spanish colonies in July 29, 1768, by virtue of a decree issued by King Charles III in 1767. The decree of expulsion paved the way for the assignment of other Religious orders as replacement in the abandoned mission areas. The Franciscans in Samar The Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Gregory were the ones assigned for the Samar poblaciones, except for Guiuan and Basay which were assigned to the Augustinians. Like the pioneer missionaries, the Spanish Franciscans too proved themselves noble in spreading the faith and in preaching the Gospel. They did this for a period of 159 years. Except for the intermittent years 1898 to 1906, because of the war, they stayed in Samar until 1927. To them goes the credit of sustaining the seed of faith that was planted and this they did with sincere efforts and dedication through the introduction of catholic devotions and catechetical education. The Holy week observances, the confradias and hermanidad, as well as the many novenas and church hymns that remains until now, all came from their efforts. But it was Fr. Jose Gomez de Huerce that epitomized the Franciscan missionary priest that the people of Samar and the diocese of Calbayog can be said to have owed much. He was only 26 years old in 1834 when he arrived as a missionary from Huerce, Spain. It was during his stint as pastor of Calbayog “when the town was still small and development was stagnant”, that he applied himself at once to serious work. To control the tide-flow and ensure proper drainage, he constructed a river dike in the town. He put up a furnace to fabricate bricks and encourage those who could, to use bricks for their houses. He started to construct a semi-stone convent as well as a large and solid stone church which will eventually become the Cathedral Church of the Diocese. His greatest contribution however to the pueblo of Calbayog according to many, was his promotion of agriculture especially the production of abaca. Fr. Huerce “climbed mountains to search for the best abaca suckers for cultivation and went around farms to teach how to plant and nurture them”. It was said that his labors proved beneficial to the town of Calbayog as well as the entire Samar Island in terms of economic progress and development. That was when the demand for abaca in the world market grew and Calbayog attracted many entrepreneurs. The upsurge of economy and rise of population of the town gave birth to new pueblos like Oquendo, Sta. Margarita, Tinambacan (formerly Weyler) and Sto. Nino. (Limbangcauayan) – Pueblos that will eventually become towns and parishes for the soon to be established Diocese of Calbayog at the turn of the Century. Towards the Foundation of a new Diocese The work was started to prepare the towns and parishes of Samar and
Bishop Isabelo C. Abarquez, DD
considering that the year 1596 to 1597 were years of famine due to the plague of locust, and thus the harvests were very poor, and there was sickness everywhere. The missionaries went from village to village with rice and medicines, doing what they could to relieve the sufferings of the people. There were no roads yet, travels were most of the time by water, and in many occasions their labors were met with insurmountable obstacles especially during south-west monsoon or habagat. If they travel by the rivers, they have to contend with crocodiles. But of course among the obstacles to their labors, the most dreaded of all were always the devastating and almost irreparable attacks of the Moro pirates. The Augustinian Bishop Fray Pedro de Agurto of Cebu, in which Samar islands were under his charge, hearing the fine evangelical efforts of the Jesuits in Tinagon, summoned them to Cebu to attend as delegates to the
residences be established anymore” for efficiency in the mission and to “provide safeguards and incentives for community life”—that occasioned the shift in their missionary activities in the island. That directive at reorganization and consolidation was relayed to the Jesuits of Samar and Leyte by the Father Visitator Diego Garcia in a conference attended by all 26 Jesuits in Palo on January 6, 1600. It was a directive meant to be enforced immediately, although it was not followed in actual practice until some few years, for it was only in 1610 that Palapag was opened as a new Mission residence transferring the old station of Catubig and the old Tinagon station as well, sometime after 1612, was transferred to Catbalogan making it as the Central residence. (cf. Dela Costa, TJP, p. 262, 316). At any rate, as a new way of proceeding in their mission, Catbalogan will become the central Mission Residence for the
Rector and Parish Priest. The six others assigned with him were: Fr. Ignatz Gosner as Parish priest of Paranas, Fr. Juan Essandi, as parish priest of Capul and Calbayog, Fr. John Antoine Tournon, parish priest of Calbiga, Fr. Jose Gomez, parish priest of Bangahon, Frs. Jose Valero and Miguel Alustiza for other special ministries. For the Palapag Residence: Fr. Roque Corbinos, the vice-provincial for the Visayas, was assigned as Rector and Parish Priest, together with him were: Fr. Luis Lopez, parish priest for Sulat, Fr. Charles O’Dwyer, parish priest of Tubig, (Taft) Fr. Jose Vasquez, parish priest of Borongan, Fr. Ignatz Frisch, parish priest of Guiuan, Fr. Jose Anda, parish priest of Catubig and Laoang, and Fr. Joseph Bremont, as parish priest for Catarman and Bobon. The Jesuits stayed in Samar and in Ibabao for 173 years or until their expulsion from their Philippine mission
Calbayog / B4
Archdiocese of Davao to host the 5th AsIPA General Assembly
AFTER the 9th Plenary Assembly of FABC held in Manila on August 11-16, 2009, two more big FABC events will be held in the Philippines, namely: the 5th AsIPA (Asian Integral Pastoral Approach) General Assembly (GA) in October, and the 5th Asian Youth Day in November. Both the AsIPA Desk and Youth Desk are under the FABC Office of Laity and Family. The 5th AsIPA General Assembly is for national and diocesan training teams for BECs/SCCs that are using the AsIPA and Lumko method of starting and maintaining small communities. The basic characteristics of this method are: Gospel-based and hence Christ-centered, constantly growing in their sense of Church as a communion and hence becoming a community and carrying out the Kingdom mission among themselves, in the neighborhood and in the society as a whole. The theme for this 5th General Assembly is: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19). Bread broken and Word shared in SCCs/BECs. It flows from the Bishops’ Synod on “The Word of God in the life and Mission of the Church” held in Rome last year and from the FABC 9th Plenary Assembly’s main theme: “Living the Eucharist in Asia.” This 5th General Assembly will gather around 200 participants: bishops, priests, lay leaders and Religious who are involved in training facilitators that animate and guide SCCs/BECs. Asian Bishops are all invited to attend. GA 5 participants come from some 13 countries in Asia, three countries in Europe and Papua New Guinea. This takes place every 3 years. The first two were held in Thailand (1996 and 1999), the third one in Korea (2003) and the fourth in India (2006). Aside from being an occasion for mutual exchange and enriching interaction, it is also an updating on pastoral and theological topics. For GA5, the topics will be on “SCCs/ BECs as Eucharistic Communities” to be presented by Bishop Chito Tagle (Bishop of Imus, Cavite) and on “Breaking the Word in SCCs/BECs” by Bishop Oswald Hirmer (Bishop Emeritus of Umtata, South Africa). Another special resource person is Bishop Emeritus Fritz Lobinger of Aliwal, South Africa, who with Bishop Hirmer, is also one of the founders of Lumko Institute. Both Bishops Emeritus have been to Asia several times and have accompanied Asian teams in their process of training facilitators of small communities that renew parishes to become “a Participatory Church,” as declared by Asian Bishops in the 5th FABC Plenary Assembly in 1990. During the 7-day General Assembly, we hope to achieve the following objectives: To review and reflect theologically on the experience of the different methods of Gospel sharing as a way of breaking the Word in SCC/BECs; to reflect theologically on how SCCs/BECs break the bread—living the Eucharist in daily life; to facilitate the sharing of experiences and resources among the participants towards the “new way of being Church”. The reports from the different countries/dioceses will be a source of inspiration and learning to one another. The keynote talks will be “digested” in small groups to search together pastoral approaches that will guide the SCC/BEC process of renewing the Church and actualizing communion starting from the most local level of the neighborhood. The General Assembly will also offer different methods of doing the Gospel sharing to grow in Christ-centeredness and to respond to social challenges as a community. Most Rev. Fernando Capalla, Archbishop of Davao, was happy to accept hosting this event which forms part of the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Archdiocese. The AsIPA effort has a history very much accompanied by Philippine Bishops since 1993 when Archbishop Angel Lagdameo (Jaro, Iloilo) was then Chairman of the FABC Office of Laity and Family, and Archbishop Orlando Quevedo as Secretary General of FABC since 2004. The present Chairman is now Bishop Rolando Tirona (Infanta, Quezon). Since its inception in 1990 and officially started in 1993, the AsIPA Desk has been based in Taipei, coordinated by Ms. Cora Mateo, a lay missionary and member of the Teresian Association (a Davaoweña). Now its office has moved to Singapore with Ms. Wendy Louis as Asian Coordinator. (AsIPa Secretariat)
Calbayog / B3
By Ma. Luisa M. Lacson
IT was during the Lasallian Pilgrimage that I first set foot at Montserrat. Seventyeight of us from the La Salle Schools in the Philippines went on a 21-day spiritual journey to the Holy Land and Europe. In 1999, I wrote a simple glimpse of the places we had been to. I made mention of all the places where the Lord Jesus moved around, they were all memorable because I witnessed, touched and firsthand experienced what I have been teaching in my Religion classes for a number of years. The splendor of Paris, Rome, France, Andorra, Spain, Versailles, and prayerful sites of Lourdes, Assisi, Nevers, Paray Le Monyal, Rheims, Aurelia in Rome (the mother house of the Christian Brothers) and many more made the trip exciting and also educational. What made me single out Montserrat in particular is because of our Lady who appeared there and the magnificent place of worship that was built on that mountain peak. On Montserrat This is a special place because it is a unique natural environment and a religious centre and because of the art to be found here. Montserrat is home to the Sanctuary of Our Lady and the Benedictine monastery, which has, for almost 1000 years, served all the pilgrims and visitors who come to this unusual mountain. The Image of Our Lady of Montserrat The image of Our Lady of Montserrat, popularly known as La Moreneta (the gentle dark woman) due to the dark colour of her face, is a lovely 12th century Romanesque carving. In 1881, she was crowned and declared the patron saint of Catalonia. Legend has it that the image of Our Lady was found in 880 in the Santa Cova (holy cave). The route leading up to the cave follows a rosary-like path with monuments by Modernista artists such as Gaudi, Llimona, and Puig I Cadafalch. The small chapel at the end of the route dates from the end of the 17th century. The Santa Cova funicular means that the hardest part of the path does not have to be climbed, thus making it easier to get to this place of pilgrimage. The Old Gothic Cloister This was built in 1476 by the then commendatory abbot Giuliano della Rovere, who later became Pope Julius 11. Only two of the original four wings still exist. The sculptures on the capitals include profane themes together with the coats of arms of Montserrat and of the abbot who started the construction work. The Monastery The community consists of a good number of monks who follow the 6thcentury Benedictine Rule. They largely dedicate their time to deepening their understanding of the religious experience, working and receiving pilgrims. As a consequence, the monastery is a place of prayer, dialogue, culture, and of meeting other co-pilgrims. The buildings that make up the monastery date from the middle of the last century as Napoleon’s army destroyed the old monastery in 1811. The monks living quarters are not open to visitors.
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
A day at Montserrat
The Basilica Building began in the 16th century under Abbot Bartolomeu Garriga. Pope Leo XIII raised it to the status of Basilica in 1881. Between 1900 and 1901, the original plateresque façade was replaced by the façade we see today, which is the work of the Francesc de P. Villar. The church interior was restored following the destruction by Napoleon’s troops. Every one may join the monks in the public prayers said in the Basilica. The Conventual Mass is said at 11:00 a.m. and vespers at 6:45 p.m. The Choir This is the oldest boys’ choir in Europe. The exceptional quality of the Choir’s singing is the result of the musical and cultural training that the choirboys receive from the monks of Montserrat. Each day at 1:00 p.m., they sing the Salve Regina and the Virolai, the hymn to Our Lady of Montserrat. After Vespers, at 7:10 p.m., the choir sings the Montserrat Salve Regina, in which polyphony alternates with the monks’ Gregorian chant. On Sundays and public holidays, they take part in the conventual mass and vespers. Els Degotalls A flat and shady walk that skirts around the mountain. When you come to a clearing, you can look up and admire the peaks and eroded rocky crags that rise up over 200 meters above El Canigo to the Cadi mountain range. There are numerous monuments along the pathway dedicated by the people of Catalonia to our Lady. The Sant Miguel Cross Follow the path alongside the Sant Joan Funicular station, and climb the gentle slopes that take you to the Sant Miguel plain. After 20 minutes you come to the fork that leads to the Cross, which is an excellent vantage-point over the eastern part of Montserrat, the Pyrennees and the coastal districts. You can continue along the path to Sant Miguel, a Romanesque-style shrine rebuilt in 1870. Santa Cecilia This site is documented in 945, and it would seem to be the first place where a Christian monastic community was set up. The Romanesque church is located in a majestic spot on the north face of the range and can be reached by following the Cami dels Degotalls (way of the streams). A fork off to the right leads to the Can Macana road which you should take to get to Santa Cecilia. To round off the trip you can visit the adjoining Arboretum (tree garden) which has a beautiful panoramic view of the northern parts of Catalonia. The Museum A valuable collection of varied works of art and other objects, many of which were donated to the Monastery: liturgical objects from the 15th to 20th centuries; masterpieces painted in the 13th to 18th centuries, with works by Berruguete, El Greco, Caravaggio and others; a splendid collection of modern paintings and sculpture by artists such as Rusinol, Casas, Nonell, Picasso, and Dali. There are also important French Impressionist works, by painters, such as Monet, Sisley and Degas. The Museum collections consist of objects from ancient civilizations, such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Cyprus and the Holy Land. Reflections How I wish I could recapture the other details of our magnificent trip to Montserrat, Spain. What will remain forever in my memories are the Holy Mass concelebrated by the two priests who joined the Pilgrimage with us and the solemnity of the place where many marriages are scheduled to be solemnized and the ONENESS of the entire members of the Lasallian Pilgrimage though it happened ten years ago.
Legend has it that the image of Our Lady was found in 880 in the Santa Cova (holy cave). The route leading up to the cave follows a rosary-like path with monuments by Modernista artists such as Gaudi, Llimona, and Puig I Cadafalch. The small chapel at the end of the route dates from the end of the 17th century. The Santa Cova funicular means that the hardest part of the path does not have to be climbed, thus making it easier to get to this place of pilgrimage.
Leyte to be constituted as a new Diocese. Cebu bishop Martin Garcia y Alcocer assigned his Vicar General, a native of the town of Calbiga, Msgr. Pablo Singzon to prepare the founding of a new diocese. In 1903, Bishop Alcocer in response to the appeal of the principales of Calbayog permitted the opening of a catholic school. Thus in 1905, the Colegio de San Vicente de Paul was opened. It was a school exclusive only for boys. It was administered by the Vincentian Fathers. Soon after, another school exclusively for girls was established. This is the Colegio de La Milagrosa, which was administered by the Daughters of Charity, a congregation also of the Vincentian family. Both schools are still in existence until today. The Colegio de San Vicente de Paul eventually became the Christ the King College in 1952 and is now administered by the Franciscan Friars, while the Colegio de La Milagrosa, now the La Milagrosa Academy which started co-education in 1942, is now currently administered by the Franciscan Apostolic Sisters. Almost bent on establishing a new diocese, a seminary for the training of native clergy was proposed. Thus, interested boys from the secular Colegio de san Vicente de Paul would be invited to be seminarians. They were to stay in a residence, located next to the Bishop’s House. Convinced of the deepening
faith-life of the Samarenos, Bishop Alcocer recommended to the Holy See the creation of Calbayog into a Diocese independent of the Diocese of Cebu. Finding merit on the recommendation, Pope Pius X by virtue of the decree, “Novas erigere dioecesis” erected on April 10, 1910 the Diocese of Calbayog comprising the parishes of Samar and Leyte islands and appointed Msgr. Pablo Singzon as the first Residential Bishop. Among the first acts of the new bishop was the formalization of the establishment of the Diocesan seminary, which was then being handled by the Vincentian Priests attached to the Colegio. As an institution separate to the Colegio de San Vicente de Paul, it was named Colegio-Seminario de San Vicente de Paul and Fr. Teodoro Robredo, C.M. was the first assigned Rector of the seminary together with Fr. Santos Saldana, C.M. and Fr. Pedro Pampliega, C.M. as Prefect of discipline and Procurator respectively. Next to the seminary, the second important act of Bishop Singzon was the convoking of the first Diocesan Synod. It was held in Palo Leyte on May 2-4, 1911. In that synod was laid out the groundwork for carrying out the task of the mission as well as the initial structure for the newlyestablished Diocese. Bishop Hacbang succeeded Bishop Singzon in 1922 until 1937. At 31 years old, he was
probably then the youngest in the world to be appointed bishop. His economic prowess and entrepreneurial skills helped a lot in the temporal and financial management of the diocese. His engagement in business however, notably in land transportation, was for and in the name of the diocese, for the needs of his diocesan pastoral projects. His conviction about the importance of catholic education like his predecessor, led him to establish the Bishop Singzon Institute in Catbalogan and the St. Paul’s College in Tacloban. The former was the precursor of the Sacred Heart College and now St. Mary’s College administered by the RVM Sisters, while the latter became the Divine Word University or DWU of the SVD Congregation. After 15 years of stint as pastor, Bishop Hacbang was succeeded by Bishop Alberto Almarines in 1937. He was however to stay merely as an Apostolic Administrator and only for a period of one year. Bishop Miguel Acebedo succeeded Bishop Almarines in 1938. He was bishop of Calbayog until 1958. It was during his stint that the Bishop’s residence was built. His sense of prudence during the war, kept the diocese undisturbed by the occupying Japanese forces, specifically, the seminary which was among the few, if not the only seminary in the country that remained operational during the Japanese occupation.
After serving the diocese, he retired in Palo Leyte where he died by accident, in a conflagration that reduced his retirement house into dust and ashes. Bishop Manuel Del Rosario succeeded Bishop Acebedo in 1958 until 1961. He started the construction of a new seminary building in Dagum Hills. His stay in Calbayog was short-lived however, because of his transfer to Bulacan to become the first Bishop of the newly-founded Diocese of Malolos. Bishop Lino Gonzaga succeeded Bishop Del Rosario in 1961, but also as an Apostolic Administrator and for only a period of one year. In his short stay in the diocese, he was remembered as an eloquent writer, a witty orator, and more so, as the defender of orthodoxy. Bishop Cipriano Urgel succeededBishopGonzagain1962 until 1974. He was authoritative but was compassionate and was always eager to listen to his priests and the faithful. He was the bishop of “two worlds.” He provided the good climate of transition from the “old ways of being Church” to being Church of ‘aggiornamento’ propounded by Vatican II. He was the pastor who invited lay people to get involve in the diocesan and parish activities foremost in organizing the pioneer lay movement in the church, the Cursillo de Christianidad. In his attempt to own the task of
formation of priests by diocesan formators, he prepared local priests to be formators-staff of the seminary and guided the smooth transition of management in 1964 from the religious Congregation of the Mission to the diocesan personnel. The Diocese during the Martial Law Years Bishop Ricardo Tancinco a native of Calbayog succeeded Bishop Urgel in 1974 upon the latter’s assignment to the Archdiocese of Palo. Bishop Tancinco proved himself a good pastor, by guiding the diocese during the most trying times of the Church in the Philippines— the Martial Law years. His prudent ways of administering the diocese on the concept of “co-responsibility” (which was his ecclesiastical motto) helped a lot in fostering unity among Laity and Clergy as well as in the functioning of its proper mission as a local church. It was during his stint as bishop that the pastoral program of the diocese as envisioned by Vatican II Council started to take off. However, no matter how pure the motives were, the Clergy’s fidelity to the mission was, as expected, held suspect. The diocese got caught up in the ferment that was brewing in the country. Bishop Sincero Lucero was assigned to replace Bishop Tancinco in 1979. But he was to stay only in the diocese for
more than 2 years. And he was a sickly bishop, and most of the time he was away from the Diocese. Bishop Filomeno Bactol was assigned as Apostolic Administrator to replace Bishop Lucero, but he too soon resigned only three months after his installation. After which, another pastor was assigned in the name of Bishop Godofredo Pedernal. But he too was bishop of the diocese only until 1984 when Msgr. Pastor Paloma, OAR was assigned to replace him. But like his predecessors, he too stayed in the diocese only for a short while. He was soon replaced in 1985 in the person of Msgr. Pedro Dean, then the Archbishop of Palo, and a native of Calbayog. He was Apostolic Administrator of Calbayog until 1990 upon the appointment of Msgr. Maximiano Cruz as Apostolic Administrator. Bishop Cruz served in that capacity for five years, until he was appointed by the Holy See to be Residential Bishop in 1995. Towards Renewal and Revitalization Perhaps, it was to Archbishop PedroDeanthatcreditmaybemade to have started the revitalization of the diocese. Although his disposition was always held with some reservation by many priests and lay people, he succeeded nevertheless in his good motives. True to his blood as a native of the
Calbayog / B7
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
TO the People of God in Cagayan de Oro, As we celebrate the feastday of St. Augustine, patron of our archdiocese and our city, we can keep in mind three ongoing challenges. First is the challenge of protecting and conserving our environment. The extensive flash floods that affected our city and other areas of Misamis Oriental early this year were warning signals of further calamities unless we act together to address pending issues such as the continued flush mining of our upstream areas and the proposed construction of a bioethanol processing plant along the river. The resolution by our congressmen to have Cagayan de Oro’s watershed area declared a protected area would be a welcome proactive measure. Meanwhile, in the Gingoog and Anakan areas, the imminent resumption of logging operations under an Industrial Forest Management Agreement must be carefully monitored by resident communities and other stakeholders to prevent further degradation of the environment. A second challenge that we face is the protection and conservation of our human ecology—i.e., the welfare of our families and the younger generation. Last April, the issue of cybersex – or what has come to be called “cyber prostitution”—exploded in our midst with the raid of an innocuous-looking apartment unit here in our city. Two foreign nationals have been detained while several young women victims have been asked to testify. Our archdiocesan Center for Women and Children under the Good Shepherd sisters, as well as other women’s groups, have been supporting the witnesses. However, the case continues to drag in court and requires the vigilance of us all. Hopefully, the recent passage of the Magna Carta of Women can strengthen our society’s resolve to eliminate all forms of discrimination and intimidation against women. In this case, young women are forced to look for
Safeguarding Our Forests, Families, and Freedom
employment even in circumstances that imperil their own future as wives and mothers of wholesome families. The future of wholesome families is also threatened by plans for the construction of a gambling casino— purportedly on a satellite island off Camiguin. Sixteen years ago, the archdiocese had made a resolute stand against big-time, commercialized gambling with all its attendant ills that would destroy the moral fiber of our communities. We reiterate that same stand today, and pray that our public officials heed the sentiments of many
peace-loving families who want to be spared the presence of gambling lords in their midst. One bright spot in our concern for family life is the recent signing on August 17th by Cagayan de Oro Mayor Constantino Jaraula of an executive order promoting the City Responsible Parenting/Natural Family Planning team. The team which includes representatives from the archdiocese is tasked to “implement and sustain RP/ NFP” in all the 80 barangays of the city. This E.O. actually follows the earlier example of the provincial governors
of Misamis Oriental and Camiguin in initiating the RP/NFP program in all their municipalities. A third challenge for all of us is to protect and maintain our basic freedoms in a genuine democracy— symbolized by the inauguration on August 21 of the monument to Press Freedom on our provincial capitol grounds. The monument reminds us of the sacrifices and martyrdom of many journalists advocating for truth, justice, and freedom in our country. In particular, one of our own media men, Nilo Bagares, was gunned down and
almost killed several months ago due to his advocacy against the video karera establishments. The death of Cory Aquino on August 1 reminds us also of the legacy of EDSA I that restored our democratic freedoms of speech, assembly, and choice of leaders. EDSA I was the first People Power Revolution in modern times that touched off other people power movements in other parts of the world. Let us not forget too the self-sacrifice of Evelio Javier, a classmate of mine, who became the proto-martyr of our people power revolution. As we prepare for the coming elections in May 2010, we can heed the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to form “circles of discernment” so that we may see, judge, and act together on matters affecting the common good. Last month, the bishops also encouraged the laity to be involved in “principled partisan politics.” It is the laity’s “right as well as their duty,” the bishops stress, “to campaign for candidates they believe to be competent, honest, and public service-minded to reform our country.” Reforming our country indeed starts with ourselves and the exercise of our political freedoms to choose the right public officials. The early registration of young voters can be the first step in this direction. As we celebrate our fiesta then, let us first offer thanks to the Lord for the many blessings we have received. But let us also ask for the grace and the courage to protect and conserve three particular blessings that perhaps we only begin to cherish when they are in danger of being lost—our forests, our families, and our freedoms. Through the intercession of St. Augustine, may we heed the moral guidelines of the City of God in our building of the City of Man. + ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J. Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro Feast of St. Augustine August 28, 2009
(An Open Letter by the Catholic Ecology Network sent to Manila Waters Sewerage Services Administrator Atty. Diosdado Jose M. Allado, on August 28, 2009)
THIRTY ONE years ago today, the U. S. Supreme Court struck down the operations of the newly-built Tellico Dam because of the presence of a virtually unknown snail whose only claim to fame was that it was endangered. The Court shut down the dam, built at a cost of more than a hundred million dollars, because its operation would violate the Endangered Species Act of the US. We ask the same of our government and the MWSS today! Respect the rule of law and scrap Laiban Dam immediately! We appeal to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, and ultimately, the Office of the President, to see to it that our laws are not violated, that the rights of the people are respected, and that the environment is properly protected. We are a government of laws and not of men. A joint venture with a private entity would violate the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) System, the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act (“NIPAS”), the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (“Wildlife Protection Act”), and the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (“IPRA”). EIS System: Laiban Dam has no ECC MWSS has not shown that it has obtained the requisite ECC from the EMB for the Laiban Dam Project. Upon inquiry with the EMB, we were informed that MWSS’ previous application was denied and that no new application or re-application has been filed with them as of the moment. It is a violation of PD 1151 and PD 1586 for a government corporation to initiate a project without an ECC. It is highly premature for the MWSS to call for bids, let alone issue a “Swiss Challenge,” without the project being granted an ECC. Unless, of course, MWSS is already assuming that they could maneuver their way with the EMB in getting an ECC. Have we gotten so brazen with the corruption in our midst that government agencies have lost all modicum of respect for permitting agencies? Section 4 of PD 1151 requires “all agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including government-owned or controlled corporations, as well as private corporations, firms and entities x x x [to] prepare, file and include in every action, project or undertaking which significantly affects the quality of the environment a detailed [environmental impact] statement .” Section 4 is not a mere suggestion that the MWSS can skirt or disregard. As Section 2 of the same decree states, the government must USE ALL PRACTICABLE MEANS to factor environmental considerations in all projects impacting the environment. The time to prepare the EIS is at the project planning or feasibility study phase. The purpose of which is to prevent the irreversible and irretrievable use and commitment of resources. If the EIS is done at a later stage, the chance is great that legal and financial commitments would have been made, making the EIS requirement a wasteful exercise. MWSS cannot call for bids or issue a “Swiss Challenge” without the requisite ECC. There is no point in trying to award a project which lacks an essential legal requirement. The MWSS cannot jump the gun on the Environmental Management Bureau (“EMB”) and other permitting agencies which are empowered under the law to approve or deny the project. Worse, by calling for joint venture partners, MWSS could expose the government to a suit if the project is later disapproved. MWSS would do well to avoid the irretrievable and irreversible commitment of resources by obtaining an ECC early in the EIS process. We have seen and studied an EIS prepared by Daruma and Norconsult for the Laiban Dam project. This EIS is full of deficiencies that it cannot be the basis for the grant of an ECC. These deficiencies consist, among others, of a scoping report (public hearings and consultations with the stakeholders) and the social acceptability as provided for in the EIA system. NIPAS Act: Laiban Dam Encroaches on a Protected Area The Laiban Dam project would adversely and negatively impact the Kaliwa Watershed which has been classified as a forest reserve. A portion of this area has been declared a national park under Proclamation No. 1636. Section 4 of NIPAS mandates that national parks shall be withdrawn from exploitation and set aside “exclusively to conserve the area or preserve the scenery, the natural and historic objects, wild animals and plants therein and to provide enjoyment of these features in such areas.”(Italics ours) Even buffer zones, or those areas adjacent to the national park, are restricted to protect the national park. There is nothing under the NIPAS Act that would even remotely allow the construction of a dam in a protected area. No exceptions exist under the law that would allow development in a protected area. Even projects of national significance or extreme economic urgency are not enough to disregard the protected status of a national park. The only exception we see is Section 14 which allows a very limited survey of energy resources. Constructing structures, fences, and enclosures are also prohibited under NIPAS. Wildlife Protection Act: Protection of Endangered Species The Globally Endangered species, notably the Luzon Bearded Wild Pigs (Sus Philippensis) and the Philippine Brown Deer (Cervus Marianus), the Tarictic Hornbill, are found in the Laiban Dam project area. With the construction of the dam, their existence will be further endangered as their habitats will have to give way in favor of the dam. We reiterate that we are stewards of God’s creation on earth. We must care for these beings whose importance we may never learn until they are permanently extinct. Under Section 25 of the Wildlife Protection Act, critical habitats shall be protected “from any form of exploitation or destruction which may be detrimental to the survival of the threatened species dependent therein.” Said section is absolute in its terms and provides no exception whatsoever. There is nothing in other provisions of the law that would also allow exploitation. We challenge the MWSS to point to us any provision of this law that would allow their putting up of a dam in the affected areas. Indigenous Peoples: the Dumagats and the Remontados Among the peoples that will be displaced by the Laiban Dam are the Dumagats and the Remontados who are indigenous to the area. The Kaliwa Watershed has been their home since time immemorial, even before the existence of the Philippine Government. Indigenous people have a conjugal bond with their land. Uprooting them will render them orphaned from the land that gave birth to their culture, heritage, and the oneness they share with other beings in the area causing further alienation. We remind MWSS that the Dumagats and the Remontados cannot be displaced from their homes without their free and prior informed consent. In addition, the IPRA law also provides that displacement may only be done in exceptional circumstances. We do not think that the construction of a dam is an exceptional circumstance, considering that there are other alternative projects that the MWSS may undertake to alleviate the water needs of Metro Manila. Other Issues In addition to the legal issues, there are also other issues that need to be addressed for the Laiban Dam project. One is the seismicity of the area and its proximity to major faults. Are we willing to sacrifice human lives in favor of a project whose main purpose is to alleviate the condition of human lives in the metropolis? The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, reiterates that the RIGHT TO SAFE ENVIRONMENT is one of the basic human rights that the State must protect. Second, there are studies that indicate that this project would produce water that would be very costly for Metro Manila residents. The take-or-pay provision also needs to be further studied as it appears that the same will be highly prejudicial to the government. Third, alternatives to the project must be considered, including the alternative of no action. We call on the EMB to carefully consider alternatives to the project before it even grants an ECC. We call on the MWSS to study and consider rehabilitating Wawa Dam and its watershed as one of the less expensive option. The EIS System provides for a cost-benefits analysis that must consider all alternatives so that the least destructive alternative may be given importance or even chosen in the end. Beyond the Supremacy of the Law We further reiterate that we are not in favor of making this water coming crisis an excuse to build a dangerous and questionable project like Laiban Dam because Wawa is available as an alternative. Laiban dam is the most expensive project to be undertaken by MWSS, in terms of economic cost, size and expanse of the infrastructure, numbers of stakeholders to be affected, environmental effects, human rights , and the challenges to the existing environmental and indigenous laws, such as Protected Area, PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO.1151 [PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY], ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT SATEMENT SYSTEM, Presidential Decree no. 1586; Wildlife Protection Act, IPRA, and NIPAs. Stewardship is founded on the fundamental relationship of human beings and the earth that our Creator commanded us to till and protect (Genesis 2:15). We establish government institutions in order to pass laws that will safeguard this divine mission and protect what remains of this bounty for us and future generations. In the end, more than the law, our conduct should be guided by a spirituality that promote and protect the integrity of creation, respect for life and the dignity of the human person. “[John Paul II, God made man the steward of creation” 24 January 2001] Signed: REV. FR. BENITO B. TUAZON Minister, Ministry on Ecology Archdiocese of Manila REV. FR. BIENVENIDO MIGUEL Director, Social Action Diocese of Antipolo REV. FR. JOVEN ANTIQUE Minister, Ecology Ministry Diocese of Pasig REV. FR. OCTAVIO BARTIANA Minister, Ecology Ministry Diocese of Kalookan REV. FR. ANTONIO LABIAO Director, Social Action Diocese of Novaliches REV. FR.ARNEL RECINTO Director, Social Action Diocese of Cubao ENGR. JOYCE PALACOL Coordinator, Ecology Desk CBCP-NASSA JP ATTY.GALAHAD PE BENITO Environment Lawyer Legal Consultant ALFREDO U. ALBOR Executive Director CARE Foundation SR. MARIA AIDA VELASQUEZ,OSB Coordinator Lingkod Tao Kalikasan Foundation,Inc
Urgent Appeal to the MWSS
Photo Courtesy of www.farm3.static.flickr.com
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B(Mark 8:27-35); September 13, 2009
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo
ONE of the glaring contrasts between the Philippines’ and the U.S. elections relates to how presidential campaigns are waged. In the latter, presidential debates matter, whereas in the former, even a candidate who refuses to debate could be catapulted to the presidential chair. In the recent presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain, debates mattered. The subjects ranged from international concerns like the ongoing war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the nuclear saber-rattling of Iran against Israel to the controversial local issues such as social security, insurance and tax. How a presidential candidate treat these issues was important to the individual American because his stand on these questions would really inform his governance. In other words, the dayto-day running of the government by the elected president would be informed by his stance toward these issues. Now, just as President Obama’s decisions on how to govern the United States depend on how he viewed the international and domestic issues during the presidential campaign, so our Christian attitude, values and life depend on how we understand Jesus. For Jesus informs our attitude and behavior in much the same way that natural law informs judicial interpretation and decision. In a way, it is then easy to understand the random poll in the Gospel reading: how do people recognize the identity of Jesus (Mark 8:27). People’s perception of who Jesus is ultimately determines their attitude toward him. According to Mark, the people—that is to say, those who were outside the circle of disciples—had various images of him: he was Elijah, who returned (Mal 3:1; 4:5); for others, he was John the Baptist, in whom Elijah reappeared. For still others, he was “one of the prophets,” “the prophet like Moses” who was expected to appear in the final days. But if Jesus asked about people’s perception, it was to prepare the disciples for the more intimately and vital question, because this involved them who are following him on the way to the cross. One may follow him without really knowing him, and that is why we have the Jesus of Che Guevarra, the Jesus of the Hippies, the Jesus of the mystics and the Jesus of the Revolutionaries. How did the disciples perceive him to be? Apparently, Peter’s answer was given on behalf of all the disciples: “You are the Messiah!” (Mark 8:29). Since put to death, and rise three days later” (Mark 8:31). The Messiah of suffering is described in the 1st Reading: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting” (Isa 50:6). What does this mean for us? Because at the heart of Christian faith is Jesus Christ and our following of him in discipleship, this means that the Messiah of suffering should inform our attitude and action as Christians. Our whole life—our words and deeds—must be informed by our belief in the Messiah who suffers for others. We often hear it said: “I have accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.” One could hardly quarrel with that affirmation; but we should not stop at that faith. We still have to task: what kind of Lord and Savior? Shall we reduce Christ to a consoling Lord, or at worst a domestic help at our beck and call? Shall we call him the Savior of our emotional and interpersonal problems? Shall we make him a personal Savior who has nothing to do with the structures of power and domination? In the light of today’s Gospel, we must insist that our Lord is not a triumphant Messiah, but a suffering one who saved us and the world by humiliation, defeat and surrender. As one whose life informs our thoughts and actions, and our way of life, Jesus challenges us to give up ourselves, to renounce the constant human desire to preserve and enrich our own person at the cost of others. We struggle against the forces of darkness and evil by constantly dying to our “I” and by dying for others. All this we do not only do twice or a hundred times, but as part of our daily activities. Once we accept this and once this becomes our second nature as it were, then we will learn the paradox that in humiliation, we are exalted, in giving up life, we save it, in allowing ourselves to be defeated, we become victorious.
What informs Christian life?
People’s perception of who Jesus is ultimately determines their attitude toward him. According to Mark, the people outside the circle of disciples had various images of him.
Jesus never rejected Peter’s answer, it would seem that Peter got the right perception. It is obvious, though, that he had the wrong significance. As can be noted for the way Jesus corrected them for their wrong behavior, the meaning they attached to the title Messiah was rather far removed from what Jesus wanted them to perceive. The disciples thought they would accumulate wealth in the kingdom (cf Mark 8:36), realize their ambition and achieve glory (Mark 9:33-37), and gloriously sit at the right and the left of the Messiah’s throne (Mark 10:36). In other words, the disciples thought of him as a political Messiah. And Jesus corrected them by foretelling his passion: “The Son of Man had to suffer much, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be
By Bishop Pat Alo
IN John 8:34, Jesus talks about some form of slavery that eventually would affect man’s eternal fate. And this, after all, is what matters. As they say, in Philosophy, finis est super omnia (the attainment of the goal is above all most important). So Jesus states “everyone who commits sin is a slave.” Since that is what conditions our eternal destiny, it must then be most important. Study past and present history, look at our world today or in past ages, see how the havoc of sin has cost us so much misery and tragedy. How? There is pride, disobedience
and insubordination; beginning with the rebel angels who were plunged into hell of everlasting fire and unhappiness (cf. Rev. 12:7-12). Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6); hence the way to freedom from
pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (see Mt. 19:23). How many acts of violence have been perpetrated for power and greed. Of course, when the apostles were disturbed by such statements of Jesus, they reacted saying “Who then can be saved?” Jesus must have looked at them with pity, saying: “For man this is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (see same paragraph above). Sexual excesses and sins of the flesh, as seen through media in our day, can also make people enslaved or addicted. The Church presents to us prayer and the sacraments as means of conversion through God’s grace and mercy.
to listen to God’s inspirations and the legitimate authorities placed above you. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18). Even St. John of the Cross, the Carmelite mystic said: “God desires the least degree
You can be enslaved to power and material things. Sexual excesses and sins of the flesh, as seen through media in our day, can also make people enslaved or addicted.
slavery is listening to His words and living according to His ways of truth and love. In the Bible you can see how this slavery works. You can be a slave to your own pride, refusing of obedience and submissiveness more than all those services you think of rendering him.” You can be enslaved to power and material things. Jesus had said: “It is easier for a camel to
Enjoy who you are
LET me tell you one of the greatest mysteries of the world. When a woman puts on blush on, mascara, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, eye-shadow, eyelashes, lipstick, lipgloss, toner, powder—and then turns to her husband and asks, “Honey, do I look natural?” Now tell me, how does a husband answer that without being hit on the head by inanimate flying objects? Hey, I’m not against make-up. I think it boils down to inner attitude: By putting make-up, are you covering stuff that you’re ashamed of? Or by putting makeup, you’re expressing the beauty that you believe is you? Now before I give you advice on eyeliner techniques, how to highlight your cheekbones, and what various hues of blushon you can use for your skin color, let me tell you about my sister’s wedding. I remember standing in front of the altar, beside the groom, eagerly waiting for his bride. When she finally appeared and started walking down the aisle, I noticed that my would-be brother-in-law suddenly entered into a catatonic state. His eyes had this blank stare, his mouth ajar, his body motionless, until I snapped my finger in front of his face. Shaking off the shock, he swallowed hard and asked me a question I wished I recorded for his future children and grandchildren to hear.
Fr. Roy Cimagala
The cut-and-paste generation
OR how Beethoven and Mozart got mixed with Yoyoy Villame and Max Surban. The other day, a freshman student leader asked me to give the invocation at the opening of our technical school’s Olympiad. I was, of course, happy and eager to do it. I consider it a great fringe benefit to get a chance to see some games with young people. That would be a welcome change from my routine, I thought, as long as it is only from time to time. My age and temperament seem to prevent me from getting into this kind of events. Some people have wondered how I could stay aloof to a Manny Pacquiao fight, for example. I just tell them, it must be the grace of God. Then we switch topics. When I saw the program, I was amused to note that I was given 15 minutes to do the invocation. What did they expect me to do, I asked myself, as I immediately realized these were young people organizing this event and they must not know what an invocation is or how long it usually lasts. Anyway, I did not complain. What came to my mind was to say some prayers and then give them a 10-minute reflection on the proper spirit of sports. I knew I had material for that. So as the students entered the gym amid the hoopla and fanfare and fell into formation, I did my part and was pleasantly surprised to see they were listening. The place became quiet. I felt my words sank in and I thanked God. Then came the national anthem, and the games started with a contest in cheer dancing. I was not prepared for this. My jaws just dropped as I saw a dizzying variety of creative dance steps performed by 16 to 17-year-old into different formations— circles, triangles, pyramids, etc. Some were thrown into the air. I felt I was seeing the opening of the China Olympics. They executed difficult movements like break dancing steps or even what they call as extreme dancing arm flares and hands wildly gesticulating to the beat of the music. And the music! For a 5-minute number, they managed to mix about 20 songs. more / Than I’ll ever know…” That’s it! This is the dynamics of life, I concluded. I have to learn how to adapt myself to this fact of life and to do whatever I could to help. Truth is these kids are bursting with energy and creativity, now revved up to the max because of our new technologies. But they are in great need of guidance and direction, and that’s what the elders, like me, are for. For all the good elements brought about by one’s youthfulness and the current level of development, there are dangers that need to be identified, exposed and neutralized or even taken advantage of. Our young today are prone to acquire a cut-and-paste mentality and lifestyle. They can easily fall to improvisations that can become a habit. For sure, there are many advantages in that, but it’s not supposed to replace our youth’s need for a deep and solid grounding that would give them a coherent and correct understanding of life and its many elements. This is the challenge I realized as I excused myself after their third number. I noticed I got tired for them, after seeing those vigorous and strenuous moves they were performing. They need to know the skills for study, prayer and the continuing pursuit of virtues.
When my wife was a child, she was teased as “headlights” by her classmates because of her humongous eyes. Twenty years later, I noticed her lovely round eyes. I was smitten. Thank God for the headlights.
He mumbled, “Is she… uh… your sister?” I bit my lip. “I don’t know. She has so much paint, er, I mean, make-up on...” I finally shrugged and told him, “When she comes closer, just ask her name.” You may be wondering who among my sisters I’m referring to since I have five of them. For the sake of my safety, that information shall be kept in a secret vault that can only be opened after my death. I remember my own wedding. When I saw Marowe on the aisle, I fell in love with her even more. Because her beauty wasn’t distorted by the make-up. Rather, it simply emphasized the beauty that was already there, like an exquisite picture frame that didn’t distract from its gorgeous painting. Can I now shift gears? Sorry, this article isn’t about make-up. (I’ll reserve my eyeliner and blush-on techniques for another issue.) This article is about enjoying who you are. About being you and celebrating God’s beautiful creation. So what if you’re too thin, too stout, too tall, too short, too round, too rectangular, too hexagonical? When my wife was a child, she was teased as “headlights” by her classmates because of her humongous eyes. And she would cry buckets of tears, wondering why God made her that way. Twenty years later, in my office, a young woman came in. Immediately, I noticed her lovely round eyes. I was smitten. Thank God for headlights. Don’t hide. Don’t pretend. Don’t be someone else. Be you. Be happy. Live!
Kids are bursting with energy and creativity, now revved up to the max because of our new technologies. But they are in great need of guidance and direction. For all the good elements brought about by one’s youthfulness and the current level of development, there are dangers that need to be identified, exposed and neutralized or even taken advantage of.
boys, mostly coming from the province, whose background I thought was not that rich. I knew most of them. They come to me for chats and I am familiar with their situations, mostly hard and difficult. But there they were, completely transformed into focused artistic performers. I was very happy for them. They were jumping and tumbling and spinning around. They made mock macho and effeminate poses. They flowed That’s where I noticed that the classical music of Beethoven and Mozart interspersed with the comic foolishness of Yoyoy Villame and Max Surban. All these left me wondering how they ever got to know all these things. My generation was never like this. Then at the back of my mind, I retrieved some lines from a song of my time, What a Wonderful World!, now revived by Michael Buble. “I hear babies cry / I watch them grow / They’ll learn much
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
By Antonio Manaytay
Basilan bakwits have yet to return home
ended. More than 400 Marines, Army and police commandos stormed on August 12 the hilltop camps of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Unkaya Pukan town targeting about 150 Abu Sayyaf militants. The daylong clashes last August 12 described as a “slugfest” led to the biggest single-day military losses in recent years. Navy chief Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez said 23 Marines killed and 18 others were wounded while 31 militants were killed and an undetermined number wounded. Some of the dead militants were identified as MILF rebels who “happened to be in the area during the attack”. MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu admitted that 12 of the dead rebels were the group's members and accused the military of attacking them. He said they were not with the Abu Sayyaf and only happened to be in the area when the fighting erupted. Barangay Bagindan is a known “MILF-controlled area”. In August 2007, fighting on Basilan killed 25 soldiers and 27 militants, a month after 10 Marines were beheaded in an ambush.
Calbayog / B4
place, he pleaded the Holy See through the Apostolic Nuncio to withhold the plan of ‘dissolving’ Calbayog as a diocese. He revived and re-opened the seminary building in Dagum Hills in 1987 which was standing idly for over 15 years already. It was renamed St. Vincent de Paul College Seminary, which started to cater to the needs for philosophical studies of the three dioceses of Samar island—Borongan, Catarman, and Calbayog. For the needs of Theological studies, the establishment of St. John Evangelist School of Theology in 1988 was also proven beneficial to the revitalization of the life of the Diocese of Calbayog [and of sister Dioceses in Samar and Leyte]. This too was made possible through the sincere efforts of the Apostolic Administrator of Calbayog, the Archbishop of Palo. More importantly, Msgr. Dean initiated the first ever, Diocesan Pastoral Assembly in 1989. He invited the Jesuit Bishop Francisco Claver and Sr. Julma Neo of the Daughters of Charity as facilitators. The important outcome of that assembly was the formulation of the Vision-Mission of the Diocese which remains a Norm until now, as well as the ratification and owning of the BEC as a Diocesan Thrust.
Bishop Maximiano T. Cruz, a native of Catbalogan, and who has been Auxillary Bishop of Calbayog since 1990, continued the labors of revitalizing the Diocesestartedbyhispredecessor, Msgr. Dean. He was Apostolic Administrator for 5 years, until his assignment as the Residential Bishop in 1995 until 1997. During his stint, he laid the foundation of restoring discipline and order among the priests and lay faithful in the diocese. He is credited for the revitalization of arts and culture in sacred worship. He raised funds for the repair of the Cathedral and the facelifting of its wooden gold-leaf retablo. He composed songs and hymns for devotion. He revised many novena prayers. More importantly, with the fresh call and mandate of PCP II in 1991, he guided the diocese in implementing the program of renewed Integral Evangelization alongside the BEC set-up as a new way of being church that was ratified during the diocesan Pastoral Assembly in 1989. Bishop Jose Palma, a native of Iloilo who was then an Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu Archdiocese, succeeded Bishop Cruz in 1999 upon the latter’s retirement. Bishop Palma was the pastor who restored the bonding and unity
of the whole Presbyterium and the lay faithful. To some that was the return to the glorious days of Calbayog, in which priests and lay faithful felt proud to belong to a diocese. Others said that was the return of a type of leader “in the mold of Bishop Urgel and much more.” Bishop Palma typified the bishop as servant-leader— compassionate, humble, simple, easy to mingle with, and not the usual type of bishop in which one will feel uneasy, left-out, or rejected. He was approachable, and more than that, he listened to observations and suggestions of his priests and his faithful. He was a pastor imbued with love for Samar and the Samareños. He lobbied at the Sanggunian Panlalawigan, at Congress and even in Malacañang for certain issues that directly affect the lives of the Samareños, such as the moratorium on illegal logging and the total ban for unsustainable mining in Samar Island. Also, through his lead support and initiative, the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) was founded in 2005. This is the partnership of NGO’s, GO’s, Local Government Executives, as well as the three Bishops of the Island on issues concerning Peace and Development in Samar.
His deep spirituality and prayerfulness was legendary. He was a man of discernment. He knew the history of his own flock. He was the pastor who had compassion to hundreds of people – poor people, unjustly treated people, rejected people. He inspired mediocre priests and brought down those who were forgetful of humility. In many instances he defied authoritative styles of leadership, even ignoring some customs and protocols if it was for the good of his people and his priests. He was a man of great prudence and extreme patience which sometimes lead others to have some questions as to his capacity to lead and to decide. He harnessed energies in his flock, leading them, not by words but by witness, to love one’s own selfworth and to joyfully accept one’s own purpose and mission. It was during his time in April 9, 2001, that the former old seminary building, called Patria, was burned and reduced into ashes. That was a paralyzing event for the Diocese because that building has been the center for the pastoral programs of the diocese. But the loss and disaster brought by the fire did not hamper in any way the good dreams of the Bishop for the diocese. Rather it brought out the
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deep sense of hope in him. He said the day after the fire, “something good must come out from the ashes.” The re-building of the gutted Patria was the last project of Bishop Palma for Calbayog. He raised funds in ways unexpected even to the Clergy– a Clergy in Concert. To most of us it was a miracle, to have a concert of the entire Presbyterium – both young and old clergy—at performance level in nine venues within the Diocese and two in Metro Manila. Indeed, it was a miracle sought and prayed for, to rebuild the gutted Patria building, but in the process, without us knowing it, another miracle was then happening for us—it was the joy of deeper unity and bonding on the part of the Clergy. In 2005, the rebuilding of the new Centennial Pastoral Center was started. After which, efforts were at once planned and discussed for the holding of an important event in the Diocese—a Second Diocesan Synod. However, that planned undertaking lost momentum when in 2006 it was announced that Bishop Palma was appointed by the Holy See as Archbishop of Palo. The discussion and preparations for the Second Diocesan Synod then was withheld, and was decided to be recommended to the incoming bishop. Bishop Isabelo Abarquez of Cebu succeeded Bishop Palma in 2006 upon his appointment to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Palo. Consultations were then immediately held by the new Pastor to consult the priests what to do and what programs will be undertaken under him. Upon the strong recommendation of the priests for efforts towards holding of a Diocesan Synod, the new Bishop then ratified it as the primary undertaking for all in the Diocese. Thus, he directed and guided all concerned to work for the preparation for that great and solemn event. Meanwhile, other initiatives and plans were carried out by the new pastor, which highlighted his great love and concern for his diocese. He worked to finish up the newly-built Diocesan Centennial Building and made it fully operational. He worked feverishly for a more functional diocesan curia
specifically the office of the Diocesan Catechetical ministry. He solicited funds for the repair and renovation of the diocesan seminary. However, it was the planned Diocesan Synod that will remain the most important, if not the centerpiece undertaking in the episcopacy of Bishop Abarquez. It was in April 15, 2009 at St. Vincent de Paul College Seminary, that the historic 2nd Diocesan Synod was held as planned. It was participated by over 150 Delegates from the Clergy, Religious and Laity. It tackled seven core Synodal concerns and became an occasion for the Priests and Lay people to contribute their best insights for the governance of the diocese, as well as it became an avenue for common understanding of what it means to truly belong to the Diocese for 2010 and beyond. A Greater Power at work Calbayog as a Local Church has gone through various ups and downs, painful struggles and difficult circumstances. It is a fact of life that in order for a living organism to grow and to continue, it must undergo a series of difficulties and shocks. Yet, its continued life and existence despite all odds cannot just be simply due to its own pursuits or that of its stakeholders’ intent, no matter how pure and noble. There is consolation in telling that a greater power has been at work, and continues to work with us, – a Power always greater than our most noble motives! And this is how it is to be Church, all too human, yet, all too Divine. With the Diocesan Synod successfully held, and with all the priests and lay people renewed by the Spirit and revitalized in faith and life, the Diocesan Centennial Anniversary next year will only be truly meaningful if it will become an event in our life as a Diocese, to manifest renewed fidelity to Jesus and His Church, and fidelity as well to His Mission, the call for Evangelization for the renewal of society and people. Indeed, as we thank God for his graciousness, may the Centenary become another moment to recommit ourselves to the Gospel values of humble service, of unity, of peace and justice.
A DOZEN of houses near the encounter site in Barangay Bagindan, this town, where at least 23 Marine personnel and 12 Moro fighters died last August 12 remain empty. The farms untilled. At least 1,282 families or 6,601 persons fled their homes in Barangays Silangkum in Ungkaya Pukan and Bagindan when government troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf Group led by Furuji Indama in Mt. Kurellem of this town, Lilia Bucoy, provincial social welfare officer, said in a phone interview. The bakwits, she added, are seeking shelter with their families in the town proper and secured area in nearby Ungkaya Pukan town. With the assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 9, the provincial social welfare office had already dispatched 1,000 family food packs last August 16. A team of social workers from the DSWD, Bucoy revealed, made an assessment visit last August 19 in this town. The team also gave additional 500 family packs and conducted feeding program to 445 pre-school children. The provincial social welfare office distributed dry goods for those observing Ramadan for their sahul (breakfast dawn) and hotmeals for the iftar (breaking of fast) at sundown. While the children, who are exempted from fasting, were nourished through a once-a-day feeding program. Bucoy said the DSWD had already coordinated with the town mayor, Ingatun Istarul, for sustained relief operations. Other services like cash-for-work, provision of used clothings, and psychotherapy and debriefing sessions were also extended to the bakwits. As of August 28, the cost of assistance extended to the displaced families totaled to P1,152,500. But the bakwits are restless to return to their homes. “Gusto na naming umuwi sa amin (we want to return to our homes),” 32-year-old Nurhana said. “Pero sabi nila di pa ligtas bumalik dun (But they said it is still not safe to return),” she added. Major Ramon Hontiveros, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City, in an interview said “we wanted to make sure that the area is safe before the displaced families return.” “It is our responsibility that the area is clean of unexploded ordinance and landmines,” Hontiveros explained. The bakwits will be allowed to return to their homes “once we are sure of their safety”, he
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary Title: Tarot Cast: Marian Rivera, Roxanne Guinoo, Ana Capri, Dennis Trillo, Gloria Romero Director: Jun Lana Producers: Jun Lana, Rosselle Monteverde-Teo Screenwriters: Jun Luna, Elmer L. Gatchalian Editor: Tara Illenberger Genre: Horror Cinematography: Mo Zee Distributor: Regal Films Location: Philippines Running Time: 102 Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance
Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
NAKALAKIHAN ni Cara (Marian Rivera) ang panonood sa kanyang Lola Auring (Gloria Romero) na mabisang nanghuhula sa pamamagitan tarot cards kaya di nakapagtataka na matutunan din niya ito. Subalit ng mamatay si Lola Auring ay wala siyang pinamanahan ng baraha sa halip ay hiniling niya na isama ito sa kanyang puntod. Makalipas ang panahon ay naging kasintahan ni Cara si
Miguel (Dennis Trillo). Naisipan nila na mamasyal sa gubat kung saan misteryosong maglalaho si Miguel. Hindi matanggap ni Cara na mawala ng tuluyan ang nobyo kaya naisipan niyang gamitin ang bisa ng tarot cards ng kanyang lola upang matunton ang nobyo. Di naman siya binigo ng tarot na hinukay pa niya sa puntod ng kanyang lola dahil nagkita at nagkasama uli sila ni Miguel. Subalit kasabay ng kanilang pagtatagpo at paghawak ni Cara ng tarot cards ay ang pagkakaroon ng mga nakakatakot na kaganapan at pagbabanta sa kanilang buhay. Masalimuot ang kuwento ng Tarot at parang pinilit lang na ipasok ang tema ng pagbabasa ng tarot cards sapagkat tipikal na katatakutan lang na dulot ng mga ligalig na kaluluwa ang istorya nito. Tila kulang sa pagpiga ng emosyon katulad ng tila lumipas lang na pagbubuwis ng buhay ng isang ina at walang hatid na kilig ng tambalang Marian at Dennis dito. Gayunpaman ay tagumpay sa layunin na makapanakot ang pelikula dahil sa mahusay na paglalapat ng tunog at special effects. Mahusay ang transition ng mga eksena mula
sa panaginip at imahinasyon pabalik sa katotohanan. Halata na naging maingat ang aspetong ito ng editing. Sa kabuuan ay naisalba ng mga nabanggit na aspetong teknikal ang mahinang kuwento. Ipinakita sa pelikula na ang panghuhula katulad ng pagbabasa ng tarot cards ay maaaring masapian ng masamang elemento o pwersa at makapaghatid ng kapahamakan o kamatayan sa mga nilalang. Samakatwid ay di dapat panaligan sa halip ay dapat mag-ingat dahil wala namang tahasang makapagsasabi ng mangyayari sa hinaharap. Marami din namang positibong mensahe ang pelikula katulad ng tapat na pagmamahal ni Cara kay Miguel, pagmamalasakit sa kaibigan, at katatagan ng loob sa kabila ng mga pagsubok. Kapansin-pansin lamang na sa kabuuang daloy ng pelikula ay tila walang pag-uukol sa paghingi ng kalakasan sa Diyos na siyang pangunahin sa kultura ng mga Pilipino. Nagwakas ang pelikula sa nakababahalang patuloy na paghahasik ng takot at pinsala ng masamang elemento sa buhay ng tao.
MAC en COLET
Ni Bladimer Usi
Look for the three items: Images of the Guardian Angels, Bells, and Moises. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
Title: Bandslam Cast: Gaelan Connell, Vanessa Hudgens, Alyson Michalka, Lisa Kudrow Director: Todd Graff Producer: Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas Screenwriters: Josh A. Cagan, Todd Graff Editor: John Gilbert Genre: “Dramedy” Comedy, Drama, Music Cinematography: Eric Steelberg Distributor: Summit Entertainment Location: USA Running Time: 111 min. Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
BRIEF FILM SYNOPSIS: When gifted singersongwriter Charlotte Banks (Michalka) ask new kid in town Will Burton (Connell) to manage her fledgling rock band, she appears to have just one goad in mind: go-head-to-head against her egotistical musician exboyfriend, BEN (Porter), at the biggest event of the year, a battle of the bands. Against all odds, their band develops a sound all its own with a real shot at success in the contest. Meanwhile, romance brews between Will and SA5M (Hudgens), who plays a mean guitar a has a voice to die for. When disaster strikes, it’s time for the band to make a choice: Do they admit defeat, or face the music and stand up for what they believe in? OUTSTANDING FEATURES OF THE FILM: Peer influence on the character development of a teenager, as presented in the movie, is commendable for discussion.
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
YFC Europe Conference
By Nadia Leonor
GREETINGS from Europe! Or as they say in Malta: “Tislijiet minn Ewropa!” for it was in this beautiful island country that the annual Youth for Christ European Conference was held. The whole conference took its theme from Philippians 3:13-14, particularly on the verse: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” The conference started on Friday, the 31st of July, with the sports competitions. The delegates competed under a cloudless sky in sweltering heat but the camaraderie, the music and the fun experience were enough to make the players forget the not-so-ideal conditions. The sports competitions were followed by the Praise Parade, Banner, Band and T-shirt competitions. The second day of the conference was spiritfilled, beginning with the first session called “The Race” given by Rommel Ancheta, YFC International Coordinator, reminding each and every one that our life is a race but it is only meaningful if we’re running towards God. The second session was entitled “Geared Up,” and was given by Ralph Bendo, YFC Geneva, who exhorted the YFCs to prepare for this important race. The second session compelled the participants to think about their past hurts and to seek healing from all hindrances and burdens that prevent them from serving God freely. Four workshops were held in the afternoon of the second day on the following topics: Prayer, the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Usually the workshops given in YFC conferences talk about issues that concern the youth of today, such as abortion, pre-marital sex, drugs, money, etc. This year it was more of a “back to basics” teaching for the youth, a reminder of the foundations of our Faith. This year’s conference was thus focused on what matters the most: our Christian life. As if to emphasize this aspect of our life, Holy Mass was celebrated daily during the conference. Malta’s Archbishop, Msgr. Paul Cremona, celebrated the final Mass. There were also several other members of the clergy who gave workshops or heard confession. Ana Xuereb, SFC Malta, delivered the talk during the third session on Saturday evening. Entitled “One Passion,” the talk centered on the struggles of other followers of Jesus, such as Saint Paul or Mother Mary. In spite of their trials they had a burning passion to give up everything they had to reach their one goal, God. The session was capped by a rare event - Benediction. This became the conference’s highlight and most unforgettable moment, according to the testimonies of the youth. Close to two hundred young Christians knelt as Father Hayden exposed the Blessed Sacrament. For about fifteen minutes the hall was filled with silence while everybody prayed, listened and contemplated Jesus’ beauty. The dance competitions followed, showcasing the creativity and the inexhaustible energy of the youth. The fourth and last session was called “One Goal,” immediately followed by a powerful worship and exhortation given by the worship leader, Jean Paul Debono, YFC Malta who urged the youth to move forward towards the heavenly prize of the race, which is Jesus Christ Himself. The YFCs were urged to make a stand in their service for the Lord as they were being sent off to their respective countries, in the hope of applying and taking home with them everything they learned during the conference.
KFC Dreams Big for the Lord
By Kirby Llaban
MORE than 120 kids from all over Europe trooped to the 8th European Kids Village (EKV) held on August 21-23 at the Van Der Valk Hotel Haarlem Zuid in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The theme of the event was “Dream Big” inspired by Phil 3:14 “I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling in Christ Jesus.” The participating countries were Belgium, Germany, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Greece, France, United Kingdom, and the host country, the Netherlands. The kids’ event started off with the Parade of Dreams where kids carried their country banners and sported costumes of the persons they want to be when they grow up. They appeared as pilots, doctors, firemen, and teachers, to mention a few. A little girl from France shared that she wants to be a professional singer when she grows up because she believes that through singing she can evangelize other people. Another kid from Greece wants to be a pilot because he wishes to always fly up in the sky and marvel at God’s creation. Another kid desires to be a chef because he wants to cook food for those who are hungry. These are the big dreams that these Kids for Christ members are offering to our Lord. These are seeds of hope that will someday grow into a reality in the future, a future that will change our world. The kids also went through various activities like sports, fun games, talent presentations and workshops. They learned new songs like, “Dream Big” and “Forever.” The worship song “Forever” led the kids to express their love for God in a more deep and intimate way. A line of the song goes, “I worship You my God, I love You. Forever I will sing, Forever I will be with you.” Prompted by these wonderful lyrics and their love for God, the kids raised their hands to Jesus and felt His awesome presence. It was a heart-tugging moment. One of the highlights of the EKV was the “Dream Big Stage Play.” In the play, the kids were taught that in order for their big dreams to come true, they should do these three action words: Learn, Love, and Lead. The kids were encouraged to “learn” much in school and be good students. They were also taught to “love” their family by helping at home and always respecting and obeying their parents. The kids were also challenged to “lead” by being good examples to other kids. They were encouraged to lead in being prayerful and to have the initiative to help those in need. The EKV ended with the awarding of winners in the different presentations and sports activities. The kids received “Dream Big medals” and “Dream Big Certificates” for their enthusiastic participation. Every kid went home with a big
smile on his/her face, knowing that Jesus is happy about the love that they have shown Him through their prayers. The “ates and kuyas” of Youth for Christ and the Couples for Christ Kids Coordinators rejoiced in their hearts, having witnessed the kids coming to love Jesus more because of their EKV experience. The prayers of the adults, parents and coordinators alike were one in wishing that these wonderful dreams of their little ones may become true one day. We look forward to a new generation that will renew the face of the earth starting by dreaming big with God. wherein CFC areas brought in their local cheese and other delicacies to share with everyone. The food festival, actually a competition, was won by CFC France who adorned their booth with the two-legged Mission arch and footsteps depicting the moving forward in Christ. Another activity was the Saul Train –CFC shindig, that saw CFC members dancing to the excellent music provided by 29 A.D. The Saturday evening R&B /hiphop was also a revelation as the 70s and 80s generations of CFC/SOLD proved that one is never too old to dance for the Lord and no dancing style can hinder the willing and the fun-loving. The hardest part in every Spiritfilled conference is the temporary parting of ways among brethren. It was. however, made easy with the last announcement from Bro. JoeYam that the CFC Euroconference next year is going to be a mega-conference where all ministries would gather together in Vienna to celebrate CFC Europe’s 15th year anniversary. The last mega conference happened in 2005 in Rome on the occasion of CFC Europe’s 10th anniversary.
By Elmer Pagdilao
ALL roads led to the majestic city of Haarlem, The Netherlands on 21-23 August 2009 as hundreds of members of Couples for Christ Europe drove to Hotel Haarlem Zuid to celebrate the community’s first-ever back-to-back conference – the 12th CFC/SOLD Conference and the 8th European Kids Village. International Council members Joe Yamamoto and wife Mila, Melo Villaroman with wife Nini and Joey Arguelles with wife Tess came all the way from Manila for this celebration. They were accompanied by the members of the band 29 AD who provided the music throughout the CFC/SOLD conference, from the worship songs to the dance music during the fellowship events. Aside from being the first simultaneous CFC/SOLD and KFC conferences since the birth of CFC in Europe, it was also the first time that the European conference was held in Netherlands. The Haarlem conference was also the first in CFC Europe history to be blessed with the presence of its Spiritual Adviser
CFC Europe Moves Forward
in the person of His Excellency Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Batangas. The amiable Archbishop led the celebration of the Holy Mass at the start of the conference. This also marked the first time that a conference began with the Holy Eucharist- a Spirit-inspired decision that illustrated the community’s great appreciation for and emphasis on the value of the sacrament in the worship life of the faithful. “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 3:12-14 The 2009 theme “Forward in Christ” inspired by the above passage from Philippians 3 resonated loudly from the five powerful and moving talks of the conference. Joey Arguelles gave Talk 1 entitled “Just One Thing” and spoke about that one obsession we should have -- to gain Christ. Tess related in her sharing their own race towards knowing and gaining Christ. Joey Mempin, Country Coordinator of CFC Austria, followed with Talk 2 which exhorted brethren to “Forget What Lies Behind”: the distant past, the not-so-distant past and the immediate past so that we could look forward with hope. The talk was further reinforced by sharings by a brother from 29 A.D. who recounted his dark past as a drug pusher, by another brother who related his brokenness during the crisis experienced by the CFC community in 2007 and a sister who lost material possessions upon her retirement. Talk 3 entitled “Strain Forward in Hope” was given by Rene Santayana, Senior Regional Coordinator for CFC Northwest Europe who encouraged the participants to strain in our faith journey to what lies ahead, stretching to maximum, sometimes even to the threat of breaking. Two brothers from CFC Europe gave their experiences in handling diverse and sometimes simultaneous services in the comm-unity and feeling victorious doing them all for the glory of God. In Talk 4, Joe Yamamoto, CFC Executive Director and CFC Europe Coordinator, enjoined the community to strain and “Press on With the Mission” of building the “Church of the Home” and Church of the Poor.” His wife Mila spoke of the couple’s experiences, challenges and deep conviction in their own effort to press on since the day they started with the CFC community. Finally, Melo summed up the lessons of the four talks as he discussed “Our Prize in Jesus” which is a life of higher calling in Jesus. Melo led the people to ponder on such questions as: Are we running the right race?; Are we running on the right gasoline? And; are we aiming for the right prize? Nini described the prize they have received from the Lord- her healing from the deadly cancer of the lymph nodes and her search for her long-lost father. The conference featured other events such as the All-About-Cheese festival
By Joe Tale, CFC Chairman
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
MUCH has been written and read about our beloved former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, or PCCA, as we fondly referred to her in the Office of the Cabinet Secretariat (CabSec) and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), where I had the privilege to serve during her term. “PCCA” was a more formal yet still endearing name we preferred using than the informal Tita Cory that was then commonly used. I was in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for the CFC Canada National Conference when PCCA passed away. Ricky Cuenca, our CFC and ANCOP leader in the US and Canada he called my attention to the late-breaking news of the death of PCCA. Even it we all knew it was coming, it was still sad news, especially for those who were following the day-to-day bulletins regarding her deteriorating health condition. We prayed for the eternal repose of her soul during the production team meeting before the start of the conference. Before we left for this mission trip, we had offered prayers for her healing and recovery during the noontime masses we had in the CFC Home Office as well as in some household meetings. But the healing was not to be. It is clear God had other plans. Perhaps the Lord looked lovingly on this brave and faithful woman, widow, mother and beloved leader of the nation and, as in Scripture, said to her, “Well done, you good and faithful servant, … Come on in and share my happiness” (Matthew 25:23). (This gospel verse was what CFC quoted in the streamer we hung outside the Home Office as our humble way of saying thanks and goodbye to her.) Since I was away, I missed paying my personal respects when she lay in state, and likewise missed joining the outpouring of love for her during the funeral procession. However, I got text messages from friends who were themselves moved to tears, reliving a similar deja vu experience of a funeral 26 years ago to the month and its event-filled aftermath leading to the historic EDSA 1 revolution, and the subsequent return of freedom and democracy to the motherland. Where I was, I offered her the best I could do, that is to pray for her and her husband and co-hero Ninoy, for the family they left behind, and for our nation. And as soon as we were back in the country, among the first things I did, together with my wife Babylou and our daughter Vida, was to visit her grave and again say a prayer. With these events, one cannot help but reminisce. I thank the Lord once more, and PCCA of course, for the opportunity to have served the country under her administration. Actually, she did not even know me prior to my joining her government. It was March 1990, and Babylou and I were attending an assembly of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (LNP), the charismatic renewal community that established Couples for Christ, and which we had been invited to be part of. After the morning session, an LNP brother, Chito Sobrepena, asked if we could talk over lunch. I hardly knew Chito then, but what he told me over lunch became a turning point in my life. He asked me if I would be interested to join government, specifically the Office of the President. He was the Secretary of the Cabinet then, and he needed a deputy. He went on to describe the responsibilities – manage the whole process of Cabinet meetings, from agenda preparation to providing policy guides on the issues relevant to such agenda items, to preparation and safeguarding of the minutes, and finally, to monitoring and following through on the decisions reached during said Cabinet meetings. Admittedly, the job description made me very excited, although it meant taking a cut from what I was earning as Legal Manager and Corporate Secretary in a multinational company. However, the experience being offered could not be measured in terms of money. Thus, after going through Chito’s search committee consisting of then DAP President Carn Abella, Undersecretary Pat Sto. Tomas of DOLE, and Undersecretary Mario Taguiwalo of DOH, and, of course, PCCA’s approval, I joined government as Undersecretary of the Cabinet. That I was serving a very prayerful President became evident from my first assignment. I was made to organize the Holy Week recollection for PCCA and her Cabinet. I saw how she and the Cabinet members were taking the recollection to heart, listening with rapt attention to the reflection-provoking words of Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J. I thought, what a meaningful way to start a career in government. PCCA was also a most trusting President. As I mentioned, PCCA really didn’t know me and had not even met me until I took my oath of office before her. And yet, in her actions and the way she treated me, I was assured of her trust. Part of my responsibility (I consider it the highlight of my job), was that, in the absence of the Secretary of the Cabinet, I had to do the briefing of the President before Cabinet meetings. She made this stranger feel right at ease when she welcomed me to her office for these briefing sessions. Ballsy, her daughter and personal secretary and Margie Juico, her appointments secretary, helped a lot as they also exuded this welcoming atmosphere in her office. She was all attention and respect as I went through with her the agenda items of the Cabinet meetings, and the recommended actions that she might wish to consider. There were not too many of these moments, but I recall them with great fond-
ness, humbled even by the mere thought of them. PCCA was kind but also very firm. She meant business. The Office of the President underwent some reorganization and I was assigned to another office. One of her guidelines was that in all offices, a senior official must always be around in case something important came up and she needed to get something done urgently. We failed her one time, and of all times, it was when she needed really important staff work quickly. When Mt. Pinatubo erupted, there was no senior official in our office. We were out in the Visayas inspecting and evaluating a successful livelihood project supported by the President’s Social Fund. And because the NAIA and domestic airport were closed due to the heavy ash fall, we could not return to the office until a few days had passed, and only via a Bicol airport and a long drive to Manila. We immediately went to work to set up a rescue and rehab plan and support structure. We knew PCCA was displeased when, on the next day, an executive order came out establishing another rehabilitation plan for the Mt. Pinatubo eruption-affected areas, not the one we organized and were working on. Mea culpa. PCCA was forward looking and took the extra special step to help her successor benefit from an organized Presidential transition process, something she obviously did not have from the Marcos regime, and as such, she knew first hand the adverse effects thereof. An orderly transition to the next President was going to be one of her legacies. When a US grant was made available for a short study of the US Presidential transition process, she directed Executive Secretary Franklin Drilon and PMS Head Chito Sobrepena to recommend who should be sent. I was privileged to be selected to be it. Thus, I went to the US for one month in February 1992, meeting with both current and past officials of the White House, think tank institutions, and professors and authors on the US Presidency. The program also included visits to Presidential Centers and Libraries of past US Presidents. Upon return to the Philippines, I worked with the Presidential Transition Task Force under the direction of Secretary Drilon. This task force went about its task guided by Secretary Chito Sobrepena, with excellent staff work support from PMS led by Assistant Secretary May Fernandez, now Civil Service Commissioner. Our culminating responsibility was to assist Secretary Drilon brief then incoming President Fidel V. Ramos as he prepared to formally assume the Presidency. My fond memories of PCCA did not end with the end of her Presidency. When she was already Private Citizen Cory Aquino (still “PCCA”), and I was back in the private sector myself, I visited her in her Cojuangco Building office to request her autograph on some pictures. Even at that time, she honored me with her trust. She suggested that I make myself available for a position in an important government office. I probably disappointed her when I said I preferred to be in the private sector for the sake of my family, although I hope she understood. And so, beloved of Presidents, I join the throng, albeit a bit belatedly, in bidding you goodbye. Thank you for the privilege of serving, in my small way, in your one-of-a-kind Presidency. You serve as the exemplary model of a humble, God-anchored public servant, and your acts of kindness and trust for a stranger like me, will forever be etched in my mind and heart.
By Joe Yamamoto, CFC Director
Setting Our Goals for the Future
may also end up being our main regional logistical hubs. In military parlance, the CFC mission areas will function as training centers with ‘prepositioned’ human resources and materiel. Moves such as those mentioned will enable CFC to be more responsive and agile in proclaiming the gospel of our Lord. More and more, young members will be allowed to take on evangelization work for a set period of time, say two or three years, and then be encouraged and supported to go back into their mainstream work or profession. In this manner, they will contribute to animate the workplace and the bigger ‘home’ environment where the ‘catch’ is plentiful and the opportunities boundless. CFC will need to see more couple volunteers who spend time, and personal resources for brief mission work in the country or even abroad. As more and more CFC leaders and members imbibe the ‘evangelize as you go’ mindset, they will use their free time or even family vacation periods for casting the wider nets of evangelization. Given a better and more proactive view of CFC evangelization and mission, the need for finances must be taken seriously. One simply cannot expect a global army that is CFC to run on human spirit alone without the necessary empowerment and equipping that Scriptures allude to. Even as the global marketplace reels from a serious and prolonged financial crunch, we all know that it cannot be used as a justification to slow down or even contract the scope of our work. On the contrary, we intuitively know that when people are in serious trouble, financial and otherwise, they become more open to the invitation for spiritual renewal. One of the favorite pronouncements of organizational people is that the quality and quantity of leadership determine the growth and therefore longevity of organizations and movements. The same applies to the needs of a community such as CFC with its main emphasis and directions determined by its spiritual character. Organizations rise and fall on the basis of good leadership or its utter absence. The Lord has modeled leadership and the works of the apostles and the disciples have shown us the way. Their lives and actions have served as models and paradigms for the work of proclaiming Christ in word and in action over two millennia. For us in the modern day world, we continue to serve and struggle but we must also be prudent and wise in preparing to bring the community into its future. The magisterium of the Church and the doctrines that we have come to embrace will feature prominently, particularly in our declared oneness with the Church. That is our protection as much as our assurance. To make us all the more prepared and therefore responsive, CFC will Archbishop Ramon Arguelles cuts the ribbon to formally open the CFC/SOLD conference in the Netherlands, assisted by Joe and Mila have to form and establish a dedicated Pastoral Center and a Center for LeadYamamoto. JULY 20, 2009 was a day no different from any other day. While waiting at the Chicago International Airport on the way home from a CFC Conference in Illinois, I noticed that TV, as well as newspaper reports were commemorating an epochal event -- when man first set foot on the moon 40 years ago. In the heat of the intense space race between the United States and the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, a young president, John Kennedy, committed the resources and the best of his country to the vision of landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade. As I reflected on that human feat of a bygone era, I found it meaningful not so much because of the nostalgia of remembering a historical event that happened more than a generation ago, as about finding a connection, no matter how seemingly improbable, to the present day reality of the life and mission of Couples for Christ. It is important in that it demonstrates the power and impact of a compelling vision. Psalm 29 emphasized: ”without vision, a nation shall perish.” As God’s people, the Israelites of the Old Testament hitched their future not only on their faith in God but on the attainment of the Promised Land as foretold and as promised. Today vision is just as important. Visionary and Godly leadership is critical. The last two years were what we may call “defining moments” for CFC; not so much because of the skill and competence of the leaders but as much, or even more because of God’s presence and intervention manifest in the twists and turns of events. Throughout the length and breadth of the community, our people came to fully and truly comprehend what it is to be “Families in the Holy Spirit, renewing the face of the earth.” The CFC Pastoral Congress done two years ago enabled us to craft with greater clarity our work of Building the Church of the Home and Building the Church of the Poor. Of course, CFC members must be clear that we are building only one church that stands on the two-legged mission. It goes without saying that it is as much about building up our community through the work of intensive evangelization as about looking at the church from the prism of our mission. The two-fold mission helps define the strategies and steps we have to take. Because CFC is a global family made up of brethren of various races and culture, it is extremely necessary to have a deep appreciation of the nuances of the work of evangelization. It must make strides to adopt to certain cultural nuances that do not sacrifice the core values and core principles of community and yet are applicable and relevant to the countries where CFC has come to exist. To achieve that goal, the CFC leadership must take into account the necessity of casting a wider and deeper net. The typical entry point will continue to be our Christian Life program that incorporates the learnings of nearly three decades and consciously allows us to consider the nuances of the place, time and culture of the peoples we seek to evangelize. Geographically, strategic mission hubs will be developed as centers of the global evangelization with the epicenter remaining in the Philippines or Manila specifically. It will also be used to train and field missionaries and mission volunteers. They ership. They will be complementary and yet have some variances in focus and perhaps approaches. The Pastoral Center will be the main hub for forming our courses for formation, teaching and training. Fulltime and ‘alltime’ missionaries and mission volunteers will end up drawing their formation from this Center. In a nutshell, the Leadership Center will be the hub for forming and training the next generation of CFC leaders, who will be steeped with CFC values and culture, as well as developing and forming leadership skills that they will use in their workplace, practice of their profession, and just being better ‘influencers’ to the outside world. What should be the mindset of the next CFC evangelizers? Equipping our people with the appropriate qualities is a good start. To see the future, one has to form a good IMAGERY. Each must do the work with: 1. INTENSITY – To be effective in any kind of work, there is need for passion and dedication, there must be intensity as we focus on the work and as we prepare to take the accelerated tempo of evangelization. 2. MAGNITUDE – Since we have an awesome God, it is incumbent on each and every CFC member to be more excited about evangelization, be it in the work of family renewal or for the work with poor. Therefore, we need to go for size and scope. 3. AUDACITY – CFC evangelization work is not for the timid or weak of heart and resolve. Courage, and therefore audacity, is needed. To be audacious is to take daily leaps of faith; not just occasionally or once in a lifetime but at all times. There is also an expectation to be adaptable in our mission, whether it refers to time or opportunities. 4. GO FOR IT - The Chinese have a good word for it – gung ho. Soldiers are fond of invoking it when going on mission or when engaging enemies or even overcoming obstacles and addressing challenges. CFC evangelizers must do nothing less. 5. ENERGY and ENTHUSIASM – The best evangelizers are full of energy and must reflect the joy of being servants in God’s earthly vineyard. 6. RESPONSIVENESS – There will be many hurdles to meet and overcome. Because life is full of surprises, many of them unpleasant, CFC leaders must be responsive. There are many reasons that happen in life and in CFC; some of them we can change and many others we cannot. Where each one has some degree of control is our response, individual and collective. 7. YES WE CAN – With the Lord, nothing is impossible. We will carry our daily crosses, but we know the Lord will always be there. There will be yokes of challenges and responsibilities that will be placed on our shoulders. It is good to keep in mind that our God will be always there to help carry our burden. In ending, the words of Jeremiah ring true – the Lord has promised a future full of hope. Moses, the great prophet, told the Lord in his face to face encounter- “I will not go, Lord, if you are not with me.’
LAYOUT BY LAURENCE JOHN R. MORALES
Vol. 13 No. 18
August 31 - September 13, 2009
“Family, Other Families Are There for You,” emphasizing the context of the family within the bigger parish family. This year, during the 9th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Confer“BELOVED Couples for Christ, I thank God because you have tried to live Christ and the Holy Spirit. ence, he noted the presentation of Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, D.D., on “how the whole teachings of I praise the Lord because you are trying to renew the face of the earth. I bless the Lord because you the Church are summed up in the Eucharistic Celebration.” Bishop D’ Rozario then posed the challenge that, “We need to be eucharistic families” and CFC must are trying to build the Church of the Home. And I praise the Lord because you are also building the be “eucharistic couples.” By these, he meant, “families that live Christ… Christ in us.” He emphasized Church of the Poor. I thank and praise the Lord for your mission.” This was the exhortation by the Most Rev. Patrick D’ Rozario, C.S.C., Bishop of the Diocese of Chit- that these “eucharistic families have to always go (on mission)” and couples should be making other tagong, Bangladesh, while addressing the members of CFC Mission Core Group, on August 18, 2009, couples “eucharistic couples.” He ended his talk saying, “I am blessed with your commitment, faithfulness and mission. I have been at Xavier Gymnasium, San Juan, Metro Manila. instructed more than I have (taught).” In what he said was a rare experience to speak In response, Couples for Christ International to a large congregation outside of his Diocese, Council member Rouquel Ponte exhorted the Bishop D’ Rozario commended CFC for its MCG to do “our mission within the framework mission in Bangladesh which he described as of the Church where we belong.” “amazing, a big wonder,” and in the mind of the CFC being one with the Catholic Church, its many, was “so much imbued with the power of work for “mission and evangelization, family life the Holy Spirit.” renewal, and total Christian liberation,” must be In coming to the Philippines, he immediately guided by the teachings of the Church, especially noted a “totally different picture of Catholicism the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Rouquel in Asia.” In Bangladesh, the population is 160 underlined that new strategies and methods must million people, 85% to 87% of them Moslems. In be undertaken in expressing the CFC mission, “to his diocese of 30 million people, there are only address the signs of the times.” He also stressed 30,000 Catholics. that “there must first be witnessing for above all, In serving his Diocese, Bishop D’ Rozario had God must be proclaimed by witnessing, and its always pondered in his heart the question of Pope hallmark is how we love one another.” John Paul II during a personal encounter with There must always be “proclaiming the lordhim: “How are the families in your diocese?” ship of Jesus Christ” as “there is no true evangeHence in 2006, he bannered in his diocese the lization if the name, teachings, life, kingdom and theme: “Family – How are you?” This question mystery of Christ, the Son of God, are not proresounded throughout Bangladesh. This made claimed.” In addition, Rouquel noted that there the people realize that “the family is a gift of must be genuine “adherence to the Church and God” and “families are well because God is sacramental life.” This happens, he said, when working there.” the proclamation of the lordship of Jesus Christ Next, he posed to his diocese the question: is listened to, accepted and assimilated. “Family – Who are you?” This made the people And finally, there must be “sending”, as when go back to the Scriptures and the catecheses, to the evangelized becomes the evangelizer. “We see who the family really is. Then he posed the are sent by Christ through His Church,” Rouquel challenge” “Family – Become what you are!” This concluded. To this our proper answer must be, exhorted the families to be a place where “God “I will not go Lord, unless you are with me.” works, dwells, and lives.” (Exodus 33:12) Last year, he bannered the realization that IC Members Lito Tayag, Joey Arguelles, Joe Yamamoto, Joe Tale and Rouquel Ponte with Bishop D’Rozario.
By Arnel Santos
Our Mission to the World
1st Clergy-Lay Congress held in Vancouver
By Nick Borja
ples for Christ Canada. I was moved and inspired by the Christian and Catholic commitment of the members of Couples for Christ. The day spent with them was refreshing and uplifting. One of the speakers at the congress was Archbishop Michael Miller. I realized how blessed Vancouver is to have such a fine man as its primary ‘preacher of the gospel’ and ‘teacher of the faith.’ His Grace spoke on the mission of all the baptized to evangelize. I really like his definition of Evangelization: “teaching the art of living, in light of the truth that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that the world might be saved through him’.” Archbishop Miller emphasized that it is Jesus whom we proclaim; evangelization starts with the evangelizer’s personal encounter with Jesus. To evangelize is to share with others our friendship with Jesus. Quoting Pope Benedict’s first homily as Bishop of Rome, Archbishop Michael said: “There is nothing more beautiful than to know Christ and to speak of our friendship with him.” Rouquel Ponte (CFC International Missions Director) reminded us during the congress that evangelization is a four-stage process:
Arch. Miller with CFC leaders, from left: Nick Borja, Canada National Director, Joe Tale, CFC Chaiman, Fr. Patrick Furtado from Calgary and Ramir Locsin, CFC Vancouver Area Director
MOST Rev. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of Vancouver, was keynote speaker during the 1st Canadian Congress on Clergy-Lay Relations sponsored by Couples for Christ (CFC) held at the Trinity Western University on August 3 and 4. The theme of the congress was “Forward in Christ”, similar to CFC’s theme for 2009. Sixteen clergy from the Archdiocese of Vancouver and 14 from all over Canada, together with 150 leaders of Couples for Christ, participated in the congress with the goal of working together as Church in proclaiming Christ’s presence in Canada and the world. Very Rev. Glenn Dion, Rector of the Holy Rosary Cathedral and Spiritual Director of Couples for Christ in Vancouver, also delivered a
talk. The Congress was preceded by a Lay-Clergy Friendship Golf Tournament at the Redwoods Golf Course in Langley. Also present were elders from Manila: Joe Tale, Chairman, Rouquel Ponte, International Missions Director and Ernie Maipid, a member of the Pastoral Formation Group. Quoted below is a letter from Fr. David Louch, Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Vancouver, an attendee of the Congress, which summarizes the overall message from the Congress: “This past week, at the invitation of some OLPH parishioners, I participated in the first ever lay-clergy congress sponsored by Cou-
1. WITNESS - The example of our holiness of life is what initially draws others to Christ and the gospel. 2. PROCLAMATION - Then we speak of what we believe and the One whom we know. 3. ADHERENCE - Living the gospel is not temporary or sporadic. Effective evangelization calls for faithfulness. (This was a key word throughout the day.) 4. SENDING - Eventually the evangelized will themselves become evangelizers. There are many in the world around us – even in our own families and social circles – who need to hear of our friendship with Christ. So let us deepen our communion with Jesus and let us be bold in speaking to others of that friendship.”
Moving Forward In Christ
By Ricky Coronel
ALMOST 1800 brothers and sisters in Christ gathered at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana campus to celebrate a milestone in Couples for Christ’s North American history. For the very first time, CFC and its two family ministries: Kids for Christ and CFC-Youth, united to commemorate its 15th anniversary through the holding of the 15th CFC North American Conference (Eastern) Family Conference. Inspite of earlier misgivings about attendance, God blessed this conference abundantly with 836 CFC members, 651 youths, and 201 kids – along with a few HOLD members as participants. SFC members were the service team for the conference. As the first-ever Family Conference, CFC, CFC-Youth and KFC delegates had the chance to experience a special treat. The Awake Fair offered games and fun, shopping and a feast from the various CFC regions of US and Canada. Saturday night’s function themed “Back to the Future” had CFC members reviving the past with music, creative presentations and costumes from The Fonz to Grease. CFC Chairman Joe Tale gave the opening session simply titled “Forward – The Starting Line.” In his talk, Joe encouraged everyone to get rid of any excess baggage that will slow or obstruct their stride so that they may all stay focused on the finish line. “I thank God for all the parents who dragged their children to a youth camp,” proclaimed Rommel Ancheta, YFC International Youth Coordinator. Rommel, who started off as a YFC member, then moved on to SFC and now CFC, gave a powerful talk on “The Race: Pressing On.” His talk was further enhanced by testimonies from an SFC fulltime worker from the Southwest region who shared about his recent roadblocks, and a CFC family whose faith was also recently tested. To culminate the session, an Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a healing and pray-over session followed. The talk on “The Prize: God’s Upward Calling” was delivered by Dr. Joe Yamomoto who shared about his faith journey. As a busy heart surgeon, he had every excuse not to attend the CLP but he pressed on. Joe stressed how we must have a “renewed zeal for the mission that has been entrusted to us”. Joe’s talk was supported by testimonies from the Rivera/Kagahastian family to show CFC’s thrust as a ProFamily community. We also heard the testimony of the Barlaan family from Florida who by their example shows what it means to be Pro-God. Noriel and Michelle Reyes showed an example of a young family already steeped in CFC’s core value of ProLife. The event concluded with the celebration of Holy Mass presided by Msgr. Gregory Ketcham and with the invitation to everyone to attend the 16th CFC Leaders Conference to be held in Texas next year.
Most Reverend Robert Hermann of Missouri met with CFC USA leaders last July 21 to discuss CFC’s role in the parish. Seated: Joe Tale, Bishop Hermann and Jake Macalalad, Standing: Buttons and Adjie Sison, Babylou Tale, Nelia Macalalad and Tonie and Rose Santos.
IC member Lito Tayag (second from left) paid a courtesy call on Bishop Julian Porteus of Sydney, accompanied by Nick Albano (left), Australia Council member and sector head and Dom Pangilinan (right), Australia Council member and cluster head.
CFC Indonesia will host the first CFC Southeast Asia Regional Conference on the Role of the Blessed Virgin in Evangelization and Family Renewal on 12-13 December 2009 at Millennium Hotel, Jl. Fachrudin 3, Sirih, Jakarta, Indonesia. This event coincides with the feast day of our Lady of Guadalupe. According to Regional Coordinator for Southeast Asia, Jun and Jean Uriarte, there will be three talks, and each talk will have three sharers or reactors from various CFC communities in the region. Among the highlights of the conference will be (a) the imposition of the Brown Scapular on delegates wishing to wear the scapular as a sign of their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary; and (b) audio-visual presentations by the CFC communities in the Southeast Asian region on various Marian devotions existing in their respective countries. The conference fee for delegates coming from outside Indonesia is only US$90 per person, which covers the following: (a) one night accommodation at Millennium Hotel (4-star category) on twin sharing basis; (b) airport transfers on arrival and departure; (c) one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner and two coffee/tea breaks during the duration of the conference; and (d) conference kits and handouts. Post-conference tours to the Marian site in Sendang Sono in Yogyakarta may be arranged as well as visits to Sea World, Dunia Fantasy, Taman Safari, Taman Mini and other sites in and around Jakarta. The conference organizers will try their best to get discounted rates for those interested. Interested parties may get in touch with Jun Uriarte at junuriarte@yahoo. com.
First CFC SEA Conference
THE Handmaids of the Lord held their Hold for the Gold Conference last August 2 in Japan. CFC brothers and family ministries members based in Japan worked together to make the conference a very successful one, expressive of the work of love of the CFC Japan community. More than 150 women from from all over japan - Tokyo, Yokohama, Goi, Gunma, Saitama, Nagoya, Osaka, attended the conference. Joe Yamamoto, CFC Executive Director and his wife Mila, Didi Galsim, HOLD International Coordinator and Bernie Cuevas, HOLD Council member and head of the Tekton Foundation, graced the gathering. They were joined by CFC Japan leaders; Dennis and Elma Diaz, CFC Country Coordinator and Consul General Solfy Confiado and wife Precy, coordinators for Yokohama. As is usual in HOLD conferences, there were Spirit-filled talks, plenty of colorful costumes, heartwarming and heart-wrenching sharings that ran the gamut of faithfulness to service and the Lord, victory over challenges and temptations, commitment to the call of
August 31 - September 13, 2009
Vol. 13 No. 18
HOLD for the Gold Goes to Japan
community to serve, sacrifice for loved ones and love for the Lord. There were lively and colorful presentations as well. The Japan conference brought out many opportunities for evangelization. The Japan-based brethren spoke of the desire of many to know God more through CFC and HOLD, which has inspired them to truly live out their lives as witness, especially reaching out to women, especially Filipino women married to Japanese men.
The challenge is to bring not just the women but the men and their children to Christ. The conference also brought out the desire of the brethren in Japan to grow more rapidly through a strong pastoral formation program. The conference was so lively, so Spirit-filled and so successful that everybody expressed the desire to be together as one family again next year.
CFC in Apayao
By Arnel Santos
A CHAPEL of St. James the Apostle Parish in Nueva, Sta. Marcela, Apayao, overflowed with parishioners as the new graduates of the Christian Life Program (CLP) for Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) and Couples for Christ (CFC), brought their respective families and heard mass together, in the morning of August 23, 2009. Rev. Fr. Philip O. Uba, parish priest, commended Couples for Christ for conducting a CLP in his parish. He said that he himself was touched by the talks and the sharing. He also heard the confession of the CLP participants. Twenty three (23) HOLD and three (3) CFC finished the CLP. Fr. Uba gave his full support to the CLP. He sent meals for the lunch of the participants and welcomed the CLP Team from Manila composed of Nides Respicio, former CFC Provincial Head of Ilocos Norte, now a member of the Board of Elders; Myra Respicio, HOLD Coordinator for Northwestern Luzon; Rico Alconcel, former Cluster Head in West B sector; and Jenny Aquino, a HOLD leader in Laguna. Fr. Uba even toured the CLP Team to the various tourist spots in Apayao. Team leader was Ben and Donna Abrera supported by Bonnie and Talin Gaouiran of Flora, Apayao; Emiliano and Cathy Galleon, of Luna, Apayao; and Johnny Ilayat, of Pudtol, Apayao. The Church at St. James the Apostle Parish is now under construction to accommodate the increasing number of churchgoers. Fr. Uba, with the endorsement and support of the Most Rev. Prudencio P. Andaya, Apostolic Vicar, Vicariate of Tabuk, is appealing for donations for the construction of this place of worship in Sta. Marcela, Apayao.
CFC Maryland goes on a picnic!
By Canyl Bustos
CLOSE to 500 members of Couples for Christ of Maryland gathered in a park in Columbia, Maryland for their annual picnic. Despite earlier forecast of rain, the weather was cool, with crisp air in the morning, getting a little warmer as the day went on. The members enjoyed fun and friendship as they went from one activity to the other, beginning with the celebration of the Holy Mass in the morning to the worship, the agape lunch, the games (which included dodgeball, kickball, basketball, volleyball, tug of war, tennis, bingo and even karaoke. The day ended with the awarding of winners in the various games. The participants went home tired and sated with all the food that was shared but also energized and happy at the bonds of friendship that were renewed.
CFC Italy concludes first-ever CLP in Udine, Italy
THE CFC march to 10 new areas of Italy began triumphantly with the conclusion of the firstever Christian Life Program (CLP) on 26 July 2009 in the province of Udine near the ItalianAustrian border. The CLP harvest consisted of 4 CFCs, 6 Handmaids of the Lord and 1 Servant of the Lord. This CLP is the first of the ten stages of evangelization work jointly committed by the CFC leaders from Como, Milan, Parma, Rome, Turin and from the Venettto region which consists of those coming from the Italian cities of Venice, Verona, Vicenza and Treviso. This commitment was made on the occasion of the 2009 CF C Italy National Conference held on 30-31 May 2009 in Como. The newly-formed Mission Team led by Fortune Kalalo, CFC Italy Mission Coordinator, conducted the CLP with invaluable support from CFC Vienna and neighboring areas in Italy. The most inspiring support was provided by Father Paulino Bumanglag, the Filipino Chaplain of Vicenza, who accompanied the Mission Team throughout the three weekends of the CLP. Fr. Paulino, the tireless spiritual adviser of CFC Vicenza, has in fact been motivating brethren since the start of the year to evangelize the adjacent provinces. Fortune aptly expressed the grateful sentiment of the whole community when he said, “Truly, the hard work and sacrifices of the Mission Group and several brethren from Milan instantly vanished when we heard the personal sharing and testimonies of our new brethren.” The recently-completed CLP in Udine will be immediately followed by a YFC Camp on 2 August. Another CLP in Venice was completed in mid-August. CFC Italy’s forward march in Christ will continue with the holding of the CLP in Mantova this coming September.
Parishioners of St. James the Apostle Parish in Apayao, participants at the Christian Life Program, mill around the small chapel for a short period of fellowship.
By Dana Flores
God’s Word as Weapons in Mission
the Word but live the Word as well. The call to deliver God’s word to the people requires our entire self in order to be able to glorify Him. We meet many people in our lives, and we can never tell which ones will stay which ones will leave. It is important that at all times, we are to be able to share how Christ is present in our lives to everyone we meet. The mission of those called to go on mission is crucial. Bishop Baylon exhorted the missionaries to always be in prayer, to hang on totheir commitments, and to be constantly involved in community life. He urged CFC to continue being witnesses to our faith, to share our testimonies, celebrate and defend life, and be part of transformation. The young family ministry missionaries of Couples for Christ, having been refreshed and revived by the recollection, are now more anchored and ready to finish and complete the mission given by God.
TO take up the call of God is a great challenge of the heart. The task given to missionaries is vast, grand, and varied that it is important to learn to stop for a while, be still, and listen to His message. This is what happened last July 18, 2009, at the Couples for Christ Mission Center, as the young family ministry missionaries of Couples for Christ gathered for a recollection given by Bishop Joel Baylon, from the Diocese of Masbate. Bishop Baylon highlighted the value of God’s word as part and parcel of a missionary’s life. He stressed the importance of knowing how to listen carefully to God’s Word which is the anchor of our faith and our lives. He described how God’s Word originates from His voice, to how it was made flesh through Christ Jesus, the House of the Word, and how it journeys through us as the roads of the Word. One of the most important things that Bishop Baylon imparted was that “WE are the word! We carry the word, We are the embodied Word of God that comes out from the Church to proclaim this same Word to the world.” Bishop Baylon reminded the missionaries of the importance of total commitment and deep communion with God in order to not only spread