Pontiff: Bioethics needs natural law


‘The Justice of God Has Been Manifested Through Faith in Jesus Christ’



A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

Bishop wary over ‘harmful’ drugs on store shelves
SOME drugs long known to be “harmful” to peoples’ health continue to stay on store shelves, a Catholic bishop who used to head the church’s health ministry said. Such “unnecessary drugs” which include some other food supplements must be immediately recalled, said Bishop Patricio Alo of the Diocese of Mati. “There are drugs being sold in the market which brings adverse effects on the consumers’
‘Harmful’ / A7

World Christian leaders link arrest of 43 health workers to May polls
CHRISTIAN leaders from around the world said the detention of 43 health workers in Rizal province was initiated by the military to silence the critics of the Arroyo administration. In an article by the Ecumenical News International (ENI), Rev. Michael Wallace, general secretary of the World Student Christian Federation, said the arrest were meant to intimidate those “who struggle for human rights”. He said the military action was aimed at “the
May polls / A6

Lent a call to justice, pope says
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP

February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

Php 20.00

AS millions of Catholics around the world enter the rigors of penance through the 40-day observance of Lent, the Holy Father called for a deeper conversion in the spirit of justice.
Reflecting on the virtue of justice in his Lenten message, Pope Benedict XVI said “the illusion of self-sufficiency,” which conveys one’s superiority over others and leads a person to disregard others’ needs, “is the very origin of injustice.” According to the pontiff, the deeper meaning of justice is rooted in love, which Christ personified by dying on the cross thus showing us that “man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of another to realize himself fully.” The Holy Father said this kind of justice leads us to see ourselves more of “debtors” than “creditors” because God has given us more than what we deserved. And this insight, the pope continued, should lead us “to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to human person and

Lent / A6

The Catholic Church ushers in the beginning of the Lenten season with the imposition of ashes on the forehead of the faithful on Ash Wednesday. During the 40 days of Lent, the Catholic faithful are encouraged to observe the three penitential practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and seek true conversion of heart and soul.

Church: Condoms don’t stop HIV Hunger striker
AS the government beefs up its campaign against HIV/AIDS, the Catholic Church reiterated that condoms are not always effective in preventing the spread of the disease. Fr. Greg Gaston, who served on Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, made the in the face of widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to HIV/AIDS. Gaston said the church backs the claims about permeable condoms, despite assurances by the Department of Health that they are untrue. He said condoms give people a false sense of security, which rather facilitates the spread of the disease. “Condoms may fail to protect from AIDS. Not out of a religious concern, but medical: it is the right of consumers to know and be warned of possible condom failure,” said Gaston. The priest noted a document by Vatican’s Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo which cited medical studies that condoms have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass—potentially exposing people to risk. The priest called on the government to stop promoting “false security” to the people that condom will solve the problem of the deadly virus. “...in the same way that the government requires warnings against smoking, alcohol, and herbal medicines, the BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs) must also require government warning in condom packaging,” Gaston said. In the Philippines where authorities reported rising cases of the disease in the past few years, the church condemns the promotion of condoms as it also promotes promiscuity. Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life, cited the case in African countries and Thailand where HIV has become more prevalent even if they’ve been promoting the use of condoms. Castro said the church position is uncompromising that the best
Condoms / A7

appointed to Church’s social action arm

PPCRV seeks ‘aggressive’ conduct of voters’ education
and volunteers, some Comelec A CATHOLIC Church-based poll officials led by Commissioner watchdog urged the Commission Gregorio Larrazabal were also on Elections to be more “aggrespresent, sitting en banc over the sive” in its voters’ education simulated election exercise. program to brief voters on the “I keep telling the volunteers, automated elections system. we don’t have much money but While the PPCRV recognizes the two things we have going for the need for faster conduct of the PPCRV are our credibility voters’ education, its chair Henand our willingness to take on rietta de Villa, said effective steps the difficult job of poll-watching. should be used by the Comelec in If our credibility is tarnished by its training program. any perception of partisanship, The poll body, she said, must we’re done,” De Villa said. use clear and accurate instrucAna de Villa Singson, PPCRV’s tions to ensure that voters would Communications & Media Diunderstand how to use the prerector, said that their plans for cinct count optical scan (PCOS) the voters’ education campaign machines. “It’s not that Comelec’s effort is A member of the media casts her ballot using a PCOS machine during a recent include the screening and distribution of its new audio-visual not enough but I’m wishing that mock election exercise conducted by PPCRV at Pope Pius XII Center. it would be more aggressive in the conduct Members of the media were briefed on the presentations (AVPs), as well as increased of voters’ education,” De Villa said. automated election system and PCOS ma- visibility in the media. The PPCRV is being assisted in its efforts The PPCRV, for its part, kicked off its share chines from representatives of Smartmaticin educating voters’ nationwide with a spe- TIM, the company providing the machines to promulgate an intensive voters’ education campaign by Smart Communications and cial mock election exercise for the media at for the elections. the Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila. Aside from De Villa and PPCRV officials Globe Telecom, Inc. (CBCPNews)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

A CATHOLIC priest who has marched with peasants and indigenous peoples in street protests is filling an important position in the Church’s social action apostolate. Early this February, a priest in charge of Calapan’s Mangyan Missions has been appointed to the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSAJP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which is often referred to as the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA). As the new executive secretary, Fr. Edwin Gariguez is going to work closely with his chair Bishop Broderick Pabil- Fr. Edu Gariguez lo, a very dynamic figure in the church’s social action advocacies. Pabillo is known to be active in many social issues from human rights, environment to the ongoing debate on poll automation. He is usually seen in anti-mining protests and squatters in urban Manila protesting against demolitions and forced evictions. The bishop also served as one of the mediators for protesting Sumilao farmers who have been urging the government to return their land to them. Gariguez will succeed Sr. Roseanne Malillin, SPC, who has served for nearly 17 years. Gariguez, known as “Fr. Edu” to his community, is 47 years old and was ordained priest last April 7, 1993. Originally from Malinao Ilaya in Atimonan, Quezon, he was incardinated to the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan.

AES won’t solve cheating–poll watchdog
DESPITE poll automation, a “massive cheating” is going to happen in May and the poll body is doing nothing against it, a poll watchdog said. Professor Bobby Tuazon of the AES (automated election system) Watch said vote buying “is the bigger problem of fraud” and the Commission on Elections does nothing against it. Tuazon, a University of the Philippines-based information technology professor, said no concrete measures is being taken by the Comelec to catch candidates even if they are widely known to be buying votes. “The powerful and regular vote-buying machineries are in fact embedded into the country’s political dynasty system so wherever you look, wherever you are, you find vote-buying activities,” he said. Tuazon believes vote-buying would be “massive” this time especially from the habitual cheaters who are unable to cheat through the automated elections. He said there could also be fraud with regards to “internal rigging within the automated electoral system.” “Even if you have modern technology but the political environment still breeds and nurtures the powerful fraud machineries, no technology would beat vote-buying,” Tuazon said. AES Watch is an independent and voluntary networking of citizens groups promoting clean polls and ensuring the May 2010 elections push through—either automated or manual. Among its members is the
Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Hunger strike Last November, Gariguez led some 25 protesters in a 9-day hunger strike to denounce the issuance of an environmental clearance for the nickel-extraction project of a Norwegian mining company in the province due to lack of public consultation. Those who staged the hunger strike in front of the Department of Natural Resources main office include 16 members of the Mangyan tribes, seven Mindoro residents and another priest. Due to intense pressure, the DENR suspended the environmental clearance it issued to the Intex Resources last Nov. 26 pending an independent investigation. Close friend Gariguez was also closely associated with an anti-mining activist who was killed recently in Victoria town, Mindoro Occidental. Gariguez believe politics and mining were behind the death of Ricardo Ganad, 56. Ganad was chairman of the Association of Barangay Captains in Victoria and a founding member of Alliance against Mining (ALAMIN). The priest said the killing brought fear to other anti-mining advocates. He called on government officials to immediately resolve the murder. (Melo M. Acuña)

CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines and the Center for People Empowerment in Governance. (CBCPNews)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media


World News

CBCP Monitor
February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

Pope Benedict tells Rome’s homeless that the Church ‘will not abandon you’
ROME, Italy, Feb. 14, 2010—The Holy Father paid a visit to the homeless shelter at Rome's central Termini Station on Sunday morning along with a number of Church, local government and business representatives. He spoke to the gathering of the importance of charity in promoting human dignity and building an civilization of love. In his address to mark the occasion, Pope Benedict XVI recognized the many benefactors, workers and volunteers who employ themselves daily to taking action on the words of Jesus, "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me..." Directing his words to those assisted through these efforts, a number of whom were in attendance, the Holy Father said, "know that the Church loves you profoundly and won't abandon you, because it recognizes in every one of your faces the face of Christ" who identified himself particularly with the poor and indigent. "The witness of charity... belongs to the mission of the Church together with the announcement of the truth of the Gospel," noted the Pope, adding that "man doesn't just need to be nurtured materially or helped to overcome moments of difficulty, but he also needs to know who he is and know the truth about himself, about his dignity." And the Church, he explained, is "committed to announcing to all the truth of man, that he is loved by God, created in his image, redeemed by Christ and called to eternal communion with Him." Through the actions of those who offer their services, pointed out the Pope, "so many people have been able to rediscover... dignity, sometimes lost through tragic events, and find again trust in themselves and hope in the future." Speaking then to those who work in the facility, the Holy Father implored them to always be "joyful witnesses of the infinite love of God" and to "consider these friends of yours one of the most precious treasures of your life." Benedict XVI further encouraged not only Catholics, but "all men of good will… to work to build a future deserving of man, rediscovering in charity the 'propulsive' strength for a true development and for the realization of a more just and fraternal society" in both individual and social, economic and political relations. It is important, he added, to promote the recognition that we compose a single human family. The ideals of giving and volunteering freely must be rediscovered today "as constitutive elements of daily living and interpersonal relations" so as to "prevail over the logic of profit and seeking individual interests." The Caritas shelter, concluded the Holy Father, offers a concrete manifestation of the collaboration of the Christian community with civil institutions to promote the "common good" and thereby offer a "true school" in which youth and other volunteers can learn to be "builders of a civilization of love, capable of taking in others in their uniqueness and differences." Joining Pope Benedict on the visit were the Cardinal Vicar General of Rome Agostino Vallini, president of Caritas Italy, Bishop Giuseppe Merisi, and other representatives of Caritas as well as numerous local government officials including the mayor of Rome. A delegate from among those helped through the shelter, Giovanna Cataldo, also gave a short address on the occasion. (CNA)

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Vatican secret archives documents going online
VATICAN CITY, Feb. 12, 2010—The Holy See is planning to publish on the Internet, free of charge, several documents from the Vatican Secret Archives in relation to World War II. The initiatives is partially in response to a petition from Pave the Way Foundation, an organization dedicated to bridging gaps between religions. The foundation proposed making digital files of, and later publicizing, some 5125 descriptions and copies of documents from the closed section of the Vatican archives, from the period of March 1939 to May 1945. Gary Krupp, the foundation's president and founder, told ZENIT that "the 'Actes et Documents du Saint Siège relatifs a la Seconde Guerre Mondiale [Acts and Documents of the Holy See relative to the Second World War],'" which were "previously published and mostly ignored," will "shortly be available for worldwide scrutiny and study online, free of charge." He explained that these documents will be available on the Web site of his foundation as well as that of the Vatican. This project is part of the mission of the foundation, a non-sectarian organization that works to remove obstacles between religions, foster cooperation and to end the misuse of religion for private agendas. The organization's president, who is from New York but of Jewish decent, stated, "In the furtherance of our mission we have recognized the papacy of the war time Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) as a source of friction impacting over one billion people." A plot "Controversy abounds on whether he did enough to prevent the slaughter of Jews at the hands of the Nazis," Krupp affirmed. He continued: "Our research has revealed that five years after Pius XII's death, the KGB hatched a plot to discredit their enemy, the Roman Catholic Church, called 'Seat 12.' "A dirty trick, which condemned Pope Pius XII for his 'silence' during the Holocaust in the form of Rolf Hochhuth's fictitious 1963 play 'The Deputy.' The result was the worst character assassination of the twentieth century." Based on his foundation's research, Krupp stated that in 1964, Pope Paul VI asked a team of three Jesuit historians, Father Pierre Blet, Father Burkhart Schneider, and Father Angelo Martini, to "conduct intensive research to identify relevant documents from the war years from the closed section of the Vatican Secret Archives." He added: "A few years later Father Robert Graham joined the group. The first volume was published in 1965, the last in 1981." Krupp explained that in 1999, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, at that time the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, called for a special commission of Jewish and Catholic scholars to come together to study these documents. "This positive advance unfortunately ended July 21, 2001 in failure," he added, "partly because the scholars simply did not read the languages of the collection." "They issued a list of 47 questions and demanded the opening of the yet un-catalogued archives" from the 1939-1958 period, the foundation president said.

He stated that his foundation "sought to gain permission to digitize this collection, making it broadly available for study" so as to further "our mission to publicly disclose as many documents as possible to help to move this obstacle between Jews and Catholics into the light of documented truth." Black legend Krupp explained that "this effort is simply to show clear evidence of Pope Pius XII's efforts to mitigate suffering during the war and that the 'black legend,' which besmirched his name, is simply not true." He added that this initiative is "not meant to be a substitute for the full access" to the archives, "but will absolutely show the unique efforts of Pope Pius XII and the dangers he was forced to operate under a direct threat from the Nazi regime." "Ironically," he said "the Vatican Secret Archives [from the period prior] to 1939 were opened over two years ago," and they showed that "65% of Pacelli's ministry has simply been ignored by the critics who call for the war years to be opened." On behalf of the foundation, the president expressed gratitude to the Pope's Secretary of State and the Libreria Editrice Vaticana "for their confidence in us by allowing us this unprecedented privilege." (Zenit)

Canadian prelate stresses Olympic values
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 12, 2010—The president of the Canadian bishops' conference is welcoming athletes to his country for the Winter Olympics and underlining the human values of the games. Bishop Pierre Morissette of Saint-Jerome, Quebec, stated this in a Feb. 4 letter to the athletes and visitors of the 2010 Olympics, which began today in Vancouver. "As people from every race, creed and culture come to British Columbia for this celebration of athletic excellence, we hope that all of us will be reminded of the values that the games convey," he said. The prelate underlined the official Olympic motto, adopted in 1894: "Citius, altius, forties" [Faster, higher, stronger]. "Originally the idea of Dominican Father Henri Didon to motivate the students in his gym class to strive for personal excellence, this motto has been inspiring world-class athletes ever since," he explained. The bishop expressed the hope that "all of us—whether Catholics or members of other faith traditions, as well as all people of goodwill—apply the same principle to our own lives, so together we may grow into world-class human beings." He acknowledged that "amid the excitement of these athletic activities it can be easy to get caught up in national pride and competitiveness." "While this can be somewhat understandable," Bishop Morissette affirmed, "we should also reflect on the goal of the Olympic movement: 'to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind, in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.'" Friendship He recalled the words of Benedict XVI before the 2008 Summer Games, when the Pontiff expressed the hope that the Olympics will "offer the international community an effective example of coexistence among people of the most different provenances, with respect for their common dignity." Catholics share this hope, the prelate added. "To borrow the words of the Pope, may sports once again be a pledge of friendship and peace among peoples!" He stated the hope that the visitors will "discover some of the richness of the Catholic Church in Canada, and that as you return home you will keep all Canadians in your hearts and prayers." The bishop concluded by assuring the visitors of welcome "by Catholic parishes and communities before, during and after the 2010 Winter Olympic Games." Archbishop Michael Miller of the Vancouver Archdiocese expressed these similar sentiments of welcome in a letter he wrote to the athletes and visitors. The archbishop invited the participants to "consider visiting one of the archdiocese's downtown hospitality centers for athletes," including one site at the cathedral and another across from the BC Place Stadium. He pointed out that the Winter Olympics, which will run through Feb. 28, will coincide with the beginning of Lent, as Christians "begin their journey on the path towards Easter." Thus he sent an invitation to the visitors to attend the Feb. 17 Ash Wednesday Mass at one of the archdiocese's churches, "and of course, to celebrate Sunday Mass with us while you are here." Human trafficking The Vancouver archbishop also collaborated with other prelates from British Columbia and the Yukon to write a pastoral letter addressing the danger of human trafficking, especially during the international gathering for the Olympics. The letter, released Jan. 27, noted that "human trafficking is regarded by some as the fastest growing form of transnational organized crime." "When the victims are treated as objects and commodities, such trafficking entails a loss of their God-given dignity as human persons," it added. The bishops called on the faithful to raise awareness on this social ill, and to join with "all men and women of good will to eliminate the mentality that treats human beings as commodities of commercial exploitation and as objects for pleasure." They also addressed victims of exploitation, stating, "The Church walks with you today in solidarity." The letter noted that "the representatives of more than a million consecrated men and women worldwide and the global confederation of 162 Catholic aid organizations are formally committed to your practical assistance and to advocacy on your behalf." The bishops affirmed, "We promise you pastoral care, and we will continue to work with all people of good will to ensure that your human dignity is always respected." Along with the letter, the Vancouver Archdiocese is offering several resources on its Web site related to the issue of human trafficking. (Zenit)

Lebanon celebrates 1600th anniversary of St. Maron's death
ROME, Italy, Feb. 11, 2010—Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. George on Tuesday marking the 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Maron, father of the Maronite rite and patron saint of Lebanon. Attending the Mass was the country's President Michel Suleiman, a Maronite. Also present were Prime Minister Saad-al-Hariri and President of Parliament, Nabih Berri - both Muslims. In his homily the cardinal prayed, “May St. Maron grant us better days than the ones we have lived and may we be able to celebrate many feasts filled with goodness and peace!” In a letter to mark the Jubilee Year for St. Maron, which began

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Feb. 15, 2010—Catholic bishops and charities are using Lent as a time to mobilize Christians to heal the wounds left by 25 years of war. Church leaders chose ‘Rebuilding lives though peace and reconciliation’ as this year’s theme. They stress that this time of prayer, fast and penitence has special meaning in 2010, as the country tries to recover after years of interethnic conflict. They say the war might be over but so many lives lay shattered. The number of refugees, widows, orphans, wounded and disabled runs in the tens of thousands. “We want to share with everyone the reconciliation between God and man, which Jesus Christ delivered in his sacrifice,” said Msgr. Harold Anthony Perera, head of the Justice and Peace Commission, in his Lent message. “As we get ready to fast, pray and share the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we want to bring reconciliation to our people, who hunger and thirst for healing and redress.” At this time of the year, repentance and conversion are called
Sri Lanka / A6

Lent: peace and reconciliation to rebuild Sri Lanka

St. Maron / A6

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010

News Features


Pontiff: Bioethics needs natural law
VATICAN CITY, Feb. 14, 2010─Benedict XVI is affirming that bioethics, with all of the scientific developments it takes into account, needs the principles of natural law so as to uphold human dignity. The Pope stated this Saturday in an audience with members of the Pontifical Academy for Life who gathered in Rome for a general assembly on the topic of bioethics and natural law. "The relationship between bioethics and the natural moral law" appears more "relevant in the present context because of the continual development in the scientific sphere," the Pontiff noted. He affirmed, "The issues that revolve around the theme of bioethics allow us to confirm how much these underlying questions in the first place pose the 'anthropological question.'" The Holy Father stated that "it is necessary to create a holistic pedagogical project that permits us to confront these issues in a positive, balanced and constructive vision, above all in the relationship between faith and reason." He continued: "The questions of bioethics often place the reminder of the dignity of the person in the foreground. "This dignity is a fundamental principle that the faith in Jesus Christ crucified and risen has always defended, above all when it is ignored in regard to the humblest and most vulnerable persons: God loves every human being in a unique and profound way." "Bioethics, like every discipline, needs a reminder able to guarantee a consistent understanding of ethical questions that, inevitably, emerge before possible interpretive conflicts," Benedict XVI stated. Human dignity "In such a space a normative recall to the natural moral law presents itself," he added. "The recognition of human dignity, in fact, as an inalienable right first finds its basis in that law not written by human hand but inscribed by God the Creator in the heart of man." The Pope pointed out that "joining bioethics and natural moral law permits the best confirmation of the necessary and unavoidable reminder of the dignity that human life intrinsically possesses from its first instant to its natural end." He underlined the task of ensuring "that human life always be seen as the inalienable subject of rights and never as an object subjugated to the will of the strongest." "History has shown us how dangerous and deleterious a state can be that proceeds to legislate on questions that touch the person and society while pretending itself to be the source and principle of ethics," the Pontiff warned. He explained, "Without universal principles that permit a common denominator for the whole of humanity the danger of a relativistic drift at the legislative level is not at all something should be underestimated." "The natural moral law," the Holy Father affirmed, "strong in its universal character, allows us to avert such a danger and above all offers to the legislator the guarantee for an authentic respect of both the person and the entire created order." (Zenit)

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Symposium considers future steps for ecumenism
VATICAN CITY, Feb. 15, 2010─A symposium The theologians made a "detailed examination hosted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting of the question of reception of joint statements and Christian Unity brought together theologians agreements, the need for the common witness of from various churches to consider future steps for Christians at every level, and the changed context in ecumenical dialogue. which Christianity must undertake its mission." A Vatican communiqué reported that the threeThey also discussed how ecumenical dialogue day symposium, which started Feb. 8, gathered should take place in the future, and what steps theologians from the Lutheran, Reformed, Angli- should be made toward the goal of "full and viscan and Methodist traditions at the invitation of the ible communion." council's president, Cardinal Walter Kasper. Participants discussed a book published last Communion October, "Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Cardinal Kasper said to the participants: "What Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue." does communion mean in the theological sense? The book is a compilation of the results of "It does not mean community in the horizontal forty years of bilateral dialogues between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Anglican Communion and the World Methodist Council. The council noted that it also "raises important questions for the future direction and content of ecumenical discussion." The symposium aimed not only "to take account of the many elements of agreement produced by forty years of official dialogue, but to consider ways of communicating this remarkable achievement to the members of all the various Christian communities," the council stated. It expressed the hope that in this way, the communities can demonstrate "more fully in their lives the progress towards unity that Cardinal Walter Kasper has been made." sense but 'communio sanctorum' ─ what we might call vertical participation in what is 'holy,' in the 'holy things' ─ that is, the Spirit of Christ present in his Word and in the sacraments administered by ministers […] duly ordained." The meeting participants "explored how traditional disagreements might be reassessed if they are looked at in the context of mission and the vision of God's kingdom." They spoke about ecumenical dialogue in terms of a "new and promising approach," in which it is viewed "as an exchange of gifts." The theologians also discussed "practical proposals to encourage the search for unity, most particularly the production of a Common Statement of what we have achieved ecumenically." The council suggested that one possibility for the form of this statement could be a "common affirmation of baptismal faith, including a commentary on the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer." The symposium included people who are experienced in dialogue, as well as "younger theologians new to ecumenism." "The many positive suggestions that it produced will be taken forward to the plenary of the Pontifical Council in November 2010," the communiqué noted. It added that the participants "affirmed that the ability to call together meetings of this nature is a particular potential of Rome, indicating the wider service that the Petrine ministry can offer to ecumenism." (Zenit)
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International congress to focus on priestly identity and celibacy

Youth wants a God-fearing president for the next six years—survey
MANILA, Feb. 10, 2010—With the onset of the official campaign season, Catholic Filipino youths are one in saying that they want a God-fearing President to be elected come May 10. In a podcast interview during the January 16 launching of YouthPinoy at UST, a number of Catholic youth leaders expressed their views on what qualities the next President should have in order to govern morally and effectively. According to Paula Cheng of the Filipino-Chinese Catholic Youth (FCCY), if the President or any person is God-fearing, that person would not do anything that is against the will of God. “I believe that the next president should be God-fearing because everything else follows. He should be God-fearing because if you fear someone supreme than you then you would be terrified to contradict the will of that Supreme Being,” she said. Like Cheng, Jo-I Villas from the Youth for Family and Life (YFL) also said that the next President should have strong belief in God. Other young people, whose schools, parishes and organizations are involved with the YouthPinoy group, also said they would vote for a presidential candidate who would not support the controversial Reproductive Health Bill. “At least 75 percent of the country is Catholic and so as a firm believer of the Catholic faith, we should follow the Church teaching taking into consideration not to vote candidates that are in favor of the bill for ‘it destroys one of our intrinsic Catholic beliefs that we should not kill,’” said Cheng in agreement with Carla Cucueco from the Institucion Teresiana. Aside from being Christ-centered and imbibing pro-life lifestyle, other young Catholics said they wanted an open-minded, principled and credible president. Juno Figueroa from the Dominican Network said the next President should be “open minded to be able to adapt everything and will focus on change because that is what our country.” For her part, Sabrina Santos of the Student Catholic Action said that as a leader, the successor of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should have “credibility, commitment to the people, and a life that is Christ-centered.” “He/She should stick to his principles and morale because, nowadays, lahat nadadaan lang sa pera eh kay mahirap patakbuhin yung bansa natin. Pero kung magkakaroon tayo ng president na ginagawa kung ano yung tinuro sa kanya ng magulang niya at kung ano ang tinuro sa kanya ng Panginoon, eh di uunlad ang Pilipinas,” said Cucueco. Meanwhile, Bro. Jomar Valdevieso of the UST Central Seminary said he “expects that the next

president to be honest and true to his promises.” In summation of the youth’s opinion on what values and qualities the next President should have, YouthPinoy recognizes the fact that the young population are embarking on one of the greatest qualifications the nation should not take for granted when they fill up their ballot come election day—our values. Despite the fact that anyone who has passed the qualifications of the Commission on Election may run their desired position, the youth is reminding the general voting public that a good leader should be a good servant—someone who will set aside their desire for power, riches and fame in the name of God and country. (Kate Laceda/YouthPinoy)

Integrate Catholic faith with culture, prelate tells Chinoys
MANILA, Feb. 12, 2010—The fact nature of Chinese culture. “As we celebrate the Chinese that the Chinese Lunar New Year New Year on Valentine’s Day falls on Valentine’s Day this year this year, let’s pray for more should all the more remind blessings of life and love Filipino-Chinese Catholics to and share it generously integrate their faith and Christ’s to others. Let us pray for Gospel values to their culture God’s abundant blessing of and tradition. good health and prosperity Abra Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian and joy in life. Without reminded the Filipino-ChiGod we are nothing nese Catholic Commuso let us think of nity that the gift of life him for this year and love should always of the metal tiger,” be attributed to God Jaucian said. as the ultimate source The prelate, of all creation—a basic who is the naCatholic teaching that tional spiritual he said should not be director of the compromised given the Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian

Filipino-Chinese Catholic Youth, said there is nothing wrong with observing the Chinese Culture but Chinese Catholics should keep a prayerful life and be faithful to their Catholic religion. “God is present in other religion and culture so the belief in Feng Shui, Astrology, and praying at Buddhist temples should be perceived as instruments that all draws us closer to God. As such, we discourage too much dependence on culture especially up to the point that faith in God is compromised,” he said. Jaucian also urged Filipino Catho-

VATICAN CITY, Feb. 9, 2010─Today the Vatican announced that an international theological congress will be held in Rome on the theme “Faithfulness in Christ, Faithfulness of Priests.” The congress is intended to mark the current Year for Priests and will address issues such as priestly identity and celibacy. A communique from the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy stated that the event will be held at the Pontifical Lateran University from March 11 to 12 and that “invitees to the congress principally include bishops who preside over commissions for the clergy, supreme moderators of clerical institutes and associations, formators of the clergy, and priests themselves who are primarily responsible for their own permanent formation.” Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to receive congress participants on March 12. The congress will be divided into three sessions with two focusing on priestly identity and its relationship with the modern culture and one on liturgy and celibacy. Leaders of the Congregation for the Clergy, including Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M. and Archbishop Mauro Piacenza will be in attendance. Other Vatican-based attendees include, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Also contributing to the theological congress are Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and Archbishop Willem Eijk of Utrecht, primate of Holland. (CNA) lics to understand and respect the Chinese’s way of life, adding that their Catholic faith should keep them united amid cultural differences. “We should respect each other’s culture. Let us extend respect, understanding and solidarity to our Chinoy brothers and sisters so we can live harmoniously with each other,” he added. (Kris Bayos)

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A ‘Lenten’ justice

CBCP Monitor
February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

THROUGH his pontifical reign, Pope Benedict XVI has a cadence of Lenten messages seemingly orchestrated as a syllabus starting with his first in 2006 when he talked about development—but development that transcended like the “gaze” of Christ (Mt 9:36) that penetrated worldly cares towards eschatological demands. In the years that followed, he dwelt on the traditional “weapons” of the Lenten warfare, namely, prayer (2007), almsgiving (2008) and fasting (2009). In these messages which are heavily pervaded with his encyclical Deus caritas est, the Holy Father looks at the 40-day season as a time of “spiritual battle… armed with prayer, fasting and the practice of almsgiving, so as to arrive at the celebration of the Easter Feasts, renewed in the spirit.” This year he proceeds with “The Justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ.” Veering away for the classical definition of justice which maybe said to be anyway fictitious in that it does not really specify what “due” is to be rendered to each person, the Pontiff opines that the real justice is actually gratuitous, it is a grace from God who never makes any accounting of what is due to man. Because, truth to tell, what is due to man is condemnation due to his immense sinfulness. The Psalms says it better, “Lord if only you would account for our sins, who would survive?” (Ps 130:3). Indeed, the divine justice is a chasm away from human justice in that one receives contrary to what is his “due”. The Pope says, “The fact that ‘expiation’ flows from the ‘blood’ of Christ signifies that it is not man’s sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God who opens Himself the ‘curse’ due to man so as to give in return the ‘blessing’ due to God.” Simply put, “Lenten” justice is mercy, personified in Christ who paid an exorbitant price through the justice of the cross. Which is why, it is useless to be self-righteous because it is a lie. Those who walk around brandishing their certificate of good moral character to prove to the world that they are righteous like the Pharisees, have no right to claim divine justice, God’s mercy—only the sinners do.

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points
HAPPY Valentine! Short time! Free condoms! How long could supposedly high public officials in this government go? How juvenile could such seemingly responsible adults be? To what extent would they entice young people to be promiscuous unlimited? How far are they willing to go precisely to promote sexually transmitted diseases? Distributing free condoms in public. Telling a man and woman to sexually desire one another without being spouses. Instigating Filipinos to carnally covet someone not their spouse. Helping multinational pharmaceuticals to sell their products contrary to the dictate of elementary ethics. Making HIV AIDS and other sex related plague, the order of the day. These are in fact, the unsaid but well advertised message of such pretentiously caring individuals during the otherwise lovely day! One unsolicited advice: If those thus over-preoccupied and evercaring individuals responsible for the ignominy of the day were really convinced that what they nonchalantly or even proudly did, would truly combat the spread of sexually transmitted maladies in the country, then with their dear and endearing collaborators they should ardently and avidly do the same 24 hours a day, seven days a week! And if through their fervent public service, the Philippines

Vulgar. Lewd. Gross.
would become eventually HIV AIDS free, then a tall monument should be eventually built in their honor. Has it already become humanly impossible for people to learn the truth and accept the fact that they may not fool around with God, kick around His Commandments, mess up with His teaching about human dignity which is now going down the drain, about the sacredness of sex which has now sadly become “dangerous” for which people then even need “protection”! It is said that “Crime does not pay.” Well and good! But much more so “Sin does not pay.” In fact, it is costly and even deadly at times, here and now—never mind the hereafter and beyond. Where do broken bodies go? Do they find their way safely home? And how do promoters of promiscuity feel? Do they have peace when alone? Finally, what do forwarders of immorality eventually get? Do they receive warm applauses and eminent plaques of appreciation? There must be still some sanity among Filipinos. There should still remain some rational thinking and reasonable public officials in the country. Time and again, the faded and still fading administration is much preoccupied and even spending much to advertise its “legacy”. Well, here is an eminent one for the record: “FREE CONDOMS”!

Development, Justice and Peace
BY development we mean the development of every person and of the whole person, of all people, especially the poor by reason of the evangelical option for the poor. (Cf. Luke 6:18) Several UN “Decades of Development” have come and gone, and still we witness increasing poverty and widening of the gap between rich and poor. The causes can be analyzed to death. Often we hear the facile attribution of our situation of poverty and underdevelopment to the many natural disasters that we have suffered and continue to suffer. They do have something to do with our poverty. But we cannot ignore the part human responsibility plays. (Cf. Amos 1:6) The unrestrained polluting of air and water resources through power plants and factories and the abusive exploitation of our natural resources through, for instance, irresponsible mining and logging, geothermal plants and dams, etc. continue unabated in many parts of our country, slowly destroying for the sake of short term financial gains for the few and powerful elite the very life system of our environment: We live under a social structure in which graft and corruption have been deeply imbedded. Our impoverishment, we see, are due to many factors. But greed for power and wealth is today, more than ever it seems, the greatest contributing factor. It has led to the worsened deprivation of many, to the exodus of men and women in quest of word abroad, to the gaining of easy money through criminality and exploitive vice. More than ever, we are keenly aware that criminality and development are antithetical, and so are poverty on the one hand, and justice and peace on the other. There is an intimate linkage between the one and the other. The enduring solution to criminality and vice is thus not simply the imposition of quick justice, sadly lacking as it is, but more basically the genuine equitable development of every person in civil society. The ultimate solution to poverty is not simply economic development but even more basically, justice and peace—justice to address the inequitable structures of society which beget poverty; peace to provide the conditions under which we can work out our development. On justice and peace, then, true human development is based. From justice and peace, development is begotten. And it is good to recall here what the Holy Father said at Malacañang at his first visit to the Philippines in 1981, namely, that governments cannot sacrifice the human rights of its citizens in the name of economic development. This deeper perspective of today’s social and economic issues compounds our concern about the directions that economic development is taking in our country and the roles that the various branches of our government are playing, whether collaborative or antagonistic vis-à-vis one another. Their roles must be based firstly and firmly on the good of all and not on allegiances or alliances for self-interest, and certainly not on political grandstanding. A CBCP Pastoral Letter on Development—the Fruit of Justice and Peace, 1996
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PAL Foundation saving lives
LOVELY is a six-year old girl but she is as tiny as a one year-old baby. Her mother pushes her around in a small wheel chair as she cannot walk nor sit by herself in a regular chair. She was born with no hands and feet—just stubs at the end of her extremities. Her eyes are just slits and you can hardly see her eyeball, and she cannot open her mouth wide enough for a spoon to enter. So she has been sipping her food (blended rice and vegetables) ever since she was an infant and that is why she is so tiny and malnourished. To top it all, she cannot talk because she cannot open her mouth. Her mother says she was only two months pregnant when she had severe infections. She was given massive doses of antibiotics which could have resulted in the multiple disabilities of Lovely. Lovely was scheduled to leave for Australia last December for surgery—beginning with her mouth, and on to the other defective parts of her body. It has taken almost a year since arrangements began for her to travel, with so many medical check-ups, searching for a hospital that will perform the surgeries, and a foster family that would host her

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
The PAL Foundation was established in 1992, in the aftermath of the Mt. Pinatubo disaster. It received an annual grant of PhP1,000,000 from Philippine Airlines, which it used to give small cash grants for selected projects such as providing water pumps in one barrio in Quezon Province, for micro-finance, and community development. The PAL Medical Travel and Cargo Grants program benefit charity patients and support medical mission teams. In the past, there had been a ceiling of P100,000 on the worth of tickets or cargo the Foundation could give to a surgical mission team. But the Board realized that the value of the surgeries for impoverished Filipinos in remote areas justified sponsoring entire surgical teams with discounts or free excess baggage for their equipment and supplies. The more complex individual patients are given grants to go to Manila or even abroad should they be so fortunate as to have been accepted for free care elsewhere. In corresponding with the other charities abroad which were
Life / A6

and her mom for several months. All these were possible because of the services of Philippine Airlines Foundation. Lovely and her mom stayed in Welcome House, a crisis shelter for girls and women run by the Good Shepherd Sisters until they were able to leave for Sydney. The host family of Lovely in Australia kept us updated. Although the medical assessment was that Lovely could not be operated on till she reached 14 years old, when she would stop growing, so as not to have her undergo repeat surgeries as she was growing, she was given a lot of other medical attention and advices on how to develop her, feed her so she does not become malnourished, and how to avoid infections. Lovely and her mom returned to the Philippines (to Welcome House) last January, looking healthier and there was certainly a glow in her eyes. Lovely is not the first child that PAL Foundation has helped to secure such services. Menchu Aguino Sarmiento, the Executive Director since 1999, has assisted dozens of children to have a second chance in life because of her persistence and generosity.

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
WITH Ash Wednesday, we enter a new season of Lent. In spite of the gloom and austerity usually associated with it, there’s actually something new and bright to it. That’s because Lent involves a certain dying to ourselves so we can be born again in Christ. That’s the plain truth about Lent. All the sacrifices, mortifications and penance, the fasting and abstinence, are meant to cure us of our old man so we can be a new man in Christ. Remember St. Paul to the Ephesians: “Put off…the old man…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth.” (4, 22-24) We need to proclaim this truth of our faith more widely and vigorously these days. Even if, thank God, we can still count on a large number of Christian faithful who still retain this understanding of Lent, we cannot be blind to a growing sector that seems oblivious to this reality. To a certain extent, this truth is facing the possibility of an endangered species, what with all the secularizing elements around us now, the consumerism, the hedonism and greed, etc. Our evangelization about Lent has to reach further than the usual traditional areas. It now has to enter deep into cyberspace, and has to tango and tangle hand-to-hand with current issues in the different fields of human affairs—business, politics, sciences, etc. We have to find ways to make this truth shine out in all its glory. For, indeed, Lent is good news, not bad news. We need to show the

Lent is about dying to be born again
whole happy truth about it, without avoiding and without getting entangled with its essentially penitential character. With gift of tongues, with elegance and naturalness, let’s tell everyone we need to embrace the cross, the Cross of Christ, to be able to resurrect from our damaged, sinful nature. Obviously, for this we have to recount the whole truth about ourselves. I know that there are all sorts of ideologies and isms about what and who we really are. We should not hesitate to offer the Christian view, using the appropriate terms and arguments to transmit it as integrally as possible. Of course, we have to respect everyone’s views. No matter how different and even conflicting these views may be, let’s continue with an abiding dialogue in search for the whole truth about ourselves. Toward this end, let’s foster friendship and mutual trust always. Truth should always be pursued in charity. Its search should not be just a matter of who is right and who is wrong, but more of growing in our love for one another, since it’s love that ultimately makes truth come out. This is the “game plan” lived by Christ himself even offering his life on the Cross for it. With it we can hope to soften the rough and sharp edges of our differences, paving the way for true unity among ourselves. We ought to be one since we are all children and people of God, and we are all brothers and sisters, regardless of our differences. Lent should put our full attention to the necessity of the Christ’s Cross in our life. It is what re-creates us. It perfects the precarious
Speaking / A5

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The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. ISSN 1908-2940

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010

Journey to an Islamic State
and Hindus still had their places of worship—an example of interfaith co-existence over the years. We next had a session at the Council of Islamic Ideology, a government- affiliated academic center that clarifies the authentic meaning of Islam. The center has published several fatwas pronounced by ulama and other religious leaders condemning terrorism and extremism. Our final stop was made after a quick ride to the twin city of Rawalpindi where we visited the Catholic Cathedral of the Diocese of Rawalpindi. Auxiliary Bishop Ruffin Anthony and his assistant showed us the cathedral which in shape and size reminded me of the cathedral in Cagayan de Oro. It was also a pleasant surprise to meet two Daughters of St. Paul, one of them a Filipina missionary, taking care of the cathedral’s bookstore and helping several Pakistani Catholic youth entertain our delegation. Despite the warmth of our reception in all the places we visited, we could not help notice the tight security surrounding hotels and public buildings, including the cathedral. Over the past few years, Pakistan has been undergoing a period of terrorist bombings, and internal conflicts involving Sunni and Shiite Muslims, majority Muslims vis-à-vis minority religious groups, and Taliban-inspired militants versus government forces. At the same time the government’s efforts to revise or revoke the “blasphemy laws” that have been prejudicial to religious minority communities are under careful scrutiny. A breakfast meeting with the Filipino Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, gave us three Catholic bishops a deeper appreciation of how the Pakistani government (as well as our own government in the Philippines) was reaching out to minority groups to forge a just and lasting culture of peace. In the case of Pakistan, with 96% of its population Muslim, public officials base their efforts in promoting interfaith harmony on the words of its founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who said in 1947: “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of the state.” It is in this light that the joint efforts of the Philippines and Pakistan to promote a dialogue among religious traditions instead of a “clash of civilizations” will have far-reaching consequences in other parts of the globe. A world without wars can only begin when religions are at peace, and the state treats all religions equally.

Commentary Monaco to Mongolia: population density and prosperity
By Vincenzina Santoro
“STOP the World—I Want to Get Off” was the title of a hit Broadway play some years ago. Today, getting people off the planet is what the United Nations population control crowd would like to do in order to “save” it. After the failed Copenhagen climate control confabulation last December, they will be refocusing their strategy and may target the presumed horrors of overpopulation in the form of large concentrations of people in any given place. The constantly updating “population clock” of the U.S. Census Bureau showed that the U.S. population was over 308 million and world population not quite 6.8 billion as I write. To the population worriers, these numbers are far too many. Population nihilists conjure up horrendous stories of hordes of people living extremely closely together in dire poverty, clamoring for scarce resources. Fewer people equals less carbon footprints, they claim. What about “overcrowding?” China’s coercive one-child policy to explicitly curb population is well known, but is China that densely populated? Not at all, when one looks at the relevant data. While the population of China at 1.3 billion is the highest of any country in the world, China ranks only 53rd out of 192 countries in terms of population density, as can be observed in data assembled by the CIA. This begs the question: Which is the most densely populated country on earth? It happens to be Monaco—that wonderful principality bordering France on the Mediterranean. Monaco is by far the most densely populated country, with a population of only 32,140 but a population density of 41,971 per square mile. Singapore is the distant second, followed by Malta. What is life like in Monaco? Certainly not what the population doomsayers would predict. The tiny country has one of the highest standards of living, quality of life and personal wealth anywhere on earth. Per capita income is the 20th highest in the world, according to the World Bank. Monaco’s population density is 2.5 times that of next ranking Singapore, which is also among the most prosperous countries, and life in Malta is equally pleasant. The least densely populated country is Mongolia, sandwiched between China and Russia, which has a density of only five persons per square mile and a total population of 2.8 million. A mountainous and cold country, it too has a vast territory, though much smaller than its two mega-neighbors, and its partly nomadic people rank among the world’s poorest in per capita income. Of the five most populous countries—China, India, USA, Indonesia, and Russia—India, China, and Indonesia rank 18th, 53rd, and 60th in population density, respectively. India and China each have a population exceeding one billion, but they are not nearly as crowded as other places. The USA with a fertility rate that currently is at the replacement level of 2.1, ranks number 142 on the list, while Russia, the world’s largest country in land area, with an extremely low fertility rate of 1.4 and a population already in decline, ranks as low as 177. Although Africa is often the target of the population monitors, data do not corroborate their concerns. The United Nations population counters let it be known recently that Africa’s population had just reached the one billion mark. Even so, Africa accounts for only 15 per cent of global population, compared with 60 per cent for Asia. Among the 50 least densely populated countries, 19 are African. Of the 50 most densely populated countries only two are on the African continent: Rwanda and Burundi, and four are small island nations—São Tomé and Principe (in the Gulf of Guinea) and Mauritius, the Comoros and the Seychelles (in the Indian Ocean) which are considered part of Africa. At a conference in New York on January 22nd, a highly acclaimed demographer who formerly headed the Population Division at the United Nations asked the hypothetical question: What would happen if all the 6.8 billion people currently on earth were to move to the United States? His answer was that the U.S. population density would become the same as that of the Netherlands! Moreover, New York, the most populous city in the United States with a population of 8.5 million has a population density of 26, 403 per square mile—less than that of Monaco. And a final word about Monaco. Land-wise, all of Monaco can fit comfortably into the 1.32 square miles of New York City’s Central Park. So, when we hear the cry that there are “too many people” here or there, we should ask, “Too many people for what?” It is all relative to the culture and the economy of the place. Those are the things we should be working to change, if necessary, not the number of people. (Vincenzina Santoro is an international economist in New York City. She represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations. This article is printed under a special arrangement with Mercatornet) We must give up listening mainly to politicians, economists and technocrats in order to take up our responsibility to listen to the real voices of the poor. If you listen to the politicians (the incumbent ones especially) in my province you would think we are on the brink of prosperity. The truth is, we are somewhat in between being on the brink of pity or popular rage because of the crass and unacceptable gap between what we hear (political propaganda) and what we see (perpetually bad roads, unemployment, unproductive lands, unexplained loss of public revenues, unexplained wealth of people in power etc.). The effort to listen to the real voices of the poor has been a struggle even for us in the Church. But we must begin and, where we have begun, we must not close our ears even when the truth is not pleasant to hear. The reason is simple. Only with our poor, in their massive number, can we expect to truly to co-discern where the Spirit is really leading us in our feeble efforts to finally arrive at a place called “Freedom of the Children of God”.
Speaking / A4

Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD

Pastoral Companion
LAST January 13-17, I joined a Philippine delegation composed of three Catholic bishops, five Muslim Ulama and professors, three Protestant bishops and pastor, and several government officials on a trip to Pakistan. Upon invitation of Pakistan’s President extended to President Gloria Arroyo, we, representatives of the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC), went to Islamabad to share our experience in inter-religious dialogue and also to learn from Pakistan’s government officials and religious leaders about their efforts in providing equal rights for religious minorities. The BUC delegation was headed by its convenors—Archbishop Fernando Capalla for the Catholics, Dr. Hamid Barra and Judge Aboali Cali for the Muslims, and Bishop Hilario Gomez, Jr., for the Protestants. Bishop Edwin de la Peña from the Prelature of St. Mary’s in Marawi, and myself from the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, completed the Catholic participation. Official head of the Philippine delegation was Secretary General Isabel Tobias of the Presidential Council on Interfaith Initiatives. On our first day in the nation’s capital, we visited the Minister for Minorities Affairs, Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, himself a Christian. This was followed by an interfaith meeting with ulama and other Pakistani religious leaders. Both Philippine and Pakistani spokespersons affirmed each group’s adherence to dialogue and respect for diverse religious traditions. On the second day, the delegation was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Senate. They both expressed Pakistan’s desire to promote a culture of dialogue within their country as well as throughout the world. Indeed, together with the Philippines, Pakistan has taken the initiative to promote a U.N. forum for inter-religious dialogue. At the same time, Pakistan has supported the Philippine government’s bid for observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The Philippines’ participation in this world body of predominantly Muslim countries would have a significant bearing on the ongoing peace talks in Mindanao. On the third day, we had a chance to visit the imposing King Faisal Mosque, one of the largest places of worship in the Muslim world. Surrounded by its four towers, and rising above one sector of the planned city of Islamabad, the mosque was a gift of the King of Saudi Arabia in the 50’s, when Pakistan was creating its own identity as a nation after its partition from the British Raj. Last year, Pakistan and the Philippines celebrated 60 years of bilateral ties. From the mosque, we passed by Said Pur village where Muslims

The Word—from the Pope’s Household
IT was a big event at the Araneta Coliseum. The date—January 28. Attendance—15,000 delegates from 8 dioceses of Manila queuing at the huge auditorium since 7 a.m., one hour and a half before the start of the opening ceremony—a procession of the Two Hearts and St. John Mary Vianney. The magnet of the event—Fr. Raniero Cantalamesa, OFMCap, a preacher of the Papal household. It was a welcome opportunity to hear the “word” directly from Pope Benedict XVI’s household. He came to be the main speaker for no less than 5,542 attending priests for the Second Clergy Congress representing 87 dioceses all over the Philippines, Fr. Cantalamessa is known and respected for his authoritative interpretation of the teachings of the present Holy Father as well as the papal encyclicals of Pope John Paul II. Dwelling on the theme of the “Year for Priests (2009 –2010)”, “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests”, he admonished the Filipino clergy to be true to their calling and relayed the Pope’s call to holiness for the entire clergy of the Philippines. This was Fr. Cantalamessa’s 4th trip to the Philippines so he knows the strengths and weaknesses of the clergy and the laity of the most Catholic country in Asia. His coming to stay from Jan. 25–29 was a welcome opportunity to give inputs during the Philippine priests’ retreat which was held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. When the priests converged from the provinces for 5 days in

Jose B. Lugay

Laiko Lampstand
As he ably expressed these very relevant issues to the diocesan laity in clear and understandable language, the lay delegates requested for copies of Fr. Cantalamesa’s speeches. This is now being reproduced by the LAIKO office for dissemination. In brief, the coverage of Fr. Canalamessa’s two sessions is outlined below: The vocations of the laity: in the Church: 1) Unity and Diversity in the Church; 2) The Exercise of Charisms, 3) Clergy and the Laity, the One People of God. Marriage and family according to the Bible: 1) Part I. Marriage and Family: the Divine Project and Human Achievement in the Old Testament; 2) Part II. Marriage and Family in the New Testament: Christ’s Renewal of Marriage, Marriage and Family in the Apostolic Church; Part III. What the Bible Teaches Us Today: Objection to the biblical ideal, An ideal that must be rediscovered. In a fitting closing ceremony, the mass officiated by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales was followed by the Commissioning of the Laity of the Archdiocese of Manila. Congratulations are in order for the efforts of Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes and the logistical support of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas under the direction of Bishop Jesse Mercado, the present National Director. This event augurs well for improved clergy-laity relationship, the key to the proper implementation of the badly needed social reforms after the May 2010 elections.

Manila, parishioners all over the Philippines missed attending their daily masses, a fitting sacrifice for the anticipated enlightenment on the clergy-laity relationship. Knowing the extent of involvement of the Filipino laity in the development of the Church in Asia, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa accommodated the request of Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales to give a talk directly to the laity of Manila. Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes was given the task as coordinator to prepare and manage the event while he was still serving as National Director of LAIKO. Through the leadership of the newly installed President of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, Bro. Ed Tirona, the program was prepared. Fr. Cantalamessa’s delivery of two talks specifically for the laity was received by the audience with enlightenment on their role as evangelizers—a role they have to play as baptized Christians. Well planned, with Elim choir and Jamie Rivera giving the needed intermission, the sharing of prominent speakers reminded the crowd of the laity’s present efforts and challenges for social transformation. The speakers were Bo Sanchez, the Sumpayco couple of CFC, and Corteza Macahilig, a government witness to the advocacy work on anti-graft and corruption. Their sharing brought meaning and relevance to the two major talks of Fr. Cantalamessa: ‘THE VOCATION OF THE LAITY IN THE CHURCH” and “MARRIAGE AND FAMILY ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE”.

Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD

By the Roadside
I USED to know a priest who weighed more than two hundred pounds. We were seated at table when the conversation turned to the question, “What are you giving up for Lent?” It was his turn to give his answer and he looked at us gravely as though the issue was a matter of life and death. Then he said: “Physical exercise.” I always have this suspicion that Lent is, for most of us Catholics, a break from our excesses during Christmas, New Year, Sto. Niño and other festivities that go before or come after it, principally motivated (or shall I say ‘dampened’) by the cultivated consciousness of the Lord’s suffering and death on the cross we would be meditating on and which, being more or less inspired by tons of guilt-feelings over our immoderations, leads us to embracing “acts of penance”, namely, the Stations of the Cross, fasting and abstinence, somber prayerfulness, charity (if that’s not too distracting of us going through the preceding motions). Of course, there’s basically nothing abnormal about that. It should pain us though that despite all the catechesis we have received and continue to give on the essential link of Lent to the renewal of our baptismal promises, we still think of Lent as a time of ‘giving up’ instead of a ‘taking up’. It’s not that I disagree with the ‘giving up’ part. It’s just that I think we often forget the ‘taking up’ component that completes it. We give up some food or drink (by fasting and abstinence) in order to take up our responsibility to the hungry and the disadvantaged among us. There’s a great ascetical value to our saying no to our appetites but that value becomes eternal when it becomes an avenue to love and charity. In this sense fasting and abstinence is not confined to food and beverage but, in fact, can include anything we can convert into something that expresses love for God and neighbor. When I refrain from cursing during traffic jams or from hurling invectives at politicians I intensely disagree with or from abusing my authority as a priest by imposing especially on the poor high fees for my ‘services’ (a word that, in effect, becomes a ‘misnomer’), I am also doing fasting and abstinence as much as when I refrain from food or meat. The point is that when I deny something I really would like for myself, it’s clearly an admirable act. But when I do that so I would be able to give something good as an expression of charity to another person who needs it probably more than I (such as food, clothing, respect for one’s dignity, support etc.), a merely admirable act becomes a Christian act.

A more meaningful Lent
In the Philippines (particularly in the rural poor where this author ministers) meat is mostly food identified with the rich or middle class, the poor being only able to indulge it in certain times and circumstances, such as during fiestas or major celebrations. I remember a priest explaining how fasting can mean eating only once in a day to a barangay community when a gaunt-looking man remarked, “In that case I’ve been fasting all my life, Padre…” If our fasting does not help raise our hungry and disadvantaged to the level their dignity deserves, then our fasting could become an empty show. In a word, we give up food and drink in order ultimately to take up our responsibility to struggle for real justice as a way to real peace in our archipelago. There are other things I suggest we give up during Lent as much as afterwards. We must give up merely relying on human sources of strength in order to connect to our real Source. This is the whole point to the time we must spend in prayer and silence during and beyond Lent. Jesus, the gospels tell us, spent whole “nights” in prayer, being connected with the Father. At most, we spend fifteen to thirty minutes of the same. And we complain whenever there are efforts to prolong the time of prayer and silence in the church or in our gatherings. Isn’t it vulgar that we can spend hours and hours in meetings, deliberations and conversations among ourselves, in discussing programs and policies, in dissecting the news and politicians’ idiosyncrasies, in watching television and a limitless variety of film, and yet have very little time with the One who Matters Most who also makes things really matter—namely, the God of our salvation? If the problems of the country and the Church in the country are so grave—and there’s no disputing that, whatever sides we take in the political or social arena—then why are we not spending as much time getting in touch with the one who has the greatest power to help us? We must give up cynicism and indifference in order to take up our responsibility to raise our country from the pit of hopelessness. The cynicism and indifference in the masses of Filipinos could be palpable in the general lack of approval we give to our leaders and our lack on faith in our democratic institutions, however deserved. But it doesn’t take genius to realize how after giving in to cynicism and indifference we are still where we are as a nation. Real penance means that we cast away these two incentives to inaction and non-involvement.

condition of our first creation, when we only knew how to enjoy the good but would not know what to do when we get into the ways of evil. The Cross brings us to Christ. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16, 24) This is actually a formula we should always engrave in our hearts. The Cross teaches us the true and complete ways of love. We often have our own ideas of love that are usually sweet and sugary, but actually incomplete, even twisted and detached from its true source and pattern. The Cross extends the dimensions of our life, going beyond our natural limits so it can merge with God’s own life. We are meant for this. We have been designed for this. That we have the senses, that we have intelligence and will, that we have been given grace—all these are meant to enable us to enter into communion with God and with everyone else. They are not for us to enjoy by ourselves. It’s the Cross that makes all these feasible. And Lent is there is to remind us of it, and to rehearse and prepare us for it.


Local News

CBCP Monitor
February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

Namfrel warns Comelec: ‘We’ll Anti-mining barangay chief be watching you’ in Mindoro shot dead
A POLL watchdog vowed to keep an eye on the conduct of the country’s first ever automated elections in May to prevent massive fraud. With the elections barely three months away, the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said the capabilities of the new system have not been fully established. “People are understandably nervous that many things could go wrong or that it would simply facilitate wholesale cheating,” Namfrel said in a statement. The statement came a week after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rejected Namfrel’s petition to be accredited as a citizen’s arm, citing the group’s partiality to certain political sectors. Namfrel's co-petitioner is the National Secretariat for Social Action of Justice and Peace (Nassa) of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). “Come 2010 elections, the Namfrel volunteers will reunite, and together with CBCP-Nassa and other electoral watchdogs, mobilize our countrymen to vigilance once more,” the statement read. “You cannot kill the Namfrel spirit,” it added. Partisan The poll body said that the poll watchdog failed to qualify because of the impartiality clause. The Comelec said that Namfrel founding chairman Jose Conception is a known staunch critic of deposed President Estrada, who will again be running in the May elections. It noted that Conception was among the most vocal personalities who called for Estrada’s ouster in 2000. Namfrel had links with another former president, the late Corazon Aquino, whose son is also running for President, the poll body said. And Namfrel chairman Jose Cuisia was reported to have rubbed elbows with Aquino during a protest rally in Makati City against the Arroyo administration. ‘Insult’ The Comelec’s accusation, however, left a bad taste in the mouth of Namfrel. “To deny Namfrel accreditation because two of its officials are allegedly ‘partisan’ is to insult the integrity and patriotism of its 5,000 volunteers—the youth, professionals, businessmen, religious, peasants, urban poor, labor—who come together during elections, set aside their personal preferences and unite in one goal: the conduct of free and fair elections,” it said. The commission also said it cannot anymore accredit Namfrel because it had given its nod to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) as its citizens’ arm. (Roy Lagarde) A STAUNCH anti-mining barangay official in Oriental Mindoro was shot dead in his house by still unknown assailants on February 10. Ricardo Ganat, 56, president of Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro was at the terrace of his house, buying fish from ambulant vendors when he was shot by two men, according to reports. Ganad sustained wounds in different parts of the body and was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. The motive for the killing is still unknown as the police and the National Bureau of Investigation is pursuing their investigation. Authorities are also working on the identification of the two murder suspects. Fr. Edu Gariguez of Mangyan Mission and spokesperson of ALAMIN, an anti-mining group in Mindoro, said Ganad’s family suspects that politics could be one of the reasons for his murder. “ABC Ganad is an ally and supporter of Mayor Alfredo Ortega, Jr., the incumbent Mayor of Victoria, Oriental Mindoro, who is a staunch oppositor to the Mindoro Nickel Project of Intex Resources,” said Gariguez. Gariguez, who went to the wake of the slain official said Ganad’s murder created a ‘tense’ situation in the locality. “I talked to three Municipal counselors of the said Municipality and they confided that they are not discounting the angle that the killing might have been related to the mining issue,” Gariguez explained. “Although Ganad was elected on his anti-mining stand, he was reported to have been approached several times by the promining group to join their side in exchange for certain favors,” he further said. During the election for the post of ABC presidency, about two years ago, Ganad run versus a declared pro-mining contender. ALAMIN Victoria (anti-mining group) supported Ganad in his bid and actually lobbied for his election to the post. The cold-blood murder of Ganad has left those opposing the mining project of Intex feeling scared, according to Gariguez. “They think that the precision by which the killing was executed was a trademark of hired killer out to frighten the groups and personalities like Ganad who are against the mining operation, he said. (CBCPNews)
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‘A truly pro-family candidate is non-corrupt’
A REAL pro-life and pro-family candidate would also be non-corrupt, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) clarified recently. Fr. Melvin Castro denied reports quoting him of telling the public that one can vote for any anti-reproductive health bill candidate even if that politician is corrupt. “While we maintain and affirm the highest importance of the sanctity of life and the family, it is not to neglect other issues affecting Philippine society,” he said. Castro is the executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life which is at the forefront of the church’s campaign against RH bill. According to him, the church never sees any conflict between family and life values and the other moral issues. “Instead, consistency with family and life principles would mean good governance, leaders whose vision is for the good of family and hence, non-corrupt leaders,” said Castro. The CBCP earlier has issued “election guidelines” discouraging the Catholic flock from voting anyone who supports artificial family planning. The bishops said voters who would elect pro-RH bill candidates would become willing accomplices to “evil”. (CBCPNews)
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Fr. Melvin Castro

Prelates air best choices for presidency in May polls
AS the political campaign season shifts to high gear, Catholic bishops have underscored the need for good governance and rid the country of graft and corruption. In a random survey among Catholic bishops over the weekend, most of the bishops said they would like to know the candidates’ specific programs against graft and corruption in government along with measures to mitigate poverty in both rural and urban areas. “I will ask them how they will stop corruption in government,” former CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said. He further said that he would also ask presidential aspirants “not to become part of corrupt practices and commit one’s self to honesty and accountability should he or she wins the presidency.” For his part, CBCP Vice President and Palo Archbishop Jose Palma said presidential aspirants should make clear their strategies to end graft and corrupt practices and alleviate poverty. Both Kalookan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. and Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr. agreed with Archbishop Palma’s views, emphasizing the need
Lent / A1

to stop graft and corrupt practices at all levels and branches of government. “I would like to know what these presidential aspirants plan to do with past graft and corrupt practices committed by previous government executives,” Iniguez said. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo would like to know the presidential aspirants’ specific programs to guarantee transparency and accountability in government. Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, SVD said presidential aspirants should unveil their strategies to rid the country of graft and corruption “from top to bottom.” Bastes said if and when the country’s next president successfully puts a stop to graft and corruption, he or she would rise to become the country’s greatest chief executive. Coming from the less developed portion of Quezon Province, Gumaca Bishop Buenaventura M. Famadico wants to know the presidential aspirants’ programs to reduce poverty and improve the poor people’s lot. Still from the country’s poorest province of Maguindanao, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo would like to be appraised of the candidates’ views on the rebellion and Muslim militancy in southern

Philippines. “How would these presidential aspirants pursue the peace process?” he asked. He said the next president should sincerely address poverty, illegal drugs, lack of social services and corruption. Catarman Bishop Emmanuel C. Trance expressed concern on peace-building, environmental protection and human development. The prelate said he is interested to know the presidential candidates’ views on military presence in the countryside, and the unfinished and slow infrastructure projects in Eastern Visayas. Batanes Bishop Camilo D. Gregorio wants to know what the country’s next president would do if anti-life and anti-family measures get enacted by both Houses of Congress. Legazpi Bishop Emeritus Jose C. Sorra wants to hear programs geared towards human development from the presidential aspirants. Sounding optimistic, Lipa Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles said he hopes the next president would be good, honest and truly loves the people and institute changes for the better. (Melo M. Acuña)

where justice is enlivened by love.” It is natural for man to share freely, the pope further said, but egotistic tendencies sometimes lead him to commit acts of injustice, by thinking more of himself and less of others. Prayer, fasting, almsgiving Following the Holy Father, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, in a pastoral letter for Ash Wednesday, urged the faithful to think more of those who have less in life while observing their Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. “Good deed and almsgiving consist of self-sacrifice to serve and benefit others… By doing good, you can ease the emotional and physical pain of people in need,” the cardinal said. One such good deed is to respond to a call to feed the hungry children in our community, he added. With its program, “Fast… Feed,” the Archdiocese of Manila fights poverty by asking people to fast and pray, while donating what they would have spent on food to create change in society and in the lives of people through charities. Rosales said the advocacy gives people an opportunity to make a difference. Combating hunger and malnutrition Fast… Feed is actually a program being promoted by “Hapagasa,” a church-led initiative to combat hunger and malnutrition among children. Rosales appealed to the people “to support HAPAG-ASA in its efforts to care for hungry and malnourished children of our parishes.”
Sri Lanka / A2

“Your donation, no matter how small, will go a long way as it only costs a mere ten pesos a day or P1,200 to feed a hungry child once a day, five days a week, for six months. You can save the life of a Filipino child with P1,200,” he said. In the last 5 years, the pernicious problem of hunger and malnutrition has worsened in the Philippines, the archbishop said. Initial results of 7th National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2008 show that three out of ten Filipino children are hungry and malnourished. They are underweight and stunted in their growth, the cardinal cited the report as saying. Worse, he added, the acute or severe cases of malnutrition are increasing. Rosales said the country now has more than 8 million Filipino children who are underweight and under height. While those who fast can give to any charity they see fit, participants are encouraged to consider “Fast…Feed”, a program that will match all donations and use them to benefit the needy. “The promise of Hapag-asa is to have fullness of life through feeding the body and feeding the spirit,” he said. “Thus it not only gives out food for the hungry but also teaches children and their parents values that would lead them to a better life,” Rosales added. The Church encourages its faithful to fast during the days of Lent. The Church prescribes obligatory fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Fridays of Lent. The “Fast…Feed” program is being implemented through the parishes which are designated to receive the donations from those participating in the program. (With reports from Roy Lagarde)
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opposition forces engaged in campaigning for the presidential election of May 2010” which they tagged as a political threat “to those currently in power”. Excerpts of the interview were posted on the website (www.eni. ch) of the Geneva, Switzerland-based ENI. The church leaders also sought the release of the 43 health workers arrested in Morong, Rizal last Feb. 6 for allegedly being members of the communist insurgents. They have condemned the arrest and said they are worried about reports of torture being inflicted on those held by the military. The call for the release of those detained was made last Thursday in a letter sent to President Gloria Arroyo. Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, said they are concerned on the arrest of Dr. Alex Montes, a member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, plus the 42 others. “I am distressed by the reported news that the detainees have been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment amounting to torture and that they have been deprived of their basic human rights while in custody,” said Tveit. Tveit said that Montes is a committed church worker and a long-time staff of the UCCP, a member of the WCC, a grouping that represents more than 560 million Christians in 349 churches worldwide. In his letter to Arroyo, Tveit noted that he is familiar with the UCCP and its leadership, and that Montes had been instrumental in developing community-based health programs in the Philippines. “It is therefore more than unfortunate that Dr. Alex Montes and his co-workers were arrested and detained while they were involved in legitimate activities of humanitarian services as part of their Christian witness,” Tveit wrote. The United Church of Canada also joined its Philippine partners in urging Arroyo to release the health workers, whom the military alleged to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA). “We join our partners and many international groups in calling on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to immediately order the release of the 43 health care workers who are now in illegal detention,” Omega Bula, who heads the Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit of the United Church of Canada. Last week, a joint team of police and members of the Army’s 16th Infantry Battalion arrested 17 men and 26 women believed to be conducting an explosive training at the house of a certain Dr. Melecia Velmonte in the village of Maybangcal, Morong. The health workers, 26 females and 17 males, are detained in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal until now. But the NCCP claimed those nabbed were community health workers and doctors attending a health skill training organized by the Council for Health Development (CHD) at Velmonte’s residence. (CBCPNews)
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for, the bishop said, “the more so now that the war is over. For decades, our nation endured a time of tragedy, violence and suffering. Now the sun has broken through the clouds and its light is giving our people hope in a lasting peace.” In his message, Msgr. Perera referred to internally displaced people (IDP) who are still cause for tensions. “So many IDPs are still homeless, abused and traumatised by the war and political conflict . . . . It is high time we offered them justice, compassion and love so that they can

live like men and women full of dignity.” Caritas Sri Lanka director Fr. George Sigamoney also issued a statement. In it, he called on Christians to work on rebuilding the lives of those who lived through 25 years of war. “A great task lies ahead,” he said. We must “see the humanity of those in front us, and establish a society that is free of partiality, injustice, violence and discrimination.” For this purpose, Caritas Sri Lanka had a poster and a booklet printed to be freely distributed at its centres and in local parishes. (AsiaNews)

on February 9 and will end on March 2, 2011, Cardinal Sfeir explained that the purpose of the year is to pray, think, repent and to reflect on history and learn lessons from it. He then noted that the Jubilee Year will be “one of special graces for individuals and the community,” as well as “a year of joy.” According to SIR news agency, the patriarch has instituted an organizing committee for the celebrations of the 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Maron, to be led by Bishop Paul-Emile Saade of Batrun of the Maronites. (CNA)

giving free care to Filipino children, Menchu developed a network, so that the PAL Foundation has been facilitating the referral and acceptance of patients to Mending Kids International and certain Rotary International Gift of Life programs. She helps these foreign charities evaluate whether a child should go there with a parent or whether the child can just get care here. But most of the PAL Medical Travel Grantees (especially the adults) go to Manila hospitals. It is hard to get Filipino families in Manila interested in hosting these indigents. Fortunately though, Welcome House in Paco and the Queen of Peace Transient Patient Home in Quezon City shelter the patients though they must still pay for their food and other needs. The number of charity patients of all ages varies in any given year. They are proud to say that they have assisted several conjoint twins (Siamese twins) undergo surgery in the US for separation. The PAL Foundation has also been giving free cargo for relief goods. Donations run into millions during relief efforts for Typhoons Reming, Frank and Ondoy, as they transported literally tons of relief goods both within the Philippines and coming from abroad. Even during normal times, they give free transport for DSWD goods and even for the Office of Civil Defense when the Air Force C-130 is unavailable. The PAL Foundation is registered with the DSWD as a disaster response and crisis intervention welfare organization. We, Good Shepherd Sisters assigned to Welcome House pray daily that Lovely and her mom will be able to travel soon so that she can receive the much-needed surgeries and have the chance to sing and dance and play like other children her age. God bless PAL Foundation for the hope they give to our people.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010

Diocesan News


Tsinoy group offers bounty for hold-uppers’ arrest

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The local chapter of the FilipinoChinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry has offered to give P500,000 reward to any person who can provide information that will lead to the arrest of the hold-uppers who shot dead a Chinese businessman last Feb. 6. The businessmen believed the only way for police to quickly solve the case and avoid arresting fall guys is by offering reward money to the person who can help in solving the case. (Bong D. Fabe)
Priests must be in love with Christ, says Bishop

Villagers barricade Philex Mining’s entry
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY— Common, peaceful folks of the sleepy village of Anislagan in the municipality of Placer in Surigao del Norte have once again formed a barricade on Feb. 16 to prevent the entry of the country’s largest mining company to their village. "What we are fighting here is not only for our rich agricultural and watershed village but also for the sake of our children and our children’s' children,” said barangay councilor Merlyn Gamus, a mother of two. Gamus is a member of the Anislagan Bantay Kalikasan Task Force (ABAKATAF), a multi-sectoral group that successfully prevented the entry of Anglo American Plc and Manila Mining Corporation (MMC) in 2001. This time, ABAKATAF, which count as members all the residents of Anislagan, formed human barricade to prevent the entry of Philex Mining/Silangan Mindanao Mining Company (Philex/SMMC) to their village. Philex Mining started its actual mining operation in the adjacent village of Timamana, Tubod, Surigao del Norte in the first quarter of 2009. Philex’s exploration activities in Tubod, also known as the "Bayugo Project," started as early as 1999. Strong opposition from the Tubod people prospered for awhile. Opposition, however, soon wavered when the mining company started their community relations projects like livelihood, drainage improvement and sports activities. In the adjacent village of Anislagan, villagers, led ABAKATAF, have sustained their opposition to mining for almost ten years now. Ten years ago, ABAKATAF members literally blocked with their bodies the mining workers of the second largest mining company in the world, Anglo American, from conducting exploration activity in their barangay. Anislagan is an area very rich in natural resources. It has been identified by the government as priority area in mining because of its rich mineral resources. It has first–class nickel and gold minerals. Lakes, rivers and springs also surround it. The Anislagan environment does not only provide attractive scenic spots to communities and tourists alike, but primarily it gives sufficient food and livelihood for the communities in order to survive for the coming years. Anislagan provides potable water to the entire town of Placer. It also provides irrigation to rice fields in the village and to adjacent villages. Philex is trying to win the hearts and minds of the village folks by establishing a Livelihood Training Center is a one hectare land it had bought. "We don't need a livelihood training center inside our village from a mining company. What for? We have an existing self–sustaining and community livelihood here. The mining company already affected our irrigation, our rivers, and even to our water supply from their Bayugo Project and now they are proposing a livelihood center,” Gamus said. During the December 11, 2009 session of the Barangay Council, village chairman Manuel Tejada informed Philex assistant manager for environment Eufronio A Ortiz Jr. about the barangay’s standing resolutions “against mining and any other activities related thereto” because of its being a critical watershed area. Despite this information, Philex still tried to enter the barangay last January 9, 2010 presumably to inaugurate the Livelihood Training Center. But its attempt was foiled when the residents, including women, children and the elderly, blocked its entry by establishing the roadblock. Not accepting defeat, Philex will once again try to gain entry tomorrow (Tuesday) despite the locale's strong opposition. And the villagers are not alone in their fight. The Municipal Council of Placer recently issued a resolution supporting the local measures of Anislagan prohibiting any mining project within the barangay. "The Barangay Council already passed a resolution as early as 2002 not to allow any mining activities in our village. They should respect it,” said Gamus. (Bong D. Fabe)

LAOAG CITY—“We need priest who are in love with Christ,” says Laoag Bishop Sergio Utleg as he celebrated the Eucharist at the feast of Saint William the Hermit, the patron of Laoag, at Saint William Cathedral recently. “Priests must be in loved with Christ. With our theme, ‘The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus,’ we want to reiterate to the people the role that our priests in our society,” he said. (Mark Vertido)
Women gather to reflect on issues facing Mindanao

DAVAO CITY—Mindanao women leaders converged here recently to tackle issues and how their sector could help solve the various challenges that their region is facing. Mindanao Commission on Women chair and executive officer Irene Santiago said that their gathering aimed at lending their voices and energies to bring about positive outcome for the political, economic and social issues that confront the region and the nation. (Mark Ventura)
9 new cases of HIV-AIDS in NorMin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Department of Health in Northern Mindanao (DOH-10) disclosed that there are 9 new positive cases of the dreaded HIV-AIDS in Region 10. Of these 9 persons who registered positive with HIV-AIDS, 6 are from this city, said DOH-10 spokesman Emiliano Galban Jr. (Bong D. Fabe)
Clergy reflects role in transformation of politics

DAVAO CITY—In response to the call of Archbishop of Davao Fernando R. Capalla on evangelizing the electorate, the clergy of Davao staged a 2-day forum aimed at urging priests to reflect on their role in the transformation of politics. Archdiocesan Social Action Center chaired by Director, Fr. Rico Enriquez facilitated the forum held, Jan.18-19, here. He said that the forum was organized to have a levelling-off among the clergy of their understanding of their role in forming the conscience of the faithful in relation to the exercise of their right to vote. (Mark S. Ventura)
CBCP spearheads assembly of restorative justice advocates

QUEZON CITY—Aiming to reflect on the human rights of prisoners, the CBCP’s Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) together with the Coalition Against Death Penalty has organized a general assembly for the restorative justice advocates. The gathering was held on Feb. 17 at the Social Development Complex of Ateneo de Manila University in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. (Kate Laceda)
Religious groups participate in vocation promotion seminar

CHR calls for stop of aerial spraying
DAVAO CITY—The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has issued a statement strongly supporting the Rio Principle on precautionary measures and highly urged the national government to shelve the practice of aerial spraying among banana companies. In a 6-page Human Rights Advisory, the commission said that there is a need for the immediate ban of aerial spraying until a thorough and evidence-based study will show the possible hazards of aerial spraying of pesticides and recommendations on how it should be practiced or banned to protect the environment and the right to health and well being of the people. CHR Chairperson Leila M. De Lima said that human rights and environmental protection are closely connected and many human rights cannot be realized if the environment is not protected. “Economic and social progress must depend critically on the preservation of the natural resource base with effective measures to prevent environmental degradation,” said De Lima. The commission has also called on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to issue an executive order mandating the shelving of the practice of aerial spraying of pesticides in the country and “urgently ordering a time-bound multidisciplinary, comprehensive, independent and integrated study on the matter by a competent team of experts.” De Lima said that the commission believes that an evidenced-based study is necessary for the State to come up with effective sustainable solutions regarding the human rights and environment issues related to aerial spraying of pesticides. The commission also recommends a more sustainable solution in lieu of aerial spraying of pesticides. “There is wisdom in looking at the possibility of applying pesticide solu-

PASIG CITY— Different religious congregations and groups attended a seminar on vocations promotion organized by the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Vocation and the Directors of Vocations in the Philippines. The seminar which ended Feb. 12, at the St. Paul College in Pasig carried the theme, “Human Sexuality in the Vocation Journey.” Fr. Jason Laguerta, DVPECV executive secretary, said the seminar focused on the human, Christian and vocational dimensions of Human Sexuality in relation to vocation promotion and vocation journey. (Kate Laceda)
Hike in child abuse cases ‘alarming’

ANTIPOLO CITY—Senatorial contender Liza Maza has sounded the alarm over the increasing number of abused children in the country. “This is alarming. The rising cases of child abuse only manifest government neglect on the rights and welfare of children. As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, our government should be in the forefront in ensuring that our children are protected from all forms of abuse,” said Maza, a three-term representative of Gabriela Women’s Party. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Philippine situation not hopeless, says prelate

tions through land-based means without going through aerial spraying. The CHR is aware of the costs this will entail; nevertheless, it maintains that cost-efficiency should not sacrifice respect for human rights.” “A human rights-based legislation is one of the key elements in ensuring that proper safeguards and standards are set in place for the protection and promotion of human rights,” the advisory said. (Mark S. Ventura)

Church holds bloodletting activity
MANILA— It was a “bloody” day in Manila, but there were no casualties at all. Priests of the Archdiocese of Manila led their employees and parish workers in donating blood for the church’s “Alay ng Puso – Bloodletting” activity last Feb. 12. The archdiocese has earlier called on church workers to invite their friends and relatives to join the activity which was held at the Arzobispado in Intramuros, Manila. “The demand for blood is high for thousands of our brothers and sisters need blood transfusions each year. However, few of the many eligible people give blood. To donate blood is to save life,” the archdiocese said in a statement. Pope Benedict XVI takes up the importance of carrying out charitable activities in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), it read. “In various ways we are called to respond to this call of communicating the love of God especially to the needy. Donating blood is one concrete and noble example,” according to the statement. The blood donations are be kept in a facility run by the local chapter of the Philippine National Red Cross. (Roy Lagarde)

MANILA—The Philippine situation is not hopeless. Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said that the apparent socio-political and even moral decadence in the country are not any cause for despair since there is “light emerging from shadows”. The people are gradually getting into a realization of their social responsibility for the country especially in the forthcoming elections, the prelate noted. (Melo M. Acuña)
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way to prevent the spread of HIV is abstinence and not condom use. He said the primary way to combat AIDS is through behavioral change and monogamous partnerships between men and women. The DOH and the Department of Labor and Employment are currently intensifying its campaign to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Last Feb. 13, the two agencies led the distribution of condoms for Valentine’s Day at a populated area in Manila. This government initiative has earned strong criticism not only from the church but even from civil society prompting Malacañang to issue a disclaimer. (CBCPNews)

Church official urges discernment among voters
DAVAO CITY—The Director of the Social Action Center (SAC) of the Archdiocese of Davao is encouraging the electorate to take an active participation in discernment process especially in choosing their candidates for the upcoming elections. Fr. Rico Enriquez, ASAC director said that part of the discernment is praying and carelike the personal uprightness of the candidates, their competence and their aspirations as well as their plans for the country and the Filipino people. One of the main thrusts of the Evangelizing the Electorate Committee in the archdiocese is to intensify the circles of discernment among the members of the Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK) and the young people. In the circles of discernment, the electorates are given ample time to gather together and discern, and to prayerfully make their own individual choice of candidates. Meanwhile in the latest pastoral statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the bishops said, “Filipino electorates should not be deceived by surveys and there is a compelling need to look into the candidates’ integrity and platform of government. (Mark S. Ventura) those who are seeking top government posts in the coming election, should have more “sincerity and concern” towards health issues. Asked if he has heard of comprehensive health programs from any of the presidential aspirants, Alo said he has not heard any. “It’s either they don’t have programs on people’s health or they don’t know anything about it,” he lightheartedly said. (Melo M. Acuña)

ful scrutiny on the integrity of candidates and their platforms of government. In the recent meeting of the Diocesan Evangelizing the Electorate Committee, he clarified that the Catholic Church is not endorsing any political candidate both national and local but it is encouraging the faithful to discern in order to come up with an enlightened vote. He also encourages the faithful to For the Birhen ng Lourdes Parish in Salmis, Candaba, Pampanga, the Word of God is the Foundation of every marriage. Thus, parish priest Fr. Jojo Franco requires make use of the Pasevery couple undergoing a Pre-Cana Seminar (a formation required by the Catholic Church before marriage) to have their own Bible. The requirement, however, is a tall toral Statement isorder for the couples, many of whom are financially hard up and would have to miss meals in order to pay for a copy. The dilemma was resolved when Fr. Jojo joined the sued by Archbishop May They Be One (MTBO) Bible campaign. With the help of Archdiocesan Biblical Apostolate Coordinator Fr. Jesus Layug, Fr. Jojo initially ordered 50 copies of MTBO Bibles, making these available to the poor couples at the price of P50. Donations from Wedding Sponsors were used to pay for the remaining P100 subsidy per Bible. Fernando Capalla as Plans are underway to secure more MTBO Bibles, not only for the couples, but also for the rest of the parishioners. A Birhen ng Lourdes Parish layman is now taking a guiding force in seSeminary courses to prepare him in forming and training a core group that will eventually lead their own respective Bible Study groups. Take the teachings that you lecting candidates. heard me proclaim in the presence of many witnesses, and entrust them to reliable people who will be able to teach others also. (2 Tim. 2:2) Enriquez said that there are various facNo. of Bibles Distributed from Jan 2010 - February 10, 2010: 14,856 copies Kararag ti MTBO (Ilocano MTBO Prayer) tors to be considered 1. Tagalog — 7,800 copies

May They Be One Bible Campaign

2. English 3. Bicol 4. Cebuano 5. Hiligaynon 6. Ilocano 7. Pangasinan TOTAL

— — — — — — —

1,119 copies 520 copies 520 copies 220 copies 2667 copies 2010 copies 14,856 copies

M – aaramid koma nga ayatenmi ti Saom, O Apo. T – ignayennakami a dumngeg ken agbiag a kas mayannurot iti Saom. B – endisyonam Apo, dagiti mangiwaragawag iti Saom. O – ngapem dagiti pusomi tapno nabuslon koma iti itutulong mi tapno ad-adupay dagiti makaawat ti naisurat a Saom.
Lingayen-Dagupan, Cubao, Laoag, Ilagan & Antipolo 118,787 cps. 500,000 cps. P50M

‘Harmful’ / A1

Parishes/Communities served: 63 Communities w/ Highest No. of Distributions: Total No. of Bibles Distributed from Jan 2009 – February 10, 2010: Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2010: Total Funds Needed for Printing and Transport of Bibles in 2010:

Support the May They Be One Bible Campaign and help bring God’s Word to more Filipino homes. Your contribution of at least P150/month will enable poor families to have their own Bibles. For more Campaign info-visit, email or call ECBA – Fr. Oscar Alunday, 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Mla. Telefax no. 5279386; ecba_cbcp@ yahoo.com; www.ecba-cbcp.com; PBS-Mrs. Perry Cartera/Mrs. Juliet Rivera at 890 UN Ave., Ermita Mla.; perry@bible.org.ph;juliet@bible.org.ph; www.bible.org..ph Tel. nos. 5215785/5267777 loc. 600, Fax No. 5215803; 09178590019 /09156727492 /09182802775

health while some have no therapeutic effects at all,” he said. “There are even unnecessary surgeries being conducted by some medical practitioners,” he added. Alo used to be the chairman of the Commission on Health Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The church leader made the statement on February 11 as the Catholic Church marked the World Day of the Sick. He said authorities, especially

© nassa.org.ph


People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

Collegio Filippino to hold conferences on priesthood

THE Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome is holding six conferences on the priesthood from February until June as part of its activities for the Year for Priests. Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the Year for Priests from 19 June 2009 until 11 June 2010, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The conferences serve as a response to the call of the Holy Father to make this Year for Priests an occasion for a deepening commitment of all priests “to interior renewal for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world.” Archbishop Socrates Villegas of the Diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan will give the first conference on “The Priest and his Vows of Obedience” on February 11. The second conference on “The Priest and the Holy Eucharist” will be given by Monsignor Ruperto Santos, Rector of Pontificio Collegio Filippino on March 3. Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila will give the third conference on “The Priest and the Word of God” in the last week of April. The fourth conference on “The Priest and his vow of poverty” will be given by His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila on May 01. Monsignor Wilfredo Andrey, Spiritual Director of Pontificio Collegio Filippino will give the fifth

conference on “The Priest and the Blessed Mother Mary” on May 19. The last conference on “The Priest and his Vow of Celibacy” will be given by Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of the Diocese of Imus on June 9. Members of the Association of Filipino Priests, Religious and Seminarians in Rome are expected to attend the conferences. This association is also planning other relevant activities for the Year for Priests. Aside from the aforementioned conferences, the Pontificio Collegio Filippino is organizing a priests’ pilgrimage to Ars and La Salette in France on May 6-9, 2010. The annual Collegio Filippino Fiesta on May 2 will also highlight the Year for Priests knowing that many of the Filipino migrant communities in Italy are under the pastoral care of priests from the Collegio Filippino. It was Pope John XXIII who instituted the Pontificio Collegio Filippino on 29 June 1961 with the Apostolic Letter "Sancta Maria Ecclesia". Since then, the Pontificio Collegio Filippino has accommodated hundreds of Filipino diocesan priests who pursued higher studies at various ecclesiastical educational centers in Rome. Collegio Filippino which is under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, will celebrate its 50th foundation anniversary in 2011. (Fr. Jose V.C. Quilongquilong, S.J.)

Clergy congress signals new renewal, says Cardinal
MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales said the recently-concluded Second National Congress of the Clergy signaled the beginning of national renewal. In his homily at a concelebrated Thanksgiving Mass held at Arzobispado de Manila chapel, Cardinal Rosales said priests have admitted that they felt the personal impact of the five-day congress. “If you were inside (World Trade Center) during the evening of Reconciliation, a very good number (of priests) shed tears and by that measure alone what God wanted as beginning of renewal for the priests in the Philippines has already began,” he said. Rosales took the occasion to extend his sincere appreciation to the organizing committee led by former Ambassador to the Holy See Henrietta T. De Villa and the volunteers involved in making the Second National Congress of the Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales Clergy a success. “This occasion is an act of thanksgiving to the Lord for the five-day congress which gathered 5,542 priests from all over the country,” Rosales said. “Until five minutes before I left my office, I still opened letters from bishops and priests expressing their thanks for the successful retreat,’ the Manila prelate said. He added that he has been receiving phone calls and messages of thanks not only from the clergy but also from laymen. The prelate said people are still talking with awe on the great number of priests who gathered for the occasion. “I told them it was the work of God.” “The speakers led by Franciscan Capuchin Raniero Cantalamesa, Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, the homilies delivered, prayers and the liturgy were well prepared along with the hidden and unseen work made the Congress a success,” the 75-year old prelate said. He acknowledged the support given by every volunteer, priests, religious and laity significantly contributed to the success of the historic gathering. Rosales said he was asked by journalists about the possibility of staging the country’s Third National Congress. He said the congress would take place if there would be enough funds “because feeding over 5,000 men a day is definitely not a joke.” But he admitted that he feels the next clergy congress maybe happening sooner. “When the grace of God passes, there is no time,” the Cardinal said. (Melo M. Acuña)


Prolife highlights the theme ‘Buhay Mo, Mahal Ko’
THE Pro-Life Philippines Foundation will reflect on the theme “Buhay Mo, Mahal Ko,” as it celebrates the month of life this February. According to the organizers, the theme expresses the general response and spirit of the foundation on the issues that discussed love and life. They noted that “love and life” also sums up their commitment in advocacies that promote respect and care for human life from conception to natural death. The month-long celebration of Pro-Life, which opened with a gathering on February 7, was hosted by the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Our Lady of Guadalupe in Makati City under its rector Fr. Edwin Mercado. It was attended by “foreGeorge Moreno, OP. front pro-lifers” such as Culminating the month-long celebraformer Manila Mayor tion is a Eucharistic celebration Lito Atienza and Sr. at the Shrine of Our Lady Mary Pilar Verzosa, of Peace and Good VoyRGS, Pro-Life Philipage in Antipolo on Febpines Founder, among ruary 28 with Bishop others. Gabriel Reyes as the On February 18, a main celebrant. healing mass will be celThe foundation urged ebrated at the National all the Family & Life AposShrine of the Our Lady of tolate groups in parishes nathe Holy Rosary also known tionwide to organize Pro-life as the Sto. Domingo Church in activities and thereby promote ©w ww. proli Quezon City. It will be presided a culture that celebrates family fe.o rg.p by Fr. Efren Borromeo, SOLT and Fr. values. (Kate Laceda) h

LAUNCHED. Centennial anniversary celebration of St. Bridget College in Batangas City, February 3-5, 2010; the first school opened by the Good Shepherd Sisters (RGS) upon their arrival in the country in January 1913. Themed “Cherishing our Legacy,” the launching on February 3 began with a Eucharistic celebration led by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, Bridgetines and Eudist priests. The three-day celebration was marked with activities that include remembering and honoring the founding saints, a photo exhibit, Food and Trade fair, and games on the first day. Activities on the second day include a field demonstration of the arrival of the Good Shepherd Sisters in the Philippines, the coming of missionaries, film showing, RGS Mini-trade fair, circus show at the field, and photo shots. Another field demonstration was held on the third day, depicting the growth of the Good Shepherd congregation in the Philippines, particularly the founding of communities in Batangas, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. A musical concert was also held in the evening. The RGS nuns opened St. Bridget Academy in Batangas City in January 1913. Now St. Bridget College, the school was established three months after the nuns arrived in the country on October 4, 1912. Both Cardinal Rosales and Archbishop Arguelles were alumni of the grade school department of St. Bridget College. The RGS nuns are commemorating the 2012 centennial celebration of the Philippine foundation with a three-year preparation which was ‘soft-launched’ with a special Mass last October 3, 2009. Founded by St. Mary Euphrasia, the Good Shepherd Sisters whose ministry include accompaniment of women and children “who have been wounded by life’s circumstances and live on the edge of society” have around 4,000 members with communities in 70 countries around the world. CELEBRATED. Sr. Maria Consuelo B. Alvino, RVM, Sr. Maria Mansueta I. Dolalas, RVM, Sr. Maria Rafaela Q. Singzon, RVM, Sr. Maria Alice S. Tan, RVM, and Sr. Maria Aida S. Zablan, RVM, golden jubilee of religious profession; Sr. Maria Eloisa E. Araneta, RVM, Sr. Maria Julia P. Cabrera, RVM, Sr. Maria Nemia G. Lucine, RVM, Sr. Maria Lourdes T. Maragañas, RVM, Sr. Maria Evangelina M. Negrosa, RVM, Sr. Maria Filomena M. Pelina, RVM, Sr. Maria Helen S. Rojas, RVM and Sr. Maria Delia C. Rubio, RVM, silver jubilee of religious profession; Sr. Maria Nancy V. Abarrientos, RVM, Sr. Maria Cristine B. Amontos, RVM, Sr. Maria Christina A. Corre, RVM, Sr. Maria Priscilla F. De Leon, RVM, Sr. Maria Luz J. Espinas, RVM, and Sr. Maria Ritches B. Requina, RVM, first profession of vows. The thanksgiving Mass was celebrated at the congregation’s chapel at N. Domingo St., Quezon City on February 2, 2010. CELEBRATED. Sr. Agnes Theresa of Mary, OCD, 60th anniversary of solemn religious profession; February 11, at the Carmelite Monastery, Laoag City. Sister Agnes, whose baptismal name was Zenobia P. Capistrano, 81, originally hailed from Obando, Bulacan. She took her religious profession on February 11, 1950, when the Carmelite presence in Laoag was still new. Fr. Alan Reiger, OCD, led the Eucharistic celebration joined by some of the Laoag clergy and attended by Sister Agnes’ family, relatives and friends. Reiger pointed out the life of Sr. Agnes as a life driven by the love of God which resulted in her perseverance for 60 years of prayer and contemplation inside Carmel. He also related the birth of Sr. Agnes on October 15, 1929, on the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, was an instrumental moment in her life to take religious vocation in Carmel. He then reminded that solitude is not going away from the world to find stillness but instead solitude is something that we seek in God. At the end of the celebration, Sr. Agnes thanked all the people who journeyed with her.

Bible directors, coordinators gather for national bible workshop
DIOCESAN Bible Directors and Lay Coordinators from the different parts of the Philippines came together for the 18th National Biblical Workshop that was hosted by the Biblical Pastoral MinistryNational Capital Region. The workshop was held on February 9-13, 2010 at the Club Balai Isabel, Talisay in Batangas. Among the participants were representatives of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and the Philippine Bible Society (PBS). “We expect about 300 from all over the Philippines. Representatives will be all the diocesan bible directors, lay coordinators and bishop members and we have representatives from SIL or the Summer Institute of Linguistics and PBS, our co-network in the ecumenical endeavor,” said Fr. Oscar Alunday, Executive Secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA). Alunday also said the workshop aimed to strengthen the biblico-pastoral ministry in the country, among others. “The meeting is done every two years. The last meeting was in Cagayan de Oro. We evaluate the biblical ministry in the different dioceses throughout the country. We have evaluations and planning together on how to strengthen the biblical pastoral ministry in the country,” he said. This year’s theme was “May They Be One: The Word of God is the Life and Mission of the Church.” A Bible enthronement at the St. Peter’s Regional Center in Batangas opened the activity then a lecture from Ambassador Henrietta De Villa, Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) followed. De Villa discussed the connection between the PPCRV and the Biblical Pastoral Ministry. San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David and

THE need to inform the public on the current situation of blind people and how to address the disability was the primary objective of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care (ECHC) confab held February 13 at the Paco Catholic School in Manila. The congress themed “Look Carefully, Act Mercifully” discussed the current situation of the visually impaired people in our country. It also looked into the programs and plans responsible individuals and organizations should undertake for the persons with disabilities. Fr. Luke, Moortgat, Executive Secretary of ECHC, said the congress was convened to show our concern to the physically-challenged people. “We are once again touching every one’s heart

CBCP holds confab on blindness

to help and care for our brothers and sisters with visual impairments. Let us show our great concern for their needs, love and care,” he said. Resource speakers shared their reflections and experiences on the needs of the persons with blindness and low visions. Among those who came to the congress were the visually-impaired along with their families. Teachers, volunteers and organizations that care for these persons and those assisting the visuallyimpaired people also participated in the gathering. ECHC is the pastoral arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines that is tasked to organize programs for the physically challenged. (CBCPNews)

new Chairman of ECBA was the main celebrant during the Eucharistic Celebration. He also delivered his keynote address on the theme and was the speaker on the talk titled, “House of the Word.” Other speakers include Imus

Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle, DD, who spoke on the topic “Voice of the Word”, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, SVD, who discussed on “Face of the Word” and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo tackled “Roads of the Word.” (CBCPNews)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010

‘The Justice of God Has Been Manifested Through Faith in Jesus Christ’
Message of Pope Benedict XVI for Lent 2010

Pastoral Concerns


Dear Brothers and Sisters! each year, on the occasion of Lent, the Church invites us to a sincere review of our life in light of the teachings of the Gospel. This year, I would like to offer you some reflections on the great theme of justice, beginning from the Pauline affirmation: “The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ” (cf. rm 3, 21-22). Justice: “dare cuique suum” First of all, I want to consider the meaning of the term “justice,” which in common usage implies “to render to every man his due,” according to the famous expression of Ulpian, a roman jurist of the third century. In reality, however, this classical definition does not specify what “due” is to be rendered to each person. What man needs most cannot be guaranteed to him by law. In order to live life to the full, something more intimate is necessary that can be granted only as a gift: we could say that man lives by that love which only God can communicate since He created the human person in His image and likeness. Material goods are certainly useful and required—indeed Jesus Himself was concerned to heal the sick, feed the crowds that followed Him and surely condemns the indifference that even today forces hundreds of millions into death through lack of food, water and medicine—yet “distributive” justice does not render to the human being the totality of his “due.” Just as man needs bread, so does man have even more need of God. Saint augustine notes: if “justice is that virtue which gives every one his due ... where, then, is the justice of man, when he deserts the true God?” (De civitate Dei, XIX, 21).

What is the Cause of Injustice? The evangelist Mark reports the following words of Jesus, which are inserted within the debate at that time regarding what is pure and impure: “There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him … What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts” (Mk 7, 14-15, 20-21). Beyond the immediate question concerning food, we can detect in the reaction of the Pharisees a permanent temptation within man: to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause. Many modern ideologies deep down have this presupposition: since injustice comes “from outside,” in order for justice to reign, it is sufficient to remove the exterior causes that prevent it being achieved. This way of thinking—Jesus warns—is ingenuous and shortsighted. Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots; its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious cooperation with evil. With bitterness the Psalmist recognises this: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps 51,7). Indeed, man is weakened by an intense influence, which wounds his capacity to enter into communion with the other. By nature, he is open to sharing freely, but he finds in his being a strange force of gravity that makes him turn in and affirm himself above and against others: this is egoism, the result of original sin. adam and eve, seduced by Satan’s lie, snatching the mysterious fruit against the divine command, replaced the logic of trusting in Love with that of suspicion and

competition; the logic of receiving and trustfully expecting from the Other with anxiously seizing and doing on one’s own (cf. Gn 3, 1-6), experiencing, as a consequence, a sense of disquiet and uncertainty. How can man free himself from this selfish influence and open himself to love? Justice and Sedaqah at the heart of the wisdom of Israel, we find a profound link between faith in God who “lifts the needy from the ash heap” (Ps 113,7) and justice towards one’s neighbor. The Hebrew word itself that indicates the virtue of justice, sedaqah, expresses this well. Sedaqah, in fact, signifies on the one hand full acceptance of the will of the God of Israel; on the other hand, equity in relation to one’s neighbour (cf. ex 20, 12-17), especially the poor, the stranger, the orphan and the widow (cf. Dt 10, 18-19). But the two meanings are linked because giving to the poor for the Israelite is none other than restoring what is owed to God, who had pity on the misery of His people. It was not by chance that the gift to Moses of the tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai took place after the crossing of the red Sea. Listening to the Law presupposes faith in God who first “heard the cry” of His people and “came down to deliver them out of hand of the egyptians” (cf. ex 3,8). God is attentive to the cry of the poor and in return asks to be listened to: He asks for justice towards the poor (cf. Sir 4,4-5, 8-9), the stranger (cf. ex 22,20), the slave (cf. Dt 15, 1218). In order to enter into justice, it is thus necessary to leave that illusion of self-sufficiency, the profound state of closure, which is the very origin of injustice. In other words, what is needed is an even deeper “exodus” than that

accomplished by God with Moses, a liberation of the heart, which the Law on its own is powerless to realize. Does man have any hope of justice then? Christ, the Justice of God The Christian Good News responds positively to man’s thirst for justice, as Saint Paul affirms in the Letter to the romans: “But now the justice of God has been manifested apart from law … the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (3, 21-25). What then is the justice of Christ? above all, it is the justice that comes from grace, where it is not man who makes amends, heals himself and others. The fact that “expiation” flows from the “blood” of Christ signifies that it is not man’s sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the “curse” due to man so as to give in return the “blessing” due to God (cf. Gal 3, 13-14). But this raises an immediate objection: what kind of justice is this where the just man dies for the guilty and the guilty receives in return the blessing due to the just one? Would this not mean that each one receives the contrary of his “due”? In reality, here we discover divine justice, which is so profoundly different from its human counterpart. God has paid for us the price of the exchange in His Son, a price that is truly exorbitant. Before the justice of the Cross, man may

rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of another in order to realize himself fully. Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need—the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.” This happens especially in the sacraments of reconciliation and the eucharist. Thanks to Christ’s action, we may enter into the “greatest” justice, which is that of love (cf. rm 13, 8-10), the justice that recognizes itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected. Strengthened by this very experience, the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love. Dear brothers and sisters, Lent culminates in the Paschal Triduum, in which this year, too, we shall celebrate divine justice—the fullness of charity, gift, salvation. May this penitential season be for every Christian a time of authentic conversion and intense knowledge of the mystery of Christ, who came to fulfill every justice. With these sentiments, I cordially impart to all of you my apostolic Blessing. From the Vatican, 30 October 2009 BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

B2 Colors of Cassocks and Altar Cloths
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q1: Is it now proper for altar servers and adult servers to wear a cassock color-coordinated with the vestments of the priest and deacon? I arrived at a church today to find the adult server/lector attired not in a white alb, but in a green cassock (to match the priest’s and deacon’s vestments), a white surplice, and a green cape over them. (I shuddered, wondering if the parish had just bought lots of this colorcoordinated stuff.) It looked like an episcopalian church. Is this now the “in” fashion? Where is it authorized for servers to wear anything other than a white alb and cincture?—K.S., Bartlesville, Oklahoma Q2: The altar cloths are always in white. are we allowed to use any other colored clothes on the altar for celebrating Mass and other liturgical celebrations?—r.G., Kohima, India a: as these questions are related to decorative elements, I will respond to both of them together. No. 119.c and No. 339 of the General Introduction of the roman Missal (GIrM) succinctly summarizes the current norms. No. 119.c states: “In the sacristy, the sacred vestments (cf. below, nos. 337-341) for the priest, the deacon, and other ministers are to be prepared according to the various forms of celebration: … c. For the other ministers: albs or other lawfully approved attire. all who wear an alb should use a cincture and an amice unless, due to the form of the alb, they are not needed.” recently, these norms were slightly broadened by an updated version of June 1994 guidelines issued by the U.S. bishops’ conference: “The suggested guidelines may be used as a basis for developing diocesan guidelines. Number 6: ‘acolytes, altar servers, readers, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate or dignified clothing. (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 339) all servers should wear the same liturgical vesture.’” although the alb and cincture may be used everywhere, both the universal and national norms intentionally leave the door open for local customs. These vary from place to place, and each bishop may issue norms for his own diocese. In most places, adult servers use the alb or a similar vestment that is usually white or off-white in color. Some places use a cassock and surplice. There is more variety for younger servers. For example, in Italy most young altar servers use a black or a red cassock with a surplice, although some places also use the “Tarcissian.” This is a kind of off-white alb with two red stripes running from the shoulder to the floor, thus evoking the ancient roman tunic. In some parts of Poland and the Baltic countries, both adults and children can sometimes be seen serving Mass wearing only a surplice over their ordinary clothes. I have never seen the green cassock or any effort to coordinate the server’s vesture with the liturgical season. either this is an established custom in the area or some new initiative. I doubt very much it is a new liturgical fashion. It would be necessary to consult with the diocesan liturgy office regarding established norms before broaching the question with the pastor. regarding the second question, I would say that the following norm from the american translation of the GIrM No. 304, although specifically geared toward the United States, is equally applicable to many other countries. The use of a colored seasonal antependium, or frontal, is a long-standing custom in the Latin rite and may be used to enhance the awareness of the liturgical season. “Out of reverence for the celebration of the memorial of the Lord and for the banquet in which the Body and Blood of the Lord are offered on an altar where this memorial is celebrated, there should be at least one white cloth, its shape, size, and decoration in keeping with the altar’s design. When, in the dioceses of the United States of america, other cloths are used in addition to the altar cloth, then those cloths may be of other colors possessing Christian honorific or festive significance according to longstanding local usage, provided that the uppermost cloth covering the mensa (i.e., the altar cloth itself) is always white in color.”


CBCP Monitor
February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

Revisiting the question of so-called Lay Ministers (Part II)
By Fr. Jaime Blanco Achacoso, J.C.D.

Every so often, I have been asked by lay faithful about the proliferation of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and even more of so-called lay ministers. Their presence are quite noticeable, especially during Sunday Mass when in many places there is a veritable procession of them preceding the priest celebrant at the start of the Eucharistic celebration. What really is the role of the lay ministers?
IN November 1997, the Holy See published a document, entitled Instruction On Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non ordained Faithful in

participation in this context. In fact, he belabored the distinction between participation in Christ’s priesthood by virtue of baptism and confirmation, and the eventual exercise of some tasks entrusted to them by the priests: “The laity’s every ecclesial action or function—including those for which the Pastors ask them to stand in, where possible—is rooted ontologically in their common participation in Christ’s priesthood and not in an ontological participation (either temporary or partial) in the ordained ministry proper to Pastors. Therefore, it is clear that if the Pastors entrust them, in an extraordinary way, with some tasks ordinarily and properly connected with the pastoral ministry but not requiring the proper character of Orders, lay people should know that these tasks are existentially rooted in their baptismal ministry and nowhere else! It must always be remembered that the exercise of such tasks does not make pastors of the lay faithful: in fact,

or functions. elsewhere the Instruction says in fact: “the officia temporarily entrustedtothem...areexclusively the result of a deputation by the Church” (art. 1, §2). Deputation by the Church is a shorthand expression for deputation by the Church’s lawful Pastors. This complete formulation, used in other passages of the Instruction, avoids an identification of the Pastors with the Church herself. and §3 of the same article correctly indicates that the temporary deputation for liturgical purposes mentioned in c.230, §2 does not confer any special or permanent title on the non ordained faithful. The following sentence states that it is unlawful for the non ordained faithful to assume titles such as pastor, chaplain, coordinator or moderator. as is obvious, what applies to temporary deputation applies with all the more reason to permanent deputation for liturgical or pastoral tasks (cf. CIC, c.230, §1, 517, §2,). 2. Lay collaboration is supplementary—i.e., only in

a desirable field of activity for the laity. 3. responsibility for abuses. The practical provisions of the Instruction are not limited to listing possible or actual abuses, but they always seek to indicate the theological coordinates underlying the respective field of activity and thereby to draw the necessary consequences. The problems mentioned are caused, first of all, by the fact that they are found in a border area. abuses occur when exceptional solutions become alternatives, changing an extraordinary competence into an ordinary one, or, on the other, when the limits provided for collaboration are unlawfully extended and a competence is assumed that has not been given. a case in point would be the way the so-called extraordinary minister for the administration of Holy Communion—the laypersons duly deputized for this—goes beyond exercising the faculty in extraordinary occasions to become in practice the ordinary minister for such a liturgical task, day after day,

the Sacred Ministry of Priests. The document reaffirmed the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (especially Lumen gentium, n.33 and apostolicam actuositatem, n.24). Its main purpose was to acknowledge and promote what is specific to the vocations of the lay faithful and of ordained ministers, with the goal of encouraging real communion in the Church. In the previous issue of CBCP Monitor, we had looked into the formal aspects of the document; now let us go to the more salient norms. Observations on Content: collaboration vs. participation of the non-ordained faithful in the priestly ministry. In the substantive level, the most important word—a veritable hermeneutic key of the document—is a term that appears in the title itself of the document. In effect, the title speaks of the collaboration of the non-ordained faithful in the priestly ministry. It can be noted that in the preliminary discussion, the term initially used was participation. Thus, the title of the symposium in april 1994, which launched the serious preparation of this document, was The Participation of the Lay Faithful in the Priestly Ministry. It must be pointed out, however, that the Holy Father himself, in his address to that symposium, never used the term

a person is not a minister simply by performing a task, but through sacramental ordination.” The terminological shift is important. In effect, participation (partem capere = “to take part”) in the ministerial tasks could not strictly speaking take place without the subject ontologically taking part—for that matter—in the ministerial priesthood itself. This could only happen with priestly ordination. From this we see the aptness of the term collaboration (co-laborare = “to work with”) when applied to the non-ordained faithful’s cooperation with the ministerial work of priests. With this in mind, we can point out the following doctrinal conclusions: 1. Lay collaboration in priestly ministry is not a right. The document contains several assertions that call for hermeneutic clarification. Thus, the part concerned with Theological Principles (n.4) says with respect to the tasks and functions which are considered along the lines of collaboration with the sacred ministry that the non ordained faithful do not enjoy a right to such tasks and functions. Obviously, there is no wish here to deny that these faithful can legitimately exercise the tasks and functions mentioned. The document wants to state, however, that the non ordained faithful do not have the right to demand that they be assigned to the above mentioned tasks

cases of necessity. By their ecclesiological nature all of these particular functions belong to the realm of the ordained ministry, in which a lay person, however, can collaborate in cases of necessity, if he has been lawfully deputed to do so. But it must be noted here: in case of necessity! For example, it could never be the Church’s objective to replace the eucharistic celebration by promoting Sunday celebrations without a priest. Nevertheless, wherever there are no other possibilities, the Church is grateful to that lay person who, being well disposed and following the instructions of the Bishop who appointed him, conducts a Liturgy of the Word for and with the faithful who have no other opportunity to celebrate the Lord’s Day. It is clear that the lay person here is truly a supplementary aid. This does not degrade the lay person; on the contrary, his willingness to accept this task does him honor. However, for the good of the faithful—and that is what always counts—he too will be glad when a priest is available to celebrate the eucharist. The Instruction enables us to indicate many other analogous situations. However it would be a mistake to conclude that it reduces the role of the laity in the Church to a mere stopgap. The Instruction will seem restrictive only to those who consider these supplementary tasks as

Sunday after Sunday. In this regard, it should be pointed out that the laity usually cannot be considered responsible for true and proper abuses. They in fact fulfill—normally with good intentions—that role which has been introduced in their particular Church and has been entrusted to them. On the other hand, it should be noted that the norms established by the Bishops’ Conferences or by individual Bishops generally do not contradict the ordinances of universal law, but their clarity at times is not enough to prevent the spread of an abusive practice. Conclusion In conclusion, we can say that the activity of the lay faithful is in no way placed sub iudice by the Instruction; on the contrary, it is precisely from the laity’s commitment and dedication that the Church expects a great deal both now and for the future. However we have to insist that commitment and dedication must develop harmoniously within the framework of the Church’s hierarchical constitution that is, in the spirit of true communio, which requires the acknowledgement and appreciation of reciprocity, to avoid at all costs an egalitarianism that erodes identity.

John Paul II, address to the Symposium on The Participation of the Lay Faithful in the Priestly Ministry (22.IV.1994), in L’Osservatore Romano, 11.V.1994.

© Pinky Barrientos / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010



A call to a fullness of life… to transform the world
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
THe big crowd of young people who came for the Pilgrimage of Trust held at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City was a revealing testament of the desire of today’s young people to satisfy that innate human longing for the Divine and the need to reach out to others. around 3,000 pilgrims from all over the world converged at the Don Bosco stadium from February 3-7 for the 5th asian pilgrimage of trust on earth. Young adults aged 16-35 representing the five continents participated in the pilgrimage with the desire to quench their “thirst for life in fullness.” Bro. alois Lổser, prior of Taize community, in one of the meditations he gave to the pilgrims during the five-day pilgrimage, mentioned that in his meeting with the youth from various countries he noted that among young people today there is that spiritual longing to live a meaningful life. “In every human heart there is a longing, the longing to be loved and to love. at the same time, we all experience that this longing is only rarely satisfied, and never for all time. Far from discouraging us, this can allow us to discover over and over again a personal communion with God,” he said. The pilgrimage centered on the theme “a thirst for lie in fullness… a call to transform the world” challenged the youth to make a difference in today’s society marked by inequality even as he said that societal change can only be possible if it starts from one’s heart. “We all feel that there needs to be major changes in our world. The structures of our societies and patterns of thought from the past are proving to be inadequate and insufficient to create greater justice on earth, to reduce poverty, to ensure that persons and peoples can live together in peace,” the Taize prior said. “But we also discover that necessary change, particularly an overhaul of the world economic and financial system, is not possible without a change in the human heart,” he added. Witnesses of peace and reconciliation Brother roger Schutz, founder of the Taize community began the Pilgrimage of Trust on earth 30 years ago to encourage young people to become witnesses of peace and reconciliation in their local communities and churches. Since then, the Taize brothers have gone to different countries and cities to hold prayer meetings with young people of diverse backgrounds to let them experience the universality of the Church. “It’s a pilgrimage of reconciliation,” Bro. alois said. “We try to bring people together from different backgrounds to listen to each other and to share.” attracted by the witness of unity and life of prayer, young people from all over the world come to Taize, and stay with the community for few months. “In Taize, we welcome young people from all over the world every day. and each year, there are also young people from the Philippines coming and staying with us [for] two or three months,” he said. There the young pilgrims immersed themselves in the community’s way of life, joining the community prayer, observing silence on proper times, sharing with copilgrims their faith and working with the brothers at the workshop halls. 5th Asian meeting The recent meeting in Manila was the fifth of its kind in Asia and the second in the country following the first pilgrimage of trust held also in Manila in 1991. The first and second asian meetings were held in Chennai (Madras) India in 1985 and 1988, followed by Manila in 1991 and Kolkata, India in 2006. at the heart prayer, group sharing and meditation by Bro. alois. each day ended with an evening prayer where host families and the public were invited to participate. Sharing… to transform the world Bro. alois told young pilgrims that simplicity of life opens oneself to sharing and solidarity with others even as he emphasized to the youth to share “what we have to contribute to the transformation of the world.” “We see here in Manila so many people who undertake initiatives in sharing and are committed alongside the poor, who act with integrity and for the good of all,” said Bro. alois. He said this is an inspiring anecdote he hopes to share with the young people who come to Taize to lead them further into a life of sharing and solidarity with others. “By living in simplicity, we will better discover how to share what we have and in that way we can participate, even very humbly, in an effort to change the world,” he said. Listening to one another’s experiences and struggles to become a witness of peace and reconciliation in their respective communities, each pilgrim realized how much they have to learn from each other. Those who experience a life of conflict can understand the desire of a young girl from war-torn Mindanao who longed for peace to reign in her region. “In 2008, we saw conflict very close to home. Many homes were burned and people killed. So we thirst for peace; we have decided to be peacemakers in our school and in our community. It takes a lot of courage, and sometimes we despair, but we hold on to hope.” Many of the international pilgrims have come earlier and stayed for sometime in other parts of the country for an immersion experience. a pilgrim from Sweden also shared her experience of being welcomed openly by a family and allowing her to join them in harvesting their crops. The pilgrimage goes on The five-day pilgrimage ended with a eucharistic celebration led by Manila archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal rosales. The pilgrims went home to their respective countries and communities with their faith nourished and deepened by what they have experienced during the meeting. But they also realized that pilgrimage does not end there since life with all the various challenges is a continuous journey in faith. “Here, in such a different place, it is very easy to see God, in the little gestures of everyday life; it is very easy to experience the joy of sharing. What we now need is to bring this back into our daily lives at home,” a pilgrim from Portugal said. Back to their own communities, in the face of life’s daily struggles they are called to become witnesses of peace and unity, to become bridges that encourage understanding and dialogue.

Taize Pilgrimage of trust
Taize pilgrimage calls for a change of heart
MeeTING the challenges in the word, from social to political, requires an individual change of heart, a religious leader said. Brother alois Löser, head of the Taize ecumenical group, said major problems in the world demand more than just economic and technological proposals. Bro. alois had looked at the world’s problems from the point of view of the work that the Church, as the family of God, has to do. Such challenges, according to him, require an ethical behavior which respects the principles of universal solidarity, social justice and responsibility. “We all feel that there needs to be major changes in our world. The structures of our societies and patterns of thought from the past are providing to be inadequate and insufficient to create greater justice on earth, to reduce poverty, to ensure that persons and peoples can live together in peace,” Bro. alois said. “But we (must) also discover that necessary change, particularly an overhaul of the world economic and financial system, is not possible without a change in the human heart,” he said. Bro. alois made the statement during the “Taize Pilgrimage of Trust” currently being held at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City. Pilgrims around 3,000 young pilgrims—Christians and Muslims— from asian countries as well as from europe, australia, New Zealand and even from North america attended the gathering. Bro. alois stressed that in today’s world, people “thirst for life in (its) fullness.” In every human heart there is longing, the longing to be loved and to love, he said. at the same time, he added, people experience that said longing is only rarely satisfied, and never for all time. “From discouraging us, this can allow us to discover over and over again a personal communion with God,” he said. “and then our heart changes. and not only our heart, but also our way of looking and our behavior.” “We become more capable of discerning what is good and what is bad; without being naive we become better able to dialogue, to reach out to others, to make our life a pilgrimage of trust,” said Bro. alois, adding that “and in this way we will contribute as believers to help determine the face of the new world that is emerging.” The pilgrimage at the Don Bosco ended on Feb. 7 with a eucharistic celebration led by Manila archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal rosales and several other bishops and priests. (Roy Lagarde)

Pilgrimage closes with renewed commitment to global evangelization
SOMe 3, 000 youth pilgrims from various countries renewed their commitment to taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth after five days of intensive meetings in Makati City. The Taize Pilgrimage of Trust drew to a close on February 7 with a concelebrated Mass presided by Manila archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal rosales at the Don Bosco Technical Institute. The gathering was participated by thousands of young people from 50 countries. The pilgrimage was aimed at deepening the faith and commitment of the young people to the Church and in the society. Workshops have been conducted to fulfill the objectives and goals of the international gathering. Bro. andreas of the Taize Community said “some of the workshops go on the directions on how to nourish our thirst for life in fullness.” Other workshops, he added, also included matters on how to deepen one’s relationship with God; how to discover the call of God and ways on how to reach the young Christians and Muslims in Mindanao. Imus Bishop Luis Tagle also delivered a talk on the social teachings of the Church during the event which was held from Wednesday to Sunday. Bro. Joseph Xu, a delegate coming from China, said the pilgrimage made him realize God’s call for the youth to be an instrument to the people in China. “I realize that maybe God has called me to this event to be an instrument to the people in China. I should follow the works of the Taize Brothers,” he said. Meanwhile, Sr. Syrel Casquejo of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also expressed his experiences and reflections during the gathering. “It’s a different feeling. I was touched by the talks and reflections. Among them was the call for change of heart because that phrase reminds me on my desire to indeed change my heart,” she said. The theme of this year’s Taize pilgrimage was “a thirst for life in fullness… a call to transform the world.” (Kate Laceda)

of the youth pilgrimage of trust are prayers and sharing where young people in a spirit of solidarity learn to overcome barriers and differences to learn from each other. During the Manila meeting, the pilgrimage started daily with a morning prayer which the pilgrims did in the parish Churches together with the parish community. In the afternoon, the pilgrims trooped to Don Bosco for the afternoon activities that include

ALL PHOTOS © Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

(First of a Series)


CBCP Monitor
February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

The Predicament of the Philippine Media
By Bishop Jose C. Sorra, D.D.

IF you were to evaluate objectively our Philippine Media since a decade or two ago up till now, how would you rate it? You might say, to do justice to an objective evaluation might be next to do the impossible. It might be asking too much, perhaps, of the media practitioners themselves to do it, subjecting themselves to self-criticism or censure.
at any rate, some courageous fairminded opinion-writers of the print media have tried it and honestly called “spade a spade.” Indeed, they were more credible to read, coming as it did, from the horse’s mouth. a veteran journalist, robert M. Shaplen, of the New Yorker came over to our country where he spent one year to immerse himself in its political and cultural situation as well as observed how the media interacted or responded to the then current issues. When asked whether the Philippine Media were responsible and professional, this professional and detached observer had this to say: “Unfortunately they were not.” This was also reported by PDI Columnist Belinda Olivares-Cunanan. and this same columnist corroborated, that Shaplen’s assertion was accurate and was supported—namely: by the unproven rumors, sensational headlines and slanted coverage of events that comprise much of today’s print medium (PDI, February, 1990). What then were the factors which led to the then media predicament? First, she said, the young age of the reporters then, which was partially responsible for the unprofessionalism of the press. This means they were Martial Law kids, who never had the opportunity to observe sufficiently a responsible, free and democratic press since the dictatorial regime had an absolute control and censorship of the media. On the other hand, this tragic situation was further worsened when then elderly professional and ethically responsible journalists before the Marcos era had not returned to resume their positions as reporters—thus, the young media practitioners had not been able to learn from the veteran professional and responsible media practitioners. Meanwhile, they had become more

susceptible (wittingly or unwittingly) to the advances of certain people of the powers-that-be, powerful politicians, the filthy rich of the business sector, et al with vested interests—to use the neophyte media people promote their personal goals. Second, there had been a surge of a growing number of major english dailies that then existed in Metro Manila alone, which consequently had been detrimental to a responsible media. For instance, way back in the early 1990’s, there were already 12 to 14 broadsheets competing for approximately 700,000 readers. Thus, the papers tended to often stray far beyond the bounds of ethical journalism in an effort to attract more readers and thus increase circulation. accordingly, even unverified or unproven rumors often hit the headlines and the prominent news-coverage. after 15 years since then, has the Philippine media become more professional and responsible? apparently, even after a decade-and-a-half thereafter, still the same malpractice has been carried on among these competing dailies. Writing in his Postscript column in The Philippine Star (October 30, 2005), columnist Federico Pascual, Jr. said: “We

in the Media are part of the Nation’s problem.” One reason is the failure of media to give readers and viewers a fair and balanced picture of what is going on in the country. Very briefly, he offered the thesis that much of the confusion that threatens to bring down this nation can be traced to some extent to lack of professionalism, sometimes to corruption, in media sectors. In brief, he simply confirmed what had been going on in the then past 15 years, as reported earlier by his colleague female-columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “We have to plead guilty,” Pascual continued, “to having helped create the problems of discord and negativism threatening to bring down this country. The irony is that we are now criticizing and offering solutions to the very problems we helped develop. One wonders how credible we can be when we carry the germs of the very disease we try to cure.” Since then up till the present, professional and responsible journalists agree, that the unsuspecting readership is exposed to false, or half-truth, incomplete information, or, worse, to outright distortions. Meanwhile,

as this goes on without letup and misinformation uncorrected, the readers’ mind is systematically poisoned. This corroborates Hitler’s propagandists’ classic propaganda that a lie repeated frequently enough begins to gain the ring of truth. Mr. Pascual and other professional colleagues of the media often cite the classic example of the many communication problems of the current arroyo administration. To illustrate, they said that when enough supposedly “responsible and ethically fair” members of the media keep repeating the “Hello, Garci”—an allusion to Ms. arroyo’s cheating her way to victory in the 2004 presidential elections—the public is likely to believe and accept this information (or misinformation) being drummed into their minds without much challenge. Meanwhile, the big sector in media remains silent; they don’t even bother to point out that the alleged cheating by Madam President arroyo still has to be proved in the proper forum. and yet even without such a hearing or due process, some biased oppositionist media (print and broadcast) forthrightly pick it up and repeat it over and over

again as a mantra to be absorbed by the public. and no questions asked either, as to what precincts the cheating took place, by whom, by how many votes, and how these votes affected the total count. Unfortunately, the legitimate electoral protest has been a closed case with the demise of FPJ. Thus, GMa was proclaimed winner and duly elected after an official canvass by Congress, and she took her oath and has been up to now effectively or ineffectively governing. Now, who is to blame? The administration? The Opposition? Or, the Media? Columnist Pascual and some media-colleagues blame more the media. They explain that, for whatever reason, the Media do not explain enough the supposed process but simply succumb to oppositionist tendencies and tries to infect the readers or audiences with the same germs festering in their biased minds. Up to now, this confused atmosphere, where nobody concedes and a biased sector of the media does not bother to explain what the process is or should be—breeds and will continue to breed creeping chaos, concluded the mediapractitioners’ assessment. (To be continued)

Thrice a victim of labor migration
consequence of such decision, he decided to sign the document because he did not have the JOVeN de la Cruz (not his real chance to seek help from the name) was a former overseas Manila economic and Cultural Filipino worker (OFW) who Office (MeCO) in Taipei, the hailed from antipolo, rizal. Philippines de facto embassy. He sought the assistance of a month after his arrival in the the episcopal Commission country, Joven started receiving on Migrants and Itinerant statement of account for the People (eCMI) complaining of money he had borrowed from harassment from the lending the lending company to pay his agency that paid his placement placement fee for Taiwan. He fee to get a job in Taiwan as called up the lending company a factory worker. He was explaining the situation why he repatriated when the factory was not able to pay his debt. where he was Unfortunately, The ignorance of the migrants’ labor after explaining e m p l o y e d policy on the part of any prospective his incapacity to was forced to temporarily pay, he received migrant worker leaves him or her slow down its stronger highly vulnerable to exploitation and a e m a n d letter operations due to d ing abuse. How to avoid or overcome the lesser demand that he pay his them is to be familiar with Republic of IT products in debts including United States and Act 8042 better known as the Migrant a c c u m u l a t e d europe brought interests and Workers and Overseas Filipino Act about by the surcharges or else of 1995. Knowing this particular law he will be brought global economic prepares migrant workers to protect to court. It was recession. He came to eCMI themselves from the possible abuse t h i s t h r e a t o f because of fear being jailed that of their labor agents and brokers. If that he will be b roug ht Joven put to jail for they are not able to personally defend to seek eCMI’s not paying his themselves, they should know at least h e l p t h r o u g h debts. the antipolo that there are agencies that would When he D i o c e s a n help them fight for their rights. arrived in Taiwan Commission for in March 2008, De la Cruz did and others like him. all they Migrants. not find anything unusual about could do was to wait for their The case of Joven is a usual his employment until after condition to improve. example how some overseas Few weeks later, the company Filipino workers are cheated and three months. His employer announced that the factory offered the migrant workers the abused by certain exploitative will operate only thrice a week. possibility of being repatriated recruiters who take advantages This meant that Joven and other with a free airline ticket. of migrant workers’ vulneforeign migrant workers would realizing that he had just rability. Joven’s deploy-ment only work three days weekly, been working without saving was facilitated by paying a hence, will also receive a salary anyway, plus the fact that placement fee through a lending that was equivalent to the three- his salary was not enough company that was most likely day job. The rest of the week to to pay his debts, Joven had owned or linked to the same which they were not working immediately accepted the offer. job placement company. He will be without any pay. The Before leaving Taiwan he was was even illegally charged of company’s management had made to sign a document that 120,000 pesos (overcharged) explained that it could not he had resigned from work. as placement fee, a violation Thrice / B7 afford to pay all the workers although he was not sure of the

By Fr. Edwin Corros, CS

due to the very low demand of their company’s product. With this new working situation, and his salary cut into almost half of his initial monthly wage, Joven had to face the consequence of not being able to pay his debts arising from the placement fee he had borrowed in the Philippines. added to such burden, they were also made to pay for their food and accommodation for the days that they had not worked for. Such unexpected turn of events came as a big blow to Joven

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

© CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010



Pastoral Letter
MY Brothers and Sisters in Christ, ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the most important period in the Church calendar. The forty-day Lenten season that starts today prepares us for easter. Prayer, almsgiving and fasting are three penitential practices that Christians are called upon to do to better celebrate easter. They help us draw attention to God’s Word that encourages us to seek true conversion of heart and soul. Fasting disciplines our bodies, helping us seek the Lord with greater intensity, while putting us in solidarity with those who suffer. Works of Charity enlarge our hearts as we commit ourselves to the good of others. Prayer means speaking with God in spiritual communion. Good deeds and almsgiving consist of self-sacrifice to serve and benefit others. Christ and His apostles spent their lives serving others. Christ instructed His followers to do good deeds for spiritual rewards, not for human recognition. By doing good, you can ease the emotional and physical pain of people in need. You also encourage compassion and charity in your daily life and strengthen your Christian soul. One such good deed is to respond to a call to feed the hungry children in our community. In the last 5 years, the pernicious problem of hunger and malnutrition persists in the Philippines. Initial results of 7th National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2008 show that three out of ten Filipino children are hungry and malnourished! They are underweight and under height,

Ash Wednesday 2010
stunted in their growth. Worse, the acute or severe cases of malnutrition are increasing. We now have more than 8 million Filipino children who are underweight and under height. according to the WHO, malnutrition prevalence rate of 5% is considered of public health significance. The rate in the Philippines is about 30%. Hunger and malnutrition are very pressing concerns for our society. as Pope Benedict XVI said to world leaders gathered for the UN Food summit in rome on November 16, 2009, “Hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty.” He said that the fundamental right of every human person is first and foremost the right to sufficient, healthy and nutritious food supportive of the essential right to life itself. He also called on churches to defeat hunger in a planned, responsible and regulated manner to support the sector-wide effort to eradicate it as a manifestation of solidarity. HaPaG-aSa is a Christ-centered nutrition program and values formation that helps malnourished children through nutritionist-approved feeding, as well as their families through skills training and livelihood opportunities for their parents. The promise of HaPaG-aSa is to have fullness of life through feeding the body and feeding the spirit. HaPaG-aSa is a sustainable program that not only gives out food for the hungry, but at the same time teaches children and their parents, values that would lead them to a better

+GAUDENCIO B. CARDINAL ROSALES, D.D. archbishop of Manila

‘God, in Fact, Wishes to Heal the Whole Man’
Homily of Pope Benedict XVI during the 18th World Day of the Sick and the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Council for Health Care
Lord Cardinals, Venerated Brothers in the episcopate, Dear Brothers and Sisters, The Gospels, in the synthetic descriptions of the brief but intense public life of Jesus, attest that he proclaimed the Word and healed the sick, sign par excellence of the closeness of the Kingdom of God. For example, Matthew writes: “and he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people” (Matthew 4:23; cf 9:35). The Church, which has been entrusted with the task of prolonging the mission of Christ in space and time, cannot neglect these two essential works: evangelization and care of the sick in body and spirit. God, in fact, wishes to heal the whole man, and in the Gospel the healing of the body is a sign of a more profound healing, which is the remission of sins (cf Mark 2:1-12). Hence, it is not surprising that Mary, Mother and model of the Church, is invoked and venerated as “salus infirmorum,” “health of the sick.” as first and perfect disciple of her Son, she has always shown, accompanying the journey of the Church, special solicitude for the suffering. Testimony of this is given by the thousands of people who go to Marian shrines to invoke the Mother of Christ, and find strength and relief. The Gospel narrative of the Visitation (cf. Luke 1:39-56) shows us how the Virgin, after the evangelical announcement, did not keep to herself the gift received, but left immediately to go to help her elderly cousin elizabeth, who for six months had been carrying John in her womb. In the support given by Mary to this relative who was, at an advanced age, living a delicate situation such as pregnancy, we see prefigured the whole action of the Church in support of life in need of care. The Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, instituted 25 years ago by the Venerable John Paul II, is undoubtedly a privileged expression of this solicitude. My thought goes with gratitude to Cardinal Fiorenzo angelini, first president of the dicastery and ever impassioned leader in this realm of ecclesial activity; as also to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, who until a few months ago gave continuity and growth to this service. With heartfelt cordiality I address to the present president, archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, who has assumed this significant and important legacy, my greetings, which I extend to all the officials and staff who in this quarter of a century have collaborated laudably in this office of the Holy See. In addition, I wish to greet the associations and organizations that take care of the organization of the Day of the Sick, in particular UNITaLSI and the Opera romana Pellegrinaggi. The most affectionate welcome goes naturally to you, dear sick people. Thank you for coming and above all for your prayer, enriched with the offer of your toil and sufferings. and my greeting goes also to the sick and volunteers joining us today from Lourdes, Fatima, Czestochowa and from other Marian shrines, and to all those following us on radio and television, especially from clinics or from their homes. May the Lord God, who constantly watches over his children, give everyone relief and consolation. Today’s Liturgy of the Word presents two main themes: the first is of a Marian character, and it unites the Gospel and the first reading, taken from the last chapter of the Book of Isaiah, as well as the responsorial Psalm, taken from Judith’s canticle of praise. The other theme, which we find in the passage of the Letter of James, is of the prayer of the Church for the sick and, in particular, of the sacrament reserved for them. In the memorial of the apparitions of Lourdes, a place chosen by Mary to manifest her maternal solicitude for the sick, the liturgy appropriately makes the Magnificat resonate, the canticle of the Virgin who exalts the wonders of God in the history of salvation: the humble and the indigent, as all those who fear God, experience his mercy, [he] who reverses earthly fortunes and thus demonstrates the holiness of the Creator and redeemer. The Magnificat is not the canticle of those on whom fortune smiles, who always “prosper”; rather it is the thanksgiving of those who know the tragedies of life, but trust the redeeming work of God. It is a song that expresses the tested faith of generations of men and women who have placed their hope in God and have committed themselves personally, like Mary, to being of help to brothers in need. In the Magnificat we hear the voice of so many men and women saints of charity, I am thinking joy, fruit of love. The maternity of the Church is a reflection of the solicitous love of God, of which the prophet Isaiah speaks: “as one whom his mother comforts, / so I will comfort you; / you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:13). a maternity that history. across the centuries, the Church shows the signs of the love of God, who continues to do great things in humble and simple people. Suffering that is accepted and offered a sharing that is sincere and free, are these not, perhaps, miracles of love? The courage to face evils unarmed—as Judith— with the sole strength of faith and of hope in the Lord, is this not a miracle that the grace of God arouses continually in so many persons who spend time and energy helping those who suffer? For all this we live a joy that does not forget suffering, on the contrary, it includes it. In this way the sick and all the suffering are in the Church not only recipients of attention and care, but first and above all, protagonists of the pilgrimage of faith and hope, witnesses of the prodigies of love, of the paschal joy that flowers from the cross and the resurrection of Christ. In the passage of the Letter of James, just proclaimed, the apostle invites awaiting with constancy the already close coming of the Lord and, in this context, addresses a particular exhortation to the sick. This context is very interesting, because it reflects the action of Jesus, who curing the sick showed the closeness of the Kingdom of God. Sickness is seen in the perspective of the end times, with the realism of hope that is typically Christian. “Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise” (James 5:13). We seem to hear similar words in St. Paul, when he invites to live everything in relation to the radical news of Christ, his death and resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31). “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15). evident here is the prolongation of Christ in his Church; he is always the one who acts through the presbyters; it is his same Spirit that operates through the sacramental sign of the oil; it is to him that faith is directed, expressed in prayer; and, as happened with the persons cured by Jesus, one can say to each sick person: Your faith, supported by the faith of brothers and sisters, has saved you. From this text, which contains the foundation and practice of the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, is extracted at the same time a vision of the role of the sick in the Church: an active role as it “provokes,” so to speak, prayer made with faith. “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church.” In this Year for Priests, I wish to stress the bond between the sick and priests, a sort of alliance, of evangelical “complicity.” Both have a task: The sick person must “call” the presbyters, and they must respond, to bring upon the experience of sickness the presence and action of the risen One and of his Spirit. and here we can see all the importance of the pastoral care of the sick, the value of which is truly incalculable, because of the immense good it does in the first place to the sick person and to the priest himself, but also to relatives, to frie nds, to the community and, through hidden and unknown ways, to the whole Church and to the world. In fact, when the Word of God speaks of healing, of salvation, of the health of the sick, it understands these concepts in an integral sense, never separating soul and body: a sick person cured by Christ’s prayer, through the Church, is a joy on earth and in heaven, a first fruit of eternal life. Dear friends, as I wrote in the encyclical “Spe Salvi,” “The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer” (No. 38). By instituting a dicastery dedicated to health care ministry, the Church also wished to make her own contribution to promote a world capable of receiving and looking after the sick as persons. In fact, she has wished to help them to live the experience of sickness in a human way, without denying it, but giving it a meaning. I would like to end these reflections with a thought of the Venerable Pope John Paul II, to which he gave witness with his own life. In the apostolic letter “Salvifici Doloris,” he wrote: “at one and the same time Christ has taught man to do good by his suffering and to do good to those who suffer.” May the Virgin Mary help us to live this mission fully. amen!

“The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer” (No. 38). By instituting a dicastery dedicated to health care ministry, the Church also wished to make her own contribution to promote a world capable of receiving and looking after the sick as persons. In fact, she has wished to help them to live the experience of sickness in a human way, without denying it, but giving it a meaning.”
in particular of those who consumed their lives among the sick and suffering, such as Camillus of Lellis and John of God, Damien de Veuster and Benito Menni. Whoever spends a long time near persons who suffer, knows anguish and tears, but also the miracle of speaks without words, which arouses consolation in hearts, a joy that paradoxically coexists with pain, with suffering. Like Mary, the Church bears within herself the tragedies of man, and the consolation of God, she keeps them together, in the course of her pilgrimage in

© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

life. Through collaborating dioceses and organizations, it has fed more than 500,000 Filipino children nationwide in the past four (4) years. This year, it is targeting another 120,000 children, of which more than 30,000 will be fed in the parishes of the Pondo ng Pinoy member dioceses where you belong. We appeal to you to support HaPaGaSa in its efforts to care for hungry and malnourished children of our parishes. We encourage you to give to the HaPaGaSa what had been set aside from your fasting. Your donation, no matter how small, will go a long way as it only costs a mere ten pesos a day or P1,200 to feed a hungry child once a day, five days a week, for six months. You can save the life of a Filipino child with P1,200. Please ask your parish office for donation envelopes or ways you can be of help to the program. You can also help your parish start a HaPaG-aSa program for the malnourished children in your parish if it has not yet done so. Our Lord said: “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. Whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” We wish everyone a meaningful spiritual journey this time of Lent, “casting aside all that distracts the spirit and growing in whatever nourishes the soul, moving it to love of God and neighbor.”


Ref lections
Second Sunday of Lent (Lk 9:28-36); February 28, 2010
the Jewish sense of an expected Messiah, the anointed one, sent by God in the Davidic, kingly or political tradition. He would be a political figure identified with the “Messiah of Israel” (1QS 9:11) in the Qumran community. In effect, having seen how Jesus healed and performed miracles, Peter thought that Jesus was really God’s anointed to restore the kingdom of Israel to its former glory. It is for this reason that Jesus tried to explain to them the meaning of his messiahship by means of the prediction of his passion: “The Son of Man,” he said, “must first endure many sufferings, be rejected by the elders, the high priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and then be raised up on the third day” (Luke 9:22). and to make sure that his disciples, who frequently misunderstood him and his teaching, fully realized the implication of his words for those who wished to follow him, he continued his instruction on discipleship: “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day and follow in my steps” (Luke 9:24). We do not know how, according to Luke, the disciples reacted to Jesus’ teaching, for Luke records none of it, unlike in Mark where we find Peter remonstrating with the Lord (Mark 8:33). But one could make the educated guess that his declaration would have proved a disappointment to them, assuming they understood it. after all, even after Jesus’ death, the disciples, according to Luke, thought that Jesus would free Israel from the romans and restore its political and economic glory (Luke 24:21). The story of transfiguration, therefore, functions as a corrective of Peter’s faith in Jesus’ messiahship and confirms what Jesus said in the prediction of his passion. The presence of Moses and elijah, who would have fulfilled the requirement for witnessing in Luke’s theology (cf Simeon and anna in the Infancy Narrative of Luke), serves to indicate that the Law (Moses) and the

CBCP Monitor
February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

The passage Jesus had to fulfill
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
TODaY’S Go sp el fo c us e s on Luke’s narrative on the transfiguration of Jesus. Readers of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) will easily recall that the transfiguration story tells of an event that took place near the end of Jesus’ public ministry in which his external appearance changed. In the presence of Peter, James and John atop a mountain, Jesus’ clothing became dazzlingly white, and with him appeared Moses and elijah who spoke with him. Peter was so overwhelmed by what took place that he suggested that three tents be made: one for Jesus, one for Moses and another for elijah. Then after a cloud overshadowed them, a voice was heard identifying Jesus as his Son, who must be listened to. Then Jesus and his three disciples went down the mountain to be with the people. Noting that the event offered the disciples an experience of the true identity of Jesus, many preachers follow a line of interpretation that stresses the need to follow up our “experience of the divine” with the practical aspect of spirituality, which is service to the people we meet every day. They say that we cannot just contemplate on the divine; for that would be empty if divorced from action on behalf of the poor. Prophets (elijah) testify to the identity of Jesus as the suffering Messiah. Understandably enough, Luke—and no other synoptic evangelist—says that the two heavenly figures “spoke of his passage, which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31). In the Greek Bible, the term translated in english as “passage” is exodos, which could also mean departure, the exodus. Since the use of the word no doubt echoes the exodus of Israel from egypt to the land of milk and honey, what Jesus would accomplish in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31) was a new redeeming action for his
The passage / B7



Bishop Pat Alo

While such line of preaching has something to commend it, yet it fails to take into account that each evangelist has a different way of understanding the event. If we look at the version of Luke, we find that he has some theological insights that are not shared by other evangelists, and one of them relates to the content of the conversation between Jesus, Moses and elijah: “They appeared in glory, and spoke of his passage which he was about

to fulfill in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:21). To understand what Luke means by this, it may be recalled that earlier on, Jesus asked his disciples who did crowds say he was. It appears that they had come to uncover the reality of what he was through the public confession of Peter who addressed him as the “Messiah of God.” But when Peter used this title to describe him, there is scarcely any doubt that he understood this title in

Open and fearless speech

Bo Sanchez


Open up your life to love
HAVE you ever wondered if fish drank water? I know what you’re thinking. Only a crazy guy like me thinks of such lunacy. Well, think of a tiny fish right smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Now tell me. Wouldn’t it be funniest thing in the world if baby fish says to mother fish, “Mommy, I’m thirsty.” I mean, helloooooo…. Can you imagine what his mother will say? “Geepers, kid! Have you been dunked in wasabe? Has Jaws III chewed off your head? Has a giant squid sucked out your brain? Have you stepped down the evolution ladder and developed only a brain stem? How in the *@&*$%!!@#! could you be thirsty?” (Note: I apologize for the obscene language. The mother is not spiritually renewed and is far from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.) “Well…I forgot how to do it. I’m only one day old, you know. and I am really thirsty,” the little squirt says, her fin pointing to her mouth. “Ow alright,” the mother spits, “if you want to drink water, all you have to do is open up.” “Open up?” “Yes, dummy. You don’t have to go to the fridge and pour yourself a glass of liquid. You don’t have to go to a store and buy a can of Coke. and you don’t have to wait for rain drops to fall down the sky and open your mouth while belting out, “I’m singing in the rain…” All you have to do is open up! Open your mouth and open your throat, and the whole Pacific Ocean will come rushing into you.” “Oh…” So the baby fish opens up, and does a summersault as it is hit by a torpedo of water shooting through her system. Yes, all we have to do is open up! Some people have a hard time praying. They think it’s a matter of going to the fridge for a glass of water or going to the store to buy a can of Coke… No, praying isn’t you doing something. I believe that praying is essentially allowing something to happen to you. Because right this minute, you are surrounded by the ocean of God’s Presence. He’s all over you, enveloping you, immersing you, drenching you with His love. You need Him? Open up. You need His power? Open up. You need His blessing? Open up. You need anything right now? Open up. He’ll be coming, running, rushing towards you with His love.

We know that expression quoted from the Bible by the great Pope John Paul II: “Duc in altum”, which translates in the complete citation, as follows: “When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ and when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fishes that their nets began to tear, so they signaled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point. When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus, saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid, from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him” (Lk. 5:4-11).. Jesus only came to teach us truth and love, both by word and example. His life shows us that true love is humble, patient and forgiving (cf. 1 Cor. 13:4). He extends his love even toward his enemies. Why I imply here that our mission be open and fearless speech is because I mean by truth—the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You know what a lie consists in—a lie is a half truth or a part of the truth. It would not be evangelization if we hide part of the truth. “everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed in the housetops…. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell” (Lk. 12:2-6). a previous nuncio to the Philippines, archbishop Gian Vincenzo Moreni had left me a souvenir medal with some significant inscription in Latin—Robur Pacis Veritas. The medal showed the picture of Jesus and St. Peter kneeling before him. The Latin saying (translated—truth is the strength of peace) intends to say that truth is the very foundation of peace. evangelization therefore or education in the Christian truth is what can bring peace to our world because it is entirely based on truth and love. “The truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32).

Fr. Francis Ongkingco


Teens and the terms of homosexuality
of being simultaneously man and woman, but the ability to relate with the opposite sex and to be consistent with his own sexual identity in his emotional life and not only his social life. Failure at this stage leads to many psychological problems in one’s sexual maturity. d. Sexual identity – this is the objective fact of being man or woman. This is the natural outcome that arises once a person has been able to integrally traverse the stage of psychological bi-sexuality towards a mature sexual identity. e. Sexual tendency – this is only a partial aspect of one’s sexuality, and is not and never can be the basis of one’s sexual identity. This fact alone opens the door for an effective hope in the rehabilitation of one’s homosexuality. f. Sexual experience – this is the election of a homosexual reference which corresponds to a need of being related with the person of the same sex in order to “internalize one’s sexual identity” and move towards heterosexuality. g. Sexual orientation – one’s sexual exposure that is acquired as a result of historical (socio-cultural) processes and is not something imposed with one’s birth. as opposed to sexual experience, it tends to eroticize relationships with the same sex. h. Gender – originally, the terms “sex” (that is, sexual identity) and “gender” were interchangeable. Those espousing anti-life ideas, however, do not equate the two and say that “sex” is assigned at birth, but that “gender” is how a person perceives himself or herself. This nuance does nothing more than to sow more confusion by making one’s “sexual tendency” determining of his “sexual identity”. Having defined the terms above, we can now state the following points: a. Homosexuality is not sinful as an “unresolved psychological conflict during the person’s early sexual stages”. What is immoral is not to sincerely resolve this conflict, to give in to one’s tendencies and to engage in homosexual acts. These acts are intrinsically disordered and contrary to God’s design for the complementary sexual act between a man and a woman in marriage (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) b. Homosexuality isn’t rooted in a person’s genes. If this were so, then the case of twins where one is homosexual would imply that his twin would also be homosexual. But studies have never achieved a 100% considering that the genes of twins are identical. c. Homosexuality can be properly guided and revitalized. Since it is not something genetically defined, homosexuality as a “psychological malady” can be rehabilitated. ever since 1973, the gay movement achieved the lamentable milestone of obliging the american Society of Psychiatrist to erase homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses. Sadly, a malady isn’t cured or redefined by simply removing it from a list. d. Homosexual tendency cannot determine one’s sexual identity. One’s sexual identity can only be that of being a man or a woman. Sexual identity is something objectively defined at birth. Homosexual tendency, on the other hand, is only one of the many instinctive tendencies (e.g. voyeurism, exhibitionism, etc.) of one’s sexuality. Now the part cannot be determining of the whole. Therefore, it would be unreasonable and would lead to detrimental consequences if one were to base one’s identity on only one tendency. This is also the reason why homosexuality can never be considered as an alternative gender option. Sexual identity is not a personal or subjective choice made by the person but something nature imbeds in the individual. e. Persons with homosexual tendencies deserve to be respected. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” (no. 2358) f. Finally, homosexual persons are –like everyone– called to live chastity. again the Catechism says: “By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” (no. 2359) (*Sources: Most of the definitions in this article were taken from Fr. Tony Anatrella’s study titled, Homosexuality and Homophobia, and in his speech during the World Youth Day in Cologne, April 2003.)

WITH each passing day, moral relativism continues to intensely plague the world and our society. It puts into greater doubt objective and perennial truths about man and his purpose here on earth. This ideology against the truth, however, is lesser and lesser found in exclusively boring unproductive intellectual debates. among the many effective channels chosen by the wave of moral relativism is the audio-visual highway which allows its ideas to be delivered not only swiftly, but also visually—digitally to be precise—through more attractive mediums the bulk of which are seen and experienced in the broad field of entertainment media and the Internet. Teenagers are the ones greatly exposed and to a great extent depend on these virtual communication channels. They become easy prey to erroneous concepts at a stage in their life when they are still discerning clear reference points—through role models and values—required to forge deeper convictions essential in shaping a more stable and mature personal identity. With these foundational values upset and confused, the youth sadly lose their identity bearings. among the challenging issues acutely misrepresented for the youth is the case of homosexuality. This is especially true in our country where homosexuality has not only been greatly tolerated but glamorized. The movie industry, T.V. entertainment shows and comedies have done a devastating job to iconize the homosexual instead of upholding traditions and values that promote the dignity of both the young and the

elderly. It is therefore important for the young— and also for those who have the task of guiding them– to understand what homosexuality is, how it is perceived by the Church and what attitude one ought to have when personally confronted with it or when seen in other people. Before answering these points, it is necessary to first define some terms. We will not exhaust all the terms related to homosexuality. It would be sufficient to define the most essential ones related to man’s sexual identity to unveil the misconceptions conveyed by media regarding homosexuality. a. Human sexuality – this is an objective reality that is not confined only to one’s genital or reproductive expressions. It encompasses the totality of the person because it is anchored in the psychological foundations of the affective life’s development, in relations others and a sense of desire. It has two important features: affection for the other and procreation. b. Homosexuality – represents a more or less exclusive sexual attraction towards a person of the same sex. It corresponds to a sexual tendency that arises during the early stages of the person’s affective development. Its development stems not from a genetic configuration, as this has not been proven up to now, but from an unresolved psychological conflict during the person’s early sexual stages. c. Psychological bi-sexuality – this is the point in the person’s life when he becomes aware of sexual differences. This means that he is capable of relating with both sexes interiorly, not in the sense of the commonly mistaken notion

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010

Social Concerns


The advocacy of preserving the Ayala Watershed
FOr two years now rigid aggregates Mining Corporation (raMC) has been making its level best to get the City of Zamboanga to grant its application to conduct exploration and operation activities within the ayala watershed area. The permit has not yet been given, thanks in no small part to the efforts of several groups to block the grant of this permit. although Silsilah Dialogue Movement was the original oppositor/petitioner against conducting mining exploration in the area, it has since been joined by other groups, notably the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD), the Industrial Group of Zamboanga, Inc. (IGZI) and a farmers’ cooperative. The ZCWD already utilizes deep wells to supply the residents of Ayala with piped water; several IGZI members operate canning factories in Ayala in which thousands are employed; the farmers’ cooperative depends on a continuous supply of clean water for their farming activities. The operations of these three sectors will be greatly threatened if the water coming from the watershed will be compromised by the operation of a mining company. In spite of the efforts of the petitioners against the grant of the permit to raMC, the government of the City of Zamboanga has not changed its stand of “no opposition” to the raMC application. Thus the groups also referred to as advocates for the Preservation of the ayala Watershed, have undertaken a new tack in their campaign. The groups have prepared two information sources on the issue—one a sourcebook which can be used by groups and institutions to instruct their own people, and a pamphlet which can be more for individual use. Both carry the title “The Imminent Destruction of the ayala Watershed” and provide facts and significant, relevant information on the issue. Objective and accurate information goes a long way in getting people to look at a situation as it should be looked at. This was the hope and the rationale that led to the publication of the two materials. The information materials were launched at the Silsilah Center in downtown Zamboanga City on January 29. In attendance were the petitioners, concerned residents of the impact barangays, other concerned individuals supportive of the cause, and members of the media. atty. Laisa alamia, one of the two legal counsels of the oppositors, referred to several Philippine laws that if applied as intended by the respective legislation, will clearly resolve the matter in favor of the position taken by the petitioners. among these are the Clean Water Act; the Clean Air Act; the NIPAS Law; the Climate Change Law. There is also a memorandum circular between the Department of environment and Natural resources (DeNr) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) defining the responsibility of both government offices to take care of the environment including the watershed. atty. alamia stressed strongly that “We are not opposing the mining company; we are for the protection of the Ayala Watershed. …[we] question the implementation of the mining act.” “I don’t want to dwell on the reasons why the [pertinent government offices] are acting in a highly irregular manner. It is just unexpected for them to act this way when all the evidence shows that they should have acted the right way,” atty. alamia said. attendees participated actively at the open forum during the launching showing surprise why many among the concerned government offices would not represent their position on the issue, nor represent their interest. among other important issues tackled during the discussion include continuing the effort of bringing to the attention of the city’s decision makers their grievances on the threat to their source of potable water. They also shared ideas as to how to pursue the issue within the legal and democratic framework, not the least of which is through the ballot in view of the coming election at both the national and local levels in May 2010. The groups’ advocacy of preserving the ayala Watershed is not directed only to the immediate good of the current population but for the benefit of the coming generations. (Silsilah Dialogue Movement)

By Louise Dumas

Giving life for the land
really would not allow logging companies to enter our lands. He guarded these almost every day even as other datus and company personnel continuously tried to persuade him to give up his stand.” On December 28, the Gingoog parishioners organized a prayer rally and called for justice for Tatay Berting. This was synonymous with their support for their colleagues who were lobbying inside Gingoog City’s Sangguniang Panalalawigan, asking for the recall of the council’s resolution which favored STC’s IFMa application in barangays eureka and Minalwang. The council had earlier called for a special session to discuss this particular concern after a signature campaign, petitioning for the cancellation of the IFMa, spearheaded by the ecology Desk of the Cagayan de Oro archdiocese registered around 25,000 signatories. “We are not asking them to stop all kinds of logging,” said Dr. Marites echavez, a member of the Sta. rita Post Disaster Task Force. “We are not including the cutting of planted trees because we know that this is the livelihood of some of the residents here. We are only asking for three things from the council. First, they recall the resolution which favors the IFMa. Second, they conduct an ocular inspection of the area to see if the company has been following the rules in their agreement, and third, for a proper investigation of the killing of Manong Berting.” On that day, the council voted 8-2 in favor of passing a resolution which recalls resolution 2007-351 that endorsed the STC’s IFMa application, 2008-195 which prohibited logging in Gingoog City and the Municipality of Magsaysay, and resolution 2008281 which amended the previous resolution and allowed the cutting of trees planted and growing in private lands including those under an IFMa. This resolution, however, was not immediately implemented as early in the year STC filed a petition for reconsideration. They argued that they were not given enough time to counter the complaints filed against them. a back-up action, however, was in plan and the signature campaign was filed by the Legal rights Center-CdO at the Department of environment and Natural resources’ national office. On January 18, the DENR released their decision to send an independent team of experts to probe into the case.

CHrISTMaS was sad for the Pinagawa family. In the early morning of December 24, alberto “Tatay Berting,” a lay minister of anakan Parish, Gingoog City was on his way to celebrate Christmas with his family in Barangay Kalipay. He had been up in Minalwang, Claveria, guarding their ancestral lands from the operations of the Southwood Timber Corporation.
But he never made it home. He was ambushed and shot to death by still unidentified gunmen. Twenty bullet shells were found in the area, Tatay Berting’s face barely recognizable. “We believe that his attackers toyed with him,” said Daghayan Pinagawa, one of their church lay leaders. “He died protecting our environment. For him, the trees and the forests are very important which is why he
Thrice / B4

The developments have been seen as victories for the parishioners who have been fighting against logging. However, they recognize that the struggle is far from over as justice for Tatay Berting’s death has yet to be served. In the special mass held at the anakan Parish in honor of Tatay Berting, he was praised as a true Christian who followed Christ’s example of self-sacrifice. In a message, archbishop antonio J. Ledesma reminded the parishioners that Tatay Berting had been guarding the trees because he was concerned for those living at the low-lying areas. It was not for himself whose residence was comfortably located on top of a mountain, far from the threats of floods and landslides. archbishop Ledesma also reiterated the pope’s message during the World Day of Peace, stressing on the church’s ecological awareness and the relationship that exists between the Creator, human beings and the created order. “The pope had emphasized that the environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people and the use of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity,” he said.

to the allowable placement fee set by Philippine Overseas employment agency (POea). Luckily, Joven had declared an affidavit that such huge amount was being demanded from him to be paid in a monthly amortization payment deductible from his salary every fifteen days while working in a Taiwanese factory. When his case was brought to the attention of the POea, he was not anymore forced to pay the remaining balance of his debt. He could have brought his placement agency to court for having cheated him, but he did not bother to do so. all he wanted to happen then was to be liberated from the harassment of the lending company. earlier, Joven could have sought assistance from the Labor attaché of MeCO in Taipei before signing

a document attesting that he has voluntarily resigned from his work. But then he was not probably aware of his rights nor was familiar where to seek help. Clearly, his case was a termination from work due to the incapacity of the company to pay them. But making him sign a voluntary resignation document was a clear ploy of the company to clear itself of any liability in case workers would complain in the future. Taiwanese companies are not allowed to hire foreign workers once proven that they had been involved in illegally terminating their migrant workers. There are several lessons to be learned from the case of Joven. The ignorance of the migrants’ labor policy on the part of any prospective migrant worker leaves him or her

highly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. How to avoid or overcome them is to be familiar with republic act 8042 better known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino act of 1995. Knowing this particular law prepares migrant workers to protect themselves from the possible abuse of their labor agents and brokers. If they are not able to personally defend themselves, they should know at least that there are agencies that would help them fight for their rights. a worker who knows the law but unfortunately, is willing to surrender its implementation is doomed to be violated. Moreover, one maybe familiar with the law but is afraid to fight for its implementation will definitely run the risk of encountering the same abuses that Joven had suffered from. It is

therefore important that people who are afraid to fight for their rights for fear of losing their jobs, should know there are institutions that are willing to help them. In most countries in asia and europe, the chaplains for the Filipino migrant communities are normally made to understand to assist migrant workers in their social and labor problems. all the OFWs need to do is to approach the priests that work in their communities. In the case of repatriated OFWs, they could go directly to POea or OWWa to seek assistance. eCMI also continues to assist any OFW who would encounter problem in their overseas work. For address and telephone number of migrant chaplains overseas, OFWs could call eCMI at 527-4135 to 42 or they could also email eCMI
The passage / B6


at ecmicbcp07@yahoo.com. eCMI would like to caution OFWs however that it does not have a direct link with countries in the Middle east except Israel, Kuwait and Lebanon. Hence, assistance to OFWs working in the Middle east is too difficult to pursue. Labor migration has been the easiest solution that many Filipinos have come to think of in order to solve their economic problems. The global economic recession must have taught our people that overseas work may not necessarily be the perfect answer as in the case of Joven who had left his work in Manila and moved to Taiwan as an OFW. Now back to the country after being repatriated due to global economic crisis, Joven has learned to value more his current local job.


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people. That is to say, just as the exodus of old freed the people from slavery to egypt, the new exodus in Jerusalem would free the people from slavery to sin. The exodus then refers not only to Jesus’ passion and death, as some writers tend to think, but also to his resurrection and ascension, as all these events took place in Jerusalem. Since the passage that Moses and elijah spoke of includes the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the transfiguration serves also to correct the impression that Jesus was only a suffering Messiah. For Luke, he is also the Messiah of glory. Which is why unlike other synoptic writers, Luke says that the disciples had a glimpse of the glory of Jesus (Luke 9:32). Of course, the term “glory” in Luke is to be connected to the risen status of Jesus, his being the Son of God. His identity as Son of God that

the disciples had a glimpse of was made explicit by the voice from the clouds, declaring him as God’s Son, his Chosen One (Luke 9:35). Luke’s understanding of the transfiguration should be obvious. If the disciples saw Jesus in his glory as God’s Son, it is to affirm that Jesus, far from being a Messiah in the political tradition of his day, is one who enters into glory through suffering, death and resurrection in the holy city (see Luke 24:26). (In that sense, Luke shares John’s view that death and glorification is a single event, though, as Schweizer notes, Luke stresses the death aspect of the event, while John emphasizes the glorification.) The disciples of Jesus, who must listen to him and him alone, are to share and follow the same passage—death and glorification.


Moral Assessment

CBCP Monitor

February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

Technical Assessment

 Abhorrent  Disturbing  Acceptable  Wholesome  Exemplary
Title: Dear John Cast: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins, Henry Thomas Running Time: 105 min. Director: Lasse Hallstrom Producers: Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Ryan Kavanaugh Screenwriter: Jamie Linden Music: Deborah Lurie Editor: Kristina Boden Genre: Drama, Romance, War Cinematography: Terry Stacey Distributor: Paramount Pictures Location: USA Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment: ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above JOHN (Channing Tatum), a soldier of the U.S. Army Special Forces is having a two week leave to be with Mr. Tyree (Richard Jenkins), his father who collects rare coins with a passion bordering on abnormality. Also on a spring break is Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried), a young college student whose physical beauty matches her idealism. One fateful day on a South Carolina beach, John happens to be around when Savannah accidentally drops her purse by the pier and John skillfully retrieves it from the deep water. In the two glorious weeks that follow, the two new acquaintances fall madly in love, enjoy their short time together, even get to know each other’s family and neighbors. After the two week togetherness the two lovers vow to keep their love alive during John’s one year tour of duty by frequently writing each other. But 9/11 happens and John, the good soldier answers the call of duty and enlists again for deployment abroad. This time the separation is much longer. Until when can the two lovers endure the lengthy separativeness? Will the love letters suffice to keep the flame of love burning? One familiar with Nicholas Spark’s novels or films based on these novels will most probably be conditioned to expect a bitter sweet ending to our current Dear John, another adaptation to the screen of the popular novelist’s work. And true enough, just like the favorite romances, his The Notebook and Message in a Bottle, the film Dear John has that twist almost at the end that makes the ending “not too happy nor too sad” and therefore bearing some similitude to life. A romance is hardly expected to be “realistic” in the sense that it cannot be grim and dead serious but the viewer may appreciate some semblance to life as in the logical development of this story and of its characters. Love, indeed, can be mentioned as among the “collateral damage” in a war. Then, love may not be extinguished but it can undergo a change. Very good photography has captured the beautiful sunshiny ambience surrounding happy young love as well as the grime, hardship and danger in the war scenes as depicted or sepia shades interspersed between the reading of the love letters. The lead characters are well cast. Pensive Channing Tatum with his beautifully chiseled body and Amanda Seyfried with her Rapunzel-like golden hair and expressive eyes are right for the roles which they do adequately well. There is not much depth to the characterization but we note Savannah’s compassionate nature as shown in her attitude towards the special child and John’s mildly autistic father. We also note the patriotic streak in John which impels

 Poor  Below average  Average  Above average  Excellent
him to answer his country’s call, a sacrifice that costs him dearly. Such character traits have a bearing on the outcome of the story. Director Lasse Hallstrom handles the story with a tender light touch so that the film acquires a quiet, somewhat lyrical, equality. Dear John has many things going for it. It is technically good, for one. It has also some positive values. The lead character Savannah comes from a well to do family. But she is unlike other young rich girls her age, on vacation from college. True, she has time far fun but she also gives some attention to those less fortunate, like her autistic neighbor whom she teaches to ride a horse and with whom she spends time. She is idealistic and dreams of building a camp for needy children after graduation. She envisions a life not only of pleasure but also of giving. She probably understands John’s father better than John himself so that she mentions that he may be an undiagnosed mild case but needs understanding, nevertheless. John did not at first really understand his father with whom he could hardly communicate but he does spend some time with him. Autism is poignantly portrayed and the involved families have generously accepted the consequences of the “disability”. Another positive value portrayed is John’s readiness to respond to his country’s needs. However, in spite of the film’s technical excellence and other good points noted, the picture is rated below average because it is blighted by some negative values. Pre-marital sex can never be condoned. Aside from the sensuality, there is also some violence. Only mature viewers 14 years old and above should allowed to see this movie.


Ni Bladimer Usi

Compliments from:

Buhay Parokya SM Megamall * The Podium
Look for the images of John Paul II, Mama Mary, and a dove. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)
AS everyone in Los Angeles antici- Title: Valentine’s Day pates Valentine’s Day, flower shop Cast: Jessica Alba, Kathy owner Reed (Ashton Kutcher) Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradprepares for the busiest day of ley Cooper, Eric Dane, the year. But before he does that, Patrick Dempsey, Hector he proposes marriage to live-in Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba). Jennifer Garner, Topher While his best friend Julia (JenGrace, Anne Hathaway, nifer Garner), is madly in-love Carter Jenkins, Ashton with his doctor boyfriend (Patrick Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Dempsey) whose leaving for a Taylor Lautner, Taylor scheduled surgery in another city. Swift Julia does not suspect that his Director: Garry Marshall boyfriend might be hiding some- Producers: Mike Karz, Wayne thing from her. Her best friend Allan Rice, Josie Rosen Kara (Jessica Biel), meanwhile, Screenwriter: Katherine insists that she attends her “I hate Fugate Valentine’s Day” party that same Music: John Debney night. Theirs and other lives of Editor: Bruce Green various characters dealing with Genre: Comedy/ Romance different issues of romance, falling Cinematography: Charles in and out of love, break-up and Minsky making-up, intertwines further in Distributor: New Line Cinema one of the most celebrated and Location: Los Angeles, Calioverrated, usually commercialfornia ized, occasions in the world. Running Time: 125 min. Valentine’s Day treatment tends Technical Assessment:  to be lighter as compared to other Moral Assessment: ½ films of the same genre. The conCINEMA Rating: For mature voluted plots and subplots never viewers 18 and above really rise beyond expectations. The entire thread of the story just remained at a comfortable level without added depth and substance. Most scenes are nothing more than romantic clichés that the audience may have already seen in a movie or two. The material comes out as very limiting to the supposedly powerhouse cast. But then, Valentine’s Day still passes off as a date movie with some of its romantic twists and relatable subplots. The film also provides some good laughs and uplifting moments with its showcase of various kinds of love. The strength of the film really lies on its stellar casts whom audiences anticipate to see on the big screen only that their appearances seem to be very brief, leaving their fans wanting for more. What really is the relevance of Valentine’s Day? This is one important question posed by the movie. Has this day really lost its relevance and is nothing more than a product of commercialism? Valentine’s Day has tried answering these questions by presenting various lives of people longing for love, looking for love and holding on to love. They all believe that love exists and it’s the only thing on the planet that keeps everyone sane. Some may have lost their faith in love but they eventually find it in the most unexpected moment. The really disturbing aspect of the movie however is the somewhat distorted concepts of love that appears to center on sex. Most characters in the story, most of the time, relate love with sex as if the two are interchangeable terms. The kid’s concept of love remains to be the purest along with that of the mother’s love. Love between friends of the opposite sex seems to be impossible to remain platonic because it eventually leads to mutual attraction. But then, marrying one’s best friend is almost always a good idea for friendship is a good foundation of love. Communication, honesty, forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance are some of the virtues associated with love and is really shown effectively in the movie. The entire concept of the film however, with some adult themes, nudity and presentation of homosexual and extra-marital affairs, although made in context, make the movie appropriate for mature audience only.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010

The Cross


A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

8th Knights of Columbus National Convention Set
By Bro. Junjie Cruz

COME April 16-18, 2010, all roads will lead to the Queen City of the South— Cebu, for the 8th Knights of Columbus National Convention.
Brother knights and ladies from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are expected to gather for this triennial meeting to renew fraternal ties, exchange views on how to better implement service programs. They will be tasked to make collective statements and decisions that seek to strengthen our Catholic faith in general and ideals of the Order in particular. The theme of the convention is: “Volunteerism:

Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” The grandiose Waterfront Cebu City Hotel conveniently located at the heart of Cebu City, a few minutes drive from Cebu’s shopping centers and a stone’s throw away from the Visayas’ renowned IT Industrial Park, will be the main venue of the three-day convention. At the very affordable registration fee of Php1,800.00 (if you register before March 1, 2010) Php2,000.00 if you register on March 2, 2010 or thereafter, the convention attendees will not only get to attend the convention at Waterfront Hotel but also get to have a tour of our white sand beaches, Cebuano Heritage Sites and more importantly, the signature Cebuano hospitality. Plus, who knows, you might bring home with you the Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php500,000.00) grand prize from the convention’s raffle.

Barrio Fiesta at CICC promises to be an ‘experience of a lifetime’
WHO has not heard of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC)? CICC is Cebu’s newest landmark situated at the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City. Cebu played host to Heads of State and dignitaries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) when they came to the Philippines for their annual confabulation. Delegates to the 8th Knights of Columbus National Convention will have the chance to be in the very same place where world leaders once gathered. April 7, 2010, a Saturday, will be a red letter day. A Barrio Fiesta dinner reception will cap the second day of the convention. Delegates will get to taste native delicacies not only from Cebu (including lechon) but also from neighboring provinces and regions in the Visayas. While eating dinner at the CICC open grounds under the bright moonlight, the CICC’s imposing façade will be the night’s unforgettable backdrop. So, on the convention’s second night, change your usual barong to a comfortable printed t-shirt and enjoy this one-of-a-kind Sabado night, truly an “experience of a lifetime” for every convention delegate. P.S. Don’t forget to bring your camera. (Bro. Junjie Cruz) THE Board of Jurors recently held their initial meeting for the upcoming awarding ceremony of The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Award (TOKCA). This was held last February 5, 2010 at the Makati Sports Club in Salcedo Village, Makati City. The Board of Jurors is headed by Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III. Along with Quitorio are Patrocinio R. Bacay, Chairman of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc, (KCFAPI), Antonio B. Borromeo, KCFAPI President; Alonso L. Tan, Luzon State Deputy, Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr., Visayas State Deputy, Sofronio R. Cruz, Mindanao State Deputy; Ambassador Henrietta De Villa, Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and Professor Felipe B. Alfonso, Executive Director of the Ramon V. del Rosario Sr. Center for Corporate Responsibility. The jurors will choose winners from each profession such as government service; accountancy and business; engineering, science and technology; academe; medical and health care services; law and

Board of Jurors holds initial meeting for TOKCA

A showcase of Color Corps Sword and Drill Skills
THE thirteen districts of the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree, Ferdinand Magellan Province (Philippines) will have the chance to demonstrate their skills in the execution of the sword and squad drill on April 16, 2010, during the first day of the 8th National Convention. Considered as “The Visible Arm of the Order,” ten Sir Knights from every district (1 commander and 9 members) who must be registered convention delegates will submit themselves to a battery of tests on the proper execution and movements of the Color Corps as prescribed in the KC Fourth Degree Sword and Drill Manual. On hand to judge the Sword and Drill Competition will be SK Pedro M. Rodriguez, Vice Supreme Master as Chairman with SK Alonso Tan, Luzon Deputy; SK Dionisio Esteban, Jr., Visayas Deputy; SK Sofronio Cruz, Mindanao Deputy and SK Allan Ouano, Host Visayas Secretary, as members. Criteria for judging will be as follows: Proper Execution – 40%, Proper Uniform – 35%, Voice & Clarity of the Command – 15%, Poise/Bearing of the Commander – 10% for a total of 100%. Php30,000.00 cash prize awaits the champion. The 1st and 2nd runners-up will also bring home Php20,000.00 and Php10,000.00, respectively. The rest of the competing groups will not be empty-handed as each group will also receive Php3,000.00 as consolation prize. SK Loreto V. Pablo – Master of the Fourth Degree, District VIII, is the Color Corps Competition Chairman. (Bro. Junjie Cruz)

judiciary; sports and entertainment; journalism and media; agriculture; youth and community development; arts and literature; and entrepreneurship. According to Joseph P. Teodoro, Vice-President of the Fraternal Benefits Group, the winners of the diverse fields will be announced in March.

“They will receive their plaques of recognition during the 8th Knights of Columbus National Convention on April 16, 2010 in Cebu City,” he said. TOKCA, a search for members of the KC Order who have excelled in their chosen professions, was launched in July 2, 2009. (Joseph Teodoro)

THE Insurance Commission has approved KCFAPI’s application to offer the sale of the revised KC Dollar Supreme Plan. The go signal was contained in the letter signed by the Honorable Insurance Commissioner Eduardo T. Malinis. The revised plan was christened the KC DOLLAR HERITAGE. KCFAPI Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) Vice President, Joseph P. Teodoro, announced the good news to the group of fraternal benefits associates, area managers and team leaders who attended the Life Insurance Agency Man-

Insurance Commission approves revised KC Dollar Plan

agement Seminar at the KCFAPI Home Office. This development was well received by the sales leaders since it will boost performance in 2010. The KC Dollar Plan was responsible for the 25% excess of actual first year contribution income over target in 2009. The Fraternal Benefits Group has lined up a number of activities to drum up increased participation of Brother Knights and family members (wives, children & parents) to KC Dollar Heritage. (Joseph Teodoro)

THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. was issued its certification from Certification International Philippines, Inc. (CI) last February 8, 2010 as the Association’s quality management system has been assessed as conforming to ISO 9001:2008 for the scope of design, development and provision of mutual benefits. Formerly ISO 9001:2000 certified, KCFAPI passed the reassessment audit held January 25, 2010 and was found compliant to international standards. This is a testament of the As-

KCFAPI ISO 9001-2008 Compliant
sociation’s dedication to provide quality service to BC Holders and their families and its commitment to continuously improve management system. (Ira Tee)


The Cross

CBCP Monitor
February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

Chairman’s Message
Patrocinio R. Bacay
THE fourteenth of February has always held a special place in the hearts of many. On this day, feelings of love are not difficult to come by. Instead our mind, which is after all the seat of this emotion, invigorates them. People find themselves wanting to manifest external signs of affection, romantic or otherwise, the primary beneficiaries of the magic of this special day will have to be those whom we hold dearest and closest to our hearts, special people who have touched our lives or who count most to us. For many, the meaning of Valentine is a concept of joy and happy memories—for some, it has an entirely different meaning when love and good memories are hard to come by. Since Valentine automatically lead each one of us to think of loved ones, how about bringing to mind the ones who cannot claim to have loved ones neither can they claim having even just a single someone who loves them. My dear brother knights, people needing some love, needing some encouragement, needing a little attention or just a little show of concern are very familiar to us. Since this special day makes thoughts of kindness, easily flow through our hearts, how about choosing it to be a day for starting our “payback” time? We can all begin small or big in whatever quantity we wish to be measured. Happy Valentine to our loved ones and to all those who need to be loved.

President’s Message
Antonio B. Borromeo
THE month of hearts is again within our midst and always the connotation of Valentine’s is sweethearts sharing a special moment together with flowers and chocolates and the like. But this is not the only meaning of this special day or special month. It can also be the occasion to share your time to a loved one, maybe a mother, a friend or even a nobody—someone you just met for the day and whom you would like to do some act of kindness. The feeling we get from sharing our time knows no boundaries. The blessings we receive by sharing our talent has no limits, too, and so with the pleasure of knowing that whatever help we can give to our fellowmen, the Lord looks at us with equal kindness and gentleness. It is because only goodness can come from goodness and the positive energy we emit to others will also be their source of energy to share to others. So in this special occasion may we always find it in our hearts to share, to give and not to count the cost since our Heavenly Father is always there knowing what we need and always providing for that need. Happy Valentine to all. May you enjoy the time with your family or loved ones.

Voters’ education forum slated in Bataan
A VOTER’S education forum was held in Samal, Bataan last January 17, 2010 which was organized by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI). The forum has been organized to be able to provide information on poll automation and the proper usage of the new automated voting system. Michael de Castro, Gerard Joseph Francisco and Ira Tee were the volunteer educators coming from KCFAPI who facilitated the seminar. Participants to the seminar were members of Fr. Agustin Consunji Council 4233 and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate St. Catherine of Siera Circle. The theme of the forum was “Neighbors Helping Neighbors Understand Poll Automation.” Following the social teachings of the Church, the Knights of the Columbus in the Philippines is active in political advocacy through its members spread in thousands of councils throughout the country. Its founder, Fr. Michael McGivney, was already

active in political advocacy and much ahead of the formalization of the social doctrines of the church during his time. (Kate Laceda)

KC Foundation scholar passes Nursing Licensure Examination

THE Knights of Columbus-Columbian Squires will be launching a recognition award program for Columbian Squire members who are graduating as Top Five in Class for School Year 2009-2010 in the primary and secondary levels. Dubbed as the “Recognition for Squires Academic Excellence Program,” this is an award which will be given to deserving Columbian Squires of the KC Luzon Jurisdiction and aims to recognize the efforts of the active members who give impor-

Columbian Squires to launch recognition award
tance to their “academic education as one step towards developing leadership ability.” Jose Cuaresma, Columbian Squires Chairman, said that this program intends to inspire and motivate its members to exert more efforts academically, and exemplify leadership in their respective schools. This program is also one way of recruiting new members for the group. Cuaresma disclosed that “awardees must be currently listed Columbian Squires members, who have at least reached the Shield Bearer level of the Squires Advancement Program and shall be in the Top Five of the graduating class 2009-2010.” Certificates and medals will be awarded to the graduates who will qualify for the program. The Luzon Deputy Academic Excellence Gold medallions and certificates will be given to those graduating valedictorians while Luzon Deputy Academic Excellence Silver medals and certificates are for members graduating salutatorians.

Fr. Agustin Consunji Council 4233, Daughters of Mary Immaculate St. Catherine of Siera Circle and Volunteer Educators from Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) – Michael de Castro and Gerard Joseph Francisco during the Voter’s Education seminar held in Samal, Bataan last January 17.

MISTER Jean Mikhail S. Laurel, a scholar of KC Philippines Foundation, Inc. has recently passed the Nursing Licensure Examination conducted last November 2009 by the Board of Nursing in key cities nationwide. Mr. Laurel completed his Bachelor in Nursing at Davao Doctors’ College last April 2009. He is the son of Bro. Jonathan and Sis. Gemma Laurel of Sacred Heart Council 10203, Obrero, Davao City. Mr. Laurel was a beneficiary of the Foundation from school year 2005 to 2009. For him, “the KC Scholarship Program is not simply a program, but a manifestation of God’s service to us, His creatures.” Through the Foundation’s financial assistance, Mr. Laurel’s dream of having a quality education was realized. Now he is just steps away to a bright future. (Denise Solina)

Meanwhile, the first, second and third honorable mention will be granted the bronze medals and certificates. The awards will be given by the Luzon Jurisdiction headed by Luzon State Deputy Alonso L. Tan, through the District Deputy of the graduates. They will then be assisted by the Squires Area Chairman and Grand Knight or Faithful Navigator, during the Schools’ Graduation/ Recognition Days. (Kate Laceda)

Basic food tips for Valentine
YES, here comes the love month once again! The month of giving flowers, cards, chocolates, etc. Valentine’s Day for KCFAPI employees, is not exclusive for lovers. For them, it is an opportunity to spend quality time with their family. A time to go out with the kids, eat together, bond with each other. It is also during this time that people should consider how to keep their hearts healthy and strong. And one way to ensure this is to watch the food they eat. Hence the questions raised are what to eat and what foods to avoid? Here are some tips that go beyond the basics: Eat less meat or go meatless The American Cancer Society recommends that people limit consumption of processed and red meat. People who eat more red meat have a higher risk of colon, stomach, pancreatic and even breast and prostate cancer. Premenopausal breast cancer has also been linked to processed meats. You don’t have to become a vegetarian; the idea is to put more emphasis on plant foods. Go for fish, poultry or beans instead of red meat. Try veggie sausage or veggie burgers. Don’t drink your calories The calories you drink are more likely to show up on your bathroom scale than the calories you chew. Beverages have a weak effect on satiety cues. Any beverage with calories makes a deposit in your fat cells. One should stick to water or other calorie-free beverages. Diet soft drinks may help if you’re hooked on soda pop. Snack Smart The average Filipino eats three meals and two meriendas a day. What’s changed since the last century is that we are certainly eating more in ounces, in calories, and in calories per ounce (calorie density). Lower calorie density will lower the incidence of obesity. In other words, trade the chips, candies, cookies, and other junk foods for apples, carrots, red pepper slices and other fresh (not dried) fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are key players in lowering calorie density. And if you can afford the calories, think nuts. Nut eaters have a lower risk of heart diseases, in part because the polyunsaturated fats in nuts help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Whenever you can, try to get extra fruits and vegetables into your day, tuck them into casseroles, sandwiches and pizza and keep them on hand to turn to when you get the munchies. Sip Soup, Not Salt Salt raises blood pressure, which boosts the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Nevertheless, the food industry keeps dumping salt into our food, especially restaurant foods. Soup is one of the worst offenders because it crams so much sodium- roughly 1,000 mg per serving. It is advisable to make your own soup, so, you can use much less salt and more vegetables than in canned soup or those served in restaurants. Finish With Fruits For many people, dessert is the time to splurge. Many proudly finish off their grilled salmon, broccoli, and salad with chocolate cheesecake, tiramisu, or a leche flan. One must look for fruit on the menu at restaurants. At home, make elegant but simple fruit dessert. That’s not to say you can never have another slice of cheesecake or tiramisu or fudge brownie sundae. Just save it for (really) rare occasions when you can afford an extra 1,000 calories! Happy Valentine and for our Chinese friends Kung Hei Fat Choy! (Jaime M. Talag, M.D.)

Thousands attend Squires leadership training
THOUSANDS of young directors and counselors have participated in the recent youth leadership training that was organized by the Columbian Squires, a youth organization of the Knights of Columbus. The training was held at the Bishop W. Brasseur Hall St. Vincent Gymnasium in Baguio City last January 30, 2010. Among those who participated were the squire circles from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region I or the Ilocos Region. This training is a response to the call of strengthening the Columbian Squires Circle and promoting an increase in the number of Circles in the Luzon Jurisdiction. According to Jose Cuaresma, State Columbian Squires Chairman, the leadership seminar intended to train young leaders to have a working knowledge on Squires Program with special emphasis on the Squires Advancement Program. Cuaresma said the training also aimed to motivate these young leaders to increase enthusiasm in advancing youth awareness and participation in the affairs of the Order and of the Church. The seminar will also be replicated at the Anahaw Island View Resort in Calapan City, Mindoro Oriental on February 27, 2010 where young leaders from Calapan, Mindoro, and Batangas will participate. (Kate Laceda)

Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc.,
an established mutual benefits association is currently looking for:

Auditor Underwriting Supervisor Underwriting Assistant Accounting Staff BRO Staff – Loans, Maturities & Excess Payments BRO Staff – Customer Care
If you are dedicated, service-oriented, and have the promising potential to join us in our continuous drive to provide mutual aid, assistance and excellent service to our members. Kindly send your comprehensive resume’ thru fax number 527-2244 or hand-carry resume’ with a 2x2 photo and transcript of records to:

The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc., is an established and progressive mutual benefits association operating for 51 years, has been highly committed to provide mutual aid and assistance to its members and their immediate families. KC Fraternal firmly believes that the continued progress and success of the association depends to a great extent on its human capital. KC Fraternal also believes that through training and a host of other benefits if coupled with hard work, will help employees and the association, attain their goals and objectives. In our continuous drive to provide excellent service to our members, we are currently on the look-out for individuals with promising potentials. He must be dedicated, service oriented, and willing to undergo training. Our compensation and employee benefits are comparable, if not better than most companies of our same size and nature of business.

KC Family... Our Concern

You may also call 527 – 2223 local 202 for queries and look for Ms. Kristianne.


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 4
February 15 - 28, 2010

The Cross


INSPIRED by Catholic values, Knights of Columbus Insurance continues to protect the financial future of families AS our global economy continued to limp along in 2009, and as the life insurance industry saw lower sales and experienced significant By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson investment losses resulting from the prolonged recession, the Knights of Columbus avoided the worst effects while recording record sales. The reason is simple: We continue to build upon more than a century of commitment to putting faith and families first. Speaking with people unfamiliar with the Knights of Columbus, I am sometimes asked, “Why insurance?” The short answer is that our insurance business follows the same philosophy as our Catholic charitable outreach: “Love of neighbor.” When Father Michael J. McGivney came to New Haven as a young priest, his parishioners worked in dangerous factories. If a father died or was seriously injured, his family would suffer—often terribly. Father McGivney wanted to protect these Catholic families, and he put his principles to work in founding the Knights. True to his vision, the Knights of Columbus has continued its high ethical standards because we view our brother Knights as family. As a result, our fine team of insurance, financial and investment professionals cares for the money of our members as if it were their own. When it comes to shielding his family from financial uncertainty, every family man looks for safety, prudence, protection, quality and sustainable growth of investments. Such thinking isn’t just “smart.” It is the right and moral course of action. Many companies were lured by the promise of quick profits that put their clients’ finances in jeopardy. With a business model based on Catholic principles, however, we weathered the storm of the past year, and it was another financially strong year for the Knights of Columbus. Consider this: Despite the turbulent economy, we ended the year in the black with investment returns in line with market indices. And we did it by investing ethically. We believe it is morally wrong to pay another man to do what

A Strong Shield

we consider immoral. Thus, we will not invest a brother Knight’s money in companies that engage in things such as abortion or pornography, things that go against the fundamental moral values of our Catholic faith. What holds true for us at home should also hold true for our business decisions, and at the Knights of Columbus, it does. This hasn’t hurt business, either. Our rules bar us from investing in companies and industries with immoral products, research or services, yet year after year—and again in 2009—we have made money without compromising our principles. We have been successful for our members in other ways, too. During a year in which 140 banks failed, annuity sales at the Knights of Columbus were up 60 percent, or $180 million—a new record. In 2009, the Order’s overall assets grew by nearly 10 percent. Many insurance companies are cutting dividend rates in 2010; the Knights of Columbus is not. People sometimes ask why we maintain such a large surplus. In times like these, they have stopped asking. The Knights ended 2009 with nearly $75 billion of insurance in force. Once again we earned the top ratings for financial strength from A.M. Best and Standard and Poor’s, as well as certification from the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association for our commitment to ethical business practices. While many in the insurance industry struggled, we saw a flight to the kind of quality that comes from our philosophy: a mission to protect the financial security of Catholic men and their families based on Venerable Michael McGivney’s vision 128 years ago. People can see the difference. In 2009, we had our best year ever with more than $7 billion in sales. As we begin 2010, my pledge to every brother Knight and his family is this: We will stay the course that has proven so successful in the current financial crisis. We will continue to build upon the ethical and financial strength of the Knights of Columbus, and that strength will continue to be a strong shield to protect the financial future of our families. Vivat Jesus!

Luzon Jurisdiction gears for 2010 Walk for Life
OFFICERS of the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction conducted a meeting in preparation for the forthcoming 2010 Walk for Life. The meeting was held last February 5, 2010 at the Fr. George Willmann Center in Intramuros, Manila. The discussion was facilitated by Arsenio Isidro G. Yap, the Luzon State Secretary and joined by Bonifacio B. Martinez, State Program Director. Among those who attended the meeting were some of the State Committee Chairmen and District Deputies from the Archdiocese of Manila and from nearby dioceses. This will be the second Walk for Life of the Luzon Jurisdiction. The first was held in March last year attended by the members of the Order and other church organizations. The Walk for Life is a continuing activity of the Luzon Jurisdiction in order to promote its pro-life and pro-family advocacy. Last year, the resounding statement of the Walk was the strong opposition of the Knights of Columbus to the proposed Reproductive Health Bill otherwise known as House Bill No. 5043. This year the Walk for Life will be held on March 20, 2010 in Manila. (KC News)

KC scholarship qualifying tests held

THE KC Philippines Foundation, Inc. sponsored Bernardo Medina of Brgy. Tungkong Mangga, Bro. anew five housing units for the Knights of Co- Mark Tagalag, North A ANCOP Head, Bro. Bobot lumbus GK Village at Bagong Pangarap GK Site Tungkong Mangga, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan in partnership with Couples for Christ ANCOP TEKTON Foundation, Inc. Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III recently blessed the lot where these five houses will be constructed in honor of Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. Ground-breaking ceremony was led by Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr. and Bro. Alonso L. Tan, KC Foundation Chairman and Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr. (5th from left), Bro. Alonso L. Tan, Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio President respectively. Bernardo Witnessing the rite were Bro. III, Bro. Ruperto P. Somera, together with Brgy. Captain during theMedina (leftmost) and Bro. Jojo Calderon and the residents of GK Village ground-breaking Ruperto P. Somera, KC Founda- of additional 5 houses at the Knights of Columbus GK Village in Tungkong Mangga, tion Treasurer, Brgy. Captain San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

Add’l 5 housing units for KC Village underway

Tabuan, Cluster 7 Head, Bro. Jojo Calderon CFC Community Organizer and the community residing in the area. The construction of the Knights of Columbus Village started in 2008 with the initial 10 houses and late last year another 7 units and a provisional chapel were completed through the "Bayanihan" sorties of the employees of KC Fraternal Group of Companies, Brother Knights from Manila & Bulacan Councils and the Gawad Kalinga community. Funds for the project were provided by the KC Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), the insurance arm of the Order of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. A marker commemorating the first-ever partnership between the KC Philippines Foundation and

THE Knights of Columbus Philippines Foundation, Inc. recently administered the scholarship qualifying examination to 4th year high school students from all over the Philippines. The examination was conducted at the K of C Headquarters in Intramuros, Manila and at KC Fraternal Service Offices in Cabanatuan, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Zamboanga City. A Special Testing center was also set-up in Baguio City to accommodate applicants from the Cordillera Administrative Region. The scholarship is open to graduating high school students with at least 85% general weighted average and whose father is a Knights of Columbus member in good standing. Examination results will be released on the last week of March. (Denise C. Solina) Gawad Kalinga was erected in front of the area within the Bagong Pangarap GK site. The beneficiary-families came from a squatters’ area in Pangarap Village, Caloocan City. Profiling and validation of profiles of these informal settlers were done to help in the screening and selection of the would-be beneficiaries and this was handled by Gawad Kalinga-CFC Metro Manila North Sector "A". (Denise C. Solina)

ACRG Assistant Vice-President passes to eternal reward

JOSELITO E. Mañalac, FLMI, died last January 29, 2010 at his residence in Malolos, Bulacan at 3 a.m. Mañalac, who has been employed with the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) for thirteen (13) years, was the Assistant Vice President of the Actuarial and Customer Relations Group. He died due to heart ailment, leaving behind his wife, Lawaan Mañalac and three children namely, Paolo Marco, Pia Margarita and Patrick Marlon. Sir J.E.M. as he is fondly called by KCFAPI employees was laid to rest last February 3 at the Eternal Gardens. As one family, KCFAPI prays for the eternal repose of his soul. (KCFAPI News)


The Cross

CBCP Monitor

February 15 - 28, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 4

Columbian Squires join YouthPinoy launch
THE Columbian Squires of the Knights of Columbus took part in the recent launching of the YouthPinoy website, a portal for the Filipino Catholic Youth. The event happened last January 16, 2010 at the Plaza Mayor of the University of Santo Tomas in España, Manila. The Columbian Squires, headed by District Deputy Ramon Sanchez were in-charge of the Security Committee during the launch. Along with him were members and officers of the Columbian Squires namely; Julius Ceasar Espejo, Roel De Guzman, Joseph Vicente, Mark Anthony R. Lodrigito, Eduardo B. Jason, Rodolfo Y. Manumbas, Jose S. Pangan Jr., Fernan O. Dealca, Paulo P. Gatdula, Jimwell S. Sales, John Paul V. dela Cruz and Jason P. Gonzales. Rey Reyes, a Red Cross volunteer and a member of the Luzon Squires, also participated. He was in-charge of the First Aid committee during the launch. Meanwhile, Luzon State Deputy Alonso L. Tan also came to witness the launching. He also had a small talk with the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams. Adams was the main celebrant of the Eucharistic celebration during the launch that was concelebrated by CBCP Youth Commission Chair, Bishop Joel Baylon and Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Chair on Lay Apostolate Bishop Rolando Tirona along with 12 priests, 10 of them Dominicans. YouthPinoy is an alliance of young Filipinos who bear witness to their Catholic faith through creative means of expression published in the World Wide Web. The stand of the group is best described by their battle cry "Winning the World through the Word." (KC News)

THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) has spearheaded a voters’ education forum last February 3, 2010 at the Mt. Carmel Shrine in New Manila, Quezon City. The seminar was facilitated by Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento. Sarmiento talked about the topic “Celebrating Change and Faith map 2010.” He also demonstrat-

KCFAPI holds voters’ education forum
ed the functions of the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) machine. The forum was hosted and primarily participated in by Council 3695 members. Dignitaries who came were Fr. Arnold Boemhe, OCD; Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI) President Antonio B. Borromeo and FBG Vice President Joseph P. Teodoro.

FBG holds service training in Palawan
THE Fraternal Benefits Group conducted a fraternal service training at the St. Joseph Parish in Brooke's Point, Palawan last January 28-29. The main objective of the service training is to orient the newly appointed fraternal counselors on the recent developments and products of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI). Among the topics discussed were the products of KCFAPI such as the Gold Series Plan, a pesodenominated single-pay ten-year endowment plan, Fraternal Accidental Death Benefits (FADB); Special Plan for Elderly Knights (SPEK) and Council Mortuary Benefit Plan (CMBP) The role of the KCFAPI as a mutual benefit association was also tackled during the said service training. Officials from the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI) such as Joseph P. Teodoro, Vice-President of the Fraternal Benefits Group and Gari San Sebastian, Manager of the Fraternal Benefits Services, attended the activity. Luzon State Deputy Alonso L. Tan also graced the event. (KCFAPI News)

Gari M. San Sebastian, Manager of the Fraternal Benefits Services Department; Ronnie Infante, Senior IT Manager of the Management Information Systems (MIS); Grand Knight Jess Laxamana; Bro. Ramon Rodrigo, District Deputy of Council 3675 and KCFAPI Board of Trustee also graced the event. There were also some groups and congregations who participated in the forum namely, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV); Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC); Mt. Carmel Brothers and Fathers; Carmelite nuns; Daughters of Mary Leuca; Pompeii Sisters; Pastorelle Sisters and the Sisters of the Divine Savior. According to San Sebastian, many technical questions were raised during the forum. Along with Sarmiento, Comelec NCR Director Michael Dioneda, Ryan Rene Jornada, Gerard Ceballos, Tony Villason and Aya Suyat also attended the forum. (KCFAPI News)

KCFAPI holds Life Insurance Agency Management Seminar
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc. (KCFAPI) held a life insurance agency management seminar in cooperation with the Insurance Institute of the Philippines, Inc. (IIAP). The seminar ran from Feb. 9 to Feb. 12, 2010. This is in line with the GEAR (Get Everyone Achieve Records) 5 program of the Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) for the year 2010. Twenty four (24) participants consisting of the five (5) fraternal benefit associates, four (4) team leaders and fifteen (15) area managers who have not taken the live-in course when it was offered 12 years ago attended the seminar. The course which included recruitment, training and supervision of fraternal counselors were taken up during the 4-day exercise. The main speaker was Orlando “Orly” Javier, a professional trainor, free-lance writer, sales management consultant and an erstwhile head of sales of a multinational life insurance company. He is a faculty member of the Insurance Institute of Asia and the Pacific and the Ateneo Institute for Pastoral Development. Javier is a member of the Life Underwriters Association of the Philippines, of which he was a past President. Bro. Antonio B. Borromeo and Sis. Ma. Theresa G. Curia, KCFAPI President and Executive Vice President, respectively, were the commencement speakers on its last day, Feb. 12, 2010. (KCFAPI News)

KC Mindanao to spearhead another March for Life
THE Knights of Columbus Mindanao Jurisdiction particularly in Davao City will spearhead, for the second year, a “March for Life” on March 20, 2010. As the lead organization, the ‘March’ is in cooperation with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Parish Pastoral Councils, Religious Organizations, Lay leaders, Universities, Colleges and High Schools, Pro-life Advocates, Phil. National Police (PNP), Phil. National Red Cross (PNRC), Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), Members of the Cler-

gy, Seminarians, Columbian Squires, and the Knights of Columbus. On Feb. 5 meeting of the Execom, Dr. Mike T. Manalaysay, President of ACLAIM categorically gave his assurance of support. ACLAIM, or the Archdiocesan Council of Lay Apostolate and Integrated

Movement, is the umbrella organization of all the Catholic Organizations in the Archdiocese of Davao. This was revealed by SK Hernando Jordan, State Secretary of the Mindanao Jurisdiction. Last year’s celebration saw more than three thousand participants who marched from Sta. Ana Ave. (fronting Holy Cross of Davao College) to San Pedro Cathedral for the celebration of

the Holy Eucharist followed by talks on Pro-life. The massive campaign for more participation is being coordinated by the K of C District Deputy Round Table every Friday until its completion, said SK Jordan. He is confident that 60% of the 5,000 equivalent to three thousand (3,000) strong KC members in Davao City will participate in the event. (KC News)

Fr. Jose Cecilio J. Magadia, S.J. (Father Provincial, Society of Jesus), a member of KCFAPI’s founder members committee with KCFAPI officers and employees during his visit to KCFAPI home office last February 10, 2010.

The blessing of Cartagena Condominium led by Fr. Steve Villanueva and attended by Keys Realty Officers, KCFAPI Officers and other unit owners was held last January 31, 2010.

The Central Luzon Conquerors (CLC) conducted its first area meeting last Jan. 16, 2010 at the Village Inn Hotel and Restaurant in Cabanatuan City. This was attended by 55 fraternal counselors from Nueva Ecija, Aurora, and Pangasinan. Area Manager Manuel Naldoza is seen in photo giving some pointers to the group.

Ms. Ivy Tee, the guest trainer teaching the participants how to make chocolate candies (a timely treat this Valentine season) during the SICAP training seminar held last February 1 at the KC Youth Livelihood Center in Intramuros, Manila.

Certagena Condominuim located in 2602 Bagong Diwa St. Brgy. Poblacion , Makati City.

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