Pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied Communion, prelate says
Message of the Holy Father on the Occasion of the XXIII World Youth Day
Knights of Columbus Supplement
Gov’t subsidies seen as tactic for ‘phantom-filled’ SONA
THE government’s new round of subsidies for the poor is more of a tactic to build a “phantom-filled” State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Arroyo this month, an outspoken Catholic prelate said. Apathetic with the Arroyo administration’s recent efforts, Archbishop Oscar Cruz made the warning after the government announced it is going to release another P4 billion worth of
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Prelate hits gov’t over lack of openness about JPEPA
A TRANSPARENT lack of transparency. This was how a Catholic archbishop cried foul against the Arroyo administration for constantly invoking executive privilege over alleged anomalous government projects. The sentiment followed an outcry for the Arroyo government to allow its officials to fully disclose terms of the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
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Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace July 21 - August 3, 2008 Vol. 12 No. 15 Php 20.00
CBCP hasn’t ok’d condom use for HIV/AIDS patients
AN official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) clarified there is no directive from the Vatican that married couples infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and those with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) can use condoms. Fr. Melvin Castro, the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) of CBCP denounced earlier media reports that CBCP has given permission to use condoms for those with HIV/AIDS. “Media misinterpret Church’s teachings especially regarding contraceptives and abortion to suit their political and media agenda and sensationalize it accordingly to increase readership and viewers and attract advertisers,” Castro told CBCPNews. Under no circumstances that both Vatican and CBCP have ever made an official statement that the use of condoms is okayed as a last resort, Castro added. However, there have been several clamors among sections of the society, NGOs, political parties and anti-life groups clamoring for use condoms by HIV/AIDS patients, the priest said.
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SENATE President Manny Villar has assured Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus Dosado, CM of his firm stand against anti-life bills during their meeting on July 14 at the Archbishop’s residence, Banadero, Ozamiz City. Villar met with the Archbishop a day after the prelate has issued a statement saying pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied Holy Communion unless they stop their pro-abortion campaign. Dosado expressed elation upon knowing that Villar is one of the three pro-life senators in the senate together with Senators Nene Pimentel and Chiz Escudero. At the meeting, Villar gave the assurance that there is no threat the 14th congress may pass the anti-life bills because majority of the Representatives in the Lower House are pro-lifers. Earlier, Dosado’s pastoral letter stating his unequivocal stand against anti-life politicians made headlines. Dosado said that in 2002 he issued the same pastoral letter stating the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians that their parish priests should meet them; instruct them about the Church’s teaching, inform them that they should not receive Holy Communion unless they stop their pro-abortion actions. The prelate said he called and met with Misamis Occidental first district Congresswoman Hermie
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At “The Forum, a weekly media discussion organized by Church-based media organizations, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life executive secretary Fr. Melvin Castro rejected as “morally unacceptable” the reproductive health bill now pending in Congress. Religious and pro-life organizations are locked in a struggle with some lawmakers over a legislative initiative to institute a massive regime of population control that would employ contraceptives, sterilization and sex education.
Church takes fight vs birth control to the street
By Roy Lagarde
PROPONENTS of the reproductive health and population control measures will have to contend with thousands of faithful marching in the streets in protest. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said this will be a movement of Christian believers opposing such “immoral” policies. Fr. Melvin Castro, CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life executive secretary, said they are gearing for a possible protracted protest to ensure that their respective positions are heard and considered. Castro said the “prayer rally” this week is just a prelude of more rallies if Congress pushed through in approving bills that allow the use of artificial birth control methods in family planning. Thousands of faithful are expected to join the rally at the parade ground of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on July 25 to show their opposition against a proposed population policy. The event will coincide with the CBCP’s celebration of the Humanae Vitae’s 40th year, the landmark encyclical issued by Pope Paul VI that deals with Church’s uncompromising stand on birth control. Castro said the rally will be started with a protest march from Santo Domingo Parish Church in Quezon City to the UST campus. “It will be a bit festive because of the Humanae Vitae’s 40th year but very militant as well,” Castro said.
Islamic Council condemns threats to Basilan Catholics
PROFESSOR Tajah Basman, President of the Philippine Islamic Council, condemned the threats on Bishop Martin S. Jumoad, the clergy and the Catholic faithful in Basilan province. In a statement sent to CBCPNews, Professor Basman said “they find the letter funny and bizarre Bishop Martin S. Jumoad, DD because even the Muslim leaders in Saudia Arabia, Brunei, Egypt, Malaysia, etc. don’t impose jizya (tax) or ask OFWs to convert to Islam.” “Religious freedom is the rule of Islam and Muslims must not deviate from the true teachings of Islam,” he further added. He described the situation in Basilan as “a police matter, which must not affect the good relations among Filipinos.” “Prophet Mohammad sent letters when he was Head of the Caluphate of Islam. The Basilan letter senders are not even Barangay kagawads or Mayor so they don’t have any authority to impose anything to the bishop and the Christians anywhere,” Professor Basman explained. After the threatening letters reached members of the clergy and religious of the Prelature of Isabela
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The CBCP official said the gathering will particularly denounce the pending “Act providing for a national policy on reproductive health, responsible parenthood and population development.” The Church official said it is a consolidation of various reproductive health bills and services which
is now moving with “great speed” in the lower House. Provisions of the substitute bill include full funding for ligation and vasectomy and other family planning methods considered as anti-life and antifamily by the Catholic Church. Atty. Jo Imbong, CBCP Legal Office executive secretary, said these methods are to be part of PhilHealth benefits and fully subsidized by the same for indigent patients and identified sectors. In the bill, she said, hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and injectables which have been identified as cancer-causing and hazardous to women’s health by the World Health Organization are proposed as “essential medicines”. She added these birth control methods are also proposed to be delivered by Mobile Health Care Service vans in all Congressional Districts which will be paid for largely by Catholic taxpayers.
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DOPIM SAC Directors fear violent ARMM polls
THE Social Action Directors of the ecclesiastical province of Dipolog, Ozamiz, Pagadian, Iligan and Marawi (DOPIM) expressed fears the coming ARMM election may bring peace and order problems due to unsolved killings and the so-called unpredictable moves of one MILF Commander Bravo. Fr. Zacharias Montefalcon, Ozamiz Social Action Director told CBCPNews that DOPIM social action directors met on July 10 at Movers for Peace, Bañadero, Ozamiz City where Marawi Social Action director Fr. Jovit Malinao said Marawi City residents expressed fears due to the coming ARMM election. Malinao reported that there were unsolved killings and rare kidnapping in ARMM area and people are afraid of a possible conflict that may arise because of the unpredictable moves of MILF Commander Bravo and the reported sighting of a “spy plane” in the area. The DOPIM social Action Directors’ meeting were attended by Fr. Albert Bael of Dipolog, Fr. Zachariaz Montefalcon of Ozamiz, Abeth Montiza of Pagadian, Fr. Albert Mendez of Iligan and Fr. Jovit Malinao from the Prelature of Marawi. The DOPIM social action directors urged the local government of ARMM including the PNP to investigate the unsolved killings in the area and move to resolve current tension relative to the coming ARMM election. Montefalcon added that as agreed by the DOPIM social action directors, they will regularly meet once every two months to assess and evaluate their program of activities and discuss issues and conDOPIM / A6
Biking priest won’t apologize for saying boxing is brutal
REDEMPTORIST biking priest Amado Picardal clarified that he will not apologize to the irate fans of Manny Pacquiao who were angry at him because of his comments about boxing as a brutal sport. Picardal bluntly stated in his blogspot recently that he is not being thrilled about Pacquiao’s victory and he refused to hail him as a hero. “I am probably one of the few who is not rejoicing over Pacquiao’s victory. I am appalled at the sight of two boxers trying to hurt each other and knock each other down. I cannot stomach nor can I glorify violence. I am never impressed by anyone who proves to be a better or more brutal fighter in the ring,” Picardal said. “Boxing is the modern day equivalent of the gladiatorial combat in ancient Rome. These fights among slaves were organized by the Emperors to entertain the masses so that they can forget their problems. Of course, boxers don’t try to kill each other, but many have been maimed or have even died,” he added. “I believe that brutal sports such as boxing have no place in civilized society. We should stop considering boxers as heroes. If the only thing we can be proud of is our boxers like Manny Pacquiao shame on us,” he further comBiking / A6 mented.
Photo by Roy Lagarde / CBCPMedia
Solon assures bishop against support of anti-life bills
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
Next World Youth Day will be in Madrid, Pope announces
Final Mass was largest gathering of people in Australia’s history
SYDNEY, Australia, July 20, 2008—The Final Mass concluding World Youth Day celebrations contained a number of distinctive features. First and foremost among the highlights is that it was the largest gathering of people in the history of Australia. This Mass was the grandest and most significant one in Australia’s history, attended by twenty-six cardinals, 420 bishops and thousands of priests and religious. Another extraordinary occurrence was the Confirmation of 24 people, including fourteen Australians and Juan Martinez from the U.S.A. It was a momentous task to distribute Communion to the masses, which involved 1,300 priests, Acolytes and Extraordinary Ministers. “This whole week has just been a magnificent eye-opener to how faith and God is alive among young people and the Church in Australia,” said Fr. Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman. “Never before has Australia and Sydney seen such a mass gathering of happy and exuberant young people% it completely transformed our city!” Tomorrow, the Holy Father will thank the 8,000 volunteers at a special farewell party in the Domain beginning at 8:00 a.m. The final farewell of the Holy Father will be at Sydney Airport when he boards his Qantas flight to Rome at 10:00 a.m. on Monday. Adrianna, one of the pilgrims revelling in Spain’s chance to host WYD11, invited all pilgrims to Spain saying, “It’s a very beautiful country, there’s lots to see. People are very friendly, you’ll make lots of friends and have fun there with all of us.” (CNA)
SYDNEY, Australia, July 20, 2008—At the Final Mass for World Youth Day in Sydney, Pope Benedict announced that the next World Youth Day would be held in Madrid, Spain in 2011. Spanish pilgrims erupted into excited chants of “Viva el Papa” “Estaes la juventud del Papa” (Long live the Pope, We are the youth of the Pope), waving a sea of yellow and red Spanish flags when the announcement was made. Antonio, 30 from Madrid, Spain said, “I’m very happy, very well, I’m happy that they chose Spain. We had something in ‘CuatroVientos,’ it wasn’t a WYD but it was a gathering of young people, and it had a
good response, so I think that it will be good. We will try to do it as well as they did it in Australia, but they set a high standard.” “It was impressive when the Pope said that the next WYD will be in Madrid, because I think that in Spain we need the young people to be witnesses to Christ, even when it seems that we are a very Catholic country with a lot of faith, we need to revitalize it, and rejuvenate it. We also need it because as Spanish people we want to give to others, the things we already received,” said the 26 year-old Azucena. “I love that it’s in Spain, firstly because I think that Spanish people are funny and
warm. Secondly I think it’s better for me because it’s closer than Australia,” said Flavio Lombardi, 17 from Madrid. “I love to be here and I love Australia. I think that the World Youth Day here was fantastic,” he said. “I am very happy because it is needed and I’m really looking forward to being a volunteer. I’m a bit disappointed that it’s not in another place because I will not be able to learn about another country, but I’m very happy that it’s in Spain.” Later today Cardinal Antonio MaríaRouco Varela will hold a press conference to discuss the announcement that his Archdiocese will host the next World Youth Day. (CNA)
Vatican requests exhumation of Cardinal Newman’s remains
dures surrounding the creating of new saints by the Catholic Church concerns their earthly remains. “These have to be identified, preserved and, if necessary, placed in a new setting which befits the individual’s new status in the Church. “We hope that Cardinal Newman’s new resting place in the Oratory Church in Birmingham will enable more people to come and pay their respects to him, and perhaps light a candle there. “Many will surely wish to honor this great and holy man.” The exhumation and re-interment of Newman’s remains [will be approved by the] Birmingham City Council and the Ministry of Justice, which was accused of “procrastinating” but is expected to approve the action soon. Newman, who became an Oratorian priest after his conversion, was involved in founding the Birmingham Oratory. At his funeral more than 15,000 people lined the route to his burial place located beside other deceased members of his community. (CNA)
President of Colombian bishops: ‘The guerrillas have lost touch with reality’
BOGOTA, Colombia, July 17, 2008—In an interview with the Colombian magazine Cambio, the new president of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Archbishop Ruben Salazar, said the guerrilla rebels in the country “have lost touch with reality.” The bishop encouraged the rebels to free all of the hostages and to sit down for negotiations. “The world has changed substantially during recent years and the guerillas have remained stuck in the past. They have lost touch with reality. Violence can never be the path for achieving a profound renewal of society in justice and peace. The guerillas must recognize that the moment has come to free all of the hostages and to sit down at the negotiating table. In this way they can still make a contribution to the future of the country,” the archbishop said. He also noted that the Church neither supports nor opposes the government. “The task of the Church is to be ‘salt and light.’ And she should help clearly to discover concrete paths that lead to what is good. We all need to act with a greater sense of the common good. To do this one needs to be able to renounce personal or group interests. This should be a part of any decision,” the archbishop stressed. “One of the tragedies of the human being,” he went on, “is that he does not live according to how he thinks, and therefore he ends up thinking according to how he lives. Without the strong experience of a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus, it is easy to choose the wrong path. The coherence between faith and daily life is the fundamental condition for being a Christian,” he said. (CNA)
Self-control, not condoms, is best HIV preventer, South African cardinal says
on condoms would not change the rate of HIV infection in Africa. Rather, he argued, positive change would result from trusting people to take control of their lives. “You expect that because people are hearing from bishops, `You must use a condom’, that they will do what the bishops say? the cardinal asked his interviewer. “We have already been preaching all our lives, don’t have sex outside of marriage,” Cardinal Napier told the SBS Dateline program, according to the Australian Associated Press. The cardinal, who is visiting Sydney for World Youth Day, said South Africa has the highest rate of condom distribution, but still has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. He cited the Uganda program against HIV infection as a successful model. There, he said, the HIV prevalence rate was reduced from 29 to 6 percent in ten years with a program that promoted abstinence for unmarried Ugandans and monogamy for couples. The program also issued condoms only to married people. Cardinal Napier said the Church trusted in people’s ability to control their own lives. “At the moment, if you go on a policy of condom distribution as the only solution to HIV and AIDS, you are telling people that they cannot take control of their own lives,” he said. “And, therefore, I think you are doing them an injustice by saying: ‘You are so stupid. Even though this disease is a killer, you cannot take control of your own lives.’” (CNA)
LONDON, UK, July 16, 2008—The exhumation of Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman has been requested by the Vatican to make veneration easier for his devotees. The prominent nineteenth-century convert from the Church of England is being considered for beatification, the last step before he is declared a saint. Cardinal Newman’s body was buried in a small cemetery at Rednal in 1890. According to the Telegraph, the Vatican wants his remains to be moved to a marble sarcophagus in the Birmingham Oratory. Father Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, explained the reason for the request: “One of the centuries-old proce-
Canada’s 230,000 Knights asked to call for revocation of Morgentaler’s award
OTTAWA, Canada, July 19, 2008— Mr. Natale Gallo, President of the Canadian Association of Knights of Columbus, has called on Canada’s 230,000 Knights to voice their opposition to the awarding of abortionist Hans Morgentaler with the Order of Canada and written a letter to Governor General Michaëlle Jean asking for the decoration to be “immediately rescinded.” Gallo, the Canadian Knights of Columbus president, accused the Governor General of forgetting the hundreds of thousands of “links” in the “human chain” that have died from abortion in Canada and he urged all Canadian knights to contact their government officials to demand the revocation of the honor. Twelve of Canada’s 88 bishops are known to have also publicly criticized the honoring of Morgentaler, LifeSiteNews reports. The critical bishops often exhorted their flocks to witness to the value of human life, to help those tempted to abort their unborn children, and to love and forgive those who have experienced abortion. Bishop Fougere said the decision “belittles” the Order of Canada and those who have received it in the past. He asked Catholics to meditate on an important question, saying: “In your prayer, ask yourself the question: have we reached such a stage of moral and ethical bankruptcy?” In a July 16 letter to Governor General Michaëlle Jean, Natale Gallo referenced her Canada Day comments referring to each Canadian making a “human chain” for the benefit of all. “Yet, shortly after your remarks, in a list published through your office, we learned that one of the nominees for the Order of Canada award was Henry Morgentaler. Somewhere in between, you forgot the hundreds of thousands of ‘links’ that over the last forty years have been disposed of, thus breaking that ‘human chain’ of which you proudly spoke.” Gallo said the bestowal of the award upon Morgentaler “denigrates” the Order of Canada to the point that it becomes “meaningless, futile and divisive.” He also wrote that he expected the award to be rescinded immediately. Writing in a separate letter to Canadian Knights of Columbus, Gallo noted that the Order of Canada motto, from the Letter to the Hebrews, reads “desiderantes meliorem patriam,” meaning “those who desire a better country.” “Indeed it is a sad day when this honor is bestowed upon such an individual as Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who has brought destruction to the helpless and defenseless unborn,” Gallo wrote. He exhorted Knights of Columbus state deputies and the more than 230,000 Canadian knights “to stand united with our bishops” and to contact the offices of the Prime Minister, the Governor General, and their respective Members of Parliament to express their “revulsion” at presenting the award to Morgentaler. ”It is imperative for us to urge our Canadian government leaders to ensure that this act of dishonor against our country and our families is revoked,” Gallo wrote. (CNA)
Cardinal Wilifrid Fox Napier
SYDNEY, Australia, July 17, 2008—Cardinal Wilifrid Fox Napier, the Archbishop of Durban, South Africa, told an Australian news program that a change in Catholic teaching
Boycotters protest McDonald’s support for ‘homosexual agenda’
WASHINGTON, DC, July 19, 2008—Some supporters of traditional marriage are protesting the fast food corporate giant McDonald’s over its decision to join the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and its spokesman’s remarks suggesting those who disapprove of homosexual acts are driven by hatred. The American Family Association had organized a boycott of McDonald’s for joining the NGLCC, Cybercast News Service reports. The boycott coalition also objects to the corporation’s donation of $20,000 to the chamber and the chamber membership of Richard Ellis, McDonald’s vice president of communications. The announcement of the boycott prompted McDonald’s spokesman Bill Whitman to say in response “Hatred has no place in our culture. That includes McDonald’s, and we stand by and support our people to live and work in a society free of discrimination and harassment.” The comment was an “insult” according to Matt Barber, director of cultural affairs at the Liberty Counsel, which supports the boycott “He insulted tens of millions of Americans who believe that the historical definition of marriage between one man and woman is important and crucial to society. He said that we’re haters and we’re motivated by hate. That, on its face, is a bold-face lie,” he told Cybercast News Service. Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, also attacked the comments. “This is a canard that the homosexual activists have been pushing for years—that if you oppose homosexual activism you are somehow a ‘bigot,’ or a ‘hater’ or a ‘homophobe.’ It’s a scandal to see a spokesman for a seemingly pro-family organization like McDonald’s echoing the gay line like this,” LaBarbera said. McDonald’s did not respond directly to questions about Whitman’s comments. However a letter attributed to McDonald’s chief diversity officer Pat Harris, said: “At McDonald’s, we respect and value everyone… Diversity and inclusion are business imperatives and integral parts of our culture. We have a long and proud history of leadership in these areas and continually strive to maintain a work environment where everyone feels valued and accepted.” “We recognize and appreciate the contributions diverse groups and individuals bring to our society, including McDonald’s. We stand behind and support everyone’s right to live and work in a society free from discrimination and harassment.” A statement from NGLCC president Justin Nelson and CEO Chance Mitchell said the main focus of the organization is to connect major corporations with “LGBT-owned (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered) businesses that want to ensure their diverse supply chain looks like the customer and employee bases they have, or the customer and employee bases they are trying to attract. “A company’s decision to become a corporate partner doesn’t reflect its entrance into the socalled ‘culture wars,’ as the conservative AFA suggested, but rather its commitment to diversity in the workplace and in its supplier relationships.” Labarbera challenged the statement, saying the NGLCC is “a homosexual group which is working to extend advances made by homosexual activist groups over the last two decades or more” that also takes positions on legislation that concerns homosexuality. “McDonald’s paid $20,000 so that one of its top executives could have a seat on the (NGLCC’s) board of directors,” LaBarbera said, according to Cybercast News Service. “How is that not an endorsement of the homosexual agenda?” (CNA)
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
Pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied Communion, prelate says
REITERATING the Catholic Church’s stand against abortion Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado, CM said pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied Holy Communion until they bring to an end the objective situation of sin. In a pastoral letter released July 13, Dosado said a Catholic politician who consistently campaign and vote for permissive abortion should be instructed on Church’s teachings and informed by parish priests that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin or otherwise he will be denied the Eucharist. Quoting from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” , number 3-4, the prelate stressed that when these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they where not possible, and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it. Dosado added that this decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of the Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin. Citing the General Principles of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), June 2004, titled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion” Dosado said taking Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one’s worthiness to do so. The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion merely as a consequence of being present at Mass is an abuse that must be corrected. Dosado stressed not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion. “For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war, but not about abortion,” he added. The local ordinary said apart from an individual’s judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin. (Wendell Talibong)
Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado, CM
Diocese focuses on Bishop tells Gov’t ‘to stop values through FEC killings of farmers in Masbate’
The death of Yusi, president of the Ticao Farmers Federation and the Samahang Anak ng Magsasaka ng Famosa, Inc. (SAMFAI), occurred barely two weeks following the murder of peasant leaders Rene Llabres and Junrie Pagaspas. The three were reportedly killed by armed men in military uniforms. Yusi was the provincial chair of Ugnayan ng Mga Nagsasariling Organisasyon sa Kanayunan (UNORKA) in Masbate. In Dec. 2007, New People’s Army guerillas allegedly killed peasant leader Mark Anthony Vale, a village captain. Vangie Mendoza, national coordinator of UNORKA, said about 40 farmers have been killed nationwide since 2001. “Government and military are not doing enough to stop killings of farmers,” she said in a press conference at the CBCP. Masbate bishop Joel Baylon earlier reported that he, some priests and Catholics, have been receiving death threats allegedly from Muslim rebel groups, anti-social groups and landlords. Killings of farmers and landless peasants are related to land dispute. The CBCP demanded for the immediate action on the killers and perpetrators of violence in Masbate.
Photo by Dennis DAyao / CBCPMedia
Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ
IN a press conference July 21, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, executive chair of the Second National Rural Congress, appealed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to “stop the killings in Masbate” and “secure the lives and communities of farmers.” “It is the landless, the exploited, the disadvantaged and the powerless who have the single most urgent claim on the conscience of the nation today. It is also the death of Ka Bito and the 45 others who were also killed in the name of agrarian reform, whose children, families and fellow farmers seek justice for the lost lives and the rightful claim to the lands they tilled and died for,” he said. The latest victim was a peasant leader Alberto Yusi, July 20. He is the fourth victim in land-reform related killings in the province in less than seven months.
Making a statement on the recently concluded Second National Rural Congress last July 7-8, Ledesma said as Catholic bishops, pastors, leaders, and teachers, they listened with faith to voices of the rural poor. For many people in the country, farming is a way of life, not just another business and it helps feed the nation. Despite the strong support from farmers and their organization, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) funding was not extended last July 10, 2008. Since then, farmers are left on their own to hurdle grave threats in their lives and communities. This is evident in the recent killing of farmers in Masbate. The farmers had earlier been dissuaded from pursuing their land reform petition because they were informed “CARP is already finished.” Farmers were also prevented from farming and harvesting coconuts. Their farm lots were also taken over by people who were ‘loyal’ to the Hacienda Batuan owner. In Calatagan, Batangas, Asturias Industries attempted to enter the 507 hectares that have previously been granted Emancipation Patents to farmers through Presidential Decree No. 27. Farmers are calling on government to have the Mining Production Sharing Agreement granted to Asturias Industries rescinded and the lands covered by CARP, as these remain agricultural holdings. Ledesma said, “The Second National Rural Congress underlined an agreement that there should be wider and equitable distribution of land for the small farmers, that landlessness is a problem, that large landholdings should be broken up, that farmers should have secure tenure and assisted to produce more and raise household incomes, and that land-to-the tiller should continue to be the underlying principle of the country’s agrarian reform.” (Santosh Digal)
THE Diocese of Mati is now strengthening the preservation of Christian values through its formation program dubbed as “family ecclesial communities” (FEC). According to Sr. Mila Arnado, LGC the FEC is just like the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) program where the formation is centered on understanding and appreciating the Word of God. The FEC program is conducted through prayer, worship and listening to the Word of God and is being done inside the families’ respective homes and family members gather together as one community. Arnado as quoted by Davao CATHOLIC HERALD also stressed that being a domestic Church the family should be strengthened. Arnado also believe that as families are strengthened, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) will also be strengthened
since the families are the ones who belong to the BEC. FEC started three years ago and is now organized in the five parishes in the diocese namely Sacred Heart Parish in Mati, El Salvador del Mundo in Caraga, Sto. Rosario Parish in Calapagan, San Ignacio Governor Generoso and St. Francis Xavier in Sigaboy, Davao Oriental. Meantime, in Davao City there is an on-going seminar which aims to help the faithful grow in faith held at San Pedro Cathedral Parish which started July 14 to 18. With the theme, “Christian Growth Seminar,” the gathering is intended for those who are part of charismatic communities and for those who have attended the Catholic Life in the Spirit Seminar held last summer. The nightly seminar starts at 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Registration is free. (Mark S. Ventura)
Nuncio urges clergy to be open to signs of the times
IN a meeting with the clergy of the Archdiocese of Caceres and Prelature of Libmanan, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, urged the priests to remain open to the changes of the times so as to become effective men of God. The apostolic nuncio met the clergy at the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, a day after the installation of Libmanan Bishop Jose Rojas, Jr. on July 2. He stressed that priests should be happy in the work they do challenging them to continuously adjust to the changing needs of the times to become effective in their ministry. He also conveyed to them the message from the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Of the more than 300 priests who attended the installation rites, almost the same number attended the meeting with the papal nuncio. The local clergy were happy for the chance to meet with the Apostolic Nuncio. Most of priests who attended the meeting said the nuncio’s message was timely and relevant. “We were like cellular phones whose batteries are low and his message helped us recharge,” said Father Granwell Pitapit, parish priest of St. Joseph the Patriarch in Bahay, Libmanan, Camarines Sur. (Elmer Abad)
CBCP reiterates demand for CARP extension with reforms
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed to the Arroyogovernment to extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) with reforms. Speaking at a press conference on July 21 at the CBCP Media Office, Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, chair of the CBCP public affairs committee, said that agrarian reform, through a reformed CARP, be placed at the center of the country’s agricultural development, transformation and competitiveness. CBCP also demanded that Congress should approve House Bill 4077 for the extension of the CARP. Poverty is mostly a rural and agricultural phenomenon which has to be addressed to for the sake of agricultural progress and sustainable economic development, said Iñiguez. The prelate reiterated that studies provide categorical evidence that agrarian reform translated into faster agricultural development, which, in turn, leads to sustainable economic growth. In the Philippines, studies show that inequality in asset distribution, particularly land, is associated with slower growth. CBCP denied the argument that agrarian reform is an obstacle to large-scale production efficiencies. Instead, the experience of contract growing, cooperative farming, and similar arrangements in the Philippines, and in other countries, indicates that there is no incompatibility between large-scale production and small-scale ownership of land. The bishops also wrote a letter to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, Senate President Manny B. Villar, and Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno urging them for the “direct and physical distribution of all agricultural lands as opposed to non-redistributive schemes.” The other concerns included in the bishops’ demands are to “address policy and implementation problems that are obstacles to the completion of the CARP extension program, the requisite appropriations of at least P50 billion, ensure strengthened credit and support services to farmer beneficiaries, and Congressional monitoring and oversight with major CARP stakeholders of CARP implementation and Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) performance.” CARP extension with progressive reforms would truly benefit poor farmers who remain landless, barely able to eke out a decent living from one day to the next, said Iñiguez. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law was enacted as a social justice measure to address the inequality of over-concentration of land ownership. After 20 years, 1.3M hectares of CARP lands remain undistributed, consisting mainly of large haciendas that have been included in the CARP from its inception. Poverty still exists in the country, not because of CARP but because it has not been fully and properly implemented. “There is no doubt that the manner in which the DAR has been implementing the program leaves much to be desired. Add to this the perception of corrupt practices in the department, especially in many decisions on exemptions and conversions that farmers have questioned and remain unresolved,” said Iñiguez. In a letter to the President, the congressional leaders and Chief Justice Puno, the bishops sought the “direct and physical distribution of all agricultural lands as opposed to non-redistributive schemes.” They asked Congress to act as a monitoring and oversight body in the implementation of CARP and hold the Department of Agrarian Reform for its less than satisfactory performance. A total of 1.2 million hectares are still to be covered. (Santosh Digal)
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Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
Who’s spreading disinformation?
ALBAY representative Edcel Lagman bluntly accuses the Catholic Church of “deliberately spreading ‘falsehoods’ about the government’s consolidated bills regarding reproductive health and family planning,” as quoted by national dailies. He calls the upcoming prayer rally on July 25 as “this vaudeville of misinformation” and blurts that “it is, however, disheartening that those who claim to be purveyors of truth are, in fact, peddling misinformation,” referring to the contents of a document entitled “Manifesto of Filipino Families” which was adopted liberally by the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. And he laments that the manifesto “will only mire the faithful in ignorance and shackle our women to a life of unremitting pregnancies because it contains deliberate falsehoods.” Obviously used to derailing bigger issues on the floor by swatting an iota of technicality, the gentleman from Albay has nit-picked on the manifesto’s allegation that “congress is railroading the family planning bills.” Lagman says this is not true, and by virtue of it now calls the Catholic Church as “spreading falsehoods”. Whether the railroading of family planning bills in congress is true or not, is definitely not the real issue. The big issues are the bills themselves which are attractively and euphemistically, and therefore, deceptively, called “Reproductive Health and Population Management Bills.” It is true, for instance, that in Section 3 of the substitute bill approved by the Committee on Health, it states that “nothing in this act changes the law on abortion, as abortion remains a crime and punishable.” But in the same section it talks about “post abortion complications” of women “who shall be treated and counseled in a humane, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner.” Simply put, if the bill does not promote abortion, then why provide for “post abortion complications”? Without being too naïve, the bill actually promotes abortion because in another section it gives women the right to choose between the artificial and natural family planning means of birth control and makes available a wide range of contraceptives. And, Virginia, there is an unbreakable link between contraception and abortion—otherwise, go and tell it to the marines! The bigger disinformation, of course, is to link the poverty of Filipinos to the growing population as a cause to an effect. Lagman pontificates, “An inordinately huge population growth rate of 2.04 percent imperils family life as a ballooning population impacts adversely on health, education, food, security, employment, shelter and the environment—the very essentials of sustainable family life.” This is an old myth. Until today, population control and reproductive rights movements have not produced a single piece of evidence showing the direct connection between family planning and economic development. What is undeniably true is Filipinos are getting poorer because of massive extravagance and endemic corruption in Lagman’s government. If only congressmen are honest with their pork barrels, which they are afraid to part with, and forego of their expensive junkets abroad, and get dead serious about running after their corrupt peers, the country will have saved annually billions of pesos enough to buy food, health, education and basic services to the impoverished Pinoy. But in fact the gigantic deception, disinformation and lies are the regular modus operandi of the global conspirators against life. These are the gods and the seemingly inexhaustible fund sources of local hirelings in congress. Without even backtracking to the NSSM 200 of Henry Kissinger, already an organized platform of action against life loomed in the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo on September 1994. This was sealed in September 1995 during the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Aside from bullying, financing and massive media campaign, these global conspirators against life has succeeded, or so it seems, in equivocating the meanings of eugenics, health and environment, maternal and child care, gender rights, and reproductive health in a sweeter lexicon that is otherwise grim and horrible. So, who are telling lies? Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus Dosado, CM, should be hailed for calling a spade a spade and withholding Holy Communion to persistent public sinners.
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
I WAS in the novitiate of the Good Shepherd Sisters, Los Angeles, USA when it was announced to us that His Holiness Pope Paul VI had issued an encyclical—”Humanae vitae”. Of all the nuns and novices in the convent, I must have been the one most interested in the pope’s letter on the topic of human life. I had just finished my BS Nursing and even then, in the early 60’s we were already learning the names of the different contraceptives. Since I graduated from St. Paul College, a Catholic school, it was emphasized to us that we were being taught about the contraceptives, not to promote it but to be aware of their side-effects. The only method of natural family planning then was the calendar rhythm method. I did not give much thought about the encyclical for the rest of my formation years in the convent, until I returned to the Philippines and was assigned to the Good Shepherd Home for Unwed Mothers. It was then that I started to think of the situation of these pregnant girls and women who opted to give birth to their babies instead of abortion. And I wondered how many other women must have actually gone into abortion during their earlier weeks of pregnancy because they did not know where to go for help. By God’s grace, I was invited to attend a talk of a Benedictine priest, Fr. Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International. That
Humanae vitae was right
of condoms, pills and IUDs. Indeed, the sexual revolution had begun. Pornography proliferated, pro-homosexual groups demanded not only tolerance but their own definition of gay rights, onset of premarital sex started at younger years, and adultery and infidelity became common. Humane vitae described all that as stemming from a contraceptive mentality—simply put—sex but no baby at any cost. As I write this, plans are being finalized for the Prayer Rally for Life and Family on July 25 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae vitae. We will gather to affirm our fidelity to the Catholic Church teachings on value of Life, Marriage, Family, Sexuality and Fertility. We will also be expressing our strong opposition to the impending bills and ordinances that are contrary to the teachings found in Humanae vitae such as the Reproductive Health and Population Management Act. Often times I wonder, if Pope Paul VI had not gone against the popular demand for the Church to allow contraceptives, how many millions of lives and families would have been deprived of the graces received through a faithful life within the sacrament of matrimony, practicing responsible parenthood and natural family planning, and accepting each child as a gift and not a burden.
was in 1974, just a year after the US Supreme Court passed the infamous Roe v. Wade case, legalizing abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Fr. Paul quoted Humanae vitae on the dignity of human life and warned us Filipinos never to legalize abortion here. He also showed the connection between contraception and abortion, and pointed to us the articles in Humanae vitae of the abuses and devastation that a birth control/population control movement could bring to nations. I was very touched by his presentation. Immediately, I asked for copies of the films on abortion that he showed us. He generously gave me all the materials I needed in order to begin a pro-life campaign. I went to schools and parishes to show the films and to talk on alternatives to abortion, services we can offer to stop premarital sex, abortion and to promote natural family planning. That was the beginning of the Pro-life Movement in our country. Around that time, the government adopted the population control program and set up the Population Commission, receiving millions of dollars to distribute condoms, pills, injectables, perform ligations and vasectomies. Students in grade school were taught that a “small family is a happy family” and high school and college students were taught family planning, with emphasis on the use
‘Heart’—a faith-based movement on anti-Graft and Corruption is born
THE “HEART” Movement was born during the initial gathering of faith-impelled and church-based groups currently involved in initiatives against graft and corruption. Bishop Artemio Rillera, during the Dilaab update in La Union last January 2008 saw the need for those involved in the same advocacy to get together. Taking this cue, Fr. Carmelo Diola head of the Dilaab/Barug Pilipino anti-graft and corruption group of the Diocese of Cebu, and Fr. Albert Alejo, S.J. of Davao, writer of the anti-corruption conscientization modules, EHEM/AHA, arranged to convene the groups already doing work on anti-graft and corruption and good governance. Receiving this invitation last June 15, Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes of the Episcopal Commission on the Lay Apostolate decided to attend the session together with Atty. Mia Zafra and myself to represent CBCP-LAIKO’S Advocacy for Good Governance. It was an audacious attempt on the part of the two organizers to call a meeting that is national in scope. Fr. Mel Diola confessed that he had no resources (secretarial, financial, etc.) to support this undertaking. Fr. Albert Alejo, inspite of his enthusiasm to act as one of the convenors, has no office of his own at all and relies only on his computer (e-mail) and cellphone to inform would-be participants. With the enthusiastic response from national organizations and coalitions, the two-day spirit-filled sharing session culminated in the birth of a new movement— the HEART Movement. Truly this was a gift from the Holy Spirit! At first the venue mentioned was San Jose Seminary, Ateneo de Manila University. The attendees were supposed to take care of their meals, lodging and transportation. A few days before the scheduled meeting on June 26, we learned that the venue was relocated to the Training Room of the Communication Foundation of Asia, Santa Mesa, Manila. The meals and secretarial services as well as communication/ media services would be sponsored by Communications Foundation of Asia, thanks to its President. The profiles of these participants foreshad-
Jose B. Lugay
propelled the group to act as one. Should we organize and follow the traditional corporate way of organizing? Without much discussion nor any objection, each participating member/organization agreed to retain its own identity and continue with their advocacy work. What is new is that each organization would be amenable to share their gift of expertise/resources with others when the occasion arises. It was the consensus to call this gathering as a MOVEMENT. The participants approved it in no time. This collective group, individually awakened by what was shared by each participating group, realized that working together as one will make a great difference—probably the empowering mechanism for the social transformation longed for by CBCP since PCP II. Fr. Gerry, as erudite as ever, proposed a better and more apt acronym, HEART. Inspired by the input of Bishop Arguelles who admonished that we should not consider a group like this as the “critical mass” a term used as the motive force of the EDSA people power revolution. Rather, Bishop Arguelles asserts, it was the Spirit of EDSA—the Epiphany of the Saints—referred to by the late Cardinal Sin, as the motive force for change during that time. This spirit lives on today among us. Fr. Gerry recalled that the Filipino people had a pre-EDSA experience in welcoming the Spirit—the celebration of the Marian Year in 1985. This culminated in the National Marian Congress with “Education in Faith” as the objective. Then in 1986 came the People Power Revolution. The National Eucharistic Year was celebrated afterwards. On this note Fr. Gerry proposed the acronym HEART with the corresponding platform for action: H – Holiness - the call to all the People of God. E – Education in faith for social transformation A – Advocacy – movement for communal action R – Resource mobilization T – Transformation – truth telling and whistle-blowing
Laiko / A6
P r o ta g o n i s t of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace
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owed a mixture of conflicting outputs—a) Bishops who with their authority could pose objection to any action violative of the “common good”; b) Priests whose theological groundings are process oriented rather than problem-solving and action-oriented; c) Nontechnical/legal lay people whose final aim is to “catch the thief” and to protect whistleblowers rather than system change for the prevention of corruption; d) Professionals who are fed up with the system of corruption ranking this country as the most corrupt in Southeast Asia which calls for agitating political reform; e) Lay leaders concerned about the corruption existing at the level of the local government and their support services including that of the police force, f) Coalition of organizations working at the national level concentrated on providing trained observers to government institutions. This mix of advocacies of the participants made the convenors avoid calling the affair a conference but only as an exploratory gathering. Two personalities who attended the session are worthy of special mention since they both represent the active fight against corruption within the present political system— Former Tanodbayan Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo and Governor Ed Panlilio. With these diverse mix of highly involved advocacy groups and individuals enlightened by the homilies during the Eucharistic celebration of Archbishop Ramon Arguelles on the first day and Bishop Broderick Pabillo on the second day, we were assured that we would follow one track of resolutions—our contribution for the common good for the Kingdom of God and country. One may also expect that the outcome of this gathering will not fall into the same demise as some great Church conferences in the past—that is, NATO (No Action Talk Only) according to a high-ranking perceptive clergy. Fr. Melo Diola started with these three questions: 1) What is your group about? 2) What blessings are you most grateful for? 3) What are the hindering factors? One by one, as the participants’ charisms and work accomplishments became known, progressively, we realized the presence of a greater force that
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
Commentary Catholic and cool in Sydney
WORLD Youth Day 2008 in Sydney was a triumph for the Catholic Church and its 81-year-old head, Pope Benedict XVI. About 400,000 people attended a final Mass on Sunday (July 20), briefly making the pilgrims’ destination bigger than the nation’s capital, Canberra. Some baffled journalists described it as a Catholic Woodstock—the 1969 orgy of, drugs and sex and rock ‘n roll which became an iconic moment for baby-boomers. But 40 years later, the world has moved in an unexpected direction. WYD, the biggest youth event in history, is an anti-Woodstock, a repudiation of the materialism and secularism of the babyboomers. After years of being booed offstage, the curtains have again opened and God is being greeted with tumultuous applause. As a young woman commenting the event on Australian TV said, with unabashed confidence, it used not to be “trendy” to be a Catholic in Sydney, but now “it’s become cool again”. No wonder the news that Madrid will host WYD 2011 was greeted with such jubilation. The response of young people was stunning. About 125,000 pilgrims made their way from across the world, despite increased air fares and the immense distance which isolates Europe and the Americas from Australia. After months of scrimping and saving many from overseas would have spent 20 to 30 hours in the air to reach Sydney. And despite negative reports in the media and lukewarm support from many Catholic schools, they were joined by another 100,000 Australian pilgrims. On the last day, when Benedict celebrated a Mass at Randwick Race Course, thousands more joined them. The Vatican and Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell had planned this event as a catechesis, a teachable moment, a festival of Catholic culture, teaching and prayer. For pilgrims who came early, dioceses around the country organized talks on controversial topics like Catholic views on sexuality, bioethics, faith and reason. During the week immediately before there were addresses from Catholic bishops from around the globe. In fact, one of the striking features of Sydney’s World Youth Day was how naturally Gen Y slotted into traditional aspects of Catholic devotion and doctrine which the Woodstock generation spurned as fossilized relics of the pre-Vatican II era. Not so, said today’s youth.
Nicolo F. Bernardo
LIFE begins at 40. That’s how to dub the 40th anniversary of the papal encyclical On Human Life (Humanae Vitae) if only its message could finally come across. Much as this document on contraception is “papal,” many proponents of the “Reproductive Health” bill dismiss it as parochial. But even without doing theology, their argument fails to hold water. Just the title of this bill—”reproductive health”—institutionalizing artificial birth control is misleading. I remember the philosopher Voltaire saying that the Holy Roman Empire (Germany) was neither “holy” nor “Roman” nor “Empire.” In the same way, I could just die laughing that this “reproductive health” being proposed is tagged as “reproductive” and for “health.” The proponents’ objective is to prevent mortality rates among women not ready to bear babies. So far so good. But their means? Making women sick with contraceptive side effects. Oops! I understand that they find that “side effect” argument incredulous. After all, the contraceptive methods they are promoting got the World Health Organization’s (WHO) thumbs up. Simply because most medicines, even the Paracetamol, have side effects. But you can only include contraceptives among the “essential medicines,” as the bill proposes, if you think fertility and pregnancy are “essential illnesses.” There’s the rub. We’ll have a law implying that to be fertile or to be pregnant is to be essentially sick! Or maybe because they are just being inconsistent, or they can’t admit they figured it all wrong. After all, the same WHO through its International Agency for Research on Cancer has labeled hormonal devices such as the
manent surgery. Surgeries are best done for therapeutic reasons, unless you can entertain the idea of mutilation—cutting off a healthy functioning body organ and still call that “reproductive health.” Finally, spermicides and creams? These have gone to unpopularity not just because of being cumbersome, but due to a tragic case back in 1986. The US Supreme Court had Ortho Pharmaceutical pay $5 million to Katie Wells, who was born with a cleft lip, no left arm, a blind right eye, and a deformed right hand, left clavicle and shoulder. The reason was that the spermicide chemicals were not able to kill the sperm but so deformed it, thus the baby named Katie. Just for you to know, condoms are now being mixed with spermicides for better sperm-killing. Once the tandem fails, just read the case of Wells v. Ortho suppose you need to sue. The list of other complications and reallife stories is endless that I find it hard to believe that radical feminists and human rights advocates find the argument unconscionable. I blame their selective agenda. We didn’t hear any feminist whining about the contraceptive patch, the newest contraceptive method, released in 2002 that caused 20 fatalities due to blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. Talk about safe and effective modern methods! It seems that our representatives, much as our media, need an avalanche of these kind of information, if only to give them a secular, informed choice on whether to give their yeas or nays on artificial contraception. The dissenting opinion of Justice Burger in the US case Eisenstadt v. Baird could only be right: “The actual hazards of introducing a particuLifeguard / A7
pill, injectables, and implants as type-1 carcinogenic (the worst category). See their July 2005 press release. Pills are said to induce certain types of cancer (cervical, liver and breast), while reducing some (endometrian and ovarian). There you go, the woman is given the choice what cancer to suffer. Oh, that’s how pro-choice they can get! Or maybe, the proponents are ignoramus of history. They missed the fact that the very first prescription drug to receive warning labels from the US Food and Drug Administration was the pill. It still has the warning labels now. Okay then, so let’s then drop the pill, and the hormonal injectables and implants as well. But how about the IUDs? As to these IUDS (read “I, yoU, Deads”), many products such as the Dalkon Shield, Lippes Loop, Copper-7, Tantum-7, etc. initially approved for sale in the market had to be withdrawn due to lawsuits, for reasons like uterine perforation. The IUDs available today work just the same. These may also prevent the implantation of an already conceived baby. It’s guaranteed try now, sue later. What about the condoms? Well ask condom users around—I mean the women—and they’ll tell you that they do experience UTI and vaginal irritation. Maybe they should also get this report from the German and Veterinary Investigation Institute in 2004: there are traces of N-nitrosamine, a highly carcinogenic substance, in 29 of 32 condom types. One thing more, although promoters call condoms universal “protection” against STDs and unwanted pregnancies, they can’t offer protection for the “heart.” How about sterilization? Now, that’s per-
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
E-VAT is for the poor
TO disprove reality by indulging in fantasy, to challenge the conclusion of common sense with contrary technical jargon, to fill empty stomachs with sterile statistics and pencil pushing are sublime examples of defending the indefensible% these are the strange ways devotedly taken by some people staying in “Cloud 9” while living on earth. The understandable approach made by certain individuals vainly trying to shield their big beneficent boss under threat of losing bottomless E-VAT gains to fool around with. In other words, the claim that E-VAT is simply great for the poor as it is something necessary for their misery alleviation and even mandatory as an effective instrument of government national development efforts is futile and incredible. It is an official Malacañang ridiculous and empty claim, which brings to fore the following unnerving questions: Why is it then that Filipinos in general are in fact much poorer now than before? Why millions of children are now in effect more hungry, while millions too of the elderly are less able to have the medicines they need? In other words, where have the E-VAT government multi-billion gains really gone? There must be something fundamentally wrong with why is there so much E-VAT income for the government vis-à-vis so much loss to the people. If any and all direct and indirect taxes continuously paid by some 88 million Filipinos to the government are eventually meant for the common good and public welfare of the same paying citizens, why is it then that the government has substantially nothing to prove it? Why is it that there are more popular resentment and bigger frustration towards the ruling administration all over the country? It is appalling to note that the huge amounts of E-VAT charges are levied upon practically anything and everything people buy and pay for—from food to fuel, from shoes to clothes, from housing materials to coffins. It is even more outrageous what the present government does with the “Katas ng E-Vat,” viz. money dole outs here and there, grocery grants to these and those people. This must be something fundamentally distorted with the mentality of the present government—or something basically rotten with the way the ruling administration looks at public funds. In all probability akin to certitude, there is something putrid why the national leadership and its minions could not and would not let go of E-VAT—even if all the
Views and Points
heavens say so! This must be why even the formal and public call made by the CBCP for the government to at least review the E-VAT law, especially that appended to fuel, is after all a shout in the wilderness, a jab at the wind. Reason: Without the overflowing E-VAT collections, how could the government continue its standard graft and customary corrupt practices? What would the administration pay for its luxurious living and lavish spending? How could the national leadership pay for its selfserving programs and projects, buy the loyalty of its ally national and local public officials—in view of the coming critical 2010? There are many images that come to mind when a most corrupt, much distrusted and very discredited national leadership is made to handle and spend unlimited public funds coming from taxes plus local and foreign loans. It is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank. It is like a wolf made to watch the sheep. It is the exact picture of Alibaba and the Forty Thieves at a treasury. E-Vat in favor of the poor is hogwash. EVat for the self-promotion of the administration is a hard-hitting truth. For, E-Vat is a socio-economic curse among Filipinos after all.
Entering a new era
During the days leading up to the climactic Mass, young people were queuing up for the Catholic sacrament of Reconciliation, or Confession, and to spend time in prayer in churches before the Eucharist. Thousands walked 9 kilometers to Randwick across Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge—closed to traffic for only the third time in its history—often singing hymns or praying the Rosary if they were not kicking a football or skylarking. Some carried huge banners saying, “We love our German Shepherd”. A Saturday evening vigil was followed by vast slumber party on the site where Mass was to be celebrated the next day. Confessions continued throughout the night and even at three in the morning, a tent with the Blessed Sacrament exposed was full of young people praying. And even the most churlish journalists had to admit that the pilgrims were cheerful, high-spirited and ordinary, not the scowling killjoy zealots some had expected. A group calling itself the No to Pope Coalition—a collection of drag queens, homosexuals, atheists and (believe it or not) lesbian Raelians— showered passing pilgrims with condoms as they streamed over the Harbour Bridge. But the stunt provoked only laughter and pained perplexity. “They’ve all got their own opinions,” remarked an 18-year-old New Zealand girl. “We’ve got our own beliefs and we’re not going to change it because of them.” Pope Benedict clearly enjoyed the celebration. Nowadays he responds more spontaneously to the enthusiasm and affection of crowds. But although he received a pop star’s welcome, he had came as Pope “to the end of the world” determined to reenergize the Church in Australia and to urge young people to commit themselves to God. The task of rebuilding the Catholic Church, in Australia as elsewhere, is an enormous challenge. Almost overshadowing the exuberant welcome given to the Pope in the local media were protests by victims of clergy sex abuse. It is claimed that more than 100 Catholic clergy have been jailed for this in recent years. There were insistent calls for an apology—and the Pope apologized during a Mass with the bishops, seminarians and young religious: “These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. They have caused great pain and have damaged the Church’s witness... Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice”. Despite the shadows, Benedict’s rapturous reception in Sydney shows that Christianity is far from dead, or even dormant. Flags from dozens of countries were waving in the stiff breeze which blew up as World Youth Day drew to a close. Amongst them was the red star of the People’s Republic of China. Even there, in an officially Communist regime, the Pope has enthusiasts. Over the past five years a bitter secularism has sought to push religion into a closet. Books by proselytizing atheists have captured the imagination of the media. Now, after a week of joyful, unashamed religious sentiment Down Under, everyone knows that there is a viable alternative. God is back in the game.
Enormous challenges ahead
Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD
By the Roadside
I REMEMBER my professor in Moral Theology coming to class one morning and solemnly dropping a bombshell. Boxing, he said, is an immoral sport. How can it not be immoral, he continued, when it involves two people whose overriding aim is, at the least, to outscore one another by power punches that land (which is to say truly hurt) and, at worst, to demolish each other by TKO? We attentively listened and silently, if grudgingly, agreed. And yet I saw a flaw in the way he arrived at his declaration. He was looking at boxing from the perspective of someone coming from the affluent West (he was a European) and worlds away from that of someone coming from desperate conditions in helplessly poor countries, such as the Philippines or Mexico. For a special class of young men boxing is a way out of grinding poverty and hopelessness for themselves and their families (despite Pacquiao’s rhetoric hiding or belittling his earnings his boxing victories have earned him enormous wealth that’s the envy and dream of every poor Pinoy young man). This is what primarily drives them into the sport and which they unabashedly aim at. It would only be secondary, one that they can’t help since, as the saying goes, “it goes with the territory”, that they would have to hurt or kayo an opponent. I wouldn’t ask my professor to revise his position (I share the same conviction after all) but I would suggest that he expand his field of vision to adopt a more compassionate evaluation of boxers, with no little help from the gospel injunction not to be judgmental so as not to be judged oneself. On the other hand, I must admit that even while I was cheering Manny Pacquiao’s brilliant performance in snatching the lightweight title from David Diaz (in addition to
Lessons from Pinoy phenomenon called Manny
Pacquiao has, to a certain extent, successfully struck a decisive blow on the usual reasons Pinoys cite behind their sense of inferiority and, having broken through an incredibly thick wall, he teaches us to realize that we are just as gifted as any people. We need to re-evaluate and pack away our sense of inferiority. Pray and work hard to attain your dreams. No one in his right mind would call into question Pacman’s work ethic. Many attest to his tremendous capacity to practice and work out even beyond the required hours. But seldom has anyone given enough coverage of his prayer habits, his spiritual and Bible readings. In my view Manny Pacquiao has, to a certain measure, applied to boxing the monastic rule of “Ora et Labora” (Pray and work), something his fellow Pinoys could always do well to emulate so as to achieve the same winning form against our personal, family or national crises and challenges. Do your best for others too (not only for yourself or family and friends but truly also for God, country and especially the poor). It’s certainly worth our while to consider what drives Manny Pacquiao in his quest for boxing success. The hunger for titles and making history are a given. In addition, however, Pacman has declared many times how he is fighting his best for the sake of others—his fellow Pinoys (to give them and the country a reason to be proud of) and victims of today’s calamities (to share with them part of his winnings and organize ways, such as concerts—questions about his singing talent notwithstanding—to inspire others into sharing part of their devaluing peso too). Fortunately he backs up his words with real winning deeds (beyond the ring, that is). If only our political leaders could follow suit, politics wouldn’t have such a bad name anywhere but especially in the land of Lolo Jose (Rizal). Focus on your real gifts, not on self-made
three others in a historical first for an Asian and a Filipino), I felt a tinge of guilt and sadness over watching a ‘global gladiatorial contest’ (even if it involved one Filipino—‘our gladiator’—against a Mexican-American). At the same time I wondered how or why we, as a people, could find more national pride in a sensational boxer than, say, in someone like my cousin Dr. Julius who decided to forego being a nurse in America or the UK where he could earn plenty more money for himself and his family in order to serve some of the country’s poorest of the poor in far-flung Silvino Lobos in Northern Samar. Why are Pinoys like him rarely get cheered as they go through their sacrifice that definitely lasts longer than a boxer’s seven to eight weeks of preparation before a match? To my mind the Philippines has no dearth of real heroes but many of them remain unsung because we are singing mostly what sensational media feed us. We need real heroes, too, who can inspire today’s Pinoys into showing forth their true greatness in spite of our tendency to, as it were, shoot ourselves on the foot. As pundits and ordinary people keep on watching, pondering and endlessly analyzing Pacman’s exploits, let’s not, however, brush aside some real lessons that send real messages directly to the Filipino Everyman from the phenomenon that is Pacquiao. Pinoy, you are second to none. Centuries of colonization under Spain and America have left behind a deep scar in the Filipino psyche—a sense of inferiority complex. At times any reflective Pinoy realizes how he is, as it were, programmed to consider Western cultures and races as his masters and models. Even today there are traces of this tragedy that continue to haunt our culture and people like ghosts that we can’t shake away. Manny
(Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet)
ones. Remember Pacman’s doomed attempt at a political career? Has he learned his lesson? Apparently not. But we can always see the undeniable truth: The gift of political leadership does not always come with the gift to excel in boxing or in anything for that matter. It’s always profitable to abandon dreams based on gifts that are more imagined than real. Then, we can focus on our real gifts, as Pacman focused on boxing, and develop them too. Remain humble or begin to crumble. Pacman is a certified crowddrawer because of his extraordinary boxing talent and charismatic personality. Part of his charisma as a person is his signature humility, one that a person senses in the way he restrains himself from pointedly bragging about himself or about his achievements and skills but also from disrespecting his opponents (apparently there are exceptions, such as when he talks about boastful ones). To my mind, humility marks the true champion. If Pacman stays humble, should he lose (which could come as unexpectedly as his now meteoric stature), that would keep him from making an embarrassingly hard fall. Coming from humble beginnings and from a mother who prays hard for him and his other siblings, Manny Pacquiao makes it a point to acknowledge his Source before, during and after a fight. He reminds me of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s declaration in the ‘Magnificat’ that “He (the Lord) has put down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly” (Lk 1:52). If pride goes before a fall, humility sustains a rise and eases up a slip down.
FR. Melvin Castro, Executive Secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life downplayed claims made by Albay Congressman Edcel Castelar Lagman that the Catholic Church is spreading falsehoods about the controversial family planning bill. In an interview with CBCPNews, Castro said “while it is true one cannot find the term abortion in the so-called family planning bills, and we thank Congressman Lagman for that, the problem lies in the word reproductive health as defined in the United Nations, includes abortion.” “Though abortion is considered illegal in the bill, experience tells us once contraceptive culture is promoted, abortion is not far behind,” the executive secretary said. Former Senator Francisco S. Tatad, Director for Asia and the Pacific of the International Right to Life Federation, said to be the
biggest Pro-Life group worldwide and member of the Governing and International Boards of the World Youth Alliance actively lobbying the United Nations and European Union on issues on Human Life and Human Rights, said he is willing to debate with anybody on the issues involving reproductive health. “I am willing to take on anybody, from politicians to population control advocates and NGOs from abroad, provided they would guarantee the time and space to debate,” the former lawmaker said. Tatad said “it is the politicians who do not understand the issues on family planning at all.” “We are saying the State can legislate on politics, economics, business, sports, the professions and allied activities but it can not legislate on the rights of man as man; and population has to do with pro-creation and this is a human right that the state may not at all intervene,” he further said. (Melo Acuna)
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
CBCP downplays Solon’s claims
Fr. Melvin Castro CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, Executive Secretary
Retired Manila priest found dead
RETIRED Monsignor Agerico Galang, 61 years old, from the Archdiocese of Manila, was found dead at around 11:25 a.m. on July 17, at 3rd Floor of D-1 Celebrity Community House, Zuzueregie St., Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City. Senior Supt. Magtanggol Gatdula, Quezon City Police District director said initial reports indicate the fatality may have been dead for the past three days. Scene-of-theCrime-Operatives (SOCO) have been dispatched to the area. Initial information gathered from the scene said the priest appeared not to have had any external injury. Galang was said to have resided in the area for the past two years but the Archdiocese of Manila has kept his address confidential because the former wanted privacy. In an interview with CBCPNews, Archdiocese of Manila’s Office of Communications Director Peachy Yamsuan said Galang retired some years ago after he was diagnosed to have heart ailment but opted not to undergo heart bypass procedures. Yamsuan described Galang as a “quiet type of person.” Retired Manila Auxiliary Bishop Teodoro Buhain said Galang was “not very outgoing, for he was a bit reserved.” Buhain, former district bishop of Quezon City South based at Santa Rita de Cascia Parish church, said the last time he met Msgr. Galang was during his assignment in Christ the King Parish at Veterans Village. “Once you get to know him and he gets to know you, he turns out to be a warm person,” the retired prelate added. “He just came to the Archdiocese of Manila’s chancery two weeks ago to get his identification card,” a source at the Arzobispado de Manila said. Prior to his retirement Galang was assigned at the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Makati City and Our Lady of Fatima at Galas, Quezon City. (CBCPNews)
Poverty is the real problem, not people says bishop
MANILA Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the real problem facing the country today is poverty and not the growing population as some people may claim. In an interview with Catholic-run Veritas 846, the prelate said the Philippines is saddled with many problems, from unemployment to rising prices of prime commodities, to graft and corrupt practices, which continue to keep the country and people poor. “We should not blame the rising population because it is the Filipino people who sustain whatever gains we have today as shown by the country’s human resources,” Pabillo said in Pilipino.
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“We should not even look at people as expense as people in government should put an end to poverty,” he further added. When asked whether the Catholic Church is coercing lawmakers to abandon the pending reproductive health bill at the House of Representatives, the CBCP Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace said the Church hierarchy is in a persuasive campaign. “How can there be coercion?” the prelate asked. He explained the proposed legislation threatens medical practitioners administrative sanctions should they refuse to involve themselves in artificial birth control practices.
“This is in violation of a medical practitioner’s human rights, especially if he cannot take its provisions in conscience,” the prelate said. Pabillo said the Catholic Church is not against family planning. “Parents should plan their families through responsible parenthood [and] through education,” he further explained. Asked if Sex Education among the country’s young would be of any help, Pabillo said there is a very strong possibility such would focus on techniques rather than values of sexuality. He said “sex is sacred and that life is a gift from God.” (CBCPNews)
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2 child policy
Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines executive director Fenny Tatad said private sector will be compelled, as proposed by the bill, to provide free delivery of ethically and morally questionable family planning methods and services. She said Collective Bargaining Agreements between employers and employees are required to include birth control and other services in their agreements. Though not “mandatory and obligatory,” the bill also proposes a 2-child policy. “This and all the above-mentioned proposals are considered gross violations of the pro-family provisions of the Constitution
CBCP / A1
and the universal right to health of citizens,” Tatad said. “Public funds coming from Catholic taxpayers will fund these programs which is oppressive and in violation of their universal right to religious freedom and the freedom to live their faith in an environment that is free of coercion and harassment,” she added. Tatad also said the bill proposes the increase of government personnel to service the requirements of the proposed legislation. “In all these, the Catholic taxpaying faithful will be made to fund programs and projects contrary to their moral and religious convictions and the teachings of their Faith,” she said.
The CBCP is calling on the faithful to participate in condemning a “grave matter” that some government leaders are pushing. “It is our way of telling our legislators strongly but respectfully that we are in opposition of these bills,” Castro said. Members of over 45 lay and religious Church groups such as the El Shaddai, Couples for Christ, congregations of men and women and students will attend the rally. The three-hour activity which will start at 3pm on the theme “Humanae Vitae 40” Biyaya ng Buhay, Biyaya ng Pamilya” will feature at least two parts.
Organizers said the first part will feature testimonies and talks from lay couples and Church experts on the values and message of the encyclical. The second part will be a Eucharistic Celebration (Holy Mass) with CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo as main celebrant with the cardinals, archbishops, bishops and priests of the Philippines as co-celebrants. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, and San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, ECFL chairman, will deliver messages.
Although some claim that with condom the number of HIV/AIDS infected persons can be reduced, it is a “myth,” Castro said. Citing an example from Thailand, Castro said Thailand introduced mass distribution of condoms in 1980s and 1990s, but figures of HIV/AIDS infection in Thailand have doubled since then, he said. People should be educated and provided information on the HIV/AIDS and how people can
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protect themselves from being infected. “What is demanded is self-discipline, and being faithful to one’s partner would go a long way to curtail the HIV/AIDS menace,” Castro, who is also chancellor in Tarlac diocese, said. The Department of Health (DOH) National Epidemiology Center said there were 35 HIVpositive and AIDS cases in May, 84 percent higher than the number reported during the same period last year. The figure
brings to 212 the total number of cases for the first five months of this year. Of the 35 cases, seven of them involved overseas Filipino workers. As of 2005, a recorded 38.6 million people were living with HIV worldwide — 12 percent of them were less than 15 years old ¯ and 2.8 million had died of AIDS. Of those infected, 4.1 million were new cases. The Philippine Health Department AIDS registry has recorded
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2,719 cases in the Philippines from 1984 to 2006. Returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) accounted for 35 percent of the cases, but the manual’s Resource Book points out that other sectors do not have mandatory HIV-antibody testing. According to the National Epidemiology Center 68 percent of HIV-positive people in the Philippines were infected through sexual contact, 56 percent having been involved in homosexual activity. (Santosh Digal)
(de Basilan), Bishop Martin S. Jumoad said he will meet with his 17 priests, five from the Claretian and Franciscan missionaries tomorrow in time for their monthly retreat tomorrow together with 27 nuns from six religious congregations. In an interview with CBCPNews, Bishop Jumoad said “we will reflect on the recent events, including the threatening letters send to non-Muslims in the prelature.” He said many Catholics have expressed fears after receiving the letters purportedly from the dreaded Abu Sayyaf who gained notoriety for the kidnap-for-ransom activities and murder sprees. The Provincial Peace and Order Council already met last Friday and discussed the issue but no definite plan of action has been drafted to respond to the threats. The PPOC meeting was chaired by Basilan Governor Jum Jainuddin Akbar, one of the wives of the former governor and lawmaker Wahab Akhbar who perished in an explosion at the House
of Representatives last year. On March 20, 2000, the feared Abu Sayyaf forcibly took Claretian missionary Fr. Rhoel Gallardo, some teachers and about 40 students to Mt. Punoh Mahadji. By May 3, 2000, the Abu Sayyaf killed Fr. Gallardo. Earlier, Fr. Bernardo Blanco was kidnapped and held for 50 days. He, however, managed to escape. Another priest, Fr. Eduardo Monge, was kidnapped and tortured and was instructed to dig his own grave but survived. Of the latest available population survey, Basilan was reported to have 390,000 residents, 105,000 of which are Catholics. The Prelature of Isabela (de Basilan) was established on October 12, 1963 and erected on February 15, 1964 which comprises all the territories that constitute the entire Basilan province. It’s Titular Saint is Sta. Isabel de Portugal and its secondary patron is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Its Cathedral was consecrated last June 21, 1970. (Melo M. Acuna)
Erratum: In last issue of CBCP Monitor (July 7-20, 2008), portions of Abp. Angel Lagdameo’s column In and Out of Season, and Jose Lugay’s Laiko Lampstand were inadvertently deleted. We are reprinting here the deleted portion. Our apologies - Eds.
In and Out
The prelate said it’s disgraceful that the government is continuously breaking its very own rule which is to have transparency in the government. “The victims of this ‘privilege’ when invoked by a much distrusted administration are the mandate of transparency in a democratic society and the imperatives of honesty and integrity on the part of elected public authority,” said Cruz. He said it’s but proper that the public must be made well informed about the details of the bilateral agreement. The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines noted JPEPA’s alleged provisions concerning toxic wastes from Japan being sent to the Philippines in exchange of allowing the deployment of overseas Filipino workers. Asked what could be the government after in pursuing the deal, Cruz said it could be in the projected remittances to be sent by would-be OFWs. The Supreme Court yesterday
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Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, DD
upheld Malacañang’s invocation of executive privilege in refusing to fully disclose the terms of JPEPA. The 10-4 ruling in favor of Malacañang is already the second High Court decision allowing the invocation of the executive privilege, which allows members of the Executive Department to refuse questions involving their discussions with Arroyo. (CBCPNews)
subsidies for the poor. Cruz, the archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, said the government’s “Katas ng VAT (value added tax)” subsidies are just tools to show the government is responding to the needs of the people. He said it could also be used by the government to prop up her “sagging” credibility in time for her coming SONA on July 28. “When Malacañang announced the new Php4 billion subsidy for the poor, in reality, these are actually subsidies to her sagging trustworthiness and acceptability and are being used in preparation as a prop for the coming SONA that could cite nothing truly positive,” Cruz said. The money will be earmarked from the VAT that came
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from oil products, which the bishops have earlier sought to be reviewed saying this only result to even higher fuel prices. The archbishop said the government should also refrain making its people look like beggars seeking for alms from their government. After all, he said, the money being distributed by the government actually came from the people who are taxpayers. “The few who could receive the subsidies would again feel like beggars much indebted to their benefactor when in fact the money comes from them through the infamous VAT,” Cruz said. He reiterated that the better solution in addressing the needs of the people would be to just scrap the VAT altogether. (CBCPNews)
Laiko / A4
to consider the moral legacy of the servant of God, Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae. The Church has not ceased to proclaim with humble firmness the moral law of which she is faithful depositary and authentic interpreter (HV 18). While we consider population growth as a valid concern, which should be addressed more directly with socio-economic methods, all men of goodwill are tasked to promote completely and clearly the teaching of the Church concerning the sanctity of marriage and the regulation of birth. “Attacks on large families stem from a lack of faith and the product of a social atmosphere incapable of understanding generosity, trying to conceal selfishness and unLaiko
mentionable practices under apparently altruistic motives” (St. Josemaria Balaguer). Countries which impose birth control on the other countries, like the Philippines, are now themselves in need of growth in their population and are importing from Asian countries workers and caregivers for their senior citizens. “Our present-day world will not be saved by those who aim to drug the spiritual life and reduce everything to a question of economics or material well-being,” (St. Josemaria Balaguer). May our recollection of and reflection on Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae Vitae lead our couples and Christian communities to be pro-family and pro-life, and of course and above all pro-God.
His comments received a lot of insulting remarks from Pacquiao fans for the past days. “I will not apologize to anyone for expressing my opinion nor will I tolerate any insult or abusive language (in this blog),” Picardal said in his recent post. Instead, he moderated the comments section. “Speaking of heroes, we are the only country who considers our boxing champions as heroes.
Muhammad Ali, the black heavyweight champion, was never considered a hero in the US, rather it was Martin Luther King, the civil rights leader,” he said. “Heroes are not just object of admiration, they are role models. I wouldn’t want our little boys to grow up thinking they can become heroes by using their fists and beating up other boys,” added Picardal. (Mark S. Ventura)
cerns of their respective areas. Montefalcon added their agenda yesterday included the upcoming Catholic Social Action Work on October 13-20 at St. John the Baptist Church, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental with the concelebrated Mass to be presided by Dipolog Bishop Jose R. Manguiran, the preparation for Gender Sensitivity for Men; the coming Mindanao Social Action General Assembly on October 27-30 in Tandag, the National Rural Congress Sub-region consultation to be held at Linamon, Iligan City and the update of farmers’ assembly. (CBCPNesws)
While we believe that their work was accomplished successfully through the guidance of the SPIRIT, we would like to congratulate Rev. Fr. Carmelo Diola, Rev. Fr. Albert Alejo and the Communication Foundation of Asia’s office staff and management for making this first Spiritled Movement a success. In behalf of LAIKO, we support to address the problem of graft and corruption as listed in the doables volunteered by the members of the HEART Movement, which encompass all factors detailed in the framework spelled by HEART – Holiness, Education, Advocacy, Resource Mobilization, and Transformation.
inefficiency of planning and construction? Or is it due to the fact that funds will come from the pork barrel of the congressmen of that province? If so, more likely than not, his budget allocation for infrastructure is calculated by his own chosen contractor. Traditionally this is where he gets his share the additional “40 percent for the boys” indicated in the published Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) as required by the new procurement law. As a result, there is downgrading of the material specifications. A simple example will be a school design with inadequate toilet facilities as a result 51 students in one school share
the use of one toilet. Or omission of a wash basin in the design—as a result 102 students have no place to wash their hands before eating! May I ask the question again—is the Filipino family’s investment in education assured of a fair return? Is government doing enough? The answer is, the investment to education is worthy since without it, there is no future for one’s children. However, the family must equally be vigilant and must practice their right to question government’s flawed system of governance. We, the Filipino citizens must be involved in advocacies now to correct a corrupt system of governance.
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
Diocesan News Briefs
BBC: Corruption remains major concern in agri programs
CAGAYAN de Oro—Corruption remains a major concern in agricultural programs drawn up by the Bishops Businessmen’s Conference (BBC) here. The group had tried to respond to the economic crisis by setting up agricultural projects. They particularly cited corruption, problem in collecting money loaned to farmers as raised by Bank officials and the lack of support for farmers. (Maryann Zamora)
Basilan Catholics get threats from Muslim group
BASILAN—Fear and panic has descended among Catholics here following fresh threats by a group claiming to be mujahidins (Islamic warriors), Bishop Martin Jumoad said. He said that he and other Catholic residents received letters recently from the group telling them to convert, pay up or ship out. (Melo Acuña)
Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Tough tasks awaits Filipino Papal envoy to Haiti
very good. The country, he said, is deeply in need and the economy bleed dry, violence everywhere. “There, a people wait to be helped in their efforts of material and spiritual progress,” said Adams. At one time around 85 percent of the eight million or so Haitians were Catholics. Today, they make up less than 50 percent of the population. And sadly, many of them only have a hazy understanding of the teachings of the Church— especially those unable to afford a good education. Adams said the situation in Haiti represents a major challenge for the Catholic Church and needs to be countered with the help of priests, religious and lay pastoral workers. Auza will celebrate Mass with Haiti’s Catholic bishops on September 9 but he will officially assume his post as Papal nuncio on August 15. He himself admitted the urgent issues he has to face in his new assignment. “There are many issues, I’m sure,” Auza said. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Auza as Nuncio to Haiti last May 8 but it was only last July 3 when he was ordained to the episcopacy by Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone at the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. The prelate is the fourth Filipino to be appointed to such a high diplomatic position in the Catholic Church. The first to be named apostolic nuncio is Archbishop Oswaldo Padilla, now in Korea. The third is his younger brother, Archbishop Francisco Padilla, now in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The second is Archbishop Adolfo Yllana currently in Pakistan. (Roy Lagarde)
Prelate seeks review of LPG use in aircon PUVs
DAGUPAN City—Citing tales of deaths caused by their fumes, Archbishop Oscar Cruz sought a review of the use of liquefied petroleum (LPG) in closed air-conditioned public utility vehicles (PUVs). Cruz made the call, in the wake of yet another round of fuel price hike and after noting that LPG has been gaining popularity as an alternative fuel for public utility vehicles. (CBCPNews)
Solon to church: Don’t work with Palace on ‘Katas ng VAT’
MANILA—A lawmaker tagged as a bribe the appeal of President Arroyo to the religious groups to help her identify antipoverty programs that will be funded by “Kat as ng VAT.” “We call on the Church to reject Pres. Arroyo’s latest political maneuver outright. The Church must not be a party to the Arroyo government’s continuing deception and oppression of the poor,” Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano said. (CBCPNews)
Solons buck bishops on repro health bill
MANILA— Solons backing the Reproductive Health bill in Congress are standing pat on their position in spite of threats by Catholic bishops to deny them communion. Reps. Janette Garin (Iloilo), Rozzano Biazon (Muntinlupa) and Riza Hontiveros Baraquel (Akbayan) maintained their support for the consolidated bill that aims to institutionalize family planning methods and other means to manage the population. (CBCPNews)
NEWLY consecrated Filipino archbishop Bernardito Auza has the least enviable job in his latest pastoral mission. As the new apostolic nuncio to Haiti, the 49year old Boholano prelate is faced with squaring a tough circle of ever-growing challenges. The latest reports from the international media makes grim reading. It highlights a never-ending conflict and even bloodshed as its people are longing for economic and political stability. The words used by Papal nuncio in the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams in describing Archbishop Auza’s work are “not a small one.” Haiti is one of the poorest countries on earth with about 56 percent of its 8.2 million populations live in extreme poverty. Adams, in his sermon during Auza’s thanksgiving Mass at the Manila Cathedral yesterday, said the news from Haiti is not
Opus Dei official to visit RP
MANILA—A ranking official of the Opus Dei will visit the Philippines from July 27 to Aug. 1, after taking part in the World Youth Day in Australia. Several activities had been lined up for the visit of Opus Dei personal prelature Bishop Javier Echevarria. The activities include catechetical gatherings on July 29 and a meeting with priests. (Santosh Digal)
RP youth waves national flag at WYD Final Mass
Cebu Cardinal tells legislators to search their conscience
CEBU City—Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal urged legislators who support the “Deaths” bills to search their conscience and decide whether or not to receive communion. “If they think they have not sinned, it is up to them. I cannot judge their conscience. It is only God who can judge their conscience. I just tell them there is no such thing as a lesser evil,” said the archbishop. (CBCPNews)
Jaro auxiliary bishop’s ordination set on Aug. 4
BACOLOD City —The newly-appointed auxiliary bishop of Jaro, Iloilo will be ordained to the episcopacy on Aug. 4 here. Papal Nuncio Edward Joseph Adams will ordain newly-appointed Bishop Gerardo Alminaza at 8 a.m. CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra will serve as co-ordaining prelates at the ceremony. (Melo Acuña)
Scapulars no fashion accessory—archbishop
DAVAO City— Scapulars, the brown length of cloth worn to show affiliation with a religious order, are not fashion accessories and should be worn with reverence. On this note, Archbishop Fernando Capalla reminded the faithful to give reverence to the scapular, which he said is a sign of “total consecration of one’s life to God and to the Mother of God.” “Total consecration implies that one’s thoughts, desires, actions and relationships are motivated, enlightened, and guided by one’s love for God and the Blessed Mother,” he said. (Mark S. Ventura)
Photo courtesy of Howard Castillo and Carla Francesca Castro
Filipino priest named new director of Paris-based institution
MANILA— A Filipino Vincentian priest has been named new director of a key institution based in Paris, France run by the Congregation of the Missions. Fr Marcelo Manimtim was named new director of Paris-based Centre International de Formation (CIF). He will be the first Asian to hold this office. The priest is expected to report to his new assignment on October 2008, the CBCP said. (Santosh Digal)
An effective sex education should begin at home, says priest
NAGA City —Sex education, to be effective should begin at home, said Fr. William Santiago, director of Caceres’ Archdiocesan Family Ministry. “Sex education, in order to be effective should start from parents and this should happen in their regular interaction with children at home,” he said. He called on parents to fulfill their obligation on their children by teaching them sex education properly. (Elmer Abad)
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lar foreign substance into the human body are frequently controverted.” Controverted for the interest of the dispensers who earn the bucks. Come to think about it, it is obvious to reason why contraceptives now or in the future can’t be any healthy. One can’t expect any healthy result from terminating NORMAL reproductive functions. How can anything that inhibits a healthy reproductive system be reproductively healthy? Could anything be more illogical? That’s why the only reproductive health is really natural family planning (or “methods of fertility awareness” approved by the WHO for those trying to be politically correct). There, the couples have to understand and work out each other’s body mechanisms and cycles. The periodic abstinence and charting that come with it would be a far better relief than to expose one’s spouse to risks, or to take the pill everyday, or to wear the IUDs or condoms always, or to get permanently sterile, with all the bills for taxpayers to shoulder. I only have one comment though on those who propose the modern NFP methods. I met a few who don’t even know what are these (Billings, BBT, STM,
Breastfeeding, Ovulation Monitors-whoa?) and how do they work! Can anyone preach about what is evil but be clueless about what is good? Considering that many poor couples are resorting to contraception and even abortion, can one restrict and at the same time know not the expectations required from what “ought”? On issues of sexuality, there seems to remain a Manichean hermeneutics of suspicion in discussing this God-given design of the reproductive system. One suspicion is that NFP might be abused in a “contraceptive mentality,” or a religious might be suspected of using it. Well, in the first place, one can’t effectively teach NFP without making people appreciate the value of abstinence and their reproductive powers. NFP brings about a balanced, temperate sexual lifestyle to couples. Just how can the teaching of moderation of sex be in itself vicious or anti-baby? That doesn’t even come close to a moderation of greed! So perhaps both the government and our Church can go together against past inactions. If I’m correct, it’s a sin to be negligent. It’s also a crime. Let’s not wait for another 40 years to act.
THE Filipino delegates here joined over 180,000 World Youth Day pilgrims waving their national flags during the Final Mass at the Randwick Racecourse. Led by the official delegation of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth, some 2,000 Filipino delegates and 10 bishops attended the two-hour solemn High Mass that included music, liturgy and the testimonies of seven young people from around the world. In his homily, the Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI, has called on the pilgrims to pray for racial unity and disparity reconciliation. During the vigil with the youth the night before, the Pope also stressed on unity as a gift to be nurtured. “Unity is the essence of the Church. It is a gift we must recognize and cherish. Tonight, let us pray for the resolve to nurture unity:
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contribute to it! Resist any temptation to walk away! For it is precisely the comprehensiveness, the vast vision, of our faith- solid yet open, consistent yet dynamic, true yet constantly growing in insight- that we can offer our world,” the Pope said. Relating the value of unity to the Holy Spirit, the Pope quoted Saint Augustine in saying that the “Holy” and “Spirit” refer to what is divine about God. It is shared by the Father and the Son. Hence, he said Saint Augustine concluded that the Spirit’s particular quality is unity. “The Holy Spirit is God eternally giving himself; like a never-ending spring he pours fourth nothing less than himself. In view of this ceaseless gift, we come to see the limitations of all that perishes, the folly of the consumerist mindset. We begin to understand why the quest for novelty leaves us unsatis-
fied and wanting. Are we not looking for an eternal gift? The spring that will never run dry?” “Inspired by the insights of Saint Augustine, let unifying love be your measure, abiding love your challenge, self giving love your mission! These gifts of the Spirit- each of which, as Saint Francis de Sales reminds us, is a way to participate in the one love of Godare neither prizes nor rewards.” He ended the homily in challenging the youth to carry on the Holy Spirit’s gift and be unity initiators. “The Spirit’s role is to bring Christ’s work to fulfilment. Enriched with the Spirit’s gifts, you will have the power to move beyond the piecemeal, the hollow utopia, the fleeting, to offer the consistency and certainty of Christian witness!” Benedict said. (Kris Bayos with reports from CNA, WYD08)
Ramero when he saw Ramero’s name as one of the endorsers of anti-life bills. The congresswoman immediately withdrew her support of the bills. Dosado and Villar also tackled during their 30-minute meeting the improvement of Cotta Shrine where the image of Nuestra Señora del Triumfo de la Cross the titular patron of the local Church is placed, the Jun Lozada’s case and the House inquiry on ill fated ship of M/V Princess of the Stars. The Senate president was accompanied to the meeting by Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and Vice Mayor Carlos Patricio Bernand. He was one of the prominent visitors who witnessed the Miss Ozamiz pageant on July 14 in celebration of the 253rd feast of Nuestra Señora del Triumfo de la Cross (Birhen sa Cotta), the titular patron of the
local church that coincided with the 60th anniversary of Ozamiz as a chartered on July 16.
Saying it is not enough
Meanwhile Chairman of Human Life International Dr. Rene Joseph Bullecer told CBCPNews it is not enough for Villar to declare his being a Catholic and a pro-life senator, he must also prove his claim by doing all his means to kill the anti-life bills. Bullecer strongly supports Dosado’s stand to call the attention of all pro-abortion Catholic politicians. When these precautionary measures failed to get the intended effect, and still present themselves to receive Holy Communion, the Minister of the Holy Eucharist must refuse to distribute it, said Bullecer. “I’m not in favor that pro-abortion politicians should be denied
communion without calling [their attention] and instructing [them first] about the Church’s teachings because not all of them are aware that they are supporting the antilife bills,” Bullecer said. Earlier, a Pro-life rally organized and attended by thousands of youth leaders in Lipa City has left its mark. Congressman Mark Leandro of the 4th district of Batangas withdrew his support of anti-life bills, thus shrinking the number of politicians supporting the reproductive health bill to 33. But Bullecer clarified that this is not the end of the pro-life warfare because they will launch a series of pro-life rallies from various regions in the Philippines. He criticized Albay Rep.Edcel Lagman, the principal author of the reproductive health and population management bill in the house who was quoted as say-
ing “no one among the members of the 14th Congress is espousing permissive abortion.” “Lagman is innocent that he is endorsing permissive abortion because he is a politician and not a doctor, but for us doctors we study and do research that contraceptive is clearly an abortion per se,” added Dr. Bullecer. Bullecer appealed on the Catholic Hierarchy to impose the same discipline to the Catholic doctors who are consistently doing massive ligation and vasectomy. Compared to 33 pro-abortion congressmen, there are more Catholic doctors who are doing ligation and vasectomy, said Bullecer. “If these doctors will disobey the Church’s precautionary measures they should be excommunicated or interdicted,” Bullecer concluded. (Wendell Talibong)
People, Facts & Places
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
Las Piñas Boys Choir wins gold at world choral games
The 20-member Las Piñas Boys Choir in their winning performance during the 5th World Choir Games, children’s category, held in Graz, Austria last July 12. The choir also won the silver medal in the Musica Sacra Category.
First Diocesan Lay Congress held in Iligan
ALMOST 1,800 members from Lay Movements, Mandated Organization and Devotionals from 22 different parishes of the Diocese of Iligan joined the First Diocesan Lay Movements, Mandated Organization and Devotionals (LMMD/DIOCESAN COUNCIL OF THE LAITY) Congress held last June 28 at Fort Almonte, Liangan East, Bacolod Lanao del Norte. With the theme “LMMD, Agents of GSK, Padayon ta!”, Iligan Bishop Elenito Galido challenged the delegates to “Go build the Church and build the Church of the Poor.” The Congress started with a Caravan from Iligan City to Bacolod, Lanao del Norte. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by the Bishop of Iligan, Most Rev. Elenito D. Galido, D.D., concelebrated by Fr. Nazer Zaragosa, Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement Director of the Diocese; Msgr. Jemar Vera Cruz, Diocesan Vicar General; Fr. Jun Gualiza, and Rev. Glenn Almedolan. Bro. Nicasion E. Rodas shared on Financial Stewardship. Fr. Alberto de Lara, Inahan Sa Kinabuhi Seminary Rector, presented the History of Fort Almonte and its significance in building and promoting the Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Diocese. Fr. Nazer, parish priest of Sto. Nino Parish, Bacolod Lanao del Norte and chairman of the activity read the Resolution. “We refrain from comparing and competing from each other and let solidarity, participation and dialogue live so that our dreams to promote the Church and the reign of the kingdom of God here on earth. And that we become faithful to the teachings and laws of the Church, respectful and obedient ministers of God so that we become one body under one leadership and one herd under one Shepherd. We strive to go with and work towards the thrust of the Church to organize and to promote Basic Ecclesial Communities so that all Catholic Christians live a worshipping, witnessing, and serving life.” The resolution was approved and accepted by the LMMD Leaders, members and the Diocesan Council of the Laity. (Metot Nillas)
Cagayan de Oro marks Pauline Year
THE 20-voice Las Piñas Boys Choir (LPBC) won a gold medal and was declared “world champions” in the 5th World Choir Games, children’s category which ended July 14 in Graz, Austria. They won the category against 70 other specially selected choirs from around the world. The LPBC, conducted by Prof. Armando Salarza, also won a silver medal in the Musica Sacra Category. “This is a proud moment not only for the Las Piñas Boys Choir, not only for Las Piñas but for the Filipino People! Once again, we have shown the world that the Filipino talent is world class!” exulted Fr. Benjamin “Didoy” Molina, who is part of the management team. The choir members are: George Angeles II, Bernard Paolo Caro, Alvin Joshua Cayetano, Josiah de los Santos, Justin Claude Fernandez, Jadlae Aivan Fernandez, Joseph Vincent Gregorio, Carl Paolo Hernandez, Japheth Juanillo, Herman Manalang, Jhansseen Martinez, Dhonel Martinicio, Alwyn Dominique Panoso, Rupert Kim Pastrana, Ramon Paolo Quintero, Chazz Reyes, Karlo Reyes, Francis David Salonga, Joshua
Gabriel, and Samiley and Joe Sengson. Present at the choir’s winning performances were Alejandro Consolacion II, accompanist; staff and consultants January Hernandez, Norie Salarza, Leo and Donna Renier and managers Msgr. Albert Venus and Molina. The LPBC is a well-known group in the Philippines and in international youth choir contests. Under the artistic direction of Salarza, the group is a regular performer in the annual Bamboo Organ International Music Festival. It emerged champion at the 2005 Vivere Choral Competition. The 5th World Choir Games, which started July 9 has 441 registered choirs from 93 nations and around 20,000 active participants, including four choir groups from the Philippines—Coro Ilocano, Kilyawan Boys Choir, Himig Singer and Las Pinas Boys Choir. Held every two years in different countries, the competition is the largest international choir competition. Past competitions were held in Xiamen, China (2006); Bremen, Germany (2004); Busan, South Korea (2002) and Linz, Austria (2000). (CBCPNews)
THE Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro launched the Pauline Year with all the pomp and pageantry of a Catholic High Mass worthy of “The Apostle to the Nations” at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, July 15. “The life and works of St. Paul show us three things worth emulating, his conversion, mission and ecumenism,” said Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ who presided the celebration. Ledesma cited the many similarities in the lives and works of St. Augustine of Hippo, the patron saint of Cagayan de Oro, and St. Paul. St. Augustine was a sinner, while St. Paul was a Pharisee who was responsible for the death of many Christians during the early history of the church. Yet, both became zealous evangelists of the Word of God upon their conversion. The archbishop said St. Paul also gained the moniker “Apostle to the Nations” because where St. Peter focused on strengthening the nascent Catholic Church in Rome, St. Paul went abroad, traveling the Mediterranean world, preaching the Gospel especially to the Gentiles, founded churches and wrote letters that would later become part of the Sacred Scriptures. Although ecumenical initiatives are usually carried out in the level of church authorities, Ledesma said the faithful could always appreciate the universal and encompassing spirit of the apostle Paul who exhorted all believers to be of one mind and purpose in spreading the Good News of the Gospel. Inspired by the example of the Apostle to the Nations, the Pauline Year will show “that the action of Church is credible and effective only to the extent that its members are willing to personally pay for their fidelity to Christ in every situation.” (Mike Baños)
ELECTED. Bishop Leopoldo C. Jaucian, SVD, DD, as National Director of the Chinese Apostolate of the Philippines by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), July 5, 2008. Jaucian, who took over the post from Auxiliary Bishop-emeritus T eodoro Buhain, was the third Director elected to the ministry. Jaucian’s first exposure to the Chinese language and culture was during his overseas training program as an SVD seminarian. He took up Chinese language and culture, specializing in Mandarin at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, Taiwan from 19821984. He finished his theology in Mandarin in the same university four years later. After ordination in 1988, Jaucian worked as Assistant Pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Chai, Taiwan, followed by a stint in Campus Ministry, in Fu Jen Catholic High School, Chai, Taiwan from 1989-1992. Jaucian’s forebears originated from Mainland China and migrated to Iloilo in the 18th century. The family later moved to Bicol during the 18th century Abaca boom in Albay. Jaucian’s grandfather was a native of Ligao, Albay while his grandmother hailed from Ilocos Sur. CELEBRATED. Sr. Maria Gemma A. Victorino, 25th anniversary of profession of vows among the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM), July 6, 2008; at Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish, Santolan, Pasig City. Victorino entered the congregation of the Pious Disciples in Antipolo on May 7, 1978. She made her first profession of vows on February 10, 1983 and professed her final commitment on February 1 1989. Cur1, rently based in Rome as the Vicar General of the congregation, Victorino’s previous assignments include Music Ministry and Formation work. She was Regional Councilor from 1999 to 2005. She assumed the office of General Councilor and Vicar General at the same time in 2006. Victorino holds a degree in Biblical Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Fr. Gil Alinsangan, SSP . CELEBRATED. Froilem Bonn S. Barreto, Parang, Shariff Kabunsuan, Archdiocese of Cotabato; Michael M. Botacion, Bacolod City, Diocese of Bacolod; Gerald P. Supranes, T’Boli, South Cotabato, Diocese of Marbel and Ronnie L. Torres, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat, Archdiocese of Cotabato; first profession of vows among the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Philippine Province, May 9, 2008, De Mazenod Auditorium, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, Broce, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabunsuan. Fr. Larry de Guia, OMI, Vicar Provincial received the first vows of the new Oblates and Fr. Jun Matas, OMI presided the Eucharistic celebration. The four new Oblates will join the scholastics at the Our Lady of Assumption Scholasticate, Loyola Heights, Quezon City for their theology studies. CELEBRATED. Bros. Gerald Biñegas, Ruel Desamparado, Herbert Magbuo, Wesley Jay Taguibao, and Rey Villamonte, Perpetual profession of vows among the Rogationist Fathers, at the Holy Spirit Chapel, Fr. Di Francia Center of Studies, June 4, 2008. Rev. Fr. Bruno Rampazzo, RCJ presided the celebration of the Holy Mass concelebrated by several Rogationist priests. Seventeen other religious brothers also renewed their vows in the presence of confreres, relatives, benefactors and friends. On the same day, Bro. Vincent Victor Dumdum made also his Perpetual Profession of the Vows received by Rev. Fr. Marcelino Diaz, RCJ at the St. Hannibal Formation Center, Cebu City Four other religious brothers renewed their vows at the same time. . Died. Fr. Cletus Ternes, OMI, 74 years old, July 15, 2008. Retired Monsignor Agerico Galang, 61 years old, Archdiocese of Manila, July 17, 2008; Fr. Candido Ersando, Diocese of Malolos, June 2008; Msgr. Delfin V. Babilonia, Diocese of Lucena, June 2008; Msgr. Pastor Bolivar, Archdiocese of Capiz, July 2008.
Catholic Social Scientists to host int’l conference
AN international conference aimed to bring the social teachings of the Church to the mainstream of Philippine society will gather renowned speakers in the field of human rights and justice. “The conference is intended to complement the efforts of our bishops to fight off [the] present family life crisis in the Philippines,” said Professor Emma R. Roxas in a statement. Roxas is the Regional Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific for the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. The conference is themed “The Holy See and Catholic NGOs in the Areas of Human Rights and Development.” Resource speakers are Brian Scarnecchia, J. D., president of the International Solidarity and Human Rights Institute (ISHRI) and holder of the Human Life International chair, in favor of Fr. Paul Marx at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, USA, and Terrence McKeegan, J. D., vice president of ISHRI and the European Center for Law and Justice, covering religious liberty issues at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. “Both of them are stalwarts of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists based at the Franciscan University,” Prof. Roxas said. She added that the founder of Youth Arise International and Bibles for China Henry Capello will also speak about his mission to China with the blessings of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The conference will be held on July 25 at 2:00 p.m. at the Telengtan Hall, University of Asia and the Pacific, Ortigas Complex, Pasig City. (Melo Acuna)
CWL National Officers and Board Members led by their President, Dr. Amelita D. Go were inducted last June 21, 2008 by His Eminence, Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales and His Excellency, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP President, at the Archbishop’s Palace, Intramuros. Other officers elected were Caridad Rabuco, 1st National VP, Judge Corazon A. Tordilla, 2nd National VP, Erlinda Gonzalez, Secretary, Fortunata B. O’Santos, Treasurer, and Lourdes V. Peña, Auditor.
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8)
Message of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI to the Young People of the World on the Occasion of the XXIII World Youth Day, 2008
My dear young friends! 1. The XXIII World Youth Day I always remember with great joy the various occasions we spent together in Cologne in August 2005. At the end of that unforgettable manifestation of faith and enthusiasm that remains engraved on my spirit and on my heart, I made an appointment with you for the next gathering that will be held in Sydney in 2008. This will be the XXIII World Youth Day and the theme will be: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The underlying theme of the spiritual preparation for our meeting in Sydney is the Holy Spirit and mission. In 2006 we focused our attention on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Now in 2007 we are seeking a deeper understanding of the Spirit of Love. We will continue our journey towards World Youth Day 2008 by reflecting on the Spirit of Fortitude and Witness that gives us the courage to live according to the Gospel and to proclaim it boldly. Therefore it is very important that each one of you young people ¯in your communities and together w i t h those responsible for your education—should be able to reflect on this Principal Agent of salvation history, namely the Holy Spirit o r the Spirit of Jesus. In this way you will be able to achieve the following lofty goals: to recognize the Spirit’s true identity, principally by listening to the Word of God in the Revelation of the Bible; to become clearly aware of his continuous, active presence in the life of the Church, especially as you rediscover that the Holy Spirit is the “soul”, the vital breath of Christian life itself, through the sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist; to grow thereby in an understanding of Jesus that becomes ever deeper and more joyful and, at the same time, to put the Gospel into practice at the dawn of the third millennium. In this message I gladly offer you an outline for meditation that you can explore during this year of preparation. In this way you can test the quality of your faith in the Holy Spirit, rediscover it if it is lost, strengthen it if it has become weak, savour it as fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, brought about by the indispensable working of the Holy Spirit. Never forget that the Church, in fact humanity itself, all the people around you now and those who await you in the future, expect much from you young people, because you have within you the supreme gift of the Father, the Spirit of Jesus. fulfillment of a promise made much earlier by God, announced and prepared throughout the Old Testament. In fact, right from its opening pages, the Bible presents the spirit of God as the windthat “was moving over the face of the waters” (cf. Gen 1:2). It says that God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life (cf. Gen 2:7), thereby infusing him with life itself. After original sin, the life-giving spirit of God is seen several times in the history of humankind, calling forth prophets to exhort the chosen people to return to God and to observe his commandments faithfully. In the wellknown vision of the prophet Ezekiel, God, with his spirit, restores to life the people of Israel,
The World Youth Day cross was erected at the Barangaroo site for the opening of World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia. The Catholic World Youth Day event began last July 15 with an Opening Mass and ran until July 20.
“I assure you that the Spirit of Jesus today is inviting you young people to be bearers of the good news of Jesus to your contemporaries. The difficulty that adults undoubtedly find in approaching the sphere of youth in a comprehensible and convincing way could be a sign with which the Spirit is urging you young people to take this task upon yourselves.”
2. The promise of the Holy Spirit in the Bible Attentive listening to the Word of God concerning the mystery and action of the Holy Spirit opens us up to great and inspiring insights that I shall summarize in the following points. Shortly before his Ascension, Jesus said to his disciples: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you” ( Lk 24:49). This took place on the day of Pentecost when they were together in prayer in the Upper Room with the Virgin Mary. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the nascent Church was the represented by the “dry bones” (cf. 37:114). Joel prophesied an “outpouring of the spirit” over all the people, excluding no one. The sacred author wrote: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh ... Even upon the menservants and maidservants, in those days, I will pour out my spirit” (3:1-2). In “the fullness of time” (cf. Gal 4:4), the angel of the Lord announced to the Virgin of Nazareth that the Holy Spirit, “the power of the Most High”, would come upon her and overshadow her. The child to be born would be holy and would be called Son of God (cf. Lk 1:35). In the words of the prophet Isaiah, the Messiah would be the one on whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest (cf. 11:1-2; 42:1). This is the prophecy that Jesus took up again at the start of his public ministry in the synagogue in Nazareth. To the amazement of those present, he said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19; cf. Is 61:12). Addressing those present, he referred those prophetic words to himself by saying: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” ( Lk 4:21). Again, before his death on the Cross, he would tell his disciples several times about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the “Counselor” whose mission would be to bear witness to him and to assist believers by teaching them and guiding them to the fullness of Truth (cf. Jn 14:16-17, 25-26; 15:26; 16:13). 3. Pentecost, the point of departure for the Church’s mission On the evening of the day of resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples, “he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn 20:22). With
even greater power the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. We read in the Acts of the Apostles: “And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them” (2:2-3). The Holy Spirit renewed the Apostles from within, filling them with a power that would give them courage to go out and boldly proclaim that “Christ has died and is risen!” Freed from all fear, they began to speak openly with self-confidence (cf. Acts 2:29; 4:13; 4:29,31). These frightened fishermen had become courageous heralds of the Gospel. Even their enemies could not understand how “uneducated and ordinary men” (cf. Acts 4:13) could show such courage and endure difficulties, suffering and persecution with joy. Nothing could stop them. To those who tried to silence them they replied: “We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). This is how the Church was born, and from the day of Pentecost she has not ceased to spread the Good News “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). 4. TheHoly Spirit, soul of the Church and principle of communion If we are to understand the mission of the Church, we must go back to the Upper Room where the disciples remained together (cf. Lk 24:49), praying with Mary, the “Mother”, awaiting the Spirit that had been promised. This icon of the
WYD / B4
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
Position Paper on Freemasonry
By Fr Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
IT is not the purpose of this paper to go into the theologico-historical discussion of Freemasonry.2 It is rather the purpose of this paper to help the CBCP formulate a canonical stance regarding Catholics who join or foster (i.e., take positions of government and direction therein) freemasonry.
1. The legal iter of this matter can be summarized as follows: a) CIC 17 , c.2335 - specifically mentioned masonry and specified excommunication latae sententiae. b) CIC 83, c. 1374 now states: “One who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or moderates such an association, however, is to be punished with an interdict.” c) S.C. pro Doctrina Fidei, Decl. Quesitium est: de associationibus massonicis, 26.XI.1983: Asked whether the judgment of the Church regarding freemasonry had changed due to the new Codex not expressly mentioning it, as in the previous Code, the S.C.D.F. replies in the following terms: 1) Such non-mention of freemasonry is due to a criterion of redaction followed also as regards other associations equally not mentioned insofar as they are included in a wider category. 2) The negative judgment of the Church regarding Masonic associations remains unchanged, because their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church. 3) Therefore inscription in them remains prohibited, and the faithful who belong to a Masonic association are in a state of serious sin and cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. 4) It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authority to pronounce regarding the nature of a Masonic association in terms which go against the aforementioned criteria. 2. To understand this, one has to go to the history of c.1374, which I outline in brief: a) In the years of redaction of the CIC 83, two schools of thought emerged regarding the matter: 1st: Appreciate the reality that the nature of freemasonry is different in different countries—so that it is not possible to lump them all under the category of “an association which plots against the Church”. According to this school, it should be up to the episcopal conference to determine in each country whether masonry falls under that category. This became the position of the coetus in charge of this canon, which besides supported the thesis of E. Gomez O.P. (a well-known canonist) that the penalty should not be latae sententiae (following one of the principles of the codification, to reduce latae sententiae penalties to a minimum, since it goes against juridic stability and security, because of its automaticity and self-infliction due to lack of sentence), and definitely not excommunication (since this was reserved for the gravest of crimes only—again one of the principles of the codification process). 2nd: The position of the German Episcopal Conference —which had carried out a lengthy study between 1974-1980, in the form of a series of official dialogues between the Catholic Church and the Freemasons—which concluded that membership in freemasonry was inherently incompatible with the Church. Therefore, a return to the text of CIC 17, c.2335. b) Subjected to a vote of the Plenum— actually two votations on successive days—the 1st position won, albeit by a small margin. c) In the same month of full effectivity of the new Code (after the 6-month vacatio legis after its promulgation), the SCDF came up with the Declaration of 26.XI.1983, which clarifies that freemasonry is not mentioned specifically in c.1374, because of a criterion of redaction which includes it in a wider category. 3. The CBCP Guidelines on Membership in Free Masonic Associations (14.III.1990) 1) It precisely belongs to particular legislation (if the episcopal conference wants a uniform treatment for the whole country) to specify freemasonry as one of those associations typified in c.1374 (the wider category) and include a just penalty for it—but not excommunication, and not latae sententiae to follow the mens legislatoris in this regard. 2) On the other hand, it is not the competence of particular legislation to give a judgment regarding Masonic associations contrary to the criteria contained above (i.e., the CBCP cannot not say that such associations are not inherently incompatible with the Catholic faith and that those who enlist in them are in a state of grave sin). This is the tenor of the SCDF Declaration (26.XI.1983), par. 4. 3) The CBCP Guidelines of 14.III.1990 are in accord with Quaesitum est in stipulating that any Catholic who is publicly known as a mason—i.e., whose membership in any Masonic Association can be proven in the external forum— ”may not receive Holy Communion.” However, the tenor of the CBCP dispo-
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
sition—” may not receive…” needs to be modified to be in accord with the quite definitive tenor of the SCDF Declaration: “They cannot receive…” 4) The CBCP Guidelines of 14.III.1990 also need to be modified to be more in accordance with c.1374, which makes a distinction between: a) “One who joins an association which plots against the Church (who) is to be punished with a just penalty” — i.e., a preceptive ferendae sententiae penalty, with due attention to the general norms regarding penalties (cc. 1344, 1347, 1349, 1350). 5 b) “One who promotes or moderates such an association (who) is to be punished with an interdict” — i.e., a preceptive ferendae sententiae penalty of interdict , again with due attention to the general norms regarding penalties.6 4. Conclusions/Recommendations 1) The aforementioned criteria can best be served by retaining the present CBCP Guidelines from the beginning up to n.1, but introducing modifications thereafter. 2) N.2 of the CBCP Guidelines can be split and rephrased as follows: 1. Therefore, any Catholic whose membership in any Masonic Association can be proven in the external forum and who refuses to renounce such membership after repeated canonical warnings, is not to be admitted to Holy Communion.7 2. Furthermore, any Catholic who
promotes or moderates such an association and refuses to amend his ways despite repeated canonical warnings: a) is not to be allowed to act as sponsor in Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage; b) is not to be admitted as members of parish or diocesan structures or any other religious organizations; c) is to be denied funeral rites, unless some signs of repentance before death has been shown (cf. c.1184, §1); where such rites have been allowed by the Ordinary, no Masonic services shall be allowed in the Church or cemetery immediately before or after the Church rites in order to avoid any public scandal (cf. cc.1184, §1 and 1374).8 3) Despite the seeming harshness of the above dispositions, one must bear in mind that the CBCP cannot really pretend to issue Guidelines which in the end have no “teeth” anyway. In any case, such Guidelines must reflect the reality that Freemasonry needs to be stamped out as an evil. The catechesis—and repeated warnings in this regard— coupled with the fact that each case must be taken separately (hence the ferendae sententiae penalty) means that in those cases when such a penalty really has to be imposed, it would be a case of proven contumacy—hardly compatible with the oft-cited general case of a mason who is “a good Catholic”. If a mason cannot renounce his freemasonry despite repeated warning from the Bishop, he is not a good Catholic.
Originally submitted to the ECCL-CLSP workshop of 23.IV.2002, at the CBCP Secretariat in Intramuros, Manila. For a more in-depth investigation of the historical aspects of freemasonry, cf. Pope Leo XIII’s encyclicals: Humanum Genus, 20.IV.1884, which provides a definitive statement on Freemasonry, its opposition to the Church, and the response of Catholics; Custodi Di Quella Fede, 8.XII.1892; Inimica Vis, 8.XII. 1892; Dall’alto Dell’apostolico Seggio, 15.X.1890. Cf. AA.VV., Comentario Exegetico al Codigo de Derecho Canonico (2nd ed.), vol. IV/1, EUNSA (1997), pp.512-517; Z. Suchecki, La Massonería, pp.61-115. It is important to attend to the original Latin of the SCDF Declaration of 26.XI.1983, the dispositive part of which reads:
Christifideles qui associationibus massonicis nomen dant in peccato gravi versantur et ad sacram communionem accedere non possunt. (N.B. The mood is declarative/indicative, not subjunctive.)
5 The Latin of c.1374 reads iusta poena puniatur— i.e., making the imposition of such a just punishment preceptive. 6 The Latin canon reads: interdicito puniatur— making the imposition of such an interdict preceptive for the Superior. 7
It is important to attend to the original Latin of the SCDF Declaration of 26.XI.1983, the dispositive part of which reads:
Christifideles qui associationibus massonicis nomen dant in peccato gravi versantur et ad sacram communionem accedere non possunt. (N.B. The mood is declarative/indicative, not subjunctive.)
This is a specification of the interdict stipulated in c.1374.
Cohabiting brides and groom
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following questions:) Q: Many Catholic brides and grooms acknowledge themselves as “living together” right up to the time of a sacramental marriage, and/or they admit that they have not followed the precepts of the Church (Mass on Sunday, Easter obligation, etc.). They decide to have a “Catholic wedding.” Their marriage preparation lacks the requirement that they attend the sacrament of reconciliation to place themselves in a state of grace. Must a Catholic bride and/or groom be in the state of grace as they enter into matrimony in order for them to receive the grace of the sacrament? Is their marriage valid if they are not in the state of grace? — M.T., Bloomfield, Connecticut A: The present state of social mores is a source of frequent consternation to priests, deacons and others involved in preparing couples for marriage. Many pastoral agents feel caught between Scylla and Charybdis, fearing that demanding the couple’s separation before marriage might dash any hopes of re-evangelizing them during the marriage preparation course. For this reason some might be tempted to turn a blind eye to cohabiting couples. Here the Latin adage “Suaviter in forma fortiter in re” (gentle in form, firm as to principle) comes into play. When a couple request a Catholic wedding it is necessary to inquire as to their motives. When the motives are genuinely, even if imperfectly religious, it should be gently but firmly explained that being married in the Church, more than a pretty social event, is a lifelong binding pact between them and God. It thus requires serious spiritual preparation, and the couple should be encour-
Using Classrooms for Mass
Q: Should a school classroom be used for the celebration of Mass when the parish church is close enough for children to get to easily, and the church (or a smaller chapel within it) is available? — S.H., Lancashire, England A: The overarching principles in question are quite clear as indicated by the instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” No. 108: “The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise. In this case the celebration must be in a decent place. The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis.” This would indicate a clear preference toward using the chapel as often as possible. The first sentence of this instruction is a direct quote of Canon 932.1 of the Code of Canon Law. The second sentence, referring to the diocesan bishop’s judgment on a case-by-case basis, for all practical purposes harks back to the situation found in the equivalent canon of the 1917 Code which always required the bishop’s permission to celebrate outside of a sacred place. Most comments on the reformed code had considered that the decision now rests with the individual priest but this, apparently, was not the mind of the legislator. However, I believe that the bishop’s case-by-case judgment does not necessarily mean that he has to grant permission for each individual celebration. The bishop could grant a habitual permission covering certain frequently occurring circumstances in the diocese and allow pastors and chaplains to decide when these circumstances are met. Such would be the case for Masses celebrated in places such as hospitals and retirement homes that have no specific chapel. In the case of classroom Masses the bishop could discuss along with pastors the relative advantages and disadvantages of celebrating Mass outside of a sacred space for the sake of the children. While proximity to the church is clearly a factor to be weighed, it is not the only factor. Teachers should be consulted as to whether moving the children to the chapel might cause disciplinary problems. Another factor would be if the children are more likely to be distracted in unfamiliar surroundings such as the chapel or more concentrated on the Mass itself in their habitual classroom. The answer might vary even within different age levels of a single school. It might be more profitable for some grades to go to the church and for others to remain in the classroom. Another question to be taken into account is the frequency of the Masses. If the Mass is a sporadic or annual event, then I believe that classroom Masses cause no special problem. If, however, the children attend Mass at school on a regular basis, then it is better to habituate them to go to a sacred space specifically reserved for that purpose. I would even say that if the parish church is unavailable, then, as far as possible, a room should be set aside as an oratory. Or at least the Masses should be held in an especially worthy space, rather than a regular classroom. Therefore it is not just a question of liturgical law but also a pastoral question regarding the best means of introducing children to the Mass as well as to other practices of genuine Christian piety. (Zenit)
aged to take the commitment fully aware of what is required. Any diocesan policies should be explained right from the beginning. While the Church is almost always willing to conduct a sacramental marriage so as to at least give the couple the opportunity of returning to the sacraments, many dioceses and pastors are wont to refuse cohabiting couples the full panoply of a religious wedding and insist on a discreet private service. This is done out of respect for, and to emphasize, the essentially religious nature of the sacrament of holy matrimony so that it is never reduced to the social sphere. While marriage preparation courses have several goals in preparing the couple for married life, it is gravely incumbent that the couple reaches a clear understanding of the commitments toward fidelity, permanence and openness to children. These commitments are essential to celebrate a valid wedding in the Catholic Church. Otherwise the wedding should not proceed, since no pastor should ever risk witnessing a probably invalid marriage. It is also of very great importance that the couple prepares for marriage by living the state of grace. Cohabiting couples should be gently but clearly told that their situation is not conducive to an adequate preparation for a Catholic wedding. Co-
habitation also risks the future stability of their life together, as has been shown by both pastoral experience and formal scientific studies. Marriage, just like confirmation, Eucharist, holy orders and, whenever possible, anointing of the sick, require the state of grace for their fruitful reception. With respect to validity, however, someone who is married while in a state of mortal sin may be validly married (as they would be validly confirmed, ordained, or validly celebrate Mass). But he/she would not receive the grace proper to this sacrament and indeed commits a further grave sin of sacrilege and renders the sacrament objectively illicit. Such a state hardly augurs well for future marital bliss. It is therefore of utmost pastoral concern that couples be prepared in such a way that they clearly understand the beauty of Catholic teaching regarding pre-nuptial chastity, sincerely repent of any sins they may have committed, and seek the sacrament of reconciliation so as to enter into marriage in the state of grace. The challenges are immense and certainly exceed the possibilities of this column to enter into details. This is why we have limited ourselves to enunciate some basic guiding principles.
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
of catechesis: the Catechetical Ministry and the KRISKA Ministry. The Catechetical Ministry is for the teaching of catechesis to children in the public schools on weekdays and in the barrio chapels on Sundays. The KRISKA Ministry (Kristohanong Kasilinganan or Christian Neighborhood) is for the teaching of catechesis to adults and families in neighborhood communities of 6 to 10 families which comprises a KRISKA unit. The biblical apostolate is being promoted by the KRISKA Ministry, the BECGKK Ministry and the Lay Liturgical Leadership Ministry through Bible Studies, Bible Service, catechesis, prayer and and Life Ministry has 1,700 Family and Life Workers. The Youth Ministry has more than 2,000 Youth leaders. The Campus Ministry has about 300 campus ministers. The Lay Liturgists number about 5,000. The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion about 1,800 and the Social Action Ministry has about 3,000 Social Action Workers. Welfare Programs Besides the Integral Evangelization Programs, the Diocese has established three welfare Programs for its priests and lay Church Workers. These programs are the Priests Welfare Program, the Sabbatical Leave Program and the Lay Church Workers Program. The Priests Welfare Program was started in 1998. Benefits: uniform monthly allowance for priests, hospitalization and medicines, insurance, loans, retirement pension and burial expenses. The Sabbatical Leave Program was launched in 2003. The program provides financial assistance to priests who go on a one-year Sabbatical Leave for rest and renewal (R & R) after spending seven years in the ministry. The sources of funds for these programs come from personal contributions of priest-members, the parish where they are assigned and the diocese. The Lay Church Workers Welfare Pro-
gram was established in 2004. The program provides financial assistance to Parish and Diocesan Lay Church Workers and Personnel. It provides loans, hospitalization and medicine assistance, insurance, retirement and burial assistance. Sources of funds for this program come from personal contributions of members, the parish where they work and the diocese. Control Mechanisms The Ministries hold quarterly meetings—Boards and Executive Committees and annual / bi-annual Diocesan General Assemblies.
By Msgr. Romeo Buenaobra
Historical Background In 1950, Marbel was part of the diocese of Cotabato. The Bishop at that time was Most Rev. Gerard Mongeau, OMI, DD. Marbel was created Prelature Nullius on Dec. 17, 1960, with Most Rev. Quentin Olwell, CP, DD as first bishop. He was followed in 1970 by Most Rev. Reginald Arliss, CP, DD. Most Rev. Dinualdo D. Gutierrez, DD succeeded Bishop Arliss in 1981 as 3rd Prelate Ordinary. Marbel was elevated to a Diocese on Nov. 15, 1982. The Diocese comprises 2 civil prov-
The Diocese of
inces: South Cotabato and Sarangani, the City of General Santos and some parts of the province of Sultan Kudarat. The titular Patron of the Diocese is Christ the King Diocesan Vision, Mission, Thrust In 1996 the Diocese has re-formulated its Vision-Mission-Thrust in line with PCP II. This V-M-T can be summarized as follows: 1) Vision of Church: A community of disciples of Jesus Christ and Church of the Poor; 2) Vision of Society: A society which is God-centered (makaDiyos), democratic (makatao), nationalistic (makabansa), just (makatarungan), respectful of human life (makabuhay), and integrity of creation (makakalikasan); 3) Mission: To proclaim in word and deed the message of salvation and liberation (integral evangelization); 4) Thrust: The building and strengthening of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) through integral liberation and development towards one, holy society (cf. Eph. 1:4-5; 910). Diocesan Programs In 1997 the Diocese made a general assessment of all its Diocesan Programs. It was decided then to re-align all programs to correspond to the PCP II elements of Renewed Integral Evangelization. Three Diocesan Commissions were formed: 1) Commission on Christian Formation (COCF)—cf. PCP II Renewed Catechesis; 2) Commission on Worship and Liturgy (COWL)—cf. PCP II Renewed Worship; 3) Commission on Social Apostolate (COSA)—cf. PCP II Renewed Social Apostolate. Various programs for integral formation and development were established and old ones were strengthened. Programs under Christian Formation are catechesis, biblical apostolate, family and life, basic ecclesial communities, youth, and campus ministry. Two groups are involved in the area reflection and celebration of the National Bible Week. The family life program is geared for the formation of strong Christian families in the parishes. The program is being promoted by the Family and Life Ministry and the BEC-GKK Ministry. The BEC program is for the formation of people and lay leaders in the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) in the parishes. The program is being promoted by the GKK Ministry. Programs under Worship and Liturgy are the Liturgical Formation Program for lay liturgists in the BECs and parishes and the Lay Liturgical Leadership Ministry Program for Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion and for holding Bible Services in the BECs on Sundays. Programs under the Social Action Apostolate are Justice and Peace, Health and Nutrition, Sustainable Agriculture, Micro-Finance, Relief and Rehabilitation, Alay Kapwa, Livelihood Assistance, Indigenous People, Pastoral Care of Women and Children, Migrants and their Families, Social Communications (Media), IRA Watch, Good Governance, and Ecology Ministries and Lay Leaders Various ministries have been mobilized by the Diocese to be involved in these programs. These are the BEC Ministry, KRISKA Ministry, Catechetical Ministry, Family and Life Ministry, Youth Ministry, Campus Ministry, Lay Liturgical Ministry, Lay Liturgical Leadership Ministry, Social Communications Ministry and the Social Action Ministry. The Diocese has established more than 1,600 BECs managed by at least 8,000 BEC officers. There are more than 4,000 KRISKA units established with the same number of KRISKA Alagads or facilitators. The Catechetical Ministry has about 2,000 volunteer catechists. The Family
RIGHT: Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez speaking at a rally. BELOW: The Christ the King Cathedral
Bishop ……………...………………… 1 Priests: Diocesan …………………….…….. 64 Religious ……………………..……. 20 Deacons ……………………….…… 4 Brothers Filipino ………………………...……. 17 Sisters ………………………….…… 112 Seminarians: Pre-College ………………………... 5 College ……………………….…….. 20 Major …………………………...……. 8 On Regency ……………………….. 2 Diocesan Divisions: Vicariates …………………………... 5 Parishes ……………………...…….. 24 Educational Centers: University ……………………...…….. 1 Colleges …………………………….. 2 High Schools …………………...…. 22 Elementary ………………………… 38 Population ………………..... 1,583,208 Catholics ………………..….. 1,220,356 Area ………………………. 7,469 sq.kms
Paul in Thessalonia Paul went to the city accompanied by Silas and Timothy and stayed there for a period of at least three weeks (cf Acts 17). The three-week period has to be understood as the beginning of their stay in the city when the missionaries preached to their fellow Jews. Afterwards, they would preach to the Gentiles in that city and this presupposes a longer period of time. The two letters sent to the Christian community in this city indicates that an intimate relationship had been forged between pastor and flock, which included a large number of Gentile converts. Also, St. Paul mentioned that, on two separate occasions, he had received gifts from the church of Philippi while in Thessalonica. Moreover, Paul had established himself in the city in the practice of his trade, which is tentmaking. On his first day in Thessalonia, Paul entered the synagogue and preached to his fellow Jews about the living God. Word spread fast and each time Paul came to speak, more people were added to the congregation. Acts 17:4 relates this interesting development: “Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas; so did many of the leading women and a large group of Greeks who worshiped God. But some Jews were jealous and gathered worthless loafers from the streets and formed a mob. They set the whole city in an uproar and attacked the home of a man named Jason.” Message to the Thessalonians The first letter to the Thessalonians is a letter of thanksgiving to the Christian converts, remembering in particular how they received the word “in the midst of so much suffering” (1 Thes 1:6). Paul reminds the Christian converts of the difficulties they encountered in the city and their unfailing zeal to preach the good news about Jesus Christ. He offers his prayers so that he might again see the members of the fledgling young Church. From his assistant Timothy, Paul had learned that the young community was undergoing persecution. Thus, Paul’s letter is meant to encourage and admonish the new Christians referring to them as his ‘child’ and to himself as both their “mother and father”. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is a letter of tenderness in the midst of oppression, and it reflects the apostle’s growing understanding of Jesus’ message of new life amidst the experience of the cross.
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
First Letter to the Thessalonians
By Fr. Paul J. Marquez, SSP
THE first letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians holds the distinction of being the oldest preserved document in Christianity. The letter is one among seven epistles judged undisputedly to be authentic, together with Paul’s letter to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians and Philemon. The six other letters, regarded as written by Paul’s colleague or student, are as follows: 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. A backgrounder on Thessalonia In Paul’s time, Thessalonia was a thriving military and commercial port city, thickly populated where the citizens engaged in lively commerce. Cassander (brother-in-law and a general in the army of Alexander the Great) was the founder of the city and named it after his own wife Thessalonike . It was made a free city like Athens where no Roman soldiers roamed or policed the city. The Thessalonians ran their own affairs and a group of elders chose the city magistrates, known as the ‘politarchs’.
Fr. Luis Supan
The question box
Questions on Population Control
(TEN years ago, the Pontifical Council for the Family issued Declaration on the Decrease of Fertility in the World, dated February 27, 1998. It took occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. The answers in the following questions are taken from the text of the Declaration) What are the human rights that are put in jeopardy when the State legislates population control? In this regard, the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reminder to the world. To celebrate these rights is to celebrate man. This moment provides a unique opportunity for the human community to strengthen the respect due to the essential values to which it has subscribed, and on which it has committed itself to build its future. These values must be safeguarded from all compromise on the part of States, international organizations, private groups or individuals. These rights are identified as follows: the right to life, the right to physical and psychological integrity, and the equal dignity of all human beings (cf. article 1). (Cf. Declaration, no. 6). Why is it crucial for the good of society that the State always respect these basic human rights whenever it is tempted to impose population control? As Pope John Paul II has declared: “Human rights transcend every constitutional order”. These rights are inherent in each man. They do not result from a consensus which is open to negotiation depending on the forces or self-interests that may be present. The very existence of these rights, recognized and solemnly declared in 1948, does not depend on the relative quality of the formulations which exist in constitutions and laws (cf. article 2.2). Every constitution, every law, which would attempt to limit the possession of these declared rights, or to modify their meaning, should be immediately denounced as discriminatory and, as suggested by the Preamble of the Declaration, as suspect of totalitarian ferments. It is on this common reference to values, defended at the price of so many tears, that the fabric of the nations can be restored, and that a city of the world, open to the “culture of life” can be built. (Cf. Declaration, no. 6) Have there been cases when some States fell into the totalitarian temptation in the area of population control? In recent years, mass sterilization, already mentioned, has been added to these causes. One can recall the massive, scandalous campaigns of male and female sterilization in India in 1954 and 1976, leading to the overthrow of Mrs. Gandhi’s government. In Brazil and in Mexico, 40 percent of the women using a fertility-control method are sterilized. At the present moment, the media is reporting the sterilization campaign carried out last year in Peru by the services of the Public Health Department. This has provoked a worldwide reaction of indignation. Public healthcare employees put “pressure” on women who were mostly illiterate and not informed about the real purpose of their “operation”. These procedures also resulted in a number of deaths. The Catholic Bishops of the region have demanded an explanation. They have been joined by a large group of congressmen who have asked that the Peruvian Congress investigate these sterilizations (which number more than 100,000) in order to determine the medical and ethical conditions under which they were performed. These congressmen seek to reveal the full truth regarding violations of human rights carried out during this governmental campaign. (Cf. Declaration, no. 4) How are citizens led to think that population control is necessary? For too long, most of the discussions about population have developed a certain universal and erroneous popular vocabulary, according to which the world is viewed as a prisoner of an “exponential”, even “galloping” demographic growth, which is causing a “demographic explosion”¯the so-called “demographic time bomb”. The Pontifical Council for the Family, which has demonstrated in one of its publications (Ethical and Pastoral Dimensions of Population Trends, 1994) that this “popular vocabulary” really lacks all foundation, is pleased to note that, even in some agencies of the UN, the truth regarding the demographic situation has begun to be recognized. Indeed, for 30 years, the conferences sponsored by this organization have provoked and nurtured unfounded fears about demography, especially in the southern countries. On this alarmist basis, different agencies of the UN have invested and continue to invest huge financial resources in order to compel many countries to institute Malthusian policies. It has been proven that these programs, always imported from abroad, usually involve coercive measures of fertility control. In the same way, international aid for development is regularly granted on the condition of establishing programs of population control which include forced sterilizations, or sterilizations performed without proper informed consent. Local governments are also adopting such Malthusian policies, and non-governmental organizations—of which the most important is the well-known International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)—are actively fostering these policies. (Cf. Declaration, no. 2). Who are the losers in these anti-population campaigns, specifically, sterilization? In the poor countries, the first victims of these programs are the innocent and helpless populations. They are systematically deceived and driven to consent to their mutilation under the false argument that it is, for them, a necessary antecedent to development. (Cf. Declaration, no. 2) At present, is there a “population explosion” worldwide? These disastrous policies stand in total contradiction to the actual demographic trends, as they are revealed in statistics and the analysis of available data. For 30 years, the rate of growth of the world’s population has continued to decline at a regular and significant rate. At this point, following an impressive drop in their fertility, 51 countries in the world (out of 185) are no longer able to replace their population. To be precise, these 51 countries represent 44 percent of the population of the world. In other words, the total fertility rate (TFR) in these countries, that is to say, the number of children born of each woman, is lower than 2.1. This is the minimum level of fertility needed for the replacement of the population in a country which has optimum public health conditions. This situation is found to be the same on almost every continent. There is below-replacement-level fertility in America (the United States, Canada, Cuba, and most of the Caribbean islands), in Asia (Georgia, Thailand, China, Japan and South Korea), in Oceania (Australia) and in almost all the forty countries of Europe. On this continent, the effect of aging on population leads to depopulation, with the number of deaths surpassing the number of births. This negative balance is occurring in 13 countries already, including Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Belarus, Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Spain and Italy. (Cf. Declaration, no. 3)
New face of hope for HIV/AIDS victims
By Roy Lagarde
NOEL Pascual, an HIV-positive, said he is pleased the Church has long been involved and always on the move in the fight against the deadly disease. While the victim notes that the many of the people ministering to Filipinos who develop AIDS are religious, boosting the Church’s response is very significant. On July 12, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has launched a training manual that would help its parish workers including the religious and laity how to handle cases of the disease. Pascual said this new Church initiative is surely a big help so that more people could offer help “at the bedside of our peers in hospitals.” Present during the launching, held at the College of the Holy Spirit in Manila, were mostly nuns, social-action workers, priests, and workers in government and NGO-run programs for people with HIV and AIDS. Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People said the book will also be made available soon to Catholic schools for possible
WYD / B1
inclusion in their curriculum. Corros said the manual was designed primarily to assist victims and their families suffering or found positive with the HIV/AIDS. It contains instructional materials which were designed to guide trainers, facilitators and educators in enhancing the capability of pastoral workers to mobilize a meaningful and effective response to AIDS. “We are doing it through proper education. We tell the people how they can be infected and this could be through blood transfusion, sexual intercourse, etc.,” he said. Asked if the manual pushes the use of condoms as a means to stop the spread of the disease, Corros said, “we don’t emphasize condom use but later on when you get infected (we suggest) what should be the proper and right approach that the Church could do to accompany those who are suffering.” Records from the National HIV Sentinel Surveillance System (NHSSS) of the Health department’s National Epidemiology Center showed that there are 3,273 Filipinos found with HIV/AIDS, where 76 percent or 2,482 were “asymptomatic” and 24 percent or 791 are full blown AIDS
cases. Deaths recorded due to HIV/AIDS was placed at 309. The most popular mode of transmissions includes sexual intercourse [heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual], perinatal transmission, blood transfusion, injecting drug use and needle prick injuries. From January to May 2008, a total of 212 cases were reported, nine were full blown AIDS cases and two deaths recorded. Majority or 68 percent (2,211) of [the total 3,273] those reported with HIV/AIDS are males and the most age with the number of cases ranged between 25 to 29 years old. While the number of HIV/ AIDS cases in the country remains low compared to our neighboring countries in Asia
like Thailand, Corros pointed that it is still alarming since it is in the increasing side. Of the total cases reported about 1,116 or 34 percent of the total cases were overseas Filipino workers and about 74 percent or 827 are males. Seventy seven (77) or 857 were asymptomatic while 23 percent (259) were AIDS cases. Like other victims of the deadly virus, Pascual is hoping the commitment showed by the Church in making the training manual would be sustained, adding that the fight against HIV and AIDS “does not lie in the book alone.” “At the end of our journey, we will face our creator; we need you to help prepare us,” the 43-year old Pascual said.
nascent Church should be a constant source of inspiration for every Christian community. Apostolic and missionary fruitfulness is not principally due to programmes and pastoral methods that are cleverly drawn up and “efficient”, but is the result of the community’s constant prayer (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75). Moreover, for the mission to be effective, communities must be united, that is, they must be “of one heart and soul” (cf. Acts 4:32), and they must be ready to witness to the love and joy that the Holy Spirit instills in the hearts of the faithful (cf. Acts 2:42). The Servant of God John Paul II wrote that, even prior to action, the Church’s mission is to witness and to live in a way that shines out to others (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 26). Tertullian tells us that this is what happened in the early days of Christianity when pagans were converted on seeing the love that reigned among Christians: “See how they love one another” (cf. Apology, 39 § 7). To conclude this brief survey of the Word of God in the Bible, I invite you to observe how the Holy Spirit is the highest gift of God to humankind, and therefore the supreme testimony of his love for us, a love that is specifically expressed as the “yes to life” that God wills for each of his creatures. This “yes to life” finds its fullness in Jesus of Nazareth and in his victory over evil by means of the redemption. In this regard, let us never forget that the Gospel of Jesus, precisely because of the Spirit, cannot be reduced to a mere statement of fact, for it is intended to be “good news for the poor, release for captives, sight for the blind ...”. With what great vitality this was seen on the day of Pentecost, as it became the grace and the task of the Church towards the world, her primary mission! We are the fruits of this mission of
the Church through the working of the Holy Spirit. We carry within us the seal of the Father’s love in Jesus Christ which is the Holy Spirit. Let us never forget this, because the Spirit of the Lord always remembers every individual, and wishes, particularly through you young people, to stir up the wind and fire of a new Pentecost in the world. 5. The Holy Spirit as “Teacher of the interior life” My dear young friends, the Holy Spirit continues today to act with power in the Church, and the fruits of the Spirit are abundant in the measure in which we are ready to open up to this power that makes all things new. For this reason it is important that each one of us know the Spirit, establish a relationship with Him and allow ourselves to be guided by Him. However, at this point a question naturally arises: who is the Holy Spirit for me? It is a fact that for many Christians He is still the “great unknown”. This is why, as we prepare for the next World Youth Day, I wanted to invite you to come to know the Holy Spirit more deeply at a personal level. In our profession of faith we proclaim: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son” ( NiceneConstantinopolitan Creed). Yes, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the love of the Father and of the Son, is the Source of life that makes us holy, “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). Nevertheless, it is not enough to know the Spirit; we must welcome Him as the guide of our souls, as the “Teacher of the interior life” who introduces us to the Mystery of the Trinity, because He alone can open us up to faith and allow us to live it each day to the
full. The Spirit impels us forward towards others, enkindles in us the fire of love, makes us missionaries of God’s charity. I know very well that you young people hold in your hearts great appreciation and love for Jesus, and that you desire to meet Him and speak with Him. Indeed, remember that it is precisely the presence of the Spirit within us that confirms, constitutes and builds our person on the very Person of Jesus crucified and risen. So let us become familiar with the Holy Spirit in order to be familiar with Jesus. 6. The Sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist You might ask, how can we allow ourselves to be renewed by the Holy Spirit and to grow in our spiritual lives? The answer, as you know, is this: we can do so by means of the Sacraments, because faith is born and is strengthened within us through the Sacraments, particularly those of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, which are complementary and inseparable (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1285). This truth concerning the three Sacraments that initiate our lives as Christians is perhaps neglected in the faith life of many Christians. They view them as events that took place in the past and have no real significance for today, like roots that lack life-giving nourishment. It happens that many young people distance themselves from their life of faith after they have received Confirmation. There are also young people who have not even received this sacrament. Yet it is through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and then, in an ongoing way, the Eucharist, that the Holy Spirit makes us children of the Father, brothers and sisters of
WYD / B7
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
‘We belong to God’
(Message delivered by His Excellency Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, at the Eucharistic celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, on July 9, 2008, Manila Cathedral.) MANY know of Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae Vitae as the “Birth Control” Encyclical. In fact, however, the encyclical treats of control in another broader sense. Humanae Vitae does not identify the problem in the realm of sex, birth, or the pill, but rather in modern man’s arrogant desire to control, to control, to play God. The Servant of God Pope Paul writes at the beginning of his letter that man has made great progress in the dominion of the forces of nature to the point that he is indebted to extend this control over every aspect of his existence. Even over the laws that regulate the transmission of life. And here the Pope is pointing to a wider vision of the problem. We think everything belongs to us but the reality is we belong to God. Humanae Vitae means Human Life. Human life comes from God. It belongs to God. It goes back to God. You are not your own, St. Paul tells us. Sex and having children are aspects of a whole group of realities that make up our existence, the existence of human beings. But some people labor under the illusion that all these human activities belong to us. And we can what we want with them. They say this is my life; this is my body; this is my choice. As if all these activities are completely under our own control. But are they? We know differently. This is God’s life, God’s love, God’s freedom given to me. I have been made in God’s image and my life in its fullest, in its freest and its most loving comes when I seek to be like God, my creator after URBIS ET ORBIS DECREE whom I have been made. True love, true life, true freedom, are found in doing what God wants and in imitating closely God’s life. That’s why sex is symbolic. It is the language that speaks most eloquently of how human beings have been made to be like God. It speaks of things beyond sight and feeling. It is a language that tells us of the other, of self-giving. Many think of the Church’s teachings about sex as you cannot do it, except in marriage and when open to life. That is true. But the fuller understanding of why this is so comes when we can see that sexual activity means so much more. Sex belongs in the context of committed love, sealed by marriage, open to life. Why? Because this is the only context to hold its message and reflect the greater reality to which the gift of sexuality points us and to which it commits us. What is that greater reality? The God of love. We are not our own because we do not own ourselves. We do not own our bodies. We do not own sex or have sex, rather reflecting him and in imitation of him in whom we are created, we give ourselves away in love. Self-giving love. Self-sacrificing love. Sex is a symbolic expression of that bigger reality. And a reality it is. Self-giving love is quite real when it takes the form of a child. A child who cries, who has to be fed, who has to be educated. Children are experts in leading us to the meaning of sex and in leading us beyond ourselves, and upsetting the control that we want in our lives. Yet children are experts also in revealing to us the kind of life that would be completely closed to us without them. The sight of life that is love, the fruit of our love loves us back just as in the trinity. This is the reality that is bigger than all of us. It is the self-giving that starts in the God of love. That reality of self-giving is revealed in a startling way on the cross and challenges each of us in our daily interaction with others, with God, and with our own eternal destiny. Yes, we have been made in the image of God for self-giving love. Sex is the proof. It is so real and so big that it is frightening. That is why so many people today are afraid of the full and only meaning of sex. That is why Pope Paul wrote Humanae Vitae to help us understand. The teaching expressed by the Encyclical Humanae Vitae is not easy yet it is in keeping with the fundamental structure to which life has always been transmitted since the world’s creation with its respect for nature and in conformity with its needs and the will of God who wanted to share his love of life with us. These last words are the words of Benedict, our Holy Father. And I conclude my brief remarks in his name. I greet and bless all here present as we observe the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the Encyclical that reminds us that human life comes from the true God, belongs to him, goes back to him. The self-giving power of love. We belong to him, we are not our own.
Special Indulgences are conceded to faithful on the occasion of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul the Apostle
IN the imminence of the liturgical Solemnity of the Princes of the Apostles, motivated by pastoral solicitude the Supreme Pontiff intends to provide promptly for spiritual treasures to be granted to the faithful for their sanctification, so that on this pious and happy occasion, from First Vespers of the Solemnity mentioned, they may renew and reinforce with even greater fervor intentions of supernatural salvation, principally in honor of the Apostle to the Gentiles, the 2000th anniversary of whose birth on earth is now approaching. The gift of Indulgences which the Roman Pontiff offers to the universal Church, truly smoothes the way to attaining a supreme degree of inner purification which, while honoring the Blessed Apostle Paul, exalts the supernatural life in the hearts of the faithful and gently encourages them to do good deeds. Therefore, this Apostolic Penitentiary, to which the Holy Father has entrusted the task of the preparation and compilation of the Decree on the granting and obtaining of Indulgences that will be valid for the duration of the Pauline Year, benevolently bestows with this Decree issued in conformity with the desire of the August Pontiff, the following graces listed: I. Each and every truly repentant individual member of the Christian faithful, duly absolved through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and restored with Holy Communion, who devoutly makes a pilgrimage to the Papal Basilica of St Paul on the Ostian Way and who prays for the Supreme Pontiff’s intentions, will be granted the Plenary Indulgence from temporal punishment for his/her sins, once sacramental forgiveness and pardon for any shortcomings has been obtained. The Christian faithful may benefit from the Plenary Indulgence both for themselves and for the deceased, as many times as they fulfill the required conditions but without prejudice to the norm stipulating that the Plenary Indulgence may be obtained only once a day. In order that the prayer raised on this holy visit may lead and invite the souls of the faithful to venerate more intensely the memory of St Paul, the following has been established: the faithful, in addition to raising their own supplications before the altar of the Most Blessed Sacrament, each one according to his own devotion, must go to the altar of the Confession and devoutly recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding pious invocations in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Paul. And may this devotion always be closely united to the memory of the Prince of the Apostles, St Peter. II. The Christian faithful of the various local Churches, having fulfilled the required conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, prayers for the Supreme Pontiff’s intentions) and in a spirit of total detachment from any inclination to sin, may benefit from the Plenary Indulgence if they take part devoutly in a sacred function or in a pious public exercise in honour of the Apostle to the Gentiles; on the days of the solemn opening and closure of the Pauline Year, in all the sacred places; on other days specified by the local Ordinary, in holy places dedicated to St Paul and, for the convenience of the faithful, in other places designated by the same Ordinary. III. Lastly, the faithful prevented by illness or another legitimate and important cause, always in a spirit of detachment from any inclination to sin, with the intention of fulfilling the usual conditions as soon as possible, will also be able to obtain the Plenary Indulgence, as long as they spiritually join in a Jubilee celebration in honour of St Paul, offering their prayers and sufferings to God for Christian unity. In order that the faithful may more easily share in these heavenly favours, may the priests approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority for hearing confessions prepare promptly and generously to receive them. This Decree is effective for the whole of the Pauline Year. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary. Given in Rome, at the Offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary, 10 May, in the Year of the Incarnation of the Lord 2008, on the eve of Pentecost. Cardinal James Francis Stafford Major Penitentiary Fr Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv. Titular Bishop of Meta Regent
Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Beloved People of Australia and the Young Pilgrims Taking part in World Youth Day 2008
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8) THE grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you! In a few days from now, I shall begin my Apostolic Visit to your country, in order to celebrate the Twenty-Third World Youth Day in Sydney. I very much look forward to the days that I shall spend with you, and especially to the opportunities for prayer and reflection with young people from all over the world. First of all, I want to express my appreciation to all those who have offered so much of their time, their resources and their prayers in support of this celebration. The Australian Government and the State Government of New South Wales, the organizers of all the events, and members of the business community who have provided sponsorship—all of you have willingly supported this event, and on behalf of the young people taking part in World Youth Day, I thank you most sincerely. Many of the young people have made great sacrifices in order to under-
take the journey to Australia, and I pray that they will be rewarded abundantly. The parishes, schools and host families have been most generous in welcoming these young visitors, and they too deserve our thanks and our appreciation. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). This is the theme of the Twenty-Third World Youth Day. How much our world needs a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit! There are still many who have not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, while many others, for whatever reason, have not recognized in this Good News the saving truth that alone can satisfy the deepest longings of their hearts. The Psalmist prays: “when you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30). It is my firm belief that young people are called to be instruments of that renewal, communicating to their peers the joy they have experienced through knowing and following Christ, and sharing with others the love that the Spirit pours into their hearts, so that
they too will be filled with hope and with thanksgiving for all the good things they have received from God our heavenly Father. Many young people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ever more urgently in a confusing world, and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. They are challenged by the arguments of those who deny the existence of God and they wonder how to respond. They see great damage done to the natural environment through human greed and they struggle to find ways to live in greater harmony with nature and with one another. Where can we look for answers? The Spirit points us towards the way that leads to life, to love and to truth. The Spirit points us towards Jesus Christ. There is a saying attributed to Saint Augustine: “If you wish to remain young, seek Christ”. In him we find the answers that we are seeking, we find the goals that are truly worth living for, we find the strength to pursue the path that will bring about a better world. Our hearts find no rest
until they rest in the Lord, as Saint Augustine says at the beginning of the Confessions, the famous account of his own youth. My prayer is that the hearts of the young people who gather in Sydney for the celebration of World Youth Day will truly find rest in the Lord, and that they will be filled with joy and fervour for spreading the Good News among their friends, their families, and all whom they meet. Dear Australian friends, although I will only be able to spend a few days in your country, and I will not be able to travel outside Sydney, my heart reaches out to all of you, including those who are sick or in difficulties of any kind. On behalf of all the young people, I thank you again for your support of my mission and I ask you to continue praying for them especially. It remains only for me to renew my invitation to the young people from all over the world to join me in Australia, the great “southern land of the Holy Spirit”. I look forward to seeing you there! May God bless you all. From the Vatican, 4 July 2008 BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
God’s love knows no bounds
By Bishop Broderick Pabillo, DD
MARINA feels palpably the love of God. She got a promotion in her job and recently her son passed the board exam for teachers. Ted cannot doubt God’s care. He got an all-clear result of his recent executive check-up. It is so easy to feel and to believe that God loves us whenever good things happen to us, or at least when nothing bad takes place. But when sickness, loss of a job, death or other sad and unfortunate things happen, doubts about God’s love and providence take over. Where is God? We can even ask. Is he in control in the world? Does he love me? These questions race into our minds. It is in these moments of tragedy and misfortune that we should be consoled by the words of St. Paul in our second reading: Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? …And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. (Rom 8, 35.39 New Living Translation) This love of God is manifested and revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man is the sure sign that we are loved by God. He also showed us by his life how much he loves us. In our Gospel story today Jesus took a boat to withdraw from the people upon hearing John the Baptist’s death. Probably Jesus was badly affected by his death. He wanted to be alone or to rethink his strategy. What happened to John may already be a sign to what would happen to him. Whatever the reason may be, Jesus wanted that he and his disciples be by themselves. But when they found a large crowd clamoring for him on the other side of the shore he took pity on them. Not even his own grief, or fear, or doubt kept him away from the people. He stayed with them the whole day, healing them, consoling them, teaching them. That’s how much he loved and cared for them, as a shepherd caring for his sheep. When evening came his disciples wanted him to send the people away so they could each take care of their food. That is not what the love of Jesus asked him to do. Food should be provided for them. “Give them something to eat yourselves!” Jesus ordered them. When the disciples placed before him the logistical impossibility (they have only five loaves and two fish and there are more than five thousand people) the love of Jesus overcame this hurdle too. Really nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. He broke the little they had to feed all—and all were fed, with still a lot more to spare! This is how much God loves us. Of course we see in this miracle a foreshadowing of the Eucharist. Again the Eucharist is another sign that nothing can separate us from the love of God. This is why the Eucharist is a memorial, is a remembrance of how much God loves us that he gave us his only Son and how in turn Jesus, the Son of God made man, offers himself for us. What more can God not do for us then? God had given us his all! We are reminded of this in every Mass we celebrate. So no matter how difficult or unfortunate situations turn out to be, of this we can always be sure—God’s love is there and because he loves us he cares for us. So we are not alone and in the end “everything turns out for the good.” Good can come out of any situation if we trust just long enough! Is this not also the message of the cross and the resurrection? Jesus trusted up to the end—he was obedient up to death, and death on the cross. And the result? God raised him. Not only did he come out of the dead but he was given the glory above every other name and power. That is how strong and reliable God’s love for us is. We badly need to be reminded of this, because when we look around we cannot but notice problems¯and endless of them. There is the problem of hunger lurking behind and threatening thousands. There is the problem of mistrust because of lack of truth and transparency. Violence threatens peace. Nature is fighting back after centuries of neglect and abuse. There are problems galore! If we have no faith
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Is 55, 1-3; Rom 8, 35, 37-39; Mt. 14, 13-21 August 3, 2008
we can easily fall into skepticism—is there God after all?—or to plain individualism. Let each take care of his own skin! But no! In the midst of this we believe and we affirm: Nothing can separate us from the love of God. It does not mean that God no longer loves when bad things happen. God loves us always. His love is everlasting. It is a strong rock that we can always anchor ourselves on. If we have this conviction then we can go through any difficulty with confidence: confidence that we are not alone; confidence that in the long run things will turn out well. Since we have confidence then we do not focus only on ourselves in self pity and in survival mode. No matter how many and difficult the situations we can still see others and also feel compassion for them. In fact misfortunes make us help one another more rather than keep us away from each other. See what the love of God can do for us? So, let us ask the Good Lord to give us the grace to be convinced of the depth and width of the love of God for us—not only when things go well, but also when problems and difficulties come our way.
Fr. Roy Cimagala
POPE Benedict has just proclaimed the Year of St. Paul, starting last June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. He’s asking us to listen to St. Paul, to know what he is trying to tell us today. The Pope assures us St. Paul has a lot to say and show. Yes, sir, this business of listening and talking to saints is an idea we have to be more familiar with and adept at. Saints are no mere historical figures. They are alive and are more relevant to us now, albeit in a mysterious but no less real way. Try to visit the Christian doctrine on “communion of saints,” and you’ll see how we continue to get linked in a vital way with every member of the Church, be he in heaven, here on earth, or still purifying himself in purgatory, sharing spiritual goods among ourselves. If we enter all out the world of faith and spiritual reality, the limitations of time and space pose no problem. Death and distance do not separate us. We continue to get together in a phenomenon called in theology as “communion.” Let’s remember that there’s something spiritual in us, enabling us to go beyond our physical, material and natural dimensions. With God’s grace, we can enter a deeper and richer universe. We really have to be more consistent in our thinking with faith. Our tendency is still to be stuck in some dichotomy. At one time,
Year of St. Paul Only God is not a season
we feel pious and religious, and at another time, we are utterly worldly. We have to bridge the gap. The Pope tells us that with the fearless character, generous fidelity and heroic ministry of St. Paul, as recorded in the Bible, we are taught to adapt ourselves to his mind and spirit, because this is how we can identify ourselves with Christ. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” (1 Cor 11,1) he boldly said. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” (Gal 2,20) he added. This identification with Christ by all of us is what the Church and the world need today. Our world is in crying need of an effective evangelization, of which St. Paul is the poster boy, where Christ can be brought to all our human affairs, and viceversa, where all our human activities can be linked to Christ. Christ cannot and should not be confined to some people, to some moments and events of our life. Christ belongs to all of us, just as we all belong to him. St. Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles highlights this truth. And for this he was not afraid of any suffering and pain involved in the endeavor. “Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation or distress or famine or nakedness or danger or persecution or sword?” (Rom 8,35). He knew how to be all things to all men, bravely bringing the word of Christ to friends and foes alike. He contoured his teachings according to the mentalities of the people he preached to. St. Paul represents a believer who has grown “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4,13) As such, he had no business other than to do Christ’s command for him to reach out to the Gentiles, that is, to everyone. This is what we have to understand well. After due thought, we should realize we have no business other than to do God’s will. And this is none other than our own sanctification and that of all others. This is what salvation means. We have to leave behind our childish ways, our pagan or inconsistently Christian ways. We have to update our knowledge of the doctrine, bring to par the state of our attitudes and virtues. We have to embark in a sustained apostolic work. These duties should be ordinary and commonplace, not esoteric. They are really no big deal. And we should learn to carry them out with competence. At this age of super-advanced technologies, it’s a crime to be amateurish in this much more important aspect of our life. Whether we are in business or politics, in sports and entertainment, at home or in public places, we should know how to be like St. Paul. We have to know how to bring Christ to all. FIVE years ago, I decided to live without a salary. Just because I felt…well, I felt God wanted me to do it. I didn’t care if people called me cookoo, or screwball, or ding-a-ling. But I wanted to try living in trust, waiting on Heaven for my next meal, my next ride, my next hair-cut. Even just for a season. So I told my organizations NOT to give me a pay check. So there were days when I, Chairman of the Board, went past a Mcdonalds hungry, because my pockets were empty. There were days when I walked home because I didn’t have enough fare. There were weeks when I was tempted to have a ponytail because I couldn’t afford a hair-cut. (I recall that this ponytail-ordeal came to an abrupt end when I received ten thousand bucks from a total stranger. I quickly ran to the barbershop and asked for the most expensive hair-cut they had, telling them, “You can die my hair purple!”) My season of comfortable poverty lasted for almost three years. But ironically, in those same years, I also traveled to three cities in the US, five cities in Canada, one city in Africa, four cities in Europe, two trips to Israel, and four cities in Asia. All for free, because I was invited to preach and to guide people in pilgrimages. (I remember leaving for my foreign trips with a nice coat and tie, so no one would think I only had twenty dollars in my wallet.) But like the way it began, I felt a surging inspiration within me that my season of happy poverty was to end. So three years after, I allowed my organizations to pay me a salary again. (Would you believe? I have a savings account now—something I had to look into the dictionary to find out what the word meant.) I have no regrets entering into that season. Because I believe I’ve learned one great lesson of life: That seasons of famine are permitted by God to give us deepened trust. If we have everything—and everything goes on smoothly in our lives—we will never know what it means to really, really, reeeeeeeally trust. It’s easy to say, “I trust God” when you’re vacationing in a Luxury Love Boat, dining in one of it’s classy restaurants, napkin on your chest, munching on shark meat dipped in wasabe and soy sauce. But it’s not so easy to say, “I trust God” when your Love Boat has just capsized, and you’re now in the open sea, surrounded by giant sharks with napkins on their chests, bringing with them their own wasabe and soy sauce. But that’s the point! There’s really no difference between those two scenes! You need to trust God fully, whatever the season you’re in! Two Questions Are you going through a season of abundance? Being paid a nice salary, huh? Don’t trust it. Employed by a large multinational company? I don’t care how secure you think it is, I’m telling you: it’s not. In the end, you know who will never fail. Or are you going through a season of poverty or hardship or trial? Believe me. That will end. Because they are simply that: seasons. Only God is not a season. Only He will never end.
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
NASSA intensifies relief operations
By Pinky Barrientos, FSP
THE National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) steps up massive relief operations in the wake of the great destruction brought by typhoon Frank (known internationally as Fengshen) lasy June 20 to 22. Around 1,800 bags of NFA rice have already been released to 15 Social Action Centers of the archdioceses of Iloilo and Cotabato and the dioceses of Capiz and Kalibo. Ten thousand families are targeted to receive partial releases of relief packs of assorted items that NASSA volunteers have been gathering and putting together for shipment for weeks now. Iloilo has 4,000 family-beneficiaries, Cotabato, Capiz and Kalibo with 2,000 each. NASSA said the relief operations will go on for a month but might extend if there is a need. An Assessment team composed of personnel from NASSA, CRS and Social Action directors of Cotabato and Marbel identified the needs that have to be given priority: a) food security, which include food availability and access, and loss of crops and agricultural assets; b) damaged infrastructures and fields; c) lack of essential household items; and d) health. Typhoon Frank left the country reeling in the aftermath of enormous destruction in some parts of Mindanao and the Visayas displacing thousands of families, and leaving hundreds of fatalities and billions of pesos in damages. Reports released by NASSA revealed 10 provinces and 12 individual municipalities are seriously affected, majority of which are found in the V i s a y a s (particulary Panay Island) and Mindanao (environs of Cotabato and General Santos City). A situation report from the National Disaster Coordination Council (www.reliefweb.int) on June 29 said the impact of the typhoon had affected 718,457 families or 3,662,958 persons; 15 regions, 49 provinces, 48 cities, 401 municipalities, and 5,140 barangays (communities). It also caused 540 deaths (identified and recovered bodies), with 175 injured and 41 miss-
Soldiers load relief goods for North Cotabato and Maguindanao on a truck at the CBCP compound in Manila.
ing. The typhoon destroyed 301,642 houses (76,098 totally and 225,544 partially). Over all, the damages translated into billions of pesos (P7,317,188,568.21) consisting of infrastructures, school and other public facilities, and agriculture assets. The typhoon triggered more than 11 maritime accidents that resulted to hundreds of fatalities, the most notable of which was the sinking of passenger boat Princess of the Stars which was carrying more than 800 people on board when it sank off Sibuyan Island at the height of the storm. Families displaced by the typhoon are now cramped in evacuation centers with lack of access to potable water and sanitation facilities.
Although a large number of communities have been affected in the Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan provinces in the archdiocese of Cotabato, it was the Lambayong municipality and other areas of Cotabato City that suffered greatly due to massive flooding. Low lying areas of the municipality were submerged underwater when a major dike along the Allah River broke on June 21. According to reports the dike had been a problem even before the onslaught of typhoon Frank because of its weak foundation. Until a new dike is built, which is estimated to take several weeks if not months, the more than 4,160 families or more than 24,000 individuals in evacuation areas will have to stay encamped.
Meanwhile, most severely affected areas in the diocese of Marbel are the Maitum, Maasim, Alabel and Kiamba municipalities. The situation of the evacuees from Maitum is further aggravated by the intermittent conflicts between government forces and MILF rebels. The cramped and unsanitary condition of evacuees is a major concern because of the possible outbreak of diseases. Among the items NASSA have been sending to evacuees include antibiotics and other medicines to prevent the spread of infection. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) a major donor in the ongoing relief operations is working hand in hand with NASSA in ensuring recovery assistance to affected families. Other international do-
nors include Caritas Hongkong, Knights of Columbus and Bill Gates Foundation. Among the local donors are Caritas Manila, Green Cross, Caritas Novaliches, St. Paul University Manila, Colegio de Sta. Rosa, St. Jude Parish, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, NASSA Chair and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Dominican School and the Diocese of Borongan. The main priority at the moment, as families return back to their former homes in trickles, is to re-launch livelihoods while making ends meet. The affected communities now have to deal with the challenges of having to rebuild their lives in the face of great loss both in lives and resources.
WYD / B4
Jesus, members of his Church, capable of a true witness to the Gospel, and able to savour the joy of faith. I therefore invite you to reflect on what I am writing to you. Nowadays it is particularly necessary to rediscover the sacrament of Confirmation and its important place in our spiritual growth. Those who have received the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation should remember that they have become “temples of the Spirit”: God lives within them. Always be aware of this and strive to allow the treasure within you to bring forth fruits of holiness. Those who are baptized but have not yet received the sacrament of Confirmation, prepare to receive it knowing that in this way you will become “complete” Christians, since Confirmation perfects baptismal grace (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1302-1304). Confirmation gives us special strength to witness to and glorify God with our whole lives (cf. Rom 12:1). It makes us intimately aware of our belonging to the Church, the “Body of Christ”, of which we are all living members, in solidarity with one another (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-25). By allowing themselves to be guided by the Spirit, each baptized person can bring his or her own contribution to the building up of the Church because of the charisms given by the Spirit, for “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7). When the Spirit acts, he brings his fruits to the soul, namely “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-con-
trol” (Gal 5:22). To those of you who have not yet received the sacrament of Confirmation, I extend a cordial invitation to prepare to receive it, and to seek help from your priests. It is a special occasion of grace that the Lord is offering you. Do not miss this opportunity! I would like to add a word about the Eucharist. In order to grow in our Christian life, we need to be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ. In fact, we are baptized and confirmed with a view to the Eucharist (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1322; Sacramentum Caritatis, 17). “Source and summit” of the Church’s life, the Eucharist is a “perpetual Pentecost” since every time we celebrate Mass we receive the Holy Spirit who unites us more deeply with Christ and transforms us into Him. My dear young friends, if you take part frequently in the eucharistic celebration, if you dedicate some of your time to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Source of love which is the Eucharist, you will acquire that joyful determination to dedicate your lives to following the Gospel. At the same time it will be your experience that whenever our strength is not enough, it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us, filling us with his strength and making us witnesses suffused by the missionary fervor of the risen Christ. 7. The need and urgency of mission Many young people view their lives with apprehension and raise many questions about their future. They anxiously ask: How can we fit into a world marked
by so many grave injustices and so much suffering? How should we react to the selfishness and violence that sometimes seem to prevail? How can we give full meaning to life? How can we help to bring it about that the fruits of the Spirit mentioned above, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (no. 6), can fill this scarred and fragile world, the world of young people most of all? On what conditions can the life-giving Spirit of the first creation and particularly of the second creation or redemption become the new soul of humanity? Let us not forget that the greater the gift of God—and the gift of the Spirit of Jesus is the greatest of all—so much the greater is the world’s need to receive it and therefore the greater and the more exciting is the Church’s mission to bear credible witness to it. You young people, through World Youth Day, are in a way manifesting your desire to participate in this mission. In this regard, my dear young friends, I want to remind you here of some key truths on which to meditate. Once again I repeat that only Christ can fulfill the most intimate aspirations that are in the heart of each person. Only Christ can humanize humanity and lead it to its “divinization”. Through the power of his Spirit he instills divine charity within us, and this makes us capable of loving our neighbour and ready to be of service. The Holy Spirit enlightens us, revealing Christ crucified and risen, and shows us how to become more like Him so that we can be “the image and instrument of the love which flows from
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Christ” (Deus Caritas Est, 33). Those who allow themselves to be led by the Spirit understand that placing oneself at the service of the Gospel is not an optional extra, because they are aware of the urgency of transmitting this Good News to others. Nevertheless, we need to be reminded again that we can be witnesses of Christ only if we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit who is “the principal agent of evangelization” (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75) and “the principal agent of mission” (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 21). My dear young friends, as my venerable predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II said on several occasions, to proclaim the Gospel and bear witness to the faith is more necessary than ever today (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 1). There are those who think that to present the precious treasure of faith to people who do not share it means being intolerant towards them, but this is not the case, because to present Christ is not to impose Him (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80). Moreover, two thousand years ago twelve Apostles gave their lives to make Christ known and loved. Throughout the centuries since then, the Gospel has continued to spread by means of men and women inspired by that same missionary fervour. Today too there is a need for disciples of Christ who give unstintingly of their time and energy to serve the Gospel. There is a need for young people who will allow God’s love to burn within them and who will respond generously to his urgent call, just as many young blesseds and saints did in the past and also in more recent times. In particular, I assure you that the Spirit of Jesus today is inviting you young people to be bearers of the good news of Jesus to your contemporaries. The difficulty that adults undoubtedly find in approaching the sphere of youth in a comprehensible and convincing way could be a sign with which the Spirit is urging you young people to take this task upon yourselves. You know the ideals, the language, and also the wounds, the expectations, and at the same time the desire for goodness felt by your contemporaries. This opens up the vast world of young people’s emotions, work, education, expectations, and suffering ... Each one of you must have the courage to promise the Holy Spirit that you will bring one young person to Jesus Christ in the way you consider best, knowing how to “give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but [to] do it with gentleness and reverence” (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). In order to achieve this goal, my dear friends, you must be holy and you must be missionaries since we can never separate holiness from mission (cf. Redemptoris
Missio , 90). Do not be afraid to become holy missionaries like Saint Francis Xavier who travelled through the Far East proclaiming the Good News until every ounce of his strength was used up, or like Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who was a missionary even though she never left the Carmelite convent. Both of these are “Patrons of the Missions”. Be prepared to put your life on the line in order to enlighten the world with the truth of Christ; to respond with love to hatred and disregard for life; to proclaim the hope of the risen Christ in every corner of the earth. 8. Invoking a “new Pentecost” upon the world My dear young friends, I hope to see very many of you in Sydney in July 2008. It will be a providential opportunity to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power. Come in great numbers in order to be a sign of hope and to give appreciative support to the Church community in Australia that is preparing to welcome you. For the young people of the country that will host you, it will be an exceptional opportunity to proclaim the beauty and joy of the Gospel to a society that is secularized in so many ways. Australia, like all of Oceania, needs to rediscover its Christian roots. In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church in Oceania is preparing for a new evangelization of peoples who today are hungering for Christ... A new evangelization is the first priority for the Church in Oceania” (no. 18). I invite you to give time to prayer and to your spiritual formation during this last stage of the journey leading to the XXIII World Youth Day, so that in Sydney you will be able to renew the promises made at your Baptism and Confirmation. Together we shall invoke the Holy Spirit, confidently asking God for the gift of a new Pentecost for the Church and for humanity in the third millennium. May Mary, united in prayer with the Apostles in the Upper Room, accompany you throughout these months and obtain for all young Christians a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to set their hearts on fire. Remember: the Church has confidence in you! We Pastors, especially, pray that you may love and lead others to love Jesus more and more and that you may follow Him faithfully. With these sentiments I bless you all with deep affection. From Lorenzago, 20 July 2007 BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Moral Assessment Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary Technical Assessment Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
Title: Hancock Cast: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head Director: Peter Berg Producers: Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, Michael Mann, Will Smith Screenwriters: Vincent Ngo, Vince Gilligan Music: John Powell Editors: Colby Parker Jr., Paul Rubell Genre: Action/ Comedy/ Drama/ Fantasy Cinematography: Tobias A. Schliessler Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment Location: Los Angeles , California , USA Running Time: 92 min. Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: .5 CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 14 up
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
JOHN Hancock (Will Smith) sleeps at park benches, swears, is rude, drinks heavily, and is in the words of a little boy an “asshole”. But he is also a superhero of sorts. He’s arrogant but he saves lives; he’s a bum but he can’t tolerate baddies. When on call he doesn’t hide and slip into a signature costume, he simply skyrockets himself, crashing through windows, making a mess of the traffic, leaving downtown Los Angeles like it’s been rocked by a mega hurricane. Half the people adore him; the other half has filed over 600 lawsuits against him for damaged property and injured bodies. One day he saves from sure death a dreamer of a PR man Ray (Jason Bateman) who is stupid enough to get himself stuck on the railroad track with a train zooming up. Grateful for his life, Ray brings Hancock home for a spaghetti dinner, and introduces the superhero to his son (who idolizes Hancock) his wife Mary (Charlize Theron) who can’t seem to stand the sight of the boorish superhuman around the house. What Ray really wants to do is give Hancock an image makeover—to make him look good to the public. The movie’s trailer and poster claim there are heroes and superheroes (and more superheroes) and then there is Hancock. Or something like that. Which leads the viewer to expect a different kind of superhero—but a superhero nonetheless. So the story brings us this superhero with an issue—or rather with unresolved is-
sues good enough to keep ten psychiatrists employed for life. This movie which is billed as an “action comedy” flick seems two movies in one, but it confuses its own plot, thus it won’t fit in a decent genre. So there are action comedies and action comedies, and then there is Hancock, a hybrid that doesn’t know how to categorize itself. Even the hero doesn’t understand his powers, much less wield them as a hero is expected to. Okay, okay, they said this was not your ordinary superhero movie—but at least give us something superior, so we don’t regret buying a ticket and having nothing left for popcorn. Don’t give us an unidentifiable species that’s half-hearted comedy turning into a half-baked Shakespearean tragedy with no rationale to engage our brains. The CGI is passable, but worthless against all the questions directed at the ethics of the hero. Is there a race somewhere? A supercontest of sorts where superheroes out to save the world leave in their wake bigger and bigger collateral damage? Who gets to pay for all that mess this sloppy superhero creates? Just count the potholes caused by his landings. Where is this superhuman coming from? Aren’t superheroes supposed to be, at least, respectful of the citizens of this planet? Is it correct for a superhero to traumatize a kid who’s just being a kid? Is it moral to save one and let a hundred others die? Did Hancock’s makers mean to say any-
one can be a superhero simply because he happens to be superhuman? What do they want our children to be? Will Smith the actor became famous for being a family-friendly rapper, a good kid in a very popular TV series. Why are they now shaking off his clean image? Do they want our kids to follow this likeable actor to perdition? Many are the ways by which the evil one will try to lure our children into decadence. Beware. If you must allow your 14-year olds to see this movie, tell them Hancock is fictitious, not to be emulated, idolized, or taken seriously.
MAC en COLET
ni Bladimer Usi
Title: Wanted Cast: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Ketschmann Director: Timur Bekmambetov Writer: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Chris Morgan Distributor: Universal Pictures Location: USA Running time: 110 minutes. Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: .5 CINEMA rating: R 14 (For viewers aged 14 up)
By Bladimer Usi
There are three missing articles in this cartoon. Find a chalice, veil and candle.
IN Wanted, the “Fraternity” is a thousand-year old secret society of assassins whose mission is to rid the world of bad guys. “Kill one, save a thousand” seems to be their motto. Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a nondescript account manager in some New York office ruled by an obese woman with a razor tongue and indefatigable vocal chords. Besides being bullied by this slob of a boss, Wesley is also hen-pecked by his girlfriend who incessantly complains of the night trains chugchugging by their cheap apartment. As if two ranting women were not enough, the nerdy Wesley also discovers that his best friend and office mate is also seeing his girlfriend on the side. Too naïve and cowardly to stand up for himself, Wesley seems resigned to live a life that leads nowhere. Until Fox (Angelina Jolie) enters the scene—but not to bring sunshine and flowers to Wesley’s dead-end existence. She takes him to Sloane (Morgan Freeman), the head of the Fraternity, who reveals to Wesley that he has the assassin in his genes, being the son of one of their murdered members. It is to avenge the death of his father then that Wesley is to be recruited, motivated and trained. The plot of Wanted, if a trifle too bloody, vengeful and violent, is simple enough to follow, and seen against the backdrop of comic book fiction may even come across as credible. It’s not hard for everyman to identify with the superbly acted McAvoy character who turns from weakling to super assassin. Its credibility is further established by having Morgan Freeman in the cast—he who is gifted with a hypnotic growl and an aura of omniscience can make poison sound like milk and honey until you thirst for it. And nobody but nobody could have played Fox more be-
lievably than Jolie—wielding with elan fantabulous guns half her weight. Her legendary sex appeal needs no dominatrix costumes—it oozes through even a no-frills white mini dress that would have looked like a nanny’s apron on a less stylish actress. Her panache and her expressive face also project her as the perfect “killer of few words.” Kazakhstan-born director Timur Bekmambetov ably pulls off this thriller and succeeds in suspending the viewer’s disbelief with the use of over-the-top stunts and killer-ware: surfing atop speeding trains, guns and bullets with implausible trajectories, supercars that make James Bond’s look like a Matchbox collection. There’s no stopping them now—action movies that rival computer games in adrenaline stimulation and ingenuity of inventions. It’s possible that even very young children who can wield the (computer) mouse will enjoy the technical aspects of Wanted. Why, even adult viewers would, as long as it’s clear to them that this movie defies the laws of physics and dabbles in gray areas of morality and mortality. Young viewers may not be able to draw the line between fact and fiction, or may be lost in seeing the boundary blurred between right and wrong. And even if there are willing parents who can guide them through this violent and deception-ridden piece of art, why titillate their imagination thus when there is so much still to learn in school and at home about real physics and real justice? For downto-earth education-cum-entertainment that broadens their horizons, there’s Nat Geo Junior, Animal Planet or Discovery Channel. To help them with their school work, there’s Knowledge Channel. For good old Sunday afternoon family entertainment, put on The Sound of Music DVD, please.
Vol. 12 No. 15
KCFAPI joins GK build houses for the poor
THIRTY-SIX officers and employees of KCFAPI and Keys Realty & Development Corporation began the first leg of the construction of the Knights of Columbus GK Village at Tungkong Mangga, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan last June 28. Brother Knights from St. Joseph the Worker Council 6745 of Poblacion, San Jose del Monte City, and San Isidro de Labrador Council 13344 of Muzon, San Jose del Monte, their Columbian Squires, members of Couples for Christ of Metro Manila North Sector A and the housing beneficiaries also came to the site. In the spirit of the Filipino tradition”Bayanihan”, the volunteers worked together to build a cluster of ten beautiful and colorful houses that will be a showcase model for 32 more houses. The day began with a short program of praise and worship, and acknowledgment of participants and the leaders of each group. Before plunging to work, Gawad Kalinga coordinator, Mr. Beng Garcia briefed the volunteers on the initial phase of the construction consisting of hauling of materials, excavation and leveling of site, concrete mixing and concrete hollow blocks laying. Volunteers donned in golden yellow camisa de chino beat the heat of the sun, excavated, and did the relay of hollow blocks and gravel. Everyone took turns in taking breaks and enjoyed mouth watering cassava, pancit bihon and ice candy donated by some generous people. Volunteers learned the details of construction and began to understand the hardships of a construction worker. It was hardwork for everybody but still we were all smiles in carrying our tasks. KCFAPI employees were heard singing and danc-
July 21 - August 3, 2008
A Supplement Publication for KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
GK / C3
KCFAPI signs Seed of KCFAPI signs Seed of Hope Fund with CBCP Hope Fund with CBCP
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) has renewed its full support to the various social and spiritual concerns of the Catholic Church in the Philippines through the creation of a Hope Fund for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
During the July 6 CBCP Plenary Assembly, KCFAPI president Mr. Antonio Borromeo presented to the bishops a symbolic check of P10 million as seed money for the Hope Fund established for the Conference. Called CBCP Seed of Hope Fund, the endowment is meant to support the priority projects and activities of the CBCP. A memorandum of agreement was signed by Mr. Borromeo, KCFAPI president and Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP president in the presence of the bishops gathered for their bi-annual Plenary Assembly, July 6, 2008, at the Pius XII Catholic Center, Manila. The agreement stipulates that KCFAPI shall manage the Hope Fund together with its investment portfolio under one fund and disburse the necessary remittances of the net earnings of the Hope Fund to the CBCP. The CBCP on its part will provide KCFAPI a yearly report of its priority projects and activities benefited by the donation. As a Catholic fraternal association, KCFAPI recognizes the various social and spiritual undertakings of the Church in the Philippines. The recently established CBCP Hope Fund is just one of the many financial endeavors KCFAPI provides to the CBCP and to the Catholic Church in general in pursuit of its corporate social responsibility. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
Knights join prayer march rally for Life
HUNDREDS of Brother Knights from Metro Cebu and neighboring towns, led by Visayas Deputy Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr., joined thousands of students, professionals, religious lay organizations and families in a prayer march rally for life last July 12. Organized by the Archdiocese of Cebu and Human Life International the march started from different points in uptown and downtown areas and converged at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica del Santo Niño for the afternoon activity. Prayer for the enlightenment of the congressmen-proponents of the “Reproductive Health Care” bill now pending in Congress was the order of the day. Proponents of the bill say that adoption of a national population policy is not necessarily proabortion but simply opens up avenues for Filipinos to explore in terms of reproductive health, and aims to address better distribution of food and other resources as well as better health care for families. Human Life International’s Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer discussed the antilife effects of the bill. There is an apprehension that the bill’s passage could open the floodgates to D.E.A.T.H.S. (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, Homosexual Union, Sex Education). His Eminence, Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, DD, Archbishop of Cebu called on the faithful to withhold support for the bill. He said “contraception devalues conjugal love and cannot be a licit means for responsible parenthood.” The Cardinal also asked the two Cebuano legislators supportive of the bill (Reps. Nerrisa Soon Ruiz – 6th District of Cebu and Benhur Salimbangon – 4th District of Cebu) to reconsider their position on the issue. To demonstrate that having many children is a blessing and responsible parenthood is most of all about nurturing them to be good individuals, Dioscoro and Arceles Cabahug, a couple from Liloan, Cebu shared how they raised their 12 children as good Christians. Their eldest child is now an Overseas Filipino Worker in Qatar while the youngest is two years old. They said that the power of prayer, coupled with hard work to earn an honest living, sustained their family. The Knights of Columbus is a staunch advocate of programs that promote LIFE. In the Visayas, the ProLife Advocacy Program is one of the Order’s main trusts. (Bro. Junjie Navales Cruz)
CBCP SEED OF HOPE FUND. CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo signs the Memorandum of Agreement between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the KCFAPI, represented by its President, Mr. Antonio B. Borromeo, establishing the Seed of Hope Fund meant to support various priority projects and activities of the CBCP. The signing was done during the CBCP Plenary Assembly last July 6 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center, Manila. W itnessing the signing are Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, Chairman Patrocinio R. Bacay, Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio, EVP Ma. Theresa G. Curia, SK Alonso L. Tan, SK Antonio T. Yulo and other KCFAPI Officers.
KCFAPI Enhances College Savings Plan
ON June 5, the Insurance Commission approved the offering of the KC Enhanced College Savings Plan for children of members of the Knights of Columbus. The children scholars must not be over 10 years old and the KC member must be between 21 and 55 years old to be eligible for coverage under the Enhanced CSP. Insurance contribution shall be for a period of 6 years and the payback will be for 10 consecutive semesters starting at age 16 of the scholar with a cash graduation gift at age 21. The sales group beamed with enthusiasm when the good news was announced. Key management officers and staff immediately conducted an orientation of the product. A commitment to bring in 250 ECSP benefits certificates up to year end was made by Fraternal Counselors nationwide. By the end of June 30, 2008 underwriting department has received 14 Enhanced CSP applications. (Joseph P. Teodoro)
Philippine Deputies receive circle of honor award
THE Knights of Columbus Philippine State Deputies for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were granted the Circle of Honors Awards by the Supreme Council for attaining the target of membership recruitment 100 per cent. Luzon State Deputy Alonso L. Tan, Visayas Deputy Dionisio R. Esteban Jr., Mindanao State Deputy Sofronio R. Cruz, Membership Director for Luzon, Joseph P. Teodoro, Membership Director for Visayas, Ricardo F. Urot, and Membership Director for Mindanao, Cresente C. Dal were cited for hitting the required target of membership for the Columbian Year 20072008. The Supreme Council grants the Circle of Honors Awards to those who were able to attain 100 per cent of the required minimum recruitment set for the Columbian year. However, credit also goes to district deputies who worked for the recruitment of members under the leadership of their membership directors. Likewise, the Grand Knights are recognized for their efforts in expanding membership in their councils. (CBCPNews)
SK Alonso Tan
SK Dionisio Esteban, Jr.
SK Sofronio Cruz
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
KC Mindanao Jurisdiction ushers in new Columbian Year
By Sofronio R. Cruz
EVERY month of July, the Order of the Knights of Columbus everywhere ushers in a fresh year, called a Columbian Year, with high enthusiasm and expectancy. This mindset is anchored on a firm commitment and renewed resolve to face more challenges in achieving higher membership growth rates, and in undertaking more and better service programs, compared to the previous years. After attending the Order-wide State Deputies’ Orientation and Organization Meeting held in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A., last June 4-7, where the goals, thrusts, and action plans for the new Columbian Year were deliberated and assigned, the natural first order of business is to cascade these down to the Jurisdiction’s key point officers— the District Deputies. Three regular District Deputies’ Orientation and Organization Meetings were held in the Jurisdiction. The first meeting was in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, last June 13-15, which was attended by 28 District Deputies, together with 15 Regional and Provincial Secretaries, belonging to Regions 9A and 9B. Forty-two District Deputies, together with 16 Regional and Provincial Secretaries, of Regions 9C, 10, and 11 attended the second meeting in Cagayan de Oro City. Koronadal City in South Cotabato was the venue for the last regular meeting on June 2729, where 62 District Deputies attended together with Regional and Provincial Secretaries of Regions 11A, 11B, and 12. A special meeting was organized on July 5 at the Jurisdiction’s office in Davao City for District Deputies from Region 11A for those who were not able to attend the meeting held in Koronadal City. Another special meeting is scheduled in Surigao City on July 28-29 for participants from Region 13 who were not able to attend the meeting held in Cagayan de Oro City. Council Grand Knights and Financial Secretaries near Surigao City were also invited to attend. “Follow me. Help us build up our Church!” is adapted as this Columbian Year’s theme for all conferences in the Jurisdiction. This was inspired and taken from the words of Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to the United States of America. Following a very fruitful 20072008 Columbian Year during which the Jurisdiction achieved a 126% Net Gain in Membership and instituted 14 new Councils, this year’s goals and priorities of the Jurisdiction are as follows: 1 . Membership Growth Target is t o ahe e c iv
Patrocinio R. Bacay
Chairman, KCFAPI THE start of each Columbian Year always ushers a fresh beginning in the life of every Knights of Columbus council. We see new ideas on how to recruit Catholic gentlemen into our Order. We witness novel ways to execute the “Surge with Service” program. Congratulations to all incoming district deputies and council officers for earning the mandate of your membership to assume the mantle of leadership for Columbian Year 2008-2009. In behalf of the Board of Trustees, Officers and staff of KCFAPI, I humbly appeal for your active promotion of KCFAPI as the sole provider of the affordable and second-to-none life insurance program for all our members and their immediate family members. We also wish to express our sincerest appreciation to all outgoing officers. You deserve our snappy salute for a job well done. VIVAT JESUS!
Antonio B. Borromeo
President, KCFAPI ON behalf of the Board and Officers of KCFAPI, we would like to congratulate Brothers Alonso L. Tan, Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr., and Sofronio R. Cruz, State Deputies of the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao Jurisdictions, respectively, of the Order of the Knights of Columbus, for each winning the Order-wide Circle of Honor Award given by the Supreme Council for achieving more than required Membership Growth during the Columbian Year 2007-2008. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome and congratulate the new sets of State, Regional, Provincial, District, and Council elected officers and appointed officials of the Columbian Year 2008-2009. Your volunteerism and enthusiasm to serve Church, Council, Community, Family and Youth truly exemplifies the virtues of Columbianism. I know you will be an example of true Knights. At this time, please allow me to report the significant accomplishments and milestones of KCFAPI during the past month. First and foremost, I am pleased to announce that the Office of the Insurance Commission has renewed KCFAPI’s Certificate of Authority to operate as a Mutual Benefits Association. This is especially memorable because it came at a time when KCFAPI is celebrating its 50 th Foundation Anniversary on September 9, 2008 and at a time when I am serving as President. The second milestone is the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and KCFAPI last July 6 that established the P10 Million “Seed of Hope Fund”. KCFAPI has established the Trust Fund so that CBCP will be the sole beneficiary and will be guaranteed yearly earnings to finance its various projects. This is a first between CBCP and KCFAPI. The third milestone is the P100,000 financial assistance extended to the victims of Typhoon Frank which devastated inhabitants and infrastructure in the island of Panay of Western Visayas. The donation serves as manifestation of KCFAPI’s social concern to alleviate the plight of victims of calamities and disasters. The P100,000 check was turned over to His Excellency Most Reverend Angel N. Lagdameo, DD, President of the CBCP and Archbishop of Jaro, Iloilo. The fourth milestone is the start last June 28 and the second sortie last July12 of the construction of ten houses that will serve as showcase model for the project’s target number of houses that will form the Knights of Columbus – Gawad Kalinga Village located at Barangay Tungkong Mangga, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan by volunteer employees of KCFAPI and its subsidiaries Keys Realty Development Company and Mace Insurance Agency, Inc. Employees were led by KCFAPI’s EVP, Ma. Theresa G. Curia; and myself. The partnership with Gawad Kalinga to build houses for the poor in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan was inked last month with the Knights of Columbus Philippines Foundation, Inc. which is one of the two foundations that serve as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arms of KCFAPI. Brother Knights belonging to councils in San Jose del Monte City, namely St. Joseph the Worker Council No. 6754 of Poblacion and San Isidro Labrador Council No. 13344 of Muzon, heeded our invitation to join in this noteworthy charitable community project. We have set September 6, 2008 as the completion date of the project and have scheduled construction sorties on July 26, August 9 and 23, and September 6. Volunteer members of Couples for Christ Metro Manila North Sector A and housing beneficiaries from this and other Gawad Kalinga sites form the regular construction force of the project. In closing, please accept my sincerest gratitude for the continued support and patronage of KCFAPI’s unique fraternal insurance protection benefits and services by many Brother Knights and their familes. It is my honor and pleasure to serve you. VIVAT JESUS!
a 10% N e t Gain. Aim for Zero Suspension of members. Develop members into more enlightened, alert, and active Catholic Knights by advancing them to higher membership degrees and through conduct of spiritual formation seminars. 2. Balanced Activities Programming in a Council’s five service areas of Church, Community, Council, Family and Youth. Aspire for achievement awards such as the Star Council Award, Star District Awards, and any of the Order-wide awards for Membership and Service Programs. Establish at least 20 new Columbian Squires Circles and ensure that existing Squires Circles are active and nurtured because the Squires are the Order’s future Knights. Share “the Experience of a Lifetime” by initiating 30 new Parish Round Tables. 3. New Council Development Target is to institute 20 or more new ones, including College Councils, Councils in military camps, and Councils in cultural communities. Enlist the assis-
tance o f members of the clergy serving in the Armed Forces as Chaplains. 4. Sound Financial Management to achieve stability through the support and resources of members. Aim for no new Council suspensions and for reactivation of 30 long-suspended Councils. 5. Prompt submission of properly accomplished Council Reports to inform Supreme Council and the Jurisdiction about the accomplishment of fiscal, membership, and service program goals. 6. The Order’s Ceremonials goals are as follows: all Councils must have an accredited First Degree Exemplification team and should conduct at six exemplifications during the year; all Districts must have a Second Degree
Exemplification team and should conduct at four exemplifications this year; to have a Third Degree Exemplification team in every diocese; and, last, ceremonials must be conducted and performed according to our guidelines. 7. Provide more opportunities for leadership development to more members by appointing and rotating them to more council officer and official positions. 8. Hold an annual convention of Columbian Squires and of College Council members to better and effectively guide and develop future Knights and young Knights to learn more about the Order’s works and about each other. There are a lot of goals to achieve this year but we are confident and assured that Mindanao Jurisdiction’s Knights and Columbian Squires will support and give their best to all the planned activities as they have consistently done in past years. “Follow us. Help us build up our Order of the Knights of Columbus!” Vivat Jesus!
Visayas District Deputies Organizational Meeting held
THE annual Regional, Provincial and District Organizational Meeting on June 27-29, at the DepEd ECOTECH Center, Lahug, Cebu City, signaled the start of Columbian Year 20082009 for the Visayas Jurisdiction. During the 3-day meeting, Visayas Jurisdiction servant leaders from Western Visayas (led by Regional Deputy Pete Cuyos), Central Visayas (led by Regional Deputy Gaspar Sudario) and Eastern Visayas (led by Regional Deputy Dalmacio Grafil) participated in the recollection, Mass, as well as lectures and discussions on how to sustain the programs and activities of the Knights of Columbus at the district and council levels. The programs are anchored on the Ten Thrusts of the Visayas State set by Visayas State Deputy, Bro. Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr. For Columbian Year 2008-2009, the Visayas Jurisdiction will adopt the theme: “Follow me: Help us Build up the Church”, in reference and response to the Apostolic Call of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, during his recent visit to the United States of America where he specifically cited the efforts of the Knights of Columbus in support of the Church. To further boost the district deputies’ leadership confidence and capability, Bro. Allan Nicolas Ouano, the new Visayas State Secretary, shared his expertise by making a comprehensive presentation on the Duties and Responsibilities of District Deputies. Highlighted during the meeting were SPIRITUAL FORMATION and PRO-LIFE ADVOCACY, aside from setting annual goals on membership growth (with Bro. Wilfredo Lauron – State Membership Director), council retention and reactivation, new council development (with Bro. Cenon Sasan), effective and relevant service programs and activities (with Bro. Ricardo Urot – State Program Director) as well as creation of more Columbian Squires Circles (with Bro. Wency Canete – State Squires Chairman). Visayas Deputy Esteban appointed Bro. Rudy Kintanar as Visayas State Spiritual Formation Chairman whose primary task is to ensure that all knights throughout the jurisdiction will go through Spiritual Formation sessions (a series of sessions that will reflect on the teachings of the Church and the role of the Knights of Columbus) prior to the 1st degree exemplification and as pre-requisite for the knights’ advancement to the 2nd and 3rd degrees in the Order. On the other hand, the Pro-Life Advocacy, to be spearheaded by Bro. Antonio Valle, will be given more emphasis during this Columbian Year 2008-2009, in the light of various anti-life programs that tend to promote D.E.A.T.H.S. (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, Homosexual Union and Sex Education) some of which have reached the national legislature in the form of congressional bills. (See related story). The Visayas Jurisdiction also launched its LIVELIHOOD PROGRAM, in response to the needs of the economic challenges that face us all, with Bro. Alejandro Ceniza as in-charge. This is aimed at supplementing the financial sustainability of councils and, by extension, the community-at-large as part of a particular K of C council’s service activities. Bro. Cres Tadlip, Visayas State Auditor, also discussed compliance and submission of prescribed K of C forms to the Supreme Council and State Office as well as council fiscal management. The meeting was not only educational but very lively and interactive, with district deputies given the chance to air their views and queries on the various topics discussed. Since many Knights of Columbus leaders from Panay Island were not able to attend the Organizational Meeting owing to the calamity brought by Typhoon “Frank”, Visayas Deputy Esteban scheduled a separate Organizational Meeting in Iloilo City last July 5. In view of the devastation brought by the typhoon and in solidarity with the brother knights in the affected areas, the Visayas Jurisdiction leaders unanimously passed a resolution calling on all councils to provide relief assistance, in cash or in kind, for the victims of the typhoon in Panay and Bantayan Island, Cebu. The formal installation of State Officers, Regional, Provincial and District Deputies presided by Bro. Alberto Solis Sr. – Worthy Supreme Director and Bro. Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr. – Worthy Visayas Deputy, capped the three-day Organizational Meeting. (Bro. Junjie Navales Cruz)
KEYS REALTY & DEVELOPMENT, CORP.
3RD Floor, Fr. George Willmann S.J. Center General Luna cor., Sta. Potenciana Sts., Intramuros, Manila Tel Nos: 527-2221/527-2238
“AVAILABLE BRAND NEW OFFICE SPACE”
Knights of Columbus Building, Captain V. Roa Extension, Cagayan De Oro City
For inquiries: Please call
MS. ADRONICA “NICA” GOSE 3 RD Floor, Fr. George Willmann S.J. Center General Luna cor., Sta. Potenciana Sts., Intramuros, Manila Tel. No: (02) 527-2221 Fax No: (02) 527-2238 MR. REYNANTE “BONG” BRAGAT Branch Service Administrator KC Fraternal Knights of Columbus Building, Captain V. Roa Extension, Cagayan De Oro City Tel. #: (0882)-854-3274; Fax #: (0882)-272-1005
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
‘Follow me – Help us build up the Church’
SUPREME Knight Carl A. Anderson said, “We live out our Christian witness as the Holy Father has called us to do.” We do that by witnessing to love in every aspect of our lives—from our families, to our work, to the charitable projects we undertake Orderwide. And, he added, we do this by asking qualified Catholic men to join us and help us strengthen our Church. The theme for the 2008-09 membership campaign “Follow Me — Help Us Build Up the Church” follows this charge. When our members sponsor blood drives or youth sports teams, raise funds and volunteer for Special Olympics and other programs for people with intellectual disabilities, or hold a family picnic, through the example they are setting, they say “Follow Me—Help Us Build Up the Church.” Our councils do this over and over again as they work to meet the needs of their communities and Church. Building on this foundation of service to Church and community is our challenge. We constantly need new energy and fresh ideas. We must constantly expand our reach. To grow in membership we must personally ask every eligible Catholic man to join the Order. Recruiting new members is essential to the continued growth and well-being of your council and the Order.
By Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight AS a result of his visit, Pope Benedict XVI has given the Knights a great opportunity to help build up the Church On April 24, 2005, during the Mass inaugurating the Petrine Ministry of Pope Benedict XVI, the deacon read these famous words from chapter 16 of Matthew’s Gospel: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.” The awe-inspiring reality of these words was apparent to us this past spring when, for a few days in April, Peter was with us in the United States. The Lord chose St. Peter as the rock of his Church because of Peter’s witness. Jesus had asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Mt 8:27-30). And the disciples answered that some said John the Baptist or Elijah or Jeremiah. In other words, a prophet, a teacher, a wise man—someone proposing a new and better ethical way of living. The Son of Man is all these things. But Peter acknowledged a different reality. Peter recognized not only words of good counsel, but also the words of eternal life. In the days before Pope Benedict’s visit there was great interest in the media and elsewhere about what the pope would say. Would he be critical of certain practices among Catholics, policies of the government or trends in American society? Instead of criticism, we heard the same theme each day, albeit in a slightly different way: “God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved” (Jn 3:17). The response of the American people, and especially Catholics, to Pope Benedict’s message went beyond what anyone expected. In this issue of Columbia we report on a national public opinion poll commissioned by our Order and undertaken by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. We title this report on public reaction to the pope’s trip “Success by Any Measure”—and it surely was that. • The poll found that among Catholics: • 66 percent say they are now more likely to appreciate being a member of the Catholic Church. • 50 percent say they now plan to make family a bigger part of their life. • 50 percent say they now plan to lead a more moral life. • 45 percent say they now plan to attend religious services. • And 39 percent say they now plan on becoming more active in their community. This is Pope Benedict’s great gift to us: millions of Catholics more willing to actively live the Catholic life. It is up to us, the Knights of Columbus, to offer these men and their families a proven and true way to live more deeply their Catholic life— the way envisioned by the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney. Pope Benedict has offered us a great opportunity for renewal of the Church, and it is the responsibility of every Knight to accept and act upon this great gift to help build up the Church. In his homily at the funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger kept repeating Christ’s words, “Follow me.” He said they were “the key to understanding the message that comes to us from the life” of Pope John Paul II. Now we see that they are also the words that are the key to understanding the papal ministry of Benedict XVI. Indeed, “Follow me” are words that speak to us in a special way through the life of Christ’s vicar on earth. Now is the time for the Knights of Columbus to respond with a resounding “Yes!” Vivat Jesus!
GK / C1
ing to the tune of the “Hands of Love” to relax their tired bodies. By noon, Gawad Kalinga Foreman checked the progress of our work and informed us that our assigned task was almost complete and that we can now rest. It was time for lunch. Everybody thanked God for the successful 1st day of work and for the delicious food laid on the table. After which it was time to call it a day and everybody went home tired but happy. Second leg July 12, was the 2n d leg of the Knights of Columbus GK Village “Bayanihan” Challenge. Sixteen new faces joined the sixteen 2 n d time volunteers and beat the 6:30 a.m. call time at Robinson’s Fairview. Armed with long sleeves and hat, 32 volunteers zestfully got on the jeepney to Tungkong Mangga thinking of what was waiting at the site.
As expected, the beneficiries and CFC volunteers were present to help in the construction. Later that morning, five officers led by GK Noel Lacanilao of Manila Council 1000 came. The day started with short praise and worship songs and a prayer. While some took their breakfast first, others opted to sweat it out at once in the field. Workload for the day included excavation and leveling of the next row of houses, cement pre-casting and clearing of the remaining part of the site. Some volunteers went around offering water and “kakanin” donated by a generous person and others started preparing the food for lunch. Looking at them from the distance, it was certain they were enjoying what they were doing despite the heat, the difficulty, and their disheveled look. Since the scheduled work for the day was almost finished by noontime, the group decided to stop and take
lunch. Although the group and the community had separate dining areas it was heartwarming to see everybody sharing whatever food they had. The “ thank you’s” exchanged by everyone was really something that can melt the heart and remove weariness. After lunch it was time to bid Tungkong Mangga goodbye and go home with a promise to come back again. For the volunteers this was really something worth the body aches everyone felt after working. An experience that will not be forgotten. Something to share with friends and acquaintances. Truly an experience of a lifetime. For anyone who wants to volunteer and experience an event that will surely change one’s perspective, the schedules are July 26, August 9 and 23 and September 6, 2008. (Denise C. Solina)
Dear BC Holders,
You can pay your insurance contributions and loans through the following outlets: 1. Banco de Oro Branches 2. Philippine National Bank Branches 3. Banco Filipino Branches 4. Bills Payment Counter of SM branches 5. Cabanatuan Service Office - Knights of Columbus Bldg., 578 Burgos Ave., Cabanatuan City 6.Cagayan de Oro Service Office - 3rd Floor, KC Building, Capt. V. Roa Extension, 9000 Cagayan de Oro City 7. Cebu City Service Office - 2nd Floor, KC Building, 36 Archbishop Reyes Ave. Cor. Molave St., Lahug, 6000 Cebu City 8. Davao Service Office - Knights of Columbus Building, C.M. Recto Ave., 8000 Davao City 9. Iloilo City - 2nd Floor, Carolina Building, 106 M. Jalandoni St., Jaro, 5000 Iloilo City 10. Zamboanga City - Room 4, 2nd Floor, Park Pavilion Building, La Purisima St., 7000 Zamboanga City
To all Fraternal Counselors
Get your allowances daily by opening an ATM account with BPI. How? 1. Request from Financial Management Accounting Services (527-22-23 loc. 214) a letter to BPI – Dewey Branch to instruct your preferred BPI branch to open an individual BPI ATM account for you under the APCS. 2. With the letter, go to your preferred BPI branch and present two (2) valid identification cards (e.g. driver’s license, postal ID, SSS, GSIS or Knights of Columbus ID). You also need two (2) colored pictures either 1x1 or 2x2 in size. 3. With your ATM you can withdraw your credits leaving only P100.00 as your balance. If you have an existing BPI account, just request FMAS to prepare a letter to BPI – Dewey Branch to enroll your BPI account under the APCS.
Vol. 12 No. 15
July 21 - August 3, 2008
KCFAPI DONATES TO TYPHOON VICTIMS . Our brothers in the island of Panay particularly in Iloilo suffered so much during the rampage of the recent typhoon “Frank”. Moved by the plight of our brothers in the area, KCFAPI donated P100,000.00 to help ease the burden the victims have experienced. The donation was handed over to the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop of Jaro, Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD. (From left) KCFAPI Treasurer Antonio T. Yulo, Luzon State Secretary Arsenio Isidro G. Yap, Mindanao Deputy Sofronio R. Cruz, Visayas Deputy Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr., KCFAPI Pres. Antonio B. Borromeo, Vice Supreme Master Panfilo O. Pacubas, Sr., Luzon State Deputy Alonso L. Tan, KCFAPI Spiritual Director Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III and KCFAPI External Legal Consultant Atty. Sabino Padilla, Jr. (Magdalene G. Flores)
Francisco Villarica Tankiang
A man of many facets
of International Law Summer Course. To further enrich his knowledge and perspective, he has attended several conventions, conferences, seminars and workshops both here and abroad. He practiced Accounting and Law and was a Professor in the Arellano University before he was appointed as the First Philippine Commercial Attache’ in Madrid, Spain by the late President Ramon Magsaysay. During his stint in Spain, he was able to improve the trade between the Philippines and Spain. He personally supervised the loading of Portuguese rice in Lisbon on a barter trade with Portugal for Philippine Sugar and for which accomplishment he was commended. However, due to the untimely demise of his father, he resigned from his post in Madrid and went back home to the Philippines to assume the management of Far Eastern Surety & Insurance Co., Royal Travels, Inc., Tankiang Development Corporation, Fensat Inc., Kaleen Realty, Inc., and other family businesses. He is a former District Deputy (District M-46) and a Past Grand Knight of Our Lady of Remedies Council 5681 in Malate, Manila, of the Luzon Jurisdiction of the Order of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. He was awarded the Plaque of Honor and other special awards by his Council while the Padre Burgos Assembly of the Fourth Degree honored him by conferring a Lifetime Membership Award and the Faithful Services Cross with Laurel for his invaluable contributions to the good of the Order. He served as Director of Board of Keys Realty & Dev’t. Corporation and of Mace Insurance Agency, Inc., subsidiary companies that are 100% owned by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), the insurance arm of the Order in the Philippines. A humble and deeply spiritual person, Bro. Tankiang is also an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He is an active member of other religious and charitable institutions such as the Philippine Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Men of the Sacred Heart, and Secular Franciscan. At present Bro. Tankiang occupies the following corporate positions: Trustee of Casino Español de Manila and Makati Tourism Foundation; Chairman of FENSAT, Inc.; President of Kaleen Realty, Inc. and Royal Travels, Inc.; Vice President & Board Secretary of Philippine Hospitalier Foundation of the Order of Malta, Inc. He served as the last President of Philippines Society of Travel Agents, the charter President of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association, and, also, the first Filipino President of the ASEAN
THE current Corporate Secretary and Trustee of the Knights of Columbus Philippines Foundation, Inc. is a man of many facets. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a Lawyer, a distinguished diplomat, a prominent businessman, a philanthropist, a responsible head of the family and a deeply religious man. He is none other than Dr. and Worthy Brother Francisco Villarica Tankiang. Bro. Tankiang was born in Marilao, Bulacan on June 4, 1925 to the late Eduardo del Rosario Tankiang and Luisa Villarica Tankiang. He was married to the late Natividad Almeda and their
union was blessed with five children (three girls and two boys). He studied and finished Grade School and High School at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Graduating with the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Commerce Major in Accounting and Bachelor of Laws from Arellano University Bro. Tankiang took up further studies and was conferred the Diploma of Doctor of Laws “Sobresaliente” by the Universidad de Madrid. Bro. Tankiang passed the Board Examinations for both the Certified Public Accountants and the Philippine Bar. While in Europe, he attended the Hague Academy
Tourism Association. He was instrumental in having the World Association of Travel Agents or WATA to hold its first ever Convention in the Philippines and in the Asia Pacific Region. He also had a hand in the Golden Anniversary Celebration of the American Society of Travel Agents or ASTA’s first World Congress held here in Manila. Bro. Tankiang is the recipient of the Most Outstanding Alumni, Citation Award and Jubilee Award for Past Presidents, all from the Arellano University Alumni Association and the Outstanding Professional Alumnus Award by Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Dr. Tankiang is a recipient of a Plaque of Appreciation, President’s Award and Bronze Award from the AISC Amical d’Tourism Skal Club of the Philippines and a Plaque of Appreciation from the Philippine Society of Travel Agents Association. He is also a member of civic and professional organizations like the distinguished Rotary Club of Manila and was granted lifetime membership in the Philippine Bar Association, the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Philippine British Society. (Denise Solina)
On July 4, 2008, the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) was issued the Certificate of Authority to transact business as a Mutual Benefit Association by Insurance Commissioner Eduardo T. Malinis (center). KCFAPI will be celebrating its 50th Year Anniversary on September 9, 2008. With him in photo are Deputy Insurance Commissioner Vida T. Chiong, Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia, President Antonio B. Borromeo, and Treasurer Antonio T. Yulo.
KC Fraternal introduces its newest product offering—the KC Super Saver Plan. KC Super Saver Plan—Gold Series is a peso-denominated single-pay ten-year endowment plan. The proposed Assured has to pay only one time. He will, in as short as 10 years, recover more than his contributions or an amount equivalent to the Sum Assured. The plan’s life insurance coverage is increasing. It starts from 110% of Sum Assured on the first year and increases uniformly by 10% of the Sum Assured every year until it reaches 200% on the tenth and final year. The plan is available for issue ages 1 to 75. Super Saver Plan is ideal for our Brother Knights or their immediate family members who have seasonal income or earnings, such as members in the agricultural or aquacultural sectors. The flexibility offered by the plan’s single contribution scheme and small issue limit of P10,000 Sum Assured make Super Saver perfect for Overseas Filipino Workers. Because they, our modern day heroes; deserve no less that the best.
KC Super Saver Plan. Superior Family Protection. Plus Return on your Single Contribution! Build your own Benefit Portfolio. When you want it. As you want it!