Purification of the clergy topic of final Friday Lenten meditation in Vatican


‘The Cross Is Part of the Ascent toward the Height of Jesus Christ’


The News Supplement of Couples for Christ


Condoms distributed in RP, foreign funded—HLI official says
AN official of Human Life International has pointed an accusing finger at some countries as behind the Department of Health’s massive distribution of condom in the country. Executive Director of Human Life International-Pro Life Missionary Dr. Ligaya Acosta said the DOH’s eight million dollar budget for condom distribution proved that international communities have been supporting this motive. “The fact that [Sec.] Cabral is ready to imFunded / A6

Cardinal urges Catholics to support Alay Kapwa collection
MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has encouraged all Filipino Catholics to support the Alay Kapwa collection, as the Church ushers in the Holy Week with the celebration of Palm Sunday. In a statement, Rosales said contributions collected on Alay Kapwa Sunday are used to support the various programs of the Church. For the archdiocese, the collection proceeds go to the disaster-preparedness fund drive of
Collection / A6

March 29 - April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

Php 20.00

Live a life of truth, pope tells faithful
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP

AMID the backdrop of unrelenting attacks on his person in the resurgence of sexual abuse scandals involving the clergy, Pope Benedict ushered in the Holy Week celebration with a solemn Mass at St. Peter’s Square, telling Christians to walk the path of Jesus, “towards the life according to the truth.”
The Holy Father said as Jesus walks he leads us to journey with him… “to the courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of dominant opinions; to the patience that stands up for and supports the other.” Unjust accusations of cover-up and failure to administer sanctions to erring priests have been hurled at the pope in the light of sex abuse scandals in Europe and America. Pope Benedict, on March 19 As Catholics solemnly enters the Holy Week observance, pilgrims flock to different pilgrimage sites throughout the country in the spirit of penance by issued a pastoral letter to Irish visiting churches or retracing the steps of Jesus through the Stations of the Cross. One of these is the Kamay ni Hesus (Hands of Jesus) Shrine, a 292Catholics, wherein he condemned steps hill with life size figures depicting the 14 stations of the cross, in Lucban, Quezon strongly the abuse of children as “sinful and criminal.” youth, at St. Peter’s Square. The pastoral letter came as a response to a detailed report of the study of an The Holy Father reflected on the aspect of following Jesus Christ, which he independent commission in Ireland documenting cases of sexual abuse com- said clearly expressed the theme of Palm Sunday celebration. mitted by Church officials for years. “He leads us to availability to the suffering, to the abandoned; to the loyalty The pope did not mention the issue in his homily on Palm Sunday, which that stands with the other even when the situation makes it difficult…to the incidentally, was also the 25th anniversary of World Youth Day. goodness that does not let itself be disarmed not even by ingratitude. He leads "Being Christian is a journey, or better: it is a pilgrimage, it is a going with us to love… to God,” the pope said. Jesus Christ,” the pope said to the thousands of people, majority of whom were Truth / A6

For OFWs and the sick, a ‘Visita Iglesia’ online
DON’T have the chance or enough time for the traditional “Visita Iglesia” this Holy Week? Do it online. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines reached out to the digital generation again with the launch of their “online Visita Iglesia” to help them reach people with the Scripture. The website, a creation of the CBCP Media Office, allows faithful to visit seven famous churches in Metro Manila where they can carry out the fourteen Stations of the Cross. It may be accessed at www.cbcponline.net Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, CBCP Media Director, said the portal is only intended as an “alternative” on an “extreme situation” that someone cannot the visit the church for some valid reason. “There is no liturgical activity that is not communitarian. But there are exceptions such as in the case of OFWs working in a non-Catholic country,” explained Quitorio. “For the sake of our brothers and sisters who are out of the country, the OFWs and the others, or those who are sick and homebound, we are offering this online visita iglesia,” Quitorio said. The Visita Iglesia is a traditional Filipino custom of visiting at least seven churches on Holy Thursday. Among the churches featured in the portal include the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church in Intramuros; Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo; San Lorenzo Ruiz Church and Santo Niño de Tondo Parish in Tondo, Manila; Nuestra Señora de Remedios in Malate, Manila; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine in Parañaque City. “All one has to do is click on the churches presented in the web pages,” said Quitorio. One may also click on the audio and accompany the praying of the station of the cross, he added, or simply read the text of the Via Crucis. (Roy Lagarde)

Sex education may ruin moral values—bishop
A CATHOLIC bishop said the Church still wants to keep sex educa- (STDs) in the country such as HIV/AIDS. tion programs out of schools, despite promises by proponents that “We should educate our students. When you have sex education, they would curb abortion and AIDS. you are opening their minds on how to do it Archbishop Oscar Cruz, former president the proper way,” said newly appointed DepEd of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Secretary Mona Valisno. Philippines, said that the programs would “It is a very important topic that school chilonly increase sexual activity among teens, not dren should be educated about. As an educadecrease it. tion policy, we really need to do this, whether “Sex education will lead not only to sexual in elementary or secondary [level], it should promiscuity and sexual excesses, but it could be done,” she said. affect the values of the youth,” he said. “Sex awareness” lessons are currently inThe Department of Education yesterday recorporated in different subjects under public, newed its intention to go full blast on teaching elementary and high school curriculums. sex education in all public schools to deal with DepEd officials, however, stressed that the the country’s “population explosion.” lessons only put emphasis on topics about huThe agency has also been concerned about man reproductive system, hygiene, ovulation, a sharp rise in underage pregnancies and the reproduction, and birth spacing methods. rising cases of sexually transmitted diseases Archbishop Oscar Cruz The health department had long been flip-

flopping on its plan to teach sex education in schools due to the Church’s strong position against it. But Cruz said that sex education, to be effective, should start from parents and this should happen in their regular interaction with their children at home. “Sex education especially with its human dimension and moral consideration are better left to the parents of the students,” said Cruz, archbishop-emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan. He added that if the government really wants such program for the school children, it should give its modules instead to the parents, and let them do the task which is proper for their children. “After all they should be the first and best teachers of their own children in such fundamental matter as human sexuality,” he said. (CBCPNews)

MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales together with other prelates led the nation in praying the rosary evening of March 27, in observance of Earth Hour. In a message released in time for the global observance of the event, the Cardinal urged the faithful to care for the environment, and observe an alternative lifestyle that would preserve the earth’s resources in view of future generations. Failure of today’s people to care for the earth’s resources is akin to stealing the future of the coming generations, the cardinal said. The recitation of the rosary was aired live at Radio Veritas, the archdiocese’s radio station, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco led the 1st Sorrowful Mystery from 8:30-8:36 p.m. followed by a reflection from Cardinal Rosales. The 2nd mystery was led by Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles at 8:438:48. Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle gave the reflection. Antipolo auxiliary Bishop Francisco de Leon led the 3rd Mystery from 9:16-9:21, followed by a reflection from Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani.

Prelates lead nation in prayer Bishop dismayed over dubious party list groups as world observes Earth Hour
The 4th mystery was led by Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros at 9:05-9:10 p.m. The reflection was given by Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo. At 9:16-9:21 p.m. Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez lead the 5th mystery. Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio provided the reflection. Meanwhile, in another Earth Hour message, Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso lamented people’s current lifestyle, saying that “our way of living make us hostile to our environment.” “Our mother earth has been suffering and writhing with pain due to our folly we have inflicted on Earth. Due to our greed or perhaps due to our disregard, we have stripped her bare of the forest cover, cutting down trees with abandon,” he said. The bishop called on the people to act decisively, by changing one’s lifestyle, before it is too late. Earth Hour is a global initiative begun in 2007 by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as a concrete action against global warming. For one hour, individuals, businesses, governments and communities are enjoined to turn off lights to show their support for action on climate change. (CBCPNews) MANILA Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo expressed disgust as influential persons have found a relatively easy manner of becoming lawmakers through the party list system. Pabillo who also heads the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the party list system was provided for in the 1987 Constitution to make marginalized sectors representation at the House of Representatives and guarantee their participation in lawmaking. “Ang nakakalungkot ay ang mga elitista ang nakakapasok and naluluklok sa Congreso sa pamamagitan ng party list groups,” (It is really sad that

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

it is the elite who get the chance to serve in Congress through party list system) Pabillo told CBCPNews. He called on the Commission on Elections to release the names of various party lists nominees to the media so voters can immediately look into them. Pabillo also called on the Supreme Court to immediately act on cases pertaining to the party list groups. Earlier, various cause-oriented and party list groups protested the accreditation of party list groups claiming to represent security guards and transport workers as its nominees included former lawmakers, local government politicians and a cabinet secretary. He called on Filipino voters to work together and insulate the system from traditional politics. In a related development, Pabillo said he finds the present crop of Comelec officials wanting in transparency. “They seem to lack engagement with the general public,” he said. The prelate said Comelec officials do not respond properly to concerns being put forward by the citizenry. He added that with the introduction of the new Automated Election System, it should be expected the general public will have a lot of concerns that need immediate reply and assurance from Comelec officials. (Melo M. Acuña)

Illustration by Bladimer Usi


World News

CBCP Monitor
March 29 - April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

On 25th World Youth Day, Pope Benedict renews call for youth evangelization
More than 70,000 attend WYD meeting with Pope in St. Peter’s Square
VATICAN CITY, March 26, 2010—Thursday evening’s celebration of World Youth Day (WYD) 2010 at the Vatican drew a staggering number of young people to the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica. For nearly an hour, the Holy Father held the attention of the crowd, teaching that love is the key to inheriting eternal life and that life is meant to be lived “all the way.” Entering the square aboard the popemobile to the light of thousands of yellow and white prayer candles, the Holy Father took the stage just after 8:30 p.m. to orchestral music accompanied by a chorus and chants of “Ben-e-det-to,” which is “Benedict” in Italian as well as “blessed.” This year the World Youth Day celebration is being held on the diocesan level, but it will be held on an international level in Madrid in 2011.

VATICAN CITY, March 28, 2010—The Holy Father welcomed the 25th World Youth Day in his remarks before the Angelus in a St. Peter's Square full of flags and banners from all over the world. From behind the altar at the entrance of the Vatican basilica where he had just celebrated Palm Sunday Mass, the Pope recalled the first World Youth Day and John Paul II's call for youth to be witnesses to the truth for their generation. Noting the origins of World Youth Day (WYD) within the United Nation's "International Year of Youth" in 1985, Benedict

Possible JP II miracle has not yet been examined, clarifies Vatican official
VATICAN CITY, March 26, 2010—The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, explained this week that the possible miraculous healing of a French nun attributed to the intercession of John Paul II has not yet been examined by the Vatican Medical Commission. Cardinal Saraiva made his statements to a group of reporters in Rome in reference to reports published a month ago in Poland claiming that the Vatican commission had dismissed the miracle supposedly experienced by Sister Marie Simon Pierre. The cardinal said the miracle could not have been rejected “because the doctors have not examined it yet.” The nun had been suffering from Parkinson's, a degenerative disease of the nervous system, since 2001, but has testified that she was cured in the night of June 2, 2005 after praying to John Paul II, whose final years were also marked by the disease. “All I can tell you is that I was sick and

XVI remembered the invitation from Pope John Paul II during the inaugural celebration for young people to “profess their faith in Christ who 'has taken the cause of man upon himself.'" Pope Benedict said, "Today, I renew this call to the new generation, to give testimony with the meek and luminous strength of the truth, so that the men and the women of the third millennium don't lack the most authentic model: Jesus Christ." The Holy Father hosted a celebration for WYD 2010 in the square on Thursday evening at which more than 70,000 young people were in attendance. (CNA)

© www.secretsydney.com.au

Pope John Paul II

now I am cured. It is for the church to say and to recognize whether it is a miracle,” Sr. Marie Simon Pierre told reporters in 2007. The procedure for approving a miracle through the intercession of a specific person involves first “that it be approved by a Medical Commission, which certifies that the event is scientifically unexplainable and that the healing is instantaneous, complete and lasting,” the cardinal explained.

Before beginning the final examination, “the Congregation usually gets the opinion of two doctors beforehand” and keeps the information confidential. However, in the case of the French nun, one of the doctors expressed doubt and “the news came out,” the cardinal said. He added that even so, this does not mean that the miracle has been rejected, but rather, as is usually the case, the Congregation will ask for a third opinion before beginning the official examination. If the evaluation by the doctors is positive, the miracle will be evaluated by a Theological Commission, which will study whether or not the event is due to the intercession of John Paul II. Then, it must pass analysis by the 30 members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who are like the “Parliament” of the Congregation. Asked if this might delay the date of John Paul II’s beatification, Cardinal Saraiva said, “It’s not a case of delaying because a date was never set in the first place.” (CNA)

Pilgrims in England to walk 120 miles, bear life-sized cross
LONDON, England, March 25, 2010—During the upcoming Holy Week, pilgrims from multiple areas in England will walk 120 miles around the country carrying a life-sized wooden cross. The experience offers participants an opportunity to rejuvenate spiritually and is “intense and rewarding.” The annual pilgrimage, called Student's Cross, is the oldest in the nation and will bring together more that 250 people. The pilgrims will set out on March 27 from 10 different parts of the country and convene at the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk on April 2, Good Friday. The 10 groups will remain in the area to celebrate the Easter Vigil. “Pilgrimage is an intense and rewarding experience,” said Dave Stanley, Student's Cross 2010 director on Tuesday. “It is more relevant today than it has ever been for those prepared to face its challenges.” Reflecting on the pressures and worries associated with modern life, Stanley noted that the event has spiritual benefits to it. “Going on pilgrimage is a fantastic way to strip back to the basics, examine the fundamental questions in life and consider what is really important,” Stanley said. The pilgrimage can also offer a time for vocation discernment. According to Stanley, it “enables people to think deeply about the direction they are taking, how they can see their role in the world and how God can play a part in their lives. It also offers a unique way to celebrate Easter— both a chance to recharge your spiritual batteries and a crash course in community living.” Though the title of the pilgrimage bears the word 'student,' it is intended for those of all ages and has been since its inception in 1948. “We are an immensely varied group of people,” the director noted. “From the very young to the very experienced. From people who feel secure in their faith as Christians, to people who have simply found that walking with friends restores them in some way. We are students, parents, teenagers and children, people with jobs and people without. Fit and unfit, wildly enthusiastic and apparently reluctant. What we have in common is that we find this pilgrimage an invaluable way of connecting with what is most important in our lives.” (CNA)

After addresses by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome and a young girl welcoming the Pope and thanking him for his presence, the Holy Father was asked some questions regarding the theme of this year’s 25th anniversary message for WYD2010, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Before responding, he told the multitude of 75,000, “Thank you from (the bottom of) my heart for your presence, for this marvelous witness of faith, to want to live in communion with Jesus, and your enthusiasm to follow Jesus and live well.” The Holy Father went on to teach that the keys to living well and attaining eternal life are held in the Ten Commandments, the "rules of love" through which we are taught to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. The Commandments, he said, "indicate the way of love with these essential points: the family, as foundation of society; life, to be respected as a gift from God; the order of sexuality, as the relation between man and woman and, finally, the truth." God has a "precise project" for each person to find this "way of love," said the Pope, and that regardless of one's vocation, whether it is to be a scholar or a laborer, "everything is important in the eyes of God: it's beautiful if it is lived ‘all the way’ with that love that truly redeems the world." “We ask the Lord to help us to find his will and to live it with joy!” exclaimed the Pope. Offering advice on how to advance along the "way," Benedict XVI listed, "listening, responding, entering into believing communities, communion with Christ in the sacraments ... finally, doing, carrying out the words of faith that they may become the strength of my life.” (CNA)

Task force reaches out to Spanish-speaking Catholics
RAPID CITY, S.D, March 27, 2010—In May 2008, after spending four months studying Spanish in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Polish immigrant Father Janusz Korban was assigned special responsibility for Hispanic ministry in the Diocese of Rapid City. Bishop Blase Cupich appointed him and Deacon Raul Daniel to be co-chairs of the new Hispanic Ministry Task Force which works to meet the current needs of Hispanic people and makes plans for the future. After the task force was formed, members immediately implemented a weekly Spanish language Mass and reconciliation schedule. “We found a need for a priest to say Mass and hear confessions,” said Father Korban. To make Mass more accessible, task force members look for ways to incorporate aspects of the Mexican culture. One method of doing this is pinpointing Mass celebrations important in Mexico. “Most of us immediately think of the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration. Many people come to the Guadalupe Mass because that is an import day in their tradition,” explained Deacon Daniel. “Another important celebration is the Day of the Dead (All Souls Day). Even those who do not attend regular Masses will make it a point to come to these.” Task force member Liz McCarthy, Blessed Sacrament Church, Rapid City, has been working with Hispanic people in the diocese for 10 years. McCarthy teaches baptism classes in Spanish, visits the jail, and helps with the parish hospital ministry. “I want to make the Hispanic people aware that the church really cares for
Spanish / A6

Vatican Commission calls for release of Chinese Bishops
VATICAN CITY, March 25, 2010—A Vatican commission established by Benedict XVI is affirming its prayer that bishops and priests imprisoned in China will be released and allowed to exercise their ministry. This was one of the affirmations from a three-day meeting held by the commission the Pope established in 2007 to study the complexities of the Church in China. One of the emphases proposed by the group was the issue of formation. Benedict XVI also took up this topic when he met with the participants at the end of their discussions. “The difficulties that emerge in the field of formation and new pastoral requirements— connected with the task of evangelizing Chinese society which is so dynamic and complex—represent considerable challenges,” the final communiqué affirmed. The Holy Father “underlined the need of ensuring solid formation, based on friendship with Christ, for everyone preparing for the priesthood or consecrated life.” He said this would serve as a guarantee of success, personally and pastorally. The commission also emphasized the path of unity within the Catholic Church in China. “Progress made in response to the Pope’s call for authentic ecclesial communion was noted with satisfaction, a communion which

is not expressed without a personal commitment to searching for truth and spiritual reconciliation,” the communiqué noted. “At the same time, the participants expressed the unanimous hope that all bishops in China may become increasingly committed to favoring the growth of unity, faith and life among all Catholics, avoiding gestures—such as, for example, sacramental celebrations, episcopal ordinations and participation in meetings—that run counter to communion with the Pope who appointed them pastors, and create difficulties—sometimes severe difficulties—in the bosom of their respective ecclesial communities.” (Zenit)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 - April 11, 2010

News Features


Purification of the clergy topic of final Friday Lenten meditation in Vatican
VATICAN CITY, March 27, 2010—Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa dedicated his final Lenten meditation to the necessity of “an internal purification of the Church, starting with its clergy.” He emphasized the importance of love for Christ, fidelity and repentance in bringing about change. The call to conversion for those who are already within the Church is a different one from that of non-believers and neophytes and one that “concerns us closely,” explained Fr. Cantalamessa to Pope Benedict XVI and clergy present in the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel on Friday morning. This call, the Capuchin friar said, “resounds in each of the seven letters to the Churches” in the Book of Revelation. Drawing from the letter to the Ephesians, the Preacher to the Papal Household pointed out that the call to conversion incites a return to “the primitive fervor and love for Christ,” a return to the enthusiasm and grace of the moment they realized they were called to God’s service. Another component exists in the letter to the Church of Smyrna, said the Capuchin Father, “Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” “Fidelity!” he exclaimed, recalling the Holy Father’s theme for the Year for Priests: “Fidelity of Christ and Fidelity of the Priest.” He specified that to this fidelity is opposed “the betrayal of the trust of Christ and the Church, double life, failing in duties... most of all regarding celibacy and chastity” and added, “We know from painful experience how much damage can be done to the Church and souls by this type of infidelity.” This, said the priest, “possibly the hardest test” for the contemporary Church. Referring to the letter to the people of Laodicea, he pointed out the call for a “lukewarm” Church to “be zealous and repent.” The preacher said he believes that this “’lukewarmness’ of a part of the clergy, the lack of zeal and apostolic inertia” serves to “weaken the Church more even than the occasional scandals of some priests... “Christ suffers more than us for humiliation of his priests and the affliction of his Church,” but, he added, “if he permits it, it’s because he knows the good that can spring from it, in view of a greater purity of his Church.” He reflected on the response to the current trials, “If there is humility, the Church will emerge more resplendent than ever from this war!” Fr. Cantalamessa concluded his meditation by saying that Christ’s invitation “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest,” is today directed to his priests. He added, “The most beautiful fruit of this Year for Priests will be a return to Christ, a renewal of our friendship with him. In his love, the priest will find all of which he is humanly deprived and ‘one hundred times more,’ according to his promise.” (CNA/EWTN News)
© www.nihilobstat.info

Holy Father accepts no excuses Pilgrims to Shroud of Turin will see a ‘mirror of the Gospel,’ for clerical abuse, affirms cardinal Cardinal Poletto says
VATICAN CITY, March 25, 2010—The presiHis letter is “imbued with a sincere spirit of dent of the Italian bishops’ conference, Carcontrition and the unquestionable testimony dinal Angelo Bagnasco, remarked this week of the Church, which is not on the defensive that in the Holy Father's pastoral letter to when she must take upon herself the ‘conIrish Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI teaches the sternation,’ the ‘sense of betrayal,’ and the faithful to not fear the truth about the sexual ‘remorse’ for what some of her ministers abuse of minors by priests. Likewise the Ponhave done.” tiff underscores his firm decision to confront “Benedict XVI leaves no room for uncerthis issue without excuses or cover-ups. tainty or minimization,” Cardinal Bagnasco Cardinal Bagnasco made his statements at said, adding that “the clear initiatives the a meeting of the Italian bishops’ executive Holy See has given for years confirm the committee, which took place this week. The determination to arrive at the truth with the cardinal said, “The more attempts there are necessary means, once the facts have been to disparage his pure and kind character, the sorted out.” more the People of God view the Pope with “At this present time in which she feels huemotion and pride. For this reason too, we miliation, the Church learns from the Pope to renew our strongest relationship, our deepest not fear the truth, even when it is painful, to affections, and our full and solid communot hide it or cover it up. However, this does nion" with the Church. not mean enduring strategies to discredit her In his letter, the cardinal recalled, the Pope in general,” the cardinal said. confronts the painful truth about the clerical Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco “It is appropriate, then, that we all return sex abuse crisis and notes that the Church to calling things by their names at all times, must not fall back on the "tendency to drudge up excuses for the to indentify evil in all of its gravity and in the multiplicity of its actions of certain clergy members.” manifestations,” he added. (CNA)

Bishop urges church groups to organize against condom distribution
MANILA, March 25, 2010—Saying that organizing protests are the only way to pressure the government to stop its condom distribution and sex education programs, a Catholic bishop has urged church organizations to unite and make their voices heard. Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said in a radio interview that he sees street protests an effective way to make the government stop its distribution of condoms and the plans to teach sex education to students. “Church Organizations like Knights of Columbus, Couples for Christ, Catholic Women’s League and the Parents and Teachers Association should unite. This (government policy) is destroying our country. We have the right to protest. Let’s take it to the streets,” Bastes said. At least 3,000 people participated in an earlier simultaneous rally organized by the Knights of Columbus throughout the country in protest of what it dubbed as a conspiracy against life.

Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD

Bastes, who is a member of CBCP Permanent Council also asked CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar to issue a directive to the Council of the Laity to mobilize church organizations against condom distribution of the Department of Health (DoH) and sex education of the Department of Education (DepEd). The bishop criticized the government as promoting a contraceptive mentality among Filipino youth instead of pursuing genuine programs that lead to human development. Meanwhile, Bastes said Filipinos should not believe President Gloria Arroyo for she has no particular standpoint on the issues. “She said before that her administration would only support natural family planning. But look at her now she is already in favor of condom distribution. She has lost people’s trust. As president, she has no more credibility,” Bastes said. (Kate Laceda/CBCPNews)

VATICAN CITY, March 25, 2010—Cardinal Severino Poletto, custodian of the Holy Shroud and Archbishop of Turin, was in Rome on Thursday morning to officially present plans and progress at a press conference for the Shroud's exposition this spring. He emphasized the "spiritual" benefits that will be provided to pilgrims through their contemplation of the image. The famous Shroud, which is believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus, will be on display in the Cathedral of Turin from April 10 - May 20 of this year. Msgr. Giuseppe Ghiberti, president of the archdiocesan commission on the Shroud, said at the press conference that no research would be done on it during the days of the exposition. Speaking about how the exposition will be the first in the new millenium and the first since its restoration in 2002, Cardinal Poletto said it must be remembered that the event should not be seen as "religious tourism," but instead, as "a spiritual and pastoral initiative." "In the Shroud we are able to read all of the marks, all the particulars of the person of Jesus as they are described in the Gospel. It's clear that ... our Christian faith is not found in the Shroud," rather it is based on the "Gospel and the witness of the Apostles who announced Jesus Christ as the only Savior of the world, crucified but, most of all, resurrected." This exposition, he continued, is an "occasion to offer to the Christian faith, not the foundation ... but an aid to meditation, to prayer, to the contemplation of a extraordinary, tragic ... mysterious suffering that, as we believe, corresponds to the suffering of Christ." Cardinal Poletto pointed out that regardless of the fact that there is no "certainty" about the origin of the linen, and even though no one has been able to reproduce it artificially, "our faith ... our prayer ... our meditation is aided by the contemplation of this image." He repeated the words of Venerable John Paul II, who said that the Shroud is "the mirror of the Gospel" account, including its evidence of whipping, nails and blood. "From a spiritual point of view it's important that we offer to the faithful the opportunity to see and to venerate this mysterious image," the cardinal added. The Holy Father is one of over 1.3 million people, including 8,000 Americans, who will be in Turin to see the Shroud in the nearly two months of exposition. On May 2, among other events with the youth and local clergy, he will visit the Cathedral of Turin, where he will give what Cardinal Poletto called "a much awaited reflection" on the passion of Christ. The cardinal expressed gratitude for the "great gift" that Pope Benedict XVI will be making to the archdiocese and the city by visiting in person. (CNA/EWTN News)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Massive voter disenfranchisement imminent—study
MANILA, March 17, 2010—The elevenhour voting period on May 10 would not be enough to accommodate all voters, a study conducted by a poll watchdog revealed. Using computer simulation, the study by a convener of Kontra Daya pointed to a “very high likelihood” of massive voter disenfranchisement. Prof. Giovanni Tapang of the UP’s National Institute of Physics simulated a queue of voters using SimPy (Simulation in Python), a programming language package, basing the steps on what a voter and the Board of Election Inspectors should do according to the general instructions issued by the Commission on Elections. There are more than 50.7 million registered voters for the upcoming elections, with voters from more than 329,000 precincts expected to line up at 76,000 clustered precincts. There will also be one precinct count optical scan machine and three BEI members for an average of 1,000 voters at every clustered precinct. “The whole voting process will take 11 hours,” Tapang said. “The simulation shows that the minimum rate of arrival should be at least 95 voters per hour to reach 1,000 by 6 p.m.” Upon arriving at the polling area, the first thing a voter should do is to look up his name and sequence number. “A voter should take no longer than 15 minutes to search for his name out of a long list,” Tapang said. “If he takes longer than this, chances are that the queue will pile up and not everyone will be able to vote.” If a voter manages to find his name and sequence number, the voter has to approach the BEI and the support staff to have his identity verified—a process that should take 2.6 minutes at the most ideal conditions, he said. And after successful verification, he

added, the voter will be directed to the BEI chairperson, who is the only person who can issue the ballot, Tapang said. Tapang’s simulation also showed that the BEI chairperson has a maximum period of 40 seconds to verify from the voter’s finger that he has not cast his vote yet, give him the ballot, instruct him on how to fill it up, give him a folder and have him sign several times. The voter should take up no longer than 10 minutes o fill up his ballot. “If the whole procedure takes longer than that, the number of voters unable to vote beyond 6 p.m. drastically increases,” he said. “Applying these thresholds all at the same time and running the simulation, we get results showing that more than half of the 1,000 voters lining up at the clustered precinct will not be able to finish by 6 p.m.,” Tapang said. (CBCPNews)

CBCP exec to presidentiables: Bare plans on migration
MANILA, March 19, 2010—An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on presidentiables to have a concrete platform of governance in alleviating the plight of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), said that most of presidential aspirants do not show enthusiasm in ensuring the rights and welfare of the OFWs and their families. He said Filipinos abroad want to know whether the next president will have programs that address economic woes, particularly lack of job opportunities in the Philippines and the complete protection of the OFW’s rights and welfare.
© Kate Laceda / CBCP Media

Fr. Edwin Corros, CS

Corros said the country’s next leaders must solve the cause of the woes that people are facing and have forced millions of Filipinos to leave their families to try their luck overseas. “We’ve been repeating the same thing from previous leaders up to the present; the challenge is still the same,” he said. (CBCPNews)


A season of purification

CBCP Monitor
March 29 - April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

GLOBAL news organizations hollered stories like “Pope opens Holy Week amid sex abuse crisis” and variations on the resurgent theme of a church put to shame by pedophiles among its ranks. The New York Times have been singled out to have said the loudest when it splattered on its front page last week the story that the Holy Father had prevented sanctions against Fr. Lawrence Murphy, a Milwaukee priest who abused about 200 deaf children several decades ago. Another blew up the story in London that people, but actually only a few dozens, gathered outside Westminster Cathedral to demand the Pope’s resignation. In Austria, the media unearthed several cases in recent weeks which moved the archbishop of Vienna to create a Church-funded independent commission to look into Austrian abuse claims. In Switzerland, President Doris Leuthard is reportedly planning to establish a central registry of pedophile priests to prevent them from coming into contact with more children. In Rome, the media drumbeats stories about the Pope’s handling of sex abuse cases when he was archbishop of Munich and when he headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was the archbishop of Munich when a priest, who was later convicted of abusing minors, was allowed to resume pastoral work with children even while undergoing therapy for pedophilia. At the other side of the fence, noted Catholic scholar George Weigel wrote that the media portrayal that the Catholic Church is “the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young” is not true, because “by empirical measure, the safest environment for young people in America today” is the Catholic Church—where recent studies show that 2% of sex abuse offenders were catholic priests between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s and thereafter seems to have virtually disappeared except some 6 cases of clerical sexual abuse in 2009. Be that as it may, but Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household—and of the recent 2nd National Congress of the Clergy in Manila—is of the belief that the Church and its members is called to purify themselves and, if there is humility, then “the church will end up more resplendent than ever from this war.” Well meaning Catholics have looked with disdain on how the media has seem to be ganging up on the church or as Weigel puts it “has taken up the agenda to take the Church down and discredit its moral authority.” But again the holy priest, Fr. Cantalamessa, sees it differently when he said in a Lenten retreat given to the pope and the Roman Curia of late, that “the media’s tenacity—and we have seen it in other cases—in the long run will bring about the opposite effect that they had hoped for.” Indeed, the reform on this underside of priestly life which Canon Law and Church leaders could not do in centuries, the media did in a few years—consciously or otherwise.

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
WITH Holy Week, we mark the end of the Lenten season to enter into the most important mystery of the redemptive work of Christ, which is his passion, death and resurrection, a.k.a the paschal mystery. It’s like we were having a journey or a pilgrimage in Lent toward the most sacred event in our history, after which we will enjoy a period of supreme joy and peace in Easter that extends for some weeks. It’s important that we don’t lose our spiritual bearing as we go through the Holy Week. Now we have to make some special effort to achieve this ideal, since the environment today is so paganized many people prefer to be in the beaches than in churches during Holy Week. The Holy Week is “the” week in the Church calendar. It also should be so in the life of each one of us, believers and followers of Christ. If we go by our faith, it’s the week when we practice the most rigorous of our spirit of penance and sacrifice to match with the very passion and death of Christ on the Cross. Why? Because we can only resurrect with Christ if we also suffer and die with him. St. Paul describes it this way in his Letter to the Romans: “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (6, 5) We have to be familiar with this language of our faith, and in fact make it as our own. That’s why we always need to exercise our faith, and especially as we go through the many events of Holy Week. Our faith is not an on-and-off affair, much less, an optional element. It’s meant to be an abiding thing, the one that guides us all day. Considering it otherwise would actually be a disaster, since without faith we would just be left to our own devices. No matter how smart we are, without faith we will fail to reach our ultimate goal. Our usual problem is that we put our faith often in the mute mode, sometimes thinking that such faith takes us away from reality. Or that it is a bother to our spontaneous desires for fun and action. Hardly anything can be farther than the truth.

Entering the spirit of Holy Week
Faith is the ultimate source of truth. It’s not only what we see or understand that gives us the truth. It’s what God gives us to understand, what he shows us and reveals to us that teaches us the truth. And that’s what faith is. We need to correct this mistaken mentality about faith that sadly is spreading like wild fire especially among the young today. With a handicapped faith, we will fail to realize the eternal value of Christ’s cross, actually good news to all of us, never a wet blanket or a nuisance. Christ’s Cross is that indispensable element that completes and perfects the process of our creation. It’s what gives meaning and direction to our rich spiritual endowments we received in the first stage of our creation in Adam and Eve, making us the image and likeness of God, and with his grace, children of his. Christ’s Cross gathers all the sins of men from the beginning of time up to the end, making us to realize the true and objective malice of our sins that would require God to become man to save us. With the Cross, Christ makes all our sins his own, without committing them, and dies to them so as to allow us to participate in his resurrection. We need to have a good grasp of the situation, and avoid being held captive by a reductive if not childish understanding of the spirit of Holy Week. The Holy Week is the most exciting week of the year. It’s when the fullness of our being gets totally engaged with the dynamics of love Christ our redeemer is offering us. It’s when we are invited to give our all to correspond to the all God gives us. It’s a dance of love involving our whole being and with cosmic dimensions and eternal effects. This is how we have to understand the Holy Week. It’s not just one more week of the year, my dear. We have to be careful with the spiritually blind and deaf attitude that emerges in our society during Holy Week, emptying it of its true religious value.

Lay participation in social change
FOR the past few months now, we have noted a mounting call for “moral regeneration” in our country. Not only do we welcome this; we your pastors are encouraged by the fact that this call has been coming mainly from the laity. You know that we have sounded this call too many times already in the past. Perhaps because this task is expected of us, there has been a tendency to take it for granted that we are also to carry it out by ourselves. One journalist wrote in a commentary recently, “The task of moral regeneration is too big to entrust to religious leaders alone.” We couldn’t agree more. As your pastors, we exercise spiritual and moral leadership as regards our communal and ecclesial life in our parishes and dioceses throughout the country. But we cannot just extend that leadership into the spheres of politics and governance, in business and economics, in the sciences and the mass media, etc., without running the risk of being misconstrued as engaging in power-play or over-extending our sphere of influence beyond our offices. The participation of the laity in moral leadership pertaining to every specific discipline and institution in the Philippine society is most essential, if we want the Gospel and the social teachings of the Church to have a tangible and positive impact at all on our life as a nation. We challenge our Catholic laity, in particular, to take the lead in the task of moral renewal towards a deeper and more lasting change in the Philippine society. We challenge all lay people involved in politics to renounce corruption and bond together in the task of evangelizing politics for effective governance and the pursuit of the common good. We challenge the laity involved in legislation to unite themselves and consciously allow their actions to be guided by the truth of the Gospel and the Christian faith. We urge the Catholic lay people involved in legitimate business to organize themselves and consciously practice their trade with a strong sense of corporate social responsibility informed by the social teachings of the Church. We enjoin all Catholic law enforcers to form associations among themselves that consciously renounce violence, respect basic human rights, and truly work for the preservation of peace and social order. We call upon the Catholic laity involved in social communications and the modern mass media to form networks among themselves that can articulate a genuinely Christian ethics in their practice of their profession. We urge every Catholic lay person to give a concrete expression to Christian discipleship through responsible citizenship. —Year of the Two Hearts for Peace-building and Lay Participation in Social Change, 2009

Men hurt too
A FEW days before we celebrated the National Day of the Unborn last March 25, I received a text message from Anton (not his real name) inquiring if I could talk to him about the abortion of his girl friend. I gave him my landline and we talked for a few minutes, and arranged a date when he and his girl friend could come for counseling. He said he had been searching in the internet, got into the Pro-life website and read practically all the messages in the forum until he came across my reply to one woman who had an abortion and I had given my cell phone number. He came alone. He and his girl friend had an argument that morning as to what time they would come. It ended up with her refusing to come at all. He said that their quarrels were getting more frequent since the abortion six weeks ago. Although they often argue, she has been more possessive

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
abortion meant—being a graduate nurse and having gone to a Catholic high school. On the day they went to an abortionist in a depressed area in Caloocan, she was very quiet throughout the trip. They waited six hours for their turn as there were nine others in the waiting room. Some of the girls were also accompanied by their boyfriends. He chatted with the “guards” there and was told that the place had been raided by the police a few years ago but they were back in “business” in a few weeks. The woman-abortionist inserted something in her body and said it was to open up her cervix. They were told to return the next day. It took three hours of wait again the next day before the abortion was performed, then three hours for her to recover enough to be able to walk out of the dingy apartment.
Love Life / A5

of him, often saying that she does not know what to do if he ever leaves her. At this point, he was not sure if they would go on with their relationship or it is over. What he described to me was a woman suffering from post-abortion syndrome— insecure that she might lose a loved one again as she had lost her baby, distrustful, angry, and disturbed. He admitted that he himself had not been able to sleep well the past weeks and he had lost a lot of weight. He cannot concentrate on his studies (he is graduating this March) and he has been spending a lot of time on the computer, searching on ways of coping with his guilt. He also humbly admitted that it was he who pressured the girl to have the abortion as he was in the midst of so many other family problems. He could feel that she was hesitant and knew well what having an

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Fr. Melvin P. Castro

Speaking of Mary
Pedro C. Quitorio

In the middle of the world
parts but never diverging teachings, one undermining the other. We in the Philippines have been spared, at least from the time being, from the engulfing flames of scandal and intrigue plaguing the Church in Europe and America right now. With most of us so engrossed with the upcoming national elections and other domestic issues, we have been insulated from these ugly talks right now. Most certainly, in the entire history of the Church, we have seen the many sinners and saints within her bosom. She remains holy not because of her members but because of her Head who is Christ. There were several instances when the Church was at the verge of collapse but she never did because Christ sustains her. Indeed, there were and there are many abuses in the Church, but it does not “stain” her. The Church was already “stained” by the Blood of Christ and the blood of martyrs, and that makes her holy and perfected. What cover-up is to the secular media is the prudent judgment of the Church on her members. She does not pass judgment and imposes penalty in a public manner. She does so silently, as a good mother does to her erring children.
Mary / A6

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate Editor

Kris P. Bayos
Feature Editor

Melo M. Acuña
Managing Editor News Editor

Laarni Bergado

Marketing Supervisor

Roy Q. Lagarde

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Circulation Manager Comptroller

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Layout Artist and Online Editor

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

ST. JOSEMARIA would always say we are called to be saints, contemplatives even, in the middle of the world, to seek sanctity in the very place we are in right now, at home, at the workplace, at the school, or even at the hospital as a patient or as the one caring for the sick. At times, however, (or should I say that is often the case), the “world” would be very hostile, as it did reject Christ, and as His followers, we can expect no less. In this world that is growing steadily to be a militant secularist and anti-religious environment, we are faced with a number of choices—to shirk from the challenges to stand up for the Faith so as to avoid “confrontation,” or to “dialogue” and compromise so as to make our Faith still relevant to the present, or to be firm and be labeled as “fanatic,” “closed-minded,” “antiquated.” I remember even one saying and writing that although there are official Church teachings, one can read, understand, and interpret them in a “liberal” or “conservative” manner. I imagine some to be “moderates” in their interpretation of the Church. I never thought there are groupings within the Church. There is only one Church embracing many charisms therein. One Body of Christ with different

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 - April 11, 2010

Unholy strategies during the Holy Week
XVI’s pronouncement regarding politics in his encyclical, Deus Caritas Est which we quote: “The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines on the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to re-awaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will, to the demands of the common good, is something which concerns the Church deeply. Referring to these authoritative words of Pope Benedict XVI, which of the present political parties have platforms that support the common good? We should not be surprised if seven bishops already endorsed the platform of Ang Kapatiran Party who has spelled out its political platform in a pamphlet entitled, “Passport to a New Philippines,” endorsing the decrees of PCP II. Much work has to be done by the laity active in advocacy work, not only during the campaign period for this May 10 elections but also during the takeover of the Administration by the newly proclaimed winners—President, VicePresident, Senators, Congressmen and local executives. We have to be ready with our scorecards for good governance.

Commentary The gathering storm
By Michael Cook
MEDIA coverage of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Europe is being formatted according to the Watergate template: sensational crimes, decades-long cover-ups, dogged reporters, denials from official hacks, half-apologies from quivering bureaucrats, threads leading to the dark lair of lies and obstruction. Only Deep Throat is missing. “Abuse Scandal in Germany Edges Closer to Pope” was the headline in the New York Times a week ago. The Times has even set up a special blog to track and interpret the unfolding story. Day by day, the drumbeat grows louder. Earlier this week the media’s favourite atheist, Christopher Hitchens, bundled together a handful of yellowing newspaper clippings and packaged it as a sulphurous attack in the on-line magazine Slate: “The pope’s entire career has the stench of evil about it.” Tomorrow Benedict XVI is to publish a letter to the Irish Catholic bishops about the horrendous scandal there. No doubt this will prompt more speculation about whether sexual abuse in Germany will be the Pope’s Watergate, about whether he will be forced to resign, about whether the Catholic Church will have to abandon its tradition of clerical celibacy. The scandal of clergy who sexually abused children is diabolically real. It has to be confronted humbly and courageously by the bishops who run the Catholic Church. Clergy who are found guilty should be punished. Higher-ups who shielded them should resign. There is no doubt that Pope Benedict is ready to take a tough line on this. After all—contrary to what Hitchens claims—it was he who established clear guidelines and he has enforced them sternly. On several occasions he has spoken of the “deep shame” he feels at revelations that some priests had betrayed their calling and preyed upon innocent children. When he addressed American bishops in 2008 he spoke with a hint of sarcasm, quoting their own words to say that the crisis had been “sometimes very badly handled”. But it’s important to remember that these scandals relate to priests who offended decades ago. Wannabee Woodwards and Bernsteins are deflecting attention from the crisis that is happening right now, a crisis from which the media is averting its eyes, just as the bishops did 30 years ago, a crisis in which they play an active role. German Chancellor Angela Merkel got it right this week. She denounced sexual abuse of minors as “a despicable crime” but refused to single out the Catholic Church for special criticism. “Let’s not oversimplify things,” she said. “We need to speak about [changing] the statute of limitations, we can address the idea of compensation, but the main issue is that this is a major challenge for our society.” The huge, unreported story is that we are in denial about a widespread, deliberate, systemic encouragement of people not to control their sexuality. It’s as if a health department allowed witch doctors and Reiki therapists to edge out surgeons. Or as if a defence department allowed its tanks to rust. Fundamental principles of a civilized society like sexual restraint, fidelity in marriage, and nurturing families, are being undermined. The mind-numbing list of politicians caught with their pants down, the tsunami of pornography, sky-rocketing teen sex—all these are warning bells about the consequences of creating a hyper-sexualised culture. Just take this week’s announcement by an Australian company that it had sold the licensing rights to a testosterone rollon underarm deodorant to boost men’s flagging sex drive for US$335 million to pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. Or the news that the International Planned Parenthood Federation recently gave girl scouts a glossy pamphlet encouraging them to have “lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex”. Or the UK government’s new guidelines for sex education for children as young as five. If a priest had suggested these ideas, they would have been called grooming. And in fact, they are grooming—for a lifetime of commercial exploitation. What kind of society are we creating if we actively encourage children to treat sex as entertainment and encourage men to remain in a constant state of arousal? Sex is not a toy. Without clear moral standards, it is a natural passion which easily becomes an unnatural addiction. Does anyone seriously believe that in 30 years’ time there will be less sex abuse after giving children classroom lessons in how to masturbate? Of all our social institutions, it seems that only the Church realizes that a crisis is brewing for which we are going to pay dearly in the years ahead. As Benedict told American bishops: Children deserve to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. They should be spared the degrading manifestations and the crude manipulation of sexuality so prevalent today. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person... What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today? Contrary to the impression conveyed in the media, the Catholic Church has been incredibly successful in teaching its priests how to control and channel their sexuality. There are 400,000 celibate priests in the world. The number of those who have been accused of sexual misconduct is a minuscule fraction, even though the Pope surely feels that a single failure is too many. True, bishops and priests should rend their garments in shame for the bestial crimes of their associates. But that must not keep them from warning the world about the next abuse crisis. (Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. This article is published under special arrangement with MercatorNet)

Jose B. Lugay

Laiko Lampstand
THE press has made its headlines more sensational by imputing motives into President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s recent moves—to run for congress; to appoint the replacement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court even if there is a constitutional prohibition for midnight appointments; to appoint the AFP Chief closely associated with her and by-passing more senior generals; to snub the PNP Chief for vowing he would not support extending her term. The no-election scenario for the failure of the automated election has brought up the specter of a constitutional impasse—neither the persons of the Vice-President, the Senate President, nor the Speaker of the House will be in readiness to take over the position of President since all these positions will be vacated by the present occupants whose terms will have ended. The media reporters predict that by that time Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would have won a congressional seat in the second district of Pampanga. It is not surprising that newscasters make the conclusion that she would be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. All these scenarios and media’s drum- up of the vociferous complaint about the Supreme Court’s opinion that the President may appoint the replacement of Chief Justice Renato Puno, has become fodder to the leftist and rightist organizations to show force to compel the Supreme Court to reverse its stand. With patience and diplomacy, Atty. Midas Marquez, the spokesman of the Supreme Court issued a warning to rabble rousers to respect

the Supreme Court’s decision or they will be held in contempt of Court. This is the political scenario preceding the Holy Week celebration in the Philippines. Meantime, in preparation for the rush going home to the provinces during this Holy Week, the security forces were doubled in bus terminals while the newly organized Marina and Philippine Coast Guard personnel will see to it that there will be no overloading in sea vessels going to the provinces. The declaration of holidays during the Holy Week as well as the end of classes will surely be a good occasion to enjoy a tour to the well-advertised vacation resorts in Baguio, Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Palawan and Mindanao. Families of overseas workers with the homecoming of their breadwinner who may not opt to go elsewhere but stay home, will surely want to celebrate the “Semana Santa” in the usual way, together with its ornate procession of the Santo Entierro preceded by the images of the Mater Dolorosa, Santa Maria Magdalena, Santa Maria Salome, San Pedro with his rooster, San Juan the evangelist, and others. This Holy Week being a campaign period for the 2010 election, local candidates will surely be tempted to distribute their propaganda materials among the crowd. Advocacy groups for a clean election will spend time to promote their candidates for national and local positions. Some lay groups in different dioceses will organize the conduct of Holy Retreats and will take this occasion to remind the lay faithful about Pope Benedict

Vote God
I MUST confess I was not exactly comfortable when I first heard the proposed name to our election campaign: “Vote God.” It sounded so out of this world and maybe even escapist. Yet, as the communication expert on the other side of the table handed over a piece of paper with these two words inscribed in it, I saw a man saw serenely convinced about the campaign name. Then it slowly dawned on me. If Philippine elections and politics, as the Catholic bishops had written in 1997, “systematically exclude” our Christian values, then we indeed need to choose God and the way of God during elections. So: “Vote God.” My appreciation for this choice has since deepened. These two words capture succinctly where we presently stand as a movement by mirroring where we have been and where we are moving. “Vote God” is about an election initiative with God as choice. God, for sure, is not running for office and no single individual or even group can claim monopoly of God. But God is in all of us, through an embedded voice in the depths of human hearts. To obey this voice is to choose God and the way of God. The challenge is the many voices competing with this voice. It takes moral and spiritual discernment to sift through these voices; also moral, even spiritual, courage to choose good and reject evil. “Vote God” takes its cue from the remarks of a woman who had attended the first CiDE (circles of discernment for elections) seminar in a Cebu parish last year. Earlier during the day, she expressed despondency over politicians and elections. Yet, at the end of the day she reversed her view: “We can still do something about elections. Next year, I will ask all the local candidates: ‘Do you have God fearing?’” Wrong grammar, but correct hope. ***** When I was a little boy, I had the typical tendency to be choosy about my food. My father had a very effective way of dealing with this defect. He would fire up my imagination by telling me that each food group actually played a critical role in the defense of my body. Rice granules, for instance, were foot soldiers ready to engage minute enemies. Eggs were aircraft carriers. Tomatoes were grenades. Bananas were submarines. So on and so forth. His approach was indeed convincing. This was my first exposure to a communication plan that changed behavior because it entered the world of its target audience. Dilaab is blessed with very committed volunteers from the world of communications. They advise us on how to focus on a single message and that less is more. They have been with us in our defining

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, SSL

Spaces of Hope
moments as a movement. Jesus was a great communicator. He used images that people understood and he embodied their deepest aspirations. Elections 2010 offer an opportunity to evangelize politics. A Dilaab communication plan will be released today as we call on people, both candidates and voters, to choose the way of God during elections. We call it our “VOTE GOD” campaign. ***** Some people see a glass either half empty or half full. They are either pessimistic or optimistic. I am not one or the other. I see a glass waiting to be filled to be brim. I am gifted with hope. But I am not the only one. When one first meets Fr. Virgilio “Ver” Pedrano, one does not get the impression of a fiery, passionate preacher. He really is not one nor does he need to be one. He leaves the loud histrionics to others. He leads by example which is what really counts. “The modern world no longer listens to teachers. They listen to witnesses. If they do listen to teachers, it is because they also happen to be witnesses,” Paul VI said something to this effect. Fr. Ver is a man, a priest, of hope. And his hope is contagious. When he was about to experience his first election as parish priest of a mountain parish in Cebu, he thought to himself how sad it is that the dignity of many of his poor parishioners would once more be trampled upon as a result of vote buying and vote selling. He decided to do something about it. He talked with candidates and asked them not to buy votes nor do any of its variations. He talked with voters and asked them not to sell votes. He then preached about it during mass. “Those who will not sell or buy votes, God will reward. Those who will sell or buy votes, God will remember,” he put it simply. He then organized a candidates’ forum facilitated by a Churchbased organization. This ended with a covenant signing. Some strange things began to happen, like local politicians campaigning and, when their rivals happened to pass by, asking the latter to join them and say something to the gathering crowd. A few days prior to elections, the good priest donned his sutana and made the rounds of barangays where he gently reminded people of their campaign against vote buying and vote selling. One woman “wholesaler” of votes saw Fr. Ver’s figure. She returned the bagful of money she had received earlier. In all, based on interviews with locals, vote buying was reduced by 50 percent. Not bad. Hope indeed is contagious.

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points
THIS is the lead banner, the battle cry, the centerpiece teaching of Christianity: Love your neighbor! In fact, no less than the Lord Jesus Himself categorically and clearly said that the Ten Commandments themselves find their distillation into but two mandates: First, love of God that covers the first three Commandments. Second, love of neighbor that incorporates the last seven Commandments. Question: What does love of neighbor really mean? It certainly means much more that simply giving alms to the needy, merely providing some medicines for the sick or doing charitable works now and then—and other periodic gestures of generosity like putting a coin in the can held by a beggar. Yes, these are some expressions of loving one’s neighbor, but they are far from enough and thus fall rather short of what the key Christian mandate really means and truly implies. Furthermore, it is even offensive to the mandate of love of neighbor to engage in the following or similar supposedly charitable acts: Handing a peso or two to poor children to use them for any propaganda purpose—which is in effect nothing else than exploiting the poor. Giving medicines to a needy community for self-praise intention—with proper picture taking, for proper here and there—using however public funds.

‘You must love your neighbor as yourself’
(Mt 22:39)
saying some prayers now and then. The crooked wealthy and powerful politicians who draw comfort and even feel proud for merely throwing some money to the poor, handling some food to the hungry, if not simply smiling and waiving his or her hands to the crowd. If these cases and instances mean loving one’s neighbor, then the country would be over-flowing with sickening love!
Love Life / A4

Considering that the divine injunction of loving one’s neighbor is the moral bundling or the composite of no less than the last seven Commandments relevant to man, its hardhitting and serious-pounding meaning and intent are basically the following—expressed into the exact opposite of love. In other words, one does not in any way love but altogether hate his or her neighbor when: He or she disregards or even despises his or her parents. When he or she kills someone particularly so when this is still in the mother’s womb, or somebody who is innocent. When he or she engages in stealing, in dishonest deals or fraudulent transactions, or even but coverts the assets already owned by others. When he or she engages in promiscuity, fornication or adultery, or even but carnally covets anyone not his or her spouse. When he or she indulges in telling lies, in engaging in duplicity, in living in hypocrisy, or engages in other dubious and odious transactional ventures—all of which are contrary to reality and truth. Thus it is that the basic Christian mandate of loving one’s neighbor is better understood and appreciated—especially on the part of the following individuals: Thieves and cheats who frequent certain religious events, and thereafter already fell good and holy. Criminals and hoodlums who think everything is all right, after

Two weeks after, her girl friend called him up at 10 p.m. saying she was bleeding. He crossed town in a borrowed car to get to her place and watched as she twisted in pain until clumps of blood and tissue came out. They saved the remains of their “baby” in a bottle and have been keeping it. Because he had read so many pro-life articles by then from our website, he knew he had to name the baby. And they both decided it was a baby girl. He has the greatest fear right now of how the abortion has affected his girl friend, adding to his guilt of having turned away from his role as protector and provider— the father of the baby. He enters into casual sexual encounters, thus piling up more guilt on his guilt-ridden soul. I could see from the tears in his eyes, his restlessness, and persistence to find someone he could talk to—that he was suffering deeply. He did say he felt much relieved that he had finally been able to speak about the incident with someone he could trust, and prayed that his girl friend would agree to see me soon. I made an appointment with them to an OB doctor, and encouraged them

to go to confession. Men involved in abortion hurt too. Very often, our attention is only on the woman—we condemn her for “killing her baby”, oblivious of the desperation and confusion she is going through. We generalize and shrug off the fathers of those innocent babies—all men are alike, just wanting sex and abandoning the woman in her pregnancy. But Anton is not an exemption in his contrition and search for healing. A lot of them, in their loneliness and anger escape to addictions, violence, promiscuity or homosexual activities, in their fear of getting a woman pregnant again. The Church—priests, pastoral workers, pro-life advocates—should be more pro-active in extending the mercy of the Good Shepherd to our brothers and sisters involved in abortion; not only to the aborted woman, but to the men too, their families, friends, and even to the abortion providers. For more information on Post Abortion Healing, contact Pro-life at 733-7027 or life@ prolife.org.ph.


Local News

CBCP Monitor
March 29 - April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

CBCP head warns vs hyping Church not accepting electoral promises donations from political bets
THE head of the powerful Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has urged candidates, ahead of the May 10 elections, to curb attempts to dupe the people with proposals difficult to fulfill. Considering the realities of economic problems and unemployment, CBCP President Bishop Nereo Odchimar said the people need viable proposals and not mere electoral promises. “If candidates (in the past elections) only have the political will to comply with their promises, the Philippines would have been in a better position now,” said Odchimar of Tandag diocese. He also called on the voters to be “vigilant” against sweet-tongued politicians and avoid falling prey to their false promises. “We have to be mature enough as voters. We have to be wise in our choice of candidates,” said Odchimar. The CBCP head also noted that the country is passing through hard times “but then we must not lose hope.” “One of the things that give us some vision of brighter future is the opportunity of this election year that there will be change of people in the executive branch and also the legislative,” he added. The collegial body of the bishops earlier called on the people to be involved in the coming automated elections. “This is an opportunity that we should not miss. We should vote according to our conscience and not be swayed by promises,” Odchimar said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews) CATHOLIC bishops vowed never to accept donations from politicians who are running in the May 10 elections. Bishops Martin Jumoad of Basilan, Carlito Cenzon of Baguio and Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel are one in saying that they will decline any donations from politicians. Jumoad said it’s not proper for the church to accept financial donations from political bets at the height of the campaign period. “I will not accept any donations especially from politicians. It’s not right,” said Jumoad over Church-run Radyo Veritas. According to Cenzon and Gutierrez, it’s not prudent for the church to be accepting money from politicians who are seeking various government posts. “We are not going to accept it especially if we know that it came from bad sources,” Cenzon said. The three bishops made the statement as the Catholic Church prepares for the nationwide celebration of “Alay Kapwa” on March 28. Alay Kapwa is a fund raising campaign program during the Lenten season for the purpose of helping the needy during emergency cases and calamities. The campaign is implemented in all dioceses and requires the Catholic faithful to share their resources, time and talent with their neighbors. Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of Cebu earlier admitted, however, of receiving cash donations from the some politicians who asked for his blessings. But the cardinal clarified that the financial contributions he accepted were for Caritas, the Church’s social action arm, and not for his personal account. He also emphasized that he does not endorse candidates, saying he’s preserving his non-partisan status. Jumoad called on politicians to donate their money directly to other charitable institutions. “I challenge them. If they are really sincere in being one with the Church’s Alay Kapwa (program), they should give help directly to those who are needy,” he said. Alay Kapwa, the Mindanao bishop said, is a sacred program of the Church for the poor. “They should realize that,” he added. “I am appealing also to our politicians not to use Alay Kapwa to make it appear that they are for the poor,” Jumoad said. (CBCPNews)

Bishop Nereo Odchimar

ELECTION watchdog Kontra Daya called on the public to report to its hotlines the “dubious” party-list groups and nominees that they know of. Fr. Joe Dizon, Kontra Daya convener, said exposing the questionable party-list groups is important in “preventing the bastardization” of the party-list system, which is supposedly meant to empower marginalized and underrepresented sectors. “These dubious party-list groups and nominees are crowding out the groups that genuinely represent the marginalized and underrepresented,” Dizon said. “Exposing them is an important contribution to getting them out of the way.” The group recently filed before the Commission on Elections a letter to Chairman Jose Melo, seeking the disqualification of the following party-list groups: Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA), Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak ng Maharlika (ADAM), Agbiag Timpuyog Ilocano (AGBIAG), Babae para sa Kaunalaran (BABAE KA), League of Youth for Peace and Development (LYPAD), and Kalahi Advocates for Overseas Filipinos (KALAHI). Dizon also noted that several of the party-list groups that have
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Poll watchdog urges public to report ‘dubious’ party-list groups, nominees

submitted their lists of nominees as of March 22 have nominees that cannot claim to represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors. The most glaring example, Dizon said, is Ang Galing Pinoy PartyList, which claims to represent security guards and small businessmen. Its first nominee is Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, son of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The group’s second nominee is Dennis Pineda, mayor of Lubao, Pampanga and son of alleged jueteng lord Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda; while the third is Romeo Dungca, mayor of Bacolor, Pampanga. “More than a hundred party-list groups were accredited for the May 2010 elections and most of them have yet to submit their lists of nominees,” Dizon said. “We should expect more of these cases. We urge the public to report to Kontra Daya these spurious partylist groups and nominees.” Dizon said Kontra Daya may be reached through their hotline 09213953004 and its e-mail address, kontradaya@gmail.com. Concerned groups and individuals may also visit its website at www. kontradaya.org. (CBCPNews) lished norms of canon law for the crime of child abuse," he wrote. Father Lombardi said impartial observers would recognize that the pope and the doctrinal congregation are continuing to guide bishops and help them "combat and root out the blight of abuse wherever it appears." The pope's strongly worded letter to Irish Catholics earlier this month demonstrated his commitment to "healing, renewal and reparation" in the church, he said. ‘Cleanup’ Cardinal Walter Kasper, for his part, admitted that the Catholic leadership had on occasion maintained stillness over sex abuse cases. The top Vatican official, however, defended the pontiff, saying Benedict XVI “was the first one who—already as a cardinal felt the need for new, harsher rules.” Media attacks on the pope go "beyond any limit of justice and loyalty," Kasper told Corriere della Sera (Evening Courier), an Italian daily newspaper. Kasper then urged for a cleanup within the church, adding that church officials must be more aggressive in dealing with sex abuse cases. "We need a culture of attentiveness and courage, and a housecleaning," said Kasper, also a German. The Vatican officials said the pope’s letter to the Ireland’s Catholic hierarchy alone is a strong indication that the church is not only equipped—it is an indication that the pontiff is willing. Paul II. I was able to accompany my Bishop since I was a seminarian then in Rome. When it was our turn to greet the Holy Father, I had the opportunity to speak to him a little. I then said, Holy Father I am a poor and sinful seminarian, but I offer my life for Your Holiness and for the Holy Mother Church. He then briefly gazed at me and blessed me. I hope, in our hearts and in our prayers, you would join me in that filial love towards the Holy Father, Sinful and miserable that I am, Holy Father, I renew my offering of my life for Your Holiness and for the Holy Mother Church.

Sex abuse scandal In what some say an orchestrated agenda against the Church to bring it down and “discredit its moral authority”, media attack on the pope had been unrelentless since the sex scandal issue came out. The sex abuse scandal came at the heels of a detailed report of the study of an independent commission in Ireland that documented cases of abuse committed by the clergy that spanned 60 years. Also this month, news report came out about a German priest accused of molesting boys who worked in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, which then Cardinal Ratzinger headed. Another story of a Wisconsin priest who was also involved in a sex abuse scandal, but happened a long time ago likewise surfaced. The priest has long since died. In defense of the pope Some European and American prelates have defended the Holy Father against insinuations of Vatican “cover-up” of the issue, saying that the Church has not been negligent in “supporting and orienting the episcopates in combating and uprooting abuses wherever they manifest themselves." Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of Vatican Radio, said, "the directives for the correct handling and prevention of abuses have been reemphasized, updated and renewed in Germany, Austria, Australia, and Canada." Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols also stated the Church’s firm commitMary / A4

ment to protect children from sexual abuse and weed out past offenders. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops also came out with a statement on March 18 defending the pope against the unjust accusations hurled at him. Meanwhile, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said Pope Benedict is suffering “some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging of the pillar, as did Jesus.” No cover up The Vatican has rejected claims that the pope covered up sex abuse by priests and praising him as a leader determined to combat scandals challenging the Church. In recent years, the pope has taken steps to combat such abuses by meeting and apologizing to victims. Just very recently, the 83-year old pontiff said he was “truly sorry” for the church’s mishandling of widespread sexual abuse by priests in Ireland that surfaced years ago. In what appears to be his first pastoral letter on the scandals, the pope said clergymen guilty of sex abuse should be held accountable for their crimes before “properly constituted tribunals.” "Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God's mercy," he said. In the letter Benedict XVI also harshly criticized the Irish Catholic bishops’ hierarchy in dealing with the allegations. “You and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-estab-

Bishop slams media reports on poll failure, military junta
A CATHOLIC bishop has lost his cool due to “irresponsible” media reports concerning the adverse scenario of the May 10 automated elections. Bayombong Bishop Ramon Villena said reports like poll cheating and military junta takeover in case of failure of elections have resulted to “unwanted speculations” about what may happen after the elections. “Because of this, some Bishop Ramon Villena people are confused and are focusing their attention on these speculations rather than information regarding how to go about the new system of voting,” Villena lamented. The bishop then called on the media to be “prudent” in disseminating information and not become conduits of “unfounded news” which are sowing “seeds of fear” to many people. “We appeal that we must extend a solid and urgent stop to this irresponsible, damaging and detrimental spread of this scary and threatening bad news,” he said. Villena made the statement Thursday after Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez said that some members of the clergy may join mass actions in the event of scuttled elections. “This (event) is one of those instances when people would need guidance from us,” said Iñiguez who also chairs the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. He also said the statements made by Malacañang officials in playing up the scenario of a military takeover in the event of poll failure are not helping President Arroyo. The prelate added that it is up to each members of the CBCP to decide whether to join another popular revolt. (CBCPNews)
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What I find unacceptable is what some secular media abroad are doing, forcefully linking the person of the Holy Father to these scandals, claiming his inaction and cover-up during his time as Archbishop of Munich (Germany). Then immediately in this one very famous international cable channel, repeated newscast or documentary on so-called Church abuses. The same documentary over and over again, and suddenly, an interview with a supposed philosopher but admitted atheist asserting that we should do away with religion in finding our moral compass. Such assertions I often
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see in the blogs and commentaries of some of our countrymen, to do away with “organized religion,” what counts is one’s personal belief in God, they opined. I do not blame them, probably we in the Church are also at fault. But the Church is more than her members. The mistakes of her members and leaders ideally should not affect the Church, but we live in the middle of the world. And in this world, whether we like it or not, human imperfections turn off and scandalize many. But whenever there are crises in the Church, it is when the Lord raises up many saints among the

Church’s leaders and members. For indeed, as St. Paul rightly asserts, where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more. Christ will never abandon His Church. She was founded upon the Rock who is Peter, human like us, a sinner like us, but a saint in the end. Like St. Peter, we live and struggle and will be victorious in the middle of this world. This will be the first time that I consign this into writing. A grave sinner I was and a grave sinner I am. I remember in February of 1997, when the Philippine Bishops had their ad limina with the Holy Father, then the Servant of God, the Great John

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port eight million dollars worth of condom only shows there’s truth in our previous exposés about the big chunk of money that is being given to our country by international community like the U.S.,” she said. Acosta noted that Global Fund is giving 33 million dollars while European Union is giving 33 million euros among others to the Philippines for the condom distribution. But the Executive Director said Global Fund has held the release of the money because the group has discovered that the money is being used on corruption instead of condom distribution. Meanwhile, Acosta has also condemned the sudden approval of President Gloria Arroyo of the eight-million budget for condom distribution. She said the hefty amount could have been used instead to provide genuine livelihood opportunity and construct houses for the poor. Acosta then reminded the general public not to vote for candidates who are supporting the reproductive health bill and artificial contraception. “They should never vote for them because it could be a disaster to all Filipino people,” she said. (Kate Laceda/ CBCPNews)

them,” she said. “It makes me proud that we here in western South Dakota are trying to minister to the Hispanic people who are in the diocese.” Ester Meza, a parishioner at St. Rose of Lima Church, Hill City, said, “Having Mass (in the Spanish language) means people are sharing their kindness, they are opening the doors for us to bring in our culture.” Their culture includes the Spanish language. “They are not in their native country and they struggle with the English language,” said Father Korban. The English as a Second Language program was tried in Hill City using a traditional classroom model. When it became evident that style of teaching was not working, plans were made to begin one-on-one classes at Blessed Sacrament Church. Currently, eleven students meet once a week for classes

and several other students are meeting when time allows. “It’s wonderful to watch the English speaking people (who also speak Spanish) being able to welcome others,” said Deacon Daniel. Another project the task force members hope to implement is adult faith formation classes. “In my background, I was taught very little about the faith,” explained Deacon Daniel. “If I think about that and how it can happen in the United States, think about how little education people in a third world country would receive. They have even less information about the faith than we do. “It is a scary thought to me to have people whose entire nationality is rooted in Catholicism and we do not reach out as much as we can. There is a tremendous need out there.” (CNA)

Caritas Manila. “This fund is used in times of major crises like we experienced [during typhoon] Ondoy. We were also able to extend help to Haiti through this program of Caritas,” the cardinal said. Rosales said Alay Kapwa Sunday is designated to raise funds for social services and programs for the less fortunate. “Alay Kapwa Sunday has always been about the less fortunate. But with the seriousness of the climate crisis and these calamities, we, all of us, become the less fortunate,” he cited. A Lenten evangelization program of the Philippine Catholic Church, Alay Kapwa was instituted in 1975 by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The program is now being implemented by the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) as part of “its commitment to bring out a society enlivened by the Gospel values of justice, peace and love for our less fortunate brothers and sisters.” “As we make our offering, let us pray that God spares us from such calamities and disasters, and for God to rule our hearts,” he said. He also asked them to seek for God’s wisdom choosing the right leaders the upcoming May elections. “We must also pray that we, as a people, select leaders who will never compromise the environment for economic gains, leaders who can help protect and nurture what little we have left, leaders who we can depend on in times of calamities and disasters.” Rosales said the Lenten season also provides an opportune time to reflect on one’s share of responsibility towards caring the environment. “The season of lent gives us the opportunity to reflect on our lives. It is also a time to reflect on how we have served as stewards of God’s creation,” he said. (Kate Laceda/CBCP News)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 - April 11, 2010

Diocesan News


Comelec urged anew to cleanse voters’ roll

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—To ensure a credible May 10 elections, the Commission on Elections must double or even triple its efforts in cleansing the voters’ roll, a prominent Maranao advocate of good governance said. Hadji Abdullah Lacs Dalidig, chairman of the Islamic Movement on Electoral Reform and Good Governance, said that the first step to ensure the May 10 elections to be credible, clean and honest is to make sure that the list voters all over the country is clean. (Bong D. Fabe)
Marbel to host the 19th Summer Bible Institute

COTABATO CITY—The Diocese of Marbel will be hosting the 19th Summer Bible Institute (SBI) at the Christ the King Spiritual Center in Koronadal City on April 19-22, 2010. Organized by the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Bible Apostolate, the activity aims to intensify the religious formation of the participants on liturgy, sacred scriptures and the Bible. (Kate Laceda)
Set aside politics in naming chief justice, Arroyo told

Eco group urges a spartan Holy Week observance
QUEZON CITY—As the Catholic church ushers in the observance of Holy Week, an environmental group urged people for a more frugal celebration that will not cause further environmental stress and degradation. The EcoWaste Coalition, a network of some 100 groups working for Zero Waste and for environmental health, called on the faithful to live simply during the Holy Week and give up non-essentials not only for spiritual benefits but physical and ecological as well. Eileen Sison, an official of the Coalition said the Lenten season offers a fitting time to reflect on God’s creation and gift of life. “The Holy Week, in particular, offers a week-long opportunity for us to avoid wasteful activities that fritter away resources and defile Mother Nature with trash,” added Sison who is also the NGO Representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission. “It is a time to simplify, strip down and give up what we really do not need,” she added. Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, who is also head of the Public Affairs Com-

TAGBILARAN CITY—A Catholic bishop called on President Arroyo to set aside political interests and be “responsible” in appointing the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Bishop Leonardo Medroso said there should be no other consideration in picking the next SC chief but “for the good of the justice system and the Filipino people.” (CBCPNews)
‘PGMA under pressure in condom distribution’

Sorsogon prelate advises Cabral to reflect this Lent

SORSOGON CITY—Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes advised Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral who is leading the distribution of contraceptives to meditate especially this Season of Lent. “During Lent, we are asked to renew our lives by more intense prayer, acts of penance by mortifications, give alms through charitable acts and meditate on the laws of God but Cabral here is promoting immorality,” he said. Bastes said it is good for Cabral to live with the teachings of the Church by convening programs that is in accordance to the Church’s principles. (Kate Laceda)
CBCP officer claims ulamas’ fatwa to affect poll results

Bets urged to fulfill covenant or ‘forfeit soul’
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has urged candidates “to do all within their power” to fulfill what they promised when they signed the peace covenant or “forfeit their souls.” Msgr. Elmer Abacahin, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Office on Basic Ecclesial Communities, reminded the candidates thus: “Because you have given yourselves, including your soul since you were in the presence of God, you must fulfill what you have signed. Remember that you have put your Msgr. Elmer Abacahin souls on the line since you signed the covenant in the presence of God and His people.” Abacahin urged the candidates to listen to their conscience and do all they can in fulfillment of their responsibilities and duties as stated in the peace covenant they signed. “Because you made a promise, you must exert efforts that you fulfill it,” he said. At least 80 percent of the 75 candidates here signed the covenant to make the May 10 elections clean, peaceful and orderly immediately after the mass at the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Camaman-an village recently in the presence of Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Fr. Nathaniel Lerio, head of the election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting. “The inner voice of conscience is the voice of God. So much more that they signed the covenant inside the Church immediately after the mass, this only means that they have made that promised in the presence of God,” Abacahin said. Lerio, who is also head of the Archdiocesan Good Governance Apostolate, who spearheaded the covenant signing, said that candidates are not legally bound to do what they signed. “But I am appealing to them to fulfill what they promised in the covenant,” he said. Both Abacahin and Lerio appealed on the candidates to avoid using “uncivilized and undemocratic” methods during the campaign just to score a few points against their rivals to avoid precipitating trouble among their supporters. Abacahin said that legally, the candidates cannot be “forced” to fulfill their promises stated in the covenant but “in terms of moral principles, it is binding in conscience.” “They are wooing our votes because they want to serve us. And at the end of the day, this will return to them, unless of course if their conscience is calloused,” he said. All the promises they made in the covenant “will be made known in the way they campaign,” he stressed, adding: “It is one thing to signify, to write on paper but it is another thing to make it concrete and spell it out in the daily translation to action.” (Bong D. Fabe)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The recent fatwa declaration of the Bangsamoro Supreme Council of Ulama in the Philippines against former president Joseph Estrada, Sen. Manuel Roxas III and former senator Franklin Drilon will greatly affect the outcome of the May 10 elections, a priest said. “The religious edict issued by the Ulamas has a very big implication to the voters especially since there are many presidential candidates. It will divide the voters,” CBCP Basic Ecclesial Communities executive secretary Msgr. Elmer Abacahin said. (Bong D. Fabe)
Movement launched to counteract ‘culture of death’

MANILA—In an effort to counteract the ‘culture of death’ that is slowly encroaching the minds and lifestyle of the people, particularly the youth, a movement called Filipino Families for Life was launched at the Manila Cathedral, Intramuros, on March 24. The movement aims to unite all Filipinos, groups, organizations, prayer communities, and parishioners throughout the country to come together and be united in rejecting the ‘culture of death’ through prayer and other spiritual activities. (Kate Laceda)
Watchdog urges conduct of mock elections

QUEZON CITY—Election watchdog Kontra Daya challenged the Comelec to dispel fears of a failure of elections by conducting mock elections. Kontra Daya convener Fr. Joe Dizon said if there is so much apprehension about a possible failure of elections, it is because the conditions warrant for it at present. “Among these are the persistent problems of ballot rejection and failure to transmit results in field tests and mock polls,” he said. (CBCPNews)

No shortage of priests in Eastern Samar – bishop
BORONGAN, Eastern Samar— Roman Catholic Churches here are keeping their pulpits filled better than any regions of the country. Across the nation there is a shortage of priests, but the Diocese of Borongan’s 30 churches have around 80 diocesan and religious priests and more than 150 seminarians in training. “The number of priests is not really a problem (in our diocese) because we have enough vocations,” Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez said. Varquez said there are at least 144 seminarians in the diocese, and 15 more studying in Manila and Palo, Leyte. “Last December, at least four were ordained priests,” he said. “Also, another four seminarians are now preparing themselves for diaconate ordination by June or July.” The Catholic hierarchy cited in 2004 that there is a serious shortage of priests in the country, and at least 25,000 are needed to serve some 68 million Catholics. According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the ideal ratio should be one priest per 2,000 parishioners. But in metropolitan Manila alone, the ratio is one priest to 20,000 parishioners. The Archdiocese of Manila, which covers the dioceses of Antipolo, Imus, Malolos, Parañaque, San Pablo, Taytay, Cubao, Kalookan, Novaliches, Pasig and Puerto Princesa, will need as many pastors as it can churn out. Varquez said the influx of Catholics, which now stands at around 400,000, has helped bring many young men who are interested to becoming priests in his diocese. “The only problem we have is the financial aspect of our seminarians due to lack of benefactors,” he said. “…But we are trying to help them in the best we can so that the financial aspect wouldn’t be much of a problem in their seminary formation,” he added. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

Bishop Crispin Varquez

May They Be One Bible Campaign
Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home
“We had distribution of more than 60 Ilocano MTBO Bibles to the poor people of Barangay Paratong, Vigan City. It’s the adopted barangay of Divine Word College of Vigan Elementary Department. For four consecutive Saturdays we conducted Bible Awareness Seminar. They had their graduation on February 27. The people were so happy to own a Bible and they promised to make use of them and we promised to make follow ups too!” (Fr. Jaimelito “Heart” Gealan, SVD)

© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

LIPA CITY—Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, Vice Chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said President Arroyo might be under pressure in her decision to support the distribution of condoms. Arguelles said that “most of the time monetary consideration is the cause why our leaders follow the immoral dictate of the foreign people.” (Kate Laceda)

mittee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, has praised the group’s green Lent advocacy. “I appreciate the EcoWaste Coalition’s effort to promote awareness about the link between faith and nature and I join them in requesting the faithful to observe an ecosimple Lent as we are all morally-bound to respect and protect the integrity of God’s Creation. Let’s do our part and start living simply and sustainably,” Iñiguez stated. The group has come up with a list of suggestions the faithful can adopt and put into practice not only during the Holy Week but even beyond. Some options include giving up or fasting from food and other non-essentials and give money saved to favorite charity; donate used books or clothing; reduce trash and sustain a healthy lifestyle. “Above all, honor the Crucified Christ by deliberately stripping away old habits and attitudes that continue to destroy the environment and our social fabric, and resurrect as a more caring and responsible Earthchild,” Marie Marciano of the Sanib-Lakas ng mga Aktibong Lingkod ng Inang Kalikasan (SALIKA) pointed out. (CBCPNews)

MTBO PRAYER IN ILOCANO M – aaramid koma nga ayatenmi ti Saom, O Apo. T – ignayenna kami 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.
Pangasinense (2,010 cps.) Target Coverage of Bible Distribution for April-June 2010 (based on orders received): Dipolog, Naval (Leyte), Zamboanga, Manila, Ipil (Davao del Sur), Lingayen, Davao, Pagadian, Butuan, Digos, Mati, San Fernando (Pampanga), Borongan, Ozamis, Marbel, Paranaque, San Pablo (Laguna) , Cagayan de Oro, Imus, Marawi and Cubao Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009- Mar 24, 2010): 132,325 cps Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2010: 200,000 cps. Total Funds Needed for Printing of Bibles in 2010: P30M (Funds raised as of March 19: P1.392M) 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 they can read, study and pray. 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

No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign: 65 out of 86 Dioceses Bible Distribution (Jan 2010 – Mar 24, 2010) Total Bibles distributed: 38,067 cps. (Jan - 11,896 cps; Feb – 14,110 cps; Mar – 12,061 cps.) Parishes/Communities served: 125 Bibles Distributed by Languages: Tagalog (12,757 cps.), Cebuano (8,749 cps.), Ilocano (5,142 cps.), English (3,622 cps.), Bicol (3,320 cps.), Hiligaynon (2,467 cps.),


People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

March 29 - April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

Filipinos celebrate Year for Priests with pope
AROUND 200 Filipino priests, religious and seminarians in Rome and from other parts of Italy attended the audience with His Holiness Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Square on March 24. Her Excellency Mercedes A. Tuason and staff members of the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See had organized the activity as part of the celebration of the Year for Priests. His Eminence Jose Cardinal Sanchez, former prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy also attended the event. Cardinal Sanchez celebrated his 90th birthday last 17 March. Filipino flags were prominently displayed and waved by members of the group as they made their way to St. Peter’s Square from the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See. The Filipinos were given seats in the special section on the stage nearest to the chair of the Pope, which brought much consolation to all. In his catechesis during the audience, the Holy Father spoke about Saint Albert the Great: “Saint Albert shows us that faith is not opposed to reason, and that the created world can be seen as a ‘book’ written by God and capable of being ‘read’ in its own way by the various sciences.” The Holy Father concluded his message in English by welcoming all the English-speaking visitors, “especially a group of priests, religious and seminarians from the Philippines”. He also invoked God’s abundant blessings on all who were present, and extended his blessings to their families, especially children, the sick and suffering. The Filipinos enthusiastically clapped and waved Filipino flags upon being acknowledged by the Pope. The Pope, reacting to the shouts of the Filipino contingent, turned a smiling face to the Filipinos and opened widely his arms in welcome. A festive lunch at the embassy followed after the Papal Audience. For the Filipino priests, religious and seminarians in Rome, their participation in the Papal Audience was truly a graced experience of communion with our Holy Father and with each other during this Year for Priests. (Fr. Jose V.C. Quilongquilong, S.J.)

Filipinos waved Philippine flaglets enthusiastically as the pope’s mobile passed their midst at St. Peter’s Square during the audience on March 24.

Pro-life couple represent Filipino youth in Rome
A YOUNG couple from the Couples for Christ-Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL) and Pro-life Philippines have represented the Filipinos at the 10th International Youth Forum in Rome. Xavier and Dester Padilla joined some 200 individuals and couples who attended the Vatican-sponsored forum themed “Learning to Love,” held from March 24 to 28 at the Mondo Migliore Center in Rocca di Papa in Italy. Xavier, 34, and Dester, 31, are married for four years and are parents to three-year-old Sabine and one-year-old Aida. Xavier is the son of CFC-FFL Servant General Frank Padilla and his wife Gerry, who were re-appointed members of the Pontifical Council for Family by Pope Benedict XVI himself. The Padillas were among the four couples that underwent rigorous screening and selection process of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Among the judges of the screening process were Fr. Conegundo Garganta of CBCP-ECY, Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III of the CBCP Media Office, and Dr. Zenaida Rotea of the CBCP Office on Women. “We felt so blessed, privileged and also humbled for being chosen to represent the Filipino youth, which is already a big responsibility by itself. I’m sure the judges saw that our involvement in the community makes our experience holistic enough for us to merit their preference,” Xavier said. In the forum organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Padillas shared their experiences as a young Catholic couple and also as youth leaders to the rest of the delegates coming from all over the globe. They also shared their opinions about the ups and downs of married life. “As a couple, we both think that the problems in our society all boil down to the problems of the youth. As such, we will share about our realization on the importance of good family relations and parenting as parts of attending to the ills of the society,” Xavier said, referring to the world-renowned Filipino value of close family ties. For her part, Dester said she expected to learn a lot from the ex-

Contributed photo

Thousands protest condom use
THOUSANDS of anti-condom demonstrators gathered in at least eight Philippine cities to protest what a Catholic Church official described as a “grand conspiracy against life.” Organizers’ head Alonzo Tan said that “we have to admit that using condoms is equal to legalizing free sex.” “The primary issue here is the value of life… the beginning of life which is at the conception and the cradle of life which is marriage,” he said. The government’s health department has recently increased condom distribution as part of its strengthened campaign to stop spread of AIDS and prevent unwanted pregnancies. DOH Secretary Esperanza Cabral said they have purchased 250,000 pieces of condoms for distribution and used money from the US$8 million it received from the Global Fund for the country’s anti-AIDS campaign. She said they have spent P375,000 to P500,000 for the procurement of condoms coming from the Global Fund. At least 3,000 people had taken part in the protest march from Intramuros to Rajah Sulayman Park in Manila on Saturday morning, police said. The demonstration was organized by the Knights of Columbus – Philippines, the biggest organization of Catholic men with over 250,000 members across the country. Demonstrators said the rally was their

periences of Catholic youths in other parts of the globe. “We expect to understand the situation of other Catholic youths in different countries, especially those from places where Catholicism is not the majority religion. We’d like to know how they are able to live up their faith despite the hurdles imposed on them. Those stories will certainly inspire us,” she said. The Padillas, together with the rest of the delegates, had a private audience with the Holy Father on March 27. When asked earlier what they would tell the Pope if they will be given the rare chance to speak with him, Xavier and Dester momentarily became speechless. “Perhaps, I’ll cry,” Xavier confessed. “But I will certainly tell the Holy Father that the Filipino youth is solidly behind him, supporting him despite the controversies he is facing right now.” “I will tell the Holy Father to continue becoming as a beacon of hope, especially to the youth, in the same manner that the Catholic faith remains as the light of the world,” Dester said. Both Xavier and Dester Padilla are officers of Youth Pinoy, a newly-formed organization with a tall order of evangelizing the world through the internet. (Kris Bayos)

way of airing their opposition against the Reproductive Health bill and the use of contraceptives. Before the march, a Mass was held at the San Agustin Church. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim was among those who joined the rally. According to Lim, he is a Catholic and it’s just right to follow the teachings of the church.

He also said that he believes the government should not enforce what couples should decide on family planning. “I believe that couples should be left to make their own decisions,” said Lim. Officials of the Roman Catholic Church, meanwhile, reiterated that condom use is not the solution to AIDS. Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, media office director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said that condom promotion is happening in many countries Aside from promoting sexual promiscuity, he said the contraceptive also gives the person the false security that they are protected, hence; sexual activity increases. He pointed out the experience of several countries that saw the exponential rise of AIDS cases when they started using condom. Quoting Edward Green who wrote a book on AIDS prevention, Quitorio said “The large medical solutions funded by major donors have had little impact in Africa, the hardest hit by AIDS. Instead, relatively simple, lowcost behavioral change program—stressing increased monogamy and delayed sexual activity for young people—have made the greatest headway in fighting or preventing the disease’s spread.” Tan said simultaneous rallies were also held in Baguio, Bayombong, Tuguegarao, Tarlac, San Fernando (Pampanga), Tacloban, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao. (CBCPNews)


© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

AWARDED. Congregation of the Religious of the Good Shepherd or Good Shepherd Sisters (RGS) for its pastoral work on women and children by Zonta International, February 24, 2010. Sr. Amelia David, RGS provincial treasurer and Sr. Teresa Danganan, novice directress, accepted the plaque of recognition on behalf of the congregation during the awarding ceremony by Zonta International, Area 1, District 17, at the Top of the Citi, Citibank Tower, Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. Founded in 1919 in New York, Zonta International is an organization that advances the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. Organizers said RGS was chosen by 13 clubs and 350 members of Zonta’s Area 1 “as an outstanding institution working for the advancement of women and children.” A short presentation showcasing the works and ministry of the Good Shepherd congregation, both apostolic and contemplative was shown during the awards night. The award, incidentally, came propitiously as the congregation prepares for its centennial of Philippine foundation on October 4, 2012. INAUGURATED. Lipa Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, February 15, 2010 at Sabang, Lipa City. Archbishop Ramon Arguelles led the simple rites of blessing the new pastoral center situated at the former convent of the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart. The new pastoral center houses the offices of the Lipa Archdiocesan Commission on Missions and Migrants, Commission on Family and Life, Archdiocesan Commission on Youth, Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Center, Archdiocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Lipa Archdiocesan Divine Mercy Apostolate, BEC office and Pondong Batangan Community Foundation, Incorporated. LAUNCHED. Philippine Academy for Liturgical Research by Filipino liturgists, March 8, 2010, Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros. The academy was organized to provide a venue for Filipino liturgists to gather annually for two days, and discuss liturgical research through scholarly exchange. In his speech during the launching, Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, the CBCP Executive Secretary of the Commission on Liturgy, said the annual gathering would give liturgists the opportunity to “share and discuss their thesis, particularly its methodology, bibliography and conclusion.” The Academy has at present 30 enlisted members who have academic degrees of doctorate, licence or master in liturgy. Fr. Genaro Diwa, chairman of Manila’s Commission on Liturgy is the Academy’s president and convenor. Other liturgists who helped in the establishment of the academy were Dean Josefina Manabat and Fr. Virgilio Hernandez. His Eminence, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales also attended the launching. DIED. Fr. Joseph A. Galdon, SJ, 82, at the Jesuit Residence Infirmary, March 15, 2010. A prominent Jesuit professor and author, Fr. Galdon was born September 24, 1928. He entered the Jesuit’s Novitiate in New York on July 30, 1946 after high school. In 1950, he came to the Philippines and finished his AB and MA in Philosophy first at Sacred Heart Novitiate and later at Berchmans College in Cebu City. He taught Latin, English and Religion at Ateneo de Manila High School from 195356 while doing his Regency. He went on to Woodstock College, Maryland to study Theology from 1956-60. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1959 by Cardinal Francis Spellman at Fordham University. In 1965, he completed his Ph.D in English/Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Fr. Galdon returned to the Philippines in 1965 and taught English and Latin in the Jesuit Juniorate at Sacred Heart Novitiate and Loyola House of Studies. From 1968 to 2003, he worked in various capacities at the Ateneo de Manila University, serving as Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, Chair of Department of English, Rector of the Jesuit Residence, Editor of Philippine Studies, and Director of Admission and Aid. Regarded as an exceptional English professor to generations of Ateneans and Jesuit scholastics, Fr. Galdon will also be remembered as a spiritual guide and mentor to many Ateneans, especially to those who have participated in his Prayer Days for Coeds.

Segunda Mana helps Youth leaders aim to preserve Filipino heritage fund Caritas programs
THE proceeds of the Segunda Mana Charity Store will help fund the various social services program of Caritas Manila. This was the assurance of Fr. Anton Pascual, Executive Director of Caritas Manila, during the launching of the Segunda Mana Charity Store, March 18. Pascual said that the sales production will help provide additional funds for the scholarship and youth leadership programs as well as for prison ministry. “Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to the scholarship program, 25 percent for preventive health and 25 percent for the restorative justice,” he said. Pascual cited that “one of the projects of Caritas is education because it is the best way to poverty alleviation and apart from that there are also health and livelihood programs for the urban poor families.” He added that Segunda Mana has already contributed to the Ondoy and Pepeng relief and rehabilitation programs recently to financially aid the victims of Haiti. For his part, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said the event is indeed “multiplying a lot of goodness” to other people particularly to the urban poor families. Segunda Mana is a charity in kind. It is sharing the blessings to help end poverty. The store sells at very cheap prices various items from clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, office equipment and books. These second-hand goods were collected from generous donors. Caritas Manila is the social arm of the Archdiocese of Manila and the integrator of the Church’s social services and development in Metro Manila. (Kate Laceda) AT least 100 youth leaders from all over the country are set to gather late next month in a youth camp to discuss the importance of preserving heritage Churches and other cultural treasures so vital in enhancing one’s faith. Those expected to attend the event include representatives from the churches declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and National Cultural Treasures and other delegates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Dubbed Angat Kabataan 2010, the youth camp and heritage tour will be held from April 30 to May 4 in different venues in Legaspi City, Albay. The event is being organized by the Society of Ecclesiastical Archivists of the Philippines, Inc. under the auspices of CBCP Committee on Cultural Heritage in celebration of the Heritage Month 2010. The event will feature a seminarworkshop with the foremost cultural heritage expert in the country Prof. Eric Zerrudo, audio-visual presentations about the 33 churches declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as National Cultural Treasures in the Philippines, and a heritage tour in Albay in the Bicol region. Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese

of Legaspi will celebrate the welcome Mass to be held at the Our Lady of the Gate Parish in Daraga, Albay. Fr. Harold Ll. Rentoria, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) commissioner and chairman of the National Heritage Month Festival 2010 Steering Committee, will also grace the event along with other provincial and local government officials of Albay. The Angat Kabataan Camp 2010 is made possible through the help of the NCCA, Filipino Heritage Festival Inc., the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines–Permanent Committee for Cultural Heritage, the Augustinians in the Philippines, the Diocese of Legaspi, and the University of Santo Tomas–Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics. Themed “Preserving the Gift of Faith”, the celebration is in lieu with Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s proclamation No. 439, declaring the month of May as the National Heritage Month. Additional information on the upcoming event can be obtained from Ms. Beverly Macayan at 09394047184, Telefax No. +63-2-4061611 local 4059 or through ust_cccpet@ yahoo.com/cccpet@mnl.ust.edu.ph. (Levine A. Lao)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 – April 11, 2010

‘The Cross Is Part of the Ascent toward the Height of Jesus Christ’
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear Young People! The Gospel for the blessing of the palms that we have listened to together here in St. Peter’s Square begins with the phrase: “Jesus went ahead of everyone going up to Jerusalem” (Luke 19:28). Immediately at the beginning of the liturgy this day, the Church anticipates her response to the Gospel, saying, “Let us follow the Lord.” With that the theme of Palm Sunday is clearly expressed. It is about following. Being Christian means seeing the way of Jesus Christ as the right way of being human -- as that way that leads to the goal, to a humanity that is fully realized and authentic. In a special way, I would like to repeat to all the young men and women, on this 25th World Youth Day, that being Christian is a journey, or better: It is a pilgrimage, it is a going with Jesus Christ. a going in that direction that he has pointed out to us and is pointing out to us.
But what direction are we talking about? How do we find it? The line from our Gospel offers two indications in this connection. In the first place it says that it is a matter of an ascent. This has in the first place a very literal meaning. Jericho, where the last stage of Jesus’ pilgrimage began, is 250 meters below sea-level while Jerusalem—the goal of the journey—is 740-780 meters above sea level: an ascent of almost 1,000 meters. But this external rout is above all an image of the interior movement of existence, which occurs in the following of Christ: It is an ascent to the true height of being human. Man can choose an easy path and avoid all toil. He can also descend to what is lower. He can sink into lies and dishonesty. Jesus goes ahead of us, and he goes up to what is above. He leads us to what is great, pure, he leads us to the healthy air of the heights: to life according to truth; to the courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of dominant opinions; to the patience that stands up for and supports the other. He leads us to availability to the suffering, to the abandoned; to the loyalty that stands with the other even when the situation makes it difficult. He leads us to availability to bring help; to the goodness that does not let itself be disarmed not even by ingratitude. He leads us to love—he leads us to God. “Jesus went ahead of everyone going up to Jerusalem.” If we read these words of the Gospel in the context of Jesus’ way as a whole—a way that, in fact, he travels to the end of time—we can discover different meanings in the indication of “Jerusalem” as the goal. Naturally, first of all it must be simply understood as the place “Jerusalem:” It is the city in which one found God’s Temple, the oneness of which was supposed to allude to the oneness of God himself. This place thus announces in the first place two things: On the one hand it says that there is only one God in all the world, who is completely beyond all our places and times; he is that God to whom all creation belongs. He is the God whom deep down all men seek and whom they all have knowledge of in some way. But this God has given himself a name. He has made himself known to us, he has launched a history with men; he chose a man—abram—as the beginning of this history. The infinite God is at the same time the God who is near. He, who cannot be enclosed in any building, nevertheless wants to live among us, be completely with us. If Jesus goes up to Jerusalem together with Israel on pilgrimage, he goes there to celebrate the Passover with Israel: the memorial of Israel’s liberation—a memorial that is always at the same time hope for the definitive liberation that God will give. and Jesus goes to this feast with the awareness that he himself is the Lamb spoken of in the Book of exodus: a male lamb without blemish, which at twilight will be slaughtered before all of Israel “as a perpetual institution” (cf. exodus 12:5-6, 14). and in the end Jesus knows that his way goes beyond this: It will not end in the cross. He knows that his way will tear away the veil between this world and God’s world; that he will ascend to the throne of God and reconcile God and man in his body. He knows that his risen body will be the new sacrifice and the new Temple; that around him in the ranks of the angels and saints there will be formed the new Jerusalem that is in heaven and nevertheless also on earth. His way leads beyond the summit of the Temple mount to the height of God himself: This is the great ascent to which he calls all of us. He always remains with us on earth and has always already arrived [in heaven] with God; he leads us on earth and beyond the earth. Thus in the breadth of Jesus’ ascent the dimensions of our following of him become visible—the goal to which he wants to lead us: to the heights of God, to communion with God, to being-with-God. This is the true goal, and communion with him is the way. Communion with Christ is being on a journey, a permanent ascent to the true height of our calling. Journeying together with Jesus is always at the same time a traveling together in the “we” of those who want to follow him. It brings us into this community. Because this journey to true life, to being men conformed to the model of the Son of God Jesus Christ is beyond our powers, this journeying is also always a state of being carried. We find ourselves, so to speak, in a “roped party” [1] with Jesus Christ—together with him in the ascent to the heights of God. He pulls us and supports us. Letting oneself be part of a roped party is part of following Christ; we accept that we cannot do it on our own. The humble act of entering into the “we” of the Church is part of it -- holding on to the roped party, the responsibility of communion, not letting go of the rope because of our bullheadedness and conceit. Humbly believing with the Church, like being bound together in a roped party ascending to God, is an essential condition for following Christ. Not acting as the owners of the Word of God, not chasing after a mistaken idea of emancipation -- this is also part of being together in the roped party. The humility of “being-with” is essential to the ascent. Letting the Lord take us by the hand through the sacraments is another part of it. We let ourselves be purified and strengthened by him, we let ourselves accept the discipline of the ascent, even if we are tired. Finally, we must again say that the cross is part of the ascent toward the height of Jesus Christ, the ascent to the height of God. Just as in the affairs of this world great things cannot be done without renunciation and hard work (joy in great discoveries and joy in a true capacity for activity are linked to discipline, indeed, to the effort of learning) so also the way to life itself, to the realization of one’s own humanity is linked to him who climbed to the height of God through the cross. In the final analysis, the cross is the expression of that which is meant by love: Only he who loses himself will find himself. Let us summarize: Following Christ demands as a first step the reawakening of the nostalgia for being authentically human and thus the reawakening for God. It then demands that one enter into the roped party of those who climb, into the communion of the Church. In the “we” of the Church we enter into the communion with the “Thou” of Jesus Christ and therefore reach the way to God. Moreover, listening to and living Jesus Christ’s word in faith, hope and love is also required. We are thus on the way to the definitive Jerusalem and already, from this point forward, we already find ourselves there in the communion of all God’s saints. Our pilgrimage in following Christ, then, is not directed toward any earthly city, but toward the new City of God that grows in the midst of this world. The pilgrimage to the earthly Jerusalem, nevertheless, can be something useful for us Christians for that greater voyage. I myself linked three meanings to my pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year. First, I thought that what St. John says at the beginning of his first letter could happen to us: That which we have heard, we can, in a certain way see and touch with our hands (cf. 1 John 1:1). Faith in Jesus Christ is not the invention of a fairy tale. It is founded on something that actually happened. We can, so to speak, contemplate and touch this historical event. It is moving to find oneself in Nazareth in the place where the angel appeared to Mary and transmitted the task of becoming Mother of the redeemer to her. It is moving to be in Bethlehem in the place where the Word, made flesh, came to live among us; to put one’s foot upon the holy ground where God wanted to make himself man and child. It is moving to climb the steps up to Calvary to the place where Jesus died on the cross. and then standing before the empty tomb, praying there where his holy corpse lay and where on the third day the resurrection occurred. Following the material paths of Jesus should help us to walk more joyously and with a new certainty along the interior paths that Jesus himself points out to us. When we go to the Holy Land as pilgrims, we go there, however—and this is the second aspect—as messengers of peace too, with prayer for peace; with the firm invitation that everyone in that place (which bears the word “peace” in name), has everything possible so that it truly become a place of peace. Thus this pilgrimage is at the same time—as the third aspect—an encouragement to Christians to remain in the country of their origin and to commit themselves in an intense way to peace. Let us return once more to the liturgy of Palm Sunday. The prayer with which the palms are blessed we pray so that in communion with Christ we can bear the fruit of good works. Following a mistaken interpretation of St. Paul, there has repeatedly developed over the course of history and today too, the opinion that good works are not part of being Christian, in any case they would not be significant for man’s salvation. But if Paul says that works cannot justify man, he does not intend by this to oppose the importance of right action and, if he speaks of the end of the Law, he does not declare the Ten Commandments obsolete and irrelevant.

Pastoral Concerns


It is not necessary at the moment to reflect on the whole question that the apostle was concerned with. It is important to stress that by the term “Law” he does not mean the Ten Commandments, but the complex way of life by which Israel had to protect itself against paganism. Now, however, Christ has brought God to the pagans. This form of distinction was not to be imposed upon them. Christ alone was given to them as Law. But this means the love of God and neighbor and all that pertains to it. The Ten Commandments read in a new and deeper way beginning with Christ are part of this love. These commandments are nothing other than the basic rules of true love: first of all and as fundamental principle, the worship of God, the primacy of God, which the first three commandments express. They tell us: Without God nothing comes out right. Who this God is and how he is, we know from the person of Jesus Christ. The sanctity of the family follows (fourth commandment), holiness of life (fifth commandment), the ordering of matrimony (sixth commandment), the regulation of society (seventh commandment) and finally the inviolability of the truth (eighth commandment). all of this is of maximum relevance today and precisely also in St. Paul’s sense—if we read all of his letters. “Bear fruit with good works:” at the beginning of Holy Week we pray to the Lord to grant all of us this fruit more and more. at the end of the Gospel for the blessing of the palms we hear the acclamation with which the pilgrims greet Jesus at the gates of Jerusalem. They are the words of Psalm 118 (117), that originally the priests proclaimed to the pilgrims from the Holy City but that, after a period, became an expression of messianic hope: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118[117]:26; Luke 19:38). The pilgrims see in Jesus the one whom they have waited for, who comes in the name of the Lord, indeed, according to the St. Luke’s Gospel, they insert another word: “Blessed is he who comes,

the king, in the name of the Lord.” and they follow this with an acclamation that recalls the message of the angels at Christmas, but they modify it in a way that gives pause. The angels had spoken of the glory of God in the highest heavens and of peace on earth for men of divine goodwill. The pilgrims at the entrance to the Holy City say: “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!” They know well that there is no peace on earth. and they know that the place of peace is in heaven. Thus this acclamation is an expression of a profound suffering and it is also a prayer of hope: May he who comes in the name of the Lord bring to earth what is in heaven. The Church, before the eucharistic consecration, sings the words of the Psalm with which Jesus is greeted before his entrance into the Holy City: It greets Jesus as the King who, coming from God, enters in our midst in God’s name. Today too this joyous greeting is always supplication and hope. Let us pray to the Lord that he bring heaven to us: God’s glory and peace among men. We understand such a greeting in the spirit of the request of the Our Father: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!” We know that heaven is heaven, a place of glory and peace, because there the will of God rules completely. and we know that earth is not heaven until the will of God is accomplished on it. So we greet Jesus, who comes from heaven and we pray to him to help us know and do God’s will. May the royalty of God enter into the world and in this way it be filled with the splendor of peace. amen. (The text above is the homily that Benedict XVI gave in the Mass for Palm Sunday, March 28, 2010, at the St. Peter’s Square. Many young people participated in the celebration, which also marked this year’s World Youth Day, held on a diocesan level worldwide.)



CBCP Monitor
March 29 – April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

The Dualism of Church and State

Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, JCD

EVEN if the so-called Reproductive Rights Bill has been once more defeated in the Philippine Legislature, thanks to the efforts of Catholic pro-life and profamily lobbyists, we can be sure that just like in the past several Congresses, its proponents will try again in the next one. At times, even I am starting to doubt the bases for all the resistance that my Catholic friends have to what seems to be more and more acceptable─i.e., reproductive rights. The oft-quoted argument is the so-called “separation of Church and State.” Just what exactly does this expression signify?
Christian Dualism of Church and State: Distinct not Separate The Liberalist idea of the separation of Church and State can be traced to the proponents of the French revolution. But the Christian notion of the Dualism of Church and State far antedates the former, starting with the wellknown Gospel dictum: “render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt. 22, I5-22; Mk. 12, 13-17; Lk. 20, 2026). Other less known texts can be found in I Pet. 2, 13-17 and rom.13, 1-7, where Sts. Peter

and Paul ordered the Christians to obey the civil authorities in those matters which were of their competence. But the most decisive text─for the question we have at hand─can be found in the acts of the apostles (acts 4, 19-20). Peter and John had been arrested by the Sanhedrin─which was both the religious and civil authority of the Jews at that time─for preaching Jesus Christ and winning many converts. To the command of the Sanhedrin for them to stop their evangelizing activity, the apostles replied: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, decide for yourselves. For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” In effect, the above-quoted statement of Christ (which risks being a tautology) must be understood in the light of Peter’s declaration which gives it content: One must indeed render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s; but what is Caesar’s and what is God’s? The Natural Law is God’s, and man must obey it, despite any contrary disposition of the State. The State and the Church are distinct, with distinct competencies; but they are not separate because they involve basically the same subjects (the civic man is also a religious man), and are both under the same Natural Law of God. applying this to the present controversy regarding certain provisions of the so-called reproductive rights Bill, it is not a question of the State

desisting from contraceptive means, because the Church says so: that would indeed be an infringement of the Principle of Dualism of Church and State. rather, the State should not propose contraceptive means because the Natural Law (i.e., the L.aw of God which is in men’s hearts) says so: even the State must render to God what is God’s─unless it institutionally denies His existence and His Law over Nature, as indeed how the liberalist idea of “separation” of Church and State would have it. The Liberalist deviation: the “separation” of Church and State Without going into the details of the posterior deviations from the original Christian idea, suffice it to say that intolerance in religious matters did not in fact originate in the Church, but rather in the absolutist monarchs of post-Medieval europe. This was especially true after the Protestant inspired principle of cuius region eius religio (“he who possesses the kingdom controls its religion”) was installed in the Peace of Westphalia, ending the Wars of religion, but also putting an end to a united Christendom. The idea of tolerance in religious matters, at the face of the excesses of regal absolutism, found its theoretical basis in the 18th Century under the influence of the rationalist School of Natural Law. These doctrinal roots gained strength in t h e thought of the age of enlightenment, and found concrete form in the ideological climate of the

revolutions towards the end of the 18th century. However, despite their common ideological roots in the enlightenment, the treatment of the religious factor would not be the same in the Declarations of rights which would emerge respectively from the american and the French revolutions. The framers of the american Constitution were not conditioned by past institutions (recall the opening lines of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address: “... conceived in liberty”), but were rather moved by a strong religious ideal (“In God we Trust”), and desired to construct a modus vivendi for Christian migrants of different confessions that would overcome the religious intolerance of the Old World. Such consideration of religion as a positive element gave rise to a formulation of religious freedom that gave greater juridical protection to religious expression: the idea of respect for Christian pluralism (against the war between Catholic and Protestant princes in europe) flowed naturally into the wider notion of religious pluralism. The juridical formula, which wasconceivedtoattainthisrespect for religious freedom in pluralism, was the separation between the State and the religious Confessions. Consecrated in the First amendment to the Constitution of the United States (1791), this was simply an empirical formulation, without any doctrinal discussion. The State simply declared its incompetence in religious matters, by stating that “Congress shall make no

law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” On the other hand, the French revolutionaries were reacting against the institutions of a Catholic confessional and absolutist State. Hence, the climate of religious tension in which the revolution developed. against the Catholic confessionalism of the ancient regime, the proponents of the French revolution postulated the laicist character of the State, which could hardly lead to respect for the independence of religious confessions. Thus, the French Declaration of Human Rights did not reflect the full protection of the manifestations of the religious phenomenon. rather, it explicitly protected only the freedom of opinions, including religious ones, for the expression of which public order constituted a limit to be fixed by law. The agnostic state In the european mold of the separation of Church and State, despite the lip service to freedom of opinion, the Liberal State oftentimes gave a negative evaluation of religion. This gave rise to a minimalist conception of religious freedom (leading to periods of veritable persecution of the Catholic Church, first in France and later on in Italy and then in Spain). Thus, liberalism proposed the ideal of the Laicist State: not in the sense of religious pluralism as enshrined in the First amendment of the US Constitution, but rather postulating the agnostic State. This implied a rejection of

Natural Law the foundation of the public order of the State, thus dissociating the juridical order from the objective moral order. With its conception of man as a being with total autonomy, and by relegating God to the world of the unknowable (agnosticism), liberalism proclaimed the human reason as the absolute criterion of truth and the human will as the autonomous font of morality: “What I know is what is true, and what I want is what is right.” The norm of morality is thus shifted from the objective Natural Law, to the subjective rule of the majority: what the majority says would constitute what is right, regardless of whether or not such majority opinion is objectively right. Thus, in the US and many Western european countries, for example, the majority have legislated that abortion (killing a helpless baby) is right; and in Holland they have legislated that euthanasia (killing a sick person) is right. In effect, the liberalist doctrine of Separation of Church and State was a declaration of the confessional principle of the agnostic State: a shift from religious pluralism to the confessionally laicist State: a state where man─embodied in the majority, or in the ruling party─is the absolute norm of right and wrong. Unfortunately, this idea of separation of Church and State is what has prevailed in the last half-century, even in the U.S., and is what is being proposed now in the ongoing debate on reproductive rights in the Philippines.

Prostration and vestments on Good Friday
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:)
Q: I have a question concerning the liturgy of Good Friday. The sacramentary in use in the United States directs: “The priest and the deacon, wearing red vestments, go to the altar. There they make a reverence and prostrate themselves, or they may kneel” (Sacramentary, rev. 1985). ‘Paschales Solemnitatis,’ the Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the easter Feasts (Congregation for Divine Worship, 1988) directs “The priest and ministers make a reverence to the altar prostrating themselves. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed, for it signifies both the abasement of ‘earthly man,’ and also the grief and sorrow of the Church.” These two directives seem to be contradictory to me. Do you find them contradictory? and, if so, which would take precedence?—M.e., New York. Why is a chasuble prescribed instead of a cope for Good Friday?—J.C., rochester, New York a: The above mentioned circular letter itself clarifies the question of precedence in No. 5 of the document: “[T]he Congregation for Divine Worship, after due consideration, thinks that it is a fitting moment to recall certain elements, doctrinal and pastoral, and various norms whic h h av e al read y b e e n pu b l i s h e d concerning Holy Week. all those details which are given in the liturgical books concerning Lent, Holy Week, the easter Triduum and paschal time retain their full force, unless otherwise stated in this document. “It is the aim of this document that the great mystery of our redemption be celebrated in the best possible way so that the faithful may participate in it with ever greater spiritual advantage.” at first appearance there appears to be a contradiction as one document gives the option of kneeling while the other mentions only prostration. The rubric in the new Latin Missal (2002), however, retains the option of kneeling albeit “pro opportunitate.” I would say, therefore, that rather than contradicting the Missal the circular letter wishes to stress that the two possibilities are not equal and that, from the liturgical and symbolic point of view, the preferred posture at this moment is prostration. The option of kneeling is wisely retained as no small number of priests might find prostration to be a somewhat arduous or even hazardous task. In some cases the efforts required at getting down, and getting up again could be ungainly and distract from the overall somberness of the occasion. With respect to the use of the chasuble: The liturgy for Good Friday prior to the reform of the roman Missal prescribed a complex series of rites and changes of vesture. The priest wore an alb and black stole for the entrance, prayers and Passion. He assumed a black cope for the universal prayers but left the cope aside for the adoration of the Cross. at the time of Holy Communion he substituted the black stole for a violet one and donned a violet chasuble in order to distribute Communion. When the rite was reformed the color red was preferred to the use of black and violet. and the rite was simplified with the use of only one kind of vestment, the chasuble, throughout the celebration. The priest removes the chasuble (and may also remove his shoes) only while kneeling to adore the Cross. The chasuble was probably preferred to the cope as a more suitable vestment for the distribution of Communion and perhaps also for practical purposes as many poor parishes would find it difficult to purchase a red cope to be used perhaps once or twice a year.

Photo courtesy of Noli Yamsuan/RCAM

© Roy Lagarde/CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 – April 11, 2010

Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, life expectancy at birth was 52 years in 1990, and only 34 in 2003 (7). But there is something absurdly medieval about making the Pope a scapegoat, as if the clouds would break and the sun shine if we thrust enough pins through a JP2 voodoo doll. Pinning the blame for the tragedy of african aIDS on one man is one of those ideas that are, in the words of George Orwell, “so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them.” The role of Catholicism Two such ideas run through all these criticisms. The first is basically this: african Catholics are so devout that if they have sex outside of marriage, dally with prostitutes or take a third wife, they will piously refrain from using condoms because the Great White Father told them not to. Ms Toynbee darkly invokes “the Vatican’s deeper power... its personal authority over 1.3 billion worshippers, which is strongest over the poorest, most helpless devotees.” But she can’t have it both ways: these benighted dark-skinned Catholics can’t be both too goody-two-shoes to use condoms and too wicked to resist temptation. Journalist Brendan O’Neill—who describes himself as an are essential for preventing aIDS in africa. In the words of researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, “The condom is a life-saving device: it is highly effective in preventing HIV transmission if used correctly and consistently, and is the best current method of HIV prevention for those who are sexually active and at risk” (12). However, notice that this dogma is limited by two significant qualifications: “if used correctly and consistently”. How often can we expect this to happen in southern africa? If the experts haven’t been able to end aIDS in San Francisco and Sydney by promoting condoms, what makes them think that they will succeed in africa? amazingly, despite the dogmatic insistence that distributing condoms is the only way to stop aIDS in its tracks, there are very few studies to prove it. an article in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization last year admitted that very little research has been done on the impact of condom-promotion program on the actual incidence of HIV infection (13). Furthermore, even if condoms are “efficacious”—that is, they don’t break and don’t leak—Murphy’s Law says that they will often fail. according to Family are actually the best ways to fight AIDS. In 1991, the infection rate in Uganda was 21 per cent. Now, after years of a simple, low-cost program called aBC, it has dropped to about 6 per cent. aBC stands for abstain, Be faithful, or use Condoms if a and B are not practiced. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni preaches the aBC of aIDS with the fervour of an evangelist. “I am not in favour of condoms in primary and even secondary schools... Let condoms be a last resort,” he said recently at an international aIDS conference in his capital, Kampala. “I have grown-up children and my policy was to frighten them out of undisciplined sex. I started talking to them from the age of 13, telling them to concentrate on their studies, that the time would come for sex” (17). Ms Toynbee contended in her diatribe in the Guardian that “abstinence and celibacy are not the human condition”. But Museveni—no innocent about the human condition—thinks that they are. “We made it our highest priority to convince our people to return to their traditional values of chastity and faithfulness or, failing that, to use condoms,” he told american pharmaceutical executives a couple of years ago. “The alternative was decimation” (18).

a simple solution in the face of calamity. I have an idea which will fix everything up. While British journalists are busy fulminating about appalling health care in africa, the British government is colluding in making it worse. according to a recent issue of The Lancet, subSaharan health personnel are flocking to the UK, leaving their own countries’ health care in a shocking state (20). an estimated 60 per cent of doctors trained in Ghana in the 1980s, for instance, have left the country. Initiatives to tackle aIDS, such as the World Health Organisation’s goal of providing lifelong anti-retroviral treatment, are being thwarted by a shortage of doctors. Unless doctors and nurses stay at home instead of chasing better salaries in the UK, many, many more HIV infected people will die. One person can put a stop to this scandal: the British Prime Minister. Perhaps if Polly Toynbee sticks pins into a Tony Blair voodoo doll, the whole problem will go away. Silly? OK. But it makes a lot more sense than sticking them in the late Pope. (Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. This article is published under special arrangement with MercatorNet)

By Michael Cook
ONLY a month after the death of his predecessor, the new Pope, Benedict XVI, announced that he had launched the process which culminates in Catholic sainthood. The Vatican normally moves at a glacial pace in such things, so the unprecedented speed confirms what most people feel about John Paul II—that he was an extraordinarily good chap. However, before the faithful get too wound up, something has to be tidied up: the little matter of whether Karol Wojtyla was, in fact, the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century. If he was, canonisation might not be such a good idea. Here’s what the devil’s advocates have had to say. Nicholas Kristof, of the New York Times, says that the Vatican’s ban on condoms has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, making it one of “its most tragic mistakes in the first two millennia of its history” (1). The influential New Statesman, in London, ran a cover story shortly after the Pope’s death claiming that he “probably contributed more to the continental spread of the disease than the trucking industry and prostitution combined” (2).


rosemary Neill, of the australian, in Sydney, opined that the intransigent Vatican “will eventually be accused of crimes against humanity” (3). Polly Toynbee, of the UK’s Guardian newspaper, who clearly had something quite vile for breakfast that morning, compared JP2 to Lenin: “they both put extreme ideology before human life and happiness, at unimaginable human cost” (4). even doctors chimed in. The world’s leading medical journal, The Lancet, accused an ignorant and rigid Pope of presenting “insuperable obstacles to the prevention of disease” (5). I’m not aware of whether any of these writers have visited aIDS hospices and embraced aIDS patients, as John Paul II did, or worked as hard John Paul II did to get international funding for aIDS treatment. By and large, they seem to be the same crowd who put the boot into everything else he did. But they have made their claim and it deserves a hearing. Does it stand up? Terrifying statistics There’s no doubt that aIDS in africa is terrifying. The latest survey of aIDS prevalence in Swaziland, a tiny kingdom of 2 million people surrounded by South africa, has reached 42.6 per cent, the highest in the world. and climbing. Three years ago, in 2002, it was 38.6 per cent. “Swaziland will be wiped out,” said one aIDS activist despairingly (6). Figures for other countries in southern africa are almost as grim. according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/aIDS (UNaIDS), two-thirds of people with HIV/ aIDS live in sub-Saharan africa. at the end of 2004, 25.4 million people there were infected, with about 3 million infected during the year. Life expectancy at birth has dropped below 40 in nine countries: Botswana, Central african republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, rwanda, Swaziland,

ex-Catholic who has jettisoned Catholic teaching on sexual morality—sums up this patronizing argument in the on-line journal Spiked: “The only reason you could believe the fantastically simplistic idea that Vatican edict = aIDS in africa is if you consider africans to be little more than automatons... who do as they are told” (8). Superimposing maps of prevalence of aIDS on prevalence of Catholicism is enough to sink the link between the Catholic Church and aIDS. In the hospice which is Swaziland nowadays, only about 5 per cent of the population is Catholic. In Botswana, where 37 per cent of the adult population is HIV infected, only 4 per cent of the population is Catholic. In South africa, 22 per cent of the population is HIV infected, and only 6 per cent is Catholic. But in Uganda, with 43 per cent of the population Catholic, the proportion of HIV infected adults is 4 per cent (9). In fact, without the Catholic Church the situation might be much worse. The aIDS disaster in africa weighed heavily on the Pope. Ten years ago he appealed to “the world’s scientists and political leaders, moved by the love and respect due to every human person, to use every means available in order to put an end to this scourge” (10). and Catholics have responded. about 27 per cent of health care for HIV/aIDS victims is provided by Church organizations and Catholic NGOs, as even The Lancet has acknowledged (11). They form a vast network of clinics which reach the poorest, most remote and most neglected people in africa. These statistics suggest that the true story may be quite the opposite to the tune sung by the media: that Catholic observance may, in fact, be the best prophylactic. How effective are condoms anyway? The second assumption is that condoms

Health International, an american group which supports reproductive health initiatives and vigorously promotes condoms, “condoms have to be used correctly and consistently to work”; “correct use is more complicated than it may seem because there are lots of ways to get it wrong”; and “some users will have difficulty using condoms successfully and will experience more than their share of breaks” (14). In the chaotic social environment of many african countries, where poverty is endemic, women are regularly abused and polygamy is widespread, men are unlikely to use condoms consistently. as President Museveni of Uganda has observed, “In countries like ours, where a mother often has to walk 20 miles to get an aspirin for her sick child or five miles to get any water at all, the question of getting a constant supply of condoms may never be resolved” (15). a recent study of condom use in the developing world in the journal Studies in Family Planning summed up the situation with these damning words: “no clear examples have emerged yet of a country that has turned back a generalised epidemic primarily by means of condom promotion” (16). This is most clearly seen in southern africa. High HIV transmission rates have continued despite high rates of condom use. In Botswana, says Professor Norman Hearst, of the University of California at San Francisco, condom sales rose from one million in 1993 to 3 million in 2001 while HIV prevalence amongst urban pregnant women rose from 27 per cent to 45 percent. In Cameroon condom sales rose from 6 million to 15 million, while HIV prevalence rose from 3 per cent to 9 per cent. The example of Uganda In fact, the history of aIDS in Uganda supports the Church’s belief that abstinence and fidelity within marriage

Behind the campaign The campaign to blacken the name of John Paul II with african deaths is so blazingly and bewilderingly brainless that it amounts to conclusive proof of Orwell’s maxim. What could possibly be behind it? There is a political answer. a slick campaign by disgruntled Catholics to discredit the Pope and the traditional teachings of their Church has been operational for several years. a proabortion group called Catholics for a Free Choice (CFC) launched an international Pr drive in December 2001 to promote their view that “good Catholics use condoms”. advertisements in the US, Mexico, the Philippines, South africa, Kenya, Chile and Zimbabwe marked “the first phase of an effort to change the Vatican’s policy and challenge its aggressive lobbying against availability and access to condoms in areas of the world most at risk” (19). Subsequent media coverage, at least in the UK, has reflected the major themes of CFC’s ideology. But on a deeper level, Catholic beliefs about sexuality clash with what John Paul II called a “pathology of the spirit”. as an example of this, take Polly Toynbee’s claim that “contraception is women’s true saviour”. The Pope looked to a different saviour. He knew that technology cannot repair the wounded human condition. It cannot inject self-restraint; it cannot infuse respect for others; it cannot manufacture a sense of responsibility. The only lasting salvation comes not from a pill or a latex tube but from a conversion of heart. a technical patch will leave africa’s acute problems of gender inequality, poverty, low education and social disruption unsolved. And without fixing these, the aIDS problem is sure to get worse. But clearly a scapegoat for aIDS in africa fulfils a primal need for

Notes: 1 Nicholas D. Kristof. “The Pope and AIDS”. New York Times. 8 May 2005. 2 Michela Wong. “Blood of innocents on his hands”. New Stateman. 11 April 2005. 3 Rosemary Neill. “A Catholic culture of death”. Australian. 7 May 2005 4 Polly Toynbee. “Not in my name”. Guardian. 8 April 2005. 5 “The Pope’s grievous errors”. The Lancet. 12 March 2005. 6 “Devastating setback in Africa.” Globe and Mail (Toronto). 24 May 2005. 7 UNAIDS. “AIDS epidemic update 2004.” 8 Brendan O’Neill. “Did the Pope spread AIDS in Africa?” Spiked. 8 April 2005. 9 World Health Organization, Epidemiological Fact Sheets and The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church 10 Ecclesia in Africa. 14 September 1995. 11 Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán .“Message for World AIDS Day.” 1 December 2004 “The Pope’s grievous errors”. The Lancet. 12 March 2005. 12 Anna Foss, Peter Vickerman, Charlotte Watts. “The Ban That Kills”. Conscience. Spring 2005. 13 King K. Holmes, Ruth Levine, Marcia Weaver. “Effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections”. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, June 2004, 82 (6). 14 “The Latex Condom: Recent Advances, Future Direction”. Family Health International 15 Cited in Norman Hearst and Sanny Chen. “Condom Promotion for AIDS Prevention in the Developing World: Is It Working?”. Studies in Family Planning. March 2004. 16 Norman Hearst and Sanny Chen. “Condom Promotion for AIDS Prevention in the Developing World: Is It Working?”. Studies in Family Planning. March 2004. 17 “Museveni Opposes Condoms in Schools”, AllAfrica.com, 30 November 2004. 18 Cited in Joseph Loconte, “The White House Initiative to Combat AIDS: Learning from Uganda”, Heritage Foundation, Executive Summary #1692, 30 September 2003. 19 www.condoms4life.org. 20 “Loss of health professionals from subSaharan Africa: the pivotal role of the UK”. The Lancet. 28 May 2005.


Was John Paul II responsible for the deaths of millions of African AIDS victims because he refused to sanction the use of condoms?

In search of a scapegoat



Social C
CBCP Monitor
March 29 – April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

What the Presidentiables sa

Benigno SiMeon Aquino iii John CArlo De loS reyeS
My stand from the very beginning has always been responsible parenthood. We need a firm policy that will address the serious problem on population. We must understand that the population growth of our country is geometric and not arithmetic in progression. We cannot allow our population to bloat at an alarming place any further if we intend to maximize our resources and ensure that the basic needs of every citizen are met. To address this problem, parents should play a key role in ensuring that each and every child they bring into this world has the opportunity to lead a good life. While it is the government’s duty to support parents in their family’s endeavors, at the end of the day, the method with which the family is planned and the size of the family, should all be left to the parents. The state must respect each individual’s right to follow his or her conscience and religious convictions on matters and issues pertaining to the unity of the family and the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death. What the state can do is help parents, especially the poor and disadvantaged, who are bereft of tools to make an informed judgment. The government should educate the people about the means with which to plan their families so they can create families based on their ability to sustain their needs. In the process of providing a range of options and information to couples, natural family planning and modern methods shall be presented as desirable methods. Natural family planning is the most effective method that has no side effects, it is free and promotes a responsible and loving relationship between couples. Quoting its Declaration of a Consistent Ethic in Life, “Ang Kapatiran Party upholds human life in all its forms and stages. All are important. One aspect of human life affects another.” The candidate and the party stand is “Where human life is considered cheap and easily wasted, eventually nothing is held sacred, and all lives are in jeopardy.” AKP rejects Reproductive Health Bill 5043 as the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life stated in its Catechism on Family and Life for the 2010 Elections stated: It would not be morally permissible to vote for candidates who support anti-family policies, including reproductive health (in the particular understanding being presented in the recent debates, which includes, among others, promotion of abortifacients, or any other moral evil such as abortion, divorce, assisted suicide and euthanasia. Otherwise one becomes an accomplice to the moral evil in question.”

JoSeph eJerCito eStrADA riChArD gorDon
I believe one of the causes of poverty, aside from graft and corrupt practices, is the lack of population control. However, I vow to respect the advocacy of the Church against artificial methods. The Estrada Administration will seek to manage the population by allowing access to modern methods. Our people are our country’s greatest resource. And this has been proven many times over by our OFWs, our managers, our engineers, our artists and cultural workers. The Filipino is a great manager of his talent, and what is important is to provide him with opportunity upon which there is a rule of law, and a regime of meritocracy. That is why he succeeds abroad—when he works hard he gets good compensation, when he is honest he is recognized for it, when he is productive he gets the best for it. I believe that our aim then must be for a quality population. Population is not an excuse for non-development. It depends on the kind of education we put in. I know many families with a lot of children but they come out as professionals, they come out helping one another. You can have as many children as you want, that’s your choice. Again, education, faith, and religious belief matter. I will support a massive campaign to ensure that our people understand that responsibility in so far as rearing children is important. In relation to this, my administration will create work and livelihood opportunities so that our people will not have to seek their future abroad but can find their future here in our native land, so that families will no longer suffer the burden of years of separation and can be around to raise their children.

AnA ConSuel

A reproductive policy based. It should instea that empowers women knowledge. We should well to be mendicants an heath materials being p to the prejudice of our w

Catechism on th
Catholic Bishops’
For them to take an active part in partisan politics, with its wheeling and dealing, compromises, confrontational and adversarial positions, would be to weaken their teaching authority and destroy the unity they represent and protect. Still, it must be admitted that sometimes even the teaching of moral principles is actually interpreted by some as partisan politics, because of actual circumstances (PCP-II, 343-344). an example was the Bishops’ postelection statement in 1986 when they taught that a government that has assumed power by fraud had no moral right to govern. This teaching was considered partisan for the opposition presidential candidate and against the winner proclaimed by a subservient parliament. 23. What is the specific mission of the laity in politics? The mission of the laity is the same as that of the entire Church, which is to renew the political order according to Gospel principles and values. But such renewal by the laity is through active and partisan political involvement, a role generally not allowed to priests and religious men and women. This is the reason that PCP-II urges the lay faithful not to be passive regarding political involvement but to take a leading role. In fact, PCP-II states: “In the Philippines today, given the general perception that politics has become an obstacle to integral development, the urgent necessity is for the lay faithful to participate more actively, with singular competence and integrity, in political affairs” (PCP-II, 348). Moreover, the laity must “help form the civic conscience of the voting population and work to explicitly promote the election of leaders of true integrity to public office” (PCP-II, Art. 8, #1). Continued from last issue... ParT III: THe roLe of CLergy, reLIgIoUS anD LaITy In PoLITICS 21. What are the roles of Clergy, religious and laity with regard to “partisan politics”? Traditionalwisdomandgeneral common sense, with support from Canon Law (or the Law of the Church), assign specific roles for different members of the Church. PCP-II pointed out these roles. “The Church’s competence in passing moral judgments even in matters political has been traditionally interpreted as pertaining to the clergy. Negatively put, the clergy can teach moral doctrines covering politics but cannot actively involve themselves in partisan politics. In practice, religious men and women are also included in this prohibition” (PCP-II, 340). But certainly lay people “have competence in active and direct partisan politics” (PCP-II, 341). This general rule is certainly not rigid, because lay people themselves have a teaching role regarding politics, especially in their witnessing to gospel values in the world of politics. Concretely, priests, religious men and women, and lay people, i.e., the Church “must be involved in the area of politics when Gospel values are at stake” (PCP-II, 344). 22. Why should priests, religious men and women refrain from involvement in partisan politics? as we have seen, the prohibition is not because of any Philippine constitutional provision. But the Church prohibits Clergy and religious from involvement in partisan politics because they are considered the symbols of unity in the Church community.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 – April 11, 2010




In view of helping voters discern and make the right choices in the forthcoming elections, the CBCP Media Office has sent letters to all Presidentiables last February 25, 2010 requesting their positions on the following issues: corruption, gambling, mining, population, energy, economy and peace building. There are, of course, more questions to be asked but limitation of space and time prevailed. In this issue, only one question fits: “Some are of the opinion that the burgeoning population is the primary cause of poverty in the country. Do you believe in this? If so, would you go for population management? Or population deceleration? How?”

lo MADrigAl

niCAnor perlAS
In general I am supportive of the thrust and intent of the Reproductive Heath Bill, but with the following strong conditionalities. The Philippine Constitution forbids abortion and I am in total agreement with this prohibition. The present vague language of the Reproductive Health bill should be rewritten to reflect this broad societal consensus against abortion. In addition, the present language of the bill is too focused on rights of individuals. These should be balanced by language on the sacredness of the reproductive act and the human life that results from it as well as the responsibilities that individuals and couples have in connection with human reproduction. I also do not support the use of artificial contraceptives that do harm to individuals using them as well as jeopardize the health and integrity of future human conception. I will also encourage legislators to make a final round of genuine and respectful consultations with religious groups and other civil society formations to craft an integral language that would acceptable to most, if not all stakeholders. Meanwhile, my government, once elected by the people, will push for a massive campaign against poverty and redress the economic imbalances that ultimately fuel the continued high levels of fertility rates in the Philippines. In short, the reproductive health debate should be seen in the context of the broader unjust socio-economic structures that force human beings, especially the poor, into using questionable reproductive-related practices.

gilBerto teoDoro, Jr.
(The CBCP Media Office spent over a month of waiting, from February 25, 2010 to March 29, 2010, and repeated telephone calls, but nothing came from Mr. Teodoro. Perhaps next issue maybe luckier)

eDuArDo VillAnueVA
“Population explosion” is not the cause of poverty, it is the effect of poverty. The real issue behind is the need for equitable sharing of resources. Abortion-inducing drugs should never be classified as common drugs or over-the-counter medicine. The health and welfare of women and children is important to the state. Moral values should be taught more than technology or device. Children and youth should be protected from any unnecessary and unhealthy exposure to sexual information. My Party and I firmly believe that the life of the unborn child begins at the time of conception. As such, we do not and will not advocate, institutionalize and/or legalize any practice of abortion or the use of any abortion-inducing pills or drugs designed to terminate the life of an unborn fetus. Neither will the Party promote, advocate nor institutionalize the practice and use of any artificial contraceptive devices. However, believing in the divine right of every individual to “free will” or the “right of choice”, Bangon Pilipinas believes that the State, as the guardian and as the constitutional protector of every facet of human rights of every Filipino, should not, in any way, shape or form, interfere with the individual’s inherent right of discretion and/or right to choose with birth control measure, artificial or otherwise, he/she may deem proper and appropriate under his/her particular circumstances, and according to his/her faith or conscience.

MAnuel VillAr, Jr.
I have always believed that a huge population is not necessarily a problem. I think the problem is incompetence in managing the economy. Our country has been mismanaged for decades and it has become convenient to put the blame on the huge population. Once we are able to manage this country very well, then things would not be constraints. In fact, 92 million will enable us to be a great nation. Our population should be viewed as an asset and we should focus on how economic growth can be helped by population size. India and China are growing fast and they are the most populated countries in the world.

y should not be product ad be based on a policy through information and d now allow ourselves as nd reliant on reproductive pushed by multinationals women’s health.

the Church and Politics
Conference of the Philippines
to Catholics there are many political options that the Gospel does not prohibit. Therefore, there is generally no such thing as a “Catholic vote” or “the Bishops’ candidates”. This is simply a myth. The Bishops do not endorse any particular candidate or party but leave to the laity to vote according to their enlightened and formed consciences in accordance with the Gospel. 26. Is there any case when the Bishops can authoritatively order the lay faithful to vote for one particular and concrete option? Yes, there is, and the case would certainly be extraordinary. This happens when a political option is clearly the only one demanded by the Gospel. an example is when a presidential candidate is clearly bent to destroy the Church and its mission of salvation and has all the resources to win, while hiding his malevolent intentions behind political promises. In this case the Church may authoritatively demand the faithful, even under pain of sin, to vote against this particular candidate. But such situations are understandably very rare. 27. How does the Church fulfill its mission on renewing or evangelizing politics? a. by catechesis or Christian education in politics in order to evangelize our political culture which is characterized by a separation between faith and politics; b. by issuing guidelines on properly choosing political officials, so that the people may have a properly formed conscience in their electoral choices; c. by helping keep elections honest, clean, peaceful, and orderly through various church 24. What truths should guide the laity’s political involvement? PCP-II underlined the following principles to guide political participation of Catholics: a. That the basic standard for participation be the pursuit of the common good; b. That participation be characterized by a defence and promotion of justice; c. That participation be inspired and guided by the spirit of service; d. That it be imbued with a love of preference for the poor; and e. That empowering people be carried out both as a process and as a goal of political activity. (PCP-II, 351). But more than just political involvement is the primary importance of the lay faithful being witnesses to the Gospel. John Paul II said: “The lay faithful must bear witness to those human and Gospel values that are intimately connected with political activity itself, such as liberty and justice, solidarity, faithful and unselfish dedication for the good of all, a simple lifestyle, and a preferential love for the poor and the least” (CL, 42). 25. are there so called “Catholic candidates” or is there a “Catholic vote”? The Gospel does not prescribe only one way of being political or only one way of political governing (such as monarchical, presidential, parliamentary, etc.), much less only one political party or even one slate of candidates. No one political option can fully carry out the Gospel mandate of renewing the political order or of serving the common good. No one political party or platform or set of candidates can exclusively claim the name Catholic. Hence organizations, cooperating with non-government organizations; d. by pushing for structural changes as a goal of pastoral action in the political field, such as urging for reforms in the electoral processes in order to avoid delays and ensure integrity throughout the entire electoral process from voting, to counting, to reporting, and finally to proclaiming the winners; e. by political advocacy such as lobbying for legislation that promote the common good and against bills that promote the vested interests of the few; f. by getting involved in a movement of civil society (civic organizations, peoples’ organizations, non-government organizations, associations of lay people and religious, school associations, etc.) to change politics for the better; g. by organizing her own network of parishes and organizations, pastoral and social centers, etc., such as NaSSa VOTe-Care and PPC-rV, to help keep elections clean, honest, peaceful and orderly; h. by the living witness of all the Catholic faithful to Christ and to the values of the Gospel. This is the most important contribution of the Church to the evangelization of politics. To be continued next issue...

Until May of this year, we are devoting these pages, B4 and B5 for political education. We are serializing starting this issue a matrix of platforms of presidentiables. Send feedback, articles and ads by email to: cbcpmonitor@cbcpworld. net


Ref lections
Bo Sanchez

CBCP Monitor
March 29 – April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

The Significance of the Easter Gospel

Your past does not define your future

Easter Sunday – Year C; (Luke 24:1-12/John 20:1-9) April 4, 2010
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
aN ancient wisdom advises that if one wishes to conquer, he has to divide the enemy. However invincible one appears to be, it is simply impossible to fight on many fronts and win, as adolf Hitler realized too late. If one wishes to reform the nation, he cannot therefore afford to antagonize the people, quarrel with the political establishment and go up against the religious establishment. Once he does these, he will virtually be a goner. Nothing is in store for him except defeat. The fate of Jesus appears to be like this. From the roman and Jewish point of view, Jesus, who had invited the people to repent and enter the Kingdom of God, had to die. Because of his teaching and behavior, the Jewish leaders accused him, among others, of threatening to destroy the Temple (Mark 14:58), of leading people astray as a false prophet (John 7:12; Matt 27:63), and of assuming divine prerogative (Mark 14:64). These charges, of course, would not make sense in a roman trial. This is why the Jewish leaders brought him to Pilate, the roman governor, on charges of insurrection: subverting the nation, opposing tax payment and pretending to be king (Luke 23:3). and it is almost historically certain that rome gave the verdict: capital punishment. But the end of Jesus was not defeat. Those who opposed him never triumphed. He was not a goner, after all. For God reversed the verdict. He raised Jesus from the dead (1 Thess 1:10; rom 10:9). The Jewish and roman leaders took his life; God gave him a new one. This is the easter Gospel. resurrection, however, is a metahistorical event; it transcends time and space. It is not like a resuscitation to an old life, as in the raising of the widow’s son at Naim (Luke 7:11). It is a new form of existence. Hence, in Luke’s resurrection narrative, only a negative witness could be provided. When the women entered the tomb, they did not find Jesus’ body (Luke 24:3). But the empty tomb is not an apodictic argument for the resurrection. It could be interpreted differently. In Matthew, for example, the chief priests claimed that the disciples stole the body (Matt 28:12; cf John 20:2). Some claimed that the empty tomb was simply a product of wishful thinking. Others alleged that Jesus merely swooned on the cross and subsequently extricated himself from the bands and the tomb. Hence, faith in the resurrection cannot rest on an incontrovertible empirical evidence. How then, according to Luke, do we know that Jesus rose from the dead? First, God himself told us in the mouth of two men in dazzling garments who said to the women: “Why do you search for the Living One among the dead? He is not here; he has been raised up” (Luke 24:5b). (according to Jewish law, this testimony is conclusive because two witnesses made it [Deut 19:15]). Second, Jesus himself prophesied it: “The Son of Man 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” (9:22, 24; 12:50; 17:35; 18:31-33). For Luke, the guarantee of resurrection is the trustworthiness of Jesus’ words. Thus, at the instance of the two men, the women disciples (Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, etc. [24:10]) remembered his words. Of course, they remembered because they had accompanied him in his Galilean ministry (8:1-3), and they witnessed the crucifixion (23:49) and burial (23:55). In Luke’s theology, what the women heard was crucial in interpreting the empty tomb. Because of it, they took the empty tomb as a sign that Jesus is alive. Faith thus comes from remembering what is heard (cf rom 10:17). With this faith, they began to proclaim the easter Gospel (24:8-9). What is the significance of the easter Gospel? The resurrection of Jesus lies at the heart of Christian faith. If he was not raised from the dead, our faith is empty (1 Cor 15:14). God vindicated the persecuted Jesus—he was not a false prophet, after all. On the contrary, he is the Savior (rom 4:25), the living Lord (rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3), the Son (acts 12:33; rom 1:34). In fact, all the books of the New Testament were written from the point of view of his resurrection. But not only that. Because God raised him, he will also vindicate those of us who followed him (1 Cor 4:14). Those who died with him will live with him (2 Tim 2:11). Moreover, even in the here and now, the life that Jesus lives is given to us who believe (rom 8:12). This is made possible through our baptism (rom 6:4-12). We acquire a new being (2 Cor 5:17-21). Christ lives in us (Gal 2:20). and in Luke’s Gospel, the first beneficiary of this new being in Christ is the repentant criminal: “I assure you, this day, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

“WHere are you here, son?” I was five years old. I had just shown Dad my kindergarten class photo—a free-for-all scene where kids were elbowing each other for more photo exposure. Where was I? at the back of the pack, peeking over someone’s shoulder. You could only see one-fourth of my face. Oh yes, I was small. I was thin. and I was also terribly shy. Sheepishly, I pointed myself in the photo. Dad blurted out, “Bo, why don’t you be like this boy here in front?” Ouch. I felt his words slice through my little heart. He was referring to this mestizo kid who was big and boisterous, his arms waving wildly, his face seemingly three inches from the camera. That day, I remember feeling very sad. I told myself, “Yes Bo, there’s really something wrong with you.” (Parents, if you get anything from this story, I hope it’s this: Never compare your child with anyone else. Not with other kids, not with his brothers and sisters, not even with yourself when YOU were a kid…) In Grade 2, my grades were plummeting. I remember getting 73% in Math. So my mother got a tutor to teach me twice a week. Because of this, my grades improved: I got 75%. Not because I finally learned Math but because the tutor Mom hired was my own Math teacher in school. When I was in Grade 4, I discovered I was also bad at sports. My classmates held the basketball and flew with it. I held the basketball and fell from its weight. In every game, my classmates laughed at me. even my teachers ridiculed me. at the start of every game, my classmates would ask me, “Join the other team! Please Bo!” No one wanted me. Because of this, I kept to myself most of the time. after grade school, I took the entrance exam for ateneo high school. I flunked the test. I was devastated. My parents had to scrounge for another school for me at the last minute. I remember Ariel, a good friend of mine. He was the first honor in class. He also was the school’s basketball and baseball star. One day, I thought about him and wondered, “Lord, why did you give all the talents to others and none to me?” I felt incredibly sad that day. Friends, I thought all about these things yesterday. Because yesterday, I had to email four countries: australia, US, Singapore, and India. all of them wanted me to speak at their conventions on the exact same weekend. The same guy who flunked tests. The same guy who got the lowest grades. The same guy who was unwanted by everyone—is now desired by the nations. And ten years after flunking that entrance exam in Ateneo, I never imagined that I would one day be having lunch with the Dean of the College and hear him say, “Bo, how can we convince you to teach Theology in the ateneo?” I told him I’d love to teach, but my hands were full: Founding four organizations, writing best-selling books, preaching around the world, publishing the widest read Catholic literature in the country… My message? You can fulfill your dreams! Because your past does not define your future.


Bishop Pat Alo


Fr. Francis Ongkingco


The big issue
WHeN God created the world, of the things He created man was the masterpiece, as the Scriptures record: “God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts, and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth’. God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:26-27). “God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it” (Gen. 1:28). God’s plan therefore in its normal course is that man be “fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and conquer it” (Gen. 1:28). You violate such design when you block the normal course of conception and birth by contraceptive devices and abortion which the rH Bill promotes or facilitates. Don’t you see that if contraception and abortion are thoroughly implemented in any place, population is heading towards self-extinction and destruction. Note places in the world where the older ones are increasing while the younger generations are disappearing. That is the main issue why the Church goes against the use of the contraceptive devices and abortion because it forms part of the ugly face of the culture of death. Such is not mercy or love when you block the possibility of new life by preventing conception or terminating human life at the incipient stage just because of worries regarding poverty, overpopulation, lack of educational facilities or other commodities in life. The Lord surely provides for our needs, if we do our part in respecting and helping one another. God’s word is infallible: “That is why I tell you not to be worried about food and drink for yourself, or about clothes for your body. Is not life more important than food and is not the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow, they do not harvest and do not store food in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. are you not worth much more than birds? Can any of you add a day to your life by worrying about it? Why are you so worried about your clothes? Look at the flowers in the fields how they grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his wealth was clothed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass in the field which blooms today and is to be burned tomorrow in an oven, how much more will he clothe you? What little faith you have! Do not worry and say: What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? Or: what shall we wear? The pagans busy themselves with such things; but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt. 6:25-34).

The Devil’s boredom
ST. Michael decided to take a leisurely stroll after making his usual rounds in Heaven and making sure that its pearly gates were shiny and sturdy. He found St. Peter busy with the books containing the names of those who were going to Heaven. “So how have things been lately, Peter?” Michael asked. “Pretty much the same, except for the last batch of businessmen and lawyers who died in a plane crash. Providence had it that there was a priest in that same plane who gave them the general absolution.” “Wow! God truly has his ways of wanting all men to be saved!” Michael remarked. “Oh, did the priest come in too?” he was just a bit curious. “Nope,” Peter said and then added, “actually, he survived the crash.” “He must still have a lot of work to do down there. I can see how his guardian angels must have been working overtime too,” the archangel said. “Where are you headed for, Michael?” Peter asked. “Oh, just to take a stroll. Perhaps, I can catch Lucifer up to some mischief.” “I don’t think you don’t have to go too far,” Peter said, “I just spied him around the corner brooding to himself.” “What!” Michael said surprised. “That’s strange! Shouldn’t he be working harder considering that his time is almost up?” “I really don’t know, I tried pulling his tail, but he didn’t say anything. Why don’t you ask him yourself,” Peter suggested. Michael went over to where the devil was. He was exactly as Peter said he was. Satan had a glum expression over his face that Michael had never seen before. “Hey, Lucifer! What’s up? Shouldn’t you be down there rather than sit around here?” “Oh, what I would give to do just that,” he sneered at the archangel. “Hey, that doesn’t sound like you?” “I’m bored with how things are turning up down there.” “Bored?” Michael asked. “Isn’t that something humans are fond of saying?” “Yup, but it looks like that much of my work down there is pretty covered. I guess it was an oversight of ours; that we planned way too ahead of time that now most of us are out of commission in tempting people to gravely sin and go to hell.” “What makes you say that?” the angel was quite suspicious at this strange remark, wondering what trick the devil might pull on him. “I’m serious,” Lucifer said. “Take the Internet, we don’t even have to tempt both young and old to log into bad sites. They’re just a click away and the pop-ups do most of the work for us. So I just redeployed the rest of the boys to try and distract people during Sunday and prayer services.” “Oh, I see,” Michael realized the devil had a point. “Then there are the movies on television, cable and also the Internet,” the Devil chuckled with delight. It’s not only the bad ones, but all sorts of films that people watch indiscriminately and find themselves not even having time for prayer, the family and serving the needy.” “But…,” Michael tried to interrupt him but Lucifer wasn’t paying attention. “and if people aren’t hooked to their computers or T.V. sets, the wave of portable gadgets, laptops, and tablets are now effective mobile occasions of sin. So you see, we’re pretty much ‘unemployed’, I guess when all of this is over, we will just have to enjoy harvest time.” “But is that the real reason why you’re just sulking around here?” Michael inquired. “Well, I was actually lying when I said I was bored,” Lucifer confessed. “That’s really nothing new to you, being the father of lies,” Michael snapped. “So what would be the real reason you’re here?” “More than bored, I’m quite frustrated because even though we’ve literally tried to temp every pore in man to sin, he still manages to get around his sins by going to confession,” the devil snarled disgustedly. “Why can’t humans be bored with going to Confession, attending Mass and offering penance? Couldn’t they just stick to their sins?” “Man’s freedom to choose between doing good or bad has always been a mystery to me,” Michael said. “One thing though I can say, that he realizes he can never be happy sinning and something inside of him will always make him return to God, because he is aware that only God can forgive sins.” “That’s unfair!” the devil screamed. “Why doesn’t God just leave things as they are, and not help man?” “That’s where you’re mistaken, Lucifer,” Michael corrected him. “In the end, it still rests on man to freely choose his eternal destiny. God never forces man to love Him, but neither will He refuse His mercy to anyone who comes to Him saying sincerely that he’s sorry.” Lucifer didn’t say anything. His face reddened with fury and he disappeared. *** “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.” (1 Pt. 5:8-9)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 – April 11, 2010



Pope Benedict XVI with Israel’s religious leaders during an interfaith meeting at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel, on the occasion of the pope’s visit to Holy land on May 14, 2009.

(Letter the prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, sent to the bishops of the world regarding the collection for the Church in the Holy Land, which traditionally takes place on Good Friday.)

‘Reinforce the Solidarity that has been shown so far’
Your excellency, The preparation for easter once again launches the appeal to the Pastors of the universal Church to support the Holy Land by offering prayers, attentive participation and practical generosity. Sensitivity to the needs of the Church in Jerusalem and in the Middle East finds its motivation in the “we” of the Church. This sensitivity becomes help, like the relief sent to the brethren who lived in Judea (acts 11:29-30); remembrance, like St Paul’s invitation in his Letter to the Galatians (2:10), and a collection that responds to precise practical instructions (1 Corinthians16:1-6) and is described as the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints (2 Corinthians 8-9 and romans 15). Our appeal this year is inspired by the pilgrimage “in the historical footsteps of Jesus” which the Holy Father Benedict XVI made last May. I had the honor of accompanying him and of sharing the pastoral, ecumenical and interreligious concern that enlivened his words and actions. Together with the ecclesial community of Israel and Palestine I listened to “a voice” of brotherhood and peace. Strongly emphasizing the ceaseless problem of emigration, His Holiness recalled that “in the Holy Land there is room for everyone”! and he urged the authorities to support the Christian presence but at the same time assured the Christians of this land of the Church’s solidarity. at Holy Mass in Bethlehem, he then encouraged the baptized to be “a bridge of dialogue and constructive cooperation in the building of a culture of peace to replace the present stalemate of fear, aggression and frustration” so that the local Churches might be “workshops of dialogue, tolerance and hope, as well as of solidarity and practical charity”. The Year for Priests involves the beloved priests and seminarians of the whole Church, together with their respective Bishops, in a commitment to the Holy Places. Let us, therefore, return in our hearts to the Upper room in Jerusalem where the Teacher and Lord “loved us to the end”; to that place where the apostles with the Holy Mother of the Risen Crucified One experienced the first Pentecost. We firmly believe in the “flame” of the Holy Spirit “which is never extinguished” and which the Living One spreads in abundance. and let us work tirelessly to guarantee a future to Christians in the place where “the kindness and humanity” of Our God and Father first appeared. The Pope has entrusted to the Congregation for the eastern Churches the task of keeping alive interest in that blessed Land. In his name I urge everyone to reinforce the solidarity that has been shown so far. In fact, the Christians of the east have a responsibility that belongs to the universal Church, in other words the responsibility to preserve the “Christian origins”, the places and people who are the sign of them, so that those origins may always be the reference of the Christian mission, the measure of the ecclesial future and its security. They therefore deserve the support of the

entire Church. I enclose an informative document that illustrates all that the Custody of the Holy Land has been able to achieve with the 2009 Collection. and I recall that it is always thanks to the annual Collection that various interventions can be carried out by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and by the eastern Catholic Churches in Israel and in Palestine. I pray the Lord that he may lavishly reward those who love the Land that gave birth to him: it must remain, thanks to the “lively and youthful Church” which works there, a witness down the centuries to the great works of salvation. In communion with the pastors and Christians of the Holy Land, I wish you an Easter filled with divine blessings. Yours most devotedly in the Lord, LeonarDo CarDInaL SanDrI Prefect +CyrIL VaSIL, S.J. archbishop Secretary

aS the spiritual father of our Local Church in Davao City, I am duty-bound to issue fatherly reminders to my spiritual children. These reminders are being sent exclusively to our fe l lo w Cath o l i c s wh o a r e running for public office as well as to their supporters who are also Catholics. To non-Catholics and people of good will, these are friendly suggestions.

Reminders to candidates for the public Message of Cardinal office and their supporters rosales for Alay
appeal is for all candidates and supporters to try to * think only good thoughts more often; * desire only the moral good; * speak only good and kind words; * perform only good deeds, not for popularity and fame; * establish only good relationships that heal; * pray a little but well. tity; * testify to the credibility of their claim as Catholic Christians; * glorify God Who by baptism made them His children. Fourth reminder: To do otherwise or the opposite is tantamount to * defying and disobeying God; * insulting one’s very self; * scandalizing the public; * mocking the democratic exercise; * depriving our city and people of good and dignified public servants; * making our city morally and spiritually corrupt; * reducing this beautiful place to morbid killing fields without a future; and * starting this from the womb until the tomb. Fifth reminder: Public service is a sacred trust. It is entrusted to * people whose aim is to reflect God’s goodness in their private and public lives; * people who resolutely uphold the rule of law; * people who firmly maintain peace and order; * people who unselfishly promote the common welfare, not vested interests; * people who freely and closely strive to imitate the Lord Jesus, the Son of God (there is no other) Who came not to be served but to serve; * people who are never so tall as when they kneel down to pray; * people whose greatness lies in their capacity to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.

Kapwa Sunday

First reminder: On bended knees after communion (oratio imperata prayers for healing and elections), we tell God that * inborn goodness is in everyone, even in non-Catholics; * inborn goodness is God’s gift; * inborn goodness is a spark of the Divine; * inborn goodness is not and cannot be erased by sin and crime; * inborn goodness is a powerful source and resource for good. Second reminder: My earnest

Third reminder: By doing the second reminder, they will * pacify the inner caprices of the heart; * indemnify damaged properties and return the ill-gotten ones; * rectify unjust relationships through humble forgiveness and reconciliation; * purify wrong superstitious practices of the faith; * dignify the electoral processes through honest, lawful, and peaceful means; * edify the voters and the public with good exemplary behavior; * magnify with pride our common Filipino national iden-

Sixth and Last reminder: To everyone, my humble prayers with a fatherly appeal to please believe that it is never too late to change our lives. Sins, vices, crimes are human weaknesses and are man-made. With God’s grace they can be unmade by their makers. For, as St. Paul said: “Where sin abounds, there grace abounds even more” (rom. 5:20). +fernanDo r. CaPaLLa archbishop of Davao March 18, 2010


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My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, alay Kapwa Sunday is the special day of the year designated to raise funds for social services and programs for the less fortunate. It is also known as Caritas Sunday. However, we are now beginning to see and directly experience the effects of a crisis that we have been ignoring. It is not only climate change as some would want us to call it and believe. Mother Nature is reacting to what we have done to her. Last year, storms Ondoy and Pepeng ravaged Luzon. These past few months, major earthquakes hit Haiti, Chile and Taiwan. In Haiti, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. Here at home, we are again praying for rain, as billions of pesos worth of crops, plants and trees have dried up. We have to prepare. We have to be prepared. We ha ve t o c ha ng e. rea lly change. This Palm Sunday, please support the special alay Kapwa collection in your parishes. This will go to the Caritas DisasterPreparedness Fund Drive. This fund is used in times of major crises like we experienced in Ondoy. We were also able to extend help to Haiti through this program of Caritas. aside from the special collection, you may also support the drive by depositing to the different accounts of Caritas Manila. alay Kapwa Sunday has always been about the less fortunate. But with the seriousness of the climate crisis and these calamities,

we, all of us, become the less fortunate. The season of Lent gives us the opportunity to reflect on our lives. It is also a time to reflect on how we have served as stewards of God’s creations. What have we done to our environment? This Palm Sunday, give and help. and, as we make our offering, let us pray that God spares us from such calamities and disasters, and for God to rule our hearts. We must also pray that we, as a people, select leaders who will never compromise the environment for economic gains, leaders who can help protect and nurture what little we have left, leaders whom we can depend on in times of calamities and disasters. There will be very rough times ahead. But, despite our bleak outlook, my dear brothers and sisters, allow me to share with you that there is always hope. The Palm branch and Palm Sunday are symbols of victory and welcoming the Lord. Though Palm Sunday is Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem, it is also the start of our Lord’s passion and suffering leading to His death on the Cross. But we also know that in the end, in the ultimate end, there would be easter, God’s ultimate victory over death and sin. return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:12-14) God bless us all! +gaudencio Cardinal rosales archbishop of Manila March 28, 2010


THe movie takes place in a world of chaos and mayhem 30 years after the apocalypse. eli (Denzel Washington) has been travelling on foot in search for water source. He is generally peaceful and quiet but has superb combat skills he will not hesitate to use if provoked. He enters a dilapidated town built and run by Carnegie (Gary Oldman), an ambitious gang leader who desires to build more towns if only he can find the only remaining copy of the Bible. Impressed by eli’s skills, Carnegie decides to have him seduced by his blind concubine’s daughter, only to find out later that he carries the very book he has been searching for. Carnegie then plots to kill eli and take possession of the only copy of the King James Bible, while eli, believing that God is on his side, uses all his skills to protect his precious cargo until he is able to properly turn it over. The movie offers a fresh breath of treatment for an old plot - a peaceful man with a mission who is capable of killing his enemies single handedly if provoked. The production is decent and engaging with an authentic interpretation of a world that survived the worst. One can see semblances of old

Western movies and modern action flicks with its staging and cinematography. The script is intriguing but there are several loopholes in the storyline’s logic and eli’s character. Fortunately, the visual play each scene provides balances its shortcomings. Washington and Oldman play their respective roles convincingly. The Book of eli presents a bit of a predicament. On the one hand, it might be possible to excuse the brutality of the film and take this in the context of a chaotic world after the war. On the other hand, one might wish to just look at all the objectionable violence and dismiss the movie’s values altogether. The movie may appear to be merely a violent film but if you will take a closer look the movie is interspersed with several religious ideologies. First, there is eli’s journey to faithfully carry out and complete the mission entrusted to him. Second, amidst a world consumed by chaos and violence, the Word of God seems to be a beacon of hope and change. Third, eli’s spirituality is almost authentic as he not only carries and protects the Bible but also reads passages daily and has even memorized the entire book. He also prays a lot, frequently quotes and shares
Title: Book of Eli Cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes Producers: Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Joel Silver, David Valdes, Denzel Washington Screenwriter: Gara Whitta Music: Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, Claudia Sarne Editor: Cindy Mollo Cinematography: Don Burgess Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Location: USA Running Time: 118 mins. Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  ½ CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
Moral Assessment

CBCP Monitor

March 29 – April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

Technical Assessment

 Abhorrent  Disturbing  Acceptable  Wholesome  Exemplary

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

passages from the Bible and emphasizes the need to look at the spirit not just the words of the passages. He reveals that he walks by faith and not by sight. However, several scenes have intermittent strong language, violence and sexual innuendos, although not endorsed as a way of life, they will still disturb the sensibilities of most people. Film might not be appropriate for children younger than 14 and parents are cautioned to guide their teenagers when watching the movie.


Ni Bladimer Usi

Title: Alice in Wonderland Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena BonhamCarter, Anne Hathaway, Allan Rickman Director: Tim Burton Producer: Richard Zanuck Screenwriter: Linda Woolverton Genre: Fantasy Distributor: Walt Disney Location: UK Running Time: 105 min. Technical Assessment:  ½ Moral Assessment:  CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

Young alice has been having a recurring dream of going down a dark hole leading to a strange-looking place. When she reaches 19 years old, alice (Mia Wasikowska) is obliged to accept a public wedding proposal from a suitor whom she has no

affection for. So when a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat distracts her, she runs from the crowd to follow the strange creature. In her pursuit of the rabbit, alice falls into the rabbit hole and finds herself in a place that she has already seen in her dreams, Wonderland. However, it’s no longer the happy place it once was. alice bumps into Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and from him she discovers that her coming has been foretold for she is believed to be the only one who can save the land by slaying the red Queen’s (Helena BonhamCarter) huge flying dragon, the Jabberwocky, and restoring power to the White Queen (anne Hathaway). However, alice is reluctant for she believes all these are just part of a dream and she would soon wake-up. This children’s classic by Lewis Carroll is re-lived in this latest

and updated version that comes in 3D technology. as expected, Tim Burton’s adaptation is dark yet full of substance. The core message remains faithful to the original although the entire feel is made contemporary and the look borderlines into surreal aesthetics that is Burton’s signature. audiences are taken into a visual treat this time with live characters and colorful magnificent backdrops. The sound, scoring and cinematography are all in place. The real gem in the film is the performance of its actors. Wasikowska, perfect for her role, does an excellent job playing the grown-up alice. Her unique charm and combination of cleverness and innocence make her a memorable character. Hathaway’s appearance is comparatively brief but interesting just the same. Depp is as usual fantastic, but BonhamCarter as the red Queen with the oversized head dominates every scene she’s in with her alice in Wonderland has brought its audience to a place that exists only in one’s wild imagination. The film has shown the power of believing in the impossible. The red and White Queens clearly represent the battle between good and evil, and this helped bring to the fore the maturing of alice from adven-turesome girl to courageous young woman. She has held dearly the teachings of her parents, except, understandably, when forced to marry somebody she does not love. In this sense, she has come of age, defying authority and unexamined social traditions to use her own mind to do what is right. alice’s character strongly depicts selfconfidence and optimism, traits that are given recognition in the end when she is granted the opportunity to venture into the real world with real characters and real challenges. Due to the dark depiction and images (i.e., chopped fingers used as potion, smoking cat, animals treated cruelly, etc.) that may not appear wholesome to the very young audience, CINeMa strongly recommends parental guidance for audiences below 13 years old.

Buhay Parokya

Look for the images of easter eggs, Last Supper, and Chalice. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 - April 11, 2010


The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

CFC Europe: Inspired and Empowered
By Chastine Rodriguez

THE 2nd CFC Europe Leaders Summit held last 26-28 February 2008 in Geneva (Switzerland) started with a Holy Mass officiated by Fr. Raymund Gaspar, spiritual adviser of CFC Belgium.

In his homily, Fr. Raymund enjoined CFC members to be an inspiration to the young as he said, “ As you grow older, the more that household leaders should become an inspiration to young people.” He reminded his congregation that “We need the Lord to cleanse us. Let us accept our leadership with humility” and that the community should always “trust that the Lord knows more than us.” The Summit is emerging to be an institutionalized undertaking held every two years by CFC Europe to serve as a venue for leaders to share experiences and learn lessons from them, and to use these as inputs in formulating a community action plan for the succeeding two years focusing on matters of evangelization, the CFC’s twin missions of building the Church of the Home and building the Church of the Poor, and Oneness with the Catholic Church. The first summit was held in Milan (Italy) in 2008 attended by about 150 delegates who came from various CFC areas in Europe, the Philippines and from as far away as Japan. In this year’s summit in Geneva (Switzerland), there were 164 attendees representing 13 European countries and the Philippines. The two-day affair was led by Bro. Joe Yamamoto, CFC Executive Director and European Coordinator, Bro. Mannix Ocampo, ANCOP Operations Head and Austria Country Coordinator, and Bro. Joe Tale, Chairman of the International Council. It came as the community prepares for the biggest event of the year, the megacon to be held this summer in Vienna (Austria) entitled the EUROCON XV.

By Carlos Matela

Mindanao Leaders Meet In Gensan
sardines, fruits, baked products and offered them during the bounty parade. The “El Niño Phenomenon” did not stop the abundance of food as the leaders were offered “tuna sashimi” sliced right in front of them together with other fruits and seafood products from South Cotabato and Sarangani. The second day of the conference began with a Hoy Eucharistic Celebration presided by Rev. Fr. Joseph Benitez, the Spiritual Director of CFC South Cotabato, and concelebrated by Fr. Ronilo Huesca and Fr. Jun Diamante. Fr. Benitez welcomed the delegates and thanked CFC for making General Santos the venue for this year’s Mindanao Leaders Conference.

SOME 3,500 leaders from all over Mindanao met in the tuna capital for the annual gathering of leaders. The Mindanao Fullness in Christ Weekend was held from March 12-14, 2010 at the KCC (Koronadal Commercial Center) Mall of Gensan Convention Center in General Santos City. The delegates came in droves to Gensan from as far as Basilan and Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte in Western Mindanao and Surigao del Norte from Northeastern Mindanao. This was the biggest attendance of any Mindanao conference so far. Six of the seven International Council members – Joe Tale, Joe Yamamoto, Lito Tayag, Rouquel Ponte, Joey Arguelles and Manny Garcia - and their spouses, attended and were speakers and sharers at the said conference. The leaders’ weekend started with the Leaders’ Summit in the morning participated in by members of the CFC Council in Mindanao. At 5:00 in the afternoon, a mass was celebrated by Fr. Jun Diamante, CFC Bukidnon’s spiritual director, who was also a participant to the conference. After the mass, a Harvest Festival in the nearby Conlu Ecopark was celebrated to welcome the delegates who also brought along with them their harvests and delicacies from their own areas such as

Being the father of the city, Mayor Pedro “Jun” B. Acharon, Jr., who is also an active member of the CFC in General Santos, welcomed the delegates and cited different beautiful places that the delegates can see during their stay in the city. CFC Chairman Joe Tale gave the overview of the conference. Talk 1 (Accepting the Call) was given by Lito Tayag, with his wife Linda and Boie Sescon as the sharers. Talk 2 (One in Christ) was delivered by Rouquel Ponte with Nina as sharer. CFC Executive Director and Mindanao Mission Director Joe Yamamoto opened the afternoon session with Talk 3 (Rooted in Christ) with his wife Mila as sharer. The last talk of the day

“Journey in Faith” was given by Joey Arguelles with Tess Arguelles and Jojo Coyugan as sharers. The session of the second day was capped by a Mini-Praisefest led by Bebot Matela, member of the Provincial Council of South Cotabato. The third day was again started with a Holy Eucharist Celebration presided by Rev. Fr. Ronald Plomillo, who was commissioned by Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel, to represent him. Fr. Ronald was joined by Fr. Jun Diamante and Rev. Jeff Agustin, a deacon of the Capuchin Order of Friars. The last talk (Filled with Thanksgiving) was given by Manny Garcia with wife Ditas sharing their “blessings of Ondoy” and Juvy Amadeo of General Santos sharing how grateful she and her husband Toto were for the gift of love from God and the community. As the culminating activity, everyone, spouses particularly, thanked each other for being blessings to one another. This was led by Joe and Babylou Tale who wrote thanksgiving love letters to each other and led in the singing of the song “Sometimes”. Members also thanked their leaders for shepherding them. The conference ended with a praisefest led by Alan Baiño, member of the Area Council of Davao City. Everybody went home very grateful for the wonderful conference they have attended. Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental will be the next host of the 2011 Mindanao Leaders Conference.

By Zeny Gimenez

CFC Accepts Archdiocesan Task
a prerequisite to getting permission to wed in the church. 2. Post Cana Program - CFL has requested that the CFC conduct their Marriage Enrichment Retreat (MER) for married couples in the parish who are not members of any family-oriented groups. The target for 2010 is 1 MER per vicariate which means 13 vicarial MERs for the year.. 3. Teen Sexuality Seminar (TSS) – This is a 3-4 hours chastity education seminar given to the youth in schools and parishes and CFL intends to conduct at least one TSS per quarter per vicariate. 4. Natural Family Planning (NFL) – CFC will help in the program by providing the NFL teachers. CFC volunteers will undergo necessary training with CFL in all the above programs. In the case of the Post Cana Program, CFC will be in charge of forming the MER teams and speakers in coordination with the CFL Office. The Teen Sexuality Seminar will be organized by CFL with the help of Singles for Christ and Youth for Christ volunteers who will be trained in the TSS module. Joe Tale disclosed that the agreement is the implementation of a meeting with Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, organized by Rene Perez, formerly a CFC Metro Manila sector head. In that meeting, held towards the end of last year, the bishop invited CFC to take on this role in recognition of the fact that, of the 84 parishes in the archdiocese, roughly 30% of them already have Family Life coordinators coming from CFC. With regard to the Post-Cana program, Joe Tale noted that CFC has actually already begun the con-

THE Archdiocese of Manila has tasked CFC to take the lead in implementing the Family Life Programs in all the 84 parishes of the archdiocese. CFC has gladly accepted and the agreement was formalized during the Commission on Family and Life (CFL) Vicariate Priest Coordinators Meeting at the Arzobispado de Manila last February 8, 2010. Joe Tale, CFC Chairman, and Rev Fr. Joel O. Jason, commissioner of the Commission of Family and Life, signed the agreement. The agreement specified the areas where CFC will help the parishes: 1. Pre-Cana seminars – This seminar is given to couples who are about to get married and is

duct of MERs in some parishes, upon the invitation of the parish priests, for those who are not CFC members. “But it is providential that the conduct of our MER, done as a service in a few parishes, has prepared us for this much larger responsibility.” The archdiocese of Manila covers four of the 12 Metro Manila sectors, namely: West A, West B, Central A and Central C. The other sectors are already cooperating fully and assisting the parishes in their Family Life programs; however, it is only with the archdiocese of Manila that the collaboration has been formalized. According to Joe Tale, “This is a great responsibility. We thank the Lord for this recognition and for the trust and confidence given to CFC. This is a wonderful privilege – to be able to share CFC with others.”

By Joe Tale, CFC Chairman


CBCP Monitor
March 29 - April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

“LENT is like coming home”, softly intoned Fr. Xavier Olin, SJ as he celebrated mass with us in the CFC Home Office. Lent is about being closer to Jesus, who is our true home, he expounded. The message touched me in a special way, as I was putting my thoughts together for this article. Earlier, as an inspiration, I had actually been led to write about “home”. The experience of home has a special place in the life of all peoples, but more especially for family oriented groups such as CFC. Home is integrated in the experience of family, and family is experienced in the setting of a home. For CFC, this clearly and distinctly resonates in its vision of “Families in the Holy Spirit, Renewing the Face of the Earth” and its two-fold mission of Building the Church of the Home and Building the Church of the Poor. Even our mission of Building the Church of the Poor is not just a random effort, but also targets renewal of the family among the poor – providing a home for the family through ANCOP Homes, and continuing with spiritual and values formation for all members of the family both in GK sites and ANCOP Homes. (ANCOP is acronym for Answering the Cry of the Poor, CFC’s expanded work for the poor). The ideal of home connotes warm feelings of love, peace, harmony, a refuge where one can have respite from a hectic pace and a rough, demanding world, a place where one is safe for he or she is among people who love. In a real way, home is a life support system itself. Of course, a home does not just refer to a physical structure. Beyond the structure, a home is really the people one lives with, and among which, love abounds. “A house is not a home, when the two of us are far apart, and one of us has a broken heart”, a popular Burt Bacharach song in the 70s belts out. Author Max Lucado, in his book “The Applause of Heaven” expresses the experience of home in a special way. He thanks his wife for “making my coming home the highlight of my day”. It is not the clinched business deal, it is not the much applauded talk or speech, it is not even the promotion or awards received. All these are great, but the highlight of the day remains the coming home to a loving family. It is a line that inspires. It is a statement that we hope is true for us. It is a goal that we should all work for, everyday, whether we are husband, wife, child, brother, sister, lolo or lola. For us who have been blessed with a home, humble as it may be, we should be filled with thanksgiving. At the same time though, our hearts should be stirred into compassion and action to help many others who are yet homeless, who cannot as yet relate to the experience of warmth and comfort that sometimes we take for granted. Let us care and love enough so that others may have their own homes, too. For in a sense, our homes are not isolated spaces, but actually rooms in this big common home we all live in that we call earth. The other rooms do not as yet have roofs and walls. For as long as these prevail, we do not really have a home, in the same way that a house is not yet a house when many of the other rooms are still unfinished. As families need a home, communities, too, as a big family, also need a home. The CFC global family in its near 29 years of existence has not had a home it could call its own. We have occupied rented spaces all these years, transferring to different buildings at different times. We have stayed in four different addresses, including our present home office which we have occupied for the past 14 years. All told, our rental payments have reached the amount of P30 million, and will continue to increase, all these for a space that we cannot leave as a legacy to the next generations of CFC members. But of course, everything happens in God’s time, according to His plan. This is what the Lord tells us in Ecclesiastes. We are heartened because the same book tells us that there is a “time to build”, and we strongly sense that God’s plan is for that time to happen now. And so, we have recently launched last March 19, 2010 (on the feast of St. Joseph, the carpenter who built a home for Jesus and Mary), a fund campaign to make our dream to have a CFC Home a reality. Our prayer is that the Lord will bless us with enough to have our ground breaking during our 29th anniversary in June of this year, and a home office of our own by the time we celebrate our 30th year as a community in June 2011! Please join us in prayer and in action. In addition to the truth of Jesus being our true home, the Lord also wants to bless us with the wonderful experience of the other aspects of home. The Lord wants us to have a foretaste of our heavenly home with the blessing of an earthly home. Jesus prayed to the Father in the prayer that He taught us, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Indeed, home is a blessing. Home is love. Home is God. May we all be blessed with our own true home, on earth, as in heaven. A meaningful Holy Week to all !

CFC World

Msgr. Allen Aganon, CFC IC’s spiritual director, conducted a spiritual recollection for the fulltime workers and staff of CFC at the Home Office on March 3.

ANCOP USA and CFC Tekton ANCOP signed a memorandum of agreement during the ANCOP USA Planning held last February 20-21. CFC Executive Director Joe Yamamoto (seated, second from left) signed on behalf of CFC while Tony Ventura (seated, third from left), president of ANCOP USA, signed on behalf of ANCOP USA. Also present were Ricky Cuenca of CFC Canada and members of the CFC USA National Council, among them, Jack Macalalad, Bobbee Mella, Rod Bustos, Glen Santayana and Rolly Ballanza.

By Joe Yamamoto, CFC Director

“I am the vine, you are the branches…” John 15:5 THE story of God’s relations with His people, from the most ancient of the Bible history, has always been of Oneness – One Triune God, the unity of the Father and the Son, and the unique singularity of God’s purpose with man and His redemption. The anchor chapter and the contained verses are taken from John 15, the so-called “Vine and the Branches Discourse.” Consider the two preceding chapters - Chapter 13 dealt with the servant heart of the Messiah, manifested in the washing of the feet of the disciples and in Jesus tenderly addressing them as little children. It is at this time that Jesus gave a new commandment- to love one another as He has loved them. A new standard has been raised and so has the level of the bar of love and service. Henceforth, believer and nonbeliever would recognize the disciples of Christ not by any emblem or external markers but by their “deeds of love for another:” “By this all men will know that we are Jesus’ disciples.” It clearly defines oneness with Christ. Chapter 14 opens with Jesus’ encouragement not to be troubled about the events that were about to unfold (his suffering and death). He reminded the disciples to have faith in God and faith in Him, and that when He goes to the Father, He will prepare places for them. Jesus likewise declared that when He joins the Father, that would be the sign for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate , who will be with the disciples, past, present and future, in the proclamation and propagation of God’s kingdom. A very powerful affirmation of the message of Christ was the solemn assurance of our Lord to the disciples that whoever believes in Jesus, i.e. living in unity with God, will do ‘the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14) After the Last Supper, where He also instituted the Eucharist, His everlasting Presence with His people, He led them to the garden of Gethsemane. But before reaching their not too distant destination, Jesus chose the moment to teach them one of the most lasting and beautiful discourses in the Bible- the story of the Vine and the Branches, where God the Father is the Vine Grower. Jesus spoke these words in what is known as the “Last Supper Discourses,” a stream of advice and words of wisdom that Jesus spoke to His disciples on the eve of His death. It was as if Jesus was packing all the insights and treasures He had into the very short time that He had left with His people. He was summarizing the three years of teachings and discussions into the oral gems He was bequeathing to those who had remained loyal to Him, in spite of all the trials they had gone through. These words best illustrate our life in Jesus; it speaks of the oneness with Him that leads us to grow more and more like Him. This verse also speaks of our abiding in Christ, the primary requisite for us to remain connected to Him and be continually nourished by Him. The word “abiding” is so expressive – it connotes not just a connection but also a closeness that is at once binding as it is affirming and loving. Abiding is also unique because it was offered to us by the God who initiated the love affair with us, His people. Abiding in Christ How do we abide in Christ? In Couples for Christ, we seem to have already found the ways. Our covenant card spells out the responsibilities we take on as Christians, but these actually are the very ways by which we begin to draw close to God, to remain connected to Him and achieve that deep abiding relationship with Him. Prayer is the most essential requisite for abiding in Christ. This is our lifeline to God. Prayer, especially when one, through constant practice, has reached a level of prayer that fully allows the full contemplation of the presence of God, liberates, energizes and completes the connection to Him. The regular study of Scripture, because of the richness of the text and the sheer volume of wisdom contained in it, leads us to full reflection of His Word and its application to our daily life situations. Our sacramental life, which brings us sanctifying grace and allows us to maintain that state of grace, are major aids to our achievement of holiness. What was begun in our lives in our Baptism with water, is further strengthened and constantly renewed in the sacraments and by the regular, lifegiving grace of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. And then there are the devotionals, the ways that lead us to a life with Christ. As Catholics, we have our devotions to our Blessed Mother, a practice that conforms well with our appreciation of her importance in the salvific mission of her Son, Jesus. As CFC, we look to her as our Star of Evangelization and most recently, as the Patroness of our work with the poor. Fruitfulness in Christ The reward of our abiding in Christ is our fruitfulness, our capacity to bear much fruit in our new life in the Lord. John 15:2 speaks of the obstacles to our fruitfulness and of how God will work in our lives to restore us to fertile grounds. “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” Despite our great resolve to abide always in God’s presence, we often fall and fail, acquiring character flaws and negative attitudes. In order for every branch that does not bear fruit in us to be removed, we need to reflect on our lives, beginning with a nightly examination of how we have lived our day and how we have lived up to our name – Christian. In CFC, we have an excellent venue for being always kept aware of our need to evaluate and examine ourselves – the pastoral cover that is available to each and every member. If we submit ourselves willingly to pastoral guidance, our leaders, who are tasked to help us in our faith-journey, will lovingly guide us, who are God’s work in progress, through our struggles. We have to participate actively in our community life so as to more rapidly grow in the Spirit. Most important, we have to have a heart for mission since this allows us to partake of Jesus’ mission of salvation and gives us a deeper perspective and appreciation of our role as co-evangelizers with the Church. Our trials are great opportunities for pruning. The Lord allows trials in our life to make us stronger in our faith and to make us desire and strive for the humility to recognize our weaknesses and our shortcomings. It is the challenges and trials that we encounter and, with God’s grace, triumphantly overcome, that purify our intentions, give us greater faith and reliance on God’s saving power and providence and make us worthy offerings that are pleasing sacrifices to God. The trials and persecutions that continue to challenge our community have a purpose – they are God’s loving way to make us bear much fruit for His sake and in His name. We have had to endure much suffering but we have been given much grace to simply lift up the pain and trials and allow God to take control of the situation. Chosen by God When we speak of our new life in Christ Jesus, we do not mean the good works that we have learned to do and the holy lives we are trying to lead. Rather, it is our realization of the basic truth that what we are now is simply because of God’s love and providence. It is the acceptance, with much gratitude, of the basic fact that He chose us from the beginning of time and nothing we do or say will change the truth of His love for us. What makes us pleasing to the Lord is not our good works but our heart’s response to His call to draw closer to Him. In John 15:15b, Jesus says, “I have called you friends…” What a wonderful privilege and what a humbling realization. Our response to God’s initiative is to exert our best efforts to remain, to abide in His presence. This means, unequivocally, avoiding sin because no matter how small, sin always serves to block our drawing closer to God. When we lead holy lives and remain in God’s presence, we will truly bear much fruit that will last (John 15:16a). Our God, always loving and faithful, reassures us that as we abide in Jesus, as we go deeper into a relationship with Him, our Father will give us whatever we ask in His Son’s Name. Being one with Christ is an ideal, but it is not an impossible dream. The key to oneness with Christ is simply to follow His command to love one another (John 15:17). As we draw closer and closer to Him, and begin to bear much fruit, then our lives begin to be modeled on His own. Loving as He loves does not suddenly become easy but it does become, with His grace, certainly doable.


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 7
March 29 - April 11, 2010



The Church’s All-NFP program covers all modern NFP methods, reaches out to all chapel communities and households, and totally rejects the use of any back-up contraceptives. NFP is preferred by the NATURAL Family Planning (NFP) and Responsible Parenthood were the key topics of the CFC Mission Church because: (1) it preserves normal (or natural) intercourse; (2) it is acceptable to all religions and Core teaching given at the Xavier School Gym last March 16. In his talk entitled “In Defense of Life: cultures, and does not separate the love-giving and life-giving dimensions of the marital act; (3) its A Call to Action for the Laity,” Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J., of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de methods post no inherent health risks; (4) its methods are effective and reliable; (5) it entails no cost once the method is learned; (6) it is sustainable from generation to generation because its practice can Oro, discussed the pastoral guidelines and core values in the promotion of NFP. He began by citing what priests and family life workers have ascertained as the three felt needs of be passed on by a mother to her children; (7) it promotes shared and responsible parenthood because it couples: (1) that couples want to plan their families in terms of size and spacing of births; (2) that they involves a joint decision by the couple; (8) it brings about sexual discipline for the spouses, and fosters prefer NFP, given sufficient information on fertility awareness and NFP methods; and (3) that they want mutual caring and respect for their bodies; (9) it engenders an innate respect for human life, such that to be able to pick the NFP method suitable to their circumstances. According to Archbishop Ledesma, NFP users rarely or never resort to abortion; and (10) it improves communication between husband the best answer to these needs is to provide a positive alternative, especially since the latest surveys and wife, which is why NFP users rarely or never separate or get divorced. The fourth guideline asserts that the Church is for enabling couples to make an informed and morally reveal that less than one percent of couples use NFP, while the majority adopts no family planning responsible choice according to the dictates of a right conscience. Here Archbishop Ledesma spoke of measures at all. The rest use either traditional or modern methods to plan their families. The Church follows four pastoral guidelines in promoting NFP. The first is a staunch pro-life stand three kinds of freedom: the ontological freedom of every person to choose good or evil; the social and that upholds the dignity of the human life from the moment of conception. The Church maintains that political freedom of each citizen; and the authentic freedom of every human being, which has to do with doing what ought to be done. Authentic freedom follows the human person is (1) created in the image of God; (2) created the prompting of one’s conscience. Thus, the formation of by God in unity of body and soul; (3) open to transcendence, conscience through values formation programs is an integral to the infinite, and to all created beings; (4) endowed with a part of promoting NFP and Responsible Parenthood. moral conscience that enables him to distinguish between In closing, Archbishop Ledesma stressed that in making their good and evil; (5) a social and relational being; and (6) sinful decision, couples need to consider the future of their children— but called to salvation. both already born and yet unborn—their particular material The second pastoral guideline maintains that the Church is and spiritual situation, and the overall good of their family, the for Responsible Parenthood and thus calls on married couples society, and the Church. Meanwhile, the local church is called to to plan their families according to the moral norms of the spread the word about NFP to as many couples as it can reach, Church. This involves making a deliberate decision regarding not with an attitude of condemnation or denunciation, but with the number of children and the spacing of births. Responsible charity, compassion, and the formation of conscience. Parenthood takes into consideration the following roles that Ana Lea Pielago, who is an NFP Coordinator and part the Christian family plays, which include: (1) forming a comof Archbishop Ledesma’s NFP team in Cagayan de Oro, munity of persons that fosters life and love, thus being a school supplemented the Archbishop’s talk by discussing details of deeper humanity; (2) serving life by passing on the divine of the Responsible Parenthood and All-NFP Program that is image from person to person, therefore being a school of social currently being implemented in the province. She shared her living; (3) participating in the development of human society insights about her actual experiences in the field and urged by seeking to live out the values of truth, justice, freedom, and CFC to engage in a more extensive partnership with the local love; and (4) sharing in the life and mission of the Church by churches for the promotion of NFP. fulfilling its role as domestic church and making Christian Also in attendance that evening was Mitos Rivera of the marriage itself a profession of faith. The third guideline affirms the Church’s pro-NFP and anti- Archbishop Ledesma poses for a photo with, from left, a member of his staff, Joey and Tess Arguelles, Institute for Reproductive Health, which provides information on NFP technology and values. DIDO (Drugs, Injections, Devices, and Operations) position. Joe Tale, Joe Yamamoto and Cholo and Christy Labog.

By Richie Tolentino

In Defense of Life

Our Journey As Couples For Christ
By Arnel Santos
MONSIGNOR Allen Aganon was appointed Spiritual Director of Couples for Christ only recently, yet he was able to summarize the journey of the members of Couples for Christ, both as individuals and as a community, through the Lenten Recollection he facilitated for CFC Mission Core Group on March 7, 2010, at the Ateneo Grade School Gymnasium. Msgr. Aganon spoke about the three temptations of Christ (Lk 4: 1-11), based on the inspiration he gathered from the book of Pope Benedict XVI, “Jesus of Nazareth.” The desert Msgr. Aganon first discussed the biblical meaning of a “desert.” He associated the “desert” where Jesus was tempted by the Devil, with the “desert” that Israel had to traverse for forty years during the time of Moses. He explained that it could have been a short journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, but the Israelites wandered for forty years for three reasons. The first was for them to “experience purification.” Four hundred years in Egypt meant the absorption by the Israelites of a polytheistic culture. They had to undergo a purification process in the desert to enable them to gravitate from polytheism to monotheism. They had to be purged of old beliefs and practices. The second was to “form them as a people.” And to be “isang bayan,” they had to undergo a lot of “unlearning, to receive new things.” The third was for them to experience that “privileged opportunity to be close to God.” In the same light, according to Msgr. Aganon, Jesus was tempted in the desert for Him to understand fully His mission. The first temptation The first temptation (turning stone into bread), was made by Satan so that Jesus might be deceived into thinking that his mission was to save man from hunger, in human terms. Satan was in effect asserting that “You will save the people when you turn the rock into bread.” “The temptation is not bad,” said Msgr. Aganon, but it was meant to hide from Jesus his real mission and priority in life. When Jesus answered “It is written, one does not live by bread alone,” Jesus was teaching us that it must be “God first, not bread.” If you put material things first, there would be chaos and disorder. This reflection has far-reaching repercussions. “In our experience,” explained Msgr. Aganon, “some NGOs were not able to do what they were meant to do because they focused only on the technical, isinantabi ang Diyos. (God was put aside.) Nothing happened despite the good intentions, they did not have God with them; they relied only on money and technology. ” Msgr. Aganon emphasized that “if you want to do good things, put God first in your list.” Marxism and Capitalism failed “God was not there. This time, let us put God first to find the solutions to human problems.” Thus, in the other parts of the Bible, there was multiplication of the loaves, but this miracle was performed by Jesus because “people went to him to hear the Word of God” and not for the bread. The second temptation In the second temptation (Matt. 4: 15), the Devil said to Jesus: “ If you are God’s son, throw yourself down, for the Scriptures says God will order his angels to take good care of you.” Msgr. Aganon said that here, “Satan was tempting Jesus to show Himself as God but based on Satan’s criteria,” i.e. the need for miracles to be popular. In today’s context, “if you are on mission and when you proclaim God’s word, get the media and have your photo splashed all over the front page. Then it will be easier to convince people.” It was a temptation to start Jesus’ mission with a big miracle, to earn for himself his “credential”. Jesus did not jump and instead said “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Indeed, according to Msgr. Aganon, “when you put God to the test, we will not see Him.” He gave the example of some people who “listen to God only if He blesses them in human terms.” Eventually, “Jesus went down to the depths of man’s suffering” by being nailed to the cross. He did this out of love, and he was taken good care of by the Father. The lesson is: ”Do what God says, and He will save you.” The third temptation The third temptation (“I will give you all the power and this wealth”), in Luke 4, was a prodding by Satan, “You can be king. You can rule this earth with benevolence, if you worship me.” Jesus was being tempted to “save man by ruling over them. Why wait? If you want to be a savior, use power and use it for the common good. And do it NOW.” But Jesus knew, said Msgr. Aganon, that earthly kingdom does not last. That is not Jesus Christ’s kingdom. So he said, “The scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” The issue is God Msgr. Aganon highlighted that the issue in the Temptation of Christ is God – “Who is God to us? Is our God different from the God of Jesus?” He then asked the members of CFC Mission Core Group to reflect: “Look on how you do your mission, is God there? Are you able to present God in the way you act or are you presenting another god?” After silent reflection, Msgr. Aganon once again asked: “Who is God? We can answer this if we know who Jesus Christ is. Satan wanted God to stay in the heavens but God wanted to intervene in our lives. He decided that He wanted to intervene in our history. But it is not easy to intervene. Jesus became one with us, not just in the photo ops, but in all things, even unto death.” Msgr. Aganon concluded the Lenten recollection saying: “When we accept God, we are accepting the way of Jesus; not our way. Slowly, gradually, hopefully we can imitate Him, He who became man, who became bread. He became the weakest in order for us to receive Him as bread.”

Learning contemplative prayer from a contemplative
SR. Mary Niere, a 78-year old Carmelite nun, and a staunch advocate of Contemplative Prayer, visited Vietnam and Cambodia from March 11-23, giving talks, providing counseling and sharing her insights with CFC and non-CFC members alike. Sr. Mary, in spite of being elderly and with weak knees, and being Carmelite (which means dedicated to a life of silence, contemplation and the cloistered life), has been going around the Philippines and the world on what she calls her “mission”—to give everyone, especially laymen, an appreciation of the value of contemplative prayer as a means to draw even closer to the Father. Her mission is understood and appreciated even by her own community, as she is allowed to leave the confines of her convent in order to spread the word on contemplative prayer. Sr. Mary has also been doing the rounds of the Philippine Mission, having met with most of the Manila sectors and having gone to many provinces. In all of her sessions with CFC, her talks have been met with appreciation and a sense of wonder that indeed, contemplative prayer is both doable and definitely more satisfying. Vietnam The CFC Vietnam family, together with friends from the Divine Mercy Apostolate and other lay leaders, gathered on March 11-15, 2010 to listen to Sr. Mary. It was a first in many ways: it was the first time that a Carmelite nun had come to visit the Filipino expat community in Vietnam, it was the first time for the Carmelite nun to visit a CFC unit outside the Philippines; it was the first time that members of different Church organizations came together for one purpose. The Filipino expats in Vietnam learned that contemplative prayer is simply an expression of the mystery of prayer and that all one needs are simple words that best support our intention to be in the Lord’s presence. Basically the main purpose of contemplative prayer is to clear one’s mind of rational thought in order to focus on the in-dwelling presence of God. In Vietnam, Sr. Mary also discussed the seven stages of prayer and the challenges that we will encounter as we try to go beyond the natural levels, into the supernatural levels. She also untiringly conducted spiritual counseling. The Vietnam sessions culminated in a discussion on personality development and the various personality types. The main takeaway that Sis Mary Niere taught on this topic is to reflect on what personality type we possess, to be mindful of our weaknesses and to make the necessary personality adjustments. She cited St. John of the Cross who said that we should all “be inclined to do what is most difficult.” Cambodia The Cambodian leg of St. Mary’s trip took place on March 19-21 at the St. Joseph Parish. Sr. Mary began with the introduction to Contemplative Prayer given in her usual humorous style, and interspersed with her own experiences as a novice nun and as someone struggling with her own personality quirks. She expounded on the power of contemplative prayer - how it can change us as a whole and our attitude towards trials and transcend to a deeper kind of prayer, allowing us in turn to have a deeper relationship with God. In the sessions that followed, she spoke of how everyone goes through the Dark Night of the Senses and how, as we walk through this dark night, we discover our true selves. Only when we survive the dark nights of the senses will we be able to reach the contemplative state - a state of integration, transformation and where one is empowered by the Holy Spirit. According to Sister Mary, Jesus is the best example of how to get through the dark night of the senses successfully. While processing the happenings in our lives, we also need to actively imitate Jesus in His dark nights - with humility. CFC Missionaries Love alone affects lives -- this is what Sr. Mary Niere, OCD, stressed during a half-day talk with the CFC international missionaries last March 10, the eve of her departure for Vietnam and Cambodia. Ultimately, being in love is a requirement for being a missionary since “love is the strongest force.” And one cannot really be in love unless he first deals with his own personal issues. According to Sr. Mary, people have 8 conflicts at specific stages in their lives that correspond to the 7 capital sins. They are as follows: Infancy (0 -1 yr.) I am what I am given. Toddler (1- 3 yrs.) I am what I feel. Play age (3 – 5 yrs.) I am what I imagine. School age (6 – 11 yrs.) I am what I can do. Adolescence (12 – 20 yrs.) I am I. affection assertion affirmation appreciation acceptance
Learning / C4


By Dennis Diaz

CBCP Monitor

March 29 - April 11, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 7

CFC Japan 14th Anniversary
THE CFC family in Japan had their hearts and minds filled with thoughts about Christ and His call for discipleship as they celebrated their 14th anniversary on March 7, 2010. About 200 members from all the family ministries of CFC across Japan were treated to a one-day festive affair of listening to inspiring talks by CFC Executive Director and CFC Japan Country Coordinator Joe Yamamoto, Melo Villaroman, a member of the CFC International Council, CFC Japan Country Head Dennis Diaz, and CFC Yokohama Area Head, Solphie Confiado. Japan is one busy place, with weekdays and even weekends filled up with work, assignments and many other errands, but on the 7th of March, CFC Japan members filled the University of Sacred Heart hall in Tokyo to reaffirm their journey in faith and simply bask in the joy of reuniting with fellow brothers and sisters. Truly, a beautiful, Spirit-filled weekend celebrating the fullness of life in Christ. THE CFC community has a dream and it is about to become a reality. This dream – for the community to have its very own building - was first unveiled during the 28th anniversary of CFC at the Luneta in June 2009. It has slowly gained momentum with members so excited about it that even without any official program, they have been committing their pledges of support, with some leaders from Mindanao even actually donating funds. In January this year, during the Global Leaders Summit, the excitement was such that, in response to a question from the floor on whether the community has plans for its own home, the members spontaneously dug deep into their pockets and raised, in the space of thirty minutes, a total of P5.28 million. This was enough to spur further interest in the plan, leading the International Council to create a special building committee to draft the mechanics of a fundraising campaign. Last March 19, the feast of St. Joseph the Carpenter, CFC officially launched its “Build My House” campaign, targeting the community’s 30th anniversary in 2011 as the year when a CFC building will start to rise. The campaign also finds inspiration in the 1st reading of that day taken from 2 Samuel 7: 4-17 – “Thus says the Lord: ‘Should you build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day on which I led the Israelites out of Egypt to the present, but I have been going about in a tent under cloth. In all my wanderings everywhere among the Israelites, did I utter a word to any one of the judges whom I have charged to tend to my people Israel, to ask: Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’” The launch will be replicated in all the sectors of Metro Manila and the provinces, as well as abroad, in a bid to involve each and every member in the project. Thus, the project envisions that each member will enroll in the category that they are comfortable with. The basic category, which is a must for ALL members, is the “Bricks” category, where every member is requested to contribute a minimum of P100.00 (with the exception of Kids for Christ who are asked to give P30.00 only). The other categories are the “Columns,” for

Build My House!
amounts ranging from P1,000 to P9,999, the “Beams,” for amounts ranging from P10,000 to 49,999) and the “Foundations” for amounts above P50,000. The “Foundations” are also called the “Gideon’s 300.” Under the program scheme, groups of 300 individuals, each contributing P50,000, will be formed in each of the three major Philippine island groups, in Metro Manila and in each major country or regional grouping. This is inspired by the story of Gideon in the Bible who, tasked by God to battle against the Midianites, formed an army to fight with him. He started off with 10,000 men but, fearing that any victories he would attain he would attribute to himself and not to God, he began to whittle down the number of his army, until he was down to 300 men. At last, he thought, this was the number he needed; if he wins the battle, he and the world would know that it was only because God was fighting alongside them. The dream of a home, after almost 29 years of rentals, comes at an opportune time. The community has weathered many trials, especially during the past two years, and has undergone much pruning. As Joe Tale aptly put it, during the launch, there were many opportunities in the past years to build our own home, but none materialized. It is perhaps because, as the Book of Ecclesiastes says, there is a time and a season for everything. Today, now, we strongly sense, is the appointed time for CFC to build a The IC wives and the Metro Manila sector heads’ wives met with the Build My House Committee to discuss the mechanics home that is dedicated to the Lord and His work. of the fund campaign.

CFC Batangas Holds ANCOP Breakfast Forum Learning Conflict Styles for the Mission
COUPLES For Christ - Archdiocese of Lipa held the 1st CFC ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) breakfast forum in RCAL GK Village at Marawoy Lipa City last March 3, 2010. The event gathered almost 250 guests -- businessmen, entrepreneurs, representatives of big corporations, the academe, church/religious groups, provincial and city officials and all sectors of society. The forum served to introduce CFC’s work with the poor (ANCOP) in the province, with the first activity slated to be the building of houses for poor families in the ten barangays of Lipa, specifically those situated along the old Philippine National Railways railroad tracks. Local public officials headed by Vice Governor Mark Leviste, the City Mayor of Lipa, Hon. Oscar Gozos, the Lipa City Council and the ten Barangay Captains of the area graced the event. Joey Arguelles, representing the CFC International Council, along with the provincial CFC leaders, welcomed the guests, among them De La Salle Lipa, CSL AgroIndustrial Corporation, JCRD Realty, Jollibee from SM and Fiesta World Mall, Mel-Jean Construction and N.L. Villa Memorial Medical Center. The program started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, Archbishop of Lipa, and concelebrated by Fr. Nonie Dolor, manager of Pater Putativus in Marawoy, Lipa City, Fr. Totit Mandanas Jr., parish priest of Lipa Cathedral and Fr. Jun Quiambao, parish priest of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Talisay, Lipa City. The program highlight was the turnover of the P5 million by the Lipa City Government to jumpstart the project. The city officials promised that their individual pledges of one house each will be turned over to CFC by the third week of March 2010. Mayor Gozos articulated his seriousness and wholehearted involvement in this work to help alleviate poverty in his area. The Archbishop, on the other hand, stressed that this is the call for everyone, especially in this Lenten Season, to care, be involved and be united in helping our less fortunate brethren. The breakfast forum was sponsored by the Local Government Unit of Lipa City, through the efforts of Mayor Oscar Gozos and the City Social Welfare Development Office.

By Gail Lozare [SFC – Thailand]
AS missionaries, we often come across different personalities and encounter various conflict situations. Being missionaries, we are called upon to witness to Christ in every situation, and most particularly in conflict. Knowing how to manage potentially explosive interactions is an important interpersonal skill within community, but especially in the missions. Last March 8, the CFC international missionaries attended Face to Face with Conflict: A SeminarWorkshop on Conflict Management conducted by Gabriel Lazo in U.P. Diliman. The seminarworkshop explored the different personal conflict management styles, based on the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Management Model, namely: 1) Avoiding style - portrays an unassertive and uncooperative personality that neither pursues his own concerns nor those of the other parties. This style is most often resorted to when information is incomplete, when a negotiation needs more time, and when control is not within reach. 2) Collaborating style - the individual attempts to find some solution to fully satisfy the concerns

of all the parties involved. This style is important when one is seeking to gain commitment from the other parties, when the nature of the work requires constant creativity in problem solving, and especially when teamwork is the goal. 3) Competing, Accommodating and Compromising styles, all of which aim to create good will while developing personalities and seeking a common ground for concerns at hand. The seminar brought out the important point that, after identifying each party’s particular management style, the parties should agree on the rules of engagement and assign a facilitator during the conflict resolution. This creates a well-balanced power structure where all the parties concerned will be able to identify and clarify their concerns. All concerns can be voiced, hence a peaceful atmosphere is established and a win-win situation is successfully achieved. It was a productive workshop in that the missionaries are now better prepared to handle the different situations they may be confronted with and to interact with the different personalities and cultures they will meet. the Bible and how it can change lives and facilitate a moral and spiritual transformation throughout the country. Rev. Fr. Oscar Alunday, Chairman of ECBA, enlightened everyone on the mission of MTBO to raise 5 million bibles in 5 years. CFC YFC Batangas took this challenge and pledged 1,000 Bibles to given out to the poor. The symbolical turnover of the May They Be One Bibles followed, led by Rev. Fr. Oscar Alunday of ECBA, Ms. Helen Saldana of PBS and Ompong Manalo, and Lorenz Villa of YFC. affiliation importance integration

Run for the Bible!
CFC – Youth for Christ in Batangas has begun an annual tradition – they stage love runs (fun runs). Last February 14, 2010, in its 4th year of sharing convictions and running lengths in the province of Batangas, the YFC organized a 5 K run, from Rosario to Padre Garcia, with more than 1,300 YFC, CFC and members of other family ministries, students from different campuses and

youth parishioners in vicariates of the Archdiocese of Lipa participating. This year’s run was staged in cooperation with the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) and the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) in line with the two organizations’ MTBO (May they Be one Bible) Campaign! The activity aimed to raise 1,000 Bibles, to be distributed and given to poor families.

The Biblical Apostolate Director of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Fr. Rustam Sabularse, the Youth Director of the Archdiocese, Fr. Dakila Ramos and the very supportive parish priests of Rosario and Padre Garcia, Fr. Norman Banzuela and Fr. Ferdinand Jauod respectively, led the activity. They explained who the potential beneficiaries can be, the different schemes of distribution, the conduct of Bible studies and how the programs can be sustainable. To raise funds, the participants paid a registration fee of P150 and got Run for One Shirts.

The program started at Laurel Park, Rosario Batangas. The opening prayer was led by Lawrence Tapalla (Over all Sector Youth Head, YFC Batangas). Just before the run, warming and stretching exercises were led by the SIKAL Dance Troupe. The gymnasium at Padre Garcia, Batangas was the finish line and it reverberated with song and merriment as the runners began straggling in, Holy Mass followed the end of the run, after which the participants were shown a video about the importance of
Learning / C3

By Vida Maria M. Cuares

Canadian donors visit ANCOP Village

LAST March 9, 2010, Councilor Alex Chiu and Alice Chiu visited their village, Villa Monique Markham Village. Aside from the guests, the occasion was also attended by Lito Tayag,the members of the caretaker team and the beneficiaries. Dan Cayabyab, Cluster Head of SA5 together with his wife Dorie spearheaded the event by welcoming the guests, PD Fidel Parco provided project updates and future plans. Two (2) beneficiaries were given the chance to thank the donors and shared their experience living in a much better environment. Councilor Chiu committed to build all the shelter requirements of the site, multi-purpose center for the children’s education because he doesn’t want that any of the beneficiaries will suffer the same plight as he experienced when their house was razed by fire in Avenida. On the other hand, his wife Alice, gave a very short message of commitment and expressed happiness on the status of the build.

Young adult (20 – 34 yrs.) We are what we love. Middle age (35 – 65 yrs.) I am what I care about. Old age (65 yrs. & above) I am what survives of me.

Left unchecked, a person can carry issues from his younger years with him, thus becoming a 35-year old “toddler,” whose issue remains assertion. When such a person becomes a leader, this social sin of the leader becomes the sin of the group he leads. In the family, the unresolved conflict of the parents becomes the unresolved conflict of the children as well. For a person to address these issues, he needs to undergo “dark nights” or personal crises. This is where negative cultural values and issues will get purified. For missionaries, their dark nights would require that they become people who live in a deeper level of prayer. Sr. Mary stressed some points on prayer and the missionary life: • Unless prayer touches the deeper consciousness, there can be no real change. • The primary goal of missionaries is not to teach people but to learn who God is to them and to discover God in them. This is the essence of GOING ON MISSION. • We are like a brush in the hands of the painter. The more humble the instrument, the more God can use it. Further, missionaries are called to embrace the Cross more fully and deeply than the ordinary man and woman of faith. They can only really do it when they are in love with Christ. (Articles contributed by Annette Taguba and Jan Chavez of Vietnam, Hannah Lyn of Cambodia and Nirva de la Cruz of IMO)

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