Church’s mission is to announce God’s merciful love, says pope


Witness Awakens Vocation



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

CBCP seeks release of detained health workers
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) came out in the open demanding the release of the 43 health workers detained by the military. In his strongest statement so far as CBCP head, Bishop Nereo Odchimar slammed the military for their seeming “lack of regard” for human rights and the rule of law. “The illegal arrest and continued detention of the ‘Morong 43’ in a military facility represent serious threat to the civil liberties of the Filipino people,” Odchimar said.
Release / A6

Comelec told to get those behind ‘overpriced’ secrecy folders
COTABATO Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo is calling for a sanction of people behind the reported “overpricing” in ballot secrecy folders to be used for the May 10 elections. Bagaforo said the P700 million that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was supposed to be spending for the election paraphernalia was too much. “That’s (overpricing) mortal sin… persecute the culprits,” said Bagaforo over Church-run
Folders / A6

By Pinky Barrientos, FSP

DESPITE mounting problems of poverty and other social ills in Philippine society that can push any individual in a state of misery, the triumph of Easter joy brings renewed hope in the heart, said the head of the Catholic Bishops hierarchy.

CBCP head: There’s hope amid difficulties

April 12 - 25, 2010

Vol. 14 No. 8

Php 20.00

CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, in his Easter message, said the radiant triumph of Jesus’ resurrection should prevail over feelings of doubt or hopelessness amid difficulties that the country is facing. “However dark the horizon may seem, today we celebrate the radiant triumph of Easter joy. We are now children of resurrection! Let no one yield to dismay and lack of trust! We hold in our hearts the very foundation of hope,” said the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Odchimar noted how the current national situation has left many Filipinos cynical on whether progress and development can possibly happen in the country. “With the ascending rate of poverty, electoral deceit, crime and violence, graft and corruption, abuse of natural resources and other forms of social evil, naturally only a few can speak of hope for a better Philippines,” he said. “Electoral processes are manipulated by some influential politicians. Suffrage is curtailed by vote-buying-and-selling, various forms of threat, and erratic understanding of utang na loob,” added Odchimar. With a big percentage of Filipinos living below poverty line, this poor segment of society fall easy prey to devious politicians who resort to vote-buying during election time. The CBCP head also pointed out other social evils that the government has failed to address, like extrajudicial killings and
Hope / A6

Northern Bishops issue guidelines for May polls
AWARE of the crisis of credibility that hounds every election in the country, the bishops of the metropolitan province of Tuguegarao has issued pastoral guidelines to the faithful for the upcoming May polls. Tuguegarao Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan, Bayombong Bishop Ramon Villena, Tabuk Bishop Prudencio Andaya, and Ilagan Bishop Joseph Nacua have released a joint pastoral exhortation reminding the faithful to exercise their God-given right of suffrage responsibly. “The exercise of the rights of suffrage is morally significant for it has to do with our basic search for justice and freedom, and with our nation’s well-being. It is then immoral to sell one’s vote and to treat one’s crucial right as a commercial commodity. More reprehensible yet is the practice of those who seek to thwart the genuine expression of the people’s will by vote-buying,” the bishops exhorted. The prelates advised the people to pray and discern well in their choice of candidates. “They must choose God-fearing persons, who are moral, not given to vices, reverent of life and its deserved decency, consistent true friends of the poor, ever protective of the integrity of creation, simple and humble, and good examples of responsible Filipino citizenship,” they

Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez asks the vice presidential candidates some questions at the weekly forum, April 13. Iñiguez also reminded political parties and candidates to improve the level of politics in the country because Filipinos want leaders who are attentive to their needs.


Bishop cautions faithful on prochoice catholic group
misled. The Church has been clear from the beginning why it is against the condom program of DOH)” the bishop said in an interview with Radio Veritas. Bastes said the group’s advocacy goes against the will of God and the teachings of the Catholic Church. “It is against the will of God, against the teaching of the Church. We have to respect life God has given us. We cannot simply play with the divine power of human reproduction, that’s why the Catholic Church is really against it,” the Sorsogon bishop explained. The prelate said the American-based “catholic” organization is not following the doctrines of the Catholic Church. “[Their support] for condom and
Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD




stressed. The pastoral letter urged the faithful to safeguard the sanctity of the ballot and to condemn violence in any form that would undermine the freedom of electorates to vote according to their conscience. “We must be strong in our protest against the use of influence and other forms of moral coercions that officials and leaders have in offices, schools and organizations for the purpose of gaining loyalty and support for a political party or candidate,” the bishops said. Highlighting the role of poll watchers and volunteers to ensure a credible election, the prelates said they should be allowed to do their duty without any restrictions. Parishioners under the leadership of their pasGuidelines / A6

Filipinos urged to fast, pray, for peaceful May elections
A CHURCH group has called on the Filipino people to fast, discern and pray, for honest, peaceful and credible elections in May. In a statement, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines said the unfolding events of recent weeks involving the actions of the present administration were all symptomatic of President Arroyo’s “desire to cling to power at all cost.” “We see unfolding before our eyes what we have suspected—GMA’s desire to cling to power at all cost—her running for congress, her manipulation of the law to make her cohorts run for congress, the prostitution of the party list system to enable ridiculous representations like Mikey Arroyo representing the security guards, one of their relatives representing balut vendors, etc.,” the statement partly read. The statement was signed by Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB and Fr. Jesus Malit, SSS, chairpersons of the associations of major superiors of religious women and religious men, respectively. The religious body also expressed dismay on the inability of Comelec to act on the many problems hounding the Automated Election System. It also criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the president to appoint the next Chief Justice even against the Constitution. “The Supreme Court has done the unconscionable act—allowing Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to name the Supreme Court Chief Justice even against the Constitution and preceding decisions of the SC,” the statement said. The recent events, according to the group, can lead to “the possibility of failed elections due to various technical causes; failure of proclamation of national candidates; transition government headed by GMA; massive undetectable electronic cheating; Junta; and Martial Law.” Such possibilities, they said, call for “prayer and fasting, vigilance and commitment” from the people. “We encourage our communities to undertake fasting and prayer. We call for discernment and action. Now more than ever, our people need the accompaniment of our religious brothers and sisters,” the group said. Beginning April 9 to July 2, the AMRSP will sponsor consecutive Masses for peaceful elections and turnover of government, every Friday at 6 p.m. at the La
Elections / A6

A CHURCH official has warned the public to become wary of a catholic group that endorses the use of condom. Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes has called on Catholics to be cautious of a Washington D.C.-based pro-abortion group called Catholic for Choice (CFC) which has given its full support to the condom distribution program of the Department of Health (DoH). “Mag-ingat tayo sa grupo na yan. Lilinlangin tayo niyan para lumabas na suportado ng simbahan ang condom which is malinaw at noon pa natin sinasabi na tutol tayo sa condom distribution ng DoH” (Be wary of this group. Let us not allow ourselves to be

all kinds of contraceptives are really against the teachings of the Church,” he said. In a report, CFC president John O’Brien praised Cabral for her brave stance against the Catholic Church’s position on the contraceptive issues. O’Brien said that the condom distribution program “will undoubtedly

Pro-choice / A6

A POLL watchdog and the country’s biggest organization of Catholic men entered into an agreement to ensure clean and peaceful elections.

tion process, was signed by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. The signing of the memorandum of agreement was held at the conference room of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) in Intramuros, Manila on April 7. Henrietta de VilPPCRV Chair Henrietta de Villa and KCFAPI president Antonio Borromeo signed a la, PPCRV national chairperson, said memorandum of agreement for a peaceful and honest election in May.

The pact, which provides for the sharing of resources to a single network of volunteer watchers that would lead in monitoring the May 10 elec-

the signing of the agreement is a continuation of collaboration towards electoral reforms. KCFAPI President Antonio Borromeo, for his part, said the agreement is a commitment to the cause of a credible election. The organization, with around 250,000 members nationwide, had already been conducting voters’ education in coordination with the poll body since last year. The PPCRV is the official citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the upcoming computerized elections.

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

PPCRV, men’s group tie up for automated polls

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media


Holy See welcomes US-Russia nuclear deal
VATICAN CITY, April 12, 2010—A Vatican spokesman welcomed as “good news” the signing of the START-2 Treaty by Russia and the United States. The presidents of the Cold War antagonists signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty last Thursday in Prague. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, spoke of the event during the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s “Octava Dies.” The spokesman characterized the treaty as ending a situation of deadlock and renewing the path to arms reduction, “and—we hope—the elimination of the most dangerous bellicose arsenals.” The new treaty replaces the recently expired 1991 START agreement. It reduces the strategic warheads permitted both countries to 1,550, down from a previous limit of 2,200. The nuclear arms allowed by the treaty “continue to be sufficient to destroy our planet,” Father Lombardi said, “but their number is inferior to that of the times of the unlimited, futile and mad, nuclear arms race.” “To talk of peace, confidence and solidarity, when still thousands of very powerful nuclear warheads are calibrated is probably optimistic, but the path is appropriate and it is urgent to continue following it,” the spokesman reflected. “In this way, there is more credibility to speak of nuclear non-proliferation to other countries with nuclear ambitions, and immense economic, scientific and human resources can be allocated to the most urgent needs of humanity and its development. (Zenit)
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World News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

Benedict XVI sends condolences to Poland
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, April 11, 2010—Benedict XVI is expressing his sorrow at the plane crash in western Russia that took the lives of the president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, his wife and more than 95 others who were on the flight with them. Shortly after being informed of the incident, the Pontiff sent a message to the president of the Polish Parliament, Bronislaw Korowski, in which he also mentioned other victims of the disaster, including the former president of the Polish Republic in exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski, Catholic bishop Tadeusz Ploski, Orthodox bishop Miron Chodakowski and evangelical military chaplain Adam Pilsch. President Kaczynski and the large group of officials were killed when their plane crashed during an attempted landing at the Smolensk airport shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday. The group—which included relatives of Polish prisoners of war, intellectuals, political officials, priests and others massacred by the Soviets in the Katyn forest in 1940—were traveling with the presidential entourage to commemorate the 70th anniversary of that tragic event. "I entrust all the victims of this dramatic incident [...] to the goodness of the merciful God. May he welcome them into his glory," the Pope said in his message. The Holy Father offered to the families of the victims and all the people of Poland his "sincere condolences, assuring them of my spiritual nearness." "In this difficult moment I implore for the Polish people a special blessing of almighty God," the message concluded. Today after praying the midday Regina Caeli, Benedict XVI also mentioned the tragedy.

"In expressing my deepest condolences," he said, "from my heart I assure intercessory prayers for the victims and prayers of support for the beloved Polish nation." (Zenit)

Middle East synod document to be published during papal visit to Cyprus
VATICAN CITY, April 10, 2010—The Holy See has released the details of Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Journey to Cyprus for June. During Benedict XVI's official visit to the Mediterranean island, he will present the working document for the upcoming Special Synod for the Middle East. The Holy Father's visit to the eastern Mediterranean island from June 4-6 will mark his third international visit of the year, following Apostolic Journeys to Malta next week and Portugal in May. He will also make a day trip to the north of Italy to venerate the Shroud of Turin on May 2. Pope Benedict will arrive from Rome at the International Airport of Paphos just after lunch on Friday, June 4, from where he will make his way to the Agia Kiriaki Chrysopolitissa Church of Paphos for an ecumenical celebration. Saturday morning's schedule includes a number of visits with different groups in the capital city of Nicosia, including the president and other civil and diplomatic figures, members of the Catholic community of Cyprus and the Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus S.B. Chrysostomos II. That evening, Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass with priests, religious, deacons, catechists and members of Cypriot ecclesial movements in the Latin parish of the Holy Cross. The final day of his visit to the island nation will see the Holy Father presiding over Mass at the Elefteria Sports Palace, on the occasion of the publication of the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the Special Synod for the Middle East. The document will establish the guidelines for the upcoming October 10-24 synod at the Vatican. The theme of the summit is: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness. Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul." After the Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, the Pope will join S.B. Chysostomos II, patriarchs and bishops from the Synod's Special Council, and members of the papal delegation for lunch at the Apostolic Nunciature in Nicosia. Pope Benedict XVI's final stop before leaving the country that afternoon will be Nicosia's Maronite Cathedral of Cyprus. The Holy Father will also be visiting Spain and the United Kingdom later in 2010. (CNA)

Thousands visit Shroud of Turin on opening weekend
VATICAN CITY, April 11, 2010—Saturday morning saw the first visitors enter the Cathedral of Turin, taking advantage of a rare opportunity to view the ancient relic at its first exposition in close to a decade. The Holy Father welcomed the exposition as "an extraordinary call back towards the mystery of the suffering of Christ." The first public exposition of the Shroud since 2000 offers a "path of faith and prayer" for the more than 1.5 million pilgrims and visitors that will see it, according to the Cardinal Archbishop of Turin, Severino Poletto, who celebrated the opening Mass on Saturday afternoon along with the bishops of Italy's Piedmont region. The Shroud of Turin was seen by thousands of people on the exposition's first day. Among those able to attend for veneration on the opening morning were local civil and religious authorities, journalists and the 4,000 volunteers who will provide assistance for the duration of the showing, from April 10 to May 23. Following afternoon Mass, 12,000 pilgrims with reserved tickets were able to file through the Cathedral for a prayer and a glimpse at the burial cloth believed to bear the image of Jesus' crucified body. Pope Benedict XVI said on Sunday that, "God willing," he will also be among the pilgrims to pay his respects during a visit he has planned for May 2. He noted his happiness at the event after the Regina Caeli prayer at noon on Sunday, saying that it is "once again provoking a vast movement of pilgrims, but also studies, reflections and most of all an extraordinary call back towards the mystery of the suffering of Christ." The Holy Father also expressed his wish that "this act of veneration may help all to seek the Face of God, that was the intimate aspiration of the Apostles, as well as ours." (CNA)

U.S. bishops welcome nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia
WASHINGTON D.C., April 11, 2010—The U.S. bishops have welcomed the signing of the new nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia as a step towards eliminating weapons with “horribly destructive capacity.” In a Thursday letter to President Barack Obama, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) president Cardinal Francis George praised the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). “The horribly destructive capacity of nuclear arms makes them disproportionate and indiscriminate weapons that endanger human life and dignity like no other armaments. Their use as a weapon of war is rejected in Church teaching based on just war norms,” the cardinal wrote. He cited teachings of the U.S. bishops and Pope Benedict XVI which call for a world without nuclear weapons. The USCCB, the cardinal said, will be a “steadfast supporter” of strong, bipartisan action on the START Treaty. He cited a “moral imperative” to eliminate nuclear weapons, describing the treaty as an “essential step.” The path to a nuclear-free world will be “long and difficult,” Cardinal George continued. As further steps, he recommended the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the securing of nuclear materials from terrorists, and strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency. (CNA)

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Rare bishop’s ordination attracts thousands
THAKHEK, Laos, April 12, 2010—More than 4,000 Catholics descended on a quiet provincial town on the bank of the Mekong river in Laos to witness the extremely rare event of a bishop’s ordination here. Bishop Jean Marie Prida Inthirath, 53, on April 10 was ordained and installed as apostolic vicar of Savannakhet apostolic vicariate in the compound of St. Louis Cathedral in Thakhek. The central Laotian town has about 800 Catholics in a population of tens of thousands, most of whom are ethnic Vietnamese. Thakhek is capital of Khammouane province and the base of Savannakhet vicariate, one of four vicariates in Laos. The town is principally a collection and processing center for plywood. Among the people at the episcopal ordination were 12 bishops from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand, and some 80 priests. Guests came from throughout Laos as well as neighboring countries and France. tolic delegate to Laos. Archbishop Pennacchio called on priests of Savannakhet vicariate, “the first collaborators of the bishop,” to maintain close relations with him. “The relationship between bishop and clergy should be based before all else on charity, so as to be effective in their apostolate,” he said. Addressing the laypeople of the vicariate, the papal delegate said, “You also bear a great responsibility to cooperate with your key shepherd, to witness the Gospel love and the message of salvation among the people.” Bishop Prida later told UCA News he was moved by the large crowd at the ceremony. Noting that people came not only from Laos but also from neighboring countries and elsewhere, he said, “This shows the communion and universality of the Catholic Church.” Bishop Prida was born in 1957, the fifth child in a family of seven children, in a village in Khammouane province. He entered the seminary in 1975. In 1980, his family emigrated to France, and his parents died there. In 1986, he was ordained a priest, after which he served in numerous parishes and village communities throughout Savannakhet vicariate, except from 1993-1995, when he was in France for further studies. In 2003, he became rector of the St. John Vianney Major Semianary in Thakhek, the only major seminary in the country. Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 19 appointed him bishop and apostolic vicar of Savannakhet. The vicariate has about 12,500 Catholics, spread across 54 communities and villages, out of a total population of more than 1 million people who are mainly Buddhists. Six priests currently serve the vicariate. (UCAN)

Bishop Jean Marie Prida Inthirath

The principal consecrator of the ceremony, conducted wholly in the Lao language, was Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, apostolic vicar of Pakse, who is also president of the Episcopal Conference of LaosCambodia. He was assisted by Bishop Jean Khamse Vithavong, apostolic vicar of Vientiane, and Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Bangkok-based apos-

JAKARTA, Indonesia, April 12, 2010—A priest has asked Catholics in the archdiocese of Jakarta to use social networking website Facebook to develop a faith-based fellowship. “Catholics should understand and use Facebook in the light of their faith in order to develop spiritual fellowship, as well as [learn to] avoid the negative effects [of Facebook],” Father Bernardus Mardiatmadja, who teaches at the Jesuit-run Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta, told about 60 laypeople attending a seminar on April 11. The seminar, Facebook: Challenges and Blessings, was organized by the Zion’s Daughter Community in the hall of the Assumption of the Virgin Cathedral Church in Central Jakarta. Catholics may use Facebook to express and communicate their faith, the Jesuit priest continued. Facebook also helps create an “informal space” for young people, he added. “Let us use Facebook to work for human dignity, share our lives and work for true brotherhood,” he said. Adriyanto Gani, another seminar speaker, reminded participants of the negative impact of Facebook. He recalled that some crimes, including rapes and kidnappings, had occurred due to Facebook communication.
Facebook / A6

Catholics asked to put their faith on Facebook

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

News Features


Church’s mission is to announce God’s merciful love, says pope
VATICAN CITY, April 11, 2010—The Holy Father welcomed Divine Mercy Sunday from the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, focusing his address before the Marian prayer on Sunday’s reading from the Gospel of John. In his words, he acknowledged the value of Thomas’ doubt for Christians today and reflected on Jesus’ imparting of the Holy Spirit and the mission of the Church. St. John’s account which narrates Jesus’ visit to the disciples in the Cenacle after his resurrection, said the Pope, is “rich” with “mercy and divine goodness.” Benedict XVI quoted St. Augustine who explained the scene in which Christ’s body, “inhabited by divinity,” is not impeded from entering the closed doors of the Upper Room. St. Gregory the Great, he noted, described the Redeemer’s arrival in a state of glory, with an uncorruptible and palpable body. Once in the room, Jesus allows the “incredulous” Thomas to verify the signs of the passion present on Jesus’ body, recalled the Pope, adding that the “divine compliance” of Jesus in permitting Thomas to touch him continues to be as profitable for us as it was for the other disciples. “In fact, touching the wounds of the Lord, the doubtful disciple cures not only his, but also our diffidence,” he observed. Putting the scene in perspective, the Holy Father explained that the Risen Christ’s visit was not limited to the Cenacle, “but goes beyond, so that everyone may receive the gift of peace and life with the ‘Creating Breath.’” In Jesus’ words and actions in the locked upper chamber, he establishes the mission of the Church ever aided by the Holy Spirit, which is, the Pope said, “to carry out to all the glad announcement, the joyous reality of the merciful Love of God ...” Pope Benedict concluded his words by encouraging priests, “in light of this word,” to follow the example of St. Jean Vianney in helping people to “perceive the merciful love of the Lord” whose announcement and a “witness to the truth of Love” is important also today. “In this way we will make ever more familiar and close He that our eyes haven’t seen, but of his infinite Mercy we have absolute certainty.” Beginning the Regina Caeli prayer, he asked for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, in “sustaining the mission of the Church.” In his post-prayer address, he remembered those from Poland who died in a tragic plane crash on Saturday morning in Russia. He also welcomed the opening of the exposition of the Shroud of Turin and wished a blessed Divine Mercy Sunday to all. (CNA/EWTN News)

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Believers must give courageous witness, pope says at audience
VATICAN CITY, April 7, 2010—If Christians truly believe that Jesus has risen, they must allow his love and goodness to shine through their words and their actions, Pope Benedict XVI said. "We will truly and completely be witnesses of the Lord's resurrection when we allow the lavishness of his love to shine through us and when in our words – and even more in our gestures – people can recognize the voice and hands of Jesus himself," the pope said April 7 during his weekly general audience. An estimated 21,000 people gathered under sunny skies for the audience in St. Peter's Square, which was still full of Easter flowers. The pope, who returned to the Vatican by helicopter from the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo and went back to the villa south of Rome after the audience, focused his remarks on the need to proclaim Christ's resurrection to the world. As newspapers around the world continued to carry stories about cases of clerical sexual abuse and the church's handling of accusations, Pope Benedict said, "The good news of Easter requires a work

Voters list still an obstacle to Sins of priests cannot be applied to automated polls entire Church, cardinal says of abuses
ROME, Italy, April 7, 2010—Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, voiced his support and solidarity with Pope Benedict on Tuesday. The prelate underscored that, as Jesus was not at fault for the betrayal of Judas, neither are Pope Benedict XVI or bishops, to be blamed for the "grave faults" of priests. Speaking to the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in Rome, the cardinal explained that "before these unjust attacks we were told that we are making mistakes in strategy, that, we should react differently. The Church has its own style and does not adopt the methods that are being used against the Pope today. "The only strategy we have comes to us from the Gospel," he said. The dean of the College of Cardinals went on to say that the Christian community feels "justly hurt" when attempts are made to involve it en masse "in the grave and painful acts of some priests, transforming individual fault and responsibility into collective fault.” He later underlined that "if any minister has been unfaithful, you can't and you shouldn't generalize. "Certainly, we suffer, and Benedict XVI has asked forgiveness many times," he noted. "But it is not Christ's fault if Judas has betrayed (him). It is not a bishop's fault if one of his priests has stained himself with grave faults. "And surely the Pontiff is not responsible," said Cardinal Sodano. The cardinal also explained why he spoke out on behalf of the "people of God" in support and admiration of the Pope before this past Sunday's Mass. The Easter Liturgy, he said, offered a good occasion to "reaffirm the deep relations of unity that hold all members of the Church close to him who the Holy Spirit has put in place to guide the community of believers." Cardinal Sodano also expressed the support of the College of Cardinals and the world's 400,000 priests for the Holy Father, referring to a passage from John's Gospel for inspiration: "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." The cardinal said he feels "a duty to recognize Benedict XVI for the apostolic devotion with which he gives his daily service to the Church. "My words were born also of a personal demand, from the profound affection that I hold for the Vicar of Christ." Cardinal Sodano said that "in addition to offering a witness of closeness to the Pope," his words of support "were an invitation to serenity. It is a call that the Pope himself, firstly and continuously, makes to the Church and to the world, following his grand predecessors on the chair of Peter." (CNA/EWTN News)

of enthusiastic and courageous witness. Every disciple of Christ, including each one of us, is called to be a witness." The pope said the resurrection of Jesus is "a historical fact," and one that means the promise of new life is not simply a wish. "New life in Christ must shine in the life of each Christian; it must be alive and active," demonstrating that "it really is capable of changing one's heart and whole existence," the pope said. The signs that Christ's victory over sin and death is changing minds and hearts include situations where violence is replaced with peace, where justice is promoted, where people patiently engage in dialogue, where respect is shown for others and where men and women make personal sacrifices to assist others, he said. "Unfortunately, we also see much suffering in the world, much violence and misunderstanding," the pope said. "The celebration of the paschal mystery and the joyful contemplation of the resurrection of Christ, who vanquishes sin and death with the power of love, is a favorable moment for rediscovering and professing our trust in the risen Lord with greater conviction," he said. (CNS)

Cardinal Angelo Sodano

Group calls on people for united action on May polls
MANILA, April 4, 2010—Representatives of the clergy, religious and laity forming a group called Circles of Discernments have called on the people to come together to discern plans for collective action in view of the upcoming May elections. In an Easter Manifesto titled “A Passover for the Filipino People”, the group urged all Filipinos to look for worthy leaders and support them to replace those “unworthy” ones. “Let us organize on the grassroots level and affirm the right to vote. Let us move to sustain the fervor of those who want their votes to count so the people’s sovereign will could prevail in this land of the morning sun,” the manifesto stated. Accusing the present administration of corrupting the moral fiber of the people and of institutions, the group said it holds the Arroyo government responsible for the current state the country is in. “We accuse her [Arroyo] and her cohorts of unprecedented corruption, enriching themselves by stealing from the poorest of the land— indigenous communities, farmers, peasants, among others. They lie and cheat with impunity,” the manifesto partly read. The group also held Arroyo accountable for scores of human rights abuses that plagued her administration. “We hold this regime responsible for the 1,118 extrajudicial killings and 204 enforced disappearances that have taken place from January 2001 to October 2009, symptomatic of the utter disregard this administration has for human rights,” they further said. Saying that the upcoming May elections could signal a fresh start for the nation, the group called on the citizenry to keep their guard as foreboding signs of a no-election or failure of elections scenarios manifest themselves. “There are indications that the election will be manipulated to advance the purposes of those in power. It has become obvious that the many delays and glitches in the COMELEC’s preparation for the election are not so much a matter of inefficiency, but rather, as they are a part of a grand scheme to make the elections fail,” the group said. The group also noted that a failed election scenario can be used as an excuse for the imposition of martial law and the continuation of the Arroyo government in a hold-over capacity. Or, Arroyo, who is running for Congress could easily gain a majority that can pave the way for a parliamentary government and her being chosen as Prime Minister, they said. “The call of the hour is prophetic vigilance. In one prophetic voice we must denounce this orgy of betrayal, name the Judases of our times and unmask them. We have what it takes to thwart the diabolical wiles of the Arroyo administration in its attempt to degrade our standing as people within the international community of nations,” they added. They said the Filipinos’ capacity to bear the cross of suffering will lead them to their own resurrection, with God leading the way. The group forming the Circles of Discernment is composed of clergy, religious and lay people who took the initiative to get together to discern the current national situation in response to the call of the bishops to form “communities of faithdiscernment and action.” (Pinky Barrientos, FSP/CBCPNews)

MANILA, April 6, 2010— Concerns continues over delayed release of voters list for the upcoming automated elections, despite pressure from poll watchdogs to have it out as soon as possible. The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) expressed concern Tuesday over the delay as it warned voters of long queues on May 10. For the election to be successful, Namfrel chairman Jose Cuisia, Jr., said a definitive voters list must be published ahead of time. The release of the certified voters list (CVL) has so far proven to be an insurmountable obstacle. Progress is currently at a standstill. With still many unresolved multiple registrants in major provinces, the more the poll watchdog casted doubt on the integrity of the Commission on Election's (Comelec) database. Cuisia said that the clustering of the precincts under the automated system will increase the number of voters to 1,000 per precinct. The scenario, according to him, is likely to create “confusion, congestion, and long queues in voting centers” if people are not advised early enough. “The CVL is one of the weak links in the May polls,” he said. “A reliable CVL is guardian of the one person, one vote process and to ensure that it has no duplicate names and minors or deceased voters.” To avoid hassle on Election Day, Cuisia called on voters to check as early as possible the website of the Comelec for the exact location of their voting precincts. This information is also available in the official list of registered voters for May 10 elections. However, the poll body is yet to release the document to the regional offices. Too late While the Comelec promised last month to delist more than 700,000 double or multiple registrants before May 10, another Namfrel official said ‘it’s a little too late.’ According to Namfrel Council member Guillermo Luz, legal impediment could still hamper the cleansing of the voters list. “It’s a little too late to clean the list because there’s a certain legal procedure of inclusion or exclusion (of names in the CVL),” he said. Final resort: Indelible ink Namfrel officials said the reliable defense against multiple registrants is the use of genuine indelible ink. “There should really be an honest to goodness indelible ink on election day,” said Damaso Magbual, Namfrel membership committee chairman. In other countries, he said, it took several days to remove the ink. “But here in the Philippines, you can take it [away] in a day,” he said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

Witness awakens vocations
THIS is the theme of this year’s 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations that will be celebrated on April 25, the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Good Shepherd Sunday. In his message for this occasion, the Holy Father highlights prayer as “the first form of witness which awakens vocation” and establishes “friendship with Christ.” Then he mentions complete giving of oneself to God and a life of communion in love as more ways of witnessing one’s vocation. Giving oneself to God is about entering “into the very mind of Jesus who in his entire life did the will of the Father, even to the ultimate gift of himself on the cross.” The priest, says the Pontiff “must be a man of communion, open to all, capable of gathering into one pilgrim flock which the goodness of the Lord has entrusted to him, helping him overcome divisions, to heal rifts, to settle conflicts and misunderstanding, and to forgive offenses.” Simply put, the best witness that the man of the street, say Mang Tomas, is looking in a priest is one that incarnates the social teachings of the Church in his lifestyle. People have seen so many priests who are good in presiding at liturgical celebrations—and even, perhaps, in preaching. There is little question about that. The bigger question is whether we have in our midst priests who, according to Pope Benedict XVI in the same message, “would bear witness to the love of God for all human beings, without distinction, with particular attention to the least ones, sinners, the outcast and the poor.”

Our political culture
IN the campaign period, the first focus of attention is on getting oneself chosen as the candidate of a party. Very early on, a candidate seeking support from the “kingmakers” is advised that he must learn to deal with “political reality” and he is supposed to do this by adopting the traditional method of political horsetrading, of promising patronage to financial supporters, of buying the loyalty of local traders. Soon enough he becomes adept in the ways of self-serving opportunism and he looks for a party that can help him fulfill his ambitions without regard to ideology and platform. Thus it is commonplace to see or hear of disappointed candidates switching party affiliations or founding their own parties. There is no difficulty whatsoever for an office-aspirant to be sworn into one party after another, no real stigma being attached to “turn-coatism”. Prospective candidates make sure they get plenty of public exposure. To have this they cultivate media people assiduously and resort to bribing journalists to make sure they land in the news. At this stage they already incur huge expenses even as they breed corruption in the media. In turn those already in government who become afflicted with the election bug use public funds to finance “public service” messages or institutional ads that trumpet their accomplishments. With the use of government facilities, public money and the bureaucracy itself, they also jump the gun on election campaigning by organizing “inspection trips” to the most far-flung areas—with media people in tow. One cannot but wonder at the degree of moral erosion candidates must already be suffering at this point in their career. When convention time comes, delegates are “wined, dined and womened”—as the gross but only too accurate expression cynically puts it—in order to win their votes. Here at the convention level alone, election spending gets even heavier. If candidates spend enormous amounts of money freely in the election campaign period, everybody knows they do so in the certainty that they will be able to recoup every single item of expense and more when they assume office; and that if they eventually manage by whatever devious means to become themselves “kingpins” in their own right, they will be more than compensated for by national candidates who need the support of their political machinery. The campaign period turns the Philippine scene into a mad circus, a vast entertainment plaza. Candidates will, during this period, do whatever their audience bids them to do—in sharp contrast to their deafness to the same people’s cries for attention once they are in office. They will dance, clown, kick-box, sing, use gutter language—anything to sell themselves and heighten “name recall.” In short, they do everything except educate the electorate on issues. They hire expensive advertising agencies to polish up their image, often without regard to the truth, and to produce sound-bites and one-liners that will go over well in political rallies and quick interviews on radio and television. All of which only serve to worsen our personality-oriented brand of politics. People take advantage of the campaign period to ask donations for every conceivable “project” from the candidates who are pressured to give under pain of losing valuable votes. This in turn forces candidates to solicit or accept contributions from vested interests who expect a return after the elections. The same goes with the party in power: It misuses government funds and other resources for electioneering purposes. When later those guilty become vulnerable to prosecution, they whitewash investigations with the help of protégés previously deployed in strategic agencies, even go to the extent of legislating amendments to “decriminalize” their violations. “Dirty tricks, black propaganda, mudslinging”—anything to weaken or destroy the opposition—these are liberally resorted to. In short, the laws of ordinary morality are suspended during the campaign period in favor of office seekers and their supporters. —Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, 1997

Abp. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD

Pastoral Companion
THE Easter message of Christ’s resurrection and victory over sin and death offers us the promise of rising above our own brokenness and rebuilding the structures of our fragmented society. It is fitting then that our coming elections should take place during this Easter season. For Easter is the season of hope—and concrete action for building the future. The apostles were filled with joy, mixed with initial incredulity, as the first witnesses of the Resurrected Christ. But they were also impelled by the Holy Spirit to share this joy and conviction over the good news of Christ’s resurrection with the whole world, even at the cost of hardships and martyrdom. It is in this light that we too, as good Christians and responsible citizens, are challenged to be involved in our electoral process. This has been dubbed by our archdiocesan ministry workers in good governance as PEACE, i.e., Political Easter Action for Credible Elections. During these remaining forty days before election day, let us then adopt this form of PEACE-building in all our parishes and kapilya communities as a concrete response to the call of the bishops: There is a duty for the Christian Catholic to transform politics by the Gospel. The Church, God’s people, must evangelize politics. God’s call to the Church is to preach the integral Gospel, the Gospel with all its social dimensions. (CBCP, Pastoral Exhortation 1997: Philippine Politics) More recently, over the past year, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has also made three calls to the Catholic laity: (1) to form circles of discernment (so that they can see, judge, and act

Electing our future
together on issues of public concern); (2) to get involved directly in principled partisan politics; and (3) to exercise their right and duty to campaign for candidates who are competent, honest, and public-service minded. How then do we choose candidates who are “competent, honest, and public-service minded”? There are four C’s we can consider as criteria for measuring the qualifications of candidates. The first “C” is Conscience. We need leaders with a sense of morality—who know what is morally right and morally wrong, and who act according to their conscience. In earlier consultations we find that Filipino voters look for leaders who are God-fearing and heed the commandments of God. A person of conscience works for truth and justice. He or she is pro-life and pro-family. He is transparent in his dealings and is accountable for his actions. He does not stall calls for public investigations in the conduct of a public office. A person of conscience shuns corruption in any form and makes sure that public funds are not used for private gain, but for the common good. His name is not linked to drugs, gambling, or any form of shady deals; indeed even “Caesar’s wife” should be above suspicion. The effect of corruption in a person is literally a “broken heart”. On the other hand, a person of conscience has a heart that is whole and integral; he is a person of integrity. The second “C” is Competence. A candidate for public office must have a track record, starting with his academic qualifications and
Companion / A6

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

The Rosary and Prolife
“SISTER, many thanks for teaching me how to pray the rosary” a pregnant teenager revealed to me one day as she was tearfully packing her things to go to the hospital for her delivery. “My family seldom went to church”, she continued. “And I did not go to a Catholic school. All I remember is seeing old women in groups saying the “Hail Mary” over and over again while holding the rosary before the Mass would begin. But here in the Maternity Home with the other pregnant girls and women, our daily prayer of the rosary at six o’ clock before suppertime has given me much strength and hope. Now I know the life of Jesus and his love for me. I am also sure that Mama Mary will be at my side when I go to the delivery room to give birth to my baby—my baby whom I almost aborted.” The Holy Rosary is truly a pro-life prayer. Beginning with the Joyful Mysteries that relate the faith filled acceptance of Our Lady to the Angel’s Announcement of her motherhood, to the generous woman-to-woman Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth during their pregnancy, to the humble Nativity of Our Lord in Bethlehem, the Presentation in the temple until we relate with the anguish of parents in the whereabouts of their child lost in the Temple or in the mall. The Mysteries of Light challenge us to recognize the message of spousal love through the Wedding at Cana as well as inspire us to be true to our Baptismal vows and our individual missions to Proclaim the Kingdom of God, finding strength in the Transforming action of Jesus in the Eucharist, no matter what our day to day vocation in life calls us to. In our Pro-life Counseling Centers, women in the depths of despair due to an abortion, a marital conflict, or an experience of sexual or physical abuse find consolation when our counselors pray the Sorrowful Mysteries with them. The journey with our Lord’s agony, passion and crucifixion, knowing that they are not alone and that He has traveled their road before them. Thus the Glorious Mysteries of the Resurrection until the Mystery of the Queenship of Mary becomes a goal they can see that their sorrows are not in vain. Through the years, the Pro-life Movements have devised various versions of the Rosary—a powerful weapon against the culture of death. In our troubled society, our innocent unborn are being slaughtered in the one place were they should feel most secure—their mother’s womb. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta said “If we let a mother kill her unborn child, what will keep us from killing one another?” Peace cannot be achieved if a condition is placed in the acceptance of one human being over another—he or she is different from me in sex, age, size, color of skin, civil or social status, religion or intellectual capacity. This is the message of

Love Life
eugenics. This is the message of the population control program. This is the message of the contraception-sterilization-abortion propaganda. Sex and pleasure but no baby and responsibility. I find it hard to believe that one can pray the rosary and not be pro-life. And if somehow, problems, confusions, and distress crowd out one’s unconditional acceptance of life, the dutiful prayer of the rosary will surely bear fruit one day in the grace of enlightenment, peace, joy and hope. Our divine Lord, the Author of Life, tells us in the Scriptures that if we have faith as tiny as the mustard seed, we could move mountains. He also tells us “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be given to you”. Many of us have firsthand knowledge of the power of prayer in our lives. Just imagine what an impact our whole parish, diocese, nation would have against abortion if we armed ourselves with that powerful weapon—the Rosary. For the Month of May, let us deepen our devotion to Mary through the Rosary. Let us organize groups to pray the Rosary for Life, using the Mysteries of the Rosary to educate and pray for pro-life intentions. Would you like to join us in this commitment to pray daily the Rosary for Life? Contact Pro-life office for color-coded beads with accompanying pamphlet—Tel 733-7027, 0919-233-7783, life@prolife.org.ph

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Nicolo F. Bernardo
Pedro C. Quitorio

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate Editor

Kris P. Bayos
Feature Editor

THANK heavens that the crisis undermining the Western churches today from reports of sexual abuse has hardly hit the developing churches in Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. After all, the future of the Church and the vibrancy of its faith, let alone the global population, seem to lie on Catholic communities of the Third World. But of course, the bad publicity from continental Europe is hardly comforting to any Catholic. Whether the magnitude of the sexual abuse cases is true or not, a single incident of sexual molestation is in itself a genuine concern for true Christians. The corruption of one soul is never tolerable, whether committed by a layman or a cleric. What is happening in the church in continental Europe is not really a “crisis of faith” because the Church never taught that sexual abuse is justifiable. It is rather a crisis of expectations, of image, of organization.

Great expectations
Perhaps part of the problem is the confusion that since the Church claims to be infallible in its teachings then the actions of its pastors should likewise be incorruptible. This is what we can call “the great expectations,” which are woefully provoking the propagandists and the reactionists alike. The logic goes on like this: pastors are expected to be the saints and agents of God, thus there could not be any incident of viciousness or neglect. And if ever there would be, either this should be covered up, or this should be news, or this should be a cause for losing faith. There goes the cycle of provocation. Anti-Catholics would undermine the Church via character assassination and argumentum ad hominem against some of its clergy. On one hand, certain militant Catholics—who take their faith relative to the image of their pastors—would bite the bait and could be defensive at all costs.
Lifeguard / A5

Melo M. Acuña
Managing Editor News Editor

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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

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

Condoms, a dead man walking
past its due execution and interment. This is stretching things beyond the limits. The condom is an ant made to posture as an elephant. It’s a blind, long shot and dangerous measure. Even its practical effectivity is seriously, that is, scientifically, put to doubt. You don’t solve a serious moral problem with a mere prophylactic. And we cannot appeal to the argument that Cabral, being a public official, need not bother too much about morals, since she is limited to the practical aspects of the problem. She is just doing her job. Leave her alone. That’s a flat no. That’s why I feel uneasy when some Church officials gave the impression they were playing footsie with Cabral in this issue. I was disturbed to read in the papers recently that some personnel of the social action group of the Bishops’ Conference were doing just that. Cabral went to town telling everyone she was happy the Church finally gave some approval to the condom project. Or that in this issue, there is an area of shared interest between her and the Church. Of course, we may have to take that news with a grain of salt. The media cannot be fully trusted to reflect the objective reality on the ground. Still, it can cause a degree of apprehension. It’s not a question of whether the Church should cooperate with the government in a particular project. That cooperation should always be presumed, but always in the way that’s in keeping with our faith and morals. In the agora of public opinion, the Church’s distinctive contribution is precisely the moral and ethical aspect of a given issue. Once that test is passed, the Church not only respects but also fosters the variety of views and options everyone is free to take. We may have to look more closely into the qualifications of these Church officials. Clearly, good intentions and past heroic acts are not enough. Competence, doctrinal fidelity and tested prudence should be upheld. With all the sex scandals hounding the Church now, we have more than enough problems without getting enmeshed in this condom ruse.

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, SSL

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
HEALTH Secretary Esperanza Cabral continues to distribute condoms and to amend her justifications for doing so, depending on her audience. I have already lost track of how many layers of rationalizations she had cleverly done. She’s a smart lady. I wish to congratulate her, not for what she is doing in this particular case, but for being shrewd. Remember that our Lord also praised the unjust steward not for his misdeed but for his imaginative effort to secure his future once he is dismissed for wasting his master’s goods. (Lk 16,1-8) This is, of course, a most tricky situation, since we can easily go overboard. But we just have to learn to handle this circumstance, since it’s part of what our Lord said about being “wise as serpents and simple as doves.” (Mt 10,16) Still, we have to be clear and prompt in distinguishing between right and wrong, good and evil. Everything, for sure, will have to be done with utmost charity, delicacy and refinement, especially in the grey areas. But the distinction has to be made. In the episode of the woman caught in adultery, our Lord showed mercy, but told her to “sin no more.” There is mercy, but that mercy is not supposed to overturn the moral law. This is the law that governs us all, since it is universal and immutable. I hate to say this, since I feel it’s so basic it should be presumed at all times. But as we all know, the world is now so flung in confusion that even the moral and ethical one-plus-one needs to be explained. In this issue of the condoms, a ridiculously simple question that does not deserve a front-page treatment, the crux is first of all, as it should be in everything else, whether it is morally right to use it, let alone, to distribute it indiscriminately. The moral test is basic and indispensable. When something fails that test, it cannot go first base, much less, expect a home run. It is disqualified right at the start. It’s dead in the water. No practical advantage can displace this requirement. That it is still being foisted as a means to combat the dreaded HIVAIDS, hyped now to become an epidemic, giving the impression the condom is the last resort, the ultimate redeemer, etc., is converting that piece of latex into a dead man walking, taking a longer route,

Spaces of Hope Lessons to be learned
THE first time I read about a priest running for office in the 2007 elections, I did not even give the news article a second glance. “Poor priest,” I mumbled to myself, “he is in for sure defeat.” Subsequent events proved me wrong. I eventually got to know Among Ed. His journey, to say the least, has been a very difficult one. We share a fundamental realization: when we bring Jesus on board the journey towards nation building, we reach our destinations sooner than later—even if our approaches may differ. In a meeting nearly 3 years ago with Among Ed and some of his supporters, including some priests, we heard their dramatic account of how they tackled the unsavory prospect of choosing between two candidates, both widely believed to be involved in illegal activities. “Ganito na lang ba tayo?” they had asked themselves. It was a valid question, one that fired up the indignation of many Kapampangans who admitted that their sense of pride was hurt by such a prospect of choosing between two evils. This question has since been a rallying cry in the CiDE network as our team engaged various participants from different places in the country. “Ganito na lang ba tayo?”—a people so gifted and living in a well-endowed archipelago yet many feeling the compulsion of leaving the country for greener, more hopeful, pastures? “Is this life is all about?”—a largely Christian nation but very tolerant towards dirty, even violent, elections? Yes, “Ganito na lang ba tayo?” No! Most of our participants would say so. ******* One of the nine circles of discernment that Dilaab organized in 2008 was with “Silingan Ka” (“You are neighbor”) of Ipil, Zamboanga. From them we heard the story of principle-based endorsement that respected the consciences of people. Allow me to quote extensively from write-up the group shared with us: Silingan Ka (SK) is a multi-sectoral, interreligious, and intercultural group whose 15-member body of convenors decide as a body as to which candidate to endorse for those vying for provincial seats, like governors and provincial board members. The proliferation of graft and corruption and vote-buying spurred the formation of the SK. To endorse a unanimous vote must be reached. Failing to reach consensus no endorsement is made. For endorsement of candidates at the municipal level, ten municipal chapters are created. These municipal chapters endorse candidates for the seats of the municipal government, like mayors and councilors. In order to qualify as member, one must: (1) not be a politician; (2) have no record of having become a political leader who was engaged in buying votes; and (3) not have sold his vote. Members join as individuals, not as representatives or leaders of a certain parochial group or religious institution. The church members get involved, as individuals, not as representatives of the church they belong. Some members are members of the BEC, lay ministries, and catechisms. Priests sit as members and advisers, and are involved in the endorsement process. The members are recommended and recruited by the convenors. They are chosen based on character: principled, have not sold their votes, and have hope (paglaum). Those who are recruited by the convenors are already perceived as possessing these qualities. Choosing the members is a very crucial process. Convenors play a major role in selecting a member. If mistake is made in choosing a member, the organization will become vulnerable to graft and corruption. Clarity of objectives and specifying recruitment standards are just two aspects needing attention right from the start. The involvement of priests is something needing special discernment; at the very least, priests are called to provide “space”—physical, emotional, and spiritual—so that such groups may emerge. ******* Let us allow Silingan Ka representatives to continue: In going about the endorsement process, Silingan Ka first obtains a track record of each candidate, which will be distributed to the members for them to study. They then discuss the issues of the province, what needed to be done for the progress of the province, and the grading of the candidate based on a questionnaire. The questionnaire comprises of a set of questions that will be rated at 0-5 by each member based on their individual opinion. The candidate who gets the highest grade is the one who will be deliberated upon by the convenors whether he is fit to be endorsed. The convenors must reach a consensus in order to choose a candidate. Finally, once they have chosen a candidate, they will conduct a campaign for the election of the chosen candidate. In endorsing a candidate, they allot two spaces for the voter’s personal choice (e.g. if there are five provincial board members to be chosen, Silingan Ka would only endorse three candidates). Then after the elections, those who have been chosen and won in the election are summoned by Silingan Ka, and are asked to sign a covenant. The covenant consists of objectives/ promises/goals that the winning official must pursue during his term. My friends from SK later told me that this process of endorsing led to a 70% average of endorsed local candidates to be elected; 60% for provincial candidates; and 40% for national candidates. Not bad. By leaving room for voters’ personal choice and assuring groups that their endorsement is just a proposal, not an imposition, the SK process was not divisive. There are lessons to be learned here.

Hopes and fears
AS hope means trust, confidence and optimism, fear on the other hand brings about dread, foreboding and anxiety. Ordinarily, people have only one or the other psychological bearing and pursuant emotional air towards one or the same reality. In other words, usually someone simply either pins his hope or draws his fear towards something. There are however certain markedly ambivalent situations where many harbor both their hopes and fears about the same reality. And such is exactly what the forthcoming May 10 national elections do to a good number of ordinary Filipinos. In other words, the progressively nearing political exercise provides precisely the reality for people in general, ample and valid reasons

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points
politics is what makes politicos thereafter accumulate wealth precisely through their public offices. But what is much worse is the marked possibility that the same elections could provide the reason for public dissent and anger, not to mention the violent disgust or bloody demonstrations it might generate—with the Filipinos and their country as the eventual composite loser in the case. Blessed are those who only have high hope and expectation on the occasion of the May 10 national elections. On the other hand, miserable are those who harbor big fear and trepidation towards the same national event. Come to think of it, they cannot be both right. Hence, what is there for all of them to do? Here: Pray hard. Exercise vigilance. Prepare for anything.

to entertain hopes and fears, to be optimistic and pessimistic about it. In due time, the long incumbent ruling national leader will either vacate Malacañang (hope) or in effect dig deeper specifically to stay much longer thereat (fear). The pretty long standing structures of election cheating will either become dysfunctional (hope) or emerge even more deleterious (fear). And the Comelec—this will either decidedly protect the integrity of the elections (hope) or vow down to partisan power and influence (fear). Fearfully, the same electoral venture will activate private armies, multiply killings with remorse, and make the big and continuous flow of money the primary basis for candidates to gather the winning votes. Incidentally, this signal phenomenon of money

Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD

By the Roadside
JUST when we thought Filipino bashing is a thing of the past an Italian-American comedian recently rouses us from stupor by his unkind remarks on Manny Pacquiao and our ‘supposed’ sex tours as the only things going for this country and for the race that produced Rizal. Of course, he apologizes the day after, mainly because of an avalanche of animated (at best) or irate (at worst) responses from Pinoys all over the world. Quite possibly the comedian just wanted a little attention for himself, which he clearly achieved from an unspecified number of members of the aggrieved party (us), but my sense is that he also expresses a view by certain foreigners of Filipinos and the Philippines which they can’t quite put into words in polite conversations. I remember an American friend, one of a few, who made bold to ask me: “Father, why are things in your country such a mess most of the time?” I suddenly had a barrage of images in my head showing why he had such a dim view of us: typhoons, the Ondoy flooding, the El Niño drought, the endless political scams, file videos of Smokey Mountain, high corruption indexes, negative confrontational politics, the Maguindanao massacre, polluted air, seas, rivers and garbage everywhere… I said: “For some of it, nature is to blame. For most of it, we are to blame. But, give us the credit, at least we’re searching for a way out.” Until when the search ends I don’t have any idea. Nor most Pinoys, I gather. Sadly, the dim view I speak of is what many of us Filipinos ourselves adhere to but would, nonetheless, not tolerate foreigners publicly airing such an outrage. Now, I’m not saying that many Pinoys actually believe that only Manny Pacquiao and our ‘supposed’ sex tours define who we are. I’m saying, however, that many of us have very low image of ourselves such that when sensational champion athletes, like the Pacman, or artists, like Charice, do us proud with their gifts, or when our villains put us to shame with sex tours, high corruption and other abominations, we treat them with habitually screaming headlines to the effect that we drown out attention to other things that express the better side of who we are. And why we hardly see how, by and large, foreigners only take their cue from us, frankly, escapes me. But do we believe in our better side? Is there such a thing? we ask. To my mind, the better side of who we are is also real and beyond reasonable (or unreasonable) doubt. I know you would say you would grant that we as a people are capable of so many good things despite our so many not-so-good circumstances… Pardon me, but I’m not speaking in the abstract. This is very well manifest in doctors or nurses we meet who prefer to stay in the country despite their low pay and less-than-ideal working conditions; teachers who teach children in far-flung barangays despite the untold sacrifices it takes (I habitually witness three teachers who once a week literally claw their way through slippery rocks and jungle paths to reach children they teach); government workers who stay honest despite the culture of corruption breathing on them; political candidates who advocate non-popular but correct (that is, even from the moral perspective) viewpoints and standpoints despite survey results; voters who reject even the very idea of getting money for their votes despite having to forego sometimes generous amounts of money; journalists who tell the truth behind the facts despite their own biases or political leanings; students who live up to the idealism of their youth despite gaining in age and experiencing a corrupt system; politicians who avoid gutter politics and choose instead to address the real problems of their constituents and of the nation despite losing opportunities to put down rivals; poor farmers and fishermen who work hard, not allowing their family’s future to fall into the hands of fate or

Is the Filipino self-image in perpetual search of poise?
unscrupulous politicians, despite the latter’s heavy influence in their own families, neighborhoods and the society at large. Behind these words are real people. These real people should be our sources of insight into who we really are. We do not owe our dignity to our athletes, artists, politicians, economists or to our economic-socio-political systems and conditions, however much good or evil we discern in them. Nor do we owe it to foreigners, comedians or non-comedians, journalists or plain ordinary folks with or without objective outlooks. Neither do we owe it to our own race and nation, whatever native praiseworthy or unworthy traits we might have. We owe our dignity only to God; and the dignity he has gifted us with surpasses all our weaknesses. It is a dignity that deserved the life of his very own Son when we lost it and when only God could buy it back through God’s own self-gift. And buy it back he did; in a larger sense (as saints and theologians remind us), God raised our dignity higher that it was. Now we are not just images and likenesses; we are sons and daughters in the Son. In a War Memorial I once visited with friends I saw in one section the words written in bold letters: “Freedom is not free.” The same thing can be said of the restoration and exaltation of our dignity. We were not bought back without a struggle nor simply by the blood of our heroes then and now. We were bought back by the blood of the only Son. The real question is: How have we Filipinos been treating our real dignity? To put it differently: Do we allow the questions put to us by the priest on Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday to direct our real, daily on-going self-evaluations? Or have they just become components of a tired and empty ritual act? Consider these: “Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?” “Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?” “Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?” “Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?…Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord?…Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?” After rejecting Satan and all evil, we are asked to believe. That is, we must also ‘be’ and ‘live’ who we are. In other words, how we truly deal with Easter’s questions in our daily grind determines whether or not we will finally achieve poise in our search for the self-image that finally matches our dignity.
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Unfortunately, the pristine expectations are surrealistic. Catholic teaching never claimed of invincible personalities. We are all sinners called to be saints. The Church itself, since Vatican II, has been moving away from the intrinsic association between Church and the hierarchy and the potential abuse of power this may cause. Thus the characterization of certain pastors (which by the way is not reflective of the priests at large) is not reflective of the Church with its over one billion faithful. It makes sense that the sexual abuse crisis is happening in the heavily institutionalized churches in the West where all the hierarchal organization and clerico-centric imagebuilding took hold. Such exclusivist imagery spelled death to the local churches there,

where churches have been transformed into museums. Come to think of it, what makes the local churches of the double Ps—Poland and the Philippines, almost shielded from the crisis? Arguably it is the lay empowerment, the ongoing involvement with the social and historic struggles of the faithful that forges a healthy clergy-lay relationship. Where there is lay indifference, the potential for abuse of power is at hand, which could manifest in the dynamics of sexuality. On one hand where there is trust for the sensus fidei, the response to the concerns of the faithful is uncompromising and sympathetic. Since the Church is composed of laity and clergy then there should be no impartiality in terms of moral alarm and responsibility.

It is not a matter of faith to defend vicious perpetrators but a moral duty to reach out to the innocent victims, whether the victim be the child or the pastor wrongfully accused. One should be quick to account any form of abuse, whether sexual or not, be it by priests in the pulpit, or by lay opportunists in the helm. We are all, after all, the Church. If in the apostolic age, Christians were known for their love of each other, at least in the modern age, the developing churches should be a beacon of Christianity’s true message: the love of truth, of justice, and of charity. Such is the real imagery and publicity we Christians are expected of. When there is wound in the body of Christ, the sore needs care from the other parts, not an overexposure or a band-aid cover-up.


Local News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

Bombing kills 5, ruins cathedral in Basilan

Celebrity endorsers mirror bet’s traits – CBCP official
THINKING on how to know the character traits of the presidentiables and other candidates? Look at their celebrity endorsers. An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said endorsers, in a way, mirror the personality attributes of their bets. “Logically, political endorsers reflect what kind of a person a particular candidate is,” said Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, CBCP Media Director. Quitorio said politicians must be careful in picking Msgr. Pedro Quitorio their celebrity endorsers and avoid those reputed to be ‘womanizers.’ Righteous politicians whose intention is to help the country, he said, should get endorsers who are good role models themselves. “Why should we select a person who is immoral when we want to focus on nation-building? If they are serious about this, they must get endorsers with a way of life that’s worth emulating,” he said. Quitorio made the statement on March 12 during a vice-presidential forum organized by church-based media groups. During the forum, four vice presidentiables branded as “womanizers” the celebrity endorsers of Nacionalista Party standard bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. According to Dominador Chipeco, Bayani Fernando, Jay Sonza and Perfecto Yasay they are not sold out on Villar’s star endorsers namely actors Dolphy and Willie Revillame, and boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. Dolphy has several children from different women, while Revillame has been linked to several women. Pacquiao, on the other hand, has also been rumored to be keeping an illicit affair with a sexy actress. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)
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city with around 300, 000 population AT least five people were killed and mostly dominated by Muslims. several others were wounded in a series Police and military officials said the of separate explosions and an ambush first explosion occurred inside a van in Isabela, capital of Basilan on morning in front of the Basilan National High of April 13. School in Isabela City at about 10:30 a.m. Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad conand claimed two lives. demned the attack, including one in When a group of responding Marines front of the Sta. Isabel Cathedral, and and local policemen rushed to the site, called on the authorities to secure the unidentified snipers fired at them which area. resulted to the death of three soldiers. Jumoad called on the government forces At around 11 a.m. another exploto ‘neutralize’ the rebel groups even as sion happened in front of the Basilan the authorities have yet to determine the Cathedral but no one was reportedly perpetrators. injured. “The military and the police should Bro. Gerry Santos, Parish Pastoral neutralize the rebel groups, who have Coordinator of the Prelature of Isabela, attacked the cathedral in Isabela City… said the blast caused heavy damages in this is my appeal,” said Jumoad over church and offices. Church-run Radio Veritas. “Halos buong cathedral damaged Jumoad then asked the faithful to retalaga. Pati mga kwarto ng mga pari main calm despite the chaotic situation halos wasak din,” Santos said. in the island-province. The third blast took place near the “We have a [chaotic] situation and I residence of Judge Leo Principe of the call my people to stay calm,” said the Basilan Regional Trial Court Branch 1. prelate. Principe is the one who ordered the He also asked the general public to Sta. Isabel Cathedral, Isabela City arrest of at least 130 members of the pray for the people of Basilan for their Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf in 2007 for the continued safety from harm. “I also appeal to please pray for us here in the Isabela de Basilan,” killing of 14 marines, 10 of whom were beheaded, while searching for abducted Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi in Basilan. (Roy Lagarde/ Jumoad said. There were at least three separate blasts that rocked the remote CBCPNews)
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destruction of environment that in the past have led to loss of lives and properties. “These are but only some of the gruesome faces of evil leaving the nation in dire misery and hopelessness,” he said. But with the risen Christ, “the journey through life gets brighter, not darker. People going through great crisis find comfort in His presence. He comes to us as answer to our tears over death,” Odchimar said. Quoting the Pope’s Annual Easter message, Odchimar said: “By his rising, the Lord has not taken away suffering and evil from the world but has vanquished them at their roots by the superabundance of his grace.” “By his death Jesus has crushed and triumphed over the iron-clad law of death, eliminating its poisonous root for ever,” said Odchimar. He then urged the faithful to also “become rays of hope for the despairing, lighted candles amidst darkness, and show compassion [to] the abandoned” even as they experience themselves the same life-giving hope, light, and love from the Resurrected Christ. “In this season of Easter, as we continue to contemplate the Lord’s resurrection, we let the Holy Spirit bring us to that glorious event where we may encounter the risen Lord again and relive the joyful hope of Easter,” he said. A call to a renewed life Meanwhile, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said the resurrection of Jesus is a challenge for all Christians to leave the past and live a renewed life. The cardinal stressed in his Easter message that with Jesus’ triumph over sin and evils human beings have done and still do, it can never be ‘business as usual.’ “After the Resurrection no more shall there
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be compromising with deceit, dishonesty, and the worship of money and power,” he said. Rosales said Jesus’ resurrection is a challenge to all Christians to make a complete make-over of their life from what they used to. By his resurrection, Christ has proclaimed “a new way of behaving, a new way of loving, a new way of serving and how we could all be bound by Peace,” the prelate said. The cardinal also noted that it is significant that the celebration of Easter always comes before a national election “because the lessons of the Resurrection lead to new life and a new encouraging service.” He then called on all Filipinos to choose their leaders wisely in the coming elections. “Discern with prayerful judgment as to who the nation should entrust with the task of new and inspiring honest leadership that leads to unity and peace,” he said. Change must begin within Former CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo also reminded the faithful that the betterment of the country does not depend on politicians but on the citizens who are “renewed, regenerated and reformed witnesses” of the resurrected Christ. National transformation is possible even in a country like ours, he said, but change has to happen first within oneself. “Beyond the promises of the many political candidates who want to deliver our country from its many social and political problems, we must not forget that the resurrection of a new Philippines is founded on each of us…” the prelate said. Lagdameo noted that by his resurrection Jesus has triumphed over the evil of sin,

injustice, violence, war and death. But this victory of Jesus over the power of evil must first begin in our life before it can spread in the community, in society and country, he explained. With a touch of optimism, Lagdameo said Filipinos should look at the past “with all its tragedies, disappointments, regrets and sins” as important components in the work of renewal. He said just as Holy Thursday and Good Friday served as the backdrop of Easter Sunday for Jesus, so we view the past and all its disappointments in the same manner. “Easter provides us with new eyes, mind and attitude in dealing with these realities,” Lagdameo said. The prelate noted that people sometimes get the misleading notion that life’s difficulties and other social ills disappear all at once at the coming of Easter. “We tend to cultivate the illusory and fantastic idea that in the blink of an eye, tomorrow, after Easter, there will no longer be pain, sickness, social tragedies, injustice and war… instead there will be fraternity, community, peace and disarmament. But it does not happen that way, instantly,” he said. Instead, Lagdameo said, Easter must be experienced within the framework of life’s realities that include pain, sickness and problems. “The message of Easter does not take away the world’s suffering,” the prelate said. “The joy of the Resurrection should not be disconnected from the cross which preceded it, in forgetfulness of the scourging and crucifixion,” he added. Easter does not cancel the paschal mystery as if this did not happen, instead it helps us believe in the mystery of life and love that comes forth from it, he further said.

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tors should join hands with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in manning the polling centers to ensure that people’s votes are safeguarded, they said. Commending the youth’s idealism, the bishops also encouraged the young people “to face, with courage and with conviction, the risks to commitment and the trials of involvement.” “[We] trust in the idealism of the youth; their vigilance and militancy in our country have been most inspiring,” they added. The bishops also took note of military presence in polling precincts, especially in areas considered hot spots, saying their presence should not be used as means to support any political group. With many candidates spending beyond their means during the campaign period, the bishops called on candidates “to demonstrate their trustworthiness and honesty” and submit to “popular will.” The prelates criticized overspending by some candidates saying that such is “condemnable” when many are suffering. “Let us remember our lesson in the past elections that excessive campaign expenses do not assure good and responsive governance. [These] can lead the elected candidate to the vicious cycle of graft and corrupt practices,” they stressed. The bishops then urged the faithful to pray and ask the intercession of the Our Lady of Piat “for peaceful elections and a unified people before, during, and after elections.” (CBCPNews)
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work experience. In the same way that we make sure that we go to a qualified doctor when we are sick, or consult a qualified engineer for our construction plans, so also must we carefully examine the qualifications of candidates for public office. How often have we heard of classrooms or highways that have been built with inferior materials? Or of “natural” disasters that could have been prevented, had there been more comprehensive planning based on climate change projections? Sadly, we hear stories of misfits in public office who have no concern for balancing budgets but have instead increased the public debt. We need public officials who can lead us, not by means of “guns, goons, gold or glamour,” but by their management skills, and, more so, by their ability to inspire us to work for objectives that are realizable and urgent. This kind of transformational leadership requires the third “C”: Commitment. A leader must have a vision and goals for the community that he or she aspires to serve. He should also have the political will and the readiness to sacrifice personal interests to pursue these goals. Commitment means faithfulness to one’s principles and promises. It means adherence to the higher loyalties to God and country, beyond family, regional or class interests. Like Jose Rizal and other national heroes of the Philippine Revolution, public leaders today should personify the selfless kind of nationalism that unifies and creates a truly independent and self-reliant nation. Broken promises, shifting party loyalties and the practice of transactional politics are hallmarks of trapo politicians. In its crudest form, vote-buying becomes a measure of one’s commitment—only for a day, at the price of one’s vote. On a grander scale, un-committed public officials are prone to sell the nation’s patrimony for thirty pieces of silver; thus the continuing lamentations of environmental groups over the destruction of our remaining forests and mountainsides due to irresponsible logging and mining activities. Likewise, agrarian reform beneficiaries like the Sumilao farmers are still barred from tilling all the lands promised to them. Other target beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
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are still awaiting the full implementation of this centerpiece social legislation after more than two decades of delaying action. Social concern and a preferential option for the poor, the marginalized and the exploited thus characterize the fourth “C”: Compassion. A public official should give special attention to the basic needs of the least brethren in our communities, not simply by providing safety nets but by empowering them to become productive members of society. A person of compassion is one who “suffers with” others. He strives to bring about the common good by dismantling unjust social structures, perhaps best epitomized in Ramon Magsaysay’s Credo: “He who has less in life should have more in law.” A person of compassion works for unity and reconciliation. He is not vindictive against those who did not support his candidacy. His magnanimous allocation of public resources is based on the needs of the local communities rather than the favors they can give to him. A person of compassion makes peace and builds peace. He is willing to listen in dialogue to the legitimate claims of those who take up arms against the government. He promotes inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue to forge solidarity in diversity. Another name for compassion is Christian Charity, an all-embracing love and capacity to forgive one’s enemies. This is the core message of Easter. “There is no peace without justice,” notes Pope John Paul II, “and no justice without forgiveness.” Election time then in the spirit of Easter should not be seen simply as fiesta time when common people seek the bounty of powerful patrons. Neither can it be viewed merely like a basketball game with a winning and losing team while spectators stand on the sidelines. We are all winners—or losers—during election time depending on which candidate wins the mandate for public office. For we are all stakeholders, and fellow sojourners in choosing the right captains for our local communities as well as for our ship of state. Let us then all work together for PEACE—i.e., Political Easter Action for Credible Elections. And let us begin to scrutinize candidates according to the four C’s. For in choosing the best possible candidate among many others, based on Conscience, Competence, Commitment, and Compassion, we are doing nothing else but electing our own future.
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Citing the negative human rights record of the military, the bishop said the presence of the detainees in a military camp makes them “vulnerable to further abuses.” Sustained exposure to psychosomatic strains, he said, may eventually break the fortitude and resistance of the health workers into admitting under duress the accusations against them. “We are deeply worried about the wellbeing of the health workers in Camp Capinpin (Tanay, Rizal),” Odchimar said. The collegial body of the bishops also criticized the appellate court’s ruling that junked the detainees’ petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Court of Appeals (CA) decision, he said, elevates the concerns of the Church on the delivery of justice for the accused. “We are still troubled by the reality that the Court has just, in effect, sanitized and legitimized the violations committed by the military against the health workers,” he said. He expressed fear that such court ruling could also cause more unlawful arrest and detention. It was last February 6 when the Morong 43 were arrested by the military and police operative during an alleged bomb-making training in a rest house in Morong, Rizal. The group of doctors and nurses, belonging to a medical foundation under the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, denied the accusation saying they were just on the area for a medical mission. The military has already claimed that five of the nabbed health workers reportedly confessed being communist rebels. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)
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Radyo Veritas. Last March 8, the Comelec’s Bids and Awards Committee recommended the awarding of the hefty contract for the supply and delivery of the 1,815,000 pieces of ballot secrecy folders to the OTC Paper Supply company. Senator Aquilino Pimentel on Monday revealed the overpriced ballot secrecy folders which, at the given price, each folder has been worth P380 each. On the following day, however, the Comelec said the deal had already been junked two weeks ago, adding that it was “extravagant beyond the ordinary needs of the Commission.” The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), meanwhile, called on the Comelec to examine whether the deal was an intentional attempt. “Each (Comelec) resolution and each recommendation of the different departments should be examined very well,” said Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV chairperson. Ballot secrecy folders are used on Election Day to cover the ballots during the process of voting. (CBCPNews)
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saves lives as the country confronts the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Bastes believed that the group is being funded by an international organization which promotes condoms and artificial contraceptives. He advised Catholics to think and reflect well on their stand on condom distribution. “If you support condom distribution, you have to examine your life if you should remain catholic. As a catholic, you must follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. There is no such thing as half Catholic,” he said. Bastes urged the faithful to avoid the use of artificial contraceptives especially condom since it can only lead to all kinds of immoral actions. “Life is a sacred [gift] from God. We have to value and respect it,” he said. Founded in 1973, the CFC organization serves as a “voice for Catholics who believe that their faith supports a woman’s moral and legal rights to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health.” (Kate Laceda/CBCPNews)

However, Farda, a participant who also uses the social networking site, found it beneficial. “Through Facebook I can read religious articles that can strengthen my faith. I can also share my faith with my friends,” she told the gathering. Meanwhile, Maria Meifung, coordinator of the community, said in her speech that the seminar aimed to encourage all Catholics, whether they use Facebook or not, to have a better understanding of the social networking site. (UCAN)

Salle Greenhills Chapel. They urged all religious communities to join the prayer activity and “light a candle for clean, honest, peaceful and credible elections.” The major superiors also called on members of communities to vote and serve as poll watchers during elections. “We must guard against any attempt to frustrate the peoples’ will before, during and after elections,” the group said. Meanwhile, AMRSP’s Mission Partner, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), will observe, document and report the entire electoral proceedings through an endeavor called Bantay Eleksyon. “Though hoping for the best, we should be prepared for the worst,” the religious superiors said. “If any of the above scenarios come to pass, we should be committed to join protest actions that will clearly show that we will not take the frustration of our peoples’ will lying down,” they added. (CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

Diocesan News


Easter means passing over from greed to selflessness— prelate

SURIGAO CITY—Surigao Bishop Antonieto Cabajog said everyone should be willing to experience the Good Friday of pain and sacrifice in order to rise to the glory of Easter. “Crossingover”, he said, means passing from one end to the other and “as the Lord has done so as to bring us out of darkness into light.” He asked the faithful to make a similar pass-over from sinfulness to sanctity, from greed to selflessness. (Melo M. Acuña)
Bishop urges flock to get involved in renewal

SORSOGON CITY—Bishop Arturo Bastes called on his flock to get involved in what he described as “common resolve to renew our Christian country by reminding fellow Filipinos of the life of the Risen Christ.” In his Easter Message he said a practical test is in order to find out whether the faithful really live the life in the Risen Lord by asking simple questions. (Melo M. Acuña)
Altar boy found dead in Bataan park on Good Friday

Church condemns kidnapping of Swiss national
ZAMBOANGA CITY—A Catholic Church official has strongly condemned the Easter Sunday kidnapping of a Swiss national here. Msgr. David Alonzo, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, said kidnapping is deplorable and is worth rejecting as a matter of principle. Local police said eight heavily armed men abducted Charlie Reith on April 4 at around 6 p.m. at his rest house in Sitio Parkampo, Barangay Patalon, west of Zamboanga City. Authorities described the 72-year old victim as a sickly person, a businessman and a prominent civic leader in the city. “We condemn this kidnapping incident,” said Msgr. Alonzo. “We are also praying for the safe release of the victim.” “Such crime must also be solved by the authorities immediately as election is nearing so that people will have confidence on the peace and order situation here,” he added. Reports said Reith was drinking liquor with a German friend when the unidentified kidnappers sneaked onto his house. The German was left unharmed. Initial police investigation revealed that the victim was forced to board a pump boat, which sped off with his abductors to a still unknown direction. Authorities did not give further details about possible perpetrators but Zamboanga is one of the known lairs of Muslim rebels and bandit groups. The Abu Sayyaf is widely-known as a terrorist organization that has alleged links to the Al-Qaeda network of Osama Bin Laden and has been engaged in kidnapping, bombing and extortion activities since 1991. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

BALANGA CITY— A 14-year-old student who worked as an altar server of the St. Joseph Cathedral here was found dead last Good Friday at the Mahogany Forest Park inside the Bataan National High school. The victim was identified as Marion Joseph Ariem, resident of Barangay San Jose this city. Police said the victim’s parents sought police assistance after their son reportedly failed to return home last March 29. As of posting time, authorities were still investigating the incidents. (Jason de Asis)
Basilan prelate notes good turnout of Easter Triduum crowd

ISABELA CITY—The Prelate of Isabela de Basilan, Martin Jumoad, was pleased with the good turn-out of churchgoers throughout the Holy Week that capped with the Easter Vigil Saturday evening. He noticed that this year had more people coming to church during the Holy Week than in previous years, especially at Sta. Isabela Cathedral Parish and in St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Lamitan. He said he is happy despite being a minority in the province, “Many (Catholics) came out to proclaim their faith.” (CBCPNews)
International, interfaith groups to observe Lanao Sur polls

Prelate shares personal paschal mystery
NAGA CITY—After nearly two months of hospital confinement and a cycle of chemotherapy, Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legazpi, OP said he learned many lessons about life. He said he was sincerely happy to celebrate Chrism Mass because even when he wore his vestments he was not sure he could make it. He added “but the Lord is kind… and I stand here before you.” In his homily during the traditional Chrism Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, the 74-year old prelate said among the lessons he learned is “life becomes fruitful only when death is faced and folded into our lives.” He said he experienced solitude which he described as the “furnace of transformation” and realized how everyone needs to fashion “our own solitude.” He explained while his solitude was imposed by ailment, he was excited to have long moments of reflection on the meaning of his “journey here on earth.” “My journey, I realized is a humble return to the ground of who and what I am actually, and in that return, a discerning that I am greater, more mysterious, and more beloved than I thought,” he said. The prelate of Caceres since his appointment on October 23, 1983 and his elevation to archbishop after being Auxiliary Bishop of Manila for six years, said though the doctors and caregivers were very good and kind the most crucial and most important in keeping him alive was the Mass he celebrated daily, from standing to seating position. “There was something in the Mass that continued to allow me to focus on the meaning of my life within the walls of the hospital room, though the Mass did not take away the pain of my situation, it allowed me to befriend it by making me gradually understand and accept that my pain is the concrete way in which I participate in the pain of humanity,” he added. Speaking to his priests from 81 parishes across Camarines Sur, Archbishop Legazpi said he realized even more that the words of Eucharistic consecration, which is regularly said during Mass “are more than a formula of consecration” but more of a “formula of life.” The Holy Mass Legazpi said during the celebration of the Mass the priests remember and relive the first sentiment expressed by Jesus as He broke the bread which is that of gratitude. He explained gratitude as the “disposition” which lies at the root of the very word “Eucharist.” The prelate said whenever he says the words “take and eat,” he has to learn to apply them to his life and to speak them with truth and generosity. He emphasized if he is able to offer himself as a gift placing himself at the disposal of the community and at the service of anyone in need, his life takes on its true meaning. He said this is what Jesus expected of His apostles after the washing of the feet. “It is also what the People of God expect of us, priests,” Legazpi said. He reminded his priests of their promise of obedience on their day of ordination and asked again at the Chrism Mass. The Bicol Region’s senior prelate said while priests are the celebrants they also become the guardians of what he described as “most sacred mystery.” He underscored the priests’ relationship to the Eucharist that most clearly challenges priests to lead “sacred” lives, adding that many are beatified and canonized priests who have given exemplary testimony while many were known for their prolonged Eucharistic adoration. (Melo Acuña /CBCPNews)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—An international observers’ mission will monitor the conduct of the first-ever automated presidential elections in Lanao del Sur, the spokesperson of a Maranao grassroots project funded by the European Union said yesterday. Healing Democracy spokesperson Adelaida Ditucalan said the Observers’ Mission, dubbed as Kapamagompong 2010 will be participated by select personalities from interfaith communities locally and abroad particularly from Canada, Australia, Malaysia and the US. (Bong D. Fabe)
Bishop urges faithful to pray for priests

DAGUPAN CITY—Dismayed over the international media’s continuous attack on the pope in the light of clergy sex abuses, Lingayen-Dagupan Auxiliary Bishop Renato Mayugba called on the people to pray for the sanctification of priests. He urged the public to help priests live their vocation faithfully by praying for them instead of condemning them of their sins. “The priests are human beings who, like everybody else are prone to temptations. That’s why the faithful should always pray for priests so they will live a holy life,” he said. (Kate Laceda)
Stop mudslinging, presidential bets told

ANTIPOLO CITY—Migrante Middle East (ME) chapter assailed presidential candidates for “mudslinging,” saying that it only confuses Filipino migrant voters, thus not helping them to decide who to vote. “It is not the way campaigning should be. Our honorable candidates must focus on the issues instead and how to find solution to the Philippines’ chronic economic, political and social problems,” the group said. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Archbishop Leonardo Legazpi

Among the tasks of Catholic Church-backed poll watchdog being the citizen’s arm is to conduct poll watching activities and give assistance to voters. It also leads the voters’ education program in every municipality, city or province in the country. The group is also entitled to have a copy of the Computerized Voter’s List (CVLs) as well as the 4th copy of the Election Returns, both soft and hard copies. The PPCRV will also be given the chance to test the equipment to be used in the automated elections on May 10 before the precincts open. (CBCPNews)

Ozamiz Archbishop urges faithful to clean politics
OZAMIZ CITY—The archbishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Ozamiz has urged the Catholic faithful to help “clean up and renew” Philippine politics. Archbishop Jesus Dosado explained that the faithful can do this by ensuring that they exercise with prudence their right to suffrage and ensure that the May 10 presidential elections will be peaceful and orderly. Dosado said this can be achieved easily if people will unite. He pointed out that electoral cheating in its various forms is an evil that all Catholic faithful should avoid as its result is detrimental to the country’s democracy. He pointed out that politics is about public service and public service should be characterized by truthfulness and humility, which he said are the basic foundation of a democratic institution. “But sadly, (politics) has degenerated into an arena where the interests of the powerful and rich few are pitted against those of the weak and poor many,” he said. Dosado said that the people who have been craving for political change for so many years must now let this golden opportunity slip by without taking advantage of it. He said that despite all the dangers and threats that attach themselves to every Philippine elections, the Catholic faithful should let the light of Christ guide them. “When it comes to elections, the electoral process has been systematically subverted with increasingly sophisticated methods of committing fraud with the result that elections are in danger of losing their credibility as a reliable means for effecting change,” he added. Dosado said that politicians do all they can just to snare a few voters to their fold and when they eventually win, they pay their debts to these people by way of appointments to various government positions, etc. “Political debts are paid with appointments of those whom elected officials are indebted, blind loyalty counting as the most important criterion in the selection of public officials.” This is the reason why there is so much corruption in this country, since “the bureaucracy is packed with political protégés, many of whom do nothing except to collect their salaries in the middle and end of each month,” he stressed. While Philippine politics is “dirty”, it does not mean that people should just sit still and do nothing. Instead, it challenges that Catholic faithful to stand up and be counted, he said, adding that people should not lose sight of the relevance of their vote to their life or future. Dosado also reminded everyone that it is the people who make government. And that they should not blame any politician for the state of our country today. “If we are what we are today—a country with a great number of poor and powerless people—one reason is the way we have allowed politics to be debased and prostituted to the low level it is in now,” he said. (Bong D. Fabe / CBCPNews)

May They Be One Bible Campaign
Bible Campaign Hits Campuses
St. Scholastica’s College professor Miss Jing MTBO PRAYER IN BICOL Calsado’s vision for Bible distribution was stirred M - amotan mi logod an Saimong Tataramon, Kagurangan up when she heard about the May They Be One Bible (MTBO) campaign during a talk by her forT - okdoan Mo kaming magdangog asin maisabuhay an Saimong mer professor, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, at Mary Tataramon Hill School of Theology. On March 10, she turned B - endisyoni an mga nagpapahayag kan Saimong Tataramon over P3,750 to the MTBO campaign to enable 25 O- gay nin puso giboha samo, Kagurangnan tanganing magFilipino families to own a Bible. The amount was kaigwa nin kopya an samuyang mga kapwa. Amen. the voluntary contribution of her students in five classes and herself. Bible Distribution (Jan 2010 - Mar 2010) In nearby De La Salle University, more than 200 students Total Bibles distributed - 38,184 cps. (Jan - 10,369; Feb. learned about how to use the Bible in Personal Devotions in - 14,472; Mar - 13,343) a workshop led by May They Be One (MTBO) Committee Parishes/Communities served - 125 member Dr. Philip Flores. The workshop, organized by the Bibles Distributed by Languages - Tagalog (12,877 cps.), university’s Theology and Religious Education Department English (3,772 cps.), Bicol (2,306 cps), Cebuano headed by Dr. Rito Baring, was held on March 26 at DLSU (10,002 cps.), Hiligaynon (2,073 cps.), Ilocano (5,148 Taft. It was part of a Bible Symposium during which Episcopal cps.) Pangasinense (2,006 cps.) Commission for the Biblical Apostolate Executive Assistant Fr. Target Coverage of Bible Distribution for April-June 2010 Oscar Alunday presented the MTBO challenge to the students. They found out that just by giving up one cup of Starbucks (based on orders received): Naval, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Digos, Pagadian, Ozamis, coffee or a McDonald’s sandwich a month – which has the Butuan, Dipolog, Borongan, Bayombong, San Ferapproximate equivalent price of one MTBO Bible – a student nando (Pampanga) can help bring the Bible to a poor Filipino family a month or Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009- Mar 2010): 104,258 cps to 12 families in a year. (2009) + 38,184 cps. (2010)= 142,442 cps. Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2010: 200,000 cps. No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign – 65 Total Funds Needed for Printing and Transport of Bibles in out of 86 Dioceses 2010: P36M 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

Affidavit of Loss Of Alien Certificate of Registration
I, Fr. Felipe G. Santos, residing at 21 Adams St., Greenhills West, San Juan Metro Manila, after having been duly sworn to in accordance with law do hereby depose and say: That I am a Spanish National and a holder of An Alien Certificate of Registration issued by BID, Manila, valid up to February 26, 2010; That the above mentioned Alien Certificate of Registration was lost under the following circumstances to wit: That I was victimized by a certain pickpocket who got my wallet containing the said Certificate placed in my bag; and it happened some time in November 2009. That the same was not revoked, confiscated or assigned in any manner; That I have exerted all diligent efforts to locate the same but up to the present proves futile; That I am executing this affidavit for the purpose of showing under oath the truth of the foregoing facts and circumstances and to request for the issuance of the lost documents/ID mentioned above. FR. FELIPE C. SANTOS Affiant

© Dennis Dayao / CBCPMedia


People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 8

April 12 - 25, 2010

Filipino migrants celebrate ‘salubong’ in Geneva

CELEBRATED. Bishop Lucilo Quiambao, Apostolic Administrator Emeritus of Legazpi diocese, 50th anniversary of sacerdotal ordination, April 9, 2010, at St. Rose of Lima Parish, Bacacay, Albay. Bishop Quiambao marked his golden jubilee with a Thanksgiving Mass he presided together with fellow jubilarians Fr. Conrad Goullet, SSS, Fr. Joventino Romano, Msgr. Lucio Odiver and Msgr. Pastor Gotiangco of Ormoc, Leyte. The bishop thanked God, his formators and associates, who have helped him in his mission as a worker in the vineyard in his 50 years of ministry. He noted important Church events that coincided in the celebration of their golden jubilee: the 150th death anniversary of St. John Mary Vianney, patron of priests; the Year of Two Hearts as proclaimed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines for a clean, honest and credible elections; the 300th year of devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia; and the 350th foundation anniversary of St. Rose of Lima Parish in his hometown. Quiambao’s town of Bacacay is well known for having produced a great number of priests and religious. He said his town has churned out already 85 priests who are presently assigned to various missions and parishes. Among the prelates who concelebrated with Bishop Quiambao were Zamboanga Archbishop Emeritus Carmelo Morelos, Legazpi Bishop Emeritus Jose C. Sorra, Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Antonio Rañola, Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso, San Fernando Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto, Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio, Virac Bishop Manolo Delos Santos, Libmanan Bishop Jose Rojas, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, Masbate Apostolic Administrator Msgr. Claro Caluya and Legazpi Bishop Joel Z. Baylon. Quiambao said he is happy to have left the Diocese of Legazpi to his former altar boy and now Bishop Joel Z. Baylon who was installed last December 9, 2009 by the Metropolitan Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legazpi, OP. APPOINTED. Bulacan native Monsignor Ruperto Santos has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the 4th bishop of the Diocese of Balanga (Bataan), on April 1, 2010. The 51-year old priest, until now Rector of Collegio Filippino in Rome, succeeds Socrates Villegas who was named archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan in September 2009. Msgr. Santos’ appointment was released in the Vatican on Holy Thursday. It was announced simultaneously in Manila at 6 p.m., by Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, papal nuncio to the Philippines. A native of San Rafael, Bulacan, the bishop-elect was born on October 30, 1958. He was ordained priest on September 10, 1983. No date has yet been set for the ordination and installation of Msgr. Santos as bishop of the Diocese of Balanga with a population of around 600 thousand Catholics. CELEBRATED. Archdiocese of Lipa, 100th year foundation anniversary, April 12, 2010, with a concelebrated Thanksgiving Mass at the San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral, Lipa City. Mania Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales presided the Eucharistic celebration with Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and 20 other archbishops and bishops and over a hundred priests from the Dioceses of Lucena, Gumaca, Boac, San Pablo, Prelature of Infanta and the Apostolic Vicariates of Calapan and San Jose (Mindoro). Pope Pius X issued the papal bull for the erection of the Diocese of Lipa (Batangas) along with the Dioceses of Tuguegarao (Cagayan), Zamboanga in Zamboanga Peninsula and Calbayog in Samar on April 10, 1910. CELEBRATED. Archdiocese of Zamboanga 100th year of foundation, April 12, 2010, with a Pontifical Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Zamboanga City. The Mass was presided by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Edward Adams and concelebrated by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and more than 40 archbishops and bishops throughout the country. Pope Pius X issued a papal bull on April 10, 1910 elevating Zamboanga into a diocese, the first in the entire Mindanao. Pope Pius XII elevated the diocese of Zamboanga into an Archdiocese on May 19, 1958 with Ipil, Basilan, and Jolo as its suffragan dioceses. Today, the archdiocese boasts of 23 parishes and three quasi-parishes covering most of its 98 barangays, served by about 50 diocesan priests and religious men and women of various religious congregations who run parishes, schools, social action centers, housing settlements, medical apostolate, livelihood projects, a seminary and many charitable institutions. The triduum celebration was filled with various activities, such as contests, agro fair, torch parade, motorcade and street dancing. On midnight of April 11, countdown activities ushered in the celebration of 100 years with fireworks and symbolic ringing of church bells 100 times. Theme of the celebration is “Remembering the Past with Gratitude, Living the Present in Communion, Facing the Future with Renewed Spirit.” CELEBRATED. Diocese of Calbayog, 100th year anniversary of foundation, April 10, 2010. Papal nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams led the Thanksgiving Mass at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral on April 10. Known as the “Mother diocese” in Samar and Leyte, Calbayog diocese was established on April 10, 1910 upon a decree issued by Pope Pius X separating the island provinces of Samar and Leyte from the Diocese of Cebu. The Diocese of Calbayog consisted of both island provinces. In 1914, the Franciscans turned over the administration of the parishes of Samar to the secular clergy. Presently, there are three dioceses of Samar namely, Calbayog in Western Samar, Borongan in Eastern Samar, and Catarman in Northern Samar. These three dioceses belong to the Ecclesiastical Province of Palo, Leyte, and are suffragans of the Archdiocese of Palo. Calbayog now has 27 parishes, 61 priests, 6 Catholic institutions, 9 pastoral centers, and 18 parishes with BEC programs. CELEBRATED. Fra Raymond Javier, Fra Andrew Datoy, Fra Genaro Donsao, and Fra Cyril Galagar of the Order of Franciscan Conventuals made their temporary profession of simple vows, March 19, 2010. The four brothers professed their vows before Fra Mariel Santos, Provincial Custos at St. Joseph Formation House, Tagaytay City. Six other friars namely: Fra Linus Bacayan, Fra Arnell Reguya, Fra Leonides Mateo, Fra Clae Dungog, Fra Fidelis Del Rosario, and Fra Joachim Paz, also made their renewal of vows on the same occasion. On March 18, five new novices were formally accepted into the Novitiate program. Friars Lorenzo M. Avelino, Chadwick M. Llanos, Miguel M. Sumagaysay, Christopher M. Baptista, and Aloysius M. Mercado were accepted by Fra Mariel M. Santos, and received the habit of probation. CELEBRATED. Profession of vows of Sem. Carlo Mendoza, TOCarm, Sem. Jose Luis Perez, TOCarm, Sem. Marcelino Ocariza, TOCarm, Sem. Christopher Rivera, TOCarm, Sem. Patrick Gumasing, TOCarm, Sem. Mhel June Marco, TOCarm, Sem. Christian Santos, TOCarm, Sem. Howard John Tarrayo, TOCarm (Councilor), Sem. Gian Dayao, TOCarm, Sem. Eric Badaguas, TOCarm, Sem. Waldie dela Cruz, TOCarm, Sem. Daniel Coronel, TOCarm, Sem. Simon Peter Ramos, TOCarm (Prior) and Sem. Francis Vigo, TOCarm. The 14 seminarians of the Immaculate Conception Seminary professed their religious vows on March 19 during the community mass at the Monastery of the Holy Family, Guiguinto, Bulacan. The event was witnessed by the members of the Carmelite Family. The mass was concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Ronnie Tuazon, TOCarm. and Rev. Fr. Joselin San Jose, TOCarm., who was once prior of the seminary community. ELECTED. The Elective Chapter of the Lay Carmelite Community of Holy Family at the Monastery of the Holy Family, Guiguinto, Bulacan elected its new set of officers on March 13, 2010. The following were elected: Prioress: Sis. Laura Castro, TOCarm; 1st Councilor/Director of Formation: Sis. Elsa Manalili, TOCarm; 2nd Councilor/Secretary: Sis. Evangeline Alcaraz, TOCarm; 3rd Councilor/Treasurer: Sis. Ligaya Mendoza, TOCarm. Likewise on March 27, the Elective Chapter of the Lay Carmelite Community of St. Therese of the Child Jesus at the Parish of St. Helena, Sta. Elena, Hagonoy, Bulacan elected their officers: Prioress: Sis. Natalia Lopez, TOCarm; 1st Councilor/Director of Formation: Sis. Mervin Castro, TOCarm; 2nd Councilor/Secretary: Sis. Ofelia Magat, TOCarm; and 3rd Councilor/ Treasurer: Sis. Priscila Jose, TOCarm. The elections were supervised by Bro. Apolinario Gregorio, TOCarm (Regional Coordinator) and Bro. Ruel Santos, TOCarm (2nd Councilor, TOC National Council). DIED. Surigao Bishop Emeritus Miguel C. Cinches, 78, at Cardinal Santos Medical Center of cardio-pulmonary arrest, April 12, 2010. Born on February 7, 1932 in Dauis, Bohol, Bishop Cinches was ordained to the priesthood on October 22, 1961 as a member of the Society of the Divine Word. He was appointed Bishop of Surigao on January 10, 1973 and served the diocese for 28 years until he resigned due to his failing health on April 21, 2001 at aged 69. The retired prelate stayed in Surigao for sometime after his resignation as he wished to spend the remaining years of his life in the diocese he served.

Contributed photo

Members of the Filipino community in Geneva, Switzerland carried the statues of the Risen Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary during the traditional “salubong” on Easter morning, April 4.

AROUND 300 Filipinos attended the Easter “salubong” celebration in Geneva, Switzerland on April 4 which preceded the Easter Sunday Eucharistic celebration held at St. Nicolas de Flue Parish. Geneva is the most populous city of the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The two respective groups in procession: the men carrying the image of the Risen Lord, and the women carrying the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mater Dolorosa met in the parish grounds of St. Nicolas de Flue where they were welcomed by 40 children dressed as “angels” singing the “Regina Coeli” and other religious hymns. Celebrating the salubong in Geneva is very significant for the Filipino community knowing that this city became a stronghold of Protestant Reformation since the time of John Calvin (1509-1564). This popular religious event was started by the Filipino Catholic Community in Geneva in 2008. The Easter Sunday celebration was the culminating activity of the Paschal Triduum retreat held from April 1 to 4 which was attended by around 80 Filipino members from the Filipino Catholic Community of Geneva, Couples for Christ and CFC-FFL. Some of the participants also came from various offices of the United Nations based in Geneva.

Ex-CBCP head uses YouTube to give Lenten reflections
THE former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has appeared in YouTube videos sharing Holy Week reflections. In the videos (www.youtube.com/cbcpmedia), which runs nine minutes each, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro reflects on various Church’s Lenten traditions and activities. The videos uploaded include Lagdameo’s reflection on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday’s Washing of the Feet, Crucifixion and death of Christ and the essence of Visita Iglesia. Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, CBCP Media Director, said they tapped the popular videosharing site for online reflections to reach those who might not be able to make it to church during the Holy Week such as the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and the homebound. It was in April 2007, when the bishops joined the YouTube bandwagon and posted videos on Church’s teachings in order to minister to the flock, especially the youth. Quitorio said online reflections are important to issue brief catechesis on the liturgical significance of church celebrations, like Holy Week, that have been most misunderstood. No other than the Vatican has called on Catholic leaders to make the most of the

Internet in spreading the Gospel. Last year, Pope Benedict XVI launched his own dedicated channel on YouTube to secure his presence even on the web and reach out to the “digital generation.” The very first CBCP video blog posted in 2007 featured Quitorio in a Holy Week se-

Contributed photo

One of the points discussed in the retreat was the phenomenon of migration as an aspect of integral human development. Pope Benedict XVI mentioned this point in his recent encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”. In particular the Holy Father noted the significance of migration “because of the sheer numbers of people involved, the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community.” The Pope emphasized in Caritas in Veritate that “every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance.” Filipino migrants in Geneva and in other parts of Switzerland are grateful that they are able to celebrate their faith openly and participate freely in expressing their popular religious devotions like the salubong. The Paschal Triduum retreat was held with the help of members from various religious organizations. Efforts to help the pastoral and spiritual needs of Filipino migrants in Geneva started in 1994. (Fr. Jose V.C. Quilongquilong, S.J.)

ries where he also discusses various Lenten traditions. Other contents of the CBCP’s YouTube account include reflections on the environment, gambling, politics, social justice and other social issues. (Roy Lagarde/ CBCPNews)

Jesuit’s Xavier school to open new campus in Canlubang
between the Chinese community and the Philippine society through integration and evangelization, and “by encouraging the Chinese Filipinos to help build the nation especially by helping the poor and the marginalized.” “Our dream is to form Christian leaders who are innovative, who do not merely “cross the bridge when they get there,” but can build the bridge “when they get there” simply because there are still no bridges,” the Jesuit priest said. Go looks forward to have the new school “produce graduates who can grapple with and solve problems that may still not exist today.” “With its unique blend of tradition and innovation, Xavier School held the groundbreaking ceremony for its new campus in Nuvali, Canlubang, Laguna Xavier School JESUIT’S run Xavier School will soon open a new stateof-art campus in a 15-hectare prime property in Canlubang, Laguna. In a groundbreaking ceremony held on March 14, Xavier School director Fr. Johnny Go, SJ said Xavier School’s expansion comes at a time when education itself is undergoing a major transition. “The numerous and rapid developments in information communications technology
last March 14.

are changing the way students learn and ought to revolutionize the way we teach,” Go said in a speech he delivered during the groundbreaking ceremony. The new Xavier school campus that will rise up in Nuvali, Canlubang is envisioned to pioneer an innovative way of educating students adapted for 21st century learning and leadership, according to Go. Since its inception, Xavier School has served as a bridge

has consistently offered the bestdesigned learning environment and experiences to its students in the last five decades,” said Go. The school has so far produced numerous exemplary alumni: outstanding business and community leaders who have “let their light shine” in different ways and different fields both here and abroad, the Jesuit said. Go said the time has come for the school to spread its mission and vision and raise it to new heights. Excited that the dream is close to being realized, Go said the “new Xavier School is a revolutionary dream not only because it takes education to a new level, but also because we want this gift of a Xavier education with those who may not be able to afford its cost.” The priest also disclosed that part of the new school’s commitment is to provide scholarships to 25% of its student population. The opening of the new campus is slated on June 2012. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP/CBCPNews)

© www.phjesuits.org

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

Pastoral Concerns


Witness Awakens Vocations
Message of the Holy Father for the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations 25 April 2010, Fourth Sunday of Easter
of Mary of Nazareth. When John saw Jesus coming to the river Jordan where he was baptizing, he pointed him out to his disciples as “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). His testimony was so effective that two of his disciples, “hearing him say this, followed Jesus” (Jn 1:37). Similarly the calling of Peter, as we read in the Evangelist John, occurred through the witness of his brother Andrew, who, after meeting the Master and accepting his invitation to stay with him, felt the need to share immediately with Peter what he discovered by “staying” with the Lord: “We have found the Messiah (which means Christ). He then brought him to Jesus” (Jn 1:41-42). This was also the case for Nathanael, Bartholomew, thanks to the witness of yet another disciple, Philip, who joyfully told him of his great discovery: “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (Jn 1:45). God’s free and gracious initiative encounters and challenges the human responsibility of all those who accept his invitation to become, through their own witness, the instruments of his divine call. This occurs in the Church even today: the Lord makes use of the witness of priests who are faithful to their mission in order to awaken new priestly and religious vocations for the service of the People of God. For this reason, I would like to mention three aspects of the life of a priest which I consider essential for an effective priestly witness. A fundamental element, one which can be seen in every vocation to the priesthood and the consecrated life, is friendship with Christ. Jesus lived in constant union with the Father and this is what made the disciples eager to have the same experience; from him they learned to live in communion and unceasing dialogue with God. If the priest is a “man of God”, one who belongs to God and helps others to know and love him, he cannot fail to cultivate a deep intimacy with God, abiding in his love and making space to hear his Word. Prayer is the first form of witness which awakens vocations. Like the Apostle Andrew, who tells his brother that he has come to know the Master, so too anyone who wants to be a disciple and witness of Christ must have “seen” him personally, come to know him, and learned to love him and to abide with him. Another aspect of the consecration belonging to the priesthood and the religious life is the complete gift of oneself to God. The Apostle John writes: “By this we know love that he laid down his life for us; and therefore we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn 3:16). With these words, he invites the disciples to enter into the very mind of Jesus who in his entire life did the will of the Father, even to the ultimate gift of himself on the Cross. Here, the mercy of God is shown in all its fullness; a merciful love that has overcome the darkness of evil, sin and death. The figure of Jesus who at the Last Supper, rises from the table, lays aside his garments, takes a towel, girds himself with it and stoops to wash the feet of the Apostles, expresses the sense of service and gift manifested in his entire existence, in obedience to the will of the Father (cf. Jn 13:3-15). In following Jesus, everyone called to a life of special consecration must do his utmost to testify that he has given himself completely to God. This is the source of his ability to give himself in turn to those whom Providence entrusts to him in his pastoral ministry with complete, constant and faithful devotion, and with the joy of becoming a companion on the journey to so many brothers and sisters, enabling them too to become open to meeting Christ, so that his Word may become a light to their footsteps. The story of every vocation is almost always intertwined with the testimony of a priest who joyfully lives the gift of himself to his brothers and sisters for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This is because the presence and words of a priest have the ability to raise questions and to lead even to definitive decisions (cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, 39). A third aspect which necessarily characterizes the priest and the consecrated person is a life of communion. Jesus showed that the mark of those who wish to be his disciples is profound communion in love: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). In a particular way the priest must be a man of communion, open to all, capable of gathering into one the pilgrim flock which the goodness of the Lord has entrusted to him, helping to overcome divisions, to heal rifts, to settle conflicts and misunderstandings, and to forgive offences. In July 2005, speaking to the clergy of Aosta, I noted that if young people see priests who appear distant and sad, they will hardly feel encouraged to follow their example. They will remain hesitant if they are led to think that this is the life of a priest. Instead, they need to see the example of a communion of life which can reveal to them the beauty of being a priest. Only then will a young man say, “Yes, this could be my future; I can live like this” (Insegnamenti I, [2005], 354). The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the witness that awakens vocations, emphasizes the example of charity and of fraternal cooperation which priests must offer (cf. Decree Optatam Totius, 2). Here I would like to recall the words of my venerable Predecessor John Paul II: “The very life of priests, their unconditional dedication to God’s flock, their witness of loving service to the Lord and to his Church – a witness marked by free acceptance of the Cross in the spirit of hope and Easter joy – their fraternal unity and zeal for the evangelization of the world are the first and most convincing factor in the growth of vocations” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 41). It can be said that priestly vocations are born of contact with priests, as a sort of precious legacy handed down by word, example and a whole way of life. The same can be said with regard to the consecrated life. The very life of men and women religious proclaims the love of Christ whenever they follow him in complete fidelity to the Gospel and joyfully make their own its criteria for judgment and conduct. They become “signs of contradiction” for the world, whose thinking is often inspired by Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, Dear Brothers and Sisters! The 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be celebrated on the Fourth Sunday of Easter—Good Shepherd Sunday—25 April 2010, gives me the opportunity to offer for your meditation a theme which is most fitting for this Year for Priests: Witness Awakens Vocations. The fruitfulness of our efforts to promote vocations depends primarily on God’s free action, yet, as pastoral experience confirms, it is also helped by the quality and depth of the personal and communal witness of those who have already answered the Lord’s call to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life, for their witness is then able to awaken in others a desire to respond generously to Christ’s call. This theme is thus closely linked to the life and mission of priests and of consecrated persons. Hence I wish to invite all those whom the Lord has called to work in his vineyard to renew their faithful response, particularly in this Year for Priests which I proclaimed on the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Mary Vianney, the Curé of Ars, an ever-timely model of a priest and a pastor. In the Old Testament the prophets knew that they were called to witness by their own lives to the message they proclaimed, and were prepared to face misunderstanding, rejection and persecution. The task which God entrusted to them engaged them fully, like a “burning fire” in the heart, a fire that could not be contained (cf. Jer 20:9). As a result, they were prepared to hand over to the Lord not only their voice, but their whole existence. In the fullness of time, Jesus, sent by the Father (cf. Jn 5:36), would bear witness to the love of God for all human beings, without distinction, with particular attention to the least ones, sinners, the outcast and the poor. Jesus is the supreme Witness to God and to his concern for the salvation of all. At the dawn of the new age, John the Baptist, by devoting his whole life to preparing the way for Christ, bore witness that the promises of God are fulfilled in the Son materialism, self-centeredness and individualism. By letting themselves be won over by God through selfrenunciation, their fidelity and the power of their witness constantly awaken in the hearts of many young people the desire to follow Christ in their turn, in a way that is generous and complete. To imitate Christ, chaste, poor and obedient, and to identify with him: this is the ideal of the consecrated life, a witness to the absolute primacy of God in human life and history. Every priest, every consecrated person, faithful to his or her vocation, radiates the joy of serving Christ and draws all Christians to respond to the universal call to holiness. Consequently, in order to foster vocations to the ministerial priesthood and the consecrated life, and to be more effective in promoting the discernment of vocations, we cannot do without the example of those who have already said “yes” to God and to his plan for the life of each individual. Personal witness, in the form of concrete existential choices, will encourage young people for their part to make demanding decisions affecting their future. Those who would assist them need to have the skills for encounter and dialogue which are capable of enlightening and accompanying them, above all through the example of life lived as a vocation. This was what the holy Curé of Ars did: always in close contact with his parishioners, he taught them “primarily by the witness of his life. It was from his example that the faithful learned to pray” (Letter Proclaiming the Year for Priests, 16 June 2009). May this World Day once again offer many young people a precious opportunity to reflect on their own vocation and to be faithful to it in simplicity, trust and complete openness. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, watch over each tiny seed of a vocation in the hearts of those whom the Lord calls to follow him more closely, may she help it to grow into a mature tree, bearing much good fruit for the Church and for all humanity. With this prayer, to all of you I impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Photos © Noli Yamsuan / RCAM


By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.

Convalidation of a Canonical Marriage
of the couple. Fr. Justin directs himself to the Bishop, who─upon knowing the persistence of matrimonial consent in Robert and Lydia─decides to grant the sanatio. Furthermore, considering that the couple were immigrants from a country of a very different culture and their other circumstances, he deems that there is a serious cause in order to grant such sanatio without previous notification of the parties, in accordance with c.1164. In the next conversation with Robert, Fr. Justin talks to him about his marriage in order to strengthen it. He tells him that since he and Lydia were married before God and the Church, they count on all the divine help in order to surmount all difficulties, and that all these depend in great part on him: his prayer, his dedication to of the first two elements above at the time of its celebration. The Code provides two methods for making good─synonymously called validation or convalidation─marriages that are null due to a defect in capacity or a defect in consent. c) A marriage that is null due to defect of form cannot be a case for simple convalidation. Consequently, the code provides for a new celebration of marriage─i.e., it must be contracted anew in the canonical form (c.1160), without prejudice to a dispensation from such form in special cases (c.1127, §2). 2. Simple convalidation consists in the renewal of marriage consent by one or both parties, after the reason for nullity─either a diriment impediment or a defect of consent─has ceased, consent may be carried out in private and without witnesses by the party or parties who know of it (cc.1158,§2 and 1159,§2). b. If the invalidity is brought about by a defect in consent, it is convalidated if the party who did not consent now does consent, provided the consent given by the other party persists (c.1159, §1). a) If the defect of consent can be proven, the new consent must be given in the canonical form (c.1159, §3); b) If the defect of consent cannot be proven, it is sufficient that the party who did not consent gives consent privately and in secret (c.1159, §2). 3. Retroactive Convalidation (Sanatio in radice) is its recognition by the competent authority, without renewal of consent by the parties, granted by corollary, the Code stipulates that a retroactive validation is should not be granted unless it is probable that the parties intend to persevere in conjugal life (c.1161, §3). b) A relaxation of the law in the specific case─i.e. a dispensation─from either an impediment present at the moment of celebration or the canonical form which had not been observed. This is implied in the very act of recognition itself─i.e., there is no distinct act of dispensation previous to the recognition. Consequently, the ecclesiastical authority competent to grant the retroactive validation is only that which has competence to dispense from the particular impediment: 1) The Apostolic See (c.1165, §1)─for all cases, including those involving an impediment of natural or divine positive law but only when this has ceased (c.1163, §2). 2) The Diocesan Bishop─for particular cases, except in cases of impediments whose dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic See, or if there is a question of an impediment of natural law or divine positive law which has ceased (c.1165, §2). c) Retroactivity of the effects. In this regard, one must distinguish between: 1) The matrimonial bond¬─which begins to exist at the moment of the validation (c.1161, §2). It would be absurd to speak of a retroactive existence of the bond, since precisely the marriage was null from the beginning. 2) The juridical relations ensuing from the marriage─e.g., filiation, financial regime, the right of inheritance─which could be referred back to the moment the marriage was celebrated, unless it is otherwise expressly provided (c.1162, §2). Thus, for example, children conceived or born before the retroactive validation are considered legitimate (c.1137); in contrast those conceived or born before a simple validation are considered illegitimate before that simple validation but legitimated by it (c.1139). Nevertheless, as far as canonical effects are concerned, legitimated children are equivalent to legitimate children in all respects, unless it is otherwise expressly provided by law (c.1140). d) Possibility of granting it without knowledge of either or both of the parties─since it is an act pertaining to the ecclesiastical authority and is therefore an act not subject to the intention of those to whom it is given. However, a norm of prudence and good administration prescribes that the interested parties should be aware of the validation that is to be granted, except for a grave reason (c.1164). Conclusion Fr. Justin acted canonically and pastorally very well. It is especially noteworthy that he did not agitate the already troubled marriage by informing the parties of the possible invalidity of their marriage, but rather corrected the defects, while strengthening the de facto marriage, a pastoral procedure which in the end worked to the advantage of the parties and their children.


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

ROBERT and Lydia contracted canonical marriage 26 years ago and they have several children, the youngest being 17 years old. Although he had had almost no Christian formation in the past, Robert of late has been attending days of recollection, where he becomes a good friend of Fr. Justin.
On one of these occasions, Robert tells Fr. Justin his life’s story. Among other things, he says that when he got married he was not yet baptized. He had been born in another country, in a very poor neighborhood where there was only a provisional church─subsequently destroyed─with a young parish priest. During the canonical interview prior to marriage, the priest had gone over the paperwork hurriedly without asking him if he was baptized and Robert didn’t say anything either. After three years, Robert and Lydia immigrated with the whole family to the country where they now are. At that time, fearing that he may have done wrong previously, he got baptized without telling his wife who did not know anything in this regard. Robert reveals these circumstances only because Fr. Justin pulled his tongue, since he himself does not think that there was anything irregular and had been living peacefully since being baptized. His only worry was that since two years ago there have been some marital quarrels: nothing serious, but his wife is frequently in a bad mood, answers bitterly and─since the children had grown up─had talked about the two of them going back to their country of origin. Fr. Justin realizes that the marriage of Robert and Lydia was invalid due to the impediment of disparity of cult. Nevertheless, fearing a possible break-up of the family otherwise and not knowing well how to proceed, he does not say anything in this regard. At the moment he limits himself to counseling Robert on other aspects of his Christian life, and makes an appointment with him for another conversation. Upon studying cc. 1156-1164 of the Codex, Fr. Justin initially thinks that a radical sanation was not possible, since the impediment that needed dispensation had disappeared, and he considers how to effect a convalidation with a renewal of matrimonial consent. This scenario worries him, thinking that problems hitherto absent─since Robert and Lydia obviously consider themselves man and wife─could arise. He therefore consults a priest friend, Fr. Benedict─an expert in Matrimonial Law─narrating the case to him in abstract terms. Fr. Benedict explains to him that a radical sanation was possible, even without the knowledge of either or both parties, and this could be granted by the Bishop of the diocese

his family over whatever egoism, his effort to understand Lydia and make her happy, etc. Did Fr. Justin act correctly? 1. Preliminary review of canonical doctrine on marriage a. Three elements are necessary for the validity of a canonical marriage: 1) Juridical capacity to marry: In principle all faithful have the ius connubi, unless the Law denies it due to a personal condition (diriment impediment). 2) Matrimonial consent: A human act that can be undermined by factors affecting the intellect or the will of the contractant. 3) Canonical form: A purely canonical convention, which in principle should not be defective since the marriage is contracted before a qualified witness (bishop, priest or deacon) who precisely is tasked to make sure that this form is observed. b) The nullity of a marriage usually stems from a defect in either

without the need to observe again the canonical form ad validitatem. There are two possible scenarios: a. If the reason for nullity was a diriment impediment, there are two requisites for convalidation (c.1156, §1): 1) Cessation of the impediment, either by dispensation or by facts that make it disappear (e.g., reaching legal age, death of previous spouse). 2) Renewal of consent by either or both parties whoever is or are aware the nullity. A new act of the will is required, consenting to a marriage, which the renewing party knows or thinks was invalid from the beginning. Thus perseverance of the original consent is not sufficient (c.1157). There are two possible scenarios: a) If the impediment was public, consent must be renewed by both parties in the canonical form, without prejudice to what is laid down about dispensation of form by legitimate authority (c.1158, §1 and 1127, §2); b) If the impediment cannot be proved (i.e., not public fact),

the competent authority, involving the dispensation from any impediment and from the canonical form if this had not been observed, as well as a referral of th e canonical effects of marriage back to the past. The juridic elements of the institution are the following: a) A valid consent, since the retroactive convalidation is nothing else but an act of authority recognizing the existence of a bond arising from an act of the spouses contracting such bond. Thus, the following possibilities can be considered: 1) If consent is lacking from the beginning in either or both of the parties, retroactive convalidation cannot be granted (c.1162, §1). 2) If consent was lacking from the beginning, but was subsequently given, a retroactive validation can be granted, effective from the moment the consent was given (c.1162, §2). 3) If the consent was present at the beginning but was subsequently revoked, a retroactive validation cannot be granted (c.1162, §1). As a

Origin and Use of the Paschal Candle
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university answers the following query:) Q: Can you explain the origin of the paschal candle and how long after Easter is it to be lit during Mass? Is it to be brought out into the sanctuary and lit also during weddings and funerals throughout the year, as is done in one parish I visited?—E.L., Fresno, California A: The origin of the paschal candle is uncertain. The most likely origin is that it derived from the Lucernarium, the evening office with which early Christians began the vigil for every Sunday and especially that of Easter. In turn, this rite is probably inspired by the Jewish custom of lighting a lamp at the conclusion of the Sabbath. The rite therefore has its roots in the very beginning of Christianity. In the Lucernarium rite the light destined to dispel the darkness of night was offered to Christ as the splendor of the Father and indefectible light. This Sunday rite was logically carried out with greater solemnity during the Easter Vigil. There is clear evidence that this solemn rite began no later than the second half of the fourth century. For example, the use of singing a hymn in praise of the candle and the Easter mystery is mentioned as an established custom in a letter of St. Jerome, written in 384 to Presidio, a deacon from Piacenza, Italy. Sts. Ambrose and Augustine are also known to have composed such Easter proclamations. The poetic and solemn text of the “Exultet,” or Easter proclamation now in use, originated in the fifth century but its author is unknown. The use of the candle has varied over the centuries. Initially it was broken up after the Easter Vigil and its fragments given to the faithful. This was later transferred to the following Sunday; but from the 10th century the use prevailed of keeping it in a place of honor near the Gospel until the feast of the Ascension (now until Pentecost). From around the 12th century the custom began of inscribing the current year on the candle as well as the dates of the principal movable feasts. The candle hence grew in size so as to merit the attribution of pillar mentioned in the “Exultet.” There are cases of candles weighing about 300 pounds. The procession foreseen in the present rite requires much more moderate dimensions. The paschal candle is usually blessed at the beginning of the Easter Vigil ceremonies and is placed on a special candlestick near the altar or ambo. During the ceremony, five grains of incense representing Christ’s wounds are inserted in the form of a cross. An alpha above the cross and an omega below (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet) indicate that Christ is the beginning and end of all. The current year is traced on the four sides of the cross. The candle remains in the presbytery during the 50 days of Easter season and is lit for all liturgical offices. After Pentecost it is left next to the baptismal font. During the year it is lit during all baptisms and funeral services; the candle is placed next to the casket during the funeral Mass. In this way it symbolizes baptism as a death and resurrection in Christ, and also testifies to Christian certainty in the resurrection of the dead as well as to the fact that all are alive in the risen Christ. The paschal candle ma y a lso be lit for some devotional practices, such as the fairly common custom of the faithful renewing their baptismal promises on concluding retreats and spiritual exercises. Finally, while venerable legitimate customs might exist in some places, I am unaware of any official liturgical role for the paschal candle during the celebration of matrimony.


© Dennis Dayao / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

of natural resources and other forms of social evil, naturally only a few can speak of hope for a better Philippines. The vast majority wallow in abject poverty. Electoral processes are manipulated by some influential politicians. Suffrage is curtailed by vote-buying-and-selling, various forms of threat, and erratic understanding of Utang na loob. Extrajudicial killings and massacre have become rampant. Our rainforests have turned into barren deserts due to illegal logging and indiscriminate mining. These are but only some of the gruesome faces of evil leaving the nation in dire misery and hopelessness. Even so, why should we fear? In his annual Easter Message, Urbi et Orbi, the Holy Father Benedict XVI says: “By his rising the Lord has not taken away suffering and evil from the world but has vanquished them at their roots by the superabundance of his grace.” By his death Jesus has crushed and triumphed over the iron-clad law of death, eliminating its poisonous root for ever. However dark the horizon may seem, today we celebrate the radiant triumph of Easter joy. We are now children of resurrection! Let no one yield to dismay and lack of trust! We hold in our hearts the very foundation of Hope. Christ is risen! Christ is alive in our midst; truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. In and with Him, the journey through life gets brighter, not darker. People going through great crisis find comfort in His presence. He comes to us as answer to our tears over death. In this season of Easter, as we continue to contemplate the Lord’s resurrection, we let the Holy Spirit bring us to that glorious event where we may encounter the risen Lord again and relive the joyful hope of Easter. May we, who truly experience this life-giving hope, light, and love of Christ, also become rays of hope for the despairing. lighted candles amidst darkness, and compassion for the abandoned. God bless us all! +NEREO P. ODCHIMAR, DD President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Bishop of Tandag April 2, 2010


WARMEST Easter Greetings to one and all! The “Exultet,” in its attempt to capture the joy of Easter, triumphantly proclaims: “Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered (death)! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever!” This traditional Easter Proclamation faithfully preserves and spreads the jubilant spirit of our Christian forefathers who personally witnessed the astonishing event of Christ’s rising from the dead. In fact, this remarkable event in human history is the summit of the Good News that Jesus preached—Christ our Lord conquered the power of death through His glorious resurrection. The Apostle Paul, so consumed by this mysterious victory of life, declares in faith: “O death, where is your sting (1 Cor. 15:55)?” Truly, Christ has radically eradicated the ultimate source of fear, darkness, and human despair—Death. Noticeably, many Filipinos today are still cynical about progress and development. With the ascending rate of poverty, electoral deceit, crime and violence, graft and corruption, abuse

2010 Easter Message

CBCP Statement on the Continued Detention of the Morong 43
THE illegal arrest and continued detention of the “Morong 43” in a military facility represent serious threat to the civil liberties of the Filipino people. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) follows with grave concern the shifting accusations of the military against the health workers, the conflicting positions of government authorities on the legitimacy of the arrest and detention, and the seeming lack of regard of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for human rights and the rule of law. We are deeply worried about the wellbeing of the health workers in Camp Capinpin. We share the sentiments of other human rights groups that the presence of the detainees in a military camp makes them vulnerable to further abuses, psychological tortures, threats, and intimidation. Sustained exposure to psychosomatic strains may eventually break the fortitude and resistance of the Morong 43 into admitting under duress the accusations made against them. The fact that the necessary defense against torture and human rights abuses has been rendered null by Court of Appeals (CA) elevates the concerns of the Church on the delivery of justice for the accused. Even assuming the legal correctness of the “Ilagan Doctrine” invoked by CA in denying the writ of habeas corpus to the detainees, we are still troubled by the reality that the Court has just, in effect, sanitized and legitimized the violations committed by the military against the health workers. However, CA’s decision in itself does not remove the taint of an unlawful arrest and detention. The three ruling justices failed to recognize the nature of the arrest, which is deemed illegal because of a defective search warrant and the glaring contradictions in the military officers’ statements. Similarly, the credibility of the inquest proceedings and the subsequent filing of charges are in doubt because the accused were denied counsel during interrogation, and the fact that statements or confession obtained during an illegal arrest are not admissible. The issue is no longer about the Morong 43’s involvement or noninvolvement with the NPA, nor about the veracity of torture claims of the detainees. The issue is a fundamental one about the importance of government institutions maintaining an objective distance and observing the rule of law in its operations. Instead of calling for an end to CHR’s inquiry on human rights violations committed against the Morong 43, the AFP should support the initiative as concerned groups are only trying to shed light on the unlawful activities taking place in military operations. The Church acknowledges the armed forces’ efforts and difficulties in putting an end to communist resistance, but under no circumstances can state agencies deal with citizens in any manner as they please. Most of the Church’s development programs and ministries are community-based. Our clergy and laity work in rural areas and empower far-flung communities. Now, we could not help but fear that one day our efforts to help the poor and the marginalized will be perceived as threats, and that we may also be branded as insurgents. This is the moment to press for answers and to demonstrate that there is a growing public demand, including from the Church, to restore the integrity of the government institutions—the military, the police, the civil courts, and the Department of Justice—and remind them of their mandate and fundamental principle, which is to impartially protect and defend the human rights. For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. +NEREO P. ODCHIMAR, DD Bishop of Tandag CBCP President April 2, 2010

After the Resurrection, it can never be business as usual
AMONG the many doubts that followed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was the search for Him where He was before. The Resurrection told us that He would not be found where we wished to meet Him in the usual spots in the past. An angel announced, “He is not here, He has been raised just as He said … go to Galilee, you will meet Him there.” The triumph of Jesus over sin and the evils that humans learned and still continue to do, and over death itself, means that after the Resurrection, it can never be “business as usual.” The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ announced a new way of behaving, a new way of loving, a new way of serving and how we could all be bound by Peace. After the Resurrection no more shall there be compromising with deceit, dishonesty, and the worship of money and power. How beautiful is the coincidence that Easter always precedes a National Election because the lessons of the Resurrection lead to new life and a new encouraging service. Discern with prayerful judgment as to who the nation should entrust with the task of new and inspiring honest leadership that leads to unity and peace. May the Risen Lord bless us all! +GAUDENCIO B. CARDINAL ROSALES, DD Archbishop of Manila April 4, 2010

Joint Pastoral Exhortation on the 2010 Elections of the Archbishop and Bishops of the Metropolitan Province of Tuguegarao
BROTHERS and Sisters in Christ, fellow citizens: A Blessed Easter! Once again, as mandated by the Constitution, The Filipino people will freely choose their leaders on May 10, 2010. For the first time in our history as a nation, we shall be using the automated process. Faithful to our role as pastors and teachers of the flock, we remind our people of the following guidelines to remember as we prepare and vote on May 10, 2010. 1. The exercise of the rights of suffrage is morally significant for it has to do with our basic search for justice and freedom, and with our nation’s wellbeing. It is then immoral to sell one’s vote and to treat one’s crucial right as a commercial commodity. More reprehensible yet is the practice of those who seek to thwart the genuine expression of the people’s will by vote-buying. 2. We recommend that the electorate should discern through prayer and careful scrutiny of the candidates’ traits. They must choose God-fearing persons, who are moral, not given to vices, reverent of life and its deserved decency, consistent true friends of the poor, ever protective of the integrity of creation, simple and humble, and good examples of responsible Filipino citizenship. 3. The secrecy of the voting process should be safeguarded. To be condemned is the use of violent forces, like private armies, to intimidate and gain the votes of simple people and manipulate the election process or results. We must be strong in our protest against the use of influence and other forms of moral coercions that officials and leaders have in offices, schools and organizations for the purpose of gaining loyalty and support for a political party or candidate. 4. The leaders and those who man the polls are to be left free to perform their mandated task. The right of organizations duly accredited by the Commission on Elections to supervise the conduct of the election is not to be restricted. 5. The undeniable factor of military presence is in no account to be used in support of any political group. 6. We ask the youth and parishioners under the leadership of their pastors and parochial vicars, to join hands with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in manning the polling centers, assuring that the people’s votes are properly casted through the machines so as to safeguard the right of our people and to make their voices heard. I invite them to face, with courage and with conviction, the risks to commitment and the trials of involvement. I trust in the idealism of the youth; their vigilance and militancy in our country have been most inspiring. 7. We call on the candidates to demonstrate their trustworthiness and honesty, above all, submitting to the popular will. Honesty also demands that in the campaign, no attempt should be made to deceive the people by lies and falsehood, by prodigality in spending that, in the light of our present crisis, is condemnable. Let us remember our lesson in the past elections that excessive campaign expenses do not assure good and responsive governance. Excessive campaign expenses can lead the elected candidate to the vicious cycle of graft and corrupt practices. As a portion of the Filipino nation in the northeastern region in Luzon, let us pray, through the intercession of Apo Baket, Our Lady of Piat, for peaceful elections and a unified people before, during, and after elections. In the light of the present national turmoil and crisis, Christ’s Resurrection is, however, the definitive assurance that the bonds of darkness, falsehood and pain will not have the final word. CHRISTUS VINCIT, CHRISTUS REGNAT, CHRISTUS IMPERAT! If this is our faith, then it follows that we must also proclaim: IUSTITIA VINCIT, IUSTITIA REGNAT, IUSTITIA IMPERAT. +DIOSDADO A. TALAMAYAN, DD Metropolitan Archbishop of Tuguegarao +RAMON VILLENA, DD Bishop of Bayombong +PRUDENCIO ANDAYA, DD Vicar Apostolic of Tabuk +JOSEPH A. NACUA, OFMCap, DD Bishop of Ilagan April 5, 2010

Easter must happen in us
THE central message of Easter is expressed in the Preface for Easter: “By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life.” But what does the victory of Jesus mean? What joy does the Resurrection of Christ bring? We tend to cultivate the illusory and fantastic idea that in the blink of an eye, tomorrow, after Easter, there will no longer be pain, sickness, social tragedies, injustice and war… instead there will be fraternity, community, peace and disarmament. But it does not happen that way, instantly. Easter does not immediately take away these realities. Easter joy must be experienced in connection with our historic realities of pain, sickness, and problems. The joy of the Resurrection should not be disconnected from the cross which preceded it, in forgetfulness of the scourging and crucifixion. The message of Easter does not take away the world’s suffering. Luke tells us, He had to die. Therefore, the Lord’s new life is not a cancellation of his passion, death and resurrection, as if they never occurred or must be forgotten. Easter does not obliterate the cross, instead it helps us believe in the mystery of life and love that burst forth from it. The victory of Jesus concerns the victory of the world over all evil – sin, injustice, violence, war and death—but this victory must happen first, must begin, in us. We must see it happening first in us. It must happen first in me! It must happen first in you! And then through you and me, it will happen in the community, in society, in the country. If Holy Thursday and Good Friday serve as the backdrop of Easter Sunday for Jesus, so we view our past with all its tragedies, disappointments, regrets and sins, as providing the backdrop of our present renewal and future conquests. Easter provides us with new eyes, mind and attitude in dealing with these realities. We are the revelation of the Easter message and victory. Beyond the promises of the many political candidates who want to deliver our country from its many social and political problems, we must not forget that the resurrection of a new Philippines is founded on each of us as renewed, regenerated and reformed witnesses of the living presence of the Risen Christ in our country. +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD Archbishop of Jaro April 3, 2010

An Easter Message for the Youth
A BLESSED and happy Easter to you, dearly beloved young people! Once again, after days of Lenten discipline and mortifying sacrifices, after listening to and meditating on the mystery of Christ’s Suffering, Death and Resurrection, we arrive at the culmination of the greatest feast of the Church—Easter. With minds enlightened and hearts burning like the two disciples at Emmaus, we feel called to journey with the Lord in the jubilation of Easter in order to witness to His Risen Life before our fellow human beings! “Humanity today expects from Christians a renewed witness to the resurrection of Christ; it needs to encounter him and to know him as true God and true man… [It needs to] rediscover with renewed conviction, faith in Christ dead and risen for us…” says Pope Benedict XVI in his Easter Message. In our Philippine context, we can read this as a call to involve yourselves—as young people—in the current events that shape our country, as we continue to journey (albeit meanderingly and with a lot of uncertainty) towards progress, peace and unity. The coming national elections for one, ask for your all-out and active participation. Whether you will cast your ballots or not, you must generously give your time, talents and communal efforts to safeguard the electoral process. With dedication do you share in making possible that the precinct count optical scans work as expected, that voters get to their respective polling places, that the votes are correctly counted, and all these happen in an atmosphere of peace and civility—so that there will be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power on the 30th of June. We can never overemphasize the truth that the young are the inheritors of tomorrow. And precisely because you are, my dear young people, you have the right and the responsibility to be active sharers in the events that will guarantee a bright and hopeful tomorrow—not only for the country which you will lead and carry someday, but also for the Church and other institutions that will compose part of your future. In his message for this year’s World Youth Day celebration last 28 March, the Holy Father said: “The future is in the hands of those who know how to seek and find strong reasons for life and hope. If you want it, the future is in your hands, because the gifts and the riches that the Lord has closed in the heart of each of you, molded by the encounter with Christ, can bring back true hope to the world!” It is my fervent prayer that you, my dear young people, will respond generously and joyfully to this call. Take courage! “Do not let yourself be discouraged and do not give up your dreams!...” “Do not be afraid…” the Pope went on to say in his WYD message for “(God) knows how to give profound joy to him who responds with courage…” May our Blessed Mother, who gently and lovingly guided the young Jesus in his growing years, guide you as well and lead you to her Risen Son, who makes all life meaningful and fruitful! I remain Sincerely yours in the Lord, +JOEL Z. BAYLON, DD Bishop of Legazpi Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010


Social C
CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

What the Presidentiables say
In view of helping voters discern and make the right choices in the forthcoming elections, the CBCP Media Office has been gathering the positions or stand of presidentiables on certain issues through direct letters, interviews and relative sources emanating from them. Unlike our previous issue where we presented direct quotes, now we are constrained to summarize positions into “ayes” and “nays” due to space limitations—Eds

StAnd On key iSSUeS Of:

Rejection of Reproductive Health Bill

End Death Penalty

Gun Ban in Public Places except for law enforcers in uniform and on duty

End Political Dynasties

Full Public Disclosure of All Government Transactions

End Pork Barrel

Implement Pro-Farmer Agrarian Reform Program

Strictly Clip the Define Wider, Adhere to the President’s Specific Constitution Power to Limits for Contract or Forest Lands over Charter Change Guarantee and National Foreign Loan Parks and Implement Massive Reforestration

For rEForMS and MiniMizE Corruption BEnigno SiMEon aquino iii

Could BE rEViEwEd and EMphaSizE nEEd For tranSparEnC and aCCountaBilit

John Carlo dEloS rEyES

JoSEph EStrada

lEt thE ElECtoratE dECidE

riChard gordon

ana ConSuElo Madrigal

yES with no ExCEption But only whEn thE pEaCE and ordEr Situation iS Finally rESolVEd

no with ConditionS

For gun Control

niCanor pErlaS

not For rh But rECognizES proBlEMS Brought aBout By population ExploSion

nEEd For tranSparEnCy

For rEViEw

gilBErto tEodoro, Jr.


EddiE VillanuEVa

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ManuEl ManuEl Villar, Jr. Villar, Jr.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
“family dynasties.” 31. What is meant by the “politics of personalities”? This is a system where the popularity of political candidates rather than issues count more than knowledge and competence. The popularity of personalities and the “connection” of personalities to the powers that be are more often than not the main criteria for judging who should be elected. Thus, candidates for political office who are popular in movies, sports, or are connected to powerful political families have a significant headstart in elections. Coupled with Filipino values of family-centeredness, family connections have resulted in family political dynasties. Moreover, the politics of personalities has made it possible for frequent changes in political party affiliation or political “turn-coatism”. Parties do not have political ideologies that present voters with clear cut alternatives on key social issues such as environmental protection, globalization, trade liberalization, etc. PCPII observed that people themselves “seem to care more for the projects and gifts and less for the substantive issues on which their elected political representatives should take a stand” (PCP-II, pp. 279-80). 32. What is meant by a “politics of payoff”? It is a system of politics where political advantage is the reason that a politician takes one position over another with regard to issues. The political debate depends on answers to such questions as “What will you do for me if I support you on this issue”? Pay-off can be in terms of financial “commissions”, political appointments, or of better political leverage. This is sadly the belief of what goes on in the halls of Congress. It is not rare that decisions are based not on principles but on “horse trading”, vested interests and on so called “party loyalty.” Many people, therefore, believe that decisions on the government yearly budget depend very much on questions of the “pork barrel” fund. The more generous the “pork barrel” the easier other items of the budget are approved. “Politics of pay-off” also includes vote-buying. 33. Is the mentality of many politicians part of this political culture? Yes. Undoubtedly there are many politicians who truly strive for the common good. They consider themselves public servants in the real sense and truly act as such. Unfortunately, there are also many who give politics a dirty name because of their mentality. They look at politics as a means of enrichment and a source of influence and power for self and familyinterests. Thus, politics becomes a cause of greed. Principles are sacrificed. One can very well ask why so many would want to spend so much money and even cheat in order to be elected to political positions that pay relatively little. 34. Do the terms “traditional politics” and “traditional politicians” refer to the negative features mentioned? Yes. In themselves the terms are not derogatory. But in recent years, to highlight the need of a new kind of politics and of a new breed of politicians, the terms “traditional politics” and “traditional politicians” have increasingly been understood to describe the negative features of the world of politics. This is the background of the word trapo. 35. Is this why the Bishops say that our political culture is negative? Yes, the bishops, said that the political

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Catechism on the Church and Politics
Continued from last issue... Part IV: Philippine Politics—Situation and Renewal 28. Why has the Church been so actively involved in politics in the Philippines? The main reason, the Bishops themselves said, is the following fact: “Philippine politics – the way it is practised – has been the most hurtful of us as a people. It is possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving full development” (PEPP, 7). PCP-II summed up our kind of politics in this way: “Perhaps an even more fundamental aspect of our kahirapan is that poverty and inequality joined to the absence of reliable social services seem to be part of a selfperpetuating social system and political culture” (PCP-II Appendix 1, pp. 278-79) 29. What are some of the negative features our political culture? Negatively, Philippine politics is often described as basically “patronage politics”, “a politics of personalities” and a “politics of pay-off.” PCP-II summarily described our politics in the following way: “Power and control are also elitist, lopsidedly concentrated on established families that tend to perpetuate themselves in political dynasties” (PCP-II, 24). 30. What is meant by “patronage politics”? Deriving from the feudal system of master and servant, the politics of patronage considers the relationship between public official and ordinary citizen as that of patron (master) and client (servant). Rewards or benefits are distributed according to the loyalty of clients to their patrons. Clients or voters depend on their patrons or public officials for every development project or assistance, and solutions to community problems. Rewards or development projects are distributed, then, on the basis not of justice due to people but on the basis of the government official’s “kindness” and the loyalty of the people to the public official. Thus political leaders and followers who show support are rewarded with projects, money or jobs. Dependence and subservience, passivity and inaction on the part of citizens is characteristic of such a system. This accounts for the lack of viable political organizations among the poor on the one hand and the concentration of power in the hands of the few on the other. In addition because political positions are treated like feudal properties, public funds are used by some officials as their own, for personal or family interests. In fact a political office is often treated as some sort of a feudal title to be passed on from one generation to another. This is at the basis of so called “system is shot through and through with opportunities for corruption, influencepeddling, and the indiscriminate use of public funds for partisan or personal purposes” (PEPP, p. 29). They also said: “If we are what we are today - a country with a very great number of poor and powerless people – one reason is the way we have allowed politics to be debased and prostituted to the low level it is now” (PEPP, p. 10). In fact after analyzing the very negative features of the election process, the Bishops lamented that: “The prime values of our faith – charity, justice, honesty, truth – these are of little or no consequence at all when it comes to our practice of politics in or out of election time.” (PEPP, p. 21). ...To be continued


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Ref lections
Bo Sanchez

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

The Risen Lord sends His disciples on mission

Be a sponge and absorb God’s blessings
“BO, I feel God plays favorites.” “Why do you say that?” I asked my friend. “Because He doesn’t bless me as much as He blesses you!” That’s when I shared to her Matthew 5:45. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. God doesn’t play favorites. I believe God’s blessings are everywhere. Like rain, blessings are poured into your life. Do you need love? It’s out there. Do you need wisdom? It’s out there. Do you need healing? It’s out there. Do you need miracles? It’s out there. Do you need increase? It’s out there. But why don’t we receive them? Let me tell you why… Do you repel His blessings? When rain falls on a stone, it repels the water. When God pours His blessing on some people, they repel them. Like my friend, these are the people who complain that God doesn’t bless them. But the problem isn’t the lack of supply. The problem is the lack of readiness to receive the supply. How do you repel God’s blessings? When you feel you don’t deserve to be blessed. When you think that God doesn’t want to bless you. When you believe that life is all about suffering. So the blessing is right in front of them, but they don’t recognize God’s blessings. So they don’t receive them. Absorb His Blessings! Don’t be a stone. Be a sponge instead! When water touches it, it absorbs. It saps it up. All of it! I’m convinced that God wants to bless you. But you have to receive His love. You have to absorb His blessings. You need to say YES to his plan to bless you. But there’s no question about it—God has already blessed you. All His blessings are available to you now. Yesterday, at the Grand Easter Feast, so many people became a sponge. They received God’s blessings by the bucketful.

3rd Sunday of Easter (John 21:1-19); April 18, 2010
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
THE Resurrection of Jesus is yearly celebrated at Easter, which is the oldest and most solemn Christian feast and considered the center of the Liturgical Year. But what is the meaning of the raising of Jesus from the dead? Admittedly, every New Testament writer has his own distinctive understanding of what the Resurrection of Jesus is all about, but in John, one of its meanings is mission. In John’s story of the Lord’s appearance on the shore of Tiberias (John 21:119), that significance derives, as in Luke 5:10, from the symbolism of the fishing scene. It may be recalled that before he was raised, Jesus promised that he would draw all women and men to himself (John 12:32). Since he has been lifted up, he could now fulfill his promise. If the Matthean Christ commanded the Eleven to make disciples of all the nations (Matt 28:19), that account has an equivalent in John in the instruction to throw the net. And the meaning of the symbolism of throwing the net is made clearer in another metaphor: the commissioning of Peter to feed the lambs/sheep (John 21:15-17). Of course, the mission remains the risen Lord’s. The disciples are simply his instruments. Christ takes the initiative and sustains it. For this reason, the success of the mission does not depend on the quality and effort of the disciples. A doctorate degree, a high IQ, one’s being honed at Harvard Divinity School, the ability to attract huge crowd—all this does not guarantee automatic success. Rather, it rests entirely on their obedience to the word of the listen Lord. By their own effort the disciples could not catch fish (21:6). Which reminds us of Jesus’ saying that “without me you can do nothing” (15:5). One may work in the mission with much effort, but without the presence of the Lord, that mission would be fruitless. No wonder then that the disciples were able to experience a miraculous catch—the Lord called them to throw their nets and they obediently did so: “they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish” (21:6). But what is the purpose of throwing the nets? If Jesus promised to draw all to himself, if he asked his disciples to cast the nets, the object was the form one community, one people coming from all nations. In this narrative, the net images the Church, and the fishermen stand for its leaders. The 350 kinds of fish represent all the races of men and therefore universalism. (In his commentary on Ezek 47:9-12, St Jerome says that according to the ancient naturalists there were 153 species of fish.) Thus, the mission of the Church is universal salvation. Which reminds us of Jesus’ words: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also must I lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd” (10:16). His plan to gather all into one is reflected in the prophecy of Caiaphas, the high priest, “that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God” (11:32). (It goes without saying that to say that salvation is only for those who know the Bible, or who are born again or who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior is to misread John.) It is interesting to note that although the fish were numerous, the net was not broken (21:11). For John, this symbolizes the unity of diverse believers that is to be preserved by the leaders of the Church. And how will the Church leaders accomplish the mission? If a shift in image may be permitted, it may be said that they will fulfill their mission by shepherding (Ps 80:2; Isa 40:11; Jer 31:10) in love of Jesus. This is precisely the reason why Jesus asked Peter thrice: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” For without such love, the pastoral efforts of the shepherds or ministers of the Church (1 Pet 5:2-4; Act 20:28) will be in vain. As Paul puts it, “If I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:2-3). This implies that the exercise of power proper to secular society or to the military has no place in the Christian community. That Jesus repeatedly asked Peter the question about love—this was meant to show that he had a devoted love for Jesus (see Matt 26:33). Here, of course, Peter, far from declaring it, merely appealed to Jesus’ intimate knowledge: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (John 21:17). With this, John would have understood that freeing love for the sheep is the essence of shepherding. A priest who does not freely love his parishioners is scarcely worthy of his pastoral office. Peter’s love for the Lord was to be manifested in the taking care of the latter’s flock. Moreover, he also would shepherd them with love because he was a disciple who loved (John 13:37). Out of his love for Jesus, Peter would have to deny his very self. In contrast to the shepherds who, following their wicked inclination, did not pasture the sheep with integrity (Ezek 34; Jer 3:15), he would not demand that they serve him. On the contrary, he would have to lay down his life for them: “A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). As Jesus was concerned with the good of the flock (John 10:3-4.14.27-30), so would Peter who must feed and shepherd Jesus’ sheep. That is why Peter could go where the unexpected awaited him (John 21:18). In the end, he proved his love by dying a martyr’s death under Nero. Such is the call of every ministers of the Lord: To testify to the mission of salvation by dying for it and for the sheep in love.


Bishop Pat Alo


Are all religions the same?
SOME express as if all religions were just the same so as to be accommodating and appear permissive. But such an attitude does a disservice to the truth. Surely “the truth sets us free” (Jn. 8:32). But to water down the truth and say all religions are the same is tantamount to saying there is nothing true at all. Just like that Spanish saying that runs like this: “amigo de todos, amigo de ninguno” (friend of all, friend of none). If you consider some as your friends, it’s because they are familiar and in good relations with you. In the world we have to be persistent seekers of the truth. Why? Because the devil who is a murderer and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44) keeps on working with his many agents to bring as many as possible to hell, which is a place of endless woe, despair, and punishment. Amid the confusion and distractions of our world we must learn to be discerning and have a critical mind in constant search for what is truly good, right and just in opposition to the agents of the devil who keep on twisting the truth. That’s a false statement to say—all religions are the same. What is truthful is that we have to respect man’s conscience and freedom to search for the truth. The first letter of St. Peter, the first pope, says: “Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts forever and ever. Amen.” (1 P.5:8-11). We have to constantly be in search of where and what is the truth since you cannot say that even if there are conflicting statements all of them are true. Let us respect the freedom of every person to seek for the truth.

Fr. Francis Ongkingco


Jesus in our hearts
“NOW, Baz, can you tell me what is the most important part of our body?” Susan reviewed her son for the next day’s assignment. “The heart,” the boy replied with complete confidence. “Nope,” his mom swayed her head trying to hide her disappointment. “Then, what is?” the boy who was convinced with his answer asked. “Think a little more,” she coaxed him a bit. “I still think it’s the heart,” he contested. “Don’t you think it’s the brain, sweety?” she said nicely, but firmly. “Nope, it’s the heart,” he held fast to his answer. “Nooo, it’s the brain!” “Nope, the heart!” “Brain…!” “Heart…, heart…., HEART!” he insisted. “But dear, the brain controls everything in our body,” she waited to see how he was going to argue this one out. “But mommy, you told me when I was small that Jesus is in my heart? Isn’t this more important?” Susan was totally disarmed by his answer, and didn’t know what to say. She smiled and embraced her son. “Baz, you’re right! How can mommy ever forget?” *** Of course we can go on arguing about the most important part of our body as far as biological functions are concerned. But we obviously know that each part—no matter how insignificant it may be—has a function that serves the good of the entire person. Spiritually, however, it may occur to us like Baz to ask if there is a part of our bodies that God highly values. As His creatures He naturally admires us not in parts or as things, but as His children. This is demonstrated in an exemplary manner when He mysteriously took the initiative to become like us in everything that we could be, except in our sinfulness. As a man, our Lord literally experienced everything that a person could. He felt hunger, thirst, and heat. He wept with compassion for those who suffered, rejoiced in the joys of others, and felt disappointment towards the unbelief of some. In this growing tapestry of rich experience of humanity, Jesus Christ, who was perfect God and perfect man, was intimately enjoying and endowing these earthly realities with a divine meaning. Thus, St. Josemaría in the Forge says, “As Jesus, who is our Lord and Model, grows in and lives as one of us, he reveals to us that human life—your life—and its humdrum, ordinary business, have a meaning which is divine, which belongs to eternity.” (no. 688) Moreover, our Lord, in His divine and human love for our condition chose to continue living through each of us. And if there is one part in us that He wants to dwell in, it would be in our hearts. This is because today when we speak about our experiences we often refer to how “we feel things”. And in man, the heart is that part of us that we often associate our deepest feelings and longings with the heart. It is very important for Jesus to be in our hearts. Otherwise, if it were filled with ourselves, then we would only harvest what St. Mathew describes: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man.” To have Christ in our hearts means possessing the same mind, the same “feelings” or sentiments as He has. St. Paul teaches this to the Philippians when he says: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” To have Jesus in our hearts is not only giving Him “some” space. Our Lord wants “all” the space because His love is infinite for us, and our hearts must constantly expand to receive Him. To have Him is not only to be satisfied with fulfilling our Christian duties to the minimum or of simply not sinning, for He created us above all to love and serve Him. So if we want Him to be in our hearts, aside from cleaning our heart of sin and pride, and expanding it with prayer and penance, we must also have a real desire and actual resolution that we make Him present in the hearts of others: through our words and example, they not only meet Christ, but also feel Him lovingly present in their hearts.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010



Six Accusations, One Question
By Sandro Magister
THE attack striking pope Joseph Ratzinger with the weapon of the scandal posed by priests of his Church is a constant of this pontificate. It is a constant because every time, on different terrain, striking Benedict XVI means striking the very man who has worked and is working, on that same terrain, with the greatest foresight, resolve, and success. The tempest that followed his lecture in Regensburg on September 12, 2006 was the first of the series. Benedict XVI was accused of being an enemy of Islam, and an incendiary proponent of the clash of civilizations. The very man who with singular clarity and courage had revealed where the ultimate root of violence is found, in an idea of God severed from rationality, and had then told how to overcome it. The violence and even killings that followed his words were the sad proof that he was right. But the fact that he had hit the mark was confirmed above all by the progress in dialogue between the Catholic Church and Islam that was seen afterward—not in spite of, but because of the lecture in Regensburg—and of which the letter to the pope from the 138 Muslim intellectuals and the visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul were the most evident and promising signs. With Benedict XVI, the dialogue between Christianity and Islam, as with the other religions as well, is today proceeding with clearer awareness about what makes distinctions, by virtue of faith, and what can unite, the natural law written by God in the heart of every man. A second wave of accusations against Pope Benedict depicts him as an enemy of modern reason, and in particular of its supreme expression, science. The peak of this hostile campaign was reached in January of 2008, when professors forced the pope to cancel a visit to the main university of his diocese, the University of Rome “La Sapienza.” And yet—as previously in Regensburg and then in Paris at the Collège des Bernardins on September 12, 2008—the speech that the pope intended to give at the University of Rome was a formidable defense of the indissoluble connection between faith and reason, between truth and freedom: “I do not come to impose the faith, but to call for courage for the truth.” The paradox is that Benedict XVI is a great “illuminist” in an age in which the truth has so few admirers and doubt is in command, to the point of wanting to silence the truth. A third accusation systematically hurled at Benedict XVI is that he is a traditionalist stuck in the past, an enemy of the new developments brought by Vatican Council II. His speech to the Roman curia on December 22, 2005 on the interpretation of the Council, and in 2007 on the liberalization of the ancient rite of the Mass, are thought to be the proofs in the hands of his accusers. In reality, the Tradition to which Benedict XVI is faithful is that of the grand history of the Church, from its origins until today, which has nothing to do with a formulaic attachment to the past. In the speech to the curia just mentioned, to exemplify the “reform in continuity” represented by Vatican II, the pope recalled the question of religious freedom. To affirm this completely—he explained—the Council had to go back to the origins of the Church, to the first martyrs, to that “profound patrimony” of Christian Tradition which in recent centuries had been lost, and was found again thanks in part to the criticism of Enlightenment-style reason. As for the liturgy, if there is an authentic perpetuator of the great liturgical movement that flourished in the Church between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from Prosper Guéranger to Romano Guardini, it is precisely Ratzinger himself. A fourth terrain of attack runs along the same lines as the previous one. Benedict XVI is accused of derailing ecumenism, of putting reconciliation with the Lefebvrists ahead of dialogue with the other Christian confessions. But the facts say the opposite. Since Ratzinger has been pope, the journey of reconciliation with the Eastern Churches has taken extraordinary steps forward. Both with the Byzantine Churches that look to the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, and— most surprisingly—with the patriarchate of Moscow. And if this has happened, it is precisely because of the revived fidelity to the grand Tradition—beginning with that of the first millennium—that is one characteristic of this pope, in addition to being the soul of the Eastern Churches. On the side of the West, it is again love of Tradition that is driving persons and groups of the Anglican Communion to ask to enter the Church of Rome. While with the Lefebvrists, what is blocking their reintegration is precisely their attachment to past forms of Church and of doctrine erroneously identified with perennial Tradition. The revocation of the excommunication of four of their bishops, in January of 2009, did nothing to the state of schism in which they remain, just as in 1964 the revocation of excommunications between Rome and Constantinople did not heal the schism between East and West, but made possible a dialogue aimed at unity. The four Lefebvrist bishops whose excommunication Benedict XVI lifted included Englishman Richard Williamson, an antisemite and Holocaust denier. In the liberalized ancient rite, there is even a prayer that the Jews “may recognize Jesus Christ as savior of all men.” These and other facts have helped to feed a persistent protest by the Jewish world against the current pope, with significant points of radicalism. And it is a fifth terrain of accusation. The latest weapon of this protest was a passage from the sermon given at Saint Peter’s Basilica on Holy Friday, in the pope’s presence, by the preacher of the pontifical household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa. The incriminating passage was a citation from a letter written by a Je w, but in spite of this the uproar was aimed exclusively at the pope. And yet, nothing is more contradictory than to accuse Benedict XVI of enmity with the Jews. Because no other pope before him ever went so far in defining a positive vision of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism, while leaving intact the essential division over whether or not Jesus is the Son of God. In the first volume of his “Jesus of Nazareth” published in 2007—and close to being completed by

The Passion of Pope Benedict:

Pedophilia is only the latest weapon aimed against Joseph Ratzinger. And each time, he is attacked where he most exercises his leadership role.
the second volume—Benedict XVI wrote splendid pages in this regard, in dialogue with a living American rabbi. And many Jews effectively see Ratzinger as a friend. But in the international media, it’s another matter. There it is almost exclusively “friendly fire” that rains down. From Jews attacking the pope who best understands and loves them. Finally, a sixth accusation—very current—against Ratzinger is that he “covered up” the scandal of priests who sexually abused children. Here too, the accusation is against the very man who has done more than anyone, in the Church hierarchy, to heal this scandal. With positive effects that can already be seen here and there. Particularly in the United States, where the incidence of the phenomenon among the Catholic clergy has diminished significantly in recent years. But where the wound is still open, as in Ireland, it was again Benedict XVI who required the Church of that country to put itself in a penitential state, on a demanding path that he traced out in an unprecedented pastoral letter last March 19. The fact is that the international campaign against pedophilia has just one target today, the pope. The cases dug up from the past are always intended to be traced back to him, both when he was archbishop of Munich and when he was prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, plus the Regensburg appendix for the years during which the pope’s brother, Georg, directed the cathedral children’s choir. The six terrains of accusation against Benedict XVI just referred to bring up a question. Why is this pope so under attack, from outside of the Church but also from within, in spite of his clear innocence with respect to the accusations? The beginning of an answer is that he is systematically attacked precisely for what he does, for what he says, for what he is. (This piece is lifted from www.chiesa. expressonline.it, dispatched via email for free)

Christian leadership in Catholic school education
By Bishop Jose C. Sorra

(First of two parts)
LEADERSHIP. Before we can cogently speak of leadership in Catholic/Christian education, we perhaps have to first understand what our Master TeacherLeader—our Lord Jesus—taught about Christian leadership. How did He handpick and train His potential leaders? What criteria did He use to identify them? We’ll perhaps find some answers if we reflect on the Gospel passage from John 6:1-11. The Gospel narrative is actually an OJT-leadership training seminar/workshop. The Master Teacher-Leader poses a problem: “Where can we buy enough food to feed this large hungry crowd?” It’s said that the greatest power of a true leader is his intensely personal VISION-MISSION communicated by word and by one’s life concerns: What do I care about? What exactly do I want? How do I fit into the present challenging situation? How do I assess the whole state of affairs?

How do I feel about it? The current challenge is the large hungry crowd on a deserted place. The initial reaction of the Master Teacher-Leader: His heart is moved with compassion, which by definition means to suffer with or empathize with the suffering people. Then the Master TeacherLeader asks one of His trainees: “Philip, where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” (He asks this to test him, because He Himself knows what He is going to do), interjects the Gospel passage. This means the Master Teacher-Leader doesn’t want to spoon-feed them, even though he can. Rather, He allows his trainees some room and space for participation and consultation, perhaps testing their initiative, resourcefulness, and proactive response to the urgent, problematic situation. “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a small bite,” Philip responds. Perhaps Philip has opened his mouth too soon and said a mouthful. Indeed, he betrays a deficiency in the basic

qualities of a true leader. The Master Teacher-Leader doesn’t say anything, but His guarded silence may have made Philip feel that he has flunked the test. Then comes another leadertrainee, Andrew, the brother of Peter, who says: “Master, there is a boy here who has five barley loaves of bread and two fish (dried fish, daing). But (a big BUT) what good are these for so many?” Andrew’s rhetorical question appears to be loaded on the side of logic or rational thinking; but, apparently, he isn’t conversant yet with the higher mysterious power that can make the impossible possible. Philip’s response evokes again only silence from the Lord. Nonetheless, it is still a problem that He wants His discipletrainees themselves to address and solve, for it can surely be solved, not so much with their brains but with the power of their faith in their Master. The Master Teacher-Leader seemingly isn’t impressed by Andrew’s initial resourcefulness, because he apparently has given in too easily to a tough,

yet unexhausted problem. One stubborn trait, indeed, of a good leader, as exemplified by the Master Teacher-Leader, is not accepting easily a phlegmatic “No” for an answer. Neither does he easily give up on you or on anyone, who is open and willing to learn or can be prodded or motivated to push the limits. The Miracle of the Multiplication of Bread happened, because the Divine Master Teacher-Leader had the power to make it happen. But, as we saw earlier, He at first refused to make it happen, not until His disciple-trainees responsibly consented that He be co-maker or co-problem-solver — and simply put their whole faith and trust in Him. As St. Augustine succinctly articulated in Latin: “Deus qui creavit te sine te, non salvabit te since te.” (God who created you without your help, will not save you without you). Who. In southwestern England, there was a very popular inn known as the “FIVE ALLS.” This hostel had a most interesting signboard on which were painted five huge portraits of five classes


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of so-called leaders – and each leader’s own motto. 1st - Leader was a millionaire whose motto was: I give and give generously to provide the needs of all. 2nd - Leader was a professional politician with this motto: I think, I decide, and I tell people to do what is good for me and for all. 3rd - Leader was a King whose motto was: I am the authority and I must demand obedience and loyalty for the good of all. 4th - Leader was a Bishop whose motto was: I plan, I work, and I do them all, for if I don’t, God save us all. 5th - Leader was a “common tao” with this motto: I listen, and I help people help themselves for the welfare of all. If you noticed, there was one common denominator among them all, which is, they were All for All. Now, you may pick out from among the FIVE ALLs your ideal leader. And you’re expected not to give a polite or a diplomatic answer. Remember, diplomacy is the art of lying, or better still—It is the art of lying in state. What. All of us, I assume, go to the mirror at least every morning— to look at the most inspiring sight in the world—our helplessly irreversible faces. Yes, even priests and bishops do—out of necessity or vanity, whichever. Anyway, our habitual looking at ourselves in the mirror is not without some symbolic, theological significance, said a theologico-moral scholar—for man is made unto the image of God. It would, therefore, not be unreasonable for us human beings to find some kind of inspiration in that Image of our Creator that is intimately impressed or etched on every human being. However, it is possible that many of us may no longer be all too impressed by that divine Image in us, perhaps because it has become blurred or disfigured by our own self-centeredness, pride, human weaknesses, sins or vices. But if someone could stand before us, as before a mirror that can reflect that same blurred Image, and could clean it of its disfiguring stain of sin and

throw back the pure, the true, and the beautiful in us, then, perhaps, we shall once again be inspired to overcome our human weaknesses and to piece together again our splintered parts, and be able to rise again above our once-broken selves. In absorbing the people’s image, the leader actually follows his people—follows them to understand and absorb their thoughts, feelings, aspirations and needs, and then purifies all these and mirrors them back to his people, who then might be inspired to again rise above themselves. “There go the people! I must follow them, for I am their leader,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Someone once said that the difference between the leader and the mirror is that while both can absorb and reflect the image, the mirror cannot purify it; only a leader can. For the function of the leader requires insight and discrimination in order to distinguish the genuine from the fake, the real from the plastic. He is able to draw the line between his people’s weaknesses and strengths, between their vices and virtues. But above all, the true leader must not be a convertible weakling. Rather, he must have a strong moral backbone, an unflinching courage not to hide his people’s faults, but rather to recognize and expose them – to help them realize their own faults and failures – and enable them to cleanse themselves. For this is the cleansing function of a true leader. The mettle, however, of a true leader lies in the courageous choice of the right option: between, on the one hand, the stand for principle and reason at the price of being rejected and ridiculed; on the other hand, the stand for expediency and convenience in contraposition to that of the controversial Nazarean Leader. Now, if we may ask, do we see these leadership qualities in our current presidential aspirants? Just asking. If you don’t, then for the sake of our nation that is now hitting the bottom, vote for “None of the above.” (To be continued)


Moral Assessment Technical Assessment

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 8

April 12 - 25, 2010

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

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

PERSEUS (Sam Worthington) is a demigod, son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) and a human mother. As an infant, Perseus was found by a fishing couple in a box that rises out from the sea, containing the corpse of his mother and himself. He is not aware of his being super human until much later in the story when it s revealed that Zeus had stolen into Perseus’ mother’s bedchamber disguised as her husband, and thus sired Perseus. He grows up with the adoptive fishermen-parents, knowing little of the world outside of their fishing boat. When Perseus is captured along with others at sea and taken to Argos, his unusual prowess at hand-to-hand combat reveals his real lineage. Perseus is tasked with leading a band of warriors to defeat Hades, the god of the underworld, before Hades can wrestle power out of his brother Zeus. Clash of the Titans is a “reimagining” of the 1981 original film. Greek mythology, even when simply read, stimulates the imagination enough into creating its own “visuals” inside the reader’s head. Meeting characters in books who are supposed to be gods but who behave like ordinary men— disguising themselves and siring bastards with mortal women they fancy, plotting revenge against their brother, using their superhuman powers to pick on ordinary mortals—offers rich literary delights and occasions for warming up one’s faculty for moral judgment. Make these characters alive on the screen, throw in computer enhancement to demonstrate the full extent of the power of the gods’ fury or benevolence, and you have Clash of the Titans. Olympus gods, of course, are a far cry from God—capital “G”—as we

Buhay Parokya

are taught by religion. So be guided. Detach yourself from the idea of heaven and eternal life in the Christian context, and just enjoy the place where these gods reside—if you notice that their carpeting is made of clouds, then you can make your own conclusions, guilt-free. The technical excellence of the film’s CGI is obviously above par, even when some of the creatures invite good-natured ribbing from the audience. The snakey-headed Medusa slithering through those Greek columns in her lair and turning everyone (who dares look at her) into stone is a work of art, no less. Intriguing are those giant arachnids that at first looked menacing but later on turned out to be domesticated beasts of burden carrying reed houses for the nomadic mortals across the desert. They’re the tamer cousins, supposedly, of the humongous scorpions that crawl over the rocks, pluck humans out of battle and drop them dead on the desert sand, literally. Hades (Ralph Fiennes) materializing from black billowing smoke and unleashing the power of hell upon anyone who crosses him also keeps you on your toes, wondering what mischief he’s up to next. (He couldn’t quite be that damaging, though, once you recall that the smiling cat in Alice in Wonderland has that same power to materialize from smoke—only less threatening). Neeson makes a more-humanthan-god Zeus, non-threatening in his highly polished armor and with dark hair badly needing a shampoo. Worthington as Perseus is credible as the godsired man with a man-made cinematic image—his being the only male in the movie with close-cropped hair and without a beard should give you a clue

Title: Clash of the Titans Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Feinnes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Artenton Director: Loius Leterrier Producers: Kevin De La Noy, Basil Iwanyk Screenwriters: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi Music: Ramin Djawadi Editor: Vincent Tabaillon, Martin Walsh Genre: Action/ Adventure Cinematography: Peter Menzies Jr. Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Location: UK Running Time: 106 min. Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment:  CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance


as to his Olympian DNA What’s the moral of the story? After all, when you talk about gods, there must be some moral tidbit tucked in somewhere between the pyrotechnics and the deus ex machina tricks, right? But what can you say about gods who get annoyed when humans fail to show them respect? Well… let’s see… there’s something worth pondering there about Perseus being a son-of-a-god but preferring to remain a mere fisherman for the rest of his life. His survival depends solely on his acceptance of his power as a god, and in this story he creates his destiny. That’s a lot to talk about in the family reunion, or over fish and chips with the gang. If you feel you missed something important, by all means, see it again. But please see it in 2-D—it’s kinder to your eyes and to your pocket.


Ni Bladimer Usi

Look for the images of Chalice, Crucifix, and Church. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

Title: Romeo at Juliet Cast: Alessandra de Rosi, Victor Basa, Max Eigenmann, Bing Pimentel, Jay Manalo, Rosanna Roce Director: Adolf Alix, Jr. Running Time: 90 minutes Genre: Drama Location: Manila Technical Assessment:  Moral Assessment: ½ Rating: For viewers 18 and above

SI Angel (Alessandra de Rossi) ay namasukan bilang isang high class escort service sa gabi upang matustusan ang sarili sa kanyang pag-aaral sa araw. Makikilala niya si Joseph (Victor Basa), isa ring estudyante na gaya niya at agad itong mabibighani sa kanya. Hindi alam ni Joseph ang lihim na buhay ni Angel sa gabi. Sa gitna ng kanilang umuusbong na pagmamahalan ay ang komplikasyon ng kani-kanilang masasaklap na nakaraan at karanasan sa kani-kanilang mga magulang. Si Angel ay inaabuso noon ng kanyang ama (Jay Manalo), habang si Joseph naman ay pinag-mamalupitan ng konser-batibong ina (Bing Pimentel). Ito at ang madilim na lihim ni Angel ang magdadala sa kapahamakan ng kanila sanang pag-iibigan. Bagamat karaniwan ang kuwento ng Romeo at Juiet, kakaiba pa rin ang dating nito sa pagbibigay ng makabagong koneksyon sa klasikal na nobela ni William Shakespeare. Mahusay ang pagkakatagni ng kuwento na ginamit ang mga kabanata sa nobela upang bigyang kahulugan ang bawat bahagi ng paglalahad sa pelikula. Walang itulak kabigin din ang pag-arte nina de Rossi at Basa, lalo na ang ilang beteranang nagsiganap. Maganda ang kuha ng camera at maayos naman ang pagkakadirehe. May malaking pagkukulang lang ang kuwento sa dahilang hindi gaanong napagigting ang dapat sana’y malalim na pag-iibigan ng dalawang pangunahing tauhan. Hindi masyadong ramdam ang bigat at lalim ng kanilang samahan. Marahil dahil madalas lumihis ang kuwento sa pagmamahalan ng dalawa. Marahil nasobrahan din ang pagpapaliwanag sa ilang bagay na hindi naman sentro ng pelikulla. Tuloy walang gaanong dating ang kinalabasan ng kuwento sa kabuuan. Bukod sa pagmamahalang mauuwi sa trahedya, mayroong lumulutang na mensahe ang pelikula patungkol sa kinahihinatnan ng isang tao base sa klase ng magulang at pagpapalaki na mayroon siya. Sinasabi nito na malaki ang papel na ginagampanan ng isang magulangsamagigingbuhayngkanilanganak.Sauringpagpapalaki na ito mahuhubog ang kaisipan ng isang bata sa paggawa niya ng mga desisyon sa buhay at ito’y dadalhin niya hanggang sa paglaki. Sa aspetong ito ay may magandang punto ang pelikula dahill pinahahalagahan nito ang papel ng magulang at pamilya sa buhay ng isang tao. Ngunit mayroong kaunting pagmamalabis ang pelikula sa pagpapakita ng maraming eksena na may patungkol sa sekswalidad. Hindi naging malinaw ang tayo ng pelikula ukol sa maraming bagay na bumabagabag sa ating lipunan sa usaping ito. Sa kabuuan, ang pelikula ay maaring mag-iwan ng hindi magandang impluwensiya sa mga batang manonood at tunay naman na maraming maseselan na usapin sa pelikula kagaya ng insesto, pang-aabusong sekswal, pre-marital sex, prostitusyon, pornograpiya, sekswal na dibersyon at marami pang iba. Kaya nararapat lamang ang pelikula sa mga may edad 18 pataas.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010


The Cross
By Joseph P. Teodoro

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

The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awards
THE search for The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awards (TOKCA) is a project which coincides with the holding of the Knights of Columbus National Convention. The objectives of TOKCA are as follows: 1) To recognize the outstanding achievements of members in their respective professions worthy of emulation; 2) To project a strong public knowledge of the Mission of the Order of the Knights of Columbus; and 3) To provide inspiration to all members to live up to the cardinal principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism.
The Search for the 2009 TOKCA was formally launched in July 2009 during the District Organizational Meetings held in key cities nationwide. Two hundred eighteen brother knights accepted the nominations of their respective councils and endorsed by their parish priests. The privilege and honor but tedious task of choosing the winners lies in the shoulders of the Board of Jurors composed of the leaders of the Order and the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) which sponsored the project. Two independent jurors were also invited to the Board of Jurors. Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III served as the Chairman of the Board of Jurors. While most of the nominees are truly deserving, only eight of them are declared as The 2009 Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awardees. They will receive their trophies during the formal dinner of the 8th Knights of Columbus National Convention on April 16, 2010 at the Waterfront Lahug Hotel. Business


TOKCA Winners
Law and Judiciary

Reynaldo B. Odulio
Together with his wife Tessie, Bro. Reynaldo Odulio ventured into the business of motorcycles. From a humble beginning of three motorcycles, their business has grown nationwide and developed into what is presently known as the RBO Group of companies. Today, his group of companies employs more than 1,000 people. Bro. Odulio, a former district deputy, shares his treasures with the Church and community. Using his own resources, he spearheaded the construction of the Divine Mercy Chapel in Palayan City. Bro. Odulio regularly sponsors medical missions and health care programs for the benefit of his fellow Novo Ecijanos. Academe

Martin C. Ilao
Dr. Martin Ilao is an associate professor at the De la Salle University College of Science, Department of Chemistry for 17 years now. With the help of the KC Council, he organized a seminar by inviting hydrology experts from the De la Salle University to understand the cause and possible remedy of future floods in Sariaya, Quezon. He actively led the group in opposing the construction of a landfill/dumpsite in Sariaya which would jeopardize the tourism efforts of the town and adversely affect the health of the residents. Dr. Ilao is a past grand knight of Sariaya Council 6300. Government Service


Marteliano A. Alcontin
B r o . Marteliano Alcontin is a registered agriculture engineer and worked with the Department of Agriculture for 10 years as Municipal Cooperative Development Officer. He used his knowhow in helping farmers organize, register and operate cooperatives thereby making them self reliant. Bro. Alcontin is a former district deputy and an active lay minister in his parish.

Purisimo S. Buyco

Resurreccion S. Salvilla
Bro. Resurreccion Salvilla used his pen in defending the stand of Mother Church against death penalty and the reproductive health bill. He also wrote articles for the protection of the environment. During the election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention, he translated the 1935 Constitution in vernacular which became the discussion text for voters in Iloilo. Bro. Salvilla is a past grand knight of Molo Council 5028.

Journalism & Media

He garnered 4th place in the 1980 bar examinations after graduating from the University of the Philippines. He worked his way through college as a janitor and later on as a research assistant at the Central Philippine University in Iloilo where he obtained his AB History. Bro. Buyco together with a number of partners organized the Picazo, Buyco, Tan, Fider & Santos Law office in 1987. After a decade, the law firm became the 5th largest in the Philippines. Bro. Buyco heads the Labor Law and Litigation Group. He is a former district deputy in the Diocese of Malolos. While he has established himself in Bulacan, he never forgot his hometown in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo. Bro. Buyco extended valuable support and assistance for the construction of their Barangay chapel. Medical and HealthCare

Leopoldo Felix G. Saquing

Armando C. Velasco

Zacarias C. Candelaria
Dr. Candelaria is an active consultant at the Department of Surgery at the Mary Johnston Hospital. Although busy as consultant in a number of hospitals, he still finds time in providing free minor surgeries that benefits those who lack the financial resources. Dr. Candelaria is a past grand knight of his council for 2 terms.

TOKCA winners to be awarded at the 8th KC National Convention
THE winners of the 2009 Search for The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awards (TOKCA) will receive a plaque of recognition on April 16, 2010 during Dinner on the occasion of the 8th Knights of Columbus National Convention at the Waterfront Lahug Hotel in Cebu City. The winners were announced by the Board of Jurors during the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees held Friday, March 5, 2010 at Puerto Princesa City. TOKCA winners are Leopoldo Felix G. Saquing from Council 3706 (Luzon) for the Academe; Marteliano A. Alcontin from Council 10125 (Mindanao) for Agriculture; Reynaldo B. Odulio from Council 3692 (Luzon) for Business and Entrepreneurship; Martin C. Ilao from the Council 6300 (Luzon) for Engineering, Science and Technology; Armando C. Velasco from Council 3363 (Luzon) for Government Service; Resurreccion S. Salvilla from Council 5028 (Visayas) for Journalism and Media; Purisimo S. Buyco from Council 7745 (Luzon) for Law and Judiciary; Zacarias C. Candelaria from Council 10582 (Luzon) for

Bro. Leopoldo Saquing, as Principal of the Saint Mary’s University Grade School Department has personally worked after the spiritual welfare of parents, teachers, and pupils by coordinating the latter’s preparation and eventual reception of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. He is an incumbent district deputy and active minister of the Word and Minister of the Eucharist. The Saquings are also involved in the Christian Family Movement/Marriage Encounter. Bro. Saquing is deeply committed in the advocacy of protecting the biodiversity of the locality and in the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.

Bro. Velasco started his career in government service in March 1991. At present, he is a COMELEC Commissioner. His track record is checkered with awards and recognition specially in voters’ education, conduct of orderly elections in the Cordillera Administration Region (CAR) and in the preparation of future teachers for their role in elections. He is the incumbent grand knight of Fr. Carlu Council 3363 in Baguio City. In the community, he is active in sustaining the interest of the Igorota Foundation which is working towards the holistic development of women in CAR so that they can fully contribute to the development of the community.

Medical and Healthcare Services. The 8 winners were chosen from among 218 KC nominees coming from the three KC jurisdictions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Board of Jurors is composed of Msgr Pedro C. Quitorio III, as Chairman; and Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa, Prof. Felipe B. Alfonso, Patrocinio R. Bacay, Antonio B. Borromeo, Alonso L. Tan, Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr., and Sofronio R. Cruz, as members. (Joseph P. Teodoro/KCFAPI News)

THE winners of the Convention Extravaganza Blowout For U! (CEBU), an incentive program of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI) will join the 8th Knights of Columbus National Convention on April 16-18, 2010 in Cebu City. According to Joseph P. Teodoro, Vice-President of the Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG), the winners will enjoy a free trip to Cebu City plus a three-day and two-night accommodation at the Golden Prince Hotel to attend the upcoming KC National Convention.

CEBU incentive winners to join KC National Convention

The winners are Angelito T. Lat; Hugo M. Goce, Jr.; Danilo M. Tullao; Bonifacio M. Morales and Lauro L. Evangelista. This incentive program is intended for apprentice and regular fraternal counselors who have achieved the required minimum qualifying requirements. This is just one of the several incentives enjoyed by KCFAPI Fraternal Counselors aside from the Fr. George J. Willmann Annual Family Service Awards and the Presidential Challenge, which are among KCFAPI’s most prestigious awards for FCs. (KCFAPI News)


The Cross

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

Chairman’s Message
GOING into the concept of The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awards (TOKCA) is surely a laudable offer made by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI.) It has offered each Knight the chance to work for an award and in the process polish his dedication to the Order of the Knights of Columbus. It works too as a show window where committed involvement in one’s own chosen field will finally earn recognition. Each one of us knows it is not the motivation behind all the good works but everybody deserves recognition for any job well done although not necessarily solicited. In this particular project each brother knight has the opportunity to compete for the award in an equal playing field which is not often the case in other competitive endeavors. With diverse fields of involvement prac-

President’s Message
THE National Convention will be held on April 16 to 18, 2010 and The Outstanding Knights of Columbus Awardees for 2009 will be feted at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu. This early, I would like to extend my congratulations to all the TOKCA recipients and to the councils where they belong. The 8th National Convention will be graced by no less than the Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, his wife Sis. Dorian and some officers from the Supreme Office. Many of our Brother Knights from different councils in the Philippines will be represented together with their families. The Supreme Knight will meet our scholar priests and some council chaplains which will strengthen all the more the relationship of the Order to the Clergy. On the second day, the Barrio Fiesta which will be held at the Cebu International Convention Center, will give our visitors a glimpse of the Philippine culture with traditional dances, songs and to top it they will be treated to the true Filipino cuisine. National Conventions are being held every other three years and this year marks another National Convention where Brother Knights will band together and stand as one to show the nation and the world the solidarity of the Filipino Knights. In these times where the Pope himself is being castigated, we need to pray hard for the enlightenment of people and the spiritual strengthening of our Catholic faith. Indeed, only when we stand as one that we find the resolve to face the many challenges of this world.

Patrocinio R. Bacay

Antonio B. Borromeo

FBG holds fraternal service training in Cebu City
Fr. Willmann Charities scholars graduate with recognition
THE Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. has another batch of scholars who graduated with recognition. John Paul Almarez from the Prelature of Libmanan and Mario Cagurangan, Jr. of the Archiocese of Tuguegarao both graduated Cum Laude at the Central Seminary of the University of Santo Tomas last March 20. Ryan Serafin Sasis of the Divine Word School of Theology graduated Magna Cum Laude last March 27 and Jaime Ucab, Jr. of the Diocese of Surigao graduated Magna Cum Laude at the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary last March 17. All four scholars are under the scholarship program of the Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. which is responsible in sponsoring seminarians who are on the last four years of their priestly formation and priests who wish to go on further studies in ecclesiastical discipline. Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. is also one of the Corporate Social Responsibility arms of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) and its two corporate subsidiaries, Keys Realty Development Corporation and Mace Insurance Agency, Inc. (KCFAPI News) THE Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) held a fraternal service training (FST) at the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) Service Office in Cebu City last March 13, 2010. The training highlighted discussion on the Knights of Columbus Plans and the so-called, “Yamang Sapat sa Kailangan,” which was one of the topics tackled on the recent Insurance Institute for Asia and the Pacific (IIAP) in Manila. The discussion comprehensively talked about the Gold Series Plan, KC Dollar Heritage Plan and the

tically each brother knight can without reservation make this choice. The award criteria were laid out in a manner of impartiality. All members had a chance to go for it. We are proud of these who joined the competition. We thank each one of them for the special effort that went into it. This is a selection activity, there will be the qualifiers and those who did not make it but to KCFAPI you are all winners in your own ways by doing what you think is best as a Knight. Congratulations to the TOKCA awardees, may they be an inspiration to all of us. Congratulations to KCFAPI and thank you. Needless to say, time, talent and treasure were components in this quest. You also deserve to be rewarded. God Bless KCFAPI and the TOKCA awardees.

Special Plan for the Elderly Knights (SPEK), which are among the KCFAPI Products. The initial sales production steps and the Basic Computation of Contribution were also tackled. Floralin Bohol, Fraternal Benefits Associate (FBA), was the facilitator of the said training. Among those who came were the fraternal counselors from the Central Visayas Aces (CVA); Central Visayas Boomers (CVB); Central Visayas Catchers (CVC); and the Central Visayas Echo (CVE). (KFCAPI News)

John Paul S. Almarez of the Prelature of Libmanan and Mario Cagurangan, Jr. of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao.

Jaime Ucab, Jr., of the Diocese of Surigao, graduated Magna Cum Laude last March 17.

Squires appeal to gov’t to use resources on programs that promote life
THE Columbian Squires, a youth group of the Knights of Columbus has appealed to government leaders to use resources on programs and advocacies that promote life. “Sa mga ginagalang naming mga namumuno sa pamahalaan, hiling po sana naming mga kabataan na ang pera ni Juan de la Cruz sa kaban ng bayan ay maiukol sa mga gawaing makatutulong sa pagpapalaganap ng buhay na kaiga-igaya sa halip na pamimili at pagpapamigay ng libreng mga condoms at contraceptives na naglalayong pigilan ang pagsibol ng buhay,” said Gamaliel Marion Sampedro, State Bursar of the Columbian Squires. Sampedro read the statement of the youth group during the “Walk for Life” organized by the KC Luzon Jurisdiction last March 20 at the Rajah Sulayman Plaza in Malate, Manila. He also asked the leaders to abandon the Reproductive Health House Bill 5043 right away and called on the young people to be responsive to the teachings of the Catholic Church especially on issues about life and the family. “Huwag sabihing tayo ay bata pa. Ipakita nating may kakayahan tayo upang makapag-ambag para sa pagpapahalaga sa buhay. Maging aktibo tayong kabataan sa ating mga sariling komunidad o parokya. Sama-sama nating pahalagahan ang buhay,” he noted. The Columbian Squires of the Knights of Columbus is a dynamic organization of young Catholic gentlemen inspired by Bro. Barnabas McDonald, its founder. It is a group of Catholic young men between the ages of 10-18 who are members of a unit called CIRCLE. The group develops responsible youth leaders through spiritual, physical, intellectual and civic cultural formation. (Kate Laceda)

KC priests to gather for retreat
THE KC Priest-Scholar’s Association (KC-PSA) will be gathering for a retreat on April 14-16, 2010 at the Talavera House of Prayer in Cebu City. This retreat is organized by the Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. which is under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI). The gathering intends to deepen the relationship among members of the Association and share their experiences on the recently held Second (2nd) National Congress of the Clergy in Manila. Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu Bishop Julito B. Cortes will be the facilitator of the retreat while Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal will preside the opening mass.

According to the organizers, the theme of the retreat is, “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests,” which is also the theme of the Year for Priests declared by Pope Benedict XVI. The Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. has two levels of scholarship: first, for seminarians who are in their theology studies and, second, for priests who wish to pursue further studies in ecclesiastical disciples in local colleges or universities. It also manages the Fr. Michael McGivney Scholarship Fund that gives assistance to Filipino priests who wish to take up further studies in Rome. To date, this foundation has graduated 117 priests since its foundation in 1977. Three of them have become bishops. (KCFAPI News)

KCFAPI holds seminar on Sclerotherapy
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) recently held a health seminar about Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins last March 19. The said seminar was attended by employees of KCFAPI and its two subsidiaries, Keys Realty Development Corp. and Mace Insurance Agency and was facilitated by Dr. Bienvenido F. Del Mundo and KCFAPI Medical Consultant Dr. Jaime M. Talag. Among the topics discussed were facts about Varicose Veins, its symptoms, causes and risk factors, complications and treatment. According to Dr. Del Mundo, it is estimated that more than 80 million of the world population suffer from some form of venous disorder and it is more common in women than male in which up to 50% of female may be affected. Treatment may involve self-care measures or medical procedures to close or remove veins. One of the more commonly known treatments is called Sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy can be used to treat both varicose and spider veins. It involves injecting sclerosing agents such as sclerodine or sclerodex into a diseased dilated vein to induce a reaction in the endothelium or venous wall causing hardening and eventual occlusion of the varicose veins. With this procedure, veins can be dealt with an early stage, helping to prevent the complications. (KCFAPI News)

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

Auditor Underwriting Supervisor Accounting Staff BC Holders’ Relations Office Staff

The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc., is an established and progressive mutual benefits association operating for 51 years, has been highly committed to provide mutual aid and assistance to its members and their immediate families. KC Fraternal firmly believes that the continued progress and success of the association depends to a great extent on its human capital. KC Fraternal also believes that through training and a host of other benefits if coupled with hard work, will help employees and the association, attain their goals and objectives.

If you are dedicated, service-oriented, and have the promising potential to join us in our continuous drive to provide mutual aid, assistance and excellent service to our members. Kindly send your comprehensive resume’ thru fax number 527-2244 or hand-carry resume’ with a 2x2 photo and transcript of records to:

KC Family... Our Concern KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. Gen. Luna cor. Sta. Potenciana Sts., Intramuros, Manila You may also call 527 – 2223 local 202 for queries and look for Ms. Kristianne.

In our continuous drive to provide excellent service to our members, we are currently on the look-out for individuals with promising potentials. He must be dedicated, service oriented, and willing to undergo training. Our compensation and employee benefits are comparable, if not better than most companies of our same size and nature of business.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 8
April 12 - 25, 2010

The Cross


Living the New Evangelization
By Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
DURING the season of Lent, many dioceses, parishes and Catholic organizations run programs to bring lapsed Catholics back to the Church. Such programs are to be applauded. But as good—and even necessary—as these programs are, they often do not address the root of the problem: No one leaves the Catholic Church if Jesus Christ has changed his or her life and continues to be at its center. Of course, we each bear responsibility for our lives and our choices. As in the parable of the seeds in Chapter 8 of Luke’s Gospel, for many reasons, faith sometimes grows cold or is lost altogether. Reaching lapsed Catholics is important, and it requires a commitment to what Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have called a new evangelization. In an address to catechists and teachers Dec. 12, 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger—now Pope Benedict XVI—said this: “We can see a progressive process of de-Christianization and a loss of the essential human values, which is worrisome. A large part of today’s humanity does not find the Gospel in the permanent evangelization of the Church: That is to say, the convincing response to the question: How to live? “This is why we are searching for, along with permanent and uninterrupted and neverto-be-interrupted evangelization, a new evangelization, capable of being heard by that world that does not find access to ‘classic’ evangelization. Everyone needs the Gospel; the Gospel is destined to all and not only to a specific circle, and this is why we are obliged to look for new ways of bringing the Gospel to all.” Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have understood the need for a new discourse—an increased focus on the Eucharist, the sacraments and the liturgy—communicated by those who have a true relationship with Christ. As Cardinal Ratzinger said a decade ago: “This is why we are in need of a new evangelization—if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science— this art can only be communicated by [one] who has life—he who is the Gospel personified.” How should this evangelization be “new”? For one thing, it must include the laity. Every member of the Knights of Columbus has a role in demonstrating what Pope Benedict refers to as the joy that comes from saying “yes” to Jesus Christ. And our role as witnesses of the Catholic faith to the next generation has never been more important. A new Knights of Columbus/Marist poll revealed a combination of hopeful news and areas of concern for the Catholic Church among young Catholics. Encouragingly, the survey found that among young Catholics—not just practicing Catholics—85 percent believe in God. Their top two priorities are marriage and closeness to God. Eighty-two percent think marriage is undervalued, and more than 60 percent think abortion and euthanasia are morally wrong. That’s the good news. But what’s worrisome is that 61 percent believe Catholics can practice more than one religion; about two-thirds identify themselves as more “spiritual” than religious; and 82 percent see morals as relative. For them, and all who have lost the faith, we must be “the Gospel personified.” As Catholic laymen, Knights of Columbus have a key part to play. Pope Benedict laid out a plan for this new evangelization in a speech to the Scottish bishops this past February. He said: “The Church offers the world a positive and inspiring vision of human life, the beauty of marriage and the joy of parenthood. … Be sure to present this teaching in such a way that it is recognized for the message of hope that it is. All too often the Church’s doctrine is perceived as a series of prohibitions and retrograde positions, whereas the reality, as we know, is that it is creative and life-giving, and it is directed towards the fullest possible realization of the great potential for good and for happiness that God has implanted within every one of us.” Working in solidarity with our bishops and priests, we must lead by example and show the world the joy that comes from love and hope inspired by our faith. Vivat Jesus!

Luzon Deputy attends Charter Presentation, MACE celebrates 30 years of providing Fraternal Protection Installation of Officers in Pampanga
LUZON Deputy Alonso L. Tan attended the Charter Presentation and Installation of Charter Officers of the Sto. Rosario Council 14867 District S-17 in Bulacus, Masantol, Pampanga last March 28, 2010. The Council was sponsored by the Holy Family Council 13776 Colgante, Apalit, Pampanga. There were about 33 Charter members who were installed headed by Charter Grand Knight Benedicto V. Manansala Sr. District Deputy Narciso M. Maniacup installed the officers of the Sto. Rosario Council 14867. Present during the event were Former District Deputies Jose Pangan; Leonardo Gatuz; and Jorge Diaz; Area Manager Vic Pulangco and Joselito Guzman, Fraternal Counselor of the Holy Family Council 13776. Meanwhile, together with Tan were some of the Luzon State Officers namely, Jose Cuaresma, Columbian Squires Chairman and District Deputy Ramon Sanchez. (KC News)

The Knights of Columbus defends Holy Father

THE Knights of Columbus in the Philippines, being administered by the three Jurisdictions in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, under the leadership of State Deputies Alonso L. Tan, Dionisio R.Esteban, Jr., and Sofronio R. Cruz, manifests its unstinting and strong stand behind the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in his anguished moments caused by the very lamentable misinformation and utterly unfair statements surrounding the scandals involving inappropriate actions of a few members of the Clergy. These scandals, many of which unfortunately occurred several decades ago and which the Holy Father himself brought into the open for purposes of addressing the seriousness of the matter are now being unfairly directed against him by the media in the United States for very suspiciously selfish reasons. The focus of the US Media, particularly the New York Times, which apparently is being used by certain influential law practitioner for economic benefits, dwells more on the wrongdoings but none on the punishments being meted. Fortunately, the ugly and malicious statements by the US Media had not been picked up by the Philippine media. We, the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines are enjoined to come strongly in the defense of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI against these unfairness being hurled against him. (SK Alonso L. Tan)

MACE will be celebrating its 30th anniversary celebration on May 20, 2010 with a thanksgiving Mass and a recognition night. For its long fruitful years of existence, there will be souvenir items to be given to its loyal patrons as a token of appreciation for their continued support to the company. The present dedicated and supportive Board of Directors of Mace Insurance Agency, Inc. are as follows: Bro. Patricio J. Vera, Chairman; Bro. Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr., Vice-Chairman; Bro. Antonio T. Yulo, President; Bro. Pascual C. Carbero, Treasurer; Bro. Rene V. Sarmiento, Corporate Secretary, Bro. Lucenito N. Tagle, Director and Bro. Danilo A. Sanchez, Director. Aware of the growing need for more comprehensive insurance services of the members of the Knights of Columbus (K of C) and their immediate families, the Management of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) founded the MACE INSURANCE AGENCY, INC., on May 20, 1980. Its main purpose is to serve the members of the Knights of Columbus, their families and the insuring public various non-life insurance such as fire insurance, motor car insurance, medical and personal accident insurance, marine cargo insurance and bonds. Mace continues to offer its KC Shield of Protection package product which provide the most beneficial and inexpensive insurance coverage. These are the KC Home Protector, KC Car Shield and KC Health Care. (Basil B. Occeño)

Visayas Jurisdiction membership up to all time high
FOR the last 20 years, Visayas Jurisdiction continues to grow in membership. During the last two fraternal years alone, membership went to an all-time high of 50,807 members, a net gain of 5,420. As of March 31 this year, with still three months to go before the end of the Columbian year, the jurisdiction already registered a net gain of 2,998 members. Visayas Deputy Dionisio Esteban, Jr. attributes the success of membership growth to committed expansion and vigorous thrust of various district deputies through their respective councils. Showing concern and awareness for a continuing recruitment and retention expansion program, the jurisdiction, also instituted 29 new Councils, surpassing its quota of 20 or 145% over target performance. These include three college councils namely, Colegio de San AgustinBacolod, Capiz State University in Pontevedra and Naval State University in Biliran. This brings to a total of 34 college-based councils in the Visayas. There are now 571councils, jurisdiction-wide. The dynamic reactivation of suspended councils saw the reorganization of 7 councils. Now in the thick of preparations for the 8th National Convention which is to be hosted by the Jurisdiction, officers and members without let up has not relaxed a bit in the recruitment program. Esteban projects 35 - 40 councils by the end of the current Columbian Year, and membership would reach 54,647, an all-time high. Believing that membership drives, new council development and council reactivation are the keys for the Order to better propagate its principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, Visayas Deputy Jun Esteban concludes that there is still a lot to do, and more opportunities in expanding the reach of the Order. (Emm R. Espina)

KC Luzon hosts Founder’s Day with a Mass
IN celebration of the 128th Founder’s Day, the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction hosted a Eucharistic celebration last March 29 at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila. The fraternal mass is in honor of the beloved founder of the Knights of Columbus, The Venerable Servant of God, Fr. Michael J. McGivney. The mass was attended by the District Deputies, Grand Knights, Council Officers, KCFAPI officers and employees and other KC members in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, KC Assistant State Chaplain, was the main presider concelebrated by Msgr. Joselito Asis, CBCP Assistant Secretary General, Fr. William Araña and Fr. Asis Bajao. After the mass, a wreath-laying was held at the statue of Fr. Michael J. McGivney at the headquarters of Council 1000, led by Luzon Deputy Alonso Tan and his officers. According to Arsenio G. Yap, those District Deputies and Grand Knights in provinces who were not able to attend the mass at San Agustin Church, were encouraged to sponsor a Mass in their parishes and invite their Brother Knights and their families. Also, a membership contest titled “Founder’s Day Recruitment Challenge” was launched after the mass. The contest is intended for all the councils of the Knights of Columbus wherein winners will be awarded by category such as the council level, district level and the over-all winners. The jurisdiction will choose among three winners per category that have the most number of new recruits from March 1-31, 2010. The winners will receive a plaque and a certificate of recognition. (KC News)

Meet the New Executive Director of KC Foundations
LAST April 5, 2010, a new Executive Director of KC Foundations was named in the person of Mr. Roberto T. Cruz, otherwise known as “Sir Bobby”. The announcement was made shortly after a Eucharistic celebration held at the Knights of Columbus headquarters in Mr. Roberto T. Cruz, Executive Director Intramuros, Manila. of KC Foundations Sir Bobby is a B.S. Management Engineering graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. He finished his Masters Degree in Business Management from the Asian Institute of Management. Prior to joining KC Foundations, he used to work in a commercial bank where he stayed for more than 20 years. His extensive stint with the company handling Executive level position, earned him knowledge in corporate planning, stockbrokerage and corporate governance. Though he is new to the KC Foundations, his heart has long been with the order of the Knights of Columbus being a son of former Luzon Deputy, the late Sir Knight Lauro M. Cruz. As a member himself, he has been attached and very much involved with the order. He is a 3rd degree member of KC Council 3695 and presently its musical director. As the new Executive Director of KC Philippines Foundation and KC Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc., he will be responsible for conceptualizing, developing and implementing activities related to or concerning the two Foundations. As one family, KC Foundations and KCFAPI welcomes Sir Bobby Cruz! (Ma. Kristianne Pascual)


The Cross

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 8

April 12 - 25, 2010

KC MINDANAO Jurisdiction held its Walk for Life rally last March 20 in support of the campaign simultaneously held throughout the country. About 1,000 marched from Sta. Ana Parish ground after a short briefing, prayers and blessing by Rev. Fr. Orlando Angelia, the Archdiocesan Family and Life Director. The rally was led by a contingent of 48 Honor Guards, followed by Brothers in Official dress (Barong Tagalog), then by representatives from different archdiocesan organizations and parishioners. A group of students from local colleges also joined the March. About 800 marchers came from three branches of the Civic Action group of Air Force, Army and

KC Mindanao supports Walk for Life

Navy, having their camp in the nearby City District. After an hour of walk, the Marchers carrying the different Pro-life slogans on banners and streamers arrived at the San Pedro Cathedral. A short program was held with a talk from City Councils focusing on Catholic stand against the Reproductive Health bill which was being pushed through. Following the talk a letter of encouragement by the Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson regarding the simultaneous activity of Defending Life by the three Philippine Jurisdictions was read. A Eucharistic celebration presided over by Rev. Fr. Paul Cuizon, JCD served as an appropriate ending to the Walk for Life activity. (Bro. Sofronio Cruz)

KCFAPI holds SICAP Spiritual Session
THE Social Improvement through Community Action Program (SICAP) of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) organized a catechism class for its initial beneficiaries. The session was held last March 23, 2010 at the KC Youth Livelihood Center in Intramuros, Manila. Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, KCFAPI Chaplain, was the facilitator of the session. He discussed the topic: “Ano ang Diyos para sa Akin.” The activity gave the members of SICAP an opportunity to withdraw from their usual fast paced daily activity and revisit their relationship with God. According to Ira Tee, the project in-charge, the participants were very grateful and appreciative of the catechism. “The members get to participate in group sharing during the activity,” Tee noted. Following this is a health seminar on Breast Care and Breast Cancer Prevention which will be held on April 19, 2010. SICAP intends to institute social development that focuses on socio-economically challenged households, through recognizing their needs and providing them appropriate means towards sustainable living and self-reliance. Aside from livelihood trainings which aim to address sustainable living, SICAP also offers other seminars/activities to promote proper well-being such as values formation, social and health awareness and also voters’ education. Presently there are 24 active women participants of the program coming from Brgy. 658, in Intramuros, Manila. (KCFAPI News)

SICAP members participated in group sharing facilitated by Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, KCFAPI Chaplain, during the Spiritual session held March 23 at the KC Youth Livelihood Center, Intramuros, Manila.

THOUSANDS of anti-condom demonstrators gathered in at least eight Philippine cities to protest against what a Catholic Church official described as a “grand conspiracy against life.” Head Organizer Luzon Deputy Alonso 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 the 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

Thousands protest condom use

SICAP members with Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, KCFAPI Chaplain, after their spiritual session held March 23.

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 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 that 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 solution to AIDS. Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, media office director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said that the condom promotion is happening in many countries and that condoms promote promiscuity. He said the contraceptive also give the person the false sense of security that they are protected, hence; sexual activity increases. He pointed out the experience of sev-

eral countries that saw the exponential rise of AIDS cases when they started using condom. Quoting Edward Green in his 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, low-cost behavioral change program—stressing increased monogamy and delayed sexual activity for young people—have made the greatest headway in fighting or preventing the spread of the disease.” Tan said simultaneous rallies were also held in Baguio, Bayombong, Tuguegarao, Tarlac, San Fernando (Pampanga), Tacloban, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao. (CBCPNews)

KCFAPI Pilgrimage 2010. The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) held a Pilgrimage in Kamay ni Hesus Shrine n Lucban, Quezon last March 27. The said Pilgrimage was attended by the employees of KCFAPI and its subsidiaries, representatives from CBCP Media and KCFAPI Spiritual Director Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III.

KCFAPI joins Walk for Life 2010 rally. Employees of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) and its subsidiaries during the Walk for Life rally held last March 20. The said pro-life activity is spearheaded by the Knights of Columbus Jurisdictions and was simultaneously held throughout the country.

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